Self-Proclaimed Atheist Charged After Gunning Down Muslim University Students

HicksCHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A self-described “anti-theist” has been charged with three counts of murder after gunning down three Muslims near the University of North Carolina campus on Tuesday.

Craig Hicks, 46, turned himself into the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office following the execution-style shooting that took the lives of Deah Barakat, 23, and his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, as well as Abu-Salha’s sister Razan. Barakat was studying at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry and his wife was set to attend the school in the fall.

Hicks had regularly shared posts about atheism on his social media page, noting himself to be a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and a fan of the TV show “The Atheist Experience,” as well as Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.”

“Of course I want religion to go away,” his Facebook cover reads. “I don’t deny you your right to believe whatever you’d like, but I have the right to point out it’s ignorant and dangerous for as long as your baseless superstitions keep killing people.”

On Sunday, Hicks shared a photograph about the alleged commonalities between “radical Christians” and “radical Muslims,” and late last month, he shared a quote from the page “Militant Atheism for the Soul.” He had also recently posted a photograph of his “loaded 38 revolver” with “five extra rounds in a speedloader.”

Police outlined on Wednesday that initial findings appeared to indicate that Tuesday’s shooting, which took the lives of Hicks’ Muslim neighbors, occurred over a parking dispute. However, they have not yet ruled out whether religion played a role in the incident and are further investigating the matter.

“Our investigators are exploring what could have motivated Mr. Hicks to commit such a senseless and tragic act,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said in a statement. “We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case.”

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Hicks’ wife spoke during a press conference and asserted that her husband did not target Barakat and his wife and sister-in-law because of his opposition to religion.

“I can say with my absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or victims faith, but in fact was related to the long-standing parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors,” she stated. “We were married for seven years, and that is one thing that I do know about him.”

But the family of the victims contend otherwise.

“This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime,” Mohammad Abu-Salha told the News and Observer in Raleigh. “This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far.”

He said that his daughter had expressed her concerns about Hicks just last week.

“Honest to God, she said, ‘He hates us for what we are and how we look,’” Abu-Salha told the outlet.


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  • Fundisi

    “Of course I want religion to go away,” Craig, we have some atheists here that share that idea with you. That is why they come here, they want to bully people into surrendering their faith, so these atheists won’t have to face God.

    • Gary

      But now Hicks is going to go away.

  • James Grimes

    Atheism and other depraved lifestyles drive people to do horrible things.

    • Paul Hiett

      Christians are massacring others in parts of Africa…all beliefs have radicals that think they are above the law, and perform heinous crimes against others.

      This one man does not, under any circumstance, represent other atheists. We have no dogma or doctrine we adhere to, no standard set of beliefs…atheism is, by simple definition, a lack of belief in deities.

      This moron acted on his own and without support from anyone who calls themselves an atheist.

      • The Lone Ranger

        The same could be said for those who profess to be Christians in parts of Africa . Just because you spend some time at a garage doesn’t make you a mechanic

      • Gary

        Why do you object to what he is accused of doing? Why was it wrong?

      • Fundisi

        Where are Christians “massacring” people in Africa?

        • jmichael39

          He’s referring, likely, to the Christian militias in central Africa who are chasing down Muslims who have been destroying Christian villages and killing and looting Christians for awhile there. In other words, Paul thinks these Christians should defend themselves against attacks against them. I’m sure he learned history the same way Obama did and likely blames Christians for the Crusades too.

          • John Mark IB

            jmichael39

            Amen and well said thank you !!

            he could also be referring to the so called Christians who somewhere over there in Africa they hate the homosexuals and are really tough on them to the point of extremism thus giving Christians a bad name etc., ?

            Uganda ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Act,_2014

            but, I do have a question, and although I do believe we are allowed to self defense don’t you?? isn’t it justifiable to defend against attacks on our family inside our homes etc.,??

            so not sure which part of that you meant or in what manner you meant that phrase?? if someone is attacking a village and threatening to harm the people then do they not have the right biblically to defend themselves or are we taking the give them the cheek to give them our women and daughters too and just let them rape and pillage in the name of islam or whatever other religion if any that’s the agressors?? not sure I agree with that part….can you explain and maybe Biblically make your position a bit clearer? thanks have a blessed day night and weekend, may GOD bless you and yours, with love joy and peace always in Jesus name amen!
            http://faithsaves.net

        • John Mark IB

          ha ha ouch my stomach hurts laughing my head off ha ha better beware thos killer Christians man oh boy those horrible haters the killer Christians 🙂 nice one really!! oops I went wee wee in my pants from laughing so hard at the absurdity of those killer Christians!!! ha ha

      • John Mark IB

        Dear Sir,
        nice post, at least the last sentence anyways, but, and with all due respect, if you’re a sincere person, not here for trouble making to stir the pot,
        I do take it from your comment that you can give us this proof, please do tell us where the Christians are massacring others in parts of Africa and what sources you’re using to obtain this info. really just like to know that’s very interesting to know the Christians are doing this??
        that’s an absurd statement and we all know it!! or else all the other hater atheists would’ve already pounced on this supposed evidence and the Christian hating media as well, so sorry we all know the truth even if we don’t like it or agree with It !! 🙂
        actually, sorry, but it’s the muslims who are slaughtering the Christians and Jews, in Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Darfur, Egypt, Somalia, and most parts of Africa and the world, in an effort to eradicate them from the face of the earth, also the few that are actually alive and still in isis or isil and Iraq territories or muslim nations, are in critical severe danger of being killed off, but maybe you don’t care for them? and maybe that’s why you seem almost happy? to be able to find some kind of supposed evidence of Christians massacring others in parts of Africa ha ha comical 🙂
        kind of like was it rosie o’donnell or someone saying “yeah but what about all those Christian terrorists too”?? right?? yeah ok, please tell me who when and where? let’s talk, I’m sure you’ll come up with some really good ones, that we’ll all know very well from the news, and be well acquainted with, those horrible, murderous, terrible, killer Christians!! ha ha yeah ok better watch out and beware the killer Christians ha ha 🙂
        no offense and not to be mean but, just saying,
        and if you’re an atheist who has come here troll and play with those hated Christians who are the root of evil for the worlds problems, ha ha 🙂 then yes by all means, come on in friend, sit right down and have some tea, well you came to the right place, here’s hope have a blessed day and weekend, hopefully you’re a sincere seeker of truth,??

        oh as for this first site it’s not run by Christians,
        I used to think this site was run by people like me, who were solid Bible believing hated Christians, you know?
        but very interesting to know they are not, according to their own statement see this site for more on those horrible killer Christians
        non Christian site below
        http://thereligionofpeace.com/
        and below which if you’re a hater will deny this site but anyways if you’re antagonistic to the faith then you will rejoice over this site if not maybe you’ll have compassion?? 🙂

        https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/
        https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/
        and may you have a blessed day night and weekend, may GOD bless you with love joy and peace in Jesus name amen!

        only one life, twill soon be past,

        only what’s done for Christ will last!

        here’s hope if you will enjoy it ….

        http://faithsaves.net/

        if you’re an atheist I’ll ask you this What will you do with The Risen Christ? or what will you do with The man Christ Jesus? what will you do with Jesus?

        you can hate Christians all day long no problem but it’s what will you do with Jesus that counts!! be safe be healthy have a great day

        http://faithsaves.net/the-book-of-daniel-prophetic-proof-the-bible-is-the-word-of-god/

        • Paul Hiett

          So Christians aren’t going after Muslims in the Central African Republic? Really?

      • http://about.me/greg.smitherman Greg Smitherman

        I’d like to see evidence of this as well. And I’m a FORMER militant atheist of many years and a former huge fan of The Atheist Experience and Matt Dillahunty. Yes, I said FORMER atheist. Hmmm. Intelligence isn’t all you need to see how the world really works. Try a little wisdom and critical thinking.

      • James Grimes

        “Christians are massacring others in parts of Africa…” Really? Where?

    • ButterButterJam

      Nobody flies airplanes into buildings, or shoots abortion doctors in the head in their own church, or passes laws that limit the rights of others in the name of their lack of belief in God(s).

      • James Grimes

        Prove it.

        • ButterButterJam

          It’s usually pretty difficult to prove a negative.

    • John Mark IB

      too true even the profiles of the psychological or serial killers has them at childhood hurting animals and certain other things, as markers, but it’s inherent in all of us as it is called sin!! but as sinful (and even born again believer’s) humans, we have the knowledge of good and evil, and as such have the capacity to be able to act or not act upon it, kind of like this guy who killed the famous sniper dudes and is trying to get the insanity pleas deal?? I’m not so sure I agree with that, if he knew right from wrong, which all humans do then why should he be allowed to plead insanity?? but the brain is a funny place or Is it the soul the psyche? the place from which our emotions stem from, our very thoughts and intents of the heart? the mind is a strange place to be in certain individuals to be sure and scary as well, so oh well only The LORD knows the heart, as it is deceitfully desperately wicked and who can know it? Jeremiah
      http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Jeremiah-17-9/
      Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
      only one life, twill soon be past,
      only what’s done for Christ will last!
      have a blessed day and weekend, may the LORD bless you with love joy and peace always in Jesus name amen!
      give them hope here’s hope!
      http://faithsaves.net
      http://www.pillarandground.org/home/?page_id=36
      http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com
      http://discoverthebible.org

    • Michael Eade

      So people have never killed in the name of god then? The KKK does not exist, the crusades never happened, and the inquisition never happened?

      This is one man who did a terrible thing, as an atheist even i will admit the guy did something wrong, more christians have killed over religion than atheists have.

      • Gary

        If there is no God, then there are no such things as right, wrong, good, or evil. Atheists have no basis for making moral judgments.

        • Paul Hiett

          If you think morality comes from the Bible, I’ve got bad news for you…

          • James Grimes

            The bad news is… you just don’t know.

          • Paul Hiett

            Yes, I do, you just don’t like to hear the truth.

          • James Grimes

            Don’t be so impressed with yourself. You are an atheist spewing nonsense on a Christian forum and you are fighting a losing battle.

          • Paul Hiett

            And why would you think it’s nonsense to point out the fallacies associated with believing that morality only comes from the Bile?

          • James Grimes

            “morality only comes from the Bile?” That’s the problem with atheists who stalk this site – they all want to spew hatred and bile for Christian belief. Leave it alone.

          • Paul Hiett

            It’s a typo, James. Grow up.

      • James Grimes

        “more christians have killed over religion than atheists have…” Not true. You will have to prove this statement (if you can).

      • Blessed Woman333

        This what you choose to defend and try to turn around like it is O.K. since people were killed in the name of Christianity at some point in history? Find a better argument and person to defend than this one at least!

        • Michael Eade

          Far from it, i am not defending the actions of Islamic State far from it, their acts are horrendous and they should be punished for it, but at the end of the day right wing Christians seem to think that christianity has never been used to cause pain.

  • Aaron Mason

    This was CLEARLY a poor attempt at a false flag event. This “christian tea party patriot” concocted an atheist facebook page and then murdered three people for being Muslim……

    • Fundisi

      So it is all those evil Christians, all those Tea Party folk, they really should all be in jail, right?

      • John Mark IB

        remember to beware those killer Christians ha ha danger Will Robbins those dangerous killer Christians are coming!! they’re coming to take me away, they’re coming to take me away, hee hee, ha ha, ho ho, to the funny farm where life is beautiful everyday !!! they’re coming to take me away!!, ha ha! those horrible murderous killer Christians!! yeah right !! 🙂 hilarious don’t give them any ammunition they’ll take it all they can and use it against us give them hope here hope!! have a blessed day and weekend!! may GOD bless you and yours, with love joy and peace in Jesus name amen!!

        hey isn’t it really amazing how they hate and hate and hate? but really are just miserable and angry with themselves at their rejection of The LORD Jesus Christ!

        only one life, twill soon be past,

        only what’s done for Christ will last!

        to the sincere atheist seekers who are here and won’t admit it see here for hope and join the side that’s already got the victory!! get your ticket now to Heaven front row seats!! one way trip!! iron clad gurantee!! ha ha !! here’s your hope!!
        http://faithsaves.net/

        http://www.pillarandground.org/home/?page_id=36

        http://faithsaves.net/the-book-of-daniel-prophetic-proof-the-bible-is-the-word-of-god/

    • bowie1

      Do you have evidence of that or are you concocting a false accusation? Lieing is wrong you know!

    • Paul Hiett

      As an atheist, I cannot share your optimism on this. This was nothing
      more than a single fool going to an extreme based upon his religious
      belief (or lack thereof as the case may be). He is, quite simply put, an embarrassment to humanity.

      • Gary

        Can you prove that the man did anything immoral?

        • ButterButterJam

          Is this your way of implying that morality is handcuffed to religion?

          • Gary

            I’m saying that God alone defines morality as He is the only one with the authority to define it.

          • John Mark IB

            it goes to truth, and morality, is there an absolute truth? then if so, then there is, or are absolute morals, and values, not moral relativism, and even the red light, and stop signs are or is a form of state or legislated morality, so whenever they say hey you can’t legislate morality! they already do and are, but it’s simple, absolute truth exists absolutely!! Jesus Himself said He is The Truth, so yes GOD as written His simple laws of right and wrong, conscience, upon the hearts of every man woman and person period, so the atheists is indeed without excuse, and knows as all humans (which differentiates us from animals) do right from wrong it’s not and evolved trait,
            here’s hope for the atheists absolute truth exists and He has a name Jesus Is the Truth!! The Way! The Life!!
            only one life, twill soon be past,
            only what’s done for Christ will last!
            have a blessed day and weekend!
            May The LORD bless you and yours with love joy and peace always in Jesus name amen!
            here’s hope give them hope!
            http://faithsaves.net
            http://www.pillarandground.org/home/?page_id=36
            http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com
            http://discoverthebible.org

          • ButterButterJam

            In your opinion, which you cannot prove.

          • Gary

            Can you tell me why you have the authority to decide whether some behavior is good or evil?

          • ButterButterJam

            That question assumes that authority is required in the first place, which implies that there is someone or something that is in position to grant it, and that that someone or something is not me.

          • Gary

            If you don’t have the authority to define good and evil, then anything you have to say on that subject is nothing more than your opinion. And everyone has opinions. So what?

          • ButterButterJam

            Again, who says that authority is required in the first place?

          • Gary

            Let me put it another way. How do you know what is good and what is evil? Do you just make it up, or do you learn it? And if you learn it, who do you learn it from?

          • ButterButterJam

            Both, I suppose. I was taught morality by my parents, or at least their version of it. When I became older I began reflecting on it myself. I suppose you could call that “just making it up”, although it’s not exactly on a whim as the phrase implies.

          • Gary

            If we all can just make up morality as we go, then everyone can have their own version. That means morality is nothing more than opinions, which means, morality really does not exist. In order for morality to be real, it has to be universal, and has to apply to everyone. And there has to be a penalty for being immoral. That means it has to be defined by God and enforced by God.

          • ButterButterJam

            “If we all can just make up morality as we go, then everyone can have their own version. ”

            Everyone already does, even if we’re talking about people who belong to the same religion. They may all have the same gross foundation, but there are many fine differences. For example, a Christian in a more conservative part of the country may think it’s wrong for this daughter to wear short skirts, while a Christian in a more progressive part has no problem with it. Most Christians in this country (I would guess) have no problem with women speaking in church, despite Paul’s admonition that they not.

            “That means morality is nothing more than opinions, which means, morality really does not exist.”

            Bingo! Another way to say this is that morality is subjective. Welcome to one of the oldest philosophical positions in our history.

            “In order for morality to be real, it has to be universal, and has to apply to everyone.”

            There’s no evidence that this is the case, which means, using your definition, it does not exist.

            “That means it has to be defined by God and enforced by God.”

            Not necessarily. This would only be true if morality is indeed universal, and if it could have only come from a God(s) (as opposed to, say, the universe, or some other force).

    • bowie1

      The secular press also confirms what is written in this article so he is no “Christian tea party patriot”.

    • http://about.me/greg.smitherman Greg Smitherman

      Fool.

  • bowie1

    If he is against violence why did he commit violence himself? Is he also a hypocrite?

  • Sharon Hope Betron Delabar

    In honesty, I can say as a Christian who will not lie, even to myself, that the common factor in the religious aspect is both religions have been used by Satan as an excuse to shed bloodshed. I don’t believe the foundation of most religious sects were meant to be used for evil but in any case, any individual that is lacking a relationship with Christ and abides by the Gospel, will lack the complete faith and discernment needed to not be misled by evil, which often disguises as good intention. Even as true Christians we must not be fooled into thinking all Muslims are evil just as not all Christians live according to the Gospel. I believe Satan’s army uses people, because they are not in the natural but of the invisible, to carry out crimes against humanity to turn those who can’t SEE ABOVE the NOISY DISTRACTIONS to hateful judgment against one another, causing division, to conquer and destroy as many as possible.

  • The Lone Ranger

    This man is obviously unbalanced could be it was just the parking space . I know that can be frustrating given the set of circumstances who knows?

  • WorldGoneCrazy

    Hicks wrote: “I don’t deny you your right to believe whatever you’d like, but I have the right to point out it’s ignorant and dangerous for as long as your baseless superstitions keep killing people.” I guess his superstitious a-theism kept killing people over a parking space, 3 people in fact. Actually, under a-theism, what this man did is not wrong – it’s merely survival of the fittest. And, the “pope” and “cardinals” of a-theism agree with me here: https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/an-atheist-explains-the-real-consequences-of-adopting-an-atheistic-worldview/

    As Dawkins said “some people are gonna get hurt.” In this case, it was the people who parked their cars where this guy didn’t want them. I might add that the guy was also a big gay “marriage” and abortion supporter who “liked” the extremist SPLC: https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/pro-gay-marriage-atheist-progressive-craig-hicks-charged-with-murder-of-three-muslims/

    Very sad indeed.

    • ButterButterJam

      “Actually, under a-theism, what this man did is not wrong – it’s merely survival of the fittest.”

      You’re correct that it’s not wrong. It’s not right though, either. Nor is it “survival of the fittest”. It’s not anything, because atheism is simply the absence of a belief in a god or gods. It says nothing about wrong or right or anything else. It has no universal guidelines or laws, anymore than the absence of a belief in Allah, Zeus, Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy has universal guidelines or laws, or says anything about right or wrong. That’s not to say, however, that atheists don’t have morals. Given their extremely low representation in our prison population I think it’s clear that they do, generally speaking. They just don’t require that they come from an old book, or that the fear of eternal damnation hang over their head in order to follow them.

      “As Dawkins said “some people are gonna get hurt.”

      This quote had nothing to do with morality, so good job taking it completely out of context.

      • Gary

        Why do atheists have “morals”? And how do you know they have them?

      • WorldGoneCrazy

        “It’s not anything, because atheism is simply the absence of a belief in a god or gods. ” False, Sir, with all due respect. In the philosophical world, a-theism is the statement that “there is no God.” “Absence of belief” is merely a claim about your psychological state: under your definition for a-theism, a-theism could be true even when God exists! In other words, you could “lack belief in God” even when God exists. Not a very good definition, unless you are conceding that God exists! Therefore, you do indeed share a burden of proof in this argument. Here is an excellent primer for you on the subject – I hope you enjoy it: https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/is-the-definition-of-atheism-a-lack-of-belief-in-god-3/

        “That’s not to say, however, that atheists don’t have morals.” Again, with all due respect, you are confusing moral epistemology with moral ontology here. In other words, you are correct that a-theists can behave morally (Romans 2:15 proves this), but you do not realize that a-theists cannot ground objective moral values and duties without God. That is what Dawkins, Provine, and Ruse are conceding in the link I provided for you above. Don’t blame me for what they say – take it up with them. They are your “pope” and ‘cardinals,” not mine. I just happen to agree with them on this particular point. Morals do NOT evolve from molecules through monkeys – magically. That is what they are saying.

        “This quote had nothing to do with morality, so good job taking it completely out of context.” Please read the quotes linked above in their context: they have everything to do with the inability of a-theists to ground objective moral values and duties. (Moral ontology) That is your side admitting this – mine already knows it. In order to assert that something is objectively immoral, a-theists have to steal from God. If you are going to steal from God, at least have the courtesy to thank Him! 🙂

        God bless you, ButterButterJam! (Kewl name, BTW – where did it come from? Is that a Marine thing?)

        • ButterButterJam

          “False, Sir, with all due respect. ”

          While you’re correct, and while I also probably should have chosen more precise language for my off-the-cuff definition, I also think you’re arguing semantics a bit here. Neither definition changes the point that I was making, which was that you’re comment that “Actually, under a-theism, what this man did was not wrong” cannot be correct, since atheism has no uniform position on right or wrong in the first place, and actually says nothing about the subject. Atheists are uniform only in their position on the existence of God(s).

          “Again, with all due respect, you are confusing moral epistemology with moral ontology here. In other words, you are correct that a-theists can behave morally (Romans 2:15 proves this), but you do not realize that a-theists cannot ground objective moral values and duties without God.”

          With all do respect in return, no, I’m not. The gist of your comment is a fairly common one among theists, but is highly problematic because it makes several unsupported assumptions. The first is that objective morality exists in the first place. The second is that this morality must come from God. The third is that it not only comes from a God, but from *your* God. You seem comfortable with philosophy, so I’ll assume for the sake of brevity that you’re familiar with the objective/subjective morality debate in the field, that’s it’s a very old debate, and that it’s far from settled.

          “That is what Dawkins, Provine, and Ruse are conceding in the link I provided for you above. Don’t blame me for what they say – take it up with them. They are your “pope” and ‘cardinals,” not mine. I just happen to agree with them on this particular point. Morals do NOT evolve from molecules through monkeys – magically. That is what they are saying.”

          I say with respect, you seem a bit confused about what atheism is. As I stated before, atheists are united only in their position on the existence of God(s). We’re a very diverse group, we don’t all hold weekly meetings or elect spokespersons, and if we did I highly doubt it would be Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is an outspoken atheist who, in my opinion, makes *some* good arguments, but I would argue that he shows up more on theists’ radar than he does ours. I think he is to atheism and philosophy what Bill Nye (who, I believe, is a mechanical engineer by trade) is to science. He’s good at “getting the word out”, so to speak, but he’s probably more important to those who are unfamiliar with the topic than he is to those who are. I certainly wouldn’t call him the resident expert, and in any case there are good arguments against some of those that he makes. I would also still disagree that we was referencing morality, per se, in that quote you provided. Lastly, I think it’s interesting when some theists compare atheism to religion (as you sort of implied with your Pope comment). I often wonder what that says about religion itself when theists compare atheism to it, given their low opinion of atheism in the first place.

          “That is your side admitting this – mine already knows it. In order to assert that something is objectively immoral, a-theists have to steal from God. If you are going to steal from God, at least have the courtesy to thank Him! :-)”

          Again, there really isn’t a “side” here, aside from the position on the existence of God. There certainty isn’t an atheistic consensus on morality.

          “Kewl name, BTW – where did it come from? Is that a Marine thing?)”

          Yep yep. It’s a holdover my days as a USMC machine gunner.

          Cheers.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Atheists are uniform only in their position on the existence of God(s).”

            Well, then please do provide evidence for the No God Hypothesis, since you now admit that you share a burden of proof.

            Nice job ditching Dawkins, Provine, and Ruse. You should debate them. 🙂 I would still love to know how they are wrong, as would the increasing number of a-theists, who are coming to realize that one cannot ground objective moral values and duties under such a worldview.

            “I often wonder what that says about religion itself when theists compare atheism to it, given their low opinion of atheism in the first place.”

            It says that we are not at all fond of false blind-faith religions, like a-theism, Islam (you might have heard about that one recently), etc. We are for evidence-based worldviews, not ones that believe in the 3 mega-miracles:

            1. That the universe miraculously popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything.
            2. That life magically sprang forth from non-life when lightning hit some mud.
            3. That minds and morals evolved from molecules through monkeys.

            “It’s a holdover my days as a USMC machine gunner.”

            God bless you for serving, ButterButterJam!

          • ButterButterJam

            “…since you now admit that you share a burden of proof.”

            This is the old theist game of trying to toss the burden of proof back to atheists like a game of hot potato. I really don’t see why atheists should share the burden of proof, and here’s why: It’s true that in philosophy the person making the claim must then support that claim. So, in a vacuum, the atheist that says “There is no God” is responsible for providing evidence. The problem is, we don’t live in a vacuum. In the real world everyone is born without any knowledge of God. That usually requires years of indoctrination at a church, mosque, temple, etc. The entire position of atheism would not exist if it weren’t for theists’ claims to the contrary. So why should they then foot the bill? Say that I were to tell you that I worshiped invisible fire-breathing dragons, which fly around the world undetectable to any method known to man, and are responsible for starting all the world’s fires. I think it would be very reasonable for you to say, “But there is no such thing as invisible, undetectable fire-breathing dragons”. Should you then be responsible for proving otherwise? I think that answering yes would be neither reasonable nor practical. The other issue that theists don’t seem to consider when they try and shift the burden of proof back to atheists is that, even if we were to accept the extreme position that atheists were responsible for the ENTIRE burden of proof, theists are still on the hook. As a follower of a monotheistic religion, you’re a kind of conditional atheists. You say that “There is no God EXCEPT for my God”, meaning that you’d still be responsible for either proving that all of the other possible Gods don’t exist, or that your God is real and thus ruling out the other Gods in the process–in other words, putting us right back where we started.

            ” Nice job ditching Dawkins, Provine, and Ruse.”

            I never really “had” them to begin with.

            “…as would the increasing number of a-theists, who are coming to realize that one cannot ground objective moral values and duties under such a worldview.”

            Which atheists are those? If objective morality can exist in the first place, I see no reason why atheists cannot have them, nor any reason that they’d have to come from a God.

            “It says that we are not at all fond of false blind-faith religions, like a-theism, Islam (you might have heard about that one recently), etc. We are for evidence-based worldviews…”

            Three issues with this comment. The first, and most obvious, is that atheism is not a religion. If you insist on using so broad a definition for religion that atheism would be included, it would also include so many other things that I think religion would become almost meaningless. The second is that Islam, being a fellow Abrahamic religion, actually has a surprising number of things in common with Christianity, at least considering how much some on both sides hate the other. So, I don’t think you want to be so quick to toss it into the “blind-faith religion category”, given that it would surely drag your religion down with it. And lastly, Christianity’s foundation is the Bible. There are plenty of good articles online regarding the historical accuracy of that book, which I’ll leave to you to investigate on your own (no offense, but I think it would probably be a waste of time for me to do so), but suffice it to say it’s not very good. There is a lot that can’t be verified at all by third party documentation. It contradicts itself in places. Worse yet, some of it is directly contradicted by existing evidence. The first 9 or 10 chapters of Genesis are a prime example of this. In fact, I think the story of Noah’s Ark alone is enough to blow your “evidenced-based” claim clean out of the water, as that’s probably the most ridiculous story in the entire book. Again, you can find plenty of reasons online (and there are a LOT) for why this story could never have happened, which I’ll leave to you to do. If your religion (or any religion, to be fair) was “evidence-based”, faith would be almost irrelevant, as opposed to playing the huge part that it does. I hope you don’t think I’m picking on Christianity, as that’s not my intention. A lot of what I’ve said can be applicable to all the major religions. I only got specific since you are a Christian, and since talking about others wouldn’t be very relevant.

            “1. That the universe miraculously popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything.
            2. That life magically sprang forth from non-life when lightning hit some mud.
            3. That minds and morals evolved from molecules through monkeys.”

            That does sound a little silly, but of course it’s not a very accurate representation of the various scientific theories.

            Cheers, and thanks for the service comment.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            ” In the real world everyone is born without any knowledge of God. That usually requires years of indoctrination at a church, mosque, temple, etc.”

            False – and demonstrably so. For just one example refuting this: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714103828.htm

            Even if such an assertion were true, you would be committing the well-know genetic fallacy, thus refuting your entire train of thought. Please embrace your a-theism fully and shed this faux New A-theism. Former Old A-theists like myself, would never have stooped so low as to claim we had no burden of proof. We were too busy getting things accomplished to engage in a whine-fest such as “I lack belief, I lack belief!”

            Besides, this view is nothing more than a statement of your psychological condition, since you could “lack belief” in God even if God exists! What kind of a-theism is this?!? “I lack belief in the manned lunar landings?” That says nothing whatsoever about whether or not they occurred.

            Speaking of which, I have 4 degrees in engineering and 35 years of spacecraft design (still operational TYVM) under my belt. If someone were to walk into one of my Critical Design Reviews and state “I lack belief in your design,” we would grab his badge, kick him out the door, and see that he never worked in a technical field again. As we say in engineering: “Put up or shut up.” I don’t allow whiny adolescents into my CDR’s. (NOT accusing you of being either whiny or adolescent. :-))

            I am glad that you recognize the validity of the Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s definition of a-theism, though. It shows that you realize that the “lack of belief” position is really disingenuous. That is much better than another a-theist I met who was the first one I have ever met to double down on this new form of kindergarten a-theism, which is really low brow IMO.

            “Which atheists are those? If objective morality can exist in the first place, I see no reason why atheists cannot have them, nor any reason that they’d have to come from a God.”

            You make an excellent point when you say “If objective morality can exist in the first place!” But, how could it exist under naturalistic a-theism? It is non-material and objective, not material and the product of billions of years of evolution. So you cannot ground objective moral values and duties without God’s existence in the first place. To be objective is to be transcendent – they are true even if no one believes they are true, much as the earth was round even when everyone believed it was flat. You might wish to carefully re-read what they are saying, but the bottom line is this: there are no objective moral laws unless there is an objective moral law Giver.

            “If your religion (or any religion, to be fair) was “evidence-based”, faith would be almost irrelevant, as opposed to playing the huge part that it does.”

            It always surprises me that a-theists do not understand what the Christian view is of faith. Faith is trust in what one has evidence to believe. For example, when our daughter was about to undergo major surgery, we compared the best doctors all across the country, and finally selected who we believed (based on evidential research, not throwing darts) was the best doctor. When the day of the surgery came, we signed off on the forms to authorize it. THAT was the point of faith (trust). It is trust based on good reasons to trust.

            It is different, IMO, with what the a-theist is dealing with: he really IS following blind faith into these 3 mega-miraculous events:

            1. That the universe miraculously popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything.
            2. That life magically sprang forth from non-life when lightning hit some mud.
            3. That minds and morals evolved from molecules through monkeys.

            Statement 1 is most certainly what a-theists are asserting right now, given that Big Bang and the BGV Theorem have really pointed to the universe having a beginning. Statement 2 is what a-theists assert regarding the origin of life, when they are not appealing to aliens and panspermia. And statement 3 is what a-theists believe regarding Darwinism, except when they are not mind-body dualists, that is when they believe that the mind is identical to the brain.

            Now, to be fair, there ARE some Christians who engage in blind faith, just as there are some a-theists, who are positive evidentialists and grapple with trying to shore up the No God Hypothesis. Here is an article, from a Christian site, that takes aim at blind faith, whether practiced by a-theists or Christians, if you desire more info on this: https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/is-the-bibles-definition-of-faith-opposed-to-logic-and-evidence-7/

            Sorry it took me so long to respond. I meant this politely, so if I have been too harsh, I beg your forgiveness in advance. God bless you, ButterButterJam!

          • ButterButterJam

            “False – and demonstrably so. For just one example refuting
            this…”

            I almost mentioned this in my last comment as I had a feeling
            you might bring it up. I’m glad you did though. For one, this study doesn’t
            refute my claim. It had nothing to do with the knowledge of newborn infants. Secondly,
            I have a hard time seeing how these types of studies could ever be
            scientifically sound, since it’s probably impossible to have a group with no
            knowledge of God via family or other cultural influences. Third, the experiments
            are questionable (read up on the one regarding a biscuit tin full of pebbles), and
            I can’t see how asking a child what God would know is proving that they already
            knew about God to begin with. Fourth, child psychology is pretty well-charted
            territory. Young kids don’t have the logic that adults (should) have, and are
            inclined to believe things like that their imaginary friend is real. What does
            that say about religion? Fifth, even if kids were ALL programed to believe in
            God, that poses problems for the concept of free will. It also raises the
            question of why, if kids are programmed this way because there IS actually a
            God, is the religion that a person ends up so heavily dependent on location of
            birth and parents? If there was one true God influencing all kids in the world
            somehow, you’d expect one major world religion and fairly even distribution everywhere.
            Clearly, that’s not the case.

            “Even if such an assertion were true, you would be committing
            the well-know genetic fallacy..”

            Sorry, but you’re misapplying this fallacy here.

            “Please embrace your a-theism fully and shed this faux New
            A-theism. Former Old A-theists like myself, would never have stooped so low as
            to claim we had no burden of proof. We were too busy getting things
            accomplished to engage in a whine-fest such as “I lack belief, I lack
            belief!”’

            I’m sorry, but this sounds a combination of “back in my day…”
            and “I wouldn’t do this, so this therefore sucks”. I’m not even really sure what
            your position is here.

            “Besides, this view is nothing more than a statement of your
            psychological condition, since you could “lack belief” in God even if
            God exists!”

            I thought we went over this already?

            “Speaking of which, I
            have 4 degrees in engineering and 35 years of spacecraft design (still
            operational TYVM) under my belt. “

            Good for you, and I mean
            that seriously. That’s a respectable profession.

            “If someone were to walk into one of my Critical Design Reviews and state “I
            lack belief in your design…”

            This is a bad analogy. I’m sure your design proposal has
            things like blueprints, schematics, data, etc., none of which the proposal for
            God—and in particular the proposal for the existence of a SPECIFIC God—has.
            And, generally speaking, the theists are walking into the atheists review as
            opposed to the other way around. A better analogy would be this: you walk into
            a design review, and propose that Homer’s “The Iliad” be taken as a literal
            account of history, and that you want everyone to worship Apollo, and when
            asked for evidence you provide a copy of The Iliad.

            “You might wish to carefully re-read what they are saying,
            but the bottom line is this: there are no objective moral laws unless there is
            an objective moral law Giver.”

            That’s one (but not the only) position.

            “It always surprises me that a-theists do not understand what
            the Christian view is of faith. Faith is trust in what one has evidence to believe. “

            I was a Christian for25-ish years, so I’d like to believe that I have fairly solid foundation of knowledge
            there. Using your definition, you would have to have trust in a great many
            things that have the same level of evidence (or lack thereof, or counter
            evidence) that Christianity does. There’s no evidence that light was created
            before stars, or that it all took a matter of days or a couple thousand years,
            or that there was a global flood, or that God impregnated a virgin.

            “For example, when our daughter was about to undergo major surgery…”

            Again, not a good analogy. A better one would be trying to
            find out who the best surgeon was thousands of years ago, using written
            accounts whose authors are largely unknown, which have een translated and
            edited countless times, and which were written decades to hundreds of years
            after the surgeon lived and died.

            “1. That the universe miraculously popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything.”

            I’m disappointed that someone of your education knows this
            little about the Big Bang Theory. Because it’s either that, or you’re
            purposefully making a caricature of it. The BBT doesn’t say anything about
            miracles. That’s the purview of religion. It also doesn’t say that it popped
            into existence out of nothing, uncaused by anything. It doesn’t say anything at
            all about cause, actually, which is why I don’t know why religion doesn’t just
            say “God did it” instead of futilely fighting the entire premise. The universe
            is expanding, the background radiation that the BBT predicted exists, and
            numerous other pieces of data support this theory, making it far from “blind
            faith”.

            “. That life magically sprang forth from non-life when
            lightning hit some mud.”

            Again, disappointed. I’m not an abiogenesis expert, but I’m
            fairly certain that lighting and mud is not involved in the hypothesis
            anywhere. And, again, there is data from experiments to support this possibility.

            “3. That minds and morals evolved from molecules through
            monkeys.’

            This one isn’t too badly misconstrued (although extremely abridged),
            and, once again, the evidence in support of evolution makes it anything but
            blind faith. Evolution is as much a fact as gravity, my friend. This is another
            thing that I think religion should just try and co-op, because arguing against
            it is akin to fighting the theory that the earth is not the center of the
            universe.

            “Sorry it took me so long to respond.”

            Ditto, and no worries. We’re both busy, I’m sure. Cheers.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “I almost mentioned this in my last comment as I had a feeling you might bring it up. I’m glad you did though. For one, this study doesn’t refute my claim. It had nothing to do with the knowledge of newborn infants.”

            It most certainly DOES refute your claim: it shows that people in general have a pre-disposition toward believing in God. If true, that means we aren’t being brainwashed out of it. It’s the other way around: a lot of brainwashing in government schools combined with the overwhelming desire to sin and not be accountable to the objective moral values and duties of an objective moral Law Giver makes one an a-theist. Pure psychology, just like the “I lack belief” psychological state.

            Here’s one for babies and youth: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/3512686/Children-are-born-believers-in-God-academic-claims.html

            ButterButterJam, you don’t get to just assert your say-so a-theism and expect us to believe it, you know. Just playing with you, don’t gun me down. 🙂

            “Secondly,I have a hard time seeing how these types of studies could ever be scientifically sound, since it’s probably impossible to have a group with no knowledge of God via family or other cultural influences. Third, the experiments
            are questionable (read up on the one regarding a biscuit tin full of pebbles), and I can’t see how asking a child what God would know is proving that they already knew about God to begin with.”

            Now, ButterButterJam – all those words just to tell me that you don’t like science when it conflicts with your presuppositional assumptions? Really, you could have saved some space here – I thought it was we Christians who were supposedly anti-science. 🙂

            “I thought we went over this already?” Yes, and you are NOT getting it, Sir, with all due respect. Please explain to me how “I lack belief in God” is even remotely an intellectual definition for a-theism. You guys are supposed to be the rational ones, right? Do you really not see that “I lack belief in God” and “God exists” are not mutually exclusive any more than “I lack belief in the manned lunar landings” and “the manned lunar landings happened” are mutually exclusive? I mean, who are the flat earthers here?!? 🙂 “I lack belief” is nothing more than an indication of one’s psychological state, which is why the Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy would never accept such a definition for a-theism.

            “I was a Christian for 25-ish years, so I’d like to believe that I have fairly solid foundation of knowledge there.” With all due respect, if you didn’t understand the basic Biblical definition of faith, then I really don’t think you had a solid foundation there. Perhaps you were one of the “blind faith” Christians we discussed earlier? Maybe raised in the (blind) faith, but never taught the reasons for it – philosophical, scientific, mathematical, logical, forensic-historical, etc? Many people aren’t. I’m just lucky in a way: I came to Christianity late in life after 42 yeas of a-theism, and it was those solid kinds of evidential arguments that put me over the top. I would NEVER had begun in a church or the Bible to convert from a-theism. I was too much of an anti-Christian.

            “The universe is expanding, the background radiation that the BBT predicted exists, and numerous other pieces of data support this theory, making it far from “blind faith”.”

            Yes, all of that – BBT, inflationary universe, CBR, everything, yes – points to a beginning, excellent, well-done! I didn’t make the argument clear because I was assuming you knew I was making that statement in a cosmological sense. Try this:

            Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

            P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
            P2: The universe began to exist. (Supported by BBT, inflation, CBR, etc and the BGV Theorem, which states that every universe with an average positive inflation rate MUST have a beginning.)
            Conclusion: therefore, the universe had a Cause.

            So, my mega-miracle number 1 is what the a-theist must have blind faith in if he is to deny premise 1 (P1) above, namely, that the universe popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything. Unless, you want to deny your own secular science which supports premise 2? I don’t. I LOVE the fact that your data points to my Deity. (And proves Genesis 1:1, in addition.)

            “Again, disappointed. I’m not an abiogenesis expert, but I’m fairly certain that lighting and mud is not involved in the hypothesis anywhere. And, again, there is data from experiments to support this possibility.”

            Well, which one is it: wrong hypothesis or right hypothesis but imaginary data to support it? 🙂 You could appeal to panspermia here. 🙂 You know that you are not on solid ground when biologists are appealing to the “aliens of the gaps.” Not that you are either, by any means, for which I’m grateful.

            I stand on my position regarding objective moral values and duties and the impossibility of those arising through naturalism, since you didn’t really address it, but brought up good points earlier. But, I will add this to my arguments for the existence of God:

            P1. If there is no God, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
            P2. Evil exists.
            C1 Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist.
            C2. Therefore, God exists.

            OK, good talking with you, Sir, and cheers to you with blessings as well! Happy weekend at that!

          • ButterButterJam

            “It most certainly DOES refute your claim: it shows that
            people in general have a pre-disposition toward believing in God. If true, that
            means we aren’t being brainwashed out of it. Here’s
            one for babies and youth “

            No, sir, it doesn’t.
            That study you just cited is the same study by the same guy (who is a
            self-proclaimed devout Christian, by the way) that you cited before and whose
            methods we just discussed. By the author’s own admission (his quote), he did
            not claim that religion is “‘hardwired’ or ‘innate’—rather that children have
            propensities to believe in God because of how their minds naturally work”.
            Again, the experiments I’ve seen have some serious doubts as to how some were
            conducted, and his interpretations of the results, anyway. I’m not going to
            just arbitrarily dismiss the guy’s findings for being a Christian, either, but
            I think it does raise questions as to the possibility of confirmation and
            interpretation bias (my money, from what I’ve seen, is on the latter). In any
            case, even if he found, reliably, that kids were “predisposed” to figure out
            God on their own, that doesn’t mean that all kids will. Predisposed doesn’t
            mean guaranteed.

            “Now,
            ButterButterJam – all those words just to tell me that you don’t like science
            when it conflicts with your presuppositional assumptions?”

            And so little words in lieu of addressing the legitimate
            concerns I have with the experiments he conducted. I didn’t just say “he is
            wrong”. I outlined the issues I had with his methods, and you ignored them. I
            love science, even when it contradicts something I’ve thought to be true prior.
            Show me a group that’s been completely cut off from religion culturally, and
            demonstrate that they develop a knowledge of God(s) naturally anyway, and I’ll
            happily admit that I was wrong. Or, construct some other experiment that
            reliably rule out cultural influences, and I’ll do the same. Neither Barrett
            nor anyone else that I’ve seen has been able to do so though.

            ‘Please explain to me how “I lack belief in God” is
            even remotely an intellectual definition for a-theism.”

            The only time I that I stated such was in my original hasty comment,
            which I’ve already conceded could have benefited from more precise language. So,
            I’m not sure why this is coming up again.

            “Maybe raised in the (blind) faith, but never taught the
            reasons for it – philosophical, scientific, mathematical, logical,
            forensic-historical, etc?”

            Such evidence doesn’t exist for many things in the Bible,
            and, in some cases, directly contradicts the Bible and/or Christian God. If you
            believe the story of Noah’s ark to be true, for example, you are believing in
            something which has no supporting evidence, AND which has much evidence to the
            contrary. If that is not “blind faith”, I guess I don’t know what is.

            “So, my mega-miracle number 1 is what the a-theist must have
            blind faith in if he is to deny premise 1 (P1) above, namely, that the universe
            popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything.”

            I never said that the universe had no cause, I said that the
            BBT doesn’t propose to explain this cause. In any case, there are some good
            rebuttals to this argument to be found online.

            ‘I LOVE the fact that your data points to my Deity. “

            I meant to mention this before,
            so I’m glad you made this comment. You are doing what many theists do, which is
            merging two separate positions into one. As a Christian, your religious belief
            is based on two premises:

            1.
            A god exists

            2.
            That God is the Christian God.

            These are often conflated into the same position by
            Christians (and, to be fair, by other faiths as well). The argument you posted
            above, even if accepted as convincing, only proves logically the existence of
            God(s). It doesn’t get specific, and if your next argument is “well, the Bible,
            says….”, then the same level of evidence applies to everyone else with a holy
            book. In other words, you’re still tasked with supporting the premise that YOUR
            God is the real God, and the argument you posted absolutely doesn’t make that
            case.

            “Well, which one is it: wrong hypothesis or right hypothesis
            but imaginary data to support it? “

            I see that my comment
            may have been confusing, even if you’re just being a wise*** J Your hypothesis, so far as I know, is not a
            hypothesis that’s held by anyone of import. The hypothesis of abiogenesis, however, is, and has evidence to support it.

            “P1.
            If there is no God, objective moral values and duties do not exist.”

            The entire argument is dependent on this claim being true. If
            it’s not, the entire syllogism falls apart.

            Cheers!

  • John Mark IB

    funny Jesus said to hate is murder, so even the very thoughts of the heart of the act itself the very intent of it? and even so so the lawmakers and the govt. is actually playing GOD when they say they can see the inside of a persons reasoning? unless of course it’s just called motive, as in most crimes, as in ok so why did he do this? what was his motive, well they’re trying their best to make it into a religious anti muslim hate crime, and Biblically it is and was hatred, but anger as well, and as Christians of course, we all know, it’s all wrong, in any case, because as much as the cnn is pushing this, it’s amazing to see them non stop running with this ( and then go over to fox, Rupert Murdocks supposed conservative channel and see almost nothing of it, giving the false impression they’re somehow different, great acting by the lame stream controlled media, playing out the false paradigm) and absolutely milking it and getting the blood out of a turnip!! it’s not going to get them what they really want and that’s to find a nut bag Christian somewhere to blame for something like this?? and everything in general, which they’d love, it is sad,
    but what about all the other people getting murdered as we speak in this country? everyday and how many have been murdered since this one? why aren’t they getting non stop 24 hour coverage, seems to be a push in favor of this one specific religion which gets favoritism, but, what about all the Christians in the nation, and around the world getting non stop coverage for all the brutality and murders and rapes and burnings and hangings etc., being perpetrated against them in the name of the religion of peace? just saying!!!
    http://faithsaves.net