Matthew 24:34
"Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place."

December 24, 2008

An Atheist and Christian Debate: Part 2

The 2nd installment of an Atheist and Christian debate is shown below. I forgot to mention earlier, Julio is a Christian, and I (Dan) am the Atheist. As an FYI to my readers, I will be posting these emails every few days over the glorious Christmas holiday season, so please check back every couple days for new posts.

From: Daniel
To: Julio
Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2008 2:05:14 AM
Subject: RE: Research Volunteers Needed


First, I will respond to your main writing.

Everything you say sounds good, and could in fact stand on it's own without Jesus, Christianity, and belief in things which go completely contrary to logic. There is nothing you've stated that requires the Bible or Jesus.

So I wonder, why does anyone need to believe in Jesus? We all can get along just fine without him, we can be good to others, we can help others. Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with it.

You mention different hierarchies in heaven. If we go to different levels of Heaven, then doesn't that mean there will be jealousy (and thus coveting) in Heaven? I thought Heaven does not have sin? On the other hand, if there are different levels of Heaven but nobody realizes it when they are there, then why in the world are there different levels? Doesn't that sound rather silly?

It seems that you focus a lot on success here on earth. As a Christian, our lives on earth should only be focused on God. You mention that you aren't perfect as Christian. Perhaps you would be a more perfect Christian if you focused more on church and Christ, as opposed to work and success? God doesn't give a damn about money or success. He only seeks a relationship with you. How can you have the best possible relationship with Christ if you are busy focusing on other things like financial freedom, something which is only temporary?

I honestly cannot see the correlation between being financially free and doing God's work. I see the correlation between being financially free and being able to do God's work in the future, but that is incorrect in God's eyes. You can die tomorrow without ever having done his work, and then what will you tell Him? "Sorry God, I was saving up? Yeah, I know I bought nice clothes and cars and food and jewelry and electronics...I was actually going to do your work AFTER that..." Have you forgotten, the rich man will find it easier to pass through the eye of the needle than gain entrance to Heaven?

Let me interrupt myself to state something completely clear, since my words may seem misleading: I find it improbable (but not impossible) that God exists, though I am certain that Jesus is not our Lord and Saviour. I know the Bible fairly well, but that doesn't mean I believe any of it. It is an ancient book, written by people similar to the Taliban. People were stoned to death because of God's words in the Bible. Women were stoned to death. Children had their heads smashed with rocks on God's orders, in the Bible. For all of the love that you speak of, you've not mentioned these things.

Even today, people are discriminated against because of the Bible. Gays are discriminated against, women are discriminated against. The only assumption we can make is that God wants this, because He himself stated it in his book. And God is perfect, he cannot make a mistake. If he wanted it then, then he wants it now.

Yet, if we throw away the Bible entirely, can't we still continue to love each other? Can't we also love the people that God hates and finds 'detestable' and 'abominable'? We can live the exact same way you've outlined below, and actually do it better, without the Bible. If you threw away the Bible tomorrow, you could accomplish the exact same things in your life. Of course, you would feel an immense amount of guilt and fear that God would punish you, and most of your church friends would stop talking to you, but you are still you. Contrary to popular opinion, the only person responsible for what you've accomplished is you. If there was a time when you were not a Christian and felt that you were strugglin, well, you made it didn't you? Give yourself the credit, not imaginary friends.

The Bible is an ancient book, responsible for countless horrors and atrocities throughout history. The Sermon on the Mount does not make up for this. We can find the same lovely words, the same message, in Buddhist teachings which actually came 300 years prior to Jesus. Yet, these Buddhist teachings say nothing bad about women, gays, or non-believers. Wouldn't this be a greater book than the Bible, since it doesn't contain evil deeds and acts?

Lemme answer your last question before I go to sleep (hopefully I don't sleep forever, if you know what I mean ;)

First off, come on man. You can ask me whatever, I don't take offense to anything really. Please don't take offense to anything I say though, sometimes it's direct but it's never meant to be hurtful or mean.

I went to a Christian school from preschool to 6th grade. My uncle (and then cousin) is the pastor of a pentecostal church in Long Beach, which my mom's father founded in the 1950s. He died while preaching at the pulpit in the 50s. My grandma still attends to this day. I attended up until about 15 years old, with sporadic appearances later.

I was a Christian, and accepted Jesus twice in 5th and 6th grades, because I was scared it didn't "take" the first time. Even as recently as 1997 in Korea, I went to church because it seemed like a comfortable place in a strange land.

However, I never really felt gripped by anything. Jesus never answered my prayers, the answers to my questions in church were unsatisfactory, and it all just seemed kinda weird to me.

Around 1998, I began identifying myself as an agnostic. A couple people I spoke with kinda laughed when I told them I was Christian, and they asked me why I would believe that a guy could walk on water or get mad when I say a "bad word". I thought about that kinda stuff, and I realized that I couldn't really answer them. It didn't make sense to me, and the more I thought, the more it seemed to seem phony.

Over the past 5 years or so, I began thinking about this stuff even more critically. And again, the more I looked, the more the wall of Christianity began to crumble away. It all culminated when I found a few websites that discussed atheism. It was shocking, to say the least, to find people who had the exact same questions that I had. They had the same thoughts, same ideas, same experiences in church, everything. It was nuts. I finally had what is called an epiphany while driving to work about 2 years ago. I realized that God doesn't exist, and that the reason I had so many questions that couldn't be answered was because I was still holding on to the crazy, irrational, illogical belief that God is involved in our lives. Everything, every single goofy question you could ask about Christianity could be answered. Why does God allow evil? Why do good people go to hell? Why do bad people go to Heaven? How come Jesus didn't make a commandment to free the slaves? If God made us in his image, then why does science show that we evolved along with apes? Why do men have nipples? Why do male chimpanzees have nipples?

It's simple: The Bible is just a book written by men, much like the Koran and the Torah. The God of the Bible is just like Zeus, Ra, and Allah. None of it is actually real, they're just stories used to keep people in line. It's always interesting to note that God didn't make man in his image: Man made God in his image. There are plenty of Christians out there who are not living in accordance with the Bible, yet they feel that "God is okay with that". That's because they are making God to be just like them.

FYI, if I were a Christian, I'd be a fundamentalist all the way. God wrote his book exactly how he wants it to be. If a person is not following it exactly, then they are wrong. This means that gays should not be treated equally, because God does not like them and finds them 'detestable'. Women should not speak in church, nor should they be disobedient to their husbands. Children should be severly punished for talking back. Women should never be allowed to remarry if their husband has died, and they definitely should not be allowed to divorce

We are not God, we are imperfect sinners. We should not be changing his rules and meanings in order to suit our modern, sin-filled society. If God wanted another book, he would write one ;)

Word. By the way, in case you didn't know, I'm officially ordained as a minister.

Pastor D

PS: If I die tonight, remember that I am burning in Hell every minute of every day that you are alive. For what exactly?...I don't know.

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