Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hiatus Notice



I didn't want it to come to this…but I've decided to take a break from posting for December. It wasn't for one reason alone but I've found out my Christmas is going to be busier than I thought and the posts I do want to put together require more research than I originally thought.

This is not to say I'm giving up the fight against atheism or that I've run out of material to work with…but this does mean it's time for me to regroup and rethink a few things.

I'll do something special for December 8th but other than that, I'll most likely be back around New Years Day.

Until then….Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RE: 6 Reasons why Religion Does More Harm Than Good


Let me make one thing abundantly clear:

I am not one who normally rants about any stupid article I found on the internet, but when I came across this article:

I just about broke my forehead from how many times I face-palmed myself. That's how beyond dumb the article is.

I do understand the article begins with a poll of Brits and their view of religion but let's look at how stupid the notions in the article are with my take in red script.

Religion promotes tribalism. Infidel, heathen, heretic. Religion divides insiders from outsiders. Rather than assuming good intentions, adherents often are taught to treat outsiders with suspicion. “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers,” says the Christian Bible. “They wish that you disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them,” says the Koran (Sura 4:91).

This argument doesn't really work especially with Christianity because it assumes that the people in the religion are fighting only people who are not in the religion. Of course anyone who has actually read the Bible (i.e. anyone who isn't the author of the article) knows:
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places (Eph 6:12).
In fact, the author misquotes 2 Cor 6:14 and left out the fact the verses were actually talking about the mixing of incompatible beliefs, not about interacting with non-believers; the example Paul gives is worshipping Jesus and Belial. 

2. Religion anchors believers to the Iron Age. Concubines, magical incantations, chosen people, stonings . . . The Iron Age was a time of rampant superstition, ignorance, inequality, racism, misogyny, and violence."
Historians would not agree with you on that
Sacred texts including the Bible, Torah and Koran all preserve and protect fragments of Iron Age culture, putting a god’s name and endorsement on some of the very worst human impulses.
If that's true, then how do you explain all this?
Do any of these findings sound like they're from people stuck in the Iron Age?

Religion makes a virtue out of faith. Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus. So sing children in Sunday schools across America.
That's wrong. A quick Google search shows that lyric only exists in a Methodist hymn and not all Christians are Methodists. 
 The Lord works in mysterious ways, pastors tell believers who have been shaken by horrors like brain cancer or a tsunami. Faith is a virtue.
I don't know what pastors the author talked to, but I don't know of any minister who would use that phrase and make it sound like a cop-out. There are many factors that influence how people cope with tragedy, but I do find it odd that when tragedy happens, people move toward religion, not away from it.
As science eats away at territory once held by religion
What is the author smoking? That notion is not true.
, traditional religious beliefs require greater and greater mental defenses against threatening information.
More like atheism goes through greater mental gymnastics to avoid admitting they're wrong on something.
 To stay strong, religion trains believers to practice self-deception, shut out contradictory evidence, and trust authorities rather than their own capacity to think. 
but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. (1 Thess 5:21)
You were saying?
Government, in particular, becomes a fight between competing ideologies rather than a quest to figure out practical, evidence-based solutions that promote wellbeing.
Mostly because the people who say ideology should trump facts are the same people who reject God and absolute right and wrong. 
 4. Religion diverts generous impulses and good intentions.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because it is another example of atheist mental gymnastics but I will point out religious people have proven to be far more generous than atheists. 
And before you even try, No….calling for higher government handouts doesn't count as being generous.
5.  Religion teaches helplessness. Que sera, sera—what will be will be. Let go and let God.We’ve all heard these phrases, but sometimes we don’t recognize the deep relationship between religiosity and resignation.
Mostly because no connection actually exists. No one seems to know where the phrase came from so you can be sure it has nothing to do with Christian teachings.
 In the most conservative sects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, women are seen as more virtuous if they let God manage their family planning. Droughts, poverty and cancer get attributed to the will of God rather than bad decisions or bad systems; believers wait for God to solve problems they could solve themselves.
Then how do you explain in Christianity women have an equal chance to be a saint whether they have kids or not? How do you explain advancements in cancer treatment and agriculture all came from Christians?
This attitude harms society at large as well as individuals. When today’s largest religions came into existence, ordinary people had little power to change social structures either through technological innovation or advocacy. "
This ignores the fact it was religion that gave people notions like private property and individual rights…notions that people have regardless of their station in life.

Religions seek power. Think corporate personhood. Religions are man-made institutions, just like for-profit corporations are.
Nothing man-made could have made the breakthroughs Christianity has.
And like any corporation, to survive and grow a religion must find a way to build power and wealth and compete for market share... And just like for-profit behemoths, they are willing to wield their power and wealth in the service of self-perpetuation, even it harms society at large.
So we're supposed to ignore the tactics of today's atheists, like forcing religious symbols to come down because of some bogus notion of the Constitution? 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Tale of Two Governors



With Election 2014 behind us, I could just go into a long page about why I think Republicans won with ease and what this means for the future, but when I looked into who got elected and what propositions passed, I noticed that this election was not so much about a backlash against political polices but rather reflects a stark contrast in cultural values.

This became even more apparent when I looked into the election of two particular men elected governors for their respective states: Andrew Cuomo of New York and Greg Abbott of Texas.

On the surface, both men have several traits in common: both practiced private law at some point in their lives, both have children, both are professed Roman Catholics, both are the same age, both attended two different colleges for two different degrees and both have deep connections within their respective political parties.

So why focus on these two? It is the differences between them that in a way feeds the different results in each state.

While Cuomo was raised Catholic, Abbott is a convert to the faith. Cuomo went to a Catholic university at one point but Abbott never attended any Catholic college. Cuomo leads a state with some of the strictest gun control laws in America; Abbott, an avid hunter, has fought against federal gun control laws.
Cuomo, despite his claims of being Catholic, is all for gay so-called marriage; Abbott doesn't care for any marriage other than between one man and one woman. Cuomo openly advocates church/state separation; Abbott argued for the right for the Ten Commandments on public property---and won.
Abbott has been married to the same woman for decades; Cuomo is divorced and lives with a woman who he is not married to.

It comes as no surprise then that Cuomo is all for bigger government and higher taxation whereas Abbott is about lower taxes and people controlling their own lives.

It is for their different but core differences that makes Texas the success and New York the loser.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to morality and the policies feeding on each other.
Bad theology leads to bad morality leads to bad policies leads to bad living.

That's all it comes down to.

America has made it clear they've had enough with bad polices; too bad not all of America received the memo.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Pope is For Evolution…No Surprise

Sorry, But Media Coverage of Pope Francis is Papal Bull

It is official: the media has gone bananas in its coverage of Pope Francis.
The OMG-Pope-Francis-Supports-Evolution story of the past two days is just the latest example. Almost every news outlet, major and minor, has plastered Pope Francis’ name across the interwebs and proclaimed he has finally planted the Catholic Church in the evolution camp of the creation-evolution debate. The only problem? Almost every outlet has got the story wrong, proving once again that the mainstream media has nearly no understanding of the Church. And that madness shows no signs of stopping.
Pope Francis’ real role in this evolution hubbub was small. He spoke, as Popes do, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday, which had gathered to discuss “Evolving Topics of Nature,” and he affirmed what Catholic teaching has been for decades. “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” he said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
Anyone who knows anything about Catholic history knows that a statement like this is nothing new. Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical “Humani Generis” in 1950 affirming that there was no conflict between evolution and Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that, stressing that evolution was more than a hypothesis, in 1996. Pope Benedict XVI hosted a conference on the nuances of creation and evolution in 2006. There’s an official book on the event for anyone who wants to know more. Pope Francis’ comments Monday even came as he was unveiling a new statue of Pope Benedict XVI, honoring him for his leadership.
None of that seems to matter to the media; the internet exploded all the same. Site after site after site ramped up the Pope’s words and took them out of context. Headlines like these added drama: NPR: “Pope Says God Not ‘A Magician, With A Magic Wand.’” Salon: “Pope Francis schools creationists.”U.S. News and World Report: “Pope Francis Backs the Big Bang Theory, Evolution” (with a subhed: “Also, the pontiff says he’s not a communist”).Huffington PostSydney Morning Herald.TelegraphUSA TodayNew York Post. The list goes on and on. Only Slate did its homework.
Wednesday morning the stories continued with new, analytical twists. The New Republic came out with a story titled, “The Pope Has More Faith Than the GOP in Science.” The Washington Post posted a piece, “Pope Francis may believe in evolution, but 42 percent of Americans do not.” It doesn’t seem to matter that Pope Benedict XVI called the debate between evolution an creation an “absurdity” in 2007. MSNBC opened its piece saying, “Pope Francis made a significant rhetorical break with Catholic tradition Monday by declaring that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real.”NBCNews called the Pope’s statement, “a theological break from his predecessor Benedict XVI, a strong exponent of creationism.”
This embarrassing narrative repeats itself over and over in Francis coverage. It happened last week when the Pope, again, voiced the Church’s long-standing opposition to the death penalty (having also done so in June, and after John Paul discussed the topic at length in an entire encyclical on being consistently pro-life in 1995). It happened at the Synod of the Bishops on the family, when the bishops talked about welcoming gays and the media whipped that up into an inaccurate story about an enormous policy shift toward gay marriage.
hat’s dangerous, especially because this furor seems to occur most often when hot-button Western political issues can be tied to the Pope’s statements—evolution, death penalty, gay marriage. Wednesday morning, Pope Francis asked for prayers for 43 Mexican students who were burned alive by drug traffickers. It is unlikely that that will get the same pickup.
Moral of this story: Don’t believe most of what you read about the Vatican. Papal coverage has gone wild.
(Click here for the link)
It's official now, isn't it? The media just can't be trusted to do its own research….nor remember something that happened just a few years earlier, as the article mentions Benedict XVI's and St John Paul II's take on the matter.
One will note it also mentions an encyclical called Humani Generis, which is considered the official teaching of the Church concerning evolution. Here is a key paragraph:
the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faithful. Some however rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question

 I believe this announcement from His Holiness was because the American media is so used to Christian groups opposing scientific ideas, bet it evolution or vaccinations.
(Side note: a key part of evolution is genetic theory, which was put together by a Catholic monk. The Big Bang Theory itself was invented by a Catholic priest).
The truth is we wouldn’t have all these without Christianity, in particular Catholicism. But the sadder truth is much like the meaning behind Halloween and Advent, most so-called Christians (I say that in the theological sense) have forgotten their own past and thus have left others to make it up.

And why would you let atheists do that? Atheists are idiots.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Don't Tell Me the Speech Police Don't Exist


Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced on Friday that the city would narrow the scope of a controversial subpoena that asked five local pastors for copies of some of their sermons and communications.
The subpoena — which sits at the uncomfortable intersection of church and state — drew immediate ire from conservatives across the country.
The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins wrote a blog post titled "Snoops on the Stoops of the Church," which decried the city's "totalitarian tactics." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the subpoena was an "assault against religious liberty."
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is in the middle of a gubernatorial run, sent a letter to the Houston city attorney, saying, "whether you intend it to be or not, your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment."
Of course, this is actually more complicated than that: It dates back to when the city passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which provides protections to city's LGBT community. Led by some of the subpoenaed pastors, organizers collected signatures to try to repeal the ordinance through a referendum.
As The Washington Post explains, "supporters of the repeal reportedly gathered 50,000 signatures, well over the 17,269 needed for inclusion on the November ballot." But the city threw out thousands of them, saying they were invalid, and that meant the question was removed from the ballots.
A group of Christians sued Houston and in response, the city issued subpoenas for the sermons and communications of five pastors that the city said could help prove their case in court.
The Houston Chronicle reports that after the uproar, the city decided to remove the word "sermon" and narrow the scope, but the gist of the subpoena still stands.
The paper reports:
" 'We don't need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston, and it was never the intention of the city of Houston to intrude on any matters of faith or to get between a pastor and their parishioners,' Parker said. 'We don't want their sermons, we want the instructions on the petition process. That's always what we wanted and, again, they knew that's what we wanted because that's the subject of the lawsuit.'
"Opponents took advantage of the broad original language, Parker said, to deliberately misinterpret the city's intent and spur what City Attorney David Feldman called a 'media circus.' ...
" 'If during the course of the sermon — and I doubt this very much — a pastor took 15 or 20 minutes to go into detail about how the petition process goes, then that's part of the discovery,' she said. 'But that's not about preaching a sermon on anybody's religious beliefs, it's not conveying a religious message, that's part of the petition process, and all we're interested in is the petition process.' "
Essentially, the city is arguing, if pastors, for example, encouraged their congregations to sign petitions or gather signatures, that type of speech is not protected.
"University of Houston law professor Peter Linzer says the city reached too far in issuing the subpoenas. One subpoena sent to Pastor Steve Riggle, for example, asks for 'all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the equal rights ordinance], the petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity.' However, Linzer says it wouldn't impinge on the pastors' First Amendment rights if the city only asked only for sermons or speeches related to the signature drive. 'Let's assume they gave instructions to cheat,' Linzer says. 'That would be relevant speech and I don't see how they would have any First Amendment protection for that.' "
It's still not clear whether religious groups will be satisfied with the narrowing of the subpoena. The city of Houston is not enforcing the provision, pending the outcome of litigation.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Atheist Thought Experiments Debunked #4


"If Christians are supposedly so generous, why do they object to increases in welfare and anti-poverty programs? Why do they hold the less fortunate back like this?"


This objection really comes down to a misunderstanding of charity. Multiple definitions of charity exist but I prefer the two definitions provided by Oxford:

The voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.
Help or money given voluntarily to those in need

Notice the common trait in the two definitions: what one donates must be voluntarily in, it must be given under one's own power. That right there is why Christians don't accept government programs: it's funded by taxes and taxes are for the most part not voluntary. 
Not only that, government programs are notorious for not alleviating poverty at all but instead encourages dependency on more handouts. 

This is why you never hear about generational dependency in private charities: unlike government run programs, private programs encourage people to change their lives for the better and take personal responsibility.

"But wait," some misguided atheist might say, "most religious people only give money to religious groups so since their intention is to promote their religion, that doesn't count as charity."

First of all, charity has NEVER been measured by what our intentions are but rather what the results are. Second, research has shown that religious people are more likely to give to religious groups…but they're also more likely to give to all charitable groups overall. 
In fact, according to the book Who Really Cares by Arthur C Brooks, there are four factors that will determine how generous someone is:
-marital status (research has shown married people are more generous than single people)
-whether the person has kids or legal dependents
-whether the person has a skepticism towards the idea government can do a better job.
(Sidenote: the author could not find any connection to people who flat out reject the notion of letting government do the job).
-whether the person is religious: religious people give far more to charity than non-believers.

"But wait," an atheist is bound to object. "I'm far more generous than any religious person I know."

Statistical data from the book shows that is most likely a lie. In the event it's not a lie, it's either because the atheist in question lives in a religious area where charity is encouraged or the atheist was raised in a religious family that encouraged charity. It further showed if someone is atheist and from an atheist family, they give so little it's not even worth mentioning. 

Finally, many atheists and misguided Christians will claim the Bible does promote bigger government with these verses:
And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

That interpretation of these verses misses the mark because it overlooks one basic fact:
the group they're talking about is the Church, not the government.

Sure, you hear about monks or nuns living together in community and holding things in common, but it's only a certain number living in one particular building and they live that life voluntarily. Neither factor applies to government running things. 

There's that word again: voluntary. Atheists just can't seem to wrap their heads around that concept. 
Then again atheists are idiots.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

And Atheists Say Pornography Doesn't Exploit Anybody

I'll be coming back in a big way pretty soon, so in the meantime….

Remember a few months ago there was stories about a Duke University student who went into the adult film industry and called it empowering?

Guess who has now changed her tune?

Porn is super-empowering: just ask the Duke University porn star

She looks young, younger than her 18 years. Sitting on a bed in a hotel room wearing baggy pajamas, glasses, and a far-away look, she looks at the camera and says bluntly, “A lot of s**t in my life has been ruined because of sex.”
It is then that you see her eyes. They look somehow old.
Hundreds of thousands of fans know her as Belle Knox, one of the most popular names in porn. The media often refers to her as the “Duke University porn star,” after a classmate revealed that she was paying her tuition by starring in porn shoots. We later discovered that the name her friends and family know her by is Miriam Weeks.
She has been touted far and wide as proof that porn can be empowering and evidence that feminists can sell their bodies as objects and still be, well, “feminist.” Here, porn supporters told us with satisfaction, is a nice girl from a Catholic home who loves to do porn just because she loves sex. Porn is, as Weeks told the cameras, “empowering” and “freeing” and “the way the world should be.”
And then, recently, Weeks did a series of interviews for an upcoming documentary. In them, she paints a much different picture than the freeing, empowering, sex-fueled fantasy world her fans and porn supporters claim she inhabits.
Is it any wonder that many fathers have a harder time connecting with their daughters, when they spend countless hours watching girls their daughters’ age being beaten up, raped, and subjected to every imaginable type of sexual degradation?
“The sex industry has a way of making you very cynical and very bitter,” a tired-looking Weeks tells an off-camera interviewer, “In a way I’ve started to become kind of a bit bitter and a bit cynical.”
Why? “It teaches you to be street smart and not to trust people…I’m so used to being on the lookout for scammers, people who are going to try pimp me out or traffic me. I think my experiences have aged me. I don’t have the mind of an eighteen-year-old. I have the emotional baggage of someone much, much older than me.”
Some of this baggage is what propelled her into the porn industry in the first place.
In many interviews, Weeks talks obsessively about how porn gives her control over her own sexual destiny: “In porn, everything is on my terms. I can say no whenever I want to. I am in control.” Later on, we discover why this is so important to her: Weeks reveals that she had been raped. “What porn has done for me,” she says firmly, “is it has given me back my agency.”
Even amidst the perverted adulation of porn-addicted fans, however, she still bears the scars of self-loathing. In some cases, literal scars. One day looking in the mirror, she became so overcome with self-hatred that she smashed the mirror and cut herself, slicing the jagged letters “FAT” into the flesh of her thigh. Thus, the reactions of many who found out that she had done porn shoots – who called her “ugly” and “a dumb whore” and said that she “should die” - proved devastating to Miriam. It is this ugly misogyny that increasingly fuels many porn viewers, and gives delusional publications like Salon the excuse they need to claim that working in porn has not hurt Miriam Weeks, but only opponents of porn who try to “shame” her.
Listening to Miriam tell her story, it boggles my mind that people can still defend the porn industry, or call it “empowering” or “the way the world should be.”
Miriam herself admits that her first scene, shot for a company she refers to as “Facial Abuse,” was “a really, really rough scene. I wasn’t prepared for how rough it was. It was weird having some random photographer watch me have my a** kicked on camera.” She talks about getting literally torn up during porn shoots. She admits that porn shoots in which she was physically beaten up until she sobbed were probably shoots she should have refused. Yet she didn’t.
The control is a myth too, of course. The porn industry has many ways of coercing the human beings they market into doing what they want. For one shoot, Miriam recalls almost tearfully, her agent wouldn’t tell her who she had to “work with.” When she arrived at the set, she realized he was fifty years old. She wanted to leave, but then she’d have to pay a 300 dollar “kill fee,” the director would have been furious, and, she says, she could never have worked for that company again. So she did it.
“I felt like crying during the entire scene and afterwards I was really, really upset,” Miriam says tearfully to the camera, looking like nothing more than the hurting 18-year-old girl she is. “I just thought of my mom, who was always there for me and always protected me…I think about my mom a lot when I do porn scenes. Just how sad she would be that her little daughter was doing this.”
And Mrs. Weeks’ little daughter does these things in part because of the demand. The demand of creepy grey-haired men twice her age or more who line up to get her photo autographed at porn conventions. Is it any wonder that many fathers have a harder time connecting with their daughters, when they spend countless hours watching girls their daughters’ age being beaten up, raped, and subjected to every imaginable type of sexual degradation?
Miriam Weeks, we see in her heart-breaking interviews, is just a hurting 18-year-old girl being used by an industry that takes girls like her, exploits their insecurities, promises them empowerment, and then subjects them to abuse and degradation until they can’t handle it any more. Then the carnivorous recruiters simply go out looking for fresh flesh to feed the baying cannibalistic mob, burning with insatiable lust and shouting their demands for new girls, new girls to degrade and discard.
A new day, a new human sacrifice at the altar of Eros.
The more fortunate girls realize they need to leave the industry. One of Miriam’s friends has told her that when she can no longer distinguish between her porn alter-ego and herself, it’s time to leave. Miriam is not quite sure what this means, she tells the interviewer, but she finds it interesting.
“People see Belle, but they don’t see Miriam,” she says sadly, “I think I’m…Miriam right now?”
And for all the world, she sounds as lost as our morally bankrupt culture.
(For the article, click here.)

So, wrong again, atheists. No wonder you're such idiots.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

10 Dumb Atheist Arguments Against Christianity

Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail
I write very little in the area of Christian vs. atheist apologetics, and for good reason.
It was in atheist chat-rooms and blogs that I first cut my teeth in theology many years ago. Since those days I have not heard anything new from atheists.
It seems that many atheists today (some like to use the title ‘New Atheists’ to distinguish them from the more profound philosophical atheists of yesteryear) have very little to add to the discussion. To be fair, the same goes with most Christian apologists.
However, I thought it would be fun to comment on the ten arguments I hear the most. My hope is that it will help expose some of the more obvious problems with them and maybe help both sides—atheists and Christians alike—to move on to more interesting debate material.
One additional note: another reason I do not enter into the atheist-Christian debate world much anymore is because of the sheer discourtesy that both sides tend to show the other. I will not delete any comments, no matter how uncivil or juvenile they become, because, for me, it is an important part of the article. The responses (if there are any) will demonstrate the current state of atheist vs. Christian banter. Also, I will not respond to rude posts. This is advanced warning so please don’t think me rude as well if I ignore them.
Okay, here we go:
There is no evidence for God’s existence.
There are a couple of problems with this line. Starting with the idea of ‘evidence,’ what exactly does one mean by evidence? What is sufficient evidence for one person is often not sufficient evidence for another. A court of law provides innumerable examples of how two parties can possess the same collection of data, the same power of logic and reasoning, yet argue for completely different interpretations of the data. The old saying is true: the facts do not determine the argument, the argument determines the facts.
When confronted with the charge that there is no evidence for God the Christian often does not know where to start with a rebuttal. It’s as G.K. Chesterton once said, asking a Christian to prove God’s existence is like asking someone to prove the existence of civilization. What is one to do but point and say, “look, there’s a chair, and there’s a building,” etc. How can one prove civilization by merely selecting a piece here and a piece there as sufficient proofs rather than having an experience of civilization as a whole?
Nearly everything the Christian lays eyes on is proof of God’s existence because he sees the ‘handiwork’ of God all around him in creation. But this is hardly sufficient evidence in the court of atheist opinion, a court which presupposes that only what can be apprehended by the senses rightly qualifies as evidence. For the Christian who believes in a transcendent God, he can offer no such evidence; to produce material evidence for God is, ironically, to disprove a transcendent God and cast out faith.
The second part of the line is equally short-sighted. What does one mean by ‘existence’? If one means, ‘that which has come into existence,’ then surely God does not exist because God never came into existence. He always was; He is eternal. This was a famous assessment of the matter by Soren Kierkegaard (dealing with the incarnation of Christ). The argument is a bit involved, so for times sakes I’ll just have to state it and leave it there.
2. If God created the universe, who created God?
This is one of the more peculiar arguments I’ve ever come across. Those who use this charge as some sort of intellectual checkmate have simply failed to grasp what Christians understand as ‘eternal.’ It is an argument usually levied once a theist posits that a ‘first cause’ or an ‘unmoved mover’ is required for the existence of the universe (a ‘necessary’ Being upon which all other things exist by way of contingency). Some atheists then shift the weight over to the theist saying, “Well then who created God?” What is a Christian to do but smile at such a question? God is the antecedent of all things in creation and is eternal. If God had a Creator then His Creator would be God. God is God precisely because He does not have a creator.
3. God is not all-powerful if there is something He cannot do. God cannot lie, therefore God is not all-powerful.
Bang! Owned.
Not so fast. This argument would be fantastic—devastating maybe—if God was more of the ancient Greek god persuasion, where the gods themselves were subject to fate and limited to their specific roles in the cosmos. The Orthodox doctrine of God is much different. Christians (at least Orthodox Christians) view God’s ontology as subject to His perfect free-will. Why is He good? Because He wills to be good. Why does He not lie? Because He wills to be honest. Why does God exist as Trinity? Because He wills it. He could just as easily will to not exist. And yes, He could just as easily will to lie. The fact that He doesn’t is no commentary on whether He could.
(Note: Due to the immense amount of discussion that this point has raised, one clarifying statement is worth noting. An argument based on strict logical word games can render the idea ‘all-powerful,’ or ‘omnipotent’ self-defeating. When one considers the juvenile question, “Can God create a rock so big that He can’t lift it?” this point becomes clear. But in reality, such an argument winds up further solidifying what Christianity means by calling God all-powerful. For the Christian it simply means that all power and authority are God’s. Following the logical word game above forces the believer to make a redundant proclamation in order to remain consistent: “God cannot overpower Himself.” But this fact is anything but confounding, it merely stresses the point that there is no power greater than God, so much so that one is forced to pit God against Himself in order to find His equal.)
4. Believing in God is the same as believing in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
What I love about this well-worn atheist ‘argument’ is that it actually serves to demonstrate how vastly different a belief in God is to these myths and imaginations. When one honestly assesses the Judeo- Christian doctrine of God he will find multiple thousands of years of human testimony and religious development; he will find martyrs enduring the most horrific trauma in defense of the faith; he will find accounts in religious texts with historical and geographical corroboration; etc (these fact are of course not ‘proofs,’ but rather ‘evidences’ that elicit strong consideration). Pit this against tales of the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and Spaghetti Monsters and one finds the exact opposite: no testimony or religious refinement, no martyrs, no historical and geographical corroboration, etc. Instead, one finds myths created intentionally for children, for point making, or for whatever. It’s strawman argumentation at its worst.
5. Christianity arose from an ancient and ignorant people who didn’t have science.
Indeed, those ancient, ignorant people who believed in the virgin birth of Christ must have believed it because they did not possess the knowledge of how babies were born. Goodness. The virgin birth of Christ was profound and of paramount concern to the ancients precisely because they understood that conception was impossible without intercourse. Ancient man considered the virgin birth miraculous, i.e., impossible without divine action (and at the time most people scorned the idea), and the same could be said with every miraculous story in Scripture.
Indeed ancient people did not have the Hubble telescope, but they were able to see the night sky in full array, something almost no modern person can claim (thanks to modern lighting which distorts our ability to see the full night sky). On average, ancient people lived much closer to nature and to the realities of life and death than many of us moderners.
In terms of a living relationship with these things the ancients were far more advanced than we are today, and this relationship is essentially the nature of religious inquiry. If people lack religious speculation today, maybe it is because they spend more time with their iphones and Macs then with nature. Maybe.
But the claim that Christianity was viable in the ancient world because it was endorsed by wide spread ignorance is a profoundly ignorant idea. Christianity arose in one of the most highly advanced civilizations in human history. The Roman Empire was not known for its stupidity. It was the epicenter of innovation and philosophical giants. I would wager that if a common person of today found himself in a philosophical debate with a common person of first century Alexandria, the moderner would be utterly humiliated in the exchange.
6. Christian’s only believe in Christianity because they were born in a Christian culture. If they’d been born in India they would have been Hindu instead.
This argument is appealing because it pretends to wholly dismiss people’s reasoning capabilities based on their environmental influences in childhood. The idea is that people in general are so intellectually near- sighted that they can’t see past their own upbringing, which, it would follow, would be an equally condemning commentary on atheism. But, this is a spurious claim.
Take the history of the Jewish people for example. Let us say that to ‘be’ Jewish, in the religious sense, is much more than a matter of cultural adherence. To be a Jewish believer is to have Judaism permeate one’s thinking and believing and interaction with the world. But is this the state of affairs with the majority of the Jewish people, whether in America, Europe, Israel, or wherever? One would have to be seriously out of touch to believe so. The same phenomenon is found within so-called Christian communities. Indeed, being born in a Jewish or Christian centric home today is more often a precursor that the child will grow up to abandon the faith of his or her family.
7. The gospel doesn’t make sense: God was mad at mankind because of sin so he decided to torture and kill his own Son so that he could appease his own pathological anger. God is the weirdo, not me.
This is actually a really good argument against certain Protestant sects (I’ve used it myself on numerous occasions), but it has no traction with the Orthodox Christian faith. The Orthodox have no concept of a God who needed appeasement in order to love His creation. The Father sacrificed His own Son in order to destroy death with His life; not to assuage His wrath, but to heal; not to protect mankind from His fury, but to unite mankind to His love. If the reader is interested to hear more on this topic follow this link for a fuller discussion.
8. History is full of mother-child messiah cults, trinity godheads, and the like. Thus the Christian story is a myth like the rest.
This argument seems insurmountable on the surface, but is really a slow-pitch across the plate (if you don’t mind a baseball analogy). There is no arguing the fact that history is full of similar stories found in the Bible, and I won’t take the time to recount them here. But this fact should not be surprising in the least, indeed if history had no similar stories it would be reason for concern. Anything beautiful always has replicas. A counterfeit coin does not prove the non-existence of the authentic coin, it proves the exact opposite. A thousand U2 cover bands is not evidence that U2 is a myth.
Ah, but that doesn’t address the fact that some of these stories were told before the Biblical accounts. True. But imagine if the only story of a messianic virgin birth, death, and resurrection were contained in the New Testament. That, to me, would be odd. It would be odd because if all people everywhere had God as their Creator, yet the central event of human history—the game changing event of all the ages—the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ had never occurred to them, in at least some hazy form, they would have been completely cut off from the prime mysteries of human existence. It seems only natural that if the advent of Christ was real it would permeate through the consciousness of mankind on some level regardless of their place in history. One should expect to find mankind replicating these stories, found in their own visions and dreams, again and again throughout history. And indeed, that is what we find.
9. The God of the Bible is evil. A God who allows so much suffering and death can be nothing but evil.
This criticism is voice in many different ways. For me, this is one of the most legitimate arguments against the existence of a good God. The fact that there is suffering and death is the strongest argument against the belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God. If suffering and death exist it seems to suggest one of two things: (1) either God is love, but He is not all-powerful and cannot stop suffering and death, or (2) God is all-powerful, but He does not care for us.
I devoted a separate article addressing this problem, but let me deal here with the problem inherent in the criticism itself. The argument takes as its presupposition that good and evil are real; that there is an ultimate standard of good and evil that supersedes mere fanciful ‘ideas’ about what is good and evil at a given time in our ethical evolution, as it were. If there is not a real existence—an ontological reality—of good and evil, then the charge that God is evil because of this or that is really to say nothing more than, “I personally don’t like what I see in the world and therefore a good God cannot exist.” I like what C.S. Lewis said on a similar matter: “There is no sense in talking of ‘becoming better’ if better means simply ‘what we are becoming’—it is like congratulating yourself on reaching your destination and defining destination as ‘the place you have reached.’”
What is tricky for the atheist in these sorts of debates is to steer clear of words loaded with religious overtones. It’s weird for someone who does not believe in ultimate good and evil to condemn God as evil because He did not achieve their personal vision of good. So, the initial criticism is sound, but it is subversive to the atheist’s staging ground. If one is going to accept good and evil as realities, he is not in a position to fully reject God. Instead, he is more in a position to wrestle with the idea that God is good. This struggle is applauded in the Orthodox Church. After all, the very word God used for his people in the Old Testament—“Israel”—means to struggle with God.
10. Evolution has answered the question of where we came from. There is no need for ignorant ancient myths anymore.
This might be the most popular attempted smack-downs of religion in general today. It is found in many variations but the concept is fairly consistent and goes something like this: Science has brought us to a point where we no longer need mythology to understand the world, and any questions which remain will eventually be answered through future scientific breakthroughs. The main battle-ground where this criticism is seen today is in evolution vs. creationism debates.
Let me say upfront that there is perhaps no other subject that bores me more than evolution vs. creationism debates. I would rather watch paint dry. And when I’m not falling asleep through such debates I’m frustrated because usually both sides of the debate use large amounts of dishonesty in order to gain points rather than to gain the truth. The evolutionist has no commentary whatsoever on the existence of God, and the creationist usually suffers from profound confusion in their understanding of the first few chapters of Genesis.
So, without entering into the most pathetic debate of the ages, bereft of all intellectual profundity, I’ll only comment on the underlining idea that science has put Christianity out of the answer business. Science is fantastic if you want to know what gauge wire is compatible with a 20 amp electric charge, how agriculture works, what causes disease and how to cure it, and a million other things. But where the physical sciences are completely lacking is in those issues most important to human beings—the truly existential issues: what does it mean to be human, why are we here, what is valuable, what does it mean to love, to hate, what am I to do with guilt, grief, sorrow, what does it mean to succeed, is there any meaning and what does ‘meaning’ mean, and, of course, is there a God? etc, ad infinitum.
As far as where we come from, evolution has barely scratched the purely scientific surface of the matter. Even if the whole project of evolution as an account of our history was without serious objection, it would still not answer the problem of the origin of life, since the option of natural selection as an explanation is not available when considering how dead or inorganic matter becomes organic. Even more complicated is the matter of where matter came from. The ‘Big Bang’ is not an answer to origins but rather a description of the event by which everything came into being; i.e., it’s the description of a smoking gun, not the shooter.

(Here's the link for this article.) 

Side note: I'm aware the article is promoting Orthodoxy, but there's only one real difference between RC and EO anyway.)