Friday, September 02, 2005

A Strong Atheist's Case Against Christian Theology

Libertariandefender@hotmail.com has written an argument against Christian Theology. I have agreed to publish his essay on my blog. I thought it would be fun to take a temporary departure from anti-afterlife arguments and publish a friend's anti-Christian essay. Those who know me, know that my favorite religious punching bag is Christianity. So enjoy Libertariandefender's essay, and trust that I will continue with more anti-afterlife posts in the near future.

A Strong Atheist's Case Against Christian Theology

I. *Representative* Scientific Objections to The Bible:

A. Adam and Eve story.

1. How did God create a female (Eve) from the male DNA of Adam's rib?
2. How did Adam and Eve successfully mate and produce offspring when, at most, they had identical DNA, and at least, they were twins?
3. How did a snake acquire the ability to speak in human language? How was this physiologically possible?

B. Crossing the Red Sea.

Stipulating: The sea is roughly 1900km long and at its widest is more than 300km. The sea floor has a maximum depth of 2,500m in the central median trench and an average depth of 500m, but it also has extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals. The sea has a surface area of roughly 438,000 or 450,000km².
1. Stipulating that, how did Moses and the Israelites pass through it? After all, it was substantial enough to deluge Pharaoh's army.
2. If the sea was parted, how precisely was that done?

C. Jesus' resurrection.

1. How did Jesus rise from the dead, and walk around good as new, when after dozens of hours of being dead, he would be brain dead, with decayed muscles, bloated from gasses, with blisters on his skin and with millions of dead and useless cells, including dead and useless heart and kidney cells? It should be noted that brain death is irreversible in every instance. It cannot be turned back. It is permanent.

D. Noah's Ark.

1. How is it possible to hold all the world’s species in an ark with the dimensions specified? There are possibly up to 100 million animal species alone.
2. How is it possible to feed these millions of animals?
3. How did specific species and classes of animals become trapped on different continents? For example, most marsupials are only found in Australia. If the Noah’s Ark story were true, then we should expect a more homogeneous converge of species.
4. Why didn't many aquatic ecosystems die off from the massive change in salinity?
5. Why didn't many modern plants die out, as they should have?

Note: One may not cite "miracles" to explain any of these phenomena until the concept of "miracles" is shown to have a scrap of merit.

For Reference on Miracles:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/
theism/miracles.html


II. Science's Take on Theism/Design/Creation/Divine Guidance:

A. Pervasive Atheism Among Eminent Scientists.
Information is from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v394/
n6691/full/394313a0_fs.html


In a survey of National Academy of Science scientists, 72.2% were overtly atheistic, 20.8% agnostic, and only 7.0% believed in a personal God. It should be noted that the NAS is the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States.

"Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality)."

From these figures, we can conclude: 93% of scientists who are members of the National Academy of Science are in fact agnostic or atheists. Indeed, looking at a chart that includes figures from earlier in the 20th century, one can only come to the conclusion that top scientists are more atheistic than ever before.

Expanded percentages (among "greater" scientists):

Belief in personal God 1914/ 1933/ 1998
Personal belief 27.7/ 15/ 7.0
Personal disbelief 52.7/ 68/ 72.2
Doubt/agnosticism 20.9/ 17/ 20.8

B. Illogic of Omnibenevolent, Omniscient, Omnipotent Designer.
This is by Steven Pinker, Psychology professor at Harvard University, and appeared in Time magazine:

"Our own bodies are riddled with quirks that no competent engineer would have planned but that disclose a history of trial-and-error tinkering: a retina installed backward, a seminal duct that hooks over the ureter like a garden hose snagged on a tree, goose bumps that uselessly try to warm us by fluffing up long-gone fur.
The moral design of nature is as bungled as its engineering design. What twisted sadist would have invented a parasite that blinds millions of people or a gene that covers babies with excruciating blisters? To adapt a Yiddish expression about God: If an intelligent designer lived on Earth, people would break his windows."

C. Lack of Scientific Support for Creationism.

"...Taking into account only [scientists] working in the relevant fields of earth and life sciences, there are about 480,000 scientists, but only about 700 believe in "creation-science" or consider it a valid theory. This means that less than 0.15 percent of relevant scientists believe in creationism. And that is just in the United States, which has more creationists than any other industrialized country. In other countries, the number of relevant scientists who accept creationism drops to less than one tenth of 1 percent.
...
A panel of seventy-two Nobel Laureates, seventeen state academies of science, and seven other scientific organizations created an amicus curiae brief that they submitted to the Supreme Court (Edwards v. Aguillard 1986). This report clarified what makes science different from religion and why creationism is not science. Note that there are no creationist Nobel Laureates."
source-- http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA111.html

Note: The scientific community's opinion, in itself, does not constitute proof of anything. However, equivalency arguments, comparing scientific opinion to general public opinion, are transparently fallacious. One need only ask oneself how many people on a busy street corner have any idea what "homologous structures" are.

III. Objections to the Bible's Accuracy, Historicity, Connection to Reality:

A. Archaeological Fallibility.

Many times, Christians will falsely claim that archaeology supports the accuracy of the Bible. They continue that the Bible's historical account has many times been substantiated by new archaeological information. Those are untruths.

"Archaeology supports at most the general background of the Bible and some relatively recent details. It does not support every biblical claim. In particular, archaeology does not support anything about creation, the Flood, or the conquest of the Holy Land.

If a few instances of historical accuracy are so significant, then an equal claim for accuracy can be made for the Iliad and Gone with the Wind.

Archaeology contradicts significant parts of the Bible:

The Bible contains anachronisms. Details attributed to one era actually apply to a much later era. For example, camels, mentioned in Genesis 24:10, were not widely used until after 1000 B.C.E.

The Exodus, which should have been a major event, does not appear in Egyptian records. There are no traces in the Sinai that one would expect from forty years of wandering of more than half a million people. And other archaeological evidence contradicts it, showing instead that the Hebrews were a native people.

There is no evidence that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were nearly as powerful as the Bible indicates; they may not have existed at all."
source-- http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH120.html

B. The Bible is Teeming With Errors/Contradictions.

"There are several aspects of the Bible that show it is not inerrant. These include factual errors, for example:

Leviticus 11:6 states that rabbits chew their cud.

Leviticus 11:20-23 speaks of four-legged insects, including grasshoppers.

1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalm 93:1 state that the earth is immobile; yet it not only revolves and orbits the sun but is also influenced by the gravitational pull of other bodies.

and Contradictions:

In Genesis 1, Adam is created after other animals; In Genesis 2, he appears before animals.

Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 differ over Jesus' lineage.

Mark 14:72 differs from Matthew 26:74-75, Luke 22:60-61, and John 18:27 about how many times the cock crowed.

2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 differ over who incited David to take a census.

1 Samuel 31:4-5 and 2 Samuel 1:5-10 differ over Saul's death.

The four Gospels differ about many details of Christ's death and resurrection. For example, Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19 have different inscriptions on the cross.

Matthew 27:5-8 differs with Acts 1:18-19 about Judas's death.

Genesis 9:3 and Leviticus 11:4 differ about what is proper to eat.

Romans 3:20-28 and James 2:24 differ over faith versus deeds.

Exodus 20:5, Numbers 14:18, and Deuteronomy 5:9 disagree with Ezekiel 18:4,19-20 and John 9:3 about sins being inherited."
source-- http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH101.html

C. Genesis' Incorrect Timeline.
Supposedly "infallible" Genesis has the natural timeline totally wrong.

"The creation account in Genesis 1 lists ten major events in this order: (1) a beginning; (2) a primitive earth in darkness and enshrouded in heavy gases and water; (3) light; (4) an expanse or atmosphere; (5) large areas of dry land; (6) land plants; (7) sun, moon, and stars discernible in the expanse, and seasons beginning; (8) sea monsters and flying creatures; (9) wild and tame beasts and mammals; (10) man."

"The real order is: (1) a beginning; (2) light; (3) sun and stars; (4) primitive earth, moon, and atmosphere; (5) dry land; (6) sea creatures; (7) some land plants; (8) land creatures and more plants and sea creatures; (9) flying creatures (insects) and more plants and land and sea creatures; (10) mammals, and more land and sea animals, insects, and plants; (11) the first birds, (12) fruiting plants (which is what Genesis talks about) and more land, sea, and flying creatures; (13) man and more of the various animals and plants."
source-- http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH801.html


IV. Logical Objections to Blind Theism (a.k.a. Debunking Pascal's Wager):

A. There is no point in believing in a God, even if one does exist, when one knows nothing about this deity's nature or expectations. For example, God could be benevolent and care about one's actions. Or, God could be malevolent and care about one's actions. Or, God could be benevolent and not care about one's actions. Or, God could be malevolent and not care about one's actions. Saying "I follow the Christian faith just in case God exists" is utterly nonsensical. That would be like somebody saying, "I follow the Satanist faith just in case a malevolent God exists." With limitless plausible possibilities, there is no way one can "be on the safe side" in terms of not offending God. And thus, Pascal's Wager is a loser.

V. Moral Objections to the Christian Conception of God:

A. God's apparent bloodlust.
I'll quote the Scripture:

Now the LORD had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold." (The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people.)
So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt-worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.
Exodus 11 (1-6)

Rather than doing something to the Pharaoh for refusing to let the Israelites go free, God chose to murder every firstborn son in Egypt. What did the poor slave girl do to warrant her firstborn son being murdered? Did the slave girl set the Pharaoh's policies? Did the slave girl's firstborn son set the Pharaoh's policies? Punishing children for the immoral society into which they were born is simultaneously cowardly and cruel. Worshipping the God of Exodus is worshipping a God who apparently engaged in casual infanticide. It is amazing to think that God, who presumably has a totally unlimited pool of options, decided the very best option in this situation was to engage in infanticide.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aaron Kinney said...

That was a spam post that I deleted, FYI.

I am very anti-censorship. I only delete spam comments.

The Libertarian Defender said...

By the way, I am happy to grant my full permission for any atheist to reproduce this essay, in whole or in part, for any atheistic purpose.

Das Hammer said...

I liked your comments.

Aaron Kinney said...

Thanx Das Hammer!

Your blog is absolutely flabbergasting.

Kele said...

Oh, I misunderstood what libertariandefender was asking me to do when he e-mailed me. Haha, oops.

I like the beginning of the essay about Adam and Eve. I had never really thought of those. I also liked the wrong order of Genesis part a lot.

The Libertarian Defender said...

Thank you for the positive remarks!

As I've said before, I am happy to grant my full permission for any atheist to reproduce this essay, in whole or in part, for any atheistic purpose.

JPD said...

I agree - anyone religious IS a nut. I really don't get it, ANY belief in god, allah, or flying spagetti monster to me is absurd, so why do they do it? BUT the question remains - What to DO about them? THAT is the question!

Kelley Bell said...

"They" will always need a mythology to believe in.

"Religion is the opiate of the people" (Marx)

If we dont like their myths, lets just make up new ones for them.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hence, the FSM ;)

The Libertarian Defender said...

"They" will always need a mythology to believe in.

"Religion is the opiate of the people" (Marx)


You really hit the nail on the head. Religion, for these people, is the equivalent of a drug. It might make them feel better, but it's pernicious nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

I do hope aaron kinney is kidding when he says the FSM is a replacement for God. It's all a big joke. It's meant to prevent the teaching of Intelligent design in schools. That's it. None of us really believe in it. It's just a funny way to make fun of ID.

Anonymous said...

im probably too late, but anyways, I too am an atheist and I think most of your points are retarded... obviously if there was an omnipotent divine whatever he would supercede the laws of science, so those points are automatically doo doo... I'd like to talk to people about the topic, but no one will read this random page, so if you do, im at hotboxjesus@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Re: A&E being "twins" would not prevent them from reproducing, ever here of incest?

As for E being DNA if GOD can make a man from dirt then making a woman from preexisting flesh would be even easier I'd think.

If He can create something from nothing then how hard is it to enable it to speak in whatever way he wants.

If you knew the Bible you'd know it was The Reed Sea, which is both narrower & shallower, not The Red Sea which was translated by some one who was not up to the task.

You state that Miracles, etc. cannot be used to explain yet you use quasi- information to back up your statements without proof. Just because a 'scientist' says so doesn't make it true.

The Big Bang theory, once the in thing, is no longer accepted like it once was as current thought leans in another direction.
If GOD is Eternal then what is a day to such a being?, a million years, a billion years?
It doesn't matter if we believe now in an after life or not. It'll matter when we die ... if there is one then those who did not believe won't matter & if there isn't then again it won't matter as no one will be able to say I told you so.
Live a Good Life as if there is a GOD & when you die HE will say "Well done." and if there is no GOD then people will say of you "Well done." Either way you have lost nothing & maybe gained alot.
TC!

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous,

You are incorrect. The Big Bang is still very widely accepted, plus the non-big-bang theories about the universe still involve naturalistic means for its existence, and do not require a God.

You say God is eternal, then why cant the universe be eternal? Thats special pleading.

Indeed, science has confirmed that the universe itself is eternal. The big bang wasnt the beginning of the universe per se, but the beginning of the universe as we know it. The point at which no prior information passes through, thats all.

AtheistTurnedChristian said...

For 19 years I was an Atheist. Now I'm Christian. You can call me crazy, but I was just like you, the way I saw things was just like you.

Rather than trying so hard to debunk everything, why don't you just try your best to find the truth? You write an essay with your mind set on being Anti-Christian. You think Christians and religious people are crazy, but they were all once atheists or at the very least agnostics. They see something you don't see, but they can at least say they've been where you are. Can you say you've been where they are? Can you say you were once religious? If not, you're speaking with half the experience of those who are religious. Especially those who are 'born-again' and not born into a religion.

You can't say to Christians that they have no idea about life without God, because we've all lived life without God.

If you look at history, man's moral degradation worsens as religion is pushed further and further away. How's that good?

The billions of people on earth who believe in a God, how can you DEFINITIVELY say you are right? Everyone is just on one big acid trip and you're right?

J said...

A good essay revolves around questions. Not pre-determined perspective.

It should be "Is Genesis an accurate representation of the creation of life?"

You should be presenting arguments from both sides.

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: J,

Fine, but I did not author this essay.

Anonymous said...

Is this seriously the best you've got?

None of this is unique, let alone convincing. I agree that it is "nonsensical" to try and please a God just in case he really exists, but that is not an argument against the existence of God, it is merely an argument against an argument.

If you are trying to disprove God, then stop. That has long been done. The arguments have been exhausted. The discussion is over.

If you are trying to genuinely seek after truth however, perhaps you should start over. Detach yourself from what you want to believe and from those that you are influenced by and seek truth as your ultimate end.

To be fair however, Christians also use such biases and agendas in their approach. They too argue because they want to believe in their God. But we cannot go around arguing for something to be true because we want it to be.

Truth exists. That is irrefutable. To say otherwise is to say that it is true that truth does not exist. Seek it. It is the only thing you can be sure of.

Anonymous said...

I think you're falling into the same trap that fundamentals stumble into: taking the Bible literally, and trying to prove or disprove it on those grounds.

Don't overlook the possibility that many Bible stories are fables, allegories, myths, symbolism, satire, legends, parables, etc., made to illustrate a larger point.

Any English major will tell you not to read any great book at face value, but to think about the deeper possibilities.

Also, Biblical scholars readily admit that many passages of the Bible are controversial, open to many possible interpretations and translations.

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Em =] said...

IF there was a God, and this God was able to create a universe from nothingness, then couldn't He be able to create a female from a male? Couldn't He make a snake talk? Him being God, He could do anything. Just because we are not 'physiologically' able to make a snake talk doesn't mean God couldn't. If we could, then how would God be any different than us? If we saw that it was possible because WE could do it, then there would be no point of there being a God. We would all be Gods.
Now I would like to debate on Noah's Ark.
1. It is doubtful that there were millions of species of animals back then. Although (as a Christian) I do not believe man came from ape, I do believe it possible that all the species of canine could evolve from one canine. And all types of horses could evolve from one horse. So, this alone reduces the amount of animals by millions.
2. Noah could have brought hay to feed the herbivores. And I'm sure that some of those animals reproduced on the ark, allowing carnivores to be fed.
3. Remember that theory of how all of the continents were together at some point (called pangea) and then separated to make the continents we have today? Is it possible that pangea was still around when Noah's ark landed? And that the animals had time to migrate all across pangea until the continents began to separate?
4. I'm sure that if God could make the oceans salty, he could keep just as salty. And if God could make the rivers pure, He could keep the area of the flooded river pure. It's not like God made the oceans and was never able to do anything with them again. And it's not like God couldn't multitask, making it rain while keeping all of the aquatic animals safe. If He was able to go out of His way to make sure all of the land animals were safe on Noah's ark, wouldn't he be able to do the same for the aquatic?
5. Perhaps when the floods went away, the soil was more fertile for the seeds of the plants that had been on the ground when it started raining. Or maybe God kept the plants safe as well. Or God just decided to remake all of the plants. I know that the dove was able to retrieve an olive branch after the the floods went away, so i see that plants were still there.

As a Christian, I myself don't entirely know exactly how God did it, but I have no doubt that He could. I, as a teenager, have seen too many miracles, too many prayers answered, too many people brought to Christ to not believe. Even at my young age, I have absolutely no doubt that my God exists.

I know that some atheists may think I'm stupid/crazy/retarded, and that does offend me. I don't say such things about you. In fact, I see where your disbelief is coming from. Several times I've laid awake at night and wondered 'How can this be real?'. But God calls me, as a Christian, to have faith. Faith is a key factor in Christianity. If there were no faith, there would be no Christians. Atheists are convinced that Christians are wrong, yet Christians are convinced that atheists are wrong. Someone has to be wrong, and it can't be both parties. So lets respect each others beliefs and debate the subject with this respect for one another.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that happened wrong here was that when you did this essay, you maybe didn't look at it at the right perspective... I'll point out one thing as an example. like when moses and the people crossed the ocean, they crossed it because they had faith and belief in the almighty God, who can do all things :-)