Coming Tonight on DC: 15 Simple Reasons Why the Gospel Jesus Never Existed

According to Tim O’Neill :

“The arguments of the Jesus Mythicists, on the other hand, require contortions and suppositions that simply do not stand up to Occam's Razor and continually rest on positions that are not accepted by the majority of even non-Christian and Jewish scholars. The proponents of the Jesus Myth hypothesis are almost exclusively amateurs with an ideological axe to grind and their position is and will almost certainly remain on the outer fringe of theories about the origins of Christianity.”

Tonight I’ll list theses and let you decide who has really upheld Occam Razor followed by a response to O’Neill.

God: JUST create heaven, for crying out loud

Hello good DC people, it's been a long time... OK, so I posted this originally elsewhere (on SIN). But this is such an important and simple argument that it needs to get bandied about more. The nonsense that is heaven, given from the Christian point of view that it exists, has many ramifications. This is one particular argument which I think has a lot of force in dismantling the logical coherence of Christianity and its entailed beliefs.

Kerry Shirts, A Former Mormon Apologist, Reviews Several Atheist Books

Earlier I posted a review by Kerry Shirts of my book The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True.I was told he was a former Mormon apologist and maker of Mormon apologist videos. So I clicked on his name and found he has reviewed several atheist books in the last two weeks. Check them all out.

Are Books Themselves a Thing of the Past?

I know hard copies of books are on their way out. I also know that percentage-wise not that many people are reading books. With almost anything you want to know can be found online, will even ebooks be on their way out? Will we soon turn into an online society of people who simply read Facebook, blogs and online sites for our information? I fear this might be happening gradually. And with the public not reading books that much to begin with, it seems less of them will be doing so in the future. I wonder what this will do for authors and publishers? It'll be interesting. Publishers exist to make money. With fewer readers there will be fewer books published. There are good things about this since anyone can participate. But how do we know what information to trust without the editors who were known as the gatekeepers in the past. Thoughts?

Two More Reviews of My Book, The Outsider Test for Faith

This one was published in The Skeptic, Winter 2013, pp. 35–36. Here's another one below. Do you get the impression that this guy is really excited about it? ;-)

Answering Believers: "If I believe in God why does that bother you?"

On my personal Facebook page, I tend to do my direct critiquing of religion mainly through what I call my “Freethinker Friday post”.  The rest of the week, I post funny stuff, health tips, and inspiring and insightful quotes.  For some of my Christian friends however, even once a week is way too often for me to be challenging their beliefs.  On April 4th, I did a post called “A Twisted ‘Love.’ In which I talked about how the Christian god’s brand of love is actually coercion because it is accompanied by the threat of violence for those who don’t ‘choose to accept' it.  An acquaintance from high school, which I never even interact with on Facebook seemed to take my post a bit personally.

Here is the response I posted for her, and others who might share her annoyance with questioning of religion:

If Jesus Never Called Himself God, How Did He Become One? Bart Ehrman Discusses his New Book

“When Bart Ehrman was a young Evangelical Christian, he wanted to know how God became a man, but now, as an agnostic and historian of early Christianity, he wants to know how a man became God.

When and why did Jesus' followers start saying "Jesus as God" and what did they mean by that? His new book is called How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. "In this book I actually do not take a stand on either the question of whether Jesus was God, or whether he was actually raised from the dead," Ehrman tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I leave open both questions because those are theological questions based on religious beliefs and I'm writing the book as a historian.’” (From NPR's Fresh Air)

You can either listen to or read the entire interview HERE

God Fearing, Christ Honoring, Bible Believing Christianity is the Best Truth for Atheism

Faith is a side show of Christianity; it’s a cheap no cost entry level into a religion that promises miracles for true believers, but only if they are totally obedient to true doctrine founded on the absolute truth from the Word of God.

DC Ranked 61st in a List of the Top 300 Christian Blogs!

It's confusing to me how these blogs were ranked but some traffic is coming our way because of it. Woooo Hoooo! I'll take all the hits I can get! LINK. I'm happy to beat out "Apologetics 315" (#63) James McGrath (#85) Ben Worthington (#95) Michael Patton (#96) Jim West (#116) Think Christian (#124) The Biologos Forum (#132) Frank Schaeffer (#193) Joel Watts (#230) Matthew Flannagan (#234) and Marcus Borg (#246).

The Power of A Serendipity

Serendipity is a word for a "fortuitous happening" or a "pleasant unexpected surprise." A couple of days ago I was asked which Rock bands I liked when I was a teenager. I mentioned a few albums and a few of my favorite songs. One of them was Aerosmith's song, "Dream On." I have it on a CD and thought about playing it afterward but didn't do so. Then out of the blue I heard it on the radio from the very beginning of the song. It caused even me to wonder whether there was some sort of supernatural force out there. Since I knew the odds, I rejected such a notion, but not before feeling the power of a serendipity. If I was a believer it would be very hard to overcome this feeling by thinking rationally about it. No wonder so many people believe. They do not think scientifically or exclusively based on the probabilities. Hint: I had mentioned several albums and top chart songs. I listen to an oldies radio station quite a lot. Bingo! Here is a live version of that song:

Ever Hear of Solomon Northup and His Book, "12 Years a Slave"?

I just now got around to watching this very powerful movie. It is a "must see" one if you can handle the horrors of slavery and the emotions of sadness and anger. I wrote a very hard-hitting chapter on slavery for my anthology Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails.After watching this movie I'm glad I did. [Below is a re-dated post from October 23rd].

Northup's story has been made into a wonderful movie you should watch. From Wikipedia:
Solomon Northup (July 1808 – after 1857) was a free-born African American from Saratoga Springs, New York. He is noted for having been kidnapped in 1841 when enticed with a job offer. When he accompanied his supposed employers to Washington, DC, they drugged him and sold him into slavery. From Washington, DC, he was transported to New Orleans where he was sold to a plantation owner from Rapides Parish, Louisiana. After 12 years in bondage, he regained his freedom in January 1853; he was one of very few to do so in such cases. Held in the Red River region of Louisiana by several different owners, he got news to his family, who contacted friends and enlisted the Governor of New York in his cause. New York state had passed a law in 1840 to recover African-American residents who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery...Returning to his family in New York, Northup became active in abolitionism. He published an account of his experiences in 12 Years a Slave (1853) in his first year of freedom. LINK

WIBA: A Unique One-Of-A-Kind Book

I was re-reading my book, Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity, yesterday.As I was doing so I was very impressed with it. I know this sounds egotistical but that's exactly what I thought. Maybe I shouldn't say what I think, right? If you're considering whether to get and read it, let me tell a few things to help you decide. I'll tell you about its strengths and weaknesses. Ready. Set. Go.

Kris Komarnitsky's Excellent Book is Available for Free On Saturday!

You should get the Kindle version of his book on April 5th! I don't know what time zone this applies to, so check back if at first you don't succeed. Follow this link: Doubting Jesus' Resurrection: What Happened in the Black Box?

DC Ranked 5th Place For the First Quarter Among SBL's Biblioblogs

Looks like Peter Kirby is reporting the rankings now. The Biblioblogger list is associated with the prestigious Society of Biblical Literature. There are atheists, liberals, moderates and conservatives on it. For the first quarter of 2014 DC was ranked 5th among the top 50 Bibliobloggers. They have gone back to using Alexa to rank our sites. When we were required to place a badge on our blogs to get true results DC blew them all away. I guess they weren't too happy about it, although they also had some technical problems with doing so. Go there and check out the other sites. Initially a few of them didn't want me on the list so Hector Avalos defended my right to be on it. Skip Jim West's site though, the guy in first place. To see why, read Hector Avalos's smack down of him.

Using the Internet Can Destroy Your Faith!

Who says our efforts are useless?
Using the Internet can destroy your faith. That’s the conclusion of a study showing that the dramatic drop in religious affiliation in the U.S. since 1990 is closely mirrored by the increase in Internet use. LINK.

Soooo, Tell Us Once Again Why Yours is the One True Faith?

...and tell us once again why you believe what you do if it isn't because of the accidents of birth? Please face the demographics head on. Don't skirt them. No more excuses. Tell us you would still believe what you do if you were born elsewhere. Tell us you would not be condemned to hell by the god you now believe in if you were born elsewhere. Tell us once again why your religion does not need to pass The Outsider Test for Faith?Wouldn't you want it to if you were born somewhere else, especially if hell was at stake if you didn't believe? Wouldn't you? Yes or no? LINK.

Map Shows The Dominant Religious Group In Every US County

I found this in my Facebook news feed:


My Facebook News Feed, Plus The Weirdest Story I've Probably Ever Seen!

Okay, I'm approaching 3000 Facebook friends. I'm don't think I can have more than 5000. One of the pleasures of having so many friends is the news feed. I scroll down through it from time to time. I see personal stories (some from real friends) along with breaking news stories, and everything else people post, including some amazing pictures of the world. What I like are the atheist posters with sayings. Some of them are really good, others not so good. Then today I saw something weird that never would have occurred to me. Here are a few of them below. First let me wet your appetite:

Does Methodological Naturalism Presuppose Its Own Conclusion?

Methodological naturalism (MN) is a method whereby all scientific endeavors—-all hypotheses and events—-are to be explained and tested by reference to natural causes alone. Believers criticize the use of MN when it comes to the science of origins and their faith as a whole. The charge is that MN in science logically requires the a priori adoption of a naturalistic metaphysics. I've been struggling with how to answer this objection. Here is my latest attempt.

The Top Ten Worst Atheist Books

Okay, I've been prompted to write this post due to Jeff Lowder's lists of the worst atheist debaters and worst atheist debate performances. Up until this time I have never written such a post. See what you think:

Quote of the Day, By Dr. James D. Strauss

I had previously written a tribute to Doc Strauss, my mentor and friend, who passed away recently. So I was listening to a few of his lectures and found a really interesting quote I never heard him acknowledge until now.
The chart I gave you didn't show how many times the church has taken a stand against the scientific enterprise. Up to the 18th-19th century the church has historically taken a stand against every development in the sciences.
You can hear him say it starting about 1:55 in this recording of one of his class lectures:

Ernest Angley’s Personal 747SP Jet: “100% of Your Money Goes to Spread the Gospel.


"Star Triple Seven is the fulfillment of a promise that God gave Rev. Angley many years ago. A miracle of God provided the finances for this beautiful Boeing 747SP, and its only missions are to win souls for the Lord."    Video of the 747SP from Angley's website. (Scroll down to video)

Ernest Angley's 747SP (formerly owned by the  Saudi Royal Family) has a luxury custom interior that has been totally upgraded for the 93 year old Rev. Angley's personal needs.  For tax purposes, the plane is registered in Aruba.

Pastor Uses God’s Tithes and Offerings Trying to Buy Sex Then Blames The Devil

"A Rutherford County, NC pastor has been arrested and charged with sexual battery. Police say Robert Harris knocked on the door of a woman staying at a motel in Gaston County and asked her for sex. He then allegedly tossed a $20 bill at her. Harris is listed as the pastor of Harriett's Memorial Freewill Baptist Church in Forest City. He later said he allowed the devil to motivate his mind."

Watch News Video Here

Why Evolutionists Should Debate Creationists, One More Time

In my college ethics class I would offer a challenge to students who were against the legalization of Marijuana. I said that as the illegal use of it increased and with it the overcrowding of prisons and the deaths due to gang wars over who controlled the market in America, along with the drug wars in countries like Mexico, at what point would the harms of keeping it illegal outweigh any harms of legalizing its use? Now granted, I didn't think it caused much harm, if any to adult users, but this was after all, an ethics class. I asked a pragmatic utilitarian question, not a principled one. It got them thinking.

I think the same type of question can be asked of those who have a principled objection against evolutionists debating creationists. It does harm to science they say, by giving creationists credibility. Let's take what PZ Myers said as an example, although Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne would agree with him against an upcoming evolutionist vs creationist debate that is to take place this Saturday. [It will be streamed live!] PZ said:

Christians Debunk Themselves! There's Nothing Left for Me To Do But Report What They Say!

What is there about ancient documents that can be interpreted in so many different ways by people who think they are divinely inspired? If Christians cannot agree with each other inside the house of faith, how can they possibly expect the textual evidence of the Bible to lead anyone outside the faith to accept the resurrection of Jesus? I recommend every Christian get all of the following books. Read them for yourselves. Opposing Christian scholars dismantle and effectively critique each others views leaving no reason to believe any of them. All. Get. Them. Now!

More Sexist Misogynist Bullshit From the Pulpit!

Christians police your own ranks!

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” ~Susan B. Anthony

“No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent.” ~Susan B. Anthony

My Amazon Review of Bart Ehrman's Latest Book, "How Jesus Became God"

I spent yesterday and today reading Ehrman's book and then writing my brief review of it. Rather than criticize it I wanted to tell readers what to expect in it, so they can judge for themselves whether to buy it. Enjoy. Any up-votes would be appreciated if you think the review helps you decide.

Is the Outsider Test for Faith Circular?

I have defended the OTF extensively in my book, The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True.I claim it's the only reasonable non-double standard for testing whether a particular religion is true. If you think your religion is true you should read it.

It's not the fault of a reasonable test if it shows us that something is false. No reasonable test is de facto circular just because it shows a truth claim to be false. So, it's not the fault of the OTF if no religion passes the test either. My critics cannot say the OTF presupposes its own conclusion just because it appears to show all religious truth claims to be false (whether it does is left up for debate). It just might be the case that all religions are false. People who reject the OTF as circular are therefore rejecting the OTF simply because it appears to show their religious faith is false. They must show the OTF to be faulty in some other way.

Quote of the Day, By sir_russ

If you are a Christian, why do you settle for less than the proof positive which must exist if Christianity is, in fact, true? Why embrace the smoke-and-mirrors Christians scholars keep producing, when they owe you the truth, the whole truth, and, nothing but the empirically demonstrable truth?

Newly Released, Bart Ehrman's Latest Book, "How Jesus Became God"

Bart Ehrman's book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, just arrived in the mail. I'll be reviewing it soon.

World Vision Change, Now Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages

World Vision's American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman. Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America's largest Christian charities. LINK.

Jerry Coyne: Poverty and Social Dysfunctional Societies Breed Religion

Based on the results of a recent poll by the Pew Global Research Project, Jerry Coyne writes:
Clearly, those who live in richer countries see a weaker connection between religion and morality....While I see no necessary relationship between atheism and belief in social reform—the kind of reform that makes people more economically and socially secure, and provides government-sponsored healthcare—it’s obvious that if we want to eliminate religion’s hold on the world, we must also eliminate the conditions that breed religion...Providing universal healthcare and reducing income inequality are good places to start. LINK.

Identifying Barriers to Unbelief

I was recently reading an interesting article called “How Not to Lose an Argument” and came across this:
First, what does it mean to win or lose an argument? There is an unspoken belief in some quarters that the point of an argument is to gain social status by utterly demolishing your opponent's position, thus proving yourself the better thinker. That can be fun sometimes, and if it's really all you want, go for it. But the most important reason to argue with someone is to change his mind. If you want a world without fundamentalist religion, you're never going to get there just by making cutting and incisive critiques of fundamentalism that all your friends agree sound really smart. You've got to deconvert some actual fundamentalists. In the absence of changing someone's mind, you can at least get them to see your point of view. Getting fundamentalists to understand the real reasons people find atheism attractive is a nice consolation prize.

This is really what we want – right?  Changing minds when possible, and at least clearing up misconceptions about atheists.
Later in the article, the author says:
If you believe morality is impossible without God, you have a strong disincentive to become an atheist. Even after you've realized which way the evidence points, you'll activate every possible defense mechanism for your religious beliefs. If all the defense mechanisms fail, you'll take God on utter faith or just believe in belief, rather than surrender to the unbearable position of an immoral universe.