Friday, October 20, 2006

I, Too, Am Not Afraid

Over the past couple of weeks, this blog has had more Christian visitors than at any other point in its history. For most of its existence, this avowedly atheist blog has had an atheistic readership that is sympathetic to my views. While, of course, I welcome readers of all types—including devout Christians—I am uncomfortable with the idea of this blog being used for evangelism, especially when it’s directed at me.

Yes, I previously was a Catholic. However, a few years ago, I left that faith never to return. Catholicism in particular, and Christianity in general, simply is not compatible with a scientific worldview. The “soul” is a notion for which no scientific evidence exists. A closely connected concept, the afterlife, also is a notion for which no scientific evidence is present. In fact, the scientific evidence gained via brain study effectively has ruled out an immaterial, immortal soul. Memory and personality reside in the brain, and have perfectly natural scientific explanations. By explaining personality and memory in terms of science, the “ghost in the machine” has been exorcised. And, let’s not forget that Jesus’ resurrection is scientifically impossible, as well as the fact that there’s no more evidence for Yahweh’s actual existence than Zeus’ actual existence.

Shocking though it might be to many Christians, I am extremely confident that there is no God. Indeed, I propose that I am just as confident in the veracity of atheism as they are in the truth of Christianity—if not more so. This post is intended to serve as a testament to my confidence that the religion of Yahweh is, and always has been, false.

Let me quote two verses:

(10) And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Luke 12:10 (New International Version)

(29) But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.
Mark 3:29 (New International Version)

To demonstrate my absolute confidence in a godless world, I say:

I deny the Holy Spirit.

I know that Brian Flemming, in his film The God Who Wasn’t There, did this before me but, nevertheless, I would argue it’s a profound and meaningful step for every atheist to take—even if the rest of us didn’t have the courage to do it first.

As Mr. Flemming said, “I am not afraid.”

I believe in the oceans, the continents, the air and the sun. I believe in friends, family, integrity, hard work and enjoying life. I believe in treating others as I wish to be treated, and letting them live their lives as they see fit, never passing judgment on things that aren’t my concern. I believe in wringing as much pleasure, fun, happiness and laughter from this earthly life—our only life—as I can. As a freethinker, I try to lead others to that same path.

But God? The supernatural? The paranormal? I have no room in my consciousness, nor time in my life, for such notions.

I am an atheist.


Blogger Tommykey said...

Oh boy, you are in a load of trouble now Jolly!


8:10 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

I haven't seen too many other christians on this website other than me. I really do apoligize if I offended you in any manner, I don't believe that you think I offended you.

Let me say this, I respect you because you believe what you believe whole heartedly, even if I don't agree with what you believe. You state your case clearly unlike others that debate things on this site and I respect you for that.

I can't explain in words how I feel when I'm overcome with the Love of Christ, I can't because it's unexplainable, I know it's real because I feel and I know others that feel it.

I really like this post because now I can get a sense of who you really are as a person outside the belief in Atheism. I will again say I just hope you realize the truth before you time ends, I don't know how old you are but hopefully you live a good life for a long time. I know people who don't believe in Jesus can be happy because I know people like that.

8:14 PM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I'm not offended PGC. In fact, I would rather have more theists than non-theists visit my blog, because I want them to read my thoughts on religion and I want to read theirs as well. It would get pretty boring if it was just atheists agreeing with each other about why they think religion is not true.

8:21 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

alrigth now i'm really confused who blog site is this Jolly's or Tommy's or are you the same person? I meant that statment directly to Jolly but it should apply to all after I think about it.

10:55 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

I know your side and you know mine so Tell me this:If Jesus really doesn't exist.

Do you agree that the manuscipts of the Bible exist?

Do you agree that they have not all been written by the same person?

Do you agree that they have all been dated differently (1500 BC to 70 AD roughly)?

Do you believe that a person named Jesus walked this earth from 3 bc to 30 ad? Most of the worlds population believes this.

We know this happened during the time of the Roman Empire according to history, not just the bible.

Do you agree that the concept if Jesus being the Messiah has been around since they started writing the Bible? (all the mention in OT)

The following of Jesus spread very quickly during His ministry as the bible says. Man has written about Him for 1500 years or more. The Roman Empire was a brutal Empire and they killed and conquered simply because they wanted to. The Roman Empire ruled at the time of Jesus.

So if this was a Hoax that spread quickly among the people why didn't the Roman Empire put a stop to it?

Why would the Roman Empire allow this to happen?

Why wouldn't they simple destroy the manuscripts and squash what has lasted for nearly 2000 years now?

Let me state this according to history the Romans did kill Christians but ended up being Christians themselves. I believe (?) that the Romans created the Catholic denomination, the first christian denomination.

So if Jesus and Christianity isn't real than why did it last throught the great and might Roman Empire?

11:20 PM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

No, it's Jolly's blog. It's only recently that I became aware of his blog and started posting comments here. My blog is Exercise in Futility, which again you are more than welcome to visit.

11:21 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

Mighty Roman Empire

Dont see where to edit

11:26 PM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

PCG, I will take a stab at answering your questions in your last post above, which seemed to have crossed with mine.

Do I agree that the manuscripts of the Bible exist? In short, yes, though I am not clear if you mean original manuscripts, or just the fact that today we have a collection of books known as the Bible.

I agree that they were not all written by the same person. Nor do I know who wrote the books that comprise the Bible. It would also not surprise me if they had additions or retractions before reaching the form we know them today.

I would not date the oldest books of the Bible being written as far back as 1,500 B.C. I believe that Genesis and Exodus were based on oral tales. Most of the Old Testament I would date to having been written during the Babylonian Captivity. Before that time, the Israelites were a bunch of country bumpkins, a confederation of semi-nomadic tribes. When they were brought in large numbers to Mesopotamia, they were exposed to Babylonian culture and civilization, and it was a wake up call to the Israelite priests.

For several hundred years, the Israelite people had been attacked by their more powerful neighbors and the Israelite priests decided to impose a religious orthodoxy on the Jewish people to give them a sense of cohesion and purpose. After all, what better way to feel better about yourself than to be born believing that you are the chosen people of the creator of the universe?

Thus, I would venture that the books of the OT prophets were not written accounts of contemporaries of the prophets. Rather, they were mean to be lessons taught to the Jewish people explaining that the reasons for their defeats were because they did not abide by the laws of their God.

So, to sum it up, the bulk of the OT was written sometime between 500 and 600 B.C.

Do I believe that a person named Jesus, or more precisely, Jehoshua, walked this Earth between 3 B.C. and 30 A.D.? Well, there were probably lots of people in Palestine named Jehoshua, so my answer is an affirmative yes.

Do I believe that the concept of Jesus as the Messiah existed when they started writing the Bible? No. Around the time that Jesus is alleged to have lived, it was my understanding that there was an expectation among some Jews (the non-Hellenized ones) that a Messiah would restore their kingdom. They had in mind a military leader.

If you are referring to the references in the Gospels to select OT verses that seem to predict Jesus, I would argue that when you read the verses in their context, they have nothing to do with predicting Jesus. Whomever wrote the Gosples was engaging in quote mining. Whether Jesus was real or fictional, the author or authors did consciously try to link Jesus to the OT. There is no denying that.

But back to the Messiah. Even after Jesus was alleged to have died, there was still an expectation of a Messiah. In fact, during the second Roman-Jewish War in the early second century A.D., the Jewish military leader Simon bar Kochba was thought by some to be the Messiah after he won some initial victories against the Roman legions.

You ask if the Romans believed that Christianity was a hoax, why did they allow it to spread? Well, from my understanding of the Romans, they didn't give a rat's ass who you worshipped, as long as you acknowledged the supremacy of the emperor. I would also argue that Christianity was largely below the radar screen to the Roman leadership for the first two hundred years of the religion's existence.

Christianity might have remained just another oriental mystery cult to the Romans, but for the vagaries of history. After the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 A.D., the Roman Empire went into decline. Among the factors was lack of orderly succession, civil wars between contending generals for the throne, plague, barbarian incursions in the European frontier and frequent wars with the Persians which drained the treasury. With all of the stress this put on the empire, the lot of the common man and woman was probably very grim. The Christian religion offered them the promise of a better life in the afterworld, which they likely found very comforting.

By the time of Constantine in the 4th century, the number of Christians in the empire had risen to a point where Constantine found them useful in his bid to achieve sole rule over the empire.

But if you want to make longevity an argument for Christianity being true, you have to then acknowledge that Hinduism predates Christianity by many centuries and there are still hundreds of millions of Hindus to this day.

You also have to acknowledge that the lands that Jesus is said to have walked have been under Muslim control for far longer than those lands were under Christian control. The mighty Mongols adopted the Islamic faith of the people they conquered, and not Christianity. If God really wanted to show favor to Christianity in centuries past, the time to have done it would have been to make the Mongols Christian. An alliance between Mongol Christians and Christian Europe would have been a mortal blow to Islam. But it did not happen.

Okay, I've rambled for far too long now.

11:54 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:58 AM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:02 AM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

Yes you did write alot. The facts are the facts. The books moses wrote have been scientificly dated using the same process scientists use to date other artifacts and fossils etc.

THe Jews missed the whole concept of Jesus because they were so indulged in their law that they didn't read what the prophets wrote in great and accurate detail throughout the OT. The were under great stress and pressure from Roman rule and they expected God to send someone to conquer the Romans and kill them all. Obviously this didn't happen. God sent Jesus to save everyone not just the Jews and this is another reason the missed Jesus the Messiah. I believe the Jews belief in thier Messiah comes with the second coming of Jesus, the same belief Christians have, when he will conquer the world.

The following of Jesus spread extremely fast during his time, Jews Christians and Muslims all believe in Jesus (jews, muslims as a great prophet) this makes up more that half the worlds population today. When you boil down the numbers with the 5 biggest religions of this time, Christianity, Judaism, Islaam, Budhism and Hinduism. They all believe in a supreme God (i don't now alot about hindu or budism). So with that said I believe this would probably make up at least 90% or more of the worlds population. That leaves 10% or less that may believe nothing at all, this puts you in the very small minority.

Christianity spread fast during Roman rule and it would have affected thier rule, so if it wasn't true and it threatened to bring a great uprising they would have killed and stopped it. Fact is they know they crucified a Great Person in Jesus simply because the Jewish leaders wanted them to.

Hindu probably has been around longer than Christianity but not the concept of our God which ultimatley led to christianity.

Muslims oppose Christians and Jews they fought for that land long before Jesus came. Muslims were not muslims until I believe something like 800 ad or 400 ad I can't remember exactly. But the point is Christians never really fought too much for that land because they believe more in peace and love than they do having possesion of land. Jesus didn't come so Christians could rule one peice of land in the middle east he came to save all of man kind. This does include you and Jolly if you wish it.

To answer something Jolly has said about God and Jesus condemning man to eternity in Hell.

God does not condemn man to Hell. Ultimatley man condemns himself to Hell for his failure to follow the Truth and that is God and Jesus. People don't have to be perfect or sinless to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they must believe in Jesus and try as hard as you can to live by his word. If you choose not to that's not God's or Jesus' fault it's the person who made that choice. As I said before God gave us the ultimate gift of choice when He set us free, He didn't force us to worship Him or follow Him, He simply gave us the choice to want and desire to follow Him.
So in the end man condemns himself to eternity in Hell, not God of Jesus.

10:04 AM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

is there a way to edit after you post?

10:07 AM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

Why would you need to edit your post pgc? Isn't God guiding you?

1:19 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...


I answered your questions about evolution in the "Setting America's Agenda" post. Sorry for the delay, but I've been pretty busy.

If you're interested in learning more about ToE, check out that reply.

8:26 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

i would need to edit my post to correct my horrible spelling skills or typing skills. my mind thinks much faster than my fingers type.

11:30 AM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

Boy, you really don't know all that much about history, do you PGC?

FYI, Islam came into being around 600 A.D. Ironically, the Muslim faith might not have spread out of the Arabian Peninsula had not the Christian Byzantine Empire and the Zoroastrian Persian Empire fought a decades long war that bled both empires dry. Neither the Byzantines nor the Persians were able to put up much of a fight. The Persians were conquered completely, while the Byzantines barely managed to hang on, thanks to the strength of the walls of Constantinople.

The Muslims took Jerusalam (which was surrendured to them peacefully, I might add) by 640 A.D., and it was under the rule of various Muslim states until its capture by the knights of the First Crusade in 1099. The Crusaders, demonstrating the love of Christ, butchered the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The city remained in Christian hands until 1187 when it was taken by Saladin. The Christian Crusaders were completely expelled from the "Holy Land" in 1291. No Christian army would enter Jerusalem again until the British took the city from the Ottoman Turks in 1918.

Know, as for the numbers of people around the world who are Christian, did you ever ask yourself how this came about? Take Latin America for instance. Before the arrival of the Europeans, it is estimated that there were tens of millions of Native Americans. But when the Europeans arrived, primarily in the form of Spanish conquistadores, the Native Americans were decimated by the diseases that were transmitted by contact with the Europeans. The diseases were then spread by one infected tribe on to other tribes that had not had any contact with the Europeans. When later Spanish expeditions travelled through the south of the present day United States, they found whole regions depopulated.

So, you see, diseases to which Europeans had long since become immune proved deadly to the Native Americans. Within a few decades, millions of non-Christians died. Other Native Americans adopted the Christianity of their conquerors, coming to what to them was the quite sensible conclusion that Christianity must be true because so many of them died after the coming of the Europeans, and the Europeans had such mighty ships and guns and horses.

This begs the question then, if belief in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, then why did God allow so many tens of millions of Native Americans to die from diseases carried by European explorers, thereby denying these unfortunate natives the opportunity of ever even hearing about Christ? And this is not a matter of free will either. The Europeans were in many instances not aware that they were infecting the Native Americans with diseases, and many of the natives that perished did not themselves come into contact with the Europeans.

10:19 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

To Tommy

It was between 622 and 632 ad. (Muslims don't regard him as the founder of the religion) I said something like 400 or 800 ad, so the answer was in the middle, (big deal I'm not a Historian, I'm a golf pro). Sorry couldn't find my book about the history of Christianity which has alot of facts about other religions.

I believe Islaams believe that Ishmael was the promised son from God to Abraham when if fact this was not true because the son didn't come from Sarah it came from Hagar. Isaac was the promised son to Abraham which ended up leading to Joseph who was the father of Jesus (yes I know he didn't conceive Jesus). The story about Ishmael stops in Genesis 16. God completes his covenant with Abraham in 17. It is said that people began to follow Ishmael because they said he was the first born therefore the promised son. I don't know the whole story but I have heard that Islaam started way back then but didn't take the name Islaam until after Muhammed had his vision. Musllims don't regard Muhaamad as the founder or the religion. him). It was said Muhaamed considered Jews and Christians as his allie because they worshiped the same True God and shared the same core teachings. Muhaamed was rejected as a prophet by the Jews which started there disagreement thus long wages of war against one another. The story is rather long so I won't continue to elaborate because I'm sure you know it.

As to the Holy Land I already told you my thought, just because some king who was or wasn't a Christian decided to butcher all those muslims it doesn't mean God told him, it was his own agenda. THis is probably were Muslims or Islaams began to hate Christians as well. I think after some fighting the city was surrendered Saladin in peace because someone finally realized they were fighting for possesion. Jesus did not come preaching War or Killing he didn't not tell Christians to butcher or murder people. He came preaching Love and Compassion and Peace. If man decides to buthcer or murder that's man's choice and that man should be held responsible for all that NOT ALL CHRISTIANS. Muhaamad wanted peace originally with the Jewish leaders but the Jews rejected him much like they rejected Christ. Jews Muslims and Christians could all have peace if the Jews would have agreed with Muhaamad instead of 1500 years of blood shed among the three. If you note nowadays It's only Jews and Muslims fighting each other and it's the Radical Muslims who kill Christians. Not all Muslims believe in killing to get to heaven because if they did you would have 1 billion muslims all killing to get to heaven.

I'm sure you know that people who never were introduced to CHrist will be saved because they didn't have a chance to reject Him they didn't know Him. Thus goes the same for children, they are saved because they don't know and haven't had a chance to accept or deny.

10:19 AM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

PGC, the Pope, who was considered the supreme Christian authority at the time (except for those who adhered to the Greek Orthodox Church) declared that anyone who took up arms and warred against the Muslims to recover Jerusalem would have all of his sins forgiven. Sounds pretty violent to me.

10:36 AM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

As I said I don't follow denominations and I don't follow the Catholic Church. I don't believe alot of the things Denominations say because they were all created over who thought who was right each breaking off from one another.

I can tell you with 100000% certainty that God nor Jesus nor The Holy Spirit told the Pope to butcher those people. His agenda was his agenda not mine and not of Christ despite what he may have said. One thing you must realize Christians are not even close to perfect, no one is. I don't know why people hold Christians on such a high pedistal maybe because some Christians place them selves above all which is not right and not something I do.

Do not put your trust in man for man can only let you down.

11:20 AM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

Even if I was a Christian, I would still argue that the idea of the Crusades was bad, because Christianity should be about following what Jesus taught, not going on a long campaign to murder strangers who never did anything to you personally to offend or harm you.

1:39 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

I completely agree with you. It was some dude or dudes on a power trip that thought they had a peice of right to that land. Or they simple wanted to prove they were big or something.

1:19 PM EST  
Blogger Tommykey said...

PGC, the Crusades were whipped up for a number of reasons.

The catalyst was actually the catastrophic defeat the Byzantines suffered at the hands of the Seljuk Turks in 1071, which resulted in the centuries old Byzantine heartland of Asia Minor opened up to Turkish occupation. They Byzantines sought help from the Pope and the Western Christian powers for some troops to help recover the lost territories. At this time, the Byzantines were just interested in recovering Asia Minor, as Jerusalem had not been part of their empire for over 400 years.

The Pope saw this as an opportunity to assert the supremacy of the church in Rome over the Eastern Orthodox church. By drumming up support for a Crusade to recover Jerusalem, the Pope also hoped he could end quarreling among the Christian powers and also rein in the Normans, who had been causing all kinds of trouble.

The irony of it all is that by focusing on capturing Jerusalem instead of helping the Byzantines expel the Turks from Asia Minor, the Turks remained permanently ensconced in Asia Minor, and eventually were able to cross into Europe and on several occasions march as far as the gates of Vienna in Europe.

2:38 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

you summed up my point with the word "supremecy"

like I said I'm a golf pro not a historian

2:45 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think and look at the universe in the same way. I dont think jesus is my lord and savour. But when i step back and look at the universe and it's creation i think of this always. And i keep coming back to it is How do you get something from nothing? The matter in the universe has to be infinite if there is no god. Because something can't come from nothing. I guess i am agnostic. mike

4:39 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

neither argument can prove anything. it takes faith to be a thiest or an athiest. either way, one has to have faith (or hope) that they aren't wrong. but if the athiest is wrong, he will regret it. if the thiest is wrong, then he might have lived his life for a non-existent entity, but nobody will ever prove him wrong b/c they will cease to exist. i just can't understand how some people can hear only two or three points for either argument and base their lifestyle on that... they have more balls than me. i, persoanally, would love to hear intelligent arguments from either side b/c i haven't totally made up my mind after reading volumes. i would definately prefer the christian worldview, but i'm about as objective and open-minded as they come, so i will continue to pray that God helps me understand while i study the sciences and listen to everybody's opinion. one day, hopefully, i will have my answer.


thank you all

11:16 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone wants to defend their position. The Christians, the Atheists, the Scientists. Who cares, unless either one of these groups wants to shove down people's throat their position. Jesus doesn't really care if someone is Christian or not..."I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"...Well I interpret that as the teachings, the Doctrine equates to "through me", not the believe in Jesus Christ. So an Atheist can certainly go to heaven, even if there is no belief. Native Americans, Buddhists, Hindu, Jews...all eligible for the life after...and all others who have been unintentionally left out.

It's how you live your life. Would an Almighty Eternal Supreme Being really care if you believe? That is putting human traits where they don't belong.
Why the incessant debate. Go lead good lives and good things will come from it. The End.

1:49 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call myself an atheist but I have no religious beliefs, I was bought up as a christian/catholic whatever and I do not believe in jesus, I don’t care if he actually existed, his alleged actions in no way were meant to evolve into such a stupid, wasteful religion.

All religions govern your living life so you can have a better afterlife. I feel I don’t even have to mention the fact that there is no afterlife. Every human is scared of death and religion is a way to prey on this insecurity. In a way it is greed that causes us to be afraid of death, we don’t want life to end and we are greedy for more. Can you remember life before you were born? That’s what it’s like when you die, time will stop, and you will cease to exist.

Society and civilization have taken the human race far beyond our natural instincts of survival and reproduction.

Americans have taken Christianity way too far, I see them on TV and I am speechless, the first time I saw one of those preachy evangelist people I thought it was a joke. America may as well re-write the bible: “Jesus lives in Texas, give him lots of money so he lets you on his heaven bus, if you don’t you will be drenched in gasoline and set alight”. It’s cruel what this religion is doing to children, practically brainwashing them and ruining their chance of a normal life. People shouldn’t be introduced to religion until they are able to consciously make up their own mind, without any pressure.

Religion in my country is dying fast and I am happy with that, science and medicine will benefit and we will become stronger and more united.

Fuck jesus
Fuck god
Fuck America, everyone hates you.

1:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Emminific said...

...this was something to think about...I am just new to being an atheist and I want to say thank you for that essay. I have not thought about it but I also want to say that I am not afraid :)

I deny the Holy Spirit.

8:38 AM EDT  

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