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 ~

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Return Of Israel

Perhaps the biggest piece of evidence Christians (and especially Christadelphians) point to is the re-establishment of the nation of Israel and the return of the Jews to the land.

It is claimed that the events in the middle of the 20th century are direct fulfilments of prophecies made in both the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. These are bold claims, and worthy of some scrutiny.

The Resurrection Of Jesus

It is sometimes claimed by apologists that the resurrection of Jesus is the most parsimonious explanation for various "facts" from first century Palestine. That is, they claim Jesus's resurrection is the best explanation for the fact that Jesus died by crucifixion, was buried, and later the tomb was found empty by his followers, who became convinced he rose from the dead, and went on to boldly devote their life to promoting his teachings and proclaiming that he had risen from the dead.

If you're a believer, it sounds enticing, because you have all of these details that have supposedly been confirmed as historically accurate, and you have a single explanation that ties them all together.

But reality is never this simple. Let's have a closer look at these "facts"...

The Big Picture

Something that occasionally crosses my mind is the thought that perhaps there is some detail I overlooked during my deconversion and that maybe the Bible is all true and I've been horribly mistaken. I'm sure such thoughts are common to all of us at some point, but it's actually a good opportunity to explore the kinds of things that might indicate that I'm mistaken, or the kinds of evidence we should expect to find if the Bible is in fact true.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another Failed Prophecy: The scattering of Egypt?

I recently came across this passage in Ezekiel 30:
"Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and I will break his arms, the strong arm and the broken one, and I will make the sword drop from his hand. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among foreign countries."
Ezekiel 30:22-23 NET (Emphasis mine)
So...when did that happen?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What is the evidence for evolution, and why do people believe it?

In this article I want to list some of the reasons why so many people, including the vast majority of scientists, believe in evolution.

Even if you are a creationist, it's important to understand not only what other people believe, but also why they find it compelling. If you cannot fathom how any sane, rational person could believe in evolution, then maybe what you call 'evolution' is not actually what people believe. Maybe they believe something else, instead.

So let's take a look at some lines of evidence...

Why did I start believing in evolution?

"Why are so many scientists, and especially biologists, convinced that evolution is true?"

This was a question I actually pondered occasionally back when I was a Christadelphian.

For the most part, I found myself satisfied with very dismissive and glib answers, such as that scientists just didn't want to accept God, or that they had all been deceived through the spread of cunning, humanistic ideas. At no point did I consider that scientists might have had a much deeper understanding of the natural world than I did, and might have been convinced by virtue of a wealth of evidence. I think perhaps one reason why I did not consider these possibilities is because in my mind, the Bible said God created everything, and since I believed it was absolutely the word of God, the idea that any human could somehow "know" something contrary to that just seemed impossible. Therefore evolution "must" have been false, because creation "must" have been true. I wonder if other believers still think this way.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Evolutionary Creationism and the Christadelphians

Evolutionary Creationism is the idea that the Bible and science need not be in conflict with regard to our origins. Also known as Theistic Evolution, it attempts to reconcile the vast and compelling evidence for evolution with views about God and creation, and often those found in the Bible specifically.

I came to understand Theistic Evolution around the same time that I was grappling with various other questions about the Bible, from both a scientific and textual perspective. Understanding how to reconcile Genesis with science allowed me to review the scientific evidence anew without the fear that it would destroy my faith. For a while I accepted it, and it all made sense. Well, almost all of it. But I was sure that any remaining issues with the theory could be resolved in due course.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Divine Santa

I don't know if a god exists. I don't think anyone really knows. For one, the concept of God (or gods) is often poorly defined. And when you push people for definitions, either the definitions are so vague as to not be descriptive at all, or you start to find differences between the types of gods people believe in.

There is not just one single concept of God.

That might be a surprise to some people. Surely everyone knows who God is? Well, not exactly. What you mean by "God" is almost certainly different to what other people mean by "God", and because people are getting their views about God from different sources, and via different interpretations of those sources, and sometimes inferring things about God from their own experiences, there are inevitably many differences between those views.

So I want to discuss some different views about God...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Good without God?

Religions often claim to be the custodians of morality. Some claim that morality can only come from God, and that to be truly moral means to follow the various laws or tenets of the religion, or to follow God's ways.

But when we actually examine what religions claim is moral behaviour, it all-too-often boils down to some version of carrot and stick. Do this, and you'll be rewarded. Don't do that, or you'll be punished.

Is that morality? I beg to differ. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Inerrancy? Jesus didn't say that.

Many people believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, written via divine inspiration so that every word is accurate and intended by God, except where copying errors have crept in. One wonders why a god who could dictate his words verbatim to his human scribes decided not to preserve those words, but that's a separate topic.

In this article I want to demonstrate very simply that the New Testament contains a conversation involving Jesus that Jesus almost certainly didn't have.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Faith Trap

It's considered an essential virtue in many religions, without which salvation cannot be attained. Believers often talk about wanting more of it, strengthening it, trying not to lose it, and even criticise others for not having enough of it.

But what is faith? And what does it mean to have more or less of it?

Let's take a closer look...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Why are you a Christadelphian?

Perhaps you've thought long and hard about it. Or perhaps you've taken it for granted and never really considered it. Either way, it's a vital question and I'm going to step you through it right now.

Let's have a little chat about who you are, and what it means to you.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Has God ever answered your prayer?

Christadelphians often talk about the "power of prayer". For many it is an essential tool when going through difficult times. They say it provides comfort, and reassurance. It is said that prayer is how we talk to God, and that God talks to us through the Bible. Some Christadelphians believe that God talks to us through events in our lives, or even by putting words in our head. Others interpret things they experience as little "messages" from God, perhaps in answer to a recent prayer.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Amazing prophecy fulfilments

Many Christadelphians believe that the contents of the Bible originated from God. One of the primary reasons they believe this is Bible Prophecy. Essentially, they believe there are prophecies in the Bible that were accurately fulfilled, something they claim a mere human could not have produced.

That is a claim this article will explore a bit further, but perhaps in a surprising way. Rather than argue that most, if not all, of the prophecies in the Bible were not actually accurately fulfilled, as I have done in previous articles, I want to look at human predictions made outside the Bible.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Things the Bible says about God

Christadelphians, like all Christians, believe that the Bible was authored (via humans writing under inspiration) by a perfect being, who they call God.

If that is true, then we can therefore assume that any descriptions of God contained in the Bible must also be accurate.

Agreed? Good. This should prove rather interesting...

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why prophecy fails to convince people

I think that of all the reasons why Christadelphians believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, prophecy is always near the top. It makes sense. No human could accurately predict the future (except that they often do), so if we had a book that did just that, we'd have something on our hands that demanded an explanation.

In the case of the Bible, the book itself claims that a god revealed these things to a prophet, and that is how the future could be foretold so accurately. Apparently this god had knowledge of the future, or otherwise had the means to make a prediction and then ensure that it came to pass.

But let's rewind a bit.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Measuring the success of this blog

As some readers will know, this blog has been running for over 2 years now. I've added nearly 100 posts including over 60 articles of my own. I've received a number of comments and emails from both Christadelphians and ex-Christadelphians, some even thanking me for my efforts.

But should I consider the blog a success? Let's explore a little further...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Can life have meaning without God? Part 4

In the previous three articles I have explored why it is that some Christians insist that life has no meaning without God, and also why their arguments do not stack up.

In this article I will offer some advice and examples of how to create meaning in your own life, without the need for a belief in God. Please note that I am not an expert on this, and much of what I say will be drawn from my own experience, and from material I have absorbed during the course of leaving religion. As with all advice and information in life, your job is to determine which bits are useful to you, and then let the rest go.

I hope you find it both informative and helpful.

Can life have meaning without God? Part 3

In the previous two articles I have explored why it is that some Christians insist that life has no meaning without God, and also touched on why I think their arguments do not stack up.

In this article I provide a more detailed rebuttal of the Christian claim that life without God has no "ultimate" meaning.

Can life have meaning without God? Part 2

In the previous article I discussed some reasons why some Christians claim that life has no meaning, and more specifically, no "ultimate" meaning, without God.

But what if their entire premise is wrong? What if meaning doesn't come from God?

In this article I will show why life can definitely have meaning without God and/or without a belief in God.

Can life have meaning without God? Part 1

What is the meaning of life? This is one of the oldest questions humanity has ever contemplated. Some, including myself, would argue that the question itself is not well formed, and is perhaps meaningless, or at best, misguided. Others (typically those who believe in God) confidently assert that not only is there an official meaning to life, but also that they have found it!

One of the more insidious and even bizarre claims made by many theists, is that life has no meaning without God. It is insidious because it seems many people are taught this either directly or indirectly as part of their religious upbringing, and therefore they simply accept it as a truism, an undeniable fact of life. It seems to be protected more so than other religious beliefs, probably because there is so much at stake if it were true. I think this belief can lead to unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviours.

But this claim is also bizarre, when you consider the large number of people both alive now and also throughout history who have lived happy and fulfilled lives without a belief in God. It would be utterly perverse to believe that not a single atheist who has ever lived has been able to live a life rich in meaning.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Meanwhile, on board the "HMS Christadelphia" ...

We join the scene as the Captain and First Mate are having a discussion about a recent incident on board the ship...

First Mate: What was all that commotion about?
Captain: (sigh) It’s the Lookout. He keeps shouting that we’re headed for the rocks if we don’t change course.
First Mate: Are we?
Captain: I keep telling him our map doesn’t say that, but he keeps telling me I’d better see for myself and also to learn how to read maps properly.
First Mate: Sounds a bit arrogant.
Captain: Exactly. But it doesn’t matter now. We sorted it all out.
First Mate: Great, so you reached an agreement?
Captain: Kind of. We made him walk the plank. He refused to jump but seemed to agree to being pushed.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

THE TRUTH? Belief masquerading as knowledge

Is there a god? Is there life after death? How was the universe created? Do you know the answer to any of these questions? Let me be clearer. Do you really know the answer to any of these questions?

People have been asking these sorts of questions for thousands of years. Some Christadelphians claim to have the answers to them. But do they actually know the answer? or is their claim to knowledge actually just belief masquerading as knowledge?