Christians and Mass Genocide

I got into a bit of a debate on Twitter tonight about Christianity (just for a change). My comments here. When I pointed out the long list of genocides committed under Christianity, they asked me where in the New Testament Jesus had preached genocide. So I told them – Matthew 13:50.

13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Included in “the wicked” are people who don’t believe that Jesus is the Lord. That’s from John 3:18:

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Now – if the Second Coming was tomorrow, the group of “the wicked” would be about 4 BILLION people.

Christians believe that the mass genocide of 4 billion people is entirely okay. Ninety7 said it’s okay because he’s not the one judging them. Apparently it’s okay to support mass genocide as long as you aren’t the one actually pulling the trigger.

That is why I say Christianity is a violent and intolerant philosophy.

How did these folks on Twitter respond?

Well Skydaddy told Ninety7 that I’m “off the deep end“. Then he went offline.

When I asked Ninety7 how he justified his belief that mass genocide was acceptable, he just shut down and stopped responding.

is there a Christian out there anywhere who can stand up to a rigorous debate about their religion?

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0 thoughts on “Christians and Mass Genocide

  1. Herne says:

    Well you are off the deep end, Cam, but that doesn’t change the issue at hand… ;P

  2. Some Dude says:

    You can try some of the Christians are http://www.differhonestly.com. This topic comes up for regular discussion. It always seems to boil down to the notion that God created us and thus, like an artist who destroys a piece of art that they lovingly created, God can destroy us without causing any moral problems.

    I don’t buy it either but unfortunately most people who buy into this only ever play in the shallow end so I don’t think you will ever find a satisfactory answer.

  3. NathanaelB says:

    I couldn’t understand or justify that either … hence (one of the reasons) why I’m no longer a Christian :-)

  4. Allen Wilkins says:

    Cameron -

    The difficulty in responding to your challenge lies in determining exactly what you are challenging. Are you challenging the existence of the biblical God or placing him on trial? If you don’t believe the God of the bible exists, then your question falls apart as serious dialogue. We should pursue a different course if the real question is the authenticity of the bible.
    However, I will treat the question as if you have accepted the presupposition that is implicit in your question. Namely, that God exists and is unjust and violent. There are many lines of dialogue to pursue here so I will not attempt all of them in one letter. I will try to present the truth as I understand it and thoughtfully consider your responses.
    So, in this first letter, I will attempt to justify how God can rightly condemn all mankind. Of course this will fall apart if we jump back and forth on the question of God’s existence. To paraphrase your assertion, God has condemned a subset of humanity that he has called wicked and either because you don’t agree with his judgment or because the number is so great, you find this to be intolerant. By what standard are you judging the creator of the universe? Paul writes in Romans that all men are unjust and deserving of God’s wrath precisely because we do what you are now doing: summoning him to the bar of human reason where perhaps, if He is lucky, you may even find him innocent. But let’s not stop here, Paul continues with good news (the Gospel). So that God may be both just and the justifier, he has elected to save some of fallen mankind. The number of which is known only to Him. So while God would be just in condemning all of mankind, in His infinite mercy and due to no merit of their own, He has preserved some.

    I’ll stop here and look forward to your comments.

    Sincerely,

    Allen

  5. Cameron says:

    Allen,

    Of course I do not believe in the existence of this, or any other, “gods”. I do not believe because there is a complete lack of evidence to support the idea that gods exist and to believe something exists when there is a complete lack of evidence is irrational.

    My post, therefore, isn’t a critique of an imaginary god – it is a critique of the people who worship such an imaginary god. People who worship an imaginary violent god are dangerous to society. People who believe in Yahweh & Jesus believe that 4 billion people currently living on this planet deserve to die a horrible death. That is worse than sick – it is insane.

    I’m just pointing out that when Christians pretend that their philosophy is one of love and peace, it is complete hypocrisy. Their philosophy is one of violence and intolerance. They want to see everyone who doesn’t believe in their particular imaginary being/s to die a horrible death.

    What kind of person justifies mass genocide?

  6. Ninety7 says:

    Hi Cameron,

    I have to say, I am a little surprised by your characterization of our conversation. I told you that I didn’t want to debate on Twitter, but you wanted to press the issue. I was trying to get a presentation finished for work and was only half-paying attention.

    I am not a theologian, I am just a guy who believes in Christ. I was a Christian Hater from the time I was 17 until around 29, and I have heard and said all of the arguments against Christians particularly and organized religion as a whole. I thought they were ignorant, hateful, and completely closed minded. When I realized that I was the one that was all of those things, I felt a lot of grief about the way I treated people and spoke to them. Anyway, that’s not a dig on you, just letting you know where I am coming from.

    The problem I see with your argument, is that it isn’t true. That is a statement that is twisted to say what you want it to say. The passage you quoted is about how people will be judged ONCE they are dead (Once EVERYONE is dead.) Not that God is going to tell his people to start killing non-believers. When it is all said and done, everyone will be judged and the righteous will be allowed into heaven while the wicked will be tossed into the furnace.

    You seem to be reading it as if the Christians will go on living while the Angels will be culling the wicked. At the end of days (which is AFTER the second coming.)

    During our Twitter conversation, you asked how I could justify the damnation of non-Christians. What I said was that I don’t judge people and never tell anyone they are going to hell. I don’t know them the way God does. Equally, just because someone confesses to be a Christian, doesn’t mean that they are going to Heaven. It is about repentance and repentance isn’t something you can see in someone.

    I don’t like debating my faith, because what I find in the Word speaks to me differently than it would someone else. I’ve met many experts in apologetics how would love to sit down and debate your facts over and over, but I ain’t that guy.

  7. Cameron says:

    Ninety7,

    I don’t see anywhere in Matthew that says “after everyone is dead”. It says “the end of days”, which just as likely means while everyone is still alive. After all, this is the same Yahweh who rained down fire and brimstone on anyone he didn’t like in the OT. But even if you take your interpretation, it still means that Christians want 4 billion to suffer in the fires of hell for all eternity. It’s still intolerant, it’s still violent and it’s still unbelievably appalling. It’s insanity. It’s Christiansanity.

    And this line “I don’t judge people” is a major cop out. You are no different to a Nazi sympathizer saying “hey, it’s Hitler killing the Jews, not me. He’s the Fuhrer. I’m just a guy who believes he’s the Fuhrer and attends the rallies.”

    That wasn’t a good enough response during the Nuremberg trials and it isn’t good enough from you.

    You *should* be able to debate your faith. If you have a violent philosophy, you should expect to find it challenged. You need to justify yourself. Tell me, what do you find in this intolerant philosophy that “speaks to you”?

  8. Charlie says:

    If my memory serves me correctly didn’t God directly kill the firstborn children of the Egyptians at one point. That’s surely a clear-cut case of genocide/infanticide. Those babies definitely weren’t dead before he killed them!

  9. Ninety7 says:

    Apparently, you can’t hold an argument without using hyperbole and remarks that go way beyond anything we are talking about. EVERYONE dies. If you disagree with that, then I can’t help you. If my church leaders started preaching that we should start the culling early, I would wager that there would be a war within the Church. It isn’t what we believe, no matter how many times you say it is.

    In that verse, Jesus tells the parable of the net. He says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net that collects all fish.

    You don’t reach the Kingdom of Heaven until you die.

    As for Hell being a bad place, that’s why I pray for people. I pray for people who have not repented and accepted Christ, and I pray for people who say they are Christians and do not have repentance in their heart. You don’t get in Heaven for words or deeds. The way is extremely simple on one hand, but requires a complete life change on the other.

    In our belief system, God cannot associate with evil. Before the coming of Christ, the Jews had to make an offering of blood to wash their sins away. It was symbolic, but it had to be something that was dear to them (unblemished livestock was expensive!) Christ came and bore the sins of man and cleaned us with his blood. No longer are we asked to make an external sacrifice, instead, we have to accept that we have sinned against God and accept Christ’s sacrifice. That’s why those who have not been saved cannot enter God’s kingdom.

    Believe me, your argument isn’t anything I haven’t prayed about or told other people.

    I’m going to end my side by saying that while God in infinitely infallible, man is infinitely fallible. That includes even the best Christians.

  10. Allen Wilkins says:

    Cameron -

    I suspected that your position was one of unbelief rather than theological confusion. I’m not really even convinced that you think Christianity is a violent religion. That’s too simplistic of a characterization and from listening to your podcast, you strike me as too intelligent for that line of reasoning. I think you are trying to provoke a debate (nothing wrong with that) on a subject that generally pushes the buttons of a crowd that long ago abandoned reason with regards to their faith: post-modern Christians.

    The difficulty is that your critique is fairly broad and therefore difficult to engage coherently. If I attempt to respond to each of your assertions we only end up in a contest of smarmy one-liners with no ability to lay a foundation of agreement. No point in a theological debate about a book you believe to be false. That puts the cart in front of the proverbial horse don’t you think. If it is truth you are seeking, I’m happy to participate. If it is only denigration of Christians, I will opt out. I suggest we discuss evidences for God and then move forward to whether the Bible provides us with a true picture of who God is and what He wants from us. If we get past that, then we can place God on trial.

    Let me preface our discussions and close this letter by debunking your assertion that anyone who believes in “Yahweh and Jesus” is insane. Historically, many learned men have held to a belief in God:

    1. Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) the Polish astronomer who put forward the first mathematically based system of planets going around the sun. He attended various European universities, and became a Canon in the Catholic church in 1497. His new system was actually first presented in the Vatican gardens in 1533 before Pope Clement VII who approved, and urged Copernicus to publish it around this time. Copernicus referred sometimes to God in his works, and did not see his system as in conflict with the Bible.

    2. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627) a philosopher who is known for establishing the scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning. In De Interpretatione Naturae Prooemium, Bacon established his goals as being the discovery of truth, service to his country, and service to the church. Although his work was based upon experimentation and reasoning, he rejected atheism as being the result of insufficient depth of philosophy, stating, “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

    3. Rene Descartes (1596-1650) a French mathematician, scientist and philosopher who has been called the father of modern philosophy. His school studies made him dissatisfied with previous philosophy. He had a deep religious faith as a Roman Catholic, which he retained to his dying day, along with a resolute, passionate desire to discover the truth. His system began by asking what could be known if all else were doubted – suggesting the famous “I think therefore I am”. Actually, it is often forgotten that the next step for Descartes was to establish the near certainty of the existence of God – for only if God both exists and would not want us to be deceived by our experiences – can we trust our senses and logical thought processes. God is, therefore, central to his whole philosophy.

    4. Isaac Newton (1642-1727) In optics, mechanics, and mathematics, Newton was a figure of undisputed genius and innovation. In all his science (including chemistry) he saw mathematics and numbers as central. What is less well known is that he was devoutly religious and saw numbers as involved in understanding God’s plan for history from the Bible. He did a considerable work on biblical numerology, and, though aspects of his beliefs were not orthodox, he thought theology was very important. In his system of physics, God is essential to the nature and absoluteness of space. In Principia he stated, “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being.”

    5. Robert Boyle (1791-1867) One of the founders and key early members of the Royal Society, Boyle gave his name to “Boyle’s Law” for gases, and also wrote an important work on chemistry. Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: “By his will he endowed a series of Boyle lectures, or sermons, which still continue, ‘for proving the Christian religion against notorious infidels…’ As a devout Protestant, Boyle took a special interest in promoting the Christian religion abroad, giving money to translate and publish the New Testament into Irish and Turkish. In 1690 he developed his theological views in The Christian Virtuoso, which he wrote to show that the study of nature was a central religious duty.”

    6. William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907) was foremost among the small group of British scientists who helped to lay the foundations of modern physics. His work covered many areas of physics, and he was said to have more letters after his name than anyone else in the Commonwealth, since he received numerous honorary degrees from European Universities, which recognized the value of his work. He was a very committed Christian, who was certainly more religious than the average for his era. Interestingly, his fellow physicists George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) were also men of deep Christian commitment, in an era when many were nominal, apathetic, or anti-Christian. The Encyclopedia Britannica says “Maxwell is regarded by most modern physicists as the scientist of the 19th century who had the greatest influence on 20th century physics; he is ranked with Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein for the fundamental nature of his contributions.” Lord Kelvin was an Old Earth creationist, who estimated the Earth’s age to be somewhere between 20 million and 100 million years, with an upper limit at 500 million years based on cooling rates (a low estimate due to his lack of knowledge about radiogenic heating).

    7. Max Planck (1858-1947) made many contributions to physics, but is best known for quantum theory, which revolutionized our understanding of the atomic and sub-atomic worlds. In his 1937 lecture “Religion and Naturwissenschaft,” Planck expressed the view that God is everywhere present, and held that “the holiness of the unintelligible Godhead is conveyed by the holiness of symbols.” Atheists, he thought, attach too much importance to what are merely symbols. Planck was a churchwarden from 1920 until his death, and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God (though not necessarily a personal one). Both science and religion wage a “tireless battle against skepticism and dogmatism, against unbelief and superstition” with the goal “toward God!”

    8. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is probably the best known and most highly revered scientist of the twentieth century, and is associated with major revolutions in our thinking about time, gravity, and the conversion of matter to energy (E=mc2). Although never coming to belief in a personal God, he recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: “Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in “Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists.” This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: “I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” Einstein’s famous epithet on the “uncertainty principle” was “God does not play dice” – and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

    Gravitas. That was the word you used on The Napoleon Podcast wasn’t it? I like it. It requires substantial gravitas to label yourself sane and consign Newton, Einstein, Copernicus, Bacon, Descartes, Kelvin, Boyle, and Planck to the ranks of the insane. But such is the spirit of our age. We often see ourselves as the measure of all truth and the holders of all knowledge. Their belief should not serve to cause you nor I to share their belief without evidence. But surely it drives a stake thru the pejorative heart of anyone attempting to argue that only fools believe in God and causes the thoughtful person to consider the question of God’s existence carefully.

    I apologize, I’ve gone on for far too long. So I will end this here. I look forward to your thoughtful response and hope that like me, you are seeking the truth wherever it may be. Let’s get to the crucial question of evidence for God’s existence. Perhaps you can start by providing some reasons why you think there is insufficient evidence and what qualifies as sufficient evidence in your system of epistemology.

    Sincerely,

    Allen

  11. Cameron says:

    Allen, thanks for the lengthy response and the willingness to work with me to try to determine truth. That is what I am also interested in.

    Let me tackle your points one by one.

    “I’m not really even convinced that you think Christianity is a violent religion.”

    Why aren’t you convinced? I’ve provided a long list of genocidal acts committed in the name of Christianity as well as demonstrated that the philosophy is rooted in intolerance and violence in its scriptures. What more evidence do you need?

    “No point in a theological debate about a book you believe to be false.”

    I don’t believe the book to be false. I’ve got several copies of it on my bookshelf. The book is real. It’s the claims in the book which are false. The point of debating it is that even though I know it’s claims are false, 2 billion people believe them to be true, and that is where I get concerned. When 2 billion people subscribe to an dangerous philosophy, I need to speak out against it.

    Ok, let’s discuss “insane” and your list of scientists.

    Pulling together a list of eminent scientists from hundreds of years ago and claiming they believed in god means nothing. Neither of us can speak with them to know what they truly believed or what they just said in public to avoid problems. Let’s not forget what happened to Galileo at the hands of the Christians. So rather than point to a list of people long dead and say “they believed in god therefore god is true and people who believe in god aren’t insane”, how about we instead see if you can backup your belief system with facts.

    I will, however, debate the Einstein claim because I happen to know a bit about Einstein’s philosophy.

    Einstein most certainly did not believe in any “god” that a Christian would recognize. In fact, a famous letter he wrote which called religions “childish” recently went up for auction (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24668015/). “Spinoza’s god” just refers to a set of universal laws that govern a deterministic universe, not a creator god (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinozism) and I’d love to see your evidence that Einstein believed in the “impossibility of a non-created universe”. Lemaître’s Big Bang theory framework came out of solutions to Einstein’s general relativity field equations and Einstein publicly supported it.

    In modern society, anyone who justifies mass genocide is usually classified as either insane or just “evil”. As I don’t believe in “evil”, I suspect Christians who are prepared to justify mass genocide (or, if we take Ninety7′s view that the end of days refers to an event after we are all dead, it’s just mass torture) must be insane or, at the very least, extremely disturbed.

    Add to that the fact that Christians believe in invisible beings and in a supernatural, telepathic, superhero, despite a complete lack of evidence, and I think we have grounds for them being disturbed.

    Believing that something is true, despite a complete lack of evidence, most certainly makes someone delusional.

    Evidence for god’s existence would require the same approach that we require for any other scientific inquiry, including proving the existence of leprechauns and unicorns. We would need evidence that supports the theory or which rejects all alternative theories.

    So far, we have overwhelming evidence to support the natural causes theory of the universe and zero evidence to support the creator view of the universe.

    You would need evidence that there is some force which created the universe or which interferes with the universe, thereby breaking the laws of physics.

    Does that sound like a reasonable approach to you?

  12. Ruben S says:

    G’day all, I’m Rubenerd from Twitter.

    Let me just start off Cameron by saying it’s been a pleasure reading your Tweets over the last few days. At times I feel I’m the only atheist in a world of shouting religious people who are always ready to preach compassion and love until anything they say is challenged.

    What has always irritated me about this whole religious debate is that people think it’s just that: a debate. The burden of proof isn’t on us, it’s on people who claim Poseidon causes floods because we don’t built statues in His honour, or how the Abrahmaic God loves you as long as you do exactly what he says. The fact that these ideologies are even taken seriously is a travesty to our human condition, just as it would be a travesty if astronomers and chemists had to constantly battle astrologers and alchemists in their respective fields.

    It’s ironic because most religious people are decidedly anti-faith in every single other aspect of their lives. A person who is told their spouse is having an affair wouldn’t care that you saw it in a dream, they would want evidence! If your investment banker said they developed a portfolio based on a vision they had rather that researching the firms, you’d fire them! Cynicism aside, courts work by determining whether someone is guilty, and we assume innocence until that has been done.

    Perhaps the most poignant example of this though is medicine. If prayer is a direct request to The Lord(s), why do religious people go to doctors and take medicine? Or why is it that people attribute a person’s recovery from a disease to the fact they preyed, but they don’t prey for amputees? I’ll tell you why: because they can only get away with the former.

    My beautiful mum died at the age of 50 of breast cancer which she battled for over 12 years. Prayer didn’t allow me to spend my teenage years with my mum, medicine created by some of the most brilliant doctors and scientists did.

    Not only that, but religions devalue human life. How many people have gone into wars thinking that they won’t actually die if they’re killed, they’ll be sent to a happy place? How many of these people would have so readily given their lives if they knew that when they died, they’d be just that.

    The final answer to most of these questions though generally ends up as “you have to take it on faith”. The belief in something without evidence, and we have to respect that. That’s fine, just don’t question me when I say that there’s a purple unicorn in my bathtub.

    Cheers :-)
    Ruben

  13. Rick says:

    i find it funny to listen to atheists debate God… but that’s another arguement… Voltaire put it nicely when he said “God made man in his image, and man returned the favor” (paraphrased, of course)… atheists always expect to judge god based on man’s notion of the world… similarly, ants surely judge humans based on their ant-morals… why must we humans destroy entire colonies of ants just because they are living their lives inside our kitchens?… judge not the ants lest ye be judged…

    but funniest assumption of all those made by atheists is the presumption that God is good… have you read the bible/talmud/koran/vedas/etc?… let’s assume, for the moment, there IS a God… just humor me… why must he be good?… because you expect him to be?… his books tell US to be good, but do those laws really apply to him?… i can hear you now, “But that’s not fair!”… why must it be fair?… most atheists are conspicuous consumers… what you make does not have the same moral equivelency as you do… you use it and throw it away… now, we can’t apply that same logic to our children… we know that they will eventually grow up to be the same thing we are… therefore there is a moral equivilency required… but unless you are going to be God one day, there is no equality required…

    so the main point and subsequent facts given is a non-arguement… the scripture quoted talks about the “angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just”… so God is going to send angels to kill those who he considers evil… it would be a just arguement had the scripture said “go forth, people of faith, and sever the wicked from the just”… but that’s not what it said… it said (paraphrased) God calles the Orkin-man to rid his kitchen of ants…

    now, had you quoted some good old testiment passages, we could discuss genocide properly… i’ll find you some… Genisis 19:24 “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”… no… still God killing ants… Deuteronomy 20 “12And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: 13And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:”… there we go!… clearly genocide… well, not really… the command is to make peace, then if forced, kill… oh, and spare the women, children and cattle… so, no, not bloody enough… of course, that does get a little blood-thirsty soon thereafter… “17But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:”… so maybe next time you could seek out some of these passages… descriptions of war and such…

    but, then again… if, as an atheist, you abhor war… perhaps any description of killing based on morality is defined as wrong in your aesthetic… so you would be against all killing, right?… killing is wrong, right?… so if someone commits murder, he/she gets a time-out, right?… hitler (the old favorite in these discussions) would have gotten a stern letter from Churchill… these are obvious nonsense, so i have to assume we have some agreement that war/murder/death has to occur, and the decision for its occurance is a moral decision… now, it’s a matter of determining whose morals are to be followed…

    so… whose morals do we follow?… do we follow the Bible which lays down rules for what is and what is not punishable?… or do we just come up with it based on what we feel is right?… well, let me tell you something you might not be aware of… what YOU think is right is not what EVERYONE thinks as right… atheists always discuss the wars made by religion… but they never discuss the atrocities committed by atheists… Communist executions; Pol Pot; Mao Tse Tung; not to mention the everyday atrocities committed by those atheists who believe there is no judgement, therefore if they don’t get caught, it’s okay… and, yes, there are religious people who do the same, but hypocricy runs deep, even in atheism…

    the point is, everyone has to have a “moral compass”… religion helps some clarify their own compass with guidelines and restrictions…

    as for the existence of God, that’s another arguement… but it’s always going to be an arguement on both sides of “reductio ad absurdum”… atheists will argue “show me proof”… theists will argue “the proof is all around you”… atheists will argue “i am master of my own free will” and then argue “everything is quantum physics” which, of course, contradict… theists will argue that God is because God is (which is absurd)… atheists will argue “where did God come from” while at the same time arguing “matter and energy come from the big bang” (where did that come from?)… ad infinitum… ad absurdum…

  14. Cameron says:

    Rick, I’ve posted here in detail before about the number of people the OT claims Yahweh murdered. I take it as understood that we all know this.

    The difference between religious genocide and atheist genocide is that atheism doesn’t promote genocide; religion goes. When an atheist leader such as the ones you mention commit genocide, they are just bad people. When religious leaders commit genocide, they are usually justifying it based on their bible which, as you say, provides their “moral compass”. When you god commits mass genocide against “the wicked”, well, it must be okay then, right?

    I disagree with you that the discussion about the existence of god if “reductio ad absurdum”. Proof for the existence of anything in this universe, be it god or anything else, requires the same scientific process.

    You’re wrong on the other points as well. Not all atheists believe in free will – I don’t.

    You point about the big bang doesn’t make any sense either. Scientists will happily agree that the Big Bang had a prior cause. Just because we don’t know what that was yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have one.

    So mate, your arguments are full of logical holes.

  15. Rick says:

    good morning down under… (i hope that’s the proper term)… a couple points, and i’ll leave you alone…

    first, people really need to read religion from a humanistic standpoint… the christian/judean bible does not justify genocide… it does outline specific principles which would then justify killing… the idea that “you don’t believe, you must die” is a mis-reading of the text… however, i will agree that the bible/talmud is a complex document, easily confused… i am all for a general re-write, but dogma is a hard habit to break…

    second, when religious leaders commit atrocities “in the name of God”, they are no less a “bad person” than one who does it on a whim… perhaps they are ignorant louts who twist the words to say what they want them to say… perhaps they are truly evil and know that they are doing evil… very few people believe they are evil, no matter what they do… everyone justifies their actions… a select few do evil intentionally… religion is just a means to an end…

    third, you are reading a LOT into that whole Matthew 13 bit… making the leap from God being able to do something to allowing man to do the same is a great step… i will grant that you are not the first to read that into it… that doesn’t make it any more true… you are creating the solution that fits your hypothesis…

    fourth, reductio ad absurdum fits perfectly… you agree that we don’t know the prior cause of the Big Bang… if i were to say the prior cause was God, you’d have a fit… but remember your own words… “Just because we don’t know what that was yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have one.”… the converse is true, then, as well… just because we can’t prove God, doesn’t mean we don’t have one…

    fifth, if you don’t believe in free will, what’s all the arguement about?… it won’t make a difference?…

    so mate, your arguments are full of logical holes, as well… you and i are really not all that far appart, philisophically… the only difference i see is i believe that the electro-magnetic force (for lack of better scientific terminology) with which the universe operates is self-aware… and that self-awareness some people call God… and before you froth at the mouth on that one, your brain is a mass of jelly powered by electro-chemical reactions, yet you are self-aware… now, prove that you exist… :)

  16. Rick says:

    shoot… i lied… i have to make one more point… sorry…

    you said, “Included in “the wicked” are people who don’t believe that Jesus is the Lord. That’s from John 3:18″

    that says NO such thing…

    “16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

    this translates literally to “people do evil and fear being judged. Jesus is here to save you from being evil; to save you from being judged. Live by his example and you will not need fear”…

    now i personally disagree with much of the Book of John (it contradicts other books as well as makes claims found nowhere else, making it suspect of revisionism)… but even you have to admit that John 3:16-21 is a pretty uplifting message… it gives a role-model and the assurance that you don’t have to be afraid of doing the wrong thing if you live up to his model… it may not be exactly true, but dang! it sounds pleasant…

  17. Cameron says:

    “the christian/judean bible does not justify genocide” – Matthew 13:50 says that everyone who is “wicked” will be cast into everlasting fire. Now that’s either mass genocide or mass torture, depending on whether or not we are alive at the time. And I’m not reading into it that people are allowed to do it at all. I’m saying people who believe in the bible believe that mass genocide is okay. And that’s fucked up.

    I agree with you that religious leaders who do bad things use religion to justify them, and that’s exactly my point. It’s easy to justify bad things with Christianity, because the philosophy itself is intolerant and violent.

    If you told me God created the big bang, I wouldn’t have a fit, I’d ask you for evidence to support that theory. And you’d have none.

    You’re right that just because we can’t prove god doesn’t mean he exists. But that is also true for leprechauns, unicorns and fairies. Do you believe in them as well? What about Zeus, Apollo and Isis? Do you pray to them as well? We have to draw the line somewhere between what we believe in and what we don’t, and rational minds draw that line where there is sufficient evidence.

    If I don’t have free will, can I help it if I’m arguing?

    Do you have evidence that the electro-magnetic force is self-aware?

    Read John 3:18 again:

    “whoever does not believe stands condemned”

    I think that’s pretty clear and straightforward.

  18. Rick says:

    cameron… you are argueing that christians believe in genocide based on their concept of “sheol”… but you disregard all the passages that chastize and warn against murder and war… but that’s okay… you’re trying to make a point, so all evidence that doesn’t fit is cast out… that’s okay… this is your discussion…

    God, leprechauns, unicorns, fairies, Zeus, Apollo, Isis, and the Big Bang… all things which people believe but have no proof of… you can point to all of the theories you like, but they are only theories… but it is what you want to believe… i won’t condemn you for your purple unicorn…

    oh, and i know you’ll think i’ve lost my marbles, but i see the actions of this self-awareness in everyday life… but, like any good theory, it has to meet certain criteria and be a repeatable observation… so, i cannot “prove” anything… i’ll keep my purple unicorn to myself until i can…

    so, cameron… i’ve enjoyed this conversation… i hope others will continue it… i hope you continue asking questions and pointing to the flaws in beliefs… i hope mostly that you consider the flaws in your own belief system… you’re a better person for leading the examined life… you haven’t convinced me of anything, but neither one of us expected to be convinced, did we?…

    and let me leave you with my philosophy… God is both good and evil… he has good (as in adequate) reasons for the things he does… i am not required to understand nor to accept them… God created the Big Bang… i think evolution is a fine method for God to refine his works… i think man’s only purpose is to be a steward of the world he has been given… and i think Jesus was just this guy, you know… he said some very good things… he died badly… and i believe that people keep changing the bible to suit their own beliefs, therefore all scripture must be read with an eye for continuity and historic context… those passages which do not concurr with other related passages must be considered suspect… the entire books of John and Revelation are suspect… and if more people acted like Jesus suggests, there would be less suffering…

    but, this is just because i’ve read the bible…

  19. Cameron says:

    Rick, you’re just plain WRONG when you say we have no proof of the Big Bang. That kind of spin from Christians makes me mad. We have enormous amounts of evidence for the Big Bang, more than enough to consider it “proven” in scientific terms. And anyone who says different is either ignorant of the facts or lying. That’s why science is vastly superior to mythology – science is based on observation and examination and it prepared to go wherever the data leads in order to determine “truth”. Mythology (and religion is mythology) just keeps repeating the same old worn out fallacies over and over and hoping to catch the people who don’t know any different. It’s false, it’s obscene and, worst of all, it’s dangerous. Good luck with that purple unicorn!

  20. Rick says:

    LOL… okay… enlighten us with your proof of the Big Bang… but i suggest you use something other than your deuterium… that’s ONLY a theory, and cannot be proven (yet) under scientific scrutiny… you should know that… but i look forward to reading some mindless theorizing of hopefull atheists… give us some solid proof yourself…

  21. Rick says:

    before you answer, please do some research into what the Big Bang Theory actually states… also, research topics such as Big Bang Model and Ekpyrotic Model… find out some information before spouting off again…

  22. Cameron says:

    Well Rick it’s not “my proof”, but here’s a short list of the primary evidence that supports the Big Bang Theory:

    1. Hubble’s Law – galaxies appear to be moving away from each other at speeds proportional to their distance.

    2. Evidence of Cosmic Microwave Background radiation throughout the universe is successfully predicted by the BB model and, by the way, Smoot and Mather won the 2006 Nobel physics prize for measuring it.

    3. The BB model successfully predicts the observed quantities of helium-4, helium-3, deuterium and lithium-7 versus hydrogen.

    4. Galaxy distribution and evolution – we have evidence for old galaxies, new galaxies and star formations which support predictions from the big bang model.

    BTW, the ekpyrotic model doesn’t conflict with the big bang model. This is from Princeton’s site:

    “Our model does nothing to contradict this story (the Big Bang). … Instead of beginning with nearly infinite temperature and density, the universe began in a very different state – cold and nearly vacuous. The hot expanding universe we know came as a result of collision that brought the universe up to a large but finite temperature and density.”

    (Source: http://wwwphy.princeton.edu/~steinh/npr/)

    So… when you said there is “no proof” of the big bang, were you ignorant of these or do you have evidence that the cosmology community doesn’t know about?

  23. marcelo says:

    I love it when Christians say ‘they believe in Jesus Christ’ – what the fuck does that actually mean?

    What’s it like for you Christians? Is it like being really old and talking to family members that aren’t really visiting you?

    I’m one of those that Jesus clearly wants dead – I’m a homosexual. In the Bible it clearly states that Christians seek genocide against homosexuals (their blood shall be shed). This is in essence, a declaration of genocide against homosexuals – homosexuality is a natural aspect of life that predates all religions all beliefs. That’s like trying to rid the world of tears or atoms.

    If a book came out declaring genocide against heterosexuals – does anyone think that there’d still be Bibles in every hotel and motel around this planet?

    Do you know what it’s like to grow up in a world where the majority of the people on this planet want you dead?

    You Christians (and add most major religions – Frankly I can’t think of any religion that has not adopted this tired old childish fear – it seems to be yet another religious trick – another form of control and repression which probably leads Christians to have more of a need to believe in ‘some other happy place’ ) have created a nightmare world for kids to come into.

    And on you all go defending your sadistic beliefs without a care for it’s very real effects.

  24. Cameron says:

    Marcelo, you’ll be happy to know that the Church of LOTU welcomes people of all sexual preferences. In fact, we actively encourage hot lesbians to join, especially if they are Swedish identical twins. We even have a discount for Swedish lesbian identical twins.

  25. marcelo says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t know of any female Swedish identical twins. Although I promise to put a word out for you.

    I have been a little slack in joining LOTU – I’ll sign up tomorrow : )

  26. Peter says:

    Skydaddy stopped following me on Twitter. This was shortly after proclaiming that I was “confused” and “indoctrinated” at various points in this thread.

  27. Rick says:

    cameron, please read those papers again… the BB THEORY is based on quantum THEORY which is based on the THEORY of relativity… i’m not proposing that it is wrong… i actually think it’s fairly accurate… but you presume these theories are fact…

    did you miss the last line of your supposed proof? :

    “Our proposal is based on unproven ideas in string theory and is brand new.”

  28. Rick says:

    marcelo, it is unfortunate that the bible does seem to imply hatred toward homosexuals… please understand that is a hold-over from a time in history which was scared to death of disease… homosexuality was (historically) linked with certain diseases (mainly because it occured at the time outside of monogamy)… in the bible, we are not to eat pork or the hind-quarter of cow or certain sea creatures because of the likelyhood of food poisoning…

    i agree that the bias against homosexuals is horrific…

  29. Xan says:

    Rick: a scientific theory is a set of principles capable of predicting future events and thoroughly tested by empirical observation. When something is named a Theory it means scientists have the greatest degree of confidence that you can get in it, and it pretty much means the *opposite* of what you think theory means.

    Experimental sciences are not mathematics (or religion), so you’ll never get definitive and absolute answers for anything. For all we know tomorrow gravity could be reversed and became a repulsive force, it’s just that we deem this to be highly unlikely. That being said they are the best way we have to understand reality, have been proven time and again to be effective, and certainly beat books written thousands of years ago by staggeringly ignorant people by today’s standards.

    Also, and as far as I know, quantum theory is in no way based in relativity. In fact many scientists say that *the* open problem in modern physics is to create a theory that succesfuly merges both fields. String theory is one such attempt.

  30. Xan says:

    Just one clarification: the theory in “string theory” is not a scientific “Theory” (like Newton’s Gravity, Einstein’s Relativity, or Darwin’s Evolution), so in that case the word is used in its more mundane meaning. In fact string theory cannot even be proved or disproved right now, so some people claim it’s nothing more than an interesting idea, but not science.

  31. Cameron says:

    Rick, yeah read what Xan wrote. You seem to have the same common misunderstanding about science that many Christians seem to have, which unfortunately says a lot about the standard of education in the Christian community.

    A scientific “theory” that is supported by experimental and observational data is considered to be “fact” by scientists but, as our knowledge always expands, these “facts” can change.

    This is the opposite of religious ‘facts’ that are completely unsupported by any evidence or observation and are, therefore, simply mythology.

    And, as Xan correctly states, scientists are still trying to reconcile relativity and quantum mechanics, so you’re way off base there. The Big Bang model is based on Hubble’s Law, which demonstrated that galaxies are moving away from each other.

    Xan, I have to argue with you about string theory not being “science” though. String theory is absolutely science – it’s only young science though. We’ve got theories, we’re still just trying to gather experimental and observational data to support one of them or refute the others.

  32. Xan says:

    Well, the argument goes that since the string guys have yet to provide any way to falsify their stuff, they are not really doing “science”. Here science would mean anything you do following the scientific method, otherwise mathematics wouldn’t be “science” either.

    In any case, I’ve read a few (introductory!) books about string theory myself, find it fascinating, and it really seems to explain so many things so well that it’s hard to believe that it or something very much like it is not real. I’m just exposing one common criticism it receives, though I agree with you that since they are actually trying to come up with ways to verify their theories they are 100% honest scientists to me.

  33. Cameron says:

    I’m working on getting Brian Greene on my show at the moment, so I’ll ask him if he thinks it’s science! :-)

  34. Xan says:

    I wonder what he’ll say! ;)

    Looking forward to it anyway, I love his books.

  35. marcelo says:

    “the bible does seem to imply hatred toward homosexuals” it is far from an implication – it is an outright statement of the intention of christianity.

    ‘And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:13

    Christians will always distort to defend the horrific ideas expressed within the bible.

    “hold-over from a time in history which was scared to death of disease”
    A hold over time from which period exactly? Can you supply evidence for this idea?

    “homosexuality was (historically) linked with certain diseases (mainly because it occured at the time outside of monogamy)…” this statement is religious induced verbal vomit.

    I was watching http://www.thegodmovie.com/ yesterday again, and just watching the desperation Christians feel when confronted with tuff questions. Everyone should watch this movie.

  36. Rick says:

    marcelo… i was agreeing with you… and a rational discussion of issues would be in order… everyone here keeps reading what they want to read in the bible… i used the word imply because, though Leviticus says what you said, it implies action on the part of a christian… it does not command… it is open to interpretation… however, i agree with you that it is the common understanding of the bible, and it is something that needs to be eradicated from the common interpretation… any rational person knows this…

    the rest of my comment contains points which any anthropologist knows… and they support the eradication of that particular dogma from christianity…

    as for the rest of your comment, you appear to be the same kind of knee-jerk person as cameron… wanting a fight when there is room for accord… what you call verbal vomit was a historic fact historians and anthropologists agree on, and it supports the need to rid christianity of these out-dated ideas… homosexuality is as monogamous currently as heterosexuality (perhaps more-so), and it does not spread disease through contact with multiple partners as the practice did in the BCE…

    so before you jump off the handle, please consider what was written… it was in support of your point that christians have unreasonable and untenable possitions when it comes to homosexuality…

  37. Rick says:

    xan and cameron… i understand the scientific definition of theory as stated… i was just pointing out that cameron was using unproven and even untested theory as fact… as cameron correctly stated, ““theory” that is supported by experimental and observational data is considered to be “fact” by scientists but. . . these “facts” can change”… i am just pointing out that the beloved “fact” used as proof was the BBT… this does accurately predict some conclusions, but it has not been completely proven as as scientific “fact”…

    the “fact” is, we cannot see galaxies far enough away to gather sufficient data about ancient levels of material (such as deuterium)… the red-shift becomes too great for earth-based receivers and telescopes to accurately measure (due to infra-red interference)… space-based telescopes are far too few and over-taxed to gather the required data… so, for the time-being, it is on the nether edges of “theory”… not fact…

    and while the BBT is a fine theory, and i assume it will be held true as time moves on, it does not prove or disprove anything regarding religion…

    by the way… cameron, good luck on the Brian Greene interview… i’ve read his Elegant Universe… a facinating look at how things work… i honestly can’t say i grasped it all, but there’s a lot to get a hold on… i’ll wait for String Theory For Dummies…

  38. Xan says:

    Rick: I’m not aware of any serious controversy about whether or not the Big Bang happened. There’s only debate about some specific details on how it happened.

    “and while the BBT is a fine theory, and i assume it will be held true as time moves on, it does not prove or disprove anything regarding religion…”

    This is pretty much meaningless, as there is absolutely nothing one could come up that would prove or disprove the existence of (the) God(s), or any of the endless propositions one can make about the Universe that are not verifiable in any way.

  39. Cameron says:

    Rick, I’m a “knee-jerk person… wanting a fight”? I’m just after the truth. It’s simple. I just call bullshit where I smell it and search for the truth.

    “it has not been completely proven as as scientific “fact”…”

    Like Xan, I’m not aware of any serious controversy around the Big Bang model. AFAIK, the vast majority of cosmologists working today accept it as FACT as a model while they continue to work out further details. If you have evidence that it isn’t supported as fact, then please share it.

    “and while the BBT is a fine theory, and i assume it will be held true as time moves on, it does not prove or disprove anything regarding religion…”

    Really? Here’s a couple of reasons why I disagree.

    1. BBT totally contradicts the first chapter of Genesis. If the Bible is wrong about that, it’s lost it’s credibility about everything else.

    2. BBT shows that the universe operates by natural laws. In the femto-seconds after the BB, the laws of physics which govern our universe were created. And there is no room for an interfering god in the laws of physics.

    So BBT is actually a terrific tool for dismissing the god delusion.

  40. marcelo says:

    Who chooses which parts of the bible should be eradicated or not?

    Y’know Rick, I don’t want a fight – I just want the truth, I couldn’t give a shit about my beliefs or yours.

    And Rick, you should be very careful -because if you start applying reason and logic, like, saying that condemming homosexuals is wrong, then in the end you’ll end up with a leaflet not a Bible.

  41. azure says:

    I’ve been researching this topic for a while now, and I was baffled by how few defensive arguments are out there from christians regarding the hard passages (scriptures seemingly condoning genocide and other atrocities). Specifically I was curious to find arguments from conservative christians who believe the bible is infallible. I just couldn’t see how one could say the bible is completely accurate in everything including the accounts of human slaughter, and still hold that God is a good god.

    (Bear in mind, I am specifically curious about the arguments from this conservative group of people. I am aware that there are progressive christians that believe the bible might not have been totally accurate, or that for various reasons (such as the influence of time and culture), they hold that the bible is not necessarily be taken as a literal guideline by which we should live our lives today–hence providing an explanation for the bible’s hard passages–I wanted to find an argument other than this one)

    I finally found this page:

    http://www.angelfire.com/journal/bibleissues/israel/canaan.htm

    I myself am not entirely convinced. But I wanted to post it up here since it seemed quite relevant. I would like to know what people think of this argument.

  42. Cameron says:

    Unfortunately this author you link to above neglects to mention God’s instructions in 1 Samuel 15:3 where God sez “slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

  43. Kelly Hinman says:

    Cameron,
    I just wanted to say I really enjoy your Biographies podcast!As to the current debate,I too reject the Bible from cover to cover.It is an absurd storybook,but others are free to have a different view.I know I will not be converting anytime in this lifetime.I wonder how come you never hear sermons about the prophet the kids made fun of and he cursed them in the name of god and supposedly two “she-bears” killed and maimed 42 of them.What a positive message full of tolerance for young children to hear!Those kids in the story had it coming though,I mean they said the unthinkable….they called him baldy.He and god fixed them though!

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