Indian Hindus Threaten Christians with Death, Pressure ‘Reconversion’

vishnuNEW DELHI (Morning Star News) Heightened hostilities against Christians in India that began late last year continued through a hot summer, with Hindu extremists threatening Christians and forcing them to “reconvert” to Hindusim, church leaders said.

In Rajasthan in the northwest, 10 Christian families in Nakhnool village, near Alwar, have fled after intolerant Hindus harassed and threatened to kill them, area church leaders said.

“Since June 27, we have not been able to have any kind of worship meetings,” area pastor Malkeet Singh told Morning Star News. “The extremists threatened to harm us if we utter the name of Christ or conduct any Christian meetings.”

Tensions grew on July 19 when members of the Hindu extremist Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the village held a “homecoming” to Hinduism (Ghar Vapsi) in front of Pastor Pratap Singh’s house.

“About 600 people gathered in front of Pastor Singh’s house, put up the idol of the Hindu god Hanuman, forced Pastor Singh and 10 family members to worship the idol and forced him to sign a paper which said, ‘I am willing to be a Hindu,’” said Rajamman Johnson, regional secretary of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMBP). “They forced them to drink water procured from the Ganga River and put kumkum [red marks] on their foreheads to show that they were now Hindus.”

As the Hindu extremists had threatened to kill him if he continued to lead worship meetings, Pastor Singh had been in hiding for a month. The extremists found him and took him to his house for the ritual, Johnson said.

“The extremists had been following the movement of Pastor Singh closely for a long time, and then they dragged him back from his hiding place to forcefully convert him along with 10 members of his family to Hinduism in an hour-long Ghar Vapsi ceremony,” he said.

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Pastor Singh, who had been ministering in the village for 15 years, began receiving death threats since last Christmas, church leaders said. Hindu extremists undertook a series of largely bogus,forced conversion ceremonies during the Christmas season after the BJP-led coalition government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in May 2014.

“The extremists boldly claimed that they were the ruling [BJP] party in the state, and that they can stop whatever they like,” Johnson said. “The support they get from the police and the village head emboldened their actions.”

Anil Masih, another area Christian leader, told Morning Star News that Christians in the village have stopped meeting and are living in fear.

“The extremists threatened to socially boycott the Christians if they continue to worship Christ and threatened to kill them if they submit a police complaint against anyone,” he said.

About seven miles away in Narpur village, Hindu extremists on June 28 held a “reconversion” ritual in which 50 Christians were forcefully converted to Hinduism, said Johnson of the FMBP.

“The Hindu extremists collected 50 Christians from Nakhnool, Kota and Nikkach villages and conducted a Ghar Vapsi on the land of the FMBP, and the extremists further threatened to kill and cut the Christians into pieces if they ever go back to church again,” he said.

In Bandholi, about nine miles from Nakhnool village, Hindu extremists secretly planned to demolish the FMBP building on July 18, he said, adding that they also threatened to harm the family of local evangelist Malkeeth Singh. Christian leaders approached the Alwar Superintendent of Police, and as a result the extremists abandoned plans to destroy the church building.

They continued to threaten to kill the Christians, however, if they hold worship meetings in the area.

Stopping Worship in Maharashtra

In Maharashtra state on India’s western coast, Hindu extremists since July 19 have been massing to stop village Christians from worshipping.

“On every Sunday for more than a month now, around 100 Hindu extremists gathered near where we are conducting Sunday meetings and threatened to harm some of our church members if they continue to attend the prayer meetings,” said Pastor Benjamin Gomes of New Life Grace Ministries in Pinguli village, Kudal, Sindhugurh. “Even the village head told us to stop the meeting.”

The extremists submitted a police complaint alleging forced conversion against the Christians. Police later summoned the Christians and told them to stop meeting, but church members went to the police station and told officers that they attended the church of their own free will and said there was no forceful conversion or defaming of Hindu gods, said the Rev. Anand Chougule, an area pastor.

Police have since provided some measure of protection to the church, but mobs continue to form to try to stop them from meeting every Sunday.

“On Sunday [Aug. 23], the extremists sent some women to stop us from conducting Sunday services,” said Pastor Gomes. “Somehow, we still managed to continue our prayer meetings under pressure.”


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  • Homer for God

    Way to show that Christ will not go away! Praise God!!!

    • Unrepentant Atheist

      I do believe it was never about Christ going away. It was about religion being on government property. Since it is not on government property anymore, then there isn’t an issue.

      So all it cost you was 1.4 million dollars. Enjoy your privately owned cross.

      • Leslie

        Thanks! We will!

  • The Skeptical Chymist

    This is a good solution to the very real problem of government endorsement of religion.

    • http://www.bing.com/ Martin Smit

      It’s a excellent solution for an imaginary problem.

      • Unrepentant Atheist

        Only imaginary for the people that like to believe in imaginary things.

        • http://www.bing.com/ Martin Smit

          You imagine yourself the imagination of atoms imagining that other imaginations of other atoms are imaginary. Imagine if you were confused as well.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            That’s funny.

    • WorldGoneCrazy

      Ignoring our differences of opinion on the law in this regard, what is objectively morally wrong with government endorsement of religion on the a-theist view? On a-theism, there are no grounds for objective moral values and duties and the “pope” and “cardinals” of a-theism agree with me here:

      “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))

      “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.” A-theist William Provine

      “The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory.” (Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262-269).

      “no purpose, no evil and no good,” “no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life,” “ethics is illusory”

      There you have it – that is YOUR world. You don’t get to borrow the existence of objective moral values and duties from the world of the theist – they do not exist to you – they are merely flavors of ice cream in your world. When you make objective moral claims, however implicit, you are actually acknowledging the existence of God – for which I thank you very much! 🙂

      • The Skeptical Chymist

        I do not believe that moral values come from God – certainly not the God of the Bible. Was it moral at one time to stone the nonvirginal bride? I know that we are now supposedly under a new covenant, but you claim that morality comes from God. Well, according to the tenets of Judeo-Christianity, 2500 years ago, the moral act was indeed to stone the nonvirginal bride (and that is only one of many immoral acts that were commanded by your God in that time frame). So if you are going to base morality on what your God tells you, then you are bound to agree that the moral values that were commanded in the Old Testament were at the very least, the proper code of morality for their time. So what’s the deal? Does the morality or immorality of an action change when God changes his mind? If so, where is the objective reality of morals in your world?

        The answer is that morality is determined by society, and always has been. Humans are a social species, and over the aeons we have developed a social construct that has worked for us, as a species. Morality has never been determined by religion, which changes in response to society. The Christian moral code was different 200 years ago, and it was different from that 500 years ago. And the Judaic moral code was even more different before that. Looking back on the history of humanity, we can all (I hope) say with certainty that our moral code has progressed significantly since the time when Africans were viewed as a subspecies, not even fully human, and worthy of enslavement, a common view among Christians and most others 200 years ago (not unfairly singling out Christianity here). Some 500 years ago, holding that there were vast numbers of stars in the sky, or that the earth circled the sun, or any number of theological disagreements could lead to horrific tortures, and burning at the stake – with the goal of “saving the soul of the heretic”. Again, we can all agree (I hope) that we’ve progressed beyond that. And we’ve progressed (at least in the western world) far beyond killing gays and lesbians, stoning the nonvirginal bride, or the disobedient child. Again, we can all agree (I hope) that we’ve progressed a great deal since those days. Our society has developed and improved, but mostly because we’ve gotten past what the religions of the day advocated as moral, sometimes with the help of a new religion that provided an updated moral code that superseded the old one.

        • WorldGoneCrazy

          Well, you do a nice job of setting up strawmen – stoning nonvirginal brides, killing gays and lesbians, etc, none of which have been supported by 2000 years of Christian orthodoxy or orthopraxy – without answering the question. In order to make your strawmen credible, you would have to do two things:

          1. Provide examples of Church documents – statements of faith, creeds, epistles, hymns, historicals, etc – showing that it was common practice across the 3 main branches of Christianity, or Mere Christianity if you will, to perform your strawmen. Strangely, I do not see any evidence of this kind of uniformity over the past 2000 years of Church history.

          2. Prove that you have also trolled Orthodox Jewish sites, since your examples come from the OT, the equivalent of the Jewish Tanach – to query that religion on these same doctrines and practices. This second point is important, as it would show that you are an intellectually honest anti-religionist and not merely an anti-Christian.

          “The answer is that morality is determined by society, and always has been.”

          But that is not any sort of objective morality. Some societies evolve to gas Jews, others to own black people. On a-theism, these are perfectly acceptable practices today as well as in the days in which they occurred. So, that if, today, a society evolved that decided to kill all gays, there is no objective reason for you to condemn that practice, on a-theism.

          Along these same lines, if a society evolves to practice the government endorsement of religion – even aggressively, as many Middle Eastern countries do – then you have not told me how this could be objectively wrong on a-theism. In fact, you have confirmed that it is perfectly fine – it’s just societal evolution. In which case, your original statement regarding “very real problem of government endorsement of religion” is vacuous.

          • Homer for God

            Coming from an ex atheist to a current one, that was well said!!, it is truly hard to argue that. I pray that whatever God did to move your heart will similarly move the skeptic.
            Keep up the great work prayer warrior!!
            God Bless

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Thank you so much for the encouragement, Homer for God! I am inspired by your posting so much too!

            I just think that we should not get sucked into providing defenses of OT strawman attacks that the Church has NEVER supported, merely because it is a guarantee that a-theists cannot understand the Bible. (1 Corinthians 2:14, among many others)

            Thanks for the kind words, and keep up the great postings – we all learn a LOT from them. They are not just for the unbelievers but to build up and encourage the believers too. Please don’t forget that. Your ideas get used elsewhere in the Body of Christ. God will connect the many dots in Heaven for us to see how they were used. God bless!

          • The Skeptical Chymist

            I don’t have much time to debate this further (and it’s rather pointless anyway), but I’ll say a few things.

            You accuse me of providing straw man arguments. You say that my arguments are invalid because I haven’t shown that the horrific examples I have quoted were in common practice and I haven’t provided documentation (church documents, etc.) showing that these punishments were actually used. OK, perhaps they weren’t used on a regular basis. But I thought your “objective morality” came from your religious guidebook, the Bible? Have I misunderstood your position? If your standard of objective morality doesn’t come from the Bible, where does it come from? Your idea that these punishments weren’t commonly used proves that Christianity (and prior to that, Judaism) did not follow their own standards of objective morality, as written in their holy book. It exactly proves my point, that the Christians and Jews who failed to follow those teachings had a HIGHER sense of morality than their religion.

            Your second point is totally unimportant. I live in the United States, where the only religion that seeks to use government power to establish and maintain its power, or to spread its message, is Christianity. Why should I seek out Jewish message boards when no group that I’m aware of is attempting to force public schoolchildren to attend assemblies where Judaism is promoted, or to erect huge symbols of the Jewish faith on public land? The second reason I come to this and other Christian sites is that Christianity is the religion I know the best, having been raised in a Christian home, and having attended many different churches at various times in my life. And, believe it or not, there are variants of Christianity (Quakerism, Unitarian Universalism, etc.) that I respect highly and whose views on many things are not that different from mine. Believe it or not, there are variants of Christianity that agree with the idea that the government should not be used to proselytize for their religion, and who think that a strict separation of church and state is desirable. And on that point, I am in agreement.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “OK, perhaps they weren’t used on a regular basis.”

            No, Sir, the strawmen you set up were NEVER a part of Church orthodoxy (right doctrine) or orthopraxy (right practice). It seems that you have a problem with Orthodox Judaism and should take it up with them. Will you? Or, is yours merely an expression of anti-Christian thought based on strawmen that have no application? I am a Christian, not an Orthodox Jew. I would love to know what you find out from them.

            “But I thought your “objective morality” came from your religious guidebook, the Bible?”

            Indeed, that is a prime source for it. The fact that the Church has not understood the Bible in the way that an a-theist has understood the Bible is not a defeater of the Bible but an explanation of the inability of the unbeliever to perform proper exegesis. (The Bible actually points this out in numerous places.)

            “It exactly proves my point, that the Christians and Jews who failed to follow those teachings had a HIGHER sense of morality than their religion.”

            Oh, but there you go again! You cannot talk about high or low senses of morality on a-theism – they do not exist! Read those quotes over from Dawkins, Provine, and Ruse, and do tell me why they are wrong. Morality is merely an ice cream flavor in your world. You don’t get to smuggle the theist’s ability to ground objective moral values into your world on a-theism. This is the point you will not address! Objective moral values and duties do not exist in your world. Before you can discuss moral epistemology (how we know objective moral values and duties, say, from the Bible or from society), you must first be able to prove they even exist (moral ontology)! And they do not, in your world. Anything goes on a-theism. There are no traffic cops in the jungle.

            “Your second point is totally unimportant.”

            Quite the contrary. If society determines the moral values and duties in your worldview, you must accept whichever ones society determines: slavery, Jew gassing, gay killing, government-forced religion. By stepping out onto a “higher plane,” you are borrowing objective moral values and duties from an Objective Moral Law Giver. But, you do not believe He exists, so no stealing from Him. 🙂

            “Why should I seek out Jewish message boards”

            Because the strawmen you set up were based on the Tanach. You need to change your anti-Christian bias into an anti-Judaism one.

            “the only religion that seeks to use government power to establish and maintain its power, or to spread its message, is Christianity.”

            Really? A-theists aren’t trying to do this?!? By using government to take down crosses, institute gay marriage, etc? A-theism seems to be a religion these days, certainly a blind faith one.

            “there are variants of Christianity that agree with the idea that the government should not be used to proselytize for their religion”

            Oh, yes, indeed, I agree 100%, but you have no objective grounds, on a-theism, for this belief! That was my original point. There is nothing wrong with governments proselytizing religion on a-theism, even to an extreme point, as we see in some Middle Eastern countries. You can only say that you do not like it in the same sense you do not like chocolate ice cream. When you argue against it, as an a-theist, you are attempting to transcend your inability to ground objective moral values and duties. In short, you are denying your a-theism and stealing from theism.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Quick observation:

            1) Old Testament has rules.

            2) New Testament has different rules.

            3) God changed his mind.

            How can you describe that as objective anymore?

          • The Skeptical Chymist

            Thanks for that much more concise summary of my comment! I have a problem with being too wordy.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Oh, I do the same thing all the time. Sometimes I just don’t have the time for it. lol

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Premise 3 is false. God changing the covenant with His people is NOT God changing His mind.

            And, once again, you jump to moral epistemology (how we know moral values and duties). But, you cannot do this, until you have established moral ontology (the existence of objective moral values and duties). And those do not exist on a-theism. Thus, you cannot objectively condemn slavery, Jew gassing, or government-forced religion on a-theism. They are just flavors of ice cream to you. No stealing the existence of objective moral values and duties from a God you do not believe in.

            And, if they are not objective, then what is your point? You don’t like crosses on public property, I do. Just flavors of ice cream.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Read my other post for “flavors of ice cream” response.

            OT: God says certain things are right and wrong. God “Changes the Covenant” in the New Testament. NT: New morality dictated.

            So there are a few possibilities:

            1) God has no morality.

            This falls into the “God is too alien for use to understand” category. This pretty much turns morality into commands with no real reason for why we are supposed to follow them.

            2) God has morality and wants us to share his morals.

            In this, God has a sense of right and wrong (regardless if he follows it or not, that would be integrity and be a different discussion).

            This provides a bit of a challenge, because he “changed the covenant”. So either his is going against his own morality to make things easier (or harder) on us, or he changed his own morality. EIther way, it is subjective because he changed the values we are supposed to follow.

            3) Gods morality doesn’t coincide with our morality.

            We would have no idea what God believes is right, so the authors’ biases are a part of the Bible’s content. This is a subjective stand point.

            “And, if they are not objective, then what is your point? You don’t like crosses on public property, I do. Just flavors of ice cream.”

            Ah, but that is not a moral dilemma, but a legal one.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “3) Gods morality doesn’t coincide with our morality.

            We would have no idea what God believes is right, so the authors’ biases are a part of the Bible’s content.”

            Well, you present a false trichotomy here. Obviously the fact that God’s morality is different from ours is easily handled by the fallen nature of our consciences. (Which clearly can be shown via historical atrocities, except on a-theism, and the Bible.) That is simple.

            “Ah, but that is not a moral dilemma, but a legal one.”

            Here is where your philosophy fails again: if the law is your highest standard, we see many cases where it has failed. (Slavery, Jew gassing, etc.) And, if the law has no moral support, then what, pray tell, is your objective “moral” reason for even paying attention to it?!? You have no grounding there either. You are like the Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons who has run off the cliff and is hanging there in mid air, but who has not yet figured out that he is not on firm ground.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Um. According to your Bible, God commanded some of those atrocities.

            There is no such thing as a perfect existence. Humans no more so. So we have the ability to witness events, like the Crusades, the Holocaust, 9/11, various massacres, and other tragic events, and reflect back on the cause and effect and what went wrong.

            Our morality comes from learning from these lessons. When families mourn their slain family members, starve from burnt/salted farmland, watched people get tortured and killed for their beliefs, or watched a slave have his/her spirit broken, we realize that this affects us in a myriad of ways. We can see how it makes us feel, how we wouldn’t want to be in that position, how our empathy reacts, how it affects society as a whole, and WE CAN LEARN.

            So no. There is no objective morality. There is a slow learning process of how to keep ourselves functioning as individuals, as family units, as a society, and as a human species.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “God commanded some of those atrocities.”

            Atrocities don’t exist (objectively) on a-theism. You admitted that elsewhere. You gotta stop stealing from God.

            “like the Crusades, the Holocaust, 9/11, various massacres, and other tragic events, and reflect back on the cause and effect and what went wrong.”

            None of these things are objectively wrong on a-theism. You cannot even use the term “wrong.” They are merely ice cream flavors in your world.

            “When families mourn their slain family members, starve from burnt/salted farmland, watched people get tortured and killed for their beliefs, or watched a slave have his/her spirit broken”

            Nothing objectively wrong with any of these on a-theism.

            “WE CAN LEARN.”

            No way to learn without a Standard.

            “So no. There is no objective morality.”

            And you concur. Thank you! 🙂

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Atrocity: an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury.

            Yes, I can define something as being an atrocity.

            You minimalizing my point of view down to such simple concepts in not fitting to the intelligence I usually see in your posts. You are better than that, and understand full well you know what I am talking about. Not being objective doesn’t reduce every description we have to meaningless. If you believe that, then I have overestimated your ability to reason.

            ‘None of these things are objectively wrong on a-theism. You cannot even use the term “wrong.”‘

            Sure I can. You just don’t have to agree with me. Just because I can come to some of the same conclusions as you do do not mean that one, doesn’t mean I used the same tools to get me to that conclusion.

            What really gets my goad, is you keep referring to Atheism as the counter part to Christianity/Religion. It ONLY is on the question does God exist. An Atheist is more than capable of reading the morality in the Bible and agreeing with its premise even without the belief in the God going with it (even read an article like that recently, didn’t agree with it, but thats the thing with Atheists, not much other common ground).

            You see, my Atheism doesn’t have ANYTHING TO DO WITH MY MORALITY. I get that from other sources. If I was a deist, I would get my morality from the same places. I argue that you do too, because you interpret the Bible using your moral filter that lets you read certain passages in a way that suits your morality.

            Lets talk about my personal morality. Specifically, whether or not it is right to kill someone. The Bible says it is not. Period. Its a commandment (that Christians have broken millions of times). Do you ever ask “why” it is morally wrong or do you obey without question like a Nuremberg trial defendant? I ask why. Even when my empathy tells me that something is right or wrong, I try to understand why it is wrong.

            To do this I define what kill someone. That is, to take another’s life. My empathy naturally pushes me to help someone, so it is unnatural for me to do something like taking someones life. I also understand that life is valuable to me. I value my own life, as it is a limited resource that can not be renewed. I value my families lives as they are important to me. So I can look at others and imagine them not wanting me to take their life either. Without this value, life would become cheap and there would be murders on a daily basis, reducing the population and likely sending society into a pit of anarchy. I do not believe I could live a happy life doing that, so I can see value in not killing people. Empathy supports this. So this is a moral value I hold.

            Christians do not have any requirement to understand why something is good or bad, so when people like Hitler come around, as long as he can convince people it is Gods will to kill others, (Or target opposing religions, ie. Crusades), people ignore their empathy in order to fulfill God’s wishes. Society has determined that we do not use that as an excuse.

            Notice for me there is no “God” told me to do it. I have to defend myself if my morality comes into conflict with societies ethical standards and I choose to act on it anyways (such as opposing the Christian majority). I have an evidence AND emotion based reasoning for believing why I believe it is so. This is NOT just arbitrarily picking what I want to believe is right.

            So where you claim your “Rocky Road” is the one True Flavor of ice cream, and sit there and say that Atheism just randomly picks a flavor of ice cream, I sit back and chuckle, because you don’t even understand, that I didn’t order ice cream but hot chocolate, and you cant even comprehend what that is or why.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Yes, I can define something as being an atrocity. You minimalizing my point of view down to such simple concepts in not fitting to the intelligence I usually see in your posts.”

            Well, first off, I don’t see how we can compare anything we do online with Jew gassing, slavery, or abortion. I really am NOT trying to minimalize your point of view. I just cannot see how, on atheism, there is any grounds for the existence of objective good or evil. Dawkins, Provine, Ruse, and the vast majority of atheists throughout history agree with me here. You yourself have admitted that there is no objective morality on atheism. So, I am just saying, I agree.

            But, one of the consequences of this is that you really cannot condemn anything in an objective manner. I am merely asking that you remain consistent in your view. I tried my best to do so when I was an atheist, but, ultimately, I could not, because I came to the conclusion that slavery, Jew gassing, and abortion really HAD to be objectively immoral. Not a preference, not an ice cream flavor, but, yes, truly (objectively) wrong.

            So, if you want to remain a consistent unrepentant atheist, then you don’t get to criticize slavery, Jew gassing, abortion, Christianity, or the Christian God in ANY objective sense whatsoever. You CAN say it is not your flavor of ice cream, but as soon as you fight any objectively moral battle, you are 100% denying your atheism.

            Nothing matters in your world, UA. You get your 80 or 100 years, and eventually the universe dies a slow dark death and NOTHING you did will matter in any objective or ultimate sense. That is the worldview you have chosen and you must accept the consequences of it.

            I could not accept these consequences. I knew that, on atheism, my life was utterly meaningless (in an objective sense) and nothing ultimately mattered. Given good science and philosophy, I came to realize that there are good reasons to believe in the existence of a God – the only Being which can make our lives objectively meaningful. That is when I converted.

            “You see, my Atheism doesn’t have ANYTHING TO DO WITH MY MORALITY.”

            “Morality” in an objective sense does not exist on a-theism. So those places are NOT objective – you said so yourself. You got yours from one place, Hitler got his from another. Ice cream flavors, if there is no God. On atheism, no one will ultimately know or care which morality you chose, because no one will be around as the universe dies a slow cold death.

            “I value my own life, as it is a limited resource that can not be renewed.”

            Fine, but not in any objective sense. Your life matters not one whit as the universe progresses, on atheism. (Frankly, on atheism, you will be forgotten by everyone in just a few generations, or certainly within 100, 1000, 1,000,000 years – no matter what your accomplishments. And in billions of years, there will be no one around to remember anyone or anything. The universe will be dark and cold and lifeless.)

            “Society has determined that we do not use that as an excuse.”

            Society is not a single mind. Some societies don’t like what Hitler did, others do. In fact, had Hitler won WWII, and then either exterminated or brainwashed everyone on the planet who disagreed with what he did to the Jews, and then re-written the textbooks, then no one would even know what he did was objectively wrong – on atheism. You, yourself, have admitted that there are no objective moral values. In an objective sense, even YOU cannot say what he did was wrong – by your own admission.

            “Notice for me there is no “God” told me to do it.”

            Now, you are confusing moral epistemology (how we know moral values) with moral ontology (the existence of objective moral values). You don’t get to shift the goalposts. If there do not exist objective morals (ontology) as you said, then it is quite irrelevant how one comes up with their subjective morals. Hitler is every bit as good as Mother Teresa, because there is no Standard upon which to measure both of their behaviors. You admitted this too elsewhere too. No Standard, no better or worse.

            “This is NOT just arbitrarily picking what I want to believe is right.”

            “Right” in an objective sense does not exist in your worldview, UA. Do you see how you keep falling into the trap of smuggling objective moral values and duties into a worldview that denies them? To live consistently on atheism means not condemning, in any objective sense, anything or anyone. Great talking with you again!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            “But, one of the consequences of this is that you really cannot condemn anything in an objective manner.” You are correct, but this is not a place where anyone can objectively claim any condemnation or support in a “objective” manner. Look at the gay rights issue. You can scream about your “objective” morality all you want, but it isn’t convincing in the slightest without the “why” it is important. God says so is just not enough for the US anymore.

            “So, if you want to remain a consistent unrepentant atheist, then you don’t get to criticize slavery, Jew gassing, abortion, Christianity, or the Christian God in ANY objective sense whatsoever.”

            Ok. I will promise not to claim it in any OBJECTIVE sense.

            “…. That is when I converted.”

            Fair enough. I can understand your motivation. I’ll be honest though, and I find that to be display of weakness. If that really is the reason you converted, it is because you looked at the truth of things and could not handle it. It is kinda like people who convert on their death beds. They don’t want to let go of life, and very simple will do just about anything to cling to some kind of hope, no matter how false.

            The truth is the truth. Whether you are somehow right, or I am right. The truth does not change. So we can not decide to believe something because we merely like it, don’t like it, or are afraid of alternatives. That is not the way to live life. If your God exists, I might believe, but then I might decide not to follow, which is a different question, because I don’t agree with the morality in the Bible.

            “In fact, had Hitler won WWII, and then either exterminated or brainwashed everyone on the planet…”

            Hence why it is subjective. Individual morality can be molded to a point.

            “”Right” in an objective sense does not exist in your worldview, UA.”

            You did notice that I used the word believe so I have not mentioned that any of my morality was based objectively. Not one person recognizes objective morals outside their own viewpoints (those that believe in objective morality point to one that matches their values), so your whole argument on objectivity is irrelevant.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “You can scream about your “objective” morality all you want, but it isn’t convincing in the slightest without the “why” it is important. God says so is just not enough for the US anymore.”

            I never make that argument. I make the secular case against gay “marriage,” just as I make a secular case for the existence of God.

            “Ok. I will promise not to claim it in any OBJECTIVE sense.”

            But, you broke that promise in the other previous reply to me. I don’t think you can do it – no one can. But, I will be watching you, UA. 🙂

            “If that really is the reason you converted, it is because you looked at the truth of things and could not handle it.”

            No, not at all – see that entire paragraph. I had good scientific, mathematical, logical, and philosophical reasons to believe in the existence of God – precisely the arguments we have been making in our threads (Kalam, fine-tuning, moral argument, Unconditioned Reality, etc).

            Then, ON TOP OF THAT, it was also true that life has no objective meaning on atheism. I realized that I had not been able to live out even THAT view in my life. I had worked long and hard to earn 4 degrees (why, on atheism?) to put two long-term spacecraft in orbit (why, on atheism?) to raise a family (why, on atheism?), to make enough money to be able to retire in my 40’s (why, on atheism?) etc. I had been behaving as though my life DID have an objective meaning. In fact, I had been behaving 100% consistently with Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. (Google it!)

            So, in morality, I had been denying my atheism. In purpose and meaning, I had been denying my atheism. In science, math, logic, and philosophy, I had been denying my atheism. Perhaps it was time for at least admit the possibility that theism was true? 🙂

            ” cling to some kind of hope, no matter how false.”

            Show me all that evidence for the No God Hypothesis, UA. I keep asking for it and it keeps not showing up. Are your reasons for atheism as invisible as my God? 🙂 Who is clinging to nothing here?

            “The truth does not change.”

            You sound like a Christian here – I like that. 🙂

            “those that believe in objective morality point to one that matches their values”

            Not me or most committed Christians. My values since becoming a Christian have changed 180 degrees in most instances.

            Great talking with you again, UA!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Any claim I make is an subjective one. I don’t use objective morality. However I will make claims that many people share my beliefs, such as killing as being wrong, since it is motivated by empathy, and not a clear cut said rule everyone must follow.

            What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Kalam argument is flawed and allows for more than one creator which may or may not be a god. Intelligent design is no more evidence as looking at an ink blot and saying it looks like something. There literally is nothing for me to go, “Wow, because of this there is a god!” without being prepped to assume God in the first place.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Hey UA – good hearing from you again! I will just address one point – since another one of our great dialogues is petering out:

            “Kalam argument is flawed and allows for more than one creator which may or may not be a god.”

            I haven’t seen any real defeaters – or at least none that I can recognize – on Kalam. It still seems to hold up well in the literature too. I can actually prove that there is only one Creator or Cause, but I won’t bore you. (It is a classic proof by contradiction.) I just want to say that whatever IT is, IT is spaceless, timeless, non-material, immensely powerful, has personal free will, and is self-existing – because those are the (secular) metaphysical properties that flow out from Kalam and the Big Bang. No Bible required. Oh, and one more thing you said:

            “without being prepped to assume God in the first place.”

            I just want to be clear here: nowhere have I assumed a spaceless, timeless, non-material, immensely powerful Cause or Creator Who has personal free will and is self-existing. Those attributes flowed out from the argument. And Premise 1 doesn’t even talk about this particular Cause. So, it has not been assumed anywhere – it has been drawn out. And there is a HUGE difference between allowing the possibility of a supernatural Being and dismissing that possibility outright based on a presupposition of naturalism. So, it is just keeping an open mind and following the evidence where it leads.

            OK, great talking with you again – I will try to keep it short in the other posts too. Thanks for putting up with my dissertations and for throwing good thoughts out there, UA!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            “Atrocities don’t exist (objectively) on a-theism. You admitted that elsewhere. You gotta stop stealing from God.”

            Well, considering the Christianity stole most of its concepts from the pagan religions that came before it, I find that a little bit hypocritical.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Law is based off of ethics. Law is an authority, but not an ultimate authority. We have the ability to dismiss law (even if we have to face consequences for it). Civil disobedience for example.

            Your arguments revolve around the premise that there HAS TO BE AN ULTIMATE AUTHORITY. I don’t agree with this at all. The only person we are 100% responsible to is ourselves. You may not like this, or think that makes us all animals, but statistics prove you wrong.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Your arguments revolve around the premise that there HAS TO BE AN ULTIMATE AUTHORITY.”

            No, I am not presuppositional on theism. I believe that we have good independent reasons to believe that theism is true, e.g., Kalam, Fine-tuning, Unconditioned Reality, etc.

            “The only person we are 100% responsible to is ourselves.”

            Presuppositional on a-theism.

            “You may not like this, or think that makes us all animals, but statistics prove you wrong.”

            That is a sociology issue. The reason that we do not all behave like animals is because even a-theists smuggle in some Objective Moral Standard into their lives, even while denying It. It is VERY difficult to live consistently as an a-theist. Once we are mis-treated, even an a-theist will cry out for objective justice.

      • Unrepentant Atheist

        Who said anything about objective morality? That is a religious thing that doesn’t exist in the real world.

        • WorldGoneCrazy

          Thank you for biting the bullet! No complaining from you. Morality in your world is nothing more than a flavor of ice cream – no condemnation of such.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            The “ice cream” analogy is overused, and assumes it is arbitrary decision which it is not.

            First off, our morality develops as we grow and usually is a composite of what our parents, community and teachers teach us. Of course we are influenced by our role models and our close friends as well. Often these become cemented as we grow older and become harder to convince us to change.

            However, some of it comes from evidence and study as well. Religion tells there followers what to believe, but not why as obedience is what is required, not thought.

            If it was so objective than why for one is God able to change his mind about right and wrong (Old Testament vs. New Testament)? Doesn’t that make his morality subjective and merely the flavors he likes at the moment? Does that make him operate within the scope of time since God can change? Your objective claims can open up a bag of worms regarding the definition and scope of God.

            Also, please read up on the definition of morality and ethics and what is the difference between them. I would call many of the values in the Bible as ethical values since there is indeed a system of reward/punishment for the “laws”.

            Morality is the internal values we hold that dictate for us right and wrong. It encompasses such issues as what is “fair”. It may or may not match with what society as a whole believes.

            And this is exactly why it is subjective. Too many people disagree on what is right and wrong. Oh, you can get almost universal acceptance of whether rape, or murder, or theft is wrong, but if you take abortion rights or the death penalty, and you will get a much wider range of dissent. These differences are your “flavors of ice cream”.

            So keep saying that “Rocky Road” is the one and only True flavor and that all other flavors are EVIL. People will realize pretty quick that you are the one that is incorrect.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Too many people disagree on what is right and wrong.”

            Oh, but polling does not determine right from wrong any more than it determines truth from falsehood. Lots of folks thought slavery was fine and dandy, and, on a-theism, it was! (Same for Jew gassing in that society.)

            You see, without an Objective Moral Standard, you cannot say that some behavior is more or less moral than another. You have absolutely nothing to compare it with, since it is precisely that Standard that you deny the existence of. And, to your intellectual honesty credit, you DO bite the bullet and admit it.

            For this very reason, it is inconsistent for you, as an a-theist, to condemn ANY behavior, including the behavior of Christians or governments that impose religion on their citizens. You have to smuggle in some sort of Standard to do so, and this is wholly inconsistent with your worldview. I do encourage you to study up on your a-theism as it is apparent that you do not understand the consequences of biting the bullet. Here is one more present-day a-theist who does fully understand:

            “Is there a God? No.

            What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.

            What is the purpose of the universe? There is none.

            What is the meaning of life? Ditto.

            Why am I here? Just dumb luck.

            Is there a soul? Are you kidding?

            Is there free will? Not a chance!

            What is the difference between right/wrong, good/bad? There is no moral difference between them… So much for the meaning of history, and everything else we care about… you will have to be comfortable with a certain amount of nihilism . . . . And just in case there’s always Prozac.” — Alex P. Rosenberg

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            “Oh, but polling does not determine right from wrong any more than it determines truth from falsehood. Lots of folks thought slavery was fine and dandy, and, on a-theism, it was! (Same for Jew gassing in that society.)”

            Oh come on now. I know we had this discussion before.

            Exodus 21: 2-11 How to own a slave.

            The Bible actively allows and even encourages slavery. Especially for fathers selling their daughters. Only Hebrew men have a way out. Atheism does not in any way call for slavery. If you believe so, point out some kind of Atheist handbook that is showing slavery as a moral right (Hint: Doesn’t exist).

            As for “Jew gassing”, you mean the CATHOLIC DICTATOR, that constantly used GOD as a primary motivator, made sure there was religious symbolism on his armies uniform, and made a deal with POPE PIUS to protect the Catholics? Yeah…..

            You are correct in a few things. You can not compare morality to other morality without an objective morality. That is why we do not compare it with other morality. You are also correct that polling does not decide what is right and wrong. That is a bit of a straw man argument. I brought up the consensus to show that there were instances where many agreed, and there were instances that many disagreed.

            But we miss the point. You can not even prove that you God exists. If he does not, then your objective morality is just as much a myth as everything else, and our discussion a moot point.

            This is one of the most disputed discussion within philosophy. I actually went and read up on Moral Epistemology and Moral Skepticism, and I’ll admit, it is not an easy topic to digest. But what it did impart on me is that there is not an easy answer, and neither you nor I have even scratched the surface of the morality argument. What I can see though is that where you see objective morality as a set of rules, I look at those rules and wholeheartedly reject them. My moral values do not match yours, and that alone is enough to dismiss your claim to having the one true set of rules.

            Free will? Of course there is free will. Without a God to enslave us, we are free to do what we want to do with our lives.

            I think you define morality incorrectly as well. Morality is not a set of rules. Never has been. The set of rules concept would be ethical standards (which better fits the Bibles teachings). Morality is internal, and holds the core of what you believe is right and wrong. Though it can motivate action, it can be ignored too (doing something despite you believing it to be wrong, or not doing something you believe is right). As a matter of fact, one of our most cherished values (at least for me), integrity, is how close you keep to the moral standard you have. There are plenty of times where people have believed something to be wrong, but did not take action because of a variety of reasons (difficulty, risk, opposing values, etc.).

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Man, you covered some ground here, UA! Pretty interesting response, actually.

            Just to address the most egregious strawman, because I see a lot of the New A-theists desperately clinging to and resurrecting (:-)) this myth:

            “As for “Jew gassing”, you mean the CATHOLIC DICTATOR”

            So, Hitler was committed to worshipping a Jew Whose guiding
            principle was to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself?!? Pretty absurd statement, even for an a-theist.

            “Not many Germans lost much sleep over the arrests of a
            few thousand pastors and priests… the Nazi regime intended to eventually destroy Christianity in Germany…As Bormann…said publicly in 1941, ‘National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.’… 13. The National Church
            demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany…18. The National Church will clear away from its altars all crucifixes, Bibles, and pictures of saints. 19. On the altars there must be nothing but
            Mein Kampf…the Christian Cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals, and chapels…and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol, the swastika.” The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 240.

            Thus far, we have:

            1. Crosses and crucifixes taken down and replaced by Swastika. (Just what modern-day organization is demanding that crosses come down? Oh yes, the Freedom From Thought group. 🙂 (OK, FFRF.))

            2. “Irreconcilability of Nazism and Christianity.” (or Darwinism and Christianity. :-))

            3. Termination of Bible publishing. (To be fair, a-theists haven’t pulled this off yet. But, they do like making fun of it, as opposed to the Quran. :-))

            4. Replacement of the Bible with Mein Kampf. (The latter is a
            remarkably similar tome to “On the Origin of the Species.”)

            5. Arrest of pastors and priests. (That is already happening, in
            a small way, in the West. Guess who is pushing it?)

            6. Hitler’s “Jesus” was a fighter and not a sufferer.

            7. Hitler’s “Christ” died to eradicate the Jewish
            poison.

            8. Defending against the Jew is Hitler’s “Jesus'”
            highest calling.

            Well, that’s it. Pretty much looks like the Nicene Creed to me!
            🙂 I would say that Joseph Stalin and the president of American A-theists were more “Christian” than Hitler. 🙂

            And, you still have not established how what Hitler did to the Jews could be objectively wrong on a-theism. In fact, I believe you are admitting that it isn’t since you (correctly, on a-theism) deny the existence of objective moral values and duties.

            “You can not compare morality to other morality without an objective morality. That is why we do not compare it with other morality. ”

            Yes, we agree. The problem is that so many a-theists do! Every time they call Christians or our God “evil,” they are denying their a-theism.

            “You can not even prove that you God exists”

            Now, I know we have had THIS discussion before. Just to repeat one proof:

            Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God:

            Premise 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
            Premise 2. The universe began to exist.
            Conclusion: Therefore, the universe had a Cause.

            Premise 1 supported by the fact that “out of nothing, nothing
            comes,” otherwise, anything and everything could come from nothing, and experience confirms this – no purple elephants popping randomly into our living room. (And, we know that every one of the 7 billion people on this planet came into existence causally.) Causality forms the foundation of scientific inquiry. You are not going to throw science away, are you?

            Premise 2 supported by Big Bang, cosmic background radiation, 2nd Law of Thermo, positive inflation rate of the universe, and BGV Theorem – not to mention that an actual infinite of past events cannot occur and a series formed successively cannot be infinite.

            Therefore, God exists.

            And, I am sure you are quite aware of several more. Otherwise you, as the a-theist, must take a rather blind faith approach of “the universe popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything,” which is a miracle beyond miracles!

            “read up on Moral Epistemology”

            Excellent! Now, you know that you cannot talk epistemology without first establishing ontology, because it is irrational to talk about where we get our (objective) moral values from if they do not exist. And, if they don’t exist, then we can just choose relative morals like ice cream.

            “What I can see though is that where you see objective morality as a set of rules, I look at those rules and wholeheartedly reject them.”

            Not sure what you mean by a set of rules. I see objective morality as that which flows from the Nature of an Objective Moral Law Giver. Regardless, you have no objective moral basis for rejecting them, except in the sense that you reject certain ice cream flavors.

            “My moral values do not match yours, and that alone is enough to dismiss your claim to having the one true set of rules.”

            Not at all! You are back to ice cream flavors for moral values. But, that is your world, not mine. On Christian theism, we do not let personal preferences establish morality any more than they establish objective truths.

            “Without a God to enslave us, we are free to do what we want to do with our lives.”

            Is there something objectively wrong, on a-theism, for being a slave to God? 🙂

            “Morality is not a set of rules.”

            Never said it was – see above.

            “Morality is internal, and holds the core of what you believe is right and wrong.”

            Presuppositional on a-theism.

            “There are plenty of times where people have believed something to be wrong, but did not take action because of a variety of reasons (difficulty, risk, opposing values, etc.).”

            Yes, I agree, and I think that it should be clear that, on a-theism, risking one’s life in heroic fashion is irrational.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            You mean besides not having evidence for the source of morality existing in the first place? I think that is plenty basis to not accept a source of morality if you can not judge where it came from.

            Kalam argument: Destroyed by the fact that you leave out the possibility of there being an infinite number of causes that precede the cause we are investigating. That is equally as possible as a being that exists for infinity. Just because you can not fathom it, doesn’t mean it can not be. The same argument you use for your God.

            As long as there is at least one other possibility for an argument that can not be falsified, you do not have proof for anything. And even if you don’t have that other possibility, there is a chance that we have missed a crucial component, hypothesis, or piece of evidence (which is why scientific theory is capable of correcting itself).

            “Premise 1 supported by the fact that “out of nothing, nothingcomes,” otherwise, anything and everything could come from nothing, and experience confirms this”

            Great. So there is something before the Big Bang…. only that the Big Bang event has such a high gravitational pull that time reaches infinity. So how do you define “before” the Big Bang? Even THEN, there could be a cause that becomes apparent that has a beginning, which has a cause that becomes apparent that has a beginning, which has a cause that becomes apparent that has a beginning. ad infinitum.

            Also, you are correct in the notion that nothing has created nothing before based on what we know. You know what has also not happened? We have not found an eternal creator that lives outside of space and time. So I think the two non-plausible arguments cancel each other out. If that is even possible. Quadruple negative?

            As for your Hitler excuses, you can only claim he was not a very good Christian. He CLAIMED to be Christian and he has a Catholic upbringing. He USED religion to motivate his troops. Everything else you put up there is irrelevant straw man. If he used your God to motivate people to kill people, what is to stop someone else from doing that.

            Atheism doesn’t have that concept to motivate anyone to kill.

            Your excuses above, assume that you are right and he is wrong about interpretation. I would even agree with you that is likely the case (at least I prefer your interpretation over his for obvious reasons). However, your interpretation doesn’t match every other Christian denominations interpretations, so I highly doubt you can be a spokesperson to determine if he is a Christian or not based on his beliefs if he is declaring himself as one.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “You mean besides not having evidence for the source of morality existing in the first place?”

            Provided that with Kalam.

            “Destroyed by the fact that you leave out the possibility of there being an infinite number of causes that precede the cause we are investigating.”

            An actual infinite does not exist in reality. All we need is the First Uncaused Cause (in a finite list) to deal with. So, if, for instance, the (unobserved and arguably unobservable) multiverse caused the universe to come into existence, then the BGV Theorem applies equally to the multiverse and the First Uncaused Cause is the Creator of the multiverse.

            “As long as there is at least one other possibility for an argument that can not be falsified, you do not have proof for anything.”

            That is only true for a purely mathematical proof. We are talking plausibility here. So, I gave you evidence for the God Hypothesis, now you must come up with evidence for the No God Hypothesis. If you cannot do that, then it is not rational to be an atheist, because you would have no reason, other than emotion or the Cosmic Authority Problem, to believe your worldview.

            “there is a chance that we have missed a crucial component, hypothesis, or piece of evidence (which is why scientific theory is capable of correcting itself).”

            That sounds like “science of the gaps.” The scientific evidence we have right now overwhelmingly supports Premise 2 and most atheists affirm it, even Hawking. Here is the totally brilliant Vilenkin:

            “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men
            and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning” Alexander Vilenkin (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

            “So there is something before the Big Bang”

            You actually cannot use the term “before” here, because there was no time without the Big Bang (or creation).

            “Even THEN, there could be a cause that becomes apparent that has a beginning, which has a cause that becomes apparent that has a beginning, which has a cause that becomes apparent that has a beginning. ad infinitum.”

            Not possible. Actual infinities cannot exist in reality, only as abstract mathematical objects. The brilliant mathematician David Hilbert proved this with Hilbert’s Hotel.

            “We have not found an eternal creator that lives outside of space and time.”

            We have found TONS of evidence in support of Him though. And, of course, if by “found,” you mean “measured scientifically,” then that is not going to happen since, by consequence of the Big Bang, this Being must be timeless, spaceless and non-material. Science cannot operate on such a Being any more than science can operate on (or measure) minds or love or the square root of -1. So, your statement would be presuppositional on materialism, and we would need evidence again for the No God Hypothesis.

            “As for your Hitler excuses, you can only claim he was not a very good Christian.”

            No, my evidence proves that he denied Christ AND all of Christianity. You really think Hitler worshipped a Jew?!? Obama says he is a Christian too. 🙂 Can you name a Christian who took down crosses and replaced them with other symbols, like a swastika, who put Christians in prison? I mean, do you not realize how important crucifixes are to Catholics?!? I also noticed that you didn’t address the point that Hitler was doing the same thing then that atheist organizations are doing now and he was also a BIG fan of Darwinism. (As was Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.) 🙂

            “If he used your God to motivate people to kill people, what is to stop someone else from doing that.”

            That is sociology, not orthodoxy or orthopraxy. A couple of more quotes:

            “National Socialism and religion cannot exist together….
            The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…. Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.”

            “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”

            “Atheism doesn’t have that concept to motivate anyone to kill.”

            There is nothing objectively wrong with murder on atheism. 97% of atheists support abortion, which is clearly the murder of innocent defenseless human beings in the womb. Science has proven that. Stalin, Mao, etc were acknowledged atheists who behaved consistently with their worldview.

            “if he is declaring himself as one”

            Ever heard of winning votes?!? See Obama. 🙂 If a man professes that he worships a Jew and then spends years murdering 6 million of them after his election, would you pay more attention to his words or deeds? 🙂

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Your presupposition proves your presupposition? No.

            “An actual infinite does not exist in reality.”

            No, it can exist, but we have not encountered it, nor can we use it in math equations, so it isn’t something that we can prove. The point is I don’t know, and neither can you because there is more than one possibility that can be your Kalam creator.

            “That is only true for a purely mathematical proof. We are talking plausibility here. So, I gave you evidence for the God Hypothesis, now you must come up with evidence for the No God Hypothesis.”

            So your Kalam argument only makes your God possible? Well, I could have told you that. But it doesn’t PROVE a god exists, and it definitely says NOTHING about your God. And no. I do not have any requirement or obligation to prove your sky fairy exists.

            “Not possible. Actual infinities cannot exist in reality,”

            Please provide your evidence that infinity can not exist specifically in the case for the universe. Time becomes infinite as we approach the Big Bang so you can not prove a beginning there, and we have not encountered the end of the universe. There is way too much we do not know for anyone to make assertions about the universes creator.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “No, it can exist,”

            Prove it! David Hilbert proved otherwise. No kidding, if you take down his proof, you will win a Nobel and I will be the first to congratulate you!

            “because there is more than one possibility that can be your Kalam creator”

            But, we agree that whatever it is, the Creator is spaceless, timeless, non-material, immensely powerful, has personal free
            will, and is self-existing, right?

            “But it doesn’t PROVE a god exists”

            To the extent one is willing to be rational and rely on science and logic, yes it does. (see above)

            “it definitely says NOTHING about your God”

            Except for spaceless, timeless, non-material, immensely powerful, has personal freewill, and is self-existing. Sounds like at least a strong subset of my God’s attributes, no?!?

            ” I do not have any requirement or obligation to prove your sky fairy exists.”

            I didn’t ask that. I asked for your justification for being an atheist: what evidence can you bring to the table to support the No God Hypothesis? You are an entrenched atheist – an unrepentant one. You must have rational reasons for that, right?

            “Please provide your evidence that infinity can not exist specifically in the case for the universe.”

            Why do I have to provide all the evidence when YOU provide none?!? You don’t get to just sit back and whine “I lack belief in a sky fairy, I lack belief.” You need to bring something to the table, if you hold your worldview based on rational thought.

            (sigh, sorry for the rant) OK, no actual infinities – a short video (take the spaces out):

            https://www .youtube .com/watch?v=Uj3_KqkI9Zo

            “Time becomes infinite”

            Not actually infinite – see above.

            ” so you can not prove a beginning there”

            Take it up with YOUR side – I DID prove it – thanks to science and math:

            “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men
            and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning” Alexander Vilenkin (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            “Prove it! David Hilbert proved otherwise. No kidding, if you take down his proof, you will win a Nobel and I will be the first to congratulate you!”

            Actually, you have to show me where David Hilbert actually proved it. I went looking for it, and other than defining transfinite numbers and finding new ways to work with infinite numbers (Hilbert’s Hotel), there does not seem to be anything about him proving infinity does not (and can not) exist.

            Hilbert’s Hotel shows that 2n where n is each of his “rooms” can take any infinite number and be able to add an infinite number to it. Of course that still equals an infinite number. All we have really learned is it is difficult to near impossible to work mathematics with infinite numbers.

            “This latter fact is well known, however, and shows nothing about whether it is logically impossible to have actual infinities in the real world. … Craig fails to show that there is anything logically inconsistent about an actual infinity existing in reality.” ~ Michael Martin

            You see, it says Craig did not prove infinity is impossible. Craig needs to prove that infinity can not exist in order for Kalam argument to be possible. Otherwise his 2nd premise is flawed.

            “But, we agree that whatever it is, the Creator is spaceless, timeless, non-material, immensely powerful, has personal freewill, and is self-existing, right?”

            Nope. Please see above. If William Lane Craig hasn’t addressed this properly, do you think you could? I believe there might be some award somewhere for you. 😉

            “To the extent one is willing to be rational and rely on science and logic, yes it does. (see above)”

            Don’t get science mixed up with philosophy. Philosophy comes up with concepts and logical thought, science tests it in the real world. Kalam has not been tested.

            “You must have rational reasons for that, right?”

            Yep. Because I have as much evidence for a god or gods as I do for underwear gnomes, unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster, Cthulu, ghosts, and dragons as I do for gods. I don’t have any reason to believe in the former, so why would I believe the latter?

            “OK, no actual infinities – a short video (take the spaces out):”

            Um, watched the whole video. It shows just how HARD it is to work with infinite numbers and shows how Hilbert worked out math with low level infinite numbers, but NOTHING about it being impossible in math or in reality.

            “Not actually infinite – see above.”

            What about Hilbert’s Hotel proves that time does not become infinite immediately before the Big Bang event?

            “Why do I have to provide all the evidence when YOU provide none?!?”

            Actually you did the work for me. You see, Hilbert’s hotel is about WORKING WITH INFINITE VALUES!!!!!!!

            That means Hilbert believes infinite concepts exists. Just because it is hard doesn’t make it impossible. It exists in math, and we can not prove that time is not infinite.

            You should also look upon the B-Theory of time. Yet another theory that would defeat the Kalam argument.

            “Take it up with YOUR side – I DID prove it – thanks to science and math:”

            Um. I don’t think I would call Vilenkin “my side”. He merely comes up with a untested theory that a creator may exist. Nothing was proven by him. What he is saying is that scientists can no longer assume the universe is eternal (says nothing about the multiverse), so they must now research and determine the creation of the universe.

            So lets say you and I are standing on a road. We are on foot with enough sustenance to travel where ever we need to go. Down the road, ten thousand miles away, there is a door with the answer to the creation of the universe. Where as you would stand there and rationalize in your head that we can figure it out right where we stand, and that you have the answer already (God). I’d prefer to take the first step of many and walk to check out the door for myself. I may come to the same conclusion you do eventually for all I know, but don’t you think it would be a good idea to look and figure out the details for ourselves?

            Thanks for the info on Hilbert’s Hotel. It was fascinating to learn about.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “All we have really learned is it is difficult to near impossible to work mathematics with infinite numbers.”

            Well, if it is hard to near impossible to work mathematics with abstract infinite objects, just how is it easier to do it with ACTUAL infinite numbers? In fact, the Hilbert Hotel paradox DOES indeed show that it cannot be actual – didn’t you see the absurd examples? Do you really think a hotel with the sign “No Vacancies / Plenty of Rooms Available” is a reasonable place for you to be? 🙂

            Meanwhile, I still have the BGV Theorem as my trump card here. You don’t get to try to talk your way out of that one. And, isn’t it weird that I am the only one providing anything of substance in this debate? I mean, where is all that No God Hypothesis science and logic and stuff? If you guys are the “rational” ones, how come I am the only one coming to the table with science and logic and philosophy, etc? (Oh wait, I looked below and you actually did bring some meat to the table – at least a little – please forgive.)

            “You see, it says Craig did not prove infinity is impossible. Craig needs to prove that infinity can not exist in order for Kalam argument to be possible. Otherwise his 2nd premise is flawed.”

            Not at all! (And certainly not because Martin asserted it.) The second premise relies on Big Bang, cosmic background radiation, 2nd Law of Thermo, positive inflation rate of the universe, and BGV Theorem – even if you discard the actual infinities argument. Even Vilenkin asserts a beginning as does Hawking:

            “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men
            and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning” Alexander Vilenkin (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

            “Kalam has not been tested.”

            Kalam has been shown to be more than highly plausible USING science, math, etc. It is infinitely more than what you have given me for the No God Hypothesis.

            “Because I have as much evidence for a god or gods as I do for underwear gnomes, unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster, Cthulu, ghosts, and dragons as I do for gods. I don’t have any reason to believe in the former, so why would I believe the latter?”

            That’s an argument from silence. Not good. I will actually throw you a bone and provide some good examples from YOUR side if you reply to this and remind me. That way, you can be prepared to stump a weak Christian apologist. But not me. 🙂

            “It shows just how HARD it is to work with infinite numbers and shows how Hilbert worked out math with low level infinite numbers, but NOTHING about it being impossible in math or in reality.”

            False. No Vacancies / Plenty of Rooms Available. 🙂 Do you really have to deny the Law of Non-Contradiction to remain in your atheism?

            “What about Hilbert’s Hotel proves that time does not become infinite immediately before the Big Bang event?”

            Actual infinities lead to a violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction. But, if you want to deny logic… 🙂

            “That means Hilbert believes infinite concepts exists.”

            Infinite concepts, yes, actual infinites, no. Unless you want to check back into Hilbert’s Funny Farm, where there are No Vacancies / Plenty of Padded Cells Available. 🙂 (Am I having too much fun and ticking you off at the same time?!? :-))

            “You should also look upon the B-Theory of time.”

            B-Theory is a legitimate concern – if it is for real. I think that there are other problems with it for your side, but, right now, that might be a legitimate potential way out for the unbeliever. Do you mind if I put off discussing it at this point? (I just ordered a great book on it for my birthday with a gift card, and I want to be coherent, or at least reasonably so when I discuss it.) But, yes, it is a legitimate issue – there is always an out (for both sides) and right now I think that with respect to Kalam, this is the best out. Good research on that. (Even if you did pull it off of wiki. :-))

            Oh, almost forgot. Let’s see your proof that B-Theory of time is correct. Since you know so much about it. 🙂

            “I don’t think I would call Vilenkin “my side”. He merely comes up with a untested theory that a creator may exist. Nothing was proven by him.”

            You are correct – he is more open-minded than you, as he is an agnostic, not an a theist. Just kidding! 🙂 The BGV Theorem is a formal PROOF, so yes, he DID prove it. Here is a related and more recent paper by Vilenkin and a co-author – quite good actually (just take the space out) – it covers most of the same stuff:

            http://arxiv .org/pdf/1204.4658.pdf

            “I may come to the same conclusion you do eventually for all I know, but don’t you think it would be a good idea to look and figure out the details for ourselves?”

            I actually like your analogy – quite good. But, here are two problems – not with your great analogy but with the philosophy behind it:

            A. You and I might be dead tomorrow. If our next state depends on what we do today, then would it not be wise to base our decisions on the best available evidence right now, assuming that we have reasonably good stuff available?

            B. Science over the past 150 years has moved us ever closer to completely closing off the idea of a past eternal universe and in favor of Premise 2. I do not think that is going to reverse itself (but I am open to the possibility of it) AND we do know it is going to be difficult (impossible?) for science to operate on non-material, timeless, spaceless states. I think that however closer we get to the final answer will be baby steps from where we are now – given the incredible distance that we have come from.

            “Thanks for the info on Hilbert’s Hotel. It was fascinating to learn about.”

            I’m glad you liked it! One of my Master’s is in mathematics, so I use (used?) the concept of infinity all the time, but we always made sure we caveat-ed everything by saying that it could not be actualized – due to Hilbert. Great talking with you again, UA – you are on fire today! And thanks for putting up with my silliness in our exchanges today! You are a nice egg.

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Here we have a prime example of Christian logic:

            Christian: Look, Hilbert is showing a hotel to represent infinite numbers.

            Atheist: Um, and? The hotel is a representation to make it easy for the layman to understand what he is talking about.

            Christian: But don’t you see? Hotels can’t be infinite! So Infinity can not exist!

            Atheist: *facepalm*

            *Hilbert rolls over in his grave*

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Haha! At first I laughed, then I cried. I trained you to make up better strawmen than this, UA – just kidding! 🙂 OK, let’s take it in two pieces.

            1. You are correct that this is a mere representation of an infinite hotel. You are also correct that hotels cannot be actually infinite, because if there was such a hotel, in order to take a picture of it, we would have to back up an infinite distance (no matter how small the rooms are), and the universe is a finite size. So, thus far, thus good, your strawman is still alive, but is about to be knocked down.

            But, where you err is that my conclusion is that infinity cannot exist. Infinity DOES exist (I know, I’ve seen it! “Dry land is not a myth!” :-)) – but only as an abstract mathematical concept, not as an actual entity, in the sense that it could be actualized, say in a hotel or in past time, etc. I am not aware of a mathematician who would disagree with me here, but I will try to find one. This is actually why we talk about limits in mathematics and make it clear that even the limit is not actualized, we just get closer and closer to it the further we go. But it is NEVER actually reached.

            2. The bigger problem with your strawman is in the interpretation of Hilbert’s Hotel. The Hilbert Hotel Paradox shows that a hotel with an infinite number of rooms can be completely filled (No Vacancy), yet each time a new type of infinite customer class shows up, some of which are infinities of a much higher order, they can be accommodated (Plenty of Rooms Available). This is precisely the absurdity that Hilbert intended to show. In a nutshell, in order for you to believe that an infinity can be actualized, you MUST give up the Law of Non-Contradiction (by accepting “No Vacancies / Plenty of Rooms Available”), which is the basis for rational (logical) thought.

            I hope that helps. This has been truly fun – I have enjoyed the exchange. Great talking with you again, UA – keep up the great thinking!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            Hilbert’s Hotel is about the equations. Why do I know this? Because infinite numbers and the issues that come with it have always been absurd. Hilbert doesn’t need his hotel example to show this. The hotel example was an example of what values to use to be able to work with such crazy concepts. So in the case of his hotel, the value of (2n) can increase the number of rooms to accommodate an additional infinity worth of people. He then goes to show how to use a similar equation (something to do with exponents, don’t remember the figure) to work with an infinite number of buses filled with an infinite number of people. This was about the math, not the theory.

            The point is that you used this as an example of how infinity was proven not to exist in the universe. This does not prove it, so Hilbert’s Hotel is in itself a logical fallacy when used as evidence for this. While there may be some evidence you are correct, this was the incorrect way to show it.

            The only argument defending your opinion that I can see is the fact that we have not as of yet seen a real life infinite event/concept/entity/object in the natural universe.

            However, infinity is indeed a possibility. Whether it is used in the breakdown of the Theory of Relativity near the Big Bang event, describing a recurring singular universe, or discussing a multiverse, it adds alternate scenarios that Kalam does not address.

            You see, the concept of “The universe has a beginning”, is flawed because it requires a measurable time to begin. Yet we know in science that time approaches infinite values right before/during the big bang. This makes it impossible to determine the beginning. We can measure to right after the Big Bang event.

            We have concepts here that are very difficult to understand, and the best and brightest among us do not have all the answers yet. However, it is those scientists that lead the way. Why don’t we let them do their work, and see what comes out of it. It may take a few years, maybe even decades, but the answer will be very important not only to us, but our children.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Hey, UA – yes we are much closer on this for sure – very good. Let me pick a couple of nits with you, because infinity is kind of fascinating – we can get into a variety of types of infinities too, different categories AND different “quantities” of infinities, but I will leave that for later:

            “Because infinite numbers and the issues that come with it have always been absurd.”

            That is largely true, maybe mostly true, especially in the pure mathematics field, but I just wanted to point out one non-absurd use (there are others) for infinity:

            limit (as x goes to infinity) [(7x^2 + x -100)/(2x^2 – 5x)] = 7/2 = 3.5

            So, x cannot ACTUALLY reach infinity, and therefore, the expression on the LHS cannot ACTUALLY reach 3.5. Yet, we have a finite upper bound on what that expression can reach. These kinds of things are important in a lot of applications, especially optimization problems, my specialty. So, I wanted you to know that although we are using the strange concept of infinity, we can get non-absurd answers that are useful, say, in engineering design and other areas.

            I know you are familiar with this kind of stuff, so I promise you, I am NOT talking down to you. I just think it is pretty fascinating that a strange or absurd concept such as infinity can be useful in practical problems. Everything else you said on that point was spot on.

            “The point is that you used this as an example of how infinity was proven not to exist in the universe.”

            I want to be clear here. I believe that infinity DOES exist as an abstract mathematical concept (just like the square root of -1 or tensors or derivatives or partial differential equations, etc) but that this abstract mathematical concept cannot be ACTUALIZED in the real world. Just like in that equation above. We see that infinity exists as a concept – a useful concept, but it can never be reached (by x). We can put huge numbers in for x in that LHS expression, but we still will not be even close to infinity for the value of x. Yet, we will get closer and closer – MUCH closer more quickly – to 3.5 on the RHS until we see that the expression is asymptotic to it. But, x never ACTUALLY reaches infinity. It could not reach -infinity either, so if the universe were past eternal, we never would have got to the point we are at now, the present. (Let that sink in for a moment as to why. :-))

            Now, I learned from some research I did yesterday that there is a growing number (but still minority) of mathematicians who do not believe that infinity exists even as an abstract mathematical concept! Actually, there are a number of philosophers who do not believe that ANY abstract mathematical concepts or objects exist. There we get into a discussion of abstraction and metaphysical ontology, but I just want to say that I, as a design engineer (with a Master’s in math too) believe that infinity exists in the abstract – mostly because it is so useful to me. I just am sure that it cannot be actualized, and I like the way that Hilbert’s Hotel paradox shows the kinds of absurd results when we DO try to actualize infinity.

            In fact, this applicability of abstract mathematical objects to the ACTUAL physical world is one more proof that is advanced for the existence of God. I remember, as an atheist, while getting my math Masters looking at the relative simplicity and yet remarkable widespread applicability of these equations and noting their immense beauty and wondering just how in the world such things could so near-perfectly represent reality! It reeks of design. One short article on this very subject:

            http://www .equip .org/article/god-and-the-unreasonable-effectiveness-of-mathematics/

            Even if you don’t like this Hotel argument for why past eternality for the universe cannot work, the BGV Theorem takes care of all of the current plausible cosmological models for our universe.

            “Yet we know in science that time approaches infinite values right before/during the big bang. This makes it impossible to determine the beginning. We can measure to right after the Big Bang event.”

            This is true! And, is due to the Planck Time. But, it does not affect the BGV Theorem.

            “However, it is those scientists that lead the way. Why don’t we let them do their work, and see what comes out of it.”

            Oh, I am not anti-science – I’ve got 4 degrees that depend on science to prove it. I especially want them to have at it, because the past 150 years have added more and more evidence for a cosmological beginning. (BGV all but assures it.) But, I think that, at some point, we have climbed 95% of the mountain and can see the top up close. Science is incapable of going back before the initial Planck Time, because at some point, time, space, and matter did not exist, and science needs at least one of these (and usually all 3) in order to function at all.

            “It may take a few years, maybe even decades, but the answer will be very important not only to us, but our children.”

            Yes, but you and I have to make a call right now as to which hypothesis is more plausible (not proven, but plausible): the No God Hypothesis or the God Hypothesis. Otherwise we get into a “science of the gaps” argument, which I know you are not advancing here, but some atheists, who are not good evidentialists like you are, do advance that. Of course, there are plenty of blind faith Christians too, versus evidentialists like myself. So, I am not picking on atheists here.

            Great discussion – awesome really – thanks, UA!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            The more complex the math, the more you lose me. My field is in Web Development, so while I understand some complex math issues, you are probably well more versed in the more challenging equations than I am.

            I don’t consider you picking on Atheists. You are one of the few people that actually try to use facts to prove your points. I don’t agree with some of what you say, however, I respect intelligence and feel that with enough evidence eventually we may come to a consensus someday, even if we don’t have enough information now to securely convince the other. If anything, it makes me more curious about the science behind it, and just having to have had to look some subjects up I have learned from our discussion.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “My field is in Web Development”

            Yes, I knew I was dealing with someone smart, because you kept putting some good obstacles out there for me! I was bragging on you somewhere else on this site to a fellow Christian.

            You might also enjoy the Argument from Unconditioned Reality, because it is purely logical and is built on complete disjunctives – it’s really quite extraordinary and the one that I think those in software would like the most. I just came across it in the last few months and was blown away by it and its implications. Here is one good site that goes through it, but there are others:

            http://www .strangenotions .com/why-must-there-be-at-least-one-unconditioned-reality/

            Robert J. Spitzer’s book does a slightly better job – with its diagrams and all – they remind me a little of flowcharts from my engineering coding days. (BASIC and FORTRAN – yes, really. I was there when PC’s first came out – to the public anyway. :-))

            “just having to have had to look some subjects up I have learned from our discussion”

            And me too – that is why I like you so much – you push me! Here are two sites you might enjoy that have some folks going through some arguments on this kind of stuff – I think they are both Christian, but invite atheists:

            http://winteryknight .com/

            https://atheistforum .wordpress .com/

            Keep up the great thinking, UA!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            All humor aside from my other post regarding this….

            “False. No Vacancies / Plenty of Rooms Available.”

            That is the challenge of infinite numbers. Essentially he is using the rooms as a array that has infinite number of possibilities. So if you fill it up with an infinite number (ie. # of people = rooms), and both are infinite, what happens in math if you add something to infinity. Technically it should not be possible because the rooms are full. But the catch is that the rooms are infinite so there is no limit to its number, so there should be a way to put the people into rooms. Hilbert’s Hotel indicates THE EQUATION to deal with this issue. It is a SOLUTION for specific problems when dealing with infinite numbers

            So it does not prove infinity doesn’t exist.

            I feel kinda bad, because that video was AMAZING on how simple it made a math problem that stumped mathematicians for centuries. However, no matter how much I look at it, I see nothing regarding of proving that infinity doesn’t exist in the real world. It doesn’t even address that issue.

            The contradiction is a moot point, because the full rooms would only be relevant to this as a rational number. Since you are talking about the concept of the infinite, it does not apply. This contradiction does not indicate how infinity would apply in the real world.

            BGV Theorem — Much better than the Kalam argument. This actually relies on science. I’m proud of you. I wasn’t aware of this article and looked it up. I found an interesting quote in there:

            Where Dr. Craig says that the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem implies the universe had a beginning, that is false. That is not what it says. What it says is that our ability to describe the universe classically, that is to say, not including the effects of quantum mechanics, gives out. That may be because there’s a beginning or it may be because the universe is eternal, either because the assumptions of the theorem were violated or because quantum mechanics becomes important.

            http://www. wall. org/~aron/blog/did-the-universe-begin-iii-bgv-theorem/

            Which was my argument against the Kalam argument all along.

            A. There is no evidence for your afterlife, and instead the evidence that your personality, consciousness, emotion and memories are located in your brain, and your brain functions on a electrochemical process. When you die your brain rots, and there is no known way to maintain the information that comprises of “you”. So I am relying on the best possible evidence.

            B. Well, if science leads us to your conclusion, then so be it, I will congratulate you and be on my way. Till then, I will rely on evidence to develop my view of the universe and its creation IF it was created.

            PS: If your major was Mathematics, how the heck did you get that infinity was impossible from Hilbert’s hotel?

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “That is the challenge of infinite numbers.”

            No, that is the challenge of the Law of Non-Contradiction. HUGE difference.

            “So it does not prove infinity doesn’t exist.”

            Infinity exists – I never said otherwise. I have used it all the time. It exists as an abstract mathematical concept – not as an actualization. Once you claim to actualize it, you are throwing out the Law of Non-Contradiction, the foundation for logical (rational) thought. Not a good place for even an atheist to be. We Christians have Higher Standards! 🙂

            “This contradiction does not indicate how infinity would apply in the real world.”

            Yes, it does, because it shows that IF you could actualize infinity, you would end up with situations that violate the Law of Non-Contradiction. (No Vacancy / Plenty of Rooms Available)

            “BGV Theorem — Much better than the Kalam argument.”

            BGV Theorem is used to support Premise 2 of Kalam. In fact, the BGV Theorem is the capstone of all of the 20th century work on cosmology – in which all manner of past eternal universal models bit the dust.

            “Where Dr. Craig says that the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem implies the universe had a beginning, that is false.”

            Oh, but, remember, it was agnostic Alexander Vilenkin who says that the universe had a beginning – and he is the “V” in BGV. 🙂 Craig is merely riding on his coattails:

            “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men
            and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning” Alexander Vilenkin (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

            “What it says is that our ability to describe the universe classically, that is to say, not including the effects of quantum mechanics, gives out.”

            No, that is NOT what it says, because the BGV Theorem is completely independent of the type of cosmological physical models for the universe when it was sub-atomic size. That is the beauty of it (and one reason why every Christian and doubter should know those 3 men’s names): it relies only on a positive inflationary rate for the universe – something that is observed and well-established. If Einstein’s General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics are superseded tomorrow, it will not affect BGV one iota. That is why I gave you the more recent Vilenkin paper to look at. I don’t rely on Craig – I go straight to the horse’s mouth – and Vilenkin is a stud (in an intellectual sense). 🙂

            “There is no evidence for your afterlife, and instead the evidence that your personality, consciousness, emotion and memories are located in your brain, and your brain functions on a electrochemical process.:

            Proof of Mind-Body Dualism:

            1. When I form the image in my mind of a red stop sign, my mental image is red. But no part of my physical brain turns red
            when I form the image in my mind.

            2. So, my mental state has a property—the property of redness—that my brain state lacks.

            3. If x has a property that y lacks, then x must not be identical with y.

            4. Therefore, my mental state is not identical with my brain state, i.e., my mental state and my brain state are two distinct
            entities.

            5. Since my mental state is a state of my mind and my brain state is a state of my brain, it follows that my mind has a property that my brain lacks, and so my mind is not identical with my brain, i.e., my mind and my brain are two different entities.

            “If your major was Mathematics, how the heck did you get that infinity was impossible from Hilbert’s hotel?”

            Not only a Master’s in Math, but the Highest Academic Achievement Award in the Graduate School of Science. But, who is bragging? 🙂

            Again, not the abstract concept of infinity – I used it all the time (see my last post), but an actualized concept. A limit is never achieved (just as the independent variable heads to infinity, but never ACTUALLY reaches infinity), merely approached.

            Nice talking with you again, UA – God bless!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            “When I form the image in my mind of a red stop sign, my mental image is red. But no part of my physical brain turns red
            when I form the image in my mind.”

            What? Why would your brain turn red? It isn’t a copy of the perceived world, but instead a translation of the information our five senses predict. This is affected by the filters they pass through (the lens in your eye for example), and then the translation the brain uses to comprehend and rationalize what you see/feel/hear etc.

            Red isn’t really even a property of an object, since color is merely the reflection of light on an object. For instance, the sky may be blue, but during certain times of the day it changes color based on the angle the suns light enters the atmosphere in. So in essence we are witnessing activity and not a physical property.

            Also, we know other creatures eyes see in much different ways which would differ from our vision. Some sight is devoid of color, or have eyes that work differently based on positioning to give a wider field but less detail. The variation is immense.

            So our brain is just getting the translation of the information received from our senses and translating it. It is much like a running computer. The information consists of 0s and 1s, but the computer translates it, and results in an image that is on the computer screen.
            So I don’t see the difference of how the brain processes that information, and what the mental “image” is that makes it support any of your argument. One has to do with the brain itself, and the other is the “output” the brain sends out. They are not comparable to one another because they are two completely different things that are related only by one being a result of the others actions.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Why would your brain turn red?”

            Leibniz’s Law. (Let M = Mind and B = Brain.)

            For any M and any B, if M is identical with B, then any characteristic or property possessed by M is possessed by B, and any characteristic or property possessed by B is possessed by M.

            If Mind and Brain are identical, then there must be an isomorphism (1-1 mapping in both directions) between the two. But, we do not see that.

            “One has to do with the brain itself, and the other is the “output” the brain sends out.”

            Where is it sending the output to? The Mind? Empty space?

            “They are not comparable to one another because they are two completely different things that are related only by one being a result of the others actions.”

            I agree 100%. But, isn’t that an argument FOR the non-identicality of the Mind and Brain, and, thus, Mind-Body dualism? Nice job again, UA – hope you are having a GREAT weekend!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            That doesn’t make sense. Our brain has the capability to not only store information, but to compute it and manage the input and output. It also has many functions that operate our bodies.

            So you are right, it isn’t the same because one is the byproduct of the other. However, that is irrelevant. Your brain is the physical organ that does the work, your mind is the byproduct of the brains activity. If your brain stops working, so does your mind.

            We see the effects of someone that has brain damage. It affect peoples memories and personality. Should we have a “spirit” or “soul” then brain damage could not affect us in that way, as our personality and memories would be tied to it instead. The things that makes individuals who they are.

            So your math is irrelevant.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            You are bringing your A-game tonight, UA!

            “Your brain is the physical organ that does the work, your mind is the byproduct of the brains activity. If your brain stops working, so does your mind. We see the effects of someone that has brain damage.”

            Yes, indeed. All that really shows, however, is the mind’s inability or reduced ability to interact (for physical beings, like humans or animals) with the physical world when you get a knock on the head. That is really not a very big surprise. For physical beings to interact with a physical environment, it is going to take a physical brain that functions physically. 🙂

            But, none of that says anything about the existence or non-existence of a non-physical mind or soul. And, it says even less about the existence of a Mind that is not embodied in a physical being, particularly as we have other good and independent evidence (Kalam, fine-tuning, Unconditioned Reality, etc) for the existence of such a Mind.

            Now, as I am typing out this response to you, it is not the product of the stimulation of my brain by a material source, but
            quite the reverse, my brain (or mind, if different) is stimulating the material response of my hands and fingers. What explains the choices I am making as I type these words? It is a purpose that I have set out for myself – NOT a materialistic stimuli. So, on free will, we have a difference between mind and body. If you say we have no free will, in reply, then how can you be even remotely sure that your thoughts are rational as they are nothing but molecules in motion? (That is a defeater of purely causal determination.)

            One study on this matter was performed by a doctor who asked his patient to hold his left hand down while the doctor
            stimulated that hand (externally, through the patients neurons) to try to lift it. The left hand started to go up, and the patient immediately placed his right hand over it to bring it back down. What explains the response of the right hand to the electrically stimulated left hand? Purpose and (non-material) mind.

            Here is a summary of some fascinating research being done by Sir Roger Penrose (an atheist-agnostic) and others pointing to the existence of a non-material soul by using quantum mechanics. I am NOT endorsing this view, just pointing out that it is not crazy stuff, and is quite intriguing. (Penrose, BTW, is arguably the most brilliant Renaissance man in science today – he came up with the odds against the fine-tuning by chance for our universe, a fantastic gift to theists. Along with Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, every theist and non-theist should know his name. They don’t make them like him anymore.):

            http://www .sott .net/article/271933-Scientists-claim-that-Quantum-Theory-proves-consciousness-moves-to-another-universe-at-death

            “So your math is irrelevant.”

            I think that the math was an argument for the impossibility of a past eternal universe, which seems to be very relevant to the discussion. And, besides, it helped me put two long-term spacecraft into orbit and do some other things that were quite helpful to others. So, it was relevant in that sense. 🙂

            Great talking with you again, UA – good points you brought up! And I will be getting back to you on the B-time theory too when I make it through a rather dense book. I’d like to know if that is a plausible escape hatch for the unbeliever or not, if it requires the acceptance of an absurdity. Have a great week!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            “Science cannot operate on such a Being”

            You are correct, by you Gods definition. However, by interacting with the natural world, there would be evidence of any action he takes here. This would be your miracles. There is zero evidence of a single miracle happening that can not be explained by nature or misperception.

            ” 97% of atheists support abortion”

            Please provide facts for this statement. This is unbelievable because there is plenty of non-religious argument both for and against abortion rights. And for the record, most people aren’t pro-abortion. Even pro-choice people often choose not to abort, they just don’t want the choice taken out of their hands. As a matter of fact, the majority of people seeking abortions are Christian families that are trying to avoid the shame of pre-marital conception.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “there would be evidence of any action he takes here. This would be your miracles.”

            Not if His major role is in sustaining (providing the sole Unconditioned Reality for) all things versus providing miracles to be your Cosmic Butler.

            “There is zero evidence of a single miracle happening that can not be explained by nature or misperception.”

            So, let me see if I understand your argument:

            Premise: God has not done a miracle that I cannot explain away by nature.

            Conclusion: Therefore, God does not exist.

            I am sure you can see that the conclusion does NOT follow from the premise.

            “Please provide facts for this statement.”

            http://www .secularcensus .us/BlogForChoice2012

            “And for the record, most people aren’t pro-abortion. Even pro-choice people”

            If you are pro-choice about abortion, you are pro-abortion. You consider it a “right” worth protecting – abortion on demand. What’s the matter, UA, have the PP videos been creeping you out? Is there something wrong with abortion?

            “As a matter of fact, the majority of people seeking abortions are Christian families”

            True, but now you are conflating sociology (behavior) with ontology (the existence of a Standard). Plus, Christians are under-represented in abortion by demographics. And committed Christians (ones that actually read the Bible) are way under-represented when it comes to abortion. (Of course, we are way under-represented in society too. :-))

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            “Ever heard of winning votes?!? See Obama. :-)”

            Very good. So you are admitting that anyone can use the teachings of your Bible to motivate people to commit genocide.

            Good thing crazy people like Hitler cant do that with Atheism, because there isn’t anything there to tell people to do that. That means he has to order it on his own, with his own will, and not be able to blame anyone else but himself. If he was an Atheist that is. Which he wasn’t by his own words. You can claim he wasn’t, but then you’d have to claim that ever person that doesn’t share your belief was also not Christian. That sir, is your opinion. He had his, and it cost millions their lives.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “So you are admitting that anyone can use the teachings of your Bible to motivate people to commit genocide.”

            UA, ANYONE can use ANY BOOK to do ANYTHING. They can use Dawkins books to support aborting Down syndrome children. (Which he supports, BTW.)

            But, the error you just committed is in implying that there is something objectively wrong, on atheism, for committing genocide! Not at all! Genocide is just an ice cream flavor in your world. (Which is why a-theists support abortion so much.)

            “Good thing crazy people like Hitler cant do that with Atheism, because there isn’t anything there to tell people to do that.”

            Oh, quite the contrary! The belief that there is no God (and thus, no One to hold them accountable) is what caused Stalin and Mao and Hitler and many others to kill tens of millions of people. Remember what your betters taught you: no objective good or evil on atheism. No reason NOT to commit atrocities.

            “Which he wasn’t by his own words. You can claim he wasn’t”

            So, thus far, you have not shown me how Hitler could worship a Jew (who said to treat others as we would want to be treated, no less) while knocking off 6 million Jews merely because they were Jews. 🙂 All of his actions – removing crosses (like atheists) persecuting Christians (like atheists), yet the man said he was a Christian in 1923, and you buy it. I have some swamp land you might be interested in too. 🙂

            “it cost millions their lives”

            Nothing wrong with that, on atheism. 🙂 See how many times you denied your atheism and acknowledged the existence of God by pointing to objective moral values and duties – in this one post! Atheism cannot be lived out. And that is what I finally figured out at 42. God bless you, UA!

          • Unrepentant Atheist

            If someone killed someone and claimed they did it because they were a Muggle (Harry Potter reference), then most people would declare him insane. Only when people act along religions motivations is it considered moral (or heretical depending on what side you are on). The insanity case is no longer made for some reason.

            He DOESN’T HAVE TO BELIEVE to use YOUR RELIGION to motivate people TO KILL. So it doesn’t matter what he believed (meaning outside of his own exact words, I can not show you). He claimed he did. He acted like he did. Only your interpretations of his actions as “not Christian”. I don’t claim to understand the crazy that is religious worship. I am not a believer. I am sure you will use your selective reading and over simplification to twist my words, but it wont make you right.

            ” persecuting Christians (like atheists)”

            Atheists do not persecute Christians. They oppose their dominance and defend their rights. I do not know how you have been “persecuted”. Have you been burned at a stake? Has Atheists fired you because of your beliefs? Have you been prevented from going to your Church and worshiping your sky fairy? Have you been forbidden to wear your symbolism? You are a fool. We will NEVER let you take control of this country. This is America. Land of the Free, and Christianity is about enslaving oneself to a dead man called Jesus. No freedom there.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “He claimed he did. He acted like he did. ”

            That’s the whole point: nowhere did he claim to worship a Jew while killing Jews in the Name of a Jew for being Jews. (Hey, that was pretty good – read that again. :-)) He said that Christianity was incompatible with National Socialism, he treated Christianity despicably by doing many of the same things atheists do today (removing crosses, and going after Christians’ personal property, and liberty – something NO Christian has EVER done in world history), and He knocked off 6 million Jews when his alleged savior was a Jew and the disciples were Jews and Paul was a Jew and most of the early Church was Jewish. So, everything he did, EXCEPT make a few speeches 10 years before he was elected, proved that he was anti-Christian. (Just like the Abortion President, I must add.)

            And nowhere have you been able to show how, in any objective sense, what he did was wrong on atheism.

            “Has Atheists fired you because of your beliefs?”

            They have certainly pushed for the firings of Christians who did not kowtow to the LGBT agenda – or who refused to set aside their right to religious freedom (not merely freedom of worship) in their public duties. I can link to dozens of examples just here in the US, if you like.

            “Have you been prevented from going to your Church and worshiping your sky fairy?”

            This shows that you do not understand the difference between religious freedom and freedom of worship. HUGE difference.

            “Have you been forbidden to wear your symbolism?”

            That HAS happened to Christians – mostly in the UK.

            “You are a fool.”

            That sounds like an ad hominem. 🙂 You sound upset: have you been watching the latest Planned Parenthood video? Ready to repent yet? 🙂

            “We will NEVER let you take control of this country.”

            On atheism, what is wrong, in an objective moral sense, with us taking control of the country?!? 🙂

            “Christianity is about enslaving oneself to a dead man called Jesus.”

            Is there something objectively morally wrong, on atheism, about me enslaving myself to Jesus?!? 🙂 It sounds like you have been having a tough day. It might be that for you “freedom” means “anything goes.” And on atheism, that is 100% true. But if “anything goes,” then you are not allowed to condemn Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc, and especially not Christians. Just saying. (You are not living up to your denial of Premise 2 of the Moral Argument, UA. :-))

            Great talking with you again, UA!

  • BarkingDawg

    It’s possible that the sale itself, as authorized by Congress is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

    • BigHobbit

      Only if the sale is not fair market value. As long as the value is equitable, the deal is fine.

  • Bill

    I’ll bet the majority of atheists still wont be happy…any takers?

    • Tara

      that’s a guarantee.

    • The Skeptical Chymist

      See my comment above as an example of an atheist who is happy with this outcome.

    • Nidalap

      History DOES tend to back you up on that! 🙂

    • Psygn

      As long as the property was open to any and all potential buyers and proper procedures were followed without favoritism, I don’t see a problem.
      Was this property on the market before this sale was made?

    • BBP Vas

      Heck no. Look at them, already wanting an investigation into the sale. LOL, they are mad.

      • Unrepentant Atheist

        If that is true (I haven’t seen that article yet), and everything was done above board, then you have nothing to worry about.

    • Unrepentant Atheist

      I’m happy. My taxes don’t have to go to support your monument anymore. Why would I not be happy?

  • Harry Oh!

    If there was a billboard of Miley Cyrus twerking on the site, it would be hailed as wonderful landmark. But put a cross there and that’s simply going too far. The complete lack of reason, and the breath-taking dishonesty displayed by the radical far left for what the cross represents and it’s place in our history, is too shocking for words. It’s sickening.

    • Nidalap

      It makes absolutely no sense until you put it through the spiritual filter. The people leading the anti-Christian fight are being compelled by outside forces…

      • Unrepentant Atheist

        Miley Cyrus twerking would be gross in my opinion, but not many share that.

        Miley Cyrus is not representing any religion so it would not appear that the government is choosing to favor one religion over another.

        If you want to scare yourself with mystical boogie men coming to take your religion away, that is fine. But if I were you, I’d worry about the more tangible and rational people then your Bibles myths.

      • gager

        Separating religion and government is not anti christian.

  • BBP Vas

    Outstanding!

  • Mark Moore

    If it was not sold to the highest bidder it is a corrupt deal.

  • DNelson

    A great solution.

  • BigHobbit

    The correct solution, finally. The govt could not be the owner, nor could it just give the land away – it would violate the constitution. Selling it at fair market value is just right. Could have been done decades ago.