Evidence and reasoning from a former Christadelphian
Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. ~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~
They don't know how the window
smashed. Does that mean it didn't?
One of the more common arguments used by creationists to try to undermine evolution is that if someone cannot explain every detail about how something evolved, therefore it didn't evolve, and by extension the theory of evolution is flawed.
This argument is invalid, and I will show you some reasons why.
Creationists typically resort to arguments to try to undermine evolution, thinking that if they can find flaws in evolutionary theory, creation wins by default.
This is a logical fallacy known as a False Dichotomy or False Dilemma, which is also a type of Non-Sequitur (meaning the conclusion does not follow from the premise). A "true" dichotomy would be one in which it is known that there are only two possible options. In the case of creation vs evolution, there may be a third possibility (and indeed other ideas have been put forward throughout history), or even hundreds of other possibilities (however unlikely), and thus the idea that, "if evolution is flawed then creation wins", is a false dichotomy.
I realise most believers argue that prayer really does work, but how many have considered how they might go about actually verifying the efficacy of prayer?
If it works better than blind chance, as many claim it does, then we should be able to measure and demonstrate that. If we measure it and find that it works at about the rate of chance, shouldn't we conclude that it doesn't work? If you're honest, you'll realise very quickly that this is exactly what we find!
I sometimes think it would be nice if there was an all-loving, all-powerful being who was fully in control of everything that happened. I can see the allure in such a belief, as a way of consoling oneself about the seeming chaos and uncertainty that surrounds us at times. In a world that can seem so out-of-control, it can be comforting to imagine that there is an all-powerful mastermind at the helm, silently but calmly working out some great plan.
But as enticing as this view might be, it never translates to belief for me, and the illusion always vanishes as soon as I give it a moment's thought. The picture is too simplistic, too disconnected from reality, and the problems with it too numerous, to warrant serious belief. It's like a fairy tale, intended to bring comfort and reassurance but then failing to deliver on its promise.
Why is it that virtually all religions have moved towards belief in invisible, undetectable gods rather than visible, detectable ones?
In the Bible, God is often found on mountain tops or in the clouds. But he was suddenly relocated into space once we invented flight. Since then he has been moved further still after the discovery of other galaxies and an entire universe.
A commenter on the ex-cd blog recently posted a link to an AnswersInGenesis article entitled, "Worldwide Flood, Worldwide Evidence", which claims to list evidence for a global flood. I thought I'd take some time to respond to this so-called "evidence".
Apologies in advance - this "article" is going to be quite heavy with quotations from other sources.
Since I am not a Geologist, I need to refer to those who are. I've provided links to all sources, and would encourage you to check them out. I've referred to several articles that are well worth reading in full, if you're interested in getting to the heart of what scientists know about the Grand Canyon and how they reached those conclusions.
"I don't believe that", said Alison, "I'd like to see your evidence."
Chris was taken aback. He had not faced someone so skeptical before. In the discussion so far, Alison had seemed polite enough but she was also becoming increasingly closed-minded. At first Chris wasn't sure what to say. He wasn't prepared for this response at all.
A Christadelphian's primary hope is to live forever in a future state of bliss, surrounded by fellow believers and worshipping Jesus and God for eternity. No more sorrow and suffering, no more tears, no more pain, no more death. So the promise goes.
This utopia is apparently available to anyone who wants it. Just give up your ambitions and freedoms in this life, and submit yourself as a slave to a magical, invisible being, and you will be rewarded with more happiness than you can imagine. The sacrifices you make in this life will be more than repaid in the next, and the suffering you endure now will be insignificant compared to the glory you will inherit later. Feeling lucky?
One of the more common criticisms I've heard directed at atheists is that in order to be an atheist, one must claim to know everything that exists in the universe and beyond. That is, in order to claim that no gods exist, one must possess all knowledge about everything that could possibly exist. Since obviously no human could possibly know everything that exists, it is argued that atheists are simply dishonest and arrogant.
While there may be atheists who make such claims, the vast majority do not. This is actually a misunderstanding of atheism on the part of believers who offer this criticism. The majority of atheists do not in fact assert that no gods exist. Most are actually agnostic, and simply remain unconvinced that any particular god exists.
However, in this article I want to go a bit further and put forward some arguments for why it may well be more rational to believe that no gods exist, at least for all practical purposes.
People believe in a god or gods for many different reasons. Most of them believe in the god(s) their parents taught them to believe in. This is as true for Christadelphians as it is for any other religion. However, as they grow older, they learn (and come up with) other ways to defend that belief, and Christadelphians in particular often put a reasonable amount of effort into reinforcing the belief regularly. All of this was true for me, and I genuinely believed in a god right up until my early 30's. The reasons for my belief changed over time, and my concept of who or what God was also changed, but the basic belief was there all along.
This article explores why I believed in God, and how I came to doubt God's existence.
As a Christadelphian I heard over and over again how Luke was apparently a first class historian and therefore we could trust both his gospel and the book of Acts. But is the book of Acts really reliable as a historical source? I don't think so, and this article explains one of the reasons why.
I grew up as a Christadelphian. I went to Sunday School. I believed all of the Christadelphian teachings. I was baptised in my late teens and regularly attended the meetings, including fulfilling various duties.
In my early thirties, I decided to take a closer look at my beliefs. Actually, I started to become more curious about why other people didn't believe the same things, which led to some introspection about my own beliefs. If I wanted to convince others, I needed to be sure of my own beliefs first. So I embarked on a journey of discovery. Little did I know what lay ahead...
As a Christadelphian, I had to endure countless long-winded sermons about The Atonement and why it was such a big deal. The Christadelphian view of atonement is somewhat unique, but it's not too far different from other Christian views on the subject (despite what Christadelphians will tell you). After all, they all get it from the same book.
According to Christadelphians, the atonement is the whole basis of salvation and encapsulates the human condition, God's divine plan for us and the universe, and even the meaning of life. But buried therein are some of the most sick and immoral ideas ever invented. Hold the cries of blasphemy, for I do not claim that such ideas came from a god. The fact that many people think they did, just makes the ideas so much more perverse.
Did you ever come across verses in the Bible that really made you scratch your head and wonder what the heck the author was smoking? Probably acacia, but seriously I thought it might be enlightening to post some verses that were allegedly inspired by the greatest mind in the universe.
As you read through these verses prepare to feel as tiny as a grasshopper as you admire the sheer genius contained therein. Clearly these words were penned by God himself, although not literally of course. Firstly, because pens weren't invented until the 19th century. And secondly, because like all truly great beings, God allegedly had other people actually do all of the work, while taking full credit. I've actually met people who had mastered this same tactic, although I disagreed with them about whether they were actually God. But I digress...
I've never met a Christadelphian who did not believe prayer was effective and worthwhile. This belief is probably one of the most widespread beliefs among all Christians, and people from other religions too. I used to pray, and I was convinced that at least some of my prayers were answered even though I couldn't be completely sure which ones.
Many believers pray every day, and even several times per day, so obviously they believe prayer really works. But have you ever thought about that? Does it actually work? How would you go about finding out? It's not enough just to think of a time when you prayed and something happened. You might be ignoring other times when nothing happened, or the statistical likelihood of that thing happening to any one person on the planet by chance alone. What about all of the other possible outcomes that you might have likewise interpreted as an answer to that same prayer?
What many believers may not be aware of is that prayer has been studied scientifically and there are even randomized, controlled trials that show a statistically significant positive benefit in favour of prayer! Let's have a look at some of the studies on prayer and what they found...
I often think back over my life growing up as a Christadelphian and I try to make sense of it all, and put the pieces together in a way that will hopefully provide a little bit more closure. I remind myself that leaving one's religion behind is not an easy task, and certainly not something you do in ten minutes before moving on to other things. It's a bit different for everyone, but for me the process is ongoing and probably will be for quite some time.
For many Christadelphians, Bible prophecy is a big deal. For some, it forms the bedrock on which all of their other beliefs rest. For others, it provides comfort and helps them to feel more secure in their beliefs.
This article takes a look at why Christadelphians put so much emphasis on prophecy.
Syria has once again hit the news headlines across the world, and no doubt Christadelphians will capitalise on this and make all sorts of claims about it being a fulfilment of Bible prophecy. I'm just guessing. I don't really follow any Christadelphian sources these days.
So I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look at what the Bible actually says about Syria, and try to cut through the hyperbole and hysteria that tends to surround topics like this.