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Showing posts from February, 2024

The Problem with Extreme Christians

By Wertbag ~  M ost modern Christians will look at the more extreme examples of believers as following false teachings or being led astray, but with numerous different interpretations and significant differences in what is taught, it is often not hard to see how the teachings and bible can lead to some extreme results without having to drift far away from what is written. A mild version of this are the many convents around the world who preach a fallen world. The nuns in these closed off communities will often pray for death, believing that Earth is a test and heaven in the reward, so once you die your worries are over and you'll be in paradise forever. They see the world as full of sin and temptation, but if you are locked away then you avoid drinking, smoking, drugs, anger, lust, stress, magic and anything that could let a demon enter your life. From an unbeliever's view this is just sad, with the people wasting their lives, achieving nothing and adding nothing to the w

The Problem of Gullibility

By Wertbag ~  H umans are bad at determining reality. We have limited senses, limited views and imperfect minds. Our memory, even short term, can be horribly wrong, while long term we struggle to remember even important details of events. The Mandela effect is an example of how groups of people can all be convinced that something was different historically to how we can show it to be. Some Mandela effect proponents will even refuse to believe that they are wrong, instead claiming that the universe has changed around them. We see thousands of people being defrauded by scam artists, falling into cults or believing crazy ideas like reptile overlords or a flat earth. It almost doesn't matter what crazy idea is floated; it seems thousands will accept it as true. We have people like Ron Hubbard starting Scientology, Joseph Smith starting Mormonism or Sai Baba convincing millions that he had supernatural powers. While outsiders can look at these people and the religions they

The Problem of Hitler/Stalin

By Wertbag ~  A pologists will often point to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia as examples of atheistic societies, showing what will become if atheists take control and apply their terrible morals and lack of God to running a country. This of course is a ridiculous claim, one that many believers will pick up and repeat having never looked into such claims. Firstly, let's look at Hitler, a strong candidate for the worst person to have ever lived, having caused both the holocaust and World War 2, his actions lead to the greatest loss of human life ever. But was he an atheist? Hitler was raised in a Catholic family and throughout his rise to power repeatedly said Christianity was the basis of the Nazi party "Today Christians ... stand at the head of [this country]... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit" or "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain

The Problem of Blood

By Wertbag ~  B lood is an important part of life and seen throughout history as a source of life and power. Medically people have tried leeches and bleeding to remove bad blood, human and animal sacrifice has been used to spill blood to please various Gods and even our language has developed to consider the heart the source of emotions and various phrases like "make your blood boil" or "there's bad blood between them" being common. This was no different back in ancient days, where blood sacrifices were common and in Christianity's case was topped off by Jesus being the ultimate blood sacrifice. However, looking back at what was considered normal and described as pleasing to God is quite horrific to our modern morals. Imagine this scene playing out in a modern church service, Exodus 29 "You shall slaughter the bull before the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting. You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the

The Problem of Design

By Wertbag ~  A pologists love to say we see signs of design in nature and design requires a designer, however this is usually done by cherry-picking a couple of examples and ignoring the many terrible or strange designs that we find. One of the most commonly raised examples is the laryngeal nerve which connects from the brain to the voice box but takes a long detour around the heart before coming back up the chest. In human's this means its 3-4 times longer than it needs to be, but the extreme example is the giraffe where the nerve is 5 meters long! The left-hand nerve is 3-4 meters longer than the right, as only the one side loops down in this way. This is precisely the kind of thing we would expect from a natural evolutionary standpoint, but not from an intelligent designer. Perhaps the apologist will point to Earth being designed for life, while we see the majority of the water in the world is undrinkable, vast swathes are frozen wastes or blazing deserts, all sat atop m

The Problem of the Omni's

By Wertbag ~  T he Christian God is claimed to have all of the omni traits, that is that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, all-good and all-loving. It is only this insistence of omni traits that leads to many of the problems with the claims. There is no problem of evil if God does not care (many other religions have either apathetic or evil Gods) or if God is limited in His ability to achieve what He wants (many other religions put such limitations on their ideas of God, with pantheons of Gods who are given specific portfolios), but to claim He is both all-loving and all-powerful leads to the idea conflicting with the suffering we see in the world. It also conflicts with Him being all-knowing, as this means He knew that Hitler was going to exterminate 6 million of His followers centuries in advance and yet having all that time to change that outcome, He failed to take any steps to prevent that horror. If you know a crime is going to be committed and it is within your

The Problems with the Crucifixion

By Wertbag ~  T he crucifixion of Jesus is seen by many as the core of Christian beliefs. He died for our sins and rose after 3 days back to heaven having proven himself the Messiah. However, there are competing explanations which make a fair case for more mundane causes for this event. Historically we know that most victims were thrown into mass graves, their lack of dignity in burial being part of the punishment. If Jesus had suffered this common result, then there would be no body, but the Christians of the time would have had the very common grief hallucinations as well as a strong heaping of confirmation bias and sunk cost fallacy to make them want to find alternative answers that explain why having the guy they thought was the Messiah died, wasn't actually the failure it appeared. The OT had said that Jesus would ascend to David's throne and yet he had died having never become king on earth. This failure proved to the Jews that Jesus was not the Messiah, but for t

The Problem with Occam's Razor

By Wertbag ~      O ccam's Razor is a problem-solving technique where it is suggested that in the majority of cases the solution with the least elements, or basically the simplest solution is more likely to be correct. Whenever we are looking for the simplest explanation for an event, in all cases a mundane cause is more likely than a miraculous one. A miracle by its very definition is a one-off magical event that cannot be repeated, this has to be a more complex answer due to requiring a whole range of additional elements to be included, from other dimensions to supernatural beings, immortals, things outside of space and time, things that's existence is counter to everything we know of the physical universe. In all cases, if a mundane explanation can be given that is plausible, then it by default is more likely than a supernatural cause. The first problem this raises for the bible is that the simplest answer is that the book is man-made and is largely telling mythical stor

The Problem with Bigotry

By Wertbag ~  T here is a long history of the religious teaching bigotry as part of their tenants. Gays have been at best shunned, but often arrested or even killed for their victimless crime of loving the wrong person. Women have been considered second class citizens, not allowed to hold senior positions and subservient to men in all things. Women for thousands of years suffered forced marriages, rape and discipline from their fathers or husbands. While the idea of consent is presented in the modern western world as the core of sexual freedom, this idea is sadly very new, and the religious texts have done their best to enforce these ancient bigoted customs. For gay people, while freedom has been achieved throughout most of the western world, there are still 67 countries that say such activity is a jailable offence, and 10 of which have the death penalty (all Islamic countries). Christians will point to the horrors inflicted by the Muslim majority countries and say, "we

The Problem with Apologetics

By Wertbag ~  W hile Christians will say God is self-evident, or known by His works, this leads to the question why are apologists required at all? Things which are known and proven do not need apologists. There are no gravity apologists for example. The only apologists are those arguing due to being unable to prove their chosen religion. Because these apologists cannot provide evidence, they are forced to try and prove their position by secondhand inference, by God of the Gaps arguments, by Gish Gallop type rhetoric, and with a heaping of incredulity. Secondhand inference arguments are ones that point to something in the physical world and say because this thing is complex/beautiful/amazing it must have been created by God. Common examples are the complexity of life, our experience with awe inspiring or beautiful things and the fine tuning of our universe. Of course, none of these things directly point to God, but by applying additional attributes and requirements it is possi

The Problem of Genesis

By Wertbag ~  T he first book of the bible is Genesis, and it tells us a creation story. Christians are split in what to make of this, with Fundamentalist types saying it should be taken as literal, historical truth, while non-fundamentalist types will say it’s a metaphor or moral story designed to teach us about God. The fundamentalist view has two major events which conflict with science, first the age of the Earth, which they calculate by counting back the people’s ages in the bible until you get to Adam around 6000 years ago. The second is the claim of a global flood, being survived by a single family in a wooden boat filled with the animals of the world. To believe both things you must outright deny science in almost every field. This in turn can lead to conspiracy minded thinking, as it really would need the entire scientific community to work together to hide this claim. Young Earth Creationists (YEC) attempt to say the Earth is young and that all life was created in an

The Problem of Indoctrination

By Wertbag ~ I ndoctrination is to be taught what is true, with the belief formed due to the authority of the teacher rather than the truth of the claim. Everybody has this in their lives, as children we are made to believe our parents and elders know more than us, so believing what they tell us is the best way to keep us safe. If our parents teach us about Zeus, Odin, Krishna, or Allah, then our young minds will accept without question that these facts are true. It is only once we get older and understand the world, can we potentially spot errors in our thinking. However, by this point our worldview is well cemented, and effects such as confirmation bias and sunk cost come in to reinforce the ideas while competing ideas are discarded without consideration. Regardless of which religion, if any, was correct, the majority of the world must be wrong. This leads to the question, do you believe what you believe for good reasons, or because it was the belief structure you were raised

The Problem of the Supernatural and Jesus

By Wertbag ~ B elieving in the Christian God isn't a single belief but comes with a whole range of other fantastical elements that need to go hand in hand. All of these elements have not been proven to exist after several thousand years of believers trying. We cannot show God, angels, demons, Satan, heaven, hell, souls, miracles or even that Jesus himself existed. It is not just a case of saying God doesn't exist, but saying Christians cannot provide evidence for any facet of their supernatural claims. What even is a soul? What does it do? Do animals have a soul? If it contains our personality or memories, then how come physical effects like brain damage, alcohol and drugs can affect those things? A naturalist will point to all of the physical events in our world that have at times been claimed to have a supernatural origin. From celestial bodies, to tides, seasons, disease, pregnancy, mental illness and lightning. Yet for every such claim we've managed to rese

The Problem of Justice

By Wertbag ~ The Problem of Justice There is not agreement on salvation or hell within Christianity, but there is the classic and most common view, which is that salvation is via faith in Jesus only and hell is a place of eternal fire, torture and torment. Due to a system that only has one requirement for innocence and one punishment regardless of crime being unjust, some Christians have begun preferring either hell being a separation from God (how do you separate from a God who is everywhere and everything?) or annihilation (removes the torture element but still leaves the punishment). One of the immediate problems this raises is that God is declared as the judge, and it will be Him that you stand before for judgement. Yet if there is only one way to get to Him, then your actions do not matter and there is nothing for Him to judge. He is little more than an usher pointing the way to heaven. Perhaps the most common objection to the classic view is the idea of eternal punishmen

Reasons for Disbelief #2

“Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.” ― Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason   By Wertbag ~ M any apologists will say that the arguments for God’s existence should be seen as a cumulative case rather than any single argument being a reason for belief on its own. This is understandable as the majority of arguments for God are second hand inference, God of the gaps or incredulity based, so as evidence goes none of it should not be convincing on its own. The cumulative case works in both directions, as there are many reasons to disbelieve in a God’s existence, but any single argument may not be convincing

Reasons for Disbelief #1

By Wertbag ~ M any apologists will say that the arguments for God’s existence should be seen as a cumulative case rather than any single argument being a reason for belief on its own. This is understandable as the majority of arguments for God are second hand inference, God of the gaps or incredulity based, so as evidence goes none of it should not be convincing on its own. The cumulative case works in both directions, as there are many reasons to disbelieve in a God’s existence, but any single argument may not be convincing on its own. With that in mind, this Reasons for Disbelief series addresses common reasons for disbelief and the rabbit hole of questions that these reasons lead to. The Problem of Instruction God gave the moral laws as laid out in the OT to a single tribe of Israelites but with an expiry date on the laws given, that being that they were only valid for that time and place. This means that before most of the world even knew such laws existed, they were al