Moral Decline

Documenting The Moral Decline That Threatens To Destroy America

Questions To Ask The Next Atheist Who Thinks That They Are Smarter Than Everyone Else

We have all run into them - atheists who love to mock religion and who think that they are the smartest people in the room.

The next time you run into such a person, take a few questions from the following list and see how that atheist handles them.....

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How do you explain the high degree of design and order in the universe if there is no God?

How do you account for the vast archaeological documentation of Biblical stories, places, and people?

Since absolutely no Bible prophecy has ever failed (and there are hundreds), how can one realistically remain unconvinced that the Bible is of divine origin?

How do you explain David's graphic portrayal of Jesus' death by crucifixion (Psalm 22) 1000 years before Christ lived?

How do you explain that the prophet Daniel prophesied the exact YEAR when the Christ would be presented as Messiah and also prophesied that the temple would be destroyed afterward over 500 years in advance (Daniel 9:24-27)?

How could any mere human pinpoint the birth town of the Messiah seven full centuries before the fact, as did the prophet Micah?

How do you account for the odds (1 in 10 to the 157th power) that even just 48 (of 300) Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ?

How was it possible for the Old Testament prophet Isaiah to have predicted the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14) 700 years before it occurred?

How can anyone doubt the reliability of Scripture considering the number and the proximity to the originals of its many copied manuscripts?

In what sense was Jesus a "good man" if He was lying in His claim to be God?

If the Bible is not true, why is it so universally regarded as "the Good Book"?

Are you aware that the Old Testament alone claims to be God's inspired word at least 2600 times?

Did you know that the Bible has been the number one bestseller every year since the 1436 invention of the Gutenberg printing press?

If God does not exist, then from where comes humanity's universal moral sense?

If man is nothing but the random arrangement of molecules, what motivates you to care and to live honorably in the world?

Can you explain how personality could have ever evolved from the impersonal, or how order could have ever resulted from chaos?

If Jesus' resurrection was faked, why would twelve intelligent men (Jesus' disciples) have died for what they knew to be a lie?

How do you explain the fact that a single, relatively uneducated and virtually untraveled man, dead at age 33, radically changed lives and society to this day?

Why have so many of history's greatest thinkers been believers?

Have you ever wondered why thousands of intelligent scientists, living and dead, have been men and women of great faith?

Isn't it somewhat arrogant to suggest that countless churches and people (including men like Abraham Lincoln) are all radically in error in their view of the Bible?

How do you account for the origin of life considering the irreducible complexity of its essential components?

How can the Second Law of Thermodynamics be reconciled with progressive, naturalistic evolutionary theory?

How do you reconcile the existence of human intelligence with naturalism and the Law of Entropy?

Why does the Bible alone, of all of the world's holy books, contain such detailed prophecies of future events?

Is it absolutely true that "truth is not absolute" or only relatively true that "all things are relative?"

Is it possible that your unbelief in God is actually an unwillingness to submit to Him?

Does your present worldview provide you with an adequate sense of meaning and purpose?

How do you explain the radically changed lives of so many Christian believers down through history?

Are you aware that every alleged Bible contradiction has been answered in an intelligible and credible manner?

What do you say about the hundreds of scholarly books that carefully document the veracity and reliability of the Bible?

Why and how has the Bible survived and even flourished in spite of centuries of worldwide attempts to destroy and ban its message?

Have you ever considered the fact that Christianity is the only religion whose leader is said to have risen from the dead?

How do you explain the empty tomb of Jesus in light of all the evidence that has now proven essentially irrefutable for twenty centuries?

If Jesus did not actually die and rise from the dead, how could He (in His condition) have circumvented all of the security measures in place at His tomb?

If the authorities stole Jesus' body, why?

Why would they have perpetrated the very scenario that they most wanted to prevent?

If Jesus merely resuscitated in the tomb, how did He deal with the Roman guard posted just outside its entrance?

How can one realistically discount the testimony of over 500 witnesses to a living Jesus following His crucifixion (see 1 Corinthians 15:6)?

If all of Jesus' claims to be God were the result of His own self-delusion, why didn't He show evidence of lunacy in any other areas of His life?

Is your unbelief in a perfect God possibly the result of a bad experience with an imperfect church or a misunderstanding of the facts, and therefore an unfair rejection of God Himself?

How did 35-40 men, spanning 1500 years and living on three separate continents, ever manage to author one unified message, i.e. the Bible?

Would you charge the Declaration of Independence with error in affirming that "all men are endowed by their Creator..."?

Because life origins are not observable, verifiable, or falsifiable, how does the theory of "evolution" amount to anything more than just another faith system?

What do you make of all the anthropological studies indicating that even the most remote tribes show some sort of theological awareness?

If every effect has a cause, then what or who caused the universe?

How do you explain the thousands of people who have experienced heaven or hell and have come back to tell us about it?

How do you explain the countless people who have received miracles from God?

Is there any evidence that would satisfy you and persuade you to become a believer, or are you just going to believe what you WANT to believe?

3 comments:

Will said...

Okay, I'll take the Pepsi challenge.

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Q. How do you explain the high degree of design and order in the universe if there is no God?

A. Ever heard of chaos theory? I thought not. Besides, there only appears to be design and order because we perceive it as such. Might as well ask why the sky is blue -- because a god painted it blue? In other words, the order of things IS order, by definition.

Q. How do you account for the vast archaeological documentation of Biblical stories, places, and people?

A. Vast? Anyway, it's easy to write a fiction to fit archaeological facts. Hollywood does it all the time. I'm partial to H. G. Wells, myself. He had some very interesting ideas for his day.

Q. Since absolutely no Bible prophecy has ever failed (and there are hundreds), how can one realistically remain unconvinced that the Bible is of divine origin?

A. Essentially the same answer as above. It's easy to write a fiction to fit historical facts... or, more importantly, historical myths and legends. Again, Hollywood does it all the time and some of their alternate history epics are quite believable.

Q. How do you explain David's graphic portrayal of Jesus' death by crucifixion (Psalm 22) 1000 years before Christ lived?

A. Same answer as above.

Q. How do you explain that the prophet Daniel prophesied the exact YEAR when the Christ would be presented as Messiah and also prophesied that the temple would be destroyed afterward over 500 years in advance (Daniel 9:24-27)?

A. Same answer as above.

Q. How could any mere human pinpoint the birth town of the Messiah seven full centuries before the fact, as did the prophet Micah?

A. Messiah? Assumption of facts not proven by any verifiable evidence. You must first prove Jesus was the Messiah before you can argue that Micah foretold the event. In fact, you must first prove the details of the account! December 25th, you say? No? If not December 25th, then might not many other accepted biblical "facts" also be false? Of course they are.

Q. How do you account for the odds (1 in 10 to the 157th power) that even just 48 (of 300) Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ?

A. More assumptions. More fictionalized historical accounts.

Q. How was it possible for the Old Testament prophet Isaiah to have predicted the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14) 700 years before it occurred?

A. Assumption of facts not proven by any verifiable evidence. You must first prove Jesus was born of a virgin before you can argue that Isaiah foretold the event.

Q. How can anyone doubt the reliability of Scripture considering the number and the proximity to the originals of its many copied manuscripts?

A. Easily, since there ARE many internal discrepancies in the final version of the Bible -- not to mention the books that were NOT included by the Council of Nicaea (or any other group).

Q. In what sense was Jesus a "good man" if He was lying in His claim to be God?

A. Non-sense.

Q. If the Bible is not true, why is it so universally regarded as "the Good Book"?

A. It isn't; only Christians use that appellation.

Q. Are you aware that the Old Testament alone claims to be God's inspired word at least 2600 times?

A. The operative word is "claims." I can "claim" to be a god until my voice cracks, but it won't make it true.

Q. Did you know that the Bible has been the number one bestseller every year since the 1436 invention of the Gutenberg printing press?

A. That doesn't make it true. They could have all been sold to the same few people for all I know or care. The Gideons alone have given away thousands, perhaps millions of them, and women love to give them as gifts. So what.

Q. If God does not exist, then from where comes humanity's universal moral sense?

A. Morality varies from culture to culture, place to place, and age to age. Morality is relative, and does not prove or disprove the existence of a god.

Q. If man is nothing but the random arrangement of molecules, what motivates you to care and to live honorably in the world?

A. Actually, millions, even billions of people don't -- at least not by your "Christian" standards. In fact, even most Christians don't live honorably -- they sure don't practice what they preach.

Q. Can you explain how personality could have ever evolved from the impersonal, or how order could have ever resulted from chaos?

A. Order is an illusion; chaos still exists and personality doesn't evolve from the impersonal. Do you have any formal education? Any at all?

Q. If Jesus' resurrection was faked, why would twelve intelligent men (Jesus' disciples) have died for what they knew to be a lie?

A. They weren't the first, nor will they be the last to die for their beliefs, right or wrong. Doesn't make them right; just dead.

Q. How do you explain the fact that a single, relatively uneducated and virtually untraveled man, dead at age 33, radically changed lives and society to this day?

A. I don't have to; so did the lives of many other religious figures in history -- non-religious ones as well, for that matter. Humankind is very gullible.

Q. Why have so many of history's greatest thinkers been believers?

A. "Great" thinkers are often wrong; the world isn't flat.

Q. Have you ever wondered why thousands of intelligent scientists, living and dead, have been men and women of great faith?

A. No. Intelligent people can be quite gullible.

Q. Isn't it somewhat arrogant to suggest that countless churches and people (including men like Abraham Lincoln) are all radically in error in their view of the Bible?

A. Lincoln was an agnostic, if not an atheist. Scores of Christian sects and denominations can't even agree among themselves on the Bible's teachings, so I suggest you ask that question of your brethren. Anyway, it's much more arrogant for you to claim to have the one and only "Truth." No one is more narrow-minded, intolerant and high-minded than a True Believer.

Q. How do you account for the origin of life considering the irreducible complexity of its essential components?

A. Well, some god didn't make the first woman out of a man's rib, that's for sure. If you're referring to creationism, I'll simply point out that the Genesis account was no doubt based on Enuma Eliš, the Babylonian epic of creation, as well as ancient Persian mythology.

Q. How can the Second Law of Thermodynamics be reconciled with progressive, naturalistic evolutionary theory?

A. You must first prove that it can't be. The second law of thermodynamics says, "No process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of energy from a cooler to a hotter body." Any attempt to argue that this somehow disproves the theory of evolution is just another specious argument to sell creationism.

Q. How do you reconcile the existence of human intelligence with naturalism and the Law of Entropy?

A. See above.

Q. Why does the Bible alone, of all of the world's holy books, contain such detailed prophecies of future events?

A. You must first prove that the events foretold actually happened as foretold and that the prophecies could not be interpreted any other way. Nostradamus had a pretty good batting average too -- in hindsight, of course. Besides, even supposing that the biblical prophets could claim a few successes, that still wouldn't prove the existence of a god -- only that they could foretell the future. A small club, sure, but not exclusive to the tribe of Judah.

Q. Is it absolutely true that "truth is not absolute" or only relatively true that "all things are relative?"

A. Well, never say never, I suppose. Another nonsensical question, but it is absolutely true that you don't know what your talking about.

Q. Is it possible that your unbelief in God is actually an unwillingness to submit to Him?

A. Is it possible that your belief in God is actually the serious delusion of an irrational mind?

Q. Does your present worldview provide you with an adequate sense of meaning and purpose?

A. Yes, my ETHOS is sufficient to keep me from leaning on the crutch of religion, any religion. Only the emotionally weak and people with low self-esteem need religion to give their lives meaning and purpose.

Q. How do you explain the radically changed lives of so many Christian believers down through history?

A. I don't have to, nor do I even believe that most are "radically" changed. Like Diogenes, I have never found an honest man, and that includes so-called Christians. But then, you call it "sin" and absolve yourselves weekly and go sin again. I'm especially fond of your holy wars. Now there's radical change. Religious zealots of all faiths are, as McCain might say, an existential threat to the world.

Q. Are you aware that every alleged Bible contradiction has been answered in an intelligible and credible manner?

A. No, and certainly not by you. By the way, did you mean "intelligent?"

Q. What do you say about the hundreds of scholarly books that carefully document the veracity and reliability of the Bible?

A. Bullshit. Well, you asked.

Q. Why and how has the Bible survived and even flourished in spite of centuries of worldwide attempts to destroy and ban its message?

A. The same way the religious teachings of every other faith have survived. Koran's been around a while, and the Analects of Confucius, and... well, you know the list.

Q. Have you ever considered the fact that Christianity is the only religion whose leader is said to have risen from the dead?

A. "...is said to have risen..." -- no one has ever proved it.

Q. How do you explain the empty tomb of Jesus in light of all the evidence that has now proven essentially irrefutable for twenty centuries?

A. I don't have to; you have to prove he arose from the dead.

Q. If Jesus did not actually die and rise from the dead, how could He (in His condition) have circumvented all of the security measures in place at His tomb?

A. See above.

Q. If the authorities stole Jesus' body, why?

A. See above.

Q. Why would they have perpetrated the very scenario that they most wanted to prevent?

A. See above.

Q. If Jesus merely resuscitated in the tomb, how did He deal with the Roman guard posted just outside its entrance?

A. See above.

Q. How can one realistically discount the testimony of over 500 witnesses to a living Jesus following His crucifixion (see 1 Corinthians 15:6)?

A. Actually, one has only to discount the "testimony" of one person, the writer -- and possibly the later revisionists, the self-serving church officials who had a very large political stake in the new religion of Christianity. This is true of much of the bible.

Q. If all of Jesus' claims to be God were the result of His own self-delusion, why didn't He show evidence of lunacy in any other areas of His life?

A. How do you know he didn't?

Q. Is your unbelief in a perfect God possibly the result of a bad experience with an imperfect church or a misunderstanding of the facts, and therefore an unfair rejection of God Himself?

A. No. Is your belief in a perfect God possibly the result of your being dropped on your head as an infant?

Q. How did 35-40 men, spanning 1500 years and living on three separate continents, ever manage to author one unified message, i.e. the Bible?

A. Lots of editors.

Q. Would you charge the Declaration of Independence with error in affirming that "all men are endowed by their Creator..."?

A. Yes, but it's pretty prose, isn't it?

Q. Because life origins are not observable, verifiable, or falsifiable, how does the theory of "evolution" amount to anything more than just another faith system?

A. False premise, poorly stated. Do you really mean to say that life origins are not falsifiable? Then the evidence for evolution, however sparse, must be the truth, right? The fact is, evolution is a theory; no one has ever referred to it as the Law Of Evolution. It's simply the most logical explanation of the fossil evidence and supporting research in the physical and life sciences. Did you even graduate grade school?

Q. What do you make of all the anthropological studies indicating that even the most remote tribes show some sort of theological awareness?

A. Not one remote tribe, previously unknown to and untouched by the outside world, has ever demonstrated, upon discovery, any belief in your particular god or especially, in Jesus. Not one has been able to produce a bible, written in their language, if any, to their discoverers. What if they are right and you are wrong?

Q. If every effect has a cause, then what or who caused the universe?

A. Ah, the Eternal Question, and no doubt the source of man's desire to believe in SOMETHING greater than himself. There may very well be a greater being, if not a supreme one, but believing in an omnipotent, omniscient, infallible spirit is over the top, unproven and unprovable. It was all that early man, with his limited knowledge and understanding of the physical world, could come up with to explain the unexplainable. Man's journey through time has been one of discovery, cracking the secrets of nature and unraveling the mysteries of our existence. At least some of us have made that journey; others are still fumbling around in the dark, clinging to myths, fables and mystical superstition.

Q. How do you explain the thousands of people who have experienced heaven or hell and have come back to tell us about it?

A. First, prove they have.

Q. How do you explain the countless people who have received miracles from God?

A. Again, prove they have.

Q. Is there any evidence that would satisfy you and persuade you to become a believer, or are you just going to believe what you WANT to believe?

A. Actually, it's you who WANTS to believe, because you cannot accept the alternative -- that there is no spiritual Santa Claus who will save you from death or answer your prayers to make you rich or healthy or any of the millions of other "wishes" you may have.

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These questions, as you have posed them, are ludicrous. You couldn't convincingly argue that the sun is going to rise in the east, let alone convert an atheist to your belief system.

Dave Brown said...

I don't think I'm smarter than everyone else. Just the ones I'm smarter than.

Most of these questions are kind of hackneyed and well-addressed by the above commenter, but I will take a few myself. I'm going to disregard the ones that depend on assumptions that I'm fairly sure are false, and concentrate on the interesting ones.

"How do you explain the high degree of design (sic) and order in the universe if there is no God?"

If there were no order in the universe, we would not be here to ponder the question. We should not be surprised to find ourselves in a universe that permits life.

"In what sense was Jesus a "good man" if He was lying in His claim to be God?"

Why is that a problem for me? It's a problem for you!

"If the Bible is not true, why is it so universally (sic) regarded as "the Good Book"?"

Because people don't read it enough. They believe what they're told to believe without examining the evidence. Any book that counsels the murder of, for example, anyone working on Sundays, is not much good in my estimation.

"Are you aware that the Old Testament alone claims to be God's inspired word at least 2600 times?"

Wow, that is miraculous. So if I write out, "No it isn't!" 2601 times, would you change your mind?

"Did you know that the Bible has been the number one bestseller every year since the 1436 invention of the Gutenberg printing press?"

Popularity is not relevant in a discussion of veracity, or even value. Do you know how many records Kanye West sells?

"If God does not exist, then from where comes humanity's universal moral sense?"

I do think that there is something in humans that approaches a universal moral sense. Richard Dawkins has a fascinating chapter about how people of a variety of backgrounds answer an assortment of vexing moral questions. The degree to which the answers come out the same are the degree to which humans have a common moral sense.

However, nobody has to consult their bible to figure out which way to answer a question, they just feel it's right. In fact, religion is the one thing most capable of overriding one's sense of what's morally right.

Also, you have to admit, if you've read it, that the bible contains both correct (if obvious) moral imperatives, such as "don't kill," as well as twisted imperatives, such as "oh, wait, if you're talking about your disrespectful son, by all means, kill away." How do YOU decide which ones to follow? However you're doing it, you can't possibly be using religion to overcome the contradictions inspired by religion itself. You are using the moral sense you were born with, and if everyone is very lucky, you are filtering out the horrible things your religion tells you to do from the decent things.

"If man is nothing but the random (sic) arrangement of molecules, what motivates you to care and to live honorably in the world?"

So if God weren't watching you at all times, you'd become a serial rapist or something? Come on. What motivates us is the same thing that motivates you: decency, kindness, respect, love, truth. We have as aesthetic fondness for those values, as would you except when bent the other way by religion.

"Can you explain how personality could have ever evolved from the impersonal, or how order could have ever resulted from chaos?"

I don't understand the first part of the question. Second part reflects a basic misunderstanding of thermodynamics, which you repeat several times in your questions. Thermodynamics predicts that entropy (disorder) always increases, in a closed system. You creationists quote the first part, but never the second, about the closed system. The earth is not a closed system, it has a constant influx of energy. Nor will order increase forever, as you surely agree though for the wrong reasons.

"How do you explain the fact that a single, relatively uneducated and virtually untraveled man, dead at age 33, radically changed lives and society to this day?"

Although your question doesn't require any explaining, any Muslim would surely ask you the same thing, except for the young death part. However you would answer that question about Mohammad is probably my answer to you about Jesus.

"Why have so many of history's greatest thinkers been believers?"

The ones who really were believers were just wrong, that's all. Come on, ask something hard!

"Isn't it somewhat arrogant to suggest that countless churches and people (including men like Abraham Lincoln) are all radically in error in their view of the Bible?"

It's only arrogant if it's A) wrong and B) groundless. Large groups of people make calamitous mistakes all the time. And if it were arrogant, it still wouldn't be half as arrogant as thinking the creator of the universe is taking a personal interest in the smallest details of your life, provided you ask him to do so in your private thoughts.

"How do you account for the origin of life considering the irreducible complexity of its essential components?"

I can't account for it, you've got me there. I have not seen any scientific literature that explains the leap. Least of all Darwin, who took pains (in vain) to make clear that he was not trying to explain the origin of life, just the origin of its diversity.

But unlike you, I am untroubled by as-yet unanswered questions, and choose not to leap to the answer I want to be true just because something is unexplained. Also unlike you, I hold no questions to be out of bounds. You say life came from God, I say well, where did God come from, you cry foul and declare God "eternal" or some such non-answer.

"Is it absolutely true that "truth is not absolute" or only relatively true that "all things are relative?"

Truth can be absolute, usually in mathematics. So what?

"Is it possible that your unbelief in God is actually an unwillingness to submit to Him?"

You have it backwards. My refusal to submit is a product of my non-belief. First prove he's there. THEN we'll talk about whether or not I ought to submit. But what would it mean to submit to something I don't believe in?

"Does your present worldview provide you with an adequate sense of meaning and purpose?"

Yes. Although even if it didn't, I'd still need hard evidence before I'd change it.

"Have you ever considered the fact that Christianity is the only religion whose leader is said to have risen from the dead?"

If that were true, (which it isn't... plenty of pre-Christian religions and some current ones claim the dead-man-walking trick) why would this be a problem for me? The claim would have to be verifiably true to even be interesting. And even then, it wouldn't prove everything you think it proves.

"If the authorities stole Jesus' body, why?"

I choose this at random from a plethora of questions you've asked which, in my mind, don't lead anywhere interesting. Let's say the authorities didn't steal it, it was just gone. Fine, there was a body and now there's not. From this you conclude that Jesus was both the creator and the son of the creator of the universe, and on and on. As Hitchens says, "Too much is being proved." Must we conclude divine intervention every time we don't immediately know the answer to any question?

"Because life origins are not observable, verifiable, or falsifiable, how does the theory of "evolution" amount to anything more than just another faith system?"

The origins of life have only been not observed so far. Someday they might be observed in a lab somewhere, no doubt over the howling protestations of people like you. And as I said before, evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. Only the development of species. And in that capacity, it is falsifiable (a single chicken in the mesozoic would do it), observable and verified.

"What do you make of all the anthropological studies indicating that even the most remote tribes show some sort of theological awareness?"

A) They were wrong too, and B) what are you going to do if they were right? So long, Jesus!

"If every effect has a cause, then what or who caused the universe?"

That's a great question. Too bad so many guys like you have decided it was already answered 1600 years ago. The rest of us will have to wait for the truth.


"Is there any evidence that would satisfy you and persuade you to become a believer, or are you just going to believe what you WANT to believe?"

I try my best to never believe anything. There are things that I know are true. There are things that I think might be true. And that's enough. Belief is knowledge without evidence.

So to me your question is whether I can imagine some kind of evidence that would cause me to know that God is real. It's very hard to come up with anything. My standards of proof are a lot higher than you or the authors of your bible seem to think. Carl Sagan wrote a terrific example at the end of Contact, an ending which I refuse to sully for any who have yet to discover this novel.

But I won't strain myself thinking of something, because in the language of the law, the onus is on you. What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed the same way.

Will said...

Good responses, Dave. We made some of the same points, but you added some excellent ones, and we both know we left plenty unsaid. I also admire your patient responses; mine were less so... something to do with not suffering fools gladly, I imagine. Logic is not the strong point of the evangelical right.

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