The Sun's Shadow

Stumbling to find a light switch in the dark

Are Christians Evil?

For that matter are all people evil? Is this something that Christianity teaches? I recently wrote a post about Ray Comforts Atheist Starter Kit. In the comments to that post there is an ongoing discussion with a commenter named Russ. In this discussion he brought up the idea that people are evil by their very nature. I have found this concept to be intriguing and felt that these comments deserved some wider review.  Here are a couple of the relevant comments regarding the idea that all people are evil.

On August 7, 2008 at 12:01 pm Russ Said: |Edit This
No, I do not believe that Jesus was the only person to be unjustly punished and yes, I agree, people can be brutal to others for no just cause. But why? Why are people vicious and brutal to others for no reason? I believe the reason that men do evil things is because men are evil by nature.

This is exactly what the Bible testifies concerning man. The Bible declares that mankind is evil by nature.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? [Jer 17:9]

And Jesus said, “”For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” [Mark 7:21-23]

And the Bible says that this is why Jesus was crucified. Because He testifies that mankind is evil.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. [John 7:7]

The crucifixion of Jesus is the ultimate testimony of the evil nature of mankind for mankind brutally murdered the Prince of Peace.

But the crucifixion of Jesus Christ not only testifies of the evil nature of man, it also testifies of the love of God for it was on the cross that Jesus paid the price for our sin by dying in our place. He took the punishment that we deserve – death – so that we could be reconciled to God.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2 Cor 5:21]

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Rom 6:23]

The Bible clearly testifies to mankind that we are evil by nature. And because man is evil by nature, mankind is condemned but the Bible also testifies that God loves us and is not willing that any should perish.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. [2 Per 3:9]

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. [John 3:16]

I responded to this belief asking if he knows himself to be evil, to which he freely agree that he knows he is an evil person.

On August 8, 2008 at 5:42 pm Russ Said: |Edit This
Absolutely I believe that I am evil by nature. That is why I need a Savior and that is why you need a savior as well because we are all made of the same flesh and we all have the same evil desires:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries… [Gal 5:19-21]

But when a person becomes a Christian, God gives them new desires:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. [2 Cor 5:17]

He agrees that he is evil, but since he is a christian he has been given new I assume non evil desires. However his nature is evil. This is a concept that he is supporting by using biblical quotes. You can read the comments back over at the original post. What interests me here is if you are a Christian (define that as you will) I have a few questions regarding this and your beliefs on the topic… because after years of Catholic school the idea that ALL people are evil by their nature was not discussed in any major way and I don’t recall it being applied to all people.

  1. Do you agree that ALL people are evil by nature? That people are born evil?
  2. If you  agree with question 1 do you agree that you know yourself to be evil?
  3. If you were not christian would you succumb to your evil nature and engage in any of the acts listed by Russ above?… adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries
  4. what stops the other 4 Billion christians from not being evil?

I personally do not believe people are born good or evil per se, for me these questions are a bit more involved and complicated, in future posts maybe I can explore my thoughts on specific moral quandaries of good and evil. However for now I am as I began, intrigued by this idea that bible teaches us all people are evil by their nature and how it relates to people’s concept of Christianity and their view of themselves?

Please share your thoughts…

Advertisements

August 11, 2008 Posted by | Opinion, Religion, Skepticism | , , | 3 Comments

Ray Comfort’s Atheist Starter Kit

Over at RayComfort Blog Ignorance Central he has what he calls the Atheist Starter Kit. It is a collection of his ten recommendations for a novice atheist in how to argue with theist…. it’s amusing because it demonstrates that lack of depth with which he proclaims to understand atheists. I wanted to take the time and generally mock these 10 absurd points.

1. Whenever you are presented with credible evidence for God’s existence, call it a “straw man argument,” or “circular reasoning.” If something is quoted from somewhere, label it “quote mining.”

Here the presumption is that you will be presented with “credible” evidence, meaning that the evidence is so compelling that it is to be believed. So Ray has evidence for Proof of God(s) and I assume that he means Jesus is God since he is Christian and not the vague undefined God that is out there…The problem is it is highly doubtful he will present credible evidence and it is more likely that it will be flawed for any number of reason including but not limited to the one he listed above. I would love credible evidence for God(s). Please Provide it!!!!!

2. When a Christian says that creation proves that there is a Creator, dismiss such common sense by saying “That’s just the old watchmaker argument.”

What about when a Muslims, Hindus, or Wiccans say it? Would this be just as much evidence for their God/Goddess? Is he making an argument for Jesus or Just a vague undefined supernatural God? Why should we accept a creator as a default position, cannot the answer be the only intellectually honest one which is we do not know at this time how the creation (universe) was created?

3. When you hear that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose (the pleasures of Heaven, and the endurance of Hell) by obeying the Gospel, say “That’s just the old ‘Pascal wager.'”

It is Pascal’s Wager! Again this argument can come from any religion so what makes your religion more correct than any other religion, they all proclaim the exclusive way through their religious text either sent directly from God(s) or divinely inspired.. Consider there are 6 billion people on the planet only 2 billion are christian that means 4 billion people are not choosing Christianity. That ‘s a lot of people just left to suffer in hell and not because they were bad or evil people but they just didn’t back your God(s)…

4. You can also deal with the “whoever looks on a woman to lust for her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart,” by saying that there is no evidence that Jesus existed. None.

Is that Jesus never existed the best argument here, how about the Freedom argument. Freedom to think and have any thought I want or can come up with. Freedom from the thought control of your book. This seems more about creating a sense of Guilt in believers, I’ll stick with freedom.

5. Believe that the Bible is full of mistakes, and actually says things like the world is flat. Do not read it for yourself. That is a big mistake. Instead, read, believe, and imitate Richard Dawkins. Learn and practice the use of big words. “Megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” is a good phrase to learn.

This one I agree with READ the BIBLE, and you will find many mistakes and contradictions. In fact many atheists have read the bible and other religious texts… actually read it cover to cover and see if it all really does make sense. See the violence, genocide, destruction, the wrath, famine and plagues… read how if you don’t believe this forever you will be damned… and then try and reconcile that with love and tolerance it preaches on the other hand. Also read the Koran, and the book of Mormon, Hindu Purana’s… I am willing to bet Ray Comfort doesn’t want you to read those only his concept of God and religion.

6. Say that you were once a genuine Christian, and that you found it to be false. (The cool thing about being an atheist is that you can lie through your teeth, because you believe that are no moral absolutes.) Additionally, if a Christian points out that this is impossible (simply due to the very definition of Christianity as one who knows the Lord), just reply “That’s the ‘no true Scotsman fallacy.'” PLEASE NOTE: It cannot be overly emphasized how learning and using these little phrases can help you feel secure in dismissing common sense.

Unstated major premise Christian’s don’t lie. The definition of Christianity is one who knows the lord? Where does this come from certainly not Merriam Webster. He must have a different dictionary… I also like how he has conveniently done away with the need for faith, if you know something then you don’t need faith in that thing… this must go back to that credible evidence that he can present… not only can he do away with atheist and agnostics, but all other religions. He knows the lord… wait not Jesus?

7. Believe that nothing is 100% certain, except the theory of Darwinian evolution. Do not question it. Believe with all of your heart that there is credible scientific evidence for species-to-species transitional forms. When you make any argument, pat yourself on the back by concluding with “Man, are you busted!” That will make you feel good about yourself.

Ah the evolution is a religion gambit… when in fact any evolutionary biologist will tell you science is provisional on the latest data and evolution through common descent is well supported. The problem for Ray Comfort is that he cannot come up with any actual science to dispute evolution at best he can point out the holes in the information and say see it’s incomplete as if that is a criticism of of science and not its strength. There will be always missing information our knowledge will never be complete but it will be on going. Do you know what has to be believe 100% for certain with no evidence for it, if you guessed Christianity you would be correct. If you guessed any other major world religion you would also be correct.

8. Deal with the threat of eternal punishment by saying that you don’t believe in the existence of Hell. Then convince yourself that because you don’t believe in something, it therefore doesn’t exist. Don’t follow that logic onto a railway line and an oncoming train.

The difference here and it maybe a subtle one is that railway lines and trains are real. They exist and we have direct evidence for them can your provide that credible direct evidence for God and God’s other sinister creation HELL?

9. Blame Christianity for the atrocities of the Roman Catholic church–when it tortured Christians through the Spanish Inquisition, imprisoned Galileo for his beliefs, or when it murdered Moslems in the Crusades.

Wait a minute are Catholics no longer Christians? Was there a tribal council and they got voted off the island? The last time I checked Roman Catholics represent the single largest christian group both in the USA and the World, they were also founded by the apostle Peter… but they don’t really represent Christianity… Ladies and Gentlemen the Protestant Pope Ray Comfort he represents the true Christians.

10. Finally, keep in fellowship with other like-minded atheists who believe as you believe, and encourage each other in your beliefs. Build up your faith. Never doubt for a moment. Remember, the key to atheism is to be unreasonable. Fall back on that when you feel threatened. Think shallow, and keep telling yourself that you are intelligent. Remember, an atheist is someone who pretends there is no God.

Finally, keep in fellowship with other like-minded Christians who believe as you believe, and encourage each other in your beliefs. Build up your faith. Never doubt for a moment. Remember, the key to Christianity is to be unreasonable. Fall back on that when you feel threatened. Think shallow, and keep telling yourself that you are intelligent. Remember, an Christian is someone who pretends there is a God.

Which one looks like a more accurate statment?

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Freedom, Nonsense, Religion, Superstition | , , | 27 Comments

Is Transubstantiation Vampirism?

There has been a lot of discussion lately of the Holy Eucharist in the Catholic church, this was brought about by a Florida College Student who instead of the eating the host pocketed it which lead to a hysterical outrage not really from the Catholic Church itself but from outside church supporters such as the Catholic league. That outrage then lead to a response from PZ Myers on his top rated/popular scienceblog Pharyngula you can read his posts and the comments over at his blog, some of it gets pretty nasty. This on going row brought up the issue of why this communion wafer is so sacred to Catholics what about it makes it more than just a cracker, and could justify death threat?

The answer is Transubstantiation, as defined by theVatician;

By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).

This means that a Roman Catholic litterally believe the bread becomes the body and the wine becomes the blood of Jesus. This is not a symbolic gesture of rememberancebut it is at the very heart of the catholic faith. The communion host contains part of his soul and divinity as it was made flesh in consecration. A person can see why they would be upset if this was taken from the church, you litterally believe a piece of the flesh of your God was stolen and that can be a little upsetting.

1406 Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; . . . he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and . . . abides in me, and I in him” (⇒ Jn 6:51, ⇒ 54, ⇒ 56).

1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.

Here is where the vampirism connection comes in, and think you may see it as well at this point. A vampire is a mythological creature that has eternal life because he drinks the blood of other living humans. Pretty simple drink the blood and you have eternal life. In the Eucharist of the Catholic church the promise is being made that if you eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus then you too shall be rewarded with eternal life, through resurrection after death.

If this is something that a person really believes and you may be one of those people who believes this then bread and wine become totally something else they become human/god flesh and blood and you consume them as part of a ritual for eternal life, well then under the most general definition of what a vampire is you too are a vampire.

July 14, 2008 Posted by | Religion | , | Leave a comment

Was Jesus a Liar?

Cal Thomas has a post over on the FOX Forum titled Do They Think Jesus was a LiarThere is a lively comment thread over there as well, most of it people saying how you will burn if you do not accept Christ as your savior.  What Cal is commenting on is a recent Pew Forum survey.

I am shocked and appalled over a newly published survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. It finds most Americans believe there are many ways to salvation besides their own faith. Most disturbing of all is the majority of self-identified evangelical Christians who believe this.

Apparently they must think Jesus was a liar, or mistaken, when he said: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” Look it up.

What I think Cal is referring too is the gospel of John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Questions was do they think Jesus was a liar and I have included myself in the they, and considering I don’t think Jesus “said” anything…. makes this difficult. The reference is in relation to what Jesus reportedly said… we have no idea of what Jesus may or may not of actually said since he left no actual writings behind. Technically at best what we have here is a case of hearsay… which would not even be allowed in court room testimony… so who was John and are we certain he was in the presence of Jesus when he supposedly said he is the only way to salvation, or in his presence for any of the quotes attributed to Jesus? No one knows really… and we are just supposed to take his word for it, based on faith alone? Also consider the issue that the gospel was written anytime between 30 -110 years after Jesus died.

This like most things with religion seems all to silly to me and just shows how divisive religion can be, b/c as Cal points

If there are many paths to heaven, Jesus suffered and died for nothing. He could have stayed in heaven, sent down a book of sayings and avoided crucifixion. Orthodox Christians have always believed – and their Bible teaches them — there is only one path to heaven and it is through Jesus Christ and him alone. One can believe whatever one wishes, but you can’t be considered a Christian without believing in this fundamental doctrine.

Its my way or the highway that is the true center of religion, it is all about we are right you’re wrong our book is really true yours is not. It’s about group think and conformity, which is increasingly challenged in our current multicultural society, no religion has any true special claim to truth or authority. When it comes right down to it there is no way to tell if it was just made up or not, except in the cases where it is demonstrably false.

So before we can determine if Jesus was or is a liar we need to determine a few other things.

  • Was Jesus even a real person?
  • What did he actually say? (Remember Jesus wrote nothing, there is nothing directly from him)
  • Did the new testament writers ever meet him?
  • Why is the bible more accurate than a Koran or any other religious text claim to authority and salvation?
  • Has anyone ever been to Heaven?
  • Is there life after death?
  • Why do the supposedly good people in heaven happily go along with the suffering and damnation of billions of people in hell?

The only real certainty is death and I understand people fear it and you should because since there is no evidence to the contrary it is likely the end of everything you know… but then you wouldn’t really know that you would, you would just be dead. Enjoy life while you can.

June 26, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense, Religion, Superstition, Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Is It Murder or Suicide?

This past Tuesday 16 year old Neil Beagleydied from an illness that could have been treated. He is from a faith healing family, which means they rely on their faith in god alone to save them. I normally read about these stories and I would rage against a parent who allowed a child to die instead of getting them the proper medical care, however this is not that situation as the article points out.

Tuesday’s death of 16-year-old Neil Beagley, however, may not be a crime because Oregon law allows minors 14 and older to decide for themselves whether to accept medical treatment.

“All of the interviews from last night are that he did in fact refuse treatment,” police Sgt. Lynne Benton said Wednesday. “Unless we can disprove that, charges probably won’t be filed in this case.”

An autopsy Wednesday showed Beagley died of heart failure caused by a urinary tract blockage.

So he was of a legal age and made a choice to refuse treatment… this is important because we all have the right to refuse treatment it cannot and should not be forced upon us even if the refusal would result in death. What clear to me here is that he died when he could have been saved, in fact it would seem he choose death. This to me is suicide, by refusing treatment he intentionally killed himself. He choose death over life.

When a parent refuses treatment for a child its murder and when you refuse it for yourself its suicide.

June 20, 2008 Posted by | Medicine, Nonsense, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment

Annulment Let’s All Play Pretend

One of the concepts I find most ludicrous is the annulment of marriage. Where by a person can have their marriage annulled and we all say it never happened… shhhhh. We show our complete and total mastery over time and space and just wipe those moments clean from history… they be come annulled. Well actually they don’t… we just pretend they do and allow life to go on as it always does and everybody kind of agrees to just forget about it.

What’s really interesting to me is how an annulment can only be granted under certain circumstances. The wikipedia page on annulments list the following as reasons for a marriage to be annulled;

Grounds for a marriage being voidable or void ab initio vary in different legal jurisdictions, but are typically limited to fraud, bigamy, and mental incompetence including the following:

Either spouse was already married to someone else at the time of the marriage in question;
Either spouse was too young to be married, or too young without required court or parental consent. (In some cases, such a marriage is still valid if it continues well beyond the younger spouse’s reaching marriageable age.)
Either spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage;
Either spouse was mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage;
If the consent to the marriage was based on fraud or force;
Either spouse was physically incapable to be married (typically, chronically unable to have sexual intercourse) at the time of the marriage;
The marriage is prohibited by law due to the relationship between the parties. This is the “prohibited degree of consanguinity”, or blood relationship between the parties. The most common legal relationship is 2nd cousins; the legality of such relationship between 1st cousins varies around the world.
Prisoners sentenced to a term of life imprisonment may not marry.
Concealment (e.g. one of the parties concealed a drug addiction, prior criminal record or having a sexually transmitted disease)

These all seem perfectly reasonable reasons (well maybe not being drunk, alot of people are candidates for annulment then… but hey I think annulments are silly) to want to get out of a marriage noticeably missing is you changed your mind, fallen out of love, and grew apart… well its really b/c all religions needed to create an out for proof of fruad that this is not the person you intended to marry and so long as that reason is not that you made a mistake in judgement or related to free will and is related to some awful kind of deception or incest then it is ok…that is what annulment is, it is divorce with out calling it that I.E. a religious loop whole… this why religion doesn’t make sense to me. Divorce bad… but we can wipe the marriage out so it never existed… um yeah only if we play pretend you can. Marriage the social contract religion is to sanctify can be undone… I don’t know about you but from the weddings I have been to there is usually the line “What God has Joined today let no man tear asunder” so instead the out is “One side lied about who they were or their past or were drunk at the time so lets pretend this didn’t take place” It not just that “contract” of marriage was found to be invalid due to fraud or whatever the reason… what I am talking about it how we are supposed to play pretend and go along with the idea that it never existed. It did exist it happened someone witnessed it and I  understand there is some reason the marriage contract could or should be made invalid, but there is paperwork still filed to dissolve that invalid contract… so to me this is a divorce*.

*- Divorce was due to fraud at time of marriage

I like the divorce terminology b/c is treats everyone equally in that you can get divorced for any reason or no reason really… and it doesn’t require playing pretend.

That’s it, it happened… annulments will only be really possible when time travel is.

June 15, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense, Personal, Religion, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Virgin or Fraud

Can a person restore their physical virginity? Yes, and its a medical procedure that is becoming more common in Europe as illustrated in the NY times article “In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity”. The article talks about the religious pressure being faced by young Muslim women who have to balance the freedom in their lives with religious faith and traditions namely to be a virgin when you are married. There are some deeply troubling aspects of this situation.

But for the patient, a 23-year-old French student of Moroccan descent from Montpellier, the 30-minute procedure represented the key to a new life: the illusion of virginity.

Like an increasing number of Muslim women in Europe, she had a hymenoplasty, a restoration of her hymen, the vaginal membrane that normally breaks in the first act of intercourse.

“In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt,” said the student, perched on a hospital bed as she awaited surgery on Thursday. “Right now, virginity is more important to me than life.”

No to be a virgin is to be dirt? Are you kidding me this is how you view yourself that you are dirt because you are not a virgin, or how your culture then views your worth as a person? In a culture that puts such a huge emphasis on a woman’s virginity I can see how this can be an issue. Recently a woman who was found not be a virgin had her marriage annulled  the court ruled she had commited breach of contract by pretending to be a virgin and the marriage was entered in to under a false pretense. The pressure on the woman to not only be a virgin but also be able to prove she is a virgin is just staggering and of course men in the religious culture are not held to same standard. The craziness doesn’t end here also in the NY times article another woman talks about her husband being fine with her not being a virgin but his family will have issues?

A 26-year-old French woman of Moroccan descent said she lost her virginity four years ago when she fell in love with the man she now plans to marry. But she and her fiancé decided to share the cost of her $3,400 operation in Paris.

She said his conservative extended family in Morocco was requiring that a gynecologist — and family friend — there examine her for proof of virginity before the wedding.

“It doesn’t matter for my fiancé that I am not a virgin — but it would pose a huge problem for his family,” she said. “They know that you can pour blood on the sheets on the wedding night, so I have to have better proof.”

They will want have her submit to a gynecological exam?! This is amazing and completely foreign to my sensibilities. I cannot relate I was going to make some comment about if this was me and my family but its not really fair as I live what I would deem to be a more liberated culture, that could be subjective but this is certainly a societal pressure we no longer face. However I am still critical of this whole situation and now back to how I find all this nuts!

One Muslim born in Macedonia said she opted for the operation to avoid being punished by her father after an eight-year relationship with her boyfriend.

“I was afraid that my father would take me to a doctor and see whether I was still a virgin,” said the woman, 32, who owns a small business and lives on her own in Frankfurt. “He told me, ‘I will forgive everything but not if you have thrown dirt on my honor.’ I wasn’t afraid he would kill me, but I was sure he would have beaten me.”

HE WOULD HAVE BEATEN YOU? Check Please table 4… I am at a total loss here, I am no fan of religion especially when it gets you this backwards thinking where the pressure on a woman can have her beaten, ostracized, and humiliated… so these women are forced to live a life of fraud… They have to surgically restore their hymen, hope the job was done well enough that another gynecologist cannot tell that her virginity was artificially restored. This is all too crazy for me and this is where the reality of religion gets divorced from the reality of the modern world and again exposes how religion is extremely critical of women and denies them the freedom to live their lives, after all if your no longer a virgin you are worth dirt, great message Islam. This reminds me of the creepy christian fundamentalist and their purity balls with fathers and daughters. We need to get religion out of the bedroom… individually when some religious authority tells you what to do in the bedroom or any room that is not their room then you are free to tell them to go jump in a lake… you have my permission. We place the artificial burden solely on women and then hold them to an impossibly high standard.

It comes down to either your dirt or a fraud if you had sex before marriage. I say you can leave the archaic history of your religion in the past and live your life as a good person with out having to worry about these things your religious culture demands. You may even want to consider leaving that culture/religion. At least living in a free European society you have that choice difficult as it may be
.

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense, Religion, Sex | , , | Leave a comment

Women Need Not Apply

Breaking news from the Vatican, it will continue its ancient and misogynistic policy of not needing women. Who can argue with that I mean we all know that Mary Magdalene was a whore wasn’t she? Yep boys only for the catholic club, 2,000 years of exclusion and persecution. I don’t really care what religions decide to do or how they organize themselves, what really bothers me is how they speak of tolerance, forgiveness, and inclusion but then act in an opposite matter. This might explain declining church attendance.

Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear what you preach!

I am aware there are good works that the church is a part of, however I am not aware of any good works that also do not include proselytizing.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Religion | , | Leave a comment