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Circular Reasoning Gone Wild

By Sarah Bertrand --

   The following is a rather lengthy exchange between myself, and an old church friend who found me on facebook, and noticed that I had my religious beliefs listed as "atheist". I've changed his name to "Christian" here, since he stopped communicating with me after this conversation, and I was therefor unable to contact him for permission to use his real name.



Circular Reasoning WorksImage by Jollyboy via Flickr

Subject: really????

Christian
March 27 at 7:59am
are you really an athiest!?!?


Sarah Bertrand
March 27 at 10:14am
Yes, I am. I've been agnostic for some years now...I've only recently started using the big "A".

Christian
March 27 at 3:39pm
wow...

Sarah Bertrand
March 27 at 4:00pm
That seems to be the reaction from most people who knew me back in the day, namely the ones I went to church with.

Christian
March 27 at 4:38pm
yeh that, and its one of the scariest things i've ever heard someone say!

Sarah Bertrand
March 27 at 7:22pm
Why is that scary?

Christian
March 28 at 4:12am
because in all honesty, you know that this planet didnt come from nothing.. and to believe that requires alot more faith then i have!
And it's scarey, (i dont want to sound like i'm preaching), that someday you'll need to account for not believing.. thats the scary part. I think deep down, you know the truth..


Sarah Bertrand
March 28 at 11:43am
I wish I could say that I was still at the point where there was a little bit of faith left in me. Part of me would LOVE to believe, because it makes things so much easier to swallow in one's day to day life. The thought that there is some higher being watching out for me, with a plan, can be very comforting, especially in times of need. Unfortunately, blind faith is not something that I can wrap my head around. Reason and science tells me a completely different story. I need some sort of evidence, or plausible theory. To live my life according to a book that was written thousands of years ago, in a time that does not resemble our world as it is now, is just too much for me. There is overwhelming evidence that supports evolution, natural selection, the age of the earth, etc. Yet there is no evidence beyond the bible that exists to prove that anything in the bible is even real. In fact, there are overwhelming similarities, beyond the realm of chance or coincidence, that show that many of the stories in the bible are actually adaptations of ancient Egyptian mythology.

I can understand and appreciate the benefits of organized religion. I think that it is of social importance to have some sort of moral structure in place to teach the basic lessons of life. I don't regret being brought up in a Christian home...it's where I learned to be the person that I am. I don't judge others for their beliefs...nor would I ever try to sway someone's beliefs by imposing my opinions on them. However, Christianity has proven itself to not be the thing for me.



Christian
March 28 at 11:50am
Understandable... i think someone has mislead you about science though. I've done alot of research on this topic, so it's very near and dear to me! I've got a ton of great books and dvd's that completely destroy the theory of evolution, from a scientific point of view. IE (first and second LAW of thermodynamics) just as a small example.. but we won't get into that. ;) I heard a debate between a Christian scientist and an evolutionary scientist, and the Bible wasnt even brought up, and honestly, the "evolutionist" was stopped in his tracks. The theory of evolutionis a dying theory anyways. Less and less scientists are evolutionsists.. anyways, I would LOVE to discuss with you from "science" why evolution is wacky, but i think it goes deeper then that. I'm not here to judge or anything... i guess i'm just sad you've chosen this road.

I guess all i can say is someday, you'll know...

Sarah Bertrand
March 28 at 1:35pm
There are a lot of aspects of evolution that I still don't understand...I definitely wouldn't call myself an evolutionist. I'm still studying and searching for answers on that front. But as far as the existence of a higher power, or supernatural intervention is concerned...having faith in something means you don't KNOW....and my brain needs evidence to accept certain things to be fact.



Christian
March 28 at 1:51pm
i would counter that by saying you need more faith to believe we just "happened".. so if it's a faith thing, you're screwed either way!
lol


Sarah Bertrand
March 28 at 4:27pm
I don't believe that we came from "nothing". That seems to be a common misconception about atheists...that we believe that everything just happened by chance. I'm sure you have done your research on natural selection, and the complex, yet simplistic idea of survival of the fittest.

But I'll be honest...as interesting as it is to contemplate our origins and how it all happened...it's really not the driving force of what I believe, or don't believe. There are a lot of things that I don't know when it comes to science, evolution, biology, astronomy...There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions (or perhaps just information that I haven't read, or don't fully understand) in the theories of evolution, natural selection, big bang, etc. But there are even more holes, in my opinion, in the Bible. I used to defend Christianity tooth and nail...would get into heated debates with non-believers...and suddenly realized that I didn't have enough evidence to back up my arguments. So I set out to find some, assuming that there would be some book, or video, or speaker, who could give me what I needed to win over my non-Christian friends. I also made sure to read up on the opposition, as anyone who wishes to make a strong argument should. What I found was that not only could I not find enough information to make my case...but I found myself strongly agreeing with the opposing opinion. This was not an overnight decision to turn my back on my Christian beliefs, but rather a gradual, unbiased, learning process. I was open to both sides of the argument...but the strongest case eventually won me over.



Christian
March 28 at 10:37pm
well i return to my original statement.. i honestly think you're in a dangerous spot, but nothing i can say will change your mind.. thats gonna have to be a God thing for sure...


Sarah Bertrand
March 29 at 3:54pm
I actually have an issue with your statement about the laws of thermodynamics....because the second law clearly states that it is to be applied to closed systems, which the earth is not. There are also many examples of order arising from disorder. Science is not a strength of mine, but I have done a bit of reading on this subject, and so far nothing I've learned has swayed my beliefs towards intelligent design. I would be very curious to read some of these books you speak of...and also curious about whether or not they are written by Christians, with a "Christian spin" to them. Also, when you say that less and less scientists are evolutionists, I would have to assume that would refer to Christian scientists, because I don't know of many scientists who would argue against the theories of evolution and natural selection.



Christian
March 29 at 6:03pm
Thats actually exactly my point.. at one point there was a closed system.. even IF you believe in evolution... the fact is that even "athiests" believe, they cannot answer WHERE the original "gases" or whatever to cause evolution came from.... you cannot have something from nothing.. And no matter what book you read, someone will have a spin either way.. evolutionists or creationists...


Sarah Bertrand
March 29 at 8:24pm
Just because we don't know where it came from, doesn't mean it came from God. Just because it is unknown, doesn't mean it will never be known. In bible times, they didn't have anywhere NEAR the knowledge that we have of the universe now. We are constantly discovering new things. If your statement is true, then I suppose that crop circles and UFOs are also from God, since we don't know where they come from.

I think the biggest religious deterrent for me, though, is not science...but rather it's own contradictions. There are many arguments on this front...which also contradict themselves. Common argument #1; "Well, the Bible was written by God's chosen prophets, who were mere men, therefore human error is a possibility"...if that is the case, then how can one claim that they were God inspired? Would God have not ensured that these men wrote things as He intended? And if it's possible that these men could make mistakes, how can one place ANY faith in what is written in The Good Book? Common argument #2; "The Bible has been translated so many times into so many different languages, that it's possible that some meanings have been lost or misinterpreted". Again, if this is the case, how can one put any faith in ANYTHING that is written, and why would God have allowed these misinterpretations to have happened if he is all-knowing, and all-powerful? I suppose the argument here would be "free-will", but I find it hard to believe that God would allow free-will to interfere with the sole means of communicating to his followers, since He no longer feels the need to show Himself to His people. Common argument #3 "Not all of the Bible was meant to be taken literally"...If this is true, then how is one to decipher mere fables from truth...and why then should one feel compelled to take their moral lessons from the Bible over any other fable or story?

Also, on a more basic level, I struggle with the fact that the Bible was originally translated from ancient Hebrew script....roughly 25% of which we still do not understand...and much of which is open to SEVERE misinterpretation, since such confusions as numbers being the same as some letters exists.

One of my favorite quotes relating to the subject of contradiction, would have to be one by Epicurus;

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then He is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then He is malevolent.
Is He both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is He neither able nor willing?
Then why call Him God?"


Christian
March 29 at 8:56pm
Well i believe you answered your own questions there.... The Bible is God's word, therefore He did not/ would not allow anything in there that He didnt want there.. bottom line.. And as far as accuracy, archeologists use the Bible all the time to search for stuff because of it's ACCURACY!

Look honestly, i'm really sad to hear about your choice, but i've heard all of these arguments before, and they only strenghthen my faith, not the opposite. satan lies, i ain't gonna buy it.

Whats so scarey about all this, is that you've bought into the lies... and i'm literally sick to my stomach when i hear any person who claimed Christ at one point, saying this stuff...

BY THE WAY... i dont know where you heard the 25% thing, but it is COMPLETELY inaccurate... thats my Bible College education coming through...


Sarah Bertrand
March 29 at 10:29pm
I am by no means trying to get you to "buy into" anything that I'm saying. I'm merely sharing with you the questions that I have been asking, and some of the issues that I have. I am, and always have been, open to any arguments that would sway me one way or the other. It was actually very hard for me to turn my back on the beliefs of my childhood. No Christian that I have spoken to has been able to offer me any sort of answers or guidance on the subject. My heart is not hardened, I merely require some logic.

The 25% that I am referring to is a rough estimate (found in many articles and videos, none of which I can actually reference at the moment without some searching), of the amount of information that is lost in translation. Idioms, letters mistaken for numbers and vice versa. This number may not be accurate, but there is definitely a margin of error here.

As far as God only allowing writings that he wants in the Bible, I do not understand why, then, there are so many contradictions.

On the first day, God created light and darkness (GE 1:3-5).
The sun was created on the 4th day (GE 1:14-19).

The righteous shall rejoice when he sees vengeance. (PS 58:10-11)
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls or stumbles. (PR 24:16-18)

Ahaziah was 22 years old when he began his reign. (2KI 8:25-26)
He was 42 when he began his reign. (2CH 22:2 )
[Some translations use "twenty-two" here to correct this inconsistency. The Hebrew is clear, however, that 2CH 22:2 is 42. The Hebrew words involved are Strong's H705 and H8147, "forty" and "two" ]

There are HUNDREDS of inconsistencies like these, many of which are of much greater importance than a person's age. Why would God allow these contradictions? And for what purpose?

Regarding the archaeological issues, can you actually show me an example of this? I have never heard of any archaeological finds based solely on information provided in the Bible. I do believe that there is some historical value to the Bible...and would not dispute that some of the contents could be proven. Unfortunately, it's the big stuff that seems to have the least amount of evidence.

I hope that you are not taking offence to anything that I'm saying to you. I love discussing these things with people, and many people are not interested in entertaining these conversations. I am constantly trying to learn more, and understand both sides better. I'm not trying to be disrespectful in the least...in fact I have a great deal of respect for those who have faith, since I seem to lack the capacity for it.



Christian
March 29 at 10:33pm
Can you give any examples that contradict anything to do with God and His Character?

As far as small things like ages and things... thats a no issue cause it's not important.. i've studied most of the so called "contradictions" and they are easily explainable... but like i said.. find me some contradictions about God and his Character...

Those examples you gave are non issues Sarah.
:)

Sarah Bertrand
March 29 at 11:01pm
First of all, the lack of ability to disprove something, does not make it exist. Can you prove that there are not aliens, or unicorns? Why then, do we not believe in those? I never claimed that I could prove God did not exist, but rather that there is a lack of evidence to convince me that there IS one.

Also, I agree that small contradictions would be unimportant, except for the fact that God is supposedly perfect, and the Bible is his divine word. Why then would he allow this? AND, not all of the contradictions are small ones, including the one I listed about the Creation itself. I would think that this would be a pretty major issue, especially when defending this theory against other theories. How is it possible that the plants were created on the third day, when we know that photosynthesis requires the sun, which was not created until the 4th.

Here are a few others for your consideration:

GE 2:15-17, 3:4-6 It is wrong to want to be able to tell good from evil.
HE 5:13-14 It is immature to be unable to tell good from evil.

GE 17:15-16, 20:11-12, 22:17 Abraham and his half sister, Sarai, are married and receive God's blessings.
GE 19:30-38 While he is drunk, Lot's two daughters "lie with him," become pregnant, and give birth to his offspring.
2PE 2:7 Lot was "just" and "righteous."
LE 20:17, DT 27:20-23 Incest is wrong.

Thou shalt not kill....and yet the Bible is filled with battles that were favored by God.

I would say that these are inconsistencies about pretty major issues. There are HUNDREDS of these. Did God, then, intend for us to pick and choose the verses to live by?

I find it odd that any time questions arise about why the Bible is full of these contradictions, the answer is always that it is unimportant...instead of having some explanation that would actually put my mind at ease about this.


Sarah Bertrand
March 29 at 11:04pm
Also, relating specifically to God and his character:

GE 1:31 God was pleased with his creation.
GE 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation.
(Note: That God should be displeased is inconsistent with the concept of omniscience.)

GE 6:6. EX 32:14, NU 14:20, 1SA 15:35, 2SA 24:16 God does change his mind.
NU 23:19-20, 1SA 15:29, JA 1:17 God does not change his mind.

GE 11:7-9 God sows discord.
PR 6:16-19 God hates anyone who sows discord.

GE 22:1-12, DT 8:2 God tempts (tests) Abraham and Moses.
JG 2:22 God himself says that he does test (tempt).
1CO 10:13 Paul says that God controls the extent of our temptations.
JA 1:13 God tests (tempts) no one.

Just to name a few....



Christian
March 29 at 11:06pm
oh man.. where are you getting this tripe?!
lol
I've heard ALL of this before... you're taking scripture out of context!
Look.. the bottom line is.. i'm not gonna change your mind, and you are certianly not going to change my mind...
BUt i can't have a conversation with ya when you bring so many errors!
LOL


Sarah Bertrand
March 29 at 11:10pm
So, you are unable to explain any of this?


Christian
March 29 at 11:16pm
Oh man Sarah.... my short answer is simply, YES, YES I COULD.. lol
God's word does NOT contradict itself...bottom line.
I could go through every verse with you.. and i could bring up verses with you that i've heard people say are contradictory that you havent even mentioned....
Like i said, God's word does not contradict.. and it IS His Word.
I think the more i know of people, and people claiming to be Christians, more and more of them are turning away from the truth, and i honestly believe it's an end times thing.. i think God is coming back soon, and what is SOOO scary to me Sarah, is that you're not ready for that!
I have people in my own family that arnt either, and it scares the pants off of me, cause i know whats coming for them...

You're not a stupid girl, don't buy into the lies Sarah... you know whats right..


Sarah Bertrand
March 30 at 10:01am
I was hoping you could give me some answers. Unfortunately, Christians seem to be unwilling to defend God's word with any valid arguments, and your response is the same as all the others...that I will have to account for my disbelief, and that I am going to hell. I don't believe in life after death, and I don't believe that a rapture is coming. Therefore, Christian attempts to scare me into believing because of these things are futile. Rather than using scare tactics and telling me that I'm smart enough that I should just KNOW better...I wish someone could actually step up and offer some logical reasoning to explain these discrepancies.

Christian
March 30 at 3:18pm
i'm on it.. if THATS what it takes... i will answer your questions Sarah... but i honestly think no matter what i say, your mind is made up... BUT i will answer your questions.
I'm not trying to scare you... AND you may think i'm closed minded, but i can afford to be, because i'm right.



Sarah Bertrand
March 30 at 3:30pm
Well, the nice thing about being a Christian, is that you can also afford to be wrong. If I'm wrong, I go to hell. If you're wrong, nothing happens.

I'm not asking you to be the one to answer my questions, if you don't want to. I was just making an observation about the responses I typically get. I don't feel that my "mind is made up". I'm always open to alternative ways of thinking, if given enough proof to believe that it's accurate. So far, no such proof has been presented to me. Even when I seek answers from Christian sources, the answers only seem to deepen my disbelief. I'm not looking to shoot down anyone's religion, I just haven't found any reason to believe one any more than another.


Christian
March 30 at 4:06pm
I'm all over it Sarah.
:)
Well.. i don't understand if you really believe what you do, why you don't go out and kill someone and steal all of their money... or, why not sleep with every guy you want to... or go do as many drugs as you want...
Obviously with your point of view, there is no God, so therefore there is no right or wrong, so whats stopping you from doing that? You don't go and take someones car because you want it right? So where does right and wrong come from? What are you living for Sarah? Just to try and be happy and then you die and thats it? Man that seems SOOO hopeless!
So why i'm working on your questions, i'd like some answers for mine.. ;)


Sarah Bertrand
March 30 at 5:42pm
Obviously my morals have some basis in my Christian upbringing. I've said many times, and I'll say it again, that I do not regret being brought up in a Christian home. Even if, for the sake of argument, nothing in the Bible is true, it is still a good source of stories to teach from. Having said that, I could teach my children the same morals using greek mythology, fables, or simply personal experience.

Having said that, I know MANY non-believers who come from a long line of non-believers, and none of them are murderers, thieves or sexually promiscuous. If we were to remove religion from the equation, I would argue that most people would still figure out that they wouldn't want someone to kill them, so they shouldn't kill someone else. And with or without religion, there would still be murder and violence and sexual deviants.

I'm sure we could debate that topic and disagree for hours, but what about other animals? There is one study in particular about chimpanzees (and I am making no evolutionist comparison to monkeys being our cousins), that I found very interesting. A group of scientists was attempting to remove a chimpanzee that had fallen from a tree and died. The other chimps, having no blood relation to the dead chimp, fought to keep the scientists away, protecting the body of the dead chimp. The same study showed chimpanzees helping each other, offering food to a chimp who couldn't get food for itself, even though this meant less food for the other healthy chimps. Also, they found that the chimps would break up fights between other chimps, trying to resolve a conflict without violence. They have been shown to be very loving parents, keeping their children close by for YEARS, and teaching them the basics of survival. Chimps have no religion. How have they figured out the basics of what is right and what is wrong?

If anything, I think it is more respectful a virtue to believe in a conviction based on how you feel about a particular situation, rather than simply because a guy in a book told you to. When I choose not to be promiscuous, it's not because I really want to have sex, but God says I can't. It's because I choose to be true to myself, and to my body. When I choose not to kill someone, it's not because God says killing is bad. It's because I respect human life, and other people's right to live theirs. When I choose not to steal, it's not because I'm afraid of hell, or God's wrath. It's because I'd rather not go to jail (and no, I still wouldn't steal if if there was no way I could get caught. I respect other people's property the same way I would want mine respected). While I may have learned these lessons in sunday school, I know many people who feel the same way I do, who have never stepped foot in a church, or read a page of the Bible.



Christian
March 30 at 6:06pm
I think you kinda approached my question from a different angle then what i intended... i should be more clear...
NOT factoring ANY religious stuff or upbringing, why does someone who believes there are no absolute right and wrong NOT go and do these things? Its survival of the fittest right? Thats what evolution says, so why don't we just kill our neighbours and take there BIGGER house? Do you see what i'm gettting at? If someone decided to come and kill your family and take YOUR house, according to YOUR beliefs, there should be NO issue with that action.. God created a balance to the universe... if the planet was closer to the sun, we'd all burn up.. if it was further, we'd freeze... GOD ordered this.. there are too many variebles to have JUST HAPPENED..

A great example of this is a simple seed. Scientists KNOW how a seed works, and they've put all the elements together and "made" a seed, but somehow they can NEVER get it to grow...

As far as the monkeys and stuff... it's amazing how God created them to be the way they are! I'm amazed that when a male and female Canada Goose hook up, they stay together for life! I'm amazed when a camel sees another dead camel, it gets sick and is obviously bothered by the sight.

When i see things like what you decribed with the chimps, it strenghtens my admiration for God! Thast AWESOME stuff that HE created.

The Bible plainly states that no man could EVER know God's mind or even come close to understanding it.. God said it, i believe it!



Sarah Bertrand
March 30 at 8:27pm
Well...for starters...there are clearly LOTS of non-believers, and obviously not all of them are lacking morals and killing people and stealing their houses. So why is this?

Also, I don't know who told you that we believe that there is no absolute right and wrong. I believe that a lot of this is instinctual, and the rest is learned behaviour, based on upbringing, social interaction, peers, etc. This holds true for believers and non-believers alike.

I don't believe that everything JUST HAPPENED. As I mentioned before, I am not a science buff, but I do believe that there was a starting point for the earth to develop into what it is today. There are millions of stars, lots of planets, millions of particles and such floating around in space. There is a reason why life developed on this planet, and not somewhere else in the galaxy. That's BECAUSE of the existence of the appropriate conditions. It is perfectly within the realm of chance that something in space could end up within the right distance of the sun to allow for the right conditions for certain facets of life to develop into what we know today. If earth, the sun and the moon were the only things in space, then I would say that it was a much slimmer chance that things just happened that way.

Also, relating to the chimps...I am speaking of Bonobo chimps. These particular chimps have been monitored and studied for years...and a lot of their behaviours are NEW. Behaviours that have never before been recorded. Things like weaponry. For the first time, we are seeing them learning to make primitive spears for hunting. Adapting to their environment. Learning things that they are now passing down to their children, who will no doubt, over time, perfect and improve upon these ideas, making them smarter and smarter with each passing generation. These chimps have always been characterized by their fear of water, and yet in recent years, they have taught themselves to overcome this fear, and now engage in play time or pool parties, if you will. God did not create them this way, they have LEARNED to be this way, because of their environment, and in order to better survive in their surroundings. This is natural selection. These chimps will grow and change, and survive longer than chimps who do not practice these techniques. Eventually they will evolve into something smarter than they are, and eventually the other chimps may become obsolete. I know MANY Christians who believe in natural selection. How can you not? It's all around us. Even the Vatican found reason enough to amend their stance on issues relating to evolution. From everything I've been seeing and reading...intelligent design is the dying theory.


Sarah Bertrand
April 6 at 10:48am
I guess you were right. There is nothing you can really say to sway me. "Faith" is not a valid argument for Christianity. I can have faith that there is a giant treasure box of gold buried in my backyard, but that doesn't make it so. Unless someone can prove to me that it's there...I don't believe it is. So far, you haven't given me any proof...only vague circular explanations. I appreciate your efforts to tell me that I am wrong, but I am still in search of a Christian who can PROVE me wrong.


Christian
April 6 at 4:56pm
like i said i'm gonna do my best... BUT you can NEVER get around the fact that you'll need faith to believe that there is a God and you need faith to believe there isnt.. either way, if you're scared of having faith, then you're screwed either way...


Sarah Bertrand
April 6 at 4:57pm
I'm not afraid to have faith. I used to have faith. But there is just too much evidence to the contrary for me to believe. I don't have FAITH in science, I have evidence that certain things are true...or at least very likely to be true. I have no such evidence for God.


Christian
April 6 at 5:11pm
geeze Sarah.. no evidence?!?! LOOK AROUND!!! Do you think ALL this came into order by itself?!?!! Like i said, if you believe that, then you have WAYYY more faith then i could ever have... I wish i could send you a DVD i have that totally explains what i believe, from a SCIENTIFIC point of view.. its awesome. Its called The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. If you want explanations from science, go get that DVD. That is just ONE example. The bottom line is this.. the Bible says, some people will NOT believe, no matter how much evidence is given.. The Holy Spirit opens peoples eyes. I believe the Bible 100%, and above science or anything, its the final word for me.


Sarah Bertrand
April 6 at 5:17pm
You should youtube "How to Convert an Atheist" by The Fighting Atheist . This video sums up what I would accept as viable evidence that there is a God, or that the bible, and anything written in it could be true.

Just because a butterfly is really beautiful, or a particular plant is incredibly complex, or because we don't understand how something works, does not mean that it came from God.

I will definitely look up the video you're talking about. I'm very interested in anything that claims to have proof of God's existence. My heart is not hardened, I just need answers. If the Holy Spirit can open my eyes...why then does he choose not to?


Christian
April 6 at 5:51pm
well the Bible is clear that some people will be chosen... i dont understand it all... i don't pretend to understand God's mind..

So let me ask you.... WHere did it all come from?


Sarah Bertrand
April 6 at 5:52pm
where did what come from?


Christian
April 6 at 5:59pm
where did WE come from.. where did the planet come from... why is the sun so perfectly placed as not to burn us up or freeze us... How did it all begin?


Sarah Bertrand
April 6 at 7:08pm
As I've said before...I'm not a science buff. I understand the basics of such things as genetics, natural selection, atoms and particles, etc. I believe that our existence can be explained by science, even if I can't fully explain it. I also believe that the evidence for science, far outweighs the evidence (or lack thereof) to support intelligent design. Such ridiculousness as the banana theory does not mean that there was a divine creator.

I am watching Case for a Creator as we speak...


Sarah Bertrand
April 6 at 8:57pm
This video was very interesting. However, it consisted mainly of deconstructing Darwinian theory. I never claimed to be a hardcore Darwinian...and it would only make sense that over time we would have learned enough about science, the universe, fossils, cellular and molecular makeup, etc., to realize that maybe Darwin didn't have it all figured out. However, questioning a theory and having evidence to suggest that it may be incorrect, or inconclusive...does not automatically make another theory right, without any evidence at all. That would be like me saying..."I believe that invisible pink unicorns created crop circles. I have no evidence to prove this, but I CAN prove that it WASN'T aliens...therefore it had to have been invisible pink unicorns".

They also talk a lot about "fine tuning". This is Christian rhetoric. What this means, is that you believe that the "chance" of certain things happening, is so slim, that it had to be the work of intelligent design. If someone decided to hold a global lottery, this would mean that ONE person, out of over 6 billion would win. Does this mean that God must have chosen the lottery winner, since the chances of winning were so slim? Or does it mean that NO winner would have existed without divine intervention? I realize that this is simplified on a grand scale...but it IS possible that each of the components of our universe, galaxy, atmosphere and planet, fell into place gradually over time...thus allowing the appropriate conditions for early life to develop. There are billions of stars, unknown numbers of planets outside of our system, galaxies, etc....why then, is it so hard to believe that ONE of those might fall into place in such a way? As of now, we have only been able to explore a FRACTION of our universe. Who's to say that there isn't another planet out there that could sustain, or could have sustained in the past, some sort of life? There is preliminary evidence that suggests that Mars may have once had the conditions to sustain life. There may have, at one time, been an atmosphere similar to ours. We've beaten the crap out of our ozone layer...who's to say that Mars didn't have one that burned up millions of years ago? Our universe is not static...so there is no way of knowing what sort of conditions existed prior to our ability to discover what lies in space.

Also...I laughed at the very opening sequence where they were talking about being unable to recreate Miller's experiment with the "correct atmosphere for the time". Even if the atmosphere was like that of a volcano (as this video claims), volcanos contain microorganisms, bacteria, algae. Organisms that live off methane. Just because we cannot recreate it, doesn't mean that it's not possible for it to exist in nature.

I'm not trying to be difficult here...but even with my limited knowledge of science, I have issues with many of these statements and theories. I think blind faith is a very dangerous thing, religious or otherwise. I am constantly learning, researching, and questioning things around me. I do not accept any one theory or statement to be absolutely true. When you give me something to think about...I find everything I can to read or watch on the subject...from all sources...atheist, christian or otherwise.


Christian
April 6 at 9:15pm
K.. so lets just say you're right.. and there was a CHANCE that all these things came together and life was created... where did the orignal gases and cells and stuff to start this "life" come from? It HAD to have started somewhere. You cannot have life from nothing Sarah. Until you can answer that, we can't even discuss this anymore, because your theory ends there.


Christian
April 6 at 9:16pm
Tell me where the orignal "matter" came from...at that point, we can continue our discussion.
;)


Sarah Bertrand
April 6 at 9:24pm
Ok...and my question to you would be...How do you know that YOURS is the right God? Why not Horus? Why not Allah? Why not Zeus? Why not Thor? Why not Xenu? Why not The Invisible Pink Unicorn? Why YOUR God? Each of these major religions claims to know the ONE TRUE GOD. Each of these religions has some sort of ancient Holy Book. Many of these preach Intelligent Design...by THEIR God. How do you know you're right?

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
~Stephen Roberts


Christian
April 6 at 10:27pm
I know, because Christianity is wayyy different then any other religion. No other religious book is used more then the Bible for it's historical content, which alone proves it accuracy. Allah is the same God as our God is in the muslims mind... they differ on mohammed being his only prophet, and do not claim that Jesus is Lord...
again Sarah, it comes down to faith.. i know you hate to hear that, but in my heart, i KNOW i'm right. I've SEEN God work time and time in my life. I believe 100% what the Bible says. I believe 100% in the promises of God. History PROVES that Jesus was alive and that Jesus walked the earth. I believe 100% that Jesus is Lord, and He is the only way to God and to Heaven.

On the Stephen Roberts qoute.... There can only be one God according to the Bible. "You shall not have any other gods before Me." Thats GOOD enough for me! I trust and believe Gods qoutes, NOT stephen roberts'...

Its ALL about Faith.... I KNOW Jesus is God's son, and that He died for me, and that He is Lord. I believe God's Word IS God's Word, and i believe that the Bible is the final authority. Thats the Bottom line for me. Nothing will sway me from that. NOTHING. There is no "evidence" you could ever bring to me that would ever sway that...


Sarah Bertrand
April 7 at 10:13am
You have not been able to give me any examples to back up anything you are saying. Either you have no evidence, or you assume that I already know these examples.

How does history prove that Jesus was alive? From what I've read and seen, there is no concrete evidence to back this up. There is speculation, but nothing PROVEN. The only texts that I'm aware of that talk about Jesus Christ, aside from the Bible, have been proven to be fakes, or were too vague to claim beyond a reasonable doubt that this could not be speaking of anyone OTHER than Christ himself. While there may be some historical significance to places in the Bible, it would stand to reason that this would be because it was written by men who were LIVING there at the time. This fact does not make EVERYTHING in the Bible true. Where are the examples of these archaeological digs based solely on information from the Bible? And did these finds have anything to do with God directly? Or was it a case of finding a vase near a temple in a place that the Bible described as having temples and vases? I would be MUCH more interested if you told me that they found something that was undeniably an object, spoken of specifically, in the Bible.

If you say that the Bible is 100% accurate...that's a pretty definite (and perfect) number. You said that all the small inaccuracies about ages and dates and places and numbers were unimportant...but would that not mean that your percentage would be much lower? Even if those trivial things make up only 1% of the Bible (which would be a gross underestimate, in my opnion)....that still means the Bible is only 99% accurate. This is not exactly consistent with a perfect, infallible God.

I have been doing a lot of research about the accuracy of the Bible over the past year or so. I have been reading a lot of Christian literature on the subject, as well as non-Christian sources. Almost all of the Christian sources say roughly the same thing. This paragraph from ChristianAnswers.net sums up what most of these sources have told me:

"the Bible writers claimed repeatedly that they were transmitting the very Word of God, infallible and authoritative in the highest degree. This is an amazing thing for any writer to say, and if the forty or so men who wrote the Scriptures were wrong in these claims, then they must have been lying, or insane, or both."

So, because they claimed to be divinely inspired, it must be so? There is no other possible explanation for this? No social/political forces could have been a factor? There is zero chance that they might have been motivated by anything other than God? We are to believe that fallible men can write an infallible book? That seems a bit silly, and not very intelligent a claim to make.

Honestly, I would love to believe. I would love to know that there is a higher power driving my life. I would love to be able to turn to someone bigger than myself for guidance in times of uncertainty. I used to think it would be nice to believe in heaven....but honestly, I think I prefer knowing that this is my only shot. It motivates me to make the best of this life. I struggle with the thought of hell. It makes no sense to me that even good people would go to hell, simply because they did not believe ONE of the many stories we have been told since we were children. That does not seem consistent with a loving God. I'm not to believe in fairytales, in fables, mythololgy, or other religious deities...but if I dismiss Christ, I will burn for eternity...even though I lived my life just as well, if not better, than many Christians I know. It offends me to no end when people claim that because I am an atheist, I must have no morals. Do Muslims have morals? How about Buddhists? Hindus? Scientologists? What makes Christians think that they have better morals than the rest of us? Do we not live by the same basic principles? Don't kill, don't steal, don't cheat, don't lie, don't treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated....seems pretty straight forward to me.


Christian
April 7 at 4:38pm
Actually.. no, i dont think you would "love" to believe.. I believe you love NOT believing actually.
You're obviously not getting what i'm tryting to say, or you wouldnt be asking me the same things over and over. I believe the Bible because it is accurate. I've seen many examples of this, although you say that isnt the case. Fine, we'll agree to disagree i guess... I don't agree with anything you're saying because i've heard it all before. It makes no sense to me, BECAUSE i totally believe the Bible. IF you have an issue about the Bible being God's Word, then our discussion is over, because i completely do not agree with your stand, and you'll never convince me otherwise. You've made up your mind. It's not up to me to try and "prove" my beliefs to you. Faith has to come in there somewhere. I believe it, and someday you'll find out. I'm not going to circle argue with you anymore Sarah. I totally 100% believe you are wrong in your thinking, but it's not up to me to drill you with that.. I believe you have bought alot of nonsense and untruths, and in the end, i have to account for my own life, not yours.
I guess i gotta just say, we're totally not getting anywhere here. In fact, in a way, you've strenghten my beliefs, because you've shown me more of the nonsense thinking thats out there, and to me thats so false and Godless, it's laughable...
I guess in closing i have to say this because i believe you do NOT want to beleive. You've closed your mind and heart, and i can't do anything else for you Sarah...

"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matthew 7:6).

Of course, these words of Jesus are allegorical. I doubt that any were literally casting pearls before swine. The meaning is pretty simple to figure out; "Do not persist in offering what is sacred or of value to those who have no appreciation for it, because your gift will not only become contaminated and be despised, your generous efforts could also be rebuffed and perhaps even openly attacked."

The "dogs" and "swine" here stand for the unappreciative and worldly; unappreciative and uncaring men and women who belittle the value of what is offered to them. "That which is holy" would be the meat offered in sacrifice to God. A dog could care less whether it came from the altar or the garbage. The swine have no appreciation for either the beauty nor the value of the pearls under their feet.

Not that i'm calling you a "dog" or a "pig", but sadly, i feel like i'm totally wasting my time now. You're not getting it, and you don't want to get it.


Sarah Bertrand
April 7 at 5:06pm
I think you've misunderstood me...and I think that you think you've provided me with something that you haven't. I didn't say that your claims of archaeological finds based on the bible were false...I asked you to give me examples. You said that there were all kinds of historical accuracies in the Bible...I asked you to provide me with these references. You throw out these concepts and claim to have evidence to back them up...but when I ask you to show them to me...you tell me that I'm asking questions in circles.

I don't think it's really your place to tell me what I love to do. Just like it isn't your place to tell me that there is nothing stopping me from killing or stealing. When you mentioned a video that you thought was enlightening...I immediately set out to watch it. It is a quest for knowledge and proof that never ends for me. So yes, I WOULD love it if something presented itself that could renew the faith I once had in God. Unfortunately, NO Christian seems to think that it's "up to me to try and ‘prove’ my beliefs to you"....even though I'm pretty sure that God said it is.

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Why would he tell Christians to preach the gospel if it is 100% based on faith alone? Why, then, are you not obligated as a Christian to provide any kind of bible-based answers to a non-believer who is searching?

I suppose, then, that you are right. This conversation is definitely over, because not only are you not ABLE to provide answers...you are not willing.


Christian
April 7 at 5:29pm
argh.
what you are completely FAILING to see, is that eventually you'll need FAITH. I think God set it up so that He requires Faith, and requires us to just trsut Him.
Why cant you see that?!!?



Christian
April 7 at 5:40pm
OK get ready to do some reading...

The Bible Does Not Contradict Itself

Is The Bible The Word Of God?

Many people claim that the Bible is filled with contradictions. But these contradictions are simply a matter of hermaneutics (understanding the ground rules for reading ancient scripture). Difficulties are NOT necessarily contradictions.


Sarah Bertrand
April 7 at 5:40pm
Sorry, that's not good enough. I will continue to search for answers from someone who is willing to share their knowledge and beliefs with me. I am always open to hearing what others believe, and the reasons why.

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a couple of Jehovah's witnesses who come to my door every so often. I regularly invite them in, because I find it fascinating to learn what they have to say. During this one particular exchange, I mentioned that I didn't believe in hell. Our conversation was on a different topic, but they asked if they could come back the following week to discuss this with me. When they returned, they had Bible verses bookmarked, and several pieces of literature on the subject. It was amazing to learn that they don't believe in hell. The SAME Bible that I grew up with, interpreted a completely different way. They even had printed copies of relevant verses in seven different Biblical translations...now THAT'S being prepared!

You have only quoted the verses that dismiss my questions as that of a fool. At no point have the Jehovah's made me feel foolish for asking questions...they understand that it is a quest for knowledge...and have been MORE than willing to keep coming back with more information to satisfy said questions.


Christian
April 7 at 6:37pm
Well if you actually DID your research, you'd see that the jw's bible is NOT the same as ours... they have made changes where they think they should be. IE. John 1:1.. The REAL Bible states, that "in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the Word WAS God."... they have convieniently added the word "..and the word was "A" God." But i'm sure someone who has done their research as well as you have would know that... ;)



Christian
April 7 at 6:43pm
Honestly.. i've given you enough info to last you awhile... you are just proving over and over that what you really want to do is discredit Christianty, not learn the Truth... and i simply go back to the verse about casting the pearl to the swine... I will not continue this conversation with you, because you're mocking God's Word, and i wont stand for that. I have little patience for people who have been BLESSED to grow up in the church, and KNOW what a Christian is, and what Christianity is, but refuse to believe. Because you've been BLESSED by growing up in a Christian family, you're going to be held even more accountable, and thats why i said from the beginning that your statements are down right scary. You know what a Christian is. you dont need me to explain it over and over...

Anyways, good luck in your search..



Sarah Bertrand
April 7 at 7:01pm
Actually...when they come to meet with me...we use MY Bible. My NIV that I've had for years. They have the same version that I do. And I was by no means saying that I was planning on becoming a Jehovah, but rather that i respect their faith, and was interested in learning more about it, as I do with all relgions. At no point have I mocked God, or made it a mission to discredit Christianity. I don't think it's unfair of me to ask for answers to questions that should be easily answered by using the scriptures. I don't appreciate your dismissive attitude towards me, and I hope that there is no accountability for not sharing the Word with someone who is willing to hear it.



Christian
April 7 at 7:12pm
Show them John 1:1 to start next time they come...
If i seem to be dismissive, it's because you know this stuff. You've been going to church your whole life.
If you have a Bible and want to know the answers, get into it! Read your Bible like crazy! I could sit here and qoute scripture to you all night, but that won't do a thing, because you've already admitted that you don't believe the Bible is God's Word. So i'm wasting my time here. I believe the Bible 100%, you dont. How can we discuss further!?



Sarah Bertrand
April 7 at 7:54pm
Agreed.





SERIOUSLY?!! Is it just me? Nothing he said made ANY kind of strong argument for his side. And rest assured...this is only one of HUNDREDS of conversations that I've had...almost identical to this. Can you say FRUSTRATING?! I would say that this entire conversation was a waste of time, except that it helped to strengthen my own thoughts on the subject, and better equipped me to ask the right questions, and make the right arguments the next time. Maybe someday, some Christian will have the answers to my seemingly reasonable questions. Or maybe not.



















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