A Christian Defense Against Atheism

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been active on social media. In that time, I’ve discovered that many atheists are active on social media as well and they often target me for my views on Christianity. I’ve learned much about many of their views, so this article offers some arguments to present my views in the context of theirs.

One discovery I’ve made is that many want “evidence” for my faith in Christianity. They don’t want to hear that many of the two billion Christians in the world have strong personal testimonies. This “anecdotal” evidence, even when considered collectively, is not enough. I told them that I could collect testimonies from a thousand people in my church to create an empirical study using subjective content analysis, which would analyze themes and patterns. They reply that they need physical evidence. Of course, they know that I can’t produce physical evidence of the metaphysical.

The Physical Sciences

Atheists often turn to science, yet not to all sciences, such as the social sciences. They consider the natural and physical sciences paramount. Nobel-prize winning chemist, Harry Kroto stated “science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”[i] This view is consistent with scientism, which suggests that science can answer any and all questions. Richard Dawkins believes similarly, noting that scientists are “the specialists in discovering what is true about the world and the universe.”[ii] Stephen Hawking chimes in by saying that “philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.”[iii] Lawrence Krauss adds “the only knowledge we have is from experiments…the only knowledge about the world is empirical.”[iv]

Not all atheists think this way. Atheist philosopher Massimo Pigliucci is a good example:

“I don’t know what’s the matter with physicists these days. It used to be that we’re an intellectually sophisticated bunch, with the likes of Einstein and Bohr doing not only brilliant scientific research, but also interested in, respectful of, and conversant in other branches of knowledge, particularly philosophy. These days it is much more likely to encounter physicists like Steve Weinberg or Stephen Hawking who merrily go about dismissing philosophy for the wrong reasons, and quite obviously out of a combination of profound ignorance and hubris (the two often go together, as I’m sure Plato would happily point out). The latest such bore is Lawrence Krauss, of Arizona State University.”[v]

Physical science is one tool we can use to better understand the world, but it shouldn’t be the only tool, lest we place more weight on what the world is comprised of (oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.) than on the bigger question of why we and the world are here. To further understand the latter, we additionally must draw on the social sciences, such as psychology, and philosophy and theology. We should consider these questions in the context of our morality and ethical foundations. We wouldn’t build a home with a single tool, such as a hammer. Building a house requires the entire toolbox. As C.S. Lewis said, “good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.”[vi] Einstein underscored the point by stating “the man of science is a poor philosopher.”

As Frank Turek says, “there is little consensus on what is or isn’t science. Those who insist that science is only about finding natural causes by using observation and repetition are excluding sciences that infer intelligent causes, such as archeology, cryptology, and…forensic science.”[vii]

In summary, if we constrain our focus to the natural sciences, which many atheists insist we do, we limit the discussion and constrain opportunities to identify the truth. Instead, inquiry should include all relevant sciences. Otherwise, if we only look for natural causes, there is no way we can develop an understanding of the supernatural.

God of the Gaps and the Cosmological Argument

Atheists often cite what they call the God of the Gaps fallacy in an effort to counter the Cosmological Argument. The Cosmological Argument posits that all things in nature depend on something else for their existence. Accordingly, the entire cosmos must depend on a Supreme Being who exists independently or necessarily.

Scientists today support the Big Bang theory.[viii] The mathematical underpinnings of this theory include Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, along with theories of fundamental particles. According to this theory, the universe (space, time, matter) started approximately 13.8 billion years ago with a small singularity, ever inflating to the state which we know today.[ix] Events before the Big Bang are not defined and what powered the Big Bang, setting it into rapid inflationary expansion is not known. Some atheists are content with not knowing what powered the Big Bang. They suggest that theists simply fill in this “gap” in knowledge with God, applying the God of the Gaps fallacy.

Aristotle drew this conclusion about God’s existence: “there must be an immortal, unchanging being, ultimately responsible for the wholeness and orderliness in the sensible world.”[x]  Aristotle thought the universe was eternal, but we know better.

According to Aristotle, God isn’t just for the gaps in nature that we can’t explain. God isn’t limited to the “shrinking bits of the natural world.” God is in every part of the world. This concept is explained in Psalm 139:7-8: “Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence. If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”

As for the mighty force that powered the Big Bang, believers offer the explanation of a supernatural being. This supernatural being would need to be spaceless, timeless (unbounded by linear time), and metaphysical to have been present prior to the Big Bang. This being would further need to be intentional and active or the Big Bang wouldn’t have been possible. In other words, this presence could not be a passive form.

Instead of accepting the possibility of a supernatural force, many atheists speculate that the multiverse is a possibility, which suggests that another universe was present before our universe, or that there are other universes aside from ours. Given the fact we have no (zero, zilch, zip) evidence of a multiverse, this argument seems silly since atheists demand evidence!

Some atheists are also satisfied with not knowing the answers to other mysteries within our physical realms, such as the questions of consciousness  (non-physical), dark matter and dark energy. Dark matter and dark energy are prevalent within the universe,  as scientists have discovered, yet no one knows anything about their properties. Despite a lack of knowledge about the physical properties of dark matter and energy, atheists don’t doubt the presence of dark matter and dark energy.

Consciousness implies awareness, which is the subjective experience we have within our internal and external worlds. Consciousness also corresponds to our feelings, choices, sense of self, memory, thought, language, and internally generated images and patterns. Our views of reality depend on our consciousness, which defines our existence.

In his book Biocentrism, Robert Lanza offers a theory on consciousness. Lanza considers the structure of the universe, noting that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, which implies that intelligence existed prior to matter. Space and time are not objects or things, he states, but rather tools of our animal understanding. Lanza says that we carry space and time around with us “like turtles with shells,” which means that when the shell comes off (space and time), we continue to exist.

“The theory implies that death of consciousness simply does not exist. It only exists as a thought because people identify themselves with their body. They believe that the body is going to perish, sooner or later, thinking their consciousness will disappear too. If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies. But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.” [xi]

In summary, the question of consciousness calls to attention the existence of a spiritual, non-physical realm. The question of what powered the universe calls to attention the existence of an independent, metaphysical force: God. Excluding the possibility of choosing God as the answer by framing the choice as a God of the gaps fallacy equates to telling the jury in the O.J. Simpson murder trial of his former wife and friend that they will not be allowed to fill the gaps of their knowledge of whether he committed the crime with the glove, the weapon, and any blood evidence. We would never require that jury make a decision when not provided with all of the evidence, so why should we attempt to do the same in the present context? In summary, God is the only logical answer to two of life’s greatest mysteries. Let’s move on.

The Teleological Argument

The teleological argument argues for the existence of God based on intelligent design and order in nature. This particular argument is one that some atheists consider compelling. When we consider all of the forces and constants that had to come together to create the perfect conditions of our world, we often come to the realization that an invisible hand guided these conditions. As noted by Robert Lanza:

“By the late sixties, it had become clear that if the Big Bang had been just one part in a million more powerful, the cosmos would have blown outward too fast to allow stars and worlds to form. Result: no us. Even more coincidentally, the universe’s four forces and all of its constants are just perfectly set up for atomic interactions, the existence of atoms and elements, planets, liquid water, and life. Tweak any of them and you never existed.”[xii]

Further information on the specific constants can be found in the CODATA 1998 recommendations by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the United States.

An excellent article in the Wall Street Journal by Eric Metaxas further demonstrates the teleological argument. Click here: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

The Uncaused Cause

Atheists often apply physical laws to God, stating that He needed a cause. They don’t understand that God is the uncaused cause. He is eternal. This concepts of eternity and an uncaused cause are difficult for many to grasp, given our mortal lives, physical laws, and linear time.

Thomas Aquinas’ First Mover Theory helps to evaluate whether an uncaused cause is intuitive. This theory is below and was recently supported in Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2009, 23: 901-917.

  1.      Our senses tell us that there is some motion in the world.
  2.      All things moving must be moved by something else.
  3.      Motion is the change from potentiality to actuality.
  4.      It is not possible to be potential and actual in the same respect.
  5.      Therefore, the mover cannot also be the moved.
  6.      There cannot be an infinite regression of movers.
  7.      Therefore, there must be a first, unmoved mover.

Unbounded Time

Stephen Hawking acknowledges that the universe had a start date, noting that time prior to real time in the linear (as we know it) and prior to the Big Bang was what he calls “imaginary time.”[xiii]

Imaginary time is unbounded, non-linear time. By understanding unbounded time, we can better understand God’s omniscience and the free will He has bestowed upon us. Omniscience means that God is all-knowing. Atheists often conflate His knowledge with His control over us, thinking that for God to be all knowing, He must have control over our actions. He must have predetermined our lives. Alternatively, I suggest that the reason God knows our future is not because He’s controlled our future, but because He’s seen our future. Just as a journalist can skip through the pages of the newspapers in which she has published, moving back and forth in time, God can move back and forth in time. So, the real time that constrains us does not constrain Him. He sees our decisions and actions and knows whether we’ll be in the Lamb’s Book of Life, not because He’s predetermined our destiny, but because He has watched us as we exercise our free will through the lens of unbounded time. Furthermore, God is always in the present, yet He is unbounded by linear time so He is concurrently in our future and our past. According to Revelation 1:8, the Lord God “who is and who was and who always will be.”

C.S. Lewis described this concept this way: “Our life comes to us moment by moment. One moment disappears before the next comes along; and there is room for very little in each. That is what time is like. And of course you and I take it for granted that this time series – this arrangement of past, present, and future – is not simply the way life comes to us but the way things really exist…But many learned men do not agree with that. It was the theologians who first started the idea that some things are not in time at all: later the philosophers took it over: and now some scientists are doing the same. Almost certainly, God is not in time…If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty – and every other moment from the beginning of the world – is always present for Him.”[xiv]

This is a difficult concept for some to grasp, but according to C.S. Lewis, it fits within Christianity. People may choose to ignore the concept, which is fine, yet it serves to understand several important aspects of God, which we will discuss next.

In summary, believers aim to explain the universe prior to the Big Bang with the only reasonable explanation of an uncaused cause that is unbounded by time: God. Even atheist Albert Einstein was uncomfortable with a start date because he knew of its divine implications.

The Problem of Pain

Some atheists apply an absolute moral standard to God when they point to the evils in this world to suggest that He is the cause of such evils and He should be held accountable. They use the characteristics of God, which include His omniscience and omnipotence, to make the assertion that He had knowledge of everything that would happen in the world when He created the world. And if this is the case, He was well aware that some humans would be in His Lamb’s Book of Life and would be welcomed to heaven, while others would not be on the list, ending up in hell.

Some say that if God knew our every choice before we were born, knowing that we’d be going to heaven or hell, then we have no choices to make in our lives. We have no free will. Some question the character of God, wondering why a loving Father would be willing to allow some of His children not to choose Him. They state that God’s children shouldn’t be forced to choose God; they should be given free will not to choose Him. The bottom line with these issues is that some people feel that we don’t have free will if God truly has omniscience because God already knows our fates so we can do nothing to change fate.

To answer these issues, we have to return to God’s unbounded time. God hasn’t already decided on our fate; He knows our fate but He is also with us as we make our choices, determining our own fate. As noted above and consistent with His timeless presence, He is concurrently in the past, present, and future. He’s watching His children make decisions, yet He’s already seen the decisions made. He knew from the beginning the choices made because He was just as present then as He is now. His presence is, was, and always will be – in the present. Accordingly, we are with Him when we make our choices, so we can always change our minds, and He already knows the outcomes of our “changed minds.”

To wrap our minds around this concept, try to unbound Him by time and remove any words or phrases that freeze Him in time. Eliminate words such as then, now, soon, before, after, and in the past or future. God simply is. So, instead of saying, “God knew back then what my choices would be today,” consider saying “God knew my choices and is with me as I make them.” Hopefully this helps to understand that we still have free will. We’re not locked into a life we didn’t intentionally choose.

Even so, some may wonder of the fates of those who do not choose to align with God. Given the fates proposed in the Bible, some wonder why God would permit them to even exist? Why would a loving God condemn anyone to hell?

Recall that our fate is our choice. No one goes to heaven or hell without choosing heaven or hell. But what is hell like, should that be the choice? Will it be all fire, as suggested in the Book of Revelation, or will it be more of a shadowy Sheol? The Bible says that it is a place of torment, which is attributable to the lack of God within those who have chosen that particular fate. Though God is present everywhere, including in hell, people in hell are not with God. God is no longer within those who have chosen that fate.

Some atheists state that the world is unjust. They question why some are blessed with much while others suffer so. To understand this issue, we need to examine purpose of good and evil. The world isn’t a perfect place because if it were, we could never grow the sorts of characteristics needed to be more consistent with the example of Jesus Christ. We’re here to grow and learn from our mistakes, because learning from our mistakes is what helps us to grow. We’re here to persevere through pain, to show empathy around those in need, to demonstrate faith when tested. In other words, we’re tested in all sorts of ways to grow characteristics like determination, faith, perseverance, empathy, and love. How could we ever truly understand love if we hadn’t experienced its counterpart? How could we ever develop hope if we never had anything for which to hope? How could we ever develop humility if we had never been humbled? So, the fact that the Lord has put us into a world with all of these yin and yang sorts of good and evil characteristics is to improve us and make us more like Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

This world is but a stepping stone to the next one, equivalent in time to a speck of sand on the beaches of heaven, so we must invest our time wisely. We’re put here to advance our souls by capitalizing on the spiritual gifts with which we’ve been bestowed. Similar to the Parable of the Talents, we are instructed to invest well in our talents. To those to whom much has been given, much is expected. God holds us accountable, so ignoring one’s spiritual talents will not be viewed favorably. Yet God doesn’t leave us behind either. He wants all of His children to succeed and prosper. Indeed, they are given free will not to choose Him and many make that choice. The Parable of the Lost Sheep states that God goes to great lengths to keep His children from making that choice, yet some resist His calls.

Jesus Christ

Many think that Jesus was merely a prophet or a great moral teacher. Muslims believe that too, but many even go further by denying that Jesus died on the cross. Most Muslims think God took Jesus into heaven before the crucifixion and some guy who looked just like Him was beaten and crucified in His place. Even the Jewish Sanhedrin acknowledged that Jesus died on the cross. By believing that He wasn’t crucified, Muslims deny the resurrection, which denies the foundation of Christianity.

The prophet Zechariah  predicted to the Jews that their King would come to them, humble and lowly, riding on a donkey. If one were still waiting for the King to come, one might consider that few use that mode of transportation anymore. Beyond that, the prophet Isaiah so clearly predicted Jesus’ coming in his 53rd chapter that Jewish rabbis exclude that passage from their list of regular synagogue readings from the Tenach, which is in our Old Testament. They also exclude other passages referring to the Messiah, the Virgin Mary, and the betrayal of Jesus by Judas for 30 shekel coins.

Jesus was much more than a prophet. It says in many passages of the New Testament that He was and is the Son of God. He said He’s the Son of God and He forgave people for their sins against others. He said that no one gets to the Father except through Him. A great moral teacher doesn’t forgive people like that and call Himself the way, the truth, and the life. To call Him merely a great moral teacher while knowing that He said He is the Son of God is really saying that He was just a crazy man. A mad man. A liar. As C.S. Lewis put it, He would be the equivalent of a poached egg.

After Jesus was buried, His eleven remaining apostles hid out in their homes, afraid they would meet the same demise that He had met. They feared for their lives and questioned their beliefs in the man they had followed. Then Jesus appeared to them very much alive. That’s the key. Had He not appeared to them after He was crucified, they would never have done what they did for Him. They were burned, stoned, clubbed, beheaded, and crucified, all while enthusiastically preaching His word.

Imagine that you’re one of those writers. Imagine that you’re a church leader in early Christian times trying to rev up your congregation after Jesus’ passing. You’ve decided that you need to craft an amazing story about the most glorious event that you’re claiming occurred in Jesus’ life: His resurrection and the discovery of His empty tomb. Who should make that discovery, in this novel you’re contriving? Peter the rock? John the loved one? Matthew the reformed tax collector? Certainly, the person who discovers the open tomb should be one of the male apostles. Someone with credibility. Someone people respect. You need people to believe this story you’re crafting. But instead of writing something you know would influence and motivate the people, you do the unthinkable. You choose a woman, Mary Magdalene, who was cursed by multiple demons at an earlier point in her life, along with other women, to make the most important discovery in the Bible. Of course, you realize that by choosing her, people will doubt your story. Your story will have no merit in the male-dominated world of Jesus’ time. Women were second class citizens then. They were treated similarly to the way some are treated in parts of the Arab world today, where they are prevented from getting an education and required to wear Niqabs and Burkas that cover their bodies from head to toe. In Saudi Arabia, women still aren’t allowed to drive cars, and in many Muslim countries in the region, being stoned for adultery still happens.

To the point that the church leaders wrote those passages for influence, think about this. For the first 300 years of Christianity, Christians were imprisoned and killed for simply being Christians under a variety of Roman rulers. Nero was one of the worst. About thirty years after Jesus’ resurrection, Nero blamed Christians for burning Rome and used that as justification for outlawing Christianity. He entertained himself by feeding Christians to hungry dogs and crucifying them and setting their bodies aflame. The only way to save themselves from such persecutions was to make a pagan sacrifice and deny Jesus. Thousands instead chose to endure brutal deaths, keeping their eyes on the unseen prize, heaven. The apostles and the five hundred people who saw Jesus alive after His death must have been very convincing to those early Christian martyrs who gave their lives for the cause. It wasn’t until the Roman Emperor Constantine had a vision of a cross in 312 A.D. and converted to Christianity that the doors were opened to Christians to worship legally.

Some argue that the story of Jesus was crafted for control. If true, one would need to prove the early church leaders were gleaning power by controlling the masses with the story. Instead, the early church leaders had no legitimacy. They were hunted and killed for their beliefs instead of deriving some sort of earthly physical benefit from believing. They had no power. No glory. No churches. Moreover, the people who followed the early Christian leaders weren’t being controlled. In fact, the governing leaders determined that the early Christians were out of control. That’s why they imprisoned, beat, and killed them. They feared the Christians would rile the masses away from their means of control, which at the time were Paganism and Roman laws.

Some point that the church eventually gained power, which is true, but this point shouldn’t discount the first 300 years of Christianity, when no Christians had power and still risked their lives for the cause. I’m not saying that the church never had control and has never used its power to influence people. The church has had much power since legalized and sometimes that power has been used in the wrong ways. But in the early years, the church didn’t have power. Christians had to practice in secret. So discounting the legitimacy of Jesus’ story by saying that people created the story for control doesn’t make sense.

I’ve also heard atheists make the claim that the New Testament was an oral tradition for fifty or more years, disclaiming its legitimacy. However, if that were the case surely one of its authors would have included mention of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans. No author makes mention of this major event in the New Testament, suggesting the authorship of much of the New Testament took place in the first few decades after Jesus was crucified. In fact, thirteen books of the New Testament were authored by Paul, which is over half of its books. Authorship occurred before Paul was beheaded in Rome by Nero between 64 and 67 AD.

In summary, I hope this short essay offers views consistent with your own. Keep the faith.

“So we keep our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:18

[i] Cited by P.Z. Myers at http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/theres_something_obvious_mssi.php The original quote can be accessed in The Times, April 7, 2011

[ii] Dawkins, R. (2004).The Devil’s Chaplain: Selected Writings, London, Phoenix, p. 204.

[iii] Hawking, S. & Mlodinow, L. (2010) The Grand Design, New York: Bantam Books, p. 5.

[iv] Krauss, L.M. Unbelievable: A Universe From Nothing? Lawrence Krauss vs. Rodney Holder

http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid=%7B02949395-E52F-4784-BF29-3A3138738B0B%7D

[v] Pigliucci, M. (2012) Lawrence Krauss: another physicist with an anti-philosophy complex. http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/lawrence-krauss-another-physicist-with.html

[vi] Lewis, C.S. (1996). The Weight of Glory. New York: Touchstone.

[vii] Turek, F. (2014). Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress.

[viii] https://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-powered-the-big-bang

[x] http://www.space.com/25126-big-bang-theory.html; http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

[x] Sachs, J. (2013). Aristotle: Metaphysics. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/aris-met/#H9.

[xi] Lanza, R. (2009). Biocentrism. How life and consciousness are the keys to understanding the true nature of the universe. Dallas, TX: Benbella Books.

[xii]https://www.sott.net/article/271933-Scientists-claim-that-Quantum-Theory-proves-consciousness-moves-to-another-universe-at-death

[xiii] http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

[xiv] Lewis, C.S. (2002) Mere Christianity. Harper One.

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Author: Christian Apologist

Please visit my new blog at ChristianApologistweb.Wordpress.com. The author lives with her two sons, chief security officer/pooch, and husband who would rather be living in a houseboat near his identical twin brother. She works as a college professor, which helps to pay the mortgage. Over the past few decades, she has attempted to reconcile the logic and rationality of nature with the unexplained force of love within. World religions address the latter, yet none so perfectly and comprehensively as Christianity. By diving into the academic, literary, and church communities, she's found many answers to the complicated questions of life. Life's short, sometimes ugly, and there are no guarantees. If she were to be hit by a bus tomorrow (which might very well happen), she'll rest in peace knowing that a permanent record of her discoveries of the way, the truth, and the life exists for her family, friends, and anyone else interested. Follow on Twitter @lead1225

13 thoughts on “A Christian Defense Against Atheism”

  1. I am an atheist with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Unlike the ‘typical atheist’ you describe in your blog, I do consider the social sciences but this still doesn’t lead me to conclude there is a higher being called god. It does however, for me, give possible reasons for why people have constructed the idea of a god.
    I agree with the statement
    ‘Physical science is one tool we can use to better understand the world, but it shouldn’t be the only tool, lest we place more weight on what the world is comprised of (oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.) than on the bigger question of why we and the world are here.’
    But this is what science is used for, we build models based on studied behaviour in order to predict future outcomes. In my particular field this would be the prediction of chemical products from the reactants. When the reactions are carried out and the predicted product is produced, this adds weight to the scientific model. I don’t know of any scientific group who are trying to answer the question of ‘why’ we are here. The question is not scientific.
    The Big Bang theory, this is a theory, one of many and all backed up mathematically. With a quick internet search many theories can be found and I sure more will come up in the future as science progresses so why have the Christian community chosen to this one. I remember being told about the big bang in school, not as fact but as a theory. I am one of those atheists happy with not knowing but this is more to do with not needing to know as the answer will not have any effect on my life but I do not see why you have put this in the same category of consciousness. There is lots of material available on this very interesting subject but I suspect it is not very accessible to someone who holds strong religious belief. I say this because understanding the material would require the reader to accept that they are not special and created by a higher being, this may be a tall order.
    “By the late sixties, it had become clear that if the Big Bang had been just one part in a million more powerful, the cosmos would have blown outward too fast to allow stars and worlds to form. Result: no us. Even more coincidentally, the universe’s four forces and all of its constants are just perfectly set up for atomic interactions, the existence of atoms and elements, planets, liquid water, and life. Tweak any of them and you never existed.”
    This statement implies the Big Bang is the correct theory modelled in the correct way and the universe as observed at the time way all that was observable. This was not the case at the time so as in all science, the statement probably isn’t totally accurate. I don’t know what access you have to scientific literature, if it’s only the internet it’s not enough, things have moved on since the sixties, Hubble wasn’t even launched until 1990.
    As for the rest of your article I can only say, you are religious, I am not. I have no belief in a god and do not question how the universe begun or may end. All I know is through my own reason, even if it’s from a text book I need to make sense of it myself though my own experience with no great leaps of faith or unexplained miracles. I believe my views are a product of upbringing and pretty much unshakable, as I’m sure yours are too and probably for the same reasons.
    As for the god of the gaps. Christians defending this statement by quoting the bible is playing into the hands of the atheist. The Christian defence is the very thing that the atheists doesn’t consider evidence in the first place.

    Like

  2. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it
    to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the
    shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab
    inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!

    LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to
    tell someone!

    Like

  3. Here is my response, I will point out each argument you presented in the page.
    •To begin you said: “Over the past couple of years, I’ve been active on social media. In that time, I’ve discovered that many atheists are active on social media as well and they often target me for my views on Christianity. I’ve learned much about many of their views, so this article offers some arguments to present my views in the context of theirs.
    -> my response: I have to precise that active atheists on social medias don’t target the apologists of a religion (except if the apologist is an extremist such as one who would support djihad… but this isn’t a common case indeed), we target the religious beliefs, so mentionning yourself as being targeted for your views on christianity is an unreasonnable victimization, it would be appropriate only if you have actually been attacked personnaly by an atheist for his/her atheism, if it happened, well, the atheist community I know condemns such behavior. The separation between the religion and the religious person is very important for us.

    • You said: “One discovery I’ve made is that many want “evidence” for my faith in Christianity. They don’t want to hear that many of the two billion Christians in the world have strong personal testimonies. This “anecdotal” evidence, even when considered collectively, is not enough. I told them that I could collect testimonies from a thousand people in my church to create an empirical study using subjective content analysis, which would analyze themes and patterns. They reply that they need physical evidence. Of course, they know that I can’t produce physical evidence of the metaphysical.”
    -> response: Indeed personal testimonies aren’t any sort of empirical evidence when it comes in the domain of what is true in our reality and what is not, the only domain in which it would be the ultimate evidence is the domain of personnal tastes, because there cannot be an “objectivity”, the subjectivity is central, But when it comes to the need to know for example what happened at a certain time in our reality, we can’t rely on personal testimonies, or else, we would aready have “evidence” for the presence of aliens on our own planet just because many people say they’ve had an experience with that… So, empirical study using subjective content analysis is not possible.

    • You said: “Atheists often turn to science, yet not to all sciences, such as the social sciences. They consider the natural and physical sciences paramount. Nobel-prize winning chemist, Harry Kroto stated “science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”[i] This view is consistent with scientism, which suggests that science can answer any and all questions. Richard Dawkins believes similarly, noting that scientists are “the specialists in discovering what is true about the world and the universe.”[ii] Stephen Hawking chimes in by saying that “philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.”[iii] Lawrence Krauss adds “the only knowledge we have is from experiments…the only knowledge about the world is empirical.”[iv]” (+ the other paragraphs about “The Physical Sciences”)
    -> I respond: Though Atheists indeed turn to science more often than religious people, we can’t define which sciences are more popular and which are less for atheists, if you take the atheists in general, because we can be atheist just because of an absence of religion in our education, therefore that type of atheist will tend to not have any position on religion and on science, they will just be normal people living their lives but without a god, and mostly without bothering taking interest of what really is religion, we have very few atheists who were raised atheists among the active atheist community online. We can also be atheist despite a religious education, because at some point of our lives we ceased to fear hell and dared to question the religion we were raised in, in this case we tend to be more active, to have a much more determined position on religion, and because of our religious past, we also tend more to be skeptics, and therefore to be even more interested in sciences than the average. Only this type of atheist will tend to prefer physical sciences, but even there, we aren’t spared from being potentially interested in other sciences… For example me: I was raised a christian, like you, but from my 10’s to 15’s I barely had faith, I was fond of sciences since my early years, it encouraged me to put more importance in science than in my religion, and then, because it was my religion, I began to take time to question this, I actually didn’t read the bible in my christian years, and then when I decided to search for what I should do for my beliefs, I read the bible and I wasn’t christian anymore. Since this moment, I no longer fear hell, I have put skepticism in my principles, the religion of my parents in no longer having an influence on my views, and “god” is for me just a concept.
    Although, I must admit I agree with you on the point that philosophy is important, in my opinion, philosophy and sciences are complementary, I even see philosophy as a science since it is a honest and reasonnable way to try to understand the universe we live in, just not in the domain of what is material. Plus, Stephen Hawking isn’t one of my references in scientific personalities, exactly for such things he says. I don’t trust him even if some of his works are trustworthy in my opinion.
    Hovever, there’s something in particular that caugh my attention in what you said: “science is the only philosophical construct we have to determine truth with any degree of reliability.”[i]This view is consistent with scientism, which suggests that science can answer any and all questions”
    -> No. Saying that science is our only way to discover the truths of the universe doesn’t equals saying that science can answer everything. Any rigorous scientific person who knows what science is will never say that. Science cannot answer everything, for example the question of reincarnation will never have any way to be empirically proved or refuted, it is a mystery that will never be solved in our lives, even if there’s no good reason to believe in reincarnation. Plus, if we want to be rigorous, “scientism” is actually a tiny branch of christianity same as protestantism is, it would be highly ironical if the atheist community were linked to what seems to be a religious group, wouldn’t it?
    Anyway, a skeptic atheist defines science aas what it is: a methodology used for the identification of what is true and what isn’t. It’s skepticism, and also what we call “freethinking” when we use it in every aspect of our life.
    Therefore, when you said “In summary, if we constrain our focus to the natural sciences, which many atheists insist we do, we limit the discussion and constrain opportunities to identify the truth. Instead, inquiry should include all relevant sciences. Otherwise, if we only look for natural causes, there is no way we can develop an understanding of the supernatural.”, it was a bit of orrelevant, as you misunderstood what is the general view among atheists, plus, if we want to develop an understanding of the “supernatural”, we must define if “supernatural” exists, and then define if it is reasonnable to give importance to that “supernatural” in the limited time we are in the “natural” world…

    • In the “God of the Gaps” section, you referred to Aristotle to put a first support to your point, but Aristotle is one of the worst references you could take in the subject, as he was very biased in science as same as in philosophy, especially when the subjects involved God, He considered god real even before searching for reasons to believe in him and reasonning… Also, I must assume taking Aristotle as reference in this subject was totally intentionnal, as most of philosophers, ancient greek or modern ones, came to the conclusion that god wasn’t real, therefore we can’t rely on what philosophers said about the existence of god as there is too much conflict, plus relying on their words calls for the logical fallacy of the authority argument, just because someone notorious said something doesn’t mean this someone was right, I could call for Nietzsche to disprove religions, but his words would still need to be subject to critiques before being judged right or wrong.
    You also said: “Some atheists are satisfied with “not knowing,” which is the same answer they apply to questions of consciousness (non-physical), dark matter and dark energy.[…]” -> It is not a matter of being satisfied, we aren’t satisfied with not knowing what was before the big bang, but we just accept that we don’t have yet any empirical evidence to define this, and that it will be extremely difficult, probably one of the most difficult mysteries to solve for mankind, or even maybe impossible to solve. We don’t like it, but we keep being honest with ourselves and don’t try to invent something just to fill the gap and be “satisfied”, we want the truth, and the searching for the thruth involves first being able to accept not knowing something…
    “Despite a lack of physical properties (evidence), atheists don’t doubt the presence of dark matter and dark energy.” -> Actually, we have the properties, we don’t have the definition, but because it was needed, it was invented at least a name for what we are searching and now calling “dark matter” and “dark energy”, we actually have evidence of something being at some point stronger than gravity, but we don’t see it, so we give a name including “dark” in it because we need to give a name for what we are searching for, have seen it’s effects, but didn’t identify it yet, that’s why in contrary to the religious god, we don’t really doubt the existence of what we call “dark matter” and “dark energy”, we just know that there is something natural having effects on the galaxies, without being able to see it, like we weren’t able to see radio waves at some point in history, we just needed the technology, we are now able to see gravitational waves, but we still don’t see “dark matter” because we just started to search for it (relatively)
    “As for the mighty force that powered the Big Bang, believers offer the explanation of a supernatural being” -> that’s exactly the god of the gaps fallacy, believers offer this explanation (that isn’t really an explanation because it itself needs explanations) because it is instinctive for an human being to see his environment as something designed for him, therefore designed by “someone” similar to him, that’s called anthropocentrism, as humans we instinctly see ourselves as the centre of everything, and/or at least the reference for everything, we are also being biased by our amazement at the complexity of the universe, complexity which looks like unending, and then seeing animals as less intellectual than us, we implicitly conclude that such world can only be made by a mind similar to ours, and not by one similar to the other animals, without thinking of the possibility of the absence of a mind, and it’s normal since the universe having “unbreakable laws”, it looks to us so evident that such laws can only be made by a “human” mind. the concept of a godless universe is of course hard to catch without letting go of those primitive feelings.
    “Instead of accepting the possibility of a supernatural force, many atheists speculate that the multiverse is a possibility,” -> we reject the religious concept of god because it involves logical conflicts with itself, while the possibility of the multiverse is, for what we now, indeed a possibility, like the question of reincarnation, because we can’t prove or disprove it yet in any way, but science people seem to be more interested in the multiverse than in reincarnation for some reason. Atheists don’t claim to have evidence for multiverse, it’s just an interesting concept we like to discuss about because it’s one of the few ideas we can dream of that doesn’t have any logical problem refuting it (yet). Yes, atheists too have imagination, we just use it is another way 🙂
    -> So, defining god as the “only obvious solution” still isn’t reasonnable (god of the gaps, just accept not to know something, especially when the definition of “god” you give poses logical problems refuting him in addition of a total absence of physical evidence)
    “The Teleological Argument” ->> /!\ There, it surprises me that despite your exchanges with atheists I know on twitter, you didn’t talk about the BIG problem of the teleological argument: the idea of intelligent design is refuted by darwin, and the theory of evolution; including the idea that it’s the life that adapts to the environment, not the environment that adapts to life (even though we, humans, as a social and constructive species, we developped technology to invert this, and make the environment even more viable for us through transformations), therefore, of course with how we fit in nature, we have that illusion that nature is made for us, it’s very hard again to catch the idea that the universe is indiferent of our existence and that it’s not made for us, but us who are made for the universe… Think of the tons of species that have vanished, they’re not here anymore, so they’re not here to think that the nature seems to be made exactly for them. And yes, we have a titanesque luck of being an existent species right now, the chances of us getting here were so ridiculously little, and we’re here, but think that other species don’t have this luck, they didn’t adapt to their environment and gone extinct.
    That’s the principle of natural selection, through time, the earth indiferently changed, forms of life had to have the right mutations to survive through this and have offsprings, evolution is a continuous process, It is so complex I will not go deeper in it in this text, I just wanted to put what is relevant in link to what you have said.
    •”The Uncaused Cause” -> You still didn’t explain how a complex cause such as an omnipotent, omniscient god could be without a cause. there can’t be complexity without simplicity at first, and god is something complex since he is supposed to be and intelligent and conscious being, thing that appeared late in the timeline of the universe, even even life did take very long to become complex and rich.
    It’s not the concept of an uncaused cause that is hard to grasp (or maybe), but the concept of a -Complex- uncaused cause, because it is a logical aberration to think of a complex uncaused cause…
    • ” Unbounded Time” You still have to prove that such free travel in time is possible, because for what we know now, the only possible travel through time is in one direction only: the future, but we can’t go back in the past, so it would be great to explain how would one success in doing that, proving the possibility of travelling to the past, and being a revolution in the scientific world.
    Also, we don’t assume God controls human lives, we just listen to religious people and see that many say that god has already made our fate, apparently you aren’t one of those, but it doesn’t change the fact that most of christians (and muslims and jews) assume that god has already written everything that is supposed to happen.
    Well, even with your view of god just being spectator of our choices, it’s still problematic:
    – you say that he sees our future as well as our past, thereforce we DON’T have free will because everything is already written, and we will make according to god a certain choice at a certain moment, so we have “control” on our choices but we still don’t have control on our fates, since it is already written so “He’s predetermined our destiny, but because He has watched us as we exercise our free will through the lens of unbounded time” that phrase seems very paradoxal, a predetermined destiny means fatality, therefore no free will according to christianity.
    – What is the point of praying if our destiny is predetermined? Is there a possibility for people to convince god to change the plan for those who are worthy of their prayers? or is the supposed result of the prayer already in the plan? If it is, no need to pray.
    “Even atheist Albert Einstein was uncomfortable with a start date because he knew of its divine implications.” It is in part incorrect to say that Einstein was Atheist. He saw religions as infantile fairytales but He was Pantheist. To explain what it is: It’s just the choice to put the name “god” on the nature as we know it, without any will or consciousness, it’s the choice to put the name god at what seems more evidently to have created us: nature. An interesting choice, anyway that’s it, Einstein wasn’t uncomfortable with the start date because of some divine implication.
    “The Problem of Pain” Although you seem to diverge from most of christians, it’s the christian doctrine to think that “god created everything, even what we call Evil”. Plus, the argument concerning free will goes again to what i’ve said, it’s contradictory to say that god is capable of knowing our future, therefore our future is predetermined, and then say we still have free will because we make “choices”. Some more philosophy will help you understand why it’s contradictory, because the simple idea of being previsible destroys the idea of free will, so if god can see our future, we are previsible, therefore without free will, or else, god isn’t capable of seing our future, then he is not all-powerfull and neither omniscient.
    conclusion of that point: people don’t choose to go to hell or heaven if it’s predetermined where they will go. They just make choices, but going to hell of heaven isn’t part of those choices since it’s their predetermined fate.
    •”The world isn’t a perfect place because if it were, we could never grow the sorts of characteristics needed to be more consistent with the example of Jesus Christ.” ->> Got being omnipotent and omniscient, he would be able to make a world where we don’t need to suffer to get better, we wouldn’t even need to get better. If he can’t make such world, then he is not omnipotent and neither omniscient. You’re also assuming that there’s a “why” we’re here. But We all need to prove if there is even a “why”, plus, empathy is a natural behavior humans have evolved to have, because humans are a social species, and with this characteristic, the humain species could not stand long without empathy. Empathy isn’t a human goal but a human nessecity. “[…]to demonstrate faith when tested[…]” I need to know what is good in having faith since faith is believing something even when all evidence goes against it….
    “This world is but a stepping stone to the next one” Need evidence for the claim of another world as an affirmation… the whole paragraph is basically some preaching… it’s not an argument.
    “Muslims deny the resurrection, which denies the foundation of Christianity.” I don’t see how is this relevant, of course muslims deny christianity, that’s why they are muslim and not christians…
    “And Jews are still waiting for their Prophet Zechariah’s prediction to come true, that their King would come to them, humble and lowly, riding on a donkey. Who uses that mode of transportation anymore?” Christians are still waiting for Jesus to come back from nowhere, I wonder how he is supposed to, since he needs to be born again from a virgin, thing that is impossible…
    “they would never have done what they did for Him. They were burned, stoned, clubbed, beheaded, and crucified, all while enthusiastically preaching His word.” An example of how faith is dangerous, if it can make people let themselves get killed brutally for their beliefs even when their beliefs are only supported by their faith and nothing else (and I did mention what is fait…)
    “In Saudi Arabia, women still aren’t allowed to drive cars, and in many Muslim countries in the region, being stoned for adultery still happens.” We no longer see this for christian people because christianity has been weakened by the secularisation of the societies this religion stayed in, but I know stoning, extreme condemnation of adultery and supposed inferiority of women to men are all in christianity too, like judaism. I could quote it exactly but I remember somewhere the bible says explicitly that women most cover themselves, the same kind as in islam. Misogyny is fundamental in all 3 abrahamic religions, there isn’t one better than another on that point.
    •”To the point that the church leaders wrote those passages for influence, think about this. For the first 300 years of Christianity, Christians were imprisoned and killed for simply being Christians under a variety of Roman rulers. Nero was one of the worst.” ->> This paragraph: logical error: the fact that the goal of influence wasn’t reached by church leaders doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a goal. Actually, abrahamic religion seem to be construced extactly to control the people, think about it, the concept of faith being seen as a virtue in religion despite it’s overly bad nature, the fate to hell or heaven depending on one’s behavior, the omnipotence of god to tell people they can’t do anything against him and are basically his slaves + the definition of god as all-good to convince people it’s okay to be his slaves even though slavery isn’t okay in any way. The fact that people are put into religion since their birth to be sure they cohere it and take it deep in their vision of the world…
    While my assertion isn’t empirical evidence yet, all the characteristcs of abrahamic religions seem to tell that they were created for nothing but the control of people, who had no education at the time these religions were created… I can add that the prophets behave like they wanted power too, I take the exemple a know the most, the prohets of islam, the reason there is the version of the quran we have now is that the group of prophets that was supposed to write the quran to “unite the saudi people” divided at some point, they wrote each their own version, and began to fight against each other, one of them just had enough men to burn all the versions but his, and then it is the version of the quran we have at our time.
    I just ask you to question honestly the reality of abrahamic religions, why is there multiple religions with differents doctrines depending on the prophets? didn’t they want just power, and use the general ignorance of people to fill their head with those legends so they could convince people to submiss themselves to their will? (islam means “submission” in arab)
    Isn’t it a weird coincidence that all the prophets were men and that the religions resulting from them are misogynistic? Creating an omnipotent god semms like an efficient way to grow fear in the head of ignorant and poor people and make them submiss, doesn’t it? A smart and guileful way?

    Anyway, thank you for letting me say what I think, and thank you too for arguing in a way more mature way than most of the theists I and my atheist friends meet 🙂
    – A skeptic and open atheist

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your detailed reply to my post, which I feel compelled to comment on.

      At the outset, you note that I’m acting as if a victim. In contrast, please note that I enjoy conversations with respectful atheists because it’s a nice way to explore the reasons behind their choices. I’ve also been targeted by less respectful atheists, but we’ll leave my thoughts on those interactions for another day.

      When you note that “atheists indeed turn to science more often,” you’re making an unsubstantiated claim. Who’s to say whether Christians don’t turn to science? I’m a Christian and I appreciate the physical sciences. My point was that the physical sciences shouldn’t be used at the expense of other important social sciences or philosophy or theology.

      When you note that you don’t doubt the presence of dark matter or dark energy (which I also don’t doubt), you underscore my point. While we know dark energy is a property of space (www.space.com), we know little else of its physical properties. Despite same, atheists don’t doubt the presence of dark matter and dark energy. Yet they say they don’t believe in God for the very same reasons (no specified physical properties).

      Your point of accepting the possibility of a multiverse for which we have zero evidence while completely rejecting the concept of God (for whom many claim to have evidence) illustrates the bias that many atheists have against God.

      I support elements of Darwin’s theory of evolution, such as natural selection, yet let’s not forget that Darwin’s theory is a theory. When applied to the origins of life on this planet, many don’t support Darwin’s theory. In Darwin’s Origin of the Species, he explained transformations of life, not the origins of life. He said “all organic beings that have lived on Earth could be descended from some primordial form.” They also could not be descended from some primordial form.

      I’ll refrain from commenting on the uncaused cause and the concept of nonlinear time, as I believe that the paragraphs explain themselves. Further support for both concepts and the remaining portion of your comments is provided by William Lane Craig (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/william-lane-craig) and C.S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity.

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      1. Glad you enjoy discussing with us, and shame on the ones who targetted you then
        Ad let’s go further 🙂
        I’m Not making an unsubstantiated claim when I say “atheists turn more often to science”, it’s possible to have statistics about the proportions of atheists turning and not turning to science and religious people turning or not turning to science; while I didn’t say anywhere that religious people couldn’t turn to science, I’m aware that religious people are people, and therefore, are different persons with different personnalities, interests and differents levels of devotion to their respective religions. Simply, pointing out that being part of a religious group or not if one of the main influences on the interest in sciences for someone.

        About the dark matter and dark energy, no, the idea of god isn’t comparable to dark matter and dark energy, as these ones are not defined at the moment, we just see their effects, effects that can have no origin we know yet, so we gave a name to these undetermined origins meanwhile searching for these origins, so we have evidence of something, but we don’t know what this “something” is, so we gave it a temporary name; As for god, religious doctrines define god in a certain way, not only by his effects, He is defined in a way which is in conflict with logic fundments (see under, at the point about the idea of multiverse I will detail), and sciences through time refuted the divine origins of all of the supposed effects of god in our world, sciences gave verifiable explanations about these.
        •Now the idea of multiverse: it’s not a bias-> See the idea of mutliverse, we have zero evidence indeed, therefore the idea of multiverse is not accepted as a fact, it’s accepted as a possibility, as it includes no conflict with universal laws as we know them-> the idea of multiverse cannot be verified, neither refuted yet.
        While we also have zero evidence for the existence of god, the idea of his existence as he is defined by religious groups poses serious logical conflicts and contradictions: see for example this pic https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C1AN9uEWgAEiEuF.jpg explains one of many reasons the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient and out of time god is definitely refutable for skeptics, plus, many people claiming to have evidence for god doesn’t guarantee that what they consider as “evidence for god” is really evidence for god, we still had zero effective evidence of the claimed god as those so called “evidences” were in fact a result of a lack of scientific knowledge and/or of a cognitive bias
        Dawin’ theory of evolution: you say “yet let’s not forget that Darwin’s theory is a theory.”, please be aware that in fact, the very specific word “theory” defines a definitely substantiated and verifiable idea, actually, it’s in the scientific world one of the most fact-supported theories, let’s not give the word “theory” the same value as “hypothesis”, thing that is made -Before- the needed research in order to verify the said hypothesis. It’s basic to the scientific method, and making a point about this shows me that you believe in the theory of evolution without verifying it’s substantiation, I can’t blame you for that as most of people do the same thing (and I did before becoming a skeptic), but it’s preferable to search for evidence before believing a claim, internet can easily be used for that (provided you verify the sources of the informations given to you on the internet)
        Also, the theory of evolution never pretended to explain the origin of life, it’s here to explain the story of life, big nuance, we’re still searching for the origin, scientists never said that theory of evolution explained us the origins of life, so indeed one can’t support darwin’s theory of evolution for the Origin of life as it is not used for that. Like the question of what was before the big bang, skeptics accept not knowing what is the origin of life on our planet, as researches for this are still being in process.

        For you points on uncaused cause and others, please be aware that if you still are satisfied by your paragraphs, or I didn’t express myself correctly, or you are seeing Christian Claims as facts even while discussing the legitimacy of those claims, and without including fundamental logic, as accepting god as being eternal without any explanation, even when god being eternal and uncaused means fundamental logical contradictions -> cognitive bias
        Please be aware that “Logic” is the very principle we can and must apply to both our universe and god, or else, we must not even try to know if god exists or not.

        Thanks for your reply, and Happy New Year 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I came across this from Twitter and though i would make a few xomments. As a former Christian I applaud your effort. I would like to go point by point with you on your essay but simply dont have the time. So i will make a few points here. I’m not an atheist proper, however I see very little reason to believe in the interventionary Christian god. Believing, praying Christians get sick, die from disease or accidents, get divorced, lose children, etc at the same statistical rate as non-Christians. It would be interesting to see God heal an amputee. I suspect Christians don’t pray for this because deep down they know the limbs will never grow back.

    And it would help Christianity’s case if Christians could agree on how one is saved, baptism, what happens when you die, etc. If Christians are all praying and listening to the same God, why so many differing conclusions? Why do praying people say they have heard from the Lord and yet do not agree? It throws the whole thing into question and is an unreliable method of gaining knowledge. And saying that Christians do agree on Mere Christianity isn’t sufficient when not all agree on Jesus’ divinity or bodily resurrection.

    My uncle did not accept Jesus before he died. All he did was care for his family with a love beyond what most exhibit. But you would say he is in Hell. You would also say that an atheist soldier who gave his life saving fellow soldiers is in Hell. I would say, within your belief system, his act is much more of a sacrifice than what Jesus did because that atheist in Hell will be there for eternity. Jesus only suffered for a few brief hours and he knew he had a get out of jail free card. Shedding that monstrous belief was one of the best things I have ever done.

    On early Christian matyrdom, I would suggest you look into this book https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Persecution . Its quite eye opening and written by a Christian.

    Lastly, the only way to know the reasons the Jews reject Jesus is to listen to what the Jews say…. not to the reasons Christians give. Christianity only found success when Paul took the message to the Gentiles, people who were ignorant of the Jewish scripture. The ones who did understand Jewish scripture, the Jews, knew Jesus didn’t fit the profile. I suggest you listen to this seminar by Rabbi Tovia Singer. http://audio.simpletoremember.com/singer/lb/Paul.mp3 If you search his name on Itunes podcasts you will find his complete series on this topic. Its a good lesson on the real reasons Jesus dies not fit and how the Gospels and Paul manipulated thr Jewish scriptures to say things they were never intended to say. If you allow for this manipulation, you should also start allowing the Mormons a little room in their manipulation of your scriptures. Even William Lane Craig, in a debate with Rabbi Singer admitted that you cannot get to the Trinity from the Jewish scriptures. It requires additional revelation in the New Testament. Watch here.. https://youtu.be/AmmNn6AHFfM

    I do appreciate the effort though. Years ago I did the same work you are doing. I’m sure your family and social network are centered around these beliefs, as mine are, which makes it all the more difficult to admit there are major problems here. But i do wish you the best on your search for truth.

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  5. Unmitigated apologetic nonsense. There are better take-downs of this waste of electrons so I will limit myself to a few points
    1/ Aristotelean Mechanics has long been debunked and has no relevance to a metaphysical argument. Aristotle himself did not believe in your god.

    2/ Quote mining Hawking who talked only about the segment of the universe we inhabit not any wider universe

    3/ Citing the literary don C S Lewis who knew nothing about theology or physics and very little about philosophy is meaningless

    4/ Mislabeling the philosophical concept of “The Problem of Evil” as “The Problem of Pain does not inoculate you from falling on the 2 horns of Euthyphro – God is either bounded or unbounded by morality; in case 1 he is not all powerful and in the second there is no absolute morality

    5/ You ignore the fact that many early Christians (and a few current Christians) deny that Jesus had any physical reality

    6/ Citing the New Testament proves nothing. Much of it’s content was forged, all was heavily edited for over 1000 years and it gets the history and geography of Israel laughably wrong

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    1. I am an atheist, I am also active on social media sites. However, I have no interest in arguments or discussion of individual aspects of any religion but on the existance of a god in my own, personal world view. As yet I have not seen one. I have read the bible and many science books while on my path to my degree. There was no direct conflict as the reading of science does not require the bible and vice versa. Its only when evidence is sought in science to determine god or the bible to back science. This will always be the case and answers will not be solved by you on this site or anyone else. Social media discussion on these topics is just ‘flogging a died horse’. You can’t satisfy an atheist of your view any more than someone of any other religion and an atheist is unlikely to be satisfied by any of your explanations. This is not ment as a criticism of your belief however, I think the answers lie in the reasons why people think the way they do, not what they think about.

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