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u/TooManyInLitter · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

[continued]

  • [The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel](http://www.amazon.com/The-Early-History-God-Biblical/dp/080283972X) by Mark Smith<br />
  • The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts by Mark S. Smith
  • A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
  • The Religion of Ancient Israel (Library of Ancient Israel) by Patrick D. Miller
  • Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches by Ziony Zevit

    Traces of the foundational polytheistic (many many gods, El is in charge) belief, and it's evolution into a man-driven politically and militarily motivated monolatry for Yahweh (Yahweh is in charge, acknowledgement of other gods) to monotheistic Yahwehism (where Yahweh is and, somehow, always been the one and only god “There is no god but Allah”/“You shall have no other gods before Me"), litter the Torah and Old Testament of the Bible which survived editing and redaction. To a lessor extent (as it is based upon already redacted material and with better editing/explicit rationalizations already included) the New Testament and Qur'an also show linkages to this foundational polytheistic belief. Given that monotheistic Yahwehism is the essential foundation of the Abrahamic Religions, this falsehood propagates to any/all doctrine/dogma/claims based upon this foundation - rendering these religions, at best, demonstratively invalid; and nominally, morally and culturally reprehensible.

    Given the dubious claim of monotheistic Yahwehism that the Abrahamic God is based upon, and that serves as the most essential foundation of the Bible narrative, then any claim that the Bible is valid as a source for any "truth" concerning Yahweh, and Jesus the Christ, is at best highly questionable and suspect, and nominally, completely "non-truthful."

    &gt; Which is fine by me, I'm not omniscient anyway.

    Heh. Threw in a little self-serving piety?

    &gt; But isn't it still a likelihood, however small?

    See above, fallacy of proving a negative. If your claim of belief is based upon a construct being logically possible, without presenting any credible evidence to support that this possibility is actualized or actualizable, then your logical position becomes one where you are making a claim of belief for every possibility. So, how is that submission in worship to the "possible, however small" Magnificent and Majestic Four-Headed Purple Unicorn that Defecates Wrapped Twinkies inhabits the space just outside the heliopause of the Sol solar system going? See Russels Teapot.

    &gt; So, I'm asking for answers, for debate, and possibly even a strengthened faith or a better placed, more specific faith.

    I applaud your actions in investigating and critically thinking about, and discussing, your Religious worldview. Even if you arrive at a position that i disagree with, you have made an explicit effort to reach your position and not taken one on "blind Faith."

    Here are some suggested topics to consider when completing your Christian creationist worldview.

  • If you accept a creator Deity, what are the moral implications of this baseline non-intervening Deistic Deity?
  • If you are positing an active intervening Deity, that is also the creator Deity, what evidence or logic train allows you to get from Deism to, in this case, monotheistic Yahwehism?
  • What is the origin story of Yahweh? Or - What do the holy revealed scriptures related to worship of Yahweh in pre-Torah/Biblical societies and religious document concerning the progression of worship of Yahweh? If monotheistic Yahwehism was not practiced from the beginning, where Yahweh is presented as Divinely revealed Deity, what caused this belief position to change?
  • If you accept monotheistic Yahwehism and that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, how do you get to the position and attributes of the Christian Messiah and the Divinity of Jesus as the Christ?
  • If you accept the Divinity of Jesus the Christ, what does that say about the morality that is explicit within the teachings attributed to Jesus? and to the specific Christian sect to which you identify? For example, the morality of the parable of the Ten Minas, Luke 19:11-27, which concludes with Jesus using the example of an earth based Kingdom and King to represent the Divine Kingdom of Yahweh/God and the King (Yahweh) to "'But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

    &gt; I couldn't be an atheist. Not with these unanswered questions.

    Actually, without these questions being answered to your satisfaction, the atheistic position is more logical. The agnostic atheist position is one of non-belief or lack of belief until credible evidence is shown to justify rejection of the baseline position of non-belief. To use a different example, if I (a self-claimed expert [read as appeal to authority] on the ancient, mystic and time-honored recipe upon which the pill is based) were to present to you a pill that cures your medical ailment without providing any credible evidence that said pill would show some efficacy in treating your condition, and that the pill was not toxic or otherwise harmful to you in the conduction and continuation of your life, would you justify taking the pill only based on the position that you had questions concerning the truth of my claim that the pill worked? Or on the added position that "what is my questions are wrong and the pill does work?" (see Pascal's Wager)?

    If you care to debate more, please feel free to post a new thread discussion just one topic/position/argument, along with a supporting case. This will help limit the walls of text (said the person that is posting a wall of text) and allow a more indepth discussion/debate.

    Good luck in your journey.
u/astroNerf · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; How do we explain that we all seem to know what is right and wrong?

We are all descended from ancestors who lived in small groups. Cooperation and empathy were crucial adaptations for living in small groups. Typical people (that is, people with empathy) are capable of recognising the emotions of others, and instinctively respond to those emotions. Morality is something built on top of this, and is informed by what we know about human behaviour and human experience. And, there's a lot we don't agree on, but the basics (things like killing and stealing) people do.

Check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality

&gt; Why do we all look for and want meaning if this is a meaningless world?

This is a great question, one that I've not encountered before. I don't think the world is meaningless at all. If you believe that the only meaning possible comes from a deity, then certainly, I can understand why you might think that a godless world would be meaningless. But, we're intelligent beings capable of making value judgements. We are more than capable of assigning our own meaning to things.

I would argue that for our species, our sense of self-worth is tied to our understanding of our purpose. As social beings, we have evolved to be happy when we belong to a group, fulfilling some role that is important or unique. Life can be tough, but it's made better when we know that our struggle has some compensating benefit - being a parent can be really challenging, but people still do the 2am feedings because they know that there is a child that is relying on them. I'm not happy unless I accomplish something, or solve a problem, or make someone's life just a little bit better. If we did not derive meaning out of raising children or being cooperative and social with other members of our species, it would likely be that we would not have survived this long.

&gt; How can we know what is true? If our brains have evolved to ensure our survival and not necessarily tell us what is true... how can we be sure of anything?

We test things. We build models of reality in our heads, and we run simulations to predict the outcomes of our actions. If we find that the outcomes closely match what we predict, we can be confident that they are correct insofar as they produce accurate predictions: someone once said that all models are wrong, but some are useful..

So, we care less about ultimate truth, and are more interested in relative truth. What do I mean by this? Well, imagine for a moment that this reality is just a computer simulation, one so good that we don't know it's a simulation. The best we could hope to do in such a case is to understand the rules of this simulated reality. The rules might not be the ultimate rules of the reality in which the simulation runs (say, the laws of physics governing the computer that's running the simulation.)

I don't have absolute certainty in most things. At best, I have varying degrees of confidence, based on justification. For the things of which I'm very certain, I can point to the reasons why I think what I think and I can explain why those reasons are sufficient - invariably, this has to do with things like empiricism.

&gt; How do you as an atheist defend the fine-tuning argument? The chances of a world existing with life, even existing at all, is incredibly low. Did we really just get extremely lucky?

Incredibly low, perhaps. But consider the number of habitable planets in our own galaxy, and the number of galaxies in our observable universe. The statistics of large numbers allows for the rare to become common.

It's also worth pointing out that if the gravity of Earth was a bit stronger or the Earth was a bit closer or a bit farther away from the Sun, perhaps a different life would have evolved here, and that different life would be remarking how the Earth is perfectly suited to that life. This is exactly what Douglas Adams was talking about with the parable of the sentient puddle. We evolved to fit this environment - not the other way around. We look the way we do because nature has taken the "clay" and pressed it into a people-like mould, and a cheetah-like mould, and a sequoia-like mould, and so on.

&gt; What do you think is the best argument against Christianity?

Probably an utter lack of any credible evidence for any of its supernatural claims.

Also too, when you learn how the bible came to be as we know it today, it becomes very difficult take the claim seriously that it is inspired by a deity. Karen Armstrong's book A History of God is an excellent read that shows how the character of Yahweh evolved over time, beginning as a provincial war god before being promoted by the Yahwist cult, supplanting other deities in the Canaanite pantheon, before large chunks of what would eventually become the Old Testament, were re-written as though Yahweh had always been the one true god - it really strains credulity. You can see a video summary of the key parts of the book here.

u/MegaTrain · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

You have quite a few misconceptions about evolution. I am a former creationist myself, and everything finally "clicked" for me reading Jerry Coyne's book "Why Evolution is True". If you are serious about your questions, I'd encourage you to read it.

My answers to your questions:

  1. Evolution doesn't have a "goal" in mind. Changes happen naturally (mutations), but they will only stick around in a population if they are adaptive in some way (better for the creature). It's pretty cool that evolution eventually produced us, but this was not inevitable in any way, nor an "end goal" of evolution.

  2. Not sure if you are looking for a literal crocoduck or something, but we have tons of transitional fossils (in a way, all fossils are transitional). Coyne's book talks quite a bit about evidence of whale evolution, where transitional fossils are very clear.

  3. Physics is descriptive, not prescriptive. It is simply a description of how things work, it's not a set of rules imposed from someone else that matter has to obey/follow. So it didn't have to "be in place" before anything.

  4. In our view, Earth appears to be very well suited to support life (us, specifically). But this is actually backwards, we were shaped (by evolution) to be perfect for life on this earth. It's like a puddle saying "this is an interesting hole I find myself in, it fits me rather neatly, doesn't it?" (courtesy of Douglas Adams). Regarding life on other worlds, space is pretty big, so lots of people expect to someday find a planet somewhere else out there that could also support life. The fact that we don't yet have the technology to find them doesn't mean they aren't there.

  5. If you want to be precise, the Big Bang was more like a very rapid expansion of stuff, but I don't have a problem describing it as an explosion, as long as you don't use that analogy to make other unwarranted assumptions.

  6. Some other primates do have sharper teeth and claws. How a particular trait in a specific creature evolved is mostly speculation, but I could see situations where higher intelligence would be an evolutionary advantage over physical prowess.

  7. I used to be a Christian. I am an atheist now because I examined my faith in great detail, and concluded that it didn't hold up to scrutiny. I am open-minded though, if we see evidence that suggests that God is real, I'd be willing to consider it.

  8. To borrow from Matt Dillahunty: I want to believe as many true things, and as few false things, as possible. So the only thing that would make Christianity more attractive is if I had any reason to suspect it was actually true.
u/dblthnk · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Hi r1mmer, welcome to the community!

It looks like you have gotten some pretty good responses here but let me try to put the answers more concisely:

The Bible fitting together: There are three main issues here.

-One, the argument is fundamentally flawed because anyone can add to a common theme in a semi-coherent way as long as he read the preceding books. Even if there were no contradictions, there doesn't need to be an external omniscient guiding hand for the next guy down the road to read the previous books and write a little more without contradicting them.

-Two, the current composition of the Bible are the accepted books, chosen by church elders out of many candidates. Of course they would exclude the books that don't fit. (I believe others have linked some sources for this.)

-Three, the contradictions are there if you take a deep breath and think critically about them. A good example to start with is the crucifixion and what it meant. In the first Gospel written (Mark) a distressed and confused Jesus cries out to God about being forsaken and dies. In the last Gospel written (John) a calm and collected Jesus commends his spirit to God and dies. The stories are different and the meanings are different. I would highly recommend reading this book for all the details.

On a side note here, if someone argues that the Bible is infallible, I like to use the contradictory numbers of horse stalls for Solomon's horses. It's a number and much harder to defeat with the typical tactics like reinterpreting meanings, although they certainly try (It clearly says stall, not the number of horses lol.) Here are a bunch more numerical contradictions.

Starting year for our calender: This one is pretty easy. Starting dates for calendars all over the world throughout time are retroactively applied to an important event in that various culture at that time. Winning a great battle, forming a nation, the fictional birth date of a deity are all starting points that have been used after the fact. Just because Jesus was important to a culture 500 years after he supposedly lived doesn't mean anything spectacular actually happened at the starting date of the calendar they invent. That needs to be verified using other evidence. Here is the wiki link.

Morality is arbitrary: These are always the funniest arguments from Christians because when it comes down to it, everyone forms moral beliefs the same way regardless of specific religion or lack thereof. It comes down to cultural expectations and personal taste. The fundamental basis of morality is rooted deep in our psychology in universal, innate, evolutionarily derived psychological systems. Each of us may innately favor one more than another, like respect for authority over empathy, or even lack some of them altogether in rare cases. Our culture fills in the specifics over these systems and there you go. The question you should be asking your Christian friends is why they are attracted to the themes of love and forgiveness in their faith. If you didn't value those things to begin with, you wouldn't be drawn in. And why can there be so many different takes on morality from the same book? If you have little empathy and a lot of respect for authority, slaying the infidel is easy, but much harder to do if you have much more empathy than respect for authority. Jihad being a actual religious fight or an internal struggle are radically different interpretations derived from the same book (sorry, drifted into Islam for the example there) and the difference is in the person.

u/Montuckian · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

First off, one does not have to understand evolution to be an atheist. Common misconception.

If you'd like to truly understand evolution, you must be knowledgeable in what evolution is, what evolution is not and the driving mechanics that make it work.

Now what is evolution?

Evolution refers to the change in the frequencies of certain alleles within an interbreeding population of organisms. What the word allele refers to are the acting components of a gene such as, in simple terms, whether someone is short or tall.

Each person carries two copies of each allele and they may be the same or they may be different but each copy is one of two things: dominant or recessive. When two organisms reproduce, one of the two copies from each parent goes to the offspring. If the parents have two dominant alleles for a trait, such as height, their offspring will have the dominant trait. In this instance they would be tall. If they have the recessive versions, they would be short and if they have one of each they would be medium size, which is called heterozygous expression. That's your simple crash course in heredity.

Now how do alleles come about?

This variation can happen in several different ways, such as:

  • Mutation: A mutation occurs when the genetic code is changed. This can happen via an external source, like solar radiation, or an internal source, like the DNA being copied wrong when a cell divides. Each time a mutation happens, it can have one of three results: nothing happens, the effect of the gene can be changed or the gene can stop working.

  • Sex and Recombination: This applies to sexual organisms (duh) and refers to the refers to the reorganizing of which alleles match to which. This is in opposition to the linked genome (things don't get reorganized) of asexual organisms.

  • Genetic Drift: This refers to the the exchange of genes between populations and between species. Think for instance about our tall and short alleles from earlier. Say that one population that really only breeds with itself has only the short allele. One day they meet up with another group of similar organisms that they can breed with and they only have the tall allele. As a result, the missing allele becomes present in the other population.

    Well, that's fine and dandy, Mr. Montuckian, but these organisms aren't evolving from frogs into birds now are they? No kids, they're not. Not yet at least. You need to apply the mechanisms of evolution to them to make that happen. These are made up of the following:

  • Selection: A lot of people separate this concept into Artificial and Natural Selection. They are the same thing. Basically, when you have a varied population, some organisms will have traits that provide them with a selective advantage when it comes to their environments. Tall organisms may be better able to access food, while shorter organisms may better conserve heat. Depending on the environment, a tall or a short organism may be better able to survive and reproduce, which creates more creatures with the adaptive genotype and fewer with the maladaptive genotype.

  • Sexual Selection: Sometimes genes are chosen because they are preferred by a species but don't have an adaptive purpose necessarily. We've all got our fetishes after all.

    Eventually, and sometimes this can take a very long time, new 'species' are created. But like using the word 'code' to refer to DNA, 'species' is a word that we apply to biology and it's not entirely appropriate. The idea of separate 'species' is borne out of the idea of The Great Chain of Being. This idea says that all animals are organized into a hierarchy of greater or lesser organisms with little stuff like bacteria and bugs at the bottom, mammals toward the middle, people higher than that and celestial gods and angels above that. Not a real scientific sort of idea, if you ask me. In reality, and this is the cool thing, we're all really part of the same tree and if we were to go back and look at you, your parents, your grandparents and so on as a sort of flip book, you would see little tiny variations that lead back to the beginning! It's hard to see these in a single generation though, which I think leads people to dispute the fact that it is, in fact happening.

    And this brings me to my final point:

    *What isn't* evolution?

    Evolution is not:

  • Abiogenesis: This is the idea that life emerges from non-life. While many evolutionary biologists think that this is probably how life began, with errant proteins reassembling themselves and reproducing, it's not a tenet of evolution.

  • The Big Bang Theory: That's a cosmological model and a crappy sitcom. Neither of which have a whole lot of life associated with them.

  • Atheism: Atheism is simply the refusal to believe the assertions of theists that there are supernatural beings. While many atheists point to evolution as the most probable method that we know of for the creation of Man, they are wholly unrelated.

    Hopefully this gives you a clearer picture of what it means to understand evolution. There are plenty of great books out there, such as Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth that can give you a more in depth explanation of the caveats and nuances of evolutionary theory.

    Edit: A few text and clarity things.
u/US_Hiker · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

The Exile, North/South kingdom split, hundreds of places, events, kings, emperors, etc, etc,.... This is why, though they don't treat it as automatically true, archaeologists and historians still use the Bible as reference material for their work. It's a good indication of culture, and a useful tool to corroborate findings in various areas. Obviously things like the great census don't appear to have occurred, and tales of things like David's kingdom are hugely overstated, but there is much truth there. It just can't be read unquestioningly like a textbook.

I suggest you look at something like The Bible Unearthed (can find free PDFs of it online) for a more balanced view than your site which appears to be about as trustworthy as answersingenesis.org

u/christgoldman · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; The idea that the mind is in some way non-physical.

The mind is a product and an element of the physical brain. It may not be concretely tangible (i.e., you can't hold a mind), but that does not mean it is not a part of the physical universe. Physics explains the mind quite well, actually. The neurons in our brain are developed in compliance to the laws of physics and biology, the neurochemicals in our brain are physical substances, and the electric currents in our brains that communicate signals between neurons operate in compliance to the laws of physics.

Evolution also provides insight into the development of consciousness. While, sure, humans are the only terrestrial species with advanced enough consciousness to develop religious and philosophical ideas, we know now that many animals have forms of consciousness and proto-consciousness like what we would expect if humans evolved consciousness from simple origins. The mind is perfectly explainable through naturalistic sciences, and our naturalistic model of human consciousness makes predictions that are falsifiable.

I'd suggest reading Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works. Here's a talk he gave on the book. I'd also suggest his The Stuff of Thought, The Language Instinct, and The Blank Slate.

I'd also suggest Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. While it's main thrust is to show how science can inform morality, it offers some pretty decent layperson explanation of consciousness, and it is written by an accomplished neuroscientist (whatever your opinion on his religious works may be). His pamphlet-esque Free Will also covers some good ground here.

&gt; All able-bodied humans are born with the ability to learn language.

Not at all true. You can be able-bodied and learning disabled. There was a nonverbal autistic student at my middle school years ago who ran track. Trivial point, but still incorrect.

&gt; I would argue humans also have a Spiritual Acquisition Device.

I would argue that this argument is SAD. (pun; sorry.)

You're positing a massively complex hypothetical neurological infrastructure to link human brains to a divine alternate universe or dimension that has never been shown to exist. Not only has this neural uplink never been observed, but it is entirely unnecessary, as neuroscientists and psychologists have a perfectly functional, testable model of consciousness without it. You're adding a new element to that model that is functionally redundant and untestable. Occam's Razor would trim away your entire posited element out of extraneousness and convolution.

u/mobydikc · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Each culture put their own touch on it.

For example, the Hindus came from Vedas, Muslims were Arabic pagans, etc.

What they did is took new ideas, and they succeeded by incorporating the old ideas. Which is to be expected. Nobody is going to simply give up their entire heritage.

Point is, for all their outwardly difference, many scholars still recognize a common theme, they are all defining ultimate reality for their culture. They all hold it is ineffable, beyond description, but then attempt to describe it anyways.

I highly suggest A History of God, the book I linked to if you're serious about knowing what many educated people know about theology. I know Sean Carroll considers the author, Karen Armstrong, a respected friend.

"The Traditionalist School was founded in its current form by the French metaphysician Rene Guenon, although its precepts are considered to be timeless and to be found in all authentic traditions. It is also known as Perennialism, the Perennial Philosophy, or Sophia Perennis, and as a philosophy it is known by Aristasians as Essentialism. The term Philosophia Perennis goes back to the Renaissance, while the Hindu expression Sanatana Dharma - Eternal Doctrine - has precisely the same signification."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_School
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_%28philosophy%29

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptions_of_God

&gt;Conceptions of God in monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist religions – or of the supreme deity in henotheistic religions – can extend to various levels of abstraction:
&gt;
&gt;1. as a powerful, human-like, supernatural being, or as the deification of an esoteric, mystical or philosophical entity or category;
&gt;
&gt;2. as the "Ultimate", the summum bonum, the "Absolute Infinite", the "Transcendent", or Existence or Being itself;
&gt;
&gt;3. as the ground of being, the monistic substrate, that which we cannot understand; and so on.

Obviously, I'm advocating that 2 and 3 are what many of the religions were stressing. I think conception 1 is what many people think, but those with some theology know it's more about 2 and 3.

I know that I always thought it more like 1, which is why I was an atheist. Turns out, there is more to it than what I naively assumed.

edit: added link to Armstrong's book

u/ethertrace · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; seems like what my friend says is not based in reality.

I concur with your assessment.

Your friend is trapped in their own hall of mirrors.

Usually I don't agree with the perspective that "you can't argue someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into," but it seems valid in this case. They're going to have to have some sort of experience that changes the way they think at least a little bit before they're going to listen to anything you have to say. As of right now, as one might say in a martial arts movie, they are "not ready."

The two things that came to my mind when I read this were Richard Carrier's essay on Why I am Not a Christian, and Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. I actually recommend these as reading for you and not your friend. They would in all likelihood dismiss the texts out of hand, but I think you would really benefit from the material and be able to pull out ideas from them that will help you better communicate to your friend the problems with their way of thinking.

u/[deleted] · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Which enlightened christians?

Some christians, elightened (by their own personal definition of the term) might think in the way you have stated here. Other christians, enlightened (in their own personal definition of the term) want to follow the bible's advice quite literally. Yet other enlightened (once again, following their own personal definition of 'enlightened') think something entirely different.

This brings to mind the saying, that if we disqualify every christian who has been called "not a true christian" by another christian, then there will be no christians left.

&gt; "...there is a general, objective moral principle..."

That's possibly true, but it does not follow that a supernatural trans-dimensional, extra-planar creature must be the source of it. Other, natural, explanations have been offered, and supported with tons of natural, measurable evidence. It seems prudent to analyze and scrutinize every possible natural explanation for a thing - any thing - before we waggle our fingers and say "It's supernatural! WOOhooOOHoo!"

Re-reading, I'm not certain I properly understood what you meant by "... a general, objective moral principle which Jehovah is a sort of embodiment of..." Are you saying that Jehovah or Allah or Rama is just the name we give to our inherent morality? If that's the case, then I guess I haven't really got a problem with someone giving their conscience a name. My conscience shall now be called Captain Skyrocket.

u/distantocean · 8 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

The best introductory book on evolution I've read (and I've read quite a few) is "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry Coyne. However, it's directly challenging to believers, so it seems unlikely that she'd be willing to read it.

I don't know of a good video overview, but this is an entertaining and accessible example of evolution in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jFGNQScRNY. Things like that can crack the door open a bit.

Overall, though, if your girlfriend is a "true believer of the Bible" you should expect that that's what she's going to remain. There's a chance she'll change, or that you'll be able to show her things she hasn't considered before and she'll be open-minded enough to accept that information and think about it, but you shouldn't count on it--and you'll likely create a lot of friction if you try.

So the question you might want to ask yourself is whether or not you can live with her beliefs.

u/CalvinLawson · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Remsburg, that's funny. Hey, at least you've read up the topic, that's better than most do. Granted, you've constructed a straw-man, as if any credible scholars accept the gospel narratives as truth. But that's awesome, there's hope for you yet.

Regardless of your ideological stance I do recommend this book:
http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Testament-Historical-Introduction/dp/0199757534

And if you don't like it you can always put it in your diaper.

u/PdoesnotequalNP · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

I can not give you enough upvotes. I will also try to summarize the talk for those that are too lazy to watch the whole video.

Cosmologist are pretty sure that the right answer is the second one: energy came from nothing.

I'll try to explain it: we know that most of the mass of bodies does not come from quarks that form protons and neutrons, it comes from the empty space between them. We have theories that say that empty space is continuously bubbling with particles that pop in and out of existence, and experimental results confirm it. Actually, our best theory is accurate to 10 decimal places with experimental results, that is amazing.

So, what is the energy of vacuum space? Cosmologists calculated that and the answer was: energy of vacuum = 10^120 x mass of all the universe. That's scary, because if it were true, we wouldn't be here. So cosmologists knew that the answer was: the total mass of universe has to be zero (total mass is given by "normal" matter, energy and negative energy). And now we know that it is actually true: accurate measurements showed that our universe is flat, and that means that it was born from an exact balance of negative and positive energy. A flat universe is the only universe that can start from nothing, and our universe is indeed flat.

Dr. Krauss also wrote a wonderful book that I highly recommend: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.

u/gkhenderson · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

I suggest you read a couple of books that present the evidence for evolution very clearly:

Why Evolution Is True

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Evolution itself is a simple concept, but the evidence for it is broad and detailed across many scientific disciplines, and it all fits together.

Regarding the existence of God, one can't prove that your God doesn't exist, or that any of the other thousands of gods that have been worshiped through the ages don't exist. The real question is whether there is enough evidence to positively prove the existence of any one of those gods.

u/N8theGr8 · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Former Young Earther here. The best thing you can do is read and learn. www.talkorigins.org is a pretty good site.

Another good source is The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.
http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/B004AYCWY4/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1319762317&amp;amp;sr=8-5

Figure out some of the more common creationist claims, as well. Read some about geology, astronomy, cosmology. It'll take a while, but the more you know, the more intelligible you'll be, and the better able you'll be to string ideas together when asked.

u/Irish_Whiskey · 12 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Sorry, I'm being way too wordy here, and I'll try to keep future responses shorted. I divided the answers into "Biblical accuracy" and "Morality" for the sake of clarity. Thanks for the considered responses and the patience to read it.

&gt;My Reasons to Believe in Christianity: As I mentioned before, this is not the time for me to respond to your comments regarding my reasons to believe (although I would really love to another time) lets stay focused.

I should have earlier said something which is a standard caveat in theistic debates:

I care whether my beliefs are true. I accept that not everything I believe is true, and want to change accordingly. I do not wish to compromise knowledge of truth with that which is convenient, easy, or even may lead to otherwise positive outcomes. If any argument rests on favoring such factors over truth, it's not one I can accept.

In addition while I'm willing to not question further your reasons for believing that means any point you make which rests on assuming your belief, is essentially an empty noise, because I'm still ignorant as to why I should consider it true. I can understand your position, but without that knowledge I can't agree with it.

&gt;If that were true that the core beliefs changed sure I would agree, I'll have to ask you for a source as well on this these claims

Sure, here's the wiki on Yahweh which, of course you shouldn't just assume true, but contains the relevant links for each statement, as well as books by Karen Armstrong, Mark Smith and others. Studying the history of the Hebrews show people who integrated stories from different cultures they assimilated with, ideas of gods changed over time, bits of which were then taken by later groups to be the only unchanging truth, even when we know that isn't the case.

That's the reason the God of the Old Testament is obsessed only with one tribe, fails in his goals repeatedly and has limited powers, why the earlier versions of the texts don't mention a Christian Satan or hell, and talks about not worshipping the lesser gods. Because while it was rewritten to conform to later beliefs, it was born from a polytheistic tradition.

&gt;Again if you can prove significant changes to the texts of the Bible only then you would have a case here, if you cannot, identifying how it spread does not seem to have any relevance.

The story of casting the first stone isn't found in any earlier copies of the Bible, nor is handling snakes, as I said. Much of Mark's story of Jesus' death, and most of Paul's letters, were written by later scribes. The delineation of the trinity only shows up in one passage, and was discovered during the time of Erasmus, an admitted forger who said scripture and documentation should be based on providing 'medicine' for the people rather than truth, and who was called out as a fraud by fellow Christian historians of the time. It probably wasn't Erasmus himself who came up with it, but rather the faction of theologians pushing the trinity. Earlier scholars such as Origen mention nothing about it, even when discussing the concept. And then of course there's the King James Bible, a book written with flawed methods based on inaccurate sources with a political agenda in mind.

Also NaphtaliC is bang on. It's simply absurd to call any book translated between two languages 99.5% accurate that's longer than two pages. For several languages across many centuries? It's impossible and easily proven untrue by anyone whose read the earlier versions. If I pick up two copies of the Bible in the store today by different publishers, they aren't 99.5% accurate with each other, let alone ones from thousands of years ago in different languages.

&gt;however the point remains that they are extremely accurate given the time span of its existence and given the comparison to the accuracy/# of copies of other ancient texts we have.

Right, hopefully you can step back for a moment before we get into details, and think about this as if the Bible weren't a book you believed in, and were trying to analyze objectively.

We have no originals, or copies of them. What originals did exist came only after decades of oral transmissions. Which means we could have 5 billion copies of first editions, and they would be reliable only as to their content, not as to reality.

This whole thing about 'given the time span' and 'in comparison' is completely irrelevant to the question. In a court you can't say "Well it's less hearsay than that hearsay" to make it reliable.

It is used because historians do often have to work with unreliable materials, and that's fine. But when we question the Bible more than other ancient works, it's not because there's a double-standard, it's because historians admit those other works are also not reliable, we just work with the best we have.

In addition the textual accuracy compared to other books ignores two key points:

  1. We can prove many parts of it aren't true. There are factual claims as to events and geographic details which are wrong, because they weren't written by people who were there. Textual accuracy is an indirect way of trying to prove what factual accuracy directly disproves.

  2. The nature of the writings impact reliability. Paul was a self-confessed lunatic and murderer who had visions and claimed to bring people back from the dead himself. The gospels of John and Matthew were a few among many competing political/religious factions of Christianity trying to define the growing religion. For any other religion, you'd agree it's obvious such sources can't be treated as reliable without independent confirmation. Yet for all the contemporary historians examining Judea in that time, there is no record of Jesus. Something which is plausible if he was a very minor figure, but not with the accounts of mass miracles and turnouts and political turmoil that the gospels claim of him.

    Every argument you've made for the Bible's accuracy better fits the Quran and the Book of Mormon. They were better recorded sooner in time from known sources. But they also aren't true.

    &gt;Homer's Illiad is commonly cited as the next runner up in terms of this criteria and frankly does not hold up quite as well as the Bible did.

    Thanks for proving my point. Homer's Illiad isn't true. It's a story of gods, possibly inspired by real events, that was written after oral transmission. So even if we had a first edition signed by the author, 100% word accurate with our copies today, no one would pretend this made it accurate history, unless they were a Greek worshipper looking for justifications for belief, rather than a historian.

    &gt;http://carm.org/is-the-bible-reliable

    Yeah, I knew Carm would be cited because they're the main source for this stuff. Carm is unapologetic about putting the Bible first, and facts seconds as needed to get people to believe the Bible. Their numbers have been examined, and it's all based on arbitrary standards as needed to manufacture impressive statistics. That there were thousands of references to Christianity in the mid-1st century proves Christianity existed, it's not at all the same as proving the stories from the time were accurate, or that those stories match the accounts we have now, except where we have surviving fragments from that time, of which we have very few.
u/WastedP0tential · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Not the complete concept of the Christian god can be scientifically tested, but many of his attributes. I've already covered some in this post: http://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAnAtheist/comments/1j2z9t/to_all_modern_or_new_atheists_on_this_sub_you/cbaoehv. Most important and well established is the prove that prayer has absolutely no effect on the real world. Another one would be that the notion of omnipotence - omniscience - omnipresence - omnibenevolence is logically self-contradicting and inconsistent with god's supposed behavior. If your concept of god stands and falls with these attributes, then yes, there's almost no chance your god can exist. You can of course always change your notion of god and come up with a concept that is harder to disprove. Which is by the way exactly what religions have constantly been doing during that past 4,000 years. I'd recommend http://www.amazon.com/dp/0345384563

u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 9 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; I don't disagree with it, but that's just the thing; the Bible is, as far as now, historically accurate in the things we have evidence for

Go spend a few weeks reading archeology and textual criticism, and then try to tell me that with a straight face again.

I recommend starting here. Then you will know enough about the state of the field to go hunt down primary sources from the past 10 years, and see how his thesis has become the mainstream consensus.

Then maybe read a book on the formation of some doctrine, like the doctrine of hell. Hell is a late development in Judaism, and was shamelessly stolen from surrounding cultures, just like most all the rest of the biblical stories and ideas.

&gt; One can't prove that there is or isn't a god, and that seems like a stalemate.

I can't prove there isn't a deity, but I can give strong evidence that irregardless of whether he exists, the bible is a very flawed human creation and all supposed revelation is dubious at best.

I was a fundamentalist a bit over a year ago. Then I actually read a lot of archeology, biblical textual criticism, psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science of religion, as well as the best books on Christian evidence like N.T. Wright's "Resurrection of the Son of God."

I'm sad to say that the case for naturalism of religion is much much stronger then any of the mutually incompatible claims religionists make by themselves. This is the main reason I am no longer a Christain.

If you want to look into the evidence against what you believe and want a good introductory book, I'd recommend this one. It covers a lot of ground, and then you can go look at any of the sections that interest you in more detail.

u/oooo_nooo · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Well, we know that the space &amp; time are intricately woven together as a single fabric (what physicists call "spacetime"). If space itself was created in the big bang, then so was time... so to say that "it once was the reality" as if to imply that there is such a period as "before" the big bang (when in fact, it would seem, time itself did not even exist) would be fallacious...

There are, of course, models of the universe in which the big bang is only the beginning of the universe as we know it, but that it's actually eternal (or part of a larger multiverse). But true, absolute "nothing" implies no spacetime. It's hard to think about, to be sure.

I'd recommend reading Lawrence Krauss' book on the subject for one interesting perspective.

u/Knodiferous · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

FYI, just for future reference. It's "premise", not premiss. And precedent, not president. Consistency, not constancy. I'm not trying to make anything of it, I just proofread by instinct, and I can't use a red marker on here.

&gt; unwritten premiss to your points seem to be that precise word for word constancy needs to be present for these texts to be constant with eye wittiness testimony

I don't think anybody's claiming that John pretends to be an eye witness to the tomb opening; after all, he said only one woman was there, so clearly he wasn't there himself. Obviously there's a lot of hearsay in the gospels.

But the events of easter morning, and my other favorite example, Jesus's last words before dying, are really really absolutely crucial. These are the fundamental parts of the whole new testament, and the whole christian faith.

The fact that all of the gospel writers get these wrong, is actually kind of a big deal. Read some more Bart Ehrman. This is actually the main topic of Jesus, Interrupted. Regardless of the fact that Jesus seems to have different personality traits in the different gospels,

How are we supposed to treat this book as the word of god, when it's clearly the fallible work of men who didn't even bother to get their story straight, and who can't remember the simple details of the most important events of their lives?

u/tikael · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Since you want a new thread for each book I'll mention this in a separate comment. The bible Unearthed is not a book about atheism, but rather a book about archaeology. It's dry reading at times but if you want to have a much better picture of the history and historicity of the old testament there isn't a better resource. It goes into dating methods based on historical evidence, what evidence exists to confirm biblical characters and what evidence should exist but is conspicuously absent (despite thorough searching). It's a great academic summary that is maybe a bit dated but still largely accurate (as far as I know anyways).

u/Zamboniman · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

There have been purported holy books written since probably ten minutes after writing was invented for the first time.

We know that many of the myths in the bible were copied from earlier myths. We know that many of the parts of the bible are the same story rewritten by different people.

There are many excellent sources of study in how the bible came about. You may be interested in beginning with something like Karen Armstrong or Google the various wonderful books on the subject.

The current original version of the bible, not accounting for various translations and changes in interpretation and by subsequent councils and dictatoral decree for various political reasons, was crafted during the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD where various decisions were made by voting about what content to put in, ignore, avoid, etc.

u/ralph-j · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; I'm asking why it's worth arguing

Because religion has so many negative consequences. I'd recommend the book "Why are you atheists so angry" by Greta Christina. (Alternatively summarized in blog format, and in video format).

&gt; I think more atheists should be investigating why the concept of a divine being is so powerful to humans.

That's certainly interesting from an anthropological/sociological standpoint, but most atheists would be more interested in arguing about whether there are good reasons to believe in a god. The fact that it's "so powerful to humans" does not have any bearing on whether it's reasonable to believe in one.

u/Addequate · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You'll only do yourself a disservice by skimming an internet-education on evolution if it's something you truly want to understand.

Grab a copy of The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins . It costs less than a ticket to the creation museum. The book presents clearly and concisely the evidence for evolution and details how the process works. There's likely hesitation to buy a book by Dawkins because of his notoriety as a prominent atheist, but the book is impartial on the topic of a creator; It only aims to provide the facts and reasoning behind evolution.

I hope you find the answers you're looking for on this matter, brandon64344. The world makes so much mroe sense through the lens of evolution.

u/mhornberger · 22 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Will believers see the value of a position that starts off with "of course there is no God!" (1:15 or so) and then just uses church as a community center, or a place with decent art and music? Are believers willing to move beyond doctrine and dogma?

I like de Botton's work in general, though I haven't read this particular book. But in this Ted talk I think he's arguing against a straw man version of atheism. Very few atheists rail against every single thing from religion.

Many atheists like cathedrals and religious art, music, and literature. I'm fine with engaging the KJV as literature. But how many believers are? I've had believers actually repudiate even the moral content of the New Testament, if it is to be divorced from the supernatural authority of God.

What's interesting too is the mindset he's trying to persuade atheists to embrace is the one believers frequently accuse us of already having. They already think we follow Dawkins or Harris like secular popes. They think we believe in evolution or materialism as a secular dogma that we can't question.

Looking at the dictionary definition of sermon, "a talk on a religious or moral subject," we already have those. There are many great talks by Christopher Hitchens, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many others, entreating listeners to embrace a secular worldview. Look up "Skepticon" on Youtube. Talk after talk advocating for the superiority, even the moral superiority, of a secular worldview. Those are sermons. We already hand out copies of Sagan's Demon-Haunted World with hushed assurances of "read this--it changed my life." Sagan called science "informed worship."

We already have this stuff. What believers actually want is basically for non-believers to stop being critical of religion. Believers want atheists to be more "moderate" (by which they mean, respectful of religion, or just silent) but they themselves would reject almost every remedy de Botton offers. Most prominently, starting off with the position of "of course there's no God." Is that really the truce being offered?

u/angrymonkey · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Along those lines, Dawkins is great for explaining evolution in easy-to-understand detail. Pick pretty much any book by him and you'll get a very good education.

u/nietzkore · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

There is no evidence that the universe has a beginning, or therefore a cause. Our universe could be an extension of a multiverse. The universe could be cyclical. The universe could be created by an alien race in another universe, which is sufficiently advanced so that they have complete control over time and space. The universe could be a lot of things. We can make theories about what those hypotheticals are, but we have zero way of testing them right now. That would require reach we don't yet posses.

There is no reason why the answer to those hypothetical situations is better served as "God" rather than any of a billion other possibilities.

Read A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss or interview a physics professor for more information. Maybe start an /r/askscience thread if you really want to know. The answer to this question is unconnected to whether or not Jesus could walk on water, if Elijah ascended bodily into heaven, or whether Mohammed could spit in a man's eye to heal it.

u/Rikkety · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Just watched the video at didn't find anything out of the ordinary with it.
Mind you I am not an astronomer or anything, I just find this stuff very interesting, so I read a bunch of books on the subject. I've recently finished Lawrence Krauss' "A Universe From Nothing" and I heartily recommend it, though it's not a particularly easy read.

If you haven't already you should really watch Krauss' talk of the same name (which later resulted in the book). It's my favorite talk on anything ever.

u/KyleProbably · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

I would read Sam Harris' book The Moral Landscape or watch Matt Dillahunty's lecture The Superiority of Secular Morality.

Their stuff sums up pretty well where I stand. Basically, I am a moral objectivist.

u/HaiKarate · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; Tradition and religion are separate for me from the idea of god. An argument you make to me against one will not affect my belief in the other. I am actively religious and regularly pray to a personal god that I don't believe in. This is because my faith has 3000 years of archeologically confirmed history, and at least 1000 more of oral tradition.

Ehhh... no.

Much of the history in the hexateuch has been disproved. Evolution disproves the sudden creation account in Genesis 1 and 2, geology disproves the global flood account in Genesis 7. Egyptology and archaeology have disproven the account of the Jewish captivity. A lack of evidence for Moses casts serious doubt on his existence. A glaring lack of evidence that 2 million people wandered the desert for 40 years disproves the exodus. The implication of doubting the Jewish captivity and subsequent exodus implies that the giving of the Law never happened. Evidence that Jericho was unoccupied during the alleged time of Joshua means that the fantastic story of marching around the city until the walls fell was completely false.

I highly recommend that you watch this documentary, The Bible Unearthed. It's based on a book by archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. Dr. Finkelstein is the Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University and is also the co-director of excavations at Megiddo in northern Israel.

I also recommend that you read A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Belief in the Jewish god did not arise as a monotheistic religion, but started from the pantheistic religions of the Canaanites. Also, we know that the Pentateuch was heavily edited through the centuries, and we've identified at least four different editors/authors. That's troubling, if you believe the text to be "divinely inspired".

Also, if you want a quick video overview of everything I'm saying, I suggest you watch A History of God by user Evid3nc3

u/LordBeverage · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

The first two are trivial but the last one is not, and I don't suggest you try and deploy evolution as the principle defense of your morality, as that approach tends to be insufficiently rigorous (although it's true that morality evolved, that doesn't mean any particular action is 'good', for instance), especially if you aren't well read on the subject. This approach can be unpersuasive, and if you end up in a debate with someone well versed in moral moral philosophy, you might find yourself very quickly disarmed.

Instead, here is a book I highly, highly recommend.

You must have heard of Sam Harris by now, but if you haven't, check him out online. There are several of his debates and talks (moral landscape, free will, comparative religion, link between belief and behavior, spirituality) up and I think you'll find it interestingly difficult to disagree with him.

u/DoctorWaluigiTime · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Given your apparent troll status, I will simply recommend a book for you that addresses your question nicely. A Universe from Nothing (ISBN-13: 978-1451624465
| ISBN-10: 1451624468) by Lawrence M. Krauss gives scientific explanations about how the scenario you question can occur.

You don't have to buy it to read it, as you can check it out from your local library (or if you have an e-reader, borrow it online).

u/Dvout_agnostic · 8 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I really don't have anything to say that's going to make you feel better immediately. I'd recommend

https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469

I grew up as a Catholic including catholic school through 12th grade. It's all lies. You're in the painful process of realizing it. It's not fun, especially when you realize people you love share in the lie and are happy to be lied to. There is no such thing as magic.

u/Daide · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

About the universe and what happened between t=0 and now? Well, I'd have to say start with Cosmos and you can also go with the documentary Sagan did of the same name. He touches on this subject in both of those.

Lawrence Krauss wrote A Universe from Nothing which goes into how there are explanations on how our universe could come to be without the need of the supernatural.

Victor Stenger has a bunch of books on this topic but I guess I might recommend The Falacy of Fine-Tuning.

u/raintree420 · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I had been reading this book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why and it was very integral in my final transition into full blown atheism. It was written by an evangelical too. I really try not to debate ppl, whatever they want to believe is fine with me, but when it infringes on my personal space I'll open my mouth. I read it for my own interests, not to shoot ppl down. I'm not a typical reddit atheist.

u/f1shbone · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

This is going to end well ...

I would recommend reading this book by Greta Christina

https://www.amazon.com/Atheists-Angry-Things-That-Godless-ebook/dp/B007MCMKV6

u/sickbeard2 · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Why Evolution is True

That book talks about all the things Kiwi mentions, and has a list of sources.

It's a good read too.

Edit: if you don't want to waste time and money reading a whole book, here's an article by the author summarizing his book

Forbes -Why Evolution is True

u/hal2k1 · 7 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

From the OP:

&gt;&gt;&gt; if the physical constants could be other values, what predictions we can make using current scientific models seem to imply that other universes couldn't or are unlikely to be life-permitting, to the extent that it's absurdly unlikely for the universe to be life-permitting.

&gt; We can physically model other universes, just like we do our own. This seems to be enough to draw conclusions.

This of course depends on whom you ask. If you ask theologians then you would undoubtedly get the opinion which you posted in the original post.

If, however, you were to ask an actual physicist, a person who can in fact model other universes, then the conclusion reached is just the opposite. A reasonable percentage of universes that would result if the physical constants of the universe were different could be life-permitting. Not humans, sure, but some kind of life.

See The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us.

Synopsis: A number of authors have noted that if some physical parameters were slightly changed, the universe could no longer support life, as we know it. This implies that life depends sensitively on the physics of our universe. Does this "fine-tuning" of the universe suggest that a creator god intentionally calibrated the initial conditions of the universe such that life on earth and the evolution of humanity would eventually emerge? In his in-depth and highly accessible discussion of this fascinating and controversial topic, the author looks at the evidence and comes to the opposite conclusion. He finds that the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God, they provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that God does not exist.

See also: The Problem with the Fine-Tuning Argument: An Excerpt from Victor Stenger’s Last Book God and the Multiverse

u/DSchmitt · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Who Wrote the New Testament and The New Testament a Historical Introduction are both good places to start. The latter is by Bart Ehrman, who Bikewer mentioned.

u/Capercaillie · 7 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

It might seem perfectly reasonable, but physicists (of which I am not one) will tell you that it is not true. For instance, Lawrence Krauss, the preeminent physics explainer of our time, has written a book specifically called A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. Again, I'm not a physicist, but I do believe what they have to say--they were right about that whole gravity thing, don't you know.

u/MyDogFanny · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

No. Science does not indicate that the big bang came from nothing. The idea of something coming from nothing is a Christian concept. In the beginning God created... And God created something from nothing.

The astrophysicist Lawrence Kraus wrote a book A Universe from Nothing. It was a great read but unfortunately it fed into the idea of something coming from nothing. What Kraus did in his book was to change the meaning of the word 'nothing' in order to have a title that would sell more books. Kraus' 'nothing' was actually 'something'.

u/the_sleep_of_reason · 11 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Why should I believe a random Quora answer instead of a Yale Professor, or an actual textual critic?

u/raffastafarian · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist
  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Bible

  2. http://www.amazon.com/History-God-000-Year-Judaism-Christianity/dp/0345384563

  3. (bonus) Snakes don't talk. If you're evaluating a book, saying "hey, is this fiction or nonfiction?" and the book contains a talking snake, then it's fiction. I mean, duh.
u/avipwn · 0 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

This book answers your question (with actual evidence).

u/unreal030 · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Don't get The God Delusion. I seriously don't understand why people always recommend Dawkins to thiests. I think non-theists get much more out of his books.

Read this or this. I have The God Delusion and was not satisfied with it:
http://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Case-Against-Skeptics-Bookshelf/dp/087975124X

http://www.amazon.com/God-Failed-Hypothesis-Science-Shows/dp/1591026520/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;s=books&amp;amp;qid=1302021802&amp;amp;sr=1-1
(Mind you this 2nd book's title is a bit hyperbolic, its rather the argument for the abrahamic religions (Xtianity/Judaism/Islam) but he goes into detail on the extent of the evidence for those vs. other religions etc.

u/MikeTheInfidel · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Visitation by angels has been replaced with visitation by aliens. In his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan drew parallels between historical belief in angels, demons, succubi, etc. and the modern 'alien abduction' mythos. Fascinating stuff.

u/Crazy__Eddie · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; 1.) What scientific evidence does atheism present in the argument against God?

http://www.amazon.com/God-Failed-Hypothesis-Science-Shows/dp/1591026520

u/RockyIV · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I'm late to the party, so this comment may be buried, but /u/SergeantSully, I'd recommend you read some of the books by Bart Ehrman, a professor at UNC who attended Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and Princeton Theology School. His works describe in extraordinary detail the evidence that the New Testament is entirely manmade and contradictory. You might start with Misquoting Jesus.

u/BeakOfTheFinch · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

If you have the time, read the most famous book on this topic (by the most famous atheist):

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0199291152

(The audiobook is even better)

u/MisanthropicScott · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Hmm... Absolutely none of these represent any kind of scientific fact.


I"m going to ignore the prophesies for the future because they cannot be verified. So, from your list from the present, that you believe have already been fulfilled:

&gt; Naked, destitute, barefoot shepherds will compete in building tall buildings.

Can you provide an example of this?

&gt; The slave-woman will give birth to her master or mistress.

Who or what is this supposed to represent?

&gt; A trial (fitnah) which will enter every Arab household.

I can't possibly check on this.

&gt; Knowledge will be taken away (by the death of people of knowledge), and ignorance will prevail.

We learn more year by year. So, no.

&gt; Wine (intoxicants, alcohol) will be drunk in great quantities.

A prediction that was true then and now. So, not much of a prediction, IMHO.

&gt; Illegal sexual intercourse will become widespread.

I'll refrain from a discussion of what this might mean to a follower of Islam. I honestly don't want to know.

&gt; Earthquakes will increase.

I'm not sure there is any evidence that they have.

&gt; Time will pass more quickly.

I don't believe this to be true. For each of us, as we age, time appears to speed up. But, objectively clocks on the surface of the earth tick at the same speed now as they did in the time of Mohammad.

&gt; Tribulations (fitan) will prevail.

I have no idea how this could be measured.

&gt; Bloodshed will increase.

Surprisingly, even with the holocaust and Stalin in the 20th century, an individual's risk of dying a violent death has been decreasing century over century since the evolution of humanity.

I promise I'm more surprised by this than you are. Check my username. But, Steve Pinker did a very exhaustive study on the subject.

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined - Steven Pinker

&gt; A man will pass by the grave of another and wish he was in the latter’s place.

This has happened for a long time. Depression is nothing new.

&gt; Trustworthiness will be lost, i.e. when authority is given to those who do not deserve it.

This is also nothing new and has happened for as long as there have been humans.

&gt; People will gather for prayer, but will be unable to find an imam to lead them.

OK.

Anyway, as I said, not a scientific claim in the bunch. I was looking for something more than this.

u/XIllusions · 17 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You can read or watch "A Universe from Nothing" by physicist Lawrence Krauss.

To very briefly summarize this theory, it appears we live in a zero net energy "flat" universe. All the positive energy (like mass) is balanced by the negative energy of gravity. Such a universe could theoretically spontaneously arise from nothing. Nothing meaning no mass, no particles, no space, no time, no laws of physics.

It's kind of how +1 and -1 form 0 in reverse. You can, in theory, get "something" out of "nothing" if the conditions are right. And it appears that the universe in which we live fits those conditions.

It's also possible the universe has no temporal bounds -- that it had no beginning. In this respect, it makes no sense to refer to a "start" of the universe. Time for the universe could be like the surface of a sphere -- it has no beginning, just a defined surface area. Time is a very strange and non-intuitive thing. For example, we know time "bends, compresses and stretches" as in general relativity.

But of course none of this matters. Not knowing the origin of the universe is just not knowing. It doesn't mean it must be god. Atheists are comfortable not knowing. We simply do not believe there is enough evidence for god/gods.



u/lanemik · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Please educate yourself about the theory of evolution.

Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins

Kent Hovind received his "masters" and "doctorate" in "Christian Education" by correspondence by a non-accredited school. Hovind has no formal scientific training, no research credentials, no worthwhile understanding of the basics of biology and certainly not even the most rudimentary understanding of developmental biology. This article ranges from complete nonsense to outright lying. Bringing this article in here and suggesting that it points out holes in evolution ought to be embarrassing for you. If it isn't, then you are too uneducated on the subject to even bother taking seriously and a sufficient answer is we are as certain about evolution as we are that the earth goes around the sun despite what "Dr. Dino" says.

u/OldWolf2642 · 26 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

To quote:

&gt;Why are atheists angry? Is it because they're selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God? Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry--and are ready to do something about it?

Read a BOOK

Watch a LECTURE

Then try exercising what little intelligence you appear to have and think about it.

u/Korollary · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

I'm sorry to hear about your problem with your GF.

(Technically, you could have posted this to /r/atheism. You're not really debating anything.)

Unfortunately, there's not a brief resource that debunks Christianity. Usually they are full length books. There are several written by biblical scholars, former pastors, etc.:

u/spaceghoti · 7 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I have no reason to believe the universe is designed. Especially not with 99.99% of the universe being so hostile to human life as to kill us instantly. Only a bare fraction of the observed universe so far is conducive to human life, and of that we have to work pretty damned hard to protect ourselves against death by exposure.

So if this is an example of a universe by design, the designer either hates us or is hugely incompetent.

u/metanat · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I got kind of lazy with the links, but anyways here is my collection of Christianity related books, links etc.

Listening:

u/SanityInAnarchy · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

&gt; Please provide sources for everything you say

Not everything requires a source. Besides which, you don't provide one.

&gt; 1. The bible- it was written by many different people describing the same events.

Source?

&gt; I don't see how multiple different people could all record the same thing if it wasn't true.

There are many ways:

  • They could each know what the other was saying, and all decide to lie together.
  • They could all be relying on the same misinformed source.
  • The entire account could be unreliable, even the account of who wrote what.

    You have provided no evidence to suggest that these things are not true about the Bible.

    &gt; Also the bible doesn't seem like something someone would make up

    Really? It doesn't? Why is that?

    &gt; William Craig has good arguments for this

    This is not a citation. William Lane Craig has written many things about the Bible. A citation would be a specific quote which we can verify that he actually said -- or, failing that, a transcript of the argument in question. You've provided neither.

    &gt; 2. Risk of athiesm

    You're going to have to be more specific. What, exactly, do you see as a risk here? If you are thinking of Pascal's Wager, it is an absurd false dichotomy -- see my response to your point 4 below.

    &gt; 3. Big Bang theory- how can there be something from nothing

    If you really want to know, there is an entire book no the subject, written by an accomplished physicist. The TL;DR is: We don't know yet whether the question even makes sense, but there's several theoretical models for how this could be the case.

    As an example, in one model, time began with the Big Bang, so the notion of the Big Bang coming from anything is incoherent. So the Big Bang isn't "something from nothing", because as soon as you say "from" in that sentence, you're talking nonsense -- it's as if you asked "What's North of the North Pole?"

    But the short answer is, we don't know how the universe began yet. We have some ideas of how something could come from nothing (and routinely does), but we don't know that this is how the Universe began.

    So, your turn. How can something come from nothing? Because that is exactly what the Bible says God did, right? If not, where did God get the stuff he made the Universe from?

    &gt; 4. What if the devil really is deceiving me

    Good question. What if he is? I don't mean about atheism, necessarily -- what if he's deceiving you about religion?

    Think about it. Would it be beyond Satan's power to produce a book, and influence major historical figures to spread it as a false religion? What if Jesus was really the Antichrist in disguise, and you damn yourself to Hell with every prayer? The Bible itself, in Revelations (chapter 13, I think), talks about the Beast's rise to power, in which he spreads a false religion as a false prophet -- how do you know you're not following a false religion already? Surely, if the Beast had the chance, he would rewrite the Bible to make himself seem like the hero.

    So... I can't help you with your fear about the devil deceiving you, but atheism is certainly no worse off than religion in that regard. You could be deceived by the Devil, or you could be trapped in the Matrix, or any number of things. The only way your mind can function, the only way you can get anything done, is to assume that you are not -- to at least assume that your mind is mostly your own, and begin to reason about what else you can know.