Six Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian

I did think my blogging days were well & truly over. I’d said all I wanted to say about Christianity and its dubious origins, and I’d relegated myself to a casual blog reader who left occasional comments. However, recent unprovoked abusive comments from a certain blogger [see here and here] have caused me to saddle up and respond to this unwarranted & totally unprovoked abuse [see below for a flavour of these comments]

if you and s****** want my vote for most profoundly ignorant bloggers on WordPress”

“don’t have time to endlessly entertain your silliness”

reduces your credibility to less than worthless”

you seem more like an angry lunatic

“Sorry, Ken but you are a dime a dozen internet atheist and not worth the time”

I’ll start this blog by clarifying the central issue causing all this animosity. Christians claim Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem 2000 years ago & then resurrected from the dead. I’m happy to accept Jesus was crucified as claimed, but I do not accept he was then resurrected. I reject the Christian resurrection claims for the following six reasons.

  1. The resurrection of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Anyone who actually looks closely at Christianity soon realises that the only evidence for the resurrection claims is the evidence found in the New Testament Gospels. There is no other credible evidence available. This does not bothered Christians. They claim the very existence of these Gospels proves Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem, because their existence cannot be explained any other way. This simple argument has held true for centuries, despite numerous efforts to discredit it. However, as I’ve already demonstrated in an earlier blog, the existence of these Gospels does not prove conclusively that Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem.

  1. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.

The New Testament portrays this conversion as a divine encounter with “a resurrected Jesus” and Christians reject totally all suggestions that this was just a sensory hallucinatory experience triggered by TLE. We can’t blame Paul for thinking it was a divine encounter, because back then they knew nothing about TLE, but today there is a growing mountain of medical evidence that enables us to explain Paul’s so called divine experience in a simple & rational manner. Christians, however, still prefer to stick to their 2000 year old supernatural interpretation, of what we now know is a fairly common occurrence. See “Resurrection! What Resurrection?” in The Christianity Myth for more details on this topic.

  1. Claims made by Peter & by Paul.

Christians accept that Paul never met Jesus whilst he was alive. They also accept Paul’s knowledge of events in Jerusalem came directly from Peter when they first met, some three years after Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Paul summarised what he learned from Peter in 1-Corinthians 15: 3-9. He later relays this second-hand hearsay information to his early Christian communities. Established Christian apologists like Habermas do not dispute this chain of events. On the contrary, many of today’s Christian scholars believe it strengthens their resurrection argument, because it links the resurrection claims found in the Gospels directly to a reliable & reputable eye witness, namely Peter. I address the veracity of Peter’s claims in section 5.

  1. New Testament Chronology.

Professor Taboo’s excellent table in the section called “The Gospel Jesus v The Jewish Jesus” provides us with an excellent up to date summary of the relevant chronology. The dating of the Gospels indicates that all resurrection accounts found in these Gospel must be second hand hearsay accounts based on Paul’s earlier claims in 1-Corithians 15: 3-9. This assertion explains why all four Gospels portray the resurrection as a near invisible event noticed only by a handful of Jews, despite the fact it allegedly happened in a city teeming with Jews. Most Christians seem oblivious of this point.

  1. Veracity of Gospel resurrection claims.

Given the chronology involved [see point 4], I think we can safely assume that all four resurrection accounts found in the New Testament Gospels are based entirely on Peter’s original claims, which Paul later passed on to his early Christian communities. This simple chain of events highlights Christianity’s Achilles heel [see my earlier blog for more details]. Because Christians automatically assume the alleged resurrection actually happened, they never stop to question the veracity of Peter’s original claims. They just tacitly assume he told the truth, & then hope nobody notices. Who knows, maybe they just do it unconsciously. However, Peter’s claims are in fact, just uncorroborated & unsubstantiated claims. Therefore, I think we can say with some certainty, that all four Gospel resurrection claims are based entirely on unsubstantiated & uncorroborated claims made 2000 years ago by a peasant fisherman from Galilee. Christians have no choice but to just ignore this awkward fact and again hope no one notices [again I’ve dealt with this issue in more detail in an earlier blog ].

  1. The Gospel gap.

There is a 40-60 year gap between the alleged resurrection of Jesus c 30 AD and the appearance of the four canonical gospels c 70-90 AD. Explaining this gap has always been a thorny issue for Christians, because their starting point must be “the resurrection actually happened”. Therefore, logic dictates that someone somewhere should have recorded the alleged event whilst eye witnesses were still around. But they didn’t, and Christian scholars still struggle to explain why several adult generations passed by before the Gospels finally appeared.

But if you change the starting-point to “the resurrection never happened” and then divide this awkward gap into two separate periods, a pre gospel period [c 30-70 AD] and a gospel period [c 70-90 AD], there is no problem explaining the dating of the gospels. No gospels were written in the Pre-Gospel Period [c 30-70 AD] because there was no resurrection to write about. There was just Paul going round the pagan world establishing his early Christian communities. He established these nascent Christian communities because he genuinely believed Peter’s claims that Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem. Paul tells these communities about the death & resurrection of Jesus, but he tells them absolutely nothing about Jesus’ life prior to his crucifixion in Jerusalem. Later, after the death of all concerned, it was inevitable that Paul’s newly converted pagans would eventually want to know more about Jesus’ life prior to his death. Cue the Gospel Period [c 70-90 AD] and the appearance of the gospels, all of which appeared when they did in response to growing demands to know more about Jesus. This simple rational explanation yet again challenges Christian assertions that Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem [see Pre-Gospel Period & Gospel-Period in The Christianity Myth for more details].

All six points listed above are totally compatible with the evidence as I understand it. The various weaknesses I’ve identified in the orthodox version of events are only weaknesses for those insisting that Jesus was resurrected. If you assume Jesus wasn’t resurrected, as I do, then all these weaknesses just disappear, and you end up with a simpler and more pragmatic explanation of all the know facts and, as a bonus, no divine interventions are needed to make this simpler explanation work.

Thus there are now two alternatives to chose from.

The orthodox Christian version requires acceptance of two divine interventions, one in Jerusalem and one on the road to Damascus. It also requires acceptance of the fact that all resurrection claims found in the Gospels are based entirely on Peter’s original uncorroborated and unsubstantiated claims.

My simpler alternative version requires acceptance that Paul’s conversion experience was a simple hallucinatory experience triggered by a common medical condition call temporal lobe epilepsy, and acceptance that Peter just lied to Paul about this Jerusalem resurrection. [I’ve already dealt with all this stuff in much greater detail in my book The Christianity Myth which can be read here free of charge]

So in effect I’m challenging the credibility of the orthodox version of events & offering instead an alternative explanation which I personally think better explains the known facts. Christians of course can choose to reject any or all of the above six points and continue to stick to their current position. That’s not a problem. What is a problem is the unwarranted abuse from certain Christian bloggers. If you insist on claiming I’m just some idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, then I’m going to insist you put your money where your mouth is. I’ve now made it as easy as I can for you to respond. I’ve set out my store, and I’ve lined up all my ducks in a row. Feel free to drop by anytime and point out where you think I’m going wrong. My comment section is there, ready, willing & waiting. Feel free to refute any or all of the weaknesses I’ve highlighted. Prove me wrong & you’ll have my eternal gratitude. Those who feel their necessary response is too substantial for my comment section, can leave a heads up in the comments section, together with a relevant link.

Ignoring this challenge will be taken both as an apology, and as an admission that there are no absolutes where religion is concerned. All world views are just personal choices. We all chose to believe what we want/need to believe, based on the evidence we chose to accept/reject. These personal choices are invariably conditioned/influenced by prevailing cultural values, as this video on Professor Taboo ‘s blog demonstrates so succinctly. Some of us may not like to admit this awkward truth, but both the questions posed in this video and the claims made in this video are abundantly self evident. The time has come to stop hurling childish abuse, to stop making facetious claims & spouting empty rhetoric and to start behaving like adults. If the relevant Christians want to draw a line under their unwarranted animosity, then fine, all you have to do is admit none of us possess knowledge of the absolute truth & accept that some of us prefer to let the evidence dictate our world view, whilst others prefer to let their world view dictate the evidence.

Post Scripts

Hope Professor Taboo doesn’t mind my plagiarizing some of his material. I discovered his blog a few days ago, after he dropped by and left some favourable comments. Having read his material I think we complement each other quite well. He seems to relish details. I on the other hand prefer to stand back and look at the bigger picture.

The Isaiah 53:5 Project recently posted a very good blog pointing out the dangers of confirmational bias. I even commented positively, saying I wished I’d written it. In this blog, he rightly says

// Despite our best intentions, it’s easy to unconsciously buy into beliefs that feel right in our hearts, even though they are objectively false. But it’s precisely when we’re sure that we’ve cornered the truth that we should take a step back, breathe deeply, and open our minds as far as we can//

Given these words of wisdom, I find it difficult to understand his abject hostility, both to me personally & to my blog. He seems to simply characterise evidence in one of two ways. If it affirms his world view he calls it evidence. If it conflicts with his world view he calls it rubbish. It’s ironic but he appears to be doing the very thing he so rightly warns us about.

 

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115 thoughts on “Six Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian

  1. Pingback: Six Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian — Atheist’s Guide to Christianity – kennethandrebrownsr

  2. I note Isaiah 53:5 guy talking about “evangelical atheists.” I’m not out to evangelize anybody and told him that; pointing out empirical lacuna and logical failings is NOT “evangelizing.”

    I did say the bottom line is, here in America, to make sure that evangelizing Xns aren’t in my face. I told him, if people like you stay out of my face, I’ll stay out of yours. And, I think his “confirmation bias” is actually other-directed only and was not meant to be self-directed, because, of course, if it’s material from the omnipotent god, there can be no confirmation bias.

    ==

    On Paul, TLE is one possible explainer, but certainly not the only one. Certainly, things like long-term fasts can also induce visions. Or things like ecstatic dance, per the Dervishes, etc.

    ==

    On Gospel dating, I think your 70-90 window is too narrow. Yes. Mark was circa 70. Matthew was probably around 90. But, Luke was likely 95, maybe later. John, even the first draft with just 20 chapters and without other edits, may have been 100; the final version was surely post-100.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mind boggles at the thought of Paul dancing like a Dervish.

      Gospel dating: I used conservative consensus figures accepted by most apologists. The greater the gospel gap the stronger my argument so I’m not arguing with your data.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello again Ken. Wanted to mention that another infrequent theist/Christian to my blog has reblogged my Saul the Apostate 5-part series. However, for his reasons he only reblogged Part II; unsure why. But since it was inaccurately claimed above that “no one cares…” there are indeed theists, Christians, atheists, Secularists, etc, that do care. If there is one reason I hear/read about why interested parties don’t comment is because of etiquette and civility, or the lack thereof when crossing partisan lines.

    This fear is unfortunate, because then the little known or complete naivety of Jesus’ FULL Torah-Jewishness and quasi-Sectarian background unknown in modern Christianity/Christology; it is lost… it’s naivety perpetuated because of abusive and childish partisan behaviors. Meanwhile, the truth of Jesus’ deep Second Temple Judaism/Messianism and love for Torah-Judaism is also lost and convoluted from Saul’s TL-epilepsy “divine revelations.” Wish this was not the case. :/

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    1. Hi Professor [sorry I don’t know your real name]. Re your comments

      //why interested parties don’t comment is because of etiquette and civility, or the lack thereof when crossing partisan lines// and
      // it’s naivety perpetuated because of abusive and childish partisan behaviours//

      I couldn’t agree more. It is an uphill struggle & it’s going to take time [generations?] to overcome the embedded inertia/resistance to change. The emotional grip of religions taps into intrinsic emotional needs& the subtle combination of fear/potential reward, most notable in Islam, is a powerful weapon that religions have honed to perfection over the centuries.

      I would like to think we are now in the process of turning the corner. Recent medical advances leading to a better understanding of TLE and the “religious side effects” cannot be ignored forever. However, I can understand the reticence of relevant members of the medical profession, and understand their reluctance to stick their heads above the parapet. Both the Vatican & Islam are potent forces & you upset them at your peril, “career wise” in the case of the Vatican, “life wise” in the case of Islam.

      I was hoping my radical suggestions about the potential origins of Christianity [and Islam], would be better received, but my ideas have been totally rubbished by Christians [surprise, surprise] and largely ignored by everyone else, even though I’ve now made the book available on line free of charge. Resentment from the converted & apathy from a generation addicted to quick fixes & instant gratification is a tough nut to crack. We now live in a culture that rates personality above content. It’s no longer about what’s said. It’s all about who says it. I’m a complete unknown non entity, & sometimes, I can’t help thinking that had Richard Dawkin’s name been on the front cover of my book, it would have been an instant success [maybe].

      Anyway all we can do is keep banging the drum & hope somebody hears it…….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If I may Ken, not only for aesthetic reasons here for this long comment-thread formatting, I’d like to step out for a minute (from our current exchanges above) and consider a bigger picture than the tiny one James and I are currently discussing. If that’s okay with you? 🙂

    What I often attempt to make theists or religious faith-followers (any of the hundreds in existence) recognize is that all “appeals to authority” are relative and subjective to many variables and always will be. To be more specific, I personally see very little evidence or support for a lifestyle or belief-system (faith) in/of immutable absolutes and Monism. In almost every aspect of life — with very very few exceptions like applied mathematics — there exists no monisms, absolute absolutes, or entities or systems purely immutable all the time in every case and over vast amounts of time (100+ or 1,000+ years). Most everything humanity has ever known, or is in the process of knowing, remains exactly the same after say… 1,000 years or 100,000 years. A prime example of this is the mere fact that Christianity HAD to utilize a canonical process for the nature and purpose of Christ. Then, as if that wasn’t sufficient either, they had to have 7-21 Ecumenical Councils to lay down MORE central authority — a cognitive manipulation — for a Monistic system (immutable absolutes) that simply do not exist and never have existed as our Earthly history has more than adequately shown time and time again.

    Now, to be more specific, I seriously doubt (it is possible though) James and I will never see eye-to-eye on life, human nature, and governance of any kind for the simple fact that he believes there is Monism and immutable absolutes (Christianity) and I see no to very little evidence supporting such a claim. And there it is. That said, I still consider James part of my human family; he is one of my cousins and deserves a happy thriving life just as I do. 😉

    Thank you Ken for allowing us/me to ramble and ramble on your blog here. LOL 😛

    Liked by 1 person

      1. By the way, did you notice that James did not answer my question about “appealing to authority” and whether my appeals or his appeals also apply equally to all 7.6+ billion humans on Earth, or only to “some”… or as the Abrahamic religions claim ‘only to God’s Chosen‘ few? I hope he didn’t intentionally avoid/ignore it and returns later to answer it.

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  5. Oh Ken, you’ve done it again!
    The arguments that you put forward are so weak that any half decent historian, theologian or psychologist could drive a coach and horses through them!
    This world that you have assumed that christ lived and died in full as it is with epileptics and liars simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, especially from a style of historical analysis that did not exist until some 200 years ago. The writers of earlier times were not writing factual accounts and lists of events so you cannot judge them using those criteria. Hell, even histories written in the 19th century are suspect, they are telling moral and political tales and are not to be trusted as actuality.
    Your reasons for not being a Christian are personal choices and decisions that you have made based on your experiences and ‘research’. The question I have raised with you is whether your researches empower you to make the decisions and statements that you have made. Are your arguments valid by any scientific or logical standards? ‘Would they hold up in a court of law’?

    When I was a Therapist my job was not to tell people ‘what’ to think but to try to teach them ‘how’ to think, how to analyse and justify to themselves as well as to others the basis of their beliefs.
    I have previously suggested to you discussing your argumental approach in the light of psalm 40, I do so again!
    Regards
    Eddie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eddie.
      Long time no see. We’re all entitles to our opinions, even me. I don’t accept your assertion that Jesus’ times were any different to today. Lying has always been a human capacity & TLE is nothing new [re the Sacred disease]. You seem to be suggesting we should ignore everything said earlier & focus only on more recent assessments. All history has to assessed knowing who wrote it, when they wrote it & why they wrote it, including early Christian history. Would my assertions stand up in a court of law? Of course not, but then neither would the orthodox assertions you seem to favour. There are too many unknowns, and too much speculative reasoning forced upon us by these unknowns. It’s not about absolutes, because there are none. As you rightly say, it’s all about personal choices to accept what we want/need to believe. All I’ve done is put a new alternative explanation on the table for consideration. People are free to weigh up the relative pros & cons of the two possibilities, and do so in light of their personal needs, if they so chose, and then make a personal choice which one better fits their needs. And I resent you implied suggestion that I don’t know how to think. I know full well how to think, how to avoid confirmational bias & how to assess the relevance/irrelevance of available data. I spent 30 years doing research & development solving relevant technical issues. Despite your implications & your derogatory assessment of my abilities, my alternative explanation is at least as sound as the orthodox explanation you favour, and in my opinion it is probably sounder, because it addresses all the weakness to be found in the orthodox case.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hello Eddie,

      Some of your comment here offers some insight and I see that Ken, you, and myself could probably find some common-ground to agree upon regarding the subject of Christianity’s veracity, or degrees of veracity. However, I would have more questions regarding your statement here:

      The writers of earlier times were not writing factual accounts and lists of events so you cannot judge them using those criteria.

      Many, if not most, historical scholars (of various disciplines) specializing in ancient Hellenistic culture and the rise, pinnacle, decline, and fall of the Roman Republic, Principate-Imperial, Western/Eastern, then the collapse of the Empire… would probably disagree with you and that vague statement. The Roman Republic and Principate-Imperial, and to an extent the later Eras, were OBSESSED with record-keeping and details of social, political, and military events. In fact, so much so that modern scholars have extant sources of at least 41 Pagan-Roman and Jewish authors/historians during Jesus’ lifetime or within less-than 100 years of his life. Remarkably there is no mention of a Jesus Christ “Son of God” figure in any of these surviving sources, aside from two forged passages in the works of Jewish author Josephus, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers Pliny the Younger and Suetonius. That’s it!

      Now, as a qualified, excellent forensic investigator would always keep in mind during a case, that “no evidence” does not necessarily equate to “it never happened,” even though given the remarkable, phenomenal(?), supernatural(?) narrations in the canonical Gospels, it is perfectly reasonable for a courtroom juror to be very suspicious and critical of the DEPENDENT only (vs. independent) and strictly Christian sources of those Jesus-events (the Gospels) when OCD Greco-Roman historians, authors, and political scribes of that time-period say nothing about them/him!

      Just my humble interjection here as a History of the Roman Empire fanatic. Your quoted stated is a bit too general, too vague. Thank you sir. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you Ken for the pingbacks and links to some of my blog content. It’s appreciated Sir. 🙂

    I have had very very brief exchanges with this particular blogger many many months ago (perhaps a year ago?) on 2-3 of his blog-posts and a blog-page or two there. I always give common respect and courtesy to EVERYONE I meet in person or over the internet no matter what their persuasion or beliefs. Did so with this particular WP blogger too. After about 2-weeks Isaiah 53 project simply stopped responding to me — nothing. Poof! Vanished. Unsure why.

    This really disappoints me that he has sunk to this type of behavior. Sad. I guess sometimes it just goes to show you that anyone can pretend to be… what’s the word I’m looking for(?)…

    Something

    …other than what or who they pretend to be in public (online) versus what/who they really are inside and behind the Oz Green curtain, huh? 😞 I often must remind moderate, excited, or hyper-zealous Christians that what I am dissecting, scrutinizing, and dismantling is NOT personal, NOT surgery upon THEIR body… but instead the content, historicity, and the full broad context of their ideology’s origins and development! That’s all. It truly is not personal.

    Ahh, but alas… it sometimes goes in one ear and out the other. Poof! :/

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm, yes. One lesson from the Wizard of Oz:

        We don’t need emerald cities or ruby slippers. Everything we need is waiting for us… right here, at home, right now. Confront the fears. Understand your knowledge as well as your ignorance — they are often equal as much as unequal.

        And besides, ruby slippers do NOT look good on me. 😉

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        1. My recent encounters with Isaiah 53 & his cronies has been a real eye opener for me. I’d totally underestimated the extent & depth of their delusion. They seem mesmerized by the glossy facade & totally ignorant of its origin & what’s behind it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. If I may Ken, having worked years in the Psych/A&D rehab-therapy field, I learned and witnessed firsthand the personality, cognitive, and neurological disorders MANY people and families suffer from. There is often some connections/crossover and manifestations in religiosity and their disorders. Surprise? Not to a doctor or staff in the field, no. I wrote a blog-post in 2016 introducing these sorts of symptoms and behaviors and just how they may start or be triggered, Mind and Matter. Here’s that link if you or anyone are interested:

            https://professortaboo.com/2016/12/11/mind-and-matter/

            Liked by 1 person

                1. Ken, since James moderates all comments, my below comment in support of you I’ve submitted. I hope James approves it and releases it into the discussion there, but I also know that several zealous Xians (Wally, Pastor Mel, ColoringShowers, etc) often censor what is submitted in opposition or contention of their blog-content. Hence, I wanted to leave my comment with you here. 😉

                  —————————-

                  It’s a heart thing Ken. Have you ever heard that?

                  Ken, this is a quite honest answer from James and I applaud him for it. Heart-things are very subjective and relevant to a person’s individual experiences as well as their emotional, mental, neurological, and cognitive environmental influences throughout their life.

                  Heart-things are also vehemently (faithfully) believed all around the world in many various forms and ideologies too, e.g. Shia, Sunni, and Sufi Islam; Judaic/Traditional, Samaritan, and Rabbinic Judiaism (not to mention the 5-8 sects during the Second Temple Period which included Jesus’ Essenes); the Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhists; and a plethora of denominations of Hinduism as well as an endless amount of Christian branches, ad infinitum. These constant divisions, splits, branches, disunity(?), in all religious supernaturally-based “faiths” throughout time (no exceptions) show one pattern: mutability. Though they may all claim immutability, or flexible degrees of immutability, the facts, history, and modern organizations state otherwise, unequivocally. THAT is a “Heart-thing” that is unique to specific individuals, regional groups or communities, and then orthodoxy — or what I define as the Placebo-effect surrounded by a Theater of Riveting Performance (peer-assimilation) — and voilà, you have an institutional (mutable) religion/ideology!

                  Naturally, none of these old, present, or new faith-ideologies in the future have or have had exclusive rights to “Universal truths,” as history has more than adequately shown. It is indeed a heart-thing, a family-thing, and a group-communal thing.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Think James may have inadvertently opened up a can of worms here. I’m happy to accept all you say about this generic aspect of human nature but would be surprised if James etc would agree. Whatever the actual nature of this “disease” I seem to possess a natural immunity.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Hahahaha! I was confronted online awhile back by another zealous Evangy-Fundy about my deconversion from 11+ years of Christianity, orthodox Evangy-Fundy Xianity that is, and he attributed my “treason,” my disobedience to gratifying my (depraved?) need/want to sin and asked me exactly what that evil preferred sin was that I gave up eternal salvation for. My answer?

                      I simply read the Bible… thoroughly, slowly, critically and acutely inferring implicit and explicit meanings. That’s it.” 😉

                      Hence, there DOES seem to be a cure for the disease. 😎

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                    2. I’m am certain James will never agree. That’s fine. As a former teacher/educator we know that there will sometimes be students who for whatever reason(s) will refuse to participate and learn. “You can lead a donkey to water…” might be the analogy. However, to be fair there might be some type of learning disability involved that can be tested for. But pure, simple belligerence will only change if the student chooses so and we educators must remain stoic and helpful despite the frustration. 🙂

                      Yet, Ken… WE non-Christians, or more precisely we non-theists are not really their biggest problem. The WORLD and its 7.6+ billion humans AND all of those ancestors before us are their most paramount problem… or reality check! After 2,000+ years Christianity has failed and is failing. By 2050 Islam will be the world’s largest followed religion. And there are very simple, rational reasons for that too — and it’s NOT “their god and prophet.” It’s the demographics and poverty that grows Islam in the poorest economic and poorest education sectors of the world that feed it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. All religions thrive best on poverty & ignorance, but Islam is a unique beast. Totally impervious to, & intolerant of, any criticism, be it from within [Muslims] or from without [us kafirs]. Think the combination of uncontrolled immigration via North Africa & the worrying demographics in Europe could facilitate a Lebanon-style civil war well before 2050. If not total Islamisation of Europe is only a matter of time.

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                    4. I would not argue any of that in the least Ken. It is quite concerning if not disturbing. So once again, you, myself, and other peaceful Secularists are NOT zealous Christians truest, biggest problem. Their Abrahamic cousins are.

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                    1. You didn’t read enough or the thousands of comments throughout to see your assumption is wrong. There are PLENTY of Believers that have commented, e.g. on my page “Why Christianity Will Always Fail,” or my post “The Mistaken Identity of the U.S.” to name just two. You’ll clearly see you are wrong; it is anything BUT an echo-chamber. But that’s okay. Yes, we can absolutely find common ground with each other — we’re from the same planet! 😉 😛

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                    2. And if you had gone back, you would see non-believer comments galore on my blog as well. Or did you just throw “echo chamber” out there without thought?

                      I used it, incorrectly, about your blog but I admitted I am just trolling you 🙂

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                    3. To conclude, Ken began this post this way…

                      However, recent unprovoked abusive comments from a certain blogger [see here and here] have caused me to saddle up and respond to this unwarranted & totally unprovoked abuse [see below for a flavour of these comments]

                      Ken was correct. Everything he stated here was not only true, but reinforced by your responses, both antagonistic (trollish as you stated) and your flat-out childish responses. I see, and I would think everyone else here too, saw nothing in the least that was Christ-like. From simply a human decency standpoint you scored very low. And I might be being too generous there.

                      I hope your life becomes happier rather than so bitter James. Best of luck to you sir.

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                    4. Professor,

                      I have never, ever, been affraid to admit that my behavior online is less than chrsitlke at times and always has been.

                      That being said, Ken and I have made amends since I put that post up and I don’t think he has any hard feelings towards me and I mostly certainly do not towards him.

                      Speaking of flat out childish responses, though. What first popped into my mind when I read this comment was this, “Cute you think I care what your opinion of me is, Professor, go pound sand.”

                      But, after some thought and prayer, I realized that it is important for me to care what you think of me. If the goddless read what I say and see the exact opposite in my behavior, that is a problem.

                      Thanks for shining a light on my childishness, Professor, and I mean that with all sincerity.

                      Now, I must get on the road. Headed to Texas to light up the sky 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. Well that was interesting if somewhat protracted. Having provided a neutral platform, I simply left both of you to decide the extent of any engagement. As that old cliché so rightly says, it does take two to tango.

                      I do find it amazing that different people can “look at the same evidence” & then reach totally opposing conclusions, some seeing it as inspiring evidence of god’s existence, whilst others see just unsubstantiated claims that can now be better explained in more pragmatic ways. This only make sense in terms of differences in our individual brain circuitry, notably in the temporal lobe regions. Some people do seem to be “hard-wired” for religion. Neurotheology, the recently established sub-branch of neurology, would certainly suggest this is the case. I’ll link to just one of the many relevant articles recently published, some of which I’m sure you’ve already seen. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104291534?storyId=104291534&t=1538121265600

                      In view of these recent medical advances, I think we have to accept we’re all different and just move on. James himself said on several occasions during your protracted exchange that he thinks non-believers do have difficulty understanding some of what he actually writes. Perhaps he has more difficulty “seeing things from our side of the fence”, that we do “seeing things from his side of the fence”. Given the potential pathological differences involved, this is probably no great surprise. Think it was John Loftus who said “you can’t argue them out of their religion, because they were never argued into it in the first place”. Reversing the effects of early cultural brain washing is both possible & relatively simple, but this neurologically driven “need to believe” is a different beast entirely. I am only now beginning to properly appreciate the enormity of the task facing the James’ of this world.

                      Hopefully, we are now on the cusp of an evolutionary change. Having served their purpose for aeons, religions now seem to be on their way out, Secularism is on the increase & maybe, just maybe, we can now start looking forward to a time when our intellects & our better understanding of the physical world around us will eventually prevail. Or is that just me being a little too presumptuous?

                      Now the dust seems settling on your somewhat protracted conversation with James, can I finish by asking you a simple personal question? At present, I indentify as an agnostic atheist because I think it best describes my current world view & because it indicates more or less where I’m coming from, even though it says absolutely nothing about why. You’re obviously not a theist, and you’ve already said you’re not an atheist, so I’m curious to know how you actually describe your world view when asked. I’m guessing something akin to secular humanist maybe?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Ken, time will tell whether it is presumptuous or not. I see no reasons at all to be pessimistic and therefore hopeful continued progress and evolution keeps showing us better and better understanding of not just this life and world around us, but equally ourselves. 🙂

                      That was an excellent guess Ken. If I am pushed and pushed to put a label on myself, I’ll always answer “I am a Freethinking Humanist.” If they can’t fit that somewhere in their cognitive compartments, my next answer is simply:

                      I am a human from planet Earth. Great to meet you! How can we collaborate to make this life better for ourselves and 7.6+ billion others and our own descendants!?

                      Simply, huh? 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. As is the case for you, myself, Ken, or Mel… the blog-owner is free to run and manage his cyberspace as they see fit. Doesn’t mean it’s best or perfect, but as long as they are abiding by WordPress’ Terms & Conditions, every blog-owner is free to say, publish whatever their heart pleases.

                      “Train wreck” is a relative term — it’s a case-by-case definition. It does often apply for most of the Pastor’s posts because of one major problem he suffers from: unfettered wild presuppositions. However, despite the train wreck he creates, after 2-3 days (or more) all his comments are quickly buried, ad infinitum, under another wildly presupposing blog-post, etc, etc, repeat. LOL Hence, Mel’s comment section is not as bad or dramatic as you are describing and implying. It may just be a matter of or difference of “human patience” with the global public. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    8. Actually, you know what?

                      I may have jumped the gun with that last comment.

                      While you are not banned, your comments will be limited because I don’t want endless 500 word essays clogging up the comment sections of every post and that (historically) is what happens here when I don’t moderate atheists. As I said, debating ad-nauseum is something I no longer have any oj nterest in.

                      Don’t take this to mean I hate dissenting opinion, that I am afraid of what you have to say (I’ve heard it all) or that I am unable to defend myself.

                      The first two years in had this blog, literally all I did was debate atheists. And, if I don’t mind saying, I held my own with all of them, every time.

                      So, if you want to to debate someone or try to talk people out of faith, there are other blogs you can try.

                      My readers are all smart enough to find an atheist if they want to chat with one, and that’s fine. They just have to have the conversations somewhere else.

                      James

                      PS. You can call this a cop out if that is what makes you happy, I truly don’t care 🙂

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                    9. James,

                      Thanks for further clarification. If I may return the courtesy, please. 🙂

                      #1 — I am not an atheist. Generally speaking, it is very frustrating to hear/read from over zealous Christians to lump ALL non-Christians into the same wonderful group of humanity when in fact, we are ALL different. You, me, Ken, every single person: different. Constantly stereotyping people without getting to know them first does speak volumes about some over zealous Christian’s common decency and common courtesy to people different than them. Generally, that posture projects arrogance and elitism. But you may not be intentionally trying to project that; you might have something different in your mind, but conveyed differently in your written words, perhaps? It’s fine. Writing exceptionally well is indeed an acquired, learned, rigorously practiced art. 😉

                      #2 — So it sounds like my or any non-Christian’s comments WILL CONTINUE TO BE censored/moderated for # of words — no matter their excellent or mediocre content? — despite the fact that I’ve only visited your blog maybe 3-5 times (a very long time ago) in a polite friendly manner. Doing so is certainly withiin your progative as owner of the blog, naturally. In fact, any and all blog-owners can make their blog strictly Private, membership only, approved by the blog-owner. That way you remain… “protected(?)”… from all unwanted non-Christian interference; not wasting yours or anyone elses time and energy. Have you considered that James? Although making your blog Private and heavily censored does come with its own negative consequences that I’m 100% positive Jesus of the canonical Gospels would be extremely upset about given his teachings. Something to think about. 🙂

                      #3 — On “500-word” essay comments, or 1,000 or 10,000 word essay blog-posts that cover a historical time-period between 167 BCE to 325 CE (or technically to the last Ecumenical Council in 787 or 1563 or possibly 1870 CE?) about one tiny nomadic people (Jews & Jewish Diaspora) hopelessly engulfed by several, more powerful cultures, armies, and politics coming to a historical head inside one of the greatest empires of all time, the Roman Empire… simply cannot be done with any validity or equitable fashion in a mere 200, 1,000, or 25,000-word essay. If I may be respectfully candid, to think it can be done in 200-words or less is a testament in flippancy, glossiness, and honestly delusional oversimplification for gullible, emotional impulsive ears and/or hearts. Personally for me, people do not deserve to be treated that way and exploited for the sake of shallow brevity. Or laziness either.

                      #4 — To say “(I’ve heard it all) or that I am unable to defend myself.” and that posture is certainly your choice and it applies for everyone else equally too, including non-Christians, however is it wise for a person or people to remain always stagnate? Imagine what would have happened had Dr. Howard Florey, Dr. Ernst Chain, and Dr. Alexander Fleming given up after 1 or 2 attempts on all their many experiments. Penicillin would’ve never been discovered, let alone the age of antibiotics that have saved millions upon billions of lives! It is because of postures of HUMILITY and open-mindedness (Dr. Fleming) that humanity thrives and (hopefully) makes life much better. Rigid stagnation causes deterioration, decay, and death.

                      #5 — It isn’t “a cop-out” if you remain engaged in the world and humanity even when it is different than you. If I remember correctly and one doesn’t understand the Mosaic & Noahidic Matthew 7:6, Jesus spent most of his time (on Earth) with the worst parts of Judean-Roman society, no matter how badly he may have wanted to spend it 24/7, 365 days strictly with his students/disciples. The question of where the Christian God needs his “chosen people(?)” most I think is easily answered in the 4th-century canonical New Testament. 😉

                      Thanks again James for these clarifications of exactly where you stand. Best wishes sir.

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                    10. A lot here professor sorry for the brief response in reply.

                      1. Sorry if I called you an atheist if that is not how you identify. No harm was meant.

                      2. Yes, your comments will be moderated but for no ther reason than that I don’t want to debate here. I have answered the same questions you will undoubtedly ask ad-nauseum. I am tired of it.

                      3. It’s a blog where brevity rules the day. If you want a place to submit dissertations, I’m sure there is one.

                      4. I have heard it all and I am far from stagnating. I go to seminary and read what atheists write all the time and have for years. If I want to learn about the “other side” I know where to find it so people don’t have to feel an obligation to bring it here.

                      5. I am quite engaged with the world thank you very much. It’s just that most of my engagement happens out in the world not in cyberspace with anonymous bloggers.

                      Best wishes to you as well, sir.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    11. Thank you James for replying again. I’m fairly confident that you and I would NOT be engaging this much on your blog, for several reasons you’ve mentioned and alluded to. Appreciated. 🙂

                      #1 — No offense taken. Since I am obviously not a “born-again” Christian (anymore), are you not interested in what I am today?

                      #2 — Having read most of your blog, I already know of at least TWO questions you’ve not addressed in any length, perhaps never at all. With all human respect for you, your blog offers all the same ole same ole pat-n-parcel answers the last 700 – 1,000 years have provided. I take it, however, you are not the least bit interested in anything new?

                      #4 — Again, I am not an atheist and I am actually a veteran of seminary, Christian ministries, and missionary work abroad in multiple cultures. I’m not so sure YOUR “map” is all that extensive or accurate. But then again…

                      #5 — I’ve asked you before to share openly everywhere in the “world” you’ve been to get an idea of your “experience” with the world, but you refused. Privacy concerns I believe is how you answered. Nevertheless, I too MUCH PREFER real-life, HUMAN, face-to-face contact and engagement; spend most of my time exactly in serving others in need in Psych/A&D, crisis, or educational/therapeutic capacities. Cyberspace is often superfluous fluff (blogs), used as propaganda machines, and too often shallow because of gross brevity. 🙂

                      And warm regards to you again.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    12. Wouldn’t be engaging this much on my blog? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. I have a history of engaging with non-believers quite a bit.
                      1 —I am plenty interested in what you are today. I have a great interest in all people and their stories.  What I am not interested in, however, is endless attempts to talk me out of my faith.  I’ve entertained those for years and I’m kinda over it.
                      2 — This blog is not a definitive source for answers to every question every person anyone has ever had.  Can’t imagine why this is a problem. 
                      4 — Seminary? Wow, good for you. That’s something to be proud of but there are many people who agree with me on Christianity who have Seminary doctoral degrees and I am certain who will still find fault with what they believe. So, what is Seminary reallt worth to you.   Same goes for my “map”. Does it really make a difference?
                      5 — You’ve asked me…Good for you, what obligation do I have to answer? I could say that I have traveled the world extensively (I was in the military for 20 years so I have) I could tell you what degrees I have and in what. I could tell you I have been in ministry for 20 years and have been on two dozen mission trips abroad. But, again, would it matter?  These are appeals to authority, nothing more.  And, to you, none of it would make me more believable anyway. Would it?
                      “Psych/A&D, crisis, or educational/therapeutic capacities….” Wow, impressive. Are you a liscensed psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor?  Or do you take out the trash in a clinic? You are being purposefully vague here.  Also, I thought you were a science teacher.  Not that it matters.

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                    13. James, as I see you are getting agitated now, I will attempt to keep this civil while not sacrificing necessary candor or precision. I would respectfully ask if I can borrow one of your telling sentences in your above comment-reply:

                      These are appeals to authority, nothing more.

                      Would your claim equitably apply for ALL 7.6+ billion humans on Earth, or does it apply only for “some.” Why or why not? Please be specific (pedantic? 😉 ) and thorough. Thank you sir.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    14. Ahh, a reference to Saul’s (of Tarsus) special, mystical “gnosis‘ perhaps? (1 Cor. 8:1, 7; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Tim. 6:20) Or might it be poor writing or incorrect writing? Everyone has their faults and strengths unless in their own head they’re a DC-Marvel superhero. 😉 🙂

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                    15. If anyone were to assume one of us thought we were a superhero I would, probably correctly, assume they would chose the one who is waging a war against Christian bloggers and their right to freely express themselves online.

                      Does that make sense, my passive aggressive friend?

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                    16. …waging a war against Christian bloggers and their right to freely express themselves online.

                      You are exaggerating James. Am I in any way warring or harassing you on your blog now or ever in the past? That’s a rhetorical question btw. Am I here? No. The WordPress Terms & Conditions of Use you and I agreed to upon signing-up spell out quite clearly what is considered “warring” or inappropriate harassing and those potential consequences of such behavior. I believe now you are making much ado about nothing sir. Sorry.

                      Best regards

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                    17. I read your netiquette post and agree with it for the most part.

                      What I asked, though, and I don’t think you answered, is. Do bloggers have an obligation to entertain and debate every person who decides to comment in the interest of free speech?

                      I think not and I don’t think this just applies to Christian blogs.

                      I had a political blog for a while and the same thing happened there all the time. Making a case for or against a position, policy, practice, or whatever does not necessarily come with an obligation to defend the same. Does that make sense?

                      Wheb I first started this blog I got comments galore from non-believers that I (because they took the time) felt obligated to reply to. But the comments became overwhelming and took up far too much of my time, so I stopped. Again, I will refer you to Mel’s blog and the comments he gets by the hundreds. Is that what you expect from me? Is anyone getting smarter over there? Is anyone winning anyone else over over there?

                      For my money, no. All it is is immovable stones meeting unstoppable forces and it won’t end until the atheists give up (they’ve been doing this for years so they won’t give up) or Mel starts moderating them so they move on. And that’s what I did, just ended it.

                      What I just can’t get past is someone else (there have been many other, not just you) basically telling me what should and should not be allowed in the comment section of MY blog. And, if I moderate comments in any way, then I am wrong somehow.

                      Some bloggers welcome the Arks and John Zandes of the blogosphere and their endless comments, I no longer do, my blog, my call. Get it?

                      Not sure why I matter much to you anyway. I’m just a small time Christian blogger with around 1,500 readers. Not particularly a big fish, in the grand scheme of things so, why bother? Why no just ignore me and move on?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    18. Can I butt in with my two pennies worth. There is some merit in both views being expressed here so I would like to venture a possible compromise. The comment section of a blog is essentially just that. A place for shortish but hopefully relevant comments. Should a more detailed submission be deemed relevant & necessary, would it not make sense to leave just a shortish heads up comment in the comments section with a link to this more detailed submission. People [blog owner & readers] can then engage or not engage as they see fit. Just throwing it in for consideration.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    19. That is a great idea Ken. However, WordPress and blog-owners sometimes/often Spam comments with hyper-links to that more “detailed” elaboration. I’ve done exactly that on several various blogs and the blog-owner never bothered to Approve the comment… stating he didn’t want me to publicize my blog on his. :/

                      Thoughts?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    20. Yes. It certainly shows or implies the great value in publicly globally available information evaluated by a wide spectrum of diverse analysis and feedback, doesn’t it? Even one’s opponents or critics can bring value to a topic. 😉

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                    21. And there shouldn’t be a way around it, Ken, I think that’s where you, me, and the professor disagree.

                      If someone has a blog, everyone who disagrees with what is written on said blog has no inherent right to publish a ton of counter points via comments. Why no, “Hey, I respectfully disagree with what you are saying here. If you’d like, why don’t you or anyone reading this click on my avatar and pop over to my blog for a discussion?” What would be the problem with that?

                      In my experience, non-believers absolutely can’t stand religious posts that don’t have multiple challenges right below them because they believe that is the only way the rubes who read religious blogs will ever see counter arguments. Am I wrong about that?

                      Or, why not accept the fact that blogger X might not want your comments for whatever reason and move on?

                      When I was a political blogger, I was banned from a gew liberal blogs and it didn’t bother me in the least. Why would it?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    22. James, I’m genuinely sorry, but I think you have some presumed notion of me that is not correct. When was the last time I commented on your blog? I know the answer, but do you remember? And how many comments did we exchange a long, long time ago? Again, and respectfully that is a rhetorical question. 🙂

                      I’ve already explained adequately that all WordPress bloggers have the permission from WordPress (under their Terms & Conditions) to publish whatever they choose and manage that domain however they choose… within the stated and agreed upon Terms & Conditions. That said, whether a blog-post or blog-comment deserves moderation or full censorship depends on the content not its word-count, in my opinion. 😉 There are certainly posts and comments which carry a LOT of value and truth; they should be evaluated on those terms from (not only WordPress’ standards) a general (global) consensus of what defines “value” for a now global audience… not just pockets of the U.S. In that sense, WordPress blog-authors are absolutely available for evaluation, scrutiny and/or praise, just as blog-commenters are too. So, to answer…

                      What I asked, though, and I don’t think you answered, is. Do bloggers have an obligation to entertain and debate every person who decides to comment in the interest of free speech?

                      No, of course not. It is the content of blog-posts and comments that are the question and the more broad and more diverse the feedback, the more value the topic and discussion provides to global readers and viewers. Unfortunately, the dark-side of an open forum are the cyber-bullies who perpetuate rhetoric, propaganda, or unfounded unsubstantiated information (ignorance) — that exists on both sides, the blog-owner (via censorship) and/or the commenters. However, the best way to hedge against fallacy and ignorance is to have the topic/information publicly and freely available to a GLOBAL audience, as imperfect as that might sometimes be. Otherwise, the alternative is to return to a Dark Age where all authority, info, and hard facts were centrally controlled/manipulated for an oligarchy or plutarchy, e.g. the Vatican or a Monistic ideology.

                      Regarding your last 3-4 paragraphs above… I don’t see how they apply to me or our discussion HERE, on Ken’s blog, not yours. I haven’t been stalking your blog in the least… have I? 😉

                      Hope you are having a good week James. Best regards.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    23. Whatever the final verdict by you, myself, Ken, or anyone else here, YOUR definition of value can and will never be truly or purely “objective” unless you divulge your claimed authority. Naturally, this goes for me and anyone else too. And then that “authority” — like any sane, reasonable person should expect and demand — should be tested, closely examined, and veracity checked. I would suspect you’d want to do the same thing, yes? 🙂

                      So… your personal opinion of what defines “value” is no more, no less than what 7.6+ billion other humans think or find as valuable. Your blog? It soothes a very tiny, small sector of America, yes. Then I would suspect it bothers or makes eyes roll (with laughing?) in many large parts of the globe.

                      I think (hopefully) you now understand too. Thanks for the dialogue James.

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                    24. “…and that authority-like any sane and reasonable person should expect and demand-should be closely examined and veracity checked.”

                      Bravo Professor, bravo.

                      Now, in the interest of academic honesty, is that a standard you apply equally to all bloggers or do you just reserve that level of scrutiny for religious bloggers?

                      If you are to be taken at your word, it should be no problem for you to provide a few links to conversations where you demanded the CVs of non-believing bloggers and then demonstrate the process you used to vet them.

                      As far as my blog soothing a very tiny sector of America, you may be right. But, then again, I have 1,500 or so subscribers and a paltry few hundred reads a day so I have no delusions of grandeur. 

                      Not everyone has the academic chops and extensive life experiences that make them noted experts in their field, such as yourself and the other titans of academia you routinely associate with.

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                    25. Bravo Professor, bravo.

                      LOL…thank you James, but to make sure we’re on the same page here, I did in fact write:

                      Naturally, this goes for me and anyone else too.

                      So I am explicitly stating that even though we all sit on the toilet the same way for the same purpose, each of us do have individually unique strengths, gifts, achievements, education, and experience to bring to bear degrees of value or critique to a subject or person. What gives that subject/person even MORE value are assessments from a diverse library of dependent and independent viewpoints, achievements, educations, and experiences. The wider and bigger, the better! For me, that’s where the most value, the most “authority” is reasonably and equitably measured.

                      In the interest of academic and ethical honesty, what I have been implicitly stating to you as well is that by humbly making myself part of humanity, as equal human beings with degrees of perfection and imperfection we ALL possess, appealing to the authority of diversity, pluralism, and collaboration rather than Monism, absolutes, “set apart,” and immutability… all of which have many negative impacts on life and humanity, that you would consider yourself part of this family of humans too. Furthermore, when one stumbles across a posture of ‘elite authoritarianism,’ typically the only language such a person understands clearly is his or her’s own language, own confidence (arrogance?), and own style. Ironically, they often don’t recognize it themselves due to such self-absorbtion. LOL 😉

                      If you are to be taken at your word, it should be no problem for you to provide a few links to conversations where you demanded the CVs of non-believing bloggers and then demonstrate the process you used to vet them.

                      I’ll be happy to provide this information as soon as you answer my question to you from the other day. If you can’t remember, this was it:

                      Would your claim equitably apply for ALL 7.6+ billion humans on Earth, or does it apply only for “some.” Why or why not? Please be specific (pedantic? 😉 ) and thorough. Thank you sir.

                      And congratulations on your blog’s popularity. 🙂

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                    26. Go back to your comment and my reply and you should be able to know what claim you made. It is easy to find if you use your WP Reader. If you still don’t remember what you wrote, I’ll copy/paste it for you. Thanks.

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                    27. See, I’m not going to go back because I don’t care enough about this conversation to take the time it would require. If you want me to consider whether or not I care to answer, copy and paste it here.

                      If you do chose to ask again, kindly leave of the “and be thorough” part. You are not a real professor and I am not a student.

                      Also, and since you don’t get how I use common literary devices in my writing, you are aware that I am just trolling you now, right?

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                    28. I’m not going to go back because I don’t care enough about this conversation to take the time it would require.

                      I don’t think you realize that you are writing one thing and doing another or the opposite. Yesterday or day before you stated, and I quote:

                      Also, this conversation I snoring me so I’d like to tap out.

                      Yet, you have not tapped out. You also intentionally write in obscure self-affirmed prose then in the next moment/reply project irrelevant descriptions of a reader(s) not having psychic telepathic powers (Saul’s gnosis) to decipher your cryptic language. Then when asked to elaborate for clarification you become more aloof, snippy, or antagonistic… I assume to appear above perceived mediocrity(?) 🤭 as well as lazy/slothy to even go back and review what you’ve written and avoided. It is my guess all of this appears as manic, scatterbrained for the sake of appearing heavenly, not Earthly (selective gnosis again). It is unappealing let alone agonizing to dialogue with. LOL

                      Nevertheless, I can excuse again your laziness and repeat what you wrote and my subsequent question:

                      James, as I see you are getting agitated now, I will attempt to keep this civil while not sacrificing necessary candor or precision. I would respectfully ask if I can borrow one of your telling sentences in your above comment-reply:

                      These are appeals to authority, nothing more.

                      Would your claim equitably apply for ALL 7.6+ billion humans on Earth, or does it apply only for “some.” Why or why not? Please be specific (pedantic? 😉 ) and thorough. Thank you sir.

                      Then you replied simply:

                      Agitated? Nah.

                      That’s the flippancy and implied heavenly arrogance that I’m referencing. And I’ll help you one step further… you were speaking derogatory about “appeals to authority.” So I asked you how that process applies to YOU and YOUR appeals to authority. You avoided and have continued to avoid that direct question.

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                    29. My claim that those were appeals to authority, if that’s what you are refering to, was about you, not all 7.6 billion people on Earth.

                      Now it seems like you are getting agitated:) 🙂 🙂

                      That was/is my intent.

                      This is boring me, btw. But, my desire to have the last word seems to be trumping my boredom.

                      Also, I read few of your posts about Paul and, wow!

                      Question I have for you is this. If these ultra-scholary works of academic genius do anything to damage Christianity, why is it almost no one seems to care? Why isn’t virtually every scholarly non-believer worth his/her salt sharing these epic takedowns? Why isn’t your monumental brilliance discussed far and wide? Really, sir, your work should be legendary.

                      And yet, no one seems to care.

                      Add a few more two dollar words next time maybe?

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                    30. James. None of us can help being who we are. You can’t help being you & I can’t help being me. Just accept we are wired differently in some way. I find it impossible “see” what you claim to “see” in your gospels & you obviously find it impossible to accept what I have no difficulty accepting, namely that Paul just hallucinated on the road to Damascus. It’s nobody’s fault. That’s just the way it is, and the sooner we all accept these differences & come to terms with them, the better for all concerned.

                      And concerning your recent comment //Why isn’t virtually every scholarly non-believer worth his/her salt sharing these epic takedowns?//. Quite simply, it is still very early days & we have 2000 years of inertia to contend with. Rome wasn’t built in a day……..

                      Liked by 1 person

                    31. Ken,

                      I do accept the fact that we are wired differently, that is why I no longer see any value in lengthy back and forths between committed Christian’s and committed atheists.

                      As far as the inertia you have to contend with, good luck. But, Christianity isn’t going anywhere.

                      James

                      PS This will be my last comment here, busy weekend ahead. Thanks for graciously allowing me to take up a ton of space here, I appreciate it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    32. That still does not answer the question. 😩😒

                      Yes, apathy, laziness, and the urgency for quick convenience and the less cerebral stimulation/activity the better mentality is why our society has become shallow and trivial. That’s likely one product of social-media among other factors.

                      Obviously you spent little time at my blog. Please feel free to go back over anytime and read more astutely those posts and share your personal thoughts if inclined. But I’m willing to wager that you — like most modern Xians — have no knowledge at all about Second Temple Judaism/Messianism and Sectarianism to understand the historical Yeshua… not the later Hellenic Apotheotic (Pauline) Christ/Christology that makes little sense, and more confusion as demonstrated by never-ending denominations and antinomianism the last 2,000 years.

                      But I’m sure you’ll find it boring because it doesn’t align with your world-view. Oh! Since you are a musician, I do have music playlists going back to 2011 or 2010. You may find your niche there. 😉

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                1. James [Isaiah 53} is a man on a mission. He uses his blog to proselytize about his Christian faith which he obviously holds dear. His past experience with atheists has obviously left him hostile to and suspicious of anyone who tries to inject a different point of view. We had a very civilized & interesting exchange of ideas. I think he eventually conceded that, from his perspective & the perspective of his followers, it was simply a matter of faith based on their willingness to receive the Spirit, rather than any assertion on their part to know the absolute truth.

                  We agreed there are no absolute truths, neither on his side of the fence nor ours, and agreed different things float different boats, which was pretty obvious from the start but there you go. All in all, a very amicable exchange & we parted on friendly terms. If nothing else, I’ve learned he is not having a go at atheism & atheists. He is just blogging about his Christian faith & trying to provide the spiritual nourishment his followers so obviously need. It was pretty obvious from the start that neither of us was going to “convert” the other, so I suggest now we just let sleeping dogs lie.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Ken, you are for the most part exactly right. Why do I say “for the most part”? I think I’ll first let Martin Niemöller explain the risks of silence/apathy:

                    When the Nazis came for the communists,
                    I remained silent;
                    I was not a communist.

                    When they locked up the social democrats,
                    I remained silent;
                    I was not a social democrat.

                    When they came for the trade unionists,
                    I did not speak out;
                    I was not a trade unionist.

                    When they came for the Jews,
                    I remained silent;
                    I wasn’t a Jew.

                    When they came for me,
                    there was no one left to speak out.

                    Second, one of the greatest beauties of our (struggling) democracy here in the U.S. and our First Amendment, as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the right to freedom of expression. HOWEVER, this human right comes with at least two protections under one umbrella: respectful toleration and respectful responsibility under peaceful grounds. And those two facets apply to both orator and listener/audience.

                    Naturally, there will be people who spout off completely bogus, unfounded nonsense. No matter, it is their right. But it is also the responsibility of the listener to distinguish between hogwash or brilliance, propaganda or facts, rhetoric or heartfelt for the greater good and greatest number. Also, it never hurts to double-check, triple-check your own knowledge/ignorance by objective neutral opinions or consultation.

                    Let sleeping dogs lie“? In Niemöller’s case, no. No surprise there, but allow that dog too much dominance and everyone else could be at risk. Intellect, respectful tolerance, and reasoning must prevail against would-be tyrants. But I know you already know most all of this Ken. 😉 ❤

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I realize that in the UK your laws and sociopolitics are different than here. I think generally in the U.S. we seem to possess and nurture — via our brief national history of European immigrants not so broadly or critically educated over our two-n-half centuries at high levels (see bar-chart for last several decades in US/TX) — a lot of ignorance over many generations. This is glaringly true when one compares Education Levels Attained state-by-state: the deep South and Midwest are impoverished not just economically, but educationally as well. Yet, those states harbor some of the countries most radical religious and political constituents. It does indeed paint a pretty accurate picture of how progressive thinking and advancements for a better life in general, for ALL, has been stunted. Sadly, religious fervor is a big reason for this. 😦

                      Today, we Americans are facing some of the most threatening times against our Constitution, against our most sacred institutions, and worse… against the pure necessity of Separation of Church and State! In some ways, it’s appalling Ken. Part of the fault lies with 1) poor-to-mediocre public education for the masses up to under-grad levels minimum, and 2) moderates and the passive, silent middle-class allowing this turn toward radicalism (theocracy?) steeped in mythology, ideology, and propaganda (back to Antiquity & the Dark Ages) to slowly subtly grow into the monster it has now become. For the first time in a very, very long time intellectualism and the goal for Good Will for ALL of Humanity has gone by the wayside and (temporarily?) replaced by Polarization, Division, and Egotistical Righteousness or Fanaticism… deafness to collaboration, understanding, and community. :/

                      So that’s why I shared the Niemöller and ravenous Pit Bull warning, at least for Americans. Does that make sense?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Looking at America from this side of the pond is a little scary considering it is, in terms of military might, the most powerful nation on earth. The influence of the Christian right is difficult to understand & it does seem to have extraordinary political influence by our standards. It’s incredible to think that these days in America, politicians still have to “wear god on their sleeve” to have any chance of acceptance by their voters. Rampant hypocrisy comes to mind.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. To me, America today seems almost like two entirely different countries, one consisting of the East & West coastal belts, the other consisting of the central belt separating them. The stark difference between these two facets of America are, is in my opinion, not unlike the stark differences found in Korea, following the artificial separation of the peninsular into North Korea & South Korea back in 1945. The Korean people are basically the same, but the cultural values & ideologies are totally different, one subscribing to liberal consumerism, the other subscribing to rigid communism.
                      In America, the differences are not so much based around cultural & political differences, but more around differences in affluence & world views, both of which seem to polarise America. Whatever happened to the middle ground most of us used to occupy? And it’s not just America. The same thing is happening over here in Europe & the UK. If I had to explain all this in a single word, that word would be globalisation, a powerful & probably now unstoppable force which happens to have both a good side & a bad side. OK for those lucky enough to benefit from the good side. Not so good for those unfortunate enough to be afflicted by the bad side.
                      There was a time we could all believe that old cliché about making our own bed &then lying in it, but increasingly these days, most of us are being forced to lie in beds made up by factors beyond our control. Hence the recent rise of popularism, which is, after all is done, just a simple case of action & reaction. Something which everything in life ultimately boils down to.
                      Having grown up in the UK during the Golden Era [1950-2000], I consider myself to be one of the more fortunate ones. The existential threat facing my generation was the H-bomb. The existential threat facing the current & future generations is Islam. Both contain the seeds of utter destruction, physical destruction in the case of the bomb, cultural destruction in the case of Islam. It’s debateable which is worse.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Ken, I’m sure you already know the FULL (diametric) context of our Declaration of Independence (followed by our Constitution)…

                      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

                      and yet, it really did NOT mean “all men.” Just certain white men, and not really women or even white women. And here’s the worst part Ken! If we were to quote this one sentence to say 1,000 college students on 100 of America’s campuses where it comes from… a noticeable/significant percentage would not correctly answer nor could they explain the diametric context of its composition or even the paradox of it with its author Thomas Jefferson! This was STILL the case/problem when President Lincoln had to deal with our own people that either could not, or refused to, wrap their full (contextual) head around the actual meaning of equality! Today, we STILL have Americans who believe in acceptable or enforced INequality. Period. And it’s sad. 😦

                      Like

                  2. Ken, you are for the most part exactly right. Why do I say “for the most part”? I think I’ll first let Martin Niemöller explain the risks of silence/apathy:

                    When the Nazis came for the communists,
                    I remained silent;
                    I was not a communist.

                    When they locked up the social democrats,
                    I remained silent;
                    I was not a social democrat.

                    When they came for the trade unionists,
                    I did not speak out;
                    I was not a trade unionist.

                    When they came for the Jews,
                    I remained silent;
                    I wasn’t a Jew.

                    When they came for me,
                    there was no one left to speak out.

                    Second, one of the greatest beauties of our (struggling) democracy here in the U.S. and our First Amendment, as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the right to freedom of expression. HOWEVER, this human right comes with at least two protections under one umbrella: respectful toleration and respectful responsibility under peaceful grounds. And those two facets apply to both orator and listener/audience.

                    Naturally, there will be people who spout off completely bogus, unfounded nonsense. No matter, it is their right. But it is also the responsibility of the listener to distinguish between hogwash or brilliance, propaganda or facts, rhetoric or heartfelt for the greater good and greatest number. Also, it never hurts to double-check, triple-check your own knowledge/ignorance by objective neutral opinions or consultation.

                    Let sleeping dogs lie“? In Niemöller’s case, no. No surprise there, but allow that dog too much dominance and everyone else could be at risk. Intellect, respectful tolerance, and reasoning must prevail against would-be tyrants. But I know you already know most all of this Ken. 😉 ❤

                    Like

                  3. Can’t say I agree with this 100 percent, for example I do believe in absolute truth, but I see your overall point and I don’t think we will get anywhere by beating this dead horse.

                    Glad you recognized I am not having a go at atheists that isn’t my intent, nor are they my target audience.

                    As far as I’m concerned, atheists and Christians should be able to happily share the internet, spread their respective messages, and not feel a need to be up in each other’s business all the time.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. @ James.

                      (One of )The problem(s), is while we are adults, skeptics such as Prof, Ken and I will actively promote critical thinking skills in children, while you indoctrinate children with your personal brand of religion, tacitly and on occasion, overtly.

                      As you have stated to Ken, it is a Heart Matter – Wally and Mel believe this as well – there seems no reason why kids are indoctrinated to the point that failure to accept unconditionally will result in them spending eternity in Hell.

                      The disengenuity of claiming one cannot be a proper Christian unless moved by the Holy Ghost, but to then indoctrinate children is not only the height of hypocrisy, but also grounds to call it child abuse, especially as you are a Young Earth Creationist and active denier of evolution.

                      This problem is compounded as you would be more than happy to see Creationism taught in schools, or at least it’s fake cousin, Intelligent Design.

                      Evangelical Christians are commanded to proselytize in whatever way they can.
                      As an adult I can quite easily say ”No thanks”, and close the metaphorical door.
                      Kids and others who are extremely vulnerable who are in direct contact with believers such as you have little defense, and this is why your position is, and should be, actively challenged.

                      Liked by 1 person

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