Part IV : Explaining and refuting religions
(Part I - Part II - Part III)
Myths of Miracles
To develop a scientific viewpoint on miracles, we first need to
split them into 2 categories : the miracles that happened, and those
that didn't happen (and correctly sort the most famous examples into
Antiquity was full of mythologies, telling about creation stories,
of miracles and incarnated gods.
It is natural, as people like to tell each other about wonderful
stories, which seem much more important to them than ordinary ones.
And, in quite hard contexts (low education level, low technologies,
bad organization systems, bad transportation means, bad
communication means, no internet available), they had no decent
means to verify or refute the truth of stories that were told to
them. So, myths could easily propagate, not easily be contradicted,
and ifever at some time and place a myth was contradicted, people
there would just shut up about it while it would keep propagating in
They spread in many places all over the world. India is especially
full of old stories of incarnated gods.
Stories evolved, inspired each other, generating new versions and
mixtures of versions.
of life-death-rebirth deities and virgin
births were all over the place. The reign of Alexander the
Great more than 3 centuries BC spanned far to the East and generated
exchanges between religious traditions on large distances, thus
Consider the story which officially serves as the root of today's
most dominant religions: the Hebrew bible. It contains plenty of
accounts of miracles, claimed to have happened many times during the
history of the Jewish people. But these miracles suddenly stop
occurring near the end of the story (the same time when the Jews are
suddenly irreversibly becoming faithful to their God). Then, what
happens when miracles finally stop occuring ? Then comes the reign
of Josias. What happens during the reign of Josias ? You can read it
in 2 Cronicles 34, or in 2 Kings 22 and 23. This is the account of
the true creation of Judaism, and the circumstances how all these
stories were made up, collected, put together and arranged into a
seemingly consistent whole, out of inspirations from diverse older
Now in recent times, archeological research was finally conducted
without the forceful desire to prove the validity of the Biblical
story. This research, conducted by Israel Finkelstein and others,
happened to establish the evidence that the real story is very, very
different from what the Bible says; and how did the Bible itself
happen to be written. Namely, that there was no historical Exodus,
nor any historical Moses (whose birth legend borrows from the birth
story of Sargon of Akkad). The Egyptian empire was so large at the
"time of Moses" that it included the land of Canaan. Hebrews emerged
from a lower social class of Canaanites who managed to free
themselves from the domination they were under. The full story of
how things happened, as established by recent archeological
findings, can be read for example in the book The Bible Unearthed (a
good synthesis, whose main lines are now well-established, even if
other archeologists may disagree on some details).
How easy it is in such conditions to claim having had many fulfilled
prophecies, when both the act of prophecy and the claim of its
historical fulfillment are in fact invented long after they
The implications of this discovery cannot be underestimated, as more
than half of today's world population belong to religions heavily
founded on the Hebrew bible (that they include in their sacred texts
and crucially draw from it their claims of divine authority, or at
least had to do so at their initial development), which they hold as
historically rather accurate, at least concerning the reality of the
Exodus and Moses as a historical figure.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee for this to make any
significant difference to the popularity of these religions in the
near future, as
Many things can be said (and can be found in many Web sites) about
what's wrong with the Bible, either in terms of accuracy,
consistency or morality.
- before such evidence came up, many people already had the
intuition based on any sort of common sense, how implausible was
the historical accuracy of the Bible;
- even with this evidence, many people deeply involved in their
religious faith can keep it against all evidence for a very long
Let us just make a few remarks (among countless possible other
When the Church opposed heliocentrism (in the Galileo trial), one of
the arguments was the story in the Hebrew bible telling a miracle
where the sun went back its way in the sky so as to make one day
Not only the contents of the Gospels are probably all made up (there
is no independent confirmation for the Jesus story), but they
contain a completely distorted interpretation of the Hebrew Bible
that do not resist scrutiny, so that careful Jews have no problem to refute
claims of competing religion supposedly based on their Bible,
especially Christian missionaries claims that Jesus would be the expected
Christians of the first century believed that the end of the world
was near, so that not all of them would die before it happened.
Still now, based on the Revelation text, many Christians expect a
new coming of Jesus that would mark the end of this world (an
extremely miraculous change, for a 2000 years of reign of Jesus,
followed by a total destruction of the universe). But what can be
the sense of this "hope" and "good news" as the universe is billions
years old, life miserably crawled on Earth without any help from God
for millions of years, and just suddenly now is starting to open up
to much more interesting possibilities (in terms of decent living
conditions and meaningful progress towards knowledge, culture and so
The viewpoint of Jehovah's witnesses, in all its absurdity, still
carries the following genuine remark that other Christians seem to
ignore: in its beginning, Christianity was a quite materialistic
religion. Indeed as expressed in 1 Corinthians 15, the reason why it
was so important for the first Christians to believe in the
resurrection of Jesus, is to serve as a first case and promise for
the bodily resurrection of all people. And why did they need to
believe this ? It is because they could not find any hope for a life
after death as long as their body would remain in the grave ! They
claim that these bodies are sleeping and waiting to be miraculously
revived some time later. In other words, they could not make any
difference between the soul and the body.
But, if life was only about bodily life, then we would only be
machines (sorts of robots). Are we ? But if, on the other hand, the
deep nature of consciousness is immaterial, then the connection to
our body is temporary and with no fundamental value. A body is
nothing else than an assembly of atoms in some specific order.
Quantum theory even explicitly proves that particles cannot be
individually identified beyond their type: an exchange of 2
particles of the same type (2 electrons, or 2 atoms with the same
numbers of protons and neutrons) does not modify the state
of a physical system - and indeed, most of the atoms that make up
our bodies are continuously replaced many times during our life.
Thus if we could make an exact copy of a body by putting together
other atoms in the same order as in the first body, this would
somehow be another occurrence of the same body. Thus if ever the
first body was destroyed while the second was still "empty" of soul,
then the soul that was in the first body that is destroyed would
just need to move to the second body in order to continue life
normally. But then, if ever after death we still need to come back
to an earthly life, why take an old, dead and scrapped body and
expect some miracle to put back its atoms in some workable order ?
Reincarnation to a fresh new fetus would be such a more interesting
Thus, how silly is the Christian dogma of a bodily resurrection; and
also their dogmatic denial of all possibility of reincarnation. This
denial might have seemed like a defensible view in the context of
some past culture which had not given any serious thought about the
difference between mind and body, about a possibility of life out of
the body, or of reincarnation, and where NDE testimonies suggesting
reincarnation were not well-known either. But it is so pitiful to
see them endorse the heritage of this past dire lack of
understanding, in their way of regarding it as a divine revelation.
See also the difficulties
What about other miracles ? For anyone who knows physics, it is
clear that some miracles are totally unrealistic. Such a judgement
is not, as stupid religious fanatics would assume, merely based on
some arbitrary dogma that the "laws of physics" would have divine
status over God, and cannot be broken because we saw them unbroken
until now; to which they would reply that God is higher that our
ideas on the laws of physics. It's much more subtle than this.
Can God make 2+2 equal to 5 ? Can He draw a square with 2 edges and
3 vertices ? So, there are some ideas that are impossible because of
self-contradiction. People would naively assume that laws of physics
are all of a different type, that their violation would be
conceivable, and God could violate them in a miracle.
In fact, it depends on which laws. The known laws of physics are of
different types, and once we know them and try to figure out that
God would decide to break them, it clearly appears that some of them
would be harder to break than others.
In particular, we know from general relativity (describing
gravitation as an effect of the curvature of space-time) that the
conservation of mass (or energy, which is the same), is absolutely
unbreakable, as it comes as a theorem of geometry: once assumed that
the equation of general relativity (relation between mass and the
space-time curvature) is valid before and after a miracle, we can
get as a geometrical theorem (by trying to glue together the
space-time of before and after the miracle) that the conservation of
mass still necessarily holds during the miracle too.
But one of Jesus's miracles claims to contradict this: the
multiplication of fish and bread.
Naive people may imagine that if we have a little mass of food, then
some miracle may expand this mass to let it feed more people, and
leave more rests than the starting mass. In fact, this is absolutely
impossible, as what it says requires to break the mass conservation,
which we know can't be broken even by God. If we really want to
force a possibility to get the claimed result, the best hypothesis
would be to take some dark matter, which flows around invisibly, and
transform it into ordinary matter. But, from the viewpoint of the
laws of physics, this would be a very violent operation, much more
violent than the explosion of a nuclear bomb. First, the little
piece of food "used" at the start would be of absolutely no help,
either as a model or a generator, for supplementary atoms to appear
and form more food.
Second, for such a violent miracle, it is very surprising to not
have observed any strong side effect.
Third, if really God had such a power, then it would be so pitiful
to waste it just for fulfilling such a little need that could have
been satisfied by much easier means (such as attracting a flock of
birds and making them fall already roasted on the ground). There
would have been so much more wonderful things to do with just a very
tiny fraction of this power, such as creating thousands of living
species much more wonderfully designed than those currently living
on Earth (including some that would wonderfully replace humans), by
writing down their DNA from scratch - if only God had enough proper
imagination to know which are the desirable DNA codes.
Some Christians may react to this by saying: in these miracles,
God's goal was to give a spiritual message, so as to be understood
by the people of that time, disregarding any troubles with the laws
of physics that are nothing to Him, in ways that those people would
not have understood.
Well... to make a comparison, it's just like saying: the reason why
Jesus went through a wall here rather than use the open door just a
few steps aside to reach that place, is that people were not aware
of the fact there was a wall here and an open door there, so that
they would not have understood why he would go that way; his way
through the wall was useful for the spiritual message he wanted to
But another problem is that the story and teachings of Jesus are not
even original, as they have many things in common with those of Buddha
as well as other
myths of that time - starting with the very idea that a divine
person may come as a human incarnation, which was commonplace in
Christ in comparative mythology.
The Gospel writers claims of prophecy of the Jesus life in the
Hebrew Bible are wrong (and refuted by jews). For example, the
Hebrew Bible never announced any virgin birth: the word in Isaiah
meant "young lady", which was misinterpreted, falsely translated to
"virgin" in the Greek version of the Bible which Christians took as
their reference. Anyway, even possible similarities between the
story of Jesus and the Hebrew bible cannot prove anything, as
nothing can prevent the details of Jesus life to have been invented
just for resembling excepts of Hebrew scriptures interpreted as
Problem: if God did such miracles with His unique Son sent on Earth,
why would so many details of the story have remained enclosed in the
fruits of human imagination, as had been expressed by previous myths
? Is this the expression of a unique revelation and the trace of
wonderful miracles by God above all human thought, as Christians
want to depict things ?
Christians usually see as irrelevant the observation of similarities
between Jesus (and Christianity) and the other myths and religions
of that time, because:
1) There is no strict identity between stories. Yes but no myth is
strictly identical to another myth either, yet many myths are
vaguely inspired from other myths, so that this is not really a
2) In their view, Jesus came to give us revelations from God and
thus had no reason to have taken his inspiration from these other
myths; such similarities would be a mere coincidence. Admittedly,
there is no direct proof that the Gospels and other Christian
traditions were not created from scratch, in the same way as there
is no direct proof that the Earth and the Universe were not created
from scratch by God 6,000 year ago with all these numerous fossils
and images of faraway stars and galaxies (so far that their light
cannot have been emitted by physical objects less than 6,000 years
ago), just made to mislead us into believing in a much older
However, these miracles were supposedly made by God for serving as a
sign of the divinity of Jesus, rather than for being a source of
ridicule and discredit.
Admittedly, the effect is different depending on the educational
level of the listener. To the uneducated, claims of miracles can be
received as a sign of divine authority no matter other
But for educated people who had the chance to know about such
similarities, this is a source of discredit, for the following
Between two worldviews (whether the Jesus story is of a genuine
incarnation of the Son of God or a myth), the argumentative power of
an observation is defined by ratio of probabilities for the observed
fact inside each worldview. In the Christian worldview, such a
similarity between the Jesus life and other myths is a possibility
but a very unlikely coincidence, (probability close to zero). But in
a non-Christian view (Jesus myth hypothesis), such similarities are
very much expected (probability close to 1). Thus the precise
details of life, teachings and miracles of Jesus seem to be designed
by God for the discredit of His own message.
All this seems very consistent with the Jesus teachings telling that
intelligence and education have no value in the eyes of God, and
even that God prefers people who choose to give up all use of
intelligence in their approach to God. Thus, both sides may finally
feel reinforced by these observations....
But let us hear the following explanation given in a TV debate in
May 25, 2006, by Frederic Lenoir, philosopher and sociologist of
religions (famous French writer, on a personal spiritual path mixing
aspects of Catholicism, protestantism, orthodoxy, Buddhism and
philosophy), to defend the authenticity of the Gospels against
alternative stories, as the Da Vinci Code story was having its fame
at that time:
"We must delve into the mindset
of antiquity for which the interests of historical truth was not
the same as ours, and we have many texts of the Ancients where
what matters is to get the message no matter (we do not care) if
it's exactly what was said by the character who is credited with
this message. For example, St John's Gospel is very clearly a
Gospel that wants to convey a theological message, ... who was
Jesus and show he is the incarnate Word, with no necessary care
for the accuracy of all his words, and that's why we know most
of the Gospels were not actually written by their alleged
authors. A gospel was attributed to that character because he
was a close disciple of Jesus, but basically it was written by
Christian groups, communities who wanted to convey a message ...
and despite all this, the 4 canonical Gospels are still likely
to be those closest to historical reality ...
[Unlike the writer of Iliad and Odyssey] the claim of the
writers of the Gospels is to say: here is what Jesus said, here
is what he did, even if they take some liberties with history.
And then you realize that there is a mixture in the Gospels, of
claims and historical events that have most probably occurred,
although it is unclear exactly how (otherwise Christianity would
have had none of the success it had if there had not been a man
named Jesus who overturned a number of disciples at one point),
but at the same time we can see, which historians of religions
can spot very well, there are a number of entirely mythical
events, for example, when the Gospel of Matthew says that during
Jesus death there was a large solar eclipse (...)
It is a myth found in all religions during a major event, the
birth or death of a founder of religion, we are always told that
there is a solar eclipse, but (based on ephemeris) we know that
there was no solar eclipse at the death of Jesus in Palestine
(...) there was a large solar eclipse in November, but we know
he died at Easter, this is one of the only things we are sure
of, so we know there never was a solar eclipse in Easter, so we
know it's a legendary event that was written to show that Jesus
was an exceptional character, and like all great exceptional
characters the whole Cosmos paid tribute to him when he died."
But when I tried a little before to argue with a devout Catholic
about the historicity of the Gospels, he pointed me to a big
article copied here. Problems:
- while it does all its best to provide the strongest possible
favorable feeling to the historical truth of the Gospels, the
best way it found to do so was to develop justifications for
God's dire inability (or unwillingness?) to manage the
circumstances of His son's unique and so crucial visit on the
Earth so as to ensure any decent dose of credible confirmations
to the reality of those miracles, which precisely are so
extraordinary that they break all the floors of decent
credibility (while the only official purpose of these miracles
was precisely to provide credibility to Jesus'claim to be the
Son of God)....
- Of its very few instances of claimed independent
confirmations, is the one (from a Christian apologist's
quotation of disappeared documents) of the Sun's eclipse at the
time of Jesus death during full moon.
Speaking in tongues ?
studies have been made on the speaking in tongues, concluding
that "this turns out to be only a facade
of language", with no well-defined meaning : "One individual's ecstatic speech was tape recorded and
played back separately to many individuals who sincerely and
devoutly believed that they had received the gift of
interpreting tongues. Their interpretations were quite
Possibly real miracles : a moral assessment
Diverse miracles have been reported by diverse people at diverse
times, in ways that seem credible (somehow).
My point here won't be to claim or argue for any factual
categorization of the reports listed below, as genuinely
supernatural, or misinterpretations of natural phenomena, or pure
Instead, my point will be to check the moral value (or other value)
of the "spiritual teachings" that these miracles seem to support; to
observe that this value is close to zero, and therefore to dismiss
these miracles as deserving no care, and anyway no admiration, even
if they were real; thus rejecting as pointless the very question
whether these miracles are real or not.
Another text I wrote on the subject (the
miracles of Evangelics and Penticostals)
Other people could make the same observation (here are 2 examples I
Christians sometimes witness and report healing miracles, and
usually claim these to be only possibly made by God or by the Holy
Spirit with Christians (and even sometimes, that it could only be
made in their own branch of Christianity). But the truth is that
such mysterious healings can happen in many religions as well.
In fact, this is the most common type of miracles in any religion.
This way, supernatural power(s) seems very good at medicine.
However, this is roughly the only field it is good at (together with
possible paranoid sectarian indoctrination). As a consequence,
worshipers of supernatural interventions (eventually seen as the
expression of God's actions) usually come to be obsessed with these
two issues, focusing their values system on these fields, as this
obsession is the best way for them to see this supernatural power,
in its interventions, as the most wonderful thing in life and in the
Doing so, they are becoming blind to any other dimensions of
knowledge, conditions of happiness or the world's problems.
Some even become unable to sanely assess the real value of the very
subject of their amazement.
- When Christians worship God for situations of unexpected healing,
pointing out the surprise of doctors. Admitting that those
situations really were as they say, and considering that doctors
expectations are in fact just the expression of what usually happens
in similar cases, this would mean that among a large number of
"naturally" similar cases, that only God's will arbitrarily makes
dissimilar, the will of God was to leave the overwhelming majority
of cases into illness or death, and only heal a small minority. In
other words: the more often God's will is to leave people in
troubles, the most wonderful it is in Christians eyes.
- A special sort of medical miracle sometimes reported and very much
praised by some Christian, is the healing of infertility (that
people finally "miraculously" have children while they seemed
infertile). How can they be foolish enough to ignore the fact that
one of the most dreadful plagues on Earth, the environmental
destruction that is now producing severe irreversible damage
(biodiversity loss...) for millions of years (and thus for trillions
of future humans and other living creatures), is the direct result
of overpopulation ? And that therefore, in order for the world to
come down to sustainability someday for the long run, any additional
human put on Earth will have to be later reversed anyway, after
having contributed to the damage ? And that for the very same reason
that they see for themselves (as parents) the addition of more
humans on Earth as a happy event, the later corresponding necessary
future reduction of population, will in average take much more
painful forms (as the case of sterile couples is among the least
painful forms of population reduction) ? In the name of which
morality do they justify that their personal happiness of having
children is any more valuable than the one of any other humans ? Is
it because their DNA is of better quality ? If yes, why can't they
openly declare so ? Or does it come down to the fact that increasing
the proportion of their fellow believers (their children that they
will divinely indoctrinate) in human population by all cost above
any other moral considerations (disregarding that this will
indirectly and cowardly result in some future condemnation of other
people, hopefully non-believers, to somehow die of competition for
living space - but, hush, don't repeat this) is the one and ultimate
moral value on Earth excusing the blind ignorance any other moral
consideration (because it saves more souls for heaven) ? Or do they
really think their future children will be the ones that will save
the planet (while themselves and millions other co-believers were
unable/unwilling to do so) ? What a dirty spirit of blindness,
selfishness and narrow-mindedness are they showing from of the part
of God's inspiration and revelation to their life in this way ! How
can any sane person come to worship a God for having bothered making
a miracle of such a doubtful value (following such an irresponsible
and indefensible agenda), assuming He could not imagine any more
valuable things to make on Earth by such miraculous powers ? Ah yes
of course, since sane people are so rare on Earth and God hates
intelligent people but only cares for gathering the worship of the
most stupid, insane, narrow-minded people ready to worship Him even
for evil actions (provided it superficially seems wonderful if we
don't consider any serious questions), it is right, good and just
for God to make lies, fallacies and evil actions, provided that it
helps persuading people to worship Him (because worship and
salvation by faith are all what matters).
- More generally, believers usually insist to worship God for His
blessing on believers, claiming that they should trust God for
providing all they need if they follow His will - and as an argument
when evangelizing, they promise others that God will care for them
if they convert and give Him their life. Moreover, when it comes to
the question of going in mission and working for God, I once heard a
Christian say that this work should in priority go to help other
Christians. But at the same time, they also proudly claim that they
will only get from God in this way what they really need, which
is... just nothing: the only concrete effect will be to accuse of
all sins and dirty things, anyone who dares to complain for not
having got what one needs, because whatever the situation, if one
did not get something then it must surely be because it was not
really needed, God knows why; any trying to question this claim will
be the worst sin ever, because God is perfect and knows better than
us what we need (so even if the situation leads us to depression and
suicide it will be our own fault anyway, for not having trusted God
enough): 1) the Boss is right; 2) if the Boss is not right, refer to
Precisely, holiness consists in seeing our salvation in Heaven,
disregarding whatever dirty, earthly troubles we might face.
Problem: if God and Christians care to concretely bless/help fellow
believers (born-again, those who accepted Jesus in their hearts, or
anyhow you wish to call the "true ones") in priority before sinners
(disbelievers and heretics), is it because these "true ones" are
those least affected by these material circumstances than others ?
follow the links
The religious mind
Whatever they would pretend to think in theory, the practical
situation is that, very often and especially when some connection
with religious issues is at stakes, religious people hate
intelligence and intelligent people. They systematically mistake
intelligence with pride (except for their own theologians, of
course) and condemn it as a mortal sin, while they (or some of them,
or somehow) systematically consider themselves infinitely higher
than anyone who thinks different than them, no matter the difference
of intelligence. They practice their own totally unjustified pride
(the pride of being the kings of stupidity and humility) and condemn
any others claims of knowledge no matter how justified.
- "So far as I
can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise
- Bertrand Russell
Now, we mentioned above the direct observation of how terrible are
humans at democracy: that they naturally develop wrong views (and
especially paranoid views) in political issues, at least in the USA
today despite all the wonderful available means for spreading and
debating information, while most people went to school where they
learned to read, write and other things; while there is internet,
and people live in one of the most peaceful and prosperous contexts
that ever happened.
Given such observations, and the proliferation of creeds and myths
at that time (see below), can anyone offer any argument of why the
f**k should we expect the first Christian communities 19 centuries
ago, to have been significantly wiser, more objective and reliable
than this about what could have happened to some Jesus that lived
some decades before in a country they didn't visit, given the a
troubled political context (oppression of Israel by the Roman
empire...), and while this Jesus was not mentioned by any historian
outside their own community of devout believers ?
What's special with the Christian God ? That he is a God of Love ?
That was not even new, as there already were Venus (in Roman
mythology) and Aphrodite (in the Greek one). But Christians arguing
this are missing the fact that once more closely examined, their God
is absolutely not a God of Love, by the way He sends to hell all
those who have the honesty to not believe in Him without evidence.
(see an analysis of the Christian God's
No, in fact, one of the special features of both Christian and
Hebrew conceptions of God as opposed to other myths of that time,
that (among other causes) contributes to their better success, was
their intolerance and sectarianism, and that they had a more
well-defined credo. Christians were especially paranoid against any
differing creeds from their own, which they condemned as either
idolatry or heresy, following the recommendations of Jesus (such as
"He that is not with me is against me", one of the main principles
They were more or less ready to ignore the evidence (anyway hard to
get) for keeping the belief that Jesus revelation was the only
source of truth.
For example, consider:
Christianity vs science
The Greeks started developing science, including a heliocentric
Then Christians came and absurdly
while they later altogether destroyed
of the existing knowledge outside their own sources and
ignored their own
responsibility in doing so:
"Justin had, like others, the
idea that the Greek philosophers had derived, if not borrowed,
the most essential elements of truth found in their teaching
from the Hebrew Bible. Thus he does not scruple to declare
that Socrates and Heraclitus were Christians (Apol., i. 46,
ii. 10). His aim, of course, is to emphasize the absolute
significance of Christ, so that all that ever existed of
virtue and truth may be referred to him" (Wikipedia)
(Again, remember about Hypatia)
"The Athenian schools of
philosophy were closed down by the Christian emperor Justinian
in 529 CE. After that followed the Dark Ages in Christian
Europe, in which works of the ancient Greeks were lost, and
from which it took Europe a thousand years to recover.
Fraudulently, no blame is attached to Christianity for this. "
In all the Middle Ages, the Church controlled the educational
institutions, not letting people be educated by Christianity and not
tolerating the intellectual productions of non-Christians, to give
themselves credit for all cultural and intellectual productions.
Giving no credit to a Pagan heliocentrist author of the 5th century.
Still today, Christians keep mocking anyone who dares to draw the
attention to the evidence of all the bad things done by Christians
and churches in history, under the excuse that, by definition,
anything wrong should not be counted as Christian but as due to
human sin and revolt against God (after having presented things the
other way round), because Jesus is love, oh yeah.
They regularly claim Christianity to be science-friendly just
because it happened to be dominating at the time and place where
science emerged, as if this coexistence meant causality (when and
only they like to believe and claim it so in order to present
Christianity as the source of all good), but without caring to check
Meanwhile, allied with colonialist practices, Christian missionaries
they kept destroying the ancestral cultures and knowledge of other
peoples in the rest of the world, by telling these people that their
rituals and practices were bad and should be abandoned.
And still recently, some Catholic officials consider that the
Inquisition had a more scientific attitude than Galileo at the time
of his trial (the Spanish Jesuit Juan Bertran in a colloquium on
Galileo in 1991, while the general conclusion from the Church
commission reexamining the file of the trial was rather unclear,
according to Ciel&Espace magazine, that had a reliable source
for this report but lost it after). Yeah, the Church has definitely
always been on the side of science (as they imagine it)...
Let us check the contents of the intended speech of the Pope
Benedict XVI for January 2008 at La Sapienza University, that was
cancelled because of a petition against him (based on his quotation
of Feyerabend who had considered Bellarmin more scientific than
Galileo, but which Ratzinger did not himself approve - anyway the
Catholics make the serious mistake to quote worthless opinions of
modern philosophers, failing to notice that the opinions of most
modern philosophers have no sort of significance or credibility in
the scientific community). Putting aside all
the wooden language, here are some of its significant claims:
sees a criterion of this reasonableness [of religious doctrines
on ethical reasoning] in, among other things, the fact that that
such doctrines are derived from a responsible and well grounded
tradition, in which over a long span of time sufficiently strong
arguments have been developed in support of the respective
doctrines. It seems important to me that this statement
recognises that experience and demonstration over the course of
generations, the historical backdrop of human wisdom, are also a
sign of their reasonableness and their lasting significance. In
the face of an a-historical form of reason that seeks to
construct itself in an exclusively a-historical rationality, the
wisdom of humanity as such—the wisdom of the great religious
traditions—should be viewed as a reality that cannot be cast
with impunity into the trash bin of the history of ideas.
The pope speaks as the
representative of a believing community, in which throughout the
centuries of its existence a specific life wisdom has matured;
he speaks as the representative of a community that holds within
itself a treasury of ethical understanding and experience, which
is important for all of humanity. In this sense, he speaks as
the representative of a form of ethical reasoning.»
Is he serious ? What sort of idiot ignoring the historic reality is
he trying to convince with such lies ? The Catholic Church has a
long tradition of mass murdering everybody who does not agree with
them, which was the drive of the development and stabilization of
their moral reasoning. Still nowadays the Catholic morality system
is quite foolish and wrong, with their wrong management of "charity"
Teresa, their traditional homophobia, their unbalanced system
of values obsessed with faithfulness in marriage but doing noting
(except prayers) for the good unhappy singles; their approving good
intelligent men and beautiful girls to commit joining their orders
and having no descent, degrading the genetic heritage of the human
species; their short-sightedness in charitable works with no
political and economic understanding and perspective (well it may be
seen as wise and fortunate that they don't raise their
methodological foolishness into political and economical
mismanagement but...); their way to condemn and forbid contraception
and sterilization (but also artificial insemination), remaining
blind to the overpopulation problem, thus sacralizing the blind
forces of nature and forbidding people from questioning and
correcting them, disregarding the disasters this may sometimes lead
to... I do not care here to reach any sort exhaustivity in the list
of flaws in the Catholic morality system; others have already worked
on it. According
to Bertrand Russell, "the
Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and
still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
So, the fact of inheriting from a long tradition of believing
nonsense, acting foolishly and spreading wrong values, does not make
Christianity a respectable source of ethical reasoning. Fortunately,
the experience of reality, education and better information, is
progressively providing humanity more evidence, wisdom and
experience of the fact that the Christian ethical heritage is so
wrong and only worthy of being cast into the trash bin of the
history of ideas.
Let's continue with his speech:
History has shown that many of the things that theologians have
said in the course of time or that Church authorities have put
in practice have been proven false and today they confuse us.
But it is equally true that the history of the saints and the
history of the humanism that has developed on the basis of the
Christian faith are proof of the truth of this faith in its
essential core, making it something that public reason needs. Of
course, much of what theology and faith say can only be
appropriated from within the faith and thus cannot be seen as a
need for those to whom this faith remains inaccessible. It is
true however that the message of the Christian faith is never
only a "comprehensive religious doctrine" in Rawls’ terms, but
that it is instead a force that purifies reason itself, further
helping the latter to be itself. »
He does not fear to contradict himself, with a first sentence
refuting the conclusion of the pseudo-argument coming next. Then,
the latter (and that wrongly called "proof") are just blind faith
articles not supported by anything, nor that even cares to check
itself in front of effective observations (especially the presence
of saints and humanism developed in other religions with cores
incompatible with the Christian one, in other parts of the world out
of the reach of the extermination by the Inquisition), and are
anyway of no weight as compared to other natural conditions of
rationality: intelligence and study...
message should always encourage the search of the truth and thus
be a force against the pressures exerted by power and interests.»
As usual, of 2 things one: either someone cares to seek the truth
unbiased by power and interest, or does not; but the Pope's call for
this is just wishful thinking that does not help. The same call
could be done by anone else as well (as easily and as
inefficiently), with no need of Christian faith or any other
mythological belief whatsoever.
But... what about the Christian tradition of polluting and
distorting reason and truth for the instrumental power of converting
people, and the self-interest of keeping faith, based on the
assumption that this is God's will that we should follow to please
Him and for our own salvation ?
danger faced by the Western world, just to mention the latter,
is that mankind, given its great knowledge and power, might give
up on the question of the truth»
Uh, why would a greater knowledge and power would lead to such a
consequence ? Why would wealth and comfort with high living
standards make it harder to focus on unbiased truth and knowledge
than would misery, discomfort and emergency ? and why call it a
"danger" as if was awaiting us like a black hole awaiting humanity
to collectively fall in there with no possible return (just like the
Church traditionally frightens people with images of hell to convert
danger that philosophy, feeling incapable of fulfilling its
task, might degenerate into positivism, a danger that theology
and the message it has for reason might be confined to the
private sphere of a group more or less big.»
What positivism ? If it is about coming to the side of reason and
the methods of scientific knowledge and progress, this would
precisely be the way for philosophy to fulfill its task. And the
more the foolish and sterile nonsense will be confined, the better
it will be.
however reason, concerned about its supposed purity, fails to
hear the great message that comes from the Christian faith and
the understanding it brings, it will dry up like a tree with
roots cut off from the water that gives it life. (...) [the
Pope] must again and always invite reason to seek out truth,
goodness and God, and on this path urge it to see the useful
lights that emerged during the history of the Christian faith
and perceive Jesus Christ as the light that illuminates history
and helps find the way towards the future.»
This claim is but an article of blind faith, a damn lie contrary to
the evidence of facts (which the Pope visibly has no fucking care
of), and a false advertising (ridiculing any claim of Christianity
to be a religion of humility, and to have anything to do with the
truth). I understand that such creeds might be inseparable from the
core of Christian faith, as they are more or less equivalent to John
15, so that it would be nearly impossible for a Christian to stop
believing this lie and still stay Christian. However, this claim by
the Pope precisely is an illustration of the fact that Christian
faith leads people to believe lies and to violate the rules of
So, even if the initial argument for refusing the Pope to make its
speech may have been technically incorrect, the examination of the
contents of the intended speech finally confirms that it has nothing
to do in a place of knowledge and reason.
Many historical examples can be given, but it is not even necessary
to refer to history, because debates are still ongoing, and many
living cases can be observed and understood of how Christians think
and behave, how twisted is their reasoning and how they reach and
keep conclusions disconnected from reality and sane reasoning, so
that similar behavior from their "spiritual fathers" is largely
sufficient to explain how Christianity could start based on fraud or
delusion in the first place.
For example, we can see today that even quite intelligent people
prefer to deny the evidence of facts in order to keep their faith: "Creationists
the Young Earth Creationist is one of the smartest people I know
of the leaders of the creationist movement have advanced
degrees, up to and including Ph.D.s. It takes a lot of work and
at least minimal intelligence to achieve that academic level.
these people aren't stupid. They're wrong on the facts, they're
willfully blind to dissenting information in many cases, they
are as capable of lying and distortion and mistaken ideas as
anyone, but they're not necessarily idiots (...) The thought that
someone who's as smart as you could come to a conclusion that's
so clearly wrong is frightening. (...) In some respects the
greatest strengths of a smart person become subverted, "turned
to the Dark Side" as it were, marshaled to protect an idea that
should have been shot down by them at the very beginning. But
the very fact of their intelligence is what makes disabusing
them of the wrong idea so difficult. (...)
He has looked at all the
evidence, and has decided that the Bible is more reliable than
any scientific evidence that could ever be found. He decided
this because the consequences to his faith if that is not true
would be catastrophic, and he is unwilling to have his faith
destroyed. He has no use for Christians who do not believe
Genesis is literal truth, because in his mind the logical and
theological difficulties posed thereby far outweigh the
difficulties posed by science to the young earth theory.
He's looked at the evidence,
weighed the damage each position would take on his faith, and
has decided to go with the explanation that poses the least risk
to his religious beliefs. "
Similarly, from that site:
As Richard Feynman warned:
"But what's really going on
is that these Christian defenders have become experts at
deceiving themselves first. They are therefore deceiving
others because they are deceiving themselves."
Science is a way of trying not
to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not
fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
Religion as a meme
More precisely, the point is not that they would have any bad
intention of deceiving themselves (on the contrary they are still
quite sincere in themselves, and dedicated to trust and serve their
God), but that they have been misled to undertake this quest for
methodological self-delusion by the Christian doctrine, without
being aware that this is what they were doing.
Still, such an accusation is very serious and very paradoxical (as
it is so contrary to the idea that religious people have of their
own faith), so that it cannot be made lightly.
So I'm not making it lightly. Like many other people (and
independently of them), I have myself a long experience, first with
Christian faith for nearly a decade, then, after my deconversion,
with attempts at discussions with Christians from diverse origins
(evangelic, baptist, pentecostal, catholic, orthodox...). Thus, I'm
not trying to build up any easy excuse to dismiss other views which
I would not properly understand. Rather, it is a remarkably faithful
and explanatory synthetic expression of the main trends and
characters emerging from a huge an long accumulation of detailed
observations and verifications of how Christian faith works, and
what makes it resist so strongly, out of a first-hand and extensive
experience I got of it while I initially did all my best to try
All this remarkable set of understandings fell on me quite
unexpectedly soon after my deconversion, as an wonderfully more
coherent and solid understanding of life, than any impression of
understanding I ever had when I was Christian. Such a discovery
cannot be a mere fancy. However, to get it, quite a deal of
intelligence (which I had separately trained on other issues) was
involved in this process, first in the background of my mind behind
my faith, progressively eroding its foundations until its collapse,
then in a fully conscious way thereafter. You know, as scientific
understanding can be described: the ability to understand some
complex realities as clearly and reliably as other people (less
clever or with less training) understand simpler ones. Because,
while much clearer in some ways, this understanding of the falsity
of Christianity is also more complex and paradoxical in some other
ways, than Christian faith itself.
One of the main paradoxical aspects, a trend underlying most
specific observations necessary to explain the situation, is an
expanding discrepancy produced by the Christian doctrine, between
the deepest characters of Christians in themselves (pure, sincere,
well-intended, caring for the truth...) and the real global effect
of how they behave and think in practice (their wrong attitudes,
terribly disconnected from reality, from any reasonable chance of
detecting and correcting their own mistakes, and of understanding
people of different opinions), while one of their very deep creeds
is that no such a discrepancy is possible or even thinkable. In a
few words (and ironically as they were supposedly uttered by Jesus
on the cross), they don't know what they are doing.
This can be rather well described metaphorically by the Chinese Room
thought experiment (that was initially developed as a thought
experiment about artificial intelligence under the hypothesis that
it can pass the Turing Test) :
Here, the role of the program manual is played by the Bible, or more
generally by all implicit or explicit elements of religious
teachings that religious people happened to receive. It does not
assume AI to pass the Turing test, as this program's purpose is not
to emulate human intelligence, but on the contrary, to emulate
stupidity, produce intellectual blindness and dishonesty, and
practice mental manipulation - while remaining very far away from
any awareness of the fact that the rules they are following and
worshiping as God's thoughts and ways, are the very methods of
blindness, dishonesty and mental manipulation (just like they cannot
notice that their description of God's characters is the very
definition of madness).
"if a machine can
convincingly simulate an intelligent conversation, does it
necessarily understand ? In the experiment, Searle imagines
himself in a room acting as a computer by manually executing a
program that convincingly simulates the behavior of a native
Chinese speaker. People outside the room slide Chinese
characters under the door and Searle, to whom "Chinese writing
is just so many meaningless squiggles", is able to create
sensible replies, in Chinese, by following the instructions of
the program; that is, by moving papers around. The question
arises whether Searle can be said to understand Chinese"
They religiously follow these instructions with all their heart, as
they imagine that this is the way God wants them to think and act.
And they notice that, in "mysterious" ways, "it works": their faith
articles seem to be confirmed in their life, by means they don't
really understand. This happens because these instructions are not
just random instructions, they have special "miraculous" properties
that make them resist to many experiences of life and discussions.
What they did not get, though, is that the remarkable properties of
their doctrine, that makes it resist, are of a sort largely
disconnected from the question of its truth, but are rather about
leading its followers to obsessively root this doctrine in
themselves, and disabling them from most chances or abilities they
might otherwise naturally have, to notice its falsity and to
consequently reject it.
In short, the Christian doctrine is largely unfalsifiable. Not that
it would not say anything about observables, but the few claims
somehow observable it may contain are either never seriously tested
(for whatever excuse), or even when contrary evidences exist, they
have little chance to change the believers'minds anyway.
In practice, this makes any attempt at serious debate with
Christians quite distasteful, or even mentally toxic. In a way or
another, such attempts usually deviate far away from any sane reason
(chances of genuine progression). Somehow, most Christians lost the
sense of reason (disregarding whether they officially follow or
reject reason). Instead of genuine arguments, they either use lots
of fallacies or come down to personal attacks (usually under the
disguise of the highest love of the universe, of course, such as "I
will pray for you so that Jesus reveals Himself to you"). And of
course, they systematically manage to make their opponents feel
guilty for the failure of the discussion (or at least spread a heavy
impression in this way, so that non-Christians need quite a solid
roots in evidences for not being destabilized).
But this is "not their fault", and the irrationality at stakes is
not something that Christians have "in themselves". Somehow, and
from their own viewpoint, their behavior is quite rational. Every
single reaction they have, is a reaction that is "rationally
justified" relatively to the context of the rest of their thoughts
and experiences. The situation can be metaphorically described as a
mental labyrinth they would be lost in. Every single step they make
in this labyrinth is "justified" by the necessity of following a
wall or choosing the way which looks better; but without both a
global map of the labyrinth and a genuine global analysis of its
properties, they have no clue which destination their way is really
heading them to. And remaining blind to its global properties, is
something they are proud of, by pretending that keeping one's mind
simple would be wiser than developing any global theoretical
Indeed, a crucial aspect of their doctrine, is the praise of mental
simplicity: it is a complex
arbitrary doctrine which takes time and mental effort to "learn"
and follow, but condemns complex thinking. It leads them to
follow complex strategical behavior, but to deny the existence and
to scorn and reject all attempt to understand the real features and
consequences of the mental strategy they are following. They claim
to have a spiritual experience of relationship with God, but that
this and their faith, are "not a matter of argument". The problem
is: if their "life with God" was really not a matter of argument and
of mental processes, they should not have the indecency of so deeply
(though unconsciously) rooting their persuading power on their
systematic exploitation and worsening of the weaknesses
(fallibility) of human reasoning, as they are actually doing
(unwillingly, as a collateral damage of their holy trust to God,
Let us explain and refute their "argument" how they praise simple
thinking (while ignoring the complexity of their own doctrine). They
argue that human errors are a fruit of the activity of the human
mind. Based on this, they accuse their own intellectual activity of
being generally guilty of any error they might make, and assume that
the solution to stop making errors, would be to stop thinking
However, in doing so they fail to understand the real structure of
truth and error, how can errors be avoided. The truth can be
approached by checking, strengthening and correcting thoughts, not
by stopping them.
Let us explain this by comparison with computer science. Errors in
thoughts are like bugs or viruses, that make a computer work badly.
So, if your computer has bugs and you switch it off, of course
errors will stop occurring; but desirable workings will stop too.
Then if you restart your computer, it is possible that some errors
that had been produced during some process will be deleted and some
clean new approach will come. However, if the errors were in the
program, or have been added to a new version of a program; or if a
virus came to install itself into the operating system of your
computer, then switching off your computer will not help: anyway the
error or virus will reoccur as soon as the computer will be on and
using the piece of program involved. In order to really get rid of
this, you would need some other special program with the special
ability to tell the difference between the virus and the operating
system, to be able to only delete the former and restore a correct
version of the latter; or if it is a bug, you may need a skilled
programmer to examine the program, understand what it meant to do,
and rewrite the defective piece of code so as to obtain a properly
working program instead of the defective one. But if you don't have
any developed skill, then you have no way to tell where the error
comes from and how to correct it.
All you might possibly do is to get some patch or program from an
external source that will make the needed correction in your
computer. But this can help only if this external source is safe. On
the other hand, if you have no clue how to know whether some chosen
external source is trustworthy or not, then this "help" offer might
as well be a trick to make you install a new virus to your computer.
Then your last chance to tell what source is right, would be by
trying, if only you have the resources and abilities to correctly
proceed such a thing.
But the malicious scenario is the one occurring with Christianity:
it tells you to shut down your own discernment, and to trust with
blind faith, follow and reshape your mind after, a new doctrine
arbitrarily given to you, in such a way to make it very hard to get
rid of it later even though no evidence ever supports it.
Now, how could a doctrine with such "miraculously awful" properties
have appeared in the first place ?
If it ever was a fruit of consciously deliberate design, either by a
supernatural revelation or any guru, then the source of such a
revelation could definitely not be divine (as a decent God would
never have made up such a bad joke that would mislead us so deeply),
but might rather have been diabolical, and anyway bad intended.
However, no such an explanation is necessary, as a much more
plausible natural explanation is available, whose expected outcome
fits rather well with observation: meme theory. This
is the equivalent of the Darwinist understanding of viruses, with
doctrines in the role of viruses, and minds in the role of hosts.
Just like some evolved viruses, religions like Christianity
developed the skill to attack their host's immune response (ability
and willingness to question their faith) in addition to incentives
at keeping and spreading it.
Some may object that such a Darwinist explanation of Christianity
requires a time period for the progressive development of what would
be explained in this way, while the Christian revelation was a
But, let's check things in details:
The origins of Christianity
One of the usual Christian apologetic arguments, is to challenge
others to explain the creation and widespread success of
Christianity without God's intervention. They think, why would the
first Christians report the story of Jesus in the way they did, and
then why would so many people believe in it in the way they do, if
it was false ?
In fact, many people, especially ex-Christians, already explained
these things a lot of times, but... most Christians still have no
clue about this, mostly because... they are not interested. They
prefer to lazily believe that it is an open challenge they have put
and that nobody can answer it, disregarding how many million people
already did it.
To this "challenge" the answer is simple: there is just no surprise.
The natural forces of human thought and culture as we know them,
largely suffice to explain it all. Okay, this answer needs a few
developments to clarify some details.
First, let us recall previous remarks about general features of
reality, psychology and the supernatural, that can generally
contribute to Christian beliefs without being any genuine evidence
This made it natural that some creeds developed, but does not
specify which one - in fact, determinations of creeds are not very
specific indeed, as many sorts of creeds developed in parallel, both
inside and outside Christianity, but there are some trends partially
determining the contents of creeds, as we shall explain.
- Many people are gullible and rather adopt and spread wonderful
creeds (as we can see by the many sects), as they feel better
with creeds in arbitrary influences beyond understanding that
may "explain" anything, than having to bother finding genuine
- Some miracles do exist (probably), especially about healing,
making it uncomfortable to stay without deciding what to think
- Humans may (sometimes) find genuine natural intuitions in
themselves about the difference of nature between mind and
matter and the immortality of the soul, here again making it
uncomfortable (both mentally and personally) to stay without a
precise doctrine of how are invisible things, and what happens
- Some real spiritual experience may exist which feel like a
personal meeting with God, thus giving these subjects the
expectation that they have the truth from God (see the case of mystic
atheism and other remarks above), relying on God to
correct them ifever they had it wrong - but in practice they
teach "God's truth" to be believed by purely human work as a
prerequisite for God coming to their life, saving God from any
task to bother changing their mind afterwards; but why would any
God come to make any such correction, as we can see there are no
divine revelations for more practical purposes (see remarks
about the absence of divine teachings, in the above section on
evidence against theism), and moreover afterlife (the chances to
reach heaven) are probably not a matter of creed ?
At the time of the beginnings of Christianity, there were many
competing religions and sects. There were already before and after,
and there are still now (again, we still have the living case of
India full of incarnated gods). (But that time was especially
favorable, because of the horrors taking place under the Roman
empire, and the Essenes have announced the coming of the Messiah
following a biblical prophecy, thus stimulating the raise of many
Messiahs). So, why did so many people believe in other things, if
not because they were also true ??
Did they worship other Gods and spread other faiths just for joking
Finally, one of the creeds had to take over the religious space. But
if people had it so wrong when joining other faiths, why should we
suddenly trust them unquestionably just because they reached a
consensus ? (They did not reach their consensus easily, by the way:
a lot of artificial standardization work had to be operated at a
sort of political level.)
If Christians believe there would be a problem for Christianity to
be believed unless it was true, then how doesn't this argument put
themselves in trouble in the face of the existence of any other
similarly implausible belief at all ?
But the fact is that Christianity did progressively emerge and
evolve along centuries from a preexisting mixture of mythologies:
the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Enoch... if the people of that time
were not gullible, why did those stories had any success at all ?
Origins of the monastic and other aspects of Christianity can be
found in the Essene.
version of the Beatitudes can be found before the supposed
time of Jesus among the Dead Sea Scrolls. More similitudes can be
found between those manuscripts from just before the supposed time
of Jesus life, and the New testaments, such as in the vocabulary.
The philosophical work of Philon of Alexandria born 25 BC could also
contribute to the mixing of philosophical and religious sources,
from which Christianity emerged - but he made no mention of Jesus
another Messiah, was also reported as suffering and resurrected
As explained in the Argument
«A religion which strongly
reflects the beliefs of its time is more likely to be a product
of its time than of revelation.
If a given religion was
purely the invention of human beings, we would expect that that
religion would bear similarities to its culture of origin. On the
other hand, a transcendent or all-knowing deity, or even one that
was merely far wiser than human beings, would not be limited by
what was known or believed at the time he dispensed a revelation,
but could provide new information of which people were not
previously aware and which did not correspond to any concepts in
their experience. However, when we examine religions, we find that
the former and not the latter situation invariably applies.
Christianity, again, is a perfect example of this. The theology
of this religion blends apocalyptic fears, Jewish monotheistic
ideals, Greek ethical philosophy, and the worship practices and
beliefs of the mystery cults at precisely the time when those
things were mixing at a cosmopolitan crossroads of the Roman
Empire. Granted, God could decide to reveal his wisdom to
humanity at a time and place when it would exactly resemble a
syncretistic fusion of the prevailing theologies of the day.
However, all else being equal, the principle of Occam's Razor
should lead us to conclude that it is nothing more than that.
Positing a deity is an extra assumption that is not necessary
and gives no additional explanatory power to any attempt to
explain the origins of the Christian religion.
Another way in which this aspect of the Argument from Locality
applies is in regard to those religious tenets which state
beliefs and approve practices that were widely agreed upon at
the time, but that today are recognized to be false or morally
wrong. One particularly glaring example is the way the Christian
and Jewish scriptures both implicitly and explicitly approve of
the practices of human slavery and the institutional inequality
of women. Likewise, these writings show no special insight into
the workings of the universe other than what was widely known to
the people of their time, and make many mistakes common to those
who lived in that era - for example, the belief that mental
illness and physical disability were caused by demon possession.
Again, under the Argument from Locality this is exactly what we
should expect: these religions, being the product of those time
periods, cannot be expected to show knowledge advanced beyond
what the people of those periods possessed.
Believers may argue why God set up the world in just the one way
we would expect it to be if he did not exist, but for a
freethinker, the conclusion is obvious.»
In the second century, Celsus criticized Christians for being a
lawless infamous movement, revolted against institutions, proud of
their bad reputation (= the very definition of paranoia), that
created their texts as absurd myths and modified them in response to
We won't enter here in much historical details on the emergence of
Christianity (moreover, this couldn't be so fair as the Church had
the power to rewrite history), but just make a few remarks.
Christian apologists told stories of massive martyrdom, that were
probably made up, to try to convince people of the truth of
Christianity, because, well, it would be hard to imagine people
dying for a lie. But as usual, the truth does not matter: what
matters is to tell these stories and other stories because it helps
people to believe, and as "Jesus is the truth", whatever helps to
believe in Jesus can be hold as truth.
There was no point to persecute people for their faith, as Romans
were quite tolerant (unlike Christians) but even if many Christians
were killed, so what ? If Christianity was really a mental and
social plague (as it has long been so, and is somehow still now)
then it can be understandable and not so wrong to kill them.
Churches did massively kill heretics and members of other creeds.
Even if being killed for one's faith was evidence of truth, then
every other faith except the Christian one should be considered
right for that reason. Still now we have a famous example of a very
pious, calm and thoughtful man who dedicated his life and took the
risk to die for following what he saw as God's will - and he was
indeed finally martyred for his faith : Osama bin Laden. If the
Christian apologetic argument (which has indeed been an important
pillar of the world's christianization, even if now forgotten) that
(martyrdom = theological infallibility) was true, then we should
conclude that bin Laden was indeed theologically right. But if we
admit that this is a wrong argument, then it appears that the
historical success of Christianity was based on fallacy and no
How Christianity and other spiritualities oppose reason
We said, the real question of how some doctrine relates to reason,
is not about whether members believe that their position agrees with
reason, or believe that they have arguments or evidence on their
side (anyway, any belief has to somehow see itself as rational in
order to resist) but about how rational their thought really is:
Spiritualities often claim to agree with science as they accept the
discoveries of science ( that the Earth is round and orbits the Sun
in one year, etc).
They may even argue for their agreement with science, by the
presence of scientists among them.
But a good scientist in one field can eventually remain clueless in
another field. So in particular someone can as well be a scientist
in one field and believe nonsense in religious issues, for lack of
the chance to get aware of the relevant information or arguments,
and/or train one's use of reason to a sufficient extent.
Others just despise
and reason, identified with many evils in the world. Or when
science contradicts their dogmas, they may dismiss it as not being
science, or as an illegitimate attempt by scientists to apply the
scientific method in areas where it should not apply; and will offer
instead their own "science" and/or put forward "higher" ways to the
truth (by seemingly logical spiritual teachings pseudo-arguing for
the existence of such "higher ways"; or, in the case of Darwinism,
their "creation science").
But both seemingly opposite attitudes have in common their deep
opposition to science: in the way of thinking.
First, many spiritual people who claim to accept science in its own
field, don't understand deeply enough what are the possible
accomplishments of reason. In their view, reason looks like
something "well-known" and "limited", with no more potential but
with its complete set of possible outcomes that could be checked
from their favorite ancient archives of preachers and apologists of
the past, or any official source. This view may naively seem quite
plausible, however it is radically refuted by history, which showed
that the real dramatic breakthroughs have come from science very
efficiently in a rather short period of time, long after millenia when billions of
people wastefully dedicated their life to religions (as well
Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism), that had dismissed that way as
limited and claimed to be themselves the way infinitely beyond it
(remember : insanity is to continuously repeat the same thing and
expect it to bring a different result).
They seem to often miss the fact that reason is a lively and very
demanding discipline, where few skilled people can still discover
things that millions of "ordinary people" could miss. They think
that either their own reason is more reliable (who wouldn't have
this impression ?), or more in agreement with God, or that they have
a better method than reason for seeking the truth.
Their thoughts and teachings, which seem logical to them (and thus
undeniable), are in fact only pseudo-logical
and completely flawed, and turn out to be worthless and misleading.
It feels and tastes like logic but it turns out to have no logical
value if analyzed in a more mature, rational, scientific way. It only seems
logical in the eyes of the ignorant, unscientific people (people who
did not have the chance to think scientifically with the proper
arguments in the issue involved, even if they may be scientists in
And, just like every science is a very hard rational work, it may
also also be a very hard rational work to explain what is fallacious
in many spiritual teachings; and psychological obstacles are so
strong. Every time an argument or evidence is raised to show the
absurdity of a spiritual claim, spiritual people will have in mind
other pseudo-arguments for dismissing it. They have in mind so many
"arguments" for them while ignoring the extent of opposite arguments
and refutations (it even often happens that spiritual people are
basing every sentence they spell, on many hard, deeply wrong but
strongly believed hidden assumptions, in such a way it is even
hopeless to ever try pointing out what are these false hidden
assumptions and how it can even be conceivable to disagree with
them), so that opposite views seem absurd to them, they will dismiss
rationalists as morons, and assume that science would be but a
religion among others.
The problem is, for each pseudo-argument they would raise, or wrong
hidden assumption they base their replies on, it would take a huge
lot of work to explain their mistake, because... spiritual people
have so big troubles to understand things properly, making it
necessary to re-explain every basic deduction or consideration from
the start (including much of the "primary school" evidences that
rational peope see as obvious and common sense, that they wouldn't
like to bother re-explaining). Usually, the discussion never goes
nearly far and deep enough for leading to any worthy result. This
why, usually, rational people have not the patience explaining
things in the necessary extents, and do not waste more time in such
a debate which they see as flawed, absurdly tedious, unfair and
hopeless; especially when facing people who are not interested to
understand whatever explanation that is adressed to them; who won't
have the patience to carefully read an understand it all, because
they also have faith that "arguments don't matter" (as if there
could be anything else than arguments to discuss and seek the
truth), and that their divine mission is not to understand another
viewpoint but to pray and obey God in order to convert as many
people as they can.
Somehow, it is right for rational people to refuse playing in this
mess that many "spiritual people" call a "try of dialogue" but is
not really worth of being called so: these tries of debates, in the
way these "spiritual people" want to lead them, are in fact no truly
meaningful debates but only playfields where these "spiritual
people" spend a happy time scorning and turning to ridicule any
decent truth, any sane reason; praising others as having a "good
heart" only if they naively hear and trust their favorite doctrine
and finally convert, but will accuse them of being heard-hearted and
close-minded otherwise - but will usually not admit any symmetry of
roles here, and will instead mock, condemn as an act of intolerance
or an horrible sin against God, any attempt by people of other
viewpoints to try explaining themselves and criticize one's preaches
- even sometimes condemning as a worse sin the fact of having solid
evidence for disagreeing (being ready to justify one's view), rather
than just admitting one's own view to be futile arbitrary choice.
Meanwhile, Christians view themselves as the champions of
humility... because their definition of humility consists in
trusting the Bible, no matter any contrary evidence (more precisely,
their definition of humility consists in avoiding at all cost, the
pride of considering themselves able to discover any truth which was
not written there).
Such conditions of "debate" are quite despairing.
So they somehow rely on a sort of arguments, but only those that
seem to agree with their views (no matter how fallacious they are,
anyway they are good whenever they "give the right conclusion"), but
will blindly dismiss any opposite argument which they assume to be
fallacious just because it is "against God" (more precisely against
what they assume to be the divine revelation), thus identified with
human error, according to their definitions.
Examples of absurdities, fallacies and debate troubles with
Let us give some examples of usual Christian fallacies (among many;
by the way, no fallacy at all should be tolerable from the part of
an ideology that claims to represent the divine infallible truth
above human mistakes):
The "No True Scotsman" fallacy
Let us recall this fallacy:
Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman,
sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an
article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again." Hamish
is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing."
The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald
again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose
brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost
gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion
but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No
true Scotsman would do such a thing."
This fallacy is used by Christians in different ways:
So, what is a true Christian, finally ? The truth is that,
Christians themselves don't have any clue what may really be the
difference between a true and a false Christian. Often, as an act of
"humility" they would say "only God knows" who is so, while they
would not take the risk to judge anybody in this way by themselves.
Nevertheless they have a strong faith in the idea that this
undefinable difference must be something essential, so that, in
front of any circumstance that would not oblige them to politely
abstain from such a judgement, this gives them an easy automatic
method to blindly dismiss (explain away) without any further
examination, so many observations that they otherwise could not
- When claiming that no true
Christian can become atheist
- With the dialectic confusion between Christianity and virtue,
so that when facing report of bad actions done by Christians,
they are dismissed as "no true Christians".
- Claiming that all evidence supports Christian doctrine, and
taking this dogma as a redefinition of the concept of
"evidence", dismissing any contrary evidence as "mere theory".
- during the Galileo trial, heliocentrism was dismissed by the
church as a mere theory that cannot compete with God's word;
evidence for evolution is dismissed by many US Christians.
- Whenever I try to mention to a Christian or a Muslim that
recent archeological research completely refuted the story of
Exodus and the existence of Moses, some immediately react by
dismissing these many years of archeological research by
professional teams fully recognized in the field, as "mere
theory" and/or an act of hatred and self-delusion by atheists
trying to persecute God, without even caring to check anything
about it. Except some Christians who, instead, dismiss
altogether any claim of relevance of the Hebrew bible and its
historical claims as a part of the Christian doctrine, loudly
claiming that the whole Jewish tradition and any question of
historical reality of biblical stories before Jesus, are
totally irrelevant and never had anything to do with the core
of the Christian faith.
- Whenever such an evidence cannot be denied anymore, then the
previous Christians who were refuted, are finally dismissed as
"no true Christians" having made "human errors", by the new
generation accepting the evidence; the refuted biblical claims
(such as the story of Genesis) are reinterpreted
"metaphorically" (even if, without its direct interpretation,
the nature of where, when and how Genesis should still be
considered as true, remains mysterious, undefinable, lost in
unfalsifiability). (The Catholic Church now accepts evolution,
after they did not officially condemn it anyway). Problem: with
this continuous redefinition of what the Bible "really meant"
out of what science will finally discover, it turns out that the
wisest way to understand what "the Bible really means" is by
spitting over it, rather than by carefully reading and piously
- Usually when trying to introduce to Christians my observations
of how wrong Christianity is, and before they ever took any care
to listen to anything about my life, thoughts and observations,
they immediately dismiss my conclusions as surely an abusive
extrapolation from an unfortunate experience with the "wrong
Christians"; this assumes they would themselves be much better,
disregarding whatever could be the details about this. Problems:
- By this way and all other aspects and "arguments" in the
replies from these Christians blindly accusing me of such a
blind extrapolation, it is obvious they are themselves full of
the disgusting blindness, misjudgement and intellectual
dishonesty that repels me in Christianity; thus, they are
clearly wrong Christians themselves;
- As these terrible deviations from God's ways can be seen
from a representative sample of over 99% of all Christians of
the world, who are as devout and sincere in their dedication
for God as could be, this means that whoever does all one's
best to come to God, has over 99% risks of following a false
Christianity too. Conclusion: the Christian's own views
rigorously imply that their own path to God's way and/or to
heaven (giving one's life to God and trusting the Bible), is
no more reliable than a lottery ticket can be for getting
- As reported
there (and as I witnessed myself) : moderate Christians, such as those
in Europe, sometimes aghast when viewing their right-wing
counterparts in the US, immediately declare them "not true
- On the other hand, a Christian
came to safely resolve a series of questions by answers
including this one : « if you
actually hear “Christians” saying that the Creation account of
man and woman etc. is allegorical, then I would seriously
question whether or not they are truly Christian. You’re
correct, there are no biblical passages that would support the
claim that it is an allegory».
"Did you receive Jesus in your heart ?"
This is the next fallacy used to justify the one above, asked by
Christians in reply to former Christians trying to explain their
testimony of discovery of the falsity of the Christian faith they
Indeed this tricky "question" has the dialectic power of killing the
chance of meaningful dialogue, by making it unpractical for
deconverts to express their viewpoint, forcing the discussion into a
Indeed, the answer "yes" would by itself imply that Jesus exists and
can be received in one's life, and thus that Christianity would be
in fact true true; the answer "no" would produce the impression that
the person is not sincere and/or not qualified to make an informed
opinion on the subject.
Of course, this "proof by dichotomy" is fallacious, as it ignores a
third option: that nobody ever received a real Jesus in their life
because Jesus does not even exist. Of course, the trick that makes
this third option apparently hard to put forward, is the existence
of all these thousands of people witnessing to have Jesus in their
life. So how to explain these testimonies if Jesus does not exist ?
This requires to consider all those "witnesses" of Jesus in their
lives, as highly delusional. Such a position might seem awkward,
bold and somehow quite insulting towards these testimonies, their
sincerity and other "qualities".
However, if considered more closely, there is no oddness in this
position at all.
First because the Christian doctrine is itself even more deeply and
unfairly insulting towards even more people (all those of another
opinion, sometimes including other branches of Christianity, by its
way of considering them sinners, revolted against God and deserving
eternal hell (okay, not all Christians think that way, I know...
especially today's Catholics, away from the violent intolerance
often practiced by their Catholic church before modern times).
Second, because of the overwhelming independent evidence of the
highly delusional state of mind of most of these Jesus friends,
either in their denial of the scientific evidence on the age of the
Earth, or in many other aspects of how they think and argue.
There is another problem, from the ambiguity of the phrase "receive
Jesus in your life": who is supposed to be the actor of this
decision, and responsible for its accomplishment ? Is that the
person, or is that Jesus ? This ambiguity is again a source of
fallacy by unfalsifiability. In a way, any disbeliever can always
trivially be judged guilty of not having received Jesus, merely
based on the observation of this disbelief, no matter the
experience. Either by saying that he was not serious trying enough
(no matter how dramatically devout his tries were). Or, if he tried
really much, by saying that this was a mistake because he relied on
his own efforts towards God instead of letting him come. Anyway,
there has never been and will never be any clear method to follow
with the insurance that it will bring God in one's life (and it is
quite easy for Christians to produce all the best excuses for this
fact). But this contradicts the other claim, that Jesus generously
opens the way to heaven to anybody under condition of faith (or
whatever you call the condition), and that this condition (whatever
it is) is itself open to be followed and satisfied by anybody
Thus, Christianity wastes large parts of the lives of many people
who tried to "receive Jesus" but did not "succeed", were deprived of
the promised fulfillment, and then are again hurt (feeling guilty)
by the false but unanswerable accusations made by Christians. Thus
the victim-blaming machiavellian process, which turn the state of
victim of a terrible disappointment and waste of dedication produced
by the lies of Christianity, into an a guilt.
there are also former Christians who lived the full experience of
"receiving Jesus in their life" before discovering that this was
mere delusion. (This series of videos also addresses other
are other interesting cases.
So, what is this "relationship with Jesus", finally ? It is nothing
but the relationship with the belief that the "belief in Jesus" is
synonymous with "relationship with Jesus", despite the lack of
evidence to support this claim.
Well, eventually, together with the real or inflated presence of
some other "signs" such as a more or less mystical "feeling of
presence", the observation of some strange coincidences and
narrow-minded "help from destiny", some healing...
The arguments by absurdity - how the mere fact of being wrong
suffices to confirm to them that they are right
There is a sort of upside-down argument used by some Christians,
that is, if a belief is absurd, then it must be true.
Namely, it is the claim that nobody can believe in Jesus by one's
own force, unless God gave him the grace to (because the Bible says
So: if you happen to start believing something just blindly and
stupidly for no clear reason, then you can take this as a sign of
divine infallibility. What is that ?
The logic goes as follows:
Another usual argument by absurdity ("I am wrong, therefore I am
right") goes through the reference to the supreme value of humility:
telling nonsense leads to be continuously humiliated by contrary
evidence, and humiliation is a virtue, therefore telling nonsense is
a sign of virtue and must be praised; while the rational person that
cared to perfectly discern the truth and avoid making any mistake is
displaying his ego and "want of being right", and thus is a horrible
- I claim that 2+2=5, or that @#$%^&.
- There is no rational explanation to 1.
- What has no rational explanation is a miracle, a mystery of
God beyond human intelligence.
- If anyone finds it foolish, well, this just confirms what God
revealed to us in 1
Corinthians 1: this is the expectable impression towards
- Thus 1. proves that the spirit of God revealed itself to me.
- Whoever disagrees, show that the spirit of God did not reveal
itself to him as he revealed itself to me.
- He thus does not know God and is not qualified to judge the
value of a divine revelation such as 1.
Indeed, I have the experience that every time Christians tried to
defend the plausibility and defensibility of their views, it turns
out to prove the exact opposite of what they think it proves.
Indeed, it is always so amazing: what the hell could succeed to
delude them enough to make them mistake this devastatingly blind and
stupid shit they are saying, for a defensible argument ? Or at
least, say, for a respectable reply (as they so often refuse to
enter arguments and debate, under the excuse that arguments and
debates are irrelevant and cannot properly express and defend their
view, as if their conviction was ever based on anything else than
In front of devastating blindness and stupidity, I am logically
forced to react and notice how stupid this is. But my reaction
usually reinforces their conviction and their refusal to take me
seriously. They mistake my reaction as an impulsive one (one based
on feeling and emotions, disregarding that they themselves call for
a faith based on feelings and emotion), ignoring that it is in fact
based on years of experience and very careful examination behind me,
where I already had so many opportunities to reliably check the
worthiness of what they are saying now.
And they say : please come back to the discussion when you have
calmed down. But the truth is that I am basically and naturally an
extremeley calm, careful and shy person; Christians have already so
deeply abused my natural willingness to trust, my shyness and my
patience by teaching me their nonsense which I devotedly listened to
and tried to believe and to follow for so many years, much more than
they can imagine. But too much nonsense is too much nonsense, and I
am not responsible for the devastating blindness and stupidity of
the replies they are making. If they want me to "calm down" and stop
these reactions of noticing how devastatingly blind and indefensible
their position is, it's up to them to stop getting on my nerves by
the pride of their foolishness, to come to reason: to stop defensing
the indefensible, to stop fucking up all possible chances of mutual
understanding by their unfair psychological pressure, their
unanswerable fallacies, their way of spoiling the debate by stupid
replies (like it takes half a second for a baby to splash and make
something dirty requiring hours of work to clean it up), their many
unfalsifiability tricks and their insulting judgements towards the
idiot sinner that has nothing to do with me but that their God
revealed to them I was. Otherwise they are expecting me to pretend
something (the respectability of their position) which I clearly
know to be false, which is not something I can humanly do.
Does this confirm 1 Corinthians 1, that divine wisdom seems foolish
to human reason ? Well, the truth is that, while Christians do admit
from experience the fact that their position often seems foolish to
non-believers, they have no clue themselves why it is so, as they
perceive their own position as quite reasonable, and, I would even
say, very dull, very boring, very standard, and very normal, so that
they cannot see what makes others disagree with them and perceive
the Christian doctrine as so foolish (they assume it should be some
sort of foolishness or aggressivity or human error, but they have no
clue of the effective explanation). Only some (informed or clever or
with some sorts of common sense...) non-Christians, are aware of a
number of aspects of what is wrong with Christianity, and how
foolish it is. Thus, it is the non-Christian understanding, that is
more revealing, goes beyond the Christian one, and encompasses more
The "God is sovereign" and "infinitely above human thoughts"
It is the argument that says: it does not matter how odd the
religious teachings may turn to seem, either in themselves or as
compared to experience, anyway God knows why things are so, he cares
for everything and we have no authority to contradict him, so we
must trust the teaching anyway.
It does not matter how much the experience contradicts the Christian
claim that God and the Biblical doctrine are holy and do anything
for perfection. It suffices to say that complains its falsity is
using his own human thinking abilities and expected God to do one's
human will and obey one's thoughts, while
God's wisdom and purposes are infinitely above all this.
The point is that, Christians have no clue, first of how serious,
wise and justified were the disappointed expectations of
non-Christians and former Christians: anyway it suffices to put
forward the claim that the really wise, divine standards on the
ultimate purposes, criteria of observations and expectations from
God, are infinitely harder than whatever was done. But, in fact,
while they put an infinite burden on the standard of wisdom
(infinitely above whatever was tried whatever it may have been) of
what they require their contradictors to have for daring to
criticize the Bible or what God did for them, they allow for
themselves very low standards of wisdom when it comes to see God's
goodness and praise Him for something.
In fact, as explained above (in the section "More evidence against
theism") ALL the millions of motives for praising God perpetually
put forward by Christian, as evidences of His intervention and His
infinite goodness and wisdom above human thought, have always been extremely selfish,
short-sighted, narrow-minded, contradictory, sometimes pointless
(such as winning a sport competition), often just sectarian (the
success to convert many people to "save their souls"), and even
sometimes completely irresponsible (such as putting more people on
Earth to worsen the devastating overpopulation) - and the world is
still going wrong in many ways despite these numerous interventions
(done for purposes far better than our own, probably), as if there
could be no way for an infinitely wise God above human thoughts, to
do the good more efficiently - while science could.
The faith syllogism
We can describe faith by the following syllogism:
Whatever God says is true
God says X
Therefore X is true
Now consider another syllogism:
Any application of a syllogism is a
Faith is the application of a syllogism
Therefore faith is a rational act
Interestingly, Christians are usually fond of applying the former
syllogism, but not the latter. Why ? Maybe because faith would be an
irrational syllogism ?
Indeed, there seems to be a consensus among both believers and
non-believers, that faith is not a rational act. There must be some
reason why. If it is not fully rational to accept the conclusion "X
is true" of this syllogism, it should be because at least one of
both premises is not sure. But which one ?
For disbelievers, the situation is clear: usually, they reject the
conclusion by disagreeing with the premise "God says X". For
example, Christians disagree with a claim in the Koran by
considering it to not be God's word; and atheists and most other
non-Christians disbelieve the Bible by considering it to be of
fallible human origin, not from God.
However, Christians have another viewpoint on faith and doubt. For
them, disbelief is evil because it is an act of distrust against
God; and each of the internal struggles they may face, is focused on
the heroism of trusting God against all evidence. But in order for
the trust to someone to be at stakes when dealing with some
question, it must be a priori well-established that this person is
indeed the author of the considered claim. All the stakes of the
exercise of faith, in Christian's eyes, is about trusting God. They
can't figure out any other possible way of disagreeing with the
Bible, than by calling God a liar, which seems not morally
But in this way, they just have the wrong analysis of the opposite
view. Indeed, disbelievers don't distrust God at all, they just
consider the Bible to not be God's word - and there should be
nothing wrong in doing so, in lack of any evidence why the Bible
should be considered as God's word. This way, disbelief in any
sacred book, is never any real distrust against God.
Otherwise, anyone can write any book and claim this is God's word,
and anyone who disagrees should be condemned as an ennemy of God, no
matter the evidence, because God's view is above all human view so
that no human can be qualified to argue against God's view.
This is a particular instance of a more general type of fallacy that
consists in drawing the attention on the wrong parts of a reasoning:
when a conclusion depends on several premises and deductions, there
may be several ways in which it might be wrong, depending on which
premise or deduction is at fault. A misleading feeling of
reliability can be produced by focusing on some parts of the
reasoning, giving the impression that these parts are right and the
conclusion must thus be accepted, while in fact the biggest errors
are in other overlooked parts of the reasoning, so that the
conclusion is false while the points of focus would be in themselves
Moreover (as I once read in some web site I forgot), we might even
argue against the reliability of the premise "whatever God says is
true". Indeed, if God's ways are not our ways, who are we, mere
humans, to require God to only say the truth ? If God would consider
it right to lie to us, after all, He is sovereign and more qualified
than us to judge if it's right to do so. Our request that He should
only tell us the truth, is a mere human desire, no more justified
than so many other human requests that were as or more justified,
but for which, whenever they don't happened to be satisfied, are
automatically accused by the Christian propaganda to have been mere
"impure human wishes" and God's ways are above our ways and cannot
be questioned based on human wishes (no matter the absence of any
clue how the dissatisfaction of the request might be of any good).
Moreover, ifever some Christian would like to come and pretend that
"of course" saying the truth is a moral necessity and that a
benevolent and competent God must necessarily always tell us the
truth, I'd like to ask: are you serious ? Maybe you are, but I'd be
quite interested to see some more serious care for the truth in this
Indeed, while the care for the truth officially seems agreed on in
words by a large majority, the unofficial reality practiced by the
same majority is often quite different. Look here
and then come back and try to pretend again that "of course" you
consider it an absolute moral duty to regularly say the truth (with
no more that obvious and dramatic cases of exceptions). Okay, maybe
you will. But then you'll have a lot of work ahead until you
convince the rest of Christians about it.
of American adults tell public opinion pollsters that they
attend religious services weekly. However, when nose counters
actually try to verify this number, they find that about half of
Americans lie about church attendance. Only about 20% actually
go. Canadian statistics are similar: about 20% say they go; 10%
17% of American adults say that they tithe -- i.e. they give 10 to 13% of their
income to their church. Only 3% actually do.
Problem: if it is right for God to tell us the dirty truth of all
the bad things He thinks of us (that we are horrible sinners
deserving hell..) even unsupported by any evidence that we would be
as bad as that, why is it always considered so wrong from our part
to tell the dirty truth about many evils that can be found in the
ways of this "God" so described, when this can be supported by
overwhelming evidence ?
Not to mention the underlying anthropocentric hubris in the
expectation that the divine truth would be expressible in human
language, and easily enough understandable and acceptable by large
All this, of course, under the assumption that there would exist a
decently wise God able to send us a message, which we refuted
The incompleteness theorem
Another way how Christians and other spiritual people can be experts
at deceiving themselves, is by putting forward this "argument" from
modern science: Gödel's incompleteness theorem, which would be
telling that "reason has limits" (I once read this, though the
expression must have been slightly different as I can't find the
page back this way).
As this "argument" is claimed and believed by many people, I'll give
here a detailed reply (based on my familiarity with the foundations
of maths), completing what I already explained about this in Part II
(section "Examples of false reasonings").
In the eyes of many, a claim such as "The incompleteness theorem
says that reason has limits" may sound like a reasonable claim and a
well-established fact. However, it is definitely not so in the eyes
of anyone really familiar with the foundations of mathematics.
First, because the phrase "reason has limits" does not have any a
priori well-defined meaning. Second, because whatever interpretation
of this praise is NOT what the incompleteness theorem says.
All it says, is that in any fixed formal system for mathematics,
there is a claim that says "this claim is unprovable" (in the same
system), and this claim is finally proven equivalent to "this formal
system is consistent" (has no contradiction), making its consistence
equivalent to the unprovability of this consistence inside the same
theory. So, working inside some system somehow assumes that it is
consistent (otherwise we would be doing nonsense) but this
assumption cannot be included as an explicit "known" claim inside
the system; if we do, we are switching to another system. But indeed
this switch to the next system is what is naturally operated by
reason during this study of the incompleteness theorem itself.
Thus, the "formally undecidable" claim that the incompleteness
theorem considered, is being decided by reason (provided that we
stay among formal systems which are rationally justifiable as a
correct representation of some mathematical world with the true set
of natural numbers). Thus the example provided, is indeed an example
undecided by the formal system but it is not an example of what
reason could not decide.
Admittedly, this systematic existence of examples of truths not
formally provable, does strongly suggest that there should also
exist other examples of mathematical claims that reason cannot
decide by any means (though Gödel himself thought otherwise). But
these are not the same examples, so that any claim that "the
incompleteness theorem says" some truths are not accessible by
reason, is technically false.
Moreover, the existence of mathematical claims that reason cannot
decide, does not mean that "reason has limits" in the sense that
religious nuts usually make use of this phrase. This way they mean
that reason leads nowhere and we should stop using it and instead
follow irrational ways to decide the truth on issues where we did
not even try to use reason yet.
Such an all too common anti-rationalist position is definitely not
supported, either by the incompleteness theorem, nor by the
admission of the existence of rationally undecidable mathematical
Instead, the situation in mathematics is that an infinite (but a
priori unknown) list of rationally decidable claims, coexists with
the infinite list of other claims (rationally undecidable). The
undecidable claims do not prevent us from resolving more and more
decidable ones as we keep working. Thus, in fact and as the
experience of scientific discoveries has proven in many ways, reason
can proceed its search for truth and keep greatly succeeding at it
further and further without limits, as well in mathematics as in
Finally, this "argument" against reason, has nothing to really do
with mathematics, but is a mere excuse fully produced by the
ignorance or stupidity of "spiritual people" to falsely "justify"
their ignorance and stupidity, their decision to proudly ignore and
despise the knowledge of more intelligent people that may have
already provided closed evidence against their articles of faith.
While, what is the incompleteness theorem, in fact ? It is a very
fascinating work of though, that can be very interesting for people
to exerciser their thinking abilities, make wonderful discoveries
with it and play with paradoxes. What do religious people usually
make of it ? They keep ignoring it, interpret it as something very
dull and normal, an apology of mental laziness, an excuse to stop
exercising one's thought. The exact opposite of what it really is.
Now, is there a more correct way to use the incompleteness theorem
in the religious debate ?
Yes, there is.
A reformulation of the theorem is : "If a formal system claims to be
itself consistent, then it is inconsistent".
But we do face a formal system that claims to be itself consistent.
Even if it may not be explicit in the Biblical axioms, we can find
many Christians who, merely based on them, come to have a strong
faith they forcefully put forward, that from their biblical
viewpoint, it is absolutely sure that the Biblical doctrine is
compatible with reason, with no contradiction, and that nobody can
ever refute it.
So, the incompleteness theorem says, since the biblical doctrine
leads to the claim that it is itself consistent, this leads to the
consequence that it is inconsistent.
Okay, while less incorrect than the previous case, this new use of
the incompleteness is still not really correct, because... the
Biblical doctrine is not exactly a formal system with which the
proof of the incompleteness can proceed.
However, we are not far from it, as (experience showed me that) this
doctrine is much more formal (more automated and less imaginative)
than the proper use of reason anyway (despite its claim to the
(I forgot the reference of an argument in some web site, that
Christianity behaves as a moving target when in front of scientists,
apologists define their religion by rational arguments for the
existence of some pointless abstract God as first cause in order to
avoid criticism; then in their community they define it by much
about Islam - but the situation with Christianity is usually
"The Muslim experts are very good
in debating by giving us the moving targets to hit and hence
confusing the debaters. By not sticking to the point and by
constantly shifting the poles and the surface beneath the
challenger’s feet and on top of that adding the covertly or
overtly aggressive behaviors, they do not reason with the
challenger but leaves him confused, dumb folded and repelled. It
is a psychological theory of covert aggressive behavior – the
behavior demonstrated by the non-reasoning and fixed thinking
There is no consistency in the Christian viewpoint. While claiming
to be the fixed and absolute truth, the effective contents of this
truth is continuously redefined (while staying blind to the fact
that it is redefined) so as to adapt to the piece of evidence and
the debater in front of them.
In front of the ones (during sermons and when preaching to naive
people), religious people are absolutists: they claim they have the
absolute unshakable truth that nobody can refute.
But as soon a someone dares to come with a serious, strong opposite
conviction and evidence against their views, they suddenly become
absolute relativists, crying for tolerance towards the diversity of
personal views and feelings, blindly but strongly denying any
possible ability for any human (except themselves) to have any
reliable evidence about any religious issue whatsoever.
Regularly I received requests of debates from Christians who, at the
beginning of the discussion, claimed to have the indefectible light
of God with them infinitely above my views, and the absolutely
strongest evidence against my views; and at the end of the
discussion, picture themselves as the kings of humility, with the
moral superiority of admitting their lack of any clue of what might
be the right replies to my arguments (where their conception of the
"right reply" has somehow finally more to do with how powerfully it
can delude me into being personally impressed or touched by God's
grace, than with whether it would have anything to do with the
truth); instead, they put forward their unshakable faith in the
existence of better Christian apologists, either with a deeper
guidance from God's spirit in managing conversations and making
favorable impressions, or stronger rational abilities, that should
be able to refute whatever arguments I might have - or just that I
must not being serious by not having read those apologetic books, no
matter whether the reference is specified or not. But this is usual.
It is the unquestionable dogma of religious people that they have
the exclusivity of access to the Absolute Truth, and that the rest
of the world outside their own faith, is ultimately the world of
absolute relativism made up of vain arbitrary opinions with no
legitimate right to claim to discover any reliable truth whenever it
contradicts dogmas. Eventually relying on the postmodernist gross
misinterpretation of Popper's scientificity criterion as if it was
saying that there is no reliable truth in science (while on the
contrary it explains why and how science is the one way to
trustworthy, reliable truths : that it is because science
methodically adapts its claims to reality rather that holds them
get angry when believers say at the beginning of an argument
that their belief is based on reason and evidence, and at the
end of the argument say things like, "It just seems that way to
me," or, "I feel it in my heart"... as if that were a clincher.
I mean, couldn't they have said that at the beginning of the
argument, and not wasted my fucking time? My time is valuable
and increasingly limited, and I have better things to do with it
than debating with people who pretend to care about evidence and
reason but ultimately don't."
Another example is the usual way in which Christians pretend to have
evidences of the historical reality of Jesus, put that claim in the
titles of books and articles, but when we read the contents we see
that they have no evidence whatsoever, but they are merely reviewing
their favorite historical details, those which are pleasant for them
because they do not show any obvious contradiction (in their eyes)
between Jesus'life and historical data. But in fact this does not
prove anything, and ignores contrary evidence that can be obtained
by other considerations. Anyway there is no surprise of some
appearance of consistency with history at first sight, because of
course, the Gospels were precisely designed for this.
Other aspects of continuous redefinitions of Christianity's absolute
truths : regular announcements of the end of the world; witch
hunting, crusades and censorship finally no more part of
Christianity; promises of God's blessings continuously turned into
preaches of acceptance of the burden we are in as "God is testing
our faith"; the division of Christianity into countless variations
each claiming to be the one true version and dismissing any evidence
against Christianity as reaching the wrong target (without any
serious consideration of how different it is); we previously
mentioned about geocentrism and creationism.
Despite refutations on these points as well as so many absurd claims
on individual cases (that heretics or deconverts rejected God or are
possessed by daemons and should be burnt...), Christians keep
holding the Bible and their Bible-based faith as the only possible
source of truth on other issues.
Distorting and playing with facts
Some Christians today would dismiss the above idea that the Jesus
story with all its miracles could be mere invention (no matter that
it is just a little extrapolation from a view of a very
knowledgeable Christian, mentioned above), as crazy and insulting
towards the honesty of the first Christians. However, what's the
problem to suspect the first Christians of having done this way
essentially the same thing that some of today's Christians are very
proud of doing in the name of the spiritual highs of symbolism ?
Indeed, in a forum discussion (in French) about my remarks on the
physical plausibility of some given stories of miracles, I observed
Christians and other very spiritual people dismiss this question as
unspiritual, insisting that God can't be found by this sort of
physical analysis, and that to find meaning in life we should rather
take great care to feed our relationship with for God by focusing on
the highly symbolic value of stories and what Jesus meant beyond
Then I replied the following:
The object of my analysis was not to
discuss whether the tales of (some famous tale writer) may have
some moral or educative value, and even less whether today's
scientific knowledge can add or subtract anything to this value
The questions was to seek hints about a question, not about
feelings on the sense of life, poetry and morality, but on a
matter of lowly factual, material truth: is the story of Jesus
anything more than a nice fairy tale to make us dream, we simple
humans, but something really of the kind that it claims to be: the
witness of a real fact, both historical and theological, a real
incarnation on Earth of a divine entity that came to fulfill a
unique, crucial and solemn mission in the universe, including:
exclusive teachings revealed by the true God, the Creator of the
Universe (just that!!! the whole Universe with its billions light
years wide, its billions years old and who knows how long a
future), and a redeemer sacrifice that would change forever the
eternal fate of billions of souls !!!
What are we trying to discuss, then ? Dreams or reality ??
When reading some, it looks like they explicitly put the values of
dream above all care for reality. That they call us to seek God in
dreams, considering He can be found there and only there. They
seem to consider that in a story of an incarnated God, it no more
matters whether this incarnation is factual or invented, as it
would seem, according to them, that we can as well (and even
better) "meet God" by telling ourselves a nice tale that tells
about a completely imaginary incarnated God, rather than to seek
whether such an adventure could really, factually happen. In such
conditions, the move of believing in the reality of such a story
by caring to forget the possibly totally virtual character of its
origins, is perceived as a spiritually positive value that helps
people to meet God. By the force of caring for spiritual and
symbolic values as much more essential than lowly factual
concerns, claims on the latter end up to be completely blurred and
shifting, until finally no more reliable trace remains of any
possible initial facts.
The aim of my study is not to seek for which can be the most
melodious poem in my ears with a better power to "bring me closer
to God". My goal is to seek the truth, and even if somehow ideally
we might expect that "God is truth" (ifever He could be reached
somehow), I consider that practices of factual distortions, even
arguably useful as a help to "meet God", cannot be a sane basis
for discerning any divine truth.
All this, because life is not a dream but a reality, and, with the
misfortune of being more serious, rigorous and deeply seeking than
the average people in my quest for God and truth, I dare to have
the horribly elitist will to care whether the information that
comes to me (and to other serious people like me) about a claimed
cosmic and solemn event where the Creator of the Universe would
have come, acted and given us some revelations, information that
claims to tell about a divine, absolute, revealed truth infinitely
above human thoughts and errors... really is more reliable than
the mere fruit of a collective fancy of a stupid humanity, that
can only be moved by overly childish, naive and inconsistent
fancies that would fit them and have the best power to delude them
into the feeling of being "with God".
But, ifever the gospel writers had just invented a story of Jesus
with all its miracles to better share what they saw as the most
highly spiritual message, considering how in the past, the idea of
a factual reality of this story has heavily served the
geopolitical victory of Christianism that smashed on its way any
other religion or culture by force of massacres of heretics, this
is a serious phenomenon that it would be irresponsible to take
lightly: a phenomenon that powerfully managed to mislead us about
what is the absolute Truth of God and His wisdom infinitely above
our human thoughts.
So, I don't care how spiritual is my study. My goal was to come
back to the facts and which hypothesis can have been closest to
the lowly factual reality. Could the Jesus miracles be real.
"I don't force you to believe"
Whenever they are facing strong contradiction, Christian preachers
put forward the claim that they are anyway not intending to "force"
anyone to believe, as if such an attitude gave them some moral
superiority over anybody else.
Their view in this point can be described by the equations:
Rational evidence = force = brutality
No evidence = no force = kindness
(respect of freedom) = moral superiority (humility)
A similar fallacy (or another aspect of the same one), is the claim
that "Everyone is free to join my religion" because "God loves all
people, without exclusion". No force inwards, no force outwards.
This pictures any movement of conversion or deconversion as a matter
of choice, of taste. But if all opinions are a matter of choice and
taste, then there is no such a thing as a reliable truth or
evidence, or is there ?
At first sight, the above identifications might seem to go through.
However, if we consider things more closely, it turns out that
things are rather the other way round.
Indeed, who on Earth really desires (needs) to be mistaken ?
Seriously, if you go and make a poll on the question: "On essential
issues such as what is there after death, is there a true religion
and which one, and what actions are right or wrong, would you prefer
to know the truth or to be mistaken ?", people would answer that
they prefer to know the truth, wouldn't they ? Isn't it normal to
complete the concept of freedom into a concept of "genuine freedom"
defined as "informed freedom" ? If the freedom of choosing what to
buy, normally requires the correct information on what the
merchandise is worth, how could a "freedom of belief" properly mean
anything without the correct information on whether the belief is
true or false ?
Thus, ifever there can be a reliable way to know the truth, which
option is more respectful of people's freedom: to let them know
about it, or to hide it from them ? Why do people usually assume
that the respect of people's freedom and needs consists in letting
whatever religious doctrine spread and recruit followers without
contradiction ? Yeah, still an instance of the "Our Opinion on an
Issue Is Based on How It's Worded" trouble mentioned above.
But, whenever a reliable evidence could be found of what is the
truth on some issue, the most liberal attitude should be to publish
this evidence so as to give people the opportunity to know the
truth, and free them from the risk of being mistaken (ifever they
are interested in evidences), shouldn't it ?
Well, such would be my opinion in theory. However, I must admit when
I see some online debates, I feel sometimes amazed to see how some
people behave all as if they did want to stay mistaken. It need not
have anything to do with religion, for example in a discussion about
modern physics, some made claims which they qualify as a very
expression of a "critical mind" and high "epistemology", but that
are a mere position of misunderstanding. But they would keep to
their foolish position, no matter the ridicule and refutations they
are facing, which they will reject as some sort of "dogmatism"
(having no problem to call "dogmatic" or mock in other ways, the
statement of some consensual meaning or character of the theories of
modern physics, even outside the measurement problem in quantum
physics, just because it does not fit their current
Now, there is a misunderstanding about the use of the scarecrow word
"force". If there is a reliable evidence for something, we might say
people are forced to agree. However, is that really "force" ? No,
However, there is a subtle difference that needs to be made between
genuine and flawed arguments, between logic and mental manipulation.
Sometimes, it may happen that an argument seems reliable while its
conclusion is false, and it can be very hard to guess where the
error might be. Indeed it's a problem. But then it should be
possible for some more clever person, or who has another experience,
to point out where the error is. The explanation may take work to
explain and understand, but ultimately, if only enough work and
intelligence is dedicated, it should be possible to find out who is
right, or maybe that there is no decisive evidence yet.
So this can be a difficult problem, however it would hardly make any
sense to just reduce the opposition as an opposition between "force"
and "openness". It is much more subtle than this. Ultimately, the consequences are that the truth
probably freeds people while error probably harms them, but you
can't properly discern the right way that leads to the right
destination, by a caricatural description of how "forceful" or
"open" each side of a debate may feel.
Indeed, the problem of the distinction between proper logic and
flawed arguments, has its own laws that hardly have anything to do
with how "forceful" or "open" a position may feel, especially in the
eyes of those who don't yet have a lot of knowledge and experience
of how proper logic works, what the risks of mistakes can look like
and how they can be avoided.
Indeed, whenever someone discovered some very clear and reliable
evidences for something, then he reaches certainty on the issue, so
that his behavior may be seen as "forceful" and "dogmatic" by other
people who have no clue yet about these evidences. Is "2+2=4" a
dogma ? In the eyes of those who cannot count, it may sound so.
Then, is the question of openness in debates. In order for an open
meaningful debate to possibly happen, precise arguments must be
provided by each side. Without any candidate of reliable evidence on
either side, what the hell could the debate be about ? "I don't know
anything but I want to talk about it and explain how good it is to
think like me and why you need to do so"?
If no argument can be made clear and reliable, how the hell could
any convergence happen on whether or not some pseudo-argument is
valid ? Wouldn't each person's view remain a matter of taste on
whether they like to see it so ? Wouldn't the debate be doomed to
remain vain and sterile ? Why the f**k would any reasonable person
waste one's time in such ways ?
Well, I understand that it on some issues, is not always possible to
find absolute evidence (for example, for the consistency of ZF set
theory there is "good philosophical evidence" that is not formal
proof). However, it is a duty to try to develop the most reliable
evidence we can, in order to make debates meaningful.
Finally, the true identifications are:
|= chance of meaningful
debate, mutual understanding and reliable discovery of the
= intellectual honesty = source of freedom
||= impossibilty of meaningful
= sticking conversation to waste of time and personal
attacks (for lack of anything else to say)
= doom to stay in illusion and error
Then, apart from the fact that the slogan of "letting people free to
believe what they like" is a stupid nonsense, what collateral
damages can it produce ?
- It provides an arbitrary feeling of moral superiority over
"others" behaviors, "those who would want to force their belief
upon you", so that "hey listen to me I'm better than those who
would behave that way", as if there ever existed anybody that
tried to use "force" to try converting people
- In front of someone who claims to know contrary evidence, this
slogan is used to kill the debate and prevent it from happening:
if all belief is a matter of taste, personality and arbitrary
choice, and is not the effect of any necessity of facts and
reliable evidence, why should we waste any time arguing about
evidence ? There is nothing to understand about why others think
differently: it's just their arbitrary choice. In these
conditions, there is no room for trying to really understand
each other anymore (what could happen, what piece of evidence,
could lead someone to deconvert or not convert). So, believers
of false doctrines with flawed or absent arguments, can use this
slogan to cowardly flee any debate with serious contradictors,
but meanwhile they would keep looking for naive people that may
listen to their doctrine for lack of any clue of what's wrong
with it; they may claim then that this doctrine is God's
ultimate and undeniable truth, no matter that there may be
indeed people who did find reliable evidence that this doctrine
is false. But, someone who keeps teaching something to whoever
may listen while systematically keeping a blind eye on contrary
evidence that others may have, is just a damn liar, or is he ?
Now, if the notion of "forcing people to believe" would hardly make
any sense to be taken literally (because "force" and "belief" do not
refer to the same type of reality, and work quite differently), let
us explain how it may still somehow occur, how we might say that
some people do have a behavior of "forcing" others to join their
belief - even if they forcefully and sincerely reject this
accusation of trying to force people to agree with them, as this is
not their conscious will (but only, perhaps, some collateral damage
produced by the holiness of their attitude where they are so highly
into, far above human senses, that it becomes disconnected from the
concrete reality of their behavior).
Some of these means may be called "psychological pressure"
Example: to persuade people that the Earth is flat, or at least
demonize the claim that it is ball-like, you just need to consider
that the claim of the ball-like shape of the Earth, is an act of
hatred and persecution against the Flat Earth Society, its members,
their freedom of consciousness, and also against God who had the
goodness to come to Earth and die on the cross to reveal us His word
which describes the Earth as flat.
- To consider that those who don't agree, or don't listen to
them and trust their teachings, are proud, dogmatic,
narrow-minded and hard-hearted. But it is very unspiritual to be
proud, dogmatic, narrow-minded and hard-hearted. Thus if people
want to be spiritual (good-hearted, open-minded...), they need
the humility to listen to and trust the good teachings of these
generous spiritual teachers, without any further argument.
- To replace the matter of what is true or false, or a matter of
fact, by a matter of what is good or bad, what is virtuous or
vicious, either towards others, towards God, or towards one's
self-fulfillment. This is often presented as an advice for the
interest of the person, especially if there is a difference of
well-being or of virtue between both people (so as to make it
feel that one's opinion is more virtuous or source of well-being
than the other). Ignore that believing something for an
advantage rather than after an evidence, is the very definition
- Ways to artificially strengthen the impression of how you feel
better or are more virtuous than the other (for example: are
filled with a divine serenity), either in terms of serenity,
fate, self-fulfillment; feel offended by the other's position,
or anyway provide the impression that it is offending
- Put forward your good intentions and try to help the person -
as there is no more devastating force than the force of goodness
and pure intentions, to defeat by condemning as "evil", any try
to come and contradict a claim
- Put a hard burden of study on the other person (reading the
Bible, apologetic treaties...), but don't care yourself to study
as much of the other side's arguments, because "he is free to
believe what he wants" and you will not bother about it; be
convinced that whoever disagrees must have not done his homework
yet, but don't checking whether this is the right picture of
things - anyway, it is virtually impossible to prove how serious
and deep the search has been, especially in the very small size
of replies in conversations.
- Claim that the truth (or God) reveals itself to any sincere
seeker (or to anyone with the right attitude - insert here
whatever definition of the "right attitude" can be considered);
and more precisely that it is what one claims (this must be so
anyway, because it is one's conclusion of a deeply sincere
search, and who can dare to deny one's sincerity and dedication
to the truth ?). Disregard that this claim is rigorously
equivalent to a personal attack against anyone who disagrees (as
it means they did not sincerely seek the truth, or did not have
the right attitude whatever it is), and is utterly refuted by
evidence (as there are very sincere people in all religions, who
reached opposite conclusions from the same sincere search).
- Generally, sincerely develop some view (while staying stupid
and unaware how absurd your view is), namely some "explanations"
of the other person's position, such as that his search for
truth was not serious, or that his position is the result of
some sin. This will make the discussion go mad, and either
directly convince the person without genuine evidence, or upset
him and force him to fight back and tell you that you are
claiming nonsense. But insist that you had very good intentions
and were telling very normal and polite things in a civilized
discussion, while on the other hand, feel yourself martyred when
hearing any criticism, any view opposing yours, any expression
of a disagreement that is addressed to you.
- Blame what you feel as a disrespect (fight) started by your
opponent, on his "ego" or bad character and picture this as his
entire "fault". This way, explain that this is the sign he is a
wrong person and needs to change - by receiving God (your
religion) in his life.
- Claim that you will pray for this person to change and convert
(for God to reveal Himself to him)
- Prophesy that the person will come to agree with you later
once the right search for God will have been proceeded; consider
that it was his fault if it does not happen. Or, claim that your
position has been successfully defended and that it is thus
gaining growing support, or prophesy that it will do so at some
- Request justifications for his views, and don't tolerate the
idea that his position could be anyhow justified unless his
replies will have convinced you; disregard that this burden of
care for your understanding may have nothing to do with the real
search for truth he may have carried out, either because you are
unable to understand or properly assess arguments anyway, or
just because the evidence is a result of years long search and
analysis that cannot be summed up just for you
- Anyway, don't wait for replies. If he did not convince you in
5 minutes (or in one email message), conclude that he had no
argument, thus he's just wrong
- Dismiss any try to contradict you as "mere arguments" thus "mere theory", "human thoughts" (as if
your own thoughts were not human), and unholy, while the real
life with God has nothing to do with arguments. Therefore if
people want to sincerely search for God and find Him they must
agree with you.
Earth not a Globe Review, which sold for twopence, as well as
one called Earth which only lasted from 1901 to 1904. She held
that the Bible was the unquestionable authority on the natural
world and argued that one could not be a Christian and believe
the Earth to be a globe."
About the burden of search: active atheists are usually more
knowledgeable about religions, than religious people themselves.
Either because this knowledge led them to deconversion after they
were Christians, or because the arguments by believers that have
excessive study requirements on the other part, led them to do this
study, in order to provide replies.
"I'm angry that I have to know
more about their fucking religion than the believers do.
...when believers treat any criticism of their religion -- i.e.,
pointing out that their religion is a hypothesis about the world
and a philosophy of it, and asking it to stand up on its own in
the marketplace of ideas -- as insulting and intolerant.
...when Christians in the United States -- members of the single
most powerful and influential religious group in the country, in
the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world -- act
like beleaguered victims, martyrs being thrown to the lions all
over again, whenever anyone criticizes them or they don't get
So, the problem that they don't understand, is, if they want
their position to be respected, it's up to them to opt for a
position that deserves respect; it's not the fault of others if
they criticize and even condemn a position that is not defensible
(because it is blind and disrespectful against more knowledgeable
people). The problem is, the question of which position is
defensible and deserves respect, can be very hard to discern:
anyone having any position thinks that this position is true and
thus deserves respect...
Let me mention an experience trying to with a Christian in a team
trying to evangelize people in the streets (he was probably
evangelical, but I had a similar experience with a Mormon).
Now, is this power real, what does it make ?
He said something like: it is pointless to try arguing because the
depth of the issue is not a matter of argument, but a matter of God's power coming to your
life (and of course, as usual, stupidly repeating the old empty
buzzword that "Christianity is not a religion but a relationship
with God"). So, yes, this is power
that he's talking about.
In the experience of trying to talk with this guy, I must admit
there really is some overwhelming power in his life, and a power
that he is bringing to his conversation.
Here is how this overwhelming power feels:
In conversations, like a bulldozer, he smashes all possible chances
of meaningful dialogue and mutual understanding, under the blinding
radiations of his divine serenity. This powerfully makes things feel
in some way, as if they were completely different from whatever they
are in reality - not letting any sufficient room (time, attention)
for the other one to explain himself.
This force of blindness and distortion of feelings, has the power to
make conversations go completely crazy. This does not leave any
decent chance to behave sanely, rationally and humanly when
dialectically interacting with such a natural disaster.
Even though this person is totally sincere, this behavior acts as a provocation. This makes the
other part go mad and angry at trying to deal with this natural
disaster, and makes it feel as if it was their fault (bad character,
"lack of spirituality"...), as if the true origin of the clash was
not the provocation by this powerfully unshakable "divine serenity"
that does not let any room for meaningful debates and human
If Christians wanted to behave decently as concerns the search for
truth (I mean, to be really,
methodologically decent, not just to fool themselves into
feeling that they are behaving decently just because they have a
feeling of honesty in their heart, as they usually do), they would
no more go and bother people with their divine serenity and other
such provocative personal pressures on people to convert. Instead,
they would go and examine the deep logic and structure of the
arguments (now rather by Internet, where there could be more decent
room for such careful study and meaningful debates between opposite
sides, if only it was better worked on...).
Debating problems and consequences
Now, what about the cases of lengthy arguments and proofs they think
they have, with their apologetic treaties ?
Indeed, many times I read here or there, claims by Christians that
reason supports their position, and that all skeptical arguments
have been flatly refuted.
The problem is, who is the judge ?
The fact is, what they claim to be arguments on their side and
refutations of skeptical arguments, are only accepted by themselves
as such. They only succeed to convince themselves that they have
arguments, because they wanted to believe that they had arguments in
the first place (and anyway they assumed whatever supports their
side must be true because the truth is named Jesus), so that
anything they might say or hear that pleases their faith and gives
them an impression of being an argument, is automatically accepted
as an evidence on their side.
So, to please their faith in the idea that they have arguments and
that the rejection of Christianity is indefensible, they sometimes
publish, buy and praise books that are supposed to be "addressed to
skeptics" and to provide them the evidence for Christianity.
Examples are "Mere Christianity" by Lewis, and "The Reason for God"
In fact all their evidence may be completely flawed, ridiculous and
refuted for whoever is aware of the real contents of the debate,
they just won't or can't figure out. All they care is to comfort
themselves in their faith and the vague impression that it is
correct, and thus that anyone who keeps disagreeing must be
ignorant, stupid or stubborn.
They are ignoring the real terms of the debate, as their arguments
develop from a very naive viewpoint (something that is being "born
again" ;-), discovering the universe disregarding the experience and
arguments developed by skeptics.
Or sometimes they do, but happen to stick to wrong references. It is
such a pity that some authors have been reputed as a reference of
criticism of Christianity, while they focus on wrong arguments and
only give a sketch of the right ones.
For example, Nietzsche has been taken as a reference among
philosophers but most of his arguments are of poor value.
Some other mention some abstract and general arguments against the
existence of God or of miracles, that are not clear either.
But in fact there are many more, and much more serious, arguments
and testimonies against Christianity.
Before the Internet era, it may have been more understandable that
Christians kept their faith because they did not have the chance to
know about refutations, or because the attempts at criticism they
saw were weak.
But now with Internet, lots of evidence against Christianity are
widely available to all. It just require a little bit of care and
intellectual honesty and sanity to go and read it and understand it.
However unfortunately, many Christians won't do it, mainly because
they are unaware that such refutations exist and deserve to be read.
How would they guess so ? Why would they spend time reading
positions that they believe to be wrong ? They would consider this
care as ungodly and not good for their "spiritual growth with
Well of course, things are not perfect. Everyone contributes in a
way or another, and it is difficult to gather everything in a big
systematic way to put everything into order, insist on the strongest
points and avoid the weak or debatable ones.
It is especially difficult to focus on the points that the reader
needs to see first in order to discover a failure in his own system
of fallacies that will be relatively easier for him to understand
and admit without covering it by another fallacy.
Especially because this differs from a reader to another.
You can find on the web many arguments, evidence against
Christianity, and criticisms of the apologetic books, as the world
is very big and the deconverts are very many.
Some examples of criticism of "Mere Christianity" quickly coming by
a little web search: Mere
assertions - pages at infidels.org
Atheism - the world
wide rant. However, a remark needs to be made : among many
good arguments, some atheists try to argue for moral relativism.
However it is very important to understand that there are positions
of moral realism (saying that morality makes objective sense)
outside Christianity (even among atheists), and there
are even many
arguments showing that Christian morality is no decent morality at all, thus defeating the
relevance of any argument for moral absolutism as if it could bring
any support to Christianity - see more comments on how Christianity
(for example, Greta Christina wrote " I get angry when they trot out
the same old "Atheism is a nihilistic philosophy, with no joy or
meaning to life and no basis for morality or ethics"... when if they
spent ten minutes in the atheist blogosphere, they would discover
countless atheists who experience great joy and meaning in their
lives, and are intensely concerned about right and wrong.")
See also my own (non-christian) metaphysical
and other notes for moral realism.
His famous trilemma,
"Lord, Liar, or Lunatic", has
web sites - even Christian
Just like with the famous argument from martyrs where fallible
Christians as those of the early Church, suddenly must be considered
infallible as soon as it comes to the accidental event that they are
facing death threat and keep their faith in front of it (while the
way heretics did not suddenly convert in front of the mass massacres
they were victims of by the Inquisition, should not be counted as
evidence for the truth of heretical views).
Here Christians suddenly forget that things are not either black or
white but good-willing humans can be fallible, whenever the assumed
dilemma that things must be either black or white, is the convenient
assumption to support Christianity (assuming that if there is
anything good with Christianity then it must be all good and divine
perfection). But the same Christians would dismiss the remarks that
the early Church made so horrible massacres in God's name, by
proudly putting forward the claim that it is normal and right for
the early Church to have done the stupidest and most horrible things
in God's name (even worse things than had ever been done before) and
to have completely rebuilt the story of the life and messages of
Jesus (when facing evidence of its inaccuracy, while in other
circumstances they would deny any imperfection) and to have mistaken
the legendary accounts of creation in Genesis and other old
testament tales as factual truth) because they are mere fallible
humans unable of divine perfection, and as such should not be
expected and held responsible to do anything right. Similarly,
absolute uncurable human fallibility is always put forward by
Christians to blindly dismiss any skeptical position and claim of
evidence against Christianity - even without examination of the
clarity and reliablity of those evidences.
of "the reason for God" can be easily found too, and show that
this book is not what it claims to be: it does not contain serious
argument, but assumes as much as it claims to show, and just has
faith in its own arguments. It has not much clue about what is
reason, what is an argument, how do skeptics think, why they don't
buy Christianity, and what problems need to be addressed.
A funny positive review : "Keller
serves up a compelling and reasonable apologetic for today’s
postmodern doubters and skeptics". Well of course if
Christians can't even make the difference between postmodernism and
rationality, then this confirms they just have no clue on the nature
of rationality, and leaves no wonder about their degree of illusion
and the worthlessness of their review.
I also started
reading and commenting on an apologetic book written by a
Something symptomatic about the Christian belief that such books
would be solid intelligent arguments addressed to skeptics and that
should more or less convince them, is that they usually believe this
without even having made a web search to check if skeptics ever
already checked and debunked these books. This shows how this
Christian pretense to care for reason and have arguments on their
side, is but one more way for them to practice blind faith that does
not stand any decent rationality standards.
What is ironical with their claim of having rational arguments, of
saying that reason supports their doctrine, that reason and faith
are compatible, and to try to convince skeptics, is that they are
proving the exact contrary of what they think, by showing (to the
knowledgeable reader) how flawed is their way of thinking. Their
very way of showing how they support flawed arguments that they
mistake for genuine arguments (by praising books of direly flawed
arguments and raising them as best-sellers), just confirms the
rational reader that faith is stupid and incompatible with reason.
For example, the very title of the book "The Reason for God" is
already illogical and corrupted with concerns to "please God" by
faith, rather make logically meaningful claims as opposed to what
the contrary view really is (as atheists have never had any personal
opposition against a God who they think does not exist ! and even
the existence of God does not imply the Christian doctrine, as other
concepts of God may be considered, which this author ignores). Why
bother reading the rest ?
For example, see: the
asymmetry of conversion (the observation that conversions to
Christianity are nearly always from naive people without prior
knowledge of the skeptical arguments, while there are many more
deconverts among people who made long biblical studies, including
pastors and priests).
Deconversion from Christianity often happens as a sort of amazing
discovery. Not a striking discovery, but the resulting effect of a
large accumulation of clues which are little discoveries. These seem
very new and totally unexpected, because until then, as Christians,
these clues are totally ignored, as if they were never discovered.
Not that they really were never discovered, but these discoveries
were only made and could be told by people that, well, usually
cannot be found in church anymore, and do even less has a say during
sunday sermons there, so that, well, do such ungodly people exist at
all ? As in Christian vocabulary, the word "testimony" means
"testimony of faith in Christ or life with Christ", how can any
other testimony be a worthy testimony at all ?
The result is that many of the Christians who turn out to deconvert,
do it by rediscovering these evidences themselves, and have the
impression that these are very new insights that were not heard of
before. So they feel a duty to go and write down their discoveries
in details, in hope to enlighten they former "brothers in Christ",
expecting that they would be serious in checking and understanding
this, because, well, for so many years together, it all looked like
they were among the most serious and honest truth seekers of the
world, surely interested with any genuine discovery.
Then, what a shock it is to discover that it is absolutely not the
case. And that, instead of reacting seriously and honestly to
consider the evidence, Christians just blindly accuse the deconverts
of all the evil of the world.
Anyway, deconverts will then consider it their duty to write down
the evidence they found, that is quite a lot... but often redundant
with what other deconverts already wrote since long ago.
So, now on the web, evidence against Christianity accumulates,
repeats itself... for not much anyway, because is just adds one more
droplet in an ocean of redundant evidence, that other Christians
won't bother reading anymore than they bothered reading previous
works on the same subject.
To make things worse, Christians keep thinking that atheist
arguments are weak, because of illusions such as the assumption that
skeptical arguments are just those of Nietzsche, then a look at
Nietzsche's arguments shows that they are quite weak, and so they
think: if atheists have just that to say, their point is weak.
Indeed, in such a case it would be so.
The problem is that there is a sort of flawed reputation system in
the world of academic philosophy, a domination of mediatic bubbles,
where, once someone starts being referenced as a great philosopher,
then everybody has to repeat this (like the Emperor's new clothes),
every other philosopher also has to mention him, and this reputation
just amplifies disregarding that basically, the core of that
author's arguments was quite weak.
Random examples of sites of former Christians:
Open questions to Christians
One thing that makes Christians wrongly imagine that they have
answers to all skeptical arguments and questions, is that they don't
have the right list of most important questions. So, once they
answered the weak problems (of for some problems, they are satisfied
to give a superficial answer without understanding how deep the
problem is or how vain is their answer), they think they won.
But there are quite hard problems that still remain unaddressed, or
not seriously addressed, and in fact, unanswerable for the defense
of Christianity. (They could be used as a fast means to put a
Christians in trouble during a debate.)
Already a number of questions were listed above (in the discussion
on the Fatima miracle).
Many sites can easily be found listing questions to Christians.
Here is a list of
questions to Christians
questions are included in this argument.
article of the same site)
Examples of questions or issues in Christianity that are either
troubling in themselves, or, can be sources of troubles (but require
some more developments depending on answers):
If you freely choose to believe that God wants you to freely choose
to believe that He sent His only Son on Earth to die on the Cross to
redeem your sins and testify to the world His desperate need and
desire that you freely choose to believe that whoever does not
accept to believe this is destined for eternal hell, then whose
choice do you think is this: yours or God's ? If you claim that God
really wants this, then what do you think this very claim is based
on, except on your own arbitrary choice to believe so, motivated by
your desire to please/obey God, and/or not go to Hell (as if anyone
desired to displease to God and/or to go to Hell) ? Or might that be
the mere coward expression of your own desire to flee the
responsibility of your own errors despite the lack of any objective
justification for this kind of escape ?
The double standard of judgement or rules when morally comparing
God's actions with ours.
In particular, the discrepancy between the absolute passivity of God
and his assumed power, supposedly "to be nice" and "to let us free"
but in ways that produce so much suffering and alienation in
reality; while humans have the duty to intervene for stopping
horrors and injustice.
Did they read about NDEs and the observation that most of it shows
no difference that faith would make to what happens after life ? Do
they reject such observations as misleading ?
Is it necessary / sufficient to believe in Jesus to be saved ? If
not, how much progress does it bring ?
What about losing one's faith: was all the previous effort towards
God a pure waste ? Why invite people to convert if it can turn out
to be a devastating waste of time like this ?
What proportion of Christians in the world are wrong Christians ?
What's the point of converting and giving one's life to God if it
leaves so high risks to become a mere wrong Christian, with a
worthless faith ?
Where is the "good news" in the announcement that so many people
will go to eternal hell ? If the positive effect of this "news"
depends on the listener's trust in it, does it means any "news"
should be trusted ? why this one ?
If there is no hell and all people go to heaven, then what was the
Redemption for ? and what's the point of being Christian ?
Is there any fundamental difference between humans and animals (to
make sense of the claim that only man was created as God's image) ?
If yes, why is it that scientists could not find any meaningful and
clear specific one ? If the difference has anything to do with
intelligence, why is it that the Bible does not give any value to
Do animals have a life after death ? Do they need Jesus'sacrifice to
be saved ? If no, why ? Are they without sin ? If they benefit
Jesus'sacrifice, what happened to them in the many past million
Among these 2 horrors
which one is worse ? which one did Jesus come to stop ? with which
- Human sin and whatever human suffering that may result (though
these are 2 different things)
- God's judgement against sin, and the resulting punishment by
If billions of people dedicated their life to having an intimate
relationship with God (or at least hundreds of millions, if you
prefer to excommuniate those with different ideas from yours), and
this relationship made a fundamental difference on their life
according to John's Gospel (chap. 14-16), how could it fail to
produce overwhelming positive effects, forming solid proofs of this
divine guidance ? (see also the above "evidence against theism").
Why is it that religions are better known to produce negative
consequences (holy wars, conflicts with science, intolerance...), in
such appearances that even God guiding His people cannot overturn ?
Is there any conspiracy stronger than God here ? Are the benefits of
obedience to God's will for oneself only, or for others too ? If for
others too, then others should have noticed a difference, shouldn't
they ? Why is it that this difference so often turns out to be
negative (as described below) ?
Is there any rational evidence for Christianity, yes or no ?
In other words, why do Christians keep viewing faith as an
absolutely free choice in a list of only one possible worldview ?
- If yes, why do Christians keep saying it's a matter of faith,
and why did so many clever and honest people reject these
"evidences" ? Or is it because they are not honest ? Is their
dishonesty motivated by their desire to go to eternal hell ?
- If no, why are Christians so always absolutely attached to
their Christian worldview, never able to understand and address
any other interpretation of the world ? Why do they so rarely
take the serious step of wondering "what if it was really false
? How could I know it ?" even when they have "doubts" ?
How could the original sin be called an act of free choice whose
opportunity was given by God, without the full prior awareness of
the possible consequences ? Was God unable to conceive a form of
freedom to grant to man which was not a malicious poisoned gift ?
Wasn't God the unfair malicious one here ?
When did the original sin happen: before or after man appeared on
Earth ? Was the Earth without sin before humans emerged ? Where did
it happen: with specific humans on Earth, or in some abstract
spiritual realm only symbolized in the way told ?
If a story similar to the Gospel had been told before Jesus came on
Earth, how could the listeners have felt that this Redemption did
not yet happen, making it right for them to reject such a story
despite hearing the same sort of invitation to convert as is now
If there was no such a way, then how can we know that the Redemption
did happen already ?
What is more valuable:
When Jesus values the small gift of the poor widow much more than
the rich's abundant donations, the answer seems to be 1. However,
when Christians hold Jesus as a model of holiness when he says to
the paralyzed "Get up and walk", the answer seems to be 2. Is this a
contradiction or a double standard ? How to reconcile this case of
2. in the actions of Jesus, with the observations of God's refusal
to take calculated efficient actions for the sake of the world (as
noticed above) ?
- to wastefully destroy one's own life in the name of one's
goodness to others (holiness), or
- that the sufferings of others end ?
If you had the opportunity to save millions of people from injustice
and suffering just by investing yourself in some work leading to
this result, would you do it, or would you refuse just for the sake
of your own humility (that you only want tasks that the Bible or the
preachers say is God's will, or with benefits rigorously
proportional to the goodness of your heart) and of the employment of
God's goodness (to let the people the opportunity to pray God for
help), as well as human (and especially Christian) charity work ? Or
do you unquestionably assume it just can't be possible because you
trust the divine revelation that human suffering cannot depend on
anything else than human sin (and human choice) ? What if the
problem was due to your own refusal to take the right decision to
save millions, rather than their own respective faults ?
If you think any Christian would do it, how do you explain that all
the thousands of people (many of whom Christian) who got to know
about my software project
that would precisely lead to this result , and who were even
generally convinced about it, never took any care to help or promote
it (searching for programmers) ?
Why is it that Christian faith (and more generally, religious and
spiritual creeds) makes people generally more reluctant to seriously
consider and study such possibilities of helping the world ? Is it
because they don't want to make their life useful to the world ? Why
do so many Christians prefer to directly oppose such projects by
accusing their authors of pride, without trying to understand them ?
(Well, I ask this, but I have some answers: see below)
Two questions from
Freedom to choose is given to man by
God. Man has two main choices: 1) accept the Love of God and, upon
death, go to paradise for eternity, 2) Refuse God and, upon death,
just die, be utterly damned. How is that freedom of choice when it
is the same thing as a gun to your head?
Jesus said rich men don’t go to Heaven easily and even implied
that it wasn’t possible. Why are so many people with money and
property Christian if they are probably going to Hell?
Did Exodus happen ? Are you aware of the archeological discoveries
that proved the contrary (see above) ? Or do you just dismiss this
as a conspiracy of human desires to disprove the Bible ? Otherwise,
why did not Christians of previous centuries, seriously consider the
possibility that this story was so fake ?
Why was the Bible so unclear about the difference between fact and
Wherever the Hebrew Bible claims that God said something, did He
really say it ? Did God change his mind since then ? If some of
these words were not from God, why did God choose to let the message
of His Son take its roots and heritage of divine authority in such a
flawed religion, without even any warning against its aspects He
never agreed with ? Were the Gospel writers and early Christian
apologists aware about its flaws at all ?
Why is the Bible always so unclear about the difference between fact
and allegory ?
Did the Jesus miracles happen (or which ones) ? Why was there an
independent historical testimony of a solar eclipse during
Jesus'death when other Christian historians see it clear that this
event was added for the symbol according to the religious
traditional mythologies of that time (see above) ?
What was the sense of the Christ's resurrection according to 1
Corinthians 15, if not that Christians of that time could not hope
for a life after death as long as bodies remain in grave ?
Why does God let so many very sincere people follow wrong religions
? Why does He let anyone teach wrong things in His name, whether
they are sincere or not ? Whenever someone is obsessed about giving
their life to God and following His will, why does God's way of
"respecting their freedom" consist in abandoning them in terrible
If the devil's conspiracy is responsible for blurring traces of the
light of God in the world, making up imitations and challenging
believers'faith by contrary appearances, are there any remaining
reliable evidences of which is the right doctrine at all ? why do
some Christians have no problem to consider the opinion of others
and their respective strong foundations (eventually including
miracles, changed lives) as a possible fruit of such a conspiracy of
the devil (or of sin or illusion), but would never apply this
suspicion to their own position ? where is their famous "humility"
here ? Could they tolerate the possibility that their own religion
is mistaken and God just abandoned them to their mistake ? What
would be the problem there if religious orientations did in fact not
matter for afterlife ? Why would God care to correct such relatively
insignificant problems (temporary individual doctrinal mistakes) but
leave the world to the much bigger rest of its sufferings ?
If the main criterion to distinguish between divine and diabolic
revelation is the agreement with previous revelations, isn't this a
sort of circular argument ? What about the Jewish argument that
Christianity is incompatible with their previous revelations ?
Why did God choose to "give signs" of the divinity of Jesus by
making miracles in secret, so as to not let any sane and honest
person a chance to take seriously the claim that these miracles
really happened (but rather as a way of letting them signs that they
most probably did not happen) ? For example, even if we accepted the
gospels on word, they claim that nobody saw Jesus'resurrection
happening; and a virgin birth is no visible sign at all.
Is it because God hates sane and honest people and wants to lead
them to the wrong conclusions so as to make up an excuse to condemn
Or is God not responsible for this dire lack of reliable traces of
what exactly happened (both by the choice of time and place, and by
the decisions of Jesus himself) ?
What is the message of John 15:19-20, Matthew 12:25-32, if not a
call for sectarianism, paranoia and conspiracy theories ? The object
of conspiracy theories is to replace the explanation from simple
chance, error and natural disorder (chaos), by the devil.
Let's try the argument : " If chaos drives out
chaos, it is divided against itself. How then can its kingdom
stand ?" Isn't Jesus telling fallacies ?
Why do the Gospels contain details that nobody could have witnessed
If the holy spirit guided the gospel writers, why do they disagree
with each other ?
Why accept the Bible as God's word when most of its authors remain
completely unknown and it neither contains any explicit revealed
list of which books are divinely inspired ?
Why did Gospel writers quote non-existent verses of the OT (John
7:38 - Matthew 2:23) ?
Endless Christian/atheist debates
In the way they are usually going, debates between atheists and
religious people have no chance to be resolved, because each side
really has a clue on the truth that the other does not, and must
therefore keep its position for that reason.
Religious people have the clue that we are not just made of matter,
that there is a spiritual realm beyond the material one, that this
other realm is somehow "more essential" than the material universe
directly under hand, especially because we, as conscious beings,
deeply belong to this realm;
that the essence of feelings and thus of morality, belongs to
consciousness and cannot be found in matter.
That, in principle, material processes alone cannot account for the
possibility for conscious existence and morality to make sense.
That there is a life after death where we will come back to this
realm, so that this dimension will finally be unfolded, and the
sense of the life spent may appear more clearly. That in the
spiritual realm there should be some higher minds, some higher level
of knowledge, than the one we are familiar with, and that we cannot
see in our human form.
Atheists (or at least a number of them) have important clues about
how to think properly, what is an evidence and what is not, what is
fallacious, how flawed are so many religious or spiritual teachings,
both as for their worldview and their morality.
But, one of the misunderstandings of religious people towards
atheists, is their assumption that atheism would be incompatible
with morality. This assumption is refuted by statistics: in average,
atheists are not less moral than others.
This misunderstanding has 2 causes.
The first is the confusion between a principle of existence and a
practical knowledge of something (the error of essentialism).
Religious people have a clue why it is possible for morality to make
sense. But they fail to notice that this does not help to know its
contents. They assume that having this clue would also make them
wise to discern which actions would be more moral than others. It
The second is that religious people usually do have some explicit
moral teaching to offer (or teaching about the sense of life);
atheists usually don't.
But this difference mainly comes from the fact that religious people
usually simplify and formalize morality (and the sense of life), and
assume or expect its rules to be somehow revealed to us (either by
sacred texts, gurus or personal inspiration through prayer); while
atheists rather are aware of the complexity of the problem that
cannot be reduced in such a way, of the flaws in the candidate
rules, and of the absence of such a revelation. Especially, they
often know that the right thing to do may depend on context because
different contexts can make similar actions lead to different
consequences; dependence on context which religious people may
confuse with moral relativism.
To better see the flaw of the first argument, let us remember that
we have other intuitions made possible by the (real rather than
acknowledged) immateriality of the soul : the intuition of our own
existence, the reality of our remembered past, and the falsity of
Of course, while atheists cannot account for the source of these
intuitions in principle (except the observation of their similarity
with others), they won't deny their truth in practice.
With morality it's the same (except for some immoral people of
- Mentioning God does not bring anything to the search of the
contents of morality, as whatever higher view there can be, cannot
contradict the careful calculations that can be independently made
out of directly accessible observation (for an earthly outcome,
since our fate after death would be God's responsibility, not ours)
; or at least we cannot do better than this anyway. A divine
morality needs to fit with the observables, as long as it aims to be
a genuine morality. Any other claim would be, by nature, arbitrary
and escaping discussion, which is a dangerous way to approach
morality; otherwise, a story of a God that wants cruel things, would
make it a moral value to be cruel "just because this is what God
wants", which is absurd.
- On the very ground where religions pretend to be superior: the
"goodness in oneself". Somehow, atheist morality is more authentic
than the religious one because it is practiced by its own sake for
the welfare of others, rather than for a heavenly reward. This also
makes it more authentic in practical terms, as it leaves this
morality undistorted by any arbitrary doctrine about biased ways in
which religions imagine that actions would be judged by God.
Here is a long list of
debates between atheists and theists
Abbé Lemaître and the big bang
Some religious people try to argue for the compatibility between
science and religion, by taking the example of the discovery of the
big bang theory by the catholic priest Abbé Lemaître.
Indeed there is a similarity between the big bang and the religious
idea of the creation of the universe, and there may be a
metaphysical reason for it (a metaphysical intuition that the
physical universe was born to existence someday).
And we can observe that other (non-christian) physicists of that
time were initially reluctant to accept this idea but tried to stay
among models of a universe that had always existed, so that the big
bang theory was more easily put forward by a Christian.
Indeed, ontological materialism would have been more naturally
compatible with the idea of a universe that had always existed,
while dualism (the immateriality of the soul) is more naturally
compatible with a universe that started.
However, another explanation to the initial reluctance of physicists
to consider the big bang, was the very fact of its similarity with
Christian theology. That's because this theology is so terribly
flawed, that it makes any similar idea suspicious.
Discredit of ideas by pitiful defenders
This is a quite general terrible phenomenon: the difficulty to
accept a truth because it is initially put forward by indefensible
lobbies (packed with indefensible other ideas).
This phenomenon already contributes to making theist/atheist debates
seemingly irreducible (everyone seeing an "essential" flaw in the
other's view, is tempted to dismiss it altogether).
There are other examples of discredits to ideas by their being put
forward by the wrong people or in the wrong way:
- Ideas of eugenics (application of Darwin theory to humans, care
for a progressive selective pressure on the genetic heritage of the
human species) were discredited by their misapplication by Nazis (by
the way, the Nazi propaganda made use of the Christian doctrine too,
so why make the former confusion and not the latter ?)
- Criticism of psychiatry is discredited by the involvement of the
Church of Scientology
- The ideas of economic liberalism were discredited by the dire
social inequalities and injustices that happened under it
- Any idea of trying to criticize the ongoing economico-political
order and looking for an alternative, was later discredited by the
failure of Marxism
- Environmentalism and the protection of economic/individual
freedoms seem irreconcilable as the proponents of one category of
values don't care enough about the other category.
- Many people dislike science, either because of the dull image that
education makes of it, or because of the damage to Earth done by it
(while it mainly goes through the ability of science to save lives
and thus to overpopulate the Earth - should we let people die
----The next sections are
not written yet (mainly headlines and keywords are)--------
The why and the how
Criticisms of Buddhism - Buddhism not interested with scientific
(I forgot the reference of a report of similar troubles of
understandings between scientists and Buddhists, that were left
aside for proceeding to experiences of neurological observations on
the meditation practices - which can be scientifically very
interesting, but is not a real dialogue: it only forgets the
misunderstanding and does not resolve it. Of course, scientists
joining such meetings are more likely to have favorable a priori
towards Buddhism, so they are no representative sample of scientific
view, and the resulting impression of relative harmony in these
meetings, is not the complete view of things).
Spiritual conceptions of knowledge
Religious Belief & Societal Health:
Study Reveals that Religion Does Not Lead to a Healthier Society
Morality issues that (some) religions usually miss
Karma and fate
Why is the karma law irrelevant
Human dignity ? opposed attitude of science & spirituality wrt
Value of freedom and innovation, being part of the great adventure
of scientific knowledge = sense of life
How poor is the religious view on the sense of life
How crappy are the holy books in comparison with other litterature
Is there a life before death
Is there a life after school
Tolerance: not being victim of other's errors or defects - some may
need formal education, others not
Lack of value of miracles: exceptional = worthless for the general
ancient concept of justice
Religion gives no sense to life because it calls for repetition.
The Christian worldview is that the sense of life consists in
managing to believe that there can be no sense of life outside the
What is chance (fate)
train too late for exam
Part V : Foreseeing and managing the future
Below are headlines of what I once thought of developing. Long
later I happened to develop some of such points here :
humanity's failures to steer itself properly
Work, nature & technology
The nature of work and goal of life is freedom, diversity and
Feynman 1959 "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom"
Reprogramming the outside world
War of the Worlds: The Human Side of Moore's Law
Freedom is more than an absence of coercion (truth is more than
an absence of mistake)
The choice of letting things the same is arbitrary
Searching for global solutions to personal misfortunes
Global job market and its consequences
Market optimization, the invisible hand
Mais pourquoi faut-il toujours punir ceux qui se développent mieux
dans un environnement libre, en leur infligeant cette bureaucratie
au prétexte qu'elle serait bonne pour d'autres ?
Why catastrophies cannot help to find the way to the solution.
The limits of science-fiction
IT solutions for a better world
Now if you want to know what rational solutions can be found to
solve the world's problem, you can check those I developed here. For implementation, no institutional
power or democratic mandate is needed, but only the work of a small
team of web developers. Unfortunately, I could not even find that
since years that I had this idea and I could convince many other
rational people about it. And many people are not interested, either
because they hate reason and intelligence and prefer to dedicate
their life and efforts to their religious values, that is their cult
of stupidity; or just because they prefer to obey the system to get
Implementing trust & fairness to optimize the economy
Putting religions in front of their contradictions
sharing transport & housing
Problms with open source community
(reverse capital risking)
The obsolescence of bureaucracy as opposed to reality, examples...
Carbon tax and other environmental issues
Lomborg = former skeptic
Tuvalu (islands in danger of disappearing)
"Morality" vs peace and environmental protection
Nature should be sacred
Ecology vs. Jesus coming back
Public debt problem
Education financing problem
Bad reputation of the US
Violence of US soldiers
Kosovo, Georgia, Irak
in Libya ;
"Six villagers in a field on the
outskirts of Benghazi were shot and injured when a US helicopter
landed to rescue a crew member from the crashed jet.
The local Libyans who were injured in the rescue mission are
currently in hospital. They are the first confirmed casualities
of allied operations, almost four days after operations began.
Lindsey Hilsum has been in the hospital where some of the
injured were taken. She has spoken to the father of a young boy
who expects to have his leg amputated due to a bullet wound.
Gauging the reaction of locals in the area, she said: "the local
Libyans do not seem resentful, they still want the coalition
forces to keep operating. "(...)
The pilot was rescued by the US helicopter soon after crash
landing and opposition rebels recovered the weapons officer,
taking "took good care of him" before coalition forces picked
him up some time later. "
- US political prisoners:
US=Democracy, so US citizen are responsible for the crimes of the US
Chinese financial assets and weapons industry
The dating problem
The banana tree
"Ego" and fate
Solutions for dating :
(growth speed is limited - time taken to adapt)
About space exploration (and pseudo-utopias)
Cosmic radiation endangers life in space
The dangers of miserabilism (Harvard justice lessons)
How can mankind keep evolving
Fate of the Earth
Conclusion: the quest for truth is endless - 42
Part I: moral comparison of science and religion
- Part II: Explaining reason and science - Part III - Part IV
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