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

December 31, 2008

An Atheist and Christian Debate: Part 3

Just in time for the New Year holiday, I bring you the third installment of Julio and I going at it. Stay tuned, there is still much more to come. I've made a minor edit to the name of our workplace, and clarified the quoting and format, but otherwise everything is verbatim from the email.

Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 00:53:12 -0700
From: Julio
Subject: Re: Research Volunteers Needed
To: Daniel

Hello Pastor D, I'll get straight to it just like your neck:-)

Your response......"There is nothing you've stated that requires the Bible or Jesus....."

Well everything that I base myself on is what is extracted from the bible in regards to the "truths and principals" in itself, without studying it this conversation would have ended at "We needed your input". Maybe I was misunderstood, there aren't "different levels" of heaven rather different positions. Just like here on Earth, same Earth but everyone has different positions, Bill the janitor is a janitor (or was, not sure) but why in the world do you hold a higher position than him as knowledgeable technician? He shouldn't be jealous because I'm sure that any wise and common sense person, like Bill, would tell you that he has no reason in his right mind to be jealous, you have earned the position that your in because of your labor/work that you have put in, or lack of. If you made it big time at (edit: workplace removed), as an X Class Engineer, knowing you put in diligent work and say I didn't, then the fact that I was lazy and settled for less because I'm happy with my little Tech position, then the understanding is obvious no extra effort, no extra rewards.

"Success" here on Earth is definitely not just financially, like I mentioned before, success is a well balanced life. Success includes your family, your relationships, physical (health), mentally, spiritually, etc. Conformity in this world has caused a lot of people to think and connect success with money. Success on this Earth is a major role to God's ultimate plan. Example: When I use to work at the Morgue (I was about 17-18yrs old), very frequently I use to have to go to downtown LA to pick up a Catholic priest at his apartment that was going to do the funeral service. Well obviously he talked about God and his personal life. On our little journey back to the morgue he mentioned he wasn't married, no family, no children, no car to get around and he projected loneliness; he preached to me like any other priest would about following the Word. I remember telling myself "if this is an end result of following God, I DON'T WANT THAT". A few years passed and after studying and learning that He (God) wants nothing but the best for us, I understood that people were too busy trying to "interpret" the principals of the bible but its there in plain English, there's nothing to interpret, He wants nothing but the best.

As an individual here on Earth, if I spoke to you about the Word of God and you seen my sad and depressing life would it be attractive enough for you to ask me "Hey Julio, what is it in your life 'cause I want the same?". What if it was the opposite, would you then care to ask that one question that can possibly lead to greater things? So, would you? The reality is success (don't just think money) here on Earth is important to attract the multitudes, makes sense right? Jesus was attractive to a lot of people, he had success here on Earth in the flesh, and when the people asked the "why", all glory went to God.

In response to [what you've said]: "You mention that you aren't perfect as a Christian. Perhaps you would be a more perfect Christian if you focused more on church and Christ, as opposed to work and success?"

My personal focus here on Earth is on God's original plan, who says you can't strive here on Earth and have fine things and work on God's plan concurrently. You were able to go to DeVry and study something you enjoyed while possibly focusing and working on other things right? I know I was able too, going to school & working, (edit: workplace removed) and real estate all while developing my faith and knowledge; we call it multi-tasking, being productive, getting busy. When I stated that I wasn't perfect it was geared more towards that I can do a lot more in respect to my life spiritually, physically, mentally, financially, etc. Putting in work for the "church" comes in many ways, church to many people is a physical building that in their eyes is holy. As soon as they drive up to the parking lot they turn to this obedient individual because they give weight to the physical structure they are about to walk into. It says in the bible "we are the church", are body is the temple, the house of the holy spirit. Once that building is empty its no longer holy, in other words where ever we are at we ourselves make that place what it is, the physical place doesn't make us.

Your statement "Have you forgotten, the rich man will find it easier to pass through the eye of the needle than gain entrance to Heaven?"

If you read only one verse prior to that you'll read that the young man Jesus was talking too was a young man who said "he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions" in other words, his possessions he was asked to give up were greater or meant more than doing God's purpose. So "yes" if your possessions/riches mean more to you than God's purpose it doesn't matter how much chedda you have, its going to be difficult. Remember He only doesn't seek a relationship with me but yet everyone, to think of only one relationship is too small for Him, but everyone here on Earth now that's big thinking.

Due to my beliefs I will give you my amateur opinion on why I feel its incorrect to be gay. Before I get to the "gay" portion of this, I want to make clear about the woman part, God created "Man" (that is mankind) which includes both male and female in his own image, which means he made them both equal. He also gave a mandate for mankind to subdue the Earth (that is have dominion over all Earth) and MULTIPLY. See God created the principal of the "seed" (for multiplication), everything on Earth has the ability to multiply itself.

Let me ask you a question, if you didn't marry a woman/female how would you be able to create another human being? You and every single living being out here has the seed; male and female are created uniquely for recreation, how can you multiply with male-to-male or female-to-female? You can't! So it goes against His word, His principal of the seed and if it goes against His principal of multiplication then you are knowingly rejecting Him. As you stated, what he wanted in the beginning is what he wants today, you're so right about that, He is a consistent God. Not to say if I ran into a gay person or happen to associate with a gay person, I dislike them and want to bash them, not at all, I would respect and love them as a human being but I would disapprove of their ways based on principals. Remember, God spoke to everyone, believers, non-believers, people of influence & people with no influence, the poor, the rich, etc. He didn't leave anyone out of the possibility of change!

Its tough as a 5th-6th grader to have a good understanding of the word and the true purpose, but the good news is that "yes" it only takes one time. You don't need to be the perfect human being to accept Him but remember the "knowledge of the truth" is whats sets us free. See once you have knowledge of the truth then there's no excuse to say "I didn't know", once you gain that knowledge it is your responsibility to act on it. Then you might say "ignorance is bliss" but ignorance kills. God didn't and doesn't create evil, if man disobeys then he gives birth to evil/consequences, but if he obeys then he gives birth to life. Obedience or disobedience gives birth to that "action" that is being taken. Example: There is a person who has an eating disorder, well just because they do all of God's works this doesn't mean that they won't pay the consequences of their actions in the flesh, there are Earthly/Physical principals being violated and that person will more than likely suffer from those consequences. Miracle acts (or as you would call it, the unexplainable) here on Earth is NOT the rule, miracles are the exception. Principals/Laws whether earthly or spiritually are placed to maintain order. Another reason why its important to know the earthly principals, like gravity, without gravity there wouldn't be order, without many things here on earth there wouldn't be any order.

Again, I'm just an amateur in all this. Prayer is something very touchy and at times difficult to understand. I'm not sure how you were taught the Word when growing up as a Christian but from my understanding and studying here's my take. God has given us ALL things (all means all, there is nothing outside of "all") he has given everyone the same resources and the same 24 hours as anyone on this planet. When God says you have been given "all" things and your faith is in-line with that, then asking God through prayer for something he has already done is rather insulting. So prayer becomes a declaration of things already done, a spirit of thanks giving. Instead of praying "God can you give me....." it should rather be "God thank you for giving us.....". If I need a pencil and you hand it to me but I keep asking for it while its already in my hands, then how can you give it to me again if I already have possession of it. God can't give you something you already have.

Based on what you said when you wrote about telling a couple people you were Christian and they laughed, well your faith at that point was being tested, what you did next was totally your choice but you chose to fold your cards instead of going to search for the correct answers. The same fuel that keeps your fire burning about a non existent God, that turning point in your life should have been used to drive you to hit it harder, so next time a question comes up you might be able to respond. Hopefully no one questions your existence here on Earth because if you fold easily again and can't find the answer I wouldn't want you to think that you have no choice but to sleep forever :-)

Like I mentioned to you before we can be here for days (and I don't mind) but there are questions about your beliefs as well as mine that cannot be answered, period. I believe this world was created by God, you believe its a science. If we were both asked to prove it well you simply would just have to believe and have faith in science, while I would have to have faith in God. No human being was alive when Earth was physically created so in essence you do believe in a "story" that's told by scientist, that's your religion/belief/truth per say, that's still a form of belief or faith in something that you did not see or that anyone seen for that matter.

You can say, "its silly to think that God simply created man" and ask "prove it Julio". I can turn around and ask you "prove to me that man evolved from Ape", you can't. I been alive 28 years on this Earth and I haven't seen any Fox 11 breaking news that a zoo has an Ape that finally turned into a Man. If Man truly evolved from an Ape then why the heck are all these Apes dying without going through their "normal" process of becoming a human being, rather silly don't you think? I'm sure if I spend enough time or time period on something that had no meaning to me or my family's life, like "scientifical explanations on creation" I can come up with tons of questions as you have in questioning the existence of God but since I spend most of my time in actions that will help us grow in our quality of life I only have limited questions for now that came up as I typed.

[you stated]".....I find it improbable (but not impossible) that God exists......"

Its been about 3-4 years since I left (edit: workplace removed), and you still have the same beliefs of a non existent God. When will you stop investing your time in trying to convince people that God doesn't exist and start looking for this god of yours that might exist?

Your Mexican Ape forever,

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.

December 20, 2008

An Atheist and Christian Debate: Part 1

As promised, here is the first installment of an email discussion I had with my friend. I've organized it so that it reads from top-down. I'll continue to post each successive email in the coming days, as long as Jesus doesn't return in the meantime.

A bit of background: I forwarded a survey I'd received from Sam Harris. The survey asked for both atheist and Christian respondents, as it had to do with a scientific study on faith. My friend missed the original email, but replied a few weeks later. A few exchanges later, and we've found ourselves at this point...

Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 10:19:22 -0700
From: Julio
Subject: Re: Research Volunteers Needed
To: Daniel

You know what just hit me right now after reading your intro to your "Diary of an Atheist"......when we worked together you damn near smacked me one time that I told you wou were an Atheist....remember? You said "I am not an Atheist"............did we change teams?

;-) your a fun guy to tease with.

From: Daniel
To: Julio
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:51:18 AM
Subject: RE: Research Volunteers Needed

I probably did, that's what clinging to Jesus will do to a person. It's scary to let go sometimes.


Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 12:34:10 -0700
From: Julio
Subject: Re: Research Volunteers Needed
To: Daniel

I hope you don't mean me, right?


From: Daniel
To: Julio
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:26:21 PM
Subject: RE: Research Volunteers Needed

No not you, Christians in general. The same goes for Muslims. Neither adherent can easily let go of their faith, because the penalty is so severe. Both religions profess to be built on love, but in reality they are built on fear. That's why people cling to it. If all we cared about was loving other people, then why not be a Buddhist? They don't have to believe in God, yet still preach love for one another.

The answer, of course, is that Christianity and Islam are built on fear. You HAVE to believe in their God, otherwise you will go to hell forever. Even the most loving, caring, wonderful person on the planet will go to hell if they don't believe. Quite ironic for a religion based on love.

And of course if you have any questions, lemme know. I'll answer any and every question you could possibly have, as long as you're open to hearing the answers. Just be forewarned, my answers will be long and thorough...kinda like my sex fool!


Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 16:37:36 -0700
From: Julio
Subject: Re: Research Volunteers Needed
To: Daniel

Wooow, where do I start...I am the same way I got some lengthy responses at times but just like you I need you to have an open mind as well.....I'm not claiming or saying I know everything, just like when we were Techs, there's some Techs that know little and there's Techs that know more (you) and Techs that know even more (Me)..

Before I start with my manifesto, there is always going to be believers and non-believers, I don't know why its just that way and I live with it. There is a lot of questions that even the most knowledgeable & wise pastor/priests (call 'em what you wanna call 'em) just don't have and that's were your belief/faith HAS to come in.

From what I'm reading on this email and on your website is that you talk about "religion", religion teaches you some weird things, people do weird things when all they know is religion. Religion is something that's traditional, I don't study religion, what I study and follow are "Truths". You see one of the many things religion teaches you is that its okay to have lack in your life, to be poor (the more broke you are the holier you become), to just care that you have a little peace here and a little peace their. I know grown men that don't want or have more because they feel they're going to violate some kind of principal, when in fact the word of God teaches about abundance in every aspect of our life, to have a balanced life. That's why you see superstars overdosing or committing suicide because of a void that was never filled, there whole purpose for living was for material success and once they achieve and can literally buy all they want, whats next for them? Stealing, suicide, selling drugs (just for the thrill). Money isn't everything but it definitely helps, money will only accelerate the TRUE person you are; if you have little money and your a party animal, money will accelerate that person you are, but, if you have money and you mean nothing but good then money will accelerate that goodness that you have in your heart. Money isn't the root of all evil, its the LOVE for money that's the root of all evil.

People connect love with a certain emotion but Love is a way of life and at times triggers many things and emotion is one of them. Love is a LIFESTYLE that prompts a lot of other things like obedience, faithfulness, trust, responsibility, respect, honesty, etc. Its not that people fear, because one thing love does not bring is fear, without getting into too much detail, you can't have both. You see when you mention people like Jeffrey Dahmer its hard for you or me to use him as an example because even though he proclaimed that he was a born again Christian we don't now if that was truly in his heart, say it was and more importantly let's say he also repented (because you can't accept Jesus and continue with your horrific lifestyle), then your right he is in heaven, but let's say he was just testing the system and he failed then he's burning in hell my young giraffe. Even if he is in "heaven", it says in the bible that there are positions in heaven and not everyone is in the same position, there are "great" & "greater" in heaven.
Also with works/actions comes reward, someone who "attends" church service for a combined time of "10 years" and gives their little tithes and offerings and attends "religiously" every Sunday is not going to be successful here on Earth. There are principals established here that the laborers (it doesn't just mean people who just work 9-5) they will prosper according to their works. Example: if you work a 9-5 job at 7-Eleven your going to make 9-5 7-Eleven money, but if you work X amount of hours in multi-million dollar transactions/business (real estate, stocks, developments) then financially your going to make according to your risk, this is just a principal period. So someone who faithfully tithes and doesn't miss one time is not going to become a millionaire or financially free, you need to do the activities/works that will cause that to happen.

Just to touch on the picture of the Earth 4 billion miles away, its just a different frame of mind on how you look at it. A non-believer will look at it and probably state exactly what you put on your website, someone say like me will say "that picture is amazing and knowing how big God is we are that important to Him that he uniquely created us". God isn't the size of Earth, to me God is a lot greater & bigger than that picture.

With all this in mind a lot of people are so quick to judge and say "oh look at Julio" and watch your every move under a magnifying glass and as soon as you slip, boom they come at you aggressive. I'm not claiming that I'm perfect, I am seriously, seriously far from that, there's a lot of things that I have to work on but the important thing is that everyday I know in my heart I'm fighting and striving to become better balanced. There's even some things that you can't do in front of other people, friends or even family because the maturity level and understanding is just not there and again they'll be quick to judge.

Aside from your response to my email I do have a specific question, not to get too personal but one time you told me that you were in it deep with the bible and studying at a younger age or you went to a private school (something along those line), what was the exact turning point for you and why? (Just curious)

This is interesting and good, it gets the juices flowing.........

Your Nigga,
Julio G

What will I do? How will I respond? Will I break under the weight of so many words? Will my so-called 'atheist religion' fail me? Tune in next week to find out!

December 15, 2008

A Christian and an Atheist Debate

Okay, so I'm not so sure if it's an actual Atheist - Christian debate. But my Christian friend and I engaged not too long ago in a discussion via email concerning the existence of God, whether God is good or not, and what it means to be a Good Christian. Over the next few weeks, I'll post these "debate" emails for all to see and comment on.

I'm censoring only the personal details from these emails, and some completely off-topic details. My friend has given his concurrence that I can post these debate emails for public scrutiny.

I will post the first email exchange later this week.