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 ~

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Bible's Human Origins: Acts and Letters

The last instalment in this series looks at the remaining books in the New Testament. Not only is there no evidence anywhere that these texts were divinely inspired, there are many areas where divine inspiration wouldn't even make any sense!

Let's take a closer look...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Bible's Human Origins: Gospels - Part 2

Continuing on with the gospels, I now look at the textual dependence and historical reliability.

The Bible's Human Origins: Gospels - Part 1

Continuing my series on the human origins of the Bible, I will now turn to the New Testament.
I intend to focus aspects that are relevant to the claim of divine inspiration.

Were the four gospels divinely inspired?

I think we have good reason to doubt.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Bible's Human Origins: Kings and Prophets

In this article I look at the stories of some of the kings and prophets in the Bible. Are these accounts historically accurate? And what does this mean for the claim of divine inspiration?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Bible's Human Origins: Exodus

In this article I want to shine a spotlight on the exodus story and reveal some details that are probably unknown to many Christadelphians. In what should probably not be a surprise by now, I want to show that the Sunday School version of the story is false. However, I also hope to show some of the interesting details we can learn from modern Archaeology. I will even concede that there may well be a historical core behind some of the biblical stories.

As for whether the stories were divinely inspired, once again I think we have good reason to doubt.

Why would you worship a murderer?

If you are happy to believe in and worship a god who would save you, but allows millions of children to suffer and die every year, then you are a sick and disgusting individual. I hope you are better than that.

Now that I have your attention, and your apologist brain is probably already scrambling to form excuses answers, lets explore this a little further...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Bible's Human Origins: Genesis continued

Moving forward through the Bible, we come to the stories of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It seems many Christadelphians read these accounts as if they are literal history, but are they?

I think we have good reason to doubt.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Bible's Human Origins: Genesis 1 - 11

In the previous article, I provided evidence that Genesis 1 was connected with an earlier Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish.

Whatever your view of the "divine inspiration" of the Bible is, it must somehow account for this. But is the Genesis 1 account the only similarity with Babylonian mythology? Not at all. This article will explore more connections between the first 11 chapters of Genesis and ancient mythology.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Bible's Human Origins: Genesis 1

Many Christadelphians approach the Bible from the perspective that it is the inerrant word of God, and thus free of any errors or contradictions. I grew up with this belief as well.

But is it justified?

If we look objectively at the Bible, does it hold up as a reliable source of information? Can it be trusted?

I want to provide an overview of the entire Bible and highlight several major problems with it. Obviously this will take some time and several articles. Some of this material may be new to you, but where possible I will provide links and suggestions for further reading. Feel free to ask me for more info if there is anything I left out.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Following Jesus: What did Jesus actually do?

Recently I came across a comment from a Christadelphian who argued that:
"...many of us are just trying to do our best to live in the example Christ set for us to that a bad thing? To love your enemy, to care for your neighbours, the sick, the poor etc?"
What example?

That got me thinking a bit. Did Jesus actually set that example? Or is this an assumption made by believers who read the Bible and then fill in the gaps according to what they were taught from when they were young?

To find out, I decided to scan through all four gospels and find every actual action that Jesus was said to have performed. That's when things got interesting.

Here is what I found...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What is God?

Or perhaps we should ask, "What is a god?"

Does anyone know?

In my experience, the various Christian and Christadelphian ideas of "God" could fit any/all of the following definitions:

  • A place-holder for things we don't (yet) understand.
  • Another word for "magic".
  • An external projection of a person's ideal self (see this scientific study).
  • An anthropomorphism of the laws of nature.
  • A mental crutch for people who feel vulnerable and look for strength outside themselves rather than looking within. Ironically, the strength still comes from within, but indirectly via a powerful illusion. An inner parent vs child metaphor works equally well.
  • A comfortable catch-all for people who don't like uncertainty.
  • The answer to end all questions.
Did I miss any?

Friday, November 27, 2015

How do you know someone is listening?

There was a time when I realised that I could not tell the difference between praying and merely talking to myself. I realised that the world looked and worked exactly the same even if there was no one listening. Of course, I still looked for answers and convinced myself that events in my life were "providence".

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Something Beautiful

Seth Andrews recently posted this video to his YouTube channel, The Thinking Atheist.

It's a future I could get excited about.

This is a message I'd happily preach.

Unfortunately it's not the one Christadelphians preach.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why I don't believe in God

Below are the reasons why I don't believe in God...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Searching for truth: Part 3

One of the goals of my own search was to rebuild my worldview. Not only did I seek to follow the evidence wherever it led me, I also wanted my view of reality to be internally consistent and make some sense to me. I don't know if I succeeded in all of those areas. I certainly feel as though my worldview now has a firmer foundation, that being evidence and reason, coupled with the scientific method.

Searching for truth: Part 2

Claims about the existence of God

I'm going to be blunt here. The existence of God has never been demonstrated. In fact, for several of the most common definitions of "God", the existence of such a being is actually not testable or falsifiable. By pushing God beyond the reach of science, believers often confidently claim that science is the wrong tool for the job of proving God's existence. What they always fail to appreciate is that this isn't my problem. It's theirs. Science is our best method for discovering truth about reality. Without science, their task of confirming the existence of God just got a whole lot more difficult.

Searching for truth: Part 1

As I look back over the last few years, and as I think about the many discussions I've had with believers, there are some key fundamental differences that keep resurfacing over and over again. I'll expand on this in more detail in this article, but in short I'm referring to how people go about searching for truth.

My main focus for this series of articles will be to explain my own framework for building a consistent worldview. Why don't I believe in a god? Why don't I believe that the Bible is divinely inspired? Why do I accept scientific claims such as evolution, physics, and germ theory? Is there anything I believe in, for which the evidence is not conclusive? I hope to answer all of these questions and more in this series.

I've wanted to write an article like this for a long time, because I often run into issues of this nature when in discussions with believers. Perhaps I should have written this article first, so that I could refer to it in later discussions. Well, better late than never I guess.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The flawed methodology behind Christadelphian Bible Prophecy

Bible Prophecy was always at the forefront of the Christadelphian message while I was growing up. It was often cited in public lectures, and youth group talks, as one of the reasons we could be confident that the Bible was the inspired word of God, and therefore that we could trust everything it said to be accurate.

But is it as reliable as they say? Let's find out.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The High Cost of Leaving Your Faith

When your entire life is built around a religion,
leaving it means leaving your life and starting over again from scratch.

I did not write the article I refer to here, but I can relate to so much of it. I'm sure there are other former believers out there who feel the same, and who may benefit from reading this article and realising that we are not alone. Our struggle with faith need not be in vain, and it doesn't need to end here. There is life after faith.

Anyone who has struggled with their beliefs and ended up questioning and then abandoning their entire belief system in search of the truth about reality knows how difficult this process can be. The article captures the mental anguish and the process from first beginning to question your beliefs through to the painful choices that are forced upon you. I will be offering some comments around the article as it relates to my journey, but I encourage you to click the link above and read that article in full before returning here (if you choose).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Resurrection: Perhaps it's not what you want

One of the central doctrines of Christianity is resurrection. I don't think many people spend much time thinking about it. In a way it's the ultimate placebo. A way to avoid thinking about the reality and finality of death. Do people really believe it? Or is it something they try in vain to convince themselves of? Is it a belief propped up by fear?

I want to explore some aspects of resurrection itself as a concept. For example, how would it even work?

Is the biblical idea of resurrection even something you want?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Did you ever wonder why God is a "he"?

God's gender

Did you ever wonder why God is a "he"?

I mean, we know how to determine the sex of almost all animals in the animal kingdom. We know how it works. We know why it is that way. That part all makes sense. If you're not sure, ask your parents.

Some living things don't reproduce sexually (bacteria, for example). We don't refer to those as 'he' or 'she'. It simply doesn't make sense to do so.

And then you realise God reckons he is male. That's weird. I have so many questions.

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Unbelievable" - A new book by former Christadelphian Rob J Hyndman

A journey from faith via evidence. Why a university professor gave up religion and became an unbeliever. 
Rob J Hyndman is Professor of Statistics at Monash University, Australia. He was a Christadelphian for nearly 30 years, and was well-known as a writer and Bible teacher within the Christadelphian community. He gave up Christianity when he no longer thought that there was sufficient evidence to support belief in the Bible. 
This is a personal memoir describing Rob's journey of deconversion. Until recently, he was regularly speaking at church conferences internationally, and his books are still used in Bible classes and Sunday Schools around the world. He even helped establish an innovative new church, which became a model for similar churches in other countries. Eventually he came to the view that he was mistaken, and that there was little or no evidence that the Bible was inspired or that God exists. 
In this book, he reflects on how he was fooled, and why he changed his mind. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, you will be led to reflect on the nature of faith and evidence, and how they interact.

More details including where to buy the book are available on the author's website.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why so many religions?

This question used to come up fairly often in Christadelphian public lecture titles. Perhaps it still does. And the standard Christadelphian answer is that the other religions were led astray and they're all wrong but Christadelphians discovered the truth, the only truth, and lucky for you dear friends, we are here to tell you all about it.

I wonder how the other religions would answer the question? My guess is that it would sound much the same.

But there is another answer. One that you probably won't hear from a Christadelphian. The fact that there are so many religions makes perfect sense if they are all man-made. If no holy book was ever divinely inspired, then we are just seeing the same human phenomenon repeat itself in different ways. This is not a new concept. Most believers already accept that all other religions are mistaken. Why not apply that same skepticism to their own beliefs too? Why should someone like me believe that all of the other religions are false, but this one over here (that looks indistinguishable from the others in almost every respect) is totally true?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In the beginning God created.....what??

Many people naively assume that Genesis 1 verse 1 describes the creation of the entire universe and all the galaxies, stars, and planets, including Earth. But they are wrong.

Let's see what it actually says...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

20 terrible reasons to be a Christadelphian

Below is a list of 20 terrible reasons to be a Christadelphian.

How many of these apply to you?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Problems with the Flood Story

In this article I will give several reasons why the biblical flood story does not align with the evidence from nature.

If you believe that the flood story is literally true, don't feel bad. I used to think that too. Most of us were taught it as children, and it was reinforced so strongly that it became part of our identity. Any belief that is internalised so deeply is likely to be protected, defended, and rarely questioned (at least not critically).

Let's take a more critical look at the flood story...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Could I be wrong? (Resurrection of Jesus)

In the previous article, I discussed a couple of arguments often presented in support of the existence of God, and explored whether I could be wrong in those areas.

This next article will explore one of the main arguments used in support of the Bible - the resurrection of Jesus.

Could I be wrong? (Nature, Origin of Life)

Anyone who is honest with themselves and their beliefs will often ask themselves the question "Could I be wrong?". It's a very good question to ask ourselves.

There are many reasons why I no longer believe in gods or goddesses, and also why I no longer believe that the Bible, nor any other holy book, was written by such a deity. I don't intend to list them all here. Readers of this blog would already be familiar with many of them.

However, it would be more accurate to phrase it slightly differently and say that I have no good reason to believe that any holy book was divinely inspired, nor that any gods or goddesses actually exist.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Winning the lottery of life

Do you believe that only Christadelphians (or those with similar beliefs) will be saved?
Do you believe that God will justly and fairly reward the faithful in the future?
Are your parents Christadelphians?
Have you considered just how "lucky" you are to be a Christadelphian?

Well, let's find out then...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 2015: Questions on morality

Is religion or a belief in God required for morality?
Is a person who believes in God more moral because of that belief?

Click through to explore these concepts and more with the questions for June...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 2015 Question Time

What does the Bible teach us about God?

The modern idea of God is a being who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, along with a bunch of other superlatives. Is this view supported by the Bible?

Let's find out...
  1. What does it mean to repent?
    1. Is it possible for a perfect god to repent?
    2. How many times in the Bible does God repent?
      Hint: It's more than 10 times!
  2. How can an all-knowing god have free will? or change its mind?
    (See Numbers 23:19)
  3. Can a perfect god create something that is not perfect?
  4. Are you capable of an action that God is not capable of?
    1. Can God be surprised?
    2. Can God experience regret? (See Genesis 6:6 NET)
    3. Can God be embarrassed?
    4. Can God experience shame or guilt?
    5. Can God forget something? (See Genesis 8:1)
  5. Can a god who commands the killing of children and infants be considered "all-good" (or even just "good")? (See 1 Sam 15:2-3)
    1. What about slavery?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Natural disasters - why pray?

In the past week the world has been rocked by another terrible tragedy. On April 25, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck the city of Nepal, leaving massive destruction and a death toll of more than 4000 people. That number is predicted to grow even higher as the extent of the damage unfolds and more days pass.

Often in times like this many Christians and perhaps Christadelphians feel that they should pray for the survivors and for the rescue efforts. It also seems like part of our culture to respect such behaviour as if those praying are performing some noble act of kindness. So I guess I'm breaking taboo a little by questioning the value of praying to a god after a natural disaster such as this.

(Actually, the problem isn't prayer so much as those who pray and then don't do anything else. It's the something else you do that makes all the difference. Please donate if you haven't already!)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Does Archaeology prove that the Old Testament is historically accurate?

During my time as a Christadelphian, Archaeology was often portrayed as one of the pillars of evidence supporting the reliability of the Bible. It was (and still is) taken for granted by many Christadelphians that the Old Testament in particular was on solid grounds as a historically accurate text, backed by a wealth of evidence from Archaeology.

But what does Archaeology actually tell us about the Bible today?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2015 Quiz

Each month I've been asking a series of questions to hopefully encourage readers to think more deeply about their beliefs. What is truth? and how do you know? What tools do you have at your disposal in your search for truth? Will you be able to rule out falsehood? How?

This month I want to do something slightly different. I want to test your knowledge. Do you understand that which you believe? Do you understand that which you reject?

Let's find out...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Is belief a choice?

A common theme I have come across when discussing beliefs with Christadelphians is the idea that beliefs are a choice. I find it interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, it seems to be an assumption that these Christadelphians have not seriously questioned. Secondly, if true it would lead to some bizarre outcomes.

Let's explore this idea a little further...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Noah's Flood: Did it happen?

Do you believe in Noah's flood as a historical event? Do you believe the flood was global, or local? Have you considered the evidence from all sides of the question? Perhaps there is a viewpoint you haven't considered. Today I'm going to look at some of the evidence for the various viewpoints and hopefully give you plenty to think about.

Before we get started, I want to point out this little gem:
So the LORD said, “I will wipe humankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – everything from humankind to animals, including creatures that move on the ground and birds of the air, for I regret that I have made them.”
Genesis 6:7 (NET)
How a perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing deity can experience regret I'll probably never know.

Anyway, moving along. Let's look at the evidence for the flood...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 2015 - 5 Questions for Christadelphians

I'm trying something new, to hopefully get some responses from readers. In particular those of you who are Christadelphians. I ask these simply to get you to think. If all you do is post the first answer that comes to mind but don't give it any real thought, then both of us are wasting our time.

Use this as a tool, perhaps a health check for your faith.
  1. If you were wrong (regarding your religious beliefs), how would you know?
  2. What would you require in order to change your mind?
  3. Why don't you believe in Allah or Vishnu, and why doesn't that reason apply to Yahweh?
  4. If prayer didn't work, how could you tell?
  5. If your interpretation of a Bible verse differed from what the author intended, how would you know?

I look forward to reading your responses in the comments below.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why don't you accept evolution?

Over 99% of the world's biologists accept evolution as fact, and there has been no change in that consensus for well over 100 years.

And yet the vast majority of Christadelphians seem to be confident that evolution is false. I wonder how many of them are actually qualified to make that assessment. I also wonder how many of them actually understand it well enough to refute it.

What about you? Do you understand evolution?
If not, here is your chance to tell me why...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Two Babies and the existence of God

Recently I came across a cute little story that appears to be doing the rounds on the internet at the moment. It is about two babies who are in their mother's womb, having a conversation about "life after delivery". The point of the story is clear. It uses analogy to argue for the existence of an afterlife, and for the existence of God.

Firstly, I have to say that arguments from analogy are rarely convincing because at any stage, one possible explanation could always be that the analogy is flawed. Analogies are useful as a tool to help explain difficult concepts, but cannot be used as evidence or proof, for the reason already stated.

However, I find this story rather interesting because it highlights some of the common reasoning flaws used to justify belief in God and belief in an afterlife. The fact that the flaws are evident in the analogy itself should be a cause for concern for its author and anyone who agreed with its conclusions.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A brief introduction to atheism

There has long been a stigma attached to the word "atheist" among religious people. It is considered a dirty word, and atheism is often perceived as something to be avoided at all costs. This article aims to provide a brief introduction to some aspects of atheism you may not be aware of, and hopefully dispel some of the myths.

I hope you will try to take this on board as informative, and not become defensive in your thinking. This article is not about you or your faith. It is not going to tell you what you should or shouldn't believe. It is about atheism. It will also be quite personal, because I will be speaking from my own experience.

I am an atheist.

Come with me and let me show you a little of what that means to me...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Without excuse?

What do you see when you look out at the world? Do you see the wonder of nature? Perhaps you see the hand of God everywhere? Whatever your view of the world, we can all agree on many things. For example, there is a great deal of complexity in the natural world. Although scientists study nature in many different fields, there is still a lot we do not know and a lot we do not understand.

It is common for Christadelphians to cite Romans 1:20 to assert that atheists are "without excuse" because God has supposedly provided all of the evidence that anyone could ever need, and it's all right before our eyes.

So am I without excuse?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Revisiting Ezekiel's prophecy against Egypt

Last year I posted an article to this blog about Ezekiel's failed prophecy regarding the desolation of Egypt.

You can read that article here.

Recently I came across an article that claimed this prophecy was actually fulfilled. I will summarize its claim below.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Revisiting Ezekiel's prophecy against Tyre.

Last year I posted an article to this blog about Ezekiel's failed prophecy regarding the destruction of the city of Tyre.

I thought it might be good to revisit this prophecy and fill in a few details that I missed last time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A closer look at Genesis 1: Why do you believe in creation?

The Bible says so, right? ....aaaand you think it's inspired by a god, right? But how do you know? Suppose this god was would you know then? "But God doesn't tell lies", you might insist! How do you know? Did he tell you that? That's exactly what he would say, even if he did tell lies, isn't it?

I know, I know, you think you've got proof. You've got all this evidence that the Bible must be divinely inspired, otherwise how do I explain bananas? or something. But here's the thing. You disagree with pretty much every other type of Christian on earth. And they all think the Bible is divinely inspired too...yet they disagree with you (and each other). Interesting, isn't it?

But perhaps you claim that you can disprove every other Christian. They're all wrong except you. And yet somewhere in the world there is a Catholic who thinks exactly the same way. And somewhere else in the world is a Jehovah's Witness, and a Pentecostal, and a Baptist, and all of them are confident that they alone have the truth, and all the others are heretics. Perhaps you all just haven't met each other yet...