Feedback

General feedback will be kept on line for as long as possible. Specific rebuttals will be kept permanently and linked to from the articles that they refute.

Any replies I make are in Bold

January 2005


I have been given your details by Peter Lindahl, and I am considering whether it is worth engaging with you in a debate. As you may know, the Bible advises us not to answer a fool according to his folly 'lest you be like him yourself' (Prov.26:4) but also to answer a fool according to his folly 'lest he be wise in his own eyes' (Prov.26:5).

Before you leap to claim a biblical contradiction you might previously not have noticed, the juxtaposition is quite deliberate - a biblical equivalent if you like of 'too many cooks spoil the broth' but 'many hands make light work'. The question is, what kind of fool are you? The Bible is clear that a fool is one who 'says in his heart there is no God'. Are you someone genuinely seeking the truth, or (as I rather suspect at the moment) someone full of a self-inflated view of the importance of your own opinions who debates only to demonstrate how clever he (thinks he) is?

If I thought you or the readers of your site were of the former, it might be worth my while pointing out a few things you may have overlooked. I am, incidentally, no defender of institutionalised 'christianity'. Having read the entire Bible some 40 times, much of it many times more than that, and studied it carefully for over 35 years I am happy to correct the misconceptions of those who have studied it less. Anyone can erect their own 'aunt sallys' and then knock them down, or demolish what other people say about a book which it never says for itself. I have by no means read all the articles on the christianity section of your site but I have, to get a flavour, looked at the two articles on the authenticity of the gospel records. I could answer every single point you make; most of them are 'old chestnuts', well known to any Bible student. But my general answer is 'so what'?

I am a lawyer by profession and in my early career was accounted a fairly formidable advocate in the magistrates courts. If the prosecution called as witnesses 4 police officers who all gave identical evidence, it was child's play to have my client acquitted because it is simple to demonstrate that no 4 witnesses see the same events in identical fashion. Therefore if there are no discrepancies between them they have either concocted their testimony or 3 have simply copied the other one and you really have only one witness, not 4. So with the gospels. Who wrote them is not very important. The question is, are they true? More pertinently, did Jesus rise from the dead, and is He God incarnate?

Even at a historical level Jesus is demonstrably the most important and influential figure who ever lived. If His claims are true, He is far more than that. It is hardly surprising then that 4 different accounts of His life all see Him from slightly different perspectives and each records details considered not directly important by a different witness seeking to bring out a different aspect. A single human witness would be unlikely to have the understanding to adequately record evrey detail of His life and comment accurately on its every significance. Can you name a single great figure in history who has only one biographer, or whose several biographies accord in every particular? Does it mean they didn't live, or that it is impossible from the various biographies to get an understanding of the man? Ultimately you do one of two things with the text. You either read it intent on finding things to justify your unbelief, in which case you can find plenty to satisfy yourself, or you come to it with an open mind and keep studying it to see what it tells you, in which case you will spend a lifetime learning

The great Bible scholar/translator of the post-war years, J.B.Phillips, said as he neared the end of his life that, for all the scepticism of the sort regurgitated in your articles, he found the gospel record had 'the ring of truth'. As I near the end of my own life I too find the same truth ringing clearly. In fact I have found a strange thing over the last 40 years. I have met many people who say they do not believe the Bible, but not one of them had ever read it from cover to cover! How do they know what they don't believe? And if I ever do meet someone who has read the entire book and still claims not to believe it I will tell you in advance with complete confidence something that will be true of them - that they studied it as an academic exercise and not to find out what it actually says to them or about them.

The great 19th century Baptist preacher C.H.Spurgeon once said 'I had as soon defend the Bible as a lion; leave both alone and they will defend themselves'.

You may therefore understand why I am reluctant to commit what little free time I have to engaging in what is likely to be a pointless and fruitless debate; however please do not take that as being that there are no answers to your clever debating points. It is just that (as my old granny used to say) 'there's none so blind as those who don't want to see'.

David Negus

It will surprise nobody that Mr.Negus, although calling me a 'fool' , felt unable to debate me after reading my web site,and was most reluctant to debate the question of whether or not the Gospels are true.

If you do publish my original reply on your website I trust you will do me the courtesy of publishing this closing reply with it. I made it clear at the outset that I was not seeking a debate, but was replying to your correspondence with a friend to see what sort of (biblical) fool you were, and thus what biblical guidance might be applicable to answering you. There is no benefit on either side to attempting to correct someone so convinced of his own rightness that he is blind to all other opinion. You are only interested in debate on your own terms and seek to define 'victory' or 'success' according to your own pre- determined rules of engagement. In common with all other serious Christians (and as advised by Jesus in Matt. 10:14) I have better things to do with my time.

There is one biblical text I may even yet be prepared to debate publicly with you on my terms. It is 'All have sinned and come short of the glory of God'. The terms of engagement would necessarily include that before the debate begins you must publish on your website as full a list of all sins committed by you in your lifetime (as defined by the Bible, and with me being the arbiter as to whether or not a particlar act or ommission needs to be included) as you are able to remember.

The outcome of the debate shall be decided as follows. If you can demonstrate on the basis of reliable historical evidence that Jesus Christ (personally, not any of his followers, contemporaneous or later) committed more sins than you (with me to be the arbiter as to whether you have met the criterion) you may declare yourself publicly the victor in the debate. If you fail, you must acknowledge on your website that when faced with a question that actually matters, you ran out of red herrings.

David Negus

I offered to debate 'All have sined and come short of the glory of God', pointing out that the one day old babies who died in the tsunami had committed no sins. Mr Negus proved reluctant to debate his own proposition.

To comply with his request that I list my sins as defined as the Bible, I asked him how the Bible defined sins such as murder. Mr.Negus was unable to tell me the Biblical definition of murder,although I pointed out to him that it is in Numbers 35.

Mr.Negus wrote back and said 'The only Bible definition of murder that matters is Matt. 5:21-22. Now if you can tell me you have never murdered on Jesus' definition, I may accuse you of telling lies as well.'

He then wrote to me later, as follows :- JESUS NEVER DEFINED MURDER. CONTRARY TO YOUR WISH THAT IT WERE OTHERWISE, THE BIBLE ISN'T A LEGAL TEXTBOOK.

HE CREATED US WITH THE ABILITY TO BE GOOD, BUT THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE TO DO OTHERWISE. YOU WOULD BE LEADING THE LIST OF COMPLAINANTS IF HE HAD MADE US AS ROBOTS WITH NO POWER OF CHOICE.

WITH RESPECT I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE THE INTELLECTUAL POWER TO HAVE CRAFTED ROMANS chapters 5 - 8. I'M NOT SURE IF THEY STILL ARE, BUT THEY CERTAINLY USED TO BE A SET TEXT AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL AS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF LOGICAL ANALYSIS AND DEDUCTION.

I HAVE NEVER PASSED ANY JUDGEMENT ON ONE DAY OLD BABIES, AND IT IS DEBATABLE WHETHER THE BIBLE SAYS ANYTHING VERY CLEARLY ON THE POINT. ONE THING IS ABSOLUTELEY CLEAR. EVERY BABY BORN INTO THIS WORLD WILL DIE ONE DAY. WHY SHOULD GOD BE HELD MORALLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHETHER IT IS ON DAY ONE OR DAY FIFTYTHOUSAND-AND-ONE. IF YOU WERE RIGHT AND THERE WAS NO GOD, A BABY'S RIGHT TO LIFE WOULD CERTAINLY NOT DERIVE FROM THE BABY, SO HOW CAN THE BABY CLAIM A RIGHT TO LIVE? IT IT SECULAR HUMANISM THAT LEADS TO NONSENSICAL ANSWERS AND TOTAL MORAL ANARCHY.

I asked Mr.Negus what sins one day old babies had committed, and he was unable to tell me,but still claimed that 'all have sinned....'


Dear Katz

The ancient sacred cubit is circa 63 centimeters,..therefore Adam would have been about circa 37.5 meters or 112 feet high. I have to thank the great prophet Muhamad for refering to this exact measuremnt because it is the Key to finding Adam's burial ground. All 3 great religions are extensions of each other,.if one reads them all then a universal message can be found. For instance,..in prophet Moses revelations in the ancient scriptures, Moses states that Adam, Eve, and Abel are buried next to each other. Now that is another definite message. In the old Forgotten books of Eden, it is stated that this family of 3 are buried into a rock hollow. In the New testament this place is called the place of the skull. All state that Adam was embalmed and put into a coffin. Ancient scriptures say that Adam was buried at the center of the earth's continental mass.

Well,..Mr Katz,..I used all the above information and an up to date satalite photo of the area that is supposed to be the center of the earth, which is also called the 4 corners,...and guess what? I found Adam's tomb!

Next to his rock hewn coffin shaped tomb in the rock,.I found Eve's and Abels. All three next to each other. I personally measured Adam's tomb and found it 40 meters long by 9. Large enough to fit a body of 37 meters hieght. The 4 corners is a humungous structure standing as a marker and tombstone next to them. There are 2 other markers for Eve and Abel. Abels marker being much smaller than the other two since he died very young.

A skull structure with a protrusion on the forhead stands 100 metres away. Guess what,..in the ancient hebrew scriptures it is stated that GOD 9Infinite in glory) put a mark or a horn on Cains forehead as sign for his murderous sin.

Logic states,.that if Adam was buried on this earth, then there must be a burial ground. And those who buried him would have left a momentous marker or tombstone as a reference.

Al Sharif El Zamman


Dear Mr. Steven,

I do respect that differences is a good thing in life, as well as different point of views.

I'm a Muslim and I'm proud of being a Muslim, because I read the Quran several times, it's easy to understand and to comprehend, so it's not just because I want to say so.

Regarding lots of aspects you've mentioned, which I will not discuss except for one of them as an example, still i find them all not related to us by all means, but it's related to an assumption that we are scared that you can show faults in our Religion. Of course I can't say anything about the Bible and the Turah because we already believe in them, still there were lots of people who are recognized as being very powerfull in their knowledge about their religions, and they've tried several times to show that the Islam is not right and until now, nobody was able to show anything in the Quran which is wrong, they've always refered to wrong doings of some Muslims all around the world and tried to let it seem to others as if it's all the Muslims.

About that person who actually wrote the verses, with all my respect to him and his Arabic, he can not by all means reach the rich Arabic that is written in the Quran, and I bet that if the three verses were like the Quran, non of the Non-Muslims in the whole world will not present it to the whole world inorder to show that our Religion is wrong, and if there was a Muslim Lobby that forced AOL to close the site, then the reason is not because we are scared *, it's because lots of sites nowadays are trying to introduce wrong verses which are not present in the Quran and try to convince people it's related to us, but please if you can actually decide that those three verses are correct, so kindly go to the media and say it aloud to everybody and let the poeple who have knowledge about the language to criticize it.

I want you to know, that as believers, we need not be scared of anyone who is trying to even present a new Quran depending on their fanatasies, and the only reason for that, there is a verse in the Quran that says '' Ena Laho Lahafezoun'' which means that God is protecting the Quran and it's not Human beings. Also note that we ONLY have ONE Quran all over the world, and there's no new Quran or old Quran or even a modified Quran, the only changes is in the interpretation because Quran is suitable for all ages, so you find in every era, the interpretations of certain verses become clearer, e.g. '' Al Shams Tagry Lemostakaren Laha'' means that the sun is moving in its place, at the time of Muhamed Sala Allah Allyhi wa salam, nobody knew that the sun is not moving, and people were put into prison hundreds of years later claiming that they are crazy cuz they say that the sun is not moving, then by science, they did discover that the sun is moving in its place and not around Earth, and at that time, people started to realize the meaning of the verse, and untill now we are still discovering things that we find in the Quran, appart from that, there are Muslim Chemists were able to find medicine through their search in the Quran. The formation of the baby inside the pregnant woman, how come before science and technology can it be described thoroughly in the Quran at that time.. Again I want you to note that there's only one Quran in the whole world and no modification what so ever.

I hope that you study the things you write, because it doesn't show that you are talking from a solid ground.

Try with me and criticize the verses you find wrong - from your point of view- and let's discuss it. Hope you read it well before you judge it.


Just read your work on the Koran. Thank you. I'm reading the K.  now and am finding your comments helpful. My biggest criticism would be the Koran's poor literary qualities. It lacks any sense of greatness, style or appeal. Whether one believes the Bible or not, it far surpasses the Koran on many levels as literature. One can only pity muslims for being stuck with such a dull work.

Hi, Steven,

Thanks so much for your reply! 

In response to your question about whether God could design an earth that is "dangerous" to humans (e.g., earthquakes and tsunamis that can and do kill people)...the answer is yes.  God has created everything, and He is completely in control.  God blesses, but also allows misfortunes to happen in the lives of believers and non-believers alike to achieve His purposes.   

Ultimately, His purpose is to save those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Accepting Christ not only means that we acknowledge Him as the Son of God, who has paid our full sin debt, but also that we TRUST Him to provide for our needs, to bring us through the difficulties that we encounter (like losing a loved in a tsumani), and to prove to us that He is a very generous and loving God. 

Athletes improve their performance by rigorous training and stressing their bodies, forcing them to grow.  Similarly, Christians strengthen their faith by trusting God to provide for them in all manner of ways...through blessings as well as hardships.  God wants each of his children to strive to become like Christ, to perform works that glorify Him, and help others to come to and grow in Christ.  Practicing Christians enjoy peace on earth, in spite of our circumstances, but our ultimate reward is to spend eternity in heaven with Christ. 

Anthony Flew has come to the realization that we didn't just happen.  The more we understand about ourselves, life in general, and our universe, the more we see the irreducible complexity that must be the result of an intelligent designer (i.e., God).  If you are so inclined, I recommend the book, Darwin's Black Box, that was written by a microbiologist that arrived at the same conclusions as Flew.

Thanks again, Steven, for your response.  I pray that your openness will lead you to the truth.  Please accept my comments above in the spirit of good will in which they were intended.

Best regards, Tom

Dec.20th 2004

Steve,

I was elated to see that Anthony Flew has finally come to the studied conclusion that God (intelligent designer) exists.  Faith is not just a matter of the heart, but also a matter of the head.  Understanding the irreducible complexity of life, as Professor Flew has, supports the existence of God.  I pray that he will eventually come to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior.

Hi, It does show that atheists are open to the evidence, regardless of reputation.

Sadly, Flew has not evaluated the evidence correctly. We can all make mistakes.

The arguments are just as bad coming from Flew as they are from IDers.

Flew's actual position is unclear to me, but he certainly does not believe in the Christian god.

BTW, did God design tectonic activity, as this site claims?

'God Proclaims His Love: Design of the Earth

Established a unique continental crust, which allows for recycling of minerals through tectonic activity'

Flew might well believe that god recycles minerals through tectonic activity, but there are millions of people who are aghast at the notion.

Do you believe in a God who can move mountains?

Do you believe in a God who can move water?

Why did God design the earth to have earthquakes that kill 130,000 of his children?

May 2001 Why do you spend so much of your time worrying about Islam? if you don't believe then leave the people who do alone, get a life!!! Allah(swt) guides whoever He chooses and leads astray whoever He chooses, don't fall into the latter, ask for guidance about such things and don't insult believing men and woman by your ignorance and sever lack of knowledge on such matters!

May Allah(swt) guide you


Some points on your absolute moral values article - I do not claim to have all the answers...

Firstly, I don't think Jesus is defining murder in Matthew 5:21-22. He is saying: i) The Old Testament Law says 'Do not murder'.

ii) Anyone who does murder someone will be judged by God for that action.

iii) If anyone is angry with their brother they will be judged by God for that, in the same way as if they had committed murder.

The point Jesus is making is that unless people are morally perfect they will be judged by God. In God's sight, there is an equivalence between being angry with someone and murdering them in the actions' shared moral offensiveness. So while a person may not have actually murdered someone, that does not mean they are righteous in this respect.

Secondly, on Numbers 35 you say 'These regulations state clearly that murder is something committed with an iron object, a wooden object, fists, or something thrown etc. Is it really impossible to murder someone by strangling him? '

I think the point is the principle underlying the given regulations. If someone beat another person to death with some other object not specifically mentioned I don't think that would make them innocent in the eyes of the law.

The verses give examples of murder, and the principle that murder is a deliberate act of killing perpetrated by an individual (as opposed to the state - which is another issue) against another. I would argue that this principle is the definition of murder given by the passage. So murder is when one person deliberately kills another.

The command not to murder people constitutes an absolute moral standard in that it is a moral command from God, who provides an absolute point of reference. There are other commands given in the Old Testament, such as those relating to religious practise, which no longer apply. Through Jesus God instituted a new covenant replacing the old. But the command not to murder should still be followed today, as testified by Jesus.

In the case of manslaughter, since the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament is no longer in action, there are some grounds to say that the commands given no longer apply.

So what about war etc? Without claiming to have a full understanding of the issues, what I would say is that in some situations an individual, or the state, as a result of the fallen nature of the world, might be forced to choose between to courses of action, both of which are wrong. So for example, in a primitive culture with no prison system, the state might execute a dangerous criminal. In killing the criminal, the state is doing something which is morally wrong. However, if the alternative is to let the criminal free, thereby causing a miscarriage of justice and a creating a danger for society, that execution might be the best (or least worst) possible action.

So in saying that not murdering is an absolute moral command, what they mean is not that murder should under no circumstances be committed, but that murder is always bad, in that it is against God's will.


al-salmo allikom warahmat Allah wabarakato

( the Muslim greting, i use it here not only as a way to say hi, but also as a greeting to the angels that surround us)

Well id like to make a few points in response to some of the information i have read on your site.to satrt off with id like to start that you should not tell Muslims to turn away from these pages because they maybe insulted by their content, no matter how hard you try even muslims who are not practicing will put up a gaurd when faced with such comments, i read on and saw that you had tried to get a bais view to all your aritcles, if someone is going to write about a certain subject then he/she should reference books for against the subject not simply against. I mean i read the ariticle on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and even the Mr. Carr admitted to having use no books written by Muslim authors he had simply used those written by none-Muslims, now how is this fair? i mean if you want to learn about a religion you should read about it and NOT read against it. That is of course unless your too worried that you'll find the information that you will read in a Pro-Islam book brings out another side to you, the Muslim side. We are all born Muslim and only we choose whether or not we are going to remain thus. if life was so simple and no religion or god was present then why and how would we be alive?

Id like to understand how it is that Athiests can belive in life if no god is present to make it happen, or how you can believe in morals when morlas came from religion.

Id also like to comment on the fact that prophet Muhammad (PBUH) NEVER had any concubines, that is against everything Islam stands for, that is mal treatment of women, and if you researched this article PROPERLY you'd have seen that you WERE misinformed.

Also, you seemed to have stressed the fact that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had a 6 year old wife, personally i have no problem with this, i mean my Grandmother was married at the age of 9,and ma sha allah and Al-hamdu li-Allah she had a successful marriage which ended only when my grandfather passed away (Allah irhamo) over 60 years later.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)'s wife Aisha was a magnificent young lady, she was smart and learnt much of the Qur'an and the sunnah of the Prophet. After his death she was a great source of information not only to Muslims wanting to learn and increase their knowledge but also to those who were trying to keep Islam for later generations by compiling books on the actions, and saying of the Prophet (PBUH). After her husband's death (PBUH) she lilved on for a further 40 or so years and in that time provided a lot of insight for both Muslim men and women in the way their lives should be lead.

Finally id like to explain some thing that you misinterpruted in your article, Sunnah is the actions adn sayings of the prophet (PBUH) HOWEVER Hadith are simply the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH).

i really hope that all those that believe in this site seek guidance from Allah for Noone can save them but Him, Allah yustorcom (May god safegaurd you) and lead you onto the path of the light AMEN

I ask only that if you are going to have such a site you should refernces it with both sides of the arguement raised, you may surprise yourself and understand why it is that over 1/6th of the World's population has turned to this religion, with over 1.5 BILLION follows no doubt it makes sense.

walsamo aalikom warahamat Allah wabarakato

April 2001

I t's almost inconceivable that an atheist organization could take a rather less than complementary turn toward an idea supporting New Testament authenticity.(Arf Arf!) This hubbub is ubiquitous among scholars, most of whom take far more liberties with the Jesus Story than Carsten Thiede. He backs his arguments with more hard science than 95% of what is written in the hallowed halls of our centers of higher learning. I fear that abiding professional jealousy has as much to do with "scholarly criticism" as anything else.

The larger question however is why atheists should be concerned about such matters. The sad fact is that you indeed spend your lives standing on whales, fishing for minnows. I just happened on to your site serendipitously and was truly amazed that you should even support any viewpoint on such a tactical subject when your strategic holding is thatGod doesn't exist. On this subject, more than any other, who could take you seriously? The fact of our existence signifies to most of us that as a group, you truly could not find your asses with both hands and a flashlight(torch). As a special favor to yourselves, please try to grow up.

You really need to.

March 2001

Great article. What's interesting is that even Eusebius (in Christian literature Origen plays the straight man and Eusebius plays the lyre) can't give a specific chain of testimony from Popeyais to Jesus (Papias heard it from "the elders", an ancient form of "the grapevine"). To borrow most of the words of the late, great Raymond Brown regarding this lacking, "The simplest explanation is that it's NOT historical". If the operators of the Christian Church don't know who said that who said then who does? As the saying goes, "God knows".

February 2001

I need a reality check before these people drive me insane. Why do Christians keep saying that the New Testament is accurate when in fact, there is so much proof in writing and documents, that it isn't? Any idea why, from your personal viewpoint, why a supposedly rational human being would ignore the facts and keep stubbornly persisting to defend the New Testament? I need an answer so that I can cope with these morons who keep claiming that the N.T. is the infallible Word of G-d, as it were. Whenever they tell me it is not a fraud, I tell them to do their homework. But they refuse to read any of the literature. In fact, I've lost friends because of this. They think I am evil.

February 2001

Assalamualaikum,

Your arguments against the existence of the one true God are rather basic and show your lack of perception and foresight regarding the spiritual world. It is quite plain and simple that "Any man who denies our message his shall be a narrow life and he shall be raised up blind on the Day of Judjement and he shall say, 'oh my Lord why has though raised me up blind', and it shall be said,'when our signs did reach you you disregarded them so this day be though disregarded'. You also claim to refute the Quran yet 1400 years have passed and not a single man woman and child in the entire world has been able to change even a single letter of the Book and produce a single sentence or verse like those contained within it. If you can produce a single verse like those contained within the Quran I swear by the one who made me you can slit my throat and feed me to the pigs. But I bet that if one of our scholars refuted your claims you would not have the guts to gamble your life since you are deaf dumb and blind with no idea of why you were created and why you are here. You talk about science when the Quran is the most complete scientific book. " And we have placed a barrier between the two types of water (fresh water and sea water) so that they won't mix". " And we did make man from clay. From then we made him from Nutfah (male and female discharge) and placed him in safe lodgings (the womb). Then we made the nutfah into a clot and then we made the clot into a small lump of flesh, which we then made into bones and clothed with flesh. We then brought it forth as a new creation. So blessed be Allah the best of creators." Here MR you have the stages of life 1400 years before any microscope could see the stages of life developing within the womb. Furthermore it (the Quran) came to a man who could not read or write. Furthermore His Hadiths which you mock seem to be a bit more scientifically convincing than the arguments put forward in your BASIC website. For instance when he was asked what was beneath the Sea, he replied FIRE (referring to the earth's molten core), he also reccommended taking three sips when you drink water since it protects man from a disease of the liver. I only hope that for your sake you will come to realise the truth of this life. But if you don't it will be to the detriment of your own soul since God states in the Quran "They forgot Allah, so we made them forget their own souls", "For the disbelievers we have prepared chains,yokes and a blazing fire." So good luck May Allah guide you to the straight path and remember "Don't let the chief deceiver deceive you". As it is stated in the film Usual Suspects "The biggest trick the Devil ever played was to make mankind think he never existed!" OR IS IT THAT YOU ARE ONE OF HIS SOLDIERS WHO HAS SOLD HIS SOUL FOR A MISERLY PRICE. Wait for death then if that is the case and I too am waiting with you and you will one day be paid back in full all what you earned in this life.

Israel (Soldier of the One true God)

(I replied)

Thank you for your comments.

Could you give we poor atheists the benefit of your superior Islamic knowledge and tell us what the female discharge is please, when it is discharged and what role it plays in conception?

(He replied)

My Lord will explain it to you when you are marshalled infront of him. Remember that no good will it do for man to believe on that day when there shall be no mutual bargaining. "And we shall drag out the most rebellious from each sect"...."We shall pour boiling fetid water over their heads, death will approach them from all quarters yet they will NEVER die"." Does man not see that it is we who created him from sperm yet behold he stands an open adversary". Or is it maybe that you have a right to be arrogant since you took some part in the creation of the heavens, or have you penetrated into the unseen or have you yourself created or was you created. Don't forget that you came from the same passage urine is discharged from or is it that you have been swayed by the glitter of this life. If so .."Allah increases the provision for whom he pleases and staightens it for whom he pleases, AND THEY REJOICE IN THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD, WHEREAS THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD COMPARED TO THE LIFE OF THE HEREAFTER IS BUT A PASSING ENJOYMENT".

January 2001

Steve, your website is fantastic and was a great help to me as I have a project on Religion on the Net in 4 tomorrow and your website helped a lot. Everyone else on the comments page shouldn't be so rude. Everyone is allowed their own opinion and no-one likes to have their own critisized. So, basically, your page is fab!


there is so much info on your articles. My former fiance tried to get me to accept Islam, he is a geography teacher and he thinks he knows so muah to believe in anything else. Well I stumped on several questions that he could not answer. Holy texts whether jew or christian muslin just don't seem to add up to history or science. Do you think that religious leaders fear science and its progress? Would love to get even more insight on the subject.
I read that the reason that you don't beleive in God is becuase you have seen no compelling evidence. Well, I believe that I have some for you.

*This is to prove with historical evidence, not scientific proof, that the Bible is an accurate and reliable source, Jesus was the Son of God, and he DID rise from the dead.

Is the Bible reliable?

Bible - -Written over a period of 1500 years

- -Written by 40 different authors

- -Written on 3 different continents

- -Yet, there is 1 universal theme

Bible vs Iliad

- Dont have originals of either (Nor any other text from those time periods because of the perishable nature of the substances on which they were written)

- 20,000 copies of the NT were made within 25 years of its completion

- 643 copies were made of the Iliad within 500 years of its completion

- Why is the Iliad considered historically accurate and yet the Bible is not?

-Gospels were written by eyewitnesses

-Gospels could not have been false. The reason for this being that they were eyewitnesses; but there are also other eyewitnesses, eyewitnesses that did not like Jesus at all (The Pharisees for instance). If what the authors had said was false, then there would have been plenty of people that would refute it. Nobody attempted to refute them; therefore they must be accurate.

Is Jesus the Son of God?

- There were about 300 prophecies made about Jesus. These prophecies were made about Jesus over a period of a 1000 years, the last one was at least made circa 433 B.C. That is almost 450 years before Jesus was born. Jesus fulfilled all of these prophecies

- The odds of fulfilling 48 prophecies are about 1/15710 . In other words, the odds would be the same as the same person winning the lottery 11 times in a row

- Jesus could NOT have been a moral teacher or a good prophet. He claimed he was the Son of God. He would have to have been 1 of 3 things; a liar, lunatic, or the Son of God. If he was a good teacher or moral prophet then he would have been completely lying or a lunatic, both of which disqualify him as being a good teacher or moral prophet.

- Jesus predicted his own death in Matthew 20, Mark 10, and Luke 18. How could a lunatic or a liar predict his own death? They could not, so our only option left is that Jesus was the Son of God.

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

- Some say that Jesus did not really die, he just left his tomb, either by himself or with disciples, and people saw him because he was not really dead. Well, medical evidence refutes this theory. John 19:34 says Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. That is how the Romans checked to see if the person being crucified was dead. That water that John refers to is not really water. It is a clear fluid that was in the membrane. The membrane filled up with this clear fluid because Jesus could not breathe. When they hung a person on a cross, they killed them by suffocation. Nailing Jesus to the cross pulled his shoulders out of their socket. That means that he would have to use his legs to push himself up for each breath. Eventually, the strength runs out and you can push yourself up no longer. That is how you die. Well, when you die of suffocation, that clear liquid fills your membrane. Because it flowed out, th! at means that the membrane was full. Hence, Jesus was dead.

- The Bible cites several times when Jesus is seen AFTER his death. Some say that his disciples stole his body. Well, how would disciples (Just simple fisherman and other sorts) somehow overpower several Roman guards (Armed mind you) and roll a several ton stone out of the way? But, lets just say they did. 10/11 remaining disciples were either crucified or killed in some other manner because of the following of Jesus. If the disciples stole the body, then they would know that what they were believing was a lie. Sure, people die for their religion; but, when people die for their religion, they believe that their religion is true, not a lie. Why would anybody want to die for a lie? Especially when some of their deaths were from crucifixion, needless to say that is a painful process.

- Jesus really died, his body was untouched in the tomb, and there were citings of him, then what else could he be besides what he claimed to be, the Son of God?

It is a lie that there are 25000 copies of the NT within 25 years of its completion. It is a lie that 10/11 of the disciples were martyred. As for the rest, there is no evidence to back it up.


Dogmatic Christians often feel the compulsion to take a "high moral road," attempting to field an over-simplified version of a problem which is morally ambiguous. If one looks upon the death penalty or abortion "issue" without concern for which "side" one is on, doubts from either argument will arise. The debate is obviously emotionally charged, but the real problem is that we have divided ourselves between two options, creating an "either/or" dilemma. What we may need is a third option. But for that to come about, we may need to ask an entirely different question.
I was wondering if you have any biographical information on Frank Morison?

Not really. I think his real name was Henry Albert Ross.


David,

I have enjoyed reading some of your debates and comments posted on your web site; and I must say for a "professing" atheists your augmentation is not the usual ad hominem polemics I usually see from both sides.

I am curious however, have you heard of the transcendental proof for the existence of God? If so, could you tell me what think and why.

Thanks

T Manna

I think the transcendental proof is very silly and put forward by arrogant ignorant people. By the way, my name is Steven and not David.


I read your article with some interest, and your quite right your level of scholarship is low. You pick the more obvious weakneses, and yet miss one cardinal factor: the very contradictions prove the veracity of the gospels! This is not some neew think, twisting words, but based on a knowledge of anceint literature. You could for example have picked up on the fact that John's gospel places the cleansing of the Temple at the start of Jesus' ministry, while the Matthew places it at the end of his ministry. Why? Because for John, Jesus was making an important statement of who he was, ie God.

Ancient biographers always placed words and events in the order that was important to them, that does invalidate the history, its just the way it was done.

You quote the fact that one verse was not included in some text, given the fact that there are between 3,000 and 25,000 New Testament documents from the 1st 3 centuries, is it included in other copies?

To properly discredit theNew Testament documents, which your even close to yet, you must show where something, or someplace, that is specified as happening, or being, is not true. Allrbight in the 19th century came as an atheist and went away as a believer, when he dug where the Bible said a city existed and it did.

Some further thoughts:

6 years ago, it was announced that they had found the body of Caiaphas the High Priest, so he existed 1968 in Caesarea they uncovered an inscription dedicated to Tiberius by Pontius Pilate, he existed.

Let me know what you think or try reading FF Bruce: the New Testament Documents: are they reliable. If you can't get hold of it,I will gladly send you a copy.

Mike Allen

Another liar for Christ. There are not between 3,000 and 25,000 New Testament documents from the 1st 3 centuries. Allrbight (sic) was not an atheist. Why do Christians tell so many lies?

As for the claim that the Bible is true because Caiphas and Pilate existed, that is just as silly as a claim that the Koran is true because Mecca and Medina existed.


Dear Steven

My name is Tim and I am an active member of a Charismatic church in Hampshire, UK, involved in both the youth and worship ministry. Although I have not read your site in its entirety, I have read some articles and comments from yourself about Christianity. I really want to write and touch on what the centre of Christianity is: it is about being an "anointed follower of the anointed one". That one is Jesus.

You mentioned in your Alpha comments about being "open minded". I believe that everyone should be open minded towards all religions, the plain fact being, however, that none of them contain the truth that God sent his only son, Jesus, to die on a cross so that we might have a way open to the Father. There is no other way. I can approach as many religions, ideals or idols as I choose with an open mind, but none of them will lead me to the Father. None of them will lead to eternal life. This is the centre: that God sent his only son to die for everyone. All other debates and arguments pail into the background when we meet him face to face and fall in love with him. That is not to say that we, as human beings, will not struggle in our lives or debate topics, but when we build our house on the "rock of our salvation", when the storms come, we will be ok.

Please feel free to write back on this. I would rather we kept this chat to email rather than the website if that is ok with you.

God bless - Tim

Tim gave me permission to post this on my web site, provided I posted it in its entirety. However, he has stated that he would refuse to allow atheists to address his church. Double standards?

It goes without saying that his email consisted of empty words, with no attempt to produce evidence or logical arguments.


Greetings, Steve.

I am a Muslim and I happen to stumble upon your site from one of the atheist pages I was looking at. Your arguments against Christianity are very good, what disturbs me however, are your polemical attacks against Islam. I notice that your arguments revolve mostly on what the Christians say, and not from the atheist viewpoint.

I also notice that you have allowed a Christian apologist, Dr. Marston, to engage you in debate. Since you have allowed a Christian to answer for the Christians, and since there are no Muslims debating with you, I wish to take up the task of representing Islam when having a dialogue with you, and any of my e-mails in response to (or answering) your arguments be posted on your site. I hope you would consider the offer.

Regards.

MENJ

http://bismikaallahuma.cjb.net

I have proposed a few debate topics , but so far he has not agreed to any of them. However, he has promised to get back to me.


Hi,

I just got done reading your Islam section- it was very entertaining and educational. Most of my site deals with Islam as well- and most instructional is the responses. I think that's the case for your page as well.

E.g. Mike G Wotruba, who you generously gave a podium, basically followed the pattern of "tu quoque," like somehow a divine prophet should have the same crass "morality" of Western infidels. I find it lacking because they claim a higher authority, and so it's not enough to say the West sucks as well- Islam must surpass. And yet this is the "argument" I also constantly receive- to sum up the responses in an imaginary comment: "You are Zionists [they don't have much reading comprehension, merely assume from the Hebrew on the page], yet you don't condemn the thousands of murders of Palestinians!!! Allah destroy you on the day of Judgment!"

I dunno. I find it frustrating dealing with a creature who will justify every g-damn thing his prophet does.

Anyhow, thanks for the reading!


YOU ARE SUCH A SILLY MAN, MR THINKS HE KNOWS IT ALL, THE WAY YOU WROTE WHAT YOU DID SOUNDS VERY STUPID. YOU MAY HAVE READ DE QURAN BUT YOU DONT UNDERSTAND ITS IMPORTANCE. I THINK YOU KNOW THE TRUTH BUT YOU ARE SO IGNORANT TO ADMIT IT. BY THE WAY YOU MUST HAVE MADE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH SATAN THATS WHY YOU ARE WILLINGLY FOLLOWING HIM TO HELL. HOPE YOU SEE THE LIGHT ONE DAY. SEEEEEE YAAAAAAAA!

1st January 2001

Dear Mr. Karr: I know how much you don't beleive in God but you had better soon. TheLord is coming back and you better be ready. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Its so simple that even a child can understand. Ask Jesus Christ to save you and forgive you of your sins.

23rd December 2000

You are as you have described yourself - there is no doubt. I have never come across such a stupid page in all my life. Please do not bother to reply.

20th December 2000

dear Sir,

i was reading the article on your web page which i came across as i put in a search for islam on a search engine. I, was very disappointed at the way in which u insult the prophet (pbuh). May Allah's blessings be upon the prophet (pbuh) and his followers and Companions. I hope u will remove such blaspemous information...May Allah Guide You

14th December 2000

You quoted surah 2:105 as ''whatever verses we cancel or cause you to forget, we bring a better or its like'. U then said 'Why does God have to have two goes at revealing his commands?

Just for your information... What actually happens is this. A verse of the quran is revealed which the Sahaba of the Prophet(SAW)feel that they are not pious enough to go along with that verse or other good reasons.....

An example of this is a verse in the quran (I cannot remember which on off the top of my head) was revealed to our Prophet(SAW) which went something along the lines of ..'You will be accounted for all your deeds, even those bad deeds that are thought of but not acted upon will still be accounted for' Now obviously this is not a direct quote from the quran because I cannot remeber off the top of my head. Anyway...When that reverse was revealed, the Sahaba came to the Prophet(SAW) and stated to him(SAW) , they felt that they were not pious enough to not even think of bad thoughts. Therefor a further verse was revealed to the prophet(SAW) which in effect scrubbed the original verse which was revealed.....This original verse is not omitted from the quran nor was it forgotten by the Prophet(SAW) its just that a further verse was revealed in the quran at a later stage. In the example given above, it is stated that the Prophet(SAW) said that 'If a bad deed is thought of but not acted upon, then it is considered a good deed. If a bad deed is thought of and acted upon then is is considered one bad deed. If a good deed is thought of and not acted upon it is considered one good deed. If a good deed is thought of and accounted on, it can be considered as 700 good deeds.' This is what is meant by the quran, not just simply omitting things.

Arguments against the qu'ran are very weak....I suppose arguments for it can also be called as weak by the non-believers. But the fact of the matter is, The Qu'ran states things that no one on this Earth could have known at the time of its revelation.

If you want to know more about these things I suggest you read 'The Astonishing Truths Of The Holy Quran'

12th December 2000 Hello, at one point in my life I believed in evolution, an old earth and that there was no god. I became an atheist at the age of 12. I have come to realize that one becomes an atheist not because of enlightenment but because of jealousy. I know this through my own experiences. My sister was a terrible teenager. She did drugs and everything that came with it. One day she went to church with my neighbor. From that point forward she become the nicest person I have ever known. I saw her and laughed, but I always wondered what her secret was. How could she be so happy all the time while never going to parties, never drinking, and never doing drugs? I fought with her about religion because I liked to not because I wanted her to change her belief. She did it out of love to present me the gospel. I went online and I studied evolution and astronomy to try to show her faults. In the end I turned out wrong. If you are still reading this, I would like to say that the entire time that I was an atheist, I wanted to believe so bad, yet I didn't know it. Search your heart. Do you want to rely on Darwin or a supreme god that loves, Jesus Christ. You may be laughing, I would have too, but now I see the light. I believe. I remember telling myself that I would never believe. My sisters miraculous change fought in my mind for 4 years until I came to Christ. You could not possibly understand the love that flows through me. I only ask that if you do not except Jesus then at least you should see that He changes lives for the better. He creates love. I am telling this to you with a perspective of both worlds. I understand how an atheist thinks and how a Christian thinks. So I ask, please do not advocate atheism. The love of Jesus changes one hearts letting them live in peace. You have to see this regardless of what you believe. I only pray that you will see what I have seen. For a great book on this read "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. It has compelling evidence.

15th November 2000

[And (remember) when Allah will say (on the day of Resurrection):"O Jesus son of Mary! Did you say unto men: "Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?" He (Jesus) will say:" Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said a such thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner-self though I do not know what is in Yours, truly, You, only You, are the All-Knower of all that is hidden and unseen. Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allah) did command me to say:"Worship Allah, my, Lord and your Lord." And I was a witeness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a Witness to all things. (This is a great admonition and warning to the Christians of the whole world)

"If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily You, only You are the All-Mighty, the Wise."

Allah will say: " This is a Day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise)- they shall abide therein forever. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him. That is the great success.

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is therein, and He is Able to do all things.]

Koran Sura Al Maidah

WARNING TO THE CHRISTIANAS FROM THE GOD THEY WORSHIP

11th November 2000

After reading your article, as a muslim my view is that in the way you have put this article across it is clear that people would get the wrong impression, Prphet Muhamed (peace be upon him) was a sincere man and his wife was the first person to convert to islam which you have not mentioned. Personally i think if you are not a muslim you do not beleive in islam because if you did you would be a muslim yourself, so therefore non-muslims should not write articles about islam as they have no knowledge of the religion, and the way that these writers put there views across about islam contributes to the bad name that the media, the west and on whole non-muslims give to islam, i hope you don't take offence in my comments, but islam should be taken more seriously

1st November 2000

Steven,

First of all I am a Christian, but have been surfing the atheism websites recently. To my mind most criticism of Christianity seems to stem from ignorance/lack of understanding of what a particular part of the Bible is really saying eg that part of the second commandment re children being punished for the sins of the fathers.

Having said that, I do give credit to a nomber of atheists who obviously do know a lot about the bible, physics, biology etc and I have found their articles illuminating and thought provoking.

Two points puzzle me however.

1. How did it all begin? You will be familiar with the Christian view. I understand that the atheistic position is that matter and energy were always there although they change through time. Never in a million years can I accept this. How can neuter substances always have been there? It's impossible. It seems to me that atheists are duty bound to accept this view as any alternative leaves the door open for the existance of a Deity.

You're views please.

1 Death. When you think about it, why should anything/anyone die? There is no explanation for death outside of the Bible's '' on the day you sin you shall die''. Again you're views please.

A final comment. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that knowledge means very little as to whether a person is a Christian or atheist. It's all about belief. In other words, it's not the head, it's the heart. Do you agree?

18th October 2000

I've just listened to Polkinghorne on Radio 4 - "With Great Pleasure". I am intrigued to know if he would think that animals have an eternal (or heavenly) dimension to them.

If so, then will there be smallpox viruses in heaven?

If not, then when did humans develop an eternal dimension. Was there a sudden appearance of a generation of earlier homo sapiens that spontaneously developed (or were given) a soul?

When I was a teenager, and on into my twenties, I believed devoutly in the Christian faith. I am now looking back at the age of 51, trying to remember how I rationalised it all. I can't defend it, but perhaps it is a pointer to the the profound effects of brainwashing

15th October 2000

i have a questions about your essay Being Moral: Theism vs. Humanism. you tal about love. what do oyu say about someone that loves someone that doesn't have certain qualities or makes the person feel a certain way? Like if someone was to love Hitler. Now of course we all know lve does not mean to condone his actions or to like the person. one might just have a concern and want to help someone even if he is so wicked. (although for moral relativism he really isn't wicked)

14th October 2000

Why does the bible have to define every term. If a term is known like murder why would it have to define the word. you yourself even gave a definiton for murder. the only point that you have is you want the bible to spell out if one case is murder or not in every situation. This is impossible because we would never know all the circumstances that could happen because once we thought we were finished we would have a whole new set of ones to contend with because of new circumstances that would not have existed before hand. We do have a basic moral that whhen you apply the circumstance to itcan be used to determine the particulars. so do not murder is an abosulte while the particulars are not known fully to us. Like i believe you said murder is wrong everyone believes that but what exactely is murder is the question. so there is an absolute we are just a fallen creature that has lost our way and really does not know what is wrong or right fully anymore. That of course w! ould go along with the Chrisitan view of life. hope to hear what you have to say about this. Can I ask you a questions though. If there are no moral absolutes how can you justify telling someone else that murder is wrong? Or is everything relative? Then it is not really wrong but just our perspective on it but if we think differently later it won't be wrong. CARl

12th October 2000

reading your site its obiviouse what ur intentions are, which is to give Islam and Muslims a bad name which is very much something that we muslims are used to in ourdays.

You can not argue that it is a fair portrayal of the religon of God because it is very much one sided and wriiten so it supports ur views which is a natutal thing to do.

So let me ask u what is it u want us to do abondon religon than do what? live life for today, right! coz when we die we die ya, well that might be ok for u but it is only common sence that suggests that everything is created for a reason when an inventor invents something there is a purpose behind it as there is a purpose behind ur site, ur skin ur eyes ect so how is it we the best of creation or just here for the hell of it, am sorry but am well worth a pathetic excuse for living than that.

bye.

1st October 2000

Your article on Martyrs was amusing. All of your arguments were, well, to be honest, complete crap. All you did was attack the speaker, ad hominem. I think he proved his point, whereas you were left a sputtering fool who just could nt win. Later!

29th September 2000

Steven

I am an atheist who is about to take one of these alpha courses, the local church are constantly promoting. My interest in attending is mostly because I have seen first hand the total hypocrisy of many Christians. But also because I want to vent my anger at the tyranny to which the general population has been held to ransom over the past centuries etc..

Would you have any advice for me whilst in the enemies camp? Obviously I wont be losing my temper or aiming to kick anyone's crutch away, but a few good digs would give me an enormous amount of pleasure!!

Sincerely douglas

9th September 2000

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH THE MOST MERCIFULL

ive read yr article on the quran. u tried yr best anyway. islam is the true religion and u know that. u can try to change the quran but it has been memorized in our hearts. every human has to experinced death huzrat isa p.b.u.h (jesus) not dead he will come back to earth to destroy the pitfall cross and kill the antichrist (dajjal) who all the not belivers are waiting for. if u think he is a massiah yr wrong. coming of the 3rd war (religious war). The quran explains everything from huzrat adam p.b.u.h to the last man on earth. god has been very mercifull on all of us. we all got 1 life stephan carr dont ruin yr life in the hereafter and the day of judgement which is surely gonna come. the unbelievers will scream to go back on earth one more time to worship. on that day mouth will not open our hands will speak to tell what we have done on earth.DONT BE THE FUEL OF THE FIRE. READ UP ON ISLAM BECOME A MUSLIM AND ALLAH WILL GRANT U PARADISE (JUNNAT) EVERYTHING U WANTED IN THIS WORLD WILL BE YRS EG ETERNAL YOUTH.

MAY ALLAH SHOW U THE RIGHT PATH

ISMAIL

7th September August 2000

Just a few questions/comments about the article titled "the Atheist With No Brain".

1) Is it a true story????

2) If it is a true story, were the two "Christians" planted in the audience? Because they had absolutely no idea about what Christians believe.

3) The television show (if it was real) was made by Atheists, for Atheist and would never have been allowed to display Atheists giving into Christianity. Editing can do anything to a show. So can Money.

4) The supposed evidence for evolution does simply not exist! Darwin himself admitted that there was no evidence for evolution, yet he made up the idea to find a reason to disbelieve God, because he didn't like God. (If I can find the quote,which I read the other day, I will send it to you).

The fact remains that all fossil records seem to imply that species simply appeared to come from nowhere. When calculated, the probability for even the simplest living organism to have fallen together by accident is 10^119,000 to 1. There is only about 10^79 atoms in the observable universe! Probability mathematicians say that something, once the chances are greater than 10^50 to 1, the events are considered to be impossible. I could go on for pages about the incomplete religious dogma of evolution, but I wont, cause I don't want to waste more of your time.

5)The issue of "Good" and "Bad". God created everything, including evil. Yes, He created evil. But only as a choice. The Bible tells us that He has only given two races the choice between good and evil. 1) the race of angels, and 2) humanity. He didn't want robots to follow him. (You don't want to force your children to love you, you want them to, but you can't force them. What would be the logical point in forcing them? It wouldn't be true love, just a false love that holds no substance).

6) God doesn't prevent suffering and evil. That is a Biblical thing. Christians believe that God himself suffered more pain than anybody else. He was a Jew (bad enough for most people). He came from an outback town and was thought less because of it. He was rejected by his family (James), which was the highest humiliation of the times. He was rejected by His friends, in His most needy hour. He was beaten by Romans, which many people agree was painful enough! Then He was killed on a cross. To describe the pain of people who die on the cross, they had to invent a new word (excruciating, which means from the cross).

7) This story was clearly written by a hopeful atheist. I have NEVER heard a Christian convinced out of Christianity. Imagine how hard it would be for sombody to convince you out of loving your wife (assuming that you love her of course) and then magnify that infinitely, and you get the idea of what kind of love and devotion Christians feel to Christ (true Christians that is).

Anyway, this email is long enough, needless to say, you should restrict yourself from putting such weak arguements on your website, it ruins your credibility (I suppose that you'd have to shut the website down then :) ). Goodnight

Yours in Christ

Stephen Hurn

6th September August 2000

Hello,

God loves you. He has always loved you, and He will always love you. Nothing you've ever said or done will change His love, because it is unlike anything in this world, it is eternal.

You may have had your back turned to God your entire life, but He has been (and still is) waiting for you with open arms, waiting for you to turn around and love Him as He loves you.

Why do you deny His love? God loves you so much that He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins, so that you may be forgiven. If you were the only person alive, the only person who ever lived, then God still would have sent Jesus to die, just for you - that's how much He loves you. God has offered you salvation by grace, it is a free gift - nothing can be done to earn it, and nothing can make you more or less deserving. Forgiveness is God's free gift to you, why won't you accept it?

Turn back to God - He's waiting for you.

21st August 2000

Hi Steven

I wondered if you've ever read Orthodoxy by GKChesterton.

No.

21st August 2000

"These regulations state clearly that murder is something committed with an iron object, a wooden object, fists, or something thrown etc. Is it really impossible to murder someone by strangling him?" This statement suggests that killing by "something thrown" would indicate that *stoning* is murder. From this, we either accept that stoning is murder and therefore there is an inconsistency (we can, and are told to murder by throwing), or that these statements are incomplete. Laying out exact circumstances of murder and non-murder would not further the Christian perspective anyway, as the full laying out would still be the Law, which is seen by the NT as being *insufficient*.

We *uphold* Christian rationale by agreeing that the OT does NOT layout exact moral methods. Nothing in Christianity ever said it should be possible to lay this completely out to non-believers. In fact in Isaiah, God sees a need to write his laws on our hearts and put his spirit into us. Which according to the NT is done in accepting the Son of God.

Your argument is too simple, and accomplishes just what it set out to do.

It is ironic to me that an age that regards *information hiding* as valuable technology, views a lack of conscious understanding as a total defect. First of all, Information Hiding is commonly associated with adaptability, but it does not have to be narrowly chained to such a concept. Adaptability is the way that putative *perfecting* processes work in our sphere of ignorance. However, Information Hiding allows me, who lacks the ability to understand all that the great tech-guru Gearzenframitz accomplished in his never-surmounted Grand Widget, to use a simplified interface which I *can* understand, which allows me to use the technology. It relates to my needs for the object and my expectations upon the function. Yes the Widget might be doing *anything* behind the scenes, and yes unless I know someone who can understand the technology, I am in the dark as to what it does. But it does not suggest that by looking at the interface that I will be able to understand *all* that it does.

Your idea is that absolute explication is worthwhile or is even proposed by the Bible. No, the chief source of knowledge is *linking* to God by acceptance of the interface, Jesus Christ.

Later you site that [we] "are no more able to tell us which is which than people who do not believe in absolute moral values."

What does "telling us" consist of? Was it ever someone's argument that you just needed to read the Bible and those values would become clear. The Christian reading of the Bible does not support that idea, as I've given previously. This is what you've seemingly *debunked*. Does it affect your argument that the writers of the Bible *might* have beaten you to the punch, and you *might* be arguing a straw man?

How would we tell you? Would only a complete point-by-point laying out of moral values will do? Christianity de-emphasizes complete objective understanding, with its obvious loopholing, to a moral sensibility. Therefore if you refuse to perceive what it is saying with your own moral sensibility, then nothing anyone can say will make the picture more complete.

You mention the loophole of strangling. Hmm, even though you are unable to complete a picture of the aggregate called homicide, you hope that my moral sense finds the incompleteness of a definition of murder without strangling unsatisfactory. You rely on this. You relied on the innate moral sense to group disparate actions having the same end as homicide. Apparently you have some definition of murder which you are unable to transmit as well. And yet the inability to transmit that definition does not stop you from making the traditional judgment that strangling is murder. Now if murder is not an absolute category, despite anyone's ability to fully delineate murder, how can you be sure that strangling IS murder, unless you believe in an absolute aggregate called "murder"? You need to search your own mind, and see whether you believe in an absolute set of actions which are murder, and those are the things that you should not do. If you do not have this sense, then well (shrug).

We group disparate physical acts by intent. We tend to excuse acts that do not have the same intent. Isn't intent kind of fuzzy? Are we any abler to tell you about intent? Are you any abler to tell me about intent?

What makes you so sure that strangling is murder again?

Thank you for the idea that my personal views on morality and murder etc are 'absolute', while reading the Bible will not give anybody clear moral values.

Clearly, I now know where to turn to for moral guidance.

20th August 2000

Do you know how the apostle Paul was murdered, he was arrested in Rome for spreading the good news of Jesus. I guess the Roman leaders did not like this sort of preaching because The geat apostle Paul was hung on a wooden cross upside down. The Romans told him he will die like his savior Jess did, only Paul felt not worthy enough to die exactly like Christ so he asked to be hung upside down.

This is the very first time I've heard a claim that Paul was crucified upside down. More Christian myth-making?

13th August 2000

proof of God the universe is not an accident, but the creation of some force outside itself.
Formation is of 3 kinds
accident-undisirable,or unfortunate happening
neccesary-that cannot be dispensed with happening or existing by necessity.
voluntry-at ones own accord,or by free choice
think about it where is the mind ? our phisical body is made of atoms which decompose,science can open the body but can never find the mind the reasoning powerthat is given only to humans,

5th August 2000

Dude:

Nothing personal, but our comments on Paul are basic internet spew. You show total tendentiousness in your approach, and you absolutely miss why Paul's work is fully gospel.

You had better keep your atheism on its toes because your smugness may lull you to sleep so that you constantly base your claims on caricatures of the real thing.

Look at this: "there is no evidence that the Christianity spread by Paul was the same Christianity of the disciples in Jerusalem or was the same Christianity that lead to the production of the Gospels." Hello? If your are doing a smear PR campaign, go for it. But if you really care about the facts, you had better do you homework and practice real freedom of speech by attempting a real argument.

If people believe what you say then you are deceiving them and get this: you end up doing the very thing you are trying to stop! Lovely contradiction.

I'll send you my rebuttal to the lame argument if your are interested; otherwise, sayonara.

16th July 2000

My name is Christopher, I am 19 years old, and I'm not very educated. I don't carry any fancy initials after my name, and I don't have much of a college education so I am writing you humbly admitting I don't know everything, and neither do I claim to know everything, especially when it comes to the truth. I know that there is a truth, either there is a God or there is not. One is true and one is not. I believe that this relativistic thinking that is so prevalent in this day and age is a bunch of non sense, there is truth, and we can not make it up for ourselves.

My problem, well, a problem to you, not so much of a problem to me (yet?) is that I have grown up in a Christian household my whole life. Now that I am just about out on my own, I'm realizing more and more that we don not live in a very Christian world. When everything that is around you is Christian, it is quite easy to believe that way. When your surroundings change, so do beliefs. What I am struggling with the most is not know what exactly to believe, but on the other hand knowing that one must be right while one must be wrong. Either there is a God or there is not. Both cannot be ture. I know that it takes faith to believe in an unseen God. I've been living that way for the past 12 years. And the more I think about it, it must also take a great deal of faith to not believe in an unseen God. What takes more faith? What makes more sense?

Those are the questions I have. And then if there is no God, how do you explain the origin of the universe? That is another biggie for me.

Ya know, while I see evidence that there may in fact not be a God, during the past 12 years I've also seen what could be considered as substantial proof of a God. I have see with my very eyes some pretty incredible, supernatural occurrences, I guess you could call them, that had been claimed to be done in the name of Jesus. I've seen some strange things that I simply cannot quite explain naturally. But nevermind, I won't get sidetracked on that.

I know that you are probably a busy person. Is there anyone on this planet who is not? I know that my story may be of little significance to you, but if you could find time to respond, I would greatly appreciate it. If you have any advice to give me, I could use all of it that I can get. I feel that I am just in the beginning stages of learning all over again, and I am almost desperate. Thanks for your time.

6th July 2000

"Churches ad hoc: a divine comedy" at http://www.efn.org/~hkrieger Wry look at churches in America.

5th July 2000

Greetings,

I stumbled upon your site today via Freke and Gandy's "Jesus Mysteries" site; I shall dig in for a thorough read soon. It is encouraging to find arenas where people have actually begun to question all of this oppressive, mythologized, fear based, politically motivated mind control. Christianity's arrogance, the idea that spiritualism is a part of christianity and not the other way around, has in many ways, stunted the growth of the human race. I see little value in co-opting morality for the purpose of capital gain; to gain power and control over our fellow man... of course, fundamentalists would attribute this all to satan (or would that be Mr. satan?). Enough of my editorializing....

Have you read any of Earl Doherty's work (http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/home.htm)? I would be interested to read your comments.

Also, did you catch Peter Jenning's ABC T.V. special, "The Search For Jesus"? ABC had a post broadcast chatroom set up with Jennings and with J.D. Crossan. Fascinating how upset people get when someone tampers, even at the surface level, with their closely held, learned, beliefs. Quite a cultural fog we've maintained...

Take care, Brian

30th June 2000

I suggest you read Holding's "Exhaust Fumes: Carr Repairs II" and respond accordingly.

It's high time to get in gear.

18th June 2000

Dear Mr Carr,

having read with interest much of the debates you have published on your website it occurs to me:- 1) That your main concern is dispute as to the reliability of the Bible.

2) That, aside from the debate on suffering, you put little empasis on disputing the mechanics of a theist/deist world view.

3) That you do not attempt to construct an atheist world view of your own.

May I suggest that some spare time be devoted to the latter two, because I fear that much of an otherwise interesting site will devolve into the usual Bible Bashing (in both senses). Also attempting to create an Atheist world view is difficult, and One should be careful to demolish religion when one has nothing with which to replace it.

Yours sincerely,

Benedict Yates.

(student of Theology, University College, Durham)

7th June 2000

About the Gospels article

Steven,

as I cut and pasted this page to comment on it I've had to send this email in coloured HTML format which I hope isn't a problem...

But were they eyewitnesses?

From my experience of christian theologians its obvious that academic christian scholars generally believe that it is unlikely that any of the synoptic authors were eye witnesses, and that all of the gospels were constructed by collecting various accounts from a number of witnesses, or in later "editions" from accounts that have been passed through generations by the oral tradition..

Why would an eyewitness like Matthew need to use ninety percent of somebody else's book?

Creating books in this time was not that similar to authorship nowadays, most books would have been records from the oralist tradition. If new information was discovered this was commonly added onto the existing information. The way to tell the differance was by renaming it.

Why would Luke, a companion of Paul, need to use a written source like Mark? If Luke knew Paul and Paul knew Peter, and Peter told Paul many stories about Jesus, then Luke could have written about Jesus from what he himself had heard, rather than relying on second or third-hand information.

Like any academic he would have researched existing records and quoted at length. Nowadays we would just use footnotes and references but in a time when quoted volumes wouldn't necessarily be to hand to the "end-user" it had to been repeated.

Comparing Matthew 15:4 with Mark 7:10, Mark represents a more Gentile attitude in quoting the Old Testament as "Moses said" rather than "God said." Matthew, a Jew, SNiP Mark 2:26 - Abiathar should be Ahimelech.Matthew 12:1-8 does not repeat the mistake. Incidentally, if Jesus was thinking of 1 Sam. 21:1-8 when he said that David and SNiP Only Mark 12:42 explains that a lepton, a coin used in Palestine, was worth half a quadrans. Further more, "quadrans" is a word borrowed from Latin.

If you want to seriously discuss these points you should give the source, ie:translation and if possible publisher's details. The best translations I know are the hebrew ones. salut!

Philip Page

5th June 2000

Nazis and Atheists

Steven,

Interesting pages but I was genuinely surprised to see no links for Scientology, but maybe they're a litigious bunch?

I don't know if you've been fortunate enough to have seen Jonathon Meades series on the Nazis or any similar programs on the history channel etc, so I'll share a couple of points.

The top echelons of the National Socialist Party developed such belief in their "divine right" to rule that they spent enormous sums investigating cosmology, astrology and paganism. Despite promoting state religion and creating links with the pope they believed that paganism would ultimately become the Germanic faith once it was revealed that Hitler and all his cronies were pagan saints re-incarnated. This was supposed to be proved when they transcended to a "god-state" after their deaths.

One German scientist later employed by Nasa was known to complain about having to stop researching radar during the war so that he could investigate the idea that the earth was contained within a larger hollow planet, on the surface of which lived dead Aryans.

salut!

Philip Page

4th June 2000

Why would anyone want to believe in a higher form of life in a place above anywhere we can possibly dream. I think all religion is is people brainwashing other people to believe in certain forms of life if god is so great and makes people do the right stuff then why is this world so corrupted

Chris Miller


I was wondering if you could debate William Lane Craig or Gary Habermas on the resurrection? I mean, you should have no problem. :) right?

Josh

If you could arrange a written debate, I would be very happy to take part. I have great difficulty getting leading Christians to debate.


I can't understand why you all believe there is not a God. I don't understand alot of things about the Bible but I do believe in God. I got saved in 1983 and I have never been the same since. God gave me a new reason to live. I mean life would be nothing without knowing that when life here is over we can spend eternity in heaven. Would you like to be a christian? Have you ever given it thought? God gave his only son that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. I hope that you will consider this.

25th May 2000

Perhaps You should substutute this Hadith (given below) for the one on the page Hadith

DEATH TO APOSTATES
Vol 4, No 261.

Because this contains the advice of Prophet Muhammed to drink Milk and URINE (as medicine).

Volume 9, Book 83, Number 37:

Narrated Abu Qilaba:

Once 'Umar bin 'Abdul 'Aziz sat on his throne in the courtyard of his house so that the people might gather before him. Then he admitted them and (when they came in), he said, "What do you think of Al-Qasama?" They said, "We say that it is lawful to depend on Al-Qasama in Qisas, as the previous Muslim Caliphs carried out Qisas depending on it." Then he said to me, "O Abu Qilaba! What do you say about it?" He let me appear before the people and I said, "O Chief of the Believers! You have the chiefs of the army staff and the nobles of the Arabs. If fifty of them testified that a married man had committed illegal sexual intercourse in Damascus but they had not seen him (doing so), would you stone him?" He said, "No." I said, "If fifty of them testified that a man had committed theft in Hums, would you cut off his hand though they did not see him?" He replied, "No." I said, "By Allah, Allah's Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate." Then the people said, "Didn't Anas bin Malik narrate that Allah's Apostle cut off the hands of the thieves, branded their eyes and then, threw them in the sun?" I said, "I shall tell you the narration of Anas. Anas said: "Eight persons from the tribe of 'Ukl came to Allah's Apostle and gave the Pledge of allegiance for Islam (became Muslim). The climate of the place (Medina) did not suit them, so they became sick and complained about that to Allah's Apostle. He said (to them ), "Won't you go out with the shepherd of our camels and drink of the camels' milk and urine (as medicine)?" They said, "Yes." So they went out and drank the camels' milk and urine, and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of Allah's Apostle and took away all the camels. This news reached Allah's Apostle , so he sent (men) to follow their traces and they were captured and brought (to the Prophet). He then ordered to cut their hands and feet, and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, and then he threw them in the sun till they died." I said, "What can be worse than what those people did? They deserted Islam, committed murder and theft."

Jagan.


I was just re-reading your article, "What did Paul know about Jesus?" In it you state:

Indeed, Paul had so little interest in what the disciples had to say about Jesus that he couldn't be bothered to talk to most of them, even when he had made a special trip to Jerusalem.

It just occurred to me: This was quite logical. Paul was a well-to-do man, the equivalent of a University-trained government official of today. (He studied under Gamaliel; he carried authorization from the rulers of the Temple.)

What would he have to do with poverty-stricken, semi-illiterate ex-fishermen? It wouldn't even occur to him that they might have anything valuable to say.

Today, do our VIPs confer with welfare recipients, or the University graduates that have studied them?

Susannah Anderson

8th May 2000

I can't say "I agree with everything" on your site because that must include the ravings of the fanatics who write to you! Nevertheless, thanks for the site. It is a sign of hope that there is a thriving community of freethinkers out there among the continuing fogs of myth and religion. I think we have had enough experience over the centuries of the harm that religion has caused and continues to cause to justify spreading the case for "strong atheism" whenever the opportunity arises.

David Fox

7th May 2000

(about the Gospels article)

I agree with much in this article. However, I don't understand how Steve Carr can say that Matthew corrects Mark's misattribution of ""the voice crying in the wilderness..."(1.3) to Isiah, as Matthew makes exactly the same attribution himself (3.3):For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isiah..."

John Saunders

Matthew drops the bit of Mark 1:2 which is not in Isaiah, but in Malachi 3:1.

6th May 2000

Where is your overwhelming evidence of existence of a god?

There is no god and thus no evidence.

27th April 2000

Stephen,
I enjoyed the site, which was both well written and well researched. I have a question for you. Do you know of any atheist/agnostic scholarships for students interested in history and religious studies, or are you able to recommend a good source for such.

Thank you,
Joe de Katona


its a shame that some of our brother muslims feel this way. all i can say that may allah forgive all of us and show us the right path. by the way, do you know that islam is the fastest growing religion in the world!!

20th April 2000

Dear Mr Carr.

I would like to thank you for the production of your excellent and fair web site.

As a (semi) practising Australian Christian it is refreshing for me to read the balanced opinions held within your site.I am particularly impressed by the counter arguments written by members of the faiths you are analyzing.

Although I am moved as a human being by the life of Jesus Christ and attempt to follow his example, I find my interest growing in the realms of atheism.A belief cannot be sustained with freedom if it is not open to the prospect of its own historical flaws.

Thank you once again for the intelligence of your site Atheists sometimes frustrate me with highly emoted arguments, as if they have been hurt by a faith and therefore wish to discredit it as way of revenge.  From what I've read so far your articles are free of this. Well done!


Hi,

"Sadly, many Muslim countries are quite poor. This is strange for verse 30 in chapter 17 shows that the Lord provides abundance for people who please him. 'Verily thy Lord doth provide sustenance in abundance for whom He pleaseth, and He provideth in a just measure. For He doth know and regard all His servants.' Perhaps poor Muslim countries are full of people who do not please Allah?"

I like your article its a naive attempt to disprove Quran, but nonetheless its an attempt.

Are Muslim countries poor? from Azerbaijan to Saudi Arabia, to small Sultanate of Brunei are very rich countries, even Russia is loosing score of his soldiers to take back Chechnya, for what reason, oil and minerals, but I do agree with your that they are poor, not financially but they are poor in management and bowing down to whim of their western allies, for instance recent increase oil prices by OPEC sent US haywire, even went as far as to resort to threats.

Anyhow don't you think you are stretching a meaning out of it, in this verse their is no indication that Muslims are the only people who deserve his sustenance, plus word sustenance has many meaning not just in materialistic sense, also in spiritual sense too, there are other words in Arabic which could have been used to show much more materialistic sense of the word.

Subject of Abrogation,

Verse you mentioned is incorrect, its 2:106.

To answer your question, I will give an example of verses dealing with drinking,

Originally drinking was not abolished right out, but Muslims where asked to avoid drinking while praying, later revealed verses, where drinking was abolished categorically. This approach works better and people who go to alcohols intoxication center would attest to that, intoxication requires time and gradual decrease rather then quitting cold turkey.

Quranic Abrogation is very different then meaning of this word in English language, I think abrogation is a misleading word and should be replaced by overriding, specially when dealing with laws in Qur'an. Also there are many web site who already refuted these claims e.g., I am sure man of your integrity, will take this in account and amend your article to show consideration to truth or else provide proper refutation. www.islamic-awareness.org
www.understanding-islam.com

About the variants of Quran;

Below link will provide you very scholarly work done to refute claims of variant reading of Quran, I am sure man of your knowledge will certainly refute their claims. www.islamic-awareness.org

One last thing:

"I wonder why a chapter of God's eternal, unchanging, divine revelation is devoted to cursing one poor 6th century Arab and his wife. Does this curse sound like a beneficent, merciful God?"

This show a lack of knowledge about history of Islam, actually this was a prophecy made by Allah in response to Abu Lahab, when these verses where revealed he was alive and later he and his wife died, soon after the revelation. Perhaps it was to show the prophetic nature of Quran to pagan Arabs, but this is conjecture on my part. Abu Lahab was not a simple Arab, he was very keen in opposing Muhammad in every way not only verbally but physically attacked Muhammad (pbuh).

In my opinion, lot of material in your article is due to cursory reading of Quran and poor understanding of Islamic laws. But hey nobody is perfect, good attempt anyways.

Peace,
Mujahid

14th April 2000

I find it very hard to believe that morals are culturally defined and of course relative. I take it that without absolute morals (a prerequisite for atheism) then we just happen to have enough knowledge or experience to be able to make our own laws. So adultery is O.K., marraige is only dependent on self -gratification, the filth of the media is fine because as one philosopher put it, 'If there is no God, then everything is permissable.' Interesting philosophy.


A Very Pretty Lie
By
L.M. Barr

According to Matt 28:11-15, a rumor was circulating regarding how the body of Jesus came to be missing. That the body was indeed missing is necessarily presupposed by the rumor which could be dismissed by merely visiting Jesus' tomb. As a result, two competing reports emerged to account for its absence. While the Jewish authorities maintained that the Christians stole the body, the Christians urged that Jesus had come alive and then vacated the tomb. The dispute may be easily decided by examining the passage mentioned above: While they [the woman who had seen Jesus] were on their way, some of the guard went off to the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened [that the angel of the Lord had appeared and terrified them, causing them to faint]. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, 'This is what you must say, "His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep." And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble. The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

The question that exposes the truth of the matter is, Is there any credible explanation as to how the author knew about the bribe? It is pure fabrication, a lie intended to discredit the rumor that the disciples stole the body but tracing its origin to a secret meeting of his own concoction. His intention is, in fact, to cover up what he knew to be the truth, the eleven did indeed steal the body.

The attempt to discredit the report of the theft is again found in an earlier episode found in Matt 27:62-66:

Next day, that is, when Preparation Day was over, the chief priests and the Pharisees went in a body to Pilate and said to him, "Your Excellency, we recall that this impostor said, while he was still alive, "After three days I shall rise again." Therefore, give the order to have the sepulchre kept secure until the third day, for fear that his disciples come and steal him away and tell the people, "He has rise from the dead." This last piece of fraud would be worse than what went before." You may have your guard said Pilate to them. 'Go and make all as secure as you know how.' So they went and make the sepulchre secure, putting seals on the stone and mounting a guard.

Unlike the account of the bribe, it is remotely possible that a Christian or Christian sympathizer may have somehow "overheard" this exchange. But such a conclusion is most desperate and can in no way be regarded as the most probable thesis. It all likelihood, the author here also could not have been privy to the exchange between Pilate and the Jewish leadership. On the contrary, the bribe episode lends great weight to the conclusion that the author is here also lying in order to refute the report that the disciples stole and body in order to support their claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. Our author would have use believe that they could not have stole the body because a guard had been posted to prevent this very thing. Therefore, the bribe and the guard episodes are one in their intent, to discredit the notion that the disciples stole the body. These considerations point to the conclusion that they was neither a bribe nor a guard posted and that the missing body of Jesus is accounted for by the thesis that it's absence was indeed the result of theft. In addition, the competing thesis that Jesus arose rests solely upon the testimony of his followers and who further maintain that the supposedly living Jesus had fairly soon departed to heaven, the realm of the blessed dead! In sum, the thesis advanced by the Jews to explain the missing body is obviously the correct one. The disciples stole the body and agreed to testify that they had seen their risen Lord. They lied just as our author has lied. The resurrection of Jesus was a hoax that began three days after Jesus death and was still be propagated by the author of Matthew over a generation later when his gospel was composed with its clever yet patently impossible explanation for the missing body that the disciples stole and then buried somewhere near Jerusalem. They then proceeded to proclaim a very pretty lie.


L.M. Barre
http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/AncientIsrael
Point Loma, California

19th March 2000

Hi there. Please visit the website of the American Anti-Slavery Group. This website has information about how the Islamic government in Sudan is committing genocide against Black Christians and Black animists in an attempt to make people convert to Islam. About 2,000,000 people have died during this civil war. This problem is absolutely disgusting and it proves that church-state separationists are correct when we say that all governments should be neutral towards all religions and nonbelievers. The URL of AASG's website is http://www.anti-slavery.org.

After you visit the website of AASG, it would be very nice if you would mention it on your own website and set up a link to it.

15th February 2000

Hello,

I read in my local paper yesterday that a recent survey found that 95% of all Americans believe in god. This same article went on to say that this was in stark contrast to Europe, where, for instance, only 35% of people in the UK claim to believe in god.

Do these numbers echo your experiences? I live in the "Bible Belt" of the US (Alabama), but after many years of what I felt was simply a "problem with organized religion", I have come to the conclusion that I am in fact, an atheist. Strangely, coming to the realization has had a profound calming effect. It seems that I now am fully comfortable with what I believe to be the true origins of the universe, etc. (I am an engineer and am prone to contemplating such things on a regular basis).

Unfortunately, I am very reluctant to share my views and beliefs (or lack of them) with my co-workers, etc. as in this part of the world, one is pretty severely persecuted for such things (what a concept - reverse religious persecution?).

Anyway, I just wanted to comment on your refreshing web site. It's nice to see that there are other people out there like me.

Thanks,

Mike Dayton

11th February 2000

Sorry for this uninvited announcement, but after touring your site I think you will like this. There are several articles that will be of interest to you and your site's visitors posted on http://www.wfthecoliseum.com , and there are more to come. I hope you will consider reading them, and even linking to them.

The "galileo's dilemma" feature contains articles on religion, superstition, science, and philosophy. Below are links to articles that you, and your readers, should find interesting:

By Scott Stein:

A Talking Ass, or a Braying Mule?, literal truth, everyday miracles, and the Torah

Infidel, a comedy sketch

Ask Marilyn about the Big Bang and the Difference between Faith and Science, a response to a diatribe in Parade Magazine

By C. P. Kaiser:Vaginal Ghosts, what is a baptism really about?

Churchgoing Man Kills 13, how the media treats different religions - By Robert L. Hall:

The Two Religions, a theistic article -- the reader comments in support of the article, and against it, are definitely worth a look

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Scott Stein

Editor-in-Chief

When Falls the Coliseum

I can recommend this site


my questions would be how you can have what i supose amounts to a degree in biblical critacism? and is there a degree in atheist critacism or budist maybe? I am a christian and do not hold to much wait scientific, or historical evidence for or against the bible.I can prove beyond any reasonable doubt with both that the bible is true. while at the same time i can prove it is false. It depends on which info you chose to beleave

I believe 100% that the bible is the inspired word of god, and that jesus is the only way to heaven But thats not because the bible tells me, It`s because I have meet him personaly, a variety of ways to numerous to mention ( thats not a cop out just in the interest of my fingers)my understanding of scripture is at times floored. and ther are things in the bible that still confuse the life out of me. I know that god exists and as i like yourself have an over powering need to understand on my terms but that is not possible some times because god is not man and does not have our limited view of things so i have to put away my desire to understand and wait on him to explain.

My ask of you would be that you go to the source GOD and ask him to prove himself to you. He did to me and wants to for you, as all man.It`s no leap of faith He must prove himself to you for you to believe. there`s only one catch, in your heart you must truely wont to know if he exists, and he will happily ablige. He is no party magision to do tricks for you

HE IS GOD. GOD BLESS MY FRIEND JESUS LOVES ALL MAN YOU TO.

3rd February 2000

Hello Steven,

In the interest of integrity would you be so kind as to include this URL in your posting of my material?

http://www.tidalwave.net/~blufunk195/ypages/hasthebiblebeenpreserved.html

I think it will provide a nice touch of balance.

Sincerely,
Jerry C.Lloyd

26th January 2000

i dont know any fellow atheist like me personally. i hat being alone. im always pressured to be like everybody here in bacolod city, philippines. can u giv some advice?

25th January 2000

see the problem with the knowledge you hold about islam is next to zero.cos you have put questions forward which are a result from ignorance-you have not read or clearly understood the concepts of islam and followingly why HAJJ AND UMMRAH is performed- initially do you know what islam means???it means peace subbmision and surrender to GOD. IF you do not believe in GOD then why has science not revealed where the earth came from how was the universe was created how you as humans function biologically-yes even science relies upon religion these questions which people like you are ignorant of-and the answer to such question lies within the HOLY QUR'AN,hence ISLAM-even the bible doesn't answer such questions-so we humans which cherish such freedom of food water surely have a conscience to thank the provider-the hajj is performed to purify the human conscience it is for our benefit because GOD does not need our prayers instead we are in need of HIS blessings in this life--Looking at islamic history muslims and converts sacrificed alot for this religion -it was their aim theyre goal to spread the belief the truth they were given in the same way when something good happens to you achieve something you wanna go round telling everyone and praise your parents for upbringing you-can you explain what happens to a person after he dies-why does somebody suddenly die?the QUR'AN explains this clearly-we perform hajj as to get closer to GOD and perorming hajj in plain white cloth ,means we as muslims bro and sis stand together as equal -nobody is superior nor rich nor poor

8th January 2000

Jerry C. Lloyd insisted that I post this in its entirety.

Lee Bowen suggested that I read the article. I promised him that I would, and additionally let him know what I thought. How nice of him to mention that he was forwarding it to you (didn't). Given that you want to post my response for all to read, I will take the trouble to clarify some minor points that I didn't for Lee. The clarifications will appear in [brackets]. You see, our discussion has been revolving around the subject of evolution; He insists that I presume a creator then misinterpret the data (At first he wouldn't even admit that I had any data to misinterpret.) accordingly to support my presumption. I keep telling him that I observe the data, and from the observation of a truly astoundingly complex level of organization deduce that both the organization and the elements organized are the product of the excursive of the Ultimate Intelligence. And around we go!

I've really no idea what relevance he sees between your article and the discussion he and I are having, but I told him I'd read it and report, and I did, whereupon he invited you into the discussion.

Permission granted, on two conditions: 1) that you post it in it's entirety including all the clarifications, and the above paragraph 2) that you e-mail me what you post on your site, that is, all of this and whatever you have to say about it. Thank you.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lee Bowen forwarded the following to me [Carr].

Do I have your permission please to post it on my Web page http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/reli2.htm as a response to my essay?

From: Jerry.C.Lloyd@Aerojet.com (Lloyd, Jerry C)

To: "'Lee Bowen'"

Subject: Review of "Textual Reliability of the New Testament" by Steven Carr

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 16:21:56 -0800

[I did not include the full text of the subject article as this "review" was intended merely as a part of ongoing personal correspondence between my self and Lee Bowen. As he recommended it to me, I assumed his familiarity with it. As it's fairly simple to arrange side-by-side displays on your screen (or some such accommodation), I'll leave that to the reader.]

Section 1. Why Footnotes: [The short answer is that honesty demands the admission that there are variant readings.]

Very first paragraph spouts a handful of VERY incomplete (and obviously so) data, shows no sign of completing the job., and doesn't. [Carr mentions that there are at least 96 (48 X at least 2 is the minimum number that his cited figures will allow.) differences in Mark 10:40-11:17. But does he go on to delve onto their size, seriousness, or their impact on the teaching of the New Testament text as a whole? No. So, does he ever really answer his question, "Is this good or bad?" Well, no. Truth to tell, the issue of the variant readings turns out to be mostly a case of "doesn't really matter" or "no real impact on the teaching" or a massive study in similar (virtually identical) ideas being stated in different words, as Carr probably knows. Yes, there are some (albeit incredibly few) that actually are contradictory, but given their small number and the clear representation of the involved doctrines in various other passages of scripture, they pose no serious threat to the integrity of the teaching of the New Testament as a whole.]

Second paragraph, Carr apparently accepts a valid piece of data [Geisler and Nix's accuracy figures of 98.33%.], but will probably NEVER answer the question, "Is this high enough?".....(doesn't). [I think Carr misreads Geisler & Nix. G&N claim that the AUTOGRAPHA is God's inerrant (100% accurate) Word but, since we don't have that, that the 98.33% composite agreement of the HUGE amount of manuscript data we DO have should be abundantly sufficient to give us an exceedingly clear idea of what The Almighty wants us to know. G&N do NOT claim (as Carr and others seem to suppose) that the cumulatively-matching-to-an-accuracy-of-98.33%-manuscripts are the inerrant Word of God. This leaves Carr et al pretty much boxing at a shadow.]

"It is often claimed that no point of Christian doctrine is affected by a variant reading in a manuscript. Is this true?" Apparently he thinks it is, although his tone would not belie it;-). The best (worst?) that is shown below is that an admittedly VERY FEW (less than a dozen are cited), of the thousands of manuscripts and partial-manuscripts extant (he never seems to mention these [In a subsequent e-mail he did mention that the vast majority of that number date from after 800 A.D. Yes, and...?]), contain an admittedly VERY FEW variant readings, NONE of which are the sole support for the doctrines in question. In fact, as you well know (or can verify using a Bible and any good concordance, Young's, Strong's, Cruden's, even those in the backs of some Bibles would be a start), all of the doctrines in question [those touched upon by the variant readings] are supported throughout the New Testament.

Actually, Carr did present some rather good opening questions, any one of which would have taken at least half dozen pages to adequately cover with minimal honesty. He didn't. While I was disappointed, I was not surprised.

2. Atheist perspective:

Well poisoning, pure and simple. Pretty ineffective after "dialogue" with masters of it like you [Bowen] & Tills [Farrell Till].

3. Corruption's:

Lots of well poisoning, shell games, presumption of motives; generally the typical (hostile) skeptics usual combination of lofty showmanship and abysmal scholarship.

4. Other Corruption's:

It's interesting that St. John isn't cited here (not really, as hostile- skeptics/heretics etc. invariably avoid the crystal clear passages), as he is QUITE clear on the issue: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.....and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.". John says that Jesus was God the Son from all eternity. [In a subsequent e-mail Carr did mention that there is ONE (out of the thousand + manuscripts) variant reading of John 1:1. He didn't quote it. Didn't say if (and certainly not how) it might effect any doctrine. Just pretty much, "Ah ha! See this variant reading! Well no, I'm not actually going to show it to you, but it's there!" Well OK, I'll believe it's there, but until you show me what you've got I've no reason to believe that it's anything more than a small (1 mss worth) handful of wind. C'mon, John 1:1 is a pretty short verse. How much space can it really take to see if there's anything to quibble over?] Aside from that, there's not much here but more gamesmanship-passed-off-as-scholarship.

5. Conclusion:

Prematurely adduced "conclusions" firmly rooted and grounded in the quick sand of the previously mentioned truly incredible (utterly without credibility) scholarship, all drenched in more well poisoning.

Highly entertaining romp, but sad....very sad.

Have you just been looking past it for so many years that you simply no longer see the pervasive underlying dishonesty here? This pervasive underlying dishonesty is the one thing that just annoys me to no end about you "hostile's"! Oh yes, I am well aware of how you would much rather sail under the flag of "skeptic", but not with articles like this that demonstrate such a studied lack of honesty, objectivity and integrity in their handling of the data. Furthermore, after having read you [Bowen, this was after all personal correspondence], Till, Barker, Still and several others of your genre whose names escape me at the moment, this level of scholarship would appear to be your high-water mark. [It might be appropriate in a commission-only salesman but it has no place in serious scholarship.]

No sir, when you treat the data that badly, you fly the Jolly Roger all too prominently to be mistaken by any other that the most ignorant of [the strategies employed] neophytes as anything other than "Hostile". [One doesn't necessarily need to know what the information is that's being hidden to recognize that something's being left out.]

Now rest assured, I well know that the skeptical approach requires that nothing be taken at face value. The honest skeptic adduces all the available data, then using all the resources at his disposal, works to reassemble that data into it's original configuration [which may or may not be what said skeptic actually wanted nor expected to see], thereby arriving at the truth.

Does Carr follow this methodology? NOT HARDLY! In his second paragraph he states, "Geisler and Nix say that the text [cumulatively matching manuscripts remember, not the lost-in-antiquity autographa] is 98.33 percent pure." and doesn't dispute the figure, but does ask, "Is this high enough?".

Does he go on to mention the more than 1,200 complete manuscripts of the New Testament extant (not to mention the thousands of partial-manuscripts-and-smaller-fragments)? No? [Per above, he did mention that the vast majority of the mss date from after 800 A.D. Does he say anything about those dates like: How were they arrived at? Does everyone accept them, or is it the typical conservative=early v.s. skeptical=late situation? No? does he offer any explanation as to how (even if the later dates are factual) this might surmount the time and distance barriers to collusion? No?] Does he mention that they span (geographically) Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East and (chronologically) from as early as the second century to as late as the fourteenth? No? Does he explain how this wide separation of distance and time (the isolation of individual manuscripts from each other) amounts to a HUGE opportunity for local variant readings (accidental and otherwise) to go unnoticed and unchallenged until fairly recently when all these manuscripts (the data) could be compared with each other? No? Does he point out how this separation virtually precludes the possibility of collusion, so that any variant readings likely could NOT have been "fixed" before modern critical scholarship found them? No? Does he go on to point out that this huge opportunity for variant readings that NEVER materialized virtually guarantees that the 98.33% area not in question is, to an astoundingly high degree of certitude, a faithful representation of the autographa? No? [Does he propose (better yet offer documentation of) some sort of Roving Catholic Copyist Patrol that visited EVERY SINGLE COPYIST (remember all that real-estate now), perhaps on a rotating basis, arriving at six-week to six-month (just to keep those stupid/corrupt copyists guessing) intervals, so as to ENSURE that all the mss matched EXACTLY (But of course the fools missed 1.67%)? No? Does he point out that the examples he cites represent only the 1.67% (by his own [He accepts G&N's figures. He thereby "owns" them: 100-98.33 pure = 1.67 possibly impure.] allowance) of the data? No? Does he point out that NONE of these variant readings are the SOLE support for ANY of the doctrines they address? No? Does he point out that ALL of the doctrines represented in ALL the variant readings are supported MUCH more clearly and in MANY other places in the New Testament? No?

Well then, just how does he go about trying to answer his question, "Is this high enough?"? Actually, he presents his cites of the variant readings (drenched in the advanced scholarship of well poison) as though they are TYPICAL [Here's an element of that pervasive underlying dishonesty I mentioned above.] of the 98.33%! Now, if Carr did such a poor job, handling the data so badly, in an area that I am familiar with [Didn't claim I knew it all, just that I was familiar enough to recognize slight-of-hand when I saw it.], what reasons could you possibly offer for me to trust him in areas where I'm not so well informed? But wait! Isn't it just possible that Steven is merely ignorant of the information I've provided above, and that you can verify easily enough on MANY Christian Web sites? If it's plausible, given his familiarity with the data he did cite, and the level of minutia he went into [and in those subsequent e-mails I've mentioned he demonstrated a truly great depth of knowledge of the minutia] (representative of just that 1.67%, remember) that he has no knowledge at all of the other 98.33%, then it is equally possible that I'm Charles Darwin! Or maybe he's just blindly relying on some of the hostile-skeptical apologists. ("Apologetic" means "to make a formal argument", since your [Bowen] dictionary seems to be out of reach. If this is Carr's idea of a formal argument he's WAY under dressed.) No, Carr isn't THAT ignorant. His piece [which demonstrates an extremely biased (like 45 degrees ;-)) handling of the data] is just another example of the studied pervasive underlying dishonesty of your hostile genre that tries to pass itself off as true skepticism. [Yes, I am well aware that (those that even I might call) "funny-mental-ists" (and I know a few), various non-Christian cults and just about every other nut on the block that wants to either co-opt the power of God (while avoiding their responsibility to Him) into their cause, or simply avoid their responsibility to Him (and everyone else if they're clever enough) by attempting to distort, deny, and define God out of existence excursive a similar depth of studied pervasive underlying dishonesty in their handling of the data too. I am enraged by the very thought of how they sully the name of God, and for what? I therefore don't really blame you for your raging, and furthermore understand how it is quite reasonable that even the very best of conservative Christian scholarship (You know who the big boys are. Names like Dr. Norman Geisler, Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Bruce Metzger come to mind, and the list goes on for days.) now and again catches some of your "overspray" as it were. Having said that however, I am (almost) equally enraged that you and (seemingly) your entire genre tar the whole of Christianity with the same wide (and so richly deserved by those I just mentioned) brush! Furthermore, the way you handle the data in the same studied pervasive underlying dishonest way they do makes you look like two little brats yelling at one another, "That's what you are, but what am I?". Very persuasive, not. Yes I am repulsed by those who pervert the Word of the One True Living God to their own purposes, so I understand how you are too. But please don't throw out the Baby (the very Son of God, and the rock-solid-sound conservative scholarship attending Him) with the dirty bath water (most of which is really so silly and unchallenging that it's not even fun to pick apart any more). Think about it. No matter how many have distorted, denied, demeaned, and generally raped and pillaged the Truth to their own ends; No matter how thoroughly they've done it; No matter that what they've done has left it almost beyond recognition in some cases; the genuine article is still available right there in the Bible. All you have to do is get your hands on a good, conservative scholarly translation (NIV, NKJV, NASB {my favorite}, NRSV to name a few) and the Truth is there free for the taking. To despise that and throw it away just because others have horribly abused it is infinitely beyond felony stupid because it has eternal consequences.]

I find it highly ironic that the site is titled, "The UK's Leading Atheist Page". If this is the highest scholarship your genre has to offer.....well....It's no wonder you can't see the light, from way down there in that deep dark hole. No, you don't change reality by ignoring the data you don't like, and without data (whether you like that data or not), it's just your opinion. If you're going to convince/dissuade any but the most ignorant of [the methods you're currently employing] neophytes, your handling of the data will have to undergo miraculous improvement;-)

2nd January 2000

All this talk about the precise meaning of certain words and phrases written two thousand years ago in a foreign language is an exercise in futility. First, except for Paul, we are discussing writings by anonymous authors. When I say authors, I am suggesting that several participated in the creation of a single gospel by contributing and piecing together a number of stories and myths. Even if we possessed the original writings, we could not be certain that Mark was written completely by Mark. We know that Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark, but did Matthew, Luke and John have collaborators and other sources as well? Almost certainly.

Assuming we could identify specific people named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the authors of these works, it is quite insufficient for historical veracity because we know nothing about them. Before I can accept any such accounts that appear improbable, I would like to know something about the author beyond the first name. I would at the very least want to know something about his character, his qualifications, his background, his bias, his agenda, his mental stability. (I emphasize "mental stability" because I strongly suspect that many of the early Christians were just as unbalanced or gullible or as unscrupulous as some Christians today.)

We also know all too well that reporters and journalists lie and plagiarize today for various reasons. M,M,L & J were the reporters of the first century. Why was it different then? Hardly, and unlike today, no reporter was accountable for his lies and inventions.

Next, we accept that the 4 gospels were originally in Greek. Was Greek grammar uniform and static, and were Greek words precise and not subject to shadings? Were there no dialects and regional differences? What was the literacy rate in the Middle East in the first century? Was there a Greek dictionary or a thesaurus, and if so, did Matthew, Mark, Luke and John study the same references? Did the language not change at all from the year 32 to 80 or 90 AD? Of course, it gets even better- Jesus did not speak Greek. So now we have to deal with the question of translation. Was there a reference work translating Aramaic into Greek and did they all use it?

In our judicial system we provide court interpreters for witnesses who do not speak English. But interpreters must be certified before being allowed to work in court to insure that the translations are accurate. What do we know of the qualifications of M,M,L,and J? Speaking of courts, I remind you that court proceedings are recorded instantly. Who recorded the words of Jesus when he spoke? Clearly no one, and so we are left to the memory of unknown persons and oral traditions over several decades based upon double or triple hearsay or even worse under circumstances which prevented verification or cross-checking. Do stories tend to change when repeated over a period of 40 or 50 years? You bet they do, especially when the writers need not be concerned about being exposed as liars and charlatans. Then, we have to deal with who made the copies, and when they were made. How many were made? How many were lost? What were the qualifications and integrity of the copyists?

And you argue about the exact meaning of an ancient Greek word or phrase?

V. Cuccia


This is a comment regarding the essay "The miracles of Jesus".

You say that Elijah uses the phrase "what have I to do with thee" in I Kings I7:I8. And that Jesus says the same thing in John 2:4. Actually it's the woman who says that to Elijah, Elijah doesn't say that.

(I Kings 17:18, KJV) And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God?

Thanks. I have corrected my lapse of memory in the essay.

1st January 2000

After reading some of text in this site,I felt compelled to offer one of my own observations which seems to be overlooked.

I'm 42,and through the years it seems to me that fear is a great motivator toward much extremist behavior.We fear death,life,things in the dark,even other people and their opinions.Fear is of course a natural instinct to help humans and other life forms survive the rigors of nature.It prompts us to approach the unknown with caution to avoid physical or mental damage.However,too much fear(like too much of anything else)can interfere with a logical thought process.

Try to imagine a society completely devoid of fear.Would we really need to invent a religous belief to make us more comfortable about the consept of death?Many of my associates have embraced religious lifestyles in their later years when their mortality became appearent.

And believe me it certainly wasn't because they became more intelligent. They were obviously under some distress prior to the conversion. Consequently, the're the same person I knew before,except now they spend a lot of time trying to convince others,(and themselves)that there exists some insubstantial being somewhere creating,destroying,and controling reality as we know it.

It's easy to understand how primative man with his limited knowledge tried to piece together some concept of how he came to be when the thought finally occured to him,by assigning deities to the sun,moon,etc. And as mans mind progressed,united these personalities into one,which was of course later perpetuated by that guy they nailed to a piece of lumber. We've now arrived at 2,000 years later.Isn't it time to attempt to look beyond our fears and leave behind the myths and legends where they belong? The past is where we learn "from".

Thank you for reading. BEE

28th December 1999

I am as of now 14 years old. I live in a middle sized town in Iowa. It is not taken kindly that I don't believe in a god or that I don't go to church! The only reason, thank god (pun intended), that I am allowed to believe there is no god is because of my mother. I knew while I was younger that we never went to church, duh, and I thought that there was no god, but every now and then I would feel that maybe there was one, because everyone else thought so.

I told people that I wasn't quite sure of the truth, which I wasn't. I was leaning towards no higher person because of my mother and father's influence upon me, but was still searching for a true answer. About a month ago, I was invited to go to a churh lock-in with a friend of mine. I decided since there was nothing else to do, I might as well. For the first couple of hours I was really getting into it, I thought you know, maybe there is a god. Then a certain time came when we were to pray. We bowed our heads and clasped our hands together.

One of the leaders that night began her little speech. The only line I remember from that day is "God, thank you for being the true one, and for giving us life and making wonderful people". She also said, "Thank you for letting us live." I looked up in disgust, of course no one saw me. At that moment all the things my mother had been telling me finally hit me. This religion took over their lives! How stupid they are! I risk myself in saying this, I know only one other person who truly agrees with this thought, that is religion, any religion, is a big cult! It saddens me to see how dumb my friends can be, but I will leave those feelings to myself. I could never back down that there is no god.

I was looking tonight for someone who had a common thread. I agreee with absolutely everything you have said, because in all reality it is as if a blindfold has been lifted from our eyes. We know what is true. I must get in, however, that I have friends perfectly aware of my religious standings, and that my mother did go to church so she is completley aware of the Bible.

My friends are both Christian and Islamic, and a very good friend of mine's father is a minister. There is nothing wrong with thinking there is a god, it's just that you are a weaker person and you are also not quite as resonable as an athiest. I mean really, do you think that Mary just suddenly became pregnant one night? I'm glad that there are other people out there in the world that have relized the truth.

Sincerely,
Stephanie Perkins

21st December 1999

I would be a witness that Allah is egsist there is no god but Allah

And I would be witness again that Muahammed (Salllallahutalyhivesellem) is a messenger of Allah and a human being)

Kulya eyyuhel kafirun la abudu matagbudu vela entum agbudina maabut vela ene abuduna maagbettum vela entum abuduna maabud lekum dinikum veliyeddin. Your religion is yours mine is mines.

20th December 1999

You are not qualified to comment on Islam. You have no understanding and are following the Christian tradition of misquoting and misusing text to suit one's particular point of view.

Go to a mosque and have a conversation with someone. Maybe you might learn something.

I was a Christian so don't think that this is coming from some blind follower of Islam (Islam forbids blindly following any way).

Seek the truth and maybe you will learn something.

No response is required.

Centre for Islamic Development

Canada

11th December 1999

(About http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/mirc1.htm )

hi,

sorry to tell you but the two evidence are for 2 different stories.

george

19th November 1999

Stephen,

I found your website very interesting & thought provoking. Paul Marston initially referred me to your site.

I would like to comment on your absolute moral values article. I may later comment on your debate about suffering which interests me very much.

The Old Testament has 10 different hebrew words in the semantic domain 'kill'.

The word used in the ten commandments means 'murder' as you correctly point out, and this is the same word used in Numbers 35. However, different words are used when referring to 'killing' in warfare or as capital punishment.

I think it is unreasonable for you to expect the Bible to give comprehensive legal definitions of all the significant words used - like 'murder' and 'rape'.

The Bible is not meant to be a dictionary or a legal text book. It is clear enough to me that deliberatley killing someone outside of warfare or capital punishment is wrong. I'll leave it to lawyers to argue about the detail of the definition. The passage you site includes the significant phrases "malice aforethought" and "intent" to show that motives and pre-planning are the most important aspects.

Perhaps you could explain where you get your moral standards from?

Tim Dieppe

14th November 1999

On your comments on Serious Talk by John Polkinghorne:

There is one slight flaw in those comments. In the third paragraph in which you describe the refusal of some patients suffering from paralysis to admit their condition. An interesting set of experiments were conducted on some of those patients fairly recently. These experiments revealed the stunning fact that the patients were not lying or delusional, but were suffering from a subtle brain disorder which didn't allow them to identify those body parts which were theirs as opposed to those which belonged to someone else. So, if the patient noticed an arm hanging at his or her side, the patient, unable to recognize ownership, would try to come up with a logical explanation for its appearance. This is similar to a condition of blindness in the right or left field of vision which makes that that area non-existent to the patient. Drawings done by such patients crowd everything seen to one side of the drawing paper. The patient sees nothing wrong with such drawings. Just thought you'd like to know.

Sally Morem

9th November 1999

Dear Sir / Madam,

I write to you on behalf of Al Muhajiroun, and we wish to offer your party a challenge.

We know that the way of life set by Islam, and as written in the Holy Qu'ran, is the ONLY way of life, with detailed descriptions of Political, Spiritual and Justice Systems, that would solve all the earths problems, if only given the chance.

As such, we would like to welcome you to challenge us in debate regarding our faith. We believe that as Islam supercedes all man-made doctrines, that we are infallible and the system cannot be defeated. If you disagree with this statement, we ask that you converse with myself in order to arrange a public debate, in which we would have no fear in discussing our belief openly. If you can rise to this challenge, please email us back to arrange a suitable time and venue for this debate to take place.

Omar Grant

I have a speech impediment and am not a public speaker.

Out of curiosity why was the infallible system of Islam unable to prevent the Sunni/Shia split , which happened within a few years of Islam being given a chance to prove itself in Mecca and Medinah?

In which countries has Islam been given a chance to solve all the problems of that country?

The web site of Al Muhajiroun can be found http://www.almuhajiroun.com/ and is an example of what atheists can expect if religious people are again given authority in Britain.

7th November 1999

Steve,

I saw from your page you like Amnesty International. Well, I suppose they do a good work.

Here's a link of their's from the last time I met with them .....

If you search for "Kunkel" you are sure to find me :}

http://www.amnesty.it/ailib/aipub/1999/AMR/25105399.htm

Eric Kunkel

6th November 1999

I was going through this web page ( so called "Thinktank " ) and I came across your comments about the disciples of Christ making look like as if many Old Testament miracles were prescriped to Jesus.

My dear friend ; I once was a Muslim who never knew the sinlessness and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ!

And now you are a fundamentalist Christian who swallows everything written in the Bible.

Lord Jesus has transformed my sinful ( sin = rebellion towards God, transgression of his universal moral law ) nature into a new man who loves God.

One of the most amazing factors that really shook me was Jesus fulfilling the prophecies written about him.

Can you tell how did he manage to fulfill Isaiah 53 and Psalm 16, 22 ?? How can anyone give himself willingly to be crucified ?

A good scriptwriter who wrote the stories so that they looked like Psalm 22?

So he can fulfill what was prophesied about " The Messiah " ?

Evidence please that the crucifixion scene happened as described in the Gospels?

Besides, The Lord Almighty had already promised the patriachs that the Saviour was going to come through the promised seed which was the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and that he was going to be born in Bethlehem ( Micah 5:2 )

Pity that the Hebrew has only masculine words to describe Bethlehem, while all cities in Hebrew are feminine

see http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/spell.htm

Many prophets had already done many miracles and said many things by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yes it is obvious that those miracles or the events that took place were very similiar but remember ( and LEARN ) that the Holy Spirit's eternal character never changes ; The Holy Spirit is OUTSIDE time limitation ; God foresees all things at all times.

Many things that David wrote in his Psalms ( his fears, his affilictions, his victories ) were seen and witnessed in the Lord Jesus' life and ministry.

For instance Psalm 72 speaks of Solomon and his forthcoming kingdom but however Psalm72:17 speaks about the name of the King lasting for ever, as long as the sun ; also it speaks of men being blessed in him. Who is this person ?

Remember what the Lord Jesus said about the writings of the prophets and psalms ( he treated Psalms as such writings that spoke so much about him ) in Luke 24:44. This can also be read in Luke 1:68-70.

We also read of Stephen, Peter and Paul talking about Christ fulfilling such prophecies about himself. ( Acts 2:22-36, 7:37-53, 13:17-37 ). They all could see and UNDERSTAND how the LORD kept his promises to his people.

In 1Peter 1:11, we read about the Spirit of Christ being in the prophets that testified the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. ( Rev.19:10 )

My friend, the Bible shows us how sin entered the world through man's rebellion, what sin has done to man and to his relationship with God and how sin is dealt with by God himself. God made covenants with men also showed the patterns of things to come ( for instance the pattern of the Tabernacle on the desert foreshadowed the glory and the sacrifice of Christ.) All the furniture, ceremonies and the building of the Tabernacle were WITNESSING SUBSTANCES to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So I tell you as Solomon very wisely wrote " Evil men understand not judgement :but they that seek the LORD understand all things. " ( Proverbs 28:5 )

Instead wasting your time finding faults in the word of God, repent and by faith believe in the " JUST " one, the Lord Jesus Christ.

3rd November 1999

MY friend, to apply a critique of the Qu'ran - you have to learn the Arabic language. The Arabs were masters of poetry, and they knew that a book containing several different dialects being revealed by a illiterate man did not make sense.

bye


No muslim with even a slight amount knowledge of the life of Muhammed, peace be upon, will be offended with the biography that you have given of him, peace be upon him. This is due to the fact that a lot of it is corrupt. I presume you cannot understand Arabic and have got translations for eg the hadith from a non-muslim translater. These translations are corrupted to give a bad view of Muhammed, peace be upon him. Find a true meaning/translation of the hadith and Quran and I swear by him in whose hand my life is in ie Allah(swt) you will have nothing against him for you will find him to have a personality unheard of, about anyone ever, before or after him. His kindness and justice will be shown automatically in what he did to prisoners.

Before you try again to say anything about him, peace be upon him, or portray him, peace be upon him, in any way, I suggest you find the truth about him first and not judge him on falsehood, lies and corrupt translations of hadith and the Quran! May Allah Guide you to the true path, the path of the only true religion, ISLAM. I look forward to hearing from you.

A slave of Allah(swt) Nassar Mustafa

It goes without saying that I got them from Muslim web sites. Out of curiosity, do you know any published translations of Hadiths by non-Muslims ?


A questioner states that he has had difficulty in finding definitive information concerning

Einstein's religion. I find this hard to understand.

There are literally millions of sites and pages devoted to Einstein on the net. There are

hundreds of books and thousands of articles concerning the man, his life, his works, his

philosophy, his quotations, and his "religion."

Just for starters, when he was being considered for the directorship of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeston, the question of his religion came up. (Atheism was a big no-no in those days.) A leading Rabbi sent him a 5 word cablegram to settle the issue: "Do you believe in God?" His reply was:

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

He got the job.

The religious right has, for years, attempted to interpret Einstein's words and philosophy

as those of a "believer" to buttress their own failed position. To these many fatuous assertions, the Great Man simply said:

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.

If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

[Albert Einstein, 1954, from "Albert Einstein: The Human Side", edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press]

To the questioner, I can only say, "There's nothing worse than a lazy atheist. If you can find the toilet paper in the bathroom, you can find out about Einstein's religion, in unambiguous terms, published copiously throughout the globe."

If you need further help, feel free to e-mail me your questions

Mikhail Bakunin

Bend, Oregon USA

29th October 1999

The Universe had to be crated by something. Think about it, the table on which your computer sits atop, well, its made of wood, what is wood made of? Cellulose, and what is Celluloses smallest units, the units by which everything in the universe is made? Atoms! Where did atoms come from? Well I don't know, Im just some atheist moron who has the time to put down other people gods and not look for one himself. Did you know that Islam has made 10 Major and 10 Minor prophicies of end time signs, all of which the ten minor have come true? You could say, Oh well Nostra--shut your monkey ass up! Nostrdamus has made 1000's of prophicies, some of which are bound to come true. Did you know some of his proohicies were totaly wrong? Listen buddy, I gotta go, hope you have fun looking for a religion, words of advice... If your always doubting things, do no expect to find religious refuge within the confines of Islam. We were all like you one.

AliMason

27th October 1999

I have recently delved into trying to understand faith in general. I've visited quite a few atheist pages trying to find out why they don't believe in God. All of them in one way or another, state that it is because there is no evidence. Nothing to prove the existence of God. (One site's author even exclaimed, in his effort to disprove God, that there couldn't be an omniscient god because omniscience didn't make any sense! Well of course it doesn't, human's aren't omniscient. I'm off the track here. Back to the evidence thing.) If one requires evidence for faith, is it in fact faith he is looking for? By definition, it seems that faith would have to be indeed factless. So, that being said, have you ever studied the theology of predestination, the idea that God gives faith to those He chooses? If one believes in an all powerful God, one would also, logically, have to concede that God controls those who believe. This theology brings up some interesting questions of "people robots vs. free will."

Interesting dialog in your site.

Allen


13th October 1999

I don't really understand what you are saying. Its seems to me that you are saying that because the whole world doesn't agree with murder that it is not an absoulte. Just because some people don't agree that killing an innocent person ( which is what God ment by all those verses ) doesn't mean its not absoulte. Take stealing for an example, If you came out of your front yard and saw that your car was stolen you would be upset...right? because someone took something that belongs to you. Now the person who stole your car doesn't care about that rule...but it doesn't change the fact that its still wrong ( and frankly, I don't know one person who would't be upset if their car was stolen ). Please clairfy this for me.


I've been rummaging around the net trying to discover Eintein's religious views. As I recall from college, Einstein once said "if there is a God it's electro magnetism" (or the such.) I never took this statement to mean he actually believed in a God, though.

As an Atheist, I've had many people point out that Einstein (i.e., the smartest man to have lived) was also religious. I've recently had an in-depth online discussion with a "creationist" - whoa! Spooooky!

Can you point me in the right direction, resource wise, on Einstein's religious views?

Say hi to my cousin Steve Sheldon living in the U.K.


Please send me info putting down the muslim religion and some arabic that I would find offencive if i were a muslim, do this and i will love and worship YOU!!!!!

11th October 1999

Merry Meet,

I have been surfing through you pages and I must say, I find them very informative!! However, I am looking for a site

that includes textual changes such as King James' version of the bible, he changed the word, "poisoner" with the word "witch" It should of read, "thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live" NOT witch! A well poisoner could kill off entire areas of humans and animals because so many shared the same well. You have probably guessed by now that I am of the wiccan faith :)

I know there have been a lot of translation errors within bible over the years of copying, translating, etc......

If you know of any reputable sites on this subject, or if you are knowledgeable in translation errors yourself, please let me know.

Thanks for your time,

LadyVatrovia

16th September 1999

I say unto you Steven Carr, You are in error

3rd September 1999

Q. Do you believe that the bible is the inspired word of god?

A. Yes

Q. Without error?

A. Yes

Q. Do you believe that it should be taken literally?

A. Yes

Q. Who are Gabriel and Michael?

A. Angels.

Q. Are there any more angels?

A. yes

Q How many ?

A. not sure exactly

Q Approximately how many?

A. not sure

Q. What do Angels do?

A. What do you mean?

Q. What is their purpose? their duties? How do they spend their time?

A. In the service of god.

Q. Repeat the question - What specifically do they do? How do they assist God?

A. Not sure exactly

Q. Isn't god all powerful (omnipotent)? Why does he need help?

A. Not sure exactly, but the Bible mentions them, so they must exist

Q. How long have they existed.?

A. The Bible does not say exactly .

Q. Do people have guardian angels as taught in catholic schools years ago?

A. Not sure exactly, the Bible does not say.

Q. Has anyone reported any contact with an angel in the past 2000 years?

A. Not sure.

Next time, we will cross exam the same expert on the subject of devils. Should be interesting.

Vincent Cuccia

30th August 1999

There's one thing which I can't understand about the people who are living in this world today. Why do people follow a religion (or a way of life) when there have recieve no revelations from God. The only religion I know for that have receive guidance from God Jews, Christian & Muslim. Why do people bother following any other religion or way of life, when you know tommorrow the thing you learn yesterday, was wrong and the thing you are going to learn tomorrow, will be wrong.

16th August 1999

Hi.

As you may be aware, Nicky Gumbel claims he was an atheist before he eventually became a Christian and decided to be enter the ministry. I was wondering if you know of anything to substantiate this, or whether it is just another Christian falsehood? I took the Alpha course and then discovered the compelling evidence against Christianity and stopped going to church.

You may aware that Nicky Gumbel repeats the claim that the evidence for Christianity would hold up in court. The following URL analyzes and refutes this claim:

http://www.teleport.com/~packham/montgmry.htm

Best regards,

Bill Frampton

20th July 1999

Salam

Please check this page and scroll down the page to where it reads "TALKING TO ATHEISTS."

http://www.angelfire.com/ak/BaltoMuslims/talking.html


Thanks to linking to my page.

http://worldmall.com/erf/jesus/

The link has changed to http://www.pathguy.com/jesus/

Thanks very much!

We share a commitment to reason and common kindness.

13th July 1999

We are told that Christianity offers the most powerful message in the world. Yet, after 2000 years of prosletizing by its members- usually with the active and often coercive support of most western governments- several billion people continue to reject the religion. This has to be one of the biggest long term failures in history.

Query: If god consists of the Trinity, and if Jesus is the son, when was he born? What exactly does the Holy Ghost do? I mean, how does he spend his time?

28th June 1999

Steve,

A very interesting and informative page that I look forward to exploring in some depth. I will also be linking to you with my own little atheist resource. Perhaps you will feel moved to return the compliment? :)

Interesting that you have an essay on the book of Job on your site. That is one of the first bits of the Bible that I have written about and I would be very interested to know what you make of it.


A few events in my life pressed a good few triggers, not least an email row with a creationist guy whose feedback page I'd posted to - created quite a thread on talk.origins - and I put up some thoughts which have been orbiting my mind for a few months on my personal web page at

http://www.jmc.xisl.com/Ramblings.htm

I don't pretend:

* Any particular originality (although I did write it all, apart from

the reproduced emails, and take all the pictures, apart, of course,

for the one of me).

* That this is a masterpiece of logic

* That this is in any way complete, in fact I did most of it

yesterday in a fit of "creativity".

* That I have made my mind up at all on a lot of points (except that

creationism is crap, I'm sure of that).

* That I'm anything other than a computer geyser with a few outside

interests (and a lot of hangups perhaps!).

If you can spare a few minutes to read through my stuff if only to tell

me what nonsense it is, I'd be *most* grateful!

19th May 1999

After coming so far in civilization and gaining so much knowledge about the heavens and the earth have we started to believe that we are God ?!! Why is it that when you have planned to do something to the very finest detail and are sure 100% that it is not going to fail, it fails ?!! This proves that it is The Almighty who is calling the shots.

The extent of human freedom can be likened to that of a cow tied up with a long rope. The rope is long enough to make the cow think it can go anywhere it wants but is halted abruptly when it tries to exceed its limits.

EVERY religion, if interpreted with an impartial perspective teaches love for the fellow human beings and teaches a disciplined way of life. Existance of God fearing people who follow a religion (any religion) is the one reason why humanity has survived to see the year 1999, otherwise the human race would have self destructed long time ago.

There is one particular practise among people who develop religious sites, they identify a religion by its famous (or infamous) followers. For example, the Hindus in India identify Islam with Aurangzeb (a tyrannical moghul ruler) who killed countless humans. Any man who kills innocent humans of any religion who are not making his survival impossible, does not belong to any religion. If he followed a religion, he would value life. Please do not interpret this as the same that any person who does not follow a religion is making someones life difficult !!

The human can deny everything it cannot see or touch, it is human nature and it cannot be blamed. We still have people who don't accept the moon landing, then again we have people who believe in UFO's.

We came to know about tooth decay causing bacteria only after the microscope was invented but, humans have been brushing teeth for centuries, why ? If the destructive power of a lowly bacteria took so long to be recognized it would not have been surprising if it would have taken milleniums for the constructive power of God to be realised by humans. But in this case we have been lucky, humans (the overwhelming majority of them) have realised the existance of The Creator, but sadly some of us have not been so lucky.

To prevent the human race from self destruction, it is time the race which calls itself civilized asks the question "Why NOT follow a religion ?" rather than "WHY follow a religion ?".

Stop brushing your teeth, your teeth will still be there the next day, can you do something that simple ?!! Why should you brush your teeth anyway, don't tell me you have yourself seen the bacteria under a microscope ! Well, if you have, did you ask them if they are the ones causing damage to your teeth. If you didn't then you can't say for sure can you ?!!

9th May 1999

i just read your web page on islam and was appalled at your ignorance. you had no proof for your refutations . firstly you don't know arabic, so how could you quote verses from the quran in its transliteration? obviously you don't study religion you just skim through texts to see what you can find "wrong" just because you don't want to believe in the One who created you.

secondly the quran is not the word of a man. there are things in the quran that prophet Muhammad could not have known over fourteen centuries ago that the scientific world is just finding out about today. how could he know that the 2 seas meet one salty and the other not and they don't touch. scientists have just found this out recently . there are other things in the quran that obviously a man fromhis century just couldn't have discovered back then.this is obviously revelation that was revealed to him.

what makes you disbelieve in your Creator ? for certainly you didn't create yourself.

if you are certain that there is no creator then look at the signs around you.

are you so arrogant to think that you don't have to worship your Lord.

you and me are nothing compared to His other creation. Look at the sun. the mountains , these mighty creations. who started atheism anyway. i hope i wasn't offensive to you may you be guided to the truth.

from shannon abdul lateef ( a muslima of 8 years) thank you.

6th May 1999

I would be interested in hearing your explanation of the modern miracles, such as Lourdes?

29th April 1999

I was on your site and thought that maybe this would be a site you might enjoy and wish to link on your own.

The Truths Behind Religion

http://listen.to/thetruth

21st April 1999

Dear Steven Carr,

I have written a counter rebuttal to Mike G. Wotruba's rebuttal on your Short Biography of Mohammed at http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/mhmd.htm .

You may find it at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7864/Rebuttal.htm

I would appreciate if you could add links to this page on your page and reference my E-mail addresses - islam_monitor@hotmail.com and/or islam_monitor@geocities.com

Please visit the Islamic Monitor front page at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7864/islam.htm

and sign the Guestbook.

Yours sincerely,

Islamic Monitor

Visit Islamic Monitor at

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7864/islam.htm

Send E-mail to

islam_monitor@hotmail.com

islam_monitor@mail.geocities.com

20th April 1999

Hi, My name is Jerry. I'm new on the web. About a week ago I sent this story to a few places and, for the first time, found some folks who gave me some positive input...I'm encouraged by this, so I thought I'd continue sending it to folks who might appreciate it. Your site has a lot of stuff that fits my thinking. My email address is omp@jymis.com if you'd like to drop me a line.

I wrote this shortly after my Dad died in May of 1998.

My Dad died. We buried him this last Tuesday. The preacher at the funeral used Dad's death as a springboard for his deluded agenda of salvation only through Jesus. (Perhaps he knew of my background as a former minister and was extra full of trying to offset my beliefs) But, this pained me no end, especially, since a long time friend of his from next door was there as Dad's pallbearer. This good neighbor has never been a church goer and never will be. I was embarrassed. Prior to this and only a day or so after Dad's death, I was surprised by the emotions coming up--specifically anti-Jesus and anti-Church stuff. As the whole family gathered at the funeral, I looked around and realized that all my immediate family are very strong Christians...I am the sole heretic. I then began writing in my journal on this subject at that time, but it had long been on my heart and mind to begin this process. Dad's death just speeded up my desire to write. So it was that I began to delve into the reasons why I had become so anti-Jesus and anti-Christian. I guess, having felt emotionally raped by the preacher's foolishness Jesus tirade, I decided to sit down and write up a more formal statement about my anti-Jesus thinking. Here is the gist of it:

Fundamental Christian religion is not very logical. I am supposed to believe in a character who lived 2000 years ago and proclaimed himself to be the Son of God. If I don't--I go to hell. This is it--pure and simple (and stupid). Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of what Jesus said and I love parts of the Bible. It is in my heart and will be there forever. Having two college degrees and many years of teaching as a professor at a Christian College and preaching in various churches on the weekends, I can see from the words of Jesus that he was indeed a special man...but 2000 years is a long time and a lot gets lost in the process. I salute the deep love that Christians over the years have had for this "Christ." So many were even willing to die for him and their beliefs. (I am thinking of the 30,000 Chinese Christians in history that chose death rather than simply step on a piece of paper with the name Jesus inscribed on it.) I agree that some things are worth dying for.

But for me Jesus is not one of them. Jesus was a prison that I escaped from and I want to record this and show the process.

But first I want to look the present Jesus of today. He called himself the Son of God...we have a few details...2000 years old stuff. He convinced 12 people and a few hundred others that he was indeed the Savior promised in the Hebrew scriptures. But this is not new. Only a few years back David Korish had a whole compound of people convinced that he was God and over a hundred perished with him at the Waco, Texas compound. This (God) dummy could have saved all those people with just a little compromise...but he had to have a bunch of people die just because he thought he was God. I'm sure David Korish had some good stuff in the words he spoke. He certainly inspired those fanatical folks and reports show him to be quite a sexual stud. He was a real "copulating" God. But, if this deluded poophead could do this in our enlightened time, why should I believe in this historical Jesus and his 2000 year old story?

I am surprised by the positive reaction in my heart to anything anti-Jesus and anti-Church (Christian). I would much have preferred a Jesus who grew old and wise like a Buddha or Mohammed. He was only 33 when he died. I didn't even start thinking for myself until I was almost 40. I followed the Christian herd like all the rest of them until I finally exploded from lack of sex and support from my "once a week is more than enough" wife. I see lots of confident young men running things now...but to really know life you have to have experience. Thirty years is just not enough time. I resent having to believe in a young man who was only thirty three at his death. But believe I must or I am going to hell according to current fundamentalists beliefs. Hell is a place where you will burn forever. Who wouldn't want to avoid such a place? I sure would. But Hell is not a logical or valid concept. Burning in hell for sins committed in a brief lifetime of seventy years or so seems grossly unfair. But, if the powers that be (or rather were) wanted to keep the Christian herd in line, what better way than to threaten them with a nebulous Hell-fire? I recall as a young and naive Christian ministerial student going out on the weekends to talk to people about Christ and to do my best to save them from this burning Hell. I also recall a pretty young speech professor at our Christian University giving our group of ministers a graphic reading of people walking off a cliff and falling into the burning fires of hell. All that stood between them and hell was us Christians who had to reach out and prevent as many as possible from falling into hell fire. Her performance was met with a genuine appreciation and acceptance. But that's one heavy burden for a young man to carry. We were the only hope for those people. We were sent out weekends to hand out tracts to people on the street telling them how to be saved. I never like doing this. I soon discarded it for less dramatic ways of reaching the UNSAVED.

This was the small beginning...I followed my heart. It said I don't like handing out tract and being a "fool for Christ's sake." One of the teaching tools at that time was a saying often repeated about a man who carried a sign saying, "I'm a fool for Christ's sake, whose fool are you?" Now I have enough strength of character, to say "Let him be his own fool." I cannot follow this distorted Jesus. But lets go back to the Hell concept. What would be fair? And all religions teach us (and I believe) that God is eminently fair. But the Jesus followers say that you are going to hell if you don't know Jesus no matter what. If you are a murderer--off you go. This fits even a 16 year old teenager who goes along for the ride with a kid who is drinking; there is a wreck and he is killed...off he goes too. He has not done much of anything wrong. He hasn't been around long enough to do much wrong, but off he goes--straight to Hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect a harp and mansion. Suppose we had a jury of a mans peers set up to decide every man's punishment according to all the deeds he had done and all the thoughts he had had. Suppose God himself allowed this special jury to exist. How many life sentences would they give to a murderer? So, if the average life span is 70 or so...the maximum for even the most gross life deeds would be not more than 5 x 70 or so I would think. Even the most vile person would scarcely be given more that 70 times 70 lifetimes as the absolute maximum sentence and certainly not to a burning hell for all those years. There is a little Biblical pun here...70 time 70 is the term describing Jesus' ideal of human forgiveness. But a loving God casts them all into Hell fire forever and ever and ever? I think not.

How can Christians assign people to hell so easily? Part of it is religious arrogance (a sort of unconscious hidden pride, I think)..."We know God and you don't type of thing...we have the inside track on God." Furthermore, Christians have this "All are sinners and need salvation" angle well covered with the Original Sin concept. It basically says "In Adam's Fall, we sinned all." So we all start out as sinners and need a savior. Enter Jesus. Oh, by the way, can I be a Christian and not believe in the Original Sin concept? I sure can't handle it now. To me it is the tool the church uses to keep people in bondage.

Now the question becomes--does the man believe in Jesus just because he wants to escape Hell, or because he is "CHA" (covering his ass). But hey, for the simple act of going forward in church and maybe even going through the ritual of getting baptized, one gets an insurance policy against Hell and with a side benefit of a ticket directly into heaven.

Not a bad investment for a CHA person. How does God count this obvious "manipulation" of the system? Do surface Christians squeeze through the Pearly Gates just barely?

What does it mean to "believe" in Christ? I have asked this question often. My Christian relatives and many ministers I know always quote Scripture..."Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and Thou shalt be saved." This is what the Apostle Paul said to the frightened jailkeeper when an earthquake hit and all the doors flew open. And the man did too...he took Paul and Silas and bound up their wounds and was very grateful. I don't blame him. Any man in his right mind would have believed and behaved the way he did in such circumstances. But how does one believe in, on ,or around this Jesus? Do I have to believe in Original sin to be saved? Do I have to believe in the Trinity to be saved? Do I have to believe in the Apostles' Creed? Do I have to believe in the Virgin Birth? Can I believe that Mary fooled around and the result was Jesus?

Can I believe in a special place called Hades like the Catholics do? Can I be a member of the Irish IRA Catholics who believe in terrorism.? Can I be a Communist? Does God take in account a person's environment and parental teachings? Do I have to be baptized ? (The Church of Christ out of Abeline, Texas believes you must be baptized in their Church in order to be saved)? At what IQ level am I exempt from Hell? Do children who die go to hell? (Christians have a special exemption here, but if there is one exemption why can't there be more?) Do I have to believe in Pro-life? Do I have to believe in monogamy? Can I be a Mormon/Christian? a Buddhist/Christian? Can I be a Christian/homosexual? Bi-sexual? Lesbian? Can I be a Christian whore? (I have met some ladies of the evening who were a lot more compassionate than many Christians I know; moreover, didn't Jesus associate with them?) Can I worship my ancestors and believe in Jesus too? Can I believe also in evolution? Can I be a Christian nudist? Can I believe in Free Love? Do I get extra credit if I believe that Jesus was a human being that existed 2000 years ago but not God? How about, if I believe he was god with a small g? What if I believe that he was on the level of a son of god like Buddha must have been. What about all those folks born before Christ came? There was a bunch of them? Will Socrates be in heaven or Hell? The Christian reply to all the folks BC (Before Christ) is that they are under a different "dispensation." They didn't know it yet, but Jesus died for them. So people with God in their hearts and deeds got into heaven with a special pass--under a special dispensation. Now we shift to the AD area. After Jesus' death all people had to get into heaven through him. He took over the keys to the kingdom. Was there a transition period? Does the belief in Jesus thing fit the first 200 years AD? Or does it take effect when Constantine set up Christianity as the religion of the empire? Prior to Columbus we had a whole half of the world that existed AD and had never heard of Jesus. I have pinned down several old ministers on this and they all say "If they live up to the light that is shown to them, they will be saved." (quoting from the Old Testament) This "Light" is a bit of a slippery and wobbly thing. How do you define light...how much light? Would a spark do? Does belief in the Great Spirit count? Will the American Indians get into heaven?

I simply cannot see how a rational man can believe in a "Jesus or else" type of religious dogma. I think Jesus would be very embarrassed to see what his followers teach today as "Gospel."

But lets return to the Hell thing again. If we take it that all men are sinners...Hey I can buy that partially--we all goof plenty in our lifetime, but I like the term mistakes better than sins. So why are all sinners assigned to a burning Hell automatically if they don't believe in Jesus? Or is Jesus like David Korish who let his followers burn to death with him because he thought he was God? My figures are rough, but some 3/4ths of this present world is non-Christian. Lets say that 1/4 of the world is Christian. Now of that 1/4th, about half don't go to church much and then quite a few of those that do, just do it out of duty. Then we get into all the many churches believing different creeds and doctrines? If all these churches can't agree on doctrine, why should I trust its ministers to show me the way to heaven? Can a man be a total "Jackass" (murderer, etc.) and get into heaven if he believes in Jesus on his deathbed? Why can't we just believe that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world...and include everybody so that there is universal salvation for all races, creeds and colors? I could handle Jesus a lot better if he did it once for all, for those in the past, present and future and it was a finished thing and everybody got a piece of it. Why is salvation so limited (according to the church)? In my years of study for the ministry which included many college Bible courses including 3 years of Greek Bible language, I noticed that after the bachelors level (and by the way it seems to me that most of those dogmatic dummies who preach the "going to Hell message" barely have a bachelors degree) ...that the scholars began to be more broad in their views. The men that really knew the Biblical languages and whose business was to study the Scriptures diligently, became more and more broad. I recall my amazement on reading the statement of one such famous Biblical Scholar who stated words to the effect that there would be a lot more people in heaven than we ever imagined.

Will a Christian who commits suicide go to heaven? Is it possible that God could have a second Son...? Why only one? Wouldn't the world be better if there were many sons of God. Why should the Creator limit himself to one. Are there other worlds besides ours out there in Space? And If there were, would they get to heaven? Or will they be treated on the dog and cat level of once dead and that is it...no heaven and no hell?

"One cannot question God and God's hidden purposes"... thus sayeth the Church, but this is another Church baloney dogma. This is the same Church that has proved itself to be totally wrong in the past. No wonder they don't like to question God. Why didn't God wait another 2000 years now that we have satellite TV and the Internet and have Jesus come during this age. Why do it the hard way?

I went to counseling to a Christian counselor with my wife not long ago. I have been to many counselors and all this time my very Christian wife has taken the view that something is wrong with "him." Since she distrusts psychiatrists and counselors outside her Church box, I suggested we go to one of her own counselors. The counselor listened and questioned me about my beliefs. Then he proclaimed to my wife that I was now a non-believer and she did not have to live with me unless she wanted to. She had been quite unsupportative for most of our marriage and all in the name of Christianity. This was a big shock to her. We still live together...and rather happily in spite of the fact that our philosophy is so different.

My son thinks I am going to hell. He has followed his mother's path of fundamental Christianity and has become a fundamentalist minister (much to my regret.) Perhaps he will grow out of it as I did. I was just like him at his age. I love him. I honor where he is at. I hope he gets past it.

Is it any wonder that I may be a little hard on this Jesus. Hey, I don't like the one they talk about in the Churches, but I do somewhat like the one in the Bible without all the baloney surrounding him. Do I want him as my savior? No thank you.

A thought I had recently--Does my prayer to God count? Are my daily prayers for my family and other personal needs wasted because only the people who pray to the God who is the father of Jesus Christ have their prayers heard? This is extremeness and arrogance. I asked my son what he thought...and got the expected answer that "God does not hear the prayers of an unbeliever" (such as I.) I asked him, "Then son, should I cease praying sincerely in my own way for God to bless you and your family (as I do every single day)since my prayers are wasted?" (no answer)

Why is God so limited? Does God hear the prayers of children? It's very much like saying "Your money doesn't count because it is in British pounds instead of US dollars." I'm sure God has a conversion table...one that measures the heart attitude.

Well, that's it. Thanks for listening.

7th April 1999

Actually, I have not read what you believe. I assume it is no god. This is a false doctrine. Better to believe possibly god or no god else one has to define god and that could take too long and prevent one from having a nice life.

Nevertheless, HANL :-)

30th March 1999

To those who believe, these hadith make perfect sense. Logic does not replace faith. Can a human communicate with other humans? Can a dog owner communicate with his dog? If some animals cannot see "visible light," can human see other portions of the light spectrum? Can a human half way around the world sense that a close family relative has been struck dead?

Who gave these special humans their talents? Is it in their genes as you feel? Is it a "gift"?

Why did man create religion if it has so divided mankind? Control over people, power? Why do most all cultures have the same moral concepts in their religions?

If man did not create all these religions, why did a supreme being? For what purpose? That is the mystery of religions and mankind's purpose on earth.

Keep up the good work, you are aiding the cause of religion with this web site. It keeps the faithless further away and brings the faithful closer to their creator.

I wish you God Speed at the time of your death. Have you ever seen an animal slaughtered? The phrase. "giving up the ghost" is very fitting. I wish you all the best. Were you right or wrong? You will find out then. But the ink will be dry and the book closed - - too late??????

25th March 1999

Hello,

I have some serious doubts about the honesty and integrity of the alpha course...my local course seems very manipulative, not something that informs people, more like something that recruits people. It also seems to have links with another group called"Kurios"(?) who seem rather extreme in their views. If you also feel worried about Alpha, please contact me as I seem to be the only person in the world who thinks that there is anything to be concerned about here.....

18th March 1999

dear steve,

11 of the 12 apostles died at the hands of people who wanted to force them to recant their position on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

let me ask you this: if you were one of those apostles, and you had pulled off a coup in making people believe in a resurrection that you fully knew did not happen, would you die for that? i would not. i dont believe the 11 would have either.

P.S. why don't you devote your time to writing about something you DO believe in?

oh yes. and why is there something rather than nothing?

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, died for what he knew he had made up

Evidence please that 11 of the 12 apostles died at the hands of people who wanted to force them to recant their position on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:12 (sorry to quote the Bible and give evidence, but somebody has to) makes clear that the very earliest Christians were persecuted because they had relaxed the rules on circumcision for people wanting to join what other Jews still saw as a Jewish religion, subject to the rules on circumcision. Gal. 6:12 also makes clear that they compromised their beliefs in the face of religion.

Biblical evidence from Paul's letters that *anybody* was killed or even persecuted for specifically preaching a resurrection, please.

In any case, nobody has ever come up with any solid evidence that any apostles were killed by Nero. Nero charged the Christians with setting fire to Rome, not with preaching a resurrection. Assuming you truly and really believe that the Christians did not die for a lie, you have just proved that the Christians really did set fire to Rome.

Why is there something instead of nothing?

Because nothing cannot exist. Tell me how there could possibly be nothing. At what moment in time did nothing exist? How would you ever go about demonstrating 'nothing' in a laboratory.

18th March 1999

I like your site. Here is mine. It has some articles I have written.

http://www.islandia.is/~marhel

16th March 1999

two comments:-

1.I wrote to you earlier about your excellent review of Ward's ridiculous book 'God Chance and Necessity'. I am still working on my review of it and took the time to read a key book which ,although Ward takes care to refer to it only once and in the t itle of his book, started the whole debate off, namely "Chance and Necessity" by Jaques Monod. It has recently been republished by Penguin with an introduction by Maynard Smith.

It is an absolutely brilliant introduction for the general reader to Molecular Biochemistry and Evolutionary Biology , as well as containing the most withering and amusingly sarcastic attacks on religion. I am surprised that Dawkins doesn't acknowledg e its influence more(or atall as far as I know),since it contains the whole meme idea as well as the essence of Dawkins attack on religion and much more that has been debated in evolutionary circles since 1970.

2.You challenged one of your correspondants to state where in scripture it was fortold that he would 'rise again on the third day '. Did you get a response? As you probably know, but was news to me when I read Mary Boyce's lecture (ref.below), this is actually a key tenet of Zoroastrianism. No surprise then that Paul (the inventor of christianity) came from a centre of the Persian religion- Tarsus. Zoroaster taught that "everyone could attain heaven by accepting his revelation and acting justly in accordance with it. But all must first be judged, when on the third day after death (as in traditional Iranian belief) the soul ascends to the peak of Mount Hara, the mythical mountain at the centre of the earth." ( page 7 in 'Zoroastrianism: a s hadowy but powerful presence in the Judaeo-Christian world' by Mary Boyce.Publishe by Dr. Williams Trust, 14 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AG. Given as a lecture to the Friends of the library 1987. Available from Amazon co UK. Search under Zoroastrianism).

The main thesis of this lecture, by the emeritus Professor of Iranian studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, is that Zoroastrianism had a much wider and stronger influence on Judaism and Jewish thought than hitherto realised or admitte d by historians. After all it was as Zoroastrians that the Persian Great Kings ruled over the Jews and other peoples of their vast empire. I have decided to become a Zoroastrian for the purpose of future debates with Christians. It is an older religion ( Zoroaster was contemporary with Abraham) and it has a better explanatory theodicy; there are two equal gods, an evil one Angra Mainyu, self existing and utterly malign and a good one Ahura Mazda, who created the world as a battle ground in which to try ( unsuccessfully so far) to vanquish and destroy evil. The predicted apocalyptic battle sounds pretty much like that clearly plagiaristic book Revelation.

1st March 1999

But why tell Muslims not to read it if it offends them? Surely they should read it to realise that what they believe in is complete rubbish and lies?

18th February 1999

You state that "there are many religions which do not have gods. Bhuddism is one such." This is untrue. A religion, by definition, has a belief in a god or gods. Therefore, strictly speaking Bhuddism is not a religion but rather a theology.

16th February 1999

Steve: You are doing wonderful work with your atheist site and I wish you well. I have been a proud and happy lifelong atheist even in the withering face of heated blasts of fundamentalism from the deceived masses --especially ferocity.

My overall response to the whole "Is there god(s) or not; is the Bible/Koran the supposedly "holy word" of such a being?" is: I DON'T CARE! I have the same response to the question of "where did we come from; where are we goin g?" I consider belief in a god-being to be a symptom of mental illness.

My favorite response to those who tout some god-being is to ask: "If your god is so all-powerful, can he create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it?" After fuming a bit, it usually sends bible-thumpers and rug-kneelers away mumbling heated ly under their breath. Sophomoric perhaps, but effective nonetheless.

Further, I want to know what this god-being's PARENTS think of their son demanding, nay, REQUIRING the perpetual worship of a planetful of otherwise minding-their-own-business folks! I personally think it's shameful behavior from someone who otherwise has his finger on the pulse of the entire UNIVERSE. He really does need to see a shrink or something. His parents were probably those of the "time out" school of discipline...

I wonder if Xians (my word for those who like to describe themselves as "Christians" but who are usually the farthest thing from his love-teachings, the "X" standing for "unknown," of course) and the Islamic have ever con sidered that their god-being(s) just MAY be MAD (and I don't mean angry)...? I know many of the god-being's followers certainly are.

In any event, I certainly miss Madelyn Murray-O'Hare here in Texas. She frequently made life worth living by messin' with the so-called religious and it was always a treat. In her honor I am considering starting up a new atheist organization called EV ANGELICAL ATHEISTS and begin a prison ministry pointing out to the inmates how their lives have been and are being threatened/ruined by illogical and irrational beliefs. Wouldn't that just frost the bippie of those pompous jerks who pound the bible at ca ptive audiences currently? (And it would be a sure-fire attention-getter!)

Take care, Steve. I had no idea my random comments would go on for so long.

Thanks for your time and patience.

12th February 1999

Steven,

Excellent article on the Koran, that's causing quite an uproar;

http://theatlantic.com/issues/99jan/koran.htm


The arguments are slanted: "To be or not to be". Steve mentioned that both Einstein and Spinoza believed in the universe as god. Glad to know I'm in good company.

Joseph Campbell asserted that christianities problems arose when reveale d dogma lagged behind revealed science and technology. I agree with Campbell.

As far as I know none of the "early" texts are contemporary with Christ, his apostles and disciples. So as the lawyer/electrican said, "It's collusion". There was a struggle for power and and money and to preserve the Roman empire. Revealed truth impar ts great power to those who reveal over those who believe.

Contrary claims aside, science has not revealed the universe - only more of it's mystery. Accept that God is a mystery lorking everywhere in an increasingly mysterious universe. That's the premise of religion, BUT, the leaders personify god, and claim revealed truth.

I'm a Christian who believes that Christ's story is an allegory, written by a Jewish sect seeking to define the good life for the individual (Campbell)

It works for me.


Hello, now I may be just a senior in high school,but I happen to know alot about the bible and i really dont think that we can sit around and take the credit for all that has been done on earth. There is a God! I have witnessed miracles that no human being could ever even explain. I am a walking, talking miracle. I was hit by a truck as a young child. I should have died. The Lord came through for me like He always does and always has. How can someone believe that there is no god??? If there is no cre ator, what are we doing here??? Why are we even bothering to live life? If there wasnt some sort of afterlife then we would be here for no reason at all. Everyone thinks that they can find all of the answers through science, but that is not true. science is a man made thing not God or man. Why do people believe that scientists have all of the answers? They were Not here before us. Therefore they cannot have all the answers. Lets face it people somethings are just not explainable by man. Even if there is no God it sure is a reason to keep on living. People's morals do change when they feel convicted by God. So why argue about whether there is a God or not? Just live and be happy that you are here. We will all find out who is right when the end of the wo rld comes anyway, and by that time it wont matter anymore.

8th February 1999

I've just read your article on the textual criticism of the New Testament. Although several points could be raised, time and interest limits me to a couple; besides that the document on the whole was boring at best. 1) Nicky Gumbel is hardly a theolog ian with special interest in textual criticism. Indeed his book devotes all but two pages of a subject debated endlessly by University professors (some of whom believe the New Testament to be the intention of an omniscient and omnipotent God). Quoting th e late Professor FF. Bruce may have helped instead of just mentioning his name. 2) what was your point anyway? Just what would have an omniscient or omnipotent God left us? I suppose the answer would lie in what you would have left us had you been God. H ow naive.

Sorry not to have been positive, but honest.

28th January 1999

I was surfing about when I came across your comments and I must say that I am devastatingly moved....excuese my poor choice of words....but, man!, am I proud to see that individuals of the human race are so damn intelligent.....whatever that is....We need to take a deliberate steps right this moment and declare war against christianity and Islam to enhance human existance on this planet.
Just as the churches have opened thier doors, I feel that it is only right to do the same publicly.


if you believe in God then you must acknowledge him in some way or another otherwise there would not be any point in beleiving in him ie. you bow/curtsey to the Queen to acknowledge that she is the Queen and not like the rest of us commoners; if human beings were left to acknowledge God in any way they please then each and every believer would pray in his own way which would lead to disunity among the believers. This is why many 'acknowlegements' or common saying 'prayers' are shown to us by God thus promoting unity and harmony among his believers no matter what country they hail from or what colour they are.
The specific reasons behind, therefore, of why we do this act or that is irrelevant as each and every act is merely (in reality) a way by which we acknowledge that there is in fact a 'higher entity' governing us all. Simple really!


Steve-
My definition of atheism is non-belief in God (s) as supernatural being(s). My main concern is with Christianity, it being dominant here in USA. Mountains of words have been written about Jesus,and more will be, but it is all for nought if God is not pro ven. Not only that, but it must be a particular God. Not Allah, not Jove, Amun-Ra etc., but JHWH. I sincerely invite evidence that JHWH, and (S)He alone is the author of the universe. Merely proving that A God exists is not good enough. Arguments from au thority are dismissed out of hand.
Jim Myers

21st January 1999

Dear Stephen,

I have been following your website with some interest during the past year, and I have enjoyed reading your debates and book reviews. I do have a few points I would like to make.

What concerns me though is that your arguments do seem to be directed entirely towards evangelical / fundamentalist christians who take the bible literally and consider every word historical despite obvious inconsitencies.

The Jesus seminar, for example, who have just published 'the acts of Jesus' come to similar conclusions to you regarding (i) eyewitess records? (ii) The miracles of Jesus, (iii) the resurrection of Jesus. Only 16% of the new testament documents were r ated historical or probably historical. ut the Jesus seminar is a christian organisation! Having read your arguments, your website could easily be renamed 'the world's best liberal christian website'!

I wrote to you earlier this year recommending that you read 'The myth of god incarnate'. What are your views? Who do you agree with?

What are your views on Christian ethics? Have you read 'An interpretation of Christian ethics' by Reinhold Niebuhr. In this text he describes Christianity as 'true myth'. The ethics he describes are somewhat different to the highly scripture orientate d 'ethics' of the fundies. In what way do you regard secular ethics as superior to Christian ethics?

Perhaps you could invite a liberal to do a debate with you. Or you could provide some links or include articles produced by liberals.

Finally, I think your Atheism section is a bit weak. You are wrong to say that Gods cannot be disproved. Indeed many Gods have been, although nobody has succeeded with the current Judeo-Christian concept of God. One way is to demonstrate that the conc ept is incoherent. Have you read - atheism - a philosophical justification by Michael Martin? I would describe your idea about angels as without factual meaning. There is no observation that can confirm or disconfirm the statement. The statement is there fore neither true nor false - it is just meaningless.

I look forward to hearing from you

Andy.

14th January 1999

I Just wanted to tell you that I accepted Christ into my heart 4 years ago and I have a PEACE that none of lifes experinces has been able to deliver. Jesus set me free from alot of unhealthy things and gave me a NEW life ....just because I had FAITH. He says,"I have come to give you Life and give it more abundantly." John 10:10 How Could anyone hate love? or love hate? I hope in the coming year you will have many opportunities to experience how much God loves you! Later, Michael.

4th January 1999

Killing of heretics, subversion of free speech and human rights is commonplacein muslim societies. The muslim ideology is no different from the 'Arab National movement,' which has decimated a number of indigenous cultures around the world - some more advanced than Arabia. The strict orthodoxy of the Sunna and the Sharia, by no means are universal or humanitarian in nature. I personally feel institutions need to be set up to contain the Islamic threat - perhaps an ideological warfare is more warranted than real war. Hopefully this ideology will self destruct under its own weight.

In the interest of humanistic islam, may I suggest a few sites; www.hindutva.org/AnwarShaikh

www.secularislam.org


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