How To Become a Better Apologetics Communicator

Timothy Fox

So you want to be an apologetics writer or speaker. Or maybe you already are one. How can you be a better communicator? Here are five quick pointers:

Better Apologetics Communicator

  1. Watch Your Language

No, I don’t mean profanity. I mean your vocabulary. If you’re like me, you’re immersed in the apologetics world. You read apologetics books, you listen to apologetics podcasts, you devour all things apologetics. So you’re used to the language, the ideas, the jargon. But your audience may not be. Find ways to communicate without using “insider” language. Always imagine what someone completely new to apologetics would think of your writing or talk. Have an “outsider” review your material (more on this later). And if you absolutely must use special apologetics vocabulary, be sure to carefully – and simply– define your terms.

  1. Hone Your Craft

Did you ever have a teacher who was a genius but terrible at teaching? It’s easy for apologists to fall into the same boat. Knowledge is not enough. Sincerity is not enough. If you want to be an effective Christian apologist, you must hone your craft. Read books or blogs on communication. Attend writing workshops or public speaking conferences. A book that has impacted my writing tremendously is On Writing Well by Howard Zinsser. If you’re a writer, buy a copy. Now. And make sure you proofread! Nothing will bring you from professional to amateur in a reader’s eyes faster than spelling and grammatical mistakes. Give your best in all you do. Hone your craft.

  1. Stay on Target

One of the best pieces of communication advice I’ve ever received is to make one point and make it well. Everything you say should strengthen or reinforce your one point. I’ve read many apologetics articles where I was halfway through and wondered “What was the point again?”

You may have an awesome quote or anecdote. But does it really strengthen your point? If not, remove it. You have an objection that kinda, sorta relates to your topic. Delete it. If you have more to say about a subject, write another article. Stay on target so your audience always knows exactly what your point is. Make one point and make it well.

  1. Get Feedback

I hate criticism. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But getting others’ feedback has improved my writing greatly. Have other people review your material and give their honest opinion. You need someone to tell you “this doesn’t make sense,” “your logic is faulty here,” or “this is worded poorly.” I have apologetics “insiders” check my argumentation and logic and I have “outsiders” make sure my content is understandable and readable. Both are important!

  1. Reach the Head and the Heart

The rise of apologetics is a wonderful thing, showing that there is a place for logical types (such as myself!) within a Church that has been largely feelings-driven. However, we apologists run the risk of being too cold and rationalistic, turning into emotionless “apolo-bots.” But not everyone is like us. Some will never be argued into the kingdom of God through evidence and logic. They want to see that Christianity is good and beautiful, that it meets humanity’s greatest needs and desires.

Apologetics doesn’t need more syllogisms. It needs more stories! There’s a reason why C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton have withstood the test of time. They engaged the imagination to bridge man’s reason and passions. If we apologists truly want to impact the culture, we need to reach both the head and the heart.

Conclusion

These are just some pointers on how to be a better apologetics communicator. It takes work, but stay at it. Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Hone your craft and get feedback. Target both the head and the heart of your audience.

For more advice on being a better apologist, check out Sean McDowell’s articles “Why Apologists Need to ‘Lower the Bar’” and “Why Apologetics Has a Bad Name.”

This article originally appeared at SeanMcDowell.org.

 


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208 replies
  1. jcb says:

    This article is pretty good overall. If you want to communicate better, many of these techniques are useful. I think though these techniques will lead you away from religion.
    However, for now I just wanted to talk about # 4: Get Feedback. It seems that most of the authors who post here don’t care about getting feedback. They post articles, and sometimes there are dozens of responses. Rarely (almost never) do the original authors respond to the criticism/feedback people offer. It gives the strong impression that the authors want to be heard, but don’t care to hear from others.
    This author is right: a good communicator, and one who cares about the truth, will welcome feedback from others, including demonstrations of how one’s logic is faulty, etc.
    There is one serious problem with the article. The author says, “I have apologetics “insiders” check my argumentation and logic and I have “outsiders” make sure my content is understandable and readable.” That’s the problem right there. You should be having anyone, including “outsiders”, check your argumentation and logic. But it appears that many theists refuse to do this, instead preferring an insular echo chamber. Yes, insiders might offer useful corrective, but so too might outsiders. And insiders are often prone to agreeing too quickly.
    Other than that, yes, truth seekers should welcome feedback and polite criticism. If they did, it would look like more people would realize the many flawed arguments on this site, as have been pointed out numerous times. Apparently though, in most instances, outsiders have pointed out the flaws, and the insiders and authors continue to fail to acknowledge them.

    Reply
  2. Susan Tan says:

    Immerse yourself in the scriptures until Christ manifests in you.

    The Word is the Truth.

    The spiritual gifts are the Spirit.

    Christ said to worship him in spirit and truth and that is a 24/7 commitment just like marriage is.

    So keep your commitment to Him because we Christians know He will keep His commitment to us because He already sacrificed everything for us.

    The spirit and the truth will work through your very life then resulting in the voice of prophecy in the believer.

    Don’t be too quick to answer the world with its’ own ways. Spend time with God in the scriptures and He will enable you.

    Isn’t He always enabling those who give Him their time, attention, love and respect?

    That is what a 24 carat gold relation is based upon.

    God can enable people to communicate and get up in the Spirit just like he enabled Moses who was too afraid of public speaking.

    So be sure to go to the one and only source and ask for all the spiritual gifts as Paul directs.

    If you are really going to try communicating as God’s ambassador then you never know which gift you will need so be sure to go to God in prayer and ask for all of them and watch them spring up in
    your life with a little watering of the Word. God has already planted them in Christ’s nature in you hasn’t he. All you have to do is sow the gifts now.

    God Bless everyone reading. May His Grace abound to you.

    Reply
    • jcb says:

      There is no evidence that if I read the scriptures, Christ will probably “manifest” in me.
      Truth is Truth. The Bible has some truths and some falsehoods.
      “The Spiritual gifts are the Spirit”. That looks incoherent.
      Yes, Jesus said many things. Some are true, some are false.
      No, Jesus is not actively, currently, keeping any commitments.
      Many people believe Jesus will keep promises such as eternal life. This is unlikely/improbable.

      Again, your article states many things, almost all of which are false/unsupported by any facts.
      It’s as if i did the following:

      Zeus is coming!
      Bigfoot will keep his promises!
      The Lochness Monster will work its way to you!

      It may be the case that all 3 of the above are true. But probably not. This same point applies to your claims above.

      “Bigfoot blesses you”?

      And it is quite odd that none of what you say directly addresses the original article nor my reply to it.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        Sorry I don’t read most posts on this blog any more. I mostly post Christian ideas that occur to me.
        Partly because I have a
        short attention span and don’t want to devote any more of my psychic energy trying to understand ideas that I most likely disagree with.

        I don’t see why atheists have to turn every article comments section into a debate even if this is a blog by an apologists.

        But maybe someone will accommodate you and argue.

        So just ignore me. I didn’t read and wasn’t responding to your post.

        Reply
        • jcb says:

          I see. My mistake. I thought you were responding to my post. It does still seem like you weren’t responding though to the original article either though. But yes, I will do my best to remind myself that you are not here to discuss the truth of these matters in relation to the evidence.

          Reply
          • Susan says:

            i already discussed them and directed you to Geisler and Zukersn’s work on this.

            I was making a Bible based observation for the Christian apologists that may read this blog.

            Have a good day.

        • jcb says:

          If you don’t know what I mean, I would. Evidence: evidence for dogs is barking, fur, etc. Evidence for a guy who can lift 1000 pounds: a guy in front of us, lifting 1000 pounds, and then doing it again the next day, and the next, etc.
          The best evidence/the most reliable evidence is that which is patterned such that it shows that a particular thing is probable.
          One definition of “evidence”: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
          The evidence for Leprechauns is thin: they are not probable.
          The evidence for dogs is strong: they are probable.
          The evidence that humans will not live past 200 years is strong/probable.

          Feel free to help the conversation by adding your definition of “evidence”. Please reply if you aren’t trying to help the conversation.

          Reply
          • Sean Davis says:

            Thanks JCB for your response. So from what you wrote, I see two different ways that you classify something as evidence:

            1) Discernible to the senses (ex. seeing a man lift 1000 pounds as evidence he can lift 1,000 pounds?)

            2) Repeatable Experience (Humans will not live past 200 years b/c I know of nobody who’s lived that long);

            Granted, those two intersect with one another and clearly you could say my experience and knowledge is built on my senses, etc. Are those correct assumptions or did I leave anything out? I’m not trying to be obtuse here. Really trying to get an understanding for what you mean to build on the discussion.

          • jcb says:

            So you didn’t offer a definition of evidence. Perhaps that just means you are fine with the ones I’ve offered.

            But yes: # 1 is one way we prove things with evidence, and so is # 2.
            Sure, 1 and 2 may have some overlap.

            Is any of this helping you with the original discussion? If so, please explain.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Sorry I don’t have time to read the rest of the thread from all the other people. And I’m sorry it’s taken me a day to respond. So would you say from your definition of evidence that by “experiential” you’re including only the tangible or material (as in what could be apprehended through the senses), or is it more flexible than that? I can give you my understanding of evidence, but since you made the claim about evidence as a necessary premise, I think it’s important to lock down what that means to you first for a valuable discussion. Otherwise, I might misunderstand you and operate from a false premise that’s completely off track and not at all in line with what you’re suggesting.

          • jcb says:

            No I wouldn’t say that. (Seems like a trap you are trying to create, but no matter). I did not say “the only experiential evidence is tangible or material”. I’m flexible to all sorts of possible evidence. If you think you know of a useful sort, just make the case for it.
            But much/most of what we know is from the senses and reason. We know cats exist, and A=A.
            What do you mean by “you made the claim about evidence as a necessary premise”? Are you claiming we don’t need evidence to prove God? To prove anything?
            Again, is any of this helping you? If so, please explain how, and how it affects the original conversation.

          • Sean says:

            So you agree that ultimately nothing can be proved. I don’t have proofs bc ultimately I can’t prove it. But I have evidences. Three I’ve already stated: 1). The comprehensibility of the universe; 2) The comprehensibility of our minds to apprehend that universe; 3) Not only my experience, but my shared experience with so many others; 4) I’ll add one for now- Years after coming to Christ I read Ecclesiastes and I came to the realization halfway through that I was reading exactly what I had experienced in my own life. I had realized that everything under the sun was meaningless without God and then I read that same reflection by someone 2500 years before me; 5) One more- human dignity- Judeo-Christian understanding of that notion- that we’re all created with inherent dignity and therefore should be treated equally is attributed to Jude’s-Christian beliefs. That cannot and never will be found in a strictly naturalistic or materialistic ethic. Cheers.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            Just going to start from the top and go down:
            ….
            You wrote:

            “Yes, I keep saying, and we all agree, that everyone trusts something, and makes assumptions. No, I don’t think this fact helps prove God, nor do I think you’ve shown that it does.”

            My Response: I will never be able to prove God. Nobody can ultimately prove God with the exception of those who witnessed Jesus rise from the dead. And even contemporaries of their time could still claim that’s not enough proof.

            So now that we agree there, please stop asking me to prove something I’ve already agreed can’t be done, and I won’t ask you to prove your alternative theories. Btw, what do you consider your prime reality for life? What do you find more reasonable than the Judeo-Christian worldview?

            You wrote:
            It is false that “we can never define ‘energy’”.
            It is false that we don’t understand how math works. (If that’s true, explain what it is to “understand” it.)

            Response:
            What is energy?
            How does math work?

            Earnest Wigner, a non-believer, wrote the “THE UNREASONABLE EFFECTIVENSS
            OF MATHEMATICS IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES”. He writes, “The enormous usefulness of mathematics is something bordering on the mysterious. There is no rational explanation for it. The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.”

            John Polkinghorne, a believer, writes, “Physics is powerless to explain its fundamental belief in the mathematic intelligibility of the universe.

            This goes hand-in-hand with Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem which when explaining the incomprehensible nature of Euclid’s 5 postulates for geometry he writes, “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume but cannot prove.” He recognized this within all closed systems recognizing that they all require something outside of their own system to explain itself. Euclid’s five postulates, which we know are true cannot be proven b/c every system of logic or numbers derived through mathematics always rests on at least a few unprovable assumptions that must be presupposed.

            The same can be applied to energy. Nobody knows what energy is. Or the law of gravity for that matter. Their existence can help us with calculating how to get to the moon and back. But their existence either as a function or law isn’t a complete explanation even within science…

            Those final 2 points are kind of tangential. But you said you could do it, while experts in their fields presume that you cannot. So I was interested to hear your reply, as opposed to a blanket assertion that you can without explanation. It reminds me of Einstein’s quote. “The only thing incomprehensible about the universe is that it’s comprehensible. How the heck can we organize thoughts into ordered mathematical structures that mysteriously intersect with an ordered universe in practical ways? It’s astonishing and miraculous to me. Cheers.

          • jcb says:

            I thought we were discussing the issue of whether God could be proven/shown to exist, to each other. Now you say this can’t be done. So we are in agreement about that thing: God cannot be proven, and thus hasn’t been proven (here, publicly). So, what is it that you thought we were discussing?
            Jesus probably didn’t rise from the dead, and doing so wouldn’t prove/make probably that an all perfect being exists.
            So I won’t ask you to prove that which we’ve agreed upon. Again, what are you trying to say here then?
            What is a “prime reality”? I think cats, dogs, etc. exist (That’s reality). I generally value kindness, curiosity, racquetball, etc. If your question asks something else, ask it again in a different way.
            The view that says people (including Jesus) don’t resurrect is more reasonable.
            The view that says gays are often/usually nice, kind people, is more reasonable.
            The view that says when we die, we are no longer alive, going to movies, communicating with others, is more reasonable.
            You responded to my claims with questions. That fails to prove that my claims are false. I said we could define “energy”. (You said “we can never define “energy”.). I was focusing on “define”. Your point is that determining what energy is can be tricky, and eventually we will run out of answers. I agree with those points, but they don’t prove anything relevant to our conversation.
            You fail to explain what it would be for math to work, so I can’t answer your question “how” does it work. But like above, there are things we do know to act in certain ways (“work”), yet we don’t know why they do that. This again is not relevant to anything here. It is just a remind that we don’t know everything. Nothing about that proves God…
            Math is useful. We can show that. There are explanations for “why”/”what makes it useful” that we don’t have. That doesn’t show anything about God.
            Again, your pattern here is: there are unanswered questions. That’s true! Is that all you wanted to show?
            No, math is not a gift given to us by any known supernatural entity. It is a “gift” only in that we have it, and it is useful, and we benefit from using it.
            Yes, not everything is provable by something else (that we know of). (See above)
            So yes, the universe is astonishing: we don’t have all the answers (and probably never will).
            But theists regularly claim to have answers to many of the unanswered questions you mentioned, but their answers are often false (not known to be true).

          • Sean Davis says:

            No, I’m not trying to prove God to you. God is not provable. That’s a category mistake, and anyone who says that God is provable would be unfortunately mistaken. Like Euclid’s postulates, our explanation for the laws of nature, as well as the explanation for humanity (in terms of who we are, why we’re here, how we got here, what we should do while we’re here, and where we may be going?, etc.) remain outside of our closed system of human capacity within the discernible universe. We will never get there completely through the scientific method or any other means for acquiring knowledge and truth. It’s confusing agency vs. laws.

            Therefore, trying to prove God through the discernable laws of the universe by what’s observable and repeatable will NEVER get you completely to God. Why? B/c for one, the Judeo-Christian God is not only the Creator of the universe and the laws that operate within it, but He transcends the space, time, and matter from which the universe and its laws operate and are discerned. This has very strong biblical precedents:

            – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (He precedes and lies outside of space/time)

            – “I am the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end.” (He is eternal vs our temporal lives and universe).

            – “I am that I am.”- (There’s this concept of eternal self-existence in the being of God Himself. He reflects this identity through the theophany of a burning bush that isn’t consumed (which is to say His existence transcends the Created order and its laws).

            “God is Spirit”- (He is not discernable through the observable and repeatable).

            He is the “Logos” (the “Word”)-> The foundation for all knowledge, order, and understanding for the universe. Trying to prove Him through the universe is like proving an author’s identity strictly through the pages and words of the book that he writes.

            “For in (God), we live move and have our being.”

            In short, according to Scripture, He is the “prime reality” (which I would define as the ground from which everything is created and sustained). I’m not writing all those identifiers to you to convince you of the truth of His identity, but I am sharing them to avoid future category mistakes, and to show how that truth makes the Abrahamic faiths unique (This latter point is key). There is a vast distinction between the God of the Bible and all the ancient near eastern gods, b/c the latter are considered either byproducts of or consistent within the primeval mass and energy of the universe, whereas the God of the Bible preceded it and created it.

            There are other possible explanations for the “prime reality” underscoring our known universe, and while there are thousands of belief systems, they really can be summarized into 2 other different categories:

            1) Materialistic and Natural worldview-> That the origin of the universe and its organization can be best explained through materialistic and natural explanations

            2) Pantheistic worldview-> According to the Pantheistic Worldview, God and the material universe are coextensive. God is in all matter, and matter is in God.

            Which one do you believe in or trust?

            While there isn’t proof per say, I do think we can reach a best possible explanation through inference and abduction when you look at the foundations of these belief systems in comparison with one another. And ultimately, I think Christianity, in light of what we know about the universe and the human condition, makes the most sense.

            So which belief system do you trust and endorse?

          • jcb says:

            Hi again,
            You say you are not trying to prove God. So again, what are you trying to do here? And again, my point is simply that God has not been proven, which you agree with since you say “God is not provable”.
            You then assert though that “God is not only the Creator of the universe and the laws that operate within it, but He transcends the space, time, and matter…” So, are you just asserting unproven things now? If that’s what this discussion is about, let me know so I can stop participating in it. I’m here to discuss whether people have good evidence to defend their beliefs, usually theistic. You claim there isn’t and can’t be evidence for God, but then you assert truths about God (without evidence, of course). So again, if that’s why you are here, to assert things without evidence, then our discussion is done.
            Of course, the fact that you wrote so much suggests you are arguing.
            The fact that you say “X is the case….This has “very strong biblical precedents” suggests that you are arguing.
            Either way, the fact that something has “strong biblical precedents” doesn’t show that something is true, and you know this, since you say you can’t prove God.
            So yes, the Bible says many things that are false and irrelevant to one’s interest in reality and the truth.
            No, there is no God that we know of that exists outside of space and time.
            No, there is no person/intelligent being that we know lives forever.
            Yes, God is not discernible! That is, we do not know that God exists.
            No, no known supernatural being is the foundation for all of our knowledge.
            Yes, Scripture makes many claims, many of which are false.
            We do not know from what ultimately “everything is created and sustained”.
            Something caused the universe to be what it is. We don’t know what that is. If you are simply using the word “God” to refer to that unknown thing, then I agree with you. That thing probably exists, whatever it is.
            We don’t know what caused our universe to exist. No specific explanation we currently have is probable, (except to say, repetitiously, that the thing that created our universe was a thing that had the power to create our universe).
            Neither of the last 2 theories you cited are known to be probable. Yes, there isn’t proof that makes either probable.
            No, we cannot reach a “best possible explanation” given that we know virtually nothing about that thing that created our universe. Yes, you can state what you believe, and make a lot of speculations though.

            When you say we can infer, that is to say that you can prove something. But your inference here seems faulty. If it is not, explain how your starting facts (our universe?) allow us to infer with probability (likelihood) that (?) God exists (in contrast to, something exists).
            The evidence shows that science is a wise system to “trust and endorse”. It (at least usually) best predicts the future, and describes reality. And the evidence we have, scientific or otherwise, doesn’t make God probable (although it is possible).

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            I seem to have missed this February post of yours!
            So, I’ve been using “proof” to mean, “evidence that shows X is to be probable”. Is that how you’ve been using it? Sometimes (although rarely), people use “proof” to mean “evidence that shows X to be necessarily true”. Is that how you’ve been using the term “proof”? I’ll refer to the first as P1, and the second as P2. Few things can be proven, P2. A=A is a necessary truth. Many things can be proven, P1, like “cats exist”.
            So while of course you can’t prove P2 that God exists, nor does it seem that you can (meaning have) prove P1 that God exists.
            So yes, almost “nothing can be proved” P2. But lots of things can be proved P1.
            You say you have evidence, so that seems to indicate that you are using P1: you have evidence that proves God to be likely. As I’ve said, it doesn’t look like you’ve done that.
            The universe exists. We understand many things about it. That doesn’t make it probable that God exists. (Feel free to define God again. It seems you mean either the Biblical God, or a perfect God, or both.)
            We exist. We have brains. Those brains/minds understand much about the universe. That doesn’t make it probable that God exists.
            You have experiences. Nothing about that (yet) shows that God probably exists. (People also have experiences where they claim Vishnu or aliens exist).
            It is false that without God, everything is meaningless. Even though there is no god, most people find value/meaning/purpose in a whole host of activities. To find meaning in painting doesn’t require or entail God.
            We are created by our parents.
            The notion of “inherent dignity” seems to be a nonsensical one. I generally want to be kind and for others to be kind. That doesn’t seem to be what “inherent dignity” is about though.
            Nothing shows that we are “created with inherent dignity and we all should be treated equally”. What is true is that many people prefer that others be treated equally.
            So while your “inherent dignity” might not be found in a naturalistic ethic, it doesn’t look like it is found anywhere.

          • Sean Davis says:

            JCB,

            It only took us a month, but I think we’re finally on the same page:) I think anyway:) Being on the same page is of absolute importance. I agree with your P1 definition, and I believe when you look at everything together, there’s a strong case that can be made that the Judeo-Christian God makes more sense on an intellectual/rational, emotional/existential, and personal level. Even though Scripture says deep down we all know.

            Also, just as a sidenote, re-read my last post about Scripture. I WASN’T including them to as a case for God’s existence, but more to clarify what we believe as Christians about who He is, as well as His role in life and the universe. So again, just to reiterate-> It’s important not as a sign of proof, but just to understand
            where we’re coming from in what we believe about life and the universe. All Abrahamic belief systems begin with Him as the prime reality. I think it’s important to state that as clearly as I can before we move forward. We will take that understanding as the cause and then later determine its plausibility by reviewing what we know through the effects of the universe by means of inference to the best explanation.

            That’s one of 3-4 interpretations for the “Prime Reality”…Here are the others:

            1) Materialistic and Natural worldview-> That the origin of the universe and its organization can be best explained through materialistic and natural explanations

            2) Pantheistic worldview-> According to the Pantheistic Worldview, God and the material universe are coextensive. God is in all matter, and matter is in God.

            It can only be one of those 3 explanations. You could as Deism which is very similar to an Abrahamic worldview only that the Deistic God remains outside of the universe completely after He has created it, but I don’t think that’s really important yet for our discussion. Why? B/c Deism and the Abrahamic interpretations share the same point of origin.

            Which one do you believe in or trust as the prime reality?

          • jcb says:

            Lots of people think there is a strong case for the Christian God. It looks like they are wrong. If you have a strong case, please offer it.
            Yes, clarifying the terms you are using (telling me what Christians think about God) is useful. But it still looks like there isn’t evidence that proves God/makes his existence probable.
            Yes, many theists believe God is the Prime Reality. That doesn’t make it so. (I assume you mean “God is real”. If you mean something else by “Prime Reality”, you should define that concept.)
            Again, there are explanations about the origin of the universe. None of them are known to be probable (except for a vague Something created the universe).
            God is not probable, nor is God (the Christian God) the best/likely cause of the universe.
            So the “prime reality” (that which caused the universe) is nothing we know of. All (specific) answers at this point are improbable, like guessing which of the numbers on a roulette wheel the ball will land on. All we know is that it was probably something. We don’t know its views on gays. We don’t know that it is intelligent. We don’t know that it took the form of Jesus, etc.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Let’s stick with the origin question right now. The Standard Cosmological Model (SCM) currently has very strong support for a spaceless, timeless beginning to the universe-> Einstein’s theory of relativity, Hubble telescope and its observation of the expanding universe, background radiation which measure to the tee of what you would expect from what would be expected from a Big Bang event, Hawking’s calculations towards a point of singularity. That’s the best theory going right now.

            So you can discredit that theory. But the great minds confess, even while biting their tongues, that the universe had a beginning.

            You can discount that, but then you’d be going against the strongest evidence that we have for the beginning of the universe. Again, we can’t prove it necessarily (we’ve both conceded that we can’t have irrefutable proof)…now we’re both looking at what makes the most sense here given the evidence we do have.

            Even if you didn’t agree with it, you would still have to make a supernatural argument to refute it. If there is no Creator, then either original matter sprang from nothing, or original matter has always existed without a cause, or there is an infinite regress of causes without a beginning. All take you outside of a naturalistic approach or the scientific method.

            Not only that, but the Judeo-Christian model professes a point to the beginning of the universe while the other prime reality explanations do not. Not only does the Bible speak of a beginning, but it also accounts for the expansion of the universe in multiple locations throughout Scripture thousands of years before Hubble discovered it. I think that’s a big point. Before then, most scientists embrace a steady-state, eternal universe (again scientifically supernatural, but that was the conception). You have to discount evidence to support the alternatives. I’m not saying that gets you to a Judeo-Christian God. Just that it’s one piece of strong evidence.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            Yes, the thing that caused our universe, i.e,. the stuff we know to exist, was something other than that stuff. Hence, the cause was not in any known space, nor at any known time that we can calculate (other than being “before” the universe itself.)
            So yes, the universe was caused by something, and not by itself. I haven’t claimed that theory to be false. Yes, the universe seems like it had a beginning: it didn’t come from nothing. Something probably caused it. We can say what it wasn’t (you and I, or that tree, etc.). We can’t say what it was (at this point, having virtually no information about that cause).
            For some reason, you expect me to “discount” or “discredit” the idea that the universe had a beginning.
            It doesn’t follow that the Christian God exists.
            There is no known creating person that created the universe.
            Yes, Christianity claims there is a beginning. No, that doesn’t prove that its god exists.
            You’ve simply said: science shows that there was probably a beginning, and Christianity also says that, and they are both right.
            You don’t give any specifics to support this claim: “the Bible…accounts for the expansion of the universe”. Please explain what “accounts for” means, and what evidence shows this to be true, and what this is germane to.
            So far, you haven’t shown that anything is “strong evidence” for God.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Yeah, you’re right. It’s just one piece of the overall puzzle. That there was a spaceless, timeless, and matter-less cause to the universe. Many have agreed to that point, but at the same time maintain only in a deistic God. Longtime atheist Antony Flew was one of those people. He never embraced the Christian God, but after reviewing Big Bang Cosmology, the fine-tuning of the universe, and the DNA evidence as specified information in Code-> He became convinced that it couldn’t be accidental. There must be some form of intelligence under girding all of these miraculous effects.

            So given the SCM, would you classify yourself as a Deist then?

          • jcb says:

            Deism is close to my position. My position is Something-ism. Something caused the universe to exist. Deism wrongly claims to know that the cause is probably something with intelligence. While that is possible, we don’t know that to be probable.
            Yes, many theists were quite happy when Flew claimed to be a Deist instead of an atheist. No, none of that shows that there “must be some form of intelligence under girding” everything else.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            Thanks for letting me know. When you say “something”, you mean something supernatural then given this random “something” would have to be spaceless, timeless, and formless. Therefore, supernatural correct?

            It would also have to have the necessary power, force, and organizational capacity for the universe to not only be created, but sustained, correct? Or would the laws of the universe accidentally align with the sustainability of the universe. And just so I’m clear…this impersonal “something” would also still have zero explanatory power for life or human experience correct? Human life would still be a cosmically accidental after-effect correct? I think that’s a bigger stretch than an Intelligent presence, but it is still possible.

            I seem to remember you mentioning other “gods” as alternatives to refute the Judeo-Christian God. Given that the description of a Creator God that stands outside of time, space, and matter is limited to the God of the Abrahamic faiths, can we just go ahead and eliminate a lot of time by removing those other “gods” from the discussion as reasonably implausible? They simply don’t fit what we reasonably know about the universe and therefore as we narrow our “truth” it’s only reasonable that we exclude them, correct?

            And finally, don’t you think it’s a pretty strong piece of evidence for the Judeo-Christian God that the Bible not only explains that God created the heavens and the earth from nothing, but that the universe has been expanding. Science just concluded these 2 revelation in the 20th Century, but it’s been a biblical precedent for thousands and thousands of years.

            The word “bara'” in Hebrew’s primary definition means “bringing something new into existence that did not exist before.” The OT asserts that God created (bara’) the entirety of the heavens seven distinct times: Gen. 1:1, 2:3, 2:4; Ps.148:5; Isa. 40:26, 42:5, 45:18; Additionally, Isa. 45:5–22, John 1:3, Col. 1:15–17, and Heb. 11:3 suggests that God alone is responsible for the universe’s existence; Even more, Col. 1:15-17, Prov. 8:22–31, John 17:24, Eph. 1:4, 2 Tim. 1:9, Tit. 1:2, and 1 Pet.1:20 all suggest that God not only predated the universe, but was actively involved in causing certain things before its existence.

            As for the expanding universe, the Bible frequently how God’s creation is being “stretched out.” Five different authors make this assertion eleven different times throughout the Bible: Job 9:8, Ps. 104:2, Isa. 40:22, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13, Jer. 10:12, 51:15, and Zech. 12:1.

            I think these findings suggest a coherence and congruence with God’s Word and what the natural world reveals. As a result, an argument can be made that the biblical alignment with the creation and expansion of the universe make it more reasonable than a lot of alternatives. And those alternatives should be ruled out.

            Having said that, your “something” explanation, is a remote possiblity, but I do think it requires a stronger stretch of the imagination, especially when reviewing other areas of logical, emotional, and social/relational areas of life.

            So far, I’ve provided two points of argument: Cosmological Argument; and personal testimony that just happens to align perfectly with wisdom describing human experience in the Bible (namely Ecclesiastes). Lots more to discuss, but I’ll stop here for now. Looking forward to hearing back from you. Cheers.

          • jcb says:

            When I say “something”, I am saying, “probably not nothing”. What that something is, we basically don’t know. We know what it isn’t. The creator of the universe is probably not you, or me, or that tree, etc. So it is something, but nothing we know of. If you wish to label that “supernatural” that’s fine.
            Yes, that thing is not in any known space, although it existed before the universe, in order to cause it to exist. And yes, we don’t know what shape/form it has. And no, there is nothing we know of that fits this description (like God).
            Yes, the creating thing had power, but is not known to be “all powerful” (as most theists claim God to be).
            I don’t know what “organizational capacity” means.
            No, the thing that created the universe isn’t known to still be actively “sustaining” our universe: doing something particular that is keeping it “afloat”, “alive”, “going”, etc.
            That something is not known to play any particular, direct role in the creation of life, which began much later than the creation of the universe.
            Yes, human life is not known to be the cause of some intelligence. Yes, you can call it “accidental”. The fact that human life exists doesn’t make it probable that some other more powerful intelligent being exists.
            I don’t think I said other gods refute the Christian god.
            The creating thing I mentioned is not “limited to the God of” the Bible.
            You seem to argue thusly:
            1. Other religions’ gods are claimed to have properties that are contrary to the Creating Thing we are talking about.
            2. The Christian god is claimed to have properties which include properties that the Creating thing we are talking about has.
            3. Thus the Christian God exists.
            This does not follow.

            No being, including the God you describe, is known to exist outside of time. All we’ve established is that something existed prior to the beginning of our universe. That thing isn’t known to be “timeless”, unless you simply mean, existed before the things we know about like planets and trees which exist at a later point in time.
            Yes, I’m not defending other gods, so we can put them aside if you wish.
            The Bible does not “explain that God created the Heavens and the Earth from nothing”. You can’t get something from nothing (probably).
            The universe has been expanding. If the Bible asserts that, and is right about that, it doesn’t show that God (an all powerful, personal, gay-hating (or disliking) being) probably exists.
            There is no Heaven, as far as we know. (Feel free to define “heaven” and show that it exists).
            Nothing you said shows that God (vs. something) “predated the universe”.
            Nothing shows that something actively/intentionally caused our universe to come into being.
            Your argument here seems to be:
            1. The Bible claimed that the universe is “stretched out”.
            2. This is basically the claim that the universe is expanding in the way that scientists now know to be the case (False)
            3. Thus God probably exists.
            # 3 doesn’t follow.
            Coherence and congruence don’t show that a thing is thereby probable. They only show that a contradiction is not in play.
            I do agree though: some Biblical claims are more reasonable than some claims made by some other religions.
            My “something” is a likelihood. Your specific “god” is not. Yours is just a remote possibility.
            Your God is my “something”, plus much more, that is unjustified. Your God “requires a stronger stretch of the imagination”.
            The Cosmological argument only shows that something caused the universe. It doesn’t show that God probably did.
            Personal testimony comes in many different kinds. No personal testimony we know of makes God probable.
            -JCB

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            With all due respect, and I mean that b/c you’re clearly a bright guy and I’ve enjoyed our discussion-> I think your last post has now moved from objective thinking to remote possibilities that are absent of evidence. Moreover, they are a less reasonable alternative given what we do know, which is that “since there was an absolute beginning to space, time and matter, it’s reasonable to conclude that the cause of the universe must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial.”

            Also, you have the burden of evidence just like everyone else for convincing yourself of your own explanation, just like everyone does for their own. If you have any evidence that remotely connects your belief of this “something” and you’d like to share it, I’m here to hear it.

            Having said that, I believe what we know about the universe today provides strong evidence that supports the Abrahamic beliefs about the origin of the universe: Which is to say that what we’ve discovered about the universe within the last hundred years aligns perfectly with what we were told about the universe in Scripture thousands of years ago. The matching criteria include: 1) A universe that was created from nothing; 2) That universe is expanding; 3) The description of the Creator who’s characteristics necessarily precede, transcend, and are removed from the the natural known universe as we know it. I humbly feel that’s pretty compelling evidence. It certainly doesn’t disprove the God of the Abrahamic faith’s existence.

            Which brings me to my point about “other gods”. If what we do know about the universe contradicts the beliefs about those “other gods”, then I feel they should be excluded from our discussion. But, if you have other known gods that align with scientific discovery, feel free to share them and we can include them in our discussion moving forward. Otherwise, I think any mention of “other gods” without specificity to who those gods are, or are references to gods (like Zeus) who are incomprehensible with what we know about the universe, are unintelligible and should be excluded.

            Do you want to move forward from the “origin of the universe” argument? Cheers. Sean

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            It seems that your claims are the remote possibilities: a perfect god exists, etc. My claims are boring likelihoods: something exists that caused the universe to exist. Your claim requires much more evidence than mine, and hasn’t been offered. My claim is supported by the known evidence.
            My claim is more reasonable and probable. Yours is less reasonable, and not probable.
            The cause of the universe isn’t any known thing in space, made of any known material, and doesn’t exist in any post big bang moment, that we know of. None of that makes your God probable, unless your god is basically just a repetition of those facts: the something that is not other things we know of. I think one of your mistakes is thinking that God has been established to exist with a bunch of properties, some of which are being Immaterial, Timeless, and Space-less. But no such thing has been shown. If you simply define God as having 6 properties (like being all powerful, all knowing, and all loving), and 3 of them are known to exist in the thing that created the universe (it isn’t made of any known material, etc.), then it doesn’t follow from what we know that God (with his many more properties) probably exists.
            My evidence for something is that that in almost every case we find, when we find something else “caused” it to exist. So, when we come to the universe itself, something else probably caused it. You agree with this, as your claim includes my claim. Saying a God of 6 properties caused the universe is to say something caused it, but it is to claim much more. The only problem is, there isn’t probable evidence for all the properties you ascribe to that creating thing.
            Again, the existence of the universe doesn’t make it probable that the Abrahamic God exists.
            No, what we have discovered about the universe doesn’t “perfectly” alight with what Scripture claims.
            No, the universe was not created from nothing (probably). Just nothing we know of.
            Yes, the thing that created the universe is something other than the universe.
            That the Bible gets some things right doesn’t mean that it gets other things right.
            We already agreed (did you not read my last post) that we are not talking about/defending other gods.
            I have no known gods, nor do you.
            What you probably should do is define the God you are talking about. A perfect, intelligent, being is not known to exist. Again, all we know is that something created the universe. We don’t know it to probably be the God of the Bible.
            Yes, if you have better arguments/evidence, please offer it.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            Yes, I read your previous post…Sorry, I just felt you misunderstood me in my previous post before that and wanted to clarify. I felt you construed my message to say that by removing these “other gods”, the Christian God therefore exists. Nope. There’s nowhere near enough information from the SCM evidence alone to make that argument. I’m just saying that the description of the Christian God is comprehensible with what we know about the universe so far, but these other gods do not. So let’s remove them from our discussion moving forward.

            Whatever this “something” creator is, we agree that it stands outside of the time, space, and materials of the known universe. Therefore, it’s only logical to conclude that this “something” Creator is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. You are more or less correct in suggesting that the more personable attributes of this Creator God aren’t really established by the cosmological argument alone. But it does match some of the attributes that align with what Scripture says about the Abrahamic God. Islam doesn’t necessarily have the same personable considerations for Allah that Christianity does, but from the cosmological argument alone, Alla still meets the criteria (so Allah remains in the discussion). We will have to explore other things we know about the universe, life, and human experience to deliberate more about who or what this Creative “something” is. Crossexamined.org argues that this “cause” is personal given it’s volition and choice to create, but I’m kinda with you and am not sure that argument is very strong strictly from evidence of the SCM alone.

            Should we move on? Cheers.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            So skip he other gods.
            So your god is not yet proven by skipping those gods.
            The something is not anything we know of, spatially, materially, in any time that we know of.
            God is not established by that.
            No, nothing has shown that the cause is personal, nor chose to create.
            So, again, God has not been proven. Only a vague something.

          • toby says:

            Whatever this “something” creator is, we agree that it stands outside of the time, space, and materials of the known universe. Therefore, it’s only logical to conclude that this “something” Creator is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial.
            Sorry to nose in, but I don’t think that logically follows at all. You might get away with saying it isn’t OUR space or time or material, but I don’t think you can leap to saying it absolutely has none of those things. I don’t think something without those attributes makes any sort of sense, particularly if you say that there’s no time. You certainly can’t demonstrate any of those attributes singly or in combination. At best it seems to be a special pleading/ignorance fallacy. Certainly saying that something as such can cause anything flies in the face of all we know about causation. God is often said to be an efficient cause of the universe by apologists, but they leave out the fact that all Aristotelian efficient causes need material causes as well. Positing a god doesn’t defeat this fact because what you’d be arguing for is basically magic. God snapped his fingers and poof there’s material to make the universe with.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hi JCB,

            Well, remember-> We’re looking at what makes the most sense out of what we do know in the sense of P1 proof-> You defined P1 proof as “evidence that shows X is to be probable”.

            I think the fact that the SCM matches a theistic framework for origins (namely that Scripture suggests the universe had a beginning in space and time, as well as the expansion of the universe) is more compelling than you’re allowing. I think it’s also compelling that the God described in the Bible matches characteristics that would have to be shared by this creative force. How did they know that, if not informed? But I’ve made the point. You can decide to agree with its significance or not.

            Finally, the creation event simply isn’t observable and repeatable, and falls outside of the laws of nature. In other words, it’s supernatural and miraculous and falls outside of anything in the past that you’ve upheld as proof (whether it be P1 or P2). The point being that we live in a miraculous universe, and therefore miracles shouldn’t immediately be discounted.

            My next argument is the anthropic principle of the universe. It’s what Newton ascribed to when making his argument for the organization of the universe. There are so many fine-tuning principles in place not just for the sustenance of human life, but for the sustenance of our planet and its resources, our galaxy, and the universe as a whole. The anthropic principle has also been applied to biology, chemistry, and the physics of life itself. Such arguments emphasize agency-> namely an intelligent agent is at work. I’ll stop there and leave room for digression. Cheers.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Toby,
            I agree: we cannot conclude much about the Creating thing of the universe. One thing we know is probably not the case: that the thing that created our universe is “timeless”. It probably existed before our universe began.
            But yes, we don’t know of any existing thing that matches the description of being “spaceless, timeless, and immaterial.” Such a thing (at this point) makes no sense.
            Theists often overlook that those are also “negative” properties. They say what the thing is NOT, but they fail to say anything about what the thing is. At this point we’ve simply describe nothing that is known to exist (except a vague something! that created the universe).
            Yes, Toby is right. We know of no spaceless timeless immaterial thing that can “cause” other things.

            To Sean:
            That the theistic framework includes (“matches) my “something” claim doesn’t show that the theistic claim about God is probable.
            Here is your argument:
            1. The Bible claims the universe had a beginning. (God made the Earth, etc.) (T)
            2. The Bible claims space and time didn’t exist before then, and then did because of God (F)
            3. If the Bible claimed that the universe had a beginning, and it did, then God probable exists (F)
            4. Thus God probably exists.

            The authors of the Bible did not seem to have a good grasp of physics as we know it now. Vague Bible claims like “He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers, he stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out, as a tent to dwell in” don’t show that they do understand physics as we know understand it.
            Even if the authors did claim something fairly surprising like “there are actually billions of planets in the universe even though our naked eye at best sees 1000”, this wouldn’t show that God probably exists. Yes, it would be surprising, and a mystery as to how they “knew” it. No, it wouldn’t follow that God exists. To figure out how they knew it would require more than just finding out that they knew it.

            We don’t know that the creation event isn’t repeatable. We only know that we don’t know of any other universe being created like ours. None of that helps us know what DID create our universe.
            We do live in a “miraculous” universe: one in which we understand many things, but not some things like what caused it all (what we know to exist in reality) to come into existence.
            As to your last argument: the one involving “fine tuning principles”. None of those principles are known to be “fine tuned”, if you mean something like “a person choose to dial up the gravity level intentionally”. What is true is that if various parameters were different, we probably wouldn’t be here. Nothing about that shows that someone chose those parameters deliberately.
            No, those parameters don’t “emphasize agency”. Feel free to prove that the existence of those parameters (gravity, etc.) make it probable that a person chose them.

          • toby says:

            Sean,

            What gives you the right to assume that life is an end goal? Why couldn’t the end goal be mass and we are just an after effect? And how do you know that he purpose of the universe isn’t 25 billion years down the road?

          • jcb says:

            Which claims? I’ve made many. Usually, when I say “X is false”, I often mean that “there isn’t evidence to show that X is true”. In this case, the parameters we know to exist (e.g. gravity) don’t thereby make it probable that an intelligent being choose that parameter over other possible ones. If you have evidence that such a being exists and did that, offer it. The existence of the parameters alone doesn’t show that such an intelligent parameter choosing being exists.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            As far as the beginning of time, see Titus 1:2-> “…a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…”. That doesn’t prove that the biblical God was the creative force at the beginning of time, but that He compellingly meets the characteristics that this creative “something” would have to have. I’ve made no argument above that. I simply provide it as one piece of evidence to consider among many: Which is what we know about the natural, known universe and its origins aligns well with the biblical descriptions of the universe, its origins, and its creative force. That’s it. No more. No less. I don’t think that’s a disagreeable point. It’s pretty clearly laid out.

            As for alternatives, there are other possible alternatives. Sure. But they’re speculations that have no observable backing. But the God of the Bible does have at least some support given the observable attributes of the origin of the universe and characteristics for the creative force understood through scientific investigation match the attributes of the universe and God in the Bible.

            Astronomer Robert Jastrow, an agnostic, writes “For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulss himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

            Astronomer Allan Sandage writes, “Here is evidence for what can only be described as a supernatural event. There is no way that this could have been predicted within the realm of physics as we know it.
            ….
            Nobel Laureate, Arno A. Penzias writes, “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.

            Therefore, the God of the Bible is, at this time, a reasonable explanation for the universe’s origin. It doesn’t prove His existence, but it is a reasonable explanation. Not only that, but what we know about the universe rules out other belief systems and creative types that would otherwise remain in the argument: Namely, pantheism, materialism/naturalism, and other pagan gods as a plausible explanation for the prime reality. To suggest, which I haven’t, that it can explain more than that though, would be silly. It’s simply one piece of the puzzle. And, as discussed, I will never be able to “prove” God completely…I do believe there’s enough there to make sense of the Judeo-Christian God on logical, personal, and social premises though, and to ultimately place your trust in Him. We’re just scratching the surface at logical though. More to come.

            I’ve written too much, so I’ll get back to fine-tuning in a later post. Cheers.

        • Sean says:

          Hey JCB,

          Sorry, I sent a response earlier, but it must not have gone through. I don’t have time to read down the rest of the thread outside of our discussion so forgive me if I hit on something you’ve already explained. Would you say that your view of “evidence” through experience is limited only to the physical and tangible, or does it extend outside of those parameters? The reason I want to get a clearer understanding for your definition is b/c you begin with the premise (and I’m paraphrasing) that you must have evidence for what you believe. What you mean by “evidence” is therefore critical to my response, esp. whether it’s supportive or critical of your argument.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            Hi again,
            Evidence can possibly of lots of kinds. If you know a kind that is relevant to this discussion, say what it is. Yes, our senses are one of those kinds.
            If you say though that my heart proves that unicorns exist, that will not seem to be a good (probable, reliable) type of evidence.
            I’m happy to answer your questions, but at some point, I hope you actually join the original conversation.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            Thanks, but I guess your definition of evidence is still fuzzy to me. My personal thoughts, right or wrong: It’s important to note that human knowledge is a complex phenomenon often referred to as philosophical epistemology (the science of knowing), offering varying degrees of stipulations that include sense experience, intuition and logic, and demonstrated evidence. Having said that, knowledge has limitations, and within every system of belief and experience we must presuppose certain things, theists and non-theists alike.

            For example, there are many who presuppose a restricted definition of knowledge, reducing everything that we could possibly know to the realm of empirical investigation. At the same time, empirical investigation almost always requires formal mathematics in its interpretation the observable world.

            Formal mathematics is a genuine science that serves as the engine for all scientific breakthroughs, but its laws and precepts are metaphysically-derived and philosophically assumed. In other words, formal mathematics is neither material in substance, nor can it be empirically proven. Its truth must be presupposed.

            Geometry, for instance, is derived from Euclid’s five postulates. Everyone presupposes that his postulates are true, but in twenty-five hundred years we haven’t discovered or worked out a way to prove them. In other words, all closed systems require something outside of its system to explain itself. Euclid’s five postulates, which we know are true cannot be proven because every system of logic or numbers derived through mathematics always rests on at least a few unprovable assumptions that must be presupposed.

            Even in science, we are faithfully making ordered, metaphysical presumptions about the world through logical inference. Which brings up another huge problem: what evidence do we have to merit our capacity for logic? The intersection between an ordered world and an ordered mind truly defies a reducible evidential explanation. We must trust that they’re comprehensible. But what best explains the mind/cosmos comprehensibility relationship? Einstein wrote that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it’s comprehensible.

            I’m paraphrasing Dallas Willard here, but knowledge really comes down to what we trust, and ultimately we trust in an authority which provides us the most coherent set of answers/assumptions we make about the deepest questions of life. To put it simply, we’re all operating on assumptions that cannot be proven in life.

            If you look at the foundations of the early, Western scientific movement you’ll see that most of them were Christians…they believed\assumed\trusted that order would be found in the universe b/c they believed in a Grand Orderer. That made their belief in science (mind/cosmos comprehensibility) logical…otherwise, we’re back at Einstein and we can only marvel at what’s otherwise illogically miraculous and incomprehensible within the scientific laws of order and comprehensibility.

            At the same time, I believe my mind and the cosmos are ordered and comprehensible b/c it makes the most logical sense that there was a higher form of intelligence informing such brilliant, beautiful, and magnificent order and comprehensibility. Otherwise, I don’t think we’d find order. I don’t think we’d find anything. Cheers.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            I keep answering your questions, so it’s odd that you keep finding my definition/use of “evidence” to be fuzzy. Again, if you want to avoid the fuzziness, why don’t you offer what your definition of it is? We might find that we agree upon it.
            Yes, we don’t know everything (our “knowledge has limitations”). That doesn’t seem to impact anything about our conversation though. Do you think it does? If so, how so?
            If one presupposed a restricted definition of knowledge, such as that gained from one’s sense of smell, one would be in error once it were discovered/shown that we have other senses that gather data usefully about the world/reality. So, if there are other ways to get knowledge about reality other than the senses, all one needs to do is to demonstrate it by whatever means one can.
            Yes, we need math for many deductions we make. Nothing I know of (nor that you offer) shows that they are “metaphysically derived”.
            Yes, there are axioms of math that are not derived from pure logic (tautologies), and thus they are “presupposed”.
            I don’t see the “huge problem” in using logic.
            I think you are saying, in many different ways, that if we keep digging, we will get to a point where we assume/presuppose, rather than have evidence for something. That’s true. You seem to rightly say that at some point, we “must trust” rather than have evidence. Of course, at all other points past that, we don’t have to trust: we have evidence.
            You then say, “knowledge really comes down to what we trust, and ultimately we trust in an authority which provides us the most coherent set of answers/assumptions we make about the deepest questions of life. To put it simply, we’re all operating on assumptions that cannot be proven in life.” This is pretty vague. What is true is that at rock bottom, we trust something that can’t be proven (like that we have senses at all). It doesn’t follow that God exists.
            Yes, most people historically assumed God existed. They were wrong, it seems. There was no need to assume that, and no evidence to assume that. And, they didn’t believe it from birth. It was not a fundamental assumption. They acquired that belief at some point, and apparently made a mistake when they did (in claiming it was true).
            We have learned that we can learn some things about the brain/mind. Thus it is “comprehensible” to some degree.
            Nothing you said shows that a “higher form of intelligence” created our world or the order in it. You say, if there were no God/higher intelligence, we wouldn’t find anything (such as order? Rocks?) You provide no evidence for this, and it appears to be false. As far as we know, there is no God, and there is (some) order the universe. The fact that there is order/regularity (to some degree) doesn’t show that a supernatural intelligence probably exists.

          • Sean Davis says:

            I probably wrote too much in my last message and then my overall message gets squirrely and it allows you lots of different points to question and discuss-> Which makes it difficult for us to communicate. My bad. My overall point in defining evidence is that it’s a difficult to ascertain what that really is and is often built on a foundation of assumptions. Reading your reply I think you got that part, even if you disagree.

            I’ll keep it simple and start with one of your arguments and ask a question: How are numbers and calculations physical and material? And if you can’t, explain to me how they’re not then formal or metaphysical. Cheers.

          • toby says:

            How are numbers and calculations physical and material?
            Sorry to butt in. They are physical in two ways. One is that they either are calculated in a brain or by electronics. The other is that numbers are placeholders for physical objects or forces. Look at any word problem in a math book for an example.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Toby, thanks for your response. I don’t think either of those examples are physical and I’ll try to explain why. You can’t go into my brain and pull out those numbers and show them to me. And the numbers on a computer screen are manually inputted by someone who is thinking about those numbers. Plus, even if you place numbers on a page…those numbers by the physical and chemical properties of the ink and paper alone don’t convey the semiotic meaning that we acknowledge. Cheers.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            I did agree that some issues are hard to resolve. I also agreed that people make assumptions, and that not all things can be proven/can be derived from mere tautologies. I then pointed out that none of that seems to prove that God exists.
            You keep asking questions. That’s not horrible. But if you know the answers, offer them. It will speed up the process.
            You seem to want to make the following argument:
            1. Numbers “exist” (undefined, unexplained, unproven).
            2. Thus immaterial things exist (even though “immaterial” means “not material”, and thus you have not pointed to any existing thing in saying that).
            3. Thus God, another immaterial thing, exists. (Non Sequitur)
            If you aren’t doing anything like that, just ignore it, and say what you are trying to show here.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            Thanks for your reply. My point is that none of our belief systems are purely-evidence driven, including your beliefs about evidence. My argument is that you’re beginning your argument to say you can only rely on “evidence” alone. But that premise is defeated by its own premise. You cannot prove that premise.

            Having said that, I do feel I have evidence for God, but I don’t think it will ever be incontrovertible to the cynic, but perhaps the skeptic. After all, I was very skeptical for most of my life. I didn’t become a Christian until I was 30. My initial evidence was a drastic change in my dad…His entire personality changed after they moved and he started going to church. He had an indescribable peace to him that I’d never seen before. He also started volunteering at a hospital…granted, they’re are plenty of volunteers out their and people who are doing good things out there that aren’t Christians, but for my Dad to do something like that was a drastic change in his personality. I was also going through a lot of issues in my own life at the time…I honestly was ignorant of how self-centered I was-> I thought I was in control of my life, but I wasn’t. I was like a ship out to see with no rudder to steer and no islands around to know my bearings. I started having anxiety attacks, first after smoking weed, but then I quit the weed and still had them. I couldn’t believe they were happening to me to be honest with you…I used to hear of people having nervous breakdowns and panic attacks and I thought it was unfathomable and a sign of weakness. But when I started having them I was kind of in a shameful state of disbelief, but nevertheless couldn’t stop them. I cleaned up my act, started working out, stopped partying, tried to sleep better, but they persisted. I realized how little control I actually had in my life, but also how little I’d always had…how dependent I was on others approval (even if I acted like I didn’t), how dependent I was on proving something about myself- how consumed I was by that. I still remember sitting in my La-z-boy one night and thinking about what it all meant- when you start to have something like anxiety attacks you begin to ask the deep, penetrating questions about life that are often in the background and that we ignore. And I remember asking “what does my life in the end actually mean”…you see, anxiety attacks make your chest feel really uncomfortable…you don’t know if you’re on the verge of a heart attack and that this could end up being fatal. So as I was asking these questions my thoughts went a little darker and I pictured myself dying, in a box six feet under ground, and then disintegrating to nothingness. At that moment, I broke into another anxiety attack that lasted for hours. I could just not get calm. Those attacks lasted for about 6 months of my life. I was about 30 (almost 15 years ago). One night, I think with my dad’s changes in mind (as well as the changes of a few other family members), I went to my knees and I prayed. I remember saying something that I realized at that point that I had lost control and maybe the control I thought I had of my life was an illusion. I said something like “I don’t know for sure if you’re real or not, but I need your help…if you’re real and you can help me out of this I will forever follow you. At that moment, I broke down and when I say I broke down I don’t mean I had a few tears stream down my face. It was like niagra falls, which was surprising b/c I generally had a grip on those kinds of emotions. At the same time, it was an incredible feeling. It felt like a huge weight I’d been holding onto was dropped…it was very freeing. Up to that point, I’d been having a lot of trouble sleeping, but that night I dropped like a stone the moment I hit the sheets. And the next morning I woke up feeling good. I still had a few lingering anxiety attacks, but for all intents and purposes, they didn’t affect me the same way after that and they dissipated until after about a month they were gone altogether (minus a very few random ones over the next 2 years). I was blown away, man. And it wasn’t just the anxiety attacks that were gone. I felt like I just saw things differently…I wasn’t consumed inwardly, but saw people for the first time. I saw a lot of them now struggling like me and I felt true compassion for them. My approach and motivation to work changed…suddenly I felt more a sense of purpose in the tasks, and the interactions and relationships. I started going to church to find out more about what I was experiencing and I was lucky to find that there was a small group that met for bible studies at my work. A bunch of Korean guys that welcomed me (a white guy) with open arms…the first one I went to was John 15- The vine and the branches. That story spoke to me and has kind of become a life verse to me. I’m not perfect. I can still be selfish, self-centered, impatient, proud…but the lens of my life are still changed and I still have a sense of enduring peace and hope about the bigger picture. So that’s my subjective evidence. I have to share that with others. But what’s even more surprising, is that my story doesn’t exist on an island. I’ve heard countless upon countless testimonies that have strong and eery similarities to mind. So that’s one piece of evidence that I can’t ignore. The experiential. I have several more: from scientific, philosophical, psychological, moral-> but none of them will get you there on there own. You see, I believe Romans 1 that says deep down you already know. Looking back, I think I always knew. But we can discuss some of the other evidence as well. If you listened this far, thank you for taking the time to let me share my story. Cheers.

          • Sean Davis says:

            My apologies for all the typos. A little review and editing goes a long way. Doh. And I broke one of my cardinal rules. “There” not “their”. Boooo:)

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            So it seems your points don’t affect any of my points. I did not begin my argument saying “you can only relay on evidence alone”. I have said throughout that ultimately there are assumptions, that everything cannot be traced back to necessary truths. Nothing about that proves God, nor disproves Atheism.
            Right, so now at last you say you have evidence for God. As I’ve asked, please offer it. Then we could discuss whether or not it is “good”: makes the conclusion “God exists” probable.
            I’ve heard many stories such as yours. They are interesting, but they don’t seem to show that a perfect in all ways being (God) exists.
            I sometimes have similar anxiety attacks when I realize I won’t live forever. But that doesn’t show that God probably exists. Usually I am sensible enough to realize that such worries don’t accomplish anything, and I move on. I think for some people, they are unable to cope with that dread, and so they tell themselves falsehoods.
            I’m glad you managed to find peace and calmness. But it doesn’t show that God probably exists.
            Yes, believing in God does help some find “purpose”, strength, motivation, etc.
            Yes, your testimony is evidence. But it doesn’t show that God probably exists.
            Yes, many theists say that everyone knows God exists. But that’s false. That also explains why theists rarely try to prove it. They just assert it.
            Again, I’m glad you arrived at a positive place. But it doesn’t show that God probably exists. (Nor would a person who prayed to “Zeus”, then the person felt better, show that Zeus probably exists).
            I think you would be wiser to say, “something” was going on, given that you prayed and then felt better. But that something isn’t known to be an all perfect being, it seems.
            Cheers, JCB

          • Sean says:

            Hey JCB,

            You wrote, “I did not begin my argument saying ‘you can only relay on evidence alone’. I have said throughout that ultimately there are assumptions, that everything cannot be traced back to necessary truths. Nothing about that proves God, nor disproves Atheism.” (end quote).

            —I can’t help thinking that’s a circular statement. If not, can you explain how it isn’t? I’m not sure you can get ultimately trust anything if you live your life on the basis of “proof” arguments. “Proof” arguments won’t get you to God, just as it won’t get you to the essential questions about life:
            – “who we are”;
            – “how we got here”;
            – “why we’re here”,
            – “what we’re supposed to do while we’re here”;
            – and “where we are going.

            –Dismissing those kinds of questions for “lack of proof” would be deeply counter-intuitive b/c they’re so essential to the psyche of the human experience. Consciously or subconsciously, we’re interacting with those questions on a daily basis- and the answers we assume will inform and direct our engagement with this world. We all not only trust in something, but we want to trust in something. You wouldn’t be on this site arguing different positions and points if you didn’t. It’s important to you, just as it’s important to me.

            — I’m still striving to understand what you would constitute as “evidence”. From what I’ve gathered from your explanation, I believer your definition would be filtered through only “what is observable and repeatable”. Would that be correct? Edit/update as you see fit.

            —-And I’ve asked you something, so it’s only fair that I respond to what you’ve asked of me (You asked me for more evidence). Again, I believe that we all live on certain assumptions about life-> My trust in God informs my worldview perspective. And through His Word, I understand God to be Spirit and transcendent. His explanation therefore isn’t like Zeus (Greek gods were all made in the image of man, understood within the cosmic realm) but the God of the Bible transcends real world/cosmos, and therefore He transcends the observable and empirical. Unlike Zeus, He isn’t a separate, super-powered being within this world, but He is BEING itself from which we all, live, move, and have our being (Acts 27:28).

            —-Along the same lines, He can’t be discerned through the laws of science b/c He is understood to be the foundational Creator and governor of those laws from which we can observe and make sense of the world. CS Lewis said it well: “Men became scientific b/c they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature b/c they expected a lawgiver.” Evidence of God can only be inferred there- Faith in God isn’t at odds with science b/c the God of the Bible was fundamentally influential to the pioneers of modern science. In other words, the intelligibility of the universe and the effectiveness of mathematics and reason are perfectly reasonable if there was an intelligent agent responsible for the universe and human mind (Lennox).

            — At the same time, the story of Jesus is the true intersection point where the supernatural emerges into the physical, natural world. His teachings and parables are still reviewed, rehearsed, exercised, and cherished to this day. I feel that’s pretty strong evidence- where did all of His teachings come from? People in the Scriptures were amazed by what He said just as they are today. It’s revolutionary. Not only that, but most psychologists conclude that Jesus was not only sane, but perhaps one of the sanest people on the planet (Ortberg). Which is difficult to comprehend if He wasn’t God, b/c Jesus proclaimed that He was God incarnate. He healed people and performed miracles as signs, but His ultimate sign was professing that He would die but then rise again in 3 days.

            —Paul, a former persecutor of the early Christians who was transformed by a real-life encounter with the risen Christ, said that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, then our faith is “worthless” (1 Cor. 15). And he’s right. If it’s true though, and I think there’s strong historical testimony and forensic evidence that it is, then nobody can say that God didn’t come here Himself to warn us. He not only did that, but much, much more. He stood before all of the evil in the world and proclaimed the truth of love. And as prophesied (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22), He was rejected by all, shamed/ridiculed, isolated, tortured, and killed. We just didn’t know that He was doing all of that in love, taking upon his shoulders the burden of punishment we deserved.

            —There is a lot of evidence surrounding His death and resurrection. Cross-Examined actually did a great summary post on all of them. One of them that I found most astounding comes from NT Wright and Richard Baukham. WHY would thousands of Jews leave their faith and do a complete turnaround on their cultural beliefs. Granted, these faiths are linked together, but the covenant requirements of both were radically different. For a Jew to abandon the most sacred of his cultural beliefs and obediences at that time is inconceivable UNLESS people witnessed Jesus after He rose from the dead. Even more, many of the disciples willingly being tortured and ultimately dying for this belief when they very easily could have recanted to save their own lives. Paul doing a complete 180 from a Jewish man of high respect that was killing Christians to leading Christians through countless beatings, imprisonments, and ultimately His death. Then James, Jesus’ brother doing a 180-turnaround. What happened??? The resurrection event is the signature moment in history that serves as the authoritative authentication to His identity, His will, and His ways to a lost, fallen, and dying world.

            Anyway, there’s a lot there. I’ll stop while I’m sure I’ve already exhausted and lost you:) Cheers, brother. I hope to continue this conversation. Take care.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            What’s the statement of mine that you think is circular? And what’s the problem with that? (You might be thinking of a circular argument. A statement by itself isn’t an argument).
            Your summary is “I’m not sure you can get ultimately trust anything (sp?) if you live your life on the basis of “proof” arguments.”. That’s hard to follow. What are you saying there? If you are saying I can’t trust anything, that’s false. If you are saying, if I try to proof things, things I can’t trust anything, that’s also false.
            Arguments could get you to God, if they were good arguments. (And for many, bad arguments get them to wrongly believe in God).
            Evidence, what you seem to be calling “proof” arguments, do answer more/most/perhaps all of the questions we have answered: what makes people sick, how to build buildings without falling down, etc.
            Sure, there are questions that aren’t fully answered still (and there probably always will be): What exactly created life (4 billion years ago), etc. That isn’t relevant to anything I’ve said, it seems.
            There is nothing we are “supposed” to be doing, in any deep, cosmic, godly sense.
            I’m not dismissing your deep questions. But if there is a lack of evidence, that means we don’t have probable answers to them, at least not yet.
            Yes, such questions are interesting to many people. For some people, they are so interesting that they make up false answers to them. For some of them, having answers to such questions is indeed “essential to (their) psyche”. That is, they can’t cope without answers, even if the answers aren’t based in reality.
            Yes, we all trust in something. And some people trust in things that are unlikely to be reliable guides to reality.
            I said that one kind of evidence is that which is observable and repeatable. Whether there are other types of evidence is open for discussion. You seem to think there are, but refuse to say what they are.
            We do all live on certain assumptions. That doesn’t show that all of them are equally reasonable. If you assume that everything I say is true, then when I say unicorns exist, you should conclude it is true. But in fact, that assumption is false, unreasonable, etc. Trusting in God/the Bible is like that. Yes, if the Bible is right about everything, then certain other things follow. But we shouldn’t assume the Bible is right about everything (nor assume that I am right about everything).
            The God the Greeks speak of is claimed to be observable, and that’s why it is easier to say it doesn’t exist. The God of Christians is supposedly not observable, which make it harder to say it doesn’t exist, but it also makes it harder to say that it DOES exist! But just as we don’t know there to be a guy in the sky who holds lightning bolts, we don’t know there to be a transcendent, all powerful being/person/god.
            So yes, if you define God as a being beyond the access of science, it looks like we don’t know that any such being/person exists.
            The “law” of gravity exists. Something probably led to that effect working regularly in the universe. Nothing we know of did create/cause it.
            “Faith in God isn’t at odds with science b/c the God of the Bible was fundamentally influential to the pioneers of modern science.” This doesn’t follow.
            “the intelligibility of the universe and the effectiveness of mathematics and reason are perfectly reasonable if there was an intelligent agent responsible for the universe and human mind (Lennox).” True, but irrelevant. That fact that the universe can be discussed reasonably, using mathematics, doesn’t make it probably that a supernatural, intelligent agent created the universe or the human mind.
            The story of Jesus doesn’t “intersect” with the supernatural. If Jesus was a human being, then the fact that he claims to be connected to the supernatural in a particular way fails to show that he probably is.
            That people still talk about Jesus and God is not strong evidence for God/the supernatural. Historical documents, along with everything we know about reality from the sciences, such as biology and archaeology, do show that a person named Jesus probably existed 2000 years ago.
            If Jesus thought he was talking to God, it doesn’t look like he was sane. I’m sure you can cherry pick some psychologists who say otherwise, but the evidence doesn’t seem to back them up, (and I’m sure there are other psychologists who would disagree.)
            Jesus probably didn’t heal people with any supernatural aid, if he healed them at all.
            Yes, Christ probably didn’t rise from the dead (as if he had been cremated).
            There is not strong scientific evidence that shows that he probably did. There is 2000 year old human testimony, vs. everything else we know about how the world operates, which shows that the 2000 year old story is improbable.
            Offering a message of love is great/loving. That’s the best thing about Jesus.
            The evidence for the resurrection is weak, when all the evidence is considered. Most theists only want to consider the evidence that works in their favor.
            So to summarize:
            Jesus probably didn’t resurrect (as if cremated: meaning, a really improbable action)
            God isn’t know to probably exist.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hey JCB,

            Thanks for replying. I don’t have time to get to everything, but I think I got your example of what you’re looking for as “proof” now. Something that’s observable and repeatable. I will respond to that soon.

            I think the argument I used with Lennox shouldn’t be discounted so quickly when evaluating the alternative. After all, what makes more sense: That our rational capacity to interact and investigate an order and rational cosmos is a chance occurrence? Or that their amazing intersection has been intentional. I think the latter makes more sense and is a strong argument. Again, not proof…but a strong argument.

            Secondly, I believe the resurrection accounts of Jesus are very strong, but you disagree. 500 people witnessing Jesus alive-> That’s one of the earliest recognized attestations about Jesus. It’s the key message for all of Christianity. There are also 2 prophecies Jesus left us with that also serve as good arguments. The destruction of Jerusalem was predicted by Jesus; and the spreading of Christianity throughout the world even unto Jesus’ death. And finally, the fact that so many Jews at that time converted. Giving up their old covenant cultural traditions seemingly overnight is another strong argument for the resurrection. You can strike them up all as coincidences, but I think the deeper you look into that question you should be swayed one way or another. At the same time, if your definition of “proof” is what is observable and repeatable (a dated philosophical construction that gained a strong resurgence precedence out of the Enlightenment) then you will never believe that Jesus rose from the dead. It’s a mute point.

            I’ll state some other points that may give creedence to Christianity as rational:
            1) If there is no life after death there is no real hope in life. “Everything is ultimately meaningless”.
            2) If there is no God then there is no objective standard from which to attribute meaning and justification for anything. Ethics is out the window, but so is our rationality. If our rationality is a chance occurrence then we have no reason to really trust it. But I believe rationality and morality are very real things, even though they’re invisible, abstract concepts. Not only that, but they’re essential to life and have meaning only if there is an infinite and transcendent reference point (Sartre).
            3) No ultimate meaning in life without God. You’re here by a chance occurrence- Your origin is blind and accidental, your life is ultimately meaningless with no teleological purpose or point, and it will ultimately end in oblivion with no significance to anything throughout the echoes of our blind universe. I don’t believe this though…I believe your life is rich with meaning, you were created for a reason, you are loved, and all of this points to something greater. You can discount that, but I think that would mean you’d be denying deep down what you believe about yourself. But without God, those feelings HAVE to be dismissed and discounted…you have to ignore the existential default setting of meaning that we all ultimately have.
            4) No free will without God. Your decision-making is no more than reactions between the physical and natural aspects of your body. Again, I think you’d have to discount and disregard something that you know deep down about yourself. That you do make decisions and feel responsible, good or bad, for those decisions.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            We have the capacity to investigate the world, etc. It doesn’t follow that we God probably exists. You lower you conclusion to something like “an intentional being exists” (that caused us to have the capacity to investigate the world). That doesn’t follow either with probability. We don’t know that to be likely, although it is possible. Your summary is “that makes more sense”. I don’t agree that it has been shown that because we can investigate, a supernatural intentional being exists. (it’s not a “strong” argument, as far as I can tell).
            My choices are not: either chance led me to be able to investigate, or a supernatural intentional being (SIB) did. My choices are: either an intentional thing did, or a non-intentional thing did. At this point, in regard to the ultimate cause of the universe, we don’t know which of those is probable.
            The resurrection accounts are evidence, but not evidence that makes it probable that Jesus was resurrected as if cremated (an amazing miracle). If 500 people swore they saw George Washington jump to the moon, they were probably mistaken. You are overlooking the fact that the initial improbability of rising from the dead after clear bodily death (such as when you are cremated) is at least 1 billion to 1. These very old witness accounts are not more likely to be accurate than this implausibility. What would change that? People resurrecting more regularly, and/or our understanding how that is possible.
            The same mistake is at work with prophecies. We know that people basically are unable to predict the far future with great accuracy (as opposed to the near future with some accuracy). Given that known fact, if we then wonder if someone actually made such a prediction accurately 2000 years ago, the answer is, probably not. It is more probable that the “prediction” was made after the fact. Yes, it doesn’t seem to be the case that it was made after the fact, but it is even more unlikely that a person was able to make an accurate and precise prediction far into the future.
            There’s a pattern here: you cite many pieces of evidence that support your conclusion. You seem to cite nothing discredits your conclusion. Example:
            1. Many Jews converted: this adds to your conclusion
            2. You fail to mention that many did not convert: this works against your conclusion.
            You can’t have it such that no evidence counts against your conclusion, but some evidence counts for your conclusion. (That’s an unfair/double standard).
            That people seemed to convert overnight shows mostly that they believed, not that Jesus actually was resurrected.
            We can settle this issue right now: ask Jesus to come down today and perform more miracles like a resurrection. That would surely get the ball rolling in the right direction of proving your claim. I would put money on it that Jesus is not going to do that.
            If Jesus/God refuses to do such an easy thing for him, then he probably isn’t Jesus/God/doesn’t exist.
            Everything IS ultimately meaningless. (the Key word being “ultimately”). Nothing shows that it isn’t. You are engaging in wishful thinking: most of us wish life lasted longer, and had more “meaning”.
            There is no God, and no godly standard. There are other (human) standards of course by which to call things mean, nice, kind, loving, fair, etc. So no, ethics is not out the window. Even without god, there is kindness and meanness. Even without God, there is rationality. Even without God, our use of reason often works in predicting the future, spelling words accurately, etc. We have plenty of reason to use it and to say that it works.
            Morality is not an invisible thing. If it isn’t something like kindness, then should define your term/explain your meaning, and show that it exists.
            My actions have meaning to me and some others even though there is no God/transcendent reference point.
            The main problem here is that nothing shows God to exist. This is at best lamentations about what happens if God does not exist. If it weren’t you would say, “if God doesn’t exist, then not X. But X exists (and then show it), thus God exists.” But there is no such proof, it seems.
            Yes, there is no ultimate/godly meaning in life. Yes there is no eternal life. Nothing shows otherwise.
            Yes in many ways I am here due to forces I didn’t choose/control, what you call “chance”.
            Yes, our lives are “ultimately” meaningless: in a billion years, there will be no living creatures, and no one will be around to care/have meaning/have things matter to them.
            Yes, few people want to have short lives, but that’s what the facts show. To deny this is to engage in wishful thinking.
            Our lives do have meaning, just not eternal meaning (meaning to someone in a billion years).
            I am not denying anything real, it seems. If I am, please show that to be the case.
            We do not have a God/Eternal meaning default. Perhaps you mean, many people falsely believe that we have godly/eternal meaning.
            There is nothing about God that would then give us free will. Yes, our decision making is the result of prior events. Nothing shows that because I “seem” to be free (and seem to make choices), that prior forces aren’t at play, nor that God exists because of these appearances.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            I would put money on it that Jesus is not going to do that.
            .
            You will be wrong then one day. Of course your money at that point will be worthless. Bold emphasis added by me.
            .
            1 Corinthians 15:51-52 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
            .
            Revelation 20:4 Then I saw the thrones, and those seated on them had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image, and had not received its mark on their foreheads or hands. And they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
            .
            .
            Miracles are by definition rare and may appear to be NOT probable. However; this does NOT by in anyway make them impossible. If they happened all the time they would NOT be miracles just everyday occurrences. Jesus’ miracles fall into 4 distinct categories : 1. power over nature, 2. power over sickness, 3. power over death, and 4. power over demons. I will not go and find the verses that prove these 4 points but they are in the Bible in multiple spots.
            .
            .
            If people were resurrected every day you would dismiss Jesus’ resurrection as no big deal because it happens all the time. How do I know this because you continue to deny the evidence that I and others have already provided. Sad to see you continue to confuse and delude yourself by continuing to conflate ideas on probability when you have had it explained to you previously.

          • Sean Davis says:

            I’m sorry JCB,
            .
            I opened the discussion with too many points again, which makes it difficult to maintain a sustained discussion. I would like to go back and stick to the first thing you asked me about when you asked what about your argument was “circular”? You were right, actually- It was less a circular argument and more what I believe is a logical contradiction. Sorry. Here it is->
            .
            —You wrote that, “I did not begin my argument saying ‘you can only rely on evidence alone’. I have said throughout that ultimately there are assumptions, that everything cannot be traced back to necessary truths. Here you and I agree. “Necessary” truths, philosophically speaking, reduce things to what is necessary for being. That’s either some form of Creator (“God”); or blind, natural, material forces (no Creator, no God-> Atheism). So here, you acknowledge that we can’t get to these positions with any absolute certainty.
            .
            —But then you write, “Nothing about that proves God, nor disproves Atheism.” I agree with that statement along as well-> but you begin using “proof” as a form of argument again after we’ve both already conceded how that’s an insufficient means for ascertaining necessary truths with certainty (such as God or Atheism).
            .
            —We also agree that there is evidence to explore these questions. But if your case against Christianity or even Deism is built solely on proof centered on what is observable and repeatable in this universe, then again it sounds like we both also agree-> you’ll never get there with any absolute certainty.
            .
            —Having said that I can give you evidence as arguments that I feel help tilt the scales when you look at all of them together, but it seems like your rebuttals always swing back to “proof” as in solely what’s observable and repeatable in the material world. If that’s the case, we’ll be here all day like an Abbott and Costello routine:)
            .
            —As I wrote earlier, knowledge really comes down to what we trust, and ultimately we trust in an authority which provides us the most coherent set of answers/assumptions we make about the deepest questions of life (authority). To put it simply, we’re all operating on assumptions that cannot be proven in life with any absolute certainty. CS Lewis put it in a more clever way, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” You trust or believe in something first, then you observe, experience, and operate it…it’s actually the same way real science is done. Like CS Lewis, I’ve live life outside of trusting God (relying on myself), and I’ve handed my life over to Him, trusting Him as the absolute authority. And the latter has made all of the difference.
            .
            —I wrote some other stuff pertaining to “necessary truth” as well as “meaning”, but I’ll hold onto them for now so we can discuss particular point further. If I don’t hear from you, have a great weekend. Cheers. Looking forward to continuing our discussion.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            A quick question: what do you think of theist Mark Heavlin’s “contributions” to this discussion?
            Back to our discussion:
            So you say I’ve said two contradictory things, right? I still can’t see what that is. Can you put it in simple terms, like I said A and then not A?
            Also, if I have done such a thing, can you state which of those two options you think is true? It may be that I agree with that option, and then this whole issue would be irrelevant.
            As to that “contradiction” you seem to see: you say “we can’t get to these positions with any absolute certainty.
            And then your objection is that I do assert that we can get to these positions with absolute certainty? I don’t see anywhere where I asserted that second part.
            So to clarify: A = A is a tautology, a necessary truth. Cats exist is a contingent statement: not a necessary truth. Most of what we are talking about involves contingent statements.
            I asserted “nothing disproves atheism”. I’m not claiming that to be necessarily true. I’m claiming it to be probably true, as far as I know. If you know of something that does disprove it, please offer it.
            You then say, and I agree, that we won’t be proving Christianity, nor atheism, with absolute certainty.
            Yes, you offered evidence, and I gave reasons why the evidence doesn’t show your conclusion to be probable. An indicator of a problem with your argument, it seems, is that you say that you “feel” that your evidence “helps” tilt the scales. That’s pretty vague and wispy. I would agree that your evidence adds to the scales. I don’t think you’ve shown that your evidence tilts the scales making God’s existence probable.
            Knowledge and trust are usually not the same thing. If you trust that the Harry Potter books are all true, you would be wrong. The point I think you are missing is that even though we do trust things, most things we trust can be tested (like our trust in doctors). What you are right about is that if there is something we can’t help but assume, then we must assume it. However, there is little that we must assume. That Christianity is all true is not something we must assume.
            Again, I agreed that we are all operating on assumptions that cannot be proven with absolute certainty. It doesn’t follow that all beliefs are equally reasonable, nor that all assumptions one makes are equally reasonable. (See the Harry Potter point above).
            Believing in Christianity seems hardly at all like believing that the sun has risen. We see the latter every day in a way that we clearly do not see God every day. No, one did not first need to trust in the sun rising. What one did have to first trust is that we have senses at all. But that kind of assumption, assuming we have senses, seems unavoidable for us.
            So I assume I have senses, even though using the senses to prove them would beg the question, because it is unavoidable to not assume that, and nothing seems to show that I should reject that.
            Some theists, and you might be one of them, argue like this:
            1. Our beliefs are not all derived from tautologies.
            2. Hence at some point we make assumptions that are unproven.
            3. Since X makes unproven assumptions, Y can reasonably make unproven assumptions.
            4. Y assumes God exist, or Aliens love pie, or Cats don’t exist.
            5. Y is just as reasonable as the one who asserts that Cats exist.
            Using this logic, all views are always equal, assuming the clever person says “that’s my assumption!”
            So, I still see nothing that shows that God probable exists, nor that any of my (important) prior claims are false.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hi JCB,

            I’ll try to put it more simply:

            1) You agree that nothing can be ultimately proven;
            2) You demand proof (defining proof by what’s observable and repeatable).

            Those statements refute one another. It’s not a circular argument, but if you logically begin with those concessions you will remain stuck in a loop. It’s impossible to get out of, no matter what perspective or position you claim about the big questions concerning reality and the human condition. Ultimately you must “trust” some sense of authority-> Whether it be God, Humanity, Society, self, the material/natural world for an explanation to those answers. What do you believe?

            As far as the CS Lewis quote is concerned, the wisdom he’s conveying is in the last part of the quote. It’s very similar to Soren Kierkegaard’s “leap of faith” position, and I hadn’t thought about it-> but it aligns nicely with my point about “trusting” an authority. Lewis is saying that in trusting Christ he can make sense with the rest of the world…but it only becomes clear after he’s trusted him. Cheers.

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            To clarify: contingent statements, like “cats exist”, can’t be proven to be necessarily true/necessary truths/tautologies.
            Some things can be “ultimately”/necessarily true: tautologies like If A is true, then A is true.
            So, just as one might ask for (not “demand”) proof that Bigfoot exists, one might ask for proof that God exists. It doesn’t (yet) matter if the proof is of a different sort. The important thing is that to say that each is true is to show that there is evidence (of any sort) that makes them probable.
            No, I didn’t say that proof can only be observable and repeatable. But it is true that
            1. This is often the best/most reliable proof.
            2. You didn’t seem to offer a different type of evidence that makes your conclusion probable.
            So the above statements do not refute each other.
            So I see no loop that I’m stuck in. I think your mistake is that you appeal to a non-scientific type of evidence (your personal, internal experience/feeling?) and then assume without justification that this makes God probable.
            Again, your non-scientific argument seems to be something like:
            1. I trust in (my feeling).
            2. My feelings are not subject to science.
            3. My feelings tell me God exists.
            4. Thus God probably exists.

            4 doesn’t follow from the others, nor did anything you said seem to show that 4 is true.
            I believe cats (and similar things) exist, and the evidence that we have shows them to probably exist, and will probably exist tomorrow.
            A leap of faith: believing without evidence, is the worst thing we can usually do. Yes, we sometimes have to do it, but almost never.
            Trusting without verifying, if one can, is usually a mistake.
            Your last line suggests that if one “trusted” God, the person would then be given evidence that God exists. I see no evidence of this. And if you allow it, I will “trust” God, and then if he doesn’t show up, will you agree he doesn’t exist? If you aren’t so willing, it doesn’t look like you are running a fair test. If God does show up, I will say so.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @Sean – I have had this very same argument with JCB almost 2 months running now.
            Mostly he continues to confuse and/or delude himself by conflating multiple ideas that are contradictory.
            .
            JCB: “No, I didn’t say that proof can only be observable and repeatable. But it is true that 1. This is often the best/most reliable proof.”
            .
            Hummmmmm, Stone cold busted and without excuse. So every day when the sun comes up and sets you continue to deny the TRUTH. Don’t know how you are going to get more repeatable than that.
            .
            Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world GOD’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.

          • Sean Davis says:

            Hi JCB,

            No, my point was that everyone “trusts” a certain authority for ultimate proof. We have no way of getting to those proofs through only what’s observable and repeatable though. For example, we can never define energy, we can never understand how mathematics works, we can’t prove the cause of the universe, and we can’t prove through evidence how life came to be on this planet, we can’t define or understand the source for the laws of the universe (like gravity). We can explain them and describe what they do. But we can’t ascertain their essence. Also, several of those, like the creation of the universe and the creation of life aren’t observable and repeatable instances.
            ….
            As for the CS Lewis quote, before I came to Christ I had a much different perspective with the foundations to my beliefs shaping a completely different worldview that affected my thoughts, attitude, behaviors and attitudes in all kinds of different ways. It wasn’t until I trusted God and followed Him that I saw things in a completely different light. Your core beliefs about the world will shape/reshape everything else that you experience in a certain light. CS Lewis is sharing how that once he adopted the Christian worldview as his core belief system it gave light to everything else in his life experience. I endorse that sentiment through my own experience.

            The main thing I’ve been trying understand you is what you would classify as evidence. And from all of your examples for evidence, as well as what I’ve read about what you’re negating, it sounds a lot like you’ll only approve of what’s observable and repeatable. You ask me to provide more examples, but I’m really trying to find where you draw the line b/c I think that’ll make all the difference in how we can communicate more effectively with one another in a meaningful way.

            If your only way of approval for ascertaining God’s existence is through a popular form of the scientific method that seeks only what is observable and repeatable in the natural world, then I feel we can end the discussion b/c that’ll be like putting a square peg in a round hole. Sir Peter Medawar famously wrote, “The existence of a limit to science is, however, made clear by its inability to answer childlike elementary questions having to do with first and last things- Questions such as “How did everything begin? What are we all here for? What is the point of living?

            John Lennox puts it this way: “If you take the view as Hawking did and Dawkins does that the scientific method is the only way to truth, then you tend deny the validity of “why” questions of purpose. In doing so, you leave yourself in a very small universe.

            But if your open to more inferences to the best explanation, I think Christianity makes the greatest sense in every way- logically, emotionally, and through experience. If you’re open to those than we can actually begin:) It requires putting all facets of life into their proper perspective and then clarity begins to permeate. I truly believe in that and I’ll try my best to explain it to you if you’re somewhat open to it. I’d love to try. Not trying to win an argument, but trying to open you up to the possibility of an all powerful and all-loving God who is waiting for you to let Him in to your life. Cheers- Sean

          • jcb says:

            Hi Sean,
            Yes, I keep saying, and we all agree, that everyone trusts something, and makes assumptions. No, I don’t think this fact helps prove God, nor do I think you’ve shown that it does.
            As I demonstrated before, just because everyone “trusts” something (“a certain authority”), it doesn’t follow that all such trusting is wise/rational/equally reasonable, etc..
            It is false that “we can never define ‘energy’”.
            It is false that we don’t understand how math works. (If that’s true, explain what it is to “understand” it.)
            Yes, it is true that we can’t (now) prove what probably caused the universe. It doesn’t follow that saying “God did it” is reasonable/likely, etc.
            So, you are right: there are some things we can’t (yet) prove/show to be probable. But none of this shows that God probably exists.
            So: we seem to agree on lots of facts. But none of those facts prove God, it seems.
            Right: the creation of our universe is not (as far as we know how to do it) repeatable. Again, nothing about that shows that religious belief is reasonable/God probable exists. (Perhaps you should say what is entailed, in your opinion, by this truth we agree upon.)
            Basically, I’m wondering whether there is evidence you know of, that you can offer me, that will prove that God exists. It seems there is not.
            If your evidence is your personal opinion/internal experience, then it seems you have also proven that all other gods exist, as other people have the same evidence as yours.
            You keep trying to say that I will only approve of what’s observable. I keep saying I’m open to other things. But the other things that you offer are not things that make probable your conclusion. If personal testimony/intuition, etc. is enough prove a claim, then all other gods are proven to exist. If your evidence is something else that I haven’t identified, please say what it is, clearly.
            It seems to me that you want to say God exists, but isn’t a matter of scientific evidence, but is a matter of some other type of evidence, but that evidence only proves God, and not some contrary god, (like the Muslim or Hindu god). It doesn’t look like you’ve done this.
            So: what’s your standard for proving God? It looks like a standard that can and does prove virtually anything that people claim to be true.
            So again, I am open to other ways of proving things, but the other way you are suggesting doesn’t look like one that makes your conclusion probable, nor does it look like you are using it consistently, and it looks like your method can be used (by, say, me) to prove that your assertion is wrong (b/c internally somehow my intuition has non-scientific evidence that you are wrong).
            I am open to inferences to best explanation. But that’s a vague phrase. You haven’t shown facts that make God the best/probable explanation for them.
            I’m open to your possibility. I’m waiting for you to show that it is a probability (likely).
            -JCB

        • toby says:

          As far as the beginning of time, see Titus 1:2-> “…a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…”. That doesn’t prove that the biblical God was the creative force at the beginning of time, but that He compellingly meets the characteristics that this creative “something” would have to have.
          How do you know that that verse is literal vs a creative writing device?

          Reply
        • jcb says:

          Hi Sean,
          You keep saying “X is the case, but it doesn’t prove God”. Well, that’s what I’ve been saying.
          You then add, for no clear reason, that the Christian God is described as having some of the characteristics that we know to exist. (For example: “the cause of the universe is prior to the universe. And that’ s what the Christian God is too!”)
          Then you say, just “consider” it. Sure I will. But we still haven’t proven your God.
          Yes, there are many hypotheses for the creating thing of the universe. No, we don’t know yours to be probable. Yes, others are speculations. So is yours. No, yours is not the only one to have claims of “observable backing”.
          Jastrow is right about this: we don’t know everything. Jastrow is wrong in claiming that the final stage of science is to be greeted by theologians/god, etc.
          Yes, is supernatural means something beyond our current known natural world, there probably is something supernatural. That fails to show that it is the God you describe.
          Penzias is wrong that people who had just the Bible would have predicted “exactly”! the data of the Big Bang.
          So no, the God of the Bible is not a reasonable explanation. It is a possible one. It is not probable. Its existence is not proven P1, nor P2.
          What we know about the universe “rules out” a perfect god.
          But we don’t know hardly anything about the creating thing of the universe. You are being too hasty in thinking we have learned what probably caused it.
          Yes, other explanations are poor also. But yours is not probable, simply because others (materialism, etc.) are not probable.

          Reply
      • Mark Heavlin says:

        @JCB –
        “Yes, Jesus said many things. Some are true, some are false.”
        “No, Jesus is not actively, currently, keeping any commitments.”
        .
        Well at least you do not have to be worried about being burned at the stake as this is clearly heresy.
        .
        JESUS CHRIST – Born of the Virgin Mary; Lived a sinless life; Suffered, Crucified and Died for the sins of the whole world; Resurrected on the third day; Ascended into heaven currently seated at the right hand of GOD the FATHER and also preparing a place for the saints; Coming again as The KING of Kings.
        .
        You should not speak of things that you do not know.

        Reply
        • jcb says:

          As usual, you offer no probable evidence to show the truth of your claims nor the falsity of mine.
          I speak of what I do know. If you know differently, prove it. But you don’t prove it. So it looks like you don’t know of what you speak of.

          Reply
          • Susan says:

            I don’t believe your claim to want evidence is genuine. You come here to force your worldview on people who do not accept your assumptions and doing that is meddling.

            Christianity is based in part on the Christian witness. A witness of something, a testimony, is evidence in a court of law.

            You could have questioned your own assumptions because the error in any argument is usually revealed and/or can be attacked based on the things being assumed.

            For a really long time now Christianity has been based on the bedrock assumptions that God told the truth but you keep coming over onto this blog asking for material evidence as if Jesus Christ’s spiritual witness wasn’t evidence.

            So clearly the problem is your’s.

            This site has several people on it writing from an evidentialist apologetics perspective. Get that? An evidentialist perspective.

            How can they do that without evidence.

            You don’t want evidence. You come onto this blog to dispute with people because you don’t accept the evidence that they do.

            So stop pretending Christians have no evidence.

            You are clearly trying to control the evidence and dismiss it so you can meddle in other people’s family relationship.

            If you don’t believe God. If you think you can order Him around then you are mistaken.

            Examine yourself and you will see that you have blocked God deliberately and are now trying to control people through argumentation who didn’t block him. But this activity of your’s is all based on your assumptions.

            So the burden is on you to prove why your worldview is better than God’s.

            I am waiting for once to see how you explain replacing the Book of Salvation with your own personal assumptions about creation.

            If you study most Christians you will find they take their Biblical interpretations too far with their assumptions and if they didn’t have a genuine revelation from God why do they feel justified in pushing some of the doctrines they do.

            Atheists have called God a liar and tossed His whole book out.

            But God’s book is not the Book of Creation it is the Book of Salvation and since in my opinion God only says He made everything why is it that an atheist gets to throw His Word out when they can’t even explain the starting point for all creation.

            You assume …..see that….you assume something came from nothing….

            Christians don’t assume. We accept God’s claim that He created everything. Does He tell us in exact detail how He came make things by decree? No He doesn’t. It could be we couldn’t even follow His explanation.

            But at this point in time Christians aren’t asssuming. We suffer from all kinds of interpretive errors but we do take as ultimate truth that God is telling the truth.

            You on the other hand based on your preferred assumptions have chosen to object to God’s version of the truth so the burden is on you to prove every single assumption you have for doing that.

            Maybe you can come back and dispute God’s evidence in a couple of thousand years after you prove all the assumptions in your theories that you are using to dispute God’s offer of salvation.

            You are the one trying to control other people’s assessment of the truth as if your mind is superior to their’s so you are going to have to put together one heck of a case together before anyone with a lick of sense throws out God’s plan of salvation.

            Right now evolution is only a theory. It isn’t even a scientific law and this theory is hotly disputed.

            So put your airtight case together justifying ALL your assumptions before you ask for evidence ever again.

            If you are going to meddle with other people’s God Given gift of salvation that you refused then you better have one tremendously accurate, 100 percent accurate response, for doing that.

            Right now you are just tinkering with people trying to force them to doubt from questions you raise based on assumptions that you have not proven.

            So you are engaging in illegal access to their minds to sabotage their thought lives.

            Justify your assumptions or you have no grounds for them granting you access.

            Your ideas are designed to steal God’s gifts away from people and you haven’t even proven you are worthy of respect.

            While Jesus by his life example and work on the cross proved He is ultimately worthy of respect. That is why he is worshipped.

            Get your act together. Get your case together. Get all your million and one assumptions together and prove them or get the heck off this message board tinkering with Christians trying to sabotage their faith if you cannot present at least a book as big as the Bible outlining exactly why you are right.

            Anybody can ask a deceptive question. Anybody. It doesn’t mean you have a case worth a damn.

            Hope this helps.

            God’s book says not to listen to liars yet we let the people calling God a liar talk endlessly.

            Prove your character with credentials like Geisler and Zukeran explain Jesus did in their work The Apologetic of Jesus or get off this blog and go seek spiritual enlightenment like a rational man does. An irrational man acts like a monkey calling God a liar when God already said He is the Logos.

            Remember Darwin. Darwin knew it was impossible for men to consider themselves rational if they descended from apes.

            Yet here you are caught in that contradiction with Darwin so prove your assumptions. Right now you are the thief caught in the House of Faith trying to steal other peole’s most precious possession: their faith in Jesus Christ.

            So you better have your own evidence and case defending you for doing that.

            May His Grace Abound To You! Thanks for reading JCB.

            You are the one who wanted to question God so you will have to,prove every assumption and why you are smarter than God or else there is no reason for anyone to heed you at all.

        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “I speak of what I do know.”
          .
          So you were alive over 2,000 years ago and KNOW for fact that what you spoke of is truth?
          .
          Sad, truly sad. The demons KNOW and tremble and yet you still mock.

          Reply
  3. jcb says:

    I wasn’t alive 2000 years ago, and neither were you. The fact that I wasn’t doesn’t show that anything I’ve said is false.
    You seem to be using a double standard. You seem to imply that I can’t speak/know about events 2000 years ago, but you can.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      I have the inerrant WORD of GOD as my evidence. What’s yours besides your arrogant opinion and an assumption that you can not be wrong?

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        No, you only have your false belief. Feel free to prove that you have access to the inerrant word of God.
        I never made the assumption that I can’t be wrong. I’ve said just the opposite many times to you. That shows you aren’t listening or reading carefully.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “No, you only have your false belief. Feel free to prove that you have access to the inerrant word of God. I never made the assumption that I can’t be wrong. I’ve said just the opposite many times to you. That shows you aren’t listening or reading carefully.”
          .
          .
          You certainly have made the assumption that you can not be wrong and you just did it again. I have access to The Holy Bible which is the inerrant WORD of GOD; therefore I know that I know that I KNOW. And again I will ask besides your own arrogant opinion and an assumption that you can not be wrong where is your evidence?
          .
          .
          2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
          .
          .
          JESUS CHRIST – Born of the Virgin Mary; Lived a sinless life; Suffered, Crucified and Died for the sins of the whole world; Resurrected on the third day; Ascended into heaven currently seated at the right hand of GOD the FATHER and also preparing a place for the saints; Coming again as The KING of Kings.
          .
          .
          Sad, truly sad. The demons KNOW and tremble and yet you still mock.
          .
          .
          Luke4:41 Demons also came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But He rebuked the demons and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Christ.
          James2:19 You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even the demons believe that, and shudder!

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I have access to The Holy Bible which is the inerrant WORD of GOD; therefore I know that I know that I KNOW.”
            .
            How do you know that it is the inerrant word of God?
            Note: Quoting Biblical claims that it is the inerrant word of God isn’t evidence. That’s a circular argument.
            I understand that you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, but you just seem to believe that it is because it says it is, and then you say that you know that you know that you know that it is. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t – you’ve yet to give us supporting evidence.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
            .
            .
            John 20:30-31 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
            .
            .
            The Resurrection of the Dead
            1 Corinthians 15:12-33
            12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith. 15 In that case, we are also exposed as false witnesses about God. For we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead, but He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised.

            16 For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men.

            The Order of Resurrection
            20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.

            24 Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put everything under His feet.”b Now when it says that everything has been put under Him, this clearly does not include the One who put everything under Him. 28 And when all things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.

            29 If these things are not so, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? 30 And why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day, brothers, as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for human motives, what did I gain? If the dead are not raised,
            “Let us eat and drink,
            for tomorrow we die.”c
            33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character.”d 34 Sober up as you ought, and stop sinning; for some of you are ignorant of God. I say this to your shame.
            .
            .
            The Holy Bible is the inerrant WORD of GOD as well as being a self supporting document. You have free will to believe what it says or not. That decision is entirely on you. Someday you will have the opportunity to take it up with the AUTHOR himself.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Your Bible quotes are only evidence if it’s true, and I’m asking you for evidence that it’s true. The latter needs to come before the former. So I’ll ask again, Mark, because you didn’t answer or address my question at all:
            How do you know that it is the inerrant word of God?
            Note: Quoting Biblical claims that it is the inerrant word of God isn’t evidence. That’s a circular argument.
            I understand that you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, but you just seem to believe that it is because it says it is, and then you say that you know that you know that you know that it is. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t – you’ve yet to give us supporting evidence.
            .
            If you just answer with more Bible quotes in lieu of evidence then I’ll assume you’re trolling.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            You seem to labor under the false impression that I am the one making the claims of the Bible. The Bible existed long before either you or I were ever born. And will exist long after we are both dead and gone from this planet.
            .
            .
            The Holy Bible is the inerrant WORD of GOD as well as being a self supporting document. It stands or fails on its claims regardless of what you or I think about it. You have free will to believe what it says or not. That decision is entirely on you. Someday you will have the opportunity to take it up with the AUTHOR himself.

    • Susan Tan says:

      I am going to laugh JCB if you come out with a book like that popinjay Dawkins did. Do you have any idea how many humble people smarter than Dawkins came out with books critiquing and revealing the faults in his logic and assumptions.

      Dawkins is not even a philosopher.

      The smartest philosophers always know the assumptions are where all their logic gets burned.

      Probably why only idiots take on God.

      Most people know or sense there is more that they don’t know than they do know.

      Really write that book. I want to see the number of people it brings out of the woodwork that counter all your claims and assumptiions in detail.

      People who have actually bothered to master logic.

      Thomas Crean wrote an excellent book correcting Dawkins.

      It will be interesting to see who tears your work apart.

      God can enable a champion. He did it all the time in the Old Testament: Moses, Joshua, Esther, David, etc. All God’s champion.

      Write that book. Of course, you probably won’t you don’t even dare to identify yourself by using your own name publicly on here.

      So you will just go on skulking on here denying God’s evidence.

      It would have been better if you had sought enlightenment then maybe you would have had a chance at earning God’s respect. Instead you prefer affiliating with monkeys.

      Hope you re-think things. God Bless!

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        I’m glad you can laugh! Now, if you could only offer evidence as well.
        Dawkins is smarter than many people, and probably some people are smarter than him. None of that shows that his assertions about theism are false. If you think one of his claims is false, say which, and provide evidence (from one of your “smarter” people, if you wish) that shows that it is.
        No one takes on God: he doesn’t exist. Dawkins “takes on” poor theistic arguments, and seems to be right. Again, if you know otherwise prove it with specifics.
        There is probably more than currently know. No, it doesn’t follow that God exists.
        Well I’ve been writing a lot here on this site. Apparently it has not brought out much in the way of people providing evidence showing I am wrong. It has brought out a lot of whiners, complainers, etc.
        Show that TC corrected Dawkins: provide the specifics.
        Yes, I’m happy to have my ideas torn apart, with evidence showing I’ve made mistakes! You haven’t done anything of the sort.
        Citing the Bible fails to prove there probably is an all perfect being.
        Yes, I will continue to repeat that God doesn’t exist, and you will continue to fail to provide any evidence showing that to be mistaken. That does seem to be the game for you.
        I recommend you take a course in Critical Thinking.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          John 20:30-31 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
          .
          .
          Romans 1:20-21 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts.
          .
          .
          You have all the evidence you need or will get to make a decision. The rest is up to you.

          Reply
    • Susan says:

      You can let the world make a monkey out of you or you can let God make a masterpiece out of you. All you have to do is ask God.

      Go listen and read the lyrics to Danny Gokey’s song “Masterpiece” JCB.

      All this arguing. Is too analytical and breaks the flow of God’s ideas.

      Sometimes the best sermons are songs where God gives revelation to His people and they sing about it.

      Really people sing about their revelatory experiences with God all the time but people spend all their time analyzing scripture instead of getting into the flow with God.

      People are the clay y’know. So why are you struggling for control with the Potter all the time when He can make you or break you.

      Go to youtube JCB and listen to that song and ask God to enlighten you personally.

      I don’t know why anyone wants to be a hard case for God to work on but they do.

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        If I ask God to enlighten me with clear evidence of his existence, and he provides it, I will say God exists.
        If I ask God to enlighten me, and he doesn’t, will you agree he doesn’t exist? If you do, I’ll let you know the results of my asking.
        If you are not willing to do that, then you have already closed your mind to the outcome of the action you suggested I take.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          John 20:30-31 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
          .
          .
          Romans 1:20-21 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts.
          .
          .
          You have all the evidence you need to acknowledge the GOD not only exists but is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Your refusal to accept said evidence is on you.

          Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          Titus1:15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Indeed, both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

          Reply
        • Susan Tan says:

          Of course, I wouldn’t agree to that. You just made God your puppet. God could say no.

          What if you aren’t sincere. Wouldn’t God know?

          Besides I would never grant another imperfect person power over my destiny. Why should I? People make mistakes.

          I have spent a lot of time around people and they all make mistakes that is one of the reasons why I place my trust in God.

          My chances of having better outcomes improve with Him in my estimation than without Him.

          You really have made a contest out of a very serious decision by even asking such a question.

          You are overly competitive and it makes you try to control people.

          Seriously dude. Examine yourself like Jesus says to do. Nobody is perfect in his heart or attitude even if he has a clean slate on his actions so everyone needs a whole new life like Jesus says in John 3.

          I said you were meddling and you just proved it.

          God set people free from being slaves to sin and you think by being clever that I would return to that?

          Jesus Christ is in a class by himself and so he provided miracles so that people could recognize that He came from God.

          He is reigning from heaven too until the time God plans for Him to return to Earth.

          On his first visit he claimed the sceptre of rulership from the Tribe of Judah showing himself as King of this world.

          In the future he will return to claim his birthright.

          If you studied what God says about the spiritual half as well as you mind earthly things then you might know these things.

          Seriously why would anyone in spiritual union with God give up that status to win an argument?

          Have you lost your mind?

          Examine yourself. The decisions you make in this life do affect your eternal destiny because you could miss being born again spiritually as Christ says every person MUST do?

          If you want to make light of what God has said then maybe something evil is prompting you so you of all people need to make a sincere appeal to God and don’t limit it to one attempt. Be sincere and keep trying until He answers in the affirmative. You don’t think He won’t know if you are being insincere and trifling with Him do you?

          Really you are in the presence of divine omniscience even as we speak.

          Take care. I really hope you repent before asking God anything. Repentance could bring on the necessary attitude for God to respond.

          Your post above doesn’t show you are repentant. It doesn’t show your motivation is good at all. But it does show that you have some strange desire to control people and you don’t have power over life and death like God does so you shouldn’t seek to control people especially while you are in an imperfect sinful state like you are.

          It would be best if you read the Bible daily where you will be mentally washed by the water of the Word. You have a lot of worldly issues that need being addressed and a daily spiritual application to God through His Word might help you.

          I hope everything works out all right for you.

          But from your post above now I am definitely sure that you need a whole new attitude and God is the Person who can make a whole new person out of you.

          Really take a look at what people have done who have had control of people. Like Hitler or Stalin. No good came of it right? They were unholy in their motivations and shouldn’t have hadmcharge over anyone.

          But God is Holy and can do no wrong.

          Do you get the distinction between a Holy God and an imperfect sinful man who might have a mental disorder having charge over you?

          Hitler and Stalin killed a lot of people but could raise no one.

          God plans on raising everyone at either the first or second resurrection and I hope you make it into the sheep line. I really do. That is the only reason for me returning any post of your’s at all.

          Because you have no chance at all at deconverting me. I have no confidence in people. They do get some things right in life but only God is capable of getting everything right so I trust Him.

          I hope you will learn to put your trust in Him, too.

          He already demonstrated by the resurrection that He has control over life and He doesn’t have to keep re-demonstrating something over and over.

          Just like if I show you a car door is open that I have to open the door more than once.

          Start reading the Book every day and let God purify your mind of worldliness.

          Thanks for reading. Read John 3:16 first and meditate on it.

          We really do need the deep meditation on the scriptures to understand God and get in the right attitude before He reveals anything to us.

          Hope this helps. God Bless. You are important to God y’know so start trying to gain a thorough understanding of God’s perspective before publicly protesting against it.

          Reply
          • toby says:

            Besides I would never grant another imperfect person power over my destiny. Why should I? People make mistakes.
            You’re not living up to your own words. You have granted many unknown authors power over your life. Also a load of copyist and translators. But that’s okay to you because you don’t consider it written by men, but by god. That lets you escape your own words. You can claim divine inspiration, but as you say, “People make mistakes.” You’re so inculcated you’ll find a way to wriggle out of it.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @TOBY
            .
            .
            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

          • toby says:

            2 Tim 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
            Wow! Someone that actually thinks that KNOWING the source is important!

  4. Susan says:

    Lol Toby. You find a way to wriggle out of it without dumping your angst on everyine else under the guise of an intellectual argument.

    Examine yiurself. Why do you have a complaint against God? What is prompting that?

    People always want to walk on eggshells around atheists but why?

    Christ won the victory. And Christians don’t have to tippy toe around anyone. Not if younbelieve God you don’t.

    If people didn’t have problems with sin, demons etc. then why are so many so insecure.
    And taking out there own insecurities on others all over the place?

    I will stick to God where I feel secure. At least I am nit dumping on anyone.

    I know there are interpersonal boundaries and people have to establish their own identities and meddling with people in the process of establishing their own identities only unsteadies them further and it’s usually the insecure people determined to ignore or deny their own insecurities meddling with the more secure people.

    Get a life and leave Christians alone if you are so secure in your atheistic belief system.

    Or get into the Bible and get your heart right with God.

    Those are your options.

    Christians are secure in God. We are His ambassadors in the whole personal peacemaking process. So we really don’t have to take the crap off of the people that let their demons and sin rule them.

    That is what an ivercomer does. Discerns “the insecure crap” tells everyine that is sin talking then gains as much self mastery over it in this lifetime as possible.

    Only the weak willed people who have decided to stay weak willed allow sin to hold them captive.

    Christ came to set the caltives free though so yiu need to get the humility and courage up to follow him and answer whenhe calls and he calls everyone as the Bible reveals. It is just some people refuse to listen and make excuses for their own inner lack.

    Tell me do you deal with all your problems with denial, procratination and ibstinate defiance or do you ever concede there is a better way.

    Think about it. Who is going to get you out of your rut and motivate you into serving a higher life purpose than God? Nobody. Most people will let you die in ibscurity in yiur sins. But God came down from heaven to empower you to be an overcomer but you made excuses and listened to everyone making excuses, too.

    It is yiur chiice to rethink yiur options and try to get down God’s perspective or not.

    It is only your whole identity and personal destiny at stake.

    May His Grace Abound To You!

    Reply
      • Susan says:

        I am not arguing nor did I see you make a point.

        I am trying to explain why you need a savior and why you shouldn’t go it alone without Jesus.

        But you prefer to waste valuable time that God could use to
        shape you on arguments.

        It could be that you are too
        hardened in sin to be reasoned with so I will try to remember you in my ever increasing list for prayers.

        I suspect but cannot prove that atheists live shorter life spans but haven’t done the studies to confirm it.

        When you aren’t able to tap into the Life Giving Source in an emergency after blaspheming it over and over then
        you really have no one to blame but yourself.

        God Bless! I hope you come to trust God more and yourself less for your own sake.

        At least I know that when something goes wrong in this life that I have Someone with power in authority that I can appeal my case to.

        RIght now you don’t.

        Reply
  5. bob says:

    This is incredible – this blog post offers tips on being a better apologist, and yet it seems that every Christian (Sean, Mark, Susan) that has responded to the critics of this blog post, have either not read the post, or have read it and are incapable of applying any of the tips on being a better apologist. All Sean does is ask questions of the critics, yet never offers an answer himself when questioned. Mark seems to think that there is magical powers in quoting bible verses (hint – there is not). And Susan claims to not read any of the critics yet she continues to respond to the critics and her rambling responses are long and tedious (every now and then we come across a person who takes up so much space to say absolutely nothing). Sean, Mark, and Susan are perfect examples of why it is – AND ALWAYS BE – so very difficult to have a reasonable dialogue concerning Christianity, with a Christian – imagine that …
    .
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      Quite frankly I was not even going to comment on this article until JCB wrote his second response above which is clearly HERESY and hence my comment as such.
      .
      .
      “Sean, Mark, and Susan are perfect examples of why it is – AND ALWAYS BE – so very difficult to have a reasonable dialogue concerning Christianity, with a Christian – imagine that …”
      .
      .
      If you are making this claim as an atheist you must have a very interesting definition of the word “reasonable” because if atheism is true then there is only your opinion versus my opinion versus anyone else’s opinion on the planet.
      .
      .
      All religions and/or world views make claims which typically lead to each being exclusively correct. Now the REAL QUESTION is can one of these be proven TRUE to the exclusion of all others ?
      .
      .
      Concerning Christianity: Given that people’s main 3 reasons for doing anything are Money, Sex, or Power. Why would 11 people of whom 10 of them were already Jews ( yeah you know the ones who since they became a group claimed that they were already GOD’s chosen people ) who had just seen their leader Jesus Christ publicly executed and the one who betrayed him commit suicide choose to create an entirely new religion? Which would eventually see most of them executed for their beliefs as well. Given this did the 11 invent the Resurrection or did the Resurrection solidify that JESUS CHRIST was indeed the SON OF GOD ? What possible motivation could they have had except that the Resurrection was TRUE ?

      Reply
      • toby says:

        Why would 11 people . . . create an entirely new religion?
        Money, sex, and power.

        …most of them executed for their beliefs as well.
        Where’s the proof of this other than “tradition”? What’s the proof they were asked to recant or any of the other things people think, but offer no evidence for?

        What possible motivation could they have had except that the Resurrection was TRUE ?
        Money. Look at Paul.
        1 Cor 16: 1Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
        .
        Seems like Paul was in it for the cash. I believe there’s also a verse where he says that those who spread god are worth twice as much. Mooooooooooooney.
        .
        Paul was the first televangelist. It’s pretty evident in things attributed to him.
        “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “Why would 11 people . . . create an entirely new religion?
          Money, sex, and power.”
          .
          Given that they had just seen the leader of the movement executed; your comment of money, sex, and power seems highly unlikely. More likely that they would also end up executed than rich, powerful, or with groupies. But if you have evidence to the contrary please feel free to share it.
          .
          .
          “…most of them executed for their beliefs as well.”
          .
          I am still researching this but you may be correct that this is just “traditional” thinking.
          I will share my research on the subject when finished.
          .
          .
          “Money. Look at Paul.” and “Seems like Paul was in it for the cash. I believe there’s also a verse where he says that those who spread god are worth twice as much. Mooooooooooooney.”
          .
          And in reference to 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 all the commentaries seem to agree that it was a collection for the poor in Judea and/or Jerusalem. Link Provided : http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_corinthians/16-1.htm
          Again, if you have evidence to the contrary please feel free to share it.
          .
          .
          “Paul was the first televangelist. It’s pretty evident in things attributed to him.”
          .
          Well I give you this it is hard to research or refute as no book or chapter is listed. Care to share them with me ?
          .
          .
          Any comment on whether you think the Resurrection of Jesus is true or not ?

          Reply
          • toby says:

            Given that they had just seen the leader of the movement executed; your comment of money, sex, and power seems highly unlikely. More likely that they would also end up executed than rich, powerful, or with groupies. But if you have evidence to the contrary please feel free to share it.
            That’s kind of short sighted don’t you think? How many drug dealers have seen their coworkers get arrested or killed and still continue in the business? Mobsters? Missionaries?
            .
            I am still researching this but you may be correct that this is just “traditional” thinking.
            I will share my research on the subject when finished.

            Good.
            .
            And in reference to 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 all the commentaries seem to agree that it was a collection for the poor in Judea and/or Jerusalem.
            Can you provide any evidence that Paul had any visible means of support?
            .
            Well I give you this it is hard to research or refute as no book or chapter is listed. Care to share them with me ?
            You could have googled. 1 Cor 9:20 to whatever. It seems that Paul was hustling to build a pyramid scheme. Think about it, there were taxes paid to the temple (of which the priests were exempt). What better way to enrich yourself than by establishing a new church and collecting money? A church that became the catholic church, the most enriched church in the world. Paul was the Joseph Smith of his time. Has a “vision” no one else sees, then goes around preaching a different version of christianity that the original disciples and has confrontations with them about it. EvenIt seems he saw and opportunity and took it.
            I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. Sounds like a con-man talking.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “That’s kind of short sighted don’t you think? How many drug dealers have seen their coworkers get arrested or killed and still continue in the business? Mobsters? Missionaries?”
            .
            But if you have evidence to the contrary please feel free to share it. Otherwise it is just your opinion.
            .
            .
            “Can you provide any evidence that Paul had any visible means of support?”
            .
            But if you have evidence to the contrary please feel free to share it. Otherwise it is just your opinion.
            .
            .
            “You could have googled.”
            .
            I choose not to do your work for you. And again the commentaries on this pretty much agree with each other. If you have evidence that he was setting up a ponzi scheme please provide it. Otherwise it is just you opinion. Link provided :
            .
            http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_corinthians/9-20.htm
            .
            .
            “I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed.”
            .
            Again I am not going to do your work for you. Well I give you this it is hard to research or refute as no book or chapter is listed. Care to share them with me ?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Your unlucky morning as I am an insomniac.
            .
            .
            Can you provide any evidence that Paul had any visible means of support?
            .
            Acts 18:2-3 2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to visit them, 3 and he stayed and worked with them because they were tentmakers by trade, just as he was.
            .
            .
            So the man was a tentmaker by trade.
            .
            .
            “I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed.”
            .
            “Sounds like a con-man talking.”
            .
            This is 2 Corinthians 11:8-9. And yet again the commentaries disagree with your opinion. Perhaps you should actually study instead of relying on your own opinion which appears to be somewhat faulty ? Link provided:
            .
            http://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_corinthians/11-9.htm

          • toby says:

            But if you have evidence to the contrary please feel free to share it. Otherwise it is just your opinion.
            This seems to be the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shaking your head so you don’t have to examine the content of these verses in a way that makes you think of them as critically as you would of anything other than your faith. You give your belief a pass on many things.
            .
            So the man was a tentmaker by trade.
            When he stayed with those particular people. But, you left the next bit out:
            4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
            .
            He argued with the jews about the messiah and they got tired of him and kicked him out. And he said, “well you’ll be sorry! I’m taking my toys and going home!”
            .
            This is 2 Corinthians 11:8-9. And yet again the commentaries disagree with your opinion. Perhaps you should actually study instead of relying on your own opinion which appears to be somewhat faulty?
            Forgive my saying, but you lack self-awareness. Anytime you quote Timothy that the bible is word of god you’re taking someone’s opinion, making it your opinion, and then sharing that opinion. Your appeals to commentaries are nothing more than other opinions. If you abandon your own critical thinking then you’re just sharing other’s bias as your own.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “This seems to be the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shaking your head so you don’t have to examine the content of these verses in a way that makes you think of them as critically as you would of anything other than your faith. You give your belief a pass on many things.”
            .
            Well as you offer only your opinion and supply no evidence to prove your opinion. I think I will stick with The Holy Bible and the commentaries. Seems like the logical thing to do. You have free will of course and may continue to hold your opinion.
            .
            .
            ” He argued with the jews about the messiah and they got tired of him and kicked him out. And he said, “well you’ll be sorry! I’m taking my toys and going home!” ”
            .
            .
            You realize of course that being kicked out of somewhere is NOT the same as “I’m taking my toys and going home” ? Obviously not, as you equate the two. Paul did exactly as Jesus commanded and moved on to a more receptive audience. As am I. You offer nothing but your own opinions.
            .
            .
            “Forgive my saying, but you lack self-awareness. Anytime you quote Timothy that the bible is word of god you’re taking someone’s opinion, making it your opinion, and then sharing that opinion. Your appeals to commentaries are nothing more than other opinions. If you abandon your own critical thinking then you’re just sharing other’s bias as your own.”
            .
            I will take the inerrant WORD of GOD over your opinion every day of the week and twice on Sunday. As far the commentaries go; books created by subject matter experts, on yeah you guessed it, their chosen field of study versus your opinion. Now there is a tough choice to make. NOT

          • toby says:

            I will take the inerrant WORD of GOD over your opinion every day of the week and twice on Sunday. As far the commentaries go; books created by subject matter experts, on yeah you guessed it, their chosen field of study versus your opinion. Now there is a tough choice to make. NOT.
            How many secular/nonchristian biblical scholar commentaries do you read? Or do you dismiss them out of hand?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I will take the inerrant WORD of GOD over your opinion”
            It’s his OPINION that it’s the inerrant word of God. So this still comes down to him saying he values his own opinion over someone else’s (which is fair enough) but he’s elevating his own opinion to inerrant fact.
            .
            “books created by subject matter experts, on yeah you guessed it, their chosen field of study versus your opinion”
            Right, like all the cosmologists who don’t see evidence for God in the Big Bang, not to mention all the biologists who support evolution as fact.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “It’s his OPINION that it’s the inerrant word of God. So this still comes down to him saying he values his own opinion over someone else’s (which is fair enough) but he’s elevating his own opinion to inerrant fact.”
            .
            .
            You seem to labor under the false impression that I am the one making the claims of the Bible. The Bible existed long before either you or I were ever born. And will exist long after we are both dead and gone from this planet. My opinion or your opinion has NO bearing on whether The Holy Bible is true or not. Just prove that it is not TRUTH.
            .
            .
            “Right, like all the cosmologists who don’t see evidence for God in the Big Bang, not to mention all the biologists who support evolution as fact.”
            .
            .
            Let’s see again: a group of really smart people who think they are right versus GOD who created the aforementioned group of people along with everything else in the universe. Yep, you are of course incorrect again. GOD still wins.
            .
            .
            The Holy Bible is the inerrant WORD of GOD as well as being a self supporting document. It stands or fails on its claims regardless of what you or I think about it. You have free will to believe what it says or not. That decision is entirely on you. Someday you will have the opportunity to take it up with the AUTHOR himself.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “The Holy Bible is the inerrant WORD of GOD as well as being a self supporting document”
            In your opinion.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Tell me what does my opinion or yours for that matter have to do with The Holy Bible’s claim to be the inerrant WORD of GOD as well as being a self supporting document ?
            .
            The Holy Bible existed long before either of us were born and will exist long after both of us are gone. It stands or fails on its claims regardless of what you or I think about it. You have free will to believe what it says or not. That decision is entirely on you. Someday you are going to get the opportunity to take it up with the AUTHOR and his SON yourself.
            .
            .
            You want to do something useful. Go ask you Islamic friends why they are claiming Jesus as a prophet of Islam. While Islam claims that Allah has no Son. When Jesus clearly claims to be The Son of GOD. Why would a religion claim a prophet who in their eyes is a liar? Yeah, I know they have a two line refutation that is a slam dunk. Risible.

          • toby says:

            “All this happened, more or less.”
            ― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
            .
            Therefore it’s true and self-supporting. A guy named Billy Pilgrim became unstuck in time and bounced around in it.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Kurt Vonnegut – Born November 11, 1922 Died April 11, 2007
            .
            Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969) is a science fiction-infused anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the World War II experiences and journeys through time of Billy Pilgrim, from his time as an American soldier and chaplain’s assistant, to postwar and early years.
            .
            .
            http://www.dictionary.com is your friend if you use it. Look up the meaning of the term “science fiction” and stop embarrassing yourself.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

          • toby says:

            Slaughterhouse-Five existed long before either of us were born and will exist long after both of us are gone. It stands or fails on its claims regardless of what you or I think about it. You have free will to believe what it says or not. That decision is entirely on you. Someday you are going to get the opportunity to take it up with the AUTHOR and his SON yourself. Well, his son anyway. Kurt’s dead.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Slaughterhouse-Five existed long before either of us were born.”
            .
            .
            Really now??? And you know how old I am ???
            .
            .
            Stop embarrassing yourself with idiotic statements.
            .
            .
            Comparing Kurt Vonnegut to GOD the Creator of Everything. Sad so very sad.
            .
            .
            John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Kurt’s dead.”
            .
            .
            Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,

          • toby says:

            Really now??? And you know how old I am ???
            Published in ’69. Out nearly a decade before I was. And my assumption of you being young is because of your naive inability to see that my statements about Slaughterhouse Five is as equally unsupported as your bible statements. Actually mine are a little better because at least we know who wrote Slaughterhouse Five and there are extra-Slaughterhouse Five sources to examine. You read a line in an anonymous book and say, “Yep! God, wrote that.”
            .
            Stop embarrassing yourself with idiotic statements.
            This seems a little emo to me. Probably why I think you’re a noob.
            .
            Comparing Kurt Vonnegut to GOD the Creator of Everything. Sad so very sad.
            True. At least Kurt was funny and had the ability to write clearly. And for himself.
            .
            “For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, the demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
            ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “You read a line in an anonymous book and say, “Yep! God, wrote that.” ”
            .
            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
            .
            Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
            .
            Mark:”Comparing Kurt Vonnegut to GOD the Creator of Everything. Sad so very sad.”
            Toby:”True. At least Kurt was funny and had the ability to write clearly. And for himself.”
            .
            Luke 4:41 Demons also came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But He rebuked the demons and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Christ.
            .
            James 2:19 You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even the demons believe that, and shudder!
            .
            2 Peter 3:3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

          • toby says:

            “Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.”
            –Kurt Vonnegut

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            I suggest you look up the word : “science fiction”. http://www.dictionary.com can be your friend if your only let it.
            .
            Mark: “Comparing Kurt Vonnegut to GOD the Creator of Everything. Sad so very sad.”
            Toby: “True. At least Kurt was funny and had the ability to write clearly. And for himself.”
            .
            Seriously, can a nearly 40 year old be this fatuous?
            .
            Kurt Vonnegut – Born November 11, 1922 Died April 11, 2007
            .
            Kurt’s dead and is now off to meet his maker as will you someday.
            .
            Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,
            .
            If you are going to start a cult I suggest you decide what it should be based on. So far you have quoted from two different books by a man as well as one of his real life quotes. And if you are suggesting that Vonnegut’s books in any way answer the big questions of life you truly are delusional.
            .
            Philippians 2:9-11 9 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name above all names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.…

          • toby says:

            I suggest you look up the word : “science fiction”.
            But the book says it happened. There are real places and events in it. You’re just denying because you don’t want to believe.
            .
            Seriously, can a nearly 40 year old be this fatuous?
            I’m earnest in my attempts to beat a wider view into your single focused head.
            .
            Kurt’s dead and is now off to meet his maker as will you someday.
            Which is, as Andy has pointed out, your opinion. All I know is that he’s ashes or in a box somewhere slowly rotting.
            .
            If you are going to start a cult I suggest you decide what it should be based on. So far you have quoted from two different books by a man as well as one of his real life quotes. And if you are suggesting that Vonnegut’s books in any way answer the big questions of life you truly are delusional.
            I’m not interested in doing to others what the bible has done to you and millions like you. I like to think I have some integrity. Though I do realize that the fastest way to make a buck is to grab people like you by your religious collar and shake until you willingly, even gladly, hand your money over.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Mark: “I suggest you look up the word : “science fiction”. ”
            Toby: “But the book says it happened. There are real places and events in it. You’re just denying because you don’t want to believe.'”
            .
            Well from your comment it is apparent that you have not looked up the meaning of “science fiction”.
            .
            .
            “I’m earnest in my attempts to beat a wider view into your single focused head.”
            .
            I have the “TRUTH” you have nothing that I need.
            .
            Matthew 7:13-14 13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.
            .
            .
            Mark: “Kurt’s dead and is now off to meet his maker as will you someday.”
            Toby: “Which is, as Andy has pointed out, your opinion. All I know is that he’s ashes or in a box somewhere slowly rotting.”
            .
            Sorry, you are still wrong it is NOT my opinion.
            .
            Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,
            .
            .
            “I’m not interested in doing to others what the bible has done to you and millions like you. I like to think I have some integrity. Though I do realize that the fastest way to make a buck is to grab people like you by your religious collar and shake until you willingly, even gladly, hand your money over.”
            .
            You should NOT speak of things you clearly do not understand.

          • toby says:

            You should NOT speak of things you clearly do not understand.
            Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, whoever wrote those god-awful Left Behind books. Etc. And how close do you look at the business records of the church you attend?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            And it is plain to even a casual observer that you do NOT understand.
            .
            Matthew 7:13-23 13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15 Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “Mark seems to think that there is magical powers in quoting bible verses (hint – there is not).”
      .
      .
      The Holy Bible is the inerrant WORD of GOD. It stand or falls on its own merit. Whether I quote it or not.
      The Holy Bible existed long before either you or I were ever born. And will survive long after the both of us are no longer here on planet Earth. “Magical” hardly. SUPERNATURAL ABSOLUTELY !

      Reply
    • Susan says:

      Bob I didn’t enter the thread to argue.

      I posted to exhort any Christians reading on how to become better Christians which is every bit as important as improving at communicating.

      Unfortunately there is always someone in these threads looking for an argument like yourself.

      You don’t like my comments then don’t read them. I was posting for Christians so they would remember to draw on their spiritual gifts.

      I am required by God to give an answer and demolish arguments against Him but I am not required to do it over and over against the same people.

      I am only suppose to tell someone the Gospel twice. If they refuse to receive God’s grace then move on. See the Book of Titus on it.

      I am not going to argue anyone into obedience if they don’t love or respect God am I?

      So I just shake the sand and look for someone who is actually capable of receiving God.

      I have no way of knowing which people are reprobates and which aren’t unless I talk to them do I?

      I don’t live to please reprobates sick desire to quarrel. I live for God.

      He knows that so He finally gave me to understand that I should be looking for the people with teachable spirits.

      God is saving each in His own order. If through obstinacy, pride or sin or some other reason it is not your time to be saved then why would I go round and round with the same people arguing when you could be seeking?

      Seeking is God’s requirement for a
      close relationship with Him.

      I would rather have that then the false pride of having bested someone in an argument, wouldn’t I?

      May His Grace Abound to You!

      Reply
  6. bob says:

    “If you are making this claim as an atheist you must have a very interesting definition of the word “reasonable” because if atheism is true…”
    Another example that perfectly illustrates my point that a reasonable dialogue with Christians concerning Christianity is so very difficult.
    Atheism is not true.
    Atheism can not be true.
    Atheism makes no positive claim that could later be confirmed as true.
    If you had an understanding of that, you would not have proposed “…if atheism is true…”
    .
    ….good grief!
    .
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

    Reply
    • jcb says:

      I am an atheist. Atheism is (for me) the claim that there is no known god, that people claim to know.
      Why doesn’t atheism make a positive claim? Why can’t some of those claims be true, like: there seems to be no perfect in all ways being (all powerful, all loving, all knowing).

      Reply
      • bob says:

        I am an atheist. Perhaps you still are not sure what the definition of the word “atheism” is? As for “why” I am here…who cares?

        @ JCB – as an atheist – I simply do not believe in any gods. I am quit confident that there are no gods, and until such time as even one single believer in a god can present anything resembling convincing evidence for their god, I will remain confident in my lack of belief. Personally, I am not making a positive claim that is in any way in need of evidence. My “atheism”, as it were, has nothing that can be true because there is nothing about it that needs to be true (or false for that matter).
        .
        I somewhat agree with your stance – “Atheism is (for me) the claim that there is no known god, that people claim to know.” – though for me, I would probably word it just a tad differently, like – “Atheism (for me) is the confidence that, until I am presented with convincing evidence for the existence of a supernatural being, I can safely conclude that one does not exist”…or something like that 🙂

        Reply
        • jcb says:

          Hi Bob,
          It seems that our definitions are similar. For me the main point is that “God exists” is not true, as far as we know, given the usual definitions of “God”, such as “a perfect in all ways being”.
          Again, for me, atheism is the claim that theistic claims such as “God exists” are false. Given that theism in general seems to be involve the claim that God does exist, atheism seems to be the claim that such theistic claims are false.
          I think the differences between our positions though is pretty minimal. ;]
          Keep up the good posts and insights.

          Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          Two definitions and one premise before I begin:
          .
          GOD – A Supreme Being as defined by the Bible.
          god or gods – A Supreme Being or Beings as defined by any other non-Christian religion.
          .
          Premise #1: Eternity is a very, very, very long time.
          .
          .
          So here is the thought experiment:
          .
          Possibility #1: If atheism ends up being true – when anyone dies they are just dead for eternity.
          .
          Possibility #2: If GOD exists then when an atheist dies he ends up on the wrong side of the argument for eternity; when someone from any other world religion dies they end up on the wrong side of the argument for eternity; a Christian when they die on the other hand ends up on the correct side of the argument for eternity.
          .
          Possibility #n: If god or gods for “n” world religion exist then when an atheist dies he ends up on the wrong side of the argument for eternity; when a Christian dies they end up on the wrong side of the argument for eternity; when a non “n” other world religion believer dies they end up on the wrong side of the argument for eternity; when someone from the “n” world religion dies they on the other hand end up on the correct side of the argument for eternity.
          .
          .
          CONCLUSIONS:
          .
          Fact #1: Theism and Atheism are logical opposites and therefore if one is true then the other is false and vice versa.
          .
          Fact #2: Atheism is a no win game and therefore highly illogical. Even if atheists are right. What does it matter? We are all still dead in the end.
          .
          Fact #3: Logically we as individuals should be trying everything in our power to find out which world religion is “TRUTH” so as to end up on the correct side of the argument for eternity.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Theism and Atheism are logical opposites”
            Theism means you believe in a God, atheism means you don’t believe in a God. No claims on either side.
            ‘If theism is true’ and ‘if atheism is true’ are nonsensical phrases. It’s true that some people believe in God and it’s true that some people don’t – theism and atheism are words we have to describe those people.
            .
            I’ll take it that by ‘if theism is true’ you mean ‘If there is a God’.

            .
            “What does it matter? We are all still dead in the end”
            You’re not making a logical argument, you’re offering an opinion. If you’re saying that without an afterlife it doesn’t matter how you live this life then I profoundly disagree. You’re welcome to hold that opinion but it remains that – an opinion.
            .
            “Logically we as individuals should be trying everything in our power to find out which world religion is “TRUTH””
            I see no evidence that you are doing that. Your argument is that the Bible is true because it says it is. Settling on a circular argument is not ‘doing everything in your power’ to discover the truth.
            .
            You missed possibility 3, that a God exists who rewards non-believers and punishes believers. You see this possibility as unlikely, but you’ve not shown that it isn’t a possibility or indeed that Possibility 2 is any more likely, or even makes any more sense.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Andy Ryan from above:”I see no evidence that you are doing that.”
            .
            Andy Ryan from a previous thread: “On taqiyya: “The word “taqiyya” derives from the Arabic words for “piety” and “fear of God” and indicates when a person is in a state of caution,” said Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of law at the University of California at Los Angeles and a leading authority on Islam. Essentially, the Koran suggests that a person who faces religious persecution can withhold the identity of their faith in order to avoid bodily harm or death. “Yes, it is permissible to hide the fact you are Muslim if a person is under threat, as long as it does not involve hurting another person,” Abou El Fadl said. “But there is no concept that would encourage a Muslim to lie to pursue a goal. That is a complete invention. Any Muslim is raised on the idea that lying is a sin.””
            .
            .
            Item #1
            .
            Abou El Fadl – I don’t know are you actually using a Muslim to confirm your definition? Seems counter intuitive to me – maybe find an expert who does not have an axe to grind. ? Though I find his statement self refuting anyway “permissible to hide” also known to the rest of us as lying and then saying “Any Muslim is raised on the idea that lying is a sin.”
            .
            .
            Yeah I know you do not like the website but the truth about what Linda Sarsour is doing is pretty plain. Link Provided:
            https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/games/sharia-interest.aspx

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Though I find his statement self refuting anyway “permissible to hide” also known to the rest of us as lying”
            He says permissible to hide if you’re under threat, which he differentiates from lying to pressure a goal. People would call this a white lie, and it’s only if you’re under threat. So nothing to do with the context you originally mentioned it in, and not self-refuting. As for not wanting ‘an expert with an axe to grind’, the website you linked to very clearly has an axe to grind. And in that link you provide it lies again about taqiyya as it uses to to refer to a situation when Linda Sarsour is not trying to save her life.
            .
            That aside, all this is off-topic and I’ve been told off by the mods here for not staying on topic. Therefore I won’t comment on this particular subject on this particular thread again.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Item #2 :
            .
            As you are the one with the Muslim friends maybe you could ask them to explain the following from INSCRIPTIONS ON THE INNER OCTAGONAL ARCADE on The Dome of The Rock mosque and why they would claim Jesus as prophet and messenger of Islam given Jesus’s claims about himself in the Bible. Link provided:
            .
            http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/DoTR.html
            .
            “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not ‘Three'”
            .
            “God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son.”
            .
            “It befitteth not (the Majesty of) God that He should take unto Himself a son.”
            .
            All 3 inscriptions from the inside of The Dome of The Rock mosque.
            .
            .
            Jesus’s own claim about himself verse 30 specifically:

            John 10:22-38 The Unbelief of the Jews
            22 At that time the Feast of Dedicationa took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple courts in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 So the Jews gathered around Him and demanded, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

            25 “I already told you,” Jesus replied, “but you did not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify on My behalf. 26 But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe. 27 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

            31 At this, the Jews again picked up stones to stone Him. 32 But Jesus responded, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?”

            33 “We are not stoning You for any good work,” said the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.”

            34 Jesus replied, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’b? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world? How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God?

            37 If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. 38 But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.”
            .
            .
            So the question is why is Islam claiming a prophet/messenger who claims to be something they do not believe in ?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Concerning your comment to my Item # 1:
            .
            “So nothing to do with the context you originally mentioned it in, and not self-refuting.”
            .
            Certainly is self refuting when just a few sentences later he says and I quote “Any Muslim is raised on the idea that lying is a sin.”
            .
            .
            “That aside, all this is off-topic and I’ve been told off by the mods here for not staying on topic. Therefore I won’t comment on this particular subject on this particular thread again.”
            .
            Nice attempt at a dodge. You can reply in the other thread then. Cause I am not finished yet.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Item #5:
            .
            Mormonism appear to self refute as well as they claim men are resurrected as angels. Both men and angels are created beings.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            I believe you mentioned Ganesh in another thread. I assume you mean one of the 320 million Hindu god’s. If not please be more specific. Obviously, he is not the most powerful Hindu god as he is supposed to be the progeny of Shiva and Parvati and therefore a created being himself. In addition he lost one of his tusks in a sword fight so obviously not all-powerful.
            .
            Link provided: https://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/Religions/Avatars/Ganesh.html
            .
            .
            Maybe you would like to offer one of the other 320 million god’s of Hindu as appropriate ?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Certainly is self refuting when just a few sentences later he says and I quote “Any Muslim is raised on the idea that lying is a sin.”
            .
            You mean he’s contradicting himself then. And no he’s not contradicting himself. Most Christians are aware of the concept of white lies, and you’re arguing in bad faith if you think that a single example of it being permissible to lie about your faith, coming from a specific time when Muslims were under genuine persecution, negates the general idea that lying is a sin.
            .
            And again, you’re taking that single situation and lying about it yourself to say that means Muslims can lie to non-believers at any time and in any situation. That you’re acting outraged at lying Muslims while yourself lying is the height of ironies.
            .
            You can try to offer examples of other religions self-refuting – sure, all religions point out loopholes and problems with their competition. I’ve heard Muslims point out loads of ‘slam dunk refutations’ of Christianity too. And Christians reply in the same way Muslims do when it’s done to them. “Ah, you’re misreading the holy text, you’ve got a problem with your eisegesis, you’re looking at a bad translation, you have poor hermeneutics” etc. You really think you’ve found a loophole to a religion followed by hundreds of millions of people for which there doesn’t exist extensive apologetics by the experts in that religion?
            .
            “Cause I am not finished yet”
            I really think you are, Mark. You’re wasting my time with your circular arguments, rudeness, wilful ignorance, and bad faith.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Hmmmmmmmmmm………..
            .
            “That aside, all this is off-topic and I’ve been told off by the mods here for not staying on topic. Therefore I won’t comment on this particular subject on this particular thread again.”
            .
            .
            And yet I get this on this thread :
            .
            “{ “Certainly is self refuting when just a few sentences later he says and I quote “Any Muslim is raised on the idea that lying is a sin.”
            .
            You mean he’s contradicting himself then. And no he’s not contradicting himself. Most Christians are aware of the concept of white lies, and you’re arguing in bad faith if you think that a single example of it being permissible to lie about your faith, coming from a specific time when Muslims were under genuine persecution, negates the general idea that lying is a sin.
            .
            And again, you’re taking that single situation and lying about it yourself to say that means Muslims can lie to non-believers at any time and in any situation. That you’re acting outraged at lying Muslims while yourself lying is the height of ironies.
            .
            You can try to offer examples of other religions self-refuting – sure, all religions point out loopholes and problems with their competition. I’ve heard Muslims point out loads of ‘slam dunk refutations’ of Christianity too. And Christians reply in the same way Muslims do when it’s done to them. “Ah, you’re misreading the holy text, you’ve got a problem with your eisegesis, you’re looking at a bad translation, you have poor hermeneutics” etc. You really think you’ve found a loophole to a religion followed by hundreds of millions of people for which there doesn’t exist extensive apologetics by the experts in that religion?
            .
            “Cause I am not finished yet”
            I really think you are, Mark. You’re wasting my time with your circular arguments, rudeness, wilful ignorance, and bad faith. }”
            .
            .
            I have already suggested you stop reading and responding to anything I type the rest is on you; you are choosing to continue.

        • Mark Heavlin says:

          @BOB
          “Atheism (for me) is the confidence that, until I am presented with convincing evidence for the existence of a supernatural being, I can safely conclude that one does not exist”
          .
          .
          Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.
          .
          John 20:30-31 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
          .
          .
          1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
          .
          .
          If The Bible taught just a single supernatural being I would say i could buy your “safely conclude” comment. Unfortunately for you and the rest of humanity this is NOT the case.
          There exists a fallen angel who was called Lucifer now referred to as Satan or the Devil.
          .
          Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Good grief !!!!!!!!!
            .
            Spiritually and Intellectually bankrupt.
            .
            .
            Psalms 14:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.
            .
            Psalms 53:1 For the choir director; according to Mahalath. A Maskil of David. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God,” They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good.
            .
            Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
            .
            John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Now my previous comment may seem extremely brutal, so let me add this. That the only thing that separates ANY unbeliever from a believer is the following. The believer has accepted the FREE GIFT of Salvation from Jesus Christ that he bought and paid for with his blood through his death and Resurrection.
            .
            .
            Luke 18:18-19 18 Then a certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call Me good? Jesus replied. “No one is good except God alone.
            .
            John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
            .
            Acts 4:12-13 12 Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 13 When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
            .
            1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with him.”

            John 3:3-8 3 Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

  7. Susan says:

    JCB …blah blah blah. Critical thinking? What is that but some kind of proud worldly thinking holding itself ias better than others.

    Try reading the Bible. Christians don’t have to learn critical thinking because we have better than that. We have the mind of Christ.

    Don’t ever give a Christian any advice when you are under a perverse spirit. That is all atheism is: a perverse spirit that renamed itself.

    Every time you show up on this board asking for evidence when it has already been given demonstrates that you have a perverse spirit.

    Why is that so? Because eyewitness evidence is evidence whether or not you agree with it or find the evidence weak.

    Your mind does not control the evidence for other people and most people find eyewitness evidence to be evidence and sometimes convincing evidence. Question

    So you have shown up every week on this board as an evidence denier.

    What causes you to deny the evidence? The perverse spirit does.

    So I hope you get Jesus so you can get rid of that perverse spirit that makes you come on this message board and bald face lie every week.

    The boss spirit is the holy spirit and it’s time to call a spade a spade.

    Reply
    • jcb says:

      Apparently you don’t know what critical thinking is, if that’s your description of it.
      Reading the Bible won’t change anything here.
      Yes you are right: Christians are often not critical thinkers, and that’s the problem.
      No, you don’t have better than that. If you did, you’d prove it with evidence (and thereby be engaging in critical thinking).
      Don’t ever give an atheist any advice when you are under a perverse spirit, Susan. (see how silly that sounds?) In truth, I wish you would give all atheists lots of evidence. But alas…

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        I see you have no knowledge of God whatsoever. So you really have no business talking on this type of board at all.

        I suggest you investigate deliverance ministries.

        Jesus Christ was like a termite inspector who said
        “inspect your house or else”.

        If you aren’t going to examine yourself honestly then don’t complain later when your house falls down.

        A thorough knowledge of the scriptures is all a person needs to get by in this life. God never told anyone to think in worldly critical terms.

        God is building an everlasting spiritual mind in His people while the world and it’s worldly ways will all pass away.

        I hope this helps but it probably won’t because anyone determined to find fault with God is a fool and a fool is uncorrectable.

        But I didn’t want to be guilty of masking the truth.

        I think everyone deserves a good shot to be redeemed before resigning himself to sin and the evil one.

        You really are the casualty of your own Biblical ignorance and false pride in your intellect.

        Prove you are perfect.

        God is perfect.

        And if you can’t prove it then you have no basis upon which to challenge God’s claim to the very world He created.

        Reply
  8. DRS says:

    SUSAN and MARK you both say all these things about god and you both say you give evidence and then susan you specifically say that you believe in god because you ” have the mind of Christ” to believe in. So just because this guy says so you believe it. Where are his supporting evidence and facts? you really haven’t given any evidence for god but clearly have given evidence that you are as faulty as your statements. You say you dont read these comments much anymore because you dont want to waste your “Psychic energy” on these conflicting arguments and you dont understand why atheists turn things into such big debates when this is clearly all you have done. Minus being psychic part. LOL all you theists are so funny when someone uses an ounce of critical thinking skills to prove how clueless religion is. You gave us the evidence as christianity blindly follows the words of a buncha old dudes from the past.

    Reply
    • Susan says:

      Sorry but I no longer argue with the spiritually inexperienced any more. I was born with a God given teacher-counselor personality and I know teachers teach what they know.

      Christian teachers teach on the subject of God because they know who He is and their expertise should not be up for debate or ridicule.

      So I only look for the sober minded people these days what we Christians like to call likeminded individuals.

      Why some people give up on knowing God so easily I have no idea but as a counselor type after observing people for decades I would say their inner insecurities and error are some how at work.

      God never intended faith to be an impartial intellectual exercise for people.

      Bystanders usually don’t know much of substance at all so they. But active participants do know something more.

      To really know God you have to learn to be fearless and take the plunge otherwise you are just someone commenting on someone else’s trip without really knowing a single real detail.

      I hope you get the nerve up to take the leap of faith some day. I do believe it makes all the difference in people.

      Reply
  9. Andy Ryan says:

    Mark: “Tell me what does my opinion or yours for that matter have to do with The Holy Bible’s claim to be the inerrant WORD of GOD”
    .
    Sure. The Bible makes the claim to be inerrant. You’re giving me your opinion that the claim is true. I’m pointing out that this is your opinion, and not an opinion you’ve backed up with evidence. I’m unconvinced by your claim, pending any actual evidence.
    .
    In short: ‘The Bible’s is inerrant’ is mere opinion on your part. You’re presenting it with no back up evidence

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
      .
      .
      Stop embarrassing yourself or not – your choice.
      Someday you will have the opportunity to take it up with the AUTHOR himself.

      Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      God’s Word is Living and Active
      .
      Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
      13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

      Reply
      • bob says:

        Ah yes – if all else fails, quote bible verses, peppered with various insults at the opposition. Will Christians ever learn that many, if not most skeptics who visit blogs such as this one, are former Christians, and we are quite familiar with all these bible verses that they feel the need to bring up. But if it bolsters YOUR faith, by all means, carry on.
        .
        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,
          .
          .
          Feel free to stop reading and responding to any of my posts then; really is as simple as that.
          .
          .
          Doesn’t change the TRUTH one way or the other.

          Reply
          • bob says:

            “TRUTH”?
            .
            When an atheist says “truth”, he means a justified fact established by reason.
            When a Christian says “truth”, he means TRVTH, an over reaching explanation that means nothing and explains everything, a statement that stops all further thought or examination.
            .
            “The material universe exists” is a truth (justified by reason).
            “God exists” is a TRVTH (meaningless, explains everything, means nothing, stops all thought).
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “When an atheist says “truth” ”
            .
            .
            I think we can stop right there. Because when an atheist says “truth” he is stealing from the GOD he does not even believes exists to attempt to prove his point. Because without an objective standard of TRUTH there is no truth to begin with. It is only your opinion versus my opinion versus the opinion of the next guy in line.

          • bob says:

            “I think we can stop right there. Because when an atheist says “truth” he is stealing from the GOD he does not even believes exists to attempt to prove his point.”
            .
            Well, thanks for expressing your OPINION 🙂 But of course, that is just your opinion. Some evidence based facts would be nice for a change…you know?
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
            .
            .
            John 20:30-31 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.

      • Andy Ryan says:

        Again Mark, you’re quoting Bible verses that claim the Bible is true. That’s not evidence that the Bible is true, it’s just evidence that the Bible claims to be true. You’re begging the question. So it’s still just an opinion of yours, unbacked by evidence. And pointing this out to you is in no way embarrassing to me.

        Reply
      • Mark Heavlin says:

        Philippians 2:9-11 9 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name above all names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.…
        .
        .
        And still you labor under the false delusion that you are arguing with me. You are not arguing with me. My opinion or yours on whether The Holy Bible is TRUTH matters not. It is the inerrant WORD of GOD. Someday you can take it up with the AUTHOR himself.
        .
        Stop embarrassing yourself or not – your choice.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “My opinion or yours on whether The Holy Bible is TRUTH matters not. It is the inerrant WORD of GOD”
          …In your opinion.

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            And still you labor under the false delusion that you are arguing with me. You are not arguing with me. My opinion or yours on whether The Holy Bible is TRUTH matters not. It is the inerrant WORD of GOD. Someday you can take it up with the AUTHOR himself.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “It is the inerrant WORD of GOD”
            Mark, you can keep saying that as much as you want, but you’re still just giving me an opinion. It’s you’re opinion that it is the inerrant word of God. Putting it in capitals doesn’t change that, saying it over and over again doesn’t change that.
            .
            “Someday you can take it up with the AUTHOR himself”
            …In your opinion.
            .
            “And still you labor under the false delusion that you are arguing with me”
            Not really. ‘Argument’ suggests an exchange of ideas, a weighing of opposing evidence. You’ve yet to supply either.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            And still you labor under the false delusion that you are arguing with me. You are not arguing with me. The following passage was in The Holy Bible long before I was ever born. Therefore it is NOT my opinion. It is the WORD of GOD.
            .
            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
            .
            .
            And yet again the following verse was also in The Holy Bible long before I was born. Therefore, it is also NOT my opinion. It is the WORD of GOD.
            .
            Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
            .
            .
            “‘Argument’ suggests an exchange of ideas, a weighing of opposing evidence. You’ve yet to supply either.”
            .
            Thanks for proving my point as I previously stated:
            .
            And still you labor under the false delusion that you are arguing with me. You are not arguing with me. My opinion or yours on whether The Holy Bible is TRUTH matters not. It is the inerrant WORD of GOD. Someday you can take it up with the AUTHOR himself.

  10. Andy Ryan says:

    “The following passage was in The Holy Bible long before I was ever born. Therefore it is NOT my opinion. It is the WORD of GOD.”
    .
    Non sequitur. That the book is older than you doesn’t stop “It is the word of God” being your opinion.
    .
    “You will take it up with the author”
    You have no idea who the author is. You say it’s God, you may be of the opinion that it’s God. But you don’t know, and you’ve certainly given me no reason to think it’s true or even likely.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
      .
      .
      Non sequitur this: If I had never existed the above passage would still have been in The Holy Bible. Would it have still been my opinion even then ?
      .
      .
      Risible.
      .
      .
      A wise person would know when the argument was lost and concede or just give it up. And yet you continue with your silliness. Maybe you should: Ask yourself why?

      Reply
      • bob says:

        “2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed…”
        .
        We are well aware that you can quote the bible (because you do it over and over and over…).
        Can you demonstrate that this verse is true.
        Hint:
        1 – quoting another verse is not a demonstration that it is true.
        2 – claiming to know that it is true is not a demonstration that it is true.
        3 – insulting your opponent is not a demonstration that it is true.
        4 – claiming to have won the argument is not a demonstration that it is true.
        .
        You are fairly adept at all of these pedestrian tactics, which is not a positive representation of your personal testimony. Have you ever thought of asking yourself – WWJD? I am guessing not.
        .
        Anyway, If what you claim is true, just demonstrate it for crying out loud – if “all scripture is God-breathed”, just offer one single best argument that it is so.
        .
        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “Non sequitur this: If I had never existed the above passage would still have been in The Holy Bible. Would it have still been my opinion even then ?”
        .
        The passage is in the Bible – that’s not a matter of opinion. That it is the inerrant word of God IS an opinion. And again, it’s not one for which you’ve provided evidence.
        .
        As Bob points out, calling me silly isn’t evidence for your position, Mark. It may help you feel better (maybe ask yourself why), but it doesn’t help your argument.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          Mark, what will you say when you stand before some other God that you failed to believe in, whose truth was clearly listed in some book you rejected?

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Isaiah 43:9-13 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. 13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
            .
            Matthew 3:13-17 13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 “Let it be so now,” Jesus replied. “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness in this way.” Then John permitted Him. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!”
            .
            John 8:54-58 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory means nothing. The One who glorifies Me is My Father, of whom you say ‘He is our God.’ 55 You do not know Him, but I know Him. If I said I did not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see My day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?” 58 “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
            .
            John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
            .
            Acts 4:8-12 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being examined today about a kind service to a man who was lame, to determine how he was healed, 10 then let this be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is
            ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

          • Andy Ryan says:

            And the other God replies to that: “Why are you quoting me from a false God’s book?”

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            ” And the other God replies to that: “Why are you quoting me from a false God’s book?” ”
            .
            2 Peter 1:20-21 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever brought about through human initiative, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
            .
            https://creation.com/bible-written
            .
            .
            So by making your last reply we get back to the same point we were at below. Since you are implying that The Holy Bible is a book of lies. The single best argument that BOB asked for and here it is again:
            .
            “single best argument”:
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
            Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
            Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.
            .
            And be very careful before you reply again.
            .
            You are NOT arguing with me. You have been warned.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            (Isaiah 44:6–8, NIV) “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God beside me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
            .
            Borrowed from REFLECTING ON “THE DIVINE COUNCIL” by Evan Minton

      • Mark Heavlin says:

        So you two can please tell me what you will say when you stand before the great white throne for judgement and to give account for all you have said and done on this earth?
        .
        Personally I think you should be afraid; very afraid. My understanding is that eternity is a very,very,very,very,very long time.
        .
        .
        Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.
        .
        John 20:30-31 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
        .
        Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
        .
        John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
        .
        .
        “single best argument”:
        First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
        Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
        Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.
        .
        And be very careful before you reply again.
        .
        You are NOT arguing with me. You have been warned.

        Reply
        • Bob says:

          “And be very careful before you reply again.
          You are NOT arguing with me. You have been warned.”

          Just speaking for myself, Mark, you do realize that your threats of eternal punishment have zero affect on how I determine my position on what I consider believable or unbelievable…don’t you?
          If I don’t believe your god, Satan, demons, hell, or heaven are real, are anything but ancient myths, why would you think your warning would have the slightest impact? Do you not understand that a reasonable thinking person will not be afraid of something that they don’t believe exists?

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Just to be ” CRYSTAL CLEAR ” here – you are NOT arguing with me.
            .
            You asked for the single best argument.
            I provided it.
            Since I also know of a warning associated with that argument I provided that as well.
            .
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
            Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
            Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.
            .
            Certain answers to certain questions bear permanent consequences.
            .
            https://billygraham.org/answer/what-is-the-unpardonable-sin-i-am-afraid-i-may-have-committed-it/
            .
            .
            “your threats of eternal punishment”
            .
            To again be ” CRYSTAL CLEAR ” here they are not my threats. The verses come from The Holy Bible.
            .
            Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
            .
            .
            “If I don’t believe your god, Satan, demons, hell, or heaven are real”
            .
            Luke 4:41 Demons also came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But He rebuked the demons and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Christ.
            .
            James 2:19 You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even the demons believe that, and shudder!
            .
            1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

        • Andy Ryan says:

          Mark, Muslim hell is for eternity too. You don’t seem so bothered about that. There are dozens of religions that ‘warn’ me to be scared of their threats. You’ve given me no reason to take your threats more seriously than theirs. None at all.
          .
          What if I convert to your wacky sounding religion and when I die find there’s another God who punishes Christians? How can I afford to take that risk? After all, eternity is for a very, very, very long time.

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “You’ve given me no reason to take your threats more seriously than theirs.”
            .
            To again be ” CRYSTAL CLEAR ” here they are not my threats. The verses come from The Holy Bible.
            .
            Then this is the question: Is Andy Ryan trying to discover the “TRUTH”?
            .
            I have asked you this at least twice before and you have to this point IGNORED the question. Any further attempt to IGNORE this question and I can assume that you are not really interested in discovering the “TRUTH”.
            .
            As you are the one with the Muslim friends maybe you could ask them to explain the following from INSCRIPTIONS ON THE INNER OCTAGONAL ARCADE on The Dome of The Rock mosque and why they would claim Jesus as prophet and messenger of Islam given Jesus’s claims about himself in the Bible. Link provided:
            .
            http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/DoTR.html
            .
            “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not ‘Three’”
            .
            “God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son.”
            .
            “It befitteth not (the Majesty of) God that He should take unto Himself a son.”
            .
            All 3 inscriptions from the inside of The Dome of The Rock mosque.
            .
            .
            Jesus’s own claim about himself verse 30 specifically:
            .
            John 10:22-38 – The Unbelief of the Jews
            22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple courts in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 So the Jews gathered around Him and demanded, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 “I already told you,” Jesus replied, “but you did not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify on My behalf. 26 But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe. 27 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
            31 At this, the Jews again picked up stones to stone Him. 32 But Jesus responded, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?” 33 “We are not stoning You for any good work,” said the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.” 34 Jesus replied, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world? How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God? 37 If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. 38 But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.”
            .
            .
            So the question is why is Islam claiming a prophet/messenger who claims to be something they do not believe in ?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “As you are the one with the Muslim friends maybe you could ask them to explain the following ”
            .
            Don’t worry, Mark, some day you will be able to take it up yourself with the AUTHOR.
            .
            “So the question is why is Islam claiming a prophet/messenger who claims to be something they do not believe in ?”
            .
            Where does Jesus make those claims in the Koran, which is the word of God? Why don’t you accept that Allah is God when the Koran makes it very clear – CRYSTAL CLEAR – that he is? It says so right in the book. And given that the Koran is the word of God (you can tell it is because it says it is) it has to be true. Aren’t you taking a HUGE risk, given how long eternity is? Clue: it’s a very, very, very long time.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            For an atheist you sure are arguing pretty hard for the Muslims. Are you sure you are not one?
            .
            .
            “Don’t worry, Mark, some day you will be able to take it up yourself with the AUTHOR.”
            .
            Sorry the author of that book will be unavailable.
            .
            Satan Cast into the Lake of Fire
            Revelation 20:7-10 7 When the thousand years are complete, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to assemble them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they marched across the broad expanse of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, into which the beast and the false prophet had already been thrown. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
            .
            .
            A SIMPLE REASON WHY THE QUR’AN CANNOT BE THE WORD OF GOD
            https://crossexamined.org/simple-reason-quran-word-god/
            .
            .
            So by making your statements in the last paragraph we get back to the same point we were at above. Since you are implying that Jesus’ statements in The Holy Bible about himself are lies. The single best argument that BOB asked for and here it is again:
            .
            “single best argument”:
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
            Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
            Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.
            .
            And be very careful before you reply again.
            .
            You are NOT arguing with me. You have been warned.

          • bob says:

            “You are NOT arguing with me. You have been warned.”
            And this is just another example of Christianity dishonesty. You are a believer attempting to defend things you believe, and you often quote bible verses in that attempt. If that is how you feel you can be most effective in defending what you believe, that’s fine, but it is not effective – reason being – I (and many atheists) already know WHAT many Christians believe, because many of us were Christians for a very long time (I was one for 25 years). So, quoting the bible is simply telling us what we already know – what the bible says and that you believe it. That is not effective, never has been, never will be.
            .
            Our argument IS with you:
            1 – why do you believe what the bible says?
            2 – what is your justification for believing what the bible says?
            3 – how do you KNOW what you claim to KNOW, with regard to biblical claims?
            .
            If you respond with a bunch on bible verses, all that does is confirm that you have not thought about those questions, do not see the importance of those questions, and are practically incapable of offering a reasonable answer to those questions. In other words, I fully expect that all you can or will do is exactly what you have been doing…and you are perfectly comfortable with that.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Our argument IS with you:”
            .
            No your argument is NOT with me. Your argument is with The Holy Bible and your CREATOR GOD.
            .
            .
            You asked for my single best argument and I gave it. You have still not responded with an answer or rebuttal to that. Copied here that you may see it again:
            .
            You asked for the single best argument.
            I provided it.
            Since I also know of a warning associated with that argument I provided that as well.
            .
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
            Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
            Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.
            .
            And be very careful before you reply again.
            .
            You are NOT arguing with me. You have been warned.

          • bob says:

            @ Mark
            .
            You asked for the single best argument. I provided it.
            Since I also know of a warning associated with that argument I provided that as well.
            .
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
            Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
            Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.

            .
            I don’t even remember in what context I asked for your single best argument – but that’s your single best argument – you want me to read some bible passages and then a commentary on some bible verses? Can I safely assume you have no argument other than bible verses and someone else’s commentary on those bible verses…never mind…no need to answer.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “I don’t even remember in what context I asked for your single best argument ”
            .
            And to lazy to go review the posts from above to find your own context for asking?
            .
            .
            “– but that’s your single best argument – you want me to read some bible passages and then a commentary on some bible verses?”
            .
            I will type slowly this time so as to not confuse you. There are only passages from The Holy Bible – no commentary.
            .
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
            .
            Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
            .
            Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.
            .
            You asked for the single best argument.
            I provided it.
            Since I also know of a warning associated with that argument I provided that as well.
            .
            Certain answers to certain questions bear permanent consequences.
            .
            https://billygraham.org/answer/what-is-the-unpardonable-sin-i-am-afraid-i-may-have-committed-it/
            .
            .
            “Can I safely assume you have no argument other than bible verses and someone else’s commentary on those bible verses…never mind…no need to answer.”
            .
            You only asked for the single best argument originally.

          • bob says:

            @Mark
            .
            And to lazy to go review the posts from above to find your own context for asking?
            Actually, yes…and again we agree.
            .
            I will type slowly this time so as to not confuse you.
            Mark, I have actually carried on email dialogues with Christians that lasted for months, and they were capable of doing so without issuing a single insult. I wonder why you can’t seem to type a single sentence without doing so? My guess – you are just not a very nice person.
            .
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter. Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29. You asked for the single best argument. I provided it.
            I thought I asked for YOUR single best argument?
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Actually, yes…and again we agree.”
            .
            Only on the fact that you are intellectually lazy.
            .
            .
            What you take as an insult is me being frustrated with the fact that when I type something you sometimes purposely shorten what I say and then make a derogatory comment about the shortened version knowing full well that is NOT what I typed OR you add things to what I say when they are clearly NOT there. Current example: ” then a commentary on some bible verses?”
            .
            .
            “My guess – you are just not a very nice person.”
            .
            I highly doubt that if I told you my whole life story that you would believe it.
            The point I think however is that this is NOT about me.
            .
            .
            I thought I asked for YOUR single best argument?
            .
            That you can NOT take: “First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter. Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.” as a single best argument is on you NOT me. Because the totality of that was meant as a single best argument.
            .
            Again, Since I also know of a warning associated with that argument I provided that as well.
            .
            The comment about:
            .
            “Certain answers to certain questions bear permanent consequences.
            .
            https://billygraham.org/answer/what-is-the-unpardonable-sin-i-am-afraid-i-may-have-committed-it/
            .
            is part of the warning section and provided as easy context on the subject. Though you could go and research your own.

          • bob says:

            “Actually, yes…and again we agree.”
            Only on the fact that you are intellectually lazy.
            As I said – we agree.
            .
            “What you take as an insult is me being frustrated with the fact that when I type something you sometimes purposely shorten what I say…”
            I do that so as to show the specific part of your comment that I want to respond to. I am not doing it to frustrate you or to take what you are saying out of context, but simply for the sake of brevity – BUT – an insult is still an insult, regardless of your reasoning or claimed justification. You seem to be perfectly comfortable insulting every non-believer who posts here, from the moment you start typing.
            “…and then make a derogatory comment about the shortened version knowing full well that is NOT what I typed OR you add things to what I say when they are clearly NOT there. Current example: ” then a commentary on some bible verses?”
            That was an error on my part, and in no way was a “derogatory comment” nor was it meant to be. I think I inadvertently clicked on a link which took me to some commentary. My mistake.
            .
            “My guess – you are just not a very nice person.”
            “I highly doubt that if I told you my whole life story that you would believe it.
            The point I think however is that this is NOT about me.”

            Regardless – you prove over and over again that you are not very nice – and if you are a representative of your God…well…you are making it about you by your behavior.
            .
            I thought I asked for YOUR single best argument?
            “That you can NOT take: “First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter. Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.” as a single best argument is on you NOT me. Because the totality of that was meant as a single best argument.”
            I am not saying that a particular bible verse is not a good or best evidence for a particular bible doctrine, but it is hardly a best argument.
            .
            argument:
            1. an exchange of diverging or opposite views…
            2. a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.

            Hopefully you can see that copying and pasting bible verses is not an argument…hopefully.
            .
            But finally I got off my lazy intellect and scrolled up and down several times to find the context of my request, which you, for some reason, did not offer when I asked – but here it is: “Anyway, If what you claim is true, just demonstrate it for crying out loud – if “all scripture is God-breathed”, just offer one single best argument that it is so.” I sure hope you can see that offering “scripture” as a “best argument” that
            “all scripture is God-breathed” is NOT AN ARGUMENT. Please tell me you understand that…please! If you don’t understand that, I would hope that you would retire from any further dialogues on blogs such as this, for you are obviously not up to the task.
            .
            Again, Since I also know of a warning associated with that argument I provided that as well.
            I have absolutely zero fear of committing this supposed “unpardonable sin”. “Sin” is a religious concept that I do not subscribe to. It is a myth.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “I have absolutely zero fear of committing this supposed “unpardonable sin”.”
            .
            That’s not intellectually lazy that’s intellectually crazy.
            .
            .
            “Sin” is a religious concept that I do not subscribe to. It is a myth.”
            .
            Unfortunately for you; you did NOT get a choice whether you wanted to subscribe or not. You were given your subscription by your parents when you were born into the human race which is in a fallen state ( i.e. not what GOD originally intended but caused by our rebellion against Him ). Fortunately however; GOD has provided a way to redemption through Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. This is the FREE gift of SALVATION available to all who believe and without which you are dead in your sins.
            .
            Romans 3:21-26 21 But now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, as attested by the Law and the Prophets. 22 And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as an atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand. 26 He did this to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and to justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            ” “all scripture is God-breathed” is NOT AN ARGUMENT. Please tell me you understand that…please! If you don’t understand that, I would hope that you would retire from any further dialogues on blogs such as this, for you are obviously not up to the task.”
            .
            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
            .
            If you agree with the above verse then of course it is a statement of fact and not an argument; it only becomes an argument when you disagree with it and think it to be untrue. Then you are likely to impale yourself on the double-edged sword that is The WORD of GOD.
            .
            Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.…

          • bob says:

            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
            .
            If you agree with the above verse then of course it is a statement of fact and not an argument;…
            Let me see if I have this correct – in your world, if one agrees with a particular biblical claim, such as 2 Tim 3:16, it is then transformed from a biblical claim into a biblical fact? I don’t get it…
            .
            … it only becomes an argument when you disagree with it and think it to be untrue.
            No, it ONLY becomes an argument if we are arguing about what the bible says. I know what the bible says, so you don’t need to show me what the bible says. What you need to do is demonstrate that what the bible says is true – that is what I asked you to do – …if “all scripture is God-breathed”, just offer one single best argument that it is so.” – offering more bible verses is not an argument. It is not a demonstration that a bible claim is true. I know you don’t understand this, I won’t pretend that you can be persuaded.
            .
            …you were born into the human race which is in a fallen state…
            Just another empty assertion.
            .
            Anyone who, in discussion relies upon authority, uses not his understanding, but his memory.
            ~ Leonardo Da Vinci, c. 1500

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Matthew 21:42-44 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
            ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Let me see if I have this correct – in your world, if one agrees with a particular biblical claim, such as 2 Tim 3:16, it is then transformed from a biblical claim into a biblical fact? I don’t get it…”
            .
            That you do NOT get it has been painfully obvious to me since reading your first response on this board. Concerning this NOPE you still do NOT get it. The Holy Bible is the inerrant WORD of GOD. It is FACT whether you or I like it or not.
            .
            .
            “…if “all scripture is God-breathed”, just offer one single best argument that it is so.” – offering more bible verses is not an argument. It is not a demonstration that a bible claim is true. I know you don’t understand this, I won’t pretend that you can be persuaded”
            .
            You asked for my single best argument. I gave it to you with the warning that comes attached with it. That you will NOT respond to that argument other than to argue that it is not an argument in on you not me. If it is as you say not an argument that The Holy Bible is TRUTH then it should be easy for you to refute it. But given the warning attached I would be very careful if I were you.
            .
            .
            “Mark: …you were born into the human race which is in a fallen state…
            Bob: Just another empty assertion.”
            .
            Well, once again we find that you are still WRONG. You can continue to deny what The Bible says but it is to your own condemnation.
            .
            Romans 3:22-24 22 And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

          • bob says:

            @ Mark
            .
            “The Holy Bible is the inerrant WORD of GOD. It is FACT whether you or I like it or not.”
            .
            Leviticus 25:44-46 – “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            One can only assume that you mean this passage as some huge negative gotcha against The Bible. No assumption necessary that you did not bother to do any further research or reading into the common practices of that time for all the different nations surrounding the Israelites. Until such time as you do maybe you should stop flailing aimlessly about and embarrassing yourself?
            .
            You have said elsewhere that you know what The Bible says and it is not necessary to quote it to you. You may know the words that are written in The Bible but it is obvious that the meaning and understanding of those words is clearly hidden from you.

          • bob says:

            @ Mark
            .
            “You may know the words that are written in The Bible but it is obvious that the meaning and understanding of those words is clearly hidden from you.”
            .
            Leviticus 25:44-46
            .
            “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you;…
            .
            …from them you may buy slaves.
            .
            You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country…
            .
            …and they will become your property.
            .
            You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life,….”
            .
            “Apologetics – the fine art of explaining why the Bible does not actually mean what it says; or means what it does not actually say.”
            –unknown

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            I am embarrassed for you and your intellectual sloth. As again I assume that you mean this as some huge negative gotcha against The Bible. I told you to go do research before you commented again. But you just couldn’t and so now I can tell you that it took all of 3 YES ONLY three clicks after deciding on a proper query to get to a 3 page article that just makes your position ridiculous.
            .
            The Google subject: “ancient palestine slave owning”.
            .
            To get to this link: http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=39&sub=456&cat_name=Manners+%26+Customs&subcat_name=Slaves
            .
            From which we get this link: http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=oZbCPrE7GnE%3d&tabid=232&mid=762
            .
            And hence to the article which is Chapter 30 of the man’s book which was published in 1953. As it is only 3 total pages I suggest you go read it. Took me 10 minutes and I read slow.
            .
            Not only is your argument ridiculous it has been KNOWN to be ridiculous since before I was born and probably you as well.
            .
            .
            ” “Apologetics – the fine art of explaining why the Bible does not actually mean what it says; or means what it does not actually say.”
            –unknown”
            .
            Au contraire – The Bible means EXACTLY what it says; though I will give you this that sometimes there are deeper meanings than just the literal interpretation. Take “born again” as a good example.
            .
            .
            John 3:3-15 3 Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, and yet you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.

          • bob says:

            @ Mark

            I am embarrassed for you and your intellectual sloth.
            Mark, do you have the ability to even begin a rebuttal without first insulting your opponent? WWJD – obviously he would react just as you do, corrwect?
            .
            As again I assume that you mean this as some huge negative gotcha against The Bible.
            No “gotcha” – it’s been there for thousands of year for everyone to read.
            .
            I told you to go do research before you commented again.
            You’re not the boss of me 🙂
            .
            But you just couldn’t and so now I can tell you that it took all of 3 YES ONLY three clicks after deciding on a proper query to get to a 3 page article that just makes your position ridiculous.
            My possition? all I did was paste some bible verses. What is my position Mark?
            .
            The Google subject: “ancient palestine slave owning”.
            I did – did you? Read the Wikipedia page on “Slavery in antiquity” and / or “The Bible and slavery”. Better yet, read this – https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_Bible
            But, if you don’t need or want enlightenment, just continue to to read ONLY Christian dogma.
            .
            As to your provided links – I would have expected you to provide links to Christian sites, and you did not disappoint. From the 2nd link you provided:
            “Slavery with Hebrew masters and foreign slaves. Most of these slaves were those who were captured in wartime (See Numbers 31:26 ff. and Deuteronomy 21:10). Some were bought in foreign slave markets (Leviticus 25:44). And foreigners living in the land could become slaves for the same reasons Hebrews could, through poverty or theft. Such slaves were treated as the property of their masters (Leviticus 25:45). There are indications, however, that some of them were freed under certain conditions, and some writers are of the opinion that they were freed under the law of Jubilee.2″
            .
            So – what is your position? The source you provided pretty much states just what is stated in the bible verses I posted.
            .
            Not only is your argument ridiculous it has been KNOWN to be ridiculous since before I was born and probably you as well.
            Again – I don’t think I have presented an argument concerning biblical slavery – I simply posted a bible passage – perhaps you have a problem with your God…?
            .
            The Bible means EXACTLY what it says; though I will give you this that sometimes there are deeper meanings than just the literal interpretation. Take “born again” as a good example.
            No, “born again” is not a good example – slavery is a good example.
            Leviticus 25:44-46
            .
            “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you;…
            .
            …from them you may buy slaves.
            .
            You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country…
            .
            …and they will become your property.
            .
            You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life,….”
            .
            Perhaps you need to actually READ the words…just read them, let them seep into your mind and stew for a while…but of course, you may be one of those who doesn’t really have a problem with people OWNING people. After all, bible god obviously didn’t have a problem with it.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Tell me when you go to a museum and see a beautiful piece of artwork and inquiry whether you can buy it. And are told you can not because it is NOT for sale.
            Can you still buy it?
            .
            Then compare this to the verses you quoted:
            .
            “Leviticus 25:44-46 – “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.” ”
            .
            The highlighting above is mine for emphasis.
            .
            Tell me is it possible to BUY something that is NOT for sale?
            .
            Yeah, you know the words written but are blind as to their meaning.
            .
            .
            “No “gotcha” – it’s been there for thousands of year for everyone to read.”
            .
            Oh, I understand you are an atheist who just goes around posting random negative Bible verses on apologetics’ websites. Can you at least NOT be intellectually honest enough to admit what you are doing?
            .
            .
            “You’re not the boss of me”
            .
            No but you are getting OWNED because you are to lazy to actually do any research. Otherwise, we would NOT be having this conversation to begin with.
            .
            .
            “My possition? all I did was paste some bible verses. What is my position Mark?”
            .
            If it was your first post then sure but as you have made more than I care to count I think your position is quite clear. As an aside when the site puts the RED SQUIGGLY line under a word it thinks you have misspelled it. Proof reading and “www.dictionary.com” can be your friend if you let them.
            .
            .
            “perhaps you have a problem with your God…?”
            .
            Nope, but you sure do because you do NOT even think he exists. As if the CREATOR’s existence requires one of his creatures to think he exists. Risible.
            .
            .
            “you may be one of those who doesn’t really have a problem with people OWNING people”
            .
            Are we talking about something that happened 3-4 thousand years ago that I have NO control over and is reported as history? Don’t see how my opinion on what happened has any bearing on the facts as recorded in The Bible. Present day – I think we can all readily agree that slavery is bad; I am also NOT naive enough to think that some forms are still NOT going on in the world right now.

          • bob says:

            @ Mark
            .
            Tell me when you go to a museum and see a beautiful piece of artwork and inquiry whether you can buy it. And are told you can not because it is NOT for sale.
            Can you still buy it?

            Wow! Interesting comparison. I thought we were talking about your god giving instructions on who can be purchased and owned, and who can not. Nice try.
            .
            Can you at least NOT be intellectually honest enough to admit what you are doing?
            I have no problem stating my position. I was just pointing out that I had not yet stated my position with regard to biblical slavery – in other words – I had not made an argument, but only shard a few bible verses.
            .
            No but you are getting OWNED because you are to lazy to actually do any research. Otherwise, we would NOT be having this conversation to begin with.
            Again with the insults – do they ever end?
            .
            As an aside when the site puts the RED SQUIGGLY line under a word it thinks you have misspelled it. Proof reading and “www.dictionary.com” can be your friend if you let them.
            OUCH! And here all along I thought the red squiggly was just random decoration. Thanks mark, now every word I type from now on will be speld curektly.
            BTW, re-read your first paragraph above and tell me if it should be three sentences or just one, oh Great Potentate.
            .
            “you may be one of those who doesn’t really have a problem with people OWNING people”
            .
            Are we talking about something that happened 3-4 thousand years ago that I have NO control over and is reported as history? Don’t see how my opinion on what happened has any bearing on the facts as recorded in The Bible.
            Present day – I think we can all readily agree that slavery is bad…

            Ok, how about the Christian founding fathers of the USA? Do you think they had an opinion on slavery 3-4 thousand years ago, and did their thinking have any affect on what they thought of slavery in the 1700’s, 1800’s? I have ancestors who lived from North Carolina to Florida who were both Christians and slave owners. My guess – they were quite familiar with Leviticus 25:44-46 and used it to justify owning slaves themselves.
            .
            I eagerly await your next insult.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            My question still stands: Can you buy something that is NOT for sale?
            .
            Mark:
            “Are we talking about something that happened 3-4 thousand years ago that I have NO control over and is reported as history? Don’t see how my opinion on what happened has any bearing on the facts as recorded in The Bible.
            Present day – I think we can all readily agree that slavery is bad; I am also NOT naive enough to think that some forms are still NOT going on in the world right now.”
            .
            Bob:
            “Ok, how about the Christian founding fathers of the USA? Do you think they had an opinion on slavery 3-4 thousand years ago, and did their thinking have any affect on what they thought of slavery in the 1700’s, 1800’s? I have ancestors who lived from North Carolina to Florida who were both Christians and slave owners. My guess – they were quite familiar with Leviticus 25:44-46 and used it to justify owning slaves themselves.”
            .
            Are we talking about something that happened a couple hundred years ago that I have NO control over and is reported as history? Don’t see how my opinion on what happened has any bearing on the facts as recorded by history.
            Present day – I think we can all readily agree that slavery is bad; I am also NOT naive enough to think that some forms are still NOT going on in the world right now.
            .
            Well if you are down to guessing about the motivations of your own ancestors a couple hundred years ago then I think it is obvious you are done here. As to whether your ancestors actually owned slaves – that could be proven true or false. That they were Christian or not – well let’s just say that is up to GOD to judge.
            .
            Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,

          • toby says:

            My question still stands: Can you buy something that is NOT for sale?
            We get it. You quoted a verse in which you believe your god says that those people were for sale. And by your logic that means it was okay to buy them.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “We get it. You quoted a verse in which you believe your god says that those people were for sale. And by your logic that means it was okay to buy them.”
            .
            No, I did NOT quote a verse; I requoted a verse that Bob originally brought into the conversation. The Holy Bible as a historical document has been proven to be extremely accurate. You want to argue against it best of luck.
            .
            Obviously, you did NOT get it. I suggest you go back and read my comments again before you put words in my mouth. Because that is CLEARLY NOT what I said about the situation. And after that go actually do some research into the state of the world at the time of ancient Palestine. Including all of the non-Israel nations that surrounded them. Then come back and comment again.

          • bob says:

            @ MK
            .
            My question still stands: Can you buy something that is NOT for sale?
            So, you want me to answer your question, and then you will explain how your question is relevant to the biblical instructions for purchasing and owning slaves…correct? No, of course you won’t – because it is not a relevant question – it is a simple minded diversion tactic – but I’ll answer since you asked – NO.
            .
            Well if you are down to guessing about the motivations of your own ancestors a couple hundred years ago then I think it is obvious you are done here.
            I’m done when I say I am done.
            .
            As to whether your ancestors actually owned slaves – that could be proven true or false.
            And census data is evidence that they did own slaves.
            .
            That they were Christian or not – well let’s just say that is up to GOD to judge.
            Spoken like a true coward. You don’t know whether my ancestors were Christian, you don’t know whether your minister is a Christian, I don’t know whether you are a Christian, we don’t know whether Billy Graham was a Christian…it’s all up to your imaginary god.
            My Great, great, great Grandfather was the superintendent of the “Alabama Bible House” in Montgomery in the mid-late 1800’s – do you have any reason to doubt that he was a bible believing Christian…and…owner of 4 slaves, age 10, 15, 38, 39?
            .
            Hey MK, knowing what you know NOW, if you went back in time, you know, like in a TV show about time travel, and you found yourself living as a Hebrew during the Levitical period, How many slaves would you want to purchase? I am guessing at least half a dozen?
            (Pssst – here’s a hint, when you beat them, make sure you don’t beat them so severely that they die. I mean, beating them is fine, just exercise some restraint. (Exodus 21:20-21)

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “So, you want me to answer your question, and then you will explain how your question is relevant to the biblical instructions for purchasing and owning slaves…correct?:
            .
            My point is that there were slaves for sale that would get sold to someone. My point is that slaves in general were treated horribly; but at least the Jewish people had a set of rules to try and help mitigate that somewhat as compared to the rest of the ancient world. But again it is ancient history my opinion matters NOT on the subject. That time has come and gone.
            .
            .
            “I’m done when I say I am done.”
            .
            Whatever, but if you have a point I suggest you make it because you have been reduced to guessing about the motivations of why your long dead ancestors owned slaves.
            .
            .
            “And census data is evidence that they did own slaves.”
            .
            Congratulations or sympathies as the case may be either.
            .
            .
            “Spoken like a true coward. You don’t know whether my ancestors were Christian, you don’t know whether your minister is a Christian, I don’t know whether you are a Christian, we don’t know whether Billy Graham was a Christian…it’s all up to your imaginary god.”
            .
            Hardly imaginary when he did this.
            .
            Genesis 1:1-2 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
            .
            John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.
            .
            Well, NO! Spoken in total TRUTH. I am NOT the CREATOR/OWNER of this universe so I do NOT get to judge.
            .
            Revelation 20:11-12 11 Then I saw a great white throne and the One who sat on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne.
            .
            .
            “My Great, great, great Grandfather was the superintendent of the “Alabama Bible House” in Montgomery in the mid-late 1800’s – do you have any reason to doubt that he was a bible believing Christian…and…owner of 4 slaves, age 10, 15, 38, 39?”
            .
            Are we talking about something that happened a couple hundred years ago that I have NO control over and is reported as history? Don’t see how my opinion on what happened has any bearing on the facts as recorded by history.
            Present day – I think we can all readily agree that slavery is bad; I am also NOT naive enough to think that some forms are still NOT going on in the world right now.
            As for the Christian part of your question see above. It is above my pay grade as it were to even hazard a guess.
            .
            .
            “Hey MK, knowing what you know NOW, if you went back in time, you know, like in a TV show about time travel, and you found yourself living as a Hebrew during the Levitical period, How many slaves would you want to purchase? I am guessing at least half a dozen?”
            .
            Already asked and answered above. Time travel is NOT possible given the physics of our universe.
            .
            .
            Do you actually have a point you are trying to make? Because it sure looks like you don’t.

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