The faith of Atheism has got a fair bit of air play in Australia over the last few weeks with an Atheist’s Conference held in Melbourne last week and a widely viewed and discussed session with the “leader” of the Atheist’s movement Richard Dawkins appearing on Q and A. (A current affairs TV show). So I thought I would write to you in an open letter format to ask you a question.
Now I call Atheism a faith, because Atheism is a belief (without proof) that there is no God. That makes it a faith based belief system. According to the Urban Online Dictionary – An Atheist is a person who believes in the absence of any supreme being or anything regarding the supernatural. Last night in a Twitter conversation I was challenged to prove without doubt that God exists. My challenge back was and is, prove to me without doubt that God doesn’t exist.
The question I have up front is:- Why are Atheists so passionate about destroying Christianity? A report on an Atheist’s rally in Washington on the 25th of March 2012 said the following:
Then Dawkins got to the part where he calls on the crowd not only to challenge religious people but to “ridicule and show contempt” for their doctrines and sacraments, including the Eucharist, which Catholics believe becomes the body of Christ during Mass.
The rally had protest signs like the one above. I guess I am puzzled as I can understand why Christians are passionate about telling Atheists about God, Heaven and Hell. I can’t understand what the aim of Atheism is in wanting to destroy Christianity. I mean, if you genuinely think we are deluded. Let us have our apparent delusion and you get on with life. Now you may say, “Well religion has caused a lot of wars and we want to get rid of religion.” To me it seems that your passion against Christianity is nothing short of declaring a faith based war. David Silverman – American Atheists President has reveled in the group’s reputation as the marines of atheism, as the people who storm the faith barricades of Christianity and bring “unpopular but necessary” lawsuits. Silverman continued his rhetoric at the Washington Rally. In a thundering call for “zero tolerance” for anyone who disagrees with or insults atheism, Silverman proclaimed, “Stand your ground!”
This letter is not aimed at pulling apart your arguments for atheism. This letter is not even about telling you that God loves you and Jesus died for you. This letter is about challenging the aggressive anti Christian posture of Atheism. The level of passion against the faith I stand for really does convince me that you aren’t convinced there is no God.
You are just cranky with Him.
Categories: Current Affairs, Open Letters, Posts with over 1000 hits, Topics to wrestle with
Why do atheists want to destroy religion? You bring up war, which is one of the evils of religion, but another answer is that to many atheists, truth is important, so refuting the false claims of religion is important. From your question, it is clear that truth is unimportant to you. This is also indicated by your use of the Urban Dictionary to support your straw man of atheism. Try a real dictionary, which will define atheist as someone who doesn’t believe in god.
Funnily enough, war is your point of manipulation, your conversational tool in trying to convince people (like the devil would) that God doesn’t exist.
Religious fervour is only one reason why wars occur.
You really think that only religious people fight.
The communists and socialists are some of the biggest groups of people in the world and anti-religion (killed and tortured) millions to try to eliminate God and faith in Him and yet involved in some of the biggest wars in the world.
The Nazis tried to rule the world and directly attacked, locked up, tortured, maimed, experimented on
raped (even children), enslaved any Jews, Christians and other faithful they could get their hands on and took all of their property.
Usually grabbing of land, the desire to control others and the stamping out of entire classes, races or cultures (through fear and other motives) trigger in people the urge to dip into the most base of human instincts – in particular the urge to over-power and violate others and have a license to do so with violence.
Look into the things done to POW’s around the world.
What happens there is not because of faith but rather opposes the beliefs of the faithful. These horrific things are common to the presence of two things.
Mankind and the freedom to do what they want.
Look into the bikie wars in Australia. Ditto.
Wars don’t need religion or anti-religion as an excuse. Have you seen hand-to-hand combat?
Have you seen a battleground. The people that do these things are driven by very raw emotions and use the most gruesome of skills. Orders seem to be the excuse for a lot of violent acts and chest slapping but in particular for blood-lust and taking control of others.
People of faith and those who want to stop them having it (for the most part) purport to be actually trying to prevent wars. But, from the way these conversations escalate in their direction and fervour the people taking part are trying to create wars, not prevent them. Getting angrier and angrier as their opinions are challenged.
Could we agree to differ and yet not pick up a gun or knife or even press ‘THE Button’?
Please, God, I hope and pray so.
Love peace, fight for peace, stand for peace.
Look for God and He will find you.
Atheist: One who believes that there is no deity.
a·the·ist [ey-thee-ist] noun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Atheist: Someone who believes that God does not exist.
Wow, glad we got that one settled.
First of all, atheism is not a belief system, nor is based on faith. Atheism is a lack of a belief, not a belief in a negativity. Some people believe in horoscopes or homeopathy, are you saying people that don’t believe in these things are basing their believe on ‘faith’? There are thousands of gods you do not believe in, for every reason you do not believe in them, is the same reason we do not believe in your version of god.
Not all atheists want to destroy faith or religion. Most just go about their daily lives. But one most only take a quick look at history and what is going on in the world today to realise the reasons why religion must be challenged. I would not go as far to say wiped out as some might, but it does not deserve the position of power and privilege it has enjoyed and still does, because we have seen what it does when given such allowances. I challenge any Christian or Theist to name a period throughout history when religion was not the cause of great pain and suffering.
I think we are talking about truth more so than belief. I respect the fact that not all athiests are anti- religion. The term Athiest does seem to be defined in the dictionaries above. I can believe in many things that are still not truth. Just because I do not believe does not alter the truth. So back to the question of truth. I challenge any atheist who is so intent on truth to give proof of no God.
For goodness sakes listen. Most atheists are agnostic atheists – they do not assert that there is no god, only that there is no evidence of god. You can’t PROVE that something doesn’t exist. However, you can disprove positive claims. So, I suppose you can simply point to the fact that 1) there exist socially cohesive nations that are majority atheist – so you don’t need religion for a working society 2) intercessory prayer for the sick does not work regardless of whether or not the person knows they are being prayed for (there’s studies for that), it also doesn’t help you do better on tests 3) Out-of-body near-death experiences can be explained by the process of brain death and can be simulated with drugs and even a weird hat.
Look – the “Prove God *doesn’t* exist!” conversation has been going on for a very, very long time; and the answer to the question from a great number of outspoken atheists has been the same: the burden of proof is not on us, you are the one making the positive claim. Why don’t you try to prove that Thor doesn’t exist (as Peter suggested) – have fun with that.
Good points but unfortunately I have no proof that Thor or the unicorns do not exist. I don’t THINK they exist but I am not willing to say that their non-existence is the truth based on my belief. (truth meaning fact, not just your truth or my truth) I have never seen them, heard them, felt them, been changed by them, healed by them, have never experienced them in any way and never seen their effect on my life. This is not so with God however so I have more support for God existing than a pink unicorn.
You have your personal experience. I have mine. I can point to others who claim personal experiences very different than yours that still claim that theirs is a divine revelation, a sacred truth that has been revealed to them, etc. If the experience of the faithful is very inconsistent and contradictory; so even if it is taken as evidence (and not the product of psychological suggestion and socialization) it seems an unreliable window into the ultimate reality.
“I don’t THINK they exist but I am not willing to say that their non-existence is the truth based on my belief.”
Similarly – Someone who is an atheist does not think there is a god or gods. They do not have a “belief” or faith that there is no god or gods. The only people using that sort of language are theists attempting to discredit the idea; ironically by accusing them of having faith (something I thought most theists think of as a positive thing).
Haywood – I think the whole point of this is – can you give us absolute proof of the absence of God? That would settle the important bit – TRUTH.
Perhaps Peter your interpretation of an aethiest might be more accurately described as agnostic.
An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in god – that’s all. An agnostic is someone who doesn’t believe you are able to KNOW stuff – and can be used as a modifier for many things. Usually someone who simply calls themselves an “agnostic” thinks that god is more likely to exist than the Easter Bunny; and wants to avoid that whole harsh-sounding “atheist” thing. That’s not what the word strictly means however.
“What is truth?” A very famous (infamous) historical figure is attributed to that question? 10 points to the one who can tell me who asked that question!
Haywood. Is war a construct of religion?
Please explain why secular and Atheist regimes also engage in war.
Michele, be careful what you ask for! Absolute truth to someone of a temporal naturalistic mind is much different than absolute truth for someone who recognized the realm of the supernatural. That question, about absolute proof, will not be settled in this time.
But the question that has to be posed (a question that usually is brought up first from Atheist, as is most likely coming) is whether religion makes someone do evil things, or if it is humanity that makes people do awful things? Dawkins and others would say that even moderate religion leads to war, racism, etc. But is this true? Provide evidence please!
War would exist without religion. It would exist without dogma. It is a product of our natural tendency to create tribes and to fight over stuff.
I don’t see religion as the source of conflict – I see it as a tool that can be used for war. However pacifistic Christianity is and how anti-theocratic most theology is; it has been used in war and in politics to devastating effect. It has been used to justify all sorts of evil – just as many other religions have.
I agree. Look at folks like Leo X, or some of the other popes following the 11th centry, or Henry VIII, etc. By no means would any christian today (as many in their time did not) consider them to be Biblical Christians. Yet, because they used religion as a means to control their subjects, religion gets the blame as the driving force behind their atrocities, when humanity should recognized as the problem.
In many cases such as slavery, segregation, the persecution of the Indians, it was less than Biblical Christians promoting such ideas (Lincoln was a good example as he, though considered to be one of the more secular presidents, was one of the worst persecutors of indians having had 300 hanged for retaliation for defending their homes), it is however, often in these cases, Christians who stand against these kind of things.
Others things as well have been used in politics to devastating effects, ie Oil, eugenics (Social Darwinism), what makes religion worse, other than the fact that it is more wide spread?
I think you are making a mistake here. It seems as though you are suggesting that if a Christian acted in a biblical way, that they would necessarily be acting in a more moral way. That depends entirely on which parts of the bible you decide are important and how you interpret them. The bible is able to accommodate both the tireless compassionate, forgiving person as well as the borderline murderous sociopath.
However, what I find so ironic about the whole things is that the majority of people generally agree on what is right. Slaughtering babies is generally WRONG. Yet according to the bible, the perfect being, God Himself, slaughters children left and right. I think it is a very very dangerous situation to allow a book – any book – to be used as primary justification for anything. There can be no discussion about whether or not it is right or wrong to have child brides – because a book says it’s okay. There can be no discussion about the ethics of how a society treats homosexuals and transgender people – because a book says homosexuality is an abomination. There can be no discussion about whether or not treating children as being possessed by demons is justified and healthy for them – because a book says that demons are real and that they have the power to possess human beings and animals. This is not ideal.
Religion is not the only thing to blame – but it’s a dangerous blunt powerful instrument. It creates hard and fast rules that short-circuits reason and empathy. At it’s best it dictates that we love one another. At worst it dictates that we torture our own children to death for fear of the devil inside of them. In either case, however – we are not to think or feel or figure out what is right – but do as we are told due to fear. This is not ideal.
No, discussion, on those topics? M.A. There is a great deal of discussion on those topics. You make it sound like all Christians have child brides, beat up homosexuals, and believe that illness in their children is really demon possession.
Yet, it is a very very small minority, a miniscule minority of folks who believe these kind of things.
Christians, while using the Old Testament, are not of the Old Testament, we follow the teaching of the new covenant of Jesus Christ. These items are not a part of those teachings.
Yes – a very small minority of Christians in the U.S. actually take those things seriously and a great number of them don’t even realize what is in the bible. For example, you just asserted that the condemnation of homosexuals and the concept of demon possession is not in the New Testament. You are also ignoring the part where Jesus said that he did not come to replace the Law – essentially stating that Jewish law is not replaced by the new covenant. Of course, there are other passages that imply that Jesus did replace the Old Law with the new; or that “THE Law” is not Jewish Law but some other law, etc. so forth.
However, those are NOT REAL CONVERSATIONS. You don’t have real conversations. A big fight over what something in a book says or means or doesn’t say or mean; based on feelings, inferences and rationalizations; and occasionally actually based on academic literary criticism; is not a conversation about the topic. It’s a conversation about a book.
Also, I was referencing Islam when I mentioned child brides. The concept of child brides is a heated topic amongst Muslims even though the vast number of Muslims are strongly against the practice – but instead of having a conversation that simple says that a child is not property and it is damaging to girls to be treated this way so it is wrong – they first needed to creatively interpret their scripture in order to justify even having a stance on the issue. It is similar to you dismissing the Old Testament regardless of what the bible actually says; because you know already (without the bible to tell you) that treating people the way the old Jewish law prescribes is immoral.
I’m also surprised that you think that a very small minority of Christians think homosexuals are an abomination – if only that were true. An ethical Christian is a bible-ignoring Christian. When confronted with the suffering that occurs when they take certain passages of the Bible as “gospel”; they stop.
A book when taken as information or as inspiration makes sense to me. To place the authority of a God into a book is extremely problematic; because it makes the adherent able to defend themselves with a book and claim they are doing the will of God. That is extremely dangerous. If you think you are better than the people who believe in faith healing, snake handling, exorcism, same-sex-attraction therapy, the killing of “witches”, and all other manner of horror – you are pointing at the same book, you are just treating different passages as invisible (like unicorns – which are also in some versions of the bible).
People project themselves onto the Bible, they ignore the parts of they disagree with and say it is metaphorical or allegorical, and read the parts they do agree with to justify their actions. That is why you will get misogynists using the bible to justify oppression of women, homophobes using bible to justify oppression of homosexuals, etc. Because it is easier to point to god and say ‘he wants me to hate gays/women’ rather than admit you are a bigot. It is amazing how people will twist and warp bible for their own means. That is why it should be disregarded altogether. Atheists have shown it is not needed to be moral. In fact nations with high levels of atheism experience highest levels of equality, highest levels of education, lowest levels of crime, smallest margin between rich and poor, and high social mobility.
I never said that. I don’t recall saying that the Bible did not condemn Homosexuality or speak of demon possesion. I don’t recall saying that at all.
Now in regards to the conversation itself, you begin your arguement about what is in the book, as do most atheists. You can’t then go ahead and say the book is irrelevant. When the conversation begins to get more in-depth.
I did not say that it was a very small minority who think Homosexuality is an abomination. I said that it is a small minority who beat up homosexuals. I am talking about evil and immoral behavior. Believing that something is wrong is not immoral, where as showing violence or hatred towards someone for something like homosexuality is immoral.
In regards to the law. And perhaps I can answer Peter’s response here as well. I think that you have take bits and pieces, such as Matthew 5:18 out of context with the rest of the New Testament. In understanding the role of the Law we have to Romans, especially Romans 1-7.
The section of scripture that Peter points out is not a condemnation of only homosexuality and of Atheism. It is a condemnation of all who have turned away from God, If we read further we find ample evidence for Paul’s reasoning in writing this section of scripture. First we turn to Romans 3:12 which cites The Psalms in saying All have turned away from God; they have all gone wrong; no one does what is right not one.” With that being said than all of us fall under condemnation according to Romans 1:18-32. This verse is not, as Paul states, written in order to command the death of Homosexuals or Atheists. In fact if anyone were to read it that way we would also then be commanded to kill anyone who is proud, boastful, insolent, a gossip, and anyone who has ever disobeyed their parents. The scriptures say this: “they know that God’s law says that people who live in this way deserve death, yet not only do they continue to do these very things, but they even approve others who do them. Do you my friend, pass judgement on others? you have no excuse at all, whoever you are. For when you judge others and then do the same things which they do, you condemn yourself. By no means is this passage telling us to judge or kill those who sin, but quite the opposite.
Then in Romans 3 we find the answer to this. (As Romans 1,2, and 3 establish that we are all to be condemned ) We find that a Christian, under the new covenant of Jesus Christ, is “made right with God only through faith, and not by doing what the Law commands.” Romans 3:28.
Romans 7 also gives us good insight to the issue of the OT Law.
Rom 7:6 “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
We then find in Romans 7:26 that the even Paul is a law breaker lumping him with those spoken of in Romans 1.
Rom 8:3 “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man.”,
The law, however is not abolished, but in Christ we believe we are apart from the law.
So to say that Christians believe that they should still follow the OT law, is not entirely true. As I cannot think of any group of Christians who still believe that they must live by the levitical laws. Christians believe they are saved by grace through faith.
Which then also means that no one in Christ is condemned for breaking the law. Unfortunatly some Christians seem to skip over this part. However, if one is in Christ it means that they don’t sin willingly. Which is why morality is still valued. Again, you will find this in Romans 7.
In regards to Peter. Your assumption was written as follows :”have you read it or does your knowledge of the Bible merely come from what has been preached from you from the pulpits?” Just because you stated it in the form of a question does not mean the tone was not heard! I appologise if I accused you of not reading the Bible. I don’t remember doing so, but If i did I appologise. My writing the comments in Greek was to address your assumption. Also, M.A.’s statement that most Christians are ignorant of what the Bible really says. I am not one of those!
Again, I will point out to you that Romans 1, when taken in Context is not a condemnation of one sin over another. It is a condemnation of all sin, and thus all of us who sin. Giving rise to understanding the need for a saviour.
I do also want to say that this conversation seems to keep going ,and I think that is awesome. Look, I don’t think I will ever get you to believe what I believe. That is not why I am commenting here. But every time you comment and I respond I have to think and study a bit. So thanks for the great brain exercise!
Tobeforgiven, The question ‘have you read it or does your knowledge of the Bible merely come from what has been preached from you from the pulpits?’ was directed towards Max, also it was him who called me ignorant so you have no need to apologise.
And as I said before, people will read themselves into the bible, so good people will read only the good in it, misogynists will read the sexism in it, racists will read the racism, etc. The problem is the vast majority of Christians have never read the Bible, so they get their information from their pastor/priest etc, so if that pastor or priest is racist or homophobic then their flock will be indoctrinated with that same hatred as they believe it is the word of god. There are many interpretations of the bible, hence why there is 38,000 denominations of Christianity, all with varying beliefs. This just shows how interpretive the bible can be. And I presented those passages to show how people can use bible to justify expressing and acting on their own hatred. No hatred is ever so vehemently expressed when you believe God agrees with you.
The bible is relevant because so many people think it is the Word of God. I don’t think it should be considered the Word of God – or any book for that matter. I think it is problematic to treat any book or person or thing as having ultimate authority – because it turns off your own discernment.
As far as theology is concerned, I think there can be a good argument within Christianity to not use the bible as the “Word of God” and an accusation of “bible idolatry” can be leveled against those that treat the bible as if it were God. The divinity of Christ is also a real theological question. However – IN THE END – when having these conversation we are (both you and I) simply doing what we can to theologically justify what we are already most comfortable with. I would rather have a conversation about the issues without the theological baggage – I would rather do away with any assumption that a God exists, much less that HIS WILL and opinions and knowable.
Although I do not know if this is true of you – I have conversations with many Christians who will vehemently deny that their opinion is their opinion. I will accuse them of attempting to speak for God – and they will claim that THEY are not even the one speaking – IT IS GOD. So, they are not speaking FOR God, they are just informing me what God has said (in the bible – through personal revelation – etc). I think this is an extremely dangerous mode of thinking – as they are using the bible to essentially absolve themselves of being responsible for their own actions and opinions.
As far as homosexuality – if “not beating up” homosexuals is your bar for treating them with respect, that is a very very low bar. I understand the idea that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin. However, this is not compassion. Homosexuality is not something you do – and although finally most Christian groups have abandoned the idea that homosexuals can pray or electrocute themselves into being straight – many still call on homosexuals to remain celibate. I do not think this is compassionate at all. I think I would rather be beat up occasionally than have someone guilt me into completely denying myself physical intimacy for my entire life, deny a social recognition of my love relationships, and assume that my partner and I cannot possibly provide a wholesome family environment. I can tell you very clearly – that I would rather be punched in the face.
To make it even worse – you know very well that homosexuality is NOT simply treated like every other sin by a large number of Christians. If this were so, there would be ballot measures all over the country calling to make re-marriage illegal. You are right that most Christians do not feel they need to follow the law – however, if they are consistent than they would hold themselves to the standard of attempting not to knowingly sin, not relying on grace for their forgiveness. I have a great deal of compassion for those that most people (Christian or not) would considered to be zealots or even “wackos” because those people are sincerely trying to follow what they see as “the law” even to their own extreme detriment. Those that would hold up the bible (or any other text) as a direct window into the mind of God, having ultimate authority of what is right and wrong, (even if they interpret it in socially acceptable ways) are enablers to those that pursue that ideal into ruin, psychological trama and suffering.
It is a difficulty to be compelled to justify to another person that God didn’t mean THAT – to attempt to modify their behavior. Instead, that step could become unneccesary. Instead we say – what you are doing is wrong because it causes unjustifyable suffering.
I think the story of the binding of Isaac is a good analogy of how religious ideas can completely short-circuit and disconnect compassion and empathy. How would you regard a person who would stab a child to death because God told them to? – would you revere such a person, or turn away in disgust? Would you distance yourself the way you have from faithful Christian people who are currently engaged in a witch hunt against children? Do you think that perhaps such practices would decrease if the book, regarded as sacred by millions of people, were not used to justify the fear of spiritual warfare?
Michele – Can you give us absolute proof that there is no such thing as invisible pink unicorns? This question has been answered as such for years.
I’m having flashbacks of “shockofgod”.
If a unicorn were pink, it would by definition not be invisible and vice versa. glad this logical question was put to bed early. Thanks Martin for demonstrating the calibre of people posing arguments against Christianity.
Look – I know that you think that the pink unicorn theory is self-conflicting, but it’s not. See, the unicorns ARE pink when they wish to be seen – but if they were ever to become visible to a human the human would be struck mute or deaf or something. I mean the person looking at the unicorn that they can’t stand to see the face of would either see the light and not hear the voice, or hear the voice and be blinded. I’m not sure which, but all I know is that if something is not internally consistent (as you pointed out) it should certainly not be considered credible.
Another equally valid theory is that the pink invisible unicorns are actually both invisible and pink at the same time. We refer to this as the “Great 2-in-1.”
(I’m sure you get the references.)
M. A. Melby, I wonder if you and Martin are in fact talking about the same thing. are your sources the same? If the ‘invisible pink unicorn’ exists, it would have matter, it would be tangible, therefore there would be evidence, and the burden of proof would be upon you to provide that. Out of curiosity, what is its natural resting state, or unconcious state? would it be pink or invisible? please also explain the complex neural pathways that would allow a creature to change its appearance to people seeing it. I would be genuinely fascinated. still, if it were able to change its appearance it would surely be the ‘the pink or invisible unicorn’ and I am unsure or how a ‘great 2-in-1’ applies here, especially to a stable mass… please enlighten me, I am always seeking to learn new information. thankyou in advance for your reply.
Obviously – unicorns are actually like Polar Bears, the sky, blue eyes or water. It has no pink pigment, instead it appears to have color because of scattering. As far as being seen, well that has everything to do with wave-function collapse. Unicorns work in reverse, so when they are seen the wave function expands and when it is not seen it collapses. See their mortal enemies are the weeping angels. HA!
Why are so many atheist so anti-religion (especially the Judeo-Islamo-Christian ones)? Part of it is that relgion has this strange power to make what a reasonable person would clearly see as unreasonable or even horrible – acceptable. This is upsetting. When my friend goes onto her facebook and talks about how great a homeschooling curriculum she found is – because it is helpful in making sure that her young children are sufficiently terrified of burning in hell – it sort of makes you want to hold up a sign trying desperately to explain that religion is messed up.
Many atheists also have a personal history with religion – and even if that history does not include something that most Christians would consider a “bad” experience – looking at religion, more objectively, from the outside, makes you accutely aware of just how inherently psychologically damaging it can be.
And if you are tempted to say – no, not all religion is like that – just remember that you worship an all-powerful all-loving entity that killed the first-born male child of every familiy in Egypt because the leader of the country made bad decisions.
And my mother-in-law worships an all-powerful all-loving infinitely forgiving God; the thought of which fills her with the fear that her grandchildren will be tortured for eternity, forever and ever and ever, being subjected to the sensation of being horribly burned, screaming and crying in pain FOREVER if water isn’t splashed over their heads before they die.
Religion is upsetting because it makes otherwise nice, loving, compassionate people; think and act irrationally out of abject terror. It is used to manipulate and control. To watch religion is painful and causes many atheists to act out – not out of being mean and nasty (at least not for the great majority) and not always due to our personal interests, but because we have empathy for the victims of religion.
…and just to stop you from claiming that because wrote about the nature of God and the God-concept that various Christians believe in that I really deep-down believe in God – I’m just mad at God.
The point was that OTHER people believing in such things creates the need to rationalize horrid things and call them good. It causes people to act in ways they would not otherwise act. It protect people’s really destructive ideas from being criticized because their religion is held above criticism.
You don’t have to believe in a god or gods to see the effect of religion on the people around you – on the society you live in – and become passionate about discussing religion.
I’m agnostic, so my opinions might not correspond exactly to those of a pure atheist, but I’ll give it a shot.
1. There is no proof of God, nor is there proof God does not exist.
2. Christians claim a superior God-given morality. They go so far as to claim theirs is the only morality, and that without God morality can’t exist. Since God can’t be proven or disproven, the claim of a unique and superior morality is on shaky ground at best. It can be shown that through history different groups of Christians have practiced different sets of morality, and in fact the different groups today can’t seem to agree on one set of morals even when their basis is the same version of the Bible. This is more in line with the more athiest/agnostic idea that morality comes from what is best for society.
If Christians want to believe in God, and believe they have a superior set of morals, there’s nothing wrong with that. However they do not keep their beliefs to themselves and this is where the problems arise.
3. Christians are not tolerant of anything that contradicts their beliefs.
4. Christians have always tried to force their beliefs and morals onto others.
In the past we saw the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, which used torture to convert non-Christians when they didn’t slaughter them outright. Today it comes in the form of religious-based laws when there is supposed to be a wall between Church and State in the US. These are laws based on faith and Christian morality rather than evidence, and often have the opposite effect of what even the Christains intended.
Take abortion. I think Christians and atheists agree that it would be better if there were less, or even none of them. Evidence shows that places that have comprehensive sex education and access to contraception have lower rates of STDs, pregnancy and therefore fewer abortions. Yet Christians try to reduce abortions by outlawing them, while simultaneously restricting access to contraceptions and teaching our children the only thing they need to know about sex is abstinence. Christian morality is counter-productive in this case, but stil the laws keep coming. Personally I find this highly immoral.
If Christianity were to remain a private matter between the Christian and their God, there would probably be no problem. When you want to force us to live by your rules, we object. And history has demonstrated you can’t resist the temptation to force us.
We’re not cranky with God. Pointless, really since God isn’t a factor for us. We are quite cranky with Christians.
Please, I would encourage you to study up on your history. Your blanket statement are a bit underdeveloped. I think you would find that there were a bit more complexities to the Crusades and the inquisition.
First, I would ask you to define the crusades. Their purpose and motivation. If you cannot study it, I think your mind might be challenged a bit.
In regards to the inquisition, it always interests me that the Christianity most people have a problem with today is modern evangelical protestantism. Largely, the inquisition was against other Christians, mostly those who held early protestant views.
Also, please tell me in what way Christians (please give evidence for the fact that your statements can be generalized to the majority of Christians, as you say that all Christians are guilty of the above) force people to live a certain way.
1, In Ireland, divorce was not legal until 1996, forcing woman to stay with abusive husbands.
2. Abortion is illegal even if the mothers life is in danger or baby has died in womb.
3. In the US, creationism is thought in schools alongside evolution even though creationism is false.
4. There are blasphemy laws in many nations impinging on peoples’ freedom of speech and punishing those who don’t believe. In fact in India recently a man was arrested and charged with blasphemy because he uncovered a fraudulent miracle.
5. Children are denied proper sex education and grown-ups are denied contraceptives.
6. In Africa aids is spreading faster than it should because of religious ban on condoms.
7. Homosexuals still don’t have equal marriage rights, and homosexuality is illegal in some Christian nations, punishable by death (Uganda),
I could easily go on. Each of these is forced on the whole populace regardless if they are Christian or not. Also if the laws were reversed Christians would not be affected. They would not be forced to get married or forced wear contraceptives or have forced abortions etc. It just allows people of non Christian faith to have the choice. If your church teaches certain guidelines, that is fine, but don’t force it on the rest if the people.
Abortion is Illegal? Not in the US nor most of the western world.
Show me that creationism is taught in schools alongside evoluntion, as the norm.
Yes, there are blasphamy laws, just as in some communist countries there are laws against all religious through and speech.
Again, Children are denied proper sex education? Where and in what way? Grown ups denied contraceptives? Just because the government doesn’t pay for them does not mean they are denied. Please explain where this is the case in the western world.
Homosexuals are persecuted in Atheistic regimes such as North Korea as well.
‘Abortion is Illegal? Not in the US nor most of the western world.’ Hence why I clearly specified Ireland.
‘Show me that creationism is taught in schools alongside evolution, as the norm.’ Really, do you not pay attention to any world news or even do a google search yourself? Since you clearly don’t, here you go: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/law-allows-creationism-to-be-taught-in-tenn-public-schools/2012/04/11/gIQAAjqxAT_story.html
‘Again, Children are denied proper sex education? Where and in what way?’ Once again google is a thing: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0024658
‘Yes, there are blasphamy laws, just as in some communist countries there are laws against all religious through and speech’ and ‘Homosexuals are persecuted in Atheistic regimes such as North Korea as well’. Just because it happens elsewhere for different reasons doesn’t mean it is ok for Christians to do it. You asked in what way Christians force people to live a certain way, I provided ample evidence to show how they do just that.
P.S. North Korea an atheistic regime? They believe (forced to believe through indoctrination) their leaders are gods, that is not atheistic. But as I pointed out above, it is irrelevant for this discussion.
I think Peter provided some very excellent examples. And while you’re correct that it’s a generalization that does not apply to all Christians, it doesn’t need to. If you don’t wish to be painted with the same brush then you need to be ready to stand against groups that try to shred the separation of Church and State. Not doing so amounts to tacit approval.
As for the Inquisition, its primary mission was against the heretical protestants, but what do you think they did if they came across an atheist or agnostic? Or a homosexual?
The Crusades were largely political, driven by the papacy. Their enemies were initially the Muslims but later came to target other groups deemed heretical. Nobles who did not go or at least finance expeditions were threatened with excommunication, and in some cases were excommunicated after they left, to seize their property. This is a case of what happens when one particular religious group gains political power. What do you think life will be like in the US if a few Christian groups succeed to make this a “Christian nation?” You better hope you’re part of the right group, or you may suddenly find your own flavor of Christianity a target. Separation of Church and State protects Christians, Muslims and atheists/agnostics alike.
..and PLEASE don’t go down the road of “North Korea does it, therefore it’s okay.” What is wrong with North Korea is that its leaders run the country like an oppressive religion – dogmatic, emotionally manipulative, censoring descent, etc. In what universe is, “That happens in North Korea” a justification for oppression in the name of religion that happens all over the world?
Thanks for the comments.
You did show me that these exist, but our first comment generalized, so that is why I asked for you to show me how it is the norm. Yes, abortion is Illegal in Ireland, is it the norm in the rest of the Christian world?
Sex education? You showed me how there is an increase in funding for abstinence only education, but again, you did not show me that it was the norm.
Creationism? Again, in tennessee they allow for teaching on Intelegent Design. Is that the norm? Is teaching evolution not a part of their curriculum.
Would you prefer that Abstinence not be taught at all as a means for birth control. Given that it is the only sure fire way to avoid pregnancy and STD’s. I believe it is common sense to teach this along side of safe sex.
Noth Korea does indeed worship their great leader, but that does not make him a God, nor does that make it a religion. Never the less, it does not change the fact that the religious are persecuted as well.
Look, I don’t doubt that there have been evil acts committed in the name of religion.
But, I think you make a mistake to take the moral high ground and assume that without religion these kind of things would not take place.
While it can be said that no evil acts have been comitted in the name of Atheism, the same cannot be said for evil committed in the name of Darwinism. Eugenics, (dare I say) abortion on demand, social Darwinism, much of the reasoning behind Racism (one reason, perhaps for Margerette Sanger giving talks at KKK Raly’s), and a good deal of the motivation behind the Holocaust (Granted, it was merely a misinterpretation, combined with his being evil and his political aspirations). (Read “Table Talks”)
But the point here is not to blame, but to say that by generalizing one group as evil, you inevitable say that your group is less evil, and this simply is not the case.
Humans, HUMANS, do evil things. And while they reach to find any justification of those things, they will indeed find justification, whether that be politics, religion, science, nationalism, etc.
I would say this to fellow Christians as well, but it is not helpful to the cause of stamping out evil deeds, to point the finger at one another. Instead, we should, as many Christians have, stop complaining about evil and do good. You say Christians are the problem. What about WIlliam Wilburforce, Rev. MLK, Compassion, the Methodists in the mid 19th century who fought for right for indians ,one of the first racially inclusive event, which was Kane Ridge Revival, Prison reform from the quakers, etc.
I would like to get some opinions here. What is it that Atheists want to achieve?
It would seem that the goal would be to tell Christians that they have to keep their beliefs and morals to themselves. Let me know.
Thanks for the conversation.
I never said these things were the norm. I was merely highlighting where non-Christians citizens have to live under Christian rules.
Abstinence should be taught alongside sex education, but I provided a link which was abstinence ONLY, which was my point. And in States were abstinence only education is taught, teen pregnancies and STD rates are highest.
No of course it does not mean he is a god but they still belief he is, and I never said it was a religion, merely said they were not atheists. And once again, what is going on in NK is irrelevant to this discussion.
There are many reasons why bad things happen, such as wars, famine, intolerance, racism etc. All the route of all these problems should be discussed and solved, and one route of these problems is religion; but as I said, one of many. As an atheist I am not just against religion, I am also against discrimination, social Darwinism (form of Darwinism racists advocate), poverty etc. I am a strong believer in education and social mobility among many other things too long to list here. Anti-religion is just one aspect of being an atheist.
You say evil humans do evil and good humans do good, and I agree but with one alteration. For good humans to do evil things, that takes religion. Maybe I am mistaken but I have yet to come across a genocide that was perpetrated by either A) purely religious motivations or B) other primary motivations but utilising religion as a tool to enact genocide.
And the final thing that concerns me about the religious is their inaction when their church does evil. For instance, right now the leader of the Catholic church, the Pope, is blatantly guilty of the cover-up of sexual abuse. He moved the predator to another parish where he abused more boys. I am part of many organisations and clubs, if the leader of my nation or any of these organisations and clubs had done such a thing, I would not stop protesting until they were removed or I would remove myself in protest from such organisations. However, the catholics have been completely silent. This is highly disturbing, and only one example of many.
Also another thing that should be mentioned. If you somehow proved beyond a reasonable doubt that a Christian god existed I still would not willingly follow him. I am a firm believer in free will and the whole concept of ‘follow me or else you shall be tortured forever’ is highly immoral. If you look at humans who have possessed that trait throughout history you immediately bring up some of the worst characters in human history. Ask any reasonable person if is moral to punish somebody for not believing what you want them to and they will say no, but for some odd reason they still follow a god who does this highly immoral act. Teaching children this just reinforces tribalism and allows people justification to harm and ostricise those that are not of the same faith.
If you were heading down a dangerous mountian path, and the one who created the path came to you and said, “Hey, follow me.” “Or your going to fall off the edge”, would that be Immoral?
If you did find that the Christian God existed, that would mean that Christ was true as well. Which would then mean that hell was real, as without hell there would be no reason for Christ. Which would mean you would rather suffer for all eternity than admit that you are limited enough that you need help finding the way out of suffering.
Yes it is immoral, because it means it is god who put on that path, and he simply does not say ‘follow me’, he says ‘follow me with terms and conditions’ which include governing what I eat, my sex life, when I work, I have to praise and worship him etc. and if I do not do these things he will shove me off the edge. The god of the bible is a spiteful, hate filled, jealous, misogynistic creature whom nobody would follow if it wasn’t out of fear.
Peter, your analogy is flawed and ignorant at best and i am not trying to offend you, just highlight the way you need to be able to argue your point in order for it to hold some form of validity. ” he simply does not say ‘follow me’, he says ‘follow me with terms and conditions’ which include governing what I eat, my sex life, when I work, I have to praise and worship him etc. and if I do not do these things he will shove me off the edge.” In this example you have failed to see that these ‘terms and conditions’ are in fact the path that one would be walking down, not the conditions of being able to walk on it. how smooth or rocky that path is depends on the individual, thus the devine being would not ‘shove you off the edge’ you would merely fall due to the decisions you made, so stop blaming god for your capacity to stumble over your own poorly tied shoelaces.
Also, in reference to your comment that “The god of the bible is a spiteful, hate filled, jealous, misogynistic creature whom nobody would follow if it wasn’t out of fear.” I do believe that you honestly are throwing darts at a wall and drawing circles around where they land, in order to argue against the bible, please have an idea of what it contains, had you done so it would have drastically changed your posts, realising that the majority of people posting here are refering to the ‘god of the old testament’ which is decidedly less than christian, when people should be looking at the god of the new testament, and you would know the difference if you had read the bible and you would be more able to raise valid points. under the ‘new covenant’, god does not prohibit foods, but rebukes people who say that he does. under the ‘new covenant’ god is a god of love and forgiveness, no matter what one has done in the past or is doing currently.
First of all, in several places in NT it specifies that the OT covenant is still relevant. Matthew 5:17-19, Luke 16:17, 2 Timothy 3:16.
As for the god of love and forgiveness of the NT:
Peter kills two people for stealing money: Acts 5:1-11
Death for homosexuals and atheists: Romans 1:24-32
Slavery in Bible: Luke 12:47-48, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:5.
Jesus wants cities that have not repented destroyed: Matthew 11: 20-24
Unbelievers will go to eternal torture: Matthew 25: 46]
Unbelievers burnt to death: 2 Peter 3:7
Misogyny: 1 Timothy 2:12-15, 1 Corinthians 11:8-9.
These are just some examples that I could think of, given time I could easily triple or quadruple the list, if not more. You say to me ‘please have an idea of what it contains’, I know exactly of what it says, as I have read it, and I am currently reading it again while studying biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, I am also studying section of NT in their original Greek. Now I ask you and I hope you answer honestly, have you read it or does your knowledge of the Bible merely come from what has been preached from you from the pulpits?
Lets address Romans.
Dio anapologetoc ei o (not omnicron), anthropone pac o (omnicron), krinon. En o gar krineic ton eteron seauton katakrineic, ta gar auta prasseic o krinwn. Proe Romaioge 2:1
(This page wont allow me to use greek font. This version from Nestle Aland “Novum Testamentum Graece” )
Please take things in context. This passage goes exactly to what I was stating before as thier passage also speaks about gossips, slanderers, haters of God, haughty, and even those who are disobedient to their parents. Showing that all of us, in the fall have been given over, or have fallen over to sin.
Sin leads to death as per Romans 6:28. (Note we are talking about eternal spiritual death).
We also have this which is stated in Romans 3 but I will use John’s words from 1 John 1:8
“ean eipwmen oti amartian ouk exomen eatouc planwmen kai h aletheia ouk estin en hmin.”
All of us are sinful! The bible is clear about that. It is also clear that God is the judge not us (though many do not listen, as we are sinful).
Ill address the others tomorrow.
Don’t assume so much about people.
Also read Acts 5 again. Peter didn’t kill anyone! It says they fell down dead.
I think you’ll find I did not assume anything, I actually asked you have you read it. It was you who assumed I was ignorant and did not read the bible. Also there is no point putting the Greek up here unless you are trying to prove a point about translation as it disengages anybody else that is trying to read the posts. So please use translation unless you are making a specific translation point.
Regarding Acts. They fall down dead. Peter even tells the wife she is going to ‘fall down’ right before she does. It is clear they died because of the crime they committed and at Peter’s wish.
As for the verse you have cited, they merely discuss sin. The verse I have cited proscribe death for homosexuals and unbelievers, that is sinful according to the bible so I will not argue that, my point is do you deem it moral and just to kill those that are sinful, which the bible clearly advocates.
Wow – logic isn’t exactly your strong point is it Peter ?(Pilt that is – Peter Ferguson is pretty brilliant!) Even when I was a christian I would have laughed at this. Atheism is no more a faith than NOT playing golf is a hobby. Also, it should be noted that the first people to be labelled “atheist” were christians, for refusing to believe in the traditional greek Gods.
If I claim there are brownies living in my courtyard, the burden of proof lies with me – it is not the burden of others to disprove unlikely claims. Also – this!
I contend that we are both atheists. I merely believe in one less god than you do.
I commonly these two definitions of atheism thrown about. Among atheists I most commonly see it defined as the rejection, absence or lack of a belief in a deity or deities. By theists and non religious I tend to see it defined as the belief no deities exist. Among philosophers I have seen both so I am still stumped as to what definition academics commonly use.
Now I want to give a little analogy first before I explain my definition of atheism. You will need to trust me on this.
So lets say I were to have a box with one red ball, one green ball and one blue ball. If I were to ask what inside this box is red, one would answer the red ball. If one were to ask what inside this box was Not red, then the blue and green ball would be the answer. What we have done here is to find the negation of red things. Thus we have found everything that is not the red ball.
Now, let take the definition of Theism to be the belief in a deity or deities. By attaching the prefix ‘A’ to theism to create Atheism, what we are doing is negating the entire statement ‘the belief in a deity or deities’. We are not negating god, but the belief in god. Thus, what we get is everything but the belief in a deity or deities. So we get Atheists who simply have a lack of belief And those who believe that there is no deity or deities.
This is my understanding of it. Language is of course tricky and rules are constantly broken.
Now to compare belief something is true, belief that something is false and lack of belief. Lets say we again have a box. Lets say we are asked if there is a red ball in this box But we have no knowledge at all of what is inside, what has happened to the box, where has been, if there are any red balls near by. We cannot look inside, shake it to tell. We just are asked with no information or way to tell. In this situation we do not belief there is a all and we do not believe there is no ball. We instead have a lack of belief.
Now onto the rest of the article. “Why are Atheists so passionate about destroying Christianity?”
To me, I like to try to correct people when I think they are incorrect. I do often take this further with religion and may other stances as I see them as harmful to me, friends , family and society.
For instance I see things like creationism, anti-science, anti-thinking, anti womens rights, witch burnings (which still go on today), homophobia, abuse of children, hiding the abuse of children, genital mutilation, racism, making people feel huge amounts of guilt, prayer healing instead of medical treatment, diagnosing mental illness as divine, making people fear god or hell, people have been outcast from their friends and family. All of that in the name of religion, god or from the clergy.
I get frustrated when people make very ignorant statements, or when people make arguments for something that is harmful, where the argument is not logically valid, contain more false information and where the person does not even get their own faith correct. Then even when correct the person just hides behind another invalid argument, insults me instead of addressing what I said or even just continues to believe even though they acknowledge that I am correct.
Thats not to say all religious or Christians are like this but even things like “The level of passion against the faith I stand for really does convince me that you aren’t convinced there is no God” just make me want to bang my head against the wall. Its like saying to me that I must be lying when I say that I do not believe. It also not valid, as passion against something does not imply that I believe what I am against. For instance, one could be passionately against gay rights, even though the person is not gay them self (note, I’m not assuming you are against gay rights, it just a example), or passionate against climate change even though one thinks climate change is false (again, example).
It is these things that make me want Christianity, and religion in general to disappear.
I was directed toward your “open letter”, or what passes for such, by a friend whose opinion I respect. He indicated that you are rather begging for a response. Well, I’ve read your essay now and I’m afraid I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. I reckon you might be much more interested in preaching to your own club members than to anyone “out there”. At least, that is the sense in what I take away insofar as you seem to be spoon-feeding tired cliches and stereotypes.
How is it that, puzzled about Rationalist efforts to subdue religious subversion, you say you understand, in contrast, “…why Christians are passionate about telling Atheists about God, Heaven and Hell.” Surely you haven’t given this even a moment of thought? What could be plainer to understand? Despite feigning confusion you persist with multiple assertions about what constitutes belief and disbelief! Either you are or you are not confused!
You conclude by claiming that “this letter is not aimed at pulling apart your arguments for atheism.” I don’t think that is very honest, do you? At any rate, you do know that you are nowhere near pulling anything apart. You might apprehend a clue toward understanding the passion with which men and women have for dismantling superstitious cult beliefs when you consider that saying that “This letter is not even about telling you that God loves you and Jesus died for you.” is utterly and transparently a lie. Or did you think no one else in the world uses rhetorical methods? Do you see that religious demagogues such as yourself are as unconcerned with simply telling the truth as atheists are in exposing what is not true?
There, I’ve done it. There is your reply.
At the end of our lives one of us will be proven right and one will be proven wrong. If you are right then we are equal in an eternal states. If I am right, then we are not.
It’s that simple.
We can stand and argue and reason and talk about the evils of religion and the rationale of science but in my simple brain it all comes down to the above statement.
Simple indeed especially when you consider how much pain and suffer will be felt by people while you wait to be proven right or wrong. Me, I’d rather to discuss it now in the hopes of changing the minds of other to prevent as much pain and suffering as possible.
But it’s not that simple. There are in fact dozens of possibilities.
1. No afterlife, nobody wins (except those still alive).
2. Christianity is right. But is that Baptist, Lutheran, Jews for Jesus, Mormon or some other flavor? And if you picked the wrong one, is that sufficient to exclude you? No way to know.
3. Yahweh (but not Jesus), Zeus, Flying Spaghetti Monster or some other deity was the right answer. You both lose.
4. Reincarnation is real and we’ll all be back arguing this in 100 years.
5. Afterlife exists, but there is no hell. It’s simply another form of existence and everone progresses to the next place.
Meanwhile we still need to figure out how to get along before we’re given the final answer. That unfortunately does not start with “My way or the highway.” For either side.
You don’t seem much concerned with whether or not your stubborn intransigence vis-à-vis the great god Shiva will result in your eternal banishment from the loving rewards of Heaven! Yes, Shiva! The actual incarnate, born of a virgin Shiva! You do know that the great deeds of Shiva has been witnessed by tens of thousands around the world up to the present! Or, so they say.
Do you really think so little of your gods that you would regard them as nothing more than as part of a personal salvation lottery scheme. And you seem perfectly satisfied to put yourself in subjection (with unaccountable representation I might add) to a god who seems satisfied with your “gambling” attitude! That was a contemptible reply. Perhaps you should have a close reading of Job 2 before getting too cosy with these gods or too high and mighty with strangers.
You know as well as I that your Jesus guru did not exist; that the events of the Christian cult literature are sloppy assemblages of hearsay and local lore. I’m afraid all you have at the end of it are some dodgy stories passed around by a few Gnostics and Essenes in an environment of super-charged hyper-spiritualism.
Well, that and a tax free living space and a congregation of people who all call you reverend (or some equivalent). You can’t beat that, eh?
Which is why atheists, do not state ‘there is no god’ we simply do not believe the god you have asserted. It’s a thin distinction but an important one. None of the religions that have ever existed carry more evidence to progress their religion over any of the others, so atheists believe none are right, but we would be willing to adjust if presented with evidence. Until then, it is best to assume no religion is right and work to increase human happiness and protect and progress civil liberties for all regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Equality for all. That is why we argue against religious privilege, as it promotes one religion over the rest. Also why we argue against religious interference in state affairs, as you cannot promote a pluralist society while advocating a particular religion as it ostracises those that do not adhere to that religion.
I will be that man, P. Ferguson, who says, quite simply, that there are no gods. Period. Every cult has at least one god; that god has properties, a list of sayings and deeds, and a list of demands (most importantly). It only takes one property or claim to fact to make a god empirically tractable.
One might not be able to make a proof against an abstract “god” (as though it were a special kind of maths proof), but one can certainly and decisively disprove the existence of “God”, the named deity of three major world cults: Those three gods all have absurd but eminently disprovable properties which arise from the ridiculous fact claims made about them.
As I always simply say, to disprove something proof has to be posited first. So far, regarding a personal god which the three Abrahamic religions (any religion for that matter) proselytise here has been none presented that hasn’t already been disproven.
In saying that, I am not concerned with proving there are no gods more than I am with proving their are no unicorns, but if people assert there are gods or unicorns I will simply ask for proof of such an assertion and challenge the validity of their proof.
Here’s a statement I hear a bit,”There is not a shred of evidence for the existance of God.”
I find this ammusing because for one to make that statement it means they know everything and are everywhere and have seen everything. ie the only one capable of making this statement is God himself.
You are a weird definition of “evidence” – evidence needs to be evident to be evidence. However, there is “evidence” for a god or gods – however, none of that evidence is independently verifiable.
Weird thing is – the moment a piece of evidence does become independently verifiable we generally don’t use the term “supernatural” anymore. I mean, if some big blue naked guy just showed up one day with amazing powers after being atomically disintegrated – would you start worshiping him; or would you try to figure out the mechanisms by which that happened?
God hates the sin but loves the sinner. We are all saved dos’nt matter which path you take. More reading at http://starshipchurch.blogspot.com.au/ Just another book of the bible…
The whole debate does my head in….. we’re just arguing semantics. The reality is this folks…. if you really truly truly wanted to discover if the God of the Bible (aka our Jesus) existed and were willing to accept it if the evidence was presented to you, then get down on your knees and without reservation, sarcasm, sneering or disrespect, ask honestly and openly “Jesus, if you are really out there then I ask you to reveal yourself to me”, then wait….. (it will rarely happen in an instant), wait and see what happens. Allow God to find you. I bet, if you truly wanted to see if He existed (for real), He’d make it His personal endeavour to ensure you were found. And from personal experience, I can guarantee – you will never look back!
It’s amazing how both Christians and Muslims claim that their god has revealed themselves to them, pretty much every religion for that matter, so either every religion is right, or people are delusional into thinking that the creator of the whole universe has revealed himself to them, quite the modest claim isn’t it!
I used to argue with atheists a lot on Facebook, now it is simply indifference that I feel towards their rhetoric.