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Christianity

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Christianity...

Does it make sense?

by a freethinker Jiri Jelinek

Contents

3 Questions

  • Why would an all-good, all-knowing, & all-powerful god want to create a universe that would make him (+ many creatures) uncomfortable while having so many wonderful options?
  • Aren't Christians cruel since, by worshiping their god, they endorse eternal torture for those who don't share their beliefs?
  • Aren't Christians irrational since they believe that sentencing people to never-ending torture is compatible with an all-good & all-powerful loving god? A god who (if real) certainly wouldn't create beings destined for eternity in a "lake of fire".

Intro

Since I moved to the US in early 1997, I'm surrounded by strongly religious people - mostly Christians. Their god "is" everywhere. The national motto "In God We Trust" appears on dollar bills, coins, license plates, state flags, in songs, ... "Oh my god", "God bless", "I pray to Lord/God" are some of the phrases I hear every day. Even legal terminology includes terms like "Act of God", public schools brainwash children with a pledge promoting monotheism, and religious beliefs sometimes drive decisions of our leaders despite the church-state separation principle derived from the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Churches are everywhere and its programs are carefully designed to surely and steadily "wire" Christian beliefs into as many brains as possible ("Close your eyes, and pray with me, dear Lord.." and so on, over and over again). Generation after generation, most Americans are exposed to it since their childhood. I understand it then often gets very hard to accept views incompatible with Christian beliefs, no matter how strong arguments are presented. But if we want to understand our world, we better stick with rational thinking even if it goes against what we were taught. Some are driven to god by being constantly fed with religious fairy tales, some by wishful thinking (desire for after-life, for general justice, ..), some by false assumptions (e.g. the "complexity requires mastermind"), others turn to god in a desperate need for help. 33% of world population (about 2 billion people) follow Christianity. But does it really make sense? Many of my American friends want me to think about it and get "saved" by accepting Jesus as my "personal savior". Even strangers are sometimes knocking on my door to tell me about the amazing Christian god. Same/similar topics/questions/arguments keep coming back, so I decided to summarize at least some of it as my online reference.

Problems

Problem #1: Evidence
Synopsis: Because of our limitations, nothing we can observe (and comprehend) can prove the existence of an all-powerful god. But is there at least some probabilistic/indirect evidence suggesting that Christianity related concepts like souls/afterlife, angels/demons, heaven, hell, answered prayers, intelligent god-like creator of the Universe/life etc are rather real than unreal/imaginary? I rather see evidence against those concepts. See my response to the question of destiny for example. Evidence strongly suggests that our cognitive abilities don't survive the physical destruction of the brain/body. Our perceptions of the "real world" lack certainties which can be found in the world of logic, so of course some beliefs require at least some degree of faith, but it should always be a reasonable faith, not a [wishful thinking based] blind faith. So, where is the [indirect] evidence supporting any of the above mentioned Christian concepts?
Ref.ID Christians say... My Response
P1R1 Consider the complexity of the world! Look at our DNA! It couldn't happen by chance. Look at your watch. Do you think you would have it if it didn't have an intelligent creator? Complexity doesn't require mastermind. To understand that, study Emergence. Check out Conway's Game of Life. Our DNA didn't "happen by chance." It evolved, which is a very different concept. My watch couldn't, because it doesn't consist of evolving building blocks. Remember: Natural selection is a supremely non-random part of [our] evolution. Read The Blind Watchmaker. If the existence of a particular complexity required a higher complexity creator then how would you explain the existence of your god? If you claim that the god-level complexity was just "always there", then what makes you think that the lower complexity (required for creating just the stuff we can scientifically observe) couldn't?
P1R2 Since there is something rather than nothing, it's obvious that god exists. There is no good reason for the assumption that nothing is somehow more natural than something. It's well possible that some form of something always existed, and considering our observations, that kind of something absolutely wouldn't require anything even remotely similar to the Christian god (see Q1R1 and Occam's razor). But even if we go with a very demanding definition of nothing, and even if that kind of nothing did exist, it could still produce something without any mastermind because (as summed up by physicist Frank Wilczek), 'Nothing is unstable'. As physicist Lawrence Krauss "explains", on the quantum scale, zero energy breaks down (/splits) to positive energy (matter) and negative energy (gravity) - which cancel each other in our flat universe. It's like 1 and -1 being "born" from an "unstable" 0. The "nothing" - as physicists understand it - is guaranteed to produce something. Also see P1R1 (for complexity info), and the Origin info (for the prime mover argument).
P1R3 I know that god exists because I can feel him in my heart. People from many other religions have the same "proof" for their gods. The fact that our minds can generate powerful feelings doesn't imply the existence of god. Our feelings can be significantly influenced by our expectations. Study placebo effects. Certain feeling-based messages could theoretically prove the existence of a super-human intelligence, but even though there is a million dollar challenge sponsored by JREF for this kind of stuff for a while, nobody was able to demonstrate anything like that.
P1R4 Where do you think our morality came from? You can't get something like that from evolution. Since people across different cultures share a sense of right and wrong, it must have a supernatural source. For detailed explanation (& other great evidence) read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis - the best Christian writer of the 20th century. The Moral Law argument Lewis tried to use to build the case is just another argument from ignorance. When it comes to morality, there are significant differences between cultures and all the key cross-culture similarities can be explained by evolution and sociobiology. Do some research on the "evolution of morality" and/or "evolutionary ethics". In short, our morality evolved (and keeps evolving) because it supports our well being and survival. Evolutionary biology provides evidence for precursors of human morality in behaviors of social animals. Things like empathy and altruism were documented in social mammals (including primates & elephants). Some species (e.g. Dolphins) are capable of interspecies altruism. You might also find interesting details when studying mirror neurons and social behaviors of ants, bees, termites, etc. Lewis was a talented writer, but he wasn't well informed when writing the book and his logic often stumbled. One of the classic examples is his flawed "Lunatic, Liar, or Lord" trilemma which is far from covering all the possibilities. Lewis makes unjustified and incorrect assumptions throughout the book, doesn't do a good job pointing possible objections, and some of his thoughts are just ridiculous (e.g. when he compares morality to mathematics). Bottom line, Lewis didn't show any real evidence of any "supernatural source" and no such concept is required for shared moral behaviors to emerge.
P1R5 I know god exists because he answers my prayers. Those are coincidences, sometimes with subject-expectancy/placebo effects involved. Prayer has zero effect on the external environment and the internal effects have nothing to do with divine influence. Most people aren't very good at figuring out probabilities and interpreting statistical data. When rigorous scientific methods were applied (in major scientific studies), prayer has never worked. If you think that an all-knowing and all-powerful god would do anything differently because of your prayer then think again. BTW don't you think it's interesting that god is answering your prayers but ignores prayers of millions of people who are dying from starvation? Do you think that people who died in Nazi concentration camps (especially Jews) didn't pray? Some were forced to be used for horrible biological experiments. They did pray but god (with all those great plans) just wasn't there for them. Think about those who were born and died as slaves. If you are convinced that god really answers your prayers then perhaps you could try to demonstrate it to the scientific community. How about moving shadows (2 Kings 20:9-11) for example? If successful, you would certainly be eligible for the million dollar prize from JREF and a lot would change for many people.
P1R6 You can't get evidence. It's about faith! And there are just the 2 possibilities - god either does exist or doesn't - so you better accept Jesus as your personal savior because you then have everything to gain, and nothing to lose. According to Bible, god had no problem with demonstrating his powers to many people directly. So what's the problem with doing the same for the scientific community (or for everyone) today? Faith without evidence is a blind faith. With such mindset, you could just as well believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other nonsense. People made up thousands of gods throughout the history of mankind and did many crazy things in their names. Our world would be much better today if we always managed to stick with a reasonable faith. The fact that it's so hard for many just demonstrates another flaw in the design of our cognitive system.

And as for accepting Jesus because of the "2 possibilities" - that's a flawed reasoning. Get familiar with the criticisms of Pascal's Wager.
P1R7 Documented out-of-body experience cases strongly suggest the existence of body independent souls. Not really. Reports about near-death experience (NDE) involving the out-of-body experience (OBE)/autoscopy (often including seeing everything from above, lights, tunnels, and sometimes dead relatives or divine symbols/beings) from uncontrolled environments aren't very useful. They are prone to errors, misinterpretations of what was seen, and plagued with other issues. Even the most impressive stories became unconvincing (as a real OBE experience) after close examinations. But thanks to technological advances, there are now many more clinical death survivors than ever before and dozens of hospitals are involved in scientific studies focusing on the NDE OBE phenomenon. One of the recent and currently (2009) most visible studies of this kind is led by Dr. Sam Parnia from the Southampton University in England. The study targets survivors of cardiac arrests, involves at least 25 hospitals in US and UK, and uses the "hidden target" technique (placing pictures on places visible only from above where the patients are reporting to be floating). So far, there wasn't a single positive result. This widely reported OBE phenomenon is being actively researched using various techniques (including experiments involving VR technology), but so far, the collected evidence suggests that all the related perceptions are nothing more than chemically induced hallucinations (triggered by body-shutdown procedures and in some cases supported by drugs) when the [oxygen-deprived] brain still retains lots of activity. Drugs like Ketamine are known to cause such hallucinations. It would certainly be ground breaking should any of the OBE studies come up with positive results (e.g. the survivors being able to describe the pictures they couldn't see from their physical-body locations). But for now, it's all consistent with contemporary neuroscience. There are many problems with the concept of soul. See this mega-quote for more details.
P1R8 Evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics (the universal law of increasing entropy) so only god could create us (+ all the other species). Besides, a) there wouldn't be enough time for life to form through evolution anyway, and b) there are no transitional fossils (do research on the "missing link"). False. The second law of thermodynamics is about entropy in an isolated system. Our planet is not an isolated system. There is absolutely no incompatibility between the law and our local evolution. As for the age of Earth, see P5R5. Also note that organic matter of non-terrestrial origin was found in meteorites (2008, Murchison meteorite). And in 2007, scientists concluded that even the earliest galaxies likely had building blocks of life. There was plenty of time. And theoretically, our ~13.7 billion years old Universe itself might not necessarily be an isolated system. A number of Multiverse models are being explored by physicists. In theory, there might have been as much time that it would be rather unlikely (or even "impossible") for life not to form (and evolve) eventually. In these days, denying evolution takes lots of ignorance. As for the "missing link", see the misconceptions about transitional fossils and examples of transitional fossils. Even Vatican has already acknowledged that.
P1R9 What about the irreducible complexity? At least some biological systems couldn't naturally evolve from simpler ones because they are composed of parts which are all required for functionality. From scientific perspective, this is an argument from ignorance. It was rejected by the scientific community and also (famously) by courts. Many famous examples of irreducibly complex systems (including flagella) were shown to actually not be irreducibly complex and some argue that the irreducible complexity doesn't even really exist in nature as far as we know. But even if it does exist, it's easy to explain. The fallacy of the irreducible complexity argument is in assuming that evolution must compose all the parts to create a working system, ignoring the simpler process of subtracting parts from a less efficient system until the irreducibly complex one remains." There is more to it but, bottom line, the IC argument is well known to be invalid.


Problem #2: Evil
Synopsis: The existence of evil, pain, & suffering is incompatible with an all-good, all-powerful, and loving god. Christians agree that painless life is possible (in heaven) so what's the point of introducing the concept of uncomfortable (of any kind) to the world? What did infants (or animals) do to deserve painful birth defects? Some suffer and die even before being born. We are talking about an unspeakable cruelty.
Ref.ID Christians say... My Response
P2R1 Pain was introduced to deal with sin. Because of the first sin, we deserve it. God could prevent sin. And note that animals suffered from diseases, injuries, poisoning, and parasites long before any man could sin. And according to Bible, god himself (Jesus) had to suffer to "save us". If not preventing sin/pain in the first place, why not to "save us" without his own suffering? If you are all-powerful then there is no good reason to suffer unless your mind is severely twisted. And no good reason to let others suffer unless you enjoy torture. Who would want to worship someone like that?
P2R2 1) Preventing sin would interfere with our free will.

2) Quantum mechanics predicts events only in terms of probabilities - showing that the Universe is not really deterministic on that level - which is where free will comes to play.
1) Our brains (/neural nets) are data driven systems. We have no control about huge amounts of data we process during our life time (and also no control about many aspects of how we process it) - which effectively invalidates our free will. Free will is an illusion. People (and especially Americans) are obsessed with freedom, but what's desirable about free will if the other option is the best possible future without choices? Is the freedom to make mistakes worth the existence of suffering? IMO, definitely not!

2) There isn't enough scientific data to rule out the deterministic Universe, but the quantum randomness (as a player in our decision making process) would also take our free will away because we can't control it.
P2R3 One cannot know pleasure without knowing pain. The opposite is always required. False. What are the opposites for perceptions like the smell of rose or the taste of chicken? Just like not knowing the black color wouldn't prevent you from perceiving white, you don't need to know pain in order to perceive pleasure. It's all about the brain processing different inputs. Note that both, pain and pleasure, can be controlled using drugs. Theoretically, a human being could be kept happy for life time. If we needed pain in order to recognize joy and vice-versa, how could we ever get the first perception of any of those two? Besides, even if what you claim was the case, an all-powerful god could change it.
P2R4 Evil can bring good. God could bring it directly. Involving evil (when having the choice not to do so) doesn't make sense.
P2R5 Realize how unwise it would be for us to shield our children from all effort, from disappointments, temptations, sorrows and suffering. Not unwise if the shield was everlasting.
P2R6 Suffering helps us to build character. It's important for our learning and development. And the brief suffering on the Earth is nothing comparing to the eternal life. Infants that suffer from birth defects and die early don't get any useful lesson. They don't even have a well functional memory. Why do you think we need to develop, learn, and build character? All those concepts sound important to us just because they help us to deal with problems. If living in a problem-free joy-only universe (which an all-powerful god could create easily) then concepts like intelligence, learning, or character building would be meaningless. Leaving us in the world of pain, no matter how "briefly", is cruel.
P2R7 It's a mystery. We simply don't know enough. God must have good reasons for keeping suffering in our world. Perhaps, we will understand one day. For now, we have to have faith. If god is all-good and all-powerful then there is absolutely no excuse. Nothing can justify suffering in that case.


Problem #3: Justice
Synopsis: See the few examples below. Do you really call this justice? Very different word comes to my mind.
Ref.ID According to Bible... My Response
P3R1 God demands we [painfully] kill:
  • Sabbath workers (Exodus 35:2, Numbers 15:32-36)
  • Disobedient sons (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
  • Blasphemers (Leviticus)
  • Non-virginal brides (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
  • Homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13)
  • Adulterers (Leviticus 20:10)
  • Witchcraft/sorcery practitioners (Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:11-12)
So you get the death penalty for working on a "wrong" day of a week? And such "justice" comes from a "loving father" we are supposed to worship? Do you really believe that the sexual orientation is a matter of personal choice? See The Science of Sexual Orientation. Also see P3R2. And obviously, Christian god tells us that witches are for real. Because of this nonsense, many innocent people were tortured and executed.
P3R2 We get eternal suffering in hell for doing [or not doing] this or that... And of course, accepting Jesus as your personal savior is a must. If you are one of those who found Christian beliefs irrational, you deserve to be tortured forever. Regardless of what decisions our data-driven (and DNA-based) brains make during our short lives, the eternal suffering in hell as a punishment from an all-good god doesn't make sense at all. There is no positive outcome. Considering god's alleged attributes, torture (eternal or brief) can never be justified. If real, it would be just a pure madness and cruelty at its "best". Some of the religious scare tactics are such a nonsense that, in a way, it sort of turns amusing. But of course it's also a serious matter because of the impact of the related confusion on our society.
P3R3 Grieved by the "wickedness of mankind" (which included cannibalism), god kills nearly all people (including infants) and nearly all [soul-less] land animals. (Genesis 7:21–23) Where is god's mercy, kindness, and love for all those babies and animals? It's also interesting that god has a problem with cannibalism since it's a "common ecological interaction in the animal kingdom" he (according to Bible) created and considered to be "good". See Cannibalism (zoology)
P3R4 Endorsing slavery:
"Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel." (1 Peter 2:18)

Also see: Leviticus 25:44-46, Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; Titus 2:9, Exodus 21:7-11
Obviously, Christian god is against the all-men-created-equal idea.


Problem #4: Design
Synopsis: One of many reasons why Christian story of creation [IMO] isn't plausible is the significant number of defects & suboptimal features in bodies of many organisms. Regarding humans, deadly examples include: design issues causing ectopic pregnancy; pelvic size vs baby's head size (conditions preventing natural birth); Appendix/Appendicitis (even though the appendix isn't completely useless); congenital diseases & genetic disorders; pharynx design (same passage for ingestion & respiration - significantly increases the risk of choking); humans (unlike most animals/plants) unable to synthesize vitamin C (because of genome defect, see L-gulonolactone oxidase) causing scurvy/death. Non-lethal examples include stuff like inefficient nerve paths (including paths causing visual field obscuration (/blind spots); Crowded/wisdom teeth; useless nerves, nipples, muscles, ..
Ref.ID Christians say... My Response
P4R1


Problem #5: Bible
Synopsis: Bible.. How credible this "word of god" actually is? You be the judge.
Ref.ID Bible talks about... My Response
P5R1 Man (unlike animals) created "in the image of god", "formed of the dust of the ground", and then God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). "Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman" ... "she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" ... (Genesis 2:22-23) Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that more complex creatures evolved from lower life forms. No controversy about that in the scientific community.
P5R2 Stars created after the Earth. (Genesis 1:14-18)
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.
Using modern radiometric dating and other independent techniques, scientists determined that the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. Many stars are billions of years older than Earth. The HE 1523-0901 star (which is 7500 light years away) is about 13.2 billion years old. The A1689-zD1 galaxy is about 12.8 billion light-years away. Stars were there long before the formation of our Solar System. Some stars are likely to be about 13.7 billion years old.
P5R3 Day/nigh light changes created before the Sun (Genesis 1:4-5; 1:14-18). And Moon being [/giving its] light. (Genesis 1:16, Isaiah 30:26, Ezekiel 32:7) The authors of the Bible didn't understand the link between the Sun and day light. They also didn't know that Moon only reflects light.

Few Christians I talked to suggested that, perhaps, the Sun was created when "In the beginning God created the heavens" (Genesis 1:1) despite the (rather clear) reference in Genesis 1:14-18. In that case, the Sun would be older than the other stars. Scientific evidence clearly indicates that it's not the case.
P5R4 Sun and Moon created after plants and trees. (Genesis 1:16) Scientific evidence indicates that Sun is about 4.6 billion years old and Moon about 4.5 billion years old. The first sign of biological life on the Earth (single-celled algae and bacteria) developed in the oceans about 3.5 billion years ago. The first land plants showed up about 430 million years ago and the first trees appeared about 360 million years ago.
P5R5 Events/timing suggesting that Earth was created sometime between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. Scientific evidence indicates that Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. How do we know? Study geochronology (which covers a number of dating methods). See the available ice core data. Just a few thousand meters deep ice core drilling clearly shows annual ice layers going hundreds of thousands of years back in time.
P5R6 All species living at the same time period. (Genesis 1) DNA evidence indicates that modern humans originated in east Africa about 200,000 years ago. Trilobites were around at least 540 million years ago and went extinct (along with 90% of living species) 251.6 million years ago. What was their sin? The event took place long before dinosaurs even existed and was more catastrophic than the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event 65 million years ago. Most species that ever lived on Earth got wiped out during minor and major extinction events long before the first human could ever sin.
P5R7 World-wide flood and Noah's Ark (Genesis 6 - 9) From scientific perspective, the flood geology is a pure nonsense. See evidence against a global flood. As for the Noah's Ark, there are so many problems with that story that fewer and fewer Christians are taking it seriously. The tendency to abandon the literal interpretation started with discoveries made in 19th century.
P5R8 Talking Animals. The snake (Genesis 3:1-5), donkey (Numbers 22:28).. Even a bush is talking. (Exodus 3:1-10) Adults (in general) tend to not believe fairy tales, but interestingly, as soon as god is one of the characters, they are often completely losing their judgement. Sometimes it's just ridiculous, but sometimes seriously dangerous.
P5R9 Stuff not found in original manuscripts, e.g. John 7:53-8:11 or the last 12 verses of Mark. The vocabulary and style used in some parts of the bible indicate that not all chapters were written by a single author. Semantic modifications include things like making Jesus "compassionate" instead "angry" (Mark 1:41). And a number of original verses are absent from most modern bible translations. See also Notable Corruptions of Scripture. For many reasons, people kept tweaking Bible for a while. See theological implications of some of the injected verses.
P5R10 Wrong order of major biology related events described in Genesis 1. Evolutionary biology provides lots of evidence that directly contradicts Bible. Was the first man created from dirt and female from rib? No, both evolved. Higher apes and Homo sapiens share ancestors. Were grass, land plants, and trees created before the sun? No, evolved after the sun. Land plants as the first form of life? No, marine organisms. Birds created before land animals? No, evolved from land animals. Fruit trees created before fish? No, evolved after fish...
P5R11 Egyptians keeping Jewish slaves. Historians agree that this is false. Egyptians were recording everything, even relatively insignificant events. But there is no word about lots of Jewish slaves in their records. Nothing about the famous 10 plagues. Noting about so many slaves leaving. It never happened. More here and here.
P5R12 Israelites traveling 40 years from Egypt to Canaan. The trip would take about 10 days. In 40 years, they could walk to the Moon if there was a path ;)


Problem #6: Miracles
Synopsis: Who has done any?
Ref.ID By... Comment
P6R1 Christian god ("father") If you have done some research on god's miracles, you have perhaps found a number of people who are using scientifically-looking arguments to support the stories about major miracles god reportedly performed. I certainly did and I didn't find their arguments convincing. I also found that those people (including Ron Wyatt and Gregg Braden many like to talk about) have no credibility in the scientific community (and for good reasons). Some are just completely confused, but for many it's just a great business. People are paying for their books/presentations and they get sponsors for their work. If there was a real evidence for god's miracles then scientists would take it seriously. But there is simply nothing like that. Also see Problem #1: Evidence
P6R2 Jesus Scripture refers to 47 miracles Jesus reportedly performed during his life time. Those stories were initially passed on only through oral means (being a subject to speaker's beliefs/opinions/imagination), and weren't written until (at least) several decades after Jesus got executed on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire. Applying critical analysis, all those stories can be explained without any miraculous events taking place so there is no good reason to believe the miracles really happened. Many of Jesus' "miracles" were obviously recycled myths and some can be simply explained by allegories. E.g. curing blindness = giving revelation / showing truth(s); healing deaf = getting people to listen to "true teachings"; healing paralysis = rectifying inaction; healing leprosy = removing social stigmata associated with certain views; feeding lots of people - but just "spiritually" etc.. As for the resurrection, the story (if not simply "reverse engineered" to fulfill the Messiah prophesy) could be based on dreams, hallucinations or desire-based visions. It's easy enough for human brains to generate visions of someone we are emotionally attached to. There is no real evidence for any of Jesus' miracles. In fact, little is really known about the man.
P6R3 Non-Christian gods Mythology from all over the world is filled with stories about miracles. People have invented and worshiped thousands of gods (20,000+). Of course there is no evidence for their miracles either. Religions are coming and going, but to the followers, their religion is always the right one and the rest is considered false (and often "evil"). Christians often talk about Satan when it comes to what they consider to be miracles done by someone else than their god. In general, religions just don't like competition. Remember the "You shall have no other gods before me" commandment? Considering all the gods and the lack of evidence for their works/miracles, it's really hard to come up with other conclusion than the one Thomas Edison made: "Religion is all bunk". As popular as Christianity is today, it will eventually become obsolete, ridiculous to everybody, and later forgotten.
P6R4 Faith healers (working "through god") Faith healers use well documented placebo effects (which are also widely used in contemporary health care), but there are many who combine the use of placebo with fraud. For example, see how Peter Popoff got debunked by James Randi. No miracles involved. Also see WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com


Problem #7: God & Reason
Synopsis: Christian god acts unreasonably. Few examples below...
Ref.ID According to Bible... My Response
P7R1 God/Jesus suffering a lot. There is no reason for god to suffer (unless having a desire for suffering which is a disorder).
P7R2 God regretting what he did. (e.g. Genesis 6:6) There is no reason for god to take an action he would later regret.
P7R3 God dealing with symptoms of many problems instead of preventing causes. There are many things god didn't do - effectively preventing many scenarios, so in the very same manner, he could prevent virtually all problems (including fallen angels and all kinds of discomfort). The way Christian god works is extremely inefficient considering his alleged powers.
P7R4 God wants us to worship/glorify him + created the whole Universe for that purpose. There is no reason for god to do that. He could alter his feelings/perceptions (or whatever) directly. Creating our painful world (painful to us as well as to him) doesn't make sense at all. And since he (according to Bible) is all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent (and so on) he must see our world in all its stages at once. It's like staring at a static image. An image that doesn't look pretty at many places (and even hurts when being looked at) so what's the point of painting it (/or having it painted) and staring at it? And what's so great about having a "relationship" with extremely limited organisms. We are nearly brainless comparing to an all-knowing god. Imagine yourself having a "relationship" with a bunch of microbes.


Problem #8: Sociological Findings
Ref.ID Finding
P8R1 Studies conducted by Barna Research Group and others show that Christians, despite the loudly embraced moral and ethical values, have higher divorce rates than non-believers. Divorce rates among conservative Christians were found to be "significantly higher" than for other faith groups, and "much higher" than divorce rates among Atheists and Agnostics.
P8R2 The “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies” study (2005) done by a well known paleontologist Gregory Paul shows considerable correlation between religious belief and social dysfunction (e.g. homicide, suicide, rape, unwed pregnancy, teen pregnancy, and so on).

Note: A number of famous Christians were quick to criticize Paul's findings, saying that he doesn’t understand statistics. MSNBC (and others) asked several well recognized statistical and assessment experts to review the used methodology. All confirmed that the critics are wrong. The study holds up. The list of experts included Dr. Joseph B. Kadane, University Professor of statistics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who has been a consultant to the Justice Department and Dr. Larry Wasserman, the winner of the 2005 Outstanding Statistical Application Award from the American Statistical Association.
P8R3 The higher average IQ - the less religious country. See numbers (Pew Global Attitudes Project).

Conclusion

  • Christianity doesn't make sense, unless viewed as a mind control tool. The utilized practices include a number of proven manipulation techniques e.g. scare tactics (the "believe in what I say or I'll hurt you!" mentality), wishful-thinking abuse, persistent believe planting/reinforcement, personal vulnerability targeting, young-mind targeting, history rewriting, suggestions in emotionally charged mind states, linking induced pleasure with target-ideology, self-image degrading ("born sinner") & excessive use of guilt, and much more. All the positive personal-level side effects can be achieved using techniques (/lifestyle changes) that don't rely on deception and/or blind faith in divine powers. As demonstrated by many non-religious communities, we don't need to believe religious fairy tales in order to be kind to each other and live happily.
  • Christian god is an impossible real-world concept because his behavior is incompatible with his attributes.
  • The Biblical record (the so called "Word of God") cannot be taken seriously since it contains many statements proved by science to be false (let alone all the internal inconsistencies, unfulfilled prophecies, and other issues). It's just a piece of art which includes lots of wisdom, but also (as pertinently pointed out by Thomas Jefferson and many other open-minded fellows) much ignorance, absurdity, untruth, cruelty, charlatanism, and imposture.
  • Cruel gods (imaginary or not) don't deserve to be worshiped.
  • One of the considerable weaknesses of an average human mind is a way-too-low threshold for abandoning reason when something feels good.
  • God is not there for us when it hurts. Our science and wisdom is. We are highly unlikely to end up in a heaven-like environment unless we build it. It's pretty obvious so far that man will not gain much unless he gets off his knees and actually does something about himself.


Reasonable objection(s)? Contact me [anonymously if preferred].