Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Contradictions in the Gospels?--Oh YES!!!!

Mike Licona, a Christian apologist, and editor of the book, "Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science," recently contributed to a video in an attempt to defend the Christian claim that there are no contradictions in the Bible.  The video is below:

With a retro/techno look (after much experience, Christians have become adept at the Bernays/"Mad Men" techniques of "public relations"), the "New Apologists" are "coming out" in their quest to appeal to the young and malleable masses. It may be a new look, but it is still the same old "song and dance."

In his first attempt at defending the gospels, he claims that the so-called "contradictions" are mere "differences." To illustrate that he is mistaken, first we need the definitions of the words, which are below. Then, we will illustrate the "logically incongruous-ness" of the gospels via example.


1. difference: the state or relation of being different; dissimilarity: There is a great difference between the two.
2. an instance or point of unlikeness or dissimilarity: What accounts for the differences in their behavior?
3. a significant change in or effect on a situation: His tact makes a difference in the way people accept his suggestions.


1. the act of contradicting;  gainsaying or opposition.
2. assertion of the contrary or opposite; denial.
3. a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous.

"It was impossible for God to lie." Hebrews 6:18
"For with God nothing shall be impossible." Luke 1:37
Let's assume what the bible says is true, and that everything is possible for god. If everything is possible for god, then it is possible for god to lie, but the bible tells us it is impossible for God to lie. If it is impossible for god to lie, then it is not possible for God to tell a lie. So, according to the bible, it is possible for God to lie, and it is not possible for God to lie--which is a contradiction.

Another interesting contradiction is that according to Matthew 3-4, there can be no doubt that immediately after his baptism by John, Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan for 40 days and 40 nights, whereas in John 2 he was present at the marriage in Cana 3 days after his baptism--which would put Jesus in two places at the same time, and would be another contradiction.

Now, Licona attempts to defend the above "contradiction" (and it is a contradiction) by claiming that we need to understand the "Greco-Roman biography", and just like much in today's "literature," there were certain "literary liberties" that were allowed, such as their use of "time compression." By his statement then, we can conclude that the writers were at "liberty" to make up things, just as the Greco-Roman writers did when they wrote about Apollo, or Hera, or Zeus, as in Homer's Iliad. So, by his statements then, is the Christian claim that jesus is god, just another "liberty" they are taking with the text? If the bible cannot be consistent with minor points, then why should any of the major points be considered valid? There is no reason.

It is well known by most learned bible scholars that the Jews were well known for embellishing their texts, and Greeks are also well known for imaginative story telling--which is a better explanation for discrepancies in a so -called "inerrant book" that is obviously packed with errors. Furthermore, if, as Licona also states there is a "lack of precision" in the writings of the bible, then we have no way of knowing what is "precise" and what is not--thereby making all of it unreliable. Like I said--it is still the same old "song and dance."

Remember, even Licona stated there is a "lack of precision" in the writings of the bible. I have to say I am happy to finally hear some "truth" on the subject uttered by one of the "New Apologists." The "lack of precision" means literally, that they make it mean whatever they want it to mean--which has proven to be dangerous, over and over again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Of God and Unicorns--Why JW Wartick Fails Again

In a recent blog post, Christian JW Wartick claims that atheists are "appealing to emotion" when they claim there is as much evidence for unicorns as there is for god. This is not an appeal to emotion. While some atheists may use this argument in the manner and fashion Wartick points out, I can show that it can be used as an argument by analogy, and not as an "appeal to emotion."

An appeal to emotion is a fallacy which presents a perspective intended to be superior to reason, and is intended to draw knee-jerk emotions from the acquirer of the information with the intent of convincing them that the fallacious argument is true without offering any substantial proof of the argument that is offered, and the argument's premises remain invalid. It is clear that some atheists, as well as some Christians use the "appeal to emotions" fallacy, and this fallacy has also been one of the most successful ploys Christians use in gaining converts, as Christianity can offer no proof for any of its major eschatological claims, which is why they resort to an appeal to the emotions.

Wartick and other theists such as WL Craig claim that atheists make the mistake of claiming that if there is no empirical evidence of something, then that something does not exist--which is a mistake of Positivism. The unicorn argument can be made without making the mistake of Positivism. It merely states the fact that there is as much evidence for god as there is for unicorns. So it can be made without making an appeal to emotions, or resorting to Positivism; but merely as a statement of fact. This statement of fact can then be used to draw a correlation between god and unicorns, and thus, is the basis of an argument by analogy. It provides a rational link that Wartick claims cannot be provided. Wartick made the statement:

"Think about it, when you hear these phrases,(comparing unicorns to god) what rational process goes on? There is no rational link between unicorns and theism. There is no reason to correlate the two. ...The atheist is attempting to psychologically discredit Christianity without ever engaging any kind of logical reasoning."

Again, Wartick is mistaken. The correlation between the two is the fact that there is no evidence for either. This is not to say however, that gods and unicorns do not exist. It is only to say that there is no evidence for either one--which is a correlation. One thing the unicorn argument illustrates to Christians who claim to "know" that their god exists, is to remind them that their claims amount to nothing more than the the claims made by others who believe in unicorns, or leprechauns or Santa Claus or any other entity that has no proof of existence. The unicorn argument is not to show that god does not exist, it is merely to remind Christians that their lofty claims of "knowing" god exists, has no foundation or support, as there is as much evidence for their god, as there is for unicorns.

Wartick further points out, if the logical Positivists were true, then:

"If the Christian’s account of God was found to be incoherent, then God would not exist. It would, in fact, be impossible for God to exist were his nature contradictory...By assuming that God can only be disproven by empirical evidence, they (atheists) uncritically advance a philosophical enterprise which has largely been abandoned within modern philosophy."

While some atheists may make this mistake, Wartick, as he often does, has overgeneralized--not all atheists make this mistake. The fact that there is not a coherent explanation of something does not mean that it does not exist. However, let me paraphrase a point that Quine makes in his essay, "On What There Is":

"In debating over what there is, there are still reasons for operating on a semantical plane. One reason is to escape from the predicament between the atheists and theists, of atheists not being able to admit that there are things which theists countenances and atheists do not. So long as atheists adhere to their ontology, as opposed to theists, atheists cannot allow their bound variable to refer to entities which belong to theist's ontology and not to their own. Atheists can, however, consistently describe their disagreement by characterizing the statements which theists affirm. Provided merely that atheists' ontology countenances linguistic forms or at least concrete inscriptions and utterances, atheists can talk about theistic sentences."*

For example, the atheists can argue that the Christian conception of god is contradictory, as this simple logic below illustrates. Christians claim their god is love, but logic tells us otherwise. The following verses are analyzed logically to illustrate their contradictory nature. They also prove that Yahweh is NOT love:

"But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:8

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud " 1 Corinthians 13:4

"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God,visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me," Exodus 20:5

In the logical form of Modus Tollens, the following is the conclusion drawn from the above passages:

If god is love, then god is not jealous.
God is jealous.
Therefore god is not love. 
This conclusion is catastrophic for Christians, as it negates their entire philosophy of “God is Love.” God cannot be love, if God is jealous, but God IS jealous. Therefore, God cannot be love.

The fact that the atheist is carrying on this discussion with a Christian does not prove or disprove that a god exists, but it does prove that the Christian conception of god as being love is "false," based on their own claims and ontology. When I, as an Ignostic Atheist, make the claim that there is as much evidence for the Christian god as there is for unicorns, it is merely as a reminder to Christians that their claims amount to nothing more than the the claims made by others who believe in unicorns, or leprechauns or Santa Claus or any other entity that has no proof of existence. The unicorn argument is not to show that god does not exist, it is merely to remind Christians that their lofty claims of "knowing" god exists, has no foundation or support, as there is as much evidence for their god, as there is for unicorns. As far as I know, unicorns and leprechauns and even Santa Claus, might exist!

*Analytic philosophy: an anthology By Aloysius Martinich, David Sosa, "On What There Is" Quine, p. 141

Addendum:  I let JW Wartick know about this post, and here is his reply, and my response:

JW Wartick: I appreciate your interest in my post. I think the whole case really boils down to this statement you make in your response:
“The correlation between the two [God and unicorns] is the fact that there is no evidence for either.”
This is a completely unsubstantiated claim. Have you examined every piece of evidence brought to the table to defend theism? Have you explored every corner of the galaxy? Have you read every philosophical work presenting logical evidence for the existence of God?
You’re making an assertion of a universal negative. You must support that claim somehow, yet in the whole post you don’t. And that’s the problem with statements like the ‘unicorn’ phrase: they are mere assumptions.

A is for Atheist: Exactly! That’s my whole point! Christians claim to “know” god exists, is not a claim of knowledge, it is a mere assumption. How does a Christian know that Brahman is not god, or Zeus is not god, or that unicorns do not exist? Have they been to every corner of the galaxy? Now do you see the correlation?
The theist is the one that is making the claim they know something exists. Where is the evidence? Just like the unicorn may actually exist, but where is the evidence? The fact that you cannot present evidence, does not mean that the unicorn does not exist. Likewise, with Brahman, Zeus, or any other god or goddess.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Movie Review - The Ledge - Does Not Do Anything to Put Atheism in a Positive Light

I read about a movie recently that supposedly puts a positive spin on atheism. This intrigued me enough to investigate the plot --which unfortunately left me sorely disappointed.  The trailer is below:

The movie is called "The Ledge" and was a hit at the Sundance Festival, and will be released this summer in selected theatres. The movie stars Patrick Wilson as a married fundamentalist Christian named Joe ( Liv Tyler plays his wife Shauna) and Charlie Hunnam as an atheist professor named Gavin. They become neighbors, and Gavin has an affair with Shauna, but when Joe finds out about the affair, it leads to finding Gavin on a ledge with a policeman played by Terrence Howard, trying to talk him out of jumping. He is there because Joe gave Gavin an ultimatum. He must either kill himself, or someone else (Shauna?) will die.

This movie has been touted as a battle of philosophies between a fundamentalist Christian and an atheist which escalates into a lethal battle of wills, and is seen as a test of faith, or lack of it, where the believer forces the non-believer onto the ledge of a tall building where he then has one hour to make a choice between his own life and someone else's. Since the atheist has no faith in an afterlife, this movie is meant to illustrate whether or not he is capable of making such a sacrifice. I, however, see it as something else entirely.

As an atheist, I was disappointed as I watched the trailer, and I do not see how portraying an atheist as an adulterous sinner who lures a "a good Christian woman" into sin (in the eyes of Christians that watch this film) does anything positive to promote atheism. Christians already view atheists as heathens with no moral values, and all this film will do is confirm their suspicions. What this film also illustrates, is how insidious Christian dogma is in society, as even those that are not Christian fall into the trap of believing they are "born sinners" who can't help but to "sin." In this case, it is the atheist who "can't help himself" from having an affair with his neighbor's wife, and she, as a "born sinner" cannot help herself either. The truth is however, that it is all just a matter of choice. The atheist could have chosen not to have an affair--and so could the Christian.

I could think of a thousand plot lines in which an atheist could be the hero without being a "sinner" in the minds of Christians. ( I do not believe in sin, but there is such a thing as right and wrong, and I believe in taking responsibility for my own actions.) How sad---that this was the best they could do.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

So Who Is the Real Fool?

Christianity is not known for advocating knowledge, intelligence, logic, or reason--yet the bible frowns on fools as it makes claims such as the one below from Ecclesiastes many times.  How odd:
It is better to heed a wise man's rebuke than to listen to the song of fools. Ecc. 7:5
Furthermore, Yahweh himself vows to destroy the wisdom of the wise (1 Cor 1:19). In other words, Yahweh frowns upon knowledge, intelligence, logic and reason. That is quite the contradiction--and it does not stop there. According to the bible, Jesus is most likely burning in hell because he said:
"But anyone who says 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Jesus) Mat 5:22
And then he said:

"You fools!" (Jesus) Luke 11:40
"You blind fools!" (Jesus) Mat 23:17
"How foolish you are" (Jesus) Luke 24:25

By inference, the authors are calling all believers and followers of Christianity fools by the fact that it was written in order to dupe such people--and it has done a fine job of it.  As I have illustrated above with regards to wisdom and foolishness, the bible is contradictory and inconsistent. The sheeple, however, are weak and trusting--and the church has had 2000 years of experience duping them into following blindly. How pathetically sad.

As Buddha said:

"A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent, but a fool who thinks himself wise, is a fool indeed."
 I have to agree with the Buddha on that.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Not Being Punished for Bad Behavior--Is in Itself a "Reward"

Recently I had a discussion with a Christian about the doctrine of repentance, and I presented him with the analogy below:

I said that the notion of salvation and repentance would be akin to a child who disobeys his parents' command not to do"X".  His parents find out about his misdeeds, and the child truly repents and is sorry for his actions--so the parents reward him by taking him out for ice cream and buying him an X-box. What's more, any time he breaks his parents' commandments and truly repents, he is rewarded in similar fashion.

In my opinion, this is the worst parenting strategy I have ever heard of--and sadly enough, it is the method used by the Christian god to "parent" his children. The ancient Christian philosopher Pelagius agreed with my analysis, as he said this doctrine led to "moral laxity."  This is because not being punished for bad behavior and being rewarded with eternity in heaven IS a reward--which allows Christians to continue in their "sinning ways," believing they will still be rewarded in heaven as long as they repent.

A worse analogy would be a Christian going on a killing spree, and then telling the police he is truly sorry,so the police let him off the hook. What about all the families without their loved ones? What do they get?  Nothing.  In the realm of Christian ethics, there is no justice, and there is no compensation for the victims of their crimes.

The majority of Christians also say being good is not good enough. For example, no matter how good Buddha was, they say he is in hell because he did not believe in Yahweh and sons. But if god rewards for good works, then wouldn't this apply to non-Christians as well?  How unjust and odd it would be otherwise.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Tragedy of Christianity

As I continue to research and write, I sometimes find my eyes welling with tears at what I read.  I still find it difficult to believe the atrocities committed by men in the name of god.....but history tells me it is true.
But after all this time, I should not be too surprised, as the bible goes against every human right that has ever existed. It advocates rape, incest, murder, war mongering, among others, and most Christians, especially in the Capitalist matrix where selfishness and greed prevail, are not concerned with the rights of anyone except their own.

Take slavery for example. The bible advocates slavery, so Christians of course thought it was well and good to treat their fellow man as animals--all for the almighty dollar. Then they forced the religion that made Africans slaves--down their throats.  Blacks in America remain enslaved by Christianity, while their African roots are a far and distant memory...

The Inquisition demonized women who were spinsters (women who "spun" wool, and did not need a man to support them) and midwives. The church deemed their healing arts "witchcraft" and they were burned at the stake. The church did not like women to be knowlegable or independent of men, so they took that power away from them. When men took over the birthing of babies, women and children died by the thousands because they did not practice the same cleanliness techniques.

All this is not new to me.  I have been aware of the atrocities committed by Chrstians for a long time, but it still grieves my heart, and every time I read about it, it puts me in a sad, and strange frame of mind.   Today, I was reading David Stannard's "American Holocaust" and I cried when I read about the Spaniards who strung up the Indians in South America in groups of 13 to represent the "apostles and their "savior" and how they forced the surviving Indians to adopt Christianity or die a horrible horrible death.......  I don't understand how humans can treat each other this way.  Here is an excerpt to illustrate what I mean, as the author of "American Holocaust," David Stannard, quotes Las Casas retelling an incident he witnessed in South America:

"The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties, the more cruel the better, with which to spill human blood. They build a long gibbet, low enough for the toes to touch the ground and prevent strangling, and ganged thirteen (natives) at a time in HONOR OF CHRIST OUR SAVIOR and the twelve Apostles. When the indians were thus alive and hanging, the Spaniards tested their strength and their blades against them, ripping chests open with one blow and exposing entrails, and there were those who did worse. Then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive. One man caught two children about two years old, pierced their throats with a dagger, then hurled them down a precipice." American Holocaust, David Stannard, p. 72

Christianity has proven itself to be an institution with an agenda, and its mandate is manipulation, power, control and greed--nothing more. What they do in the form of altruism--is merely tokenism, as they do what they must in order to fulfill their mandate. 

It truly is a sickening philosophy used in even more sickening ways......