religious fallacy

If you are a Christian you were probably taught that if you are not a Christian and do not “accept Jesus into your heart” then you are going to Hell.  All of your friends that were unfortunate enough to be born into another religion are also headed to Hell.  Anyone who was born to stubborn to believe in God, also going to Hell.  Those who died before accepting Jesus, that’s right – an eternal lake of fire.  Growing up this always bothered me.  I found it hard to accept those individuals that lead decent lives, but were dedicated to another faith were destined for suffering.

I found it interesting that Jews do not believe in a hell or eternal suffering for sins.  I had thought for years that Hell was an old testament idea.  I was misinformed.  Soon as I branched out and began having friends that were of different faiths than my own I realized they were all going to Hell, right?  They had more conviction and passion about being a Jew, Hindu, Muslim, etc. than I did about Christianity, but would go to Hell because they were born in a different region and to a different family and taught a different religion.  It didn’t seem fair.  It didn’t make since.

Why did God create such a place?  Why did he create these rules?  How does a man who never committed  a serious crime, cared for his family, and lead a good life – but is a Muslim deserve to suffer for all eternity?  How can anyone deserve this?  I mean even the worst crimes are often committed by individuals who are victims of circumstance (I’m not justifying their actions) – even still does that permit an infinite eternity of the worst suffering imaginable?   However, if you ask a devout Christian, a follower of the Bible, they cannot deny that is exactly what the Bible teaches.  No matter the person or actions the fact is Non-believers go to Hell and believers are permitted entrance into Heaven, regardless of circumstance.

Now please don’t get me wrong.  I do not think Christianity is evil.  There are many good lesson to be learned.  Charity, decency, love, and sacrifice.  Jesus was a real person and I believe he was even a great philosopher and role-model.  There is historical evidence that demonstrates this.  The fact is, however, regarding Hell 1 + 1 does note equal 2.  This ideology around the Hell is not logical.  Is not just.

I guess my real complaint isn’t about religion, for now. Rather more about the illogical fallacies in any Religious text.  The whole world didn’t flood.  Noah didn’t fit 200,000 species of animals on a boat.  Inbreeding wasn’t the means to populate the Earth.   A man didn’t survive in a whales stomach.  So on and so forth.

If anything, the Bible teaches lessons.  To love.  The ten commandments are a nice touch.  It is not a book of historically literal events.  The Bible was written over 100s of years by various authors based on translations and oral tradition.  That’s just the fact.  Sprinkles of truth were interwoven and the rest were stories to teach lessons and provide a moral to the story.  We should put that into perspective.  I think God would agree.

Just a thought, feel free to disagree and convince me otherwise.  I’m open.

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17 thoughts on “religious fallacy

  1. sabepashubbo

    Jesus was a real person and I believe he was even a great philosopher and role-model.

    See C.S. Lewis’ comment on this viewpoint. He claimed to be God. Either he was crazy, and therefore we have no reason to accept his philosophies or role-modeling, he was a liar, and we still have no reason to accept these, or he was actually God in human flesh. If you’re truly open to convincing, you cannot stand firm in your current position.

    It didn’t seem fair. It didn’t make sense. Why did God create such a place?…This ideology around the Hell is not logical. Is not just.

    Obviously you ignored my responses on my own blog, but let’s look at your opinion for a moment. Where do you get your sense of what is fair and just? What is the basis for something being “just,” in your opinion?

    Reply
    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      I do not think that the Bible is reliable resource for quoting Jesus. The Bible is a translation of a translation written by dozens of people all based on ORAL tradition. I believe Christian’s who actually put the new testament believed that Jesus was God so the oral tradition changed over the years and that is how it was eventually written down. Even the same stories found in various books of the NT are different (Mark, Matthew, Luke) so how can rely on the accuracy of each story – Isn’t it possible that some of it was exaggerated, modified, etc.?

      So I think there is evidence (historical) pointing to Jesus being a real person, role model, philosopher, etc. But not necessarily God in the Flesh… Plus does Jesus himself ever state that he is God? Other than the “I am” thing – which can be interpreted 100 diff ways…

      Reply
    2. sabepashubbo

      We have thousands of Greek manuscripts of the NT, the earliest of which date to within 40 years of the NT events. We have writings of the early church fathers that alone we could re-create the entire NT except for 11 verses.

      Contrast that with Caesar’s Gallic Wars, where we have 10 copies, the earliest copy we have is 1,000 years after it was supposedly written, and no pieces of it can be found in any other ancient writings. And yet you don’t doubt Caesar existed or these accounts.

      We don’t even have anything about Socrates firsthand. Everything we know of Socrates we get from Plato and Aristotle. And yet you don’t doubt the words of Socrates, unless you dispute logic.

      So your reliability test isn’t exactly fair, given that you place higher standards on the NT than you do for any other ancient writing. There is more manuscript attestation for the NT than for any other ancient writing. Why ignore that?

      And it is not an oral tradition passed down, like some game of telephone. These men were contemporaries of Jesus. They didn’t need to pass down stories; they wrote them down as books and letters, which is why we have the NT to begin with. The reliability of Scripture is far more sound than of any other work during this time period, so if we can trust anything about this time in history, we can trust the NT.

      Verses where Jesus claims to be God (over and above the John 8:58 you reference and which cannot be interpreted 100 different ways…):

      John 14:6 — “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except by me.” Note that it’s the way, not a way.

      John 4:25-26 — “The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

      John 10:30 — “I and the Father are one.”

      John 14:9-11 — “Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

      Reply
      1. Atticus Finch Post author

        NT written down more like 100 years after the events http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Authorship and more than enough time for the events to have been exaggerated and manipulated to fit the Christian perspective. Also, the only scripture from the bible that makes the connection of Jesus divinity is Matthew/John… Why is it that the other books of the NT (Mark, Luke) fail to make these same connections?

        AND if you want to use the date of occurrence as an evidence for accuracy/truth then why do we not consider the Koran or the Book of Mormon as valid?

        I am not debating that Jesus was a real person, a real rabbi, had a large following, taught new things – I just doubt the accuracy of the bible. Things that may have been misunderstood/exaggerated or plain made up during the oral tradition phase. Similarly, I do not doubt Caesar was a real person, but I am sure that account written down isn’t 100% accurate. People do funny things and believe it is true when it comes to religion (ie. believe the world is going to end based on the inaccurate predictions of the same person over and over again, believe they are possessed and let a preacher heal them on TV, believe they can have multiple wives, start cults, kill themselves, etc.) so believing people manipulated oral tradition to fit their convictions (even perhaps not consciously) is not at all a stretch of the imagination…

        Reply
  2. sabepashubbo

    NT written down more like 100 years after the events

    Completely wrong. NT started being written down as few as 20 years after events. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Dates_of_composition

    Why is it that the other books of the NT (Mark, Luke) fail to make these same connections?

    What about the stories in Mark 2 (repeated in Luke 5 & 6), or in Mark 8 (repeated in Luke 9) when Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah? Jesus doesn’t rebuke him or say, “No, I’m not.” Or Jesus’ admission to the Sanhedrin in Mark 14. They do make the same connection; I’m guessing you just didn’t read the gospel for yourself.

    AND if you want to use the date of occurrence as an evidence for accuracy/truth then why do we not consider the Koran or the Book of Mormon as valid?

    Because those books testify to things that they say were written hundreds (Islam) or thousands (Mormonism) before they were written in either the Koran or the Book of Mormon. The NT was written down in the same time period, which is why its attestation is stronger.

    People do funny things and believe it is true when it comes to religion so believing people manipulated oral tradition to fit their convictions (even perhaps not consciously) is not at all a stretch of the imagination…

    It is when you have no evidence to support it. And you attacked the writings of the NT with no evidential support for such an attack. It makes your argument look as weak as it is.

    P.S. I noticed you completely ignored my moral ontology question, so I’ll ask it again.Where do you get your sense of what is fair and just? What is the basis for something being “just,” in your opinion?

    Reply
    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      A. “Completely wrong. NT started being written down as few as 20 years after events.”

      The earliest book is Mark “most scholars date between the range of 65 and 72.” so the best you could say is 65 yrs later… Other books between “70 and 150” years. So where are you getting the 20? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Dates_of_composition

      B. “What about the stories in Mark 2…”

      Bad argument on my part. I agree with you. I do believe that the authors of the Bible did believe that Jesus was son of God/God in the flesh. However, this does not negate the fact that it is what they believed based on the oral traditions they heard to begin with, which were not perfect.

      C. “P.S. I noticed you completely ignored…” Where do I get my ideas behind what is fair and just…

      Two possibilities which I know what you are getting at. 1. They are inspired by God. 2. Based on ourselved/evolution/etc.

      Well I think our sense of what is just is constantly evolving. For instance I support Gay right to marriage, relationships, etc. The Bible says that is wrong. There are other examples of this. Times change and thus our sense of what is right and wrong changes. As for constants – such as Murder, stealing, etc. that are always wrong – that could be explained by God – or Just as easily by our evolution. We have developed these ideas of right and wrong for preservation of the species – it benefits us not to kill each other, steal each others food – we want to pass down our genes (monogamy), etc. My ideology of fair and “just” is that we can do anything we please as long it does not infringe on the rights of someone else.

      D. You kind of ignored the whole point of my original post – which was it doesn’t make since to me that everyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to hell… People who are born in a strict Muslim family are at a disadvantage wouldn’t you say? Is it fair they go to Hell? Is this fair and just? If there is a Hell, I kind of like the Islamic/Jewish idea of hell – as in its not for all eternity, but rather to pay for the “sins” you commited in life – seems more logical.

      Reply
  3. sabepashubbo

    The earliest book is Mark “most scholars date between the range of 65 and 72.” so the best you could say is 65 yrs later… Other books between “70 and 150″ years. So where are you getting the 20?

    Most of the stories in the gospels and thereafter take place around 30 AD, so taking Mark would get you 35-40 years. But you missed this one: “The earliest of the books of the New Testament was First Thessalonians, an epistle of Paul, written probably in AD 51, or possibly Galatians in 49 according to one of two theories of its writing.” That would be about 20 years after the death of Jesus, which is where I got 20 years. Your math is wrong.

    You kind of ignored the whole point of my original post – which was it doesn’t make since to me that everyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to hell…

    No I didn’t. Your reasoning behind why it doesn’t make sense is that you don’t think it’s fair or just. I questioned that deliberately. In order to call something “fair” you need a basis for what is actually fair. You’re going with evolving morality. So let’s take a look….

    Well I think our sense of what is just is constantly evolving…Times change and thus our sense of what is right and wrong changes. My ideology of fair and “just” is that we can do anything we please as long it does not infringe on the rights of someone else.

    If our sense of right and wrong is based on the time we are in, then you have no basis for calling anything God does un-just, for if you really place the doctrine of hell as a Biblical issue, then it could very easily have been right at the time–who are you to say for sure that it was or wasn’t? And how does the doctrine of hell infringe on anyone’s rights? There is no basis here for calling something unjust if it doesn’t infringe on rights, on your ideology. So your reasoning is faulty.

    And what constitutes “rights,” anyway? What rights are violated by the rape of a woman, in your opinion? And wouldn’t that make adultery perfectly acceptable, since no rights are even at play to be violated?

    Don’t you see the irrationality of your argument? You are arguing that the doctrine of hell is a Biblical argument, then arguing that the Bible is an oral tradition from a long time ago. Then you tell me that morality is evolving and it depends on our current affairs, and yet you use that ideology to condemn a doctrine from an oral tradition from a long time ago. How absurd!

    Reply
    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      Gotcha on the 20yrs – I was more thinking about Mark, Matthew, Luke…

      “If our sense of right and wrong is based on the time we are in, then you have…”

      Maybe rights would have been more accurately described by “personal property rights”.

      Hell infringes on my rights by causing me eternal pain and suffering. Even a lifetime of sin cannot equate to an eternity of suffering – the punishment does not fit the crime, thus this idea of Hell is not logical to me. Jews and Muslims would agree – as their idea of Hell is temporary to pay for sins…

      ” hell as a Biblical issue, then it could very easily have been right at the time–who are you to say for sure that it was or wasn’t?”

      So are you saying that Hell does not apply today? How was hell right at the time? What do you mean?

      “And what constitutes “rights,” anyway? What rights are violated by the rape of a woman, in your opinion? And wouldn’t that make adultery perfectly acceptable, since no rights are even at play to be violated?”

      The rights of the woman’s health and body are violated in rape.

      In adultery the rights of the one being cheated on are being infringed upon, assuming a previous agreement between the couple for monogamy has been made – and in a typical Christian marriage this would be the case.

      Individual rights are always at play. https://blogtruth.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/right-wrong-property-rights/

      Reply
  4. sabepashubbo

    Hell infringes on my rights by causing me eternal pain and suffering.

    And on what basis do you have the right to eternal happiness and bliss?

    So are you saying that Hell does not apply today? How was hell right at the time? What do you mean?

    If the doctrine of hell was proffered back in the 1st century and is still judged as to whether or not it is far, then it is safe to say based on your view that either it has always been wrong (contradicting your view of evolving morality) or that it could plausibly have been right and wrong at various times depending on what the current affairs were at the time (by which there is no basis for you to call hell wrong today other than your subjective opinion). Either way, the only basis you have for condemning hell is your own personal opinion. Unless you claim to be the sole moral authority by which we should know right and wrong, your opinion plus 50 cents would be worth half a dollar.

    In adultery the rights of the one being cheated on are being infringed upon, assuming a previous agreement between the couple for monogamy has been made – and in a typical Christian marriage this would be the case.

    How are their rights being infringed on? What rights are afforded a person through marriage? I don’t recall the government prosecuting anyone for adultery. If you want to say there are human rights involved, you need a basis for those human rights to being with, so we can know the basis for infringement, and you’re back to square one.

    And how does this jibe with the evolutionary idea of survival and re-production? Wouldn’t adultery be applauded on evolution, because it allows the most opportunity for re-production?

    Reply
  5. Atticus Finch Post author

    I never said I have the right for eternal happiness and Bliss – although I do believe in the concept of punishment fitting the crime. An eternal pit of fire for a lifetime of sin still doesn’t make sense to me.

    Every person has personal rights. If a couple made an agreement to be monogamous through marriage then that agreement should be followed upon. As far as the evolutionary idea of reproduction – Well male’s have a strong desire to pass their genes down, women want a provider, thus monogamy was born. Although, you are right – men and woman have cheated all along – for whatever reasons they want a strong sexual partner or provider – it’s nature, not the devil trying to get you to do something bad. I just don’t think it is right if a previous agreement to be faithful has been made…

    In some societies sacrifise and cannibalism were deemed “right” – where did these ideas come from? Probably out of necessity and societal norms.

    So what is right or wrong is less an idea of faith and more an idea of what set of rules can govern a society best and make the citizens most happy, productive, etc. I believe that is solved by maximizing freedom and personal property rights.

    Reply
  6. sabepashubbo

    An eternal pit of fire for a lifetime of sin still doesn’t make sense to me.

    Because it infringes on your rights, I recall.

    I never said I have the right for eternal happiness and Bliss

    Well then what rights is hell infringing on, then?

    Every person has personal rights. If a couple made an agreement to be monogamous through marriage then that agreement should be followed upon.

    On what basis? Why is violating an agreement wrong?

    As far as the evolutionary idea of reproduction – Well male’s have a strong desire to pass their genes down, women want a provider, thus monogamy was born.

    But the man has no reason to adhere to monogamy on evolution. If he has a strong desire to pass genes down, he should fulfill that desire in the best means possible, which means the most possible opportunities. Monogamy is counter-intuitive to evolution.

    So what is right or wrong is less an idea of faith and more an idea of what set of rules can govern a society best and make the citizens most happy, productive, etc.

    But not everyone agrees on what makes societies most happy, so who gets to choose?

    Reply
  7. Atticus Finch Post author

    Where did the dinosaurs come from?
    Who decided the holocaust should be allowed to happen?
    How did Noah put 200,000 species of animals on an Ark?
    How did inbreeding create the worlds population?
    Why is their disease?
    Why, why, why?

    Why are some people born at such a disadvantage and others privileged? Why do babies die? What is God’s point?

    Lets not get into a nonsensical rhetoric here…

    Reply
  8. sabepashubbo

    That’s not answering the questions. That’s avoiding them. You need to provide some kind of foundation for your worldview, or it’s irrational.

    Either answer my questions, or concede the argument.

    Reply
  9. Atticus Finch Post author

    An eternal lake of fire doesn’t make sense to me, not because it infringes on my rights – as you tried to answer for me, but rather because it doesn’t seem logical to me for a just God.

    A lifetime of Sin, does not equate to an eternity of Hell. Does this seem just to you? This does not align with a merciful, loving God.

    “But not everyone agrees on what makes societies most happy, so who gets to choose?”

    That is exactly my point. No one chooses for everyone. You can do anything YOU want – as long as you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights. Hints – if you agree to be monogamous then you should fulfill that agreement, thus not infringing on your partner’s rights.

    I have answered your questions. Now please answer mine.

    How can a just God allow people to burn in Hell for all eternity based on a lifetime of sin. Does the punishment fit the crime? Is this justice?

    Reply
  10. sabepashubbo

    An eternal lake of fire doesn’t make sense to me, not because it infringes on my rights – as you tried to answer for me, but rather because it doesn’t seem logical to me for a just God.

    But “just” to you is if it doesn’t infringe on your rights. So if it doesn’t infringe on your rights, how can it not be considered “just” and therefore logical?

    You can do anything YOU want – as long as you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights.

    But you said this: “In some societies sacrifise and cannibalism were deemed “right” – where did these ideas come from? Probably out of necessity and societal norms.” You also said: “So what is right or wrong is less an idea of faith and more an idea of what set of rules can govern a society best and make the citizens most happy, productive, etc.” Societal norms and governance goes against an individual sense of right and wrong that is in the italicized part above. One is individual morality, one is group morality. So which one is right?

    It also doesn’t draw the line. Why does someone have a right not to get raped or cheated in, but we don’t consider it wrong if someone hits a home run or slides hard into second base trying to break up a double play? Wouldn’t personal rights also be infringed on in these instances (right not to suffer emotionally from giving up a home run, right to health by runner not sliding)? It seems like you have to create arbitrary rules for which actions constitute having rights, which immediately pushes a sole moral authority and is inconsistent with your view on right and wrong.

    I have answered your questions. Now please answer mine.
    How can a just God allow people to burn in Hell for all eternity based on a lifetime of sin. Does the punishment fit the crime? Is this justice?

    I have no obligation to answer you, because this is your blog and we are discussing your comments. That said, I will do you a favor and answer this one. Do you really think the crime is a lifetime of sin? Or might it be the rejection of God?

    Reply

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