Sunday, April 1, 2012

An open challenge to Campus Crusade for Christ, Intervarsity, and Navigators (by Luce)


I challenge anyone in Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as “Cru”), Intervarsity, Navigators, or any other Evangelical Christian to refute me.  Be honest that if you find some of these problems insurmountable, that you will reconsider some of your beliefs.  If you are able to successfully defeat most of what I offer using reasons rather than simple appeals to faith, then I will reconsider mine.  I am an outspoken, strident atheist, but I am not above being wrong and will admit it if need be.  My claim is that Christianity is one of the great deceptions known to man, specifically “Evangelical” Christianity.

Jesus is not God
There are a number of problems with the claim that Jesus is God.  First, if Jesus was God, isn’t funny that no one in his own family followed him and worshipped him as God?  I should also add that none of his friends, teachers, or acquaintances worshipped him as God either.  It wasn’t till he was ~33 years old when he got his band of 12 disciples that he got any following whatsoever.  Sure, Jesus was a smart kid in the temple growing up, but that hardly equates to divinity.  You would think that if he really were God, that everyone from all over would have been flocking to him at a very early age.  It would be abundantly obvious that he was God.  The whole world should have been bowing to him by the time he was a teenage.  But no.  He got his first 12 followers by the age of 33 years old.

Of course, this misses the obvious fact that Jesus never calls himself God, ever!  In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), Jesus calls himself the “Son of man,” which is not exactly saying that Jesus = God.  In the gospel of John, Jesus says that he is the “Son of God,” which sounds a little better to justify divinity, but that expression could be used by anyone.  If God creates us, we would all be sons and daughters of God.  If I say that the Father is in me, as Jesus said, then it makes perfect sense to say that I am begotten by God, a son of God.  Thus, something more needs to be given to show that Jesus = God, but Jesus himself never gives that.  That is a designation that was given to Jesus well after he died.

Jesus never rose from the dead
Give any solid evidence that Jesus actually rose from the dead that doesn’t smack of speculation.  Yes, the Roman guards were good guards and they kept good watch.  But if the tomb was actually found empty, does it make more sense to say that the dead guy who died brutally on the cross all of a sudden came back to life and walked out of the tomb, or that something else happened (like the guards weren’t watching the tomb as closely as reported and somebody stole the body)?  If you want me to believe that this dead guy defied all rules of biology and physics, then you’ll have to give me some really good evidence.  Again, I’m just saying that a blind appeal to faith won’t cut it.

The failure of Jesus’ Return
When Jesus spoke of the end and returning, he was very very clear that he was coming back very very soon.  Mark 9:1, “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”  Matthew 23:36, “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.”  I guess we are still waiting after almost 2000 years (!).  I think it’s safe to say that everyone who heard those words are dead now.  That generation did not see all of the kingdom of God being ushered in before they died.

But some of you will quote Matthew 24:14 which says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  You will say that not all of the nations have heard the gospel yet.  And I say, “Is that really your comeback?”  Who exactly hasn’t heard of Christianity by now?  The Bible is by far the most printed book in the history of the world.  EVERY nation has heard of Christianity.  Missionaries litter the globe.  The preaching part to every nation is complete.  And yet Jesus has not returned.  The only reasonable conclusion is that there will not be any “return.”

The Bible is not God’s Word
There is great emphasis on calling the Bible “God’s Word” and esteeming it with inerrancy.  The reason for this emphasis is that it gives that book great authority if true.  The problem is not so much that there are some obvious errors in the Old Testament, which counts against inerrancy, but that the Bible never makes any reasonable claim that it is God’s Word (but even if it did, it would be circular reasoning).

Here’s the story that’s told.  In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul says, “All scripture is God-breathed.”  That’s typically the only reason why people believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but that’s shortsighted.  First, the word “God-breathed” is highly vague.  No Biblical scholar can say with certainty what that word really means because we have very few ancient manuscripts that use that term.  Thus, we have never been able to get a good definition of it, making it really hard to interpret it as saying the whole Bible was somehow written “by God” and without any error.  It could mean “pertaining to God” or “from the mouths of believers.”  But to say that it must specifically mean that every statement in the Bible must be true because God specifically put it there is overreaching at best.  It is just that no one really knows what “God-breathed” means.  That’s Strike One.

Second, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that “God-breathed” means what every Evangelical wants it to mean.  Ok, when Paul says, “scripture,” he is only referring to the Old Testament because when Paul was writing, that was the only scripture.  So he technically leaves out everything in the New Testament.  Oops.  Thus, if you use 2 Timothy 3:16, you cannot say that the “whole” Bible is God’s Word (again neverminding the first point).  Strike Two.

Third, at this point, someone will bring up 2 Peter 3:15-16 to show that the New Testament is also considered scripture.  In those verses, Peter says, “and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”  Here people say that Peter equates Paul’s writings with scripture.  That is a stretch because the passage is ambiguous.  Actually, it is much easier to understand the passage simply as Peter saying that Paul’s writings are hard to understand as some of the OT books are hard to understand.  There’s no equating going on there, but so be it.  The point I want to make is that even if we allow for the stretch of Peter equating Paul’s writings with scripture, that still leaves out these New Testament books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Hebrews, James, the epistles of Peter (that’s a big oops if one wants to use the verse above as inerrant!), the epistles of John, Jude, and Revelation.  That’s a lot of New Testament books that have absolutely no reason to be called “scripture” or “God-breathed” according to the Bible’s own standards.  That’s Strike Three.

But for the big Strike Four, one could never use the Bible as justification for its own purported divine status.  That’s the epitome of circular reasoning.  I have never understood why so many pastors use that reasoning.  They are teaching irrationality.

There are other problems with the New Testament in terms of transmission (like the earliest New Testament book was written over 30 years AFTER Jesus died – how well do you remember something that happened even 5 years ago?), but we’ll leave them be to go into different stuff.

The failure of Prayer
Prayer has always baffled me because it seems to be the height of arrogance.  If God actually exists, why should anyone think that his or her tiny little wishes and desires should sway the Almighty who already knows everything ?  If you think that prayer can change God’s mind, you are deluding yourself into thinking you are more important than you are.  Your prayers wouldn’t make God do something God wasn’t already planning to do.  Besides, most of the prayers you actually pray are never answered.

If one believes in God, the only way prayer makes sense is that it is just a simple talking with God.  No requests.  Just talking.  Anything else is pointless.

The problem of evil
I got this from philosophy class.

(1) If God exists and is omnipotent, there is no evil He cannot prevent.
(2) If God exists and is omniscient, there is no evil He does not know about.
(3) If God exists and is morally perfect, there is no evil He would permit that He can prevent.
(4) If God exists, there is no evil.  (logically equivalent to: if evil exists, God does not exist.)
(5) Evil exists.
(6) Therefore, God does not exist.

I’ve got more, but I think this is too long already.

38 comments:

  1. This should be interesting.

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  2. Perhaps one day in my Christian Journey i may feel Strong enough in my Knowledge of the Word to comment of you scripture.
    However I am still growing in that regard, my issue then must be with the problem of evil.
    Problem of evil:
    My issue is with premises 3,5 and 6

    "If God exists and is morally perfect, there is no evil He would permit that He can prevent."

    Who are we to say that moral perfection is in preventing suffering/harm/"bad" things? Without us being all Knowing we can't justify that claim. Have you never had to break someone’s heart because you knew the relationship was detrimental to them? Disciplined a dog for eating food lying around in a public place? How about telling a very young child no because you're trying to instill a concept or value? To the lover I am a heart breaker. To the dog I am refusing it a snack; to the child I am mean. The lover doesn't suffer greater harm from the relationship, the dog doesn't suffer weeks of recovery from an intestinal parasite, and the child learns "x" is harmful/bad without having to live through "x". None of them understand in the moment the small harm prevents the larger harm.

    So then why any harm at all? The short answer bad things build experiences which allow us to grow and Self-actualize. Without Trials/drama/sweat/tears/pain we don't do anything as The Race of Man. I can honestly tell you that every time Bad Things come my way and I preserver I grow in myself and in Faith. I always chuckle at how scared of Trials/drama/sweat/tears/pain Man is, is it not true that the best things are the ones you strive for? Does not the Challenge sweeten the reward? Might it be if we could look at our life as God does we may see weaknesses that ought to be shored up? Is the Moral thing to feed a man every day of your own table, or, May we instead teach him a skill by which he may feed himself and thus contribute his table to the bounty of the people as a whole? Surely a moral person will encourage the second although he may be called cruel at the time.

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    1. As my professor said, when you think about evil you have to think about the worst kinds of evil. Heart break, disciplining a dog, telling a young child "no" are not the same kinds of evil as the holocaust, genocide, rape and torture, the abduction of a mother's child. A morally perfect would not allow that. If so, we do not understand the "morality" of this god and should just say that we understand nothing of this god. We should just say there is no god if this god's morality is so incomprehensible.

      I get your point about harm, but you are missing the point about evil. No lesson needs to be learned through the worst kinds of evil. If god is god, god can find another way. Since that is not happening apparently (take any survey of history or just look at Syria), god does not exist.

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  3. “Evil exists”. Ok fine. What is it? Will I agree its Evil? Assume I do…does an (insert some group excluded from beyond western culture)? Does the next group?
    Evil must be universally agreed on for it to disprove the PKM God because if not that part of the proof is invalid thus #6 is invalid.
    But assume for sake of argument that “Evil exists” is an absolute (universal) claim.

    If p5 evil exist is true you are acknowledging an Absolute Truth and if you hold that you do not recognize the Absolute Truth of the claim evil exist than I have 2 questions 1. Are you absolutely sure there are no absolutely true claims? And 2. Are you then being disingenuous to the Targeted Group (Nav, Cru Live, ICF, Evangelists etc. who will reason absolutely) if you answered yes to #1 you’ve made an absolute claim . if you answered no then you can’t hold p5 as true and 6 is nonsequitor.
    But I still have a problem don’t I if p5 is true p6 is true yes
    Well
    Do Laws of Logic exist? (if no than the problem of evil isn’t a problem)
    If no, what did you use to determine that?
    If yes
    Do the Laws of Math?
    If no then 5+3 is Not 8 but rather a grapefruit and we as rational people can absolute say 5+3 is 8 so the laws of math exist
    In addition the laws of science exist
    as do absolute moral laws (see above in the bit about evil existing)
    Are these laws made of matter, do they apply to everyone?
    (no, and yes respectively)
    Do they change? (i.e. tomorrow will 2=2= 43?)
    Where am I going with this?
    We established there are unchanging universal immaterial laws in creation. They cannot exist without something static universal and immaterial to rest on. So perhaps we have a being that is such but is not all moral? No, that won’t work because we’ve agreed to absolute moral laws. (in order to define evil) so either there is no evil or my objection to p3 is the right response. Take either road.

    Prayers YES! You get it. Prayers are about Thanks and relationship not some unearthly concierge bowing to some whim of ours. Whoever tells you otherwise is not speaking from scripture! We do disagree on one bit though “Besides, most of the prayers you actually pray are never answered.” How is this measured? It’s not as if we’re all saying “Lord, I want a car” and if we were, isn’t the absence of getting what we asked for the same as “No” effectually? farther if I do ask for something (i.e. Lord give me a car and I get see a help wanted sign later that day) has not My Lord provided me a means to my goal? As per my above argument am I not better of working for my car than having it dropped on my house? The nudge I really am looking for.

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    1. If you think the holocaust wasn't a really bad thing, I can't help you. If you think that stealing a baby from a mother's arms and ripping it to shreds in front of the mother isn't a really bad thing, I want no part of your god.

      Your "acknowledging absolute truth" crap is just that. Crap. Why does me saying anything commit me to believing in absolute truth? I can say that evil exists in the sense that there are some things that happen in this world that are beyond the pale of justified suffering. They are atrocious acts. I don't need to implicitly acknowledge absolute truth to say that. I call "lame parlor trick" on you.

      I can say that logic and morality "exist" without also having to believe that there is some universe being by which they must rest upon. Why can't I say that logic and morality are human constructions that we live by? They exist because *we* exist. That's much simpler and rational to believe than for you to say that I must believe in god for me to say that logic and morality exist.

      Why do the same general laws of logic and morality apply to everyone? Because we are humans that interact and have to figure out how to best live in this world together. Give that dynamic 10,000 years and, boom, we have laws of logic and morality that appear to be rock solid. Your immediate appeal to a divine foundation is completely unnecessary.

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  4. Im not part of the group you speak of but I'll bite. I'm not going to address everything because theres a paradox in the Christainity that cannot be explained through logic or reason. This is where faith comes in but you already said that wasn't execptable. I'm only going to address the problem of evil part.

    Can God commit a sin? I'd say no. He is above the rules of man and the rules he made for man. When God commands Abraham to kill his son Issac isn't that a sin. Yes, but is God sinning? No, God is above any and all laws. So, morality or moral perfection doesn't apply to God. I'll put it in a formal agrument to help you out because I have a feeling your in intro. I could be wrong but thats just the vibe I get.

    1) God is above/beyond all laws and morals
    2) Thus, morals and the perfection of them does not apply to God
    3) Thus, point 3 in the problem of evil is false

    Theres a famous quote I forget who its by though. "For those who believe, no proof is nessary. For those that do not, no proof is possible." Why are you so adaptament about trying to get people not to believe? Some kind of self rightous crusade perhaps... People of faith are not going to be persuaded by logic or reason. Faith for almost all religons means without proof. With all your logic and reason you couldn't figue that out? Seems foolish to me.

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    1. If Christianity cannot be explained through logic and reason, then just shut up. If you cannot even think about it, there is nothing to talk about.

      If your God can do all sorts of evil things and be blameless for God is above morality, then your God is neither caring, nor loving, nor merciful, nor good, nor beautiful, nor perfection. All of those are moral categories too. If God is above morality like you say, then there's not much you can really about your God. Your God would certainly not be the God of the Bible. Pick your poison.

      People of faith who cannot be persuaded by logic or reason are stupid people. I might as well believe in the spaghetti monster and not listen to anyone as to why that is dumb. Faith without proof is pure silliness. And it is actually delusional since everyone always has some reason for believing what they believe.

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    2. I did not say it cant be explained I said it has a paradox that cannot be explained.

      Just because God is above it doesn't mean God cannot be good or beautiful. God can be called anything and everything, what God actually is another matter.

      People may have reasons for everything they believe but that doesn't mean it is reasonable or logical. Skepticism has a very reasonable argument for challenging all knowledge and truth, but myself and many others find it to be bull shit. Just as you think believing in God is bull shit. Reasons are subjective as are most things in life.

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    3. There are no eternal truths.

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    4. "Just because God is above it doesn't mean God cannot be good or beautiful." False. Because God is above means that we cannot talk about God in any literal way, if God even exists. The problem is that if God is really above, then can we even say that God exists? To say so means that we can say something true of God, but that's impossible.

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    5. How about sticking to the matter at hand and disregard whatever agenda someone else has?

      God cannot do wrong in relation to himself because he has created the universe, the laws which regulate the universe, society, and the laws that regulate that as well. In short, God is responsible for everything "good" and "bad" as society chooses to describe events. good and bad is only in relation to us. Sin and not sin is in relation to God. So can God sin? No- he made the rules. But is God moral? NO FUCKING WAY. God is the infinite- God is everything-(in his perspective since he has all the power to alter an event in any way, shape, or form AND all the knowledge to know every possible outcome an infinite amount of time before the event is set in motion)-(this also means there is no free will in God's perspective) Put all the pieces together and it means God isn't only responsible for, but DEMANDED the event of the holocaust and every death, torture, and suffering of every living thing ever. God is a mean sonofabitch. You can say he's good, but you're ignorant to think that God couldn't control the "devil's" actions. (if you believe in the Devil then the devil is God's scapegoat and partner in crime.)

      SO- faith, by definition is the DENIAL of reason, logic, and observation so that faith can be preserved. Faith, to me, is a perverse kind of fundamentalism. Reason is the formation of conclusions based on what's observed. There is no thought in faith, only a leap (which I think is stupid) and a PURE REJECTION of the logical. Faith is not logical therefore it is outside the realm of communication. period.

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    6. So what do you really think Jango? ;p

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    7. I'll start with faith. Your conclusion of faith is solely the one from Keirtgard (or however you spell his name). Can I have faith that I will be alive tommorrow? It is logically possible and reasonable to say I might not be. But, I have faith that I will be. How can I discuss it then? Don't confind yourself to just Keirtgards understanding of faith or the Knight of Faith.

      I would agree that God has taken a Laissez-faire (french for let do or leave it alone)approach the humanity. No dought though freedom is ugly. What was the main point? Oh yeah Point 3 in the problem of evil is false.

      This is a fine discussion but I don't think any of the main advocates are changing their mind on the matter.

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    8. Kierkegaard*

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    9. Correction point 3 is nonsense not false. Theres a difference.

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    10. There are logical, reasonable explanations to why a living being would prefer pursuing goals of self preservation in every science that involves the study of human kind from biology to sociology. The point is that there's no objective evidence that suggests an "intelligence" is responsible for the creation of the universe and the causation of our subjective experiences of the natural world.
      That is the point.

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    11. Also- if you think the "faith" in being alive tomorrow is synonymous with the faith it takes to believe in an afterlife then you're confusing faith with optimism and/or heuristics.

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  5. but can you *know* they are human constructs? are you sure? and it's not parlor tricks. the point was either either evil is universal or it is not a valid statement for the problem of evil because it either is evil or it isn't. as for the utter evils above (genocide ect.) how do you know that a morally perfect being must intervene? if so, can they a preserve Free Will? And to be clear which system is Moral Perfection? (ie. what moral code? humanism? virtue ethics? utilitarianism? Categorical Imperative? Ethics of Care? Feminist Ethics? Social Darwinism? Marxism? ) at least four can and do justify horrible things. the point being that evil either is universal (absolutely) or not and as i've put forward every Ethic i have been taught over the years here i find the human construct theory to be suspect to the idea of remotely appearing rock solid.

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    1. No, I can't know. No one can have such absolute knowledge. But saying that I do not know doesn't prove your point. It is a parlor trick because you are using bad logic to make your point. You want to say that if I believe that 1+1=2, that I must also believe in God. That's *absolute* foolishness.

      The rest of what you say is too jumbled to respond to. Please rephrase.

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  6. God exists! God does not exist? Believe whatever you want, its not going to make a bit of difference in the larger scheme of things. One thing is certain, you are going to die and your body is going to become culinary treats for celestial night creatures. Yummy!

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    1. I'm sure that is precisely what the muslims thoughts when they were being slaughtered by the Crusades. I'm sure that is what the 9/11 attackers were thinking when they hit the twin towers. Beliefs matter. Maybe not in the large scale, but they sure as hell matter down here on earth.

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    2. Are you kidding? Even members of the 9/11 Commission do not believe that radicals pulled this office armed with box cutters. 9/11 was an inside job.

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  7. *cue Opening to lion King*

    to be honest i don't really qualify as any of the Targeted Group i am just out of Philosophy to take and saw the Problem of Evil and chuckled. my argument in a nut shell.

    1. All powerful, all knowing, all moral are universal/absolute claims in Logic ( in the form of the proof they are taken a true. here, in China, Timbuktu, at the outer edge of the universe. it holds without exception)

    2. The only way "evil exist" is a valid claim within the proof is if it meets the same Logical Standard

    3. if it does my Epistemology attack on premise 3 must be satisfied or else my "parlor trick" or logic argument will catch you.

    4. if Moral Laws are human constructs then evil is a human issue and a PKM God can't be disproved by it.

    5. if you say the're are no absolutes, you have no business using Problem of Evil as an argument (also you used an absolute claim)

    [nerd alert: Obi Wan is a Sith! he makes the claim "only Sith deal in absolutes!" this is an absolute claim thus he is a Sith!]

    6. i have never met anyone who can disprove themselves (only their experiences)

    7. at minimum you are absolutely sure you are experiencing- a claim otherwise is self defeating

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  8. Kale, there doesn't need to be a God for me to make an argument. If I make a move in chess, does that mean I need a god for that to happen? No. The rules of chess are set within the parameters of the game without need of some overlord. In the same way, logic and morality are like games of humanity. They give rules that are operative within humanity, but they do not need some overlord to explain their existence. Unless you want to say that there must be a God because we have the game of chess, you should leave your line of logic here.

    Absolute claims do not mean that there has to be an "Absolute" god. That is a non sequitur.

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  9. I've seen a lot of attacks on the problem of evil, probably because it's low hanging fruit. I'd say for a believer in the PKM god, the problem of evil is the easiest one to attack. What I'd be interested to see is anyone who can counter any of the other points made in this post.

    I don't really understand why strict believers are so faithful in the PKM god. I mean, atheists can live happy, beautiful lives just like anyone who is a believer. And they can hold up the same morals Christians do to the same degree, if not a higher one, if they have enough faith in their own understanding of what is good (and they aren't a psychopath/sociopath or something). Atheists don't have to be afraid that some being will reign down on them after death and torture their soul for eternity (whatever that means; it certainly can't mean physical torture anyway) if they don't maintain their faith and do goofy religious rituals or whatever it may be. So I guess what I'm saying is that the only reason I can think of for why anyone would actually keep wanting to believe in the PKM god is out of fear of an adverse after life. Why won't that god just save everyone if he loves us all so much? If I were that god and I was truly loving, I'd probably save everyone, even if they didn't believe in me or say they loved me, because I'd be more capable of love than any human, and I'd then understand that humans are defective creatures, most of which cannot understand unconditional love in the first place, because of immense suffering and tragedies in life (that I subjected them to in the first place, which is more of a reason for me to understand and save them anyway).

    I like the idea that God is Love and that God is Nature, but that's just what I feel and what I value. I'm sick of personifications of God. If people feel the need to believe in a PKM god in order to kick a bad habit or make it through some kind of painful struggle, so be it. But don't let that conception of god actually dictate your life and make you do (or not do) stuff and believe all sorts of crap that doesn't really do any good for anyone.

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  10. It is a little curious why everyone is focusing on the problem of evil like the last commenter said. That is such a small part of the post.

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  11. Do you mean to tell me that most of the points I made above are going to be left unchallenged? Are Cru, Intervarsity, and Navigators intellectual wimps? You know that faith doesn't mean blind faith, right?

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  12. Luce, if you're willing to talk with me I would like to grab coffee or meet in the UC. You can email me nackj21@uww.edu.

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    1. What are you going to do? Be a good Christian and kindly tell Luce what is good to believe and why? If not, disregard what I'm about to say. But if so...

      For fucks sake I'm sick of Christians who think they need to reach out to people, in order to "save" them. Someone should save YOU. Christianity is the creation of an elaborate shroud that hangs over reality, possessing individuals to see people and life in a way that is contradictory to reality. I find that most Christians, who think they have the hand on what is REAL are so out of touch with reality it is unbelievable. And the worst part is they go around acting like they are so good in helping others find the Christian god, and that everyone NEEDS this Christian god, lest they end up in an imaginary torture land. Why don't you guys think rationally for one minute about what you're doing? Even if there is a PKM god that is above us, watching us, and judging us worthy or not of heaven, I don't think I'd want to live in eternity with that god. I'd rather let my soul be tortured for eternity (whatever that even means..). I could not love such a god. I see no reason to love such a god. Why would anyone want to really love that god? Oh yeah, if they don't they'll go to hell. Well I'll be darned, that kind of god seems like a total prick. I'm happy with being who I am, and facing reality as it comes to me through my own personal experiences and feelings, and not those manifested in society via bullshit traditions and stale belief systems.

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  13. Hello Nack, can we not talk here?

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  14. I would like to talk to you sometime in person myself Luce. Not as a critic but as a fellow atheist who thinks you could teach me a thing or two about understanding my own positions better. If you are game my student email is rameyjm23@uww.edu

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  15. Hello Ramey, can we not talk here?

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  16. Let me throw in another point here.

    **The Concept of Jesus as Savior is Ridiculous if God Exists**

    As the story goes, all humanity has a fatal flaw. Sin is sown into our very natures. You can call this "original sin" or more simply as humans just can't help but mess up. Since God is perfect, he can't take us into heaven in our unclean state. To fix this, God sent his son Jesus as a sacrifice so that we can be washed in the blood of Christ. This cleanses us into a state of perfection, a state worthy to be in the presence of God. However, and this is a big point, we can only be washed clean if we take Jesus Christ as our lord and savior. Belief in Jesus as God is REQUIRED for the sacrifice to work.

    Unfortunately, this story does not work if God is supposed to be all powerful and unconditionally loving, as the New Testament makes God out to be.

    First, if God is unconditionally loving, that means that God would never put a condition on his love. Since God wants us all to be in heaven where his perfect love is manifest, God would never put a condition on our path to get there. That would be putting a condition on God's love. However, if God requires that we first believe in his son in order to be blessed with the fullness of his love, then that's where we get a contradiction. God cannot both be unconditionally loving and requiring a condition for his love. I say that whole requirement part is bunk.

    In fact, it is such bunk that if God is truly unconditionally loving, God would do away with all conditions and just whisk everyone to heaven when the time comes. Since God is all powerful, he can surely make it such that no sacrificial blood washing is ever needed. After all, God is God and can do anything. The whole "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son" schtick is really misguided. It basically means that God wasn't powerful enough to get around that sin thing without some major rigamarole. He could just snap his fingers and bring us all into heaven, all cleansed and perfect if he wanted to.

    However, since the New Testament clearly doesn't have that God in mind, I call bunk on that too. If God actually exists, Jesus would be entirely unnecessary. It's time to flush Christianity.

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  17. My offer stands. - Nack

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  18. My offer is to continue talking about this in a more public forum than only a one-on-one meeting. If my arguments and points are generally right, then that should be of general interest. If I am wrong, then likewise as well. What better for the Christian fellowship than for me, an atheist, to be taken down by the light of Christianity!

    But that is not happening yet. Not even UWW campus ministers are answering. Maybe they can't. Maybe they do not know about this blog. I don't know, but I still challenge them to give me reasonable doubt using more than the "just have faith" response.

    Where are you, campus ministers?? My guess is that they already know somewhere deep inside that they are wolves in sheep's clothing gently deceiving their flocks and so shying away from all such challenges.

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  19. There are probably a few reasons that we want to meet with you in person, but one of them is that here on the internet, there are literally no consequences for the things you say. No one knows who you are. However, when you talk with someone in person, you become more accountable for your ideas, and more aware of the things you are saying. Chances are, if we were to meet in public, your personality would be very dissimilar to what it is on this forum. Also, on the internet, one can go to google or flip open a philosophy textbook, copy and paste some stuff, and slap a "Here's what I think" pretext onto it. However, when we meet in person, we are talking about what is really on our hearts, and the things that we have internalized. If you really want to get to know us, and find out how we respond to your ideas, and discover what we believe, then why not respond to an offer to meet in person? Your sentiment in your original post was mostly seeking responses, i.e. "Will someone respond to my post?" We offer our responses to you in a way that will be more revealing and more personal than talking back and forth through a screen. You have Nack, and you have me; my name is Brian Zwick. We don't want to take you down, we want to come to an understanding. We encourage you to step out from behind the protection of the internet and take responsibility for your ideas.

    Give me a call or send me a text. My number is (262) 993-5574.

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  20. You think I'm hiding by wanting to stay on the blog and and that I'm afraid of accountability. I think you are hiding by not wanting to have this public debate.

    If we just meet in person, there's not much at stake. Not many people will hear what you or I say there, and thus there's no real accountability. When more people hear what you say, it means more, and chances are you will be more careful in what you say and your reasoning. I am being quite careful and reasoned in what I write. So I expect that you would do the same.

    I say we give this public blog a go! Let's hear your rebuttals.

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  21. This discussion is continued here: http://criticallypissed.blogspot.com/2012/04/challenge-part-deux.html

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