I just became an atheist a few seconds ago.

Sep 5, 2018

My parents are missionaries. I just became an atheist a few seconds ago. It was not only because of “The God Delusion”, but also – and maybe mainly – because of my personal experience through the years. It also did not happened suddenly – I matured to this moment for years.
What’s my story?
In the name of God and the Bible I was beaten as a child. It was “only spanks” they say, but those spanks, along with the paternal regime of my father, made me suffer from anxiety disorder and also pushed me to marry a cruel, deeply religious man. This man nearly devastated me and I was forced to divorce him.
And in that moment I realized, how deeply hypocritical my environment and whole society is. I felt like an outcast. My so-called friends gave me endless lectures regarding how Marriage is a holy sacrament and is unbreakable. No one cared that I was abused. Even now I hear sometimes, that I am still married to this man, and by my new marriage I am adulterizing. I hear it although I am finally free, cured from my anxiety and happily married to a wonderful, calm, loving and caring man.

Because of my story and through the years of thinking about my religion over and over I decided to read “The God Delusion”. What I found there left me with no choice, but to name my atheism out loud.
Since I know God is not there, I feel free and happy like never before. And I know what I’m talking about – I was deeply religious for over 30 years. And there was not even one moment during those years when I could have felt so relieved, as I am now. I don’t feel the burden of guiltiness and shame, which followed me as I was Christian (Roman Catholic). I am not fear of death now – because I was never afraid of it, I was afraid of hell.
Thank you Richard Dawkins.

 

-Margaret

32 comments on “I just became an atheist a few seconds ago.

  • @OP – This man nearly devastated me and I was forced to divorce him.
    And in that moment
    I realized, how deeply hypocritical my environment and whole society is.
    I felt like an outcast.
    My so-called friends gave me endless lectures regarding how Marriage is a holy sacrament and is unbreakable.

    Yep! Indoctriated “friends”, put dogmas, doctrines, and slavishly obeying priests, before friendship, loyalty, or human welfare, so as to weaponize social exclusion, on behalf of their religious meme!

  • I have long thought it a fundamental problem with religion that it fossilises morality. It leaves us, in moral terms, forever frozen in time, in the moral, social and political understanding of Bronze-to-Iron Age man (in the case of the Abrahamic religions, at least). Once you accept a declaration as coming from God, then, to a certain kind of mind, it is absolute, unshakeable, not open to any kind of review, or modification, or softening in the light of circumstances. Blind acceptance that X is the command of God renders empathy powerless – sinful, even.

    That very absoluteness attracts a certain kind of person, too. Authoritarian people, who enjoy the sense of power that comes from being able to tell others how they should be living. And fearful people, who need a rigid framework for their lives. Neither of which is healthy, or conducive to true empathy or reason or morality.

    We often hear that Christianity encourages compassion and gives its followers comfort and solace. I can see, actually, how a very mild dose (or a strong dose of one of its more liberal interpretations) might seem to do that: I have known enough kind, decent, genuine, sane Christians to know they exist, though not one of them comes from one of the fierce, fundamentalist Christian sects. I’ve met a lot of those, too, and not one of them has been truly kind, or at peace with themselves. They’ve all been marked by obsessiveness, guilt and fear. Some of the narrowest, most bigoted, least tolerant, most messed-up, most fearful and least happy people I’ve ever met have been fundamentalist Christians. Harsh, judgemental religion diminishes people, diminishes communities. Which isn’t to say that merely removing the religion would be enough to make the problem disappear. The personality types that are drawn to harsh forms of religion would still exist and would doubtless seek other outlets for their urges. But fundamentalist religion, with its unbendable rules, and ‘eternal truths’ and postmortem threats, feeds and supports their neuroses, and gives them an excuse to inflict them on others, with all the misery that involves.

  • Margaret:
    “. . . I am not fear of death now – because I was never afraid of it, I was afraid of hell.”

    Margaret, you put that very well, and I (another former Roman Catholic) know just what you mean. It is curious that, in order to save you from the supposed horror of death, the church had you raised to believe that you were born a sinner worthy only of hellfire and in need of God’s saving grace made available through the church, that death was the result of sin that ruined the happiness of Eden, etc.; but, when those stories are put aside as the myths that they are, you find yourself breathing much more easily and thinking quite freely and naturally, and your curiosity about things takes on new life, and life becomes much more interesting. Yes, we die — c’est la vie! — but until then we live, and, knowing our mortality, we enjoy the precious opportunity that life is for each of us. It is good to know that you have become your own mistress, are free to think your own thoughts and make your own decisions, indeed that your conscience is now truly your own.

  • Becoming atheist isn’t the end of a journey, Margret, though, as you relate, it can be a great casting off of the mind-forged manacles. It is certainly the start of one. Obedience can never be the root of being moral. Being truly moral is a full time day job of deciding by your own wits and experience and exchanging the wit and experiences of others how we can make our society better.

    We personally have no souls of our own to save, no need of self-concerned acts to ensure we keep them from hell. Not only are we freed from such selfishness to actually live our own life, but we are freed to better bequeath a future to all our kids and all theirs.

    For me not only do I not fear death (as you say, precisely because I don’t fear hell) but it even becomes sweet with a little effort for others. My dad when in the last weeks of his life urgently wanted me not to fear it but see how necessary it is for our mutual adventure. All our art, he said, and knowledge all that we’ve learned and made and discovered gift the current living with the best view we have ever had. For this to happen the (hopefully happy) quiet old minds now set in their ways, as his mind was, needs a fresh new pair of eyes to take its place, to edge us ever forward. To learn of the new mistakes and with renewed enthusiasm fix them. For culture and our lives together to grow, we must die.

    All with this understanding at least contribute, not just Shakespeare and Einstein, but every teacher, doctor, every bringer of fine soup, parent or aunt helping children to have an interior life of their own. Mutualism, laying tribalisms aside, particularly helps. Our growing franchise of the suffering, recognising that it its not just we Princes who suffer, but the common man, then the common woman, eventually the child, gay folk, black folk or white. And even now, animals, we recognise can suffer and deserve compassion and more thoughtful treatment. The world isn’t so much getting worse as many think, as we are holding ourselves to ever higher standards.

    This isn’t just the growth of atheism, but the realisation that religious moral dogmas in particular, are those very mind-forged manacles, that thwart natural human kindness.

    Margret, have a wonderful new life, and be sure to come back and tell us all about it.

  • Margret, Marco, Garret, Wow rough start. No absolutes there except the ones others wanted to impose on you. Phil, what qualifies you to say that we have no souls? or is that we just don have them that need saving? This is an interesting concept. Also, if we gather our morality in part from those around us, how can we be sure that some of those around us and maybe even close to us don’t have a twisted sense of morality? Possibly a case in point, some of the bad experiences of the people who posted above. I submit that some truths are self evident by their nature because there is only only one answer available that we know. For instance we need oxygen to survive. No one has to teach us that, all we have to do is stop breathing. Other truths are discovered as we live and learn. I myself consider the Christian protestant bible as an attempt at a head start for us. The doctrine is sound, the people who profess it are often not. I think the real problem is choice, and being allowed to make it. A person having a soul to be saved is one more path each individual has to follow, but it gets harder wham we try to follow a person instead of the doctrine. If there is any force or coercion involved. Then it is not our choice but the whim of the coercer. Margaret, I am sorry for your prolonged ordeal. Don’t stop looking for answers. You will find them

  • Stewart,

    Phil, what qualifies you to say that we have no souls? or is that we just don have them that need saving?

    Phil is very qualified 😉 and I can’t wait to hear his explanation when his side of the pond wakes up but for now, I will ask you to consider why those of us who don’t believe in God(s), angels, heaven, hell, original sin, flying horses, djinn, and every other imaginary thing, would ever believe in a thing such as a soul. If there is one, I’d like to hear about it’s physical properties. Where is it located? Does it have mass? Is it pure energy? For a soul to have any purpose at all, we would have to believe in life after death, which is not part of the atheist narrative.

  • Stewart B #5
    Oct 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Phil, what qualifies you to say that we have no souls? or is that we just don have them that need saving? This is an interesting concept.

    It is an interesting story, but no evidence of a “soul” has been found in human brains or human bodies, and various claims such as “ensoulment at conception” before any brains have developed, can simply be dismissed as antiquated mythology!

    Also, if we gather our morality in part from those around us, how can we be sure that some of those around us and maybe even close to us don’t have a twisted sense of morality?

    We can’t, be that in no way supports any religious claims that those who gather theirs from priests or ancient writings, are any less twisted!
    On the contrary, much of the most twisted and perverse moralistic claims come from the mindless applications of religious doctrines and dogmas, which originated in the dark-ages of ignorance, and have been fossilised and passed on in that mode of thinking ever since!

    Possibly a case in point, some of the bad experiences of the people who posted above.

    I think you will find that victims of burning at the stake, and clerical abuse had rather “bad experiences” in their subjugation to religions!

    Despite their shiny PR images, religions serve the interests of the priests and the promotion of the religion, NOT the best interests of the human population around them.

  • Hi Stewart.

    Its a very good question… what qualifies us to do or say X. Its a question for all of us.

    My dad and my much older brother (different dad) were both infected with an idea that in turn infected me. This idea was to notice that there is a class of knowledge that has a few remarkable properties not possessed by other types. This particular type of knowledge could be used to find other knowledge, it predicted it, knowledge that could be corroborated by others in other places at other times. It could be lost entirely for centuries, then found again by entirely other civilisations, just the same as before. It could be used with the most astonishing finesse and precision achieving identical predictive results for anybody who cared to use it. And it is all connected to each other in a web that is increasingly seamless. It is, in effect, a singularity.

    Corroborated, predictive knowledge is not contingent on the knower as all other knowledge is, though in the last fifty years it has been applied to knowers themselves with astonishing increasingly detailed results.

    So this stuff is the stuff I use exclusively, because of its singularity. When it is wrong, ill-formed, wrong in parts, the mismatch increasingly sticks out like a sore thumb.

    I say all this in preparation for our discussion, so that you know what I will expect as “useful knowledge”.

    There are many concepts of what a soul could possibly be. Clearly details matter in the class of useful knowledge and answering Laurie’s excellent questions will get us off to a flying start.

    Finally, presuming we evolved into our present state, we have to ask ourselves why this particular ape split off from others 4 or 5 million years ago, subsequently trying a variety of less successful different forms, finally became this wildly successful species.

    What is the secret of our success? What possible answer that actually makes all other such questions (e.g. the secret of a mooted Creator’s success) go away ?

  • Stewart

    Would you consider that animals might have ‘souls’? If not – then what distinguishes humans from animals that might lead you to believe that the former might have them? The main thing that distinguishes humans from all other life forms on Earth is their large brain size and capacity for logical thought. It is the latter that leads to the speculation of mythical souls in conjunction with – to some people – the decidely unpalatable notion that humans eventually die while leaving nothing behind except a corpse. My own fallback position is that I would be happy living as long and as healthy a life before returning to the ‘normality’ of non-existence which I ‘experienced’ before I was born.

  • Stewart B #5
    Oct 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    I myself consider the Christian protestant bible as an attempt at a head start for us.

    The 4 canonical gospels of Christian Protestant bible(s) are revamps of the the ancient Roman bible “gospels” which were cherry picked in the 4th. century, by Bishop Athanasius from a wider range of “gospels” from the diverse early Christian sects, – for the political purposes of the Roman emperor and the Roman empire. (Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas etc.)

    The doctrine is sound, the people who profess it are often not.

    Nope! The doctrines are primitive bronze-age thinking which has long been superseded by modern knowledge. Having said that, there are almost as many “interpretations”, translations, mistranslations, and versions, as there are believers.

    I think the real problem is choice, and being allowed to make it.

    Everyone has choices to make! Some people (Humanists) make them by evaluating likely outcomes affecting benefits or harm to living people, others just trigger knee-jerk unthinking dogmas, which have been deeply indoctrinated into them as “core-beliefs”, when they were vulnerable children copying those around them.

    A person having a soul to be saved is one more path each individual has to follow, but it gets harder wh[en]am we try to follow a person instead of the doctrine.

    Promoting and blindly following religious doctrines [written by persons], is a method of manipulating populations with promises of “heaven and hell” to bribe or frighten children into obeying priests who they are trained to follow – Priests, bishops, and popes, (as in Roman times), who are often in cahoots with tyrants, war-lords or fascist dictators. (Look up the RCC and Mussolini, and Franco)
    Promises of these imaginary rewards and punishments, are the ultimate con, as no one comes back to complain of wasting their one and only life, being cheated out of all the money, energy and effort they have put into promoting mythical antiquated doctrines in attempts to achieve these imaginary rewards!

    People fear death, so many buy into the fanciful story that they, as a special case, can escape it into a mythical “afterlife”!

    The reality is, that every living organism which has ever existed, has died, or will die, when its bodily regeneration systems are exhausted, or when it is killed in some conflict.
    Denial is the option of self-delusion, which leaves people vulnerable to exploitation by the religious charlatans in cults and various religions or denominations.

    I accept death as inevitable, but would seek to avoid any of the less desirable and unpleasant ways of dying, so would certainly resist any religious interference in my choices during the process of dying when the time comes.

  • Stewart B #5
    Oct 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm
    The doctrine is sound, the people who profess it are often not.

    No the doctrine is not sound. It’s a disgusting mix of homophobia, mysogyny, rape, torture, murder and eventually genocide. Your book of bronze age filth condones slavery and lets slave owners beat them to death. It requires believers to kill all non believers as well as witches, homosexuals, disobedient children, unfaithful wives, people who don’t observe the sabbath. Your god is sick and sadistic and IMO only someone deeply disturbed could find this a moral code for living.

  • Excellent reply’s!
    Let me work from the last up.
    Mr./Ms. Sandwich,
    You appear to be making assertions based on mostly the Old Testament. Which is a narrative of the struggles of man and his capacity for good and bad, and what happened when their creator revealed himself in several ways, and the consequences of the action and reactions of man. I would say if anyone was “looking for God”, that that might not be the best place to start, although there are some beautiful psalms and expressions of human love and adoration such as the Song of Solomon. The moral code for living as you put it, is greatly simplified in the New Testament, which is the current covenant or contract if you will between God and man. Just as with any contract, it means nothing to you without your signature. The beauty of this is again, your choice. Here is something to ponder about the bible. It was canonized into what is is today by clerical committees. Now whether we believe what the men of those committees have put together is again our choice, but that is not what I find fascinating. What amazes me is that it is not a book, but a collection of 66 books! 39 in the OT and 27 inn the NT. There was a 400 year gap between the testaments, and about 1600 years overall involved in the timeline for all 66 books. There were also 40 authors involved over that time period. How did they collaborate it so well and make it fit together into a chronological record as will as an apparent history? We have electronic tools today that help us pull something off like this now, but they didn’t. So, fascinating it is! Let me continue in the next segment because this is getting long, but I enjoy the conversation, thanks to you all for helping me with my education of…us:) BRB

  • …Continued for Akrid, To continue, you comment:

    Your book of bronze age filth condones slavery and lets slave owners beat them to death. It requires believers to kill all non believers as well as witches, homosexuals, disobedient children, unfaithful wives, people who don’t observe the sabbath. Your god is sick and sadistic and IMO only someone deeply disturbed could find this a moral code for living.

    Would be understandable if it were accurate. A careful look at the OT would reveal that must of the violence involved, also involved judgments. Most of the judgments were against Jews. His “chosen” people. Apparently mankind is just mankind because although the offer from the NT applies to all of us, we were, and are as hard headed as ever and we have a tendency to go with what suites us. Our own desires.
    The Jews tried to put a fence around their people that, as Mr. Rimmer so eloquently spoke of – Moses tried to elaborate on the ten commandments, and so expanded the law to 316 rules. However Christ cut all of that down to two: Love the Lord your God with all of your Heart, soul, and mind. (paraphrased) and love your neighbor as yourself. In short, Love Love and treat anyone you encounter with the same. So, “if” you love your creator with that intensity including and important being your “mind” then you will search out his credo and duplicate the actions between each other. You mind is required in order to understand what He requires of us. Loving your neighbor requires not only compassion, but great empathy, and those have to be used both ways. This is actual a very simple concept. It is mankind who complicates the heck out of it beginning with But! 🙂 That is not reality!, That is a nice dream but!, In a perfect world yes but! an on, and on… It appears from this particular point of view that it it is “We” who complicate things, not the doctrine in it’s most basic form. But we aren’t basic are we?

  • To Alan4discussion, I won’t comment on you answering for Phil, since he already did that himself.But I will attempt to comment on a bit of your comments:
    The 4 canonical gospels of Christian Protestant bible(s) are revamps of the the ancient Roman bible “gospels” which were cherry picked in the 4th. Century, by Bishop Athanasius from a wider range of “gospels” from the diverse early Christian sects, – for the political purposes of the Roman emperor and the Roman Empire. (Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas etc.)
    Books such as the gospel of Judas are probably an interesting discussion in itself since gospel point to “good news” and I cannot see that associated with his story and his end. I think you are probably inclined to look at the tenets of the Catholics. Is this the case? If so, I join you in your confusion and your claims of population manipulation.
    We (man) are masters of using multiple forms of communications and information to “Herd” people towards our point of view or to get them to serve our individual desires and needs. I mean even the Humanists make the same attempt don’t they? Don’t they know a better way? Isn’t that way “your” way? (Your meaning the way of the individual) As long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. Is that correct? Should we not only trust what we can see and touch or at least evaluate with some sort of guideline without blindly following some books that people created to tame the masses? All that being said, it is still a way to live your life is it not? You said everyone has choices to make. I agree with you whole heartedly. But I should be able to share what I find to be truth with you as you do the same with me right? Because we might learn from each other. Again as our intellectual friend, Mr. Rimmer says useful information.
    I hope you don’t feel that I am trying to “trap” you into some dogma that is not right for you. I simply point to a concept based on information and tempered with Love.  Those who twist that out of proportion do not have my best interest, or yours in mind do they?
    You said: “The reality is, that every living organism which has ever existed, has died, or will die, when its bodily regeneration systems are exhausted, or when it is killed in some conflict.
    Denial is the option of self-delusion, which leaves people vulnerable to exploitation by the religious charlatans in cults and various religions or denominations.”
    I agree with your death statement. All living organisms eventually die when regeneration systems give out. (Which you would think would not happen since all of life generated itself over billions of years. The whole thing seems to be in a state of deterioration you would think natural evolution would have greatly improved on that by now…Maybe in the next wave)
    Finally by your last statement about not letting religion interfere with you process. Are you saying that you don’t want anyone scaring you with ovations of what will happen after you physical death? What choices are you referring to? A firing squad when near the end? Self-euthanasia? I don’t see many choices left in that final process. Or are you thinking about some do-gooder trying to give you last rites? I am not Catholic, so I don’t know about that. I made my peace already, but I am not expecting death anytime soon 

  • To Erol, Wow! I don’t know if animals have souls. That, my friend is an interesting concept! That would bring into question if they only operate in survival of the fittest mode, or does there exist empathy in them after all. I know I feel better when my dog comes up to me when I am feeling down and tries to lick my face and cuddle. There “has” to be something there! Doesn’t it feel that way? We may need to ponder that for a while. If that same dog was starving, and I was disabled, might he try to taste me? Or would he just lick and cuddle? I am just going to have a closer look at animal behavior before I give a solid answer you your intriguing question. As far as the larger brain theory, we only have one of the largest not “the” largest. Don’t forget the dolphin or the elephant, or the sperm whale. Why more in sea creatures? I digress, that is another discussion.
    On your logical thought statement. Are you saying that logical thought leads some people to speculation about mythical souls? Or the lack of it? My logic tells me that you and I are more than just pieces of meat with personalities. I think that you go beyond that, otherwise why would you fear, or care, ponder whether non-existence is a normality? Unless this has to do wit reincarnation, how would you be able to know this?

  • Stewart B #14
    Oct 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    You said everyone has choices to make. I agree with you whole heartedly. But I should be able to share what I find to be truth with you as you do the same with me right? Because we might learn from each other.

    As an atheist and a scientist, I am very interested in “truth”, evidence, and reasoning, but I am very critical of those who claim “truth” for claims they have dreamed up or uncritically accepted without evidence.

    Again as our intellectual friend, Mr. Rimmer says useful information.
    I hope you don’t feel that I am trying to “trap” you into some dogma that is not right for you.

    Given that I spent my teenage years at a Church of England grammar school with religious studies on the timetable, I don’t think anyone is going to “trap me with dogma”! I’ve been there and seen that!

    I simply point to a concept based on information and tempered with Love.

    Information is fine once it has been verified or supported by evidence, but I am also well versed in the psychology of assumed beliefs, and self deception, which is frequently involved in beliefs based on “faith”

    (faith – n –
    1. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence).
    )

    The problems with actions based on dogmas and beliefs without evidence, is that they are usually dysfunctional in the real material world. – and frequently promoted by charlatans.

    Those who twist that out of proportion do not have my best interest, or yours in mind do they?

    The twisting comes in many unevidenced religious views about life, – medical treatments, and such like which come into direct conflict with humanists views on practical issues of human welfare. The more moderate Christian denominations have abandoned many ancient biblical doctrines and take a more humanist approach, whereas the fundamentalists and biblical literalists, slavishly try to force ancient misconceptions down the necks of modern scientifically informed people.

    Finally by your last statement about not letting religion interfere with you[r] process. Are you saying that you don’t want anyone scaring you with ovations of what will happen after you physical death?

    I don’t think any such ploys would have any chance or leading me to share their delusions.

    What choices are you referring to? A firing squad when near the end? Self-euthanasia?

    I am a supporter of properly regulated euthanasia with safeguards, and consider it deplorable that the UK parliament has consistently prevaricated and failed to get its act together with functional legislation in place of perverse obstruction.

    I don’t see many choices left in that final process.

    We have some choices such as having “do not resuscitate”, put on medical records, but people should have much more choice about dignified dying when terminally ill. Some states and countries have euthanasia with clear guidelines, as an option.

    Or are you thinking about some do-gooder trying to give you last rites? I am not Catholic, so I don’t know about that. I made my peace already, but I am not expecting death anytime soon

    I would not wish to fall into the hands of some religiously deluded sadistic psychopath, such as “Saint” Mother Teresa!

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-03/uom-mta022813.php

    The sick must suffer like Christ on the cross
    The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta.
    Two-thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers.
    The problem is not a lack of money–the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars–but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens.
    Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.

  • Stewart B #15
    Oct 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Wow! I don’t know if animals have souls.
    That, my friend is an interesting concept!

    That is one of the questions you would need to answer if you wish to make a case for the existence of “souls”!

    Did human ancestors acquire “souls” as single celled organisms? as fish? as amphibians? as reptiles? as early mammals? as apes? as the diverse stone-age species of Homo, some of which are now extinct?
    Many of these ancient ancestors are also the ancestors of other modern species of animal.

    The other main question, is when individuals acquire these mystical “souls”?
    If it is at conception, as the Catholic Church claims, then “heaven” is filled with a sea of the 50 – 70% of spontaneously naturally aborted human eggs, zygotes, blastocysts, embryos and foetuses which never make it to birth, and most of which have not yet developed a brain!

    I have yet to see credible answers to these questions – which is why I describe such beliefs as uncritically accepted “assumptions”.

  • Stewart B #12
    Oct 3, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    There were also 40 authors involved over that time period.

    You do realise, that NONE of the NT Canonical gospels were written by the named authors, nor were they written within decades or centuries of claimed events. Also there are some conflicts with the stories in the gospels of the other early Christian sects, which the Roman bishops rejected 300 years later!

    How did they collaborate it so well and make it fit together into a chronological record as will as an apparent history?

    I think you will find that where there is consistency, this is the result of plagiarism or or retrospective creative editing!

    The bible is definitely not a history book, as is shown by comparing it with verified historical Roman records – which contain almost no record whatever of suppose monumental events, apart from a vague reference to a preacher by the name of Jesus which was possibly added later.
    Josephus specifically says that Pilate crucified Jesus, saying he “condemned him to the cross” (Antiquities, XVIII.3.3), though this is in a passage which was added to by later Christian scribes, so it’s hard to say which parts are original to Josephus and which are not. However, none of the majority of scholars who believe at least some of this passage is authentic to Josephus assess that the reference to Jesus being crucified was added later.

    That’s not to say there were no itinerant “messiahs” crucified by the Romans! There were numerous itinerant preachers, and the Romans crucified numerous acclaimed messiahs and “trouble makers”!

  • Stewart B #14
    Oct 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Books such as the gospel of Judas are probably an interesting discussion in itself since gospel point to “good news” and
    I cannot see that associated with his story and his end.

    My point in referencing the gospel of Judas, is that unlike the the story in rival sects’ gospels, he does not have “a sad end” in the gospel of Judas written by HIS his followers!
    As with many sects today, the early Christian sects were in dispute with each other over what were “true” stories or “correct” views.

    In contrast to the canonical gospels, which paint Judas as a betrayer who delivered Jesus to the authorities for crucifixion in exchange for money, the Gospel of Judas portrays Judas’s actions as done in obedience to instructions given to him by Jesus of Nazareth. It does not claim that the other disciples knew about Jesus’s true teachings. On the contrary, it asserts that they had not learned the true Gospel, which Jesus taught only to Judas Iscariot, the sole follower belonging to the “holy generation” among the disciples.
    The Gospel contains ideas which contradicted those circulating in the early Christian church.

  • Stewart B #13
    Oct 3, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    The Jews tried to put a fence around their people that, as Mr. Rimmer so eloquently spoke of – Moses tried to elaborate on the ten commandments, and so expanded the law to 316 rules. However Christ cut all of that down to two: Love the Lord your God with all of your Heart, soul, and mind. (paraphrased) and love your neighbor as yourself.

    Nonsense. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said he had not come to repeal the old laws but to uphold them. Not a jot or tittle of the Law would be done away with until the end of times. (Matthew 5:17,18). I don’t know if you are deliberately lying or you just haven’t really read the bible you claim to study but you’re going to find that atheists in here tend to know the bible a lot better than the theists who claim to live by it. Your misdirections and cherry picking are not going to work with us.

    Theists do lurv to pontificate that their gawd is perfect, omniscient, omnipotent, infallible. Many claim that the bible is his direct word and therefore perfect and infallible too. I debated all this for 2 years with a batshit crazy YE creationist friend who claimed as much. So how come this perfect being wrote an OT so awful that it achieved almost no traction with followers in 1000 years and had to get a makeover in the preposterous bIble 2.0 also known as the NT? Simples, because no god was ever involved, nor does one exist. This vile rubbish is all the work of men just like every other false religion.

  • Stewart B #15
    Oct 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    To Erol, Wow! I don’t know if animals have souls.

    Well I know and so does Erol. They don’t have souls and nor do people. All of consciousness resides in the brain and when that dies so does everything we are and used to be. It’s a nice little fantasy for five year olds that when we die some part of us carries on and if we were good it goes to The Good Place and frollicks in sunlit meadows with deceased relatives and childhood puppies and if we were bad it goes to The Bad Place and gets tortured for eternity but grownups should be able to put such infantile delusions behind them. Sadly most of the adults on this planet are not rational enough to be able to do that.

  • Stewart B #14
    Oct 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I agree with your death statement.
    All living organisms eventually die when regeneration systems give out. (Which you would think would not happen since all of life generated itself over billions of years.

    It is the survival of copies of genes which survive over the long spans of time, NOT the individual organism.

    The whole thing seems to be in a state of deterioration you would think natural evolution would have greatly improved on that by now…

    That is not how evolution works. Death of the less adapted (to a current environment) and survival of the more successfully competitive, is the mechanism of natural selection which drives evolution.

    Maybe in the next wave)

    Any organism which is fixed in its current genetic form, is destined to become extinct at the next major environmental change.
    It is the natural variation in species from inexact copying of genes, which allows the variations which enable adaptations to take place when there are changes in the pressures and resources encountered by the current range of species within an ecosystem. This is in addition to the on-going “arms-race” between predators and prey species, where the slow or weak of both species die before old age.

    Evolution is about the big picture of the survival of genes within populations, not about the individual. Deaths and extinctions are key features of these processes.
    (eg. . . . . of baby turtles which hatch from eggs in the sand, only one in a thousand survives to maturity.)

  • phil#4

    Becoming atheist isn’t the end of a journey

    indeed
    the default position that is atheism
    is only the beginning
    it has a domino effect on so many other issues
    two in particular
    free will
    and our effect on the biosphere

  • Stuart

    To Erol, Wow! I don’t know if animals have souls. That, my friend is
    an interesting concept!

    The point I was making was that ‘souls’ are a purely mind-derived concept that can only originate from the human brain, and not from an animal one. The ‘soul’ is an entirely mythical construct for which there exists no actual evidence whatsoever. It belongs to other purely imaginary concepts such as the unicorn and fire breathing dragons that were once believed to be ‘real’ creatures centuries ago! But we’re now living in the 21st Century and so it behoves adults such as yourself to finally wake up and realise what is objective reality and what is not.

    When you were a child you doubtless were excited to learn about Santa Claus bringing presents to you at Xmas time. As you grew older you realised that this was just a ‘nice’ story and eventually weaned yourself off it. The belief in a God and the afterlife, angels, hell, as well as of ‘souls’ are nothing more than adult versions of believing in Santa Claus which many ‘adults’ have unfortunately not yet assigned to the scrap heap.

  • Erol

    “The point I was making was that ‘souls’ are a purely mind-derived concept that can only originate from the human brain, and not from an animal one. The ‘soul’ is an entirely mythical construct for which there exists no actual evidence whatsoever. It belongs to other purely imaginary concepts such as the unicorn and fire breathing dragons that were once believed to be ‘real’ creatures centuries ago! But we’re now living in the 21st Century and so it behooves adults such as yourself to finally wake up and realize what is objective reality and what is not.”

    How do you “know” this Are you asserting this as truth, or your theory? What you call “objective reality” is truth is it not? It has to be because reality id truth by definition because it is what “is”. If you want to discuss theory, mine is that the brain was created to “harbor” the soul. It is 1/25th of the mass of the body, yet it consumes about 1/4 of the bodies resources. Humans also fail to fit well into the survival of the fittest concept “in my opinion” There is a news story of 2 parents in a train wreck that drowned while saving their daughter, who had cerebral palsy. This does not sound like survival of the fittest to me, however, there are now increasingly different news stories of parents killing their own children in a variety of ways. In America we have approximately 125,000 abortions a day. World-wide about 50 million per day. Could it be that we have cheapened human life by simply saying that since :there is no evidence” of a potential soul, that they are simply a cluster of cells to be thrown away? Even though at conception there exists a completely different growing creature forming from the DNA of the parents into something unique with traits of the parents yet different. If we find mother Teresa at fault, are there not millions of others at fault to for various reasons? What is it that society has begun to mirror what the bible said it would be 2500 years ago.

    By the way, Christ did say that he did not come to change the law, but he also said the on’es I mentioned were the most important, meaning that if you could adhere to them, that the others would fall into place naturally. When your entire belief is rooted in love it is hard to slam. As discussed in history, there is the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law. In the many doctrines of God, and man, there exists the same.

  • Erol, sorry some of my answer was directed at Mr. sandwich. I am trying to comment on many comments here so it gets a little confusing. please forgive the error.

  • A comment to all, I see mentioned in a few posts, the Catholic Church. I believe in the basic doctrines of Christ, but no all of those canonized by the Catholics. I think there are believers of Christ in the church but I think there is also confusion there. Just because it is one of the most powerful churches in the world does not make it correct. Praying to saints and Mary are clear violations of the ten commandments. We don’t even have to go into depth with that. I just doesn’t work. Talk about you dot and tittle 🙂 Isn’t there an overall problem over there in the UK with the Catholics and protestants? Maybe I should know more about world history over their before I understand what make your worldviews tick…

  • Alan4discussion, Check out the practice of textual criticism. It seems to work for all other aicient documents except for The Christian documents although they are overwhelmingly evidenced in the same way.

  • It [the brain] is 1/25th of the mass of the body, yet it consumes about 1/4 of the bodies resources.

    Hence

    it is the harbour of the soul

    How much energy do souls need?

    Is any of this in that unique class of knowledge that is predictive? Corroborate-able?

    If souls consume that amount of energy, then we’ll easily be able to tell when a new foetal soul shimmers into existence, surely?

    Does this unique class of knowledge hold any inerest for you?

    Sometimes people call this joined up network of knowledge, science, but it is spread far wider than many people think.

  • phil rimmer #29
    Oct 8, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    If souls consume that amount of energy, then we’ll easily be able to tell when a new foetal soul shimmers into existence, surely?

    Indeed so!
    With modern brain scans areas of the brain actively consuming energy are readily identified and the sources of stimulation mapped to the responses!

    https://www.med-technews.com/news/wearable-brain-scanner-could-improve-treatment/

    The device was developed by researchers at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, University of Nottingham and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL.

    The device was developed as part of a five-year Wellcome funded project aiming to revolutionise the world of human brain imaging.

    MEG systems are used to map the brain’s function by measuring magnetic fields. The systems enable a millisecond-by-millisecond picture of which parts of the brain are engaged when we undertake different tasks.

    The new brain scanner uses quantum sensors that can be mounted in a 3D-printed prototype helmet. The sensors are very light and can work at room temperature and are placed directly onto the scalp surface.

    Interestingly, the quantum sensors only operate when the Earth’s magnetic field has been reduced by a factor of around 50,000. To solve this, the researchers developed electromagnetic coils which help reduce the Earth’s field around the scanner.

    Research published in a Nature paper show that the new device was used to measure brain activity whilst people were making natural movements, including nodding, stretching, drinking tea and even playing ping pong. The lightweight and wearable system is also more sensitive than current available systems. The close proximity to the brain increases the amount of signal they pick up.

    Still no souls found! 🙂

  • Stewart B #28
    Oct 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Alan4discussion, Check out the practice of textual criticism. It seems to work for all other aicient documents except for The Christian documents although they are overwhelmingly evidenced in the same way.

    There are no evidenced “Christian documents” from the time stories of Jesus were supposedly happening! They were all written decades or centuries later – often in other languages!

  • Stewart B #25
    Oct 8, 2018 at 1:49 pm
    In America we have approximately 125,000 abortions a day. World-wide about 50 million per day.

    That’s a disgraceful lie. Misrepresenting easily checked data is not a mistake, it’s a lie.

    http://www.worldometers.info/abortions/

    Globally it’s 50 million a year not per day. That’s 125,000 a day. In the USA only it’s about 3,000 a day. A million a year.

    Doesn’t the bible have something to say about lying? If you want to retain any shred of credibility in here don’t post nonsense.

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