Ryan's Journal

I love good theological debates. Haven't been in one for some time and in fairness this is mostly due to other time pressures but was starting to become more because of my dislike for the number of blind faith atheists I was noticing appearing. I tended to find I was arguing against their basis 'obviously there is no god' attitude as much as the varied theists. The common definition of faith used by atheists, self included is to believe something without empirical proof. I believe to the very core of my being there are no deities and never have been, I cannot prove this and would defy anyone declaring they have, as such I declare myself atheist by faith, this one really pees of the atheist community who then declare I am not a real atheist, especially when they are lapsed theists as most are.

I still think one of the best I have seen was showing that whether or not God exists becomes
effectively moot by the definition seeing the effects of it on people and the world at large. We can define something as existing if we can measure it's effect on people or the world around us, the example given was wind, we don't measure wind as such we measure its speed by the amount of times it turns a device, we measure it's destructive force by the damage left behind etc. Therefore the fact that people believe in deities and have changes the very structure of our world to create monuments and building in which to worship them, even the fact people wear objects to show their faith that will have been transported etc. has an effect on the world so we can either declare the deities as real or state that whether or not they are real is irrelevant. This guy was not looking to make friends, but it is great food for thought.

The see or touch argument is a great one too. I believe the earth has a molten metallic core, I have never seen it and will never touch it. The systems put in place to prove this are not accessible to me, so I am reliant on the information scientist and geologists have made publicly accessible. I am also very aware that scientists and geologist have been wrong several times, that is the whole point of what makes such study so strong, learning from errors.

My son was able to use the bible as one of the references to prove evolution was undoubtedly true by actually paying attention to the wording of genesis. A former training partner of mine was a creationist of sorts but believed the story was likely inaccurate as written because the level of understanding mankind had then or even now wouldn't be able to comprehend the true origin and creation story. The two parts he hated most with the organisation around Christianity and most other religions was that they refused to accept the books were written by human beings and as such will have misinterpreted the true message and that most people spouting passages from the bible hadn't really read it very well. He had read it cover to cover 5 times and could quote substantial part of it and tell you where he felt it was clearly miswritten. He is not uncommon in the fact he believed to his core but knew the answers couldn't all lie in a collection of several books from thousands of years ago.

A colleague of mine who is also a lifelong atheist has said the only way to truly study and enjoy studying religions is from the point of disbelief without truly caring if it is true. If you are seeking to find inspiration or destroy it you will read with bias, it is only when you read with interest that you see the full picture. He has read numerous things a number of times during his life because in his youth being an atheist brought him a lot of grief so he became a bit of an activist against religion to fight back. Now he's approaching retirement and has mellowed a bit, so studies them more from interest and enjoys it.

I find the 'in the beginning' arguments very funny, especially when neither side truly has a clue where the beginning is.
The big bang, our potentially our big bang, was our beginning, but people still ask the great question how did so much come from nothing without realising the net of the entire universe is still nothing. A fit comparison wold be a glass tank with 10cm of water in it which had been knocked from the outside. The ripples would give the impression of something existing outside of the fixed calm and there would be a continuation of energy release in the form of ripples which when colliding with others give the impression of potential order though in fact they are becoming more chaotic, just bound by rules. The overall water level wouldn't have increased or decreased, so the net gain or loss is 0. The same is true in the universe, we have matter, anti-matter etc. meaning we live in a place that put into a balance sheet comes up with a net value of nothing, so nothing hasn't become something, it is still nothing just disturbed.
Theists from various groups declare the beginning was created by deities. Missing the elephant in the room that if there was something already there, this cannot by definition be the beginning. This raises questions like 'Who created god?' etc. which while they can seem a little childish are still valid, after all if something cannot appear out of nothing then the deity had to have come from something or somewhere.
Without truly understanding where the beginning is we cannot answer what happened there, so the question becomes less 'what happened in the beginning?' than 'where and when were the the beginning?'

One of my biggest gripes with virtually all organised religions throughout history is the pedestal they put us on. We are the sole remaining type of bipedal hominid, on one planet out of an unknown number, if you needed to define insignificant, we are it. To declare the entire cosmos, something so vast we cannot see the majority of it with the most advanced technology at our disposal is all for the benefit of one singular species in one star system is beyond arrogant, and as a big fan of arrogance used well I think this goes too far.

The main issue with proving a deity exists is defining what the deity is. If this is a judgmental individual doling out justice from on high, I would be dead or severely crippled, I am a lifelong believer there are none and have been arrogant enough to put my life on the line and pull through damage that should have killed me. Others following the path and pleading for help stayed stuck while I prospered. I am not evil but I am not significant either so it's not like I am getting help from the first angel.
If it's more of a force than a being, what type of force? The general lack of detail means it's easy to declare the deity as true or false purely by being so vague.
Numbers adds the final insult to the definition. There have been more gods created during human history than you or I have been alive in days, possibly hours. With so many to choose from how can we truly say which is true. The classic question surface thinking theists ask of atheists 'what if you are wrong?' is so easy to bounce back, after all what if they are following the wrong religion and it was in fact the earth mother, or Zeus that they should have been following.
I made a challenge years ago to a theist without realising how good it was at the time. I asked them to prove their god true in a way that I couldn't equally apply to a child believing in unicorns, it was done as a bit of an insult this guy was a bit of a prat, and not a good bit either. However in truth the earliest record of a unicorn predates any of the documents the bible draws from, they have been endowed with many magical powers over time including the ability to be unseen or remove memories of seeing them and faith in them cannot be dismissed as fanciful without declaring faith in anything else the same after all who can truly say. I have since given the same challenge to other theists but more seriously since, most scoff but a few have given it time and told me it sharpened up their desire to get stronger arguments for their chosen god.

Being a fitness forum I guess I'd better finish on training related stuff. Looks like I might have to use back support for a while too. Sucks.
Oooh, you've giving me so much food to chew on here! :D

This year, I'm leading an apologetics project for my church. There's this annoying handicap that it needs to be readable, relatable and pastoral, and each article has a word limit, so I don't get to just spout off strict philosophy and theology, meaning each article will only really serve as a topic starter (at least in my books). Second article I wrote for it (which should be online now, but delays etc) is the age of the world and Genesis. The short conclusion is that if you think Genesis says anything about how old the world is physically, you don't have sufficient historical or cultural understanding of the text to be commenting on it. Besides, no one really takes Genesis 1 literally. Including all the people who insist that they do. They don't. If they did, then they'd be defending that all that blue stuff up there is water. And when I say up, I mean UP, not OUT. Genesis 1 speaks into ancient near Eastern cosmology -- if I want to claim that Genesis 1 reveals the truth, then I have to take it that God is using the cosmology of the original audience to explain something about himself and creation, rather than that he's affirming their cosmology. John Walton and John ****son have some really good resources available, showing that Genesis 1 is more interested in subverting the polytheistic views of surrounding nations than it is in demonstrating the mechanics of how the world came to be.

To me, whether or not the sum total content of the universe is 0 is irrelevant (btw I'm no astronomer or cosmologist, but I'm aware that the "nothing" that people like Lawrence Krauss refer to isn't actually nothing; unstable quantum fields are technically something). I'm much more interested in cause:effect relationships. The story behind the material universe is either an infinite regress of cause and effect; an uncaused effect; or a cause that is not the effect of anything else. I suppose a 4th option might be that cause and effect are fallacious concepts that don't represent reality, but if that's the case then thinking about these things (or anything, really) is an exercise in futility. A cause that is not an effect of any other cause is the only option that I find philosophically reasonable (and that does away with "Who created God?" because, if the cause being discussed is God, then by definition no one and nothing caused or created God).

I think the cosmological and ontological arguments necessarily point to monotheism. They don't rule out other entities that have been worshipped as gods from existing, but the cosmological argument, when examined, points to an eternal, personal entity that -- at least indirectly, if not directly -- caused all other things to exist. Similarly, the ontologically argument refers to a maximally great being, which points to a single being that is greater than any other conceivable being. Having 2 or more MGB's very likely leads to contradictions that, if actualised, would make reality incoherent. So, there might be "gods," but there's only one "God." That doesn't prove who God is, but if God has revealed himself to humans, it narrows down the scope quite dramatically.

Of the three major monetheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), one of them is founded on private revelations (ie stuff without witnesses). Granted, a claim can be true without there being witnesses, but witnesses strengthen a claim. Judaism turns to a lot of public revelations. Sure, it has private revelations, too, but it does claim to have public revelations, so, according to the story, it has witnesses. Christianity, of course, does not deny any of that public revelation, however the biblical accounts focus on the public ministry of Jesus and the testimony of witnesses.

Obviously, we can investigate the reliability and validity of the claims made, but certainly of those 3, Christianity claims the most witnesses of divine activities, which I think does set it apart as the most provable (and also most falsifiable) of the three.


Oh yeah, and I exercised today or something.

Bench Press 3x5x80kg
L-Pull Ups 10/8/8/8/6
Pull Ups 10/10/8
OHP 3x5x40kg
Cable Row 4x8x70kg
X-Trainer 30-something minutes, 400kcal (or lies, whatevs)
First part to pull here is the comparison between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which are worshipping the same deity and have predominantly the same books. All start with the old testament, or as the Jews call it the bible. Christianity adds the new testament to add in the story of Jesus, Islam adds a third part covering the story of Mohammed. In fact Jesus is mentioned more in the quran than their primary prophet Mohammed. This does mean that if there are witnesses in Christianity they are definitely in Islam, most of the quran is the Christian bible.
Where this gets crazy is when people talk of a lot of the evil passages of the quran, often pulling passages from the oldest texts, which are shared by all 3 religions. There are ways in the old testament that legalise rape, so this is in all 3 religions too. It is a dangerous thing to compare these 3 religions because fundamentally they are all from the same source.

Genesis 1 is great and peoples ignorance of it is sublime. There is the passage that shows clearly Adam wasn't the first human and in fact there were men and women before he makes an appearance in chapter 2, around day 3 if memory serves, though it could be 4.
This brings us to another interesting part, days. Revelations has a part saying that for god a thousand years is like a day or a watch in the night, which is 4 hours, and vice versa, not in those words of course. this means a day could be 6,000 years just with that. Then we add language to the mix. Descended languages from that region use English words for numbers because the largest single word for a number means thousand and they don't use commas to separate the words so million would be written thousand thousand and a billion would be thousand thousand thousand. There are numerous repeated words in the original texts that have been omitted because they were assumed as errors errors, but the numbers may not have been. Then you have expression, 40 days and 40 nights wasn't literal, it meant a long time, and we have other writings from then that use the same expression. So it could be easily declared, though not proven, that a thousand years means an unthinkable amount of time, after all a civilisation that had no numeric words above a thousand will have considered this number vast.
The term the beginning isn't the beginning it is the beginning of what we are interested in. This is not unusual, if you get a recipe book and are shown how to make bread the beginning will assume you are there, along with the ingredients, oven, utensils etc. ready to make the bread. The beginning is not really the beginning here either, otherwise we'd need to have parts about mining the ore to get the metal for the tin, then how the ore got there etc. In the same way the beginning in the bible already has god in it and he has the ability to create everything, it's not in the beginning just the earliest point we care about. If wanting to get to the origin we must always look further back, so gods origin becomes a key point. If theism doesn't care about the origin of their deity then they must accept they are not searching for the beginning of everything, just the beginning of the things since the deity started on project us.
Cause and effect is often misused to state there cannot be a way to create the universe without a creator. But in fact this works against itself. After all if the case is god, then something has to have caused god. Science doesn't know how the big bang started or why, but the rules of cause and effect have led to a hypothesis that the big bang is really just our big bang and that there are a series of such disturbances that have caused many over time. This is really niche at the moment but I quite like it as an idea. We have no proof of course because it would require us being able to measure things well outside of our known universe and reality. In truth of course the area both agree on is we have no idea where the beginning is, both require something outside of our sources of reference, science needs to know what sparked the big ban, religion needs to know where the gods stemmed from because their presence means we aren't at the beginning.
The original version of Genesis had the two deities now known as Jehwah and Allah, the first was the god of the earth the later of the air, the pronunciation was practically a breath so every breath was worshipping this god. Of course with the fun of translation we have ended up with three religions worshipping this book as the first speaking of the 1 true god, 2 have taken the god of the earth the third the god of the air worshipped with every breath. The joy of translation from barely known languages. Our latest translations will also be inaccurate of course so the details I have read about the original work of genesis will also be wrong, but one thing that is very clear is the original work wasn't monotheistic.

Religions recycle stories a lot. The story of Noah's ark is a great one to see the history of, the earliest record of a story that has all the key ingredients goes back several hundred years before the story of Noah. the names are different, the bird is a blackbird not a dove, and the story is part of an epic not a standalone but the tale is identical. When you start studying religion from a historic standpoint you realise that creation is in all of them, we are the epitome of creation in virtually all of them, the deity(ies) are keeping their eye on us and judging us when we die, though the values of us changes. Genocide, and suffering are key parts of the stories, there are journeys into inhospitable lands, deprivation of food and water, consumption of narcotics etc. to produce visions that bring the followers closer to their deities. The similarities are so profound even when separated by thousands of miles that it shows either everyone is seeing the same deity(ies) or as I believe we have made our gods in our image.
Most of us believe we know the answer, truth is none of us do, that is what makes this sort of thing so interesting. The sick part is the number still committing atrocities through ignorance, large and small scale. I see hatred for Muslims on the news as if their religion makes them evil, then work alongside them and see people who work hard, love their families and want the same things as I do from life. Then there are the people declaring Christianity has no recent blood on it's hands, unless of course we look at Africa over the last few decades, but that doesn't count. Truth is religion is used against the ignorant as a way to gain control, and the people doing this are evil regardless of which religion they abuse. The catholic religion is the biggest in the world today and is killing more people than all the others combined because of the Pope refusing to stop telling their followers that the bible doesn't say not to use condoms, because there were none when it was written, this is just a principal enforced by them, not the god they are declaring to represent if scriptures are true.
I have grown tired of declaring religion is evil because of the wars fought in it's name, as much as anything else because there have likely never been any truly religious wars in history. to see evidence of this count to ten and picture the numbers in your mind, if the pictures weren't I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X you will get an idea of one part of what the crusades were really about. The Arabic Moors were leading the world in math and technology and had immense wealth. Now of course there are new lies to send people off to die for, magically disappearing weapons of mass destruction being a recent favourite, please ignore the fact we aren't acting against a country that we have declared evil who are publicly producing some, they don't have any oil there and last time the US took on a country like that they didn't fare too well.

Truth is I find the question of whether or not there is a god interesting but as I get older I care less if I am wrong in declaring there are none. I am not changing my mind I just don't feel the need to know as strongly anymore, other things are more important to me now. When I was younger and it was discovered that I was an atheist, about 3 years before I learned the word, the school was so against the idea I wasn't told there was a word to describe me, I spent a couple of years being made to understand god and learned to hate those trying to feed me inconsistent stories they evidently hadn't read properly. Back then it meant a lot, now no-one pushs to me so I can just make up my own mind and challenge it at leisure.

The part of apologetics I tend not to like is the reverse causality. This is here and science hasn't fully explained it therefore god must have done it. I don't like defaults like this and I feel it damages the faith as much as anything else especially when getting the Hovinds etc. who evidently aren't explaining things science hasn't figured out just things they will get paid well to declare so before large groups. Shame Kent didn't get a heads up from god about his tax return.
I remember seeing the linear questioning from his son and thinking it would be so easy to apply the same to literally everything from god to the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
I feel it is a very good thing to challenge science so will not dismiss all apologists because some aske intelligent questions that we have either too many or no answers to, which is great for science and general understanding. But ignoring proven facts to support stories written in the desert thousands of years ago is crazy. One argument I had from one recently was that my knowledge on a topic was from reading over a decade ago so was too out of date, while quoting from the bible, no hint of irony detected.
Evolution is a theory in the scientific sense, in other words there is observed and peer reviewed evidence. We have actually observed cases where it has happened in the last few hundred years. the world is not 6,012 years old, there are organisms on this planet older than that, they weren't here before the earth was. I know you haven't declared either of these things but some apologists do and it is an example of why they get hammered when they haven't done their reading.
You could argue that Christians and Jews worship the same God, but Allah really is a different kettle of fish. The Quran actively and overtly denies what the NT says about Jesus, and gets both NT and OT history seriously messed up (eg they think that Jesus' mother was Abraham's sister). They also define God completely differently. The God of the Quran and the God of the Bible are defined by different natures and different identities.

I've looked into the passages in the OT that supposedly endorse rape. We need to look specifically at the Law in this case, because what characters do throughout the OT is a representation of how well or how poorly people are living out the Law. What people do is not necessarily a representation of what people are supposed to do. Anyway, there's only two laws I know of that supposedly endorse (or at least enable) rape. One of them doesn't have anything in the Hebrew that necessarily suggests the use of force, and even if it did, it's literally right next to a law saying that the consequence of rape is execution for the rapist, while the victim does not receive any legal backlash (there's still ceremonial cleanness to deal with, and there may be social ramifications, but for the actual crime at hand the rapist is guilty and the rapee is not). The other related law, again, says nothing about rape. It just says that if a man lies with an unbetrothed virgin, he has to treat her and her family as if he's going to marry her -- but the family can refuse to actually let him marry her.

On Genesis, chapter 1 specifically refuses to give God a name. Genesis 1 parodies the Babylonian creation account, which introduces about 10 different gods right off the bat. The refusal to refer to God by name is a statement that there's only one God involved in this story, specifically used to subvert the polytheistic creation account that it parodies. There is no second god of the air in the story. You're referring to the Holy Spirit, which is either one of the persons that is God according to triune theology; God's impersonal active force according to unitarian theology; an emination of God according to modalism; or physical, literal wind if you take the most literalistic exegesis and don't apply the systematic theology showing that the "great wind" means the Holy Spirit.

The "lights of the sky" (also specifically refusing to give them names, because they were worshipped as gods in surrounding pantheons) were assigned to serve human use (a subversion of humans being created as an afterthought to serve the gods) on day 4, but humans aren't made into God's image until day 6. Genesis chapter 2 is not normally understood (by lay folk or academics) to be something that happened after day 6, but as an expanded account of humanity in day 6. Notably, there's no sense in the narrative of chapter 2 that this unfolded over 24 hours. The implication is given that a long time passed throughout the account. It's not really clear whether humans existed before Adam or not from the account, but it does seem that Adam marked the beginning of humans bearing God's image. The stories about Cain, Abel and Seth suggest that other humans were around, though.

On cause and effect, I don't think you're understanding my point. If cause and effect is a real relationship, then cause begets effect. We either have an effect that isn't the effect of anything (nonsensical and defies its own definition), an infinite regress of cause and effect (nonsensical, because it means a real continuation of changing circumstances that never started changing), or a first cause that begot the first (and possibly other) effects. "Who created God?" is only a sensible question if God is the effect of some other cause. To be a cause that is not the effect of anything else is to be eternal (by which I don't mean infinitely old -- I mean entirely distinct from time); to be a cause of effects is to be powerful; to be a cause that is eternal but does not eternally produce the same effects and is not subject to causes or effects outside of itself requires something that could best be described as personhood (though not necessarily as we understand persons to be). To have those characteristics is to be "God," although we might choose not to use that term to describe such a being if it seems a bit disingenuous as all theologies could potentially be wrong.

An oscillating universe model only pushes the problem of cause and effect further back. It still leaves us with an infinite regress (eg there have already been infinity expansions and contractions of the universe), an uncaused effect (eg a billionty oscillations ago the first expansion started without a cause), or a causal agent that was not caused by anything else.

On religion and evil, I don't think it's wise to say religion poisons everything, as many claim, but I don't think it's wise to say that religion is inherently safe, either. I'm actually equally offended by the claim that religion is necessarily bad and by the claim that it doesn't matter. With the examples you gave of Muslims (killers vs ethical workers), in each example it's fair to ask if the behaviour is because of their religion, in spite of it, or unrelated to it. To just assume one of those answers without investigating the situation is naive.

I'm not familiar with Hovinds and Kent, but I agree with you on that point. I'm all for arguments that say: "Based on what we do know, of all the possibilities we've come up with, God is the best explanation." I'm not at all a fan of arguments that say: "We don't know, therefore God." Tangentially, when I put my solipsism hat on (and then go a step further and ask if even I'm real -- evidently, traditional Buddhism says no, "I" don't exist, so I'm not the first quack to ask such a question), all of these questions about God's existence become relatively minor compared to the question of whether anything exists at all.

Though I wouldn't call my beliefs Old Earth Creation or Intelligent Design, I certainly lean towards an old earth, old universe, and old, evolutionary life, because that's where the evidence lies, and I'm inclined to suspect that the average scientist is at least average at doing their job. I argue against Young Earthers as much as I argue against atheists. It's only taken me 6 years of being a Christian, but I'm starting to be less surprised to find that in a room full of Christians I'm often the only one who thinks the world might have been around more than 6,000 years ago. Most pastors I know are comfortable accepting evolution, and one even described Young Earthers as basing their beliefs on seriously culty exegeses. They don't tend to talk about it publicly, though, because...ahem, they might get crucified for it. That, and despite what the so-called fundamentalists insist, it isn't central doctrine, which means they don't mind their congregations disagreeing about it. I think it is important to talk about, though, because the fundamentalist attitude steers Christians away from science and leaves Christians feeling like they have to choose faith or evidence. This is not a good thing.
Islam refuses to see Jesus as a son of god and views him as a prophet. In fairness so did the earliest Christians, it is only after Rome got involved that he was promoted to immortal and the true son of god. This is more history than theology of course. The Muslims view Christ as a prophet which is still very high praise and from a religion who worship a later prophet.
The current work of the bible doesn't name god in genesis 1. If we look back at the historical version of genesis which does name 2 this totally validates you saying the Muslims worship a different deity. Where translation is top notch is that in a totally separate part of the bible there is a declaration that there is only one true god and his name is Jehovah, which in the Jewish version says and his name is Jehwah and in the Quran says his name is Allah. Same book, same origin, different names or in the case of the first 2 versions of names, similar to Jacque and Jack. The holy spirit is a very different kettle of fish.
By definition of following a faith you have to trust what the books say to you but when you consider the 3 religions have the same origin for their earliest works and 3 subtly different versions in their scriptures it shows there has been something lost in translation. This is not unique to the bible, there are innumerable historic documents with various translations, many that are so different their meaning is changed totally, so people get very confused when studying ancient history with different linguistic backgrounds.

Day 6 it was, I sit totally corrected. Gen 1 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Then a bit later day and night was the sixth day. It does say they were in gods own image though, so Adam wouldn't have been the first on this front. The who did Cain and Abel marry argument is solved by the realisation there were plenty of humans by this time. I remember pointing out this is a good thing from the point of view of creationism anyway, otherwise the entire human race would have a gene pool of 1, even the European royals aren't that bad. Maybe it's comments like that which explain why ENTPs don't have many friends.

The basis of cause and effect has to go to a starting point which is where science gets it's questions, kind of like a child on the why questioning line, something too often discouraged. You can't have a cause that doesn't answer to the rules without accepting the 'nobody knows' card. Life on earth is the result of an environment we would have found totally toxic, but suited extremophiles beautifully, so the effect was life the cause was environment. Then the next part is to find the cause of the environment, this will be various factors, from the proximity of our moon and sun, the protection from our surrounding magnetic field mineral deposits in the water etc. Next we need to find the causes of these, I'll take the minerals because that shifts us from geology to astrophysics. the complex elements making up our minerals are made up by the immense pressures generated during stars collapsing, which is why the more complex the element the less there generally is of it in the cosmos. This continues going back further and further, every cause has to be answerable to the rules of cause and effect, so there has to be something effect to have created that cause, as soon as you have something that is pure cause without an explanation you have to either accept this is beyond our knowledge or break the rules of cause and effect. This is where science and religions have their biggest falling out, religions state that cause and effect shows they must be right while ignoring that they have to be able to prove the cause for their deity(ies). Science doesn't have the answers anyone declaring otherwise is lying to you, they have hypotheses but many of these come to nothing and considering there are a number of them at least some will. It is questions not answers that push science forward so the more we realise we don't know the stronger it gets.
History comes in here too. The further back you look the more simplistic the religions are because the smaller the questions were. Creation stories from more primitive societies have deities for the earth, sun, moon, fertility etc. because these are deemed very separate and there is no real awareness of much world beyond their immediate surroundings. Bigger unanswered questions bring with them bigger and more powerful deities, until we get to a singular omnipotent being that controls our surroundings, creating the very laws of physics we are governed by but not adhering to them.

Agree on religion not being inherently evil or safe. Little in life is. I think whether or not a religion makes people evil or safe is due to numerous factors, the preachers make a massive difference, the reason the person went to the religion is equally as much and of course the person themselves. I was carefully brought up to be a grade a thug, ready to join a long line of well decorated killers who would fight and die for god, queen and country, the parts of the bible I was told at school and were mentioned often elsewhere where about the oppression and justified revenge taken by gods chosen. Many subjected to this followed it and have gone on to kill in the name of a god worshipped by those they have killed in many cases, several others have taken that anger out on others in civilian life, religion didn't do that alone, it was the entire environment created to generate hateful people filled with anger and ready to act on it. I honestly don't understand what happened with me, the time I became pacifist is to blurred in my memory but as a hyperactive, someone with masses of aggression just below the surface anyway, I took the environmental preaching and decided I wouldn't kill in the name of a god I considered a fraud, a queen who had enough power and a country bent on controlling it's populace with fear and corruption.
My mother is the worst type of religious person to my mind, she shares your faith by name but you use it to enhance your life, she doesn't. To her it's a way to get forgiveness for her wrongdoing while comforting herself that those wronging her will be eternally dammed. I don't care how many scriptures people quote that is distilled evil, to wish people purgatory for things they have done but consider none of your own wrongs are to be held accountable for is horrendous. This isn't the fault of the religion, it is why she went to it, and she made sure the preacher enforced this.
If you felt I was either accusing or exonerating religion I was unclear. There is always an ulterior motive that people can slot religion into. After all what could be better than seeing honourable death being rewarded by arriving in paradise. So the religion is used as a tool to manipulate not the actual reason for the war.
There are plenty of other brainwashing tools available. I have a family and the heart strings would be tugged to be sure I was a man who cared enough to protect them with my life by going to fight in a war which was about getting control of the local resources some in my country could profit from. Religion is not needed to make people good or evil, but it can help.

Kent Hovind and his son are two people you would consider a shaming to your cause, much as I do with blind faithful atheists. They have made immense sums of money preaching ignorance in the US and blatantly ignoring or misinterpreting established scientific theories and talking as if sciences considers hypothesis and theory as one and the same.
I think there is an element of it being very easy to have an end in mind from the beginning and therefore automatically agree with yourself come the end. I would defy anyone to honestly say they haven't done this, I know I have many times, not just on theology of course. Most people like to have answers, gaps make them uncomfortable and they would rather have something that fills them. This is not a purely religious phenomenon, many scientists, doctors etc. are exactly the same. I am the freak who actively enjoys being out of my depth sometimes unable to even see the surface. In today's world that is not too bad but in ancient times this could have been very dangerous when I decided that it was interesting to see what mix of sulphur and saltpetre would smoulder least slowly.

The faith or evidence is not a good choice. I know when my son was attending church they were very welcoming to his questions and found my knowledge of the scriptures and historic placement interesting and often helpful.
The term laying on of hands meant massage, no big shock there, but many don't realise that this was often with oils and the most common being cannabis oil, a very good cure for the pain of arthritis and way to make the lame walk. I have known people who have used this, not legally of course, and they said it was miraculous, so no big shock there. This doesn't make Jesus a fraud just a talented healer as many carrying the word of god were at that time.
The rising from the dead is less unique than many think. It wasn't a weekly show at the local temple but there are numerous records of this worldwide, because diagnosing death is not easy, even today we get it wrong. Christ was taken down from the cross before he'd asphyxiated to death, taken to a cave, treated with herbs and oils then left. This could be miraculous resurrection or him slipping into unconsciousness or a mild coma then coming round safely due to the treatment. There are various stories around the potential person who could have been Jesus, not an uncommon name so not difficult, one I like is that he left the area to return to the area he'd been during the missing years and worked there as a renowned prophet and healer, and was buried with honours. His tomb exists and is still a place of holy significance for Buddhists today. Truth is we don't know if this is what happened. I just like the idea.
The first uses of the word trinity to affirm Christian doctrine are from AD80-160. Rome had nothing to do with inventing the deity of Christ. The Council of Nicea, for example, was an attempt on Rome's part to enforce peace between Christian leaders when the majority called out Arian (who was promoting the belief that the Son of God is not God) as a heretic. From Rome's POV, the council failed, because all that happened was the trinitarians confirmed Arian unitarianism as a heresy.

I'm looking for any evidence to support your claim about two differently named and identified gods in Gen 1 and am coming up dry. It would have been relatively easy to argue for polytheism using Gen 1, because the word translated "God" is Elohim, which is a plural term. At the point where God creates mankind, God is specifically referred to as "he" and "his," and there is plenty of evidence beyond Gen 1 that, in context, Elohim refers to the only God rather than multiple gods, so that wouldn't be a water-tight argument, but there's a basis for it. But I can't find any evidence for two gods by different names in Gen 1.

Your explanation of Adam re:1:26-28 assumes that Adam was made after the 6th day. I'm not saying he wasn't, but that's a big assumption, and one most would disagree with. I'll point out, though, that the concept of existing in the Ancient Near East meant that the object had a purpose in an ordered system. So, while the text doesn't indicate this, it does leave open the possibility that homo sapiens existed as animals before God set apart humans to bear his image. So taking something that already existed as an animal, and creating it to exist as God's image-bearer, would not contradict the text.

I don't think we're going to see eye-to-eye on cause and effect. We seem to be going around in circles. But I'll give one more crack at it before resigning: the relationship of cause and effect is cause --> effect. A cause can be the effect of something else, and somewhere between most and all (if we allow an infinite regress) causes are also effects, but the definition of a cause does not require it to be an effect. So a cause that is not caused by anything else is not a contradiction and does not break the relationship. Therefore the cause of a deity only needs to be given if the deity is a contingent being, which is exactly what I am saying God isn't. I'll leave this here:

I can see how religion can be used the way your mum does, and I agree with you entirely about the intricacies of issues like war. I feel like an appropriate Christian response to hell is to rejoice in the promised destruction of evil, but grieve for anyone who ends up destroyed for evil. This, by the way, is a significant motive for telling people about Jesus -- because I don't want anyone to have to enter hell.

Sounds like Kent Hovind and Ken Ham would get along brilliantly.

I haven't memorised every miracle recorded in the NT, but as they're recorded, they tend to make natural explanations pretty difficult. For example, woman with a 12-year-long period touches Jesus' clothing and the bleeding instantly stops. Physically, he didn't do anything at all, so the best natural explanation is probably coincidence. Another example, he uses his spit to make some mud, puts it in the eyes of a man who's been blind for life, and the man can see. Even if by "mud" they mean "cannabis," I don't think that would cause anything good to happen to the eyes if this were only a physical event. I can see how mud with drugs in it could create hallucinations, but objectively, if I'm going to treat the story as though there is no God and no spiritual powers, I'd have an easier time saying it was made up.

Jesus is recorded as having raised at least 2 others (a religious leader's daughter and Lazarus) from the dead, purely by speaking. To be fair, Jesus said that girl was "not dead but asleep," but the claim is that on his command her spirit returned and she came to life; plus throughout the NT "asleep" is used a few times to describe someone whose body is dea-diddley-ead but whose spirit is alive. Nonetheless, let's rule her out. Lazarus had been buried for 4 days before Jesus came along, and there were even professional mourners there. It's very unlikely that Lazarus was just unconscious or in a coma, but significantly likely that he was than that Jesus was, given that he'd already received several beatings and a few lashes short of a death sentence in his pre-crucifixion flogging. Then they tested how dead he was by spearing his side. And it was when the women came along to anoint his body that they found his tomb empty: as best as it's recorded, he didn't have herbs or oils put on him before the claimed resurrection.
Genesis 2 is a bit vague on timings. Day seven ends at the start then a whole batch of other things happen without saying if it was before or simply a recap. This sort of thing is what has been causing major disagreements between theologians for centuries.

I found the reference to the original book of genesis watching a video by Aron Ra on you tube and checked it out using the reference from there. I will be honest and say I struggled even with this and for the life of me can't remember what searches I had to put in. The issue becomes clearer once you know which religion the original work was pulled from. The old testament is a collection of books that are from various areas and religions predating Judaism. I know it was the name of the religion genesis started in that help me on my way to finding it.

The romans were the first people to promote Christianity worldwide and Christ received a major makeover when becoming the figurehead of the new age roman empire. The pictorial representations of Christ before and after he was adopted by Rome show a lot of this. It was proposed before them that he may have been truly divine but only established as gospel at that time.

Scientific assessment of cause and effect is a full continuation, where you can always question what the cause was. As I say this is the biggest area of conflict between science and religious thinking. When you get to a point where the answer to what caused this is not 'I don't know' but 'you don't need to think about that' or to accept on faith. If we saw eye to eye on this I wouldn't be an atheist, but up until the point where you reach god we are in total agreement on the chain of how things around us came into being.

The example I gave on cannabis is just for the laying on of hands. It is often assumed that we are the enlightened ones who understand medication and drugs as if this is new. Plants and minerals have been used for millennia to treat various things, we even see other animals doing it. I have seen inexplicable things happen in my life, the only difference is I think of this as a lack of my knowledge not a sign of miracle. I expect all to be explained in time.

The anointing of the body was to stop it starting to decay and smell. This wasn't just for Christ but universal across the world when bodies were to be displayed. The oils and herbs used to do this are antibacterial, that is how they stop the smell and decay. There are other records of instances where this treatment with oils to preserve the bodies of the dead could have been responsible for miraculously coming back from the dead. I know what he's recorded to have gone through, but in my life I have seen what the body can come back from and been knocking at deaths door waiting for an answer before coming back myself a few times. I used to wonder about this but having been there and understanding this is a man used to putting himself through trials of fasting etc. on a regular basis, I think he would have to be a pretty resilient guy who could with help have come back from the brink. The piercing with the spear was the test, and in most cases this should have been enough, but consider that with all the technology we have today people still come back after being pronounced dead, I reserve the right to be sceptical here.

Mr Ham and Mr Hovind would indeed get on well. Similarly professionally ignorant, sadly common in the states, and likely elsewhere too. I think the most ridiculous was the argument that bananas are proof that god created the world for us. The stupidity of using such an argument defies belief and unfortunately makes many assume theists must be dumb for believing such things.
Arguments for (using a cultivated banana)
They fit so perfectly in the hand.
They are so easily opened.
They are wholesome and nutritious.
Arguments against
Cultivated bananas have no seeds. The seeds of wild bananas are toxic to humans, making us sick or worse.
Every other animal opens bananas from the opposite ends or by snapping them which is easier.
This is true for every plant. The cell of a plant has a cell wall made of cellulose, a form of sugar we cannot digest. If the world was made for us the most common sugar on the planet would not be indigestible to humans.

I do love the whole intelligent design as well and have a list of things that show how if humans were created it was a bit more kit car assembly from than custom build with incredible forethought.
Some of these are humorous others more serious. I know you haven't spouted intelligent design at me, I see you as more intelligent than to see us as designed.
Men would not have external testes. Let's take one of the most sensitive parts of the body and leave them exposed to harm where they get bruised if running without support.
The appendix and tail bone. Let's put things in the body which can cause excruciating pain when they go wrong but serve no useful purpose. They were useful in other apes.
Wiring of nerves to the voice box. The brain is a few inches away, should we send the straight there or via the blood vessels near the heart. No contest, via the chambers of the heart worked so well with fish where it's the easiest path.
Should we have entire sections of genetic preparation for things that will be switched off through the entire life to enable normal existence. Like switching off the connection of the jaw muscles to a ridged upper skull which would give normal apelike bit force to enable growth of the brain after birth. Because of course every designer puts things in the construction that are designed to be totally ignored.
Death in child birth. Humans have the highest infant and mother mortality rate in child birth, because god was angry at Eve and said she must have painful labour. Sure this read painful not deadly. No-one designs something intending them to reproduce only to make it so potentially lethal. Now we have a lot of this controlled but historically having a child was often the most dangerous thing women would do in their lives.
Bipedal hominids are beyond doubt one of the least successful body types still in existence. Why stick us with this design.
We weren't intelligently designed. If there is one thing that screams evolution is true more than anything else it's looking at how much of a botch job we would have to be if created from scratch. Only an organism that has had to adapt to a number of challenges then move on would be such a mess.
The nerve to the larynx is an example of how it's easier to simply adjust slightly a bit at a time then reroute from the time our ancestors were fish, to show how crazy this is the same wiring is in a giraffe, the nerve to the larynx travels almost as far as the nerve to the rear feet.
Tail bones are very common in creatures without tails, purely vestigial. Some have totally lost them but they are truly ancient. Give us a few million years and we may get rid of them. Internal organs are slower to die off than bones.
We have parts of our genome so evidently set up for totally different animals. The list is crazy. The ape friendly bite is one of the best formed and most recently switched off.
The external testes are just one of a list of evident gripes that anyone looking in a mirror would be able to clearly state are examples that we weren't well thought out.
Upright bipedal living is the most likely cause for death in childbirth, hips have to be narrowed and even with brain growth after birth the trauma was often deadly. It's not a good picture.
The seventh day is a really interesting one. God doesn't command anything special to happen on the day (ie there's no "And God said..."), he doesn't repeat that it was good, and a beginning and end to the day isn't actually cited. Many have noticed that the day doesn't come to an end in the text, and have suggested that we are therefore still in the seventh day, to which I'm inclined to agree. I'd take it a step further and say that the previous 6 days are also inside the 7th day, because there is no formal beginning of the day, either. There's more I can say about the 7th day which really slaps a conventional reading in the face.

I wouldn't say we aren't designed, but I'm under no delusion that we're perfectly engineered, either (notably, contrary to fundamentalist ideology, Genesis doesn't say that creation was perfect in the beginning -- it says that creation was good, meaning it functioned for its purposes). Some of the issues raised are mere efficiency (eg larynx nerves, organs that we have little-to-no use for), which doesn't tend to impact our experience. Many of the issues wouldn't be issues if the relationships between God, man and the world were as they were in Gen 1-2. Within that context, the aspects of our biology that range from inefficient to seriously problematic simply wouldn't have been a big deal. Within our context, they are a problem for us.


Squats 3x10x110kg
Deadlifts 3x12x110kg
High Rack Pulls 2x2x190kg
1-Legged Glute Bridges 3x6xBW (again, twice as many sets on left side; still felt it more in the right side)
Bench Press 13/10/10x60kg
L-Pull Ups 2x8
Pull Ups 3x7x7.5kg
CGBP 3x6x60kg
Incline Bench Press 3x8x40kg
Cable Row 3x9x70kg, 3x12x52kg

Squats 3x8x112.5kg
Dead Quarter Squats 3x12x130kg -- More control than last week; rack height 2 below regular squats, can definitely take it down a notch next week.
Deadlifts 3x12x120kg -- I'm starting to feel it now. Each week, deadlifts have been hard, but now they're slowing down around about the 8th rep.
Block Deadlifts 3x6x152.5kg -- Top layer of blocks removed. 1 more rep with +2.5kg and about an extra 1-2cm ROM = 3 methods of progression in one hit.
Calf Raise 3x8x80kg
Bench Press 5/4+1/3+2 x82.5kg -- I think the first set counted as a PB. I think. I'm not sure if my spotter actually touched the bar on the 4th rep of the last set, but he definitely helped me up on the final rep.
L-Pull Up 8/8/6/8
Pull Ups 3x6x8.75kg
OHP 5/5/3x42.5kg
Cable Row 4x10x70kg
That they are!

Squats 3x8x115kg -- Getting pretty slow there, and had to rest a lot between sets. While warming up, I played around with the neoprene belts I bought this week for clients. Proper powerlifting belts are hard to wear in, but once you've gotten used to it, there's no going back. But that's okay. The belts are for relative beginners who aren't aspiring to compete and want a balance of support and comfort to get them used to using a belt. If you're not planning on competing, an expensive thick leather belt is not a priority.
Pause Squats 3x6x82.5kg
Goodmornings 3x8x80kg -- Neoprene belt did feel helpful on these, as I felt like I could have easily gone for 10+. Leather belt on GM's ain't so fun. Tried using the squat pad on the last set just to see what impact it made. Felt simultaneously comfortable and disgusting.
Band Clams/Band Glute Bridges 4x10/4x10 -- Pre-fatigue with clams right before bridges. Dat external rotation. I've been needing this. On the very last rep of bridges, I held the lockout for a count of 10. Dat assgasm.
Barbell Calf Raises 3x10x82.5kg, 6x10x80kg -- Performed between sets of pause squats, GMs and clams/bridges.
Bench Press 6x3x80kg
Block Rows 9x5x55kg

Squats 8/5/5x117.5kg
Deadlifts 2x6x130kg
Band Clams/Band Glute Bridges 3x10/3x10 -- This time performed in the commercial gym like a boss. If bosses are cute and made of pink.
I heart my seductive knee-high socks.

Bench Press 8/6/5x72.5kg
L-Pull Ups 10/8/8
Pull Ups 3x5x10kg, 10/5xBW
CGBP 2x8x62.5kg
Incline Bench Press 3x9x40kg
Cable Row 3x12x61kg
Squats 8/5/5x120kg -- All questions about whether or not I'm in PB territory removed.
Quarter Squats 3x12x130kg -- 3 notches lower than squats.
Deadlifts 2x5x135kg
SLDL 6x100kg

I slept for 9 hours after this and today felt like I cold have gone for another 9 hours when I finally woke up. Uni's about to start again, so I think the physical abuse has to be dialed back to "sensible" again pretty darn soon.

OHP 2x5x45kg, 6/5x40kg
Lat Pull Down 5x15x34kg, 12x43kg
Then I did a bunch of isolation work. I felt all my barbell cred slipping, but I did not have the focus to make myself keep doing compounds today. I went bat**** insane on the isos, though. I started with cable push downs. I think it was 20kg, but didn't record it so not sure. At 30 reps it was feeling pretty brutal, but I knew I could do at least 10 more. At 100 reps, I realised I was never going to run out of reps, no matter how much fatigue or lactic acid I accumulated, but decided that was a good enough number to stop on. I also got 60 reps of curls, before stopping because the temptation to cheat was getting too irresistable. I did some crossovers and reverse flies, and 4 sets of rotator cuff exercises.
I totally ticked a box when I registered! :angry: