Can You and Your Kids Answer These Skeptics of Christianity? (Part 1 of 5)

by Natasha Crain

Over the last few months since Talking with Your Kids about God came out, I’ve heard from a lot of parents who especially love the conversation guides provided in the book. Every chapter has one of these guides to help parents have a conversation with their kids about that chapter’s content. There’s an easy conversation starter to get kids thinking (“Open the Conversation”) and several questions to help you dig in deeper (“Advance the Conversation”). For parents with younger kids, it can be enough to just use the question from “Open the Conversation” to hit a couple of key points from the chapter on the way to school in the morning!

One of the most valuable parts of each chapter’s conversation guide is in the section, “Apply the Conversation.” This section features a quote from a skeptic that pertains to the chapter’s subject. This gives you and your kids the opportunity to practice applying what you just learned by developing a response. I didn’t provide sample answers to these in the book, as they’re intended to get you thinking on your own!  However, I’ve received so many requests for sample responses that I’ve started to write them, and I’ll be sharing them here on the blog in five separate posts over time (one post for each of the five book sections).

Today I’m sharing sample responses for Part 1: The Existence of God (6 chapters). I want to emphasize three things before you read these.

First, there are a lot of possible ways to effectively respond to any of these skeptics’ quotes! Don’t consider these answers to be the “right” answers.

Second, all of these responses are based on the chapter content itself. There’s much more that could be said, but I’m only including concepts based on what your kids would learn from reading the chapters.

Third, encourage your kids (if old enough) to try writing their own response after you talk about the chapter’s content. Writing responses really helps kids to flush out their thoughts and process the material. With my daughter’s permission, I’m sharing her response to the chapter 2 skeptic in that section below as an example.

Chapter 1: What Can We Learn about God from Nature?

Skeptic’s Quote 

Atheist author Dan Barker says, “I am an atheist because there is no evidence for the existence of God. That should be all that needs to be said about it: no evidence, no belief.” Based on what you learned in this chapter when someone says there’s “no evidence” for God, what questions could you ask to clarify what that person means?

Sample Response

Evidence is a body of facts that require human interpretation. In other words, evidence itself doesn’t say anything. Humans can all look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions due to factors like our varied assumptions, available information, and motivations. As such, there will always be multiple possible explanations for the evidence we see in the world around us. With that as context, I’d like to ask a few questions about what you mean when you say there’s “no evidence” for God.

First, when you say God, are you generally referring to the existence of any supernatural being, or are you referring specifically to the God of the Bible? Second, when you say there’s no evidence for God’s existence, are you saying that there’s no evidence that could possibly be relevant to the question of God’s existence, or that there’s no evidence which you believe is best explained by the existence of God? Finally, what kind of evidence would you expect there to be if a supernatural being existed?

Chapter 2: Where Did the Universe Come From?

Skeptic’s Quote

In an online forum, a person asked how atheists can argue that the universe came from nothing. An atheist replied, “Personally I do not claim that the universe ‘came from’ anything at all and it did not ‘appear.’ The universe just is… it needs no creation story.” Based on what you learned from this chapter, how would you respond to this person?

Sample Response

I’d like to understand better what you mean when you say the universe “just is” and that it didn’t come from “anything at all.” Do you mean that you believe the universe is eternal, or that it had a beginning but its beginning doesn’t require an explanation?

[If the response is that the universe is eternal…]

While many people before the 20th century agreed that the universe is eternal, scientific evidence mounted in the 1900s that the universe actually had a beginning. For example, in the 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered through the world’s largest telescope at the time that galaxies are moving away from us, like spots on an inflating balloon. He and other scientists realized that this expansion implied there was a beginning to the universe (if you rewind the process of something expanding, you logically arrive at a beginning point). Through this and many other discoveries in the 1900s, scientists came to the consensus that the universe began to exist and is not eternal.

The reason that this is a significant point to consider is that an eternal universe, as you say, wouldn’t have “come from” anything at all—it wouldn’t have had a beginning. But if the universe did have a beginning, as the scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows, we have to ask what caused it to exist. We know that nothing in the universe pops into existence without a cause, so it defies our experience to suppose that the universe itself did. Something or someone supernatural—beyond nature—must have caused it to exist. In order to create space, time, and matter, the cause would have to be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, and uncaused itself. This doesn’t tell us the cause is synonymous with the God of the Bible, but it’s consistent with Him.

[If the response is that the universe began to exist but doesn’t require an explanation…]

We know that nothing in the universe pops into existence without a cause, so it defies our experience to suppose that the universe itself did. If you are claiming that the universe indeed popped into existence from nothing despite this knowledge, why have you concluded that’s the best explanation for it? To simply assert that something doesn’t “need a creation story” is not a replacement for looking at this evidence and determining the best explanation. I could similarly claim that my computer monitor doesn’t need a creation story, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it does indeed have one. Given what we know, the best explanation for the beginning of the universe is that there was something or someone supernatural—beyond nature—that must have caused it to exist. In order to create space, time, and matter, the cause would have to be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, and uncaused itself. This doesn’t tell us the cause is synonymous with the God of the Bible, but it’s consistent with Him.

[As an aside, here is my 9-year-old daughter’s response after we studied the chapter the first time. While she doesn’t get every detail exactly right, it’s a great start! I love her first line, as that’s the crux of the issue.]

Chapter 3: Where Did Life Come From?

Skeptic’s Quote

A person commenting on an online article said, “Had [fine-tuning] not occurred…life here would either not exist, or it would be different. That doesn’t mean there’s some big fairy who made it happen. Just because we survived on this planet does not mean a god made the planet for us.”

Sample Response

You are correct that “just because” we are on this planet, we shouldn’t necessarily believe that a god (the biblical God or any other supernatural being) put us here. I’m not assuming that’s the case, just as you shouldn’t assume it’s the case that a supernatural being did not put us here. We both should look at the available evidence and consider the best explanation for what we see.

The fine-tuning that we’re talking about is extensive in scope–over 150 parameters of a planet, its planetary companions, its moon, its star, and its galaxy have been identified that must have values falling within narrowly defined ranges for physical life of any kind to exist. The probability of those factors individually taking a precise value and simultaneously taking those values is astronomically low (by some estimates, the probability that even one life-supporting body would occur anywhere in the universe is less than 1 chance in 10 to the 282nd power). Even most atheist scientists acknowledge that the universe at least appears to be finely tuned. The question, then, is: What is the best explanation for this remarkable finding? No one is suggesting a “fairy” made it happen, so let’s set aside facetious explanations and have a serious discussion. The real conversation is whether this fine-tuning is a product of chance or intelligence. To be clear, no one is claiming that the intelligence is necessarily the God of the Bible, so we can also set aside any preconceived notions about who He is. We are only considering whether what we see is more consistent with a series of chance events or with the product of intelligence. Given the delicate fine-tuning that has been identified, I think it’s far more reasonable to believe that it’s the result of a purposeful intelligence beyond nature. Why do you believe a better explanation is chance?

Finally, suggesting that life just wouldn’t exist to witness fine-tuning had it not happened is not an explanation—it’s just a fact. It doesn’t address whether chance or intelligence is the best explanation for the occurrence. And speculating that other kinds of life (non-carbon-based) may have existed instead if the universe was structured differently doesn’t address the fact that much of the fine-tuning we see is necessary for the universe to even exist in the first place. This has nothing to do with the specific kinds of life that may or may not develop.

Chapter 4: Where Did Our Moral Understanding Come From?

Skeptic’s Quote

“Do we really need religion in this day and age? If you know the difference between right and wrong, why do you need religion? If you can show respect, why do you need religion? If you can make a positive difference in someone’s life, why do you need religion? What matters is how you treat someone. Put a smile on their faces. It’s that easy.”

Sample Response

Your questions all assume that religions only exist to provide moral rules for living. To be sure, almost every religion includes moral directives. However, religions also make many other truth claims about things such as where we came from, why we’re here, who we are, and where we’re going. Additionally, religions make logically contradictory claims, so they can’t all be true at the same time (for example, in Christianity, Jesus is the exclusive path to God, and in Islam, he is not).

That leaves us with two possibilities: 1) no religion is true (they are all manmade ideas) or 2) one religion is true. Reading between the lines, you seem to believe the first possibility since you associate religion with a past “day and age” (in other words, you’re assuming religious beliefs are something cultures outgrow as they become more sophisticated). At the same time, you seem to assume that right and wrong in fact exist. If you do believe that there are things that are right or wrong for all people, and not just a matter of personal opinion, then you are acknowledging the existence of what would be called objective moral values. On that, I completely agree with you. I think it’s our deepest human intuition that things like child kidnapping, rape, and torturing someone for fun are wrong, regardless of anyone’s opinion to the contrary. Where we differ is on the implications of that fact. I do not believe that there can be objective moral values if God doesn’t exist. Let me explain.

If objective moral values exist, we have to ask where those values would come from. In a world that is made of nothing more than matter (physical “stuff”), there can be no right or wrong for all people because there is no moral authority. No one could say what anyone should or shouldn’t do because everything would be a matter of opinion. For example, in such a world, you couldn’t say that “what matters is how you treat someone” (unless you are only stating that as your own opinion and aren’t suggesting that’s an obligation for all people). But if objective moral values and duties do exist, that points to a higher-than-human moral authority; moral laws require a moral lawgiver.

Does that mean the moral authority is the God of the Bible specifically? Not necessarily. Knowing that requires a consideration of the evidence for the truth of the Bible. But if that evidence leads us to conclude that the Bible, and therefore Christianity, is true (possibility 2 above), then there’s much more than moral directives at stake: Jesus is the exclusive savior of the world and only by trusting in him will we have eternal life.

Chapter 5: What is the Difference Between God and a Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Skeptic’s Quote

Atheist and bestselling author Richard Dawkins says, “I have found it an amusing strategy, when asked whether I am an atheist, to point out that the questioner is also an atheist when considering Zeus, Apollo, Amon Ra, Mithras, Baal, Thor, Wotan, the Golden Calf and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I just go one god further.”

Sample Response

By grouping the biblical God with all of these fictional beings, I understand you’re suggesting that there’s no difference between them—those “gods” don’t exist, just as the biblical God doesn’t exist. But simply claiming that the biblical God belongs on a list with fictional beings isn’t a “strategy” for demonstrating He’s fictional as well. It’s simply an assertion based on the assumption that there’s no evidence that any of these beings—including the biblical God—exist. It’s important to acknowledge, however, that theists do believe there is evidence for God’s existence and are not blindly guessing that He exists; it’s not a foregone conclusion that there’s no evidence for God and theists are happy to believe anyway. Rather, theists are looking at a set of facts about the universe and are asserting that the best explanation for those facts is the existence of God. Atheists are looking at the same set of facts and are asserting that there are better natural explanations for those facts. We can legitimately disagree over the interpretation of the evidence, but it’s disingenuous to imply or explicitly claim that theists aren’t basing their beliefs on any evidence at all.

Chapter 6: How Much Evidence Do We Need to Be Confident God Exists?

Skeptic’s Quote

When an agnostic college student was asked what would be compelling reasons for him to believe that the God of the Bible exists, he said, “I would have to say unambiguous, direct evidence…Some people will use their explanation for God existing as things we don’t know… [like] the arguments [that] everything is so fine-tuned, but that doesn’t do much for me. I would very much prefer to have actual, direct evidence of somebody saying, ‘This directly points to God Himself coming down and speaking.’ And at that point, I’d have to verify with someone that I’m not hallucinating…It has to be some direct evidence of God, not an extrapolation of evidence from something else.”

Sample Response

I understand your desire to have God reveal Himself in a very personal, direct way to every individual. I would love that too! However, we should acknowledge that whether or not God chooses to reveal Himself according to our personal preferences has no bearing on whether or not He actually exists. Just as a detective doesn’t get to choose what kind of evidence he has to work with, we don’t get to choose how an all-knowing, all-powerful God would reveal Himself if He exists. Rather, we have to consider the evidence in the world around us and determine what the best explanation is for that evidence.

I know you said you would “prefer” other kinds of evidence than the fine-tuning of the universe, but the fact remains that our universe and planet are precisely structured to support life. We can’t shrug our shoulders at that just because we want other evidence; we have to ask ourselves what we can best infer from that reality. We also have other pieces of evidence to consider—such as the universe having a beginning (which requires a cause from outside of nature), the origin and complexity of life, and the innate moral understanding humans seem to have. In each of these cases (which we could discuss further), the best explanation given what we know from the evidence is the existence of a universe-creating, life-designing, moral law-giving being outside of nature.

Does that leave us with absolute certainty about His existence? No…but we don’t look for that level of certainty with anything in life. We trust based on what we have good reason to believe is true.

And does that tell us this being is the God of the Bible? Not necessarily. It’s certainly consistent with Him, but we would need to look at the evidence for the truth of the Bible to connect them. This, of course, is important to consider—especially since you said you’d like evidence that “directly points to God Himself coming down and speaking.” Christians believe God did exactly that in the person of Jesus Christ. We have compelling evidence that the Gospels of the New Testament were written by or based on eyewitness testimony of those who knew Jesus personally. If we can determine that these witnesses are reliable, then we have good reason to trust their testimony that the kind of evidence you happen to want is exactly what God has given us (albeit 2,000 years ago). Would you like to talk more about the reliability of the Gospels?

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87 replies
  1. bob says:

    How about another “Skeptic Quote”, from me:
    During my 60 years of life, both as a bible believing Christian for 25 years, and an atheist now since 1999, I have never observed any evidence in the lives of any Christians I have encountered, that they are being in any way influenced, controlled, or guided by a “Holy Spirit”. Christians, do not behave any better or have any better attitude than any of the non Christians I have encountered, either in person or on the internet.
    So, based on these life-long observations, what would a reasonable conclusion be? Shouldn’t I be able to reasonably conclude that – having never observed any evidence in the lives of Christians, that they have something (a Holy Spirit) that I should want or need – then I am safe concluding that such a being doesn’t exist…?
    .
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

    Reply
    • TVZ says:

      The church is filled with people who have a sense of guilt. We feel like we’ve done something terribly wrong and need redemption from the Creator of the world. In return, the Creator takes over and leads us through life (but actually He was the One who revealed the guilt in the first place)…. this is the Holy Spirit. It’s why some people go to church and try to overcome selfishness and others have no sense that anything is even wrong and stay home, or think that guilt should not even be a reality, but a delusion of man thinking things may matter. I believe the basic root of belief is humility and the basic root of non-belief is pride (not sure I could “win” a debate on that though).

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        You’re always telling us that atheism means we’re worthless nothings with meaningless lives – accidents, flukes, cosmic jokes. Whereas Christianity means we’re special, loved by a perfect being, with eternal souls.
        .
        Now you’re telling us the latter involves more humility while the former view is a result of prideful thinking. Are you sure?

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          I think our pride tells us we are a god and mustn’t answer to anyone else and our humility tells us we are something much less than a god and very much in need of correction. I think the way to get around believing that God is truth is to tell yourself life is meaningless and just a result of millions of years of bacteria randomly mutating and any thoughts that we have of meaning, purpose, guilt, shame, joy, etc…. are just delusions caused by the mutation of genes. I don’t believe you are worthless and meaningless… you must if you buy into the random universe theory (no cause of any of this).

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I think our pride tells us we are a god”
            Speak for yourself.
            .
            “I don’t believe you are worthless and meaningless”
            But you believe both that:
            a) atheism would mean you are worthless and meaningless
            b) it’s prideful to be atheist.
            …and so it follows that you think it’s prideful to think you’re are worthless and meaningless. TVZ, I don’t think your argument stacks up.

          • TVZ says:

            I don’t think you believe you are worthless. Do you? I think you should if you follow your beliefs out logically. But I don’t think you actually believe you are worthless and have no meaning.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I don’t think you believe you are worthless.”
            .
            And I don’t believe Christians have much humility:
            “There are all these scientists who spend years researching their subjects, and whose research builds computers and cures diseases, but I reckon I know better than them whenever their conclusions contradicts my religious beliefs”.
            .
            That aside, you literally just said: “I think the way to get around believing that God is truth is to tell yourself life is meaningless”
            So do atheists believe this or not? You can’t have it both ways that they’re being prideful but also tell themselves they’re meaningless.
            .
            What’s prideful is believing people who simply aren’t convinced by arguments for God must reach their conclusion for reasons of personal bias, whereas you hold you are convinced by those arguments for good reasons.

          • TVZ says:

            And I don’t believe Christians have much humility:
            .
            Christians don’t argue against computer science and medical science. We argue against inferences made by scientists when our inferences are different from theirs. Thinking should not be discouraged imo. We shouldn’t have blind faith in either religion or science when the inferences are diametrically opposed to one another. One is right and one is wrong, lets figure it out.
            .
            you literally just said: “I think the way to get around believing that God is truth is to tell yourself life is meaningless”
            .
            You’re right, that is poorly worded. A better wording is “the way to get around believing that God is truth is to tell yourself life is just a result of millions of years of bacteria randomly mutating and any thoughts that we have of meaning, purpose, guilt, shame, joy, etc… are just delusions cause by the mutation of genes.” I don’t believe atheists think life is meaningless (despite their beliefs that it should be).
            .
            What’s prideful is believing people who simply aren’t convinced by arguments for God must reach their conclusion for reasons of personal bias, whereas you hold you are convinced by those arguments for good reasons.
            .
            That’s just sharing views. I could call you prideful for doing the same thing back to me, right?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Christians don’t argue against computer science and medical science”
            It’s all the same method, it’s all the same science. You don’t get to pick and choose which you think is legit.

          • TVZ says:

            It’s all the same method, it’s all the same science. You don’t get to pick and choose which you think is legit.
            .
            Didn’t Christians invent the scientific method?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            It’s been credited to many people, including Aristotle and Archimedes, both of whom lived two hundred years or so before Jesus was supposedly born, but go ahead and argue they were Christians if you want. Either way, I don’t really see the relevance. Christians have made many advances in evolutionary science – so what?

          • TVZ says:

            I just thought you were saying Christians are not allowed to reject controversial science if they disagree with it because it tries to follow the scientific method, which Christians likely invented. You can’t throw all science in together as if it is all proven law. About the only scientific theory most Christians disagree with is what the fossil record shows (evolution of species across “kinds” versus evolution of species within “kinds”…. and I know “kind” is not scientific terminology). I really shouldn’t have opened this can of worms (sorry)… tired of talking about it and it gets us nowhere. Feel free to not respond… I already know you disagree with what I’m saying.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I just thought you were saying Christians are not allowed to reject controversial science if they disagree with it because it tries to follow the scientific method, which Christians likely invented.”
            .
            I wasn’t saying that, I wasn’t talking about controversial science, Christians didn’t invent the scientific method, and it’s irrelevant either way if they did.

      • Bob says:

        TVZ – The church is filled with people who have a sense of guilt. We feel like we’ve done something terribly wrong and need redemption from the Creator of the world.
        Of course – how could church goers not feel guilty when they are fed a steady diet from the pulpit of how sinful they are.
        In the words of Robert Ingersoll – “Christianity has such a contemptible opinion of human nature that it does not believe a man can tell the truth unless frightened by a belief in God. No lower opinion of the human race has ever been expressed.”
        .
        TVZ – In return, the Creator takes over and leads us through life (but actually He was the One who revealed the guilt in the first place)…. this is the Holy Spirit.
        You must did not of understand my initial response or are choosing to ignore it – I am stating that I have never in my life observed any words or actions by a single Christian that would cause me to think that they are lead by “the Creator” or “Holy Spirit”, as you claim. Christians can claim to be lead, but it is an empty claim. All you have just done is make the same claim again.
        .
        I would think that if a person is actually under the control, influence, leadership, or guidance of “the Creator”, the God, the “Holy Spirit”, it should at some point during my interaction with that Christian, become quite obvious that they have something different, something desirable, some quality that sets them apart from all the non believers – but no, I have never encountered such a person in all my years in contact with Christians. It’s as if the “Holy Spirit” has whispered in their ear – “OK, you are saved and I am going to guide you…what I want you to do for the rest of your life is just pretend to be a normal, average person – ’cause I don’t want people to know I am living inside you.”
        .
        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          You’ve met me. 2 years ago there is no way I would be here. I wouldn’t be going to church. I wouldn’t be about the start mentoring a group of men recovering from brokenness of life. I would have been all up into stuff that I wanted to do.

          Reply
          • Bob says:

            I have met thousands of Christians. I have sat next to hundreds of Christians in church. What makes them different from me – OTHER THAN – what they believe? They don’t act any different – generally.

          • TVZ says:

            Do you live to serve God or yourself? Do you come here to argue for God or against Him? They act much differently that you. Christians are still human beings though, we are only made righteous in God’s eyes through the work of Christ, not our works. He just wants us to live for Him and we try to. You don’t, you do the opposite.

          • Bob says:

            TVZ – He just wants us to live for Him and we try to. You don’t, you do the opposite.Mere words at best. And that is the only way anyone can ever recognize a Christian in public – by their self-identification as a Christian.
            .
            I have stood behind people like you in Wal Mart – the only way I know they are a Christian is if they say they are a Christian – but they never do – they just stand their until check-out and then they are gone. They never, ever turn to me, a stranger, and share their faith
            .
            I have watched people like you drive into the church parking lot, get out of their car and go inside, re-appearing 90 minutes later, get in their car and drive off, never once approaching me as I sit on my front porch enjoying the Sunday spring weather.
            .
            Tell us, TVZ, how many times since you have been “saved”, have you approached a complete stranger and shared your faith with them? I am gonna guess “0”.

          • TVZ says:

            I’ve done it here to you and the others who read this forum and I do it to my unbelieving family, but not yet as a face to face stranger. Did you find it difficult to start a conversation during your witnessing years? Do you have any advice for how to start that conversation for me?

          • Bob says:

            TVZ – I’ve done it here to you and the others who read this forum and I do it to my unbelieving family, but not yet as a face to face stranger.
            Exactly – this is the standard Christian answer I get – “I witness to a lot of people, I just don’t approach strangers “yet””. But I thought you were being controlled by “the Creator”…? I guess that is just one more area that he can’t seem to get his people to cooperate – evangelism.
            .
            Did you find it difficult to start a conversation during your witnessing years?
            Yep – and I am extremely introverted – but I did it, a lot.
            .
            Do you have any advice for how to start that conversation for me?
            Yes – first thing is to actually believe what you say you believe. If God is real, and hell is real, then your God is going to be sending a whole bunch of us there for an extended vacation. If you really believe that, then put aside your petty little insecurities and JUST DO IT.
            Do you read? There are some books that will show you how a “true Christian” lives.
            Try: “The Life and Diary of David Brainerd” – This will give you an example of someone who really believed what he said he believed, demonstrated by his life and actions.
            Another: “In God’s underground” by Richard Wurmbrand – The next time a Christian in the US claims persecution, you may feel like spitting in their face.
            Both of those books had a profound influence on me when I was a believer.
            .
            There are, I am sure, Christians who actually live extraordinary lives of sacrifice and compassion – but I have yet to meet one – so until I do, I can safely conclude that there is no “Creator” guiding or influencing them.

          • toby says:

            Bob, that’s what I find that highly annoying about religion. I haven’t been approached many times in my life, maybe half a dozen, but people have tried to lure me into a conversation about it many many times. It’s a offhand remark about god or jesus or some biblical reference that they say looking right at you, then when you ignore it a few moments later they’ll say it again or something else. They get the hint and let it go. I haven’t been accosted in years. It’s a shame because I want to ask them if they really think that in this country (USA) in this day and age do they really think I’ve not heard about the “good news”? I think they all have it in their heads that “this could be the one I save!”
            .
            My first year of college was at a private baptist college recently saw my roommate on facebook and struck up a conversation. I mentioned being an atheist and he said he’d love to talk to me about his church experience. I said, “You don’t have to. It’s probably not much different that the hundreds of others I’ve heard.” Never got a reply after that. They’re sensitive.

          • TVZ says:

            The Creator has me here today talking to you (or maybe someone else who is just reading this and not participating in the conversation). There are people who evangelize all over the world though. I bet almost the entire world (95%?) have heard the name of Jesus. That’s a lot of people hearing of Jesus without any evangelizing going on. Maybe you just don’t get out much?

          • TVZ says:

            “You don’t have to. It’s probably not much different that the hundreds of others I’ve heard.” Never got a reply after that. They’re sensitive.
            .
            He likely wasn’t offended, just honored your request.

          • bob says:

            TVZ – The Creator has me here today talking to you …
            Just great! Of all the Christians he could have assigned to me…
            .
            Maybe you just don’t get out much?
            So that’s your response for why I have never, in my entire 60 years, had a Christian approach me to share their faith…? How long did it take for you to think that one up? Did you forget the part where I said I live directly between two church’s – like walking distance…for the past 13 years…and not a single visitor from either church, ever…?
            .
            I have lived in 8 states and traveled in many more, but your logic is that perhaps I don’t get out much. I have visited many church’s as well. Just a few years ago I went to church with my girlfriend every Sunday for a year (just as I am an atheist now, I was then) – not a single person approached me and asked me about my “relationship” with Jesus – why? – it’s simple, just like you, the vast majority of Christians have little to no concern for the stranger sitting a couple pews in front of them.

          • TVZ says:

            Again, I’m approaching you Bob. What can I help you with? This is your opportunity to speak with a Christian. I don’t want you to go to hell, I want you to be set free in Christ. What can I do for you? Do you want to meet face to face? Do you want a private conversation? I’m not going to let this be your excuse. You sat in church for 25 years and no one ever tried to sell Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins to you? I find that very hard to believe.

        • jcb says:

          TVZ,
          For me, and I suspect for some of the other atheists here, you could “help” by proving the grand, dubious, claims you make, such as that a perfect God exists. Such a thing hasn’t been done, and many of us await to see such a feat performed.
          Kind people don’t usually want others to burn in Hell, but since there is no such thing, it’s nothing to worry about.

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            Thanks JCB, that’s what I’m attempting. Bob seems to indicate if it’s not face to face it doesn’t count. (a Christian has never approached him to discuss these things before)

          • Bob says:

            TVZ – Again, I’m approaching you Bob. What can I help you with?
            I guess, in your mind and in the mind of many Christians – when an anonymous Christian types a few sentences to an anonymous atheist on the inter-webs, claiming God, Jesus is satisfied and they are free to completely ignore all the REAL strangers they may pass by every day – am I understanding your reasoning correctly?
            .
            This is your opportunity to speak with a Christian
            I have spoke to hundreds of Christians, while I was a Christian and while I have been an atheist. I will try to make my point clear…once again – during my 60 years of life, I have never had a Christian approach me (walk up to me, IN PERSON, a stranger to them) for the purpose of evangelizing me…witnessing to me…winning me for the Lord…converting me. I have had Mormon missionaries come to my door…I have had Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door, me, IN PERSON, a stranger to them, for the purpose of converting me to their belief, and I always invite them in to talk – but I have never had a Baptist, Pentecostal, Church of Christ, any member of the traditional protestant Christian denominations approach me in person, a stranger – NEVER.
            .
            What can I do for you? Do you want to meet face to face? Do you want a private conversation?
            What I want you (and every other christian) to do is – PUT UP OR SHUT UP! Stop pretending to be something you are not. When Christians claim to have something that I should want or need (Jesus / Holy Spirit), generally the first question I ask them is what I asked you – “In the last year, how many strangers did you approach IN PERSON, and share your faith with?” Matter of fact, I asked that very same question to your own Evan Minton, (contributor to this blog) several months ago – here is what I asked:
            In 2017, how many strangers did you personally approach and “witness” to?
            Here was his answer:
            I’ve had many interactions with non-Christians over the years. Mostly online, but some in person. My in-person evangelistic attempts are usually with Jehova’s Witnesses and Mormons who come to my door.
            Notice his evasion – I only asked about 2017, and only about people he PERSONALLY APPROACHED, not people who approached him – so I asked again, in my next response to his email, here was his reply:
            I don’t keep track of how many people I interact with, so I cannot give you a precise number, but I do indeed witness to people. Online and offline. Sometimes I go to them, others times they come to me. It is obvious to me that he was desperately avoiding admitting that he does not go up to strangers IN PERSON to witness to…just like you,/b>…just like probably 99.9% of the Christian population here in the USA. Christians like him, Christians like you, should PUT UP OR SHUT UP. If you don’t take your biblical hell serious enough to go up to everyone you see and warn them of their future, you don’t take your biblical hell serious AT ALL.
            .
            I’m not going to let this be your excuse.
            ?
            .
            You sat in church for 25 years and no one ever tried to sell Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins to you? I find that very hard to believe.
            Of course you find it hard to believe – you can’t even recognize your own lack of interest in “lost sinners”.
            I asked Evan Minton another question: During your life, how many times have you been approached by a Christian, (who obviously didn’t know you were a Christian) who wanted to share Jesus with you?
            His answer: Unfortunately, not many.
            And yet, you can’t believe that I was never approached.
            .
            TVZ – Bob seems to indicate if it’s not face to face it doesn’t count.
            You seem to indicate that Jesus doesn’t care about all the people you pass by IN PERSON as long as you argue with a few atheists on the web – makes perfect sense.

          • TVZ says:

            You have convicted me that I need to talk to strangers, and that IS our calling. I think what’s difficult for me is to know who is a believer and who is not. In this country, about 8 out of 10 people you run into claim to be a Christian. So the odds are pretty low that I would even encounter a non-believer. But I did come to this site to learn the atheist views so that I could have conversations. Unfortunately, these conversations have shown me how hopeless the cause is… people aren’t atheist because they haven’t heard of Jesus, it’s because they have heard and reject what they hear. We don’t really have a problem with evangelizing the world though. There is lots of TV and radio and internet evangelism that reaches the whole world. I don’t really think the 2/3rds of the world that are not Christians are not Christians because they have never heard of Jesus. 1/3 of that 2/3rds are Muslim and revere Jesus, just not as the son of God. So 2/3rds of the world know Jesus intimately. Hindus represent about half of the remaining 1/3 and they have rejected monotheism altogether. So the real evangelism needs to hit remote places that don’t have TV, radio, or internet… like the Congo and tribal areas like that, imo. I don’t feel that’s my calling at this point in life.

          • Bob says:

            TVZ – You have convicted me that I need to talk to strangers, and that IS our calling.
            Well, I have to say, you are probably the 1st Christian I have encountered that actually agreed / conceded with the point I have tried to make. Thank you.
            .
            I think what’s difficult for me is to know who is a believer and who is not.
            I agree, why bother walking up to a Christian – but look on the bright side – fewer and fewer young people are adopting the faith of their parents, so in a few years you can walk up to 10 20-somethings and count on half of them being a “none” or an atheist.
            .
            But I did come to this site to learn the atheist views so that I could have conversations. Unfortunately, these conversations have shown me how hopeless the cause is… people aren’t atheist because they haven’t heard of Jesus, it’s because they have heard and reject what they hear.
            And what’s even worse, many were once believers just like you, and now reject what they once believed as…unbelievable.
            .
            TVZ, might I recommend, before you attempt any actual evangelism, do a study on epistemology: the study of the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief. Perhaps start by asking yourself some questions, like:
            .
            1 – How do we find a reliable pathway to truth?
            2 – Is faith a reliable pathway to truth?
            3 – Is reason a reliable pathway to truth?
            .
            Perhaps ask yourself how you can justify the religious beliefs you now hold as true…perhaps.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

    • BEH says:

      Bob, help me out. I can certainly see where you’re coming from. I used to feel the same way. It’s discouraging. Perhaps you can help me out and point me to the chapter, or set of verses, in the Bible (given that that is the instruction manual, so-to-speak, for Christianity, that’s where this discussion needs to be grounded) that prescribes that a Spirit filled/led person will behave “better” than a non Christian.

      Reply
      • Bob says:

        So, you don’t think Christians SHOULD behave “better”, perhaps display a “higher moral standard” than the rest of us who are not “indwelt by the Holy Spirit”?
        My point is this – unless I see their car in the church parking lot on Sunday morning, or unless I hear them speak Christian-like (God is so good to me…my prayers were answered – wasn’t that a good sermon Sunday – Trumps the best President of all time – etc, etc) I would never know that they were a Christian…because…their general behavior offers no indication. In other words – non Christians do not behave any differently than Christians -in general – and vise-versa.
        .
        But what about that whole “you will know them by their fruits” thingy?

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          Bob, I think you may be missing the point that your fruit is not the same as my fruit. Even though a stranger may see me and you both opening the door for a lady to enter first, etc… the first time you open your mouth and confess “Jesus is not Lord”, you will show that you are from a different tree than Christians. If you tried to fake it and lead people astray from Christ, they would see right through it (know you by your fruit). The fruit has to do with recognizing the tree the produces the fruit (Christ). Should I listen to this guy or not? Does he speak truth? We will know you by your fruit (blasphemy in your case).

          Reply
          • Bob says:

            TVZ – Bob, I think you may be missing the point that your fruit is not the same as my fruit. Even though a stranger may see me and you both opening the door for a lady to enter first, etc… the first time you open your mouth and confess “Jesus is not Lord”, you will show that you are from a different tree than Christians.
            I have no idea what your “analogy” is supposed to reveal – and news-flash – just because a Christian is opening the door does not make their door opening motivation any better.
            Granted, if I told the lady I was an atheist, she just might kick me in the shin, but obviously, that would reveal far more about her than about me.
            .
            If you tried to fake it and lead people astray from Christ, they would see right through it (know you by your fruit).
            I have no idea what you are trying to say here? Perhaps rephrase it?
            .
            The fruit has to do with recognizing the tree the produces the fruit (Christ).
            OK, then from the “fruit” I have observed in Christians, Christ must be selfish, inconsiderate, and incapable of carrying on a reasonable conversation concerning their religion.
            .
            Should I listen to this guy or not? Does he speak truth? We will know you by your fruit (blasphemy in your case).
            Blasphemy? – can I assume that you are among those piling up the sticks for my ceremonial burning just like the good Christians of old? Do I get any last words?

          • TVZ says:

            You really followed Christ for 25 years?!! “Knowing them by their fruits” is Jesus warning his followers to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing. There will be false prophets… you will know them by their fruits. Good fruit comes from good prophets and bad fruit from bad prophets. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit and vice versa. What did you think it meant all those years?

          • bob says:

            TVZ – You really followed Christ for 25 years?!!
            I never claimed to be a follower of Christ. I was a “Christian” – a “bible believer”. I have never met a “follower of Christ”. You’re not a “follower of Christ”, you’re just a modern day Christian, a bible believer. Heck, you even needed an atheist to convince you to tell stranger you encounter about Jesus every now and then…which I am confident you will continue to avoid actually doing.
            Let me offer you some biblical instruction – Luke 18:22 “…You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
            Let me know when you have decided to become a “follower of Christ”.
            .
            “Knowing them by their fruits” is Jesus warning his followers to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing. There will be false prophets… you will know them by their fruits. Good fruit comes from good prophets and bad fruit from bad prophets. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit and vice versa. What did you think it meant all those years?
            I am aware of the meaning of the verses in Mt 7 – what I was confused by, as I stated clearly in my response – was YOUR ANALOGY. I was unsure what YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY. Somehow you completely skipped that part and assumed that I was saying “For 25 years as a follower of Jesus I never understood any of them thar bible verses”.
            And this is why rational discussions with Christians are so very hard to find.

          • TVZ says:

            It shouldn’t be hard. Your question was whether Christians should be seen as more moral than non-Christians. It is possible that someone can worship moralism and not Christ and show good works. There are tons of atheists who are driven to feed the world and care for the poor and seek social justice, etc… just as Christians are called to do. You referenced “you shall know them by their fruits” trying to discredit that the Bible may indicate moralists don’t do good works like Christians do. But you took the scripture out of context and I taught you the correct meaning of Jesus’s teaching (don’t be deceived by false prophets). You are more enlightened now. I’m not trying to discourage you to quit searching for the truth, but to help you understand the truth better.

        • BEH says:

          Bob, first, thanks for responding. Second, sorry it has taken me so long to respond, it was final’s week and now grades are due.

          I guess, my response to your question is “no”. I know this sounds absurd, but it’s not when one looks and understands the Christian scripture. As your response indicates, there is no text in Christian scripture that prescribes that one should expect or that God expects Christians to behave “better” than non-Christians. As scripture indicates “faith” or “belief” is not about behavior. Yet behavior is linked to faith as is clearly indicated in the letter from James. What does scripture say about behavior – that is should “improve”. This is the bottom line for the doctrine of sanctification. So rather than an absolute “better”, we have a “better” and a ” not there yet” prescribed in scripture. The doctrine of sanctification means that we move from where we start toward Christ-likeness. Scripture also tells us that no one is there yet – we all fall infinitely short of the ideal.

          I understand you don’t like that. You want Christians to be better, whatever that means, and you don’t see it as a whole. I don’t either. Again, a thorough understanding of the instruction manual, scripture, indicates that not all who claim to be Christians actually are (or were, as the case may be). So perhaps the sample is diluted, and thus, it is difficult to discern the effect.

          Lastly, regarding your final verbal parry, Christ was talking about discerning true and false prophets, not Christians versus non-Christians.

          Reply
  2. jcb says:

    It’s kind of sad and funny how much and how many theists decry the charge, “God the Gaps”, and then proceed to use that horrible maneuver. This article seems to mostly say: Atheists don’t have answers to a few questions, so God did it/is the best explanation (even though it isn’t).
    Please, theists: stop doing this. Just make your case. Don’t try to show what atheists don’t know. Show what you claim to know. Yes, I realize that typically you can’t do this, but that’s why then pointing out that sometimes atheists don’t have answers doesn’t thereby show that you do.

    Yes, talk to your kids: but teach them to have a critical mind. Too many of the theist authors here don’t seem to do that.
    No, none of the theistic responses here are “effective” in proving theism/disproving atheism. Let’s review:
    Nature exists. God does not, if you mean something like an all perfect supernatural being.
    “what kind of evidence would you expect there to be if a supernatural being existed?”. If that being were perfect in all ways, we would expect perfection. You know, no rapes, etc.
    Describe your supernatural being, and then we will know what to expect. Usually, theists describe God as perfect in all ways, so we atheists are waiting, but you theists are not delivering. There is (apparently) no perfect being.
    “a person asked how atheists can argue that the universe came from nothing.” A straw person argument. The best atheist position here is that the universe probably came from something (not nothing), but we can’t say that it probably came from God/a perfect being.
    Yes, saying the universe “just is” doesn’t help illuminate what caused it. No, it doesn’t follow that theists have a probable, illuminating answer, and they don’t (it seems).
    Yes, the author got it right for a brief second!: ” Something or someone supernatural—beyond nature—must have caused it to exist.” Yes, something. But we don’t know it to be a someone. All the someone’s we know of are not spaceless, timeless, nor immaterial. It also doesn’t follow that the direct cause of the universe is itself uncaused. This kind of sloppy reasoning seems rampant among theists.
    And please, stop saying “X is consistent with God”. Consistency only establishes possibility. That’s not much of a feat, and doesn’t make God probably.
    Yes, the universe “needs” a creation story in that there probably is one that we are unaware of. What is not “needed” is made up nonsense to fill the gap that currently exists in our system of knowledge.
    Not only does our existence make it not “necessarily” the case that God exists, it doesn’t make it probable either.
    The fact that many factors are needed for our life doesn’t make God probable.
    Is “gravity” the result of intelligence, or non-intelligence? We don’t know it to be the result of intelligence. Yes, you can say, but you don’t know the exact non-intelligent force that “caused” “gravity” to be there/work as it does. That doesn’t mean you know it to be an intelligent force. Both intelligence and non-intelligence are, as you say, “consistent” with the existence of those “fine-tuning” parameters.
    Yes, you say, “Given the delicate fine-tuning that has been identified, I think it’s far more reasonable to believe that it’s the result of a purposeful intelligence beyond nature. ” But this inference is faulty. Gravity, etc., doesn’t make it “far more reasonable” that it is there because of some (unknown) intelligent being.
    I wish the author would spend an hour developing this inference, trying to show that the “fine tuning” parameters make it reasonable that they are there because of some intelligent being. If they did, they might see that we cannot reasonable make this inference.
    That “chance” is also not reasonable doesn’t make “intelligence” a reasonable/likely cause of our universe.
    As to morality: most people don’t understand it. People exist, and they act different ways, like kindly and unkindly. That’s about the gist of morality. But theists think moral goodness exists and is related to God. But they have no evidence of that.
    “Your questions all assume that religions only exist to provide moral rules for living.” Straw person.
    Yes, “religions also make many other truth claims about things such as where we came from, why we’re here, who we are, and where we’re going.” Most such claims are false (like that we came from dust from God).
    Yes, no religion that claims a known God exists is true (at this point).
    Atheists can still believe in (and are right about) the existence of persons acting kindly: “morality”. These things are not “just a matter of personal opinion”. But yes, people often have differing values, and there is no Super Value in the sky that makes one better, full stop.
    One who things there are “objective moral values” (that pertain to God) are wrong. No such evidence exists. (Feel free to show otherwise).
    “I think it’s our deepest human intuition that things like child kidnapping, rape, and torturing someone for fun are wrong, regardless of anyone’s opinion to the contrary.” What you mean is that such things are actually usually unkind, regardless of another’s (mistaken) opinion. But theists (and non-theists) have been taught to think they understand “wrong” without defining it, which often results in them not realizing that they are pointing to nothing when using that word. If we stuck to things like “kindness”, we would know what we are talking about, be dealing with facts, and realize that this has nothing to do with God.
    “I do not believe that there can be objective moral values if God doesn’t exist. ” This is (mostly) true if OMVs refer to/entail God.
    Yes, there is no Godly authority, only various human authorities. It doesn’t follow that “No one could say what anyone should or shouldn’t do because everything would be a matter of opinion.” It would still be true that some “should” be kind, if that’s what they value.
    So in our atheistic world, one can say “What matters is how you treat someone”, but yes, what matters to you, might not matter to someone else. That doesn’t entail that one is “only stating their opinion” in saying what matters to them. But yes, if something matters to X, it doesn’t follow that Y has an obligation to care about the same thing. The author then wants to say that there is such an obligation in the form of OMVs, but no such evidence is given, nor is there any for it.
    Dawkins is right: everyone denies some other gods. And Dawkins is right: they all don’t exist. No, that doesn’t constitute an argument. Yes, theists believe in God. No, that doesn’t prove it exists.
    Yes, theists have some evidence. No, their evidence is not strong.
    “we should acknowledge that whether or not God chooses to reveal Himself according to our personal preferences has no bearing on whether or not He actually exists.” False. God hasn’t been shown to exist, and whether we have such evidence “bears” on whether we should say he actually exists.
    “we don’t get to choose how an all-knowing, all-powerful God would reveal Himself if He exists.” False. If that being is also all loving, we do get to expect certain behavior, which we find lacking , thus making such a being improbable.
    “our universe and planet are precisely structured to support life.” Yes, life exists, and “structures” exist that contribute to that. Nothing about that proves God.
    That the universe has a beginning doesn’t prove God. That people are sometimes kind doesn’t prove God, that life exists doesn’t prove God. These are all failed/unsubstantiated assertions.
    “In each of these cases (which we could discuss further), the best explanation given what we know from the evidence is the existence of a universe-creating, life-designing, moral law-giving being outside of nature.” False. This is not known to be probable.
    Yes, we don’t need certainty, but we aren’t anywhere close to proving that a perfect God exists.

    Reply
  3. Andy Ryan says:

    “But if objective moral values and duties do exist, that points to a higher-than-human moral authority; moral laws require a moral lawgiver.”
    .
    I don’t see why this follows. If moral values come from another being then they’re by definition not objective. They’re dependent on that other being. If something is objectively wrong then it’s wrong whether or not a God exists.
    .
    “things like child kidnapping, rape, and torturing someone for fun are wrong, regardless of anyone’s opinion to the contrary”
    Then they’re wrong regardless of a God’s opinion or nature. If a God thought they were right, would that mean they were right? If you say no, then they’re wrong whether or not God exists. If you say yes, then you don’t really see them as objectively wrong – you’ve just admitted you can think of a situation when child kidnapping, rape, and torturing someone for fun are right.

    Reply
    • toby says:

      They aren’t using the correct word. They aren’t arguing for objective morality, they are arguing for objective commands. That would circumvent your objection. They should make an argument that god is omniscient and then therefore knows the best way to behave. Which happens to be objective apart from him. If he were perfectly good he would always follow the best path himself. Which the bible refutes with all of the floods and genocide.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        Really the Bible refutes itself with floods and genocide?

        Sounds like thinking you borrowed from someone who didn’t bother to think the way God teaches His sons in training to think.

        I really wonder why people idolize human thinking when they could learn God’s.

        People don’t create worlds like God does.

        Of course, some live in their own little self absorbed world so it is hard to communicate to them God’s bigger truths.

        The flood demonstrates God’s power over nature and genocide is impossible if God owns everything.

        Also how can something be truly genocide if you have the power to resurrect all the people who died?

        False analogy comparing God to Hitler and Stalin.

        A huge category error you
        are making.

        Most people have a bad undertstanding of the Old Testament.

        It makes me wonder why people don’t consult people with a better understanding before venturing an opinion but they don’t.

        They just find the person that thinks the same wrong thought to self validate their mistake.

        Atheists always consult people who don’t care what God’s perspective and purpose is so you end up with a bum understanding of the scriptures.

        If you could screen out all the misconceived ideas of God’s critics then maybe you could determine the truth by going to God and really trying to know if your heart motive is good.

        But some people let other evil people and their own childishly evil flesh nature control their thinking.

        Study the topic of regeneration.
        You have to go to God to become a spiritual person because the natural mind cannot discern the spiritual.

        Reply
        • Bob says:

          Susan – False analogy comparing God to Hitler and Stalin.
          Ok, how about comparing God to Allah?
          “This is the command of Allah: ‘Each, with sword drawn, go in and about the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother, killing friend, killing neighbor.’”
          Al-Ma’ida / المائدة
          .
          Any thoughts on Allah?

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            That’s not the command we got. We were commanded to love our neighbors… and that includes even our enemies, for Christ died for us while we were still His enemy. That’s the exact opposite of what Allah commands.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Allah – Satan
            .
            Islam- Satanic cult
            .
            Proof.
            .
            John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

          • TVZ says:

            Yeah, and their mahdi (redeemer) also sounds a lot like the Christian anti-Christ (destroyer).

          • Susan says:

            I think Allah is man made. Read Galatians 1.

            Mohammed claimed an angel gave him the Koran. But Paul said the Gospel is from Jesus and to accept no revisions from angels. So that takes out Joseph Smith, too, as a false prophet.

            When you do background checks Mohammad and Smith don’t come off too well.

            Mohammad converted by the sword but Jesus said no conversions by that method. Jesus’ method was the Sword of the Spirit.

            The Hebrews used the physical sword because they declined the Sword of the Spirit at Mt Sinai so they had no other way to defend themselves.

            The disciples in Acts 2 received the Sword of the Spirit.

            God gave rules for warfare in Deut 20.

            One of them was:
            V. 10, ERV
            When you go to attack a city, you must first offer peace to the people there.

            You can see the weapons changed from physical to spiritual between the Old and New Testaments. The last chapter of Ephesians speaks of putting on the spiritual Armor of God. There is no physical sword for anyone to don.

            The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God and is shown coming from Jesus’ mouth in the Book of Revelation. It is sharp enough to divide soul from spirit.

            In the Old Testament times 30 of the 31 countries nearby Israel refused to make peace with them though they knew God was with them as Rahab reveals in her statement to the spies.

            They knew what happened to Pharoah’s Army at the Red Sea crossing.

            But they could have been too steeped in evil to make peace.

            Amalekites were known to not bury their dead and to hit the rear lines of the Hebrews to make war on the weaker women and children.

          • bob says:

            Well, does not Allah seem to have the same attitude as the God of the OT? And isn’t Jesus the God of the OT…as in, I and the Father are one…?

          • TVZ says:

            Well, does not Allah seem to have the same attitude as the God of the OT? And isn’t Jesus the God of the OT…as in, I and the Father are one…?
            .
            I don’t know much about Allah. Jesus is not the God of the OT, that is God, the Father. Jesus is His son, yet one with Him. Throw in the Holy Spirt and you have the godhead. Don’t ask me to try to explain that, it’s beyond my understanding.

          • Bob says:

            TVZ – I probably don’t read enough OT. It’s a different covenant than God has with us.
            The god of the OT was content to kill the infidels and that was that, but the God of the NT wants to burn me for all eternity – enjoy your new covenant.
            .
            Jesus is not the God of the OT, that is God, the Father.
            Mark should come along any moment and correct you. Read John chapter 1.
            .
            You really should familiarize yourself with all the atrocities in the OT that God commanded the Hebrews to commit. The stoning of disobedient children, instructions for slave beatings, commands to kill all the men and take the young women as spoils of war. Basically, atrocities that if they were committed today, God would be brought to a war crimes tribunal and convicted in minutes.
            .
            OT God kind of makes Allah look like a Sunday school teacher: “This is the command of Allah: ‘Each, with sword drawn, go in and about the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother, killing friend, killing neighbor.’”

          • TVZ says:

            The god of the OT was content to kill the infidels and that was that, but the God of the NT wants to burn me for all eternity – enjoy your new covenant.
            .
            I don’t think infidel is a concept in our Bible. I’ve heard Muslims use it though. What does it even mean? Our God was all about using Israel to show the world that He is God. The OT was His proving ground. He would use them to conquer nations and He would send nations to conquer Israel when they turned against Him (to remind them that He is God). I think atheists look at the world like it belongs to man, but it’s really God’s world… He can do what He likes.
            .

            Mark should come along any moment and correct you. Read John chapter 1.
            .
            He may. This is a difficult question for me. And I could be wrong. I would accept his correction.
            .
            You really should familiarize yourself with all the atrocities in the OT that God commanded the Hebrews to commit. The stoning of disobedient children, instructions for slave beatings, commands to kill all the men and take the young women as spoils of war. Basically, atrocities that if they were committed today, God would be brought to a war crimes tribunal and convicted in minutes.
            .
            Meh, there was a reason for all of that. No one could judge God… they would lose bigly (as Trump would say). He is wise and trustworthy and man is very foolish.
            .
            OT God kind of makes Allah look like a Sunday school teacher: “This is the command of Allah: ‘Each, with sword drawn, go in and about the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother, killing friend, killing neighbor.’”
            .
            I don’t know what Allah was doing here. Was there a reason for killing brother, friend, and neighbor? I don’t know Allah.

          • TVZ says:

            Yes it is. It’s all that matters really. There is nothing like God in this universe. He is too full of wisdom for us to comprehend. He sees the future from the past and all we see is the past and the present. We can only ponder the future. For you to say He was wrong is ridiculous. You can’t know what you are talking about because you are a foolish man. Now if He was a mortal human like us, who is also limited to our knowledge, then you could pass judgement on Him (like a Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc..). God is not like them though. There is no evil in Him… He is only good. What if you saw a daddy spanking his child for the first time? In your limited knowledge you would probably think that the daddy was evil. But you didn’t understand that this was a learning lesson to mold the future of the child. You would have wrongly condemned the daddy as evil when he was actually loving his child. Make sense? You shouldn’t rush to judge something you don’t fully understand.

          • bob says:

            TVZ – Yes it is. It’s all that matters really.
            Only if true, which at this point, we are just arguing over claims made in a 2,000 year old book about the dictates and activities of an invisible being…and we all should be able to agree that “the invisible and the non existent often look very much alike”.- Delos McKown
            .
            There is nothing like God in this universe. He is too full of wisdom for us to comprehend. He sees the future from the past…
            Three unsubstantiated claims in a row – this is what you believe, not what you know – and there in lies the problem – you can’t tell the difference.
            .
            For you to say He was wrong is ridiculous.
            Did I say He was wrong? But I submit – for you to say He was right is ridiculous. Our (mine and your) moral standards are obviously at odds. You seem to be of the mind-set that if God did it, no matter how objectionable, it is automatically “good” and “right” just because God did it. I would ask you to THINK about that, but I don’t believe you can.
            .
            You can’t know what you are talking about because you are a foolish man.
            Mt 5:22 – “And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
            Oops! – Perhaps you need to get saved…again…
            .
            Now if He was a mortal human like us, who is also limited to our knowledge, then you could pass judgement on Him (like a Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc..). God is not like them though. There is no evil in Him… He is only good.
            yawn…
            .
            What if you saw a daddy spanking his child for the first time? In your limited knowledge you would probably think that the daddy was evil. But you didn’t understand that this was a learning lesson to mold the future of the child. You would have wrongly condemned the daddy as evil when he was actually loving his child. Make sense?
            Makes perfect sense…if you’re a nut. I am not talking about “spanking”. I am talking about the whole sale genocide of entire populations. If Hitler and Stalin do it, it is an atrocity, a crime, but in your mind, if God did it, it is a righteous act. Makes perfect sense…to you.
            .
            You shouldn’t rush to judge something you don’t fully understand.
            Pot-Kettle-Black…? Let’s see, I was a bible believing Christian for 25 years and you have been one for little over a year? And since I have been an atheist for the past 19 years, I have studied the Christian religion more than the vast majority of Christians will in their entire life. And yet, you have the gall to not only accuse me of “rushing to judge”, but also “not fully understanding”.
            .
            And here is why it’s not worth the time – Christians like you will accuse atheist like me of “rushing to judge something we don’t fully understand” until we come to believe like you. You would accuse Bart Ehrman of the same thing, just because he doesn’t believe like you believe.
            And that is the crux of the problem – with regard to your religion – you can’t differentiate between what you know and what you believe. In your mind, believing the bible is true is the same as knowing the bible is true.
            Again, I would ask you to THINK about that, but I don’t believe you can.

          • TVZ says:

            Stalemate. The only thing worth replying to is that I wasn’t calling “you” a fool, but “man.” I wasn’t trying to insult you in other words… I’m in the same condition as you when compared to God…. foolish.

  4. Susan says:

    I would tell the kids to be open minded enough to listen to God not just the school system on science.

    Young kids might be more honest than adults.

    There is no reason why a person cannot hold a line of communication open to God at the same time as he learns about science unless he allows someone else to shut the door to God and drown Him out.

    People oftentimes claim there are competing voices in this world so why wouldn’t someone allow God to communicate to themselves?

    It all comes down to priorities. If you put yourself or the world ahead of God then you won’t listen to the case God makes in the scriptures.

    A lot of the world refuses to learn God’s terms.

    When they do that it opens the door to false values being substituted for God’s.

    Everyone is in the world so it is hard for this not to happen.

    Children are sensitive to role models though so just let them know their Great Parent loves them. That will get them over a lot of issues when the world communicates false and mixed messages to them.

    This world doesn’t have to test God all the time like scientists doing testing or philosophers testing a claim.

    Why do people have to test everything all the time like scientists or philosophers.

    They don’t. This life is going to throw enough tests
    at people to test their faith and people don’t need other people assessing their own tests results for them illegally.

    That’s why the Bible says not to throw your pearls before swine.

    When you give your life testimony (life test results) to the wrong people that is when they try to meddle with an reinterpret your results to devalue them.

    They could have got their own but they refused to. But that doesn’t stop them from reinterpreting another person’s experiences so they can dismiss God’s existence.

    It would be more honest if they just admitted they weren’t there and could not know.

    But this world likes to prompt people to be forward in giving their opinions even though if you ask some people they will admit they don’t know yet they could not refrain from dismissing what another person claims to have experienced.

    Reply
  5. Susan says:

    I don’t understand why in their early formative years that you would think Christian children have to answer skeptics questions.

    I would follow God’s formula of training and raise them in the scriptures.

    Then let them decide who they want to be.

    This book sounds like you are preparing kids to be apologists but God did not make everyone to be an apologist.

    Everyone has different gifts and I would never plunge a person into a spiritual battle without a good grasp of God’s Word.

    God equips His people for the battles in this life but why invite them early before you are grounded on the truth?

    Reply
  6. Susan says:

    I haven’t read the Koran, Bob but I have heard there are a lot of jihad passages.

    I don’t think the God of the Bible is the same as Allah. I have not studied it recently though so I am rusty on it.

    Allah has 99 names. One of them is The Destroyer. In the Bible the Destroyer is not one of the names of God though an angel is called it.

    Allah is not a personal god like the God of the Bible. Muslims don’t call Allah father and they deny God has a son.

    Reply
  7. Susan says:

    Bob, I think you need to consult a Bible scholar on the OT.

    Stoning was almost never done.

    I don’t know why you want to revert to the Old Testament to find fault with God when the
    Old Covenant is obsolete.

    You ought to read Dr.Jones’ series on the Law.

    The Muslims today are in an Old Covenant like religion today. They are the children of Hagar mentioned in the Book of Hebrews. Muslims even revere Hagar and the tribes of Arabia today trace back to Ishmael and Esau.

    Most people today have a severely lacking understanding of the OT law and it’s prophetic significance.

    If you really want to know you should probably take a course with someone who has a degree on it.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      Christians quote the OT all the time to justify all sorts of stuff (e.g. anti-same sex marriage). When I say “Isn’t that the Old Covenant” they’ll smirk at me about my poor Bible hermeneutics, then loftily quote Jesus saying that he didn’t come to replace the old covenant but to fulfil it. So it seems the OT is obsolete when someone is quoting you a passage you find awkward, and then it’s very relevant when you want Biblical authority to back up your own opinions on a subject.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        The Old Covenant was replaced by a new and better covenant but whether or not the law was replaced is still debated today.

        If you read Christ’s words he came to fulfill the Law and said not one jot or tittle would pass away until all was fulfilled.

        The 10 commandments were written by the finger of God.

        I am not strong on this subject myself and I am still researching part of it. Some of the Mosaic law is no longer necessary like the animal sacrifices.

        Only Jesus Christ was given a full measure of the Spirit. Nobody else was.

        So there is a lot to look into on this subject. I have seen very persuasive cases for us still to be following God’s law and for it now being obsolete.

        Did the new nature of love replace some of the need for the law? Christ did give us two new Commandments. Did he simplify the law for us.

        This is an area everyone ought to research the scriptures on.

        The Bible says the law is spiritual so it is perfect and a lot of the Mosaic Law was prophetic and symbolic.

        If you want to know something about the Law then read Jones’ series on Deuteronomy. It is a long series.

        Then there are some people who say the law was replaced.

        Doctors still swear by the wisdom of the old testament dietary rules today. It is a very healthy diet.

        Today we have a lot of problems understanding God because people assume without checking the scriptures and doing the historical, cultural and symbolic research.

        But if you can locate them there are teachers who can explain the symbolic word pictures in the Bible.

        Why were there two goats? Why are their lampstands in Revelation? Etc.

        Why did John use so much symbolism in Revelation? One of the reasons is he was hiding the revelation from the Romans is a claim I have heard.

        But maybe God intends us to dig deeper.

        Some Revelation interpreters can show how the Book of Revelation matches history.

        But between the poor grasp of symbology and the few good history students most people unless they seek to know won’t know that. So instead of a historicist view of Revelation we have futurists like Tim LaHaye writing sensationalist works all over the place.

        We have a long history of people adding drama to Christianity to persuade people their view is right when people need to start understanding the scriptures for themselves.

        We have this heaven and hell dichotomy forced on us by Catholic interpretations so barely anyone reads the details of the two resurrections trying to understand them properly any more.

        People go to sleep in the grave. God could keep their spirits in heaven but the ultimate destination for people is not heaven. People are resurrected with new bodies and heaven comes down to earth as the New Jerusalem passage in Revelation says.

        Learning the spiritual truth in Christianity is challenging in my opinion.
        It requires time and dedication so don’t let the world deceive you on it. Apply yourself to learning as much of God’s way as possible.

        I believe the West is being deceived by the liberal media over the Muslims right now. Check their ideas in the Koran and check their history. They subjugate wherever they go in big numbers.

        The answer is probably to actively convert them to peaceful Christianity but the right is too busy being uptight and fearful when we should just be converting them.

        Either they adjust to Christianity or the West will be dominated by them.

        Christians are the real peacemakers. We are not suppose to contain jihad elements though we do fight the occasional defensive war.
        Read the Beatitudes. Blessed are you the peacemakers!

        But I do believe the peace is made personally in the heart of the believer by Jesus who uses his sword to divide soul and spirit.
        You have to have peace in your own heart to communicate God’s ideas and divide/separate people from this world into the kingdom of God. We do abide in Jesus cf. John 15 and that is a state of being different from what non-Christians have.

        Chris Pinto video on Islam that I am watching right now:
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SvtfIl-XD88

        Reply
      • Susan says:

        Jesus did fulfill the law in at least two ways. He met the requirements for Kinsmen Redeemer of the Law and He was sinless to be able to pay the death penalty for people.

        So yes he is the fulfillment of the law.

        The big question is how much of the law is now applicable and to whom?

        There are verses in the Bible that show in the age to come, the Tabernacles Age, aka The Millennial Kingdom will be administered by God’s law.

        Some people based on BIblical calendar research think we have already entered the Tabernacles Age. We have been in the Pentecostal Age since Acts 2 but God is transitioning us over now. God works over huge swathes of time so really only people who regularly work with the right calendars know things like this. I am not trained on the calendars.

        Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “but whether or not the law was replaced is still debated today”
        Quite. So it’s not as simple as saying “Old covenant is obsolete”.

        Reply
        • Susan says:

          Well the Bible calls it obsolete:

          Hebrews 8:13
          New American Standard Bible
          When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

          Reply
      • TVZ says:

        “So it seems the OT is obsolete when someone is quoting you a passage you find awkward, and then it’s very relevant when you want Biblical authority to back up your own opinions on a subject.”
        .
        The times I have seen this happen is usually when someone wants to know if God’s law that was given to the ancient Israelis is for non-Israelis (the nations) to keep today. There are laws that were given to them specifically (how to tend the land, how to keep kosher, how to sacrifice animals, how to celebrate their holy days, etc..) and there are moral laws for all of mankind, and not specifically just Israel. Jesus fulfilled all of the law (lived a righteous life and gave his righteousness to believers), but like Susan said, the Bible indicates the Israeli national laws will be re-instituted in the future (as a nation… Jews still try to keep as much of the law as they can, but there are many they can’t keep since they have no temple and no high priest and many live in foreign lands).

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          For example, someone will say: “God says do not murder (moral law). Does that mean I have to sacrifice a bull in September? (ancient Israel law)” Or “God says not to lie (moral law). Does that mean I can’t eat a cheeseburger? (ancient Israel law)”

          Reply
        • toby says:

          Does it say anywhere in the bible the distinctions you’re making or is this someone’s subjective opinion on how to interpret it?

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            It’s not blatantly stated, but there was conversations among the disciples (who were Jewish) in the New Testament when Gentiles started believing in their messiah. Were these Gentiles now part of Israel? Should they be circumcised and follow the Old Covenant? Should we Jews continue the keep the law? Is it the law that makes us righteous, or God’s grace? Jesus would say things like, “Its not what goes into a man’s mouth (food) that defiles him, but what comes out (words). He told the religious leaders that he was greater than the Sabbath (their holiest day that they honored the most). Jesus’s sacrifice ended the sacrifice of animals. Basically the whole Old Testament was a foreshadowing of Jesus’s coming. You would have to read and understand the whole Bible to know the distinctions… Israel was God’s way of showing himself to the world until Jesus came and He had a much greater impact than Israel ever did. Not sure I answered your question?

          • toby says:

            Not specifically, no. That’s just taking what’s written and patching together a quilt of guesswork. It’s a bit like adding to the bible which I believe there’s something in revelations that says that’s a no no.

          • TVZ says:

            What if the Bible said (600 years before Jesus was born): “There will come a time when I will make a New Covenant with Israel. It will not be like the Old Covenant because they broke that one. In this covenant, I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts.” Combine that with the piecework of Jesus from above and you have an old legal system that Israel broke becoming a judging of the heart by God instead. Better?

          • toby says:

            Not very specific. Still requires a lot of do it yourself interpretation and introduces lots of opinion.
            .
            Also that part of the bible was written before the new testament. Not to big of a leap to say that the new testament was tailored to fit in with the old.

          • TVZ says:

            It didn’t do a good job, most of Israel didn’t believe Jesus was bringing in the New Covenant and executed him. However, this too was foretold: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all…. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand…. my righteous servant will justify many,and he will bear their iniquities. …. “I will also make you (my servant) a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

  8. Susan Tan says:

    Bob, you need to become more conversant with Muslim history. Most people don’t know today
    about the Armenian Christian genocide (around the time of the First World War) by the Muslim Turks because it was covered up.

    Google the encyclopedias on it.

    You have to research things because that is how you find out more and more the truth of a matter otherwise the people who like to decide what other people should think get to control your mind by censorship and suppression of facts.

    You can’t object to the evil that you don’t understand can you?

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “Most people don’t know today about the Armenian Christian genocide (around the time of the First World War) by the Muslim Turks because it was covered up.”
      .
      Guess you missed the movie called “The Promise” that came out in 2016. It is an epic drama that tells the tragic and appalling story of the Armenian Genocide.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        Really? 2016? That is a long time before making a movie and why the delay?

        We have a Jewish holicaust movie every couple of years since WWII. How many dozens of those do we have? Exodus, Schindler’s List, etc.

        It was a cover up. I only discovered it about 8 or 9 years ago because I used to research on Christian persecution topics.

        Armenian Genocide denial is the act of denying the planned systematic genocide of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, conducted by the Ottoman government. As a form of denialism, it can be compared to similar negationist historical revisionisms such as Holocaust denial and Nanking Massacre denial.

        The Armenian Genocide is almost unanimously acknowledged as a historical fact by historians and genocide scholars alike.[1] It is also widely considered to have been the first modern genocide,[2][3] with the word genocide itself having been invented by Raphael Lemkin to describe the sheer scale and success of the plan organized to systematically eliminate the Armenians.[1][4] Revisionists typically argue the academic consensus of it being a genocide as anti-Turkish propaganda or as a conspiracy spread by the Armenians, instead claiming that it either did not occur or that it was somehow justified at the time.[1][5]

        Wiki:
        Denial of the Armenian Genocide
        is officially outlawed in France,[6] Switzerland, Greece,[7][8] Cyprus,[9] and Slovakia.

        Currently, only the governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan deny that there was an Armenian genocide, with their ally Pakistan not even recognizing Armenia as a country.[10][11][12] Many other countries, most controversially the United States (pressured by the Turkish lobby, Israel, and, in the past, the Anti-Defamation League),[13][14][15][16] have deliberately avoided officially recognizing it as a genocide to avoid harming relations with Turkey.[1] In 2016, however, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt unequivocally acknowledged the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, and stated that the organization supports U.S. recognition.[17] The Turkish government has spent millions of dollars on Washington lobbying over the past decade, much of it focused on the Armenian genocide issue,[18] and has in the past threatened politicians from other countries with strong retaliation to prevent them from using the word genocide.[19][20][21] The Turkish Republic has also been accused of attempting to intimidate and silence foreign investigative journalists and genocide scholars.[22][23]

        Reply
  9. Susan Tan says:

    I love encyclopedias because they are huge repositories of facts that fill in historical pictures for people who usually have minds slanted from only hearing one side of a story.

    Look at what the Muslim Barbary Pirates did to Europe for 220 years. A lot of the slavery involved in selling Africans into the slave trade were Muslims, too and as Pinto reveals in his video the Muslim slave trade is still alive and well in parts of Africa today. The British colonization of many Arab countries interrupted it for a while but the Muslims clearly have a pattern of thinking they can do anything they want with an infidel. That is a natural type mind not a spiritual motive or mind behind that. Nothing like the lowly humble mind of Jesus that Christians are to have if they have been taught well cf. Philippians 2.

    The flesh likes to exalt itself over others but Jesus was divinely humble. He even washed his disciples feet.

    You see this natural mind’s exaltation of itself in Hinduism, too where they have instituted a caste system that one is born into and the higher caste people sometimes abuse the lower caste Untouchables. I know of no way out of the caste system unless one immigrates out of it or converts out of it but for converting in India you could be persecuted the way the child of Hagar, Ishmael, persecuted the child of promise, Isaac in the Old Testament.

    The fleshly people like to persecute the more spiritual people when they could have shown them some love and respect as being all made in the image of God but they just don’t have the good Biblical understanding and knowledge of God’s ways too treat everyone well so they act like their spiritually illiterate/ignorant brothers.

    The Barbary slave trade refers to the slave markets that were extremely lucrative and vast on the Barbary Coast of North Africa, which included the Ottoman provinces of Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania and the independent sultanate of Morocco, between the 16th and middle of the 18th century. The Ottoman provinces in North Africa were nominally under Ottoman suzerainty, but in reality they were mostly autonomous. The North African slave markets were part of the Muslim Arab slave trade.

    Wikipedia:

    The Barbary Coast
    Perpetrated largely on European Christians, and within in-land routes to indigenous Christian inhabitants. These peoples due to being non-Muslims in a Muslim majority society were systematically and ruthlessly preyed upon and turned slaves, acquired by Barbary pirates and Muslim in general during slave raids on merchant ships and by raids on coastal towns from Italy to the Netherlands, as far north as Iceland and in the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

    The Ottoman eastern Mediterranean was the scene of intense piracy.[1] As late as the 18th century, piracy continued to be a “consistent threat to maritime traffic in the Aegean”.[2]

    Long after Europeans had abandoned oar-driven vessels in favor of sailing ships carrying tons of powerful cannon, many Barbary warships were galleys carrying a hundred or more fighting men armed with cutlasses and small arms. The Barbary navies were not battle fleets. When they sighted a European frigate, they fled.[3]

    Ohio State University history Professor Robert Davis describes the White Slave Trade as minimized by most modern historians in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500–1800. Davis estimates that 1 million to 1.25 million white Christian Europeans were enslaved in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, by slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone (these numbers do not include the European people which were enslaved by Morocco and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast),[4] and roughly 700 Americans were held captive in this region as slaves between 1785 and 1815.[5] However, to extrapolate his numbers, Davis assumes the number of European slaves captured by Barbary pirates were constant for a 250-year period, stating:

    “There are no records of how many men, women and children were enslaved, but it is possible to calculate roughly the number of fresh captives that would have been needed to keep populations steady and replace those slaves who died, escaped, were ransomed, or converted to Islam. On this basis it is thought that around 8,500 new slaves were needed annually to replenish numbers – about 850,000 captives over the century from 1580 to 1680. By extension, for the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000.”[6]

    Davis’ numbers have been challenged by other historians, such as David Earle, who cautions that true picture of Europeans slaves is clouded by the fact the corsairs also seized non-Christian whites from eastern Europe and black people from west Africa.[6]

    Purported Middle East expert and researcher, John Wright, cautions that modern estimates are based on back-calculations from human observation.[7]

    Since no official records were ever kept but the authorities of Ottoman or pre Ottoman sources, observations across the late 1500s and early 1600s observers, estimate that around 35,000 European Christian slaves were held throughout this period on the Barbary Coast, across Tripoli, Tunis, but mostly in Algiers. The majority were sailors (particularly those who were English), taken with their ships, but others were fishermen and coastal villagers. However, most of these captives were people from lands close to Africa, particularly Spain and Italy.[8]

    From bases on the Barbary coast, North Africa, the Barbary pirates raided merchant ships traveling through the Mediterranean and along the northern and western coasts of Africa, plundering their cargo and enslaving the people they captured. From at least 1500, the pirates also conducted raids along seaside towns of Italy, Spain, France, England, the Netherlands and as far away as Iceland, capturing men, women and children. On some occasions, settlements such as Baltimore, Ireland were abandoned following the raid, only being resettled many years later. Between 1609 and 1616, England alone had 466 merchant ships lost to Barbary pirates.[9]

    While Barbary corsairs looted the cargo of ships they captured, their primary goal was to capture non-Muslim people for sale as slaves or for ransom. Those who had family or friends who might ransom them were held captive, the most famous of these was the author Miguel de Cervantes, who was held for almost five years. Others were sold into various types of servitude. Captives who converted to Islam were generally freed, since enslavement of Muslims was prohibited; but this meant that they could never return to their native countries.[10][11]

    Sixteenth- and 17th-century customs statistics suggest that Istanbul’s additional slave import from the Black Sea may have totaled around 2.5 million from 1450 to 1700.[12] The markets declined after the loss of the Barbary Wars and finally ended in the 1800s, after a US Navy expedition under Commodore Edward Preble engaging gunboats and fortifications in Tripoli, 1804 and later when after a British diplomatic mission led to some confused orders and a massacre; British and Dutch ships delivered a punishing nine-hour bombardment of Algiers leading to an acceptance of terms. Finally ending when Algeria was conquered by France. The Kingdom of Morocco had already suppressed piracy and recognized the United States as an independent country in 1776.

    The worth of a good spiritual education is incalculable to the success of an individual and all of mankind and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob makes that education free in the pages of the Bible. But you might need some interpretation help if you stumble in understanding that lengthy explanation from God.

    Reply
  10. Susan says:

    Christian children should not be answering skeptics until they have mastered proper Christian doctrine.

    Many Christians have not mastered proper Christian doctrine as evidenced by the number of denominations.

    Christians may be spiritually unified but are not doctrinally unified.

    Free will as it is recounted today and many Christian circles and frequently in apologetics is not a biblical doctrine so it comes from man’s reasoning and is not based as well as it should be on the scriptures.

    If you by your own free will could be born again and save yourself from sin then what need of a Savior?

    God tells us. We are all born spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins.

    We are all born mortal. So Christ came and told us that we must be born again.

    Being born again or born from above us as some translate that verse in John 3 is a supernatural act that we are on able to perform for ourselves.

    So people need to start reading God’s explanations in scripture much more closely and stop letting men’s logic misanalyze the scriptures to place their own reasoning in the place of God’s.

    Does The Bible Teach Free Will
    http://www.christianfallacies.com/articles/gallalgher/freeWill.html

    How do you answer anyone’s questions skeptical or otherwise if your own spiritual reasoning isn’t closely aligned with God’s scriptural answers?
    You may have picked up tons of knowledge about God through transference but you still have to closely align your own perspective with God’s as much as possible to explain things because the great majority of this world does not have a perspective aligned with God’s or is only partially aligned due to a lack of spiritual education and meditation.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “If you by your own free will could be born again and save yourself from sin then what need of a Savior?”
      .
      No surprise here given your perpetual state of confusion that you fail to comprehend what anyone means when they say man has free will. Each person has the free will to accept or reject the atoning sacrifice of JESUS CHRIST.
      And again this is covered in John 3:16-18. If you would just bother to actually read and understand what those three verses TRULY MEAN most of your confusion would be gone. Alas it appears you can NOT.
      .
      John 3:16-18 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        I don’t believe free will plays a role in saving people. But it does open the door for the ignorant evangelist to threaten people with hell fire if they don’t believe effectively closing the door of the minds of some people who were still considering.

        People do not have the right to control other people’s motivations through threats. That is a boundary violation to threaten someone else.

        Paul never threatened anyone. He persuaded them.

        There is a difference between persuasion and coercion so the people that spot the difference may start to rebel against God.

        Since you do not believe me I suggest you stop arguing with me and check out the different major theological positions. If you do God may reveal something to you.

        I could say more but there is no point to me saying anything since you distrust me.

        I have s book by a Catholic brain doctor named Amen. He wrote that people choose their church denominations based on brain type or something like that.

        So it could be you adamantly refuse all other explanations because you made things fit your own logic rather than examine if there is more to God’s explanation.

        Free will has a lot of input from the philosophers and some aren’t even Christians so it could be logic devotees have substituted their logic for a more precise understanding of God’s explanations.

        We have to learn to check the scriptures for ourselves and weed out the misinformation and refine and refine our own understanding over time again and again.

        I think many years ago I accepted free will because obviously we have wills but they aren’t free if they are subject to temptation, etc. or if we could ever be slaves to sin and we cannot free ourselves of sin by our own free will.

        But don’t trust my explanations. Do the doctrinal comparisons yourself.

        Are you safe in God’s keeping or not?

        I don’t want to discuss this further.

        I have been repeatedly disrespected by you and there is no point in discussing important matters with someone who refuses to grant you respect that is a basic need of every human being and the staple of good communication and relationships.

        So research doctrine or live in your own little world but I wonder at the soundness of anyone arguing doctrine with another person without doing serious research into the scriptures.

        You may have an apologetics playbook you are consulting but did God write it or some person under the sway of false philosophical thinking applied to the Bible. That is one of the most salient criticisms of various theological interpretations today. That people like Augustine applied Platonism to the Bible or that people borrowed a Latinized perspective of the Bible in place of God’s Hebraic. That is quite an interpretive misstep if you void out God’s Hebrew perspective in favor of a man’s Greek or philosophical perspective or in favor of a Latinized one.

        So you go study the doctrine before you lecture people who tried to do the cross doctrinal comparisons.

        Reply

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