Category Archives: christian

Is the Bible True or False

So,

Is the Bible True or False?

Or,

The Da Vinci Code Argument TM

Just because a book contains some factual references does not make the whole book factual.

There are some stories written in the Christian Bible that have archaeological, geological or other evidence to back them up; or at least indicate a strong likelihood for being based on real places, people or events. However this does not necessarily prove that what the Bible says happened to them, or what they said or did, is true or correct.

For instance, there is evidence that Jericho was an occupied area as far back as the Natufian period (10,800-8,500 BC), and in the Early / Middle Bronze Age (3100-1800 BC) had extensive defensive walls. There is also evidence that Jericho was destroyed in the Late Bronze Age (1800-1400 BC). (from The Archaeology of the Ancient City of Jericho)

However, is there evidence that the walls of Jericho were blown down at the sound of Joshua’s horn? No, and it seems highly unlikely.

We have evidence for Jericho (or at least dwellings in the area prescribed to be Jericho) actually existing and being destroyed at some stage, however, this does not prove the story of Joshua being true as there is no evidence for the sounds of horns destroying the city. True, the absence of evidence does not mean it didn’t occur, a supernatural occurrence might not leave any natural evidence, but it also doesn’t prove it did occur. Additionally it is now held that Jericho was destroyed in 1562 BCE, well over 100 years before the accepted time of the biblical story.

Despite some stories having some evidence, there are also stories for which, despite intensive searches and investigation, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, and in some cases completely contradictory evidence.

… geological investigations [have] proved without a doubt that there was no planet-wide flood as described in the Old Testament of the bible, …

from Is the Bible Fact or Fiction? History of Archaeology, Part 3 :

So, let’s not ask if the Bible is true or false. Instead, let’s ask a series of questions.

1. Did the places and cultures that are mentioned in the Bible and the other ancient texts exist? Yes, in many cases, they did. Archaeologists have found evidence for many of the locations and cultures mentioned in the ancient texts.

2. Did the events that are described in these texts happen? Some of them did; archaeological evidence in the form of physical evidence or supporting documents from other sources can be found for some of the battles, the political struggles, and the building and collapse of cities.

3. Did the mystical things that are described in the texts occur? It’s not my area of expertise, but if I were to hazard a guess, if there were miracles that occurred, they wouldn’t leave archaeological evidence. [Personally I don’t totally agree with this last statement from the author of the About.com article, some supernatural miracles could leave evidence, not necessarily evidence for their supernaturalness but evidence something happened]

4. Since the places and the cultures and some of the events that are described in these texts happened, shouldn’t we just assume that the mysterious parts also happened? No. Not any more than since Atlanta burned, Scarlett O’Hara really was dumped by Rhett Butler.

There are many many ancient texts and stories about how the world began; and many are at variance with one another. From a global human standpoint, why should one ancient text be more accepted than any other? The mysteries of the bible and other ancient texts are just that — mysteries. It is not, and never has been, within the archaeological purview to prove or disprove their reality. That is a question of faith, not science.

In my opinion, if you have to rely on faith, then in all likelihood it isn’t true.

The fact that parts of the bible are somewhat backed up by some evidence, doesn’t mean the whole of the bible is factual, especially all the supernatural elements of it. There are far too many errors in the bible, and sections for which there is no, or contradictory, evidence, for the Bible to be accepted as a factual book.

Why I call it The Da Vinci Code Argument TM. The Da Vinci Code contains a lot of facts; places, names and events that are real. It also contains a lot of “FICTS” (a made up word that represents a fiction that has some basis in fact or sounds convincing enough that it might be a fact), it is though a work of fiction. The Bible is, in a way, similar to the Da Vinci Code; it contains some factual places, names and events, it also contains some “ficts”, but overall it is a work of fiction.

When the Da Vinci Code was released there was quite an uproar among some elements of society, particularly the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church and others spent considerable time and effort debunking some of the “facts”, “ficts”, myths and legends mentioned in the book. Dan Brown may have stated some points as facts that obviously weren’t, whether this was intentional or not is debatable, but ultimately everyone knew (or should have) that the book was a work of fiction.

It’s a pity that the Catholic Church and other Christians don’t spend as much time and effort debunking their own book, the Bible has been shown to contain many factual errors, contains plagiarised versions of older myths and statements about supernatural events that can never be proved. Rather than trying to bend and twist what little facts are in the Bible into declaring the Bible factual, perhaps it’s about time the churches came out and admitted the Bible is a work of fiction?

This post was inspired by a comment on Atheist Climber’s  Scared of Death post, in which sabepashubbo questions how can we say the bible is a work of fiction when it contains some facts.

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What is it good for?

To paraphrase Edwin Starr’s song War:

NSCP, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing

Today @ChrysStevenson tweeted about an article on the sunshinecoast.com.au site titled: School Chaplains programme could end. Written by Liberal National Federal Member for Fisher Peter Slipper who warns that “a valued school programme could be at risk under Labor.” That “valued” school program? The totally wasteful, dangerous and delusional National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP). Slipper warns that under a Labor government Gillard may cancel funding to the NSCP, he states that:

The Liberal National team has committed to keep funding part-time school chaplains for at least another three years.

As if that’s a good thing!

Apart from a few deluded religious people, and obviously the churches as they see this as a great, taxpayer funded, way to proselytise to a captive audience, I don’t accept that there really are that many people who think the NSCP is a good idea?

Slipper tries to argue

“Even the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described school chaplains as the ‘glue’ that holds school communities together.

Well Rudd would, he’s a deluded religious nut too.

Slipper’s final statement

“A lack of continued support for this project would simply be another Labor backflip.”

Should be worded:

“A lack of continued support for this project would simply be the right thing to do.”

The only possible reason I can see that some school principals and teachers see the NSCP as a good thing is that it provides government funding for some sort of counselling. The problem is that this funding is going to unqualified and unskilled religious ministers. What the government should do is provide the same amount of funding to fully qualified, trained, experienced, secular counsellors such as the Australian Psychological Society has recommended in their submission (pdf).

I posted a comment on Peter Slipper MP’s article, under my twitter OzAz name, and also sent the MP an email, this is a copy of that email:

Just read your piece on the mysunshinecoast.com.au site. I for one, and there are very many like me, would be more than happy to see the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) end. It is a total waste of taxpayers money and appalling that taxpayer funds are used to promote religion in public schools.

I have posted a comment on the site, I trust you will bother to read it and the other comments deploring the NSCP. In case you do not have the time to read all the comments, I posted this link: http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/APS-Submission-School-Chaplains-July2010.pdf I strongly suggest you read it, take your obvious religious bias out of the equation and decide if the APS has a valid point.

I’m not affiliated with the APS at all, and not sure if their proposal is the best, but I am sure it would be better than having chaplains performing counselling services, and at least it is a secular approach. Which is the way it should be in state schools.

Regards

May I suggest you also write a comment and or send an email to Peter Slipper peter.slipper.mp@aph.gov.au letting him know that a lot of people do NOT want the NSCP.

Cheers

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QOTD 17 June

You can lead a Christian to evidence, but you can’t make them think.

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Atheism V Christianity

I’ve read some wacky idiotic ramblings by christians before , but  Atheism Vs. Christianity: It’s all about ‘faith’ on examiner.com is one of the most laughable I’ve read in a while.

For a start his premise is all wrong, because it’s only Christianity that is all about ‘faith’; science relies on logic, experimentation, testing of ideas, etc etc. The author, Jake Jones, opens with this:

For some reason or another, Atheists feel that they need to beat you over the head with their view of creation, laws, the Bible, God, the Constitution and more.

Ha, Ha, Ha Jake, I think you meant to put the word ‘Christian’ in that sentence, instead of atheist. In case any other Christian hadn’t realised yet, one of the reasons atheists have become more vocal recently is because we are fed up with being bombarded with so much religious stuff.

Atheists, agnostics and other non-believers will always seem to quote science, scientists, NASA and others. That is a significant problem for Atheists. Science, scientists, … have been wrong on numerous occasions. … Science is not perfect, however the Bible is.

More LOL worthiness. He says “scientists, … have been wrong on numerous occasions” like it’s a bad thing? Aspects of science being proved wrong is one of science’s strengths, not weaknesses. There are way too many examples to demonstrate this, but how about an obvious one: years ago scientists said heavier than air objects would never fly, they were proven wrong as any airport will clearly demonstrate.  Is that a bad thing? No, it’s proof that science is quite happy being wrong, as long as it is proved wrong properly (throwing a bible at it doesn’t work by-the-way) . Science may not be perfect, and doesn’t usually profess to be, however it’s a damn sight more accurate than the bible.

Using scientific theory to disprove the Bible is like using gasoline to put out a fire. The reverse of that would be using the Bible to prove the existence of UFO’s, it can’t be done!

Stop, Stop, my sides are splitting from laughter. Science has been used many times to prove outright errors in the bible, it can be done, such as (from freethoughtdebater.com)

1 Kings 7:23 “He made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.” Circumference = Pi() x Diameter, which means the line would have to have been over 31 cubits. In order for this to be rounding, it would have had to overstate the amount to ensure that the line did “compass it round about.”
Lev 11:20-21: “All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.” Fowl do not go upon all four.
Lev 11:6: “And the hare, because he cheweth the cud…” Hare do not chew the cud.

There are countless others. The bible even contradicts itself on numerous occasions (see the freethoughtdebater.com site for a few examples), don’t religious people ever actually read their own book?

Jake’s article gets worse, you really should read the whole thing, it’s good for a laugh; but I don’t know what he’s got against NASA, or why he keeps incorrectly capitalising atheist?

The Bible is perfect because it is the divinely inspired, true and infallible word of God, not science. … Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things that science, scientists and yes, even NASA have discovered which have helped mankind, …

Yes, science has discovered pretty well everything that has helped mankind, including the computer Jake used to write his crazy article and the internet it was posted on.

Then he goes on about Darwin and evolution for a bit saying atheists put their trust in what Darwin wrote. He either doesn’t understand, or is just plain stupid, but it’s the 150 years of science following Darwin’s idea that scientists and others “put their trust in” when it comes to acknowledging the facts about evolution. Then he vainly tries to show he is right and that we should beleive the bible because:

The Bible is filled with witnesses to the events described in it.

Oh really! What, like witnesses to the “creation of the heavens and the earth”, or witnesses to Jesus’ so-called existence, all written at least 40 years after his death and in some instances at least 70 years later by people who hadn’t even meet him? With virtually no secular writings of this so-called significant person to back them up?

… but Atheists are not willing to believe, it’s just a fairy tail to them.

At least he got one thing correct, the bible is just a fairy tale, written by uneducated ignorant goat-herders trying to explain things they didn’t understand.

Atheists for some reason believe that out of chaos comes order; i.e. the “Big Bang theory”, and that out of that chaos came the Universe as we know it. Logical folks understand that out of chaos comes even more chaos. All one has to do to see order in the Universe is to go the NASA’s Hubble Telescope Gallery web site and look at their space Gallery! It’s amazing. The beauty and order of God’s creation is overwhelming. Yes, that is one of the great accomplishments of NASA.

Jake obviously needs to do some research, I’m fairly sure that the Big Bang theory doesn’t necessarily entail chaos, and anyway order can come from chaos. Then there are all the forces in play such as gravity, centripetal, centrifugal  etc that assisted in the formation of galaxies, stars, planets etc. It wasn’t all just chaos chaos chaos then instantaneous planetary systems.

I’m still looking for some good articles on “chaos and order”, I’ve read some before but seem to have misplaced the URLs. I was sent a link via Twitter to an article titled Life on Earth which explains the II Law of Thermodynamics and Entropy and how it applies to life on Earth, which whilst a very interesting article wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. If anyone has some scientific articles on “chaos and order” please provide links in the comments.

As to the “it’s beautiful, so god must have made it” comment, that’s just another ludicrous, illogical ‘goddidit’ statement, what sort of evidence for a god is “because it’s beautiful”? Personally I actually don’t see a whole lot of ‘order’ in some of those Hubble telescope photographs, and I’m sure others don’t, so the other part of that argument is also flawed.

I’ll leave you with his final sentence:

I truly believe that Atheists have good intentions, but they should remember this old saying; “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.

In case you hadn’t realised, not believing in god also entails in not believing in heaven or hell, so that sentence (threat ? ) is meaningless to an atheist, and don’t even think of Pascal Wagering me.

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There’s Hypocrites

Then there’s fucking hypocrites.

[Anyone following this blog recently may have noticed my ‘problem’ with hypocrisy. One day all may be revealed.]

Via Twitter I came across this interesting article:

Group targets school kids in atheism drive

A story (on a religious web site) lamenting that the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS) in England are “targeting” children to inform them that religion may not provide the best ethical and moral guidelines.

In what is some of the most hypocritical statements (and I’ve heard plenty over the last 18 months), and some of the best cognitive dissonance I’ve seen (at least in the last few minutes) in a while, comes these pearls of wisdom:

“It is deeply worrying that they now want to use children to attack the Christian ethos of their schools.

“Many parents will also be anxious at the thought of militant atheists targeting their children.”

OMFG! Like the many and varied churches haven’t been using children to boost their incoherent, inconsistent and blatantly stupid beliefs for the last couple of centuries!! Like the churches (eg. Catholic, Anglican & Muslim) haven’t, not only setup their own schools to indoctrinate and brainwash the unfortunate  children, but have also managed to get RE into a lot of public schools. Like religion hasn’t used children and schools to attack atheism, evolution, and promote their particular narrow minded view of the world.

If it wasn’t for the stranglehold religions have on children, there probably wouldn’t be any religions. If religion was expressly forbidden to be indoctrinated or taught to anyone under the age of 18 how many people do you honestly think would believe in it?

Why do you think so many religions espouse having lots of children? Why do you think so many religions (particularly the Catholics) have problems with contraception?

Because if children weren’t indoctrinated from birth in the faith of their parents, if children were dutifully informed about religion and how it came about. If children were informed about the many and varied faiths; they probably wouldn’t become religious. Then the particular faith would wither and die a natural death.

As A. C. Grayling says [paraphrased]

Tell an averagely intelligent adult hitherto free of religious brainwashing that somewhere there is an invisible being, who was born of a virgin, performs miracles, that wants us to worship them or else they’ll burn in hell. Then ask them which of several religions, that fit this description, they wish to believe in, most likely they will say: none of them.

Hypocrisy at it’s best, religions have schools that promote a particular religion, but then have a problem with a group that wants to promote healthy positive, alternative, critical thinking.

Another, slightly less biased story is here.

What do you think? Are the religious being hypocrites? Do they have anything to be concerned about? Is the AHS on to a good thing?

What more could be done to promote critical thinking in schools?

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Anti-Lent

Test a Bad Habit, New Sin or Guilty Pleasure for a few weeks.

Austin Cline from atheism.about.com, has come up with a great idea for atheists this Lent.

Lent is the penitential period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter when Christians fast and do penance in preparation for Easter.

So what’s in it for us atheists?

If Christians do penance for their sins, you can rack up new “sins” by test driving new material, physical pleasures.

Austin has some ideas to start you off:

  1. Try Out New Signature Cocktails
  2. Try a Greasy or Fattening Food
  3. Experiment Sexually
  4. Try a Dangerous Hobby
  5. Experiment with a New Genre of Music
  6. Test Your Clothing Comfort Zone
  7. Rent Some Low-Brow Movies
  8. Play Hooky and Treat Yourself
  9. Dump Your Email In-box

I’m sure you can think up many more.

As Austin says:

This life is the only one we have, so expand your comfort zone by trying new things.

According to when-is.com Lent in 2009 will start on Wednesday, the 25th of February and will continue for 46 days until Saturday, the 11th of April. So we are already 10 days into it, only 36 more days of “sinning” to go, so you better start now (if you haven’t already 😉 ).

So dear readers what new “sins” are you going to indulge in this “Lent”?

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Eviscerating a fundie

I have been getting a few new readers lately, posting their first comments which, as I’ve pointed out before, have to be moderated. As I recently blogged about, not all of these are very informative, on topic or lucid. Some just resort to insults, which for a first time visit is a little rude. Would you just walk up to some one you’ve never met and say “you are a fool”? Well Wolfsbane seems to think that is an OK introduction, as the following comment from him shows. (shown in it’s entirety, then broken down so I can address each part)

You people are fools ! Every single one of you ! You will all miss the snow in the UK, hell is a pretty hot place. Reason why you are fools: There is but no evidence, other than a dude who makes money from his opinion paid by people who believe in the same opinion, that God does not exist. You may argue, but their is little evidence to support that he does. Whether he does or not, why make a scene about it. Why do you people need to believe that he doesn’t. Will it make you feel better when looking at child pornography? Will it make you feel better when stealing or killing?

You are fools, cause you live like there is no God, but take to chance to find out that there is one, and what then? You’re screwed?

If you have the balls to attack christian faith, why not attack allah or buddha? You most prob scared after they bomb you! Christians won’t, right?

Understand, that you attack christians, because you are scared, and putting your faith in mere person, hoping he might know what he is talking about, just as I, might not know what i am talking about. You are weak, and looking for the easy way out.

I feel sorry for you people. Not willing to have responsibility for your own lives, and living someone else’s. Good for you, I am happy I don’t have sleepless night about fools.

Adios me foolish wanderers !

Well welcome to you to Wolfsbane, next time try and be a little more polite in your opening sentence. I’ll admit I’m a bit foolish sometimes but I think you are drawing a long bow calling all my readers fools. For a start if you are having a go at non-believers (not entirely clear who the “you people” is) then it may pay you to know that I get a few religious people who frequent this blog (some of them very nice people).

You will all miss the snow in the UK, hell is a pretty hot place.

Personally I won’t miss the snow in the UK as, in case you didn’t guess from the blog name, I live in Australia, so I don’t really miss snow anyway (though now you’ve mentioned it, it’s been a while since I last went skiing, may have to think about a holiday to the snow fields this year). I was in Adelaide last week, now that’s a pretty hot place and it’s real and exists, unlike your imaginary hell. Take note: trying to scare atheists with threats of non-existent places is really not much of a threat.

Reason why you are fools: There is but no evidence, other than a dude who makes money from his opinion paid by people who believe in the same opinion, that God does not exist. You may argue, but their is little evidence to support that he does.

Don’t know which ‘dude‘ you are talking about, but there wasn’t one person that made me think there is no evidence for any gods, it was my own intelligence, thinking and reasoning that made me think that way. I’ll admit people like the authors of all the books in my reading list (see sidebar) have been of assistance in my defining myself as an atheist and prompting me to be vocal about it. They have also provided me with clear and precise reasons why there is probably no god, but I don’t slavishly believe in all their opinions.

Whether he does or not, why make a scene about it. Why do you people need to believe that he doesn’t.

Atheists like myself and the countless other bloggers (see my blog roll page) “make a scene about it” because a large proponent of the religious community from all the varying sects/creeds/cults/versions spend way too  much time and money trying to influence the way the rest of the world behaves. There are many good reasons for doing what we do, but I’m not going to cover them again here. Atheists don’t  “need to believe that he doesn’t” we just don’t accept that he does.

Will it make you feel better when looking at child pornography? Will it make you feel better when stealing or killing?

As for the  “feel[ing] better when looking at child pornography” that is just plain insulting to myself and all other atheists, just because we see no evidence for any gods doesn’t automatically make us paedophiles (by the way have you checked how many catholic priests have been charged with paedophilia lately? pot calling kettle!). Same for the stealing and killing insult. Wolfsbane get off your high hobby-horse and appeals to godly moral authority, go have a read of some articles on morality (you can start with my FAQ 1 page) and find that humans developed morality all on their own in order to survive as a species, no requirements from any gods. Additionally if the fear of god is the only thing preventing you from stealing and murdering then I think you should get some professional psychiatric help.

You are fools, cause you live like there is no God, but take to chance to find out that there is one, and what then? You’re screwed?

Drop the Pascal’s Wager it just doens’t work.

If you have the balls to attack christian faith, why not attack allah or buddha? You most prob scared after they bomb you! Christians won’t, right?

If you’d paid any attention Wolfsbane, or bothered to read more than just one or two posts of mine, you’ll find I have “attacked” several different religious faiths in the past, and will again in the future if I consider it necessary. Go ask a few of the people who have been killed by Christians, such as some of the workers in abortion clinics that have been blown up by Christian extremists, if they think Christians won’t bomb them. Oops that’s right they are dead, killed by Christians. EPIC FAIL Wolfsbane.

Understand, that you attack christians, because you are scared,

Scared of what exactly? If anything we should be scared of the christians because we do “attack” them (only verbally mind you), because time and again the religious have demonstrated they don’t like being critiqued, and quite often the religious demonstrate their displeasure in a violent manner.

and putting your faith in mere person, hoping he might know what he is talking about,

WTF are you talking about? If you are trying to infer that atheists put their “faith” in one person then you are so grossly mistaken as to be laughable. Frankly most of the atheists I read do know what they are talking about, they are generally highly educated and have done their research. But there is no one person who is always right. If you are trying to infer I put my “faith” in humankind then you are right, becuase that is all we have. I would like to think humankind has a bright future and that through commonsence and decency we can all grow as a species, though sometimes I despair at what I see humankind doing to itself sometimes.

just as I, might not know what i am talking about. You are weak, and looking for the easy way out.

I strongly doubt you have a clue what you are talking about. Easy way out of what? I think it would be a lot more easy just to say ‘god did it’ and that I don’t need to take any responsibility for my actions because I can always ask god for his forgiveness.

I feel sorry for you people. Not willing to have responsibility for your own lives, and living someone else’s. Good for you, I am happy I don’t have sleepless night about fools.

And I feel sorry for you Wolfsbane, sorry that you are so misguided and deluded. Just mentioned this in previous statement, but as aetheists we don’t accept that there is any “higher supernatural authority” so we have to take responsibility for our own lives. Unlike religious people who can commit any sort of atrocity but as long as they ask for gods forgiveness they think they still get to go to heaven. Yeah lots of responsibility there….not!

Adios me foolish wanderers !

Adious to you Wolfsbane, I have a feeling that, like Jeffrey, you will never return, you are like a random drive by shooting. Pointless, dangerous, nasty and gutless. <sarcasm> Thanks for that final insult </sarcasm>

Like the previous one of these I wrote, Wolfbane’s comment has been left in my moderation queue (and will probably eventually be deleted as spam), I would prefer if Wolfsbane were to return that their next first comment might be a bit more polite, accurate, and to the point.

Oh, and I fixed the spelling mistakes in their comments. Why are so many of these fundies illiterate?

Feel free to continue my critique of Wolfsbanes comments, or just have your own rant about whatever you want, the likes of Wolfsbane, Jeffrey et al seem to think it’s OK to just drop in and rant so why don’t you all join in the fun? Consider comments on this post open to general ranting. 🙂 but don’t make it too personal OK.

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