What About All the Other Religions That Think They’re Right — Including Atheism?

By The Stream Published on October 20, 2018

Christians think the Bible is right. Muslims think the Quran is correct. Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, even atheists — they’re all convinced. But are all these claims equal? And what of the person whose mind is made up without even listening?

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  • Dena

    Thank you so much for putting this up.

    I have a co-worker challenging me about my faith and many times I fill I’ll prepared and do not know what to say. She’s an aethiest. She asks a lot of good, thought provoking questions that I’m unable to give a good answer too. She doesn’t like organized Religion because we tell people how to live their lives and mean to certain groups of people like gays and transgenders. I told her not all Christians are like that. She asked, “How do you know your Bible is true when you can’t even agree with each other. Look at all your Denominations! Do you believe every word of the Bible? Look at all the killing in the Old Testament. Do you believe that’s right for today?” She then asked me about Social issues. She said she knows the Bible calls gay and transgenderism sin, but that was written by a heterosexual male. I know you believe the Bible is inspired by God, but how do you know with all the crazy stuff in there as well?”

    I listened to her but didn’t know what to say.

    • Paul

      “I have a co-worker challenging me about my faith and many times I fill I’ll prepared and do not know what to say. She’s an aethiest.”

      “She doesn’t like organized Religion because we tell people how to live their lives and mean to certain groups of people like gays and transgenders.”

      The irony here is that atheists are busy telling people how to live their lives and are often hostile to Christians. In fact in todays work culture it is interesting that your co-worker feels so unencumbered to be verbally antagonistic to your personal life and religious beliefs. She is not seeking answers, she is trying to convert you and tear down your faith.

      • Dena

        Yes, she is trying to convince me to believe as she does – along with my other co-workers. She is very passionate about what she believes and not afraid to share it. If she was a Christian, she would be an excellent Evangelist.

        I never been challenged about my faith, but it’s a good thing. It’s forcing me to find answers, so that I’m better prepared.

        I’m not as concerned about winning an argument. I’m horrible at debate. Some how I want her to see Jesus is real and why I still believe in him.

        • Paul

          Considering that this is taking place at work (and I assume in the US), there may come a time to remind your co-worker of the 1st Amendment and that her verbal challenges against your civil liberties are creating a hostile work environment. From my limited info it sounds like you’re being bullied not only by her but others also. Might need to involve HR as well.

          • Dena

            It’s a fine line. I’ve never been challenged about my faith, but it’s forcing me to look for answers to these questions.

          • m-nj

            Good point. What’s good for the goose (co-workers complaining about Christians evangelizing on work time) is good for the gander (Christians feeling bullied by co-workers re: their religious beliefs).

          • Paul

            Yup, time to push back

    • What questions does she ask?

      • Dena

        She is a socialist. She is very intelligent and reads a lot of books. Her whole family have Doctrate degrees.

        • Intelligent? Not from what I saw in you post, she was just confusing you with stuff you haven’t heard before.

          What questions does she ask you?

          • Dena

            I’ve been writing some of her questions in the above responses.

          • Repeat them here in a list

          • swordfish

            Maybe you should have said ‘please’.

    • Spear

      “… mean to certain groups of people like gays and transgenders.”

      No, God’s requirement is Holiness. But we all fail in that endeavor. “For all have sinned and fall short of God’s Glory.” Rom 3:23

      This not only includes gays and transgenders, but all fornicators: adulterers, premarital sex of any kind. We are all called to repentance and with that we are all required to abstain lustful desires. All of us. Not just gays and transgenders.

      With your co-workers logic, one could claim God is mean to all of us. ??? The message is to all of us.

      Anyway, an atheist is nonexistent. An atheist actually serves their god. Everything they do is to serve their god. Even giving to charities serves the ego’s of their god. They even get angry when someone challenges their god.

      Their god is themselves. Don’t anger their god.

      • Except sodomy is the second worst sin of all and “transgenders” are just a retreat of what the cult of baphomet used to do.

    • JP

      Here is what you can do with your co-worker: ask her questions about atheism. Ask her what facts does she have that proves atheism i.e. no gods exist is true. Is belief in God illogical and irrational and if so how?

      Since atheism does not have such a thing as a moral code then ask her why murder and rape is evil via atheism? Where does atheism condemn slavery? Whats wrong with owning slaves if atheism is true?
      You might also tell her that if atheism is true then her life is ultimately meaningless. When she dies, she ceases to exist and it matters not what kind of life she lived because she is never held accountable for the life she lived.

      Where does atheism say that being homosexual and trans is a good thing? You should point out to her from the Center for disease Control the stats of how deadly homosexual sex is.

      What you want her to do is to defend atheism is true and show what wrong with slavery, rape and murder if atheism is true. After all, if atheism is true then its all “atoms in motion” and nothing more.

      Feel free to contact me if she has questions you can’t answer. I have dealt with a number of atheists on these issues and have never gotten good answers from them when they are challenged.

      • Kevin Carr

        Excellent, It had just read one of the ways to defend your faith is to get them to defend their position.

      • Dena

        I haven’t tried that. I haven’t had a chance to ask her any questions.

        I have trouble thinking on my feet and failed debate class. So listen to what she has to say and try to come up with a thought out answer if she gives me a chance to speak.

        I told her I believe in heaven and hell. That no one is perfect and even one sin is enough to send us there. That’s why Jesus died for our sins. If we repent and turn away from our sins and make him the Lord of our life, he saves us. I realize most of my friends and family don’t know Jesus and are going to Hell. I love them and don’t want them to go there. That’s why I tell them about Jesus.

        Her response. She told me I’m a terrible person in trying to convert others to Christianity. I’m ruining their culture and they should be allowed to live however they want. She told me that there is no such thing as heaven or hell. Living right now on earth is heaven, so live your life to the fullest now!

        I told her life on earth isn’t heaven for everybody. Especially those who are suffering.

        To be honest I feel inadequate for this task, but I want her to see Jesus is really the son of God, not just a good man who lived long ago. To her I’m living in fantasy land.

        I have other relatives and friends who believe like she does. I want them to be able to know Jesus as well.

        I’ve had people at church I don’t even have to talk to be a good witness. They tell me that being a good person they’ll see Jesus through me. I haven’t seen one person saved that way. I’m tired of being silent. I’m discovering so many people around me have never heard the gospel. Even some people who call themselves Christians don’t know what it means to be saved. They think everyone is going to heaven and that they can sin all they want too.

        • JP

          Since she accuses you of being a “terrible person in trying to convert others to Christianity” ask her where in atheism does it say that trying to convert someone to Christianity is a terrible thing.

          Since atheism is her belief and authority she needs to show you how this makes you a “terrible” person. Also, what is the objective criteria of a good person in atheism? To know if something is good or bad you need to have an objective criteria to determine that. Without it, all she has is just a preference claim. In the atheistic worldview Hitler could be said to be a good person since there is no objective criteria in atheism that tells the atheist what the qualities of a good or evil person looks like. Bottom line is that all she is telling you is what her preferences are. She might as well tell you what her favorite flavor of ice cream is.

          Ask her what facts does she have that disproves the existence of heaven or hell. We believe heaven and hell exist because Christ said they exist. He is our ultimate authority because He is God in the flesh which makes Him the ultimate authority. So ask her who authority is on these matters.
          BTW- most of what we believe is based on authority. Be science, history or religion. So again, ask her who her ultimate authority is and how does she know its trustworthy and true. For us, Christ is because He did miracles and rose from the dead and claimed to be God in flesh.

          She needs to get honest with her atheism. There is no way to “live your life to the fullest now” believing that each day brings her closer to oblivion and non-existence. Such a thought would lead her to despair and not a full life.

          It is good that you want her and others to see Christ in you but you must also deal with their false ideas. Notice what Paul says in II Corinthians 10:5-“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
          You can do this by helping them to see the bankruptcy of their atheism and skepticism by asking these kinds of questions. Frank’s book “Not enough faith to be an atheist” would also help to equip you.

          As you grow in the knowledge of the faith you will be better equipped to deal with people in your life. Don’t be silent. All the arguments I have encountered against the faith are fluff. So don’t be afraid of their questions or arguments. They all fail.

          • Dena

            I’m finding she doesn’t like people disagreeing with her and labels those who do as intolerant. She believes that everyone should be able to live their lives how they want too. She doesn’t like Christians, because they tell people how to live.

            Your right in that I need to ask her questions about her beliefs, because they don’t make sense. If people are allowed to live how they want too, how far can they go?

            As for heaven and hell, she thinks it’s fantasy. Her authority is science. Her whole family has doctrate degrees and she admires higher education and since I’m not as educated, I’m therefore ignorant. I’m not sure what to say about that?

            Also what do I say about her questions about the validity of the Bible and Old Testament? She says the Old Testament condones genocide, slavery, polygamy, ect., so how can I trust the Bible being the inspired word of God? I didn’t know how to respond.

          • JP

            Christians don’t tell atheists how to live. However, she will be condemned for the sins she commits unless she repents and believes in Christ.

            Unbelievers lives do hurt others in how they live. Its called crimes. When people live contrary to Christ they will encounter all kinds of bad things like abortion, rape, drunkenness, divorce etc. Take the medical consequences for homosexual sex. Who do you think is paying for those expensive drugs to keep them alive and not die from AIDS? We are.

            Science has never disproved heaven or hell. I don’t like hell either but Jesus taught about it and He would know since He was God in the flesh.

            Just because someone has a degree doesn’t mean they are smart. I’ve met plenty of people who have degrees that are not that smart in these matters. So don’t let that discourage you.

            BTW-You should tell her that the smartest person to have ever lived was the Lord Christ. No one has influenced humanity for good than Him. His teachings have influenced billions over the centuries.

            Ask her what atheist has had as much influence on humanity for good as Christ? What book on atheism has influenced mankind like the Scriptures have? How many copies has it sold? (The Bible is the most sold book in human history. No book comes close to its influence).

            Ask her for a couple of examples from the OT on genocide, slavery, polygamy, etc. Makes sure she gives you the historical contexts for any example. You want to make sure she understands what she is asserting. Then see if the Bible does indeed condones it. Take slavery. Slavery was quite common in those times. The Jews were commanded to treat their slaves with respect. The pagans did not.
            Ask her where atheism condemns genocide, slavery, polygamy, ect. What you will find is that it doesn’t. She needs to know this.

            I don’t talk to unbelievers about inspiration or inerrancy because that discussion requires some background and discern which atheists don’t possess.

            You should trust the Bible because Jesus did. Jesus (who was God in the flesh) approved of the OT as Scripture i.e. the inspired-inerrant Word of God. The NT is about Him and He gave those authors of it the ability to write His word (NT) for us accurately. The Bible also has been supported by archeology and history. No fact of history has ever disproved it.

            Don’t be afraid to challenge her about atheism. Atheism is nonsense and has no facts that support it. Its a denial of reality and the suppression of the truth.

          • swordfish

            “Christians don’t tell atheists how to live.”

            Of course they do. Christian politicians use their power to try and control people’s lives, and what about Christians protesting outside abortion clinics?

            “Unbelievers lives do hurt others in how they live. Its called crimes.”

            So why is there such a high percentage of Christians amongst the US prison population?

            “Take the medical consequences for homosexual sex. Who do you think is paying for those expensive drugs to keep them alive and not die from AIDS? We are.”

            In the USA, more women than men have HIV.

            “The Bible also has been supported by archeology and history. No fact of history has ever disproved it.”

            Nonsense. The entire creation story in Genesis has been completely disproven my science. And, why are the events in the OT not mentioned at all by Egyptian historians? Even the historicity of Jesus is questionable.

            “Atheism is nonsense and has no facts that support it.”

            I think this is an example of projection.

          • JP

            Nonsense. Christians do not tell anyone how to live. Knowledgeable Christians will warn unbelievers of their consequences of their lives. That is a good thing because it can save them from evil and troubles.

            Abortion is not just a Christian issue but a secular issue since it is about the murder of babies. No one should have the right to murder babies in or out of the womb.

            Just because someone claims to be a Christian doesn’t mean they are. Also, there could be criminals who go into prisons and are converted to Christianity there.

            Get serious. No fact of science has ever disprove Genesis. It was Genesis 1:1 that claimed thousands of years before Einstein and Hubble that the universe had a beginning.

            The Egyptians could have recorded the Exodus and various other things but those records are lost.

            Atheism is nonsense because there are no facts that support it. No atheist has ever given one fact that proves it true.

          • swordfish

            Arguing that Christians aren’t trying to tell others what to do on abortion is truly world-class denial of reality. As for Genesis not being disproven by science, how do you work that out? There are so many flaws in it it’s difficult to know where to start – how about day and night being created before the Sun?

            “Atheism is nonsense because there are no facts that support it.”

            Would you also say that disbelief in unicorns is nonsense because no facts support it? What facts would you expect to support disbelief in something?

          • JP

            Christians and others are doing a lot of good work to stop abortion. No one should ever have the right to murder another human being as abortion allows.

            Where does Genesis 1:3 identify the light as the sun?

            Atheism is nonsense because it has no facts that prove it true. Its like believing in unicorns.

          • swordfish

            No, it’s like not believing in unicorns. As for the light in Genesis producing day and night but not being the Sun, that’s another mistake.

          • JP

            How so?

          • swordfish

            Genesis doesn’t identify the Sun by name in 1:16, so how do you know 1:3 *isn’t* the Sun? In any case, what sense does it make that a temporary, directional spotlight was created to illuminate the earth *before* the actual creation of the Sun?

          • JP

            That is an interesting question. Here is some commentary on it:
            “The people of the ancient world did not believe that all light came from the sun. There was no knowledge that the moon simply reflected the light of the sun. Moreover, there is no hint in the text that “daylight” was caused by sunlight. The sun, moon and stars were all seen as bearers of light, but daylight was present even when the sun was behind a cloud or eclipsed.”

            “The creation of light. The dark world was lit up when God said, ‘Let there be light’. More precisely, day was distinguished from night by the creation of light. Light is a form of energy and may be produced in many different ways, not just by sun and stars (which were not created until the fourth day). Contemporary cosmologists say that the universe began with a hot big bang, which must have made a very bright light. Order began to appear and replace dark chaos. The refrain God saw that [it] was good (cf. vs 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) affirms the intrinsic goodness of the creation and its Creator.”

          • swordfish

            The universe was actually opaque to light for the first 377,000 years, so it’s debatable whether this interpretation of “let there be light” makes any sense.

            The rest of your quote essentially admits that Genesis is written from the point of view of someone in the ancient world thousands of years ago. In that case, it can’t also be scientifically accurate. There isn’t any point in focussing on individual issues like the light-created-before-sun issue, as there are literally hundreds of them. There are very many fundamental problems, such as the fact that all scientific evidence points to a very old Earth.

          • JP

            Genesis doesn’t tell us how old the earth or universe is. It does tell us that God created it all.

          • swordfish

            Fair enough. I thought you might be a young Earth creationist.

          • GLT

            And atheists want to tell everyone how to live. Perhaps not you personally, but as a philosophy of life atheism most certainly wants to tell everyone how to live; without a religious belief.

        • you are not facing athiesm, you are facing it’s child called marxism. One main part of that is accusing your enemies of what you are guilty of.

          In this case, she is blaming you for her attempts to self-justify her devilry by beating you over the head with her atheism.

        • swordfish

          If you do that, she might point out that the Old Testament condones slavery, conquest rape and genocide. Why do you think these things are wrong when your own Bible condones them? Maybe it is the same reason most people instinctively know these things are wrong, namely that human beings are a social species who live in groups and depend on each other for survival.

          • Dena

            She already pointed out to me that the Old Testament condones genocide. She is currently reading a book about Mary, Queen of Scott’s in how she tried to bring Protestants and Catholics together and they end up killing each other. She used this as an example of how can I believe the Bible is true when it condones genocide and Christians interpret the Bible differently and can’t even agree with each other. I’m under the impression she thinks Christianity is a violent religion. She claims Islam is a religion of peace. I don’t think she’s reading any books on the historic violence in Islam, except books that shape her view of Christianity.

            Also I really don’t know what to say about some of the craziness in the Old Testament. I know the Old Testament is stories about imperfect people. For example polygamy. Even David had many wives even though it wasn’t Gods ideal.

          • Ken Abbott

            Mary tried to reconcile Protestants and Roman Catholics? She was a member of the French Guise family, one of the most sectarian Catholic factions in that country and responsible for stirring up all kinds of trouble during the awful religious wars that plagued France in the latter half of the 16th century. That alone makes me question the reliability of your friend’s sources.

          • GLT

            “Conquest rape: Numbers 31:7-18”

            Are you familiar with the term eisegesis?

          • swordfish

            It would be nice if you could just dismiss the Old Testament as “craziness”, but without it, you’ve lost the Fall of Man, without which there’s no justification for us needing to be saved by Jesus. I agree that Islam isn’t “The religion of peace” – the very fact that this is claimed at all makes one suspicious – but Christianity also has a history of cruelty and oppression when it had political power.

            You believe that God will send anyone to hell forever for commiting any sin, no matter how trivial. Most human beings are more moral than this. I wonder what is to be gained by believing in such a monstrous and evil entity?

            Conquest rape: Numbers 31:7-18

          • GLT

            “Conquest rape: Numbers 31:7-18”

            I was wondering if you were familiar with the term eisegesis?

          • swordfish

            “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

          • GLT

            How does that answer my question as to whether you are familiar with the discipline of eisegesis?

          • Dena

            I read a bunch of different translations of that passage. I don’t see rape in that passage? They killed all the other men and woman as commanded by Mosses. They kept alive all the virgin girls to marry. Sounds like forced marriage.

          • swordfish

            Do you agree that if a serial killer repents on his deathbed he should go to heaven, while an atheist who lived a good life, giving to charity and being kind and loving, should go to hell?

            Maybe your relatives do understand salvation, but they see it as a morally indefensible

          • Dena

            Do you believe the Bible?

            “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” ‭
            Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

            “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
            ‭‭John‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

          • swordfish

            “Do you believe the Bible?”

            No.

            A moral system which allows the worst people to escape justice while condemning good people (and anyone too young to understand?) to eternal punishment isn’t defensible.

          • Dena

            If we could work our own way to heaven by good works — then we wouldn’t need Jesus. That means his sacrifice on the cross was all for nothing.

            Problem is — we all sin. No one is perfect. We need Jesus to save us. He wanted us to choose. —- we can follow him and go to heaven or do whatever we want and go to Hell. It’s freedom of choice.

          • swordfish

            “If we could work our own way to heaven by good works — then we wouldn’t need Jesus. That means his sacrifice on the cross was all for nothing.”

            Jesus didn’t suffer mauch considering that he supposedly came back to life a couple of days later, and I don’t see why billions of humans should live under a completely unfair and incoherent system just so as give Jesus’s life meaning.

            “Problem is — we all sin.”

            Even babies? And what counts as sin – genocide, double parking, thinking a bad thought?

            “No one is perfect. We need Jesus to save us. He wanted us to choose. —- we can follow him and go to heaven or do whatever we want and go to Hell. It’s freedom of choice.”

            If someone pointed a gun at your head and told you to do something or be killed, would you call that freedom of choice? That is basically what you’re advocating for here.

            Here’s my idea for how this whole system should work: God sends everyone straight to heaven. There, I’ve thought up a far better system in 30 seconds.

          • Dena

            Does God follow your system or his own system?

            Jesus talked about Hell more than anybody. You warn a friend and threaten an enemy. It isn’t Gods will for anyone to go to Hell, but we choose to go there when we reject Jesus.

          • swordfish

            “Does God follow your system or his own system?”

            I don’t believe God exists, but if he did, I would expect a perfect, all-loving being to do more loving and less judging. The fact that God’s system is so poorly thought out, and that it reflects 2,000+ year old moral standards is evidence that it is man-made.

            “Jesus talked about Hell more than anybody. You warn a friend and threaten an enemy.”

            You’re right about Jesus not being so meek and mild. You warn a friend, but it’s not very friendly if you’re the one responsible for the thing you’re warning them about – “watch out for that bear trap I put on your doorstep!”

            “It isn’t Gods will for anyone to go to Hell, but we choose to go there when we reject Jesus.”

            From a purely logical perspective, rejecting A doesn’t mean accepting B. Rejecting low fat food doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a heart attack. Beyond that, if God has created everything, he’s responsible for everything. Under Christianity, God is like a parent who’s supposed to be all-loving, but actually left a loaded gun in the children’s nursery, then blamed them for killing each other with it.

          • Dena

            If you had children you would love them unconditionally. However, you wouldn’t allow them to do anything they want. If they were playing in a busy street, would you allow them to do that? The same thing with God being like a loving father warns us about what could hurt us.

            You call that being judgemental? If all humans rejected God and did whatever they wanted, with no rules or laws, they would destroy each other.

          • swordfish

            “If you had children you would love them unconditionally. However, you wouldn’t allow them to do anything they want. If they were playing in a busy street, would you allow them to do that? The same thing with God being like a loving father warns us about what could hurt us.”

            In your analogy, God has created the traffic and he also knows that many people (maybe the majority?) are going to get run over. This isn’t loving.

            “If all humans rejected God and did whatever they wanted, with no rules or laws, they would destroy each other.”

            Why do you assume that if people rejected God, there’d be no rules or laws? All societies, even ‘primitive’ indigenous tribes in the Amazon, have rules. I’ve rejected God, but I don’t go aroung murdering people. I’m quite nice!

          • Dena

            If you read the book of Job you see a conversation between Satan and God. Satan tells God that Job is only following God because he’s blessed. God allows Satan to cause a storm that kills Jobs kids, and the disease of boils and so on. These bad things came from Satan. Evil, death, calamity, temptation to sin comes from the devil.

            God didn’t make us robots. He could have abolished sin, the Devil and all evil, but instead allowed us to choose to love God or not. All the bad in the world is there because people choose to sin.

          • swordfish

            “God allows Satan to cause a storm that kills Jobs kids”

            If parents allowed a tiger into their children’s nursery and it killed the kids, would that be down to the tiger, or the parents?

            “Evil, death, calamity, temptation to sin comes from the devil.”

            Then why does God hold people 100% accountable for their actions?

            “God didn’t make us robots. He could have abolished sin, the Devil and all evil, but instead allowed us to choose to love God or not. All the bad in the world is there because people choose to sin.”

            Leaving aside the fact that you’re ignoring all the natural suffering in the world, like disease, ageing, famine, earthquakes, tsunamis, and so on, I don’t agree with the logic of this argument.

            Is it possible for us to kill people on the other side of the world using mind power? How about stealing money from someone by using magic? Obviously, the answer is no. Does our inability to do these things limit our freedom to choose? Most people would say no, because the fact that there are things we can’t do doesn’t mean that we can’t choose between the things we can do. But in that case, if God prevented us from choosing evil, how would that be different? We’d still have the freedom to choose between all the things we can do. How would this be worse than the situation we have?

          • JP

            The Bible doesn’t condone them but reports about them as part of the fallen world. God destroyed the world with a flood because the world was wicked. Thus it deserved its punishment.

          • swordfish

            The OT sets out rules governing slavery, which is condoning it, not just reporting it. Genocide (slaughter of the Canaanites) is commanded by God, so I’m not sure how you can include that as something that God doesn’t approve of, and in any case, these events all happen after the flood.

          • JP

            That is not condoning it. What was Israel to do with it conquered enemies? They could enslave them or utterly destroy them. It would have been foolish to let them go.

            God can command anything since He owns all. The Canaanites, like the Nazis needed to be utterly destroyed because they were so wicked.

          • swordfish

            “That is not condoning it. What was Israel to do with it conquered enemies? They could enslave them or utterly destroy them. It would have been foolish to let them go.”

            You’re providing a textbook definition of condoning something.

          • JP

            Not really. They had 2 choices. Kill them or destroy them. Modern example would be what the allies did to Germany.

          • swordfish

            Condone:

            1. accept (behaviour that is considered morally wrong or offensive).

            2. approve or sanction (something), especially with reluctance.

            That’s exactly what you’re doing.

          • JP

            Ok. So what is your objective moral code that says that slavery is wrong and evil?

          • swordfish

            I don’t believe in objective morals. I just think slavery is wrong because I wouldn’t like to be enslaved myself, so I assume others feel the same way.

          • JP

            That is just your opinion then. For you its wrong but for someone else its ok.

          • swordfish

            Essentially, yes.

          • JP

            Then slavery is not really evil in any objective sense. Correct?

          • swordfish

            It depends on exactly what’s meant by ‘objective’, but yes.

          • JP

            Something is objectively evil whether a person believes it or not. Murdering the Jews in Nazi Germany was evil even though the Nazis thought it was good.

          • swordfish

            I agree that the Holocaust was evil, but I don’t agree that it was objectively evil. If objective standards existed, and they said that the Holocaust was good, would that make it good?

          • JP

            If there is no objective moral standard then the holocaust was not evil. Murder is not evil but a preference for some if no objective moral standard does not exist.

          • swordfish

            You didn’t answer my question, so I’ll put it again in a slightly different way. I assume you think objective moral standards must come from God. In that case, suppose God said that murder was now good – would that make it good?

          • JP

            Yes. However, God would never say such a thing because objective morality is tied to His eternal nature which is good.

          • swordfish

            You’ve agreed that any moral standard set by God is inherently good, even if it’s “murder is good”. If so, God’s ‘objective’ moral standards are actually completely arbitrary. If anything can be good, then ‘good’ has no meaning.

          • JP

            God’s eternal nature in which His moral law is grounded in is not arbitrary. Since God is the Creator of all things then He owns all things and has the power and authority to hold everyone accountable to His moral laws.

          • swordfish

            To quote T.H. White, “might doesn’t make right”. Just because God has the power to do anything doesn’t make it morally right in my estimation. God’s ‘eternal nature’ of goodness is arbitrary because it can’t, by definition, be based on any external standard of ‘goodness’. You’re reduced to claiming that God’s moral laws are good because God is good, but that’s just circular reasoning.

          • JP

            Again all you are doing is just giving your opinion without any appeal to an objective standard of good. Why is” God’s ‘eternal nature’ of goodness is arbitrary because it can’t, by definition, be based on any external standard of ‘goodness’? What would be this “external standard of goodness” and who made this external standard of goodness?

            God in His nature is perfect goodness because He alone is the standard of goodness.

          • swordfish

            I’m not giving my opinion, I’m pointing out that an objective standard of good makes no logical sense, precisely because it has nothing to support it. You’re basically making my point for me by saying that God’s standards can’t be based on anything – if they’re not based on anything, they’re arbitrary by definition. You can’t argue that God’s standards are based on his own goodness, because his goodness suffers from the same problem of not being based on anything – you’ve already agreed that if God said murder was good, it would be good. If anything that God does is defined as ‘good’, ‘good’ just means ‘anything that God does’, which renders it meaningless.

          • GLT

            “The OT sets out rules governing slavery,…”

            Why do you assume the word slavery always refers to what you envision slavery to be? The slavery referred to in the Bible is akin to indentured servant, which is a practice still common today.

            “is commanded by God,…”

            The answer to this criticism is contained in the criticism itself.

          • swordfish

            Indentured servitude is classified as slavery under the UN Charter on Human Rights.

  • GLT

    The God Delusion by RIchard Dawkins? Seriously, I just about fell out of my chair laughing when he said that. Truly hilarious.

    • swordfish

      “I just pray more of these guys had the integrity to look at facts and dump their rhetoric”

      We did have the integrity to look at the facts, that’s why we became atheists.

      • GLT

        “We did have the integrity to look at the facts, that’s why we became atheists.”

        If that is the case you must surely be able to provide the ‘facts’ which led you to conclude atheism was the logical answer. How about you provide these facts for all of us to see?

        • swordfish

          The fact is that there isn’t any even slightly convincing evidence that any god exists.

          • GLT

            “The fact is that there isn’t any even slightly convincing evidence that any god exists.”

            That’s not evidence, swordfish, that’s just your opinion. Do you want to try again? What is the evidence which makes a fact of atheism?

          • swordfish

            I’m not claiming that atheism is a fact, or that there’s something which “makes a fact of atheism” (whatever that means). You said that atheists were afraid to look at the facts, I said that I did look at the facts and it led to me becoming an atheist. That doesn’t mean that there’s a specific fact which persuaded me – it was the lack of substance to any of the “facts” and/or evidence for a god which persuaded me.

          • GLT

            “it was the lack of substance to any of the “facts” and/or evidence for a god which persuaded me.”

            That is exactly what I asked you to provide evidence for.

            This is your statement: “The fact is that there isn’t any even slightly convincing evidence that any god exists.”

            That is a claim to knowledge, ie., you claim to know there isn’t the slightest convincing evidence for the existence of any god. However, that is just an opinion, it is not cogent evidence for your position. Obviously, over the course of history billions of people have concluded there is convincing evidence for the existence of God. What makes you right and all those billions wrong? It cannot simply be your opinion outweighing theirs, you must provide solid evidence.

          • swordfish

            “That is a claim to knowledge, ie., you claim to know there isn’t the slightest convincing evidence for the existence of any god. However, that is just an opinion, it is not cogent evidence for your position.”

            My saying ‘there’s no evidence’ is just shorthand for saying I’m not convinced by the evidence I’ve seen. Some people say there’s evidence but it isn’t convincing, others think there’s no point in counting evidence which isn’t convincing as evidence, so they just say there isn’t any evidence. It isn’t anything significant, it’s just down to a choice of words.

          • GLT

            “I’m not convinced by the evidence I’ve seen.”

            It is not simply a choice of words. Saying you are not convinced by the evidence is obviously completely different than saying there is no evidence. Some may think unconvincing evidence is the same as no evidence but those people would be totally wrong. Evidence quality is determined by the observer, not the evidence itself.

          • swordfish

            “Some may think unconvincing evidence is the same as no evidence but those people would be totally wrong.”

            Isn’t this a matter of preference? There are tons of YouTube videos claiming all sorts of ridiculous things as evidence that the Earth is flat, such as the fact that you can’t see any curvature when looking out to sea. But this isn’t really evidence the Earth is flat as it’s consistent with it being a very big round ball! If someone asked me if there’s evidence that the Earth is flat, I’d probably just say no.

            “Evidence quality is determined by the observer, not the evidence itself.”

            Did you mean to say that? It seems to contradict the rest of your comment. If evidence quality is determined by the observer, that would appear to justify the observer dismissing any evidence for any reason.

          • JP

            What would you think of someone who said they were not convinced of black holes or the expanding universe? Should they expect to be accepted as a viable opinion if they say this?

          • swordfish

            There are probably many such people judging by the number of flat Earth videos on YouTube! There is strong scientific evidence that black holes exist and that the universe is expanding, so this isn’t a matter of opinion. The same can’t be said for the existence of God, for which there’s no scientific evidence.

          • JP

            There is no physical evidence for black holes. Just theories on a piece of paper. Theories on pieces of paper is not evidence.

          • swordfish

            There is observational evidence for black holes. Astronomers have studied the motion of gas clouds around invisible objects in the center of several galaxies, including our own Milky Way. There is a black hole there with a gravitational field 4 million times stronger than that of the Sun. In addition, binary stars in which one object is a black hole can be detected.

          • JP

            That is still just a theory. How often has science made claims only later to find out they were wrong?

          • swordfish

            It’s not ‘just a theory’ (in the popular sense) if it’s supported by multiple independant observations. As to getting things wrong, the fact that science usually admits when it’s wrong and revises its theories in response to new observations is one of the strengths of science, and something which differentiates it from faith, which never admits to any error.

          • JP

            We can never have certitude with science. You can’t so science without faith.

          • swordfish

            Your claims contradict each other. Science doesn’t use faith – it doesn’t have to precisely because its findings are never final, they’re always open to revision based on new observations.

          • JP

            It takes faith to do science. To do science you must believe that the laws of nature are the same throughout the universe at all times. There is no way to prove this but must be accepted on faith.

          • swordfish

            The evidence we have is that the laws of nature are the same everywhere and at all times.This isn’t a matter of faith, it’s an observed fact.

          • JP

            You can only assume by faith that the laws of nature are the same here as on the back side of the Andromeda galaxy. You can’t go 2.5 million light years and check to see.
            You also have to have faith in the scientist reporting his findings truthfully.
            You also have to have faith that an experiment applies to the rest of the universe.

          • swordfish

            The laws of nature are the same everywhere we can observe, so we infer that they’re probably the same everywhere else. That’s not a matter of faith, it’s an assumption. If we observed a law of nature changing , we would drop this assumption. This isn’t the same as religious faith, which if I may adapt your analogy, is more like claiming to know detailed information about what’s happening on the other side of the Andromeda galaxy without any evidence.

          • JP

            To infer that laws of nature are the same everywhere requires faith. Assumptions are based on faith because you don’t have the facts to know. Biblical faith is based on facts and reason. Its putting your faith in something like God because there are good reasons to do so.

          • swordfish

            Repeating something doesn’t make it true. Science is based on evidence, not faith. Your example of us ‘having faith’ that the laws of nature don’t change is false. If said laws did change, we’d be able to detect this and incorporate it into our theories – unless said change had no detectable effect, in which case it wouldn’t matter anyway. Belief in Christianity is based on what is claimed in one old book.

          • JP

            What is the evidence that the laws of nature are the same as here on the back side of the Andromeda galaxy?
            How do you know the speed of light doesn’t change there?

            Christianity is true because Christ (Who was God in the flesh) said it was. His resurrection proved it true.

            Most of what you believe about the world is based on claims of books. When you read about the claims of science and history you take it by faith that the authors of these books are telling you the truth.

          • swordfish

            If by “the back side of the Andromeda galaxy”, you mean ‘somewhere we can’t observe’, then it doesn’t matter if the laws of physics there are different to those here.

            “Christianity is true because Christ (Who was God in the flesh) said it was. His resurrection proved it true.”

            The only evidence we have for any of this is the Bible. The Bible is the book claiming that these things happened, it can’t also be evidence that these things happened.

            “Most of what you believe about the world is based on claims of books.”

            Yes, but I don’t just accept anything I read. Claims made by science are backed up with evidence and successful predictions.

          • JP

            The life of Christ is evidence and proof for the existence of God.

          • swordfish

            It’s possible that Jesus existed, but I don’t believe on flimsy evidence that he could work miracles or rose from the dead, so I don’t accept this as proof for the existence of God. It’s actually something which itself requires proof.

          • JP

            The resurrection of Christ is one of the best attested facts of the ancient world. He was seen alive by over 500 people over the course of 40 days in different situations. The problem for you is not the evidence but something else. Could be you are just a closed minded person.

          • swordfish

            When you say 500 people saw Jesus, what you really mean is that a passage in the Bible written by one person claims that 500 people saw him. If it claimed that a million people saw him, would that make it any more credible? If I claimed that I rose from the dead last week and 500 people saw me, would you believe me? Surely you must if 500 people saw me!

            You say the problem isn’t the evidence, but that I’m a closed-minded person. May I respectfully suggest that it’s possible for one’s mind to be too open.

          • JP

            Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:1-8 who saw the risen Christ. He names a number of those by name who saw the risen Christ. Many of those were known to the Corinthians.
            This is one of the reasons why the resurrection of Christ is one of the best attested events of the ancient world.

            Not accepting the evidence for something is a sign of being closed minded. This is a characteristic of atheists.

          • swordfish

            So do you believe my 500 eyewitnesses? I can name all of them if you want.

          • JP

            Go ahead and name them. Please be sure you tell me how you know their names.

          • swordfish

            Does the Bible name the 500 eyewitnesses?

          • JP

            No. When a newspaper article or a history book says there were thousands of people at an event but doesn’t name them does that mean it didn’t happen?

          • swordfish

            Despite the prevalence of ‘fake news’, newspaper reporters are generally expected to check their sources. One anonymous person claiming that 500 people had seen an inherently highly implausible, supernatural event is a story that probably wouldn’t get printed. The basic point I’m making is that the claim that 500 people witnessed something carries no weight because it is really being made by just 1 person.

          • JP

            It is true that Paul writing to the church at Corinthian makes this claim. However there are over 12 others that are named who also saw the risen Christ. That would be more than enough to convict someone of a crime in a court of law.

  • James

    Most people believe what they want and choose the religion (or other system of beliefs) that justifies it.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      Correct. That’s why the Narrow Path is VERY narrow. Only those who surrender to Christ as their new Master so that Self, Sin, & Satan no longer are will be saved. And the Way of Christ is diametrically opposed to the way of the Flesh.

  • Spear

    “And what of the person whose mind is made up, without even listening?”

    That would be considered the un-forgiveable sin: blaspheming the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 12-31-32). All you can do is share the Gospel after that it’s up to them and God. They either chose Him or not. If not (which is what’s meant by denying the Holy Spirit) then they get what they want. Existence without God: meaning Hell.

    All we can ever do is share the Gospel.

    • blasphemy is the third worst sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance, making it the third worst sin of all. It is healed by Apostolic Pardon, Confession with a Bishop’s approval, or Baptism.

    • swordfish

      Why would an all-powerful God consider disbelief in him to be an unforgivable sin? You can’t hide then complain that some people can’t find you…

      • m-nj

        Romans 1
        18 For the wrath of God lis revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,7 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

        • swordfish

          “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,”

          Apart from being quite obviously not true, this doesn’t answer my question. *WHY* is it a sin not to believe that God exists? If he created us, he knows how to convince us that he exists, so if he doesn’t do so, it’s his own fault.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Your continued choosing to swim in the river Denial does NOT reflect on the Truth of God’s Word one iota. EVERY bit of what Romans 1 quoted there IS TRUE!

            Now, specifically to answer your question. There are two different ways to look at whether Unbelief is a Sin. Both MUST be spiritually-discerned. You can NOT do so.

            Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:47)

            “The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Cor. 2:14)

            So I’m not casting any pearls to you. You’ve been trolling this page now for, what, 2yrs? Pretty clear to see what you’re here for and your last sentence says it for all to see.

            But hey, THANKS for proving God’s Word true and let everybody see that you DO KNOW “He” DOES exist.

            And this is the condemnation: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)

          • swordfish

            “There are two different ways to look at whether Unbelief is a Sin. Both MUST be spiritually-discerned. You can NOT do so.”

            You’re making my point for me – if I can’t discern the truth of what you’re claiming, why should I be condemned for not discerning it?

            “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

            What does “of God” mean? Why would God not want to communicate with those who are not hearing his message?

            “The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

            Same objection as above.

            “But hey, THANKS for proving God’s Word true and let everybody see that you DO KNOW “He” DOES exist.”

            I don’t believe he exists. Have you not heard of a hypothetical question?

            “And this is the condemnation: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

            This is claiming that people who don’t believe in God are evil. Two points:

            1. The Bible is full of stuff like this, indicating that not believing in God was common even in Biblical times.

            2. Where is the evidence that people who don’t believe in God are evil?

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            “You’re making my point for me – if I can’t discern the truth of what you’re claiming, why should I be condemned for not discerning it?”

            Nice try. Typical Distraction & Diversion tactics of The Enemy. Let me help others by pointing your flawed attempts out. First, I didn’t not say you could not discern the Truth. Here’s what I said:

            “There are two different ways to look at whether Unbelief is a Sin. Both MUST be spiritually-discerned. You can NOT do so.”

            NOTE: The subject at hand is NOT whether an Unbeliever can discern Truth. It is whether Unbelief is a sin.

            THAT is how they operate, folks. Learn their tactics!

            Now that I’ve cut thru his deceptive attempts, let’s get to the heart of the matter. His real question is “Why should I be held accountable for something I couldn’t know?” Again, it’s deception. First, he does KNOW that God IS real because Romans 1 tells us that God has made it PLAINLY known to all. Rom. 2:15 says that ALL have a God-given conscience that knows right from wrong. And John 16:8 says that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to convict all oif their sin.

            Secondly, let’s say you’re barreling down the highway at 70mph and you come up to a town. Your conscience tells you that you’re entering a populated area so there is probably a speed zone change. But you didn’t see it so you just keep barreling along at 70mph. Until you see the flashing lights. You pull over and the cop informs you the speed limit is 35mph. And you tell him, “But I didn’t see any Speed Limit Sign saying that?” What happens next?

            “What does “of God” mean?”

            Try a dictionary, Google, or just think REAL hard. What does “I am of my father” or “I am of xxxx heritage” mean?

            A wise man once said it is better to keep your mouth shut and not show your ignorance than open it and remove all doubt. You should work on your wisdom a bit.

            “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something” – Plato

            “Why would God not want to communicate with those who are not hearing his message?”

            Matt. 7:6

            “Same objection as above.”

            Same answer as above.

            “I don’t believe he exists. Have you not heard of a hypothetical question?”

            Yup. I have. And you just proved HE does exist and you KNOW it.

            “This is claiming that people who don’t believe in God are evil. Two points:

            1. The Bible is full of stuff like this, indicating that not believing in God was common even in Biblical times.

            2. Where is the evidence that people who don’t believe in God are evil?”

            All over and all around us.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            For some reason my posts are getting detected as spam and I’m not wondering if it doesn’t have to do with my quoting a text and then replying to it, Kind of hard to track a conversation without doing so. So will try it here again,.

            “You’re making my point for me – if I can’t discern the truth of what you’re claiming, why should I be condemned for not discerning it?”

            Nice try. Typical Distraction & Diversion tactics of The Enemy. Let me help others by pointing your flawed attempts out. First, I didn’t not say you could not discern the Truth. Here’s what I said:

            “There are two different ways to look at whether Unbelief is a Sin. Both MUST be spiritually-discerned. You can NOT do so.”

            NOTE: The subject at hand is NOT whether an Unbeliever can discern Truth. It is whether Unbelief is a sin.

            THAT is how they operate, folks. Learn their tactics!

            Now that I’ve cut thru his deceptive attempts, let’s get to the heart of the matter. His real question is “Why should I be held accountable for something I couldn’t know?” Again, it’s deception. First, he does KNOW that God IS real because Romans 1 tells us that God has made it PLAINLY known to all. Rom. 2:15 says that ALL have a God-given conscience that knows right from wrong. And John 16:8 says that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to convict all of their sin.

            Secondly, let’s say you’re barreling down the highway at 70mph and you come up to a town. Your conscience tells you that you’re entering a populated area so there is probably a speed zone change. But you didn’t see it so you just keep barreling along at 70mph. Until you see the flashing lights. You pull over and the cop informs you the speed limit is 35mph. And you tell him, “But I didn’t see any Speed Limit Sign saying that?” What happens next?

            “What does “of God” mean?”

            Try a dictionary, Google, or just think REAL hard. What does “I am of my father” or “I am of xxxx heritage” mean?

            A wise man once said it is better to keep your mouth shut and not show your ignorance than open it and remove all doubt. You should work on your wisdom a bit.

            “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something” – Plato

            “Why would God not want to communicate with those who are not hearing his message?”

            Matt. 7:6

            “Same objection as above.”

            Same answer as above.

            “I don’t believe he exists. Have you not heard of a hypothetical question?”

            Yup. I have. And you just proved HE does exist and you KNOW it.

            “This is claiming that people who don’t believe in God are evil. Two points:

            1. The Bible is full of stuff like this, indicating that not believing in God was common even in Biblical times.

            2. Where is the evidence that people who don’t believe in God are evil?”

            All over and all around us.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      False. Jesus defined Blaspheme of the Holy Spirit quite clearly and well. THAT does not meet His definition.

      You are correct, however, it pointing out that the power to convict and to save lies with the Holy Spirit. We are just Messengers told to deliver a Message.

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