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:
Does a business have the right to refuse you service if they know you are gay? Can they refuse your business if they know your are a murderer? Adulterer? What if you are Muslim? Long hair? Six toes? Haven't taken a bath in six weeks? What if you are from a different church or if you are from a rival college?
Why are you in business for anyway?
I heard on the radio this morning about a baseball announcer who had previously been against Jackie Robinson playing baseball. He was very vocal about it, however he changed his mind when he realized that he was there to call the games. He couldn't be bothered with the fact that Jackie Robinson was black.
Besides where in the bible does it say you don't need to provide services to others? Doesn't the bible preach kindness and love? Forgiveness? And a host of other wanna-be empathy towards others including your enemies? The ten commandments are pretty specific aren't they?
I find this stance on refusing service to others ignorant and hypocritical.
Recently the following article was posted on Yahoo sports.
While I wait to see if the math is correct, I find it interesting that if their fumbles decreased after 2006 so dramatically, why is it that the players who left other teams then came to the Patriots had their fumbles drop so dramatically. I'd like to see how players who left the team ended up? Did their fumbles increase after leaving?
All in all, I find the coach and the QB to blame. I also find that so many scandals related to the coach have been in the form of cheating or "pushing the limits of the rules". The claim that the equipment staff is to blame is a scapegoat reply and only the QB and the coach are to blame.
I just spent the last few minutes speaking to a middled aged vendor who tried to witness me over the phone. I recenltly had an accident and broke my wrist and he knew about it. After asking me about my recovery he said, "Do you attend church"?
I found the use of "attend" very interesting because it signifies a specific mindset, or to me it does, of the type of religious person I'm speaking to about religion.
He was nice about it. Telling me stories about being saved and so forth, but i had heard it all before. I had so much I wanted to say but avoided speaking and let him tell me his stuff, then try to get me to visit his church.
I found the conversation comforting and that caught my attention. It wasn't in your face with the religion. He was this coaxing talk which you might find with a used care salesman or a real estate agent, trying to get you to buy in to their story about how reliable the car was or how perfect the house would be for you and the family.
It almost was a mental attack but through a diversion. A slight of hand. I was left thinking, is this how the church of scientology works? ISIS? other cults?
I had heard of this project before through Sam Harris but this guy has really put it all together in a nice package.
Wonderful reference for those who need to pull up information before going to a debate, during a debate or just discussing stuff with your crazy sister or other relative.
Every thing is cross referenced and it shows you absurdities and contradictions in the bible.
This deserves a sticky some where on this website.