Response to Calvary Nexus Dr. J.P. Moreland on “The Evidence for Christianity”

A pastor friend of mine recently tweeted/facebooked a link to the following video from Dr. J.P. Moreland – in this video Dr. Moreland attempts to prove that god exists using what he calls “creation”. I responded to the post on Facebook – but wanted to share my answers to three of the main points made by Moreland.

 

 

Firstly I’d like to take a moment to say the following:

 

Though I respect Dr. Moreland’s stance and fully understand it – I find it best, when I want to know how the Christian community or individual Christians feel about certain things, that I ask the sources directly. When Dr. Moreland here speaks as to the goals of the new atheists, although some of them are somewhat correct, I believe he does his audience a disservice – My challenge to you and anyone that bothers to read this is simply this:  Ask a New Atheist (which I am) what it is that you want to know about New Atheism (I hate to use capitals on those) – never take someone’s word over those of true sources. The same goes for any questions you have about Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc…even though myself or Dr. Moreland may be well versed in a few different belief systems we are not nearly as valid a source than a reasonable selection of believers in those faith systems.

Read more

Moral Obligations: Reducing Faith, Increasing Understanding

Ever since I was very young I’ve felt an unexplainable drive to seek out , discover, and even defend truth, whatever that may be.  I think somehow this desire translated into a fervent religious belief through my teen years and a lengthy role in defending that belief.  That drive still exists, though my methods of determining exactly what is and is not true has changed entirely (from the view that truth was dictated by the Bible to the view that truth is dictated by the evidence is a pretty massive transition) and at this point I feel that the defense and propagation of that which is true transcends mere desire, but has moved into the realm of obligation.

For me,  it seems that the atheists, skeptics, Humanists, naturalists, rationalists,  and scientists of the world may even have a moral obligation to see that truth is not only spread (peaceably) but also defended in a world where the rational or empirical are often scoffed at – or worse.  When religious or otherwise irrational society largely dictates both social standards and the political environment there are some pretty severe consequences for virtually everyone that has to share space on this planet with them.  From homeopathy, to fundamentalists who refuse medical treatment for their children, to proponents of the Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell policy, and the denial of equal rights to homosexuals the majority largely decides what the rest of us can and cannot do, additionally these people will make victims of anyone and everyone in the name of their god.

Read more

Honey and Flies – My Personal End to Bitterness

 

This is the first post in a series in which I intend to explain, philosophize, argue, and even convince myself of a new approach in my own personal life regarding my lack of religious faith.

For nearly two years now I’ve been an out atheist and as a result of a very painful process of losing my faith I have to force myself to embrace a Truth regarding myself – I’ve been bitter, angry, and sometimes hurtful toward other people. Some of them deserved it while others did not and I feel the need to repair my approach to humanity.

The fact is, despite my best efforts and the efforts of my peers, we are stuck here with religion and the religious – the vast majority of whom, due to the nature of faith, will hold on to their faith despite all of the good evidence you and I can provide to the contrary. Religion, as a whole, may one day disappear but not without many more years of scientific discovery and understanding so that all questions in which god can be a hypothetical answer to may be answered – if they ever are.

It’s not that I’ve suddenly forgotten all of the dangers of religion or how it has held humanity behind for ages – I haven’t. I simply can’t justify the effects that my approach have had on myself and others in the last few years. Despite being the happiest I’ve ever been, there has still been this underlying bitterness…even a persecution complex (something I often accuse Christians of) in-so-much that I may often see persecution in places that it isn’t actually occurring. Of course persecution absolutely does occur and yes I have absolutely been a victim of it – but my failure has been in giving those around me the benefit of the doubt.

Lessons of experience

Over the last few months I have found myself associated with two organizations, one of which I am a founding officer called C.O.F.F.E.R of Dodge County – a citizens organization dedicated to working with the local Board of Education to ensure that responsibility is used in the areas of education and finance. Secondarily I am now performing all of the web-admin duties and doing other volunteer work for Faithful Hearts Animal Shelter (501c3) – a local startup non-profit incorporation of individuals interested in building a permanent rescue for abandoned and abused animals in my local area (we desperately need it – but that’s a whole different story, just know that my wife and I are pretty much animal freaks.)

Read more

Regarding Hope: The Atheist’s View

It is often said by believers of all faiths that to be without God is to be without a thing called Hope.

Hope, defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best, is far from foreign to me. I’d even go so far as to say that my life is more filled with hope now than it ever was when I believed in the god of Christianity.

When I was a believer my hope was in my salvation, something I believed to have been provided by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I had the hope that the things of this world would soon pass away and that there would be an eternity of God’s presence to endure. I had hope in the promise of a relationship with that god and in the idea that he wanted for me to experience his love and compassion despite my own depravity (and in the idea that he desired this same thing for all mankind.). I experienced the hope of an afterlife and hope in miracles while still living.

I know the hope that the Christian speaks of, I’ve experienced it, felt it, lived it…in fact I know from personal experience all of the elements that Christians or other religious folks may claim that the godless are not privy to, yet hope is by far one of the most prevalent elements of my life now – without god.

I have hope, I have lots of it. I feel that what I have now is far more tangible than what I had prior to my fall from grace.

Read more

The Effects of Evangelism on Christians in India

I’m Pissed.

You see, the other day I found a video showing Christian’s in India being beaten and stoned to death. According to this video the reason they are being beaten and stoned is solely because they are Christians. The video featuring the pastor of Cornerstone Church, Francis Chan, is located here.

*Warning: This video contains very disturbing and graphic images, if you are offended by violence, blood, or evangelism you should not watch this (nor should you read the Bible).

Read more

RagingRev featured on ParaTrinity Radio

Update, The podcast is now available for download here.

This Saturday, February 20th at 11PM EST, I am honored to be the special guest on a new e-radio show called ParaTrinity Radio.

ParaTrinity Radio is a podcast/live broadcast with hosts Mike and LE that focuses on the religious aspects of paranormal. It’s a show that really appeals to the ghosthead/paranormal research crowd as it greatly focuses on information and guests that have experience with haunting, “demonology”, and ghosts. My goal will be to bring a logical, reasonable, and scientifically sound view to the debate regarding god and the paranormal.

I intend to spend a portion of my air time talking about my past, as a young minister and exorcist (something you will rarely hear or see me discuss). I will also be giving my testimony (or extimony) of my transition from fervent Christian to atheist, something I think that can help those that are struggling with the reality of their own faith.

I really really hope that the skeptical crowd would be willing to show up for the live airing which has a chat room where you can interact with the hosts and I, ask questions, and interact with other listeners. Not only do I know that the show hosts are respectful of our point of view, I know that they are genuinely interested in hearing what I have to say and in seeing the listeners interact as well. I would love to see a large crowd show up, in fact I’d like to make this their biggest show yet – this show has only been airing since the beginning of the year and is still gaining it’s audience, I’d also like for that crowd to have intelligent and kind discussions with those in the live chat.

The Show will air live at ASPRN Studio B beginning at 11 PM EST on Saturday, February 20th, 2010! I hope that some of the Reddit atheists and other readers of my blog will show up!

If you would like to hear some of the previous shows they are available at the podcast site: Podomatic

PS: Leave a comment if you intend to be there…thanks.

Arguments and Fallacies: Moral Relativity

Recently one of my Facebook statuses prompted another debate wherein one of the Christian participants made the argument that the good of Christianity outweighs the bad in reference to the fact that I am so passionate about fighting religion in general. I want to explore that idea from a reasoned and historical perspective as this discussion always leads to a debate about the origin of morality and supposed objective morality standards. Of course I find that this argument is old and played out since I’ve only dealt with it six times now on this blog, but I figure why not try one more time…seeing as I haven’t updated in over 30 days now.

Read more

Arguments and Fallacies: The Worldview Argument

In order to fight my ever present writers block, I have decided to start a series of blog posts on different arguments and fallacies that the atheist may run into in his/her dealings with religious folks, specifically creationists. The purpose of these posts will not only be to argue against these common points of contention, but to also to attempt to make sense of why these arguments seem conducive to the believer. I fully intend to use my experience as a former believer and apologist to explain what I now know to be illogical and unreasonable. In my experience with atheists there is a tendency to think, “how stupid are you?” when confronted with some of these arguments in favor of creationism, and the atheist is more prone to uncontrolled outbursts of anger and frustration, often leading to a worthless tirade against the opponent. Not only do these arguments give atheists a bad name, but they also ruin the environment of discourse. Though I, too, have been guilty of such dismissive tirades, these posts will attempt to give atheists a more involved and intelligent means of discourse when dealing with religious people and creationist worldviews.

I know that many current atheists are also former believers, and many were quite devoted to their faith. As true as this may be, I think that I represent a very rare breed of atheist in that I have, as I have explained many times before, experienced god in ways that seemed entirely logical at the time, yet I was able to comprehend my own psychological failings in order to reject my faith and the inane arguments of creationism. Creationists do not lack reasoning all together; they simply lack the desire or ability to accept a point of view that endangers their belief in god. I have been through such a dilemma myself, and as much as I regret the years I spent in service to god, I must pull from that experience in order to better defend a realistic understanding of the world.

Read more

A visit from LDS Missionaries

Forward

A note to my LDS friends: Please understand that the purpose of this post is not to disprove or discredit your belief system or you personally. I have a deep respect for each one of you and only desire that the lines of communication that exists between myself and you continue to stay open. I only wish that the rest of Christendom were as open to discussion and as kind in doing so as you have always been to me. Even during the times when I made a fool of myself as a self-righteous Christian and if I have done so now as an atheist. Please allow this post to represent my care for mankind and not a hate for god or religious people. If something here is offensive it was not my intent, but I challenge anyone and everyone that does read this to consider the purpose behind it and the logic behind my own doubt.
 
———————–
 

About two months ago I was browsing through my normal routine of atheist sites and blogs when I happened upon an advertisement for Mormon.org’s chat service which allows anyone to log onto the website and chat with a missionary from the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as Mormons or LDS).  I decided to log on and chat with the kind folks there to see why they believed what they did and so on,  being an individual that is not entirely unfamiliar with LDS beliefs I came in with a foreknowledge of the basic LDS doctrine and simply wanted to challenge these kind people to think about the origin of their belief – something I had to do for myself once upon a time.

Missionary One: Initial encounter

The first missionary I talked to was a very kind young man, if I remember correctly he was 19 and in training to go to South America to present their version of the gospel to the people there, you see, the chat center is located in Provo, UT at the Missionary Training Academy where all the LDS missionaries go for a time prior to being sent out. (Most LDS members go on mission at some point in their life usually in their early 20’s, the mission generally lasts two years and is part of being a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood). I explained to him that I was an atheist and that I was at one time a Christian, he spoke to me about  his “relationship with god” and how he knew god was real because he felt him so strongly in his life and because he had seen god’s many blessings on him and his family. I explained to him a little about my past and how I too had a relationship with my own deity and that at one point I came to realize that this deity was merely my own mental and emotional interpretation of the god of the Bible and the god that I most wanted to serve. (aka, an imaginary friend that I molded after my own view of god). Eventually I gave this missionary my phone number and he and I talked about this subject on two different nights, he would also give me some verses from the Book of Mormon to read. I read what he asked each time that he did. During our last conversation he let me know that he was leaving to go on his mission and would therefore be unable to call again and asked permission to give my number to another missionary named Stephen, I agreed and issued one final challenge to him: I simply asked that he ask himself if he would be comfortable with even the idea of there not being a god and that if he could find a way to cope with that if he would then begin to challenge the idea of god that he had. He agreed.

Read more

The Faith of a Child

Some time last week I saw someone mention that they had “Just led __ to the Lord”. After noticing the comments of this post I gathered that this was the persons child that had been “led to the Lord” so I decided to inquire as to the age of this child…which got me thinking about faith and children. This man’s daughter was six.

I was “Saved” at the ripe old age of 6. That’s right, at 6 years old someone believed that I was at an appropriate time in my life to decide the fate of my own mortal soul and to ask forgiveness for the plethora of sins I was guilty of. This, of course, was not true…the “gospel” was something I could nary understand at the time and I didn’t really grasp the cardinal doctrines of Christianity until I was around 14, when I became more serious about my faith. Until then I didn’t understand that the God of the Bible required sacrificial scapegoats  to atone for the sin of man or that Jesus was supposed to be the end all be all of sacrificial lambs. I simply knew that the Bible was supposed to be true and that I felt an emotional “tug” at my heart when this whole Jesus thing was presented to me…so I said a prayer and I cried and I spoke in tongues etc.

Read more