The basis for Western religion is magic, pure and simple.
The believers never couch it in such terms of course, that would be silly.
The Magic of bronze age savages, slinging blood from the severed throats of birds to cure disease, talking to flaming shrubbery, stopping the sun in its march across the sky so an army can slaughter a few more people.
Their prophet spoke to angels in a cave, flew around on a winged woman-beast and visited hell and heaven. He spoke to ants. Magic.
Their savior got a room full of drunks more intoxicated at the behest of his mom. Spit in the eyes of blind people to cure them, fed a stadium full of people with a loaf of wonderbread and some tuna... In the end, he raised himself from the dead, haunted his followers for a bit then flew off to the skies. Magic.
You would think we'd have grown past it by now...
Let's be honest...
ALL of you Theistically Challenged people that haunt these boards are liars.
You lie to us, your families, friends, co-workers and most of all, you lie to Yourself.
You KNOW you don't really believe in MAGIC.
You KNOW you don't believe people can rise
from the dead, bugger around a bit then fly off to the skies. You KNOW you don't.
Just as you KNOW you don't believe in talking snakes and magical gardens with cursed fruit given to little naked rib-women...
Further, you know damned well you've never had a 'personal experience' with any supernatural entity.
Oh, you may have felt giddy once or twice, but most of your claims are so that you can be part of the cool kids and be accepted because THEY all claim to have had personal experiences too.
They are lying, just like you...
Pascal's Gambit or Pascal's Wager, is a rather famous rhetorical ploy. It is not an argument for 'god', instead, it attempts to outline the pragmatic benefits of believing in a god. As such, it is intriguing because it is intended to gain believers without having to solve the impossible problem of offering proof of God's existence. Therefore, Pascal's wager is alluring in its simplicity. It's really an attack on doubt, for it states that the requirement of certainty in belief is a false one. Either 'God' exists or 'he' does not. If 'he' exists and you are a beliver, you "win". If 'he' does not exist and you believe, nothing is lost. However, If 'he' does exist and you are not a believer, you lose out on eternal life. Of the four possible permutations:
Belief and God exists = believer is saved
Non Belief and God exists = non believer suffers hellfire
Belief and God does not exist = believer does not suffer more than non believer
Non Belief and God does not exist = non believer does as well as believer
Christians tell us that "jesus' died for us, and that he was a sacrifice.
I have two simple questions for our christian friends:
The first: What did this 'jesus' sacrifice? Is this jesus dead?
No. We are told: "He has risen."
Don't you hold that this jesus is now in eternal bliss, in heaven, where he receives the undying love and gratitude from a multitude?
Sacrifice means loss. Sacrificing doesn't involve gain. It certainly doesn't involve infinite gain. Yet this 'jesus' loses nothing, and gains everything.
Some theists respond by saying that he lost his physical body. But what does Paul say about the nature of flesh?
"For I know that in me that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing...." (Rom 7:18)
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Cor. 15:50)
So where's the sacrifice?
There is none. "Jesus" sheds something worthless. And we are told that he rises again - even this worthless shedding is only temporary.
Some theists then announce "But he suffered pain!"
I wrote some of this years many ago. I'm going to edit it a bit and post it here... with one addition: while heresy is a religious concept, atheists could fall prey to thinking in terms of heresy too.... so let's all be on the lookout for this type of thinking when it creeps up in our own thoughts.
"The act of asking one's pastor or priest a question he can't answer."
Ok, officially, "heresy" is an opinion or a doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from or denial of dogma by a professed believer or baptized church member.
The concept of heresy ought to arouse any theist's critical thinking skills....in fact it should serve as an indicator of the falsity of a religion, as any system that was undeniably true would hardly need to fear and punish doubters. Undeniable truth would defend itself - denying it would lead to self contradiction.
I was wondering if the words 'holy crap' came from Jesus. Maybe that is the proof we need to prove Jesus was real? I mean where else would a term like that come from? Holy shit!
Also, if Jesus was so amazing, would like one bowel movement fertilize hundreds of acres of crops? For that matter, was his pee holy too? Imagine all the clothes you could clean with just one drop of his pee.
You hear it from theists all the time: "Maybe I do take my beliefs on faith, but so do you!"
Leaving aside the theist's admission of what he really thinks of faith (not much, apparently!), is it true that everyone must take some beliefs on faith?
Well, here's the problem with that question: It contains a fallacy of equivocation.
A fallacy of equivocation occurs when an argument uses a word in two distinct senses. And the word "faith" has at least two very distinct meanings. One has a theological sense, and the other, a colloquial sense.
And we can best understand these two general meanings by using the terms Contingent and Non Contingent faith.
Trust is experiential - theistic faith is not.
Contingent faith - is trust. It originates as an instinctual connection to our mothers in infancy, and develops as the basic blueprint for how we interpret new situations. It is wholly experiential and open to revision.
So this sort of 'faith' is is based on some experience, an instinct, and then, a memory, an expectation. It is also open to falsification. If events occur that lead me to doubt the 'faith', I will discard my faith. If the stranger I have trusted harms me, then my willingness to trust the stranger (and perhaps other strangers) decreases.
If I were to say that the claims for Jesus are just like claims for Paul Bunyan, you might become upset. You'd probably argue that serious claims for Paul Bunyan's existence are ridiculous, or that no one really believes in Paul Bunyan, and that the comparison is unfair for these reasons alone.
But notice that none of these complaints are actually rational arguments against Paul Bunyan. Arguing that a claim is false because it is ridiculous is a logical fallacy known as an "appeal to ridicule.' We all know examples of claims that appeared ridiculous but were actually true, it was once ridiculous to suppose that man could fly. Arguing that a belief is true or false based on its popularity is also a logical fallacy, known as 'ad populum'. Again, we can all think of popular claims that were shown to be false, such as the idea that the earth was the center of the solar system.
So when we rule out Paul Bunyan as a real person, how do we really come to this conclusion logically?
People in Hell According to the Tenets of christianity.
Here is a list of people currently burning in hell according to the tenets of christianity.
(The original idea came from http://www.christslove.com/hell.htm. The site is now defunct)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us"
Book of John
"He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
"[T]here is not a single contemporary historical mention of Jesus, not by Romans or by Jews, not by believers or by unbelievers, not during his entire lifetime. This does not disprove his existence, but it certainly casts great doubt on the historicity of a man who was supposedly widely known to have made a great impact on the world. Someone should have noticed."
Earl Doherty - The Jesus Puzzle: