How Do You Explain Souls
If There Is No God?
I've never visited an atheism site before, and let me assure you, I'm not about to make it a habit or anything. The reason I'm here is simply because I was curious to know exactly why it is you believe what you do.
I read through some of the letters written to you, as well as your responses, and found myself engulfed in an endless pool made solely of big words and wishy-washy explanations. I guess what I'm trying to say is that every answer you gave to questions, such as, how do you explain souls if there is no God? where did the universe come from? and so on didn't really answer anything at all. Basically, you tried to answer the questions by asking some of your own. And in the process,you cut down Christianity, while you really had no idea what it was about.
I realize I should be maybe asking you some questions here, just to see if you'll prove me wrong by actually ANSWERING something that I ask you. The questions I pose are as follows:
Have you ever read The Bible cover to cover? Or have you only pulled snippets of verses out of context so that it fit what you were trying to say?
You seem pretty certain that God does not exist. Obviously, the idea that He DOES exist is a threat to you. Why is that? Or, if you may be so bold as to say it DOESN'T threaten you, then explain to me something. Why don't you want to believe in Him? What makes you so adamant that having God exist could only make life a waste of time?
One more question, and then I'll go. If you've ever read the gospels (and by this I mean the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), what was it about the life of Jesus that made you think He was "just a man"? Or do you think that some old guy, bored and looking for something to do, just started writing one day and came up with the description of Christ found there? If that's what you think, then why do you think he invented such a complex character as the savior of the world? Wouldn't it be a nicer story if Jesus was invented as this great ruler that came riding into town and just handed out tickets to heaven? Why would someone concoct the idea that He would have to actually DIE a horrible death on a cross? Wouldn't that seem like a bit much?
Anyway, there you have my questions. To be honest with you, I'm not really expecting you to write me back. And if you do, I'm kinda looking forward to the fact that you won't be able to really answer any of them. So, I guess time will tell, right?
Looking forward to hearing what you say (or don't say)!
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: positive_atheism_letters_section
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2000 6:05 PM
To be honest with you, I'm not really expecting you to write me back. And if you do, I'm kinda looking forward to the fact that you won't be able to really answer any of them.
No. You are free to gloat over the fact that it is impossible to answer a trick question.
Rest assured, though, that we respond to all reasonable e-mails we receive, that raise questions or request comment. We are lenient and very reasonable in this regard; the unreasonable ones are turned over to our server's anti-abuse department for possible action, and fortunately, we seldom have had to do this. Even when people ask trick questions, we still respond by explaining the nature and use of trick questions.
I've never visited an atheism site before, and let me assure you, I'm not about to make it a habit or anything.
This website is made with atheists as our target audience. If we were to make it so that only atheists could log on (which we would never do) we would lose the right to post about half of the material we have on our site.
I read through some of the letters written to you, as well as your responses, and found myself engulfed in an endless pool made solely of big words and wishy-washy explanations.
Engulfed? Endless? No. You're wrong. We have posted only about 40 megabytes of material and then it comes the end. I am only one man, and cannot engulf anyone.
Are some of the words we use too big for your vocabulary? May I suggest Microsoft Encarta World Dictionary? With it, you can right-click any word on any webpage and it will tell you what that word means. I use it all the time.
Wishy-washy explanations? You'll have to be specific on this one, or you stand accused of posturing. Send us some examples of "wishy-washy explanations" or we will write you off as one who huffs and puffs and bluffs, rather thanone who reasons.
Basically, you tried to answer the questions by asking some of your own.
Many Christians have demanded that we defend ideas and answer questions raised by statements they have made. Unfortunately, I cannot be held account for statements that I have not made. This is a brutal scam that has been foisted upon us by numerous Christians. If you were open-minded enough to acknowledge that it is possible for a Christian to err in his argument against an atheist (that is, that sometimes the atheist can win the argument because the Christian has argued dishonestly), then you would see our point in these responses.
Remember, it is the theist who makes the claims, not the atheist. Since the theist is the one speaking, it is only natural for the atheist to raise questions about the theist's claims.
Have you ever read The Bible cover to cover?
Your implication that I don't know what I'm talking about is almost as despicable as your suggestion that I would deliberately mislead by misquoting the Bible.
I have read the entire Bible, cover to cover in a single sitting, twelve times -- that is, on twelve occasions I sat down and read it cover to cover.
The New Testament I have read, cover to cover in single sittings, over 50 times. Books such as the Gospels I have read more, and books I consider to be genuinely of Paul, such as Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, I have read as many as 200 times. I have even gone over the Greek text of various passages (including the entire book of Romans) with various lexicons.
Have a nice life.
You seem pretty certain that God does not exist.
See? You have not been "engulfed" by my "endless" declarations -- which state that I simply lack a god belief, and that I have yet to encounter a god claim that makes sense or holds water.
Had you been "engulfed" by my writings, you would not say that I believe a certain way when my writings clearly and repeatedly declare otherwise.
I am on the verge of calling you a liar. What would Jesus think about you lying for the purpose of defending His position before a damned atheist?
Obviously, the idea that He DOES exist is a threat to you. Why is that?
Oh, now we get personal.
Can you not back up your claims and assumptions with strong argument? Or perhaps you are just lazy, resting in the assurance that since you're already right, you don't have to work to make your case. Being this way, you certainly wouldn't need to test your position to make sure it holds water.
To answer your question, if the Bible god exists, we are in a world of trouble. Fortunately, no evidence for the existence of the Bible god has manifest itself, and nobody has been able to bring forth a strong arguments to back up the claims that the Bible god exists.
Meanwhile, you are holding me accountable for what you think I believe, rather than what I actually believe.
Or, if you may be so bold as to say it DOESN'T threaten you, then explain to me something. Why don't you want to believe in Him?
Again, you presuppose that you know what I am thinking and what my motives are, then you hold me accountable for what you think I believe -- rather than what I actually believe.
The various claims that the Bible god exists range from the weak to the silly. If those claims had been backed by solid evidence (or at least strong argument), then I would be much more likely to believe. However, since it is the theist making the claim, it is the theist who must back up his or her claim with evidence or strong argument. I, the listener, need do no more than listen.
I am not stating that no gods exist; I am merely saying, "Show me" and "I'm still waiting."
If you've ever read the gospels (and by this I mean the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), what was it about the life of Jesus that made you think He was "just a man"?
The Gospels themselves show every sign of being myths and biased political tracts. I don't believe the Gospels. The "Jesus" you believe in is known only through the Gospels, and since I find them to be patently unreliable (contradicting themselves, contradicting each other, and contradicting secular or "profane" history), I cannot acknowledge the "Jesus" you believe in.
If a man existed, upon whose life story was hung the Jesus myth that we know today, then we cannot know much if anything about that man -- even whether his name was Jesus. That's all I can say about any historical Jesus. There are just way too many problems with the "historical Jesus" quest (not to mention the Gospel tales) to say for certain whether a "historical Jesus" ever existred.
Or do you think that some old guy, bored and looking for something to do, just started writing one day and came up with the description of Christ found there?
Again, you put words into my mouth and proceed to refute them. (This is called the Straw Man Fallacy.)
Human life is much more complex than what you (falsely) accuse me of thinking..
If that's what you think, then why do you think he invented such a complex character as the savior of the world?
Because it sold. Because it sold. Because it sold.
Wouldn't it be a nicer story if Jesus was invented as this great ruler that came riding into town and just handed out tickets to heaven?
Such a story not only wouldn't sell, but with it a single group could never gain dominion over the masses. The Jesus Gospel story allowed a small group to control the masses. That is why it has survived -- nobody has dared to go up against it until very recently.
The few of us who did contradict the Church found ourselves engulfed in the flames of the Auto-da-fe and our estates confiscated and turned over the Church. The Church, in turn, used our money to further its own power grab.
Why would someone concoct the idea that He would have to actually DIE a horrible death on a cross? Wouldn't that seem like a bit much?
Even if it were hard to imagine someone concocting this tale, it wouldn't necessarily follow that the Jesus myth is true.
Actually, the dying and rising savior myth was very popular during the time of Paul, and allowed some to gain control over others. Paul ingeniously incorporated many of the savior myths into one, blended it with the Gnostic notions of this world being dark and filthy, and then hung the whole thing onto a framework of Jewish history. None of the undisputedly genuine works of Paul say anything about when Jesus lived, only that he lived some time in the past and somewhere in Palestine. Nothing is said about Pontius Pilate until after the Gospels were published. Nothing, in secular (or "profane") history, mentions Jesus until long after the Gospel accounts had had time to become widely circulated.
You have a long way to go before you will convince me that the Gospel tales are worthy of my consideration. You'll have to take on the same tough objections to the Gospel claims that I've had to take on, and then you'll have to answer them much more skillfully than I have been able to do. Since I cannot answer these tough objections to the Gospel claims, I remain unconvinced by the Gospel claims, I remain without a god belief, I remain an atheist.
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