Jesus gift isn’t free

One particular thing Christians often like to bring up is “Pascal’s wager”. They often tell me, “Just open your heart to Jesus, what do you have to lose?” Then they often say that “Jesus died for my sins and he offers me a free gift of salvation”. I mean who doesn’t enjoy free gifts? Here Jesus is, offering me a free gift and all I need to do is take it. So why don’t I?

Because as far as I’m concerned, this gift is anything but free.

For one thing, those same people who speak of the “free gift” of salvation also urge me to acknowledge Jesus as my Lord and Savior and to submit to him, to repent and to follow him. Now, in principle regretting your wrong-doings and making ammends with the person you have done wrong to is a good thing and should be encouraged. What I am not going to do however, is apologize for my deeds to God or Jesus.

Neither am I pleased by the thought of acknowledging Jesus as my Lord. Like he is the King and I am the servant or at the very least, not on equal footing with him. I’m sorry but in a working relationship, both parties need to be equal. With Jesus however this evidently doesn’t seem possible. I’d have no problem with a mutual friendship with Jesus. I do have a problem with submitting to him, I do have a problem with being his sheep. The Bible describes us humans as sheep and flock often enough and I’m sure most Christians aren’t as devout and as submissive as fundamentalists ask me to be, or as submissive as Abraham himself was, but such an attitude to me is unacceptable. And believe it or not but I have encountered Christians who told me, that they would kill their children if God asked them to and we have in fact seen cases where they did.

Another problem, that I see with the gift of salvation is, that  Christians asks me to put all my personal responsibility on Jesus, who served as the sacrificial lamb. If I “sin” then I sin and if I do wrong actions, if I hurt people then it is my responsibility to make it right. I have no need and more importantly I do not want anybody to take that responsibility away. I do not want Jesus to pay the debt for my actions. I am a grown man and I take responsibility for myself.

More importantly though, this gift implies, that Jesus was brutally tortured and killed for me. I do have to take a part in this. I do have to say, that I approve of this human sacrifice. I’d have to say, that I approve of the method, by which God wants to forgive our sins (bloodshed). If I believed, that Christianity is an accurate description of reality (and I absolutely do not), then I simply couldn’t say that and I couldn’t do that. I don’t approve of this method and I want no part in it. Accepting this gift would imply, that I think it’s moral that Jesus has been victimized and tortured for me and it implies that I myself took part in this sacrifice.

I’m sorry but this gift isn’t free. It has a very high price to pay and I’m not willing to pay it, provided that Christianity turns out to be true.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Fallacy, Failure, Fallibalism

I have been debating the subject of religion, Atheism and science on the internet for about a year now. While every conversation is different there are certain repetitive and annoying aspects, that I’ve noticed coming from the other side.

While you certainly can have rational debates with most Theists, especially Bible thumping fundamentalists seem to be rather fond of specific flaws in their reasoning and arguments and in some instances I suspect, it’s done on purpose.

The most often employed fallacy, that is used by fundamentalists, especially when discussing evolution is of course the good old Strawman fallacy. ” Nothing magically exploded to create everything.” or “you believe, that you came froma rock.” are just two of the most glaring ones they always come up with.

The next one, that I see way too often is the argument from personal incredulity. The Big Bang singularity for example seems highly, highly counterintuitive and since most creationists can’t seem to get their head around it, it must obviously be false. I’ve said it about a thousand times but here it goes again: Your personal incredulity is not evidence against a well substantiated theory with predictive capability!

the 3rd one of course would be the argument from ignorance. It has become so popular among theists, that it is often referred to as the “God of the gaps”. Basically what it boils down to is this: We have a gap in our knowledge, that science can’t explain yet, therefore a god specifically the God of the Bible is behind it. “Why is the universe fine tuned for life (I don’t think it is but that’s a subject for another day)?” Well we don’t know but that does not mean that God answers the question. It could’ve been a plethora of natural or supernatural entities. Gaps in our knowledge aren’t evidence for anything but the fact, that we need to work on some issues.

But the one aspect, that I find most annoying is a complete rejection of fallibalism. In their eyes it’s completely impossible for them to be wrong and nothing I or anyone else could say, would ever change their mind these issues.

I am not speaking for all or even most Christians but on the internet it seems there are way too many crazy people. When I ask them the old “Ken Ham question” point blank: “What, if anything could ever change your mind?” More often than not the response is nothing.

Not only is that kind of worldview beyond arrogant, the position that the Bible or the Qu’ran or whatever holy book is beyond fallibalism, that it is literally impossible for that book to be wrong is untenable. When you employ such a worldview, you’re determined a priori to reject everything, that might challenge you. You’re not open to change your mind, you’re not open to correction. I can only feel sorry for these people, because if I’m wrong now I at least try to zero in on the truth in my search for it but if they’re wrong now they always will be unless they start to doubt and investigate.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Requirements for proving Christianity

Inevitably when asking about evidence that Christianity, Christians will bring up, what they think is convincing historical evidence for Jesus resurrection. The most popular method nowadays is an inference to the best explanation. They often contend that, these 4 “historical facts” are best explained by Jesus resurrection:

  • Jesus was crucified
  • there was an empty tomb
  • there were post resurrection appearances
  • the birth of Christianity itself

I personally remain unconvinced of fact #2 and #3 but what Christians fail to realize is, that even if the resurrection is the best explanation of the 4 facts (I don’t think it is) and even if it did happen, that in and of itself is not sufficient proof for Christianity.

As far as I’m concerned, Christianity is also dependent on Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve did not exist (or didn’t exist in the way the Bible describes them), then there is no such thing as sin and Jesus just died and resurrected for whatever reason, not for the reason the Bible explicitly describes.

But I go even further than that: Jesus resurrection does not in any way, shape or form prove the divinity of Jesus. In order to prove, that Jesus was the son of the Christian God Yahweh at least the following points need to be established beyond reasonable doubt:

  • the existence of a god. In order to propose, that Jesus was divine and the son of God, the existence of a deity would first have to be demonstrated
  • the god is a personal theistic god. It does nothing for Christianity to prove a prime mover who set the Big Bang in place and then just sits back and watches it unfold. Unless God is interested in human affairs and interferes in nature, Jesus divinity, let alone the truth of Christianity cannot be reasonably established and needs to be taken on faith
  • God is capable of reversing biological death. A theistic God who might be interested in humans and might even be able to grow back a limb or heal cancer is good and fine. In order to prove Christianity though, God is required to reverse biological death. He needs to have the power and ability to bring back a person from death.
  • God is interested in resurrecting a human. Having the ability to raise a man doesn’t necessitate the willingness to do so after all.
  •  There is nothing besides God that can perform the act of reversing biological death. If say, extraterrestrials had the ability to perform actions like that, we would have a competing hypothesis and Christianity would be in doubt.

I, as an Atheist not only claim, that the resurrection hasn’t been established at all, I also claim, that the existence of Adam and Eve as described in the Bible hasn’t been demonstrated (and that we have good reasons to be skeptical of their existence). Furthermore as far as I know none of the 5 points above have been demonstrated and 4 out of those 5 barely get addressed, if they get addressed at all.

Therefore the truth of Christianity as far as I’m concerned has yet to be proven and needs to be taken on faith.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Are you really following Jesus?

As I’ve already touched on in my previous post, there are some verses in the Bible, that most Christians tend to ignore and avoid. Last time I talked about the Old testament ( I have an announcement concerning the old Testament at the end of this post) but now I want to talk once again about the central figure of Christianity itself: Jesus Christ.

Many Christians also proclaim, that they don’t have a religion they merely follow Jesus. Really? Do they really follow Jesus? I want  to hit you with some passages then and I will elaborate on them. The first one is Matthew 5: 28-30:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell.

I know that Christians love the first part of this passage, in fact Ray Comfort uses it quite frequently when evangelizing. But oddly enough he never mentions the second part. Now there is no denying, that both Atheists and Theists alike have looked at a woman with sexual desires. I however have failed to encounter any one-eyed or one handed Christian in my entire life.

Now the Christian may object to this and claim, that “Jesus died for our sins and if we repent in him then we will be forgiven and we’ll be saved.” My answer to this objection is the following: “Jesus put it quite bluntly here. If you do look at a woman with lust and potentially have an affair with her you go to hell. Why would he say we go to hell for this if we really aren’t? Either Jesus was wrong/lying which of course puts your entire theology into question or this rule only applied before Jesus died and people weren’t saved in retrospective which of course is problematic as well. Jesus gives no exception whatsoever to this rule. None. So why didn’t he give the exception you’re proclaiming right now?”

There are of course more verses to this effect like Mark 10: 23-25:

 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”  This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Yet when we look at Christians like Ken Ham one wonders why they are as loaded as they are. Ken Ham and AiG have 2 Christian tourist attractions (the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter) they make DVD sells and sell books and their Answers Journal and if that’s not bad enough they get donations too. Being rich is sinful in Jesus eyes yet this seems to have escaped many Christians in general and certain faces of Christian apologetics specifically.

One more passage just one chapter short of John 3: 16 I give you John 2: 16:

[Jesus speaking] :To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

I don’t think I need to elaborate.

Now to the announcement: Tomorrow there will be a guest post where the Christian Kaylin hutson (@kaylin_hutson) will defend the God of the Bible often proclaimed by Atheists like me and others to be evil.Specifically she will give her take on slavery.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation