The first 25 reasons I'm Not A Christian (in which I make it through the story of Noah)
The following are counter-reasons to arguments people make against each and every one of the main arguments I have below.
1. You’re arrogant. Why do you think you know more than God? You should submit to His leadership, humble yourself, and follow Him.
The fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of Gods to choose from, and you chose one. You think you are so smart, so intelligent, that you chose the right God while the others are not only wrong but (in most cases) destined for hell. I find it impossible to take your attempts to paint me as arrogant to heart if you think that my views are so terribly wrong that I shall burn in hellfire for having them, a view that I do not hold toward you (i.e., I think you are grievously wrong; yet I do not think you should burn in hell for it while I go to a celestial treasure trove with the guy whose judgment sent you there).
2. That’s not the Christianity I believe, therefore you are dishonestly painting a straw man and don’t genuinely believe what you are saying. See, the reason you're not a Christian is because you're dishonest and don't TRULY think about what Christianity IS.
Currently, there are at least 41,000 Christian Denominations worldwide, so I am going to miss a few thousand, probably, in each of these reasons. Each of these denominations have different belief systems, and each of these denominations, it seems reasonable to assume based on past experience, have differences within them. It seems, therefore, completely impossible for each of my disagreements with Christianity to apply to each and every version of Christianity. Because of this, I focus on the main facets of Christianity as I understand them, and only occasionally refer to the unique doctrines of individual denominations. But, somewhere or other, I'm sure I've addressed your particular variety.
A straw man only occurs when you state your position and then someone else inaccurately restates your position. I cannot commit the straw man fallacy until you have made an argument. If a disagreement I have with Christianity does not apply to your particular version of Christianity, it is probably not because I intentionally misstated your particular version of Christianity on that point – maybe your view wasn't the one I was attacking with the disagreement, especially (but not only) if you haven’t expressed that viewpoint to me yet.
3. You just have to have faith. Your reason gets in the way. If you stopped relying on your own understanding and just embraced faith, you would still be a Christian.
If you are going to dismiss reasoning straight out, this is going to be a waste of time. But think about it – you claim to have faith in God’s protection – and yet, I’m willing to bet that you look both ways before you cross the street. Reason is important in your day-to-day affairs – why would your choice of religion be an exception? Besides, the Bible encourages you to have a REASON for the hope you have in Christ. Paul argued with the Stoic philosophers all the time. John tuned his gospel to Greeks. Reason is not a bad thing. And, in addition, you need some semblance of reasoning (as some of the discussion below will show) in order to choose Christianity out of the thousands of options available. The moment you begin using reason to make decisions, you’ve lost the argument against reason.
4. It’s been around longer than you, so it must be true. To not be a Christian is to disrespect a very old and rich tradition -- you should respect it and reconvert to Christianity.
Hinduism has probably been around longer than Judaism. People thought the earth was flat for thousands of years. Long held beliefs are proved wrong all the time – because, oftentimes, they were actually made up by man.
5. Why are you disrespecting your family/friends/etc. by speaking against religion? It seems rather selfish, insensitive, and mean. You should respect them by respecting their beliefs, instead of being a rebel and so proudly distancing yourself from Christianity. It's so sad that your family and friends can't respect you the same way, now that you're so spiteful of Christianity. Maybe you should repent and come back.
It is because I respect them that I do this. I think that a careful look at the evidence may convince them. Disrespecting them, for myself and other atheists, would be acting as if they are too thick-headed to see that Christianity isn't true..
6. OK…but why don’t you look at the other side of the issue? A lot of smart people believe differently than you do – you should find out why. The reason you're not a Christian is simply because you haven't read enough Christian apologetics -- or, you haven't read the right KIND of Christian apologetics. Open your mind...and then you'll probably become a Christian again.
This is an argument from ignorance – it’s saying I don’t have the right to what I think because of some evidence that you yourself don’t know. In addition, this argument can be turned right back around to you.
7. You just believe this because you are sinful, depraved, proud, etc. If you repented from all the hidden sin in your life, and gave up your pride, you would be a Christian and know more fully the goodness of God.
This is an ad hominem argument – it ignores what I’m saying and makes character attacks. I could say, “You just believe that because you’re a woman,” or “You just believe that because you’re black,” or something along those lines, and it would be on the same level as this attack. It adds nothing to the argument and is pointless.
8. Why do you make the arguments you do? Many are too emotional to show that what Christianity isn't true -- it's true regardless of what you feel about it. And others are too focused on logic and reason instead of Spirit-filled...how's your heart? Maybe if you stopped being so emotional/logical, you would still be a Christian.
Let's be consistent and stay focused, OK? Do you believe for logical reasons, or emotional reasons? Because there are plenty of reasons I, personally, have rejected Christianity strongly that apply to both. If a reason doesn't resonate with you -- move to another. But try to keep a consistent epistemology (or method of asserting the validity of a claim) throughout the list.
9. Why are you ignoring my personal experience with God?! It's because you don't understand that God did XYZ in my life that you're not a Christian.
I don’t deny that you have had a deeply personal experience with what you thought was the God of the Bible. All I’m saying is that saying the God of the Bible is responsible for this experience is unreasonable and even disrespectful for millions, billions of people around the world who have had spiritual experiences within several different faiths. Actually, this is, honestly, a bit hypocritical – you’re saying that your spiritual experiences have merit, while theirs, at best, are lies and, at worst, are deceptions from Satan. Part of respecting spiritual, personal experiences is ensuring that they ALL get respected, not just a select few. However, if these experiences are imaginary, I see nothing wrong in exposing them as such.
- Book of Genesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Tradition credits Moses as the author of Genesis, as well as Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy, but modern scholars increasingly see them as a product of the 6th and 5th centuries BC."
1. Genesis -- First of all, who the heck wrote Genesis and why should we trust him/her? Traditionally, Moses wrote it. But there is no record that I know of in the Bible (or anywhere else for that matter) that says this is so outside of one verse in the New Testament. In fact, most scholars today think Moses had nothing to do with the writing of Genesis, and place its writing in the 5th or 6th century B.C. But even though there is NO evidence he did, let’s say he did write this anonymous book. How would he know how the world was made? How could we know that he knew? He wasn’t there (that is, assuming Moses existed).
So reading Genesis is like reading a random old book. Why believe that it’s true? There’s no reason to believe that it comes from a reliable source to begin with – in fact, evidence points towards the opposite. And yet, this is the foundation of everything we are supposed to believe? And those who don’t believe it go (according to most Christians) to hell? Really? What about the zillion other Creation stories? Why did the people who believed in Baal, for example, get slaughtered, while the people who believed in the first few words of this random book were and are, according to the Bible and most Christians, somehow virtuous?
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This alone is enough for me to look at the book of Genesis with considerable skepticism, like something I’ve read off a cereal box or a random book I picked up off the street, or a random tablet in a cave. Already it has a LOT to prove. But let’s move on.
2. The Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth in six days. Now, if you think the six days are literal, ignore this next bit. If you don’t and think they were eons, turn to Exodus 20. It clearly states that you are to work for six days and rest on the seventh in imitation of God, who worked for six days to build creation and rested on the seventh. Now, if each day is a few million years and the days are symbolic, then what is really being said there is that you are to work for a few million years and rest for a few million years. This seems to be obvious nonsense. This is basically why I think that the days referred to there are literal 24-hour days.
The Atheist Experience on Something Coming From Nothing
3. About the “In The Beginning God” bit….Where did God come from? Seriously. If he was always around…then couldn’t matter and energy always have been around?
Apologists often rebut that matter and energy would have to go against scientific laws to always be around. Part of the reason behind this objection seems to be a misunderstanding of what a scientific law is. The laws we ascribe to matter and energy are not laws that cannot be broken – they are descriptions of what we see. Matter and energy don’t HAVE to behave a certain way – we just observe them behaving a certain way, and we use the word “law” as shorthand to referring to that way. With the weirdness of quantum physics and string theory, the laws of matter and energy may not be straightforward, or may alter under certain circumstances. And any quality you ascribe to God using the weirdness of the universe can also be ascribed to Thor, to Odin, to Baal, to Vishnu, to Allah, etc. Or, perhaps most simply, to nature. So wherever God came from, or didn’t come from…nature could have come from, or not come from. In the last ten years, we’ve even discovered that matter can come from what we thought was a vacuum – “nothing” may never be literally “nothing.” “Something” may have always been around, and there is no reason to think it is the God of the Bible – especially since the evidence surrounding Genesis is so flimsy to begin with.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can’t really say God existed “before” time because (in case you haven’t noticed) “before” is a temporal term.
Now, it’s necessary here to counter a couple rebuttals. Christian Apologists tend to say, “Humans are matter bound and therefore have a time bound consciousness. Thus, it is impossible for us to fully conceive of a God that is outside of matter and thus outside of time. But whatever began time must be eternal and thus outside of time. Thus, God’s mind is different than ours, and we can never comprehend it.”
The first problem with this is that it starts out with the premise that we can’t understand God, and then it proceeds to talk about how this lack of understanding God leads to understanding God. This is not a problem because it is bad reasoning (in many ways I actually find it appealing) but because it can be applied to anything. Substitute “God” with literally anything (a unicorn, Thor, Athena, the singularity, etc.) and you have an argument that essentially the same and just as strong. This argument is teleological and proves absolutely nothing to me.
The second is that many Christian apologists are forced to backpedal on this separation of matter and God when it comes to the involvement of God on earth. CS Lewis, for example, states that God sees all time at the same time – a typical “Arminian” position. OK – but he is involved, then, in our matter-bound existence…which means he is not fully “outside” of time, matter, and space. Even Calvinists and Christians in general seem to admit that God has a connection to time, and yet he is outside of time. God indeed works in mysterious ways. This is problematic –however, even if you think that there is a force that exists outside of time and inside of time at the same time (follow all that?), there is no reason to randomly think it is God.
There’s more I could say there, but I’ll leave it there for now.
4. I’ll skip the creation and move straight to the Garden of Eden. Remember, once again, that I see no reason to take the words of Genesis for granted – for me, it’s just a random book. Imagine flipping through it to figure out whether or not it is a fairytale. In the beginning, you see that this man and woman are in a garden with a bunch of animals. God has inexplicably put a tree in the middle of the garden and told them not to touch it or they’ll die. Then this God (who most Christians seem to think is everywhere) apparently goes away and comes back, “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” and sees Adam and Eve dressed up. Apparently they felt guilt concerning their nakedness after eating the tree, and God, as a result, pushed them out of the garden. I’ll just submit that, at face value, if this was my first time hearing the story, I would dismiss it as a fairy tale. I would. It just doesn’t ring true. But more on the Garden of Eden.
5. So, to eat the fruit in the Garden of Eden would be evil, right? And to not eat the fruit would be good, right? So Adam and Eve already had a knowledge of good and evil, right then and there. I mean, good was following God, and evil was not following God. It hasn’t changed much since the fall. Not all of what God has said is evil makes sense to us as human beings – we have to take God’s word for it. So good and evil’s “knowledge” seems God-derived before and after the eating. This is very confusing, because man already knew this. If man had no knowledge of good and evil before eating the fruit, then how would he know that eating the fruit was evil? And if he did have knowledge of good and evil before eating the fruit, then what was the point of the fruit?
6. So the snake talks to Eve, who talks to Adam. Both eat the fruit—but Eve does first. This bugs me because it seems a bit misogynistic (as Paul noticed when he wrote 1 Timothy 2 – if he wrote that; most scholars today think he didn’t but I’m getting way ahead of myself. Anyway, that’s where the Bible says that women are to be silenced in church because Eve at the fruit first). So much of the Bible makes perfect sense if you assume a man wrote it. Man wasn’t directly responsible for eating the fruit – a woman ate it instead, then gave it to Adam. Man can blame woman for leading him astray – and in fact, later in the story, actually does. This happens over and over again in the Bible – woman is the troublesome source of man’s downfall.
Note, again, that I’m already very skeptical about the entire creation story based on previous reasons. This is just icing on the cake.
7. How does God not seem to know that Adam and Eve at the fruit? If he is really all-knowing and everywhere at once, how in the world is it possible to “walk in the garden in the cool of the day” and seemingly stumble upon Adam and Eve wearing clothes – and then have to conduct an inquiry? For me, the statement that he was “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” is enough for me to put down the book. But let’s keep going.
8. Why doesn’t God get punished? I mean, Adam gets accused first, and he blames it on the woman (and God – as He gave him the woman), who blames what she did on the snake, who blames what he did on – nobody. But if you believe in cause and effect…the snake’s existence was God’s fault. Eve’s existence was God’s fault. The random tree that is inexplicably put in the middle of the garden is God’s fault. And yet, God is completely immune from blame. From a strictly logical standpoint, this makes little sense to me.
9. A bit on free will. Who causes free will? I find it interesting that God is necessary because of the laws of cause and effect. However, free will –an effect—has a terminal cause (in us) within most of Christendom. God caused free will but he somehow didn’t cause our free will decisions. This makes absolutely no sense to me. If God made free will, he is responsible for how what he made exhibits itself in the world. If you are going to cut God off the cause-effect progression in regards to the presence of free will, then at least be consistent and cut Him off the cause-effect progression in regards to the universe’s presence, as well.
10. The curse of women is childbearing, and the curse of man is that the ground will produce weeds and thistles. Now, we’ve made a lot of progress on the weeds and thistles bit with pesticides. As for Eve – well, for the most part there is still pain in childbirth. But many animals experience pain in childbirth as well. And then there’s the question – by using pesticide and pain meds, are we going against God’s curse? And, finally, there’s the fact that even after baptism –when Adam and Eve’s sin is supposedly gone – women still experience the pain of childbirth, and the weeds keep growing. If Jesus replaced Adam and Eve as Paul seems to argue he did, then why on earth do people still suffer the effect of Original Sin as if Jesus did not replace Adam and Eve?
11. Cain and Abel. Cain sacrificed vegetables. Amateur. Abel killed a few animals and took the fat from them. What a pro.
This. Is. Stupid. I mean, already I’m reeling from 1-10 and – let me get this straight – God would rather have you kill a live animal and take fat from it than take a vegetable (which, considering the weeds and thistles and all, were presumably harder to grow than animals anyway)? Like…seriously? He’s that bloodthirsty? This doesn’t ring true. God would take living creation, which he made to feel pain, and tell you to slaughter it to please him because, like most toddlers, he turns his nose up at vegetables? Seriously? This reads, honestly, like a fairy tale. I simply shake my head in incredulity at this point. Then, God doesn’t get why Cain is upset. He tells Cain – whose great and grievous crime was giving his vegetables that he toiled for to God – that if Cain did the right thing, he would be accepted. WHAT WAS SO SINFUL ABOUT GIVING GOD VEGETABLES? I mean, why did God reject him on account of that? This is so frickin’ ridiculous. I mean, honestly, for a second, pretend this is the first time you read this. Doesn’t it sound like God has gone a bit mental? I mean, at the very least God could’ve said, “Thank you for the vegetables, Cain. I know you worked hard on them, what with the weeds and thistles and all, but I just don’t like them at all, actually. I prefer beef – could you put that on the menu next time?” But NO. God did not look with favor on Cain’s offering for a reason just as inexplicable as his decision to put a forbidden tree right smack dab in the middle of a garden…and went further by insinuating that sacrificing vegetables to God was somehow sinful. I’m almost as upset as Cain at this point.
(11b – just an interesting observation, not a concrete reason I don’t believe). Cain kills Abel. Now, this is interesting. God says that the ground will produce thorns and thistles for Cain (which, in light of Adam’s curse, sounds just a bit redundant – but, I understand this would be a bit more severe than that curse of the first sin) and that it won’t yield fruit for him. Cain -- the gardener who murdered his brother, remember – says this punishment is to severe. Keep in mind that Deuteronomy God kills people for doing less than murdering their brothers, and that New Testament God, according to the tradition of most of Christendom, consigns people to burn in hell for eternity for murder that is not repented from. Burning in hell for eternity, in my mind, is more severe a punishment than not being able to garden. However, God has mercy on Cain, putting a mark on him so that no one will harm him – thus protecting Cain. Apparently he had a problem with cruel and unusual punishment, which is interesting.
12. Lamech was one of the first people to become polygamous. Outside of a scripture in 1 Timothy there is no statement in the Bible that is remotely against a man having multiple wives -- and even this verse is not a command, but a statement that if someone wants to be a deacon he can only have one wife (indicating that some had more than that, which was OK as long as they weren't deacons). Here, as elsewhere, in the Bible, not a word is said against it.
13. Genesis 6:2 says that “the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.” Well, who are the sons of God? If they were just other men, this wouldn’t be notable…so I’m inclined to think they would be angels. Angels coming down to marry earth-women? Wow. Scientology doesn’t sound that weird anymore. I don’t even know how to process this. I’m just supposed to take a random book’s word for it that this happened? First, why don’t angels come down and marry women today? And how would us mortals have a choice if we’ve got to compete with angels? And to me, angels marrying earth-women seems more like a fairy tale than reality.
14. God becomes grieved that he made man. Why? I mean, if man’s choices are completely disconnected from God’s choices, why would God be grieved at his choice? The only reason God would be grieved at his choice is if his choice had something to do with what God saw as man’s shortcomings. But if God’s choice was connected with man’s shortcomings, then God has guilt on his hands, too. And if God is a sinner…then it is hypocritical of him to limit the sin to us. In judging man, God is judging the outcome of his own actions, which he carries some guilt for.
15. Noah is supposedly a righteous man – even though he gets drunk and naked and curses not only his son but also his son’s descendants after the flood is over because the son showed his father’s nakedness to his brothers (a stunt that, in most circumstances, amounts to a funny story you’d tell on a guy’s night out). Hardly a righteous man to me.
16. Take a step back and look at the story a second. A five hundred year old man decides to build an ark large enough to house SEVEN PAIRS of every clean animal, two of every unclean animal, and seven pairs of every bird. Now, there are currently 1.5 million species on the earth, and many more would have existed in Noah’s day. So that should be an open-shut case.
Of course, people come back and say that you wouldn’t need every species on the ark – that interbreeding could have developed these species, and the kinds would really have been about 16,000. This sounds crazy on its face, and actually speeds up evolution – which creationists don’t believe in anyway (because you have to go above the species level up to the genus level to get that number, and then you have to say that the genus representatives made up the species that we have today). Also, species are usually the ones that can have sex and produce offspring – those in a genus, in most cases, don’t or can’t. But even if you believe it – you’d have to believe that Dinosaurs, many of which are over ten tons, would have fit on the ark. You also have to figure out living quarters and food. I mean, as the complications pile up…it just seems frickin’ impossible. And there’s no reason to believe it anyway. There’s no virtue in believing this.