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I was asked by a friend to write out some reason why I am an agnostic, humanist, skeptic, or whatever you want to call it. I actually can’t believe I had not already done it. I was asked for ten but so many of them run together so I may not make it to that many, but you’ll get an idea. And these are in no particular order.
Reason number one I would have to say would be that there is no proof of the supernatural. It is an inherently untestable hypothesis. Every time someone claims to have evidence of the supernatural, such as ESP, miracle claims, etc, it fails to stand up to even the simplest scientific testing. I will agree that there is a possibility that the supernatural may exist, but if it interacts with reality then there has to be a way of testing its effects. I will concede the supernatural if an event occurs that defies the laws of nature. But it is inherently illogical. Supernatural explanations for phenomenon have historically been used to explain things that do not yet have a rational real explanation. We know now that stories such as the creation myth and Noah’s flood (or Gilgamesh’s flood for that matter) are just that, stories. Simply attempts by the ancients to explain why our world is the way it is, but they have no place in a rational universe.
The bible is also clearly not a historical document, at all. If anything in the Jewish texts actually happened would there not be evidence of it recorded by contemporary civilizations. The Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians kept meticulous records of their civilizations. There is a minute amount of historicity to the bible do to mentions of later kings like Hezekiah, but there is nothing before the Divided Kingdom and nothing at all from the patriarchs, exodus, and judges. If there was a group of millions of people wandering in the Sinai for forty years, they would have left at least some trash. There is also no record of Saul, David, or Solomon. The global flood is clearly a myth because there would be evidence in the strata, and there isn’t. And if the entire planet to the top of Mt. Everest were covered in water, then the atmospheric pressure would have increased so much that Noah and the animals on the ark would have died anyway. The evidence for Jesus is also lacking. The few mentions of him in first century historians like Josephus have been shown to be added in later by the church. If there was a historical Jesus then he was just one of many supposed Messiahs during the Roman period. It just happened that his martyr story was disseminated throughout the empire and survived.
The bible is not a moral compass. Let’s just start with the Jewish part of the bible. The Jewish law that was laid down in the first few books of the Old Testament is simply barbaric. It is completely okay to have slaves, beat those slaves, and to sell your children into slavery. Also many things that aren’t even illegal in civilized society are punishable by death under god’s law. Children who disobeyed their parents in Jewish society could be executed. Now how is that moral or just?
If you asked any typical person in America whether genocide was moral I would hope that the answer would be a strong “No”. Maybe someone should have informed god of that. When his people took over cities he commanded them to kill absolutely everyone in that city (except women, I mean, we need sex slaves) including the children and livestock. He hardened the heart of pharaoh it seems just to prolong the suffering of the Egyptians which just seemed completely unnecessary, and finished it off by killing the first born of every family in Egypt. He had the Israelites on a few occasions kill everyone that worshipped a different god. I’m so glad there aren’t large numbers of Christians that think this is still a command, the same can’t be said for Islam, and thankfully they don’t have quite the resources. Genocide and torture are NEVER moral or called for.
The New Testament is a bit better. But the good teachings in it are simply logical for maintaining a civilized society. The New Testament tends to be very misogynistic. Women are not allowed to speak in the church or teach men. Think of all the lawsuits there would be were this not under the guise of religious tradition now days. And how can we call Jesus one who brought peace when he himself said that he came not to bring peace, but the sword (Matthew 10:34). I just do not see how we can base our morality on the actions of god and the teachings of the bible.
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