A Load of Bright
An atheist's views on religion and the supernatural

Tugging at Loose Threads


I’ve always found it helpful to think of a belief system a bit like an item of clothing, like a woolly jumper. If you find a loose thread, you should pull at it. If the jumper is well made and sturdy, the thread will just break off and the clothing will survive with no scars. If the whole thing unravels in your hands, then it was poorly made and you are better off without it. Any belief system that is logically coherent and drawn from solid facts and strong evidence will stand up to scrutiny and criticism. This is why we should always challenge those beliefs we hold dear.

Christianity as a belief system offers a wide variety of loose threads to choose from, and once you start pulling it isn’t long before you’re holding a large pile of tangled, knotted wool, as without form as the universe was in Genesis 1:2.

Take for example, the numerous contradictions and inconsistencies within the Bible. How old was Ahazia when he became king? 2 Kings 8:26 says he was 22, whereas 2 Chronicles 22:2 says he was 42.

Pull the thread.

Apologists cannot account for this blatant contradiction without claiming that somewhere down the line, someone made an error when copying out the text. But once you allow for the fact that there can be errors in the Bible, how do you objectively know what is true and what has been distorted? Now, far be it from me to advise the all powerful creator of the universe on how to do his job, but if I were him I would have ensured that the holy book I was leaving for my people could not possibly be spoilt by human errors. The Uncredible Hallq has pointed out that if God wanted to prove the truth of Christianity, he could have “made all accurate copies of the Bible indestructible”.

Pull the thread.

This is an excellent point, but God could go one further. He could magically guarantee not only that every Bible would be completely without error, but that every Bible could be read by anyone in the world, regardless of their literacy or language. Just imagine it! A French Christian staying in a hotel in Spain could just pick up a Spanish copy of the Bible and read it, without any need for a translator. Now how could we skeptics argue with that?!

Pull the thread.

Thinking about it though, why have a book at all? If it’s so important that we know everything in the Bible, why not just create us with all of its contents automatically, magically known to us? It would save a lot of time and effort, and would be a great way to make sure everyone of us knew the Christian ways without instruction. There are certainly very few Christians who have read the Bible all the way through, and that wouldn’t be a problem for them.

Pull the thread.

Better still, why not just make himself known to us? Why not answer our prayers in a real voice that is actually audible, rather than with ambiguous feelings and impulses. Why not present himself to us visibly, and answer our questions in person. I would convert to Christianity without hesitation.

Pull the thread.

Now that we’ve come this far we have to ask: if the Christian god were real, would Christianity exist? Would any other religion? Would atheism? If the Christian god existed, religion as the concept we understand would not exist, it would be simply unnecessary. God would be just like a person known to us, like our parents. There would be no reason to preach his word, everyone could hear it first hand. There would be no need for theology, there would be nothing of this nature to discuss. There would be no reason to debate any metaphysical issues, as the truth would be known. We would not have to wonder why we were here or where we were going. There would certainly be no need to fight about anything remotely resembling what we call religion.

Pull the thread.

When I look around me, I do not see a world that is in keeping with what I could reasonably expect to see if Christianity were true. Christians are at constant pains to reconcile a square peg with a round hole. I am well aware that Christians will have answers to all my questions. Some I will have heard before, others perhaps not. One thing I will bet though, is that they will all start at the conclusion and work back towards the evidence.

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29 Responses to “Tugging at Loose Threads”

  1. Oh Tobe! But really you don’t understand. If God made it that easy and his word so transparent, how would he know who to save. How would he know who needed punishing, just because they had the temerity to question his divine (though strangely obscure) laws. That wouldn’t be like a real God at all. Gods are capricious, irrational and require unswerving, unrelenting (intellectually) blind faith and total obedience. For heaven’s sake man, don’t you read your bible?

  2. OK, tobe, you’ve convinced me. I’m not gonna be a Christian any more.

  3. @exterminator
    problem is no ones gonna be a Christian any less either

  4. Genesis, 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings are books from the Tanakh. You should perhaps replace the word “Christian” with the word “Jew” throughout your post. Although Christians do read the Tanakh, they are new covenant (i.e. new testament) people.

    In the gospel according to Matthew (ch. 13, v. 14) Jesus says, “You will indeed hear but never understand and you will indeed see but never perceive.” I pray your heart softens to Christ’s message and you turn to him so that you might understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God that Christ has revealed to his people.

  5. tobe…

    The problem in trying to reason with atheists about God and Scripture lies in the fact that they don’t believe in them.

    Let me explain.

    If you want to engage in a discussion about the nature of God, what the Bible teaches about Him, and how that works out in the world where can a discussion start?

    After going round and round for a while, you’ll eventually wind back up at….well if there were a God that might be true, but of course there isn’t a God.

    Or, if the Bible was relatively well-preserved and consistent, what difference does it make because there is no God and these are just morality tales.

    n’est-ce pas?

  6. Liza
    “The problem in trying to reason with atheists about God and Scripture lies in the fact that they don’t believe in them.”
    Well, a truism for sure but… surely the point of Tobe’s post is that, “reason” dictates that God would either endow his creation with the wit to understand what the hell he was talking about, or make it so simple that we we would get it anyway. Why obfuscate with scripture that defies evidence and laws that defy justice. If ” the Bible was relatively well preserved and consistent” the atheist imperative would be much weaker. Indeed the biblical claims would by definition be open to scrutiny and scientific evaluation and perhaps not be found wanting.

  7. @ Storbakken

    Genesis, 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings are books from the Tanakh. You should perhaps replace the word “Christian” with the word “Jew” throughout your post. Although Christians do read the Tanakh, they are new covenant (i.e. new testament) people.

    And that would be one of the answers I’ve heard before.

    @ Liza

    Boy! My spam filter really doesn’t like you. Sorry about that.

    The last line of my article was:

    One thing I will bet though, is that they will all start at the conclusion and work back towards the evidence.

    and you said:

    The problem in trying to reason with atheists about God and Scripture lies in the fact that they don’t believe in them.

    You really just could not have proved my point any better if you’d tried. You start with belief. We would believe in them if the evidence supported them.

    If you want to engage in a discussion about the nature of God, what the Bible teaches about Him, and how that works out in the world where can a discussion start?

    At the evidence.

    After going round and round for a while, you’ll eventually wind back up at….well if there were a God that might be true, but of course there isn’t a God.

    You’re not engaging the question my article raises. Christians make the claim that their god exists. I’m saying, if that god really did exist, what evidence would we expect to find? Is that evidence there? If not, why not? You want to assume the existence of god and let all discussion continue from there. I do not accept that assumption.

    Or, if the Bible was relatively well-preserved and consistent, what difference does it make because there is no God and these are just morality tales.

    Very speculative. If the Bible were well-preserved, consistent and included the periodic table somewhere, I would be impressed.

    n’est-ce pas?

    No. Or, as we say in German, mais non, madamoiselle.

  8. Yes. Why relate his Word through the written language? Surely he had to know that humans would take a couple of hundred thousand years before they invented language, then invented the written word. Perhaps Genesis was first relayed with grunts, later translated into drums and smoke signals.

    For that matter, while is both the old and the new Testaments, for the most part, written as histories? Why try to relate all the mysteries of life and the hereafter in the form of a history of the people who lived in the time and the location of the writers? Wouldn’t a how-to manual make more sense? Or even a philosophy tome? Not a history. That looks too suspiciously self-centered on the part of the writer.

  9. SI, you said: That looks too suspiciously self-centered on the part of the writer.

    The god painted in the Old and New Testaments is nothing if not self-centered. I think you and tobe err when you envision a reasonable and humane god, and then challenge Jews and Christians to tell us why their god isn’t either. The god of the bible is most definitely neither reasonable nor humane; he’s just the kind of putz who would speak in gibberish to make his message purposely unclear. Remember: he’s not interested in being intelligible; he’s interested in being believed in on faith alone.

  10. You really just could not have proved my point any better if you’d tried.

    umm…that was kind of my point. I start with belief….you start with disbelief….for two people already certain of their certainties…what’s the point of the conversation?

    If I try to reason with you from Scripture, what weight will you give it? Your point is to undermine the Scripture because of some incosistencies in numerical notation. If I say,”Is that all you got?” ….where will the conversation go then?

    Can I explain the Scriptures with other Scriptures? IF I found passages related to spiritual truths that take the mystery out of certain conundrums and clarify themselves…will that mean anything to you?

    Eventually it all comes back to a circular argument rooted in the choice of either believing there is a God or that there isn’t.

  11. Sensibly, Liza, one ought to start with (general) disbelief and mechanisms by which it becomes reasonable to believe something. For example, we could say “it is reasonable to believe something happened if you saw it happen”. Or we could say “it is reasonable to believe something happened if two people who did not confer with each other each give a very similar account of it”. There are exceptions to both rules, of course. How, in general, do we assess whether a particular type of evidence gives us reliable information? I would say by consilience. If two separate, non-related pieces of evidence both point to the same conclusion, then this increases both the likelihood that the conclusion is true and also the credibility of both types of evidence.

    Scripture is not even consilient with itself. And God-beliefs generally do not agree with each other on many particulars, so “God-sense” is probably unreliable.

  12. What is interesting about this thread is that it has one thing in common with strict fundamentalists….the belief that Scripture is and/or should be infallible and inerrant in every way. For a fundamentalist, there will be incredible leaps of unlikely thought to explain away things–like numerical inconsistencies or different perspectives of a particular author. They have to explain things like that or their faith will be affected, because they have bought into the idea that if the number of years in a ruler’s span is off, then the rest of Scripture is off. However, is that what Scripture is supposed to be? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. So, pointing out a few inconsistencies which are not related to the spiritual content of the canon of Scripture, really does not have a huge impact. On another note…I think Lynet uses the word “belief” incorrectly. For instance, if you saw something happen, you wouldn’t say that you believe it happened…you would say it “did” happen…or maybe you “know” it happen. Belief encompasses interpretation of events, not the events themselves. If you see someone slap another person, you have very little information about why. However, you might notice that the people involved are a young couple and the female slapped the male. You see them argue for a minute and come to the belief that they are having a lover’s quarrel. That’s belief–the interpretation of things that have occurred. You could be wrong, you could be completely right. Sometimes you could prove it. Sometimes you wouldn’t be able to. Sorry about the big block of writing….my formatting in Firefox doesn’t seem to be working.

  13. Liza
    “You see them argue for a minute and come to the belief that they are having a lover’s quarrel.”
    Actually tou may for the hypthesis that they are having a lovers quarrel. You may be in a position to verify, or more scientifically, falsify that hypothesis in which case belief isn’t the issue.
    There is a semantic issue here though. Belief is one of those words that have several meanings, ranging from faith to knowledge depending on who is using them and in what context. Tobe’s and others point here is that a default position of skepticism about , well almost anything. is the logical way to approach this. Then start from the evidence.

  14. apologies for the bad spelling above. I’m at the end of a lunch break and rushing.

  15. Liza said:

    However, is that what Scripture is supposed to be?

    What, exactly, is the bible supposed to be though? Can theists agree on this?

    Non-believers don’t have a problem answering the question, because they can answer the same about the Koran or any other putatively divine text: “nothing. The bible isn’t supposed to be anything.”

    Unless you presuppose the existence of the christian god or the infallibility of the bible, then the bible is exposed to errors and contradictions and just downright nonsense like most primitive human works. If you do want to start with the assumption that god exists and the bible is true, one: that doesn’t make the bible immune to the criticism of self-consistency. Two: you could just do the same for any other god or any other book. Why choose one instead of the other? This question leaves theists back in the same place as they started: needing to justify belief in the first place.

  16. So, Liza, you start with belief and try to reason from scripture. Isn’t that tantamount to saying “I believe because it says so”? Are you really that credulous?

  17. [...] Tugging at Loose Threads, at A Load of Bright suggests that Christianity, as a belief system, may have the potential to unravel if you, as the title suggests, tug a bit on the loose threads. Christianity as a belief system offers a wide variety of loose threads to choose from, and once you start pulling it isn’t long before you’re holding a large pile of tangled, knotted wool, as without form as the universe was in Genesis 1:2. [...]

  18. I really like the analogy, Tobe. That describes it perfectly! Inevitably, I’m just gonna superimpose on every xian an imaginary wooly overcoat from now on. :D

    @storbakken said:

    I pray your heart softens to Christ’s message and you turn to him so that you might understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God that Christ has revealed to his people.

    If it’s a mystery then how can it be understood? This isn’t a flippant response. If it’s a mystery to you and you’re a believer, then you’ve admitted that you yourself don’t know what it is you’ve believed. You’ve simply whitewashed the contradictions with a euphemism.

  19. Hi Polly,

    Thanks for your question.

    You asked: “If it’s a mystery then how can it be understood?”

    Christ reveals the mysteries of the Kingdom of God to his people. When he reveals mysteries, they are no longer mysteries. I pray that God softens your heart and reveals his truth to you.

  20. Hi Storbakken, how do you know when and how a mystery is revealed? Doesn’t your understanding of a mystery clash with someone else’s? Don’t Christians often disagree over the real meaning of something? How do you objectively decide which of you is right or not? Isn’t it a little presumptuous to decide that YOU have understood something, and therefore “it” isn’t a mystery any more to YOU?

    I pray that God softens your heart and reveals his truth to you.

    This seems like a rather odd way to go about convincing people. I can’t speak for Polly, but I’m sure she’d agree with me when I say that IF god revealed himself to us, then we’d believe. It seems a bit silly to ask god to soften our hearts to him before he can reveal his truth. Why doesn’t he just reveal himself first, and then our hearts will soften? After all, you can’t harden or soften your heart towards something when you don’t believe it exists. It makes no sense.

  21. Hi evanescent,

    How’ve you been? It’s been a while. In fact, I shouldn’t even respond to your comment here since you failed to do the decent thing during our last discussion and concede that Enver Hoxha persecuted followers of the major religions of Albania for over two decades in the name of atheism. And yet, I am compelled to respond.

    You said: “It seems a bit silly to ask god to soften our hearts to him before he can reveal his truth. Why doesn’t he just reveal himself first, and then our hearts will soften?”

    Have you ever tried to advise a boastful, arrogant person? Or have you ever tried to reason with a drunkard? It’s not until that person either humbles them self or gets sober (i.e. softens) that they will be able to hear what you’re saying.

  22. Hello Storbakken,

    There are still mysteries involved in xianity that, from an outsider’s POV are contradictions. BUT, no xian seems capable of explaining them, either. So, Jesus has not revealed them even to his own followers.
    Here are a few:

    The concept of the Trinity (N/A to Mormons)

    The tension between Freewill and Predestination

    The atonement – How does an innocent man dying relieve the guilty of their wrongdoing? Pecuniary considerations of “debt” are not analogous to moral guilt.

    How can Jehova say “Thou shalt not kill” and then order the extermination of Canaanite men, WOMEN, and CHILDREN, (and the elderly)?

    Why does Jehova say no one can see him and live, and yet another passage says that he spoke to Moses “face to face as a man speaks with his friend”?

    Is Hell eternal or not? Is there even a Hell? (There seems to be much disagreement)

    This is not nearly an exhaustive list; it goes on and on. I have never met a Xian who could explain these things who would not be refuted by another passage in the Bible, itself. It seems that Xians fare no better than nonbelievers in understanding the mysteries of Xianity.
    Without evidence, how can one know which religion’s claims are mysteries and which are just plain wrong?

    I’ll 2nd evanescent’s comment, just provide some real evidence (god, I mean, not you personally) and my heart won’t need softening. Or, if you prefer, it will automatically soften.

    I know of no atheist who stubbornly refuses evidence that’s contrary to their views. In fact, it’s usually an openness to change that leads one to reject the religion of their upbringing, sometimes overturning years of one’s own proselytizing and confession as well as resisting the immense pressure to conform. I’m speaking for myself, but I know there are many others with the same experience. What Xianity offers in the way of proof is no better than any other religion – just so much hearsay.

  23. Storbakken said:

    Hi evanescent, How’ve you been? It’s been a while.

    Hi Storbakken. I’m well thank you, how are you?

    In fact, I shouldn’t even respond to your comment here since you failed to do the decent thing during our last discussion and concede that Enver Hoxha persecuted followers of the major religions of Albania for over two decades in the name of atheism. And yet, I am compelled to respond.

    That’s rather misleading isn’t it Storbakken, here is what I said:

    “Before I comment, I will do the decent thing and do my research on Enver Hoxha. If he committed his actions in the name of atheism I will of course concede this. And I will applaud you for doing your research.”

    Now, to the best of my knowledge, ONE of the motivations for his eradicating religion seems to be his intense hatred of it. It’s only natural that he was an atheist. (Unless you can hate theism and also be a theist). Now, if you want to insist that he performed his actions IN THE NAME of atheism, I will neither disagree nor agree with you. But it is a good enough example to award you the points.

    What you don’t mention however is that in our discussion you also volunteered the names of Hitler and Stalin as evil atheists who committed their actions in the name of atheism. Which is, of course, totally untrue. Hitler was not an atheist and Stalin was, but that was not the motivation for any of their actions. Until I explained this to you, you would have been quite happy to continue with this theistic propaganda. I hope you haven’t since. Nonetheless, you also failed to mention when I said this:

    “However, I hardly need to point out that if we’re doing a comparison between belief and non-belief, the scales are titled immeasurably towards belief with regards blood spilled.”

    Apologies to Tobe and everyone else for getting totally off-track, but it was necessary for the sake of my reputation. And the reason I didn’t continue the debate with Storbakken further was because right after my last comment he said:

    “Evanescent, It’s been edifying exchanging ideas with you. Thank you for the dialogue.”

    Which I took as a signal to end the discussion, since it was unrelated to the article he had written. And to which I responded:

    “Not a problem, thank you for the dialogue too.”

    Anyone can read the exchange here: http://morefire.wordpress.com/2007/09/16/is-woman-the-weaker-vessel/

    So to say I was indecent and imply I avoided the topic is rather disingenuous .

    You said: “It seems a bit silly to ask god to soften our hearts to him before he can reveal his truth. Why doesn’t he just reveal himself first, and then our hearts will soften?”

    Have you ever tried to advise a boastful, arrogant person?

    I’m going to stop you right there. One of us is claiming to know the mind and desires of an almighty god. One of us is claiming to be on a mission for god; preaching against the corrupt infidels. One of us is claiming to know things he cannot possibly know. One of us is defying all reason and evidence and asserting that HIS belief is unquestioningly true, and if someone doesn’t agree that person should be burned alive for all eternity. One of us is claiming to speak with total truth and certainty. One of us, despite all the above, takes the affirmation of the above on faith; a belief without evidence, which is the height of irrationality.

    Which of these people is me, and which is you? Be careful whom you level the charge of arrogant against.

    Or have you ever tried to reason with a drunkard? It’s not until that person either humbles them self or gets sober (i.e. softens) that they will be able to hear what you’re saying.

    But, for your analogy to work, god would have had to sneak into my room, lace my drink with alcohol, spike it with an overdose of arrogance, and then sneak out quietly until I’m quite inebriated. Then, return and start accusing me of not paying him any attention because I’m in such a state.

    I have a mind such that I cannot accept without questioning. I cannot consent to mindlessless and irrationality. I cannot affirm the unknowable, or believe without any evidence, or accept without proof or reason that I am in the centre of a grand cosmic plan by a being who simultaneously loves me and hates me, concurrently whilst I hate myself for being nothing but dust. No thank you, Storbakken. If you have reason or evidence to present, I’m all ears, otherwise your ‘drunkard’ analogy is like the rantings of Yahweh, just make-believe hot air.

  24. Evanescent,

    It is not my intent to go round and round again. But I will briefly respond to your comment. The point is not that Hitler was an an atheist or a theist, rather that his ideology was based on the notoriously atheistic philosopher Fred Nietzche much more than it was based on the teachings of Christ. Hitler clearly infused religious rhetoric to win the masses and most definitely believed his own rhetoric.

    I never said that Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, et al committed their evil actions IN THE NAME of atheism. I did say that atheism produced these characters. It is interesting that the anti-theistic communist government of Russia actually sent Christian communists to the gulag. It is also interesting that Enver Hoxha did brutally persecute the adherents to the religions of Albania for two decades and proclaimed his nation to be completely atheistic in 1967 when he passed the Decree on the Atheist State. You can argue whether or not these fascist atheistic dictators persecuted believers IN THE NAME of atheism or not, but the facts of history speak for them self. It can also be

    The militant atheism movement today in America is almost frightening in its fervent zeal to eradicate theistic religions. This anti-theistic movement desires to wipe out every person’s faith in the grand name of reason. Why?

  25. “The militant atheism movement today in America is almost frightening in its fervent zeal to eradicate theistic religions. This anti-theistic movement desires to wipe out every person’s faith in the grand name of reason. Why?”

    Atheists in general don’t care what fairy tales others believe. They do care when government policy is informed by those fairy tales and reason goes out of the window. Tobe’s wooly jumper is the point. If you base any explanation of the world on a religious foundation, it will unravel from internal inconsistancy. If you govern from the same perspective you will be governing irrationally.

  26. Storbakken said:

    It is not my intent to go round and round again. But I will briefly respond to your comment. The point is not that Hitler was an an atheist or a theist, rather that his ideology was based on the notoriously atheistic philosopher Fred Nietzche much more than it was based on the teachings of Christ. Hitler clearly infused religious rhetoric to win the masses and most definitely believed his own rhetoric.

    You’re right, the point is not that Hitler was an atheist or a theist. I don’t hold up Hitler as an example of theistic horror, even though he was an affirmed Catholic and his many speeches and sayings reflected one who believed in the Christian god. I don’t care if he did or not believe in god as it was irrelevant to his actions, which is exactly my point.

    I never said that Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, et al committed their evil actions IN THE NAME of atheism. I did say that atheism produced these characters.

    So their entire personality and character was a result of them being atheists? No, I don’t think so.

    As evil as their characters were, it was not atheism that PRODUCED this evil. It is vital and yet obvious to point this out.

    It is interesting that the anti-theistic communist government of Russia actually sent Christian communists to the gulag. It is also interesting that Enver Hoxha did brutally persecute the adherents to the religions of Albania for two decades and proclaimed his nation to be completely atheistic in 1967 when he passed the Decree on the Atheist State. You can argue whether or not these fascist atheistic dictators persecuted believers IN THE NAME of atheism or not, but the facts of history speak for them self.

    Yes they do, and even if I grant that atheism was the motive for these actions, (which I do not grant), the scales are irreversibly tilted with blood in religion’s direction. Even if was 50/50, that would still be damning against religion, after all that would just show that believers and non believers tend to act with equal altruism and equal wickedness, a fact that throws religion into severe doubt anyway. But when we consider that religion has ALWAYS been a constant source of repression and cruelty, and far outweighs the crimes of non-believers, you are left with an absurd inexcusable mystery. The problem is yours, not mine.

    The militant atheism movement today in America is almost frightening in its fervent zeal to eradicate theistic religions. This anti-theistic movement desires to wipe out every person’s faith in the grand name of reason. Why?

    First of all, I could say that if your religion was grounded on REASON to begin with, you have nothing to fear. But since you are afraid of reason, I wonder what that implies?

    All the same, the charge of ‘militant’ is unjustified. Atheists do not wish to wipe out peoples’ faith. You are happy to believe whatever you want! All we ask is that you don’t interfere with anyone else’s life. NOW, if religion did that, I AM CONVINCED that atheists everywhere would shut up about religion.

    Unfortunately, religion has never kept itself to itself. It causes too much misery, repression, suffering, and interference in the world. It has become a menace to civilisation, and if religion is eradicated as a matter of slow evolving history, so much the better. However, I will say again, we all have a right to free speech and belief, so as long as no one is hurt, I would not force anyone to do anything, and I think I speak for most atheists when I say that.

  27. Evanescent said: “All the same, the charge of ‘militant’ is unjustified. Atheists do not wish to wipe out peoples’ faith… All we ask is that you don’t interfere with anyone else’s life.”

    The charge of militant atheism is not unjustified when I am specifically addressing militant atheism. I agree that not all atheists wish to wipe out people’s faith, but militant atheists clearly do. Militant atheists fail to employ reason with the same disregard for truth as Fundamentalist Christians. And yet, ironically, militant atheists say they do it in the name of reason.

    Militant atheists make grand statements such as: “religion has ALWAYS been a constant source of repression and cruelty.” There have been times in history when adherents to religion (e.g. Tibetan Buddhism) are crushed under totalitarian and, dare I say, atheistic regimes (Communist China). I’m not saying that atheism is the reason China oppressed, systematically killed and exiled many Tibetans, but I am saying that religion is not, as you say, “ALWAYS a constant source of repression.”

    Militant atheists declare that they don’t want theists to “interfere with anyone else’s life.” Does this mean that it is better for theists not to assemble, not to visit shut-ins, not to serve meals to the poor and indigent? Or should they simply not allow their beliefs to shape their views regarding foreign/domestic policy? Just like atheists, there are theistic pacifists, war-mongers, Democrats and Socialists. It is unjust to repress another group simply because they have faith in something greater than themselves.

  28. @ Evanescent and Storbakken

    No more comments on the subject of militant atheism please, it’s completely off topic. I’m about to start an open thread for you, please resume there.

  29. You bring up an excellent point that Christianity, as a belief system, just like all other religions, are based on nothing really.

    If you were to follow one belief and ask “How do I know this is absolutely, for SURE true?” you would find another belief to support it. Keep following these supporting beliefs back and you’ll find NOTHING there.

    The same applies to Atheism and all other religions. They simply can not be proven through the mind.

    What would happen then if we accept the reality that the mind simply can not know truth?

    All thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and ideas exist only in the mind. All beliefs are supported by other beliefs, not evidence, not experience.

    We don’t need any beliefs about what an apple tastes like, right? We need only to bite into an apple and taste its flavor for ourselves and then no words or beliefs would be necessary.

    The original point of religion was to give people a first-hand experience of that which people call God, yet people get stuck in doctrines and scriptures that talk ABOUT God and what the experience was like according to other people who may or may not have had first hand experience of God.

    It’s about experiencing God yourself, not endlessly debating over the characteristics and qualities to find out who’s right. People have been trying to do this for thousands of years and clearly no one has been successful at proving descriptions about God.

    Spiritual truth is experiential, not a belief system.


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