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Posted: 03 October 2006 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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LETTER TO AN ATHEIST (Part 1 of 2)
Tom Flannery

Tuesday 3 October 2006, by Alain

To promote "Letter to a Christian Nation," the new book by avowed atheist Sam Harris, Random House has compiled a litany of quotes presented as words of wisdom from the author and posted them on its website — along with some statistics that are clearly meant to alarm us.


But should we be alarmed by them? And are Harris’ sentiments really words of wisdom?

Is it alarming that 83% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead? Well, it is if you believe (as atheists like Harris do) that the Bible must be accepted purely on faith, without the benefit of corroborating evidence or ever being subjected to rigorous scrutiny of any kind. Yet the Bible itself commands us to test everything (I Thess. 5:21). Jesus taught that believers should love God with all our minds, and not only with our hearts and souls (Mt. 22:37).

The truth is that there’s a great deal of historical evidence which supports Christ’s bodily resurrection from the grave. For instance, we have the first-hand testimonies of the disciples of Christ, who witnessed the events surrounding His death and burial then had personal encounters with the Risen Christ in the days that followed. As the apostle Peter explained: "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (II Pet. 1:16).

In all, more than 500 people saw the Risen Christ over a period of several weeks. As Christian apologist Josh McDowell writes in his book "Evidence That Demands a Verdict," if you brought all of those 500-plus witnesses into a courtroom and allowed them each just six minutes to give their accounts, you would have an astounding 50 hours of first-hand, eyewitness testimony in support of Christ’s bodily resurrection from the grave.

Not only were their lives dramatically transformed after seeing and touching and eating with the Risen Christ — when they went from hiding in locked rooms in fear for their lives before the Resurrection to openly and boldly proclaiming the gospel throughout Jerusalem and well beyond after it — but many of these witnesses also sealed their testimonies with their own blood by dying willingly as martyrs rather than renouncing the truth that Christ had risen from the dead.

Combine this with all of the other historical evidence for the Resurrection — the facts surrounding the empty tomb, the inability of the authorities to produce Christ’s corpse after news of His appearances began spreading, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (enemy and persecutor of the church) to the apostle Paul (writer of two-thirds of the New Testament by inspiration of God) after his own encounter with the Risen Christ, etc. — and you begin to see that it takes more faith not to believe in the Resurrection and to come up with ridiculous hypotheses like "the swoon theory" to try to explain it away than to follow the data where they lead and affirm this supremely-attested historical event.

Yet Harris relates with palpable dread: "A person who believes that Elvis is still alive is very unlikely to get promoted to a position of great power and responsibility in our society…But people who believe equally irrational things about God and the bible are now running our country. This is genuinely terrifying."

Nonsense. There is not a scintilla of evidence to suggest that Elvis is alive; in fact, all of the evidence we have confirms that The King has indeed "left the building" (what the Bible calls our earthly tent, or body). So holding to an "Elvis lives" philosophy is incontestably irrational, whereas faith in Christ’s resurrection is rooted in solid historical data. For this reason, it’s deceptive and intellectually dishonest to try to compare the two beliefs.

Another alarming statistic, according to Harris, is that 49% of Americans believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God.

Actually, this isn’t very surprising at all when you consider the abundance of evidence for the Resurrection, the multitude of specific Bible prophecies that were provably fulfilled hundreds and in some cases even thousands of years after they were recorded, all of the scientific and medical knowledge revealed in the Bible long before being "discovered" by man, and many other infallible proofs for the veracity of Scripture.

So Harris shouldn’t be so chagrined by the fact that a stunning 87% of Americans say they never doubt the existence of God.

There’s simply no reason for them to do so.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Bravo, well done. Finally someone with brains has posted on this forum. Brains….and faith!

Very well done. I like this man. This is good.

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 03 October 2006 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Congratulations! Both of you have succeeded in missing every point in the book. Well done!

The level of your ignorance (see: faith) is mind boggling to anyone who thinks for themselves.

Talking to brainwashed Christians is like pounding nails into the floor with your forehead. ...Some people just aren’t smart enough to wake up.

“The Champion” needs to read more books and stop forming his worldview on the basis of one poorly written, golden-laced comic book.

All the “evidence” of your claims ONLY COMES from the very source of your faith. Coincidence? Hmmph… You might want to think about that - the bible is true…because it says it is! (Do you see the err in your ways?)

When confronted with historical facts about other gods and goddesses, you still think your faith to be the “champion” of them all. You are wasting your time and someday (hopefully in my lifetime) your ENTIRE BELIEF SYSTEM will be relugated to mere mythological stories - just like all the religions of the past.

You need a lobotomy.

[ Edited: 03 October 2006 12:21 PM by ]
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Posted: 03 October 2006 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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It is funny how the author of that article points to the Bible as evidence of the Bible itself. Circular argumentation at its best.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“3n7r0py”]When confronted with historical facts about other gods and goddesses, you still think your faith to be the “champion” of them all. You are wasting your time and someday (hopefully in my lifetime) your ENTIRE BELIEF SYSTEM will be relugated to mere stories.

Hmmm, I recall one who exclaimed something similar. History remembers his exclaimation in particular because after he died the first printing press printed the first “printed” book ever IN HIS HOUSE and it was the bible, and it kept printing copy after copy after copy after copy. chuckle…..

Funny how arrogant the fallen man is and how God works. God does have a sense of humor afterall. How much love he has for the fallen man is uncalculable…...(is that a word?.....it is now….or is that incalculable….I like my version better because his love truly is incalculable, oops, I mean uncalculable).

[ Edited: 03 October 2006 12:12 PM by ]
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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 03 October 2006 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Here we go again…

Congratulations indeed! You have successfully failed to understand anything that writers like Sam Harris have written about.  You fail to understand that the people who wrote the bible were writing their mythology, and that god and jesus christ were an expression of the people’s desire for peace and love.

You fail to understand that Jesus was a copycat of Mithras and many other “gods” that preceeded him (let us know if you know anything about those other gods). You believe that he is divine, when there is almost zero evidence outside of the bible that he ever existed. Btw, Paul never met Jesus, he even says in his letters he was writing about a ficticious person, but nevermind that piece of trival information.

Assuming you read the Letter To A Christian Nation, please explain to all of us (because we obviously missed it):

How is it that Jesus is any different from Thor, Ra, Baal, Zeus etc… To save some trouble and a good deal of pages of reading, he isn’t. He is just another symbol created and written about allegorically by an ancient civilization.

I’d hate to have to sit through those 50 hours of courtroom testimony listening to people argue things with which they have no real evidence. If you read The End of Faith, and the Letter, it should perfectly and abundantly clear why beleiving that Jesus will soon return is a problem.

I’ll leave it for other people to go at this..

Adam

PS: Welcome to the forum.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Gah login, the above post is mine.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”]You fail to understand that Jesus was a copycat of Mithras and many other “gods” that preceeded him (let us know if you know anything about those other gods). You believe that he is divine, when there is almost zero evidence outside of the bible that he ever existed. Btw, Paul never met Jesus, he even says in his letters he was writing about a ficticious person, but nevermind that piece of trival information.

Uh….no. The “Mithras and many other gods that preceeded him” angle was debunked by the scholars during the Jesus Christ smearing by the Da Vinci Code author. Completely debunked my friend. Soundly and resoundingly debunked.

Obviously, you do not keep up with the times. It simply makes for a difficult conversation when one of the persons you are conversing with is ignorant of the total picture. I can refer to you some sources so you might catch up with the rest of us. Then you input will be much more appreciated. And of course, I say this in love (wink-wink).

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Well Adam (Guest),

You obviouisly have never read the Bible, like most of your kind.  You simply reserve the right to attack and offend those things you fear and don’t understand.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“unknown”]Well Adam (Guest),

You obviouisly have never read the Bible, like most of your kind.  You simply reserve the right to attack and offend those things you fear and don’t understand.

Ok. So, what is the independent verification that any of the events described in the Bible actually took place, or that any of its characters existed?

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Dear “The Champion”,

You form your worldview from one book. You only look to sources (who I can guarantee are Christians) that re-affirm your core beliefs.

Don’t you think the people who believed in Anubis, Zeus, etc. were trying (and failing as you do) to come up with reasons why “insert god here” is the one true god.

Your argument is null and void. If you believe as you do, why aren’t you attacking/torturing/killing heretics and non-believers? The bright lights (and god) of your religion clearly expects (and commands) you to.

You need a dunce cap or a lobotomy. Take your pick.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“3n7r0py”]Congratulations! Both of you have succeeded in missing every point in the book. Well done!

The level of your ignorance (see: faith) is mind boggling to anyone who thinks for themselves.

Talking to brainwashed Christians is like pounding nails into the floor with your forehead. ...Some people just aren’t smart enough to wake up.

“The Champion” needs to read more books and stop forming his worldview on the basis of one poorly written, golden-laced comic book.

All the “evidence” of your claims ONLY COMES from the very source of your faith. Coincidence? Hmmph… You might want to think about that - the bible is true…because it says it is! (Do you see the err in your ways?)

When confronted with historical facts about other gods and goddesses, you still think your faith to be the “champion” of them all. You are wasting your time and someday (hopefully in my lifetime) your ENTIRE BELIEF SYSTEM will be relugated to mere mythological stories - just like all the religions of the past.

You need a lobotomy.


Mythological stories, where did you get that?  Have YOU ever had a thought not impregnated into your mind by the media?  So, if we understand your way of thinking, we are to all believe that ALL theological evidence, ALL historical data is mythical because it was written centuries ago.  Unfortunately for you, someday will never come.  Because it is Jesus who has stood the test of time, my friend.  All these other Gods/Goddesses you speak of are relegated to the movie of the week. 

Think about this.  If Jesus weren’t real and alive, why would so many non-believers be so angry and volitile towards the people who choose to believe?  You don’t care if the Muslems believe in Allah, who wants to kill anyone who doesn’t believe (especially athiests), you don’t care if people believe in Buddah, so why attack as you do Jesus?  Ever asked yourself this question?

You must really have a deep seeded fear that if you are wrong about Christ and the day of His return comes, it will be too late for you.

My prayers go out to you.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Top Ten Signs You’re A Fundamentalist Christian

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs—though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01 percent a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99 percent FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

(unclarified author)

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“unknown”]
Thee truth is that there’s a great deal of historical evidence which supports Christ’s bodily resurrection from the grave. For instance, we have the first-hand testimonies of the disciples of Christ, who witnessed the events surrounding His death and burial then had personal encounters with the Risen Christ in the days that followed. As the apostle Peter explained: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (II Pet. 1:16).

[Emphasis added]

Most likely, none of the writers of the gospels were with Christ when he lived.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“3n7r0py”]Top Ten Signs You’re A Fundamentalist Christian

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs—though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01 percent a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99 percent FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

(unclarified author)

Typical non-believer…...you’re like a little child who gets their feelings hurt so resorts to name calling and silly little games.  It’s you (non-believers) who get angry and violent when Christians don’t conform to you sad and pathetic paths of perversion.  We all know that misery loves company.  Just face it.  You choose your path and will have to walk it alone.  Because before it’s all said and done, we will reign victorious!

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Posted: 03 October 2006 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“unknown”]Typical non-believer…...you’re like a little child who gets their feelings hurt so resorts to name calling and silly little games.  It’s you (non-believers) who get angry and violent when Christians don’t conform to you sad and pathetic paths of perversion.  We all know that misery loves company.  Just face it.  You choose your path and will have to walk it alone.  Because before it’s all said and done, we will reign victorious!

Typical “liberal” behavior as well. They cry and gnash their teeth every week about Bush. But when the Bush Administration does something good and there is no “this is actually not good” angle of attack, they simply insult him and his administration.

But the bottom line, Christains all over the world will reign supreme, err, Jesus Christ will rule the world for 1000 years, then we’ll get rid of it and get a new one and Jesus Christ will rule that one forever and ever and ever and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Gives one chills just thinking about it! grin

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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