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Why I am not a Christian

I am an atheist who sees American Christians as allies in many ways because I find them to be both more open minded than progressives and more open to individual freedom than progressives.

There are two big reasons why American Christians are more open to freedom and to ideas in general than are progressives. 1) American Christians are more open to American tradition, which is mostly about individual liberty. 2) The entire mainstream media is constantly bashing Christians; whereas, they are constantly reinforcing progressive fallacies, thus forcing Christians to constantly think about and defend their positions, while insulating progressives from having to think about and defend their positions.

Nevertheless, there are several reasons why I am not a Christian, and any one of them is sufficient by itself. 1) I was at one time as sincere of a Christian as anyone has been, but over time I grew to find it no longer convincing. 2) The Bible is pretty flawed. 3) The actions of Christians today and throughout history are questionable. 4) There is little reason to believe in magic when there is no evidence other than a claim and many believers in that claim. 5) There is no reason to believe something when doing so will add nothing to my quality of life. 6) Religion is unnecessary for ethics.

Let’s look at the necessity of the Bible or any other religious text for living ethically.

If you are able to determine that the content of a religious text prescribes ethical behavior, then you already know how to behave ethically, and thus you don’t need it.

Let’s look at how the content of the Bible is flawed.

It says there is only one God, and it says that God is all powerful, all knowing, 100% good, 100% just, 100% fair, 100% perfect, and that he created everything. Then it says that God claims he is jealous of other gods, which contradicts the general nature of God as explained in the Bible.

It was written by a people (Jews) who claim it is what God told them, and what God told them was that they are his chosen people. The Bible thus promotes racism. I wonder if God’s chosen people are racist today …

More specifically, God told a man that all of the descendants of one of his sons would be his chosen people, but that the descendants of his other son would not be. Being one of God’s chosen people thus depends solely on your family tree. The Bible thus promotes nepotism. I wonder if God’s chosen people engage in nepotism today …

God allowed his chosen people to be slaves in Egypt for 400 years. The Bible thus promotes slavery.

Then God threatened to send ten plagues on Egyptians if they didn’t free the Jews. The plagues included murdering Egyptian children if the Pharaoh did not agree. The Bible thus promotes genocide.

Then God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not agree.  The Bible thus promotes what can only be described as fraud perpetrated through mind rape.

It says God stopped the sun. Wouldn’t God want to gain a little credibility by claiming that he stopped the earth from turning, and thus be the first to claim that the sun does not go around the earth?

What about continents, stars, and galaxies. Why is there nothing?

What about atoms, germs, and evolution? Why is there nothing?

What about predicting the future? Why are there only vague predictions?

The Old Testament thus contains no advanced information at all, but it does contain a lot of material about how God demanded animal sacrifices – just like every other primitive culture. The Bible thus promotes primitive thinking and taxation.

Two of every species fit into one boat?

To one who reads the Bible and thinks for oneself, the the Bible is obviously self-contradictory and primitive, and it promotes fraud, taxation, rape, slavery, racism, superstition, and genocide.

Therefore, why would anyone believe the Old Covenant, which is the source of all of my examples thus far? Why would anyone want to believe it?

Jesus says that God loves you, but the New Covenant contradicts him when it goes on to say that non-believers will burn in a lake of sulfur for all eternity. Don’t forget who created everything and who is all powerful, so basically God is doing that to you. Would a just god do that? Would a God who loves you do that – just for not believing something so primitive, self-contradictory, and unethical as the Bible? The Bible thus promotes the logical fallacy that might makes right.

You could be the most ethical person in the world, but if you don’t conform, you will burn for all eternity? The bible thus promotes fascism.

The texts chosen for inclusion in the Bible were determined by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century. The Bible thus encourages censorship.

The texts chosen just happened to be those most compatible with building and controlling an empire. The Bible thus promotes big government and big organized religion. Christianity was previously about a personal relationship with God, and there was little interest in a religious bureaucracy like the Catholic Church.

The entire Old Testament and some of the New Testament seems to have been inspired by the Soul of Animals; whereas, the teachings of Jesus seem to have been inspired by the Soul of Humanity, and thus Jesus may have been one of the first people to evolve with the Soul of Humanity. In fact, Jesus was a significant inspiration in the development of my theory of the Soul of Humanity. So, you could say I’m a fan, and thus a kind of Christian if you want.

Jim
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 17 comments
RocketMan - December 23, 2012

I would like you to comment on the variable of entropy and more specifically the second law of thermodynamics as it pertains to the present post in terms of its absence from your logic. I’d like to hear your reconciliation of nature shattering this law by its manifestation of both evolution and a general direction of organization without reverting to statistical data that would otherwise suggest the earth, moon, and stars are products of simple probability that lack plausibility.
I think it is unreasonable to live a life solely based upon statistical data where one might exclude oneself from possible satisfaction that comes from shrugging such data in favor of a more natural theology. In any case, if I personally lived a life based solely upon statistical data and its outcomes, I certainly wouldn't have ever married nor had children; both of which have enriched my life beyond any graph or intellectual train of thought I have ever encountered. I guess what I’m asking for is a reason NOT to be inclined and succumb to a reasonably theological approach to life.

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Jim - December 23, 2012

You are setting up a straw man and then knocking it down. The laws of thermodynamics do not say that there can never be an isolated natural increase in order. They say that there cannot be a net increase in order across the whole universe because any increase in order is offset by a permanent conversion of mass into energy into heat. Now consider that life is an immeasurably tiny fraction of the mass and energy of the Universe, and that when any molecular interaction takes place as a part of evolution, then there has indeed been a permanent conversion of some mass into energy into heat. Therefore, in trillions of years, evolution would indeed use up all of the mass and energy in the universe. However, that won't happen because stars are already converting mass into energy into heat much faster than is evolution. For example, in just 5 billion years, our sun will have exhausted its fuel and will collapse into a white dwarf.

It is reasonable to try religion because so many people claim to believe, and some parts of some religions can indeed improve quality of life for some people, but as one continues to grow and mature, then any religion I have seen thus far will begin to retard one's personal growth, and it is certainly impossible to try every religion. As a person matures he will conclude that there appears to be no magic, so why believe any part of a story from someone promoting magic?

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RocketMan - December 23, 2012

I know how simple it is for patterns to be incorrectly identified within chaotic data. An example of this would be rolling three balls down a street continuously until it was observed that they rolled exactly parallel to each other and in the same direction at the same speed. Many would claim that order had been identified when, in reality, probability had simply manifested what appeared to be order; the balls simply just needed to be rolled enough times. The truth about the role of probability within this scenario would be logical independent of the premise. But it would also be correct since the premise of the observation is correct. With that said, the premise becomes questionable when those same three balls not only roll down the street in the manner already described, but also take an immeasurable number of turns in all directions that defy everything other than observed order and in fact support an argument of order rather than one of probability. In any case, while living within a time of such immense order, I find it more plausible that the order is not simply a product of random events that appear to be so far removed from chaos. Of course, I do not deny the remote possibility of my own existence being as probable as anything as equally unlikely. And I’m not speaking about Christianity specifically but rather infused order at large that is something other than probability. How do you reconcile some many innumerable organized events with probability?

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Jim - December 23, 2012

I explained this in my article, Evolution Explained.

Just as your rolling balls might be perfectly aligned perhaps one second out of each thousand, perhaps one out of a thousand (maybe only one in a million) mutations is an advancement. However, when you have trillions of organisms over billions of years, that's a lot of mutations. This theory has since been corroborated by the fossil record and the discovery of DNA. I recommend The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

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Anonymous - January 5, 2013

'Dawkins' !!!!!

My goodness.

I read 'The Selfish Gene' about 25 years ago as a consequence of the BBC's tireless promotion of the title….
A few years later I read a convincing case that Dawkins was bogus and recognised as such by the/his scientific community. However, as an atheist 'poster boy' for evolution; no one wanted to 'call him out' as you Americans say.

I do not have the scientific training to take a view on this however, two things….
A 100% atheist friend of mine always regarded him as overrated by the British MSM & he had a PhD in Biology.
If Dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’ had been identified in his writing, then why no hint of even a nomination for a Nobel? Why doesn’t any one else directly build on his work?

These days Dawkins is often regarded more as a polemicist than a scientist. I remember reading the book made me feel clever though…….

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Anonymous - January 5, 2013

Hello again.

A very brief reflection on your five points.

1) I was at one time as sincere of a Christian as anyone has been, but over time I grew to find it no longer convincing.

The night is young and so are you (from your picture).

2) The Bible is pretty flawed.

It does not claim to be perfect further;
it is not a document that is self aware i.e Jesus would not know what 'the Bible' was.
The Gospels have (slightly) different accounts of the same event. Therefore it is surly implict that 'textural perfection' is not even being attempted by the authors?

3) The actions of Christians today and throughout history are questionable.

They are human and thus flawed.
Apostles denied Christ, Judas betrayed Him and Paul almost ran away (according to scripture of course:-).
The actions of Christians wil continue to be imperfect at best and will therefore always need His forgivness.
That's why He gave his only son.

4) There is little reason to believe in magic when there is no evidence other than a claim and many believers in that claim.

Yes.
One question; would you believe with the personal direct experience of this 'magic'?

5) There is no reason to believe something when doing so will add nothing to my quality of life.

I suspect here that you are attempting to say something more complex in too short a sentence (?)
'Quality of life' is a funny thing to understand, quantify or compare.
I suppose NOT accepting something might make a person happier under certain circumstance?? It all depends.

6) Religion is unnecessary for ethics.

Most histories would suggest otherwise but I imagine we would not agree.
I would however strongly suggest that 'religion' is certainly necessary for many to comply with given ethics of decency, whether they agree with or accept those ethics or not.

If humans had a glimpse of Hell would they murder innocents?

Kind regards,

John Richardson

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Anonymous - January 5, 2013

'I am an atheist who sees American Christians as allies in many ways because I find them to be both a little more open minded than progressives and more open to individual freedom than progressives.'

Well, talk about being 'damned with faint praise':-

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Jim - January 6, 2013

I recommend Dawkins because he makes the best explanation of evolution. I recommend the version of The Selfish Gene that has the notes and the two extra chapters. Be sure to read all of the notes too.

It is a logical fallacy to insist that Dawkins must have won a Nobel prize or that he must be any kind of innovator to be able to provide the best explanation of existing science. He could be a journalist and still do that.

Perhaps you were unaware that Dawkins did in fact create one innovation when he coined the term "meme".

It is a logical fallacy to claim that The Selfish Gene is less than what it is because Dawkins may have made some polemic remarks in his life.

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Jim - January 6, 2013

LOL. My picture is from from my mid forties.

The threat of Hell does not seem to deter people from murder. After all, the Bible says they can repent later.

Yes. I would take a seemingly magical event very seriously, but I would believe it were caused by aliens before I would believe it were caused by a god, and I would believe it were caused by the government before I would believe it were caused by aliens.

I explain non-religious ethics to some degree in my article: The Soul of Humanity.

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Jim - January 6, 2013

I removed the word "little."

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Anonymous - January 6, 2013

'Perhaps you were unaware that Dawkins did in fact create one innovation when he coined the term "meme".'

Nope.
Fully aware of that however I did not think that the term was actually 'scientific' i.e accompanied with 'proof'.
Instead, I took the term to be a speculative attempt to suggest how ideas/infomation could be transfered and replicated.
(Again, I'm not a scientist.)

John R.

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Anonymous - January 6, 2013

Ha ha.

Good.
Thank you.
The accusation of being 'a little more open minded' than a liberal progressive was truly awful.

John R.

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Anonymous - January 6, 2013

'LOL. My picture is from from my mid forties.'
It's the shades.

'The threat of Hell does not seem to deter people from murder. After all, the Bible says they can repent later.'

They can and perhaps some do.

However, the thought that a person could murder (ie in cold blood) all the time simply planning to 'repent' later would suggest that Almight God was a sucker.
A sucker with a silly 'get out of Hell free' rule for anyone who wanted it no (almost) no matter what they did.
No.
Hell is for evil people not those who forgot to repent.

'Yes. I would take a seemingly magical event very seriously, but I would believe it were caused by aliens before I would believe it were caused by a god, and I would believe it were caused by the government before I would believe it were caused by aliens.'

Hard to respond via this medium.

Have you ever heard of 'The Nag Hamadi Codex'?

(Nag Hamadi is a town in Egypt, codex=writings.)

John R.

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John Simmons - April 28, 2014

These are issues that cannot be intellectually defined. If one can intellectually be convinced of spiritual matters, then one can just as easily be convinced other wise.
The extremes one goes to when it comes to human vanity is amazing. How can such a limited knowledge base lead to understanding? It cannot. It can only lead to what is physically viable-like a brutish animal,and thus, it excludes spiritual understanding.
Any objective, contextual analysis of the documents called "The Bible" results in the reader becoming convinced of it's authenticity. The various interpretations, and behaviors manifested by so called believers, have resulted in confusion, and misinterpretation. The so called flaws, e.g., "two by two"(among many) in the ark only takes in the fragmented flood account described in Genesis is one sentence, lifted out of context, mis-spoken, and twisted.
Likewise, the examples given are fragmentary, out of context, and based upon flawed logic.
I would say, try not to confuse the traditions of society with the laws of God. Try not to view these writings as "Jewish", or some mystical mumbo jumbo. Lastly, if you are going to criticize those who are open minded enough to beleive, then you, my friend, become no better than those who have tried to bind man's aspirations and abilities from the beginning…

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Jim - April 28, 2014

You are mostly setting up straw men and knocking them down.
1) I already did what you implied I had not done. I read the Bible with an open mind back when I had arrested development, and I was convinced, and I became a Bible discussion group leader at a very serious church that believed all of the Bible and relied only on the Bible and not on any other texts or personalities.
2) You claim atheism is a belief, but it is not. It is the absence of a belief.
3) As humanity's "limited knowledge base" has grown, and our understanding has grown, there is even less evidence for your belief, and thus absence of belief is simply the rational result – as it has always been.
4) You claim belief is open mindedness, and thus imply that atheism is closed mindedness, but absence of belief is not closed mindedness;whereas, believing what your peers believe is an indication of closed mindedness.
5) If your religious texts are so easy to misinterpret, then that is only the fault of the author. It is not the fault of those who find them unconvincing, or who honestly misinterpret them. It is also evidence of an inferior author.

Although aliens are a more likely explanation for your beliefs, have you considered that the absence of evidence is why you don't believe that aliens are the explanation for your beliefs. If one can be rational about the alien theory, one can be rational about other theories.

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John - April 18, 2017

The modern church has become intellectually lazy. However, with the plethora of information available to us at our fingertips, anyone can find answers to many of our questions if we spend a little time seeking.

God has made Himself both known and knowable, but He will not violate our will and will remain hidden until we seek Him.

For those who are seriously looking for answers, here are some resources:

Philosophical evidence
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/christian_evidences/does-god-exist/?
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/objections-answered/
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/handout_apologetics/

Historical evidence
https://www.khouse.org/articles_cat/2017/technical/archaeology/
http://www.bethinking.org/jesus/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-christian-sources
http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/browse-topics/
http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/are-the-gospels-accurate/

Scientific evidence
https://www.khouse.org/articles_cat/2017/technical/creation/
https://www.khouse.org/articles_cat/2017/technical/space-time/
https://www.khouse.org/articles_cat/2017/technical/physics/
http://www.icr.org/

We may be able to intellectually satisfy our questions, but head knowledge is not enough. Ultimately, we must encounter and submit to God for ourselves and at that point, Faith (trust) is born. It may be cliche, but yes, Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. The organized aspects of the Christian church are symbolic of the unseen, but implemented by men and therefore imperfect. Christ is the embodiment of the perfection intended and yet to come. It is up to us individually to do our own seeking, even if it is to set out to disprove Christianity. How else can we be honest with ourselves and know what we know?

Former intellectual skeptics:
http://www.awakeandamazed.com/id66.html
http://www.bethinking.org/is-christianity-true/from-atheism-to-christianity-a-personal-journey

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