Atheist Musings for the Fundamentalist Christian "Soul"
The following seven questions/challenges/musings are intended for fundamentalist Christians. Liberal believers may not recognize themselves in this address.
1. The historical evidence for biblical truth-claims is thin, to be sure. I know of no secular historian who reports on Mary undergoing parthenogenesis, for example. Because this is the case, it seems to me that Christians ought to present some credible secular historical evidence to support their most cherished folklore. It is in this spirit I request the names and relevant works of at least two secular record-keepers—who lived at the same time as Jesus—who specifically mention Jesus as well as at least one of his alleged miracles (for example, bringing dead-long-enough-to-stink Lazarus back to life). Despite persistent requests, I have yet to be presented with any qualifying names.
2. Biblical-literalist Christians generally reject evolutionary theory, in spite of its near-universal acceptance in the scientific community. Evolution teaches us that various orders of animal roamed the planet (and, indeed, went extinct) before other orders of animal even came to be. Creationists argue that all orders of animal were created at about the same time; that is, humans and dinosaurs co-existed. As luck would have it, Young Earth Creationists have a way to falsify Darwinian evolution: the geologic strata. It is in this spirit I request at least two examples of horse fossils found in the Paleozoic strata (among trilobites and other such life forms). Alternatively, I, along with the late Dr. J. B. S. Haldane, request at least two examples of fossil rabbits found in the Precambrian.
3. According to fundamentalist Christians, the Bible is the word of god. That is, the Bible’s very words were directly inspired by him. Because the Christian god conception incorporates omniscience, a fundamentalist Christian must conclude the Bible boasts omniscient authorship. However, I think the evidence for such a conclusion is lacking. It is in this spirit I request two examples of biblical passages that provide brand new information about the natural order, which previously had been unavailable to humans living during biblical times. I shall relate an example: If the Bible had mentioned the true age and size of our universe, that would qualify as brand new information about the natural order, because first century commoners did not already possess this information. If the Bible lacks brand new information about the natural order, its claims of omniscient authorship are groundless.
4. The Yahweh-worshipping crowd’s delusion truly would have been convincing and persuasive if Yahweh-worship had appeared independently in several different cultures, rather than spreading when one population actively attempts (forcibly or not) to convert another. Consider the following example: The atheist would have had a difficult-to-defend position if, when Christian European explorers arrived in North America, they had discovered a significant percentage of Native Americans was already worshipping Yahweh. The odds of that deity (with his fantastical nature, distinct characteristics and unique demands) coincidentally being invented by two different populations are vanishingly small. If the
5. Our universe is a breathtakingly vast space. There are about 130 billion galaxies, each containing as many as 400 billion stars. Nobody is certain of how many planets are in our universe. A reasonable (albeit very rough) estimate is about 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, which is reached by multiplying 130 billion (galaxies), 400 billion (stars per galaxy) and one—representing planets (because an as-yet-unknown percentage of stars has planets, whilst some lack them). When one examines reality through the lens of cosmology, it seems laughable to think this entire creation is for us. After all, our planet is an infinitesimal speck within our own galaxy—let alone our entire universe! The corners of the cosmos hospitable to humans are exceedingly few. One would think that, if our universe was designed with us in mind, we would be able to explore it a bit, rather than being trapped on a metaphorical sidewalk square within an endless Metropolis. It is in this spirit I ask why, given the enormity of our universe, fundamentalist Christians think god crafted the cosmos for us.
6. Our universe is incredibly old. The best scientific estimates indicate that our universe is 13.7 billion years old. Allow me to quote Dr. Victor Stenger, emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado: Referencing the deity, he says, “Instead of six days, he took nine billion years to make Earth, another billion years or so to make life and then another four billion years to make humanity. Humans have walked on Earth for less than one-hundredth of one percent of Earth’s history.” This being the case, why should humans conclude everything was made for us? I shall put a finer point on this: Why would any god, who created a vast cosmos existent for nearly 14 billion years, containing roughly 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets, care about what human primates do whilst naked?
7. Homo sapiens sapiens have existed for tens of thousands of years, or more. The earliest inklings of the Abrahamic monotheism came several millennia ago—probably about four thousand years. Bearing this in mind, why did god wait tens of thousands of years to introduce hominids to the One True Religion? Assuming that the fundamentalist Christian ideology is sound, hominids living 25,000 years ago would have benefited from knowing about Yahweh and his regulations regarding behavior. Lacking god’s revelation, these primitives probably descended into all manner of silly superstition and false belief. If humans truly are god’s children and everything was created for us, why wait until 2000 BCE to roll out the correct religion?