Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Long back and forth with a Satanist

Someone claiming to be a Satanist wrote in to the Abolish Human Abortion contact page. I reproduce our conversation here for your edification:

His first email:

I beg a pardon, but I couldn't help but notice what seems to me to be a slight hypocrisy in the reasoning that backs the opinions stated on this site. As a Christian organization (or at least a predominantly Christian organization) your holy book of choice is obviously the Bible---a collection of texts that boast astonishingly little concern for the welfare of children, even for a series of writings jotted down in the Bronze Age. The book of Proverbs, for example, recommends beating one's offspring with rods (staves) in response to defiance (Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14) and tells parents not to allow themselves to feel pity for their child's crying. This book supposedly being written by king Solomon---the wisest person ever to live and a godly man, by the Bible's account. King David, Solomon's father, and someone Yahweh describes as "...a man after mine own heart..." sung songs by harp about his hope that soldiers would someday invade the enemy country of Babylon and that the citizens of that place would be made to witness their children---presumably innocent, just like the unborn---crushed to death against stones by the invaders (Psalms 137:9). His predecessor Saul performed a complete genocide of the Amalekites, slaughtering men, women, children, and "sucklings" all on Yahweh's explicit command. (He even forbids Israel from sparing any of the Amalekites' pets or livestock.---1 Samuel 15:3)

A few other examples of Yahweh's blatant indifference for and cruelty towards innocent children, infants, and, yes, even unborn fetuses can be found in verses like Numbers 31:9-18 where he endorses both child rape AND child murder, 2 Samuel 12:14-19 where Yahweh tortures a newborn baby for a week before executing it for its father's sin---something he himself supposedly forbade in Ezekiel 18:20 and the typical pro-life response for why abortion after rape is wrong---, 2 Kings 2:23-24 where he condemns a group of forty kids to death-by-bear for making jokes about baldness, and Hosea 13:16 where he condemns not just one or two or fifty, but an entire nation of children, both born AND preborn to death just because their parents won't worship him. Is this really the best spokesperson on childcare that you could conjure to head your belief system? And how do you reconcile your god's treatment of children in your sacred writings with your personal opinion that unborn children are innocent, precious, and worthy of personhood and legal respect just like the rest of us? How can abortion possibly be morally abhorrent to a deity who commands and condones such violence towards the young of our species? As a self-lauding, post-abortive, liberalite  Satanist with great pride in the beneficially selfish nature of humanity, I can't begin to understand how a consistent argument for "pro-life" could be made using such a barbaric book as its foundation. I'm in a bit of jam. Please assist me in understanding your reasoning and seeing this controversial issue as you do.

My first reply:

Hello there,

Thanks for writing in with your concerns.
I'll be happy to answer your questions. I pray you will read them with an open heart and mind and without bias.

Proverbs recommends corporal punishment, yes. Staves/rods were not huge logs; we're talking about flexible switches so as to sting. Children need discipline b/c they are born sinful and need to be taught truth in a way they can remember. Corporal punishment is sometimes necessary.

Actually, Ps 137 was probably not of David. Probably it was written by someone who had seen Babylon invade his country and rip pregnant women open, rape, pillage, kill, burn, and deport everyone. It is a song of mourning. The Babylonians had earned God's wrath for their sins of violent arrogance and military expansionism. See more about that in the book of Habakkuk. What you need to take away from this is that sin is really really bad, and he who sins deserves to die. So I pray you will ask yourself: have I sinned? And what do I deserve faced with a holy God whose laws I have broken?

Yes, God commanded the Israelites to wipe out the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15. The Amalekites were a grossly idolatrous people whom God had judged. Every single person in the world is deserving of death, and God mercifully allows us to continue to draw breath, but He is not obligated to allow us these mercies. He decided that it was a good time to pour out some of His wrath on the Amalekites at that time. They are His creations. He decides what happens to His creations, not you or I. 

You have misread Numbers 31. God did not command rape. Where do you see any evidence of rape?

Where is the evidence that God tortured the baby in question in 2 Samuel 12? Is it your claim that any illness is "torture from God"?

In 2 Kings 2, it wasn't forty kids. It was 42 ADOLESCENTS. Elisha and Elijah, well-known in Israel, had just gone up the mountain, Elijah was taken away, and Elisha came back alone. They assumed Elijah had died on the mountain and wanted Elisha to "go on up" as well. After Elisha cursed them, 42 were killed. How many total were there? No telling, but at least 42. That's a mob, a gang of youth punks who should have been with their families or working, but instead here they were threatening a prophet's life. And again, they are His creations. He decides what happens to His creations, not you or I. 

In Hosea 13, yes, it's one expression of God's wrath poured out on sinners, on nations for the sins of the nation. This is God's prerogative.

You ask about children's innocence. Let me make a distinction. Children are innocent of any crime deserving death at human hands. They are actually guilty of the sin of Adam, from God's perspective. He is justified in putting any sinner to death at any time, but humans are not justified in doing that. God has laid out certain cases in which we are justified in taking human life, and abortion is not one of those times. Parents are not allowed to murder their tiny children.

You seem to have some sort of moral problem with God doing these things. I'd like to ask you who made you Pope of Morality, so that you get to shove your morality down God's throat? You say you're a Satanist, which is a ludicrous and laughable worldview. But go ahead - dazzle me with your moral theory. First tell me this: Is raping and torturing little girls to death for fun objectively morally wrong?
If so, how do you know that?

His second email:

Thank you, Alan, for taking time to reply to my message. I'm afraid
there still exists a bit of friction between our positions.
Firstly---I might be incorrect---but I thought I sensed a bit of
agitation at the end of your reply, with your inquiry into my lofty
status as the reigning "Pope of Morality". :) You seem to think I've
no right to judge Yahweh for any of his actions taken against or on
the behalf of mankind. But wouldn't you say that that's a tad unfair?
After all, you seem to believe you hold that privelege seeing as how
you've taken it upon yourself to judge Yahweh as well. The difference
being that you've judged Yahweh to be good, to be all-powerful, to be
the absolute moral monarch of our little world and I have judged him
to be repulsive and power-mad. I don't shove my morality in any
orifice of any person because I believe that we each are the highest
moral authority of our own lives. We dictate our own morals; we
control---to an extent---our own fates.
You asked if I considered it immoral to tortue little girls for fun to
the point of death. My answer on a personal level would be yes, it is.
Why? Because my own conscience dictates to me that it is so. I believe
that we are each of us the highest moral authority over our own
lives---the compassion and disgust and feelings of righteous fury
generated by my carnal, physical brain that I experience when hearing
such tales (sadly, these sorts of things do really happen) bind me
like chains---or, you could say, a covenant. In a sense, I am my own
God because I am the one who dictates to myself what is acceptable and
decent and what is absolutely not---like harming children. However, my
word and ethical opinion is binding on no one else. I have control
only over my own behavior. That limited influence of control that I
boast is absolute but it IS limited. Terribly so. Oh, if I could rid
the world of all the nasty pedophiles, rapists, wife-beaters, Ted
Bundys, and Naomi Campbells---but I can't . Ultimately, people are
going to do what they want. So to answer your question, no, I don't
believe that there is an objective moral standard that is binding on
Satanism is a ludicrous and laughable worldview to hold in your
opinion. Why? Is it because we advocate for healthy pride, independent
reasoning, and the pursuit of knowledge in favor of shameless
kow-towing to a controversial authority figure? Why is blind faith and
empty trust favorable to actual thought and mental exercise? If there
was a deity capable of crafting the human mind, specifically our two
minds, wouldn't he want us to use them for something other than
memorizing hymns and the history of the Jews? Why make us with such a
great intelligence just to punish us, being flawed and imperfect, for
using it wrongly?
Your reasoning about the cruelty to human children in the Bible
basically amounted to "God is big, we are little, God is strong, we
are weak, God is old, we are young, God is smart, we are dumb, and
these things give him the authority to reward or abuse us as he sees
fit." Really, Alan? Being older, stronger, smarter, and bigger than
someone gives you the right to treat them as you please? Correct me if
I'm wrong, but doesn't an expectant woman surpass her fetus on all
these grounds as well? Shouldn't she have this same authority if the
basis for objective morals as you seemed to define it is power ("Might
makes right")? And why exactly are we responsible for Adam? Who
elected him as our representative? Again, Ezekiel 18:20. Why does
Yahweh get to break his own rules, hold himself to a lower standard
than he holds human beings, and engage in disproportionate acts of
petty vengeance in response to human error? (I guess he's one of those
"Do as I say, not as I do." fathers.)
The verse in 2 Kings does in fact refer to children, the Hebrew words
are "yeledim katan", "Little children". Even if they were adolescents,
though, were they guilty of anything more than name-calling and
hurting someone's feelings at this point in the story? Do you really
believe they deserved to be torn to pieces by animals as a preemptive
strike against something they might have done in the future? And how
does "Piss off, Baldy!" translate as a death threat?
As for the verse in Psalms, I don't claim to know for certain those
are David's words (Most pro-life Christians I speak with assert that
they are). In fact, I'm not certain that I buy the claim he ever
existed at all. The majority of the Bible was written by anonymous
authors. Who wrote it isn't terribly important to me; the king David
character did plenty of other abominable things that we could banter
about. The issue is that here is a set of lyrics praying for the death
of a country worth of children in a book flattering itself as
I noticed how you evidently don't see a problem with the helpless
little boys being butchered alongside their mothers by a mob of armed
men in Numbers 31, but ignoring that, yes, I'm afraid that chapter
does appear to be heavily pedophilic---why would the soldiers be
concerned with whether or not these girls were virgins unless they had
some sort of sick plan for them? As I'm sure you're aware, there was a
strong preference for virginal wives among the Israelites. There also
aren't any laws against child marriage in the Torah, and
extra-Biblical texts like the Talmud and the Koran seem to support the
idea that such "unions" were commonplace among the Jewish people at
that time. Also, try to picture what the soldiers would have done to
these girls---possibly atop the warm bodies of their mothers and
brothers---to determine whether they were virgins or not. That in and
of itself, I believe, would be enough to count as child molestation.
The bastard of David and Bathsheba was born healthy and whole---it was
deliberately stricken with an illness by Yahweh as a direct
consequence to David's sin, 2 Samuel 12:15. No, I don't think every
sickness in the Bible is Yahweh's fault, but this was one case where
he IS the direct cause. That's explicitly stated in the passage. He
then, after afflicting this helpless baby for something it had nothing
to do with, allowed it to persist in fever and pain for a full week
before finally showing mercy by allowing it to expire.
You want to know why I look down my nose at your god and your sacred
book? It's because I know that my own moral compass, limited as it is,
is superior to both of them. I am better than a god who carelessly
creates and tosses aside intelligent creatures using them as a means
to his own ends; simply for the purpose of massaging his swollen ego
and praising his name. I am better than a book that recommends
marrying off my raped daughter to her attacker, or switching my
children, or lending my support to genocide because my all-knowing,
all-loving, omnipotent god cannot come up with a better solution than
to send a band of murderous thugs to destroy families of people who
don't like him. And so, by the way, are you, Alan.

My second reply:

Yes, it’s pretty clear friction remains between our two positions.
Yes, I do think you have no right to judge God. And so do you - you said in this email that you dictate your own morals just like, presumably, God does. So what’s the problem here? You don’t like what God did. So what? God doesn’t like what you do.
You think that there is no objective standard of morality. OK then. What are you complaining about? You shouldn’t have said that God is wrong to do these things. You should have said “I don’t like them”. And then my answer to you is: Repent of your sin and rebellion against your Creator. Repent of making up nonsensical self-sourced morality claims. Turn to Jesus and be rescued from your sin, from Hell, and from your intellectual foolishness.
Let me phrase it this way. Suppose Joe thinks that it is morally obligatory for him to torture little girls to death for fun. You think it is morally reprehensible. Let’s say y’all two meet for and are discussing the morality of torturing little girls to death for fun. He expresses his view and you express yours. How can anyone know who is right? *Is* there a right answer? Or is it just one opinion versus another opinion?
I haven’t judged God, no. I have RECOGNISED and ACKNOWLEDGED what God has revealed about Himself. Big difference.
You say you are your own god. No, that is most certainly  not the case. You are no one’s god. You are a creature, in rebellion against your Creator. Repent of your rebellion and be saved, for the wrath of your Creator will not tarry forever. There will come a day when you will stand before Him to give an account and a reckoning. Be reconciled to Him today through Jesus Christ, who died in the place of sinners and rose again from the dead to give eternal life. Be saved from God’s judgment.
Satanism is laughable because it is stupid. You don’t value actual thought. Your faith is blind. I’d be more than happy to prove it. Start by answering the challenges about morality I stated above. Continue proving that Satanism is true by answering this: Tell me one thing you know for certain and how you know it.
God made us with intelligence b/c we are in His image and He wanted to. But we sinned. He provided the answer in the cross of Jesus. Stop whining about the predicament and start praising God for the solution that He voluntarily provided.
It’s not that being bigGER or oldER is why God has authority. It’s that He IS THE authority. He is the Creator. He is the fountainhead of all morality, ethics, reason, and intelligibility. Humans are equally valuable, intrinsically and objectively. God is above us. He gets to do with us what He will. That’s the final answer.
So no, a mother does not get to murder her child.
We are also responsible for Adam’s sin b/c God said so. Stop whining about the predicament and start praising God for the solution that He voluntarily provided. And the next time I take a Satanist’s view of the Bible seriously will be the first time. You don’t have any idea what Ezekiel 18 is about, so the thought of answering you on the topic is sort of funny to me.
Little children don’t congregate in gangs and threaten prophets’ lives. They were youths. The word in question is not specific to five year olds. Oh, and who are you to shove your morals down God’s throat, again? What evidence do you have that God was wrong to send those bears? Bring forth your argument.
You’re quite mistaken that the majority of the Bible was written anonymously. That’s just nonsense. At least try to deal honestly in these questions.
Of course David did abominable things. (Although here again we see that you are willing to shove your morals down others’ throats. You are a hypocrite.) He was a sinner. He was redeemed by God b/c of the cross, not b/c David was perfect. So follow David’s example of repentance and be saved from your own sin. And again, what’s the problem exactly with a prayer for vengeance? Are you imposing your morality on the psalter? On what basis do you do so?
No, I don’t see a problem with God commanding sinners to be judged. You again impose your morality on God. I don’t do that. I accept what He says b/c He is the authority, He is the source of all good. It doesn’t matter if you agree. What matters is your ARGUMENT, not your opining on moral-sounding topics, or your griping. Show me you have authority to judge God wrong. Demonstrate it.
The soldiers should be concerned with their virginity b/c God said so. And then it was so those younger women could be taken as wives. Thus they could be joined into the covenant people of God. They were to be married. Nowhere in the text is rape mentioned. You’re just imposing it on the text, but that’s not the way to read with intellectual honesty.
You assume that the soldiers are the ones determining who the virgins are, rather than Israelite women. You also inject some emotional heat into the conversation with your “possibly atop the warm bodies of their mothers and brothers” comment. Aren’t human beings just collections of atoms banging around, bags of protoplasm? What makes you think that humans have intrinsic dignity or value or worth? Based on what? Your mere opinion? God doesn’t agree with you. Now what? Which of you is correct and how can we know?
David and Bathsheba’s son was a he, not an “it”. See how you’re the one dehumanizing this human, even while complaining that God has somehow dehumanized? Hypocrisy. You don’t know that he was born all that healthy. And yes, he was stricken with an illness as a result of David’s sin. That was never in question. You’re moving the goalposts, b/c earlier you said “torture”. You need to either defend that assertion or explicitly notify me that now you’re asking a different question than before. Fair enough?
You say you know your moral compass is superior. How do you know? Be specific. Give your argument.
You say you know you could come up with a better solution than to destroy families of people who don’t like Him. OK, fine - do it. Once you come up with a better solution, prove it is better. Once you prove it, demonstrate that the moral standard by which you measure these issues is the right one, and show your work - tell how you know it.

His third email:

Oh, poor little self-deprecating, double-standard Alan. Do you know
what a "circular argument" is? How about an "argument from authority
fallacy"? I apologize if my use of the word "judge" was offensive to
you, but that is in fact what you are doing when you formulate
opinions about your god. Your claim that god is the supreme authority,
the font from which all morals and decency flow, and your contrasting
opinion that humans are broken and sinful and in need of salvation and
mercy from on high demonstrates that you are in fact giving a moral
opinion---passing judgement---on your god, his creation, and his
workings. And, you are using your own morality, not the Bible, not
Yeshua, to do so. You can't use the Bible to make personal judgments
about the Bible. You are using something else---your own moral
compass---to make the determination that people are fundamentally bad
and that god is fundamentally good. Your case of "Yahweh is right
because the Bible says he is, and the Bible is correct because Yahweh
dictated it, and we know that Yahweh dictated it because the Bible
says so" is insane. I would be willing to bet a large sum of money I
don't have that you do not use such faulty logic in any other area of
your life to make determinations about what is good and real and
beneficial. For some reason, though, you seem to think that this
broken chain of internally inconsistent reasoning is good enough to be
utilized to answer the most important question we could possibly ask:
Is there or is there not a god at the center of the universe?---and,
if so, what are the wishes and what is the nature of this god?
If we take it on faith that there does exist such an entity simply
because we are afraid of death and our fellow man or because it just
looks prettier or feels nicer to think that every hardship and every
period of pain we experience was all for some higher purpose in the
end and that death is not something to dread, then we are simply
playing make-believe in order to self-soothe because we have no better
coping mechanisms to deal with reality and soldering shut our brains
to actual research and investigation into the nature of the world
which we inhabit. We are also treading a very dangerous path. If
Christians get a free pass on the claims about the life story of the
risen savior---which does not, by the way, have extra-Biblical sources
supporting any of the miraculous events---then we must, if we care
about being consistent, give all other claims from all other religions
a pass as well. This is a big problem, because then we would have to
believe, or at least accept, everything and anything claimed to be
true by a holy book and we would have to accept contradictory,
mutually exclusive things.
Your claim "Satanism is laughable because it's stupid." was little too
simplistic and one-dimensional to really work with, but to address the
question you posed of "Tell me one thing you know for certain and how
you know it.", that's an inquiry that's likely to result in a
non-answer. You can only do so much delving into the realm of
existentialism before you inevitably smack into the brick wall of hard
solipsism. Whether we can ever truly "know" anything is up for debate,
because I cannot prove for certain that reality as I perceive it is
even real.  I could simply be a brain in a vat with wires running
through it, or some lab animal with a brain implant, or some fictional
character in a book or videogame whose every move is dictated by the
author of my story. Everything that I experience could simply be some
sort of illusion and I'm just someone else's puppet doing whatever
they make me. When someone tells me that they "know" something, all
that means to me is this person really, really, believes this.
However, neither the strength of a person's belief, nor the number of
people who share that same belief, nor the nature of those people, nor
the age of the belief itself has any bearing at all on whether or not
it's actually true. Plenty of brilliant, hard-nosed people over the
course of many centuries believed in the miasma theory of
disease---the idea that foul odors were responsible for spreading
illness. Today we know that that theory was bunk, but that doesn't
mean the people who bought into it were stupid---just misinformed.
However, they were wrong. "Knowing" something does not make it true.
Within reality as I perceive it there are some things that I believe I
can claim to know for certain. Example: If I try to breathe underwater
I am going to drown. I feel very, very comfortable with stating that I
"know" this because I have had a past experience with this. I can
remember being a small child and jumping into a pool and taking a
breath too soon before surfacing. I know for a fact, based on personal
experience, that I cannot respirate water. I also know of many, many
other cases in which other humans and a host of non-human animals have
experienced similar things, some of them losing their lives. Trying to
breathe underwater would kill me. This isn't a faith-based idea---it
has a plethora of demonstrable evidence supporting it.
With regard to your question about me and Joe's contrasting opinions
about whether sexual murder of children was appropriate, the way I
would make the determination would be to look at the ratio of harm
contrasted with the tangible benefits. Pro: Joe gets to get his rocks
off and have a good time. Con: A family has lost a child to an act of
selfish, perverted violence, society has lost a valuable resource, and
a community has lost a cherished member. Which position is
demonstrably harmful to the community at large and which is not? In
order to agree with Joe's position I would need to be convinced with
actual evidence, not faith, not opinion, that a society which turns a
blind eye to the mistreatment of its offspring would on the whole be
healthier and happier than a society that endeavored to protect its
young ones. As a social species, we have a vested interest in the
rearing of our children and the continuation of our kind. Children are
a precious and vital resource, therefore we ought to do our best to
safeguard them.
Morality isn't simply a matter of opinion---we have quite a bit to
work with when it comes to formulating secular moral stances on
things. We have learned, through lifetimes of painful trial and error
over the course of several millenia what sorts of things generally
boost a society upwards and which things drag it down. Nothing about
this is arbitrary. It's not as though we simply flipped a coin one day
and decided "Yep! We're gonna give women the vote and free all the
black people!" Slavery is immensely beneficially to the people who own
slaves. This is why society for the longest time advocated for
slavery---that's why your Bible lobbies for slavery---because people
of times past realized "Wow, we sure have a lot more free time now
that we started capturing all these slaves!" However, you need go no
further to see where the problem lies than to speak with a slave, who
can show you that they don't actually benefit from this. As a social
animal, just like dogs, deer, and other primates, you have the
capacity for empathy and compassion and an intrinsic concept of
"fairness". We don't typically like seeing others mistreated unjustly,
and slavery is something that can only be seen by any civilized nation
as unjust. The discomfort your own conscience imposes upon you should
be reason enough to acknowledge the "unfairness" of such an
institution. (On a strictly practical note, however, you're also, by
allowing this practice, running the risk of your slaves revolting and
attacking you and those you hold dear in recompense for how you've
treated them. This doesn't really work out well for anybody, and so we
no longer permit this sort of thing in our modern culture. We know
better now.)
As for your claim that the Bible's authors are not chiefly unknown,
I'd ask that you scroll through  for more info on
your book's origins. Or, if you have a modern Bible with more than
just the red-letter stuff, most copies will contain some discussion on
this issue. I have a copy of the NIV (Nelson publishing) that reads on
the introductory page prior to the beginning of the first gospel:
"While the author of Matthew is anonymous, the early church fathers
were unanimous in holding that Matthew the named apostle was its
author. However, the results of modern critical studies, in particular
those that cite Matthew's alleged dependence on Mark for a substantial
part of his gospel have caused some Biblical scholars to abandon the
idea of Matthew's authorship. Why, they ask, would Matthew, an
eyewitness to the events of the Lord's life rely so heavily on Mark's
account? The best answer seems to be that he agreed with it and wanted
to show that the apostolic testimony of Christ was not
divided."---Now, I happen to disagree with what they think the "best
answer" is, but I support their honesty in including a footnote in
their publication addressing the truth of the matter: that we don't
actually know where the bulk of the Bible came from.
As for the verse in Numbers, how is being violated by a woman better
than being violated by a man? Female pedophiles exist too. And in any
case, how am I imposing on the text? Do you honestly believe that
these young girls after witnessing every one of their uncles, fathers,
grandfathers, and older brothers murdered by enemy soldiers, watching
their neighborhood burn to the ground, being carted away from their
homeland by this same gaggle of thugs, having their mothers and
younger brothers murdered as an afterthought, and then being
forcefully examined by these barbaric people (Whether by males or
females)---do you really think they would have willingly converted to
the religion of these people; married and procreated with the
Israelite men after all this? Somehow I doubt that. (And "The soldiers
should be concerned with the girls' virginity because god said so"?
Seriously, dude? You don't happen to be a lawyer employed by the
Catholic Church, do you?)
Babies, as far as we can tell, have a far lower threshold for pain and
discomfort than do grown adults. Their flesh is softer; thinner, their
immune systems are practically non-existent, and they do a very poor
job of regulating their body temperature. A bad cold to you or I could
be lethal to a newborn. An illness that me or you would consider
inconvenient or uncomfortable probably could be tantamount to torture
to a baby newly born. Rather than a mere irritation, it could be a
real life-and-death struggle. Considering that this type of struggle
was deliberately, willingly imposed upon the infant in 2 Samuel by a
god who had the power to simply whisk the baby up into heaven and thus
deprive its father of a relationship with it rather than killing it, I
think that it is enough to count as torture.
The problem in a prayer for vengeance lies in the gospels' command
that one should turn the other cheek and that we should pray for those
who abuse and persecute us, love those who hate us, and refrain from
cursing or swearing rash oaths or "living by the sword". If it is
marked as a sin, as "murder in the heart" for us to wish and pray for
revenge then, if your god truly is unchanging and perfect as he has
claimed, this should have always been the standard. If your god at any
point in history put his stamp of approval or disapproval on something
and declared it evil or good, then that should be the case forever.
The same principle applies to slavery, sacrificing animals, executing
homosexuals, etc. If it was acceptable and pleasing to Yahweh to hear
David sing songs of bloody victory, like he's credited with doing in
verses like 2 Samuel 22:38-43, then how could Yeshua, supposedly also
Yahweh in the flesh, have promoted a different standard?
I also thought it was interesting how you phrased the question: "What
makes you think that humans have intrinsic dignity or value or worth?/
Your mere opinion? God doesn't agree with you."
So... your deity doesn't value human beings? I agree, based on what
I've read of him. Still, it seems a bit odd to kill yourself over
something you don't value, doesn't it? Misanthropes exist. It's not
morally wrong for someone to disagree with me, and I would never
support stripping someone's freedom of speech and/or putting them away
just for having a starkly different opinion. The question of whether
or not you value something, whether something is worthwhile and
appealing to you is a matter of personal preference---it is not a
moral issue. Just because someone does not hold humanity in high
esteem doesn't mean that they are necessarily harmful to others or
impossible to live with.
The idea that there is no practical benefit to behaving respectfully
and decently is hogwash. I'd rather not be killed, I'd rather not have
my things stolen, I'd rather not be called nasty names, and so, I
likewise refrain from killing, robbing, or insulting others because by
doing so I am increasing the likelihood that such things will be done
to me. "Treat others as you would prefer to be treated."---the golden
rule, is a core tenant of Satanism. It is in my own best
interest---even though I can't confirm for certain that the reality I
live in actually exists and that there really are other minds outside
of my own---to behave as though there are, because to do otherwise is
to contribute to my own degradation. There are seven billion other
people on this planet who I am accountable to, who can come after me
and do good or less-than-good things to me dependent, largely, on how
I have treated them in the past. If I elect to act like a violent,
selfish, asshole who's nothing but a drain on my society then I
deserve to be treated like one. If I am generally dishonest, I've no
right to whine when someone takes advantage of me. If I am prone to
thievery, I have no right to complain if something I own is taken from
me. Satanism has much more to offer in the way justice than
Christianity because Satanistic justice is ACTUAL justice, with people
sowing what they reap and getting what they actually deserve. You
aren't "bad" just for being born. You're actually judged on how you
conduct yourself rather than something as asinine as merely entering
the world human.
Unlike you and other subscribers to your faith, I don't have the
luxury of using someone else as a scapegoat for the wrong I've done or
the harm that I have caused. I am responsible for myself---no one else
is, or should be, made to suffer for my stumblings.
I have the authority to judge Yahweh for the same reason I have the
authority to pass judgment on Allah, Odin, Zeus, Neptu, Santa, and
Glooscap: I am real, and they, as far as anyone can tell, are not. I
am someone who cares very much about what it is real and what isn't. I
try my very hardest to have as naturalistic a worldview as possible;
to have as few false beliefs and as many justified positions as
possible because people who hold false beliefs generally make really
bad decisions for themselves and others. Andrea Yates drowned her
children because of her belief that they were "growing up wrong" and
destined for the ovens of Hell in the future due to her own perceived
shortcomings in terms of her parenting. The Arabs and Jews have been
at eachother's throats for centuries over an insignificant sliver of a
country called "Israel" because the Koran says it belongs to the
Muslims whilst the Torah proclaims the Jewish people to be its
rightful owners. The jihadists behind 9/11 committed suicide taking
hundreds with them out of a belief that by doing so they were pleasing
Allah and securing a place for themselves in paradise.
Faith-based positions almost always lead to destruction and prejudice
and war and divisions in human populations. This isn't just an opinion
of mine, it's an observable and very, very real phenomenon.
Yahweh "...provided the answer in the cross of Jesus.", did he? Why
did Jesus have to die in the first place? Why is blood and pain
necessary for our atonement? How could Yahweh possibly be angry with
Adam and Eve for their disobedience if they had no understanding of
good or evil, as the book suggests? What is the point of punishing
someone---let alone each and every one of their descendants---for a
crime that they had no possible way of comprehending as "bad" in the
first place? You and your holy book claim that god wants to forgive
all of humanity and save us from from ourselves. Why then, instead of
being merciful and caring---as a loving father would---and simply
DOING THAT, is Yahweh demanding bloody sacrifices and leaps of blind
faith in order to make amends?
Why is the answer to our problems to sacrifice himself in an act of
ritual suicide to himself, to act as a loophole for a set of rules and
conditions that he wrote himself, and that he can't, despite being the
omnipotent arbiter, circumvent? Does that not strike you as completely
I can demonstrate that I am better than your god because I would be
able to cope with my children stating they didn't love me in a better
way than constructing a torture chamber in my basement and threatening
to keep them prisoner there for the rest of their lives if they didn't
apologize. I am better than your god because I would not knowingly
construct a universe in which I would come off to my creations as an
insecure, ego-maniacal, war-mongering bully whose lasting tie with
humanity is a book that is a black comedy of my errors and anger. I am
better than your god because if I was in a position where I was able
to save a person I love from rape, murder, false imprisonment,
assault, exploitation, fraud, adultery, arson, dismemberment,
poisoning, or drowning I WOULD.
Humans have value in my eyes because loving humanity is loving myself
and it's conducive to my own survival---which is something I have a
mighty interest in. There are people in my life I love. If I were to
lose one of them---as I have others in the past---it would affect me
in a very negative way. I know the pain of parting ways with someone
you care about. That experience allows me to sympathize with others
who have experienced or are experiencing similar things. As a social
species we are supposed to care for one another, to value eachother,
and to strive always to work together and try to better our lives. We
depend immensely on eachother. There is awesome power in numbers, and
we recognized this long ago. Another human being is a fellow member of
the most savage and most successful species of animal ever to exist on
this planet. They are a peer, and a comrade in the struggle for life.
Why wouldn't I value them? They share the same proud, albeit colorful,
lineage as I do. We're cut from the same cloth; I can't disparage
mankind without also slandering myself.
As for the Amalekites...are you for real? Come up with a better
solution than butchering every single one of them including the
helpless children and infants? about doing anything besides
that? Find a better solution? How about give me a real challenge and
dare me to produce a worse solution?
Why not just violate their free will like Yahweh supposedly did to
Pharaoh by "hardening" his heart (Exodus 9:12) and convince them
internally to accept Judaism and willingly join themselves to Israel?
Why not never create the nation of Amalek in the first place? Why not
set up a border-patrol of angels with swords of holy fire like Yahweh
supposedly did at the entrance to Eden segregating the two quarreling
nations? Why not appear to them in a cloud of smoke with a voice like
thunder as he did to the people on Sinai who swore their fealty to
him? Why not send a Moses or Jonah into their midst to preach to them
and work miracles before their very eyes?
So many other solutions, all of which would have been better for the
people in question who would have been spared both the edge of the
sword and the fires of Hell, and better for Yahweh as well---if his
claim about wanting reconciliation with man is true---because he would
have saved that many more souls; drawn that many more people in to the
true faith. We can tell this is true because of the demonstrable
benefit to both parties: The people don't get butchered or burned, and
Yahweh is spared the heartache of choosing to toss a big handful of
his precious earthly children into a dimension of permanent torment.
Everybody wins!
In closing, I'd be interested to know how you came up with the idea
that Satanism is a faith-based position. You said you'd be more than
happy to prove it, and I would like to hear what your proofs are.
Looking forward to hearing this.
P.S.:Why exactly did you seem to disregard my opinions on the Bible
out of hand? "The next time I take a Satanist's view of the Bible
seriously will the first time"? "You don't have any idea what Ezekiel
18 is about"? Alan, just so you know, I have actually taken the time
to study this little book. I was raised in a home ruled by
fundamentalist, Kent Hovind-loving Christians and attended a private,
fundamentalist, creationist school for my first seven years of
education. I was baptized at age twelve. I was raised in the Bible,
raised in Jesus, and firmly believed until the age of nineteen that I
was going to die a believer. I am not someone with no familiarity with
the Bible who just enjoys looking up excerpts online and making fun of
I was extremely attached to my book and big-brother Yeshua Maschiach
(as my Jewish grandmother called him). I gave them both up because I
eventually realized that they could not be what they claimed to: the
Son of god, or his transcribed word. Why is it precisely that you
assume I am incapable of understanding what the author(s) of Ezekiel
were talking about? What is it you think I've missed that you have
successfully discerned? Please, assist me in filling this gap in my

My third reply:

Responding to all of this mishmash would be a waste of my time, for you have not advanced the conversation past a point where I have been with other blasphemers a hundred times before. Nothing new here.

I'll pause to note a few things.

1) LOL you cited Wikipedia. I can't even.

2) If you think you know the Bible so well, then you should know my answer to Ezekiel 18. How about you take a stab at it, Mr. Well-Educated Former Fundy?

3) Citing "harm" and "benefits" begs the very question at hand. How do you know what is harmful or beneficial, without an objective standard of good and evil? You have a long way to go before you can answer the challenge.
And a long way before you can substantiate your claim that you're better than God or could think of a better solution for the Amalekite solution than God did. You don't even know what "better" is.

4) About knowledge, you said this:

"Tell me one thing you know for certain and howyou know it.", that's an inquiry that's likely to result in a non-answer. You can only do so much delving into the realm of existentialism before you inevitably smack into the brick wall of hard solipsism. Whether we can ever truly "know" anything is up for debate, because I cannot prove for certain that reality as I perceive it is even real.  I could simply be a brain in a vat with wires running
through it, or some lab animal with a brain implant, or some fictional character in a book or videogame whose every move is dictated by the author of my story. Everything that I experience could simply be some sort of illusion and I'm just someone else's puppet doing whatever they make me.

Yet you continue to make knowledge claims. But you don't know whether those claims are actually true. They could be illusion. You could be in the Matrix. You don't have an answer to solipsism. I do have an answer, a real one that is not a non-answer. So already we can conclude that your worldview is worthless and mine has answered this challenge whereas the challenge wrecked your worldview.
You're not even courageous enough to embrace the consistency of your worldview. You say on the one hand "I could know nothing" but you don't live or talk that way. You live on blind faith and fantasy.

My proof that your position is entirely based on blind faith is that you won't be able to answer #3 and #4 above.

His fourth email:

Facepalm, sigh....
Alan, despite what you profess, you DON'T have an answer for hard
solipsism. No one does. As of yet anyway, and I think it's extremely
unlikely that anyone ever will. Yes, I could be living in someone
else's fantasy. Personally, I think you already are.Your "answer" is a
six thousand year---give or take---Bronze Age book of fairy tales that
mentions unicorns, sea monsters, flying serpents, and satyrs. Being
honest and reasonable and saying "I don't know." is better than
proclaiming that you have the answer when you don't and refusing to
consider any other possibilities. However, even if this is all just
make-believe that still doesn't mean I get to do whatever I please.
Touching my finger to the flame of a candle will hurt me. The fact
that the candle might not exist isn't going to detract one ounce from
the pain I will feel. This reality, fake or not, has consequences. So,
even if this is all illusory, it is still in my own best interest  to
obey the laws of this universe AS I PERCEIVE THEM, which is what I was
trying to explain to you before. TO THE EXTENT that I can interact
with and study and observe this world that I inhabit, there are some
things that I think I can claim to "know", as I explained before.
Why is the information on Wikipedia disregarded out of hand when it
cites all of its source material that you could research and verify
independently on your own? Afraid of critical study? Or is your
immortal soul really just not worth the time and study you would have
to put into discovering whether or not it actually even exists?
And are you really so thick that you can't see that a civilization of
happy, cooperative, BREATHING people is better than smoldering
wreckage and a corpse pile that would put Auschwitz to shame? If you
are, you lack common humanity and decency, not god.
Here's the super thing, Alan: YOU'RE A PART OF EVERYONE ELSE. You HAVE
to share this planet with seven billion others who you are accountable
to, whether you like it or not. You don't have the luxury of
lone-sharking your way through the world without regard for anyone
else. Your actions have an effect on those around you, and their's
have an effect on you. It is in your own best interest to assist your
fellow man instead of trying to bastardize and bring him down, because
if you do, you are running the serious risk of increasing your OWN
suffering---and I'm going to go out a limb and assume you don't like
to suffer. Now, if you're simply too dense or too misanthropic an
individual that you honestly believe that we necessarily needed a
stone tablet carved from the hand of a deity to teach us not kill
eachother; that we never would have figured that out on our own, you
need to seriously reevaluate your worldview and your opinion of the
capabilities of mankind. BETTER=LESS SUFFERING. Why? The tangible
benefits are enormous, to myself, you, and everyone else. (There are,
by the way, religions much older than Judaism who had similar "Thou
shalt not kill" laws. Look up the "Code of Hammurabi".)
I know what "bad" is because I know what pain is and I know what
humiliation is, and I DON'T LIKE THEM, just like almost every other
human on the planet. I can sympathize with suffering because I have
experience with it and because I am social animal. ALL social animals
have the capacity (granted, to varying extents) to recognize and
respond to the suffering of other creatures. We're wired very
differently from asocial animals who don't share this ability
(reptiles, fish, etc.) Our emotions are built in, hard-coded at the
gene-level, and they are quite beneficial to our survival which is the
ultimate goal. We know our emotions can be trusted to help us live
cooperatively and keep us safe because they have been doing that for
thousands of years. They are a trustworthy survival mechanism.
You haven't answered my indirect question of "On what basis did you
determine that god was good and we are bad?". Probably because you
don't have one, likely because you haven't bothered to think about it
all that seriously. Your only explanation for your faith in magic and
your belief in the existence of the big bearded-guy-in-the-sky seems
to be that you just picked the Bible first, so, that's what you're
going with. If you would have stumbled upon another holy book before
reaching the Bible, you probably would have just gone with whatever
hoodoo it proclaimed, wouldn't you?
That's the problem. When you lower your standards of evidence and toss
your thinking cap onto the floor in favor of appeals to emotions or
aesthetics no progress can be made, nothing new is learned. You do NOT
care whether your beliefs are true. You just want to believe what you
believe because you want to believe it. That is not a pathway to
truth, and that's definitely not the attitude of someone who earnestly
cares about themselves, or their fellow man.
You have no morality, Alan. You live a completely A-moral lifestyle;
what you do have is subjugation to authority. You don't care about
right and wrong, the natural world, the unborn, or your own personal
pleasure or suffering. You're just a dog refraining from scratching
the couch because you're afraid of being swat with a newspaper. You
don't have morals; you are essentially arguing for "divine command"
which is not only stupid, but is one of, if not THE, most dangerous
philosophical concept(s) I've ever heard of.
As for the chapter in Ezekiel, it's basically just Yahweh complaining
about how the Israelites were judicially practicing communal familial
responsibility as opposed to personal responsibility, the fathers
"eating sour grapes" and the children's teeth being set on edge
because of this. (Though it's odd that Yahweh was displeased by this;
he doesn't seem to see an issue with this sort of thing elsewhere in
the Bible.) Possibly also glancing on child sacrifice to atone for the
crimes of the parents which was something we know was done by other
Semitic cults of the day. So do I get a gold star?
Since you aren't willing to look anywhere outside of your Bible for
evidence of issues with your Bible, why not take a gander at the
internal problems it has? For example, all of the contradictions and
inconsistencies between the Old testament and the New?
The book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus. Why? Because
it was stated in the Torah that the Mashiach, Messiah, would be born
into the tribe of Judah, from the seed of David, through his son
Solomon. So, this genealogy is this gospel's anonymous author's
attempt to meet these bloodline requirements. Unfortunately, the
genealogy starts off on the wrong foot. Matthew 1:11 places Jechonias
(Aramaic-Greek version of the Hebrew name "Jehoiakim") the son of the
king Josias (Josiah), grandson of king Amon in Jesus' lineage, which
automatically disqualifies him from being the Mashiach. Don't believe
Read the story for yourself in Jeremiah 22. See? Big problem. Jesus
can't be the foretold Mashiach because he is a descendant of
Jechonias, a Judean ruler whose bloodline was cursed by god and
removed forever from the throne of Judah because of his backsliding.
If the genealogy aforementioned in the gospel of Matthew is Jesus'
"earthly father", Joseph's genealogy, then whose genealogy is
mentioned in the book of Luke (Luke 3:23-38)? Both claim to be
Joseph's, however, they are not identical. In fact, they're not even
close to identical. Many Christian apologists today claim that,
although both genealogies explicitly state that they are Joseph's, the
one mentioned in Luke actually belongs to Mary, Jesus' mother. No clue
where they came up with that; you will not find it anywhere in the New
But, I think I understand why Christianity has such a nonchalant
attitude towards Joseph's genealogy: They claim that Jesus was born of
a virgin. Therefore, Joseph's genealogy doesn't technically count
because he's not the baby-daddy (which kinda makes you wonder why it's
listed in the first place). However, this creates another problem. In
Judaism, tribal lineage travels through the father, and, since Jesus
had no natural father, as Christianity claims, he could not have
belonged to the tribe of Judah, and, therefore, cannot be the
Mashiach. When confronted with this fact, many Christians will claim
that his mother, Mary, was from the tribe of Judah and that he
inherited her tribal identity by default, thus validating his
eligability. However, this is not the system that god laid down in the
Torah. As I said before, tribal lineage travels only through the
Mary is said to be the cousin of a woman named Elisabeth who is, Luke
1:5 states, a descendant of Aaron, who hailed from the tribe of Levi.
Therefore, Mary herself is also, most likely, a descendent of Aaron,
not David, belonging to the tribe of Levi, not Judah. Assuming that
Jesus did inherit his tribal identity from his mother, he would
probably be a Levite.
Even if what Christianity claims is true and Jesus inherited his
tribal identity from his mother, and she was in fact a Judean, he
still does not meet the Messianic qualifications. Remember, the
Mashiach will be born into the tribe of Judah, from the seed of David,
through his son Solomon. The Luke genealogy traces back to one of
David's other sons: Nathan. Oops.
Matthew 1:23 states:"All this was to fulfill what was written by the
prophet, Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: The virgin
will be with child, and give birth to a son, and will call him
This is a reference to the supposed prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. So,
Jesus' mother, Mary, fulfilled this prophecy by being the world's
first pregnant virgin, right? Wrong. This is not the claim of Isaiah
7:14. For some odd reason, the author of Matthew doesn't seem to be
familiar with Hebrew; the word that he translates as "virgin" does not
mean "a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse". The word
in question is almah, a general term for a young woman of childbearing
age. This term is applicable to any young woman of childbearing age
regardless of whether or not she is a virgin and has born children in
the past.
(Bethulah is the Hebrew word for virgin.) This virgin-birth claim is
very similar to the other regional religions of the day, many of which
also claimed that their gods and heroes were born of virgins.
Acts 7:14 states, "After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and
his whole family. The total number of people was 75 to Egypt." Wait,
what? How many people went down to Egypt? Seventy-five? That's a bit
different from the account in Genesis 46:26-27 which claims that there
were no more than seventy individuals in Jacob's family who traveled
from Canaan to Egypt. This claim is upheld in Exodus 1:5, and
Deuteronomy 10:22.
Acts 7:15-16 says:"Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our
fathers died. Their bodies were brought back to Shechem (spelled
"Sychem" in the KJV)  and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought
from the sons of Hamor (spelled "Emmor" in the KJV) at Shechem for a
certain sum of money." OK, any Jewish child over the age of five would
be able to answer this question: Where is Abraham buried? Is he buried
in Shechem? Old father Abraham's buried in HEBRON. (Genesis 23) And
who did he buy his tomb from? Was it Hamor, like the New Testament
states? Or was it Ephron, like the Torah states?
Matthew 27:5-10 states:"So Judas threw the money into the temple and
left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked
up the coins and said, "It is unlawful to put this into the treasury
since it is blood money." So they decided to use the money to buy the
potter's field as a burial place for foriegners. That is why it has
been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by
Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "They took the thirty silver
coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used
them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me."  Can you
locate the verse in Jeremiah that this passage is supposedly quoting?
No, no one can, because Jeremiah never said those words. I
whole-heartedly encourage you to read the book for yourself if you
doubt me. The closest thing to this false prophecy I've found in the
Torah, at least where a potter and thirty pieces of silver are
mentioned, is in the book of Zechariah, chapter 11, verses 12-13:"I
told them, "If you think it best, give me my pay, but if not, keep
it." So they paid me thirty pieces of silver and the LORD said to me,
"Throw it to the potter, the handsome price at which they priced me."
So I took the pieces of silver and threw them at the house of the LORD
to the potter."
Pretty different from what's written in the New Testament. Obviously,
this verse is not a piece of prophecy.
The Christian religion is rife with customs, stories and imagery
stolen from pagan mythology. For example, did you know that the "Last
Supper" story was originally not in the New Testament at all? It was
added at a much later date, adapted from the original story which was
featured in Mithraism, a pagan religion that existed long before
Christianity, and was Christianity's chief competitor up until the
time of Constantine. In fact, an awful lot of things in the New
Testament and the Christian tradition were adapted from Mithraism. In
Mithraism, the central figure is the powerful mystic Mithras,
who---according to the legend---died for the sins of mankind, and was
resurrected back to life three days later.
Loyal believers in Mithras would recieve eternal life as their
eventual reward. Part of the Communion liturgy for Mithraism included
chanting the phrase: "He who would not drink my blood and eat of my
body so that he would be made one with me, and I with him, the same
shall never know salvation." Also worth noting, Mithras was not
thought to be just an average human mystic, but the half-man,
half-divine offspring of an earthly woman and a god. He supposedly had
powers of healing; the ability to walk on water and his birthday was
December 25 in the Gregorian calendar. Sound familiar?
Luke 24:51 states that Jesus' ascension took place in Bethany on the
same day as his resurrection, and that only the disciples were
present. But, according to Acts 1:3,9-12, Jesus' ascension took place
at the Mount of Olives forty days after his resurrection and was
witnessed by many people prior.
The writer of Matthew confused two characters of Jewish scripture.
Matthew 23:35 states:"That upon you may come all the righteous blood
shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Able to the blood of
Zacharias, the son of Barachias whom ye slew between the Temple and
the altar." The incident that Jesus is INCORRECTLY referring to is
recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21:"And the spirit of God came upon
Zechariah, the son of JEHOIADA, the priest which stood above the
people and said unto them, "Thus saith the LORD: 'Why transgress ye
the commandments of the LORD; that ye cannot prosper? Because ye have
forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.' " And they conspired
against him and stoned him with stones at the command of the king and
the court of the house of the LORD."
You see? The Torah records that Zechariah the PRIEST was the son of
Jehoiada, not Barachiah. Barachiah was the father of the PROPHET
Zechariah, as it states in Zechariah 1:1:"In the eighth month, in the
second year of Darius came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the
son of Barachiah."
Hebrews 6:20 states:"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even
Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
This verse is supposedly a fulfillment of Old Testament verses Genesis
14:18 and Psalms 110:4. However, Jesus himself never mentioned
Melchizedek at all anywhere in the gospels. Why? Well, probably
because these verses aren't prophetic. Also, many Christians don't
really understand who Melchizedek was, as there is no reliable record
of him in their Bible. As far as I know, only in the book of Hebrews
is Melchizedek mentioned in the New Testament. However, he is spoken
of in various Jewish texts: Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis
Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers
Rabbah 4:8.
These texts portray a far more realistic figure from Jewish history.
They claim that he was a mortal man, possibly Abraham's servant
Eliezar. He is simply described as a man who had a very strong faith,
was very loyal to god and was blessed with a metaphorical priesthood.
He is never depicted as an angel or heavenly, immortal being the way
that he is the Christian Bible (Hebrews 7:3).
Was John the Baptist really the resurrected prophet Elijah whom God
promised would appear and herald the Mashiach? Matthew says "Yes."
(Matthew 11:12-14); John says "No." (John 1:19-21).
Where did Jesus first meet the brothers Andrew and Simon Peter? By the
sea of Galilee, claims Matthew (Matthew 4:18-22); by the river Jordan,
says John (John 1:42). These two bodies of water are about fifteen or
so miles from eachother; which, in a time without automoblies, air
conditioning, or trains, would have been about a two day trip for most
people, counting water breaks. Do you really think that the people
would have forgotten the location so easily?

My fourth reply:

Yes, I do have an answer. God is my fundamental presupposition, the only way I have any access to reality and knowledge. And He has said that solipsism is not true. Who told you it's not true? Nobody, right? So you don't have an answer. So you don't know whether you're in the Matrix or not. We're done with this question.

I don't care what knowledge claims you make. You can't prove them. So you don't know them. You think you know them, but that's not the same as knowing them.

You speak of perception, but you don't know if you are actually perceiving anything, and you don't know whether your perceptions are accurate. Until you can prove it, your worldview is dead in the water.

You don't know that you are interacting with the outside world. You merely think it.

You talk of internal contradictions in the Bible, but you don't even know whether contradictions are logical fallacies. You think it, but how do you KNOW? How do you know that you're even actually reading a real book when you read the Bible?

Why does "better=less suffering"? Prove it. Until you do, that's merely your opinion. Who told you? What makes your view superior to the opposite?
Who cares if you don't like it? There are people out there who do like inflicting pain, and still others who DO like suffering pain. Why prefer your view over theirs?

His fifth email:

OH MY GOD, ALAN....! This is so painful...
Would you like to suffer more or less? If the answer is
"less"---congratulations! You have arrived at secular moral
foundations 101. You and I, and everyone else, are similar creatures
with similar brain structures, similar needs, similar modes of
communication, similar desires, similar goals (Typically to increase
pleasure and limit suffering), who process information similarly. In
much the same way that you would like to suffer less, I would also
like to suffer less. And you and I---as spoiled brats of the
twenty-first century---happen to have been born into a time and a
place where we can GUARANTEE  simply by working together and not
acting like dicks that we all suffer less. IT IS IN YOUR OWN BEST
INTEREST to assist your fellows and behave yourself, because by doing
so you are both increasing your own pleasure and limiting your own
For most of us, civility comes naturally. We enjoy seeing positive
things come to other humans, especially if we are the cause of this
good fortune. It makes us feel proud and fuzzy inside. That's a
biological prompt that makes it easier for us to work together. A
chore doesn't seem like one if it is enjoyable.
As I've said entirely too many times at this point, we are a social
species. We do very poorly on our own out in the big, bad world all by
our lonesome. There is power in numbers. We've known this for almost
the entirety of our history. Having a group of friends, a pack, to
back you up in a fight is better than trying to take on the perils of
the wild on your own. Your chance of victory is higher; your chances
of dying or being grievously injured are lower. Having other similar
creatures to assist you in gathering food, finding water, or
constructing shelters is also a great benefit. Your odds of surviving
against the ravages of Mother Nature are much better when you have
help and someone watching your back. This sort of arrangement is
communally beneficial to all parties because by choosing to work
together and get along; share resources, and rush to one another's
defense, they are all, each independent member of the group,
bolstering their own chances for survival, pleasure, and safety.
This is how we rose to the top of the food chain and outlived so many
other species who were bigger, stronger, and faster than we.
COOPERATION. Nothing of the modern world, none of the benefits we
enjoy, the advances we make use of could ever have been possible if we
insisted on bickering and thinking only of our own individual
survival. It was another human being who constructed the laptop that I
am typing on right now. It was a another human being that designed and
crafted the shoes that protect my feet, the house I live in, and the
vehicle I drive. Other humans grow and process the food that I eat,
pump and clean the water that I drink, manufacture the medications I
take to cure sickness and ease my discomfort.
Also, beyond just physical survival, human beings don't tend to do
very well psychologically/emotionally on their own either. We can see
the evidence of this in studies into the long-term effects of
prisoners kept in solitary confinement for extended periods. The
side-effects are blatant and range from the relatively mild like
increased social awkwardness all the way through to full blown
psychosis. We NEED one another, in more ways than one. It simply
doesn't work to say "I want to suffer less, but I don't care about
anyone else! Screw you people!" There's much more involved in this
than simply wanting to please yourself or look for a way to cheat god.
Did you actually bother to really read through the contradictions and
inconsistencies that I brought up, or are you just going to do the
typical apologetic thing and completely ignore them? PLEASE, take your
own life a little more seriously. If you really believe that your book
is perfect, your Jesus is perfect, your god is perfect and that they
can't possibly be wrong what have you to fear by investigating this a
little further? Same goes for researching where your book actually
came from. (As a side note, the internal problems with Bible had
nothing to do with logical fallacies, just factual errors. My point of
bringing up logical fallacies was to demonstrate the ridiculous
position your taking. Your presupposition is the problem, not
necessarily the book.)
Yes, S&M couples are a reality. I happen to know a few people with
those fetishes. However, I have yet to meet a person who enjoyed truly
barbaric levels of pain---either self- or externally-inflicted. Most
masochists only enjoy suffering within a consentual context. They
don't just enjoy pain in general---it's a fantasy for them. Same thing
with sadists---most don't just walk down the street and slap random
strangers. Yes, there are those exceptions. (Dahmer, Bundy,
Manson,etc.) When you happen across these sorts of individuals there
is something chemically/ physiologically wrong with them. (Dahmer had
borderline personality disorder, Bundy was a psychopath, Manson has
been diagnosed with severe depression, delusions of grandeur, and
schizotypical personality disorder.)
As I mentioned, the norm is for humans to be drawn in a positive way
to other humans. When we see the opposite of this it signifies a
problem. Just like pain is a signal that something has gone wrong with
the internal processes of our fleshly bodies, asocial or anti-social
behavior in humans is a sign that something is not right; not
functioning as it should. We have the right, by virtue of protecting
the peaceful majority, to seize and detain those who cannot function
in society.
As for your challenge concerning the fanatic "Tkalim":
Frankly, I feel as though I am living out that possible moral-conflict
situation right now, trying to explain to someone why it's a bad thing
to skewer a baby on a sword because his/her parents were nasty, evil
idolaters who happened to pissed off this person's god. I would ask
you, Alan, to explain to me what is it exactly that makes your god
claims any less destructive, stupid, perverted, or indefensible than
dear Tkalim's, because frankly, I think that they stand on equal
footing, as does every single other god claim from every single other
religion. No, I can't prove for absolute certain that there is no god
anywhere in the universe, but the default position is to DISbelieve
until a claim has met its burden of proof. Likewise, you also can't
prove that there IS a god anywhere in the universe. Neither, by the
way, can your peers---all the other theologians of the world.
You're essentially wanting someone to prove to you that god doesn't
exist, but what if there are more options? What if it turns out that
there IS a god---he's just not YOUR god? What if we die and re-awake
at the throne of Allah? Seems you would be in the same boat as me,
Alan---bound for a hell. At least I could face Allah simply as a
non-believer and not a glaring idolater. Can you give me a good reason
to assume that the Christian Bible---which is full of errors, as I've
already demonstrated---is to be favored over some other holy text like
the Koran besides just "I have chosen to put complete trust and blind
faith in the Bible because it appeals to my sense of aesthetics"?

My fifth reply:

Who cares what you want? How do you get from "I want this" to "this is morally right"? Be specific. Provide your argument.

"Best" in "best interest" begs the question again. Prove you know what is best.

\\ I can't prove for absolute certain that there is no god
anywhere in the universe, but the default position is to DISbelieve until a claim has met its burden of proof. Likewise, you also can't prove that there IS a god anywhere in the universe\\

That's false. You know God exists, but you suppress the truth in wickedness. There is tons of evidence.

\\You're essentially wanting someone to prove to you that god doesn't exist\\

That's false too. I'm wanting you to show me your worldview is not absurd. Feel free to start anytime.

The Qur'anic faith is absurd, like yours, but less absurd. But still absurd. No reason to take an idolatrous faith that is absurd seriously.

Also, feel free to address the other challenges to your epistemology. You keep making knowledge claims, but I don't see any way your worldview grounds them.

His sixth email:

I wouldn't happen to sending these e-mails to Ray Comfort, would I?
Because this sort of complete ass-hattery  that you are engaging in
bears a striking resemblance to his "Way of the Master" series. Unless
there is an invalid or some ten-year-old kid on the receiving end of
these e-mails, stop pretending like you don't have common sense or are
incapable of understanding what I am saying. No, Alan, I'm fairly
certain you do NOT start with presuppositions about most things in
your life. If someone you loved was murdered and the police told you
that a six-year-old was the culprit, I'm guessing---unless you are a
complete buffoon---that you would question them about that claim. You
would be skeptical. You would want evidence that this small child was
actually capable and actually guilty of killing this person you loved.
You would NOT take it on faith just because some authority figure said
it was so.
You keep asserting that there is a god but you haven't provided one
shred of evidence to prove that other than: "If you just read the
Bible and only the Bible and ignore all of its problems and mistakes
and pay no mind to anything else like science or history or every
other @#$%ing religion that makes exactly the same claims, then you
have no choice but to embrace it and believe!"---which is the EXACT
SAME sort of challenge that you would hear if you talked with a
Muslim, a Jew, or a Wiccan.. YOUR BOOK IS NOT SPECIAL. IT DOES NOT
"everybody intuitively knows there is a god"---specifically, the
Protestant Christian god, is something that you actually have to prove
and not merely assert. A person of ANY other faith could make the same
EXACT claim. That's the part you just don't seem to be getting here.
The idea that god(s) exist is not a fact, it's not a theory, it just
barely qualifies as a hypothesis. You need better proof than just "my
ancient book of fantasy and errors says so". That's not good enough
evidence for me; it shouldn't be good enough for anybody. Someone else
could make the claim that the Egyptian pantheon were the true gods and
that we all know it deep down, we just suppress it out of a desire for
false worship of the evil hand-puppet god of the Jews, and that there
is undeniable proof of this buried along the banks of the Nile that we
just haven't found yet. That's not good enough proof for you, is it,
Alan? Me neither.
You are wanting me and the rest of the world to base our entire
existences around a collection of fragmented texts from various
authors with no originals that we know for a fact conflict with
science, conflict with known history, and conflict with eachother. You
haven't answered any of the questions I've asked or addressed any of
the issues with your holy book. I've yet to hear any explanation for
the existence of flying serpents or satyrs, or an explanation for
Biblical inconsistencies and mistakes like why Jesus apparently was
unaware of the prophet Elijah's ascension into heaven as is evidenced
in John 3:13. Your Bible doesn't make any sense on its own. I don't
need to bring in my worldview, my personal ethical code, or even
something as scary as modern science to debunk the Christian Bible. It
is its own worst enemy.
Rather than continuing to beat around the bush with your embarrassing
misunderstanding of hard solipsism and the implications that it has on
the natural world, why don't you try to actually contribute something
to the conversation. Address the issues on the table, stop looking for
fallacy where there is none, and stop setting up double standards for
how you determine what's real and what is not.

My sixth reply:

Yawn. I don't suppose you actually thought I'd care about your shallow swipe at good brother Ray Comfort?

I don't start with presupps in most areas of life b/c I already have grounds for reason and intelligibility. Your worldview doesn't have those grounds, but you assume you know things b/c you are actually stealing from my worldview. Your worldview can't ground reason and intelligibility, mine can, and you steal the grounds and then assume that you have some reason to call into question your Creator. This is why your position is foolish.

You tried to characterise my position about proof of God's existence, and failed. Rather, the proof is the impossibility of the contrary. Start proving me wrong by providing grounds for reason and intelligibility on your worldview.

Of course the Bible is special. It's the revelation of God Almighty. I don't ignore the "problems". I've examined hundreds of them and found they're not problems. But you have to think rightly. Otherwise you'll just make mistakes, which you're doing. You think you've disproven the Bible, but you don't even know that you're reading a real Bible. You don't even know that you're not in the Matrix.

Speaking of contributing to the conversation:
-show me your grounds for reason and intelligibility, on your worldview
-show me your grounds for making moral decisions and knowing what is right
-prove to me that any of this matters. Is it objectively morally right to pursue truth, and once discovered, to believe it? If so, prove it.

His seventh email:

I thought the "Matrix" question line was closed? No? Then allow to me
to attempt to explain this just one more time in the hope that somehow
that lazy neuron will actually do its job and transmit signals through
your brain. I cannot possibly demonstrate with tangible
evidence---evidence that would actually hold up in a court of
law---that I am not a fictional character or some poor sap wired into
a computer program. Neither can you---for all you know your belief and
convictions about your god and book could simply be dictated by
someone else's words, your author's words, who is speaking through you
right now to their audience whose eyes are right this moment surfing
across the page, reading your very thoughts. It HURT Harry Potter when
Voldemort gave him his iconic scar. It TERRIFIED little Red Riding
Hood to arrive at her ailing grandmother's cottage only to discover a
cross-dressing, man-sized, anthropormorphic wolf in her bedclothes.
Hansel and Gretel REJOICED when the evil cannibal witch was locked in
the oven. Even in the realm of fantasy, physical suffering and the
spectrum of emotions still exist.
Even If I AM a character in a work of fiction there are still rules to
this fictional universe---legal, physical, and moral---that I must
adhere to. Their not "really" existing for those on the outside,
perhaps skimming through the pages of my story right now, does not
mean that they do not apply to ME. Within this universe there are set
limits to what I can do. I cannot leap from a skyscraper and live. I
cannot breathe underwater. I cannot stick my hand over an open flame
without harming myself. My not existing in some other dimension, some
other "world"---metaphorically speaking---does not change this. The
universe as I perceive it not being real does not change this. I could
myself write a story around a civilization of people born with the
ability to hear a whispered word from a mile away and leathery
bat-like wings that enable them to glide from great heights so that
they have no fear of falling. Do the same physical, logical, moral
laws apply to these creatures of my own making as me? No.
I DO have a fear of falling from great heights. I do not have wings.
If I fell I would die. If someone pushed me off of such a structure
they would be guilty of murder. The winged people would have a
different standard on this because if someone pushed them off of such
a building, they could simply glide harmlessly down to ground. The
rules are not the same for the both of us because one of these
creatures could survive a drop off of skyscraper whereas I would not.
Just because they are not real, they do not exist on our plain, does
not mean that they are incapable of observing the world around them,
writing laws, having families and friends, suffering, rejoicing, etc.
Within that little world that I have created for them---that might
have very different rules than my own---they ARE real and their
experiences are real. And it would be in their own best interest to
live peacefully with one another rather than harming eachother; their
little lives would go much smoother if they did so. Morality could
exist in that world. Emotions could exist in that world. Religion,
politics, science, history, mathematics could all have a place in that
world. How would not being "real" remove the limitations of the
universe in which those fictional people dwell? All of these things
would still exist. They might not be exactly the same, but they would
be present in some form.
As for your claim that I am somehow stealing from your worldview and
using it for my own nefarious purposes please tell me what the hell
you're talking about, because if I have given you the impression that
I am in any way making use of Christianity to form moral opinions on
things, I definitely want to purge that right off the top.
Evolutionary biology CAN account for the origins of reason and
"intelligibility" (I'm assuming by that you meant "communication"). If
you have some confusion on that topic, I'd be happy to elaborate
although I feel that we already have gone over this a thousand times
at this point.
I not only "think" I've disproven the Bible---I personally feel
comfortable enough to claim that I "know" this. (After all, the Bible
could just be another work of fiction inside a larger work of fiction
if this is just the Matrix, couldn't it?)"Of course the Bible is
special." is all the evidence I need to know for certain that you
don't actually take any of this seriously. You don't care about
whether it's true---you just like it for some unspecified reason.
You have an untenable position of "I am right, I've always been right,
I will always be right in the future and anyone who disagrees with me
is a fool." which is the typical sort of attitude I tend to see from
people who turn a blind eye to reality and big, scary things like
facts and prefer to simply run into the arms of a beautiful lie
instead of an ugly truth.
You were NOT born with an intrinsic knowledge of the Abrahamic god. At
some point in your life, whether as a small child who had this thrown
in your face or an adult or near-adult who started investigating it
for yourself, you first heard the name "Jesus". You first picked up a
Bible and cracked it open for a read. At some point, you were
introduced to this ideology. You happened to have been born into a
country where Christianity is the nominal religion. Had you been
raised elsewhere---say, Pakistan or Israel---you probably would have
drifted towards another faith. We see this sort of thing every day.
Oh, dear me, YES it is important to pursue truth! I don't really
understand what you mean by "Is it objectively morally right to pursue
truth, and once discovered, to believe it?" , but I have to say that
that is an amazing and very revealing question. The fact that you had
to ask if it was a moral evil to seek truth means that on some level
you believe it is. The idea of launching such an investigation makes
you uncomfortable, doesn't it? You are truly AFRAID to question your
holy book, aren't you? Not just reluctant and stubborn, but actually,
really frightened.
That's sad, Alan. Not "sad" as in pathetic---genuinely sad. You are a
grown man (presumably) frightened of a collection of ancient Semitic
mythology. You are so worried about offending this malevolent magical
father-figure that you would never dare seek out the truth of the
world you live in for fear of offending him. So submissive and
apprehensive of ending up in Tartarus, that even if you somehow did
find the courage to actually seek out truth---if you discovered that
reality did not mesh with your god, your book, and your
presuppositions, you would reject; refuse to believe what was actually
proven to be real around you in favor of this fantasy just out of fear
of this intangible monster from the Iron Age.
As for WHY truth is actually important, if there is no god---and
despite thousands of years of investigation and all of our modern
advances in the sciences we have yet to prove that there is---then
this world, this life, is likely the only one that we get. (Note that
there are some atheists who believe in afterlives; I am not one of
them.) Therefore, because this is the only life, the only state of
awareness, of meaningful existence that any of us will ever have, we
have to make the most of it. And we can do that best by pursuing truth
and working together. Look how much we advanced, how much the typical
individual's quality of life has soared just in the last century
thanks to advances in medicine, hygiene, construction, and education.
We can make this life---the one and only we know for certain that
we're getting---a virtual paradise by simply WORKING TOGETHER and
plying our intelligence and energy into continuing to elevate our
level of knowledge and improving our culture.
Lastly, please tell me what "thinking rightly" in terms of reading the
Bible and addressing its errors entails and how I might go about doing
that. What mistakes have I made? Does the Bible not say the things
that I said it did? I gave you chapter and verse. Are you claiming
that I've simply misquoted the text? I can transcribe the material
directly next time so as to clear this issue, if that's what you would
like. The fact that the Bible has ANY errors at all---and it does---in
and of itself should be enough to decry it as man-made and not
divinely inspired. And you still haven't addressed those few examples
that I gave you; at this point I'm assuming you're just not going to.
You were much more talkative at the beginning when it came to
discussing actual Scripture. Is something wrong?

Oh, and did you really mean it when you called Ray Comfort a "good
brother"? The man is a con artist who makes two million dollars a year
off of the willful ignorance of people who are intelligent enough and
live in a sufficiently advanced country to know better. After "falling
in love" with Jesus in the early seventies he left his home country of
New Zealand---a predominantly secular nation whose religious
population is a splinter minority and in desperate need of a capable
shepherd for its dwindling flock---to come to America---the most
religious developed nation in the world with 85% of its citizens
proclaiming some faith---where he knew he would have a wider fanbase
and greater monetary success hocking his snake oil by catering to the
whims of a people enthralled by anyone with a smooth charm who tells
them what they want to hear and pads what they already believe. "The
banana is the atheist nightmare"? For real? At least Hovind and
McDowell actually tried

My seventh reply:

Why would the Matrix line of questioning be closed? You  haven't answered it with any degree of coherence or consistency yet.

You said:
\\ I cannot possibly demonstrate with tangible evidence---evidence that would actually hold up in a court of law---that I am not a fictional character or some poor sap wired into a computer program\\

So you don't know that you're not, do you?
So... why do you continue to make knowledge claims? Why do you continue to act like you're not in the Matrix? You assume you're not - isn't that the same blind faith that you accuse me of having toward Jesus' existence?
What you're missing here is that if you literally can't know ANYTHING, then you can't know whether the question of whether you're in the Matrix has any meaning. You don't know whether ANYTHING has ANY meaning AT ALL.
Thus your worldview is entirely, 100% absurd. This is why I laugh at it. It is ludicrous. Your worldview is absurd. You like to mock my worldview and use hyperbole like "it's absurd" b/c you think that rocks evolved into giraffes and the Bible says that giraffes were created by God, but that's not absurd in the slightest. It just disagrees with what you think you've concluded based on what you think you've observed (while using logical fallacies, by the way).
But your worldview is actually absurd. But you don't understand that, so you ask this:

\\Neither can you---for all you know your belief and convictions about your god and book could simply be dictated by someone else's words\\

No, that's entirely false. My worldview starts with Jesus. It doesn't end with Jesus as a result of some string of reasoning and evidences. Jesus is the necessary precondition for reasoning and intelligibility. Only because Jesus is Lord can we even ask the question "Are we in the Matrix?" Only b/c Jesus is Lord do the words "Are", "we", "in", "the", and "Matrix" carry any meaning of any kind. To ask the question is to answer it.

My worldview is immune to the problem that not only cripples yours but actually immolates it.
Which is why all your other knowledge claims and your nonsensical, totally biased readings of the Bible are not worth responding to. If your worldview is true, then it doesn't matter whether your worldview is true, and that's b/c nothing matters. Further, it doesn't matter that nothing matters. Not even the fact that nothing matters matters, if your worldview is true.

Your problem is that you haven't actually thought thru your own worldview with any consistency or intellectual honesty. Do so. I dare you.

Further, you still continue to assume you have a basis on which to make value judgments, like this:
\\We can make this life---the one and only we know for certain that we're getting---a virtual paradise\\

You don't have any idea what is good, better, or best. How can you be trusted to point the way to paradise? Prove you know what good is, first, and do so without begging the question as you have been doing.

His eighth email:

This exchange is now physically hurting me.
Alan, I have officially reached my breaking point with your playing "Solipsism-stuck sock-puppet of Sye Ten", dismissing my questions, coming at me with ad hominem quips, attacking fact and logic with fallacy and presupposition, contradicting science, history, and yourself, and making appeals to "divine command". I swear to your god, as soon as I finish typing, I'm going to get off my computer, pick up my phone, contact my local abortion provider, and I'm going to anonymously donate two-thousand dollars out of my own pocket to five random lucky young ladies who have appointments at the clinic and personally pay for the extermination of at least five innocent-before-man, beloved-of-god fetuses just to spite you. When we first began this back and forth, you asked me to read your response with an open mind, free of bias. I did. You, however, replied to my words with nothing BUT close-minded bias. "Satanism is a ludicrous and laughable worldview." "The next time I take a Satanist's view of the Bible seriously will be the first time." "You don't even know what Ezekiel 18 is about." "Take a stab at it, Mr. Well-Educated Former Fundy." "Satanism is laughable because it's stupid."
Earlier you said "We're done with this question." in reference to me knowing for a fact whether or not I was living in an illusion---that would be the reason why I assumed that we were finished with that topic, just for the record. I now see that even bothering to touch on solipsism in a conversation with you was a gross error on my part because you have taken that branch of philosophy and ran with it farther than I would have thought possible. Your entire case for god, as far as I can tell, seems to be completely grounded in presuppositional apologetics. You would rather believe in magic than have to face the idea of living in a world with no objective morality nor any higher meaning to life above survival and reproduction. Whether you're an idiot who's underthinking this or an intelligent person who's overthinking this, I can't tell. At this point I'm having a hard time caring either way.
"With the simpler creatures (non-human animals), good and bad are things simply understood. The good stands for all things that bring easement and satisfaction and surcease from pain. Therefore, the good is liked. The bad stands for all things that are fraught with discomfort, menace, and hurt, and is hated accordingly."---Jack London.
Why do you assume that there must be some intrinsic purpose to life? Why does human thought and language; culture and law necessarily demand the existence of a deity? What if there really isn't anything more to our species and this planet than what we can readily observe on the surface? I feel as though you're stacking additional layers, inventing extraneous nuances to graft onto this issue.
We have no reason whatever to speculate that there is any sort of other dimension of reality, some divine creator, or some binding objective code of ethics that applies to everyone, everywhere, regardless of any other circumstances in this realm. Do we know for sure that these things aren't true? No. But we have to go where our perceptions and the evidence lead us. Just like a jury passing judgment on a suspected criminal, there is always a chance---no matter how open-and-shut a case seems---that they might make a mistake and find an innocent person "guilty" under the law. It happens. But the only thing you can correct faulty evidence or science with is more evidence and science.
I've entertained for quite awhile now your challenge of whether or not I exist and whether or not the world exists. Why don't you tell me why civilization as we know it would abruptly stop and fall apart, why would the inquisitive nature of humanity be impossible; why would complete ignorance of the world we live in mean that nothing mattered if it turned out that there was no god. Why is god necessary for the development of the carnal, material human brain? What reason do you have to doubt evolutionary science and believe that the world around us would never have come to be without divine intervention?
The origins of language are rather well understood and there isn't any kind of mystery or serious confusion among the scientific community as to what functions our ability to speak serve or where it comes from. Human speech is just another form of communication. Virtually all organisms on the earth have ways of communicating among animals of the same species. WE defined  what "are", "we", "in", "the", and "Matrix" mean. We as a species wrote the definitions for those terms. Words are simply strings of sound which we ascribe meaning to. They don't have any intrinsic meaning in and of themselves, that's why, if you hear someone speaking a foreign language you can't understand them; grasp the meaning of the sounds that they are making because they are not sounds or labels that you are familiar with. This doesn't build a case for your god.
Also, giraffes evolved from rocks? How accurate and up to date is your understanding of evolution? Research "Abiogenesis".
And once again, you accuse me of reading the Bible with bias, even though, as I already explained to you, I genuinely loved this book, once upon a time. Would even have been willing to die to defend it. I was not someone who was insincere in my profession of faith who was looking for some way to wriggle out of my religious responsibilities. I began investigating the origins of the Bible, what the book demanded of believers, how it synced with history and science, and what its power was over us because I wanted to beef up my case-for-Christ in order to better answer and counsel those considering coming to Jesus. I did not start out my mission to uncover the truth of scripture with any sort of secret desire to debunk god so that I would be free to do whatever I wanted if I could convince myself that he didn't exist. I fasted and prayed my scrawny 17-year-old ass off and begged god every night of this two-year study for guidance and answers and peace.
I didn't receive them. What I did find, however, was that my education up to that point had been about two-hundred years behind the times, and that I was in fact wasting what precious little time I had to be alive on legends and folk traditions of ancient Semitic peoples. My beliefs, as intense and heartfelt as they were, were not justified. I not only couldn't produce a consistent, logical case for why anyone else should believe the Bible; I couldn't even produce a case for why "I" should believe it anymore. I was every bit as much a devoted Christian in my heyday as you are currently, Alan, if not more---I was a bit of a fanatic, to be perfectly honest. Your dismissive attitude is getting old. Quit assuming that when I started reading the Bible as the four-year-old child of fundamental parents I did so with some kind of secret agenda.

My eighth reply:

If you choose to donate to a high priest of child sacrifice, it's your soul on the line, not mine. Know that God will not hold you guiltless for the blood of those children. You will share in the guilt for their murder.
You haven't answered my other challenges, yet you continue to claim the high ground in the debate. This is evidence of spiritual blindness on your part, which blindness has persisted since you were born. You were never a Christian. Allow me to explain.

A Christian is someone whose heart has been transformed by the Lord Jesus and who is protected by His power, who serves Jesus, and for whom Jesus is the highest authority.
If Jesus was  not your highest authority, you were a false convert, so it's no surprise the darkness in your heart has started to surge forth with all this venom against Jesus.
If you want to say that Jesus *was* your highest authority, how is it that you somehow realised that your education was lacking? Doesn't that mean that someone else was your highest authority?

His ninth email:

Explain to me, pretty, pretty please, what "...which blindness has
persisted since you were born." Are you a Calvinist? Are these the
words of an individual who supports the idea of
"predestination"---that some of us are just without hope from the very
start, doomed before we take our first breaths to live a life
segregated from god and then to languish in Hell forever? How
precisely was it possible for me, in your opinion, to be a mute,
mindless baby; a small toddling child sitting on a pew holding a Bible
in my lap with no knowledge of any other religion, any other god, or
any other holy book, and yet have some sort of inner hatred for god
and wishes of apostasy?

How could I be a "false convert" when I was never a member of any
other religion and wasn't given the choice of any other faith, having
my head filled with euhemerized stories of my Jewish ancestors and my
savior Yeshua from my earliest years?

As for how I realized that my education was lacking, as I stated
before, I was trying to beef up my case-for-Christ and because I
believed that Jesus was perfect, the Bible was perfect, Yahweh was
perfect, and that it wasn't possible for the Bible to contradict
itself, science, or history; I began freely delving into these
realms---beginning my investigation with every confidence that the
Bible and JC would come out on top, just like always. However, I was
crushingly disappointed. My understanding of evolution at the time,
for example, was similar to yours: having in my head very antiquated
and crude caricatures of what evolutionary development actually
entailed. (Giraffes sprung from rocks.) Also the internal problems
with the Bible certainly did not help a damn thing; I think they were
more compelling to me at the time than any outside influence from
modern scientists or historians.

In closing, I would just like to inform you that abortion prices have
apparently increased recently in my area. My donation, unfortunately,
only covered the cost of three women.

My ninth reply:

Yes, I am a monergist, so Calvinist in soteriology and doctrine of election and such.

You have hatred for God b/c and in your sin. Compatibilism is true, not fatalism. So God has elected and decreed, and you have also freely chosen. So choose to repent. Turn to Him in repentance.

If you don't like the term "false convert", false believer will do.

You were swayed by what you "learned" in your searches because Jesus was not your final authority. That's my point. If Jesus had been your final authority, you would have filtered everything through the lens of Jesus, rather than putting Jesus in the dock to judge. You were the final authority, not Jesus.  You were not a Christian. You were a Christianoid hedonist/pagan.

What you need to realise is that all your much-ballyhooed evidence and studies and research are worth literally zero if Jesus is not Lord. I have already shown how your worldview is absurd, and all your beautiful scientific skyscrapers that you think you built have their foundations in midair. Science is impossible if atheism is true. You don't even know whether you have ever, not even one single time, examined a piece of rock or an organism. You don't know whether the outside world exists b/c you don't know whether your senses and reasoning are valid. You need Jesus to ground reasoning and intelligibility.

\\My donation, unfortunately, only covered the cost of three women.\\

Shrug. I'm sure it made you feel better to type that, but it's actually a really stupid thing to say. Instead of wasting time doing stuff like that, how about you disprove hard solipsism, or demonstrate how you have any standing on which to make moral judgments? Oh, wait, you have no chance of doing that.

Repent. Jesus will still accept and forgive you, but only He knows how long you have to live. When you stand before Him, you will have no excuse. He wants to save your soul and your intellect. 

His tenth email:

This "debate" is finished. I can honestly take no more. I initially
contacted AHA in hopes of finding some small grain of humanism or
decency or genuine love of truth at the shrunken black heart of this
organization. I have been disappointed. I wanted to know whether you
people truly meant what you print and plaster across signs and
shirts---that you love the unborn simply because of their common
humanity, and that you genuinely care for their plight out of a
selfless desire to safeguard the sanctity of human life. You do not.
If we swap out the would-be mother as the arbiter of the abortion
decision and replace her with Yahweh, suddenly, your compassion, your
devotion to safeguarding life, and your love of mankind melts away.
You don't love the mottled fetus decaying in a dumpster behind
PlannedParenthood any more than I do---you're just doing whatever the
big guy says because you're afraid if you get on his bad side, he's
going to fuck you up. This is evident by your nonchalant shrug upon
hearing the news that three precious little buckets of "innocent
blood" are going to be tipped over today. They're nothing but numbers
to you.
You don't care, no more than the rest of the world. If your god were
to speak out of the firmament right now and declare to the whole world
that abortion is a holy sacrament, you would start swinging neon
arrows toward the driveways of clinics like a kid working at the
carwash trying to bring more people in rather than harassing women and
trying to drive them away. It's not compassion, reason, pity,
indignation, or love that propels AHA---it's simply fear and fealty.
That's what I'm left to believe.
Sad. For some stupid reason, I'd hoped for more.
Yes, as a matter of fact, it did feel pretty damn good to act
charitably and assist those young women in need. I very well might do
so again in the future. Had I put my name down, I'm sure they would
thank me as well.
To be perfectly frank with you, when we first began this conversation
I was almost straddling the fence as to where I stood on the issue of
abortion. Assuming that you're a typical specimen of the pro-life
movement, I haven't any more doubt that I stand in the ranks of
pro-choice. Nor do I have any regrets over abandoning my Christian
faith in favor of Satanism---trading a role of base servitude for the
right to rule.
There are however, still some words of merit to be found within the
pages of your cult's holy book. Like Proverbs 26:4, for example:
"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto
him." Good advise I should have taken.
Ave Satanas

My tenth reply:

Black heart? Look who's talking - the one who denies your Maker and espouses a worldview that has no way to identify what is good or bad, that espouses humanism and yet has no way to know whether humanism or anti-humanism is better, or even good.

Yes, we love the unborn b/c they are human, b/c God has not only commanded us to, but given us the ability and grace to love our neighbors as ourselves.

You said:
\\If we swap out the would-be mother as the arbiter of the abortion
decision and replace her with Yahweh, suddenly, your compassion, your
devotion to safeguarding life, and your love of mankind melts away.\\

I have no idea what this means. Yahweh sent His Son to save sinners who hated Him. The comparison is impossible. God is far more loving than any of us could ever hope to be. What you don't like is that He is not only loving but also just and holy. You want Him to be like you want Him to be. You don't want Him as He is. That's b/c deep down you want to be God rather than serve God.

\\You don't love the mottled fetus decaying in a dumpster behind
PlannedParenthood any more than I do---you're just doing whatever the
big guy says because you're afraid if you get on his bad side, he's
going to fuck you up\\

Nonsense. I love Him b/c He saved me and has blessed me with all the good things I have and have experienced. I *fear* Him with reverent fear b/c He is able to cast me into Hell. Thankfully, He won't b/c He has set His love on me through His Son.
What you're missing in *this* part of your rant is that when we do bad things, they are not merely things that displease God. They are actually bad and wrong. You don't want consequences for your evil actions, but neither you nor I get to decide that. God does.

\\ This is evident by your nonchalant shrug upon
hearing the news that three precious little buckets of "innocent
blood" are going to be tipped over today. They're nothing but numbers
to you.\\

It's hilarious that you, who donated to end their lives and whose worldview does not allow you to make any statement on the value of humanity, will lecture me on the value of human life. What a joke.

\\Yes, as a matter of fact, it did feel pretty damn good to act
charitably and assist those young women in need.\\

Sin gives pleasures for a short season, but it's temporary. You acted foolishly. Those women need help and you gave them death. If you don't repent, you will be punished for this act of wickedness.

\\To be perfectly frank with you, when we first began this conversation
I was almost straddling the fence as to where I stood on the issue of

I believe that about as much as I believe that you were once a Christian.

\\Assuming that you're a typical specimen of the pro-life

I'm not pro-life at all. I am an abolitionist.

\\trading a role of base servitude for the right to rule.\\

LOL - you don't even know whether the external world exists or whether your senses and reasoning are valid, and you boast about a right to rule?

His eleventh reply: 

See here.


AnonymousLurker11 said...

I'm just analyzing here, but it seems that the person (I use female pronouns because of the "post-abortive" thing) did not understand what you meant when you said "We're done with this question."(fourth reply)

It seems to me that you weren't clear enough, and that you intended to say: "We're done with the entire conversation until we can define why we are not in an illusory universe." Then, you provided this person with some food for thought, which I imagine you intended to be rhetorical.

Then, she starts interacting with them, and you continue, explaining to your interlocutor that she is inconsistent, because if she can't know anything 100%, it doesn't make sense to assume something can be true.

And then (seventh reply), you hold their feet to the fire regarding hard solipsism.
This person assumed you say that "I think I won on the question as to whether the universe is illusory or not, so it's off the table", and is thus angry that you seem to be backpedaling.

Am I getting this debate wrong? (I might be. If you could correct me, that would be great.)

I feel your response to their image macro (11th email) sums up the Christian position well...

Rhology said...

Yes, I can see how "We're done with this question" might be taken the wrong way. I did mean it, but the interlocutor didn't take into consideration the fact that s/he had lost the debate already, and just kept acting like s/he still had a meaningful basis for reason and intelligibility.

AnonymousLurker11 said...

I see.
I'm still just analysing, but I guess I have some lessons now.

I guess if I'm in a similar position (approximately before your fifth reply), I would mention that the interlocutor had no "meaningful basis for reason and intelligibility" and that they had "lost the debate already" as a preface, I guess.

I imagine it would help with any communicative breakdowns like this or anything, though I understand why you didn't (it wasn't pertinent to the person's new claims).

I hope you don't mind backseat apologetes' suggestions like this. If not, let me know.

Rhology said...

I hear you, and I actually appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.