Arguing with Christians

“I spent a couple of hours looking at some of your writing, we don’t get to repeat any minute of time and without wanting to offend Id have to conclude these two hours spent have been a waste of my time. The authors referenced take scriptures and quotes by writers such as CS Lewis out of context to support their/your argument(s), I have little respect for anyone who does this and it undermines any confidence I might have had in that person. Your ramblings are nothing new, same old same old attempts to excuse one from any accountability. In attempting to disprove the scriptures as an error ridden, non-historical and unscientific textbook you have along with many others completely overlooked and rejected the power of God through the Holy Spirit. You are to be pitied more than most for actively seeking followers who will equally reject God. I will continue to pray for you Mark, God is gracious and is able to forgive the most obnoxious of sinners. As you are open-minded, why don’t you take some time to research the many authors who testify to Gods reality in their lives? Yes there are many false prophets and fakes out there so be wise as you discern the spirits. I see little point in continuing to dialogue but I may well challenge your rants if I happen to see them and consider it necessary to add a balanced perspective… Take care Mark”

My reply…

Thanks for wasting your time to read over some of my “ramblings”. I understand your perspective… that I am to be pitied for being an atheist. As your scripture says, “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (a little poetry, which I presume you take literally, from Psalm 14:1). But the wise person questions everything, and weighs everything by the evidence (including psychological experiences like you have had), not by some ephemeral spirit judgement and bullshit talk about discerning spirits and false prophets. So, who is the fool? Someone who rejects or ignores the facts, or at least refuses to discuss or debate known facts or the absence of facts. It is me who pities your ignorance and obscuration/obstinance regarding ‘holy’ scripture, and any questioning of the misguided historicity of the mythical stories contained within. You are to be pitied for disengaging your brain from any intellectual and rational argument about this, and so I agree that we may not be able to discuss this. You do the praying… I’ll do the thinking for you! Thinking is not your ‘modus operandi’. I have been accused of blasphemy against the ‘holy spirit’, the unpardonable sin, before. But in truth, the accusation always backfires, and only has any ‘weight’ if in fact there is a god and a holy spirit. Well, there isn’t. So, I think you are delusional about that. Let’s discuss that.  I’m open to be corrected on this if you can show me otherwise. But I find your premise has no credibility if you cannot or will not discuss or argue with me about your primary authority, the Bible (or is your experience primary?). We should be talking about the many problems with the so-called historical story, the repugnant notions of blood sacrifice and associated superstitions, and “the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” (Dawkins). I come back to your comment about authors who reference scripture and authors out of context. I have no respect for people like yourself who do just this. You have no care, or are too lazy, to observe basic hermeneutical principles: “If in this book you choose to look, five things observe with care: of whom it speaks, to whom it speaks, and why, and when, and where.” A little Bible study observing these principles would do you well, though it would put you at odds with your notions of biblical inerrancy, and your guiding principle that ‘the Holy Spirit is my interpreter of scripture’. But if you claim that God has told you, or that a ‘spirit’ experience has convinced you, how can I argue with you? You have closed your mind to any counter argument. So, ‘the fool has said in his heart there is god’, and this cannot be questioned. I know this… I have been there too. Time for a reality check. If I thought prayer worked, I would pray for your deliverance from false prophets and ‘holy’ spirits that bind you from seeing the truth… and you might be set free. But no, stay on your quest for immortality through fiction. As for me (an atheist and an apostate from Christianity), I am saved from such nonsense. If you think you have a reply to this, then let’s meet together and discuss. But if you want to stay locked up in your ‘ivory tower’ and ‘holier than thou’ attitude, that’s okay. Your anti-intellectual mindset will keep you there and keep your ideas irrelevant. As they say, “ignorance is bliss”. Kind regards (because we are both human, and will both cease to exist in the near future), Mark B.

A post-Christian Reflection

I am an atheist and an ‘unbeliever’ having been a Christian, a bible scholar, and a theologian for most of my life. So, I am now an apostate. This may offend those who are ‘adherents of the faith’ because I’m saying that I’ve been seriously deluded for much of my life, and so by implication think that you are too if you’re a Christian. Many will respond by saying that it does not matter. I partly agree, because we’re all practical atheists anyway. Besides, people are free to believe or not believe what they want in this part of the world. And, who wants to live in the real world anyway? Well, for me it matters because I want to know what is real and true, and I believe that the world would be a better place to live in if people thought the same.

My journey ‘coming out’ has followed two routes: (1) the argument from atheism and science, and (2) studying the Bible. I agree with Isaac Asimov who wrote, “properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

1. The arguments made by atheists, which are based on reasoning, logic, and the discoveries of science. Some of the best resources on this are:

  • God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (2008)
    Audio Book on YouTube, Part 1, Part 2.
  • Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide by Richard Dawkins (2019)
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (10th edition, first published 2006)
  • Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett (2006)
  • Why There is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God by Armin Navabi
  • Why I am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927). Recorded lecture.
  • The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, selected and with introductions by Christopher Hitchens
  • Why I am Not a Christian by Richard Carrier (2011)
  • The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails edited by John W. Loftus (2010)

2. The Bible is the product of an evolving religious tradition from early Judaism to early Christianity. It is mostly mythological, and mostly unhistorical, i.e. mostly fictitious religious propaganda. Some of the best resources on this are:

  • Seeing Through Christianity: A Critique of Beliefs and Evidence by Bill Zuersher (2014)
    An excellent YouTube lecture here:
  • Dr Richard Carrier’s books and videos (see YouTube).
  • The Christian Delusion; Why Faith Fails edited by John W. Loftus (2010) – Part 2: Why the Bible is not God’s Word / The Cosmology of the Bible / The Bible and Modern Scholarship / What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate (“the Bible debunks itself”).
  •  God: The Most Unpleasant Character in all Fiction by Dan Barker (2016)

Some may want to pray for me, though according to Hebrews 6:4-6 this would now be a waste of time. It is better that you think with me. I welcome the opportunity to discuss with you why I am not a Christian. Privately exploring the material listed above is a good place to start, especially if you’re afraid of being stigmatized for doing so.