as a justification for punishment.

First, I know you have six minutes, well maybe not, but just listen to this fellow

I have argued before, and I will say so again, that most of the defenders of freewill do so to justify being horrible people. They don’t see how else they could justify revenge, capital punishment among others while at the same time pretend to believe their god is love and they have been commanded to go and love.

Secondly, the speaker, J. Warner Wallace is mixing things up. Atheism and determinism are not synonyms. There are atheists like Marvin who is a compatibilist. There are many others who are working on the matter and are not decided one way or the other. Unless he wants to mislead his listeners, I cannot, for the life of me, see why he mixes the two issues.

His argument that a judge said a fellow who had committed a felony had a choice cannot be cited as evidence. Judges are not usually philosophers and say absurd things. Scalia, for example believes the devil walks among us. Only superstitious people believe such. And Scalia’s saying so doesn’t make it true.

He then says it can’t be called love, unless it is freely chosen. Is this true for hate too? Or to hate, one must have a reason to? We can’t feel empathy unless we have freewill. I want to know who, just woke up from slumber and chose to love their neighbour who they don’t know. I will wait, I am patient.

It is only with determinism that rehabilitation is possible. It is only in determinism that we hold that the environment, training and genetic makeup[ temperance] affect the expression of the will. What would be the point of rehabilitation if all we need is just a little more freewill? Maybe we could have stores to buy more freewill whenever one’s supply went down?

Even if it were demonstrated that we had freewill, this wouldn’t be evidence for a god.


Does John Lennon’s imagine offer any answers

The lyrics first

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

And this author writes

Lennon was blind to the implications of this humanistic worldview he was promoting. If there is no heaven or hell, that means there is no ultimate reward or punishment for anything you do while living on this earth.

And me asks whether such a person has any intelligence greater than mushroom soup. We can safely say the fellows who attacked Paris believed in a world after this. The belief that this world is not only stained but also a training ground makes it possible for idiots to kill others thinking they have dispatched them either to heaven or hell. And it is this that Lennon speaks against.

When they write

What does a world look like with no moral constraints from God?

I think they haven’t read their bibles. The commands not to kill, steal were all thrown out of the window, if there were any, when god is reported to have drowned the world, when Jacob went a killing, stopping the sun in its course or when the sons and daughters of Israel went a repine before they left Egypt. Christians have gone to war to kill each other while still believing their god commands do not kill.

Only a person ignorant of the inquisitions and the crusades would write

The simple fact is, the true morality of the Bible looks absolutely nothing like the actions taken by militant Islamists.

maybe this report from the capture of Jerusalem in 1099 will do as a brief lesson

No barbarian, no infidel, no Saracen, ever perpetrated incidents of such wanton and cold-blooded atrocities of  cruelty as the wearers of the Cross of Christ (who, it is said, had fallen on their knees and burst into a pious hymn at the first view of the Holy City), on the capture of that city. Murder was mercy, rape tenderness, simple plunder the mere assertion of the conqueror’s right. Children were seized by their legs, some of them plucked from their mothers’ breasts and dashed against the walls, or whirled from the battlements. Others were obliged to leap from the walls; some tortured, roasted by slow fires. They ripped up prisoners to see if they had swallowed gold. Of 70,000 Saracens there were not left enough to bury the dead; poor Christians were hired to perform the office. Every one surprised in the Temple was slaughtered, till the reek from the dead bodies drove away the slayers. The Jews were burned alive in their synagogue. Even the day after, all who had taken refuge on the roofs, notwithstanding Tancred’s resistance, were hewn to pieces. Still later the few Saracens who had escaped (not excepting babes of a year old) were put to death to avenge the insults to the dead, and lest they should swell the numbers of the advancing Egyptian army. The ghost of Bishop Adhemar de Puy, the Legate (he had died of the plague at Antioch) was seen in his sacerdotal habits partaking in the triumph, and it appears, not arresting the carnage.

I think the song of John Lennon apart from dreaming up Utopia, beats any prospects proposed by all religious texts put together.

Man’s miserable life

To each unthinking being, heaven, a friend
Gives not the useless knowledge of its end
To man imparts it, but with such a view
As, while he dreads it, makes him hope it too
The hour concealed, and so remote the fear
Death still draws nearer, never seeming near,
Great standing miracle! That heaven assigned
Its only thinking thing this turn of mind

Alexander Pope

what are we?

My friend keithnoback has always advised me to leave the faitheads alone. I promised to not bother with them, but you all can indulge me this one time and many more to come.

Katherine asks

Can anyone believe that the differences between humans and chimpanzees are simply biochemical? I have a few questions:

  • Why don’t drugs fix problems such as depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder? Maybe all the causes are not known. 
  • Why do humans insist on going beyond the need for nutrition and prefer food with flavor, color and artful presentation? Custom
  • Why do humans need relationships beyond a partner for sexual intercourse and some association for personal safety? There are birds and a few other animals that keep their partners. Should we promote them to human beings
  • Why do humans have aspirations that transcend their need for food, clothing and shelter? In other words, why are humans never satisfied with the way things are? Because the mind can conceive of anything once it has the raw material for it.
  • Why do humans change the space around them in so many ways when other animals hardly leave footprints? Maybe because we are wasteful
  • Why don’t all homo sapiens make identical sounds for purposes of gathering crowds, finding sex partners or warning of predators? In fact, why do humans have so many ways to express language, laws, government, art, philosophy and religion? Why does no other creature even bother with these things? (Please refrain from the temptation to tell me that an elephant or a cat has produced real art.) Different birds have different sounds for danger, for catcalls and so on. Your comparisons are such that a fish would die thinking itself stupid for not riding a bicycle.
  • Why does every human culture include a religious element? Even the most atheistic, secularized humans on earth worship something—themselves. Because most human societies have generally been ignorant.

We may want to be more than just animals, it is understandable. A little reflection should however dissuade the intelligent from such illusions. Our behaviour is mainly a matter of custom. The things we know or claim to know are so by custom and not by any special effort on our part.

On stupidity and evidence

The author of the post in her generosity sought to teach atheists some basic facts. She writes

They (and all atheists fall into this category) make the claim that objective truth does not exist (everything is relative.) And by doing so, guess what? They are making a truth claim – that truth does not exist.

Maybe some atheists argue this but it would be more right to say all TRUTH, whatever truth maybe is subjective. Matters of fact, for which the claim a god exists are such that a negation doesn’t involve a contradiction. There is no contradiction in the statement there is no god. So that the argument? below

  • Everything is relative
  • Man is the result of evolution
  • There is no God

which is first poorly constructed with all unrelated premises do not imply a contradiction.

Answering none to the two challenges below

That truth absolutely exists, or that you there is definitely, absolutely no transcendent source of truth?

also do not lead to a contradiction. I am afraid this theist need more education in logic than he/ she realizes.

I may add that the glass of water example she uses doesn’t give support to her thesis. Without prior knowledge that what is in the glass is water and it is portable, there is no way one could, through reason alone, come to the conclusion the author is claiming.

This loving christian tells us

One Atheist said that he’d be sorely disappointed if he found God to be real.

and I want to meet this atheist. I, too, would be very disappointed. The goddites tell us their god is all powerful, all loving and all-knowing and we have babes raped, people bombed in the name of god and omnipresence and omnibenovelence does zilch. If you are not disappointed, there is definitely something the matter with you.

Our good christian tells us we shouldn’t ask for evidence. God is hiding because he loves us. He writes

However, over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s because of His love for them that He remains silent when this question is asked.

and you realize a person will believe anything they can convince themselves is true regardless of what reason would dictate in a similar scenario. I am sure this apologist would not take my word for it if I told him there is a beautiful woman, who I haven’t seen or met nor talked but I know loves him. He would call me a liar or worse and here he is telling us, an imaginary being is hidden because he loves us so much!

The arrogance and ignorance some apologists display leave me asking which planet did they come from. Lucas writes

What began the movement to disprove God and believe in something that is unfavorable? (i.e. death is the end, life is meaningless, etc.) I believe this comes from the view of Christianity being a law giving system, rather than a relationship.

and I ask has he had of Solon, Lycurgus, Buddha, Confucius and other law givers of antiquity. And why would anyone think asking questions about the gods started with Christianity? Is their knowledge so limited?

And if, as Lucas says, we are broken, it is not our making. We cannot be expected to be better than we were made. The responsibility to change us lies with the maker, if there was one.

As I have said many times, if theists want to write about atheism, it is better to get to know what it is and we believe or do not before venturing to make a fool of oneself.

Happy weekend everyone.



On the bible

A good friend of ours asked

I would like to know where the Bible-believers get the belief from that the Bible itself says it is true.

I know of no chapter or verse in the bible where it is explicitly stated the bible is true. And those of you who have studied a little of biblical history know that it is a collection of forged documents, anonymous writings, some wisdom books and made up history like the book of Mormon.

Christians have been working on this question longer than I have and the good people at AiG have answered this question. And the answer, dear friends is

only the Bible can make sense of the standards by which we evaluate whether or not something is true.

or to put it differently, they tell us

The proof of the Bible is that unless its truth is presupposed, we couldn’t prove anything at all

what this brings to mind is Arch’s napkin religion. It says so on the napkin.

Another group of Christians, focus on the family have this to tell us about the bible and truth. First, they dispense with what is truth, the one question if Jesus lived and was interviewed by Pilate, he refused to answer. They tell us

Truth is what corresponds to reality. Consequently, what is real is true, what is unreal is false.

which we can work with. But what they say after this left us wondering if the post was written by different committees.

The Bible makes some very distinctive truth claims. It claims, for instance, that God exists. It also claims that He has chosen to communicate with us through His creation, our moral conscience, and via the Bible. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and that the only way for human beings to be saved is through Him (John 14:6). Moreover, the death and resurrection of Jesus are also key to Christian theology.

These claims the Bible makes either correspond to reality or they do not. Christians believe that they do correspond to reality, meaning that the Bible is true. God really exists, Jesus is not a myth, and the resurrection really happened. But how do we know this?

Here, we are told, belief makes something true. And because Christians believe the bible is true, the bible is true.

Another apologist tells us

We believe the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God, not only because it was handed down to the fathers through the prophets, not only because it has preserved and copied and translated, but also because of what it says about itself.

and then goes ahead to quote writings of Peter, writings which several scholars think are forgeries and which I don’t think matter anyway. The question we are asking is how do we know the bible is true, quoting from the same book is ridiculous. Reminds me of the claim that god/ Allah revealed the Koran in Arabic and I hear it says so in the Koran.

A bible expert, Sam O’Neal, quotes 2nd Peter, a letter that I think is among the NT forgeries. What expert he is, I wait to be told.

Jack Wellman tells us

If the Bible were indeed a work of man, then we would expect some of the words to say, “thus says the prophet Jeremiah” or “thus says Peter an Apostle of God” but it doesn’t.  From what I could count, “Thus says the Lord” is recorded 418 times.

And me thinks this is putting the evidential threshold too low. The question to ask, if god is all powerful as the goddites claim, why not just write the book itself. Why not I the lord command…..? There is no way of ascertaining that the person reporting heard correctly or wrote what they heard or if they had an agenda and couched it in god language to give it a veneer of authenticity?

From what I have seen, Christians believe the bible is the word of god and is true because they believe so.


confirmation bias

Or plain lies? You decide.

Our apologist writes

To answer this now I would argue that history documents that Christianity is the only religion based on literally millions of people seeing God all at once when He descended on Mt. Sinai. In contrast, all other belief systems are based on one person witnessing God and then convincing people to follow.

and I immediately had to dust my bible to confirm this truth that I had missed, for I know of no other book of antiquity where such a thing could have been recorded except the bible. This story is in Exodus 19 and the relevant part reads thus

20 The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. 22 Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”

And I recalled the several passages where the same book tells us no one has seen the lord and lived and so much more. It can therefore be safely said the argument the apologist was relying on to support their belief is not valid. Many apologists (think Ken Ham) and goddites assure us Moses wrote the book, Moses met god and even in this particular verse, we have it written and Moses said to the people or the Lord said to Moses but no single instance where the god talks directly to the people.

So when our apologists writes

Based on my reading of the Bible this is the very definition of a false prophet.

I can safely conclude Moses is a false prophet.

The ontological argument is given to us as answering the question of whether god is man-made. The irony in this argument should be evident. Anselm in his argument makes existence a predicate. And when he argues god is the greatest beyond which nothing greater can be thought, I can’t for the life of me see how one can argue god is the greatest evil beyond which no great evil can be thought.

I think had this author just written

I can only say that I believe wholeheartedly because God permeated my fabric with doubtless belief, and now I just know who is right.

I would have treated them more kindly, for in this statement, is a statement of faith.

on suicide and immortality of the soul

Friends who are regulars of this site know the host has no problem with anyone who decides to quit this life on their own terms. I will go so far as to say that when a person who attempts suicide fails and is arrested, we are punishing them not for trying to kill themselves but for being clumsy while at it. I see no other justification for punishment in such a case other than the one already stated.

Readers are also aware that I have no belief in the immortality in the soul.

It is with this background that I share this article on suicide and immortality of the soul.

On suicide and immortality of the soul