Saturday, July 9, 2016

Every Student Rebuttal, "Does God Exist" Part Two

Time to visit the safe space again!  Let's dive right in.

2. Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it? 
Let's see what she says.
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light,
First of all, it wasn't an explosion of 'energy and light.'  It was the literal expansion of the universe, which is time and space.  Light is generally energy, after all.
which we now call the Big Bang.
Fair enough. Some do call it that.  However, the universe is still expanding, it's just doing so at an ever-slower rate. Eventually it will expand so far that it will be infinitely thin with regard to time/space, but we can discuss that in another post if you like.  Time's not linear, either, but we experience it that way.  The center of the universe is the beginning of time.  We might be getting off-track here, though.
This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.
Fair enough.  I mean, technically, the initial singularity existed for an infinite time before the expansion.  There was never a 'time' it wasn't there.  It was just infinitely dense, meaning that time had no medium to move through, and matter had no time to move through.  However, I'm getting long in the tooth over this point.
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic,
Most people are agnostic.  That deals with knowledge, not belief.
stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."9
Here's a link to that reference.   It was first delivered in 1949.  Here's the closing two paragraphs of that address:
"Some say still that if the astronomer cannot find that cause today, he will find it tomorrow, and we will read about it in the New York Times when Walter Sullivan gets around to reporting on it. But I think the circumstances of the Big Bang-the fiery holocaust that destroyed the record of the past-make that extremely unlikely.
"This is why it seems to me and to others that the curtain drawn over the mystery of creation will never be raised by human efforts, at least in the foreseeable future. Although I am an agnostic, and not a believer, I still find much to ponder in the view expressed by the British astronomer E. A. Milne, who wrote, "We can make no propositions about the state of affairs [in the beginning]; in the Divine act of creation God is unobserved and unwitnessed.
-message from Professor Robert Jastrow 
We knew nearly 60 years ago that we would probably discover the answer eventually.  In context of the first quote up there, he was explicitly saying that they couldn't figure it out at that time. Using the quote out of context as she did is disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light."10
Here's the link to the book cited in citation ten.  It looks like a pleasant read, even.
The universe has not always existed. It had a start...what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
 We do, actually, but she'll have to actually read more books that were printed after 1950.  Krauss' "A Universe from Nothing," and Hawking's "A Brief History of the Universe" are recommended.
3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
For one, what other way would you presume it should act?  Sure, they seem to be consistent every time.  We've never observed them being broken.
Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn't change -- on earth or in galaxies far from us.
Mostly correct.  Notice how none of those were revelations from any god, by the way.  Also, the earth is perpetually slowing down about 1.4 milliseconds per every hundred years or so.  The earth was probably spinning around it's axis every 12 hours or so a few billion years ago.  Of course, the earth was a bit smaller back then too.
How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
Well, if it weren't ordered as we see it, we'd try to find the order in the disorder, and check that.  People used to (not even four centuries ago) think that the sun went around the earth, as did all the stars and everything.  We even had models which made that consistent.  It didn't stop them from being wrong.  Same way with god.  You can say 'god just makes it so,' but that doesn't make it so.
"The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence."11
This is from Dinesh D'Souza's book "What's so great about Christianity?" However, he hits the nail on the head here.  There's no reason it has to be the way it is; it simply happens that it is this way.

Granted, a universe with inconsistent laws would probably collapse upon itself or something, but there's also nothing preventing another infinite combination of stable universes, either.  We have no way of observing them anyway, so we don't know what the limits are, if there are any at all. We certainly can't test for any god if he's not in the universe, the same as we can't test for any other universes.
Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."12
Let's see what else Feynman has to say, shall we?

Also, she didn't even address why the universe is the way it is.  She just quoted some stuff out of context.
4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.
I've also touched on this one before as well.  Basically this whole argument is summed up in one sentence:
You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
 Where did your god come from?  Also, who's to say we cant?  This is what's called a baseless assertion.  Remember, it's an error of Reification, because the laws of the universe are descriptive, not prescriptive.
5. Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
No, he's not.  Thor has never visited me.  Jesus has never patted me on the head.  Quetzalcoatl has never asked me for the heart of a conquered man.  Gilgamesh has never appeared to me and offered to get drunk together.
I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don't believe even exists?! 
For exactly the same reason that theists try to make other theists not believe in any god but their own.  We just simply don't have a god.  You're an atheist in this regard, because by saying that Jesus is real, you're also saying every other god isn't real.  You're also working to both ends simultaneously.
I didn't realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue.
This is a dangerous statement, saying that god compelled you to do something.  Is that really a good lead-off for you?

The rest of point five is useless waffle. Still no defense of the points being made.
6. Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
So the question of whether or not god exists is evidence for if god exists or not.  That level of mental gymnastics made me dizzy, so lets sit down for a moment.
Why Jesus?  Look throughout the major world religions and you'll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets.
Buddha specifically told people he wasn't a god.  The Analects of Confucius are filled with anecdotes about not making baseless claims, and respecting your lack of knowledge.  Atheist teachers, in a way.
None of them ever claimed to be equal to God.
No, but lots of people have claimed it.  Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kim Jong-Un, the queen of England.  All claim divine lineage.
Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you're looking at him.
Fine.  I say god exists, and he's writing this blog post so you'll understand he doesn't actually exist.  Do you see how ineffectual your argument is?
Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way.
No.  I can simply apply your argument to literally any other person because yours is an argument from authority fallacy.  Kim Jong-un claims to be born of god, literally.  Are you going to believe him just because he says it?

I hope my points have been clear.
As always, this is Rev. J.R., signing off.

Every Student, Response to "Gay, Lesbian, God's Love"

Time to head back to the safe space!  This is gonna be a fun one.

The message many gays and lesbians hear is that God hates you. See why this is not true.

Well, it's a reasonably clear message in the bible, but please continue!  I'm sure this won't be offensive at all.  Disclaimer: I'm only tearing apart some of it for now.  Please read the full thing for the whole context.

Life often demands certain qualifications. To get a driver's license, you have to pass a test. To land a certain job, you must show that you have the credentials deserving of that job.
Cool.  What has this to do with the point?  I thought you were going to tell us we don't need qualifications.  Full disclosure: I'm asexual.  I simply don't find anyone attractive like that.
Unlike anything else you have encountered, a relationship with God does not begin with you filling in the blank, "Accept me because..."
Really?  Go tell that to the folks who say that if you don't accept Jesus, you'll go to hell.  Maybe that's not the kind of thing you meant?
It starts with God saying, "I accept you." "I welcome you."
Well then let him get on with it already.
Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or have questions,
Questions are good! Unless you're questioning whether or not your god exists, right?
God is not our enemy.
"Ours" does indeed imply we, and since he's not an enemy to you, you're technically correct.  He's not our enemy, he is mine.  Something like that.
If you have not already begun one, God wants a relationship with you.
If he wants it, he can call first.  I'm not desperate.
He offers this to anyone and everyone.
Well, according to you.
In Scripture, you'll see only one group that consistently angered Jesus...the religious self-righteous.
"Oh yeah, Jesus will totally take you because I say so.  I think my ideas are right and just, and so should you! Those self-righteous people are just wrong, because I'm clearly right..."
Jesus seemed comfortable around everyone else, including prostitutes and criminals. However, the religious elite irritated and saddened Jesus. He saw them as judgmental, arrogant, unloving, and hypocritical.
Yeah, it's not elitist at all to say that it's easier for the camel to thread a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.  There's absolutely no elitism in calling fruitless people useless like a dead fig tree.  There was absolutely nothing elitist about sitting at the right hand of god.  I mean, everyone makes that claim, right?
You might see those words and immediately think of religious people who have been hurtful, rude or judgmental toward you. Does that represent Jesus' heart? No.
Yeah, Luke 19:27 never really happened, right guys?
Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. How would hurtful comments fit into that? Not very well.
Maybe I'm into BDSM.  I wonder if you discuss that...  Back in a second.

Nope. Not directly anyway.
Have you ever had a chance to seriously consider Jesus?
Have you?  It certainly sounds like you haven't considered him very hard.
Unlike any other person who has ever lived, Jesus can explain life to to experience life, more abundantly. He is the Creator of all that exists, yet became a man, so that we could know him, know God.
 Well, then hopefully he'll make that first call I mentioned and we can chat!

"Grace" isn't a word we use much.
Why do non-hetero non-cis people, as a class, need grace again?
I used to wonder what it takes to be accepted by God. Perhaps you'll be as amazed as I was. Here it is:
Then he puts John 3:16.  If I didn't know better, I'd say it was a younger, hipper, almost pleasant Jack Chick.  Almost.
Did you catch it? "Whoever believes in him." Whoever believes in him has eternal life.
Cool!  Unless, you know, your religion is wrong.

The next couple paragraphs are waffle.  Then there's this gem.
He offered proof. Jesus had already done what no human could do, instantly healing those who were blind, couldn't walk, or who struggled with diseases.
That's right, Jesus will fu... fix the gay right out of you.  Or something.  Is it really a disability if a man likes penises?
Yet Jesus went far beyond that. He said, on numerous occasions, that he would be arrested, beaten, and crucified...and three days later rise from the dead.
No.  That's someone making up a story.  Hundreds of years after the alleged events.  It's exactly as if I said, right now, that JFK told me he predicted his own death.  Jesus is further removed from the four gospels than I am from JFK.
You can go through this life knowing you are loved by God.
You mean, god loves us, but not unconditionally?  How interesting.
Everyone hungers to be loved.
No, not everyone.  I'm quite content just having some good friends.  It works for me.
Human love is important.
-some human
Yet every person who loves you, loves you imperfectly, because people are imperfect.
But God is able to love you perfectly. He loves us because it is his nature to love, and it never changes, never stops.
So we weren't created in his image.  Also interesting.
We all mess up. We all fail to live up to our own standards, let alone God's standards. But God doesn't accept us based on our performance.
Since the context is specifically homosexuality, I'm going to presume that you are discussing it thus.

Homosexuality isn't a mistake, it's just a natural biological process.

Do you see how self-defeating your own argument is?

"Jesus will love you, but you're a miserable fuck-up"

Would that kind of message convert you to another religion?
The more important the relationship, the greater impact it has.
So, it makes sense that knowing God is going to be a significant relationship.
If it's so significant, why can't he initiate it?  If I actually have free will not to believe in him, why won't he just show himself?
He will lead your life according to his love and his desires for your life.
I presume that means that you think homosexuals aren't living the right way.  Your message is really confusing.

So there's no special requirements, you don't need to fill in the blank part of "accept me because..."  However, if you want to be accepted, you must fill it in.
You still make decisions. You maintain your free will. He does not take over your life, forcing you to act as he wants.
Now you're just being facetious.
A couple of months after asking Jesus into my life, my closest friend asked me, "Have you noticed a change in your life?" And I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "Lately I can share things with you and you don't make jokes. You seem to be really listening to me."
I was kind of embarrassed. I mean, here's my closest friend telling me that I was finally acting like a decent human being and listening to her!
Now you're telling me the only reason you're not a complete asshole is because you fear hellfire?

Interesting indeed.
And I guess my emotional need for love was met by God on such a deep level, that I became more of an emotionally secure person. 
It sounds as though you would simply have accepted any comforting myth, though.  That's a dangerous mentality, and there are people who can help you come to terms with it.  Living your life in constant fear of hellfire just because you find other women attractive isn't a healthy thing.  At least, I thought that sexuality was the context here.
Jesus promises us that as we let him teach us and guide us, he says, "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
As though liking other people is something you should want to be set free from.
Most of Jesus' disciples (and many of Jesus' followers today) have gone through tremendous suffering. For example, Paul was frequently arrested, beaten with rods and whipped, countless times. Once he was nearly stoned to death by an angry mob. He was shipwrecked several times, many days without food, and fleeing for his life, often.
Clearly, Jesus' followers didn't live easy lives. Yet Paul, and other believers, remained unshakeably convinced of God's love for them.
You do realize you're preaching to homosexuals, not to the (mentally or physically) infirm, right?

You don't plan your course. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning your sexuality...if you will let him, Jesus will guide your life. And it's greater than what you could imagine. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
I thought you said your bigotry was subsiding.  You said earlier god has no problem with homosexuality, so why are you acting like people need to change from the darkness and stuff?

Here's how you can begin a relationship with God, right now.
Whatever you've done in your life, Jesus offers you his complete forgiveness. Our sin wasn't merely overlooked.
 Sexuality isn't sinful because sin doesn't exist.
He says that THIS is the relationship that satisfies us. We never were meant to go through this life without him.
Jesus sounds like a clingy boyfriend or something.
You can talk to him using whatever words you want. 
Is that really the best way to end this?  I mean, I can think of a lot of words you'd probably not like me to use, either alone or in combinations.

"Dear Jesus who doesn't exist, come into this poor misguided soul's life, and show her that sexuality isn't something to be ashamed of!"

As always, this has been Rev. J.R., signing off.

Always Be Ready, a Response

This is an open response to a page on the Always Be Ready website.

Let's start here.
•  We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament Scripture alone to be verbally inspired by God and inerrant in the original text, and that they alone are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
So you believe the entire thing is literally true.  Excellent!
•  We believe in one God who is Creator of heaven and earth, who is infinite Spirit, light, love, and truth; eternal, almighty, infallible in all things, including His foreknowledge of all future events as well as all free choices; that He is unchangeable, all wise, just, and holy; and that the triune God eternally exists in one essence and three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
 Well, according to genesis, there are multiple gods, because god spoke to himself in the plural.

He doesn't have infinite knowledge because he doesn't seem to know quite a few things that would have been very helpful to his ascetics.
•  We believe in the special creation of the entire space-time universe and of every basic form of life in the six days recorded in the Genesis creation record. We also believe in the historicity of the Biblical record, including the special creation of Adam and Eve as the literal progenitors of all people, the literal fall and resultant divine curse on the creation, the worldwide flood, and the origin of nations and diverse languages at the tower of Babel.
God didn't actually create the universe, so you just refuted your 'literal' interpretation from point one.

Also, did plants and animals come before humans (Gen. 1) or after (Gen. 2)?

Similarly, what of the land of Nod, from which Cain took his wife?
•  We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Word manifested in the flesh. We believe that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and that He is true God and true man, having two distinct natures co-joined in one Person.
Since you believe that all three are people, doesn't that mean that Mary can't possibly have been a virgin?
•  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of every human being and thus offers salvation as a free gift based on grace alone.
Jesus, being literally god, killed himself for your sins.  Well, that's one way to go about it.
•  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead in the same physical body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body which will be given to all believers at the return of Christ.
•  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven in the same glorified physical body in which He arose, was seated at His Father's right hand, assuring us of the perfection of His work of redemption, and that He now, as Head over all things to the Church, is engaged on behalf of the saved as their only Advocate.
So his body literally went up into the clouds, after he died and came back to life, but the Romans never wrote this down at the time?  The leaders of ancient Rome didn't see this spectacle, and immediately convert?  How bizarre.  If I saw that, I'd probably change my mind, and I'm about as atheist as they come.
•  We believe in the personal, imminent, and premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones followed by His 1,000 year reign on Earth.
 There's going to be 1000 years of Jesus reigning by proxy, then another thousand years of him reigning not by proxy.  Well, that's a nice, safe claim we don't have to worry about for another fifty generations.  Let us know what day it begins though, so we can count and be sure.
•  We believe that man was originally created in the image and likeness of God, and that he fell through sin; and that as a consequence of his sin, he became dead in trespasses and sins, and that he became subject to the power of the devil. We also believe that this spiritual death, or depravity of human nature, has been transmitted to the entire human race, the Man Christ Jesus alone being excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a corrupt, sinful nature.
The forty days he spent in the woods, he allegedly didn't give into the devil.  Since you're a literal interpreter, show us the verses where the devil got the better of him.  We'll be waiting.
•  We believe that only those who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior on the condition of faith alone, apart from all good works, are thereby born again of the Holy Spirit, are justified once and for all, and have become children of God.
This one always gets me.  Charlie Manson could have a ton of faith in your god, and he'd get to go to heaven, but the children who die before they're too old to even think about it go straight to hell.

If it were true, I would believe it.  However, it doesn't appear to be.  Then again, terrorists of all stripes use the exact same justification for their actions, from helping the poor (good stuff) to beheading infidels or burning witches (clearly not good stuff).
•  We believe that the Holy Spirit, being the Third Person of the Godhead, convicts men of sin, regenerates, indwells, baptizes, seals, and sets believers apart to a holy life; that He keeps and empowers believers day by day. We believe that He is the Teacher of the Word of God through which He guides us in our daily lives.
You know the interesting thing about the trinity?  It means you believe in a pantheon.  Did you realize there are other gods mentioned in the bible, which your god supposedly false?  He's not saying they weren't real.  He's saying their adherents are simply wrong, or that their story is.  This means your god has had literal contact (if we take the bible literally) with all the other gods mentioned in the bible, like Baal and Ashtoreth.
•  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted only two ordinances: water baptism and the Lord's Supper, to be observed until He comes. We believe that water baptism is not necessary for salvation but that it is an outward symbol of salvation and a sign of our obedience to Him.
Well, your belief doesn't stop you from being wrong.  Jesus commanded a lot of things: tithing, giving to the poor, giving up worldly possessions, not charging interest to others of the same religion, being a good Samaritan in all things, and going forth to multiply your earnings.  Jesus even taught that you don't have to do a full day's work to get a full day's pay (Matt. 20)
•  We believe that the universal Church of Jesus Christ is composed of those who have been redeemed and washed in His blood, regenerated and sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that they are saved to worship and to serve; that it is the responsibility and privilege of all who are saved to seek to win others to Christ, to the "uttermost part of the earth"; that they should seek to live a holy life, to separate themselves from and forsake all that might dishonor God, cast discredit on His cause, or weaken their testimony.
Now wait a moment.  You just said evangelism wasn't one of those ordinances.  Make up your mind.
•  We believe that there is a personal devil, a being of great cunning and power, who is "the prince and the power of the air," "the prince of this world," and "the god of this age." We believe that he can exert vast power but only as far as God permits him to do so; that he shall ultimately be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night forever.
Great.  Now you're stealing the idea from the Koran.  Personal devils originate from the stories of Muhammad, not the bible.  Also, if you believe god allows the devil to work, that's basically saying that god condones whatever happens in the world, or is complicit at the very least.  Similarly, the devil punishes bad people: why would god punish him for that?  Your dogma is much too complex.