Sophisticated theologian with science training: Jesus is like dark matter

December 28, 2011 • 6:30 am

Via Russell Blackford at Metamagician, we have an accommodationist piece in The Drum Opinion by Alister McGrath, “Science is about explanation, religion is about meaning.” McGrath is a professor of theology at King’s College London and President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (note to thelogians: ditch the word “apologetics”), and has written several books, including Darwin and the Divine and Surprised by Meaning, (a clear allusion to C. S. Lewis’s autobiography; indeed, McGrath is writing a biography of the man).

McGrath also has a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics, and so should know something about how science works. But you couldn’t prove that from this piece, which evinces four of the six characteristics shown by theologians who try to comport science with religion (I listed the six in my debate with John Haught).  I will now call this theological strategy religionism.  Here are the 4/6:

  • Assert that science and faith are complementary ways of getting at the truth, and so should be friends.  McGrath is a NOMA-ist:
“If science is about explanation, religion is thus about meaning. Science helps us to appreciate the wonder of individual aspects of the universe; religion to see, however dimly, the “big picture” of which they are part.”
Dimly indeed!
  • Show that religion answers real questions about the world. Never mind that while theology is perfectly capable of “posing” or “addressing” questions, it’s not capable of answering them.  That’s proven by the fact that every religion has different “answers.”  McGrath:

“As Richard Dawkins rightly observes in his recent Magic of Reality, there’s something wonderful about the universe. The inspiring beauty of the night sky, solemn arctic landscapes, or a magnificent sunset fill us with wonder.

Yet they also make us ask deep questions. Where did everything come from? What’s it all about? What’s the point of life? These are questions that intrigue both science and religious faith, especially those who find delight and satisfaction in both. . .

Christians have always held that their faith makes sense of the enigmas and riddles of our experience. It’s not about running away from reality, or refusing to think about things (to mention two shallow popular stereotypes of faith.”

There’s no mention, of course, of the problem that “what makes sense” of things isn’t necessarily true.  Richard Feynman argued that science is the best way to prevent people from fooling themselves about the truth.  Using the “what-makes-sense” criterion is a sure way to fool yourself.

  • Criticize science for its failings.  In this case, the failing of science—as compared to faith—is that our answers may not be timeless.  As McGrath notes:

“But science is ultimately about a method – a way of making sense of things. Its outcomes change down the ages. Its interim reports are always important and interesting, but they are also provisional. A century ago, most scientists thought that the universe had always been here. Now, we believe it had a beginning.”

The implication here is that the truths of faith never change, and that’s an improvement over science. Well, the provisional nature of scientific truth is something I don’t have to defend, for how can you find out what’s true about the universe unless you can continually question what you know, and strive to prove our understanding? But it’s invidious to suggest that religious truths are unchanging.  It’s just that their change doesn’t come from within theology—from any greater understanding of God—but from the findings of science (e.g., evolution) or changes in secular morality (e.g., recognition of the rights of women and gays).

For Christians, faith is not a blind leap into the dark, but a joyful discovery of a bigger and clearer picture of things, of which we are part.

  • Show that just like religion, science is based on faith.  This is a slight variant of claim #3.  If the New Atheists are going to claim that there’s no evidence for God or the tenets of any religion, then accommodationists like McGrath can just argue that science is no better than religion in this respect.  McGrath’s unfortunate example is dark matter:

“Some atheist scientists ridicule Christians for believing in a God whose existence cannot be proved. Yet science regularly posits the existence of things whose existence cannot be proved to make sense of our observations.

Thus we infer the existence of dark matter from observations that would otherwise be puzzling. We can’t see it, and we can’t prove it’s there. Yet this doesn’t stop most leading astronomers from accepting its existence.

We can’t see it; we can’t touch it; we can’t smell it; and we can’t hear it. Yet many scientists argue that it’s the only meaningful explanation of observed gravitational effects. Where the naive demand proof, the wise realise that this is limited to logic and mathematics.”

Well, putting aside that scientists don’t demand proof, but provisional yet well-supported answers, let us take up the issue of whether dark matter is like Jesus.  I’m not a physicist, of course, and it would be onerous and time-consuming for me to look up all the scientific research on dark matter.

Fortunately, we’re about to be treated to another Marshall McLuhan moment, for I have someone right behind this sign who knows a ton about dark matter, about how its existence is a scientific hypothesis, and how scientists are actually trying to test for its existence.  Yes, I have behind this sign the physicist Sean Carroll, who has written extensively about dark matter on his website Cosmic Variance.  And what Carroll says to McGrath is essentially this: “I’ve heard what you are saying. You know nothing about dark matter.”

I sent Sean McGrath’s article and asked for his thoughts on the “dark matter = faith” claim. Here’s Sean’s answer, with a lot of links if you want to read about dark matter—and you should certainly read the last link.

I suspect Alastair McGrath might be a double agent. If you wanted to highlight the intellectual superficiality of how modern theologians talk about God, you could hardly do better than to contrast it with how modern physicists talk about dark matter. For one thing,  science never “proves” anything at all (as I talk about here).

For another thing, we’re trying very hard to find direct evidence of dark matter:

Guest post: Juan Collar on dark matter detection.

Has Fermi seen new evidence for dark matter?

Guest post: Neal Weiner on the era of dark matter direct detection.”

Dark matter is just messing with us now.

And we’re always looking for alternatives that might do a better job, and discarding models that don’t work:

Dark matter vs. modified gravity.

Looking for dark matter in all the wrong places.

Dark matter: still dark.

Dark matter: just fine, thanks.

But those alternatives don’t catch on, because the dark matter hypothesis makes very specific predictions, which are tested and come out right:

Dark matter exists.

Guest post:  Evalyn Gates on comic magnification (or invasion of the giant blue space amoebas).

Mapping the dark matter.

So to repeat the obvious, dark matter is nothing like God. [JAC: do read at least the post at this link]

Sorry for the long list of links. So much silliness, there’s just too much to say, it’s hard to know where to start. –Sean

Thanks, Sean, for looking those up.  And so another Sophisticated Theologian® is shown up for what he is: somebody who dissimulates and trashes science to advance his faith in the Baby Jesus.

313 thoughts on “Sophisticated theologian with science training: Jesus is like dark matter

  1. “…time is too precious, and the harvest of living extravagances nods too heavily to my sickle, that I should blunt it upon straw and stubble.”

    – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1842)

  2. I love the way Christianity claims to answer the deep questions. In my experience, whenever you start asking questions that even threaten to stray outside Christianity’s preferred environment of the intellectual shallows, the ‘answers’ consist of 1) It’s a mystery 2) We cannot know the mind of God or 3) We mustn’t question the will of God.

    Thanks, Christianity. How ever would we cope without you?

      1. Here. I’ll have a go.

        What’s with this fascination y’all have with zombies?

        I mean, there’s Lazarus, there’s the great zombie uprising of 33 at the moment of Jesus’s death, there’s Jesus himself (complete with him ordering Thomas to fondle his intestines through his gaping chest wound), there’s the apocalypse when all the dead rise from their graves, and there’s the after-death when the select few get to join the Zombie of Zion himself while the rest of the zombies get tortured by Satan.

        And you do know, don’t you, that the zombies in your head are no more real than the monsters under your bed, right?



        1. Greetings Ben,

          I briefly looked over the comments on this post and find the questions being asked are a lot like yours, not real questions but more like someone announcing a position they’ve already settled in their minds. They are not really looking for answers, but more interested in reveling in the exercise of rhetorical debates. From earliest age I’ve always been intrigued by Jesus’ silence when Pilot mockingly asked him the question: what is truth? I think there are two sets of people: one seeking answer, and the other seeking a debate. When people are ready to be piercingly honest they can and will get to know God. I think anyone who liberally throws around pejoratives, and mock at the very subject they say they want to know about is kidding themselves. If I mockingly style something as stupid and intellectually unattractive, doesn’t that kinda make you then look foolish to want to make any serious inquiry into that foolish thing?

          On the subject of zombies what you are looking at is what the mathematical predictions of science is actually bearing out; though I don’t pretend to understand all of what they are reporting. There is no distinction between past, present and future. Even the conservative Einstein said that reality is only an illusion, a very persistent one. When you look at the models of space time continuum, you don’t really have to be a genius to see how what we think is hardwired reality may really not be. What is past isn’t gone, and the future isn’t waiting to happen, but they are all a together. I can never understand why when folks can’t seem to make sense of spiritual matters the default response is to (lets all have a good laugh at this foolishness).

          When scientists come upon things that require them to even suspend their congenital concepts of reality, they readily step up to the challenge. People pondering the question of God just punk out at the drop of a hat. I think people don’t take God seriously enough so he does doesn’t respond to them seriously; like Pilot asking “what’s truth”. When quantum particle physicists are looking for particles in a test result and find waves instead; they take the task seriously, they don’t retire. Although their entire knowledge base tells them that the both phenomenon are mutually exclusive in their fundamental nature, they willingly discard even what they know to be factual and so doing discover the new frontier of particle probability waves. The way we treat the subject of God is so disrespectful I just can’t see why he’d want to show up to be crucified all over again for our amusement.


          1. Alright, I’ll bite. Why be crucified in the first place? Why is sacrifice, specifically human sacrifice, a remedy for thought-crime (why is that even a crime)? If Jesus was a god, was it even a sacrifice? To know that you’ll be walking around again a few days later isn’t giving up your life for anything. To know that you’ll be living for eternity as a god is certainly not, so I don’t understand why it is regarded as such & spoken of with reverence by so many. If you’ll forgive my reductio ad absurdum, it’s practically a parlour trick for an all-powerful eternal being.
            And if you’re in a talkative mood, I’ve never heard a convincing answer to why Mark 13 wasn’t fulfilled as Jesus predicted.

            1. Greetings J

              [Alright, I’ll bite. Why be crucified in the first place? Why is sacrifice, specifically human sacrifice, a remedy for thought-crime (why is that even a crime)? ]

              Crucifixion is 100% fatal; it kills you; the result of sin is death and someone had to die. It’s a life for a life. Today the idea of being held accountable is a strange concept but where human sinned, human life is required as payment for the wages of sin. It’s a crime because that’s was the assessment made of the deed at the beginning of the day and made clear to all. If by “thought crime” you mean Adam’s original sin, actually there was more to the issue than simply thinking about it; the thought was carried out. There is the old proverb: “You can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair.” As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. You may entertain many thoughts, good or evil, but it’s the ones that you hold on to and allow into your spirit that makes you what you are.

              [If Jesus was a god, was it even a sacrifice? To know that you’ll be walking around again a few days later isn’t giving up your life for anything. To know that you’ll be living for eternity as a god is certainly not, so I don’t understand why it is regarded as such & spoken of with reverence by so many.]

              This is the point that all Christendom seem to miss; they don’t seem to grasp what Adam represented; he wasn’t just another pet that God made; he was the visible image of the invisible God. Jesus likewise is called Adam (the last Adam) and the express image of God. Adam and Jesus are equals; you trace the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam and of all the names mentioned, you hear only of Adam is it said he was the son of God. That has serious implications for you or I in Christ. All throughout the old testament you hear references made to individuals as sons of men that are born of women; like David the son of Jessie, son of Obed: all of whom were generally referred to as children of Israel. When you come to the New Testament there is a change more glaring than the difference between night and day, yet it is strangely overlooked by all of Christendom. Christians are referred to as sons/daughters of God, or children of God. In Old Testament era that designation would have gotten you a death sentence. Not even Moses was so designated; that’s why Jesus said the least in his kingdom is greater than Moses. Jesus told them he was the son of God, and immediately found himself on death row: they gathered stones to stone him because they knew that to be God’s son made him what God is, as well it should for we who claim the faith of the sons of God. We are humans because we are sons and daughters of human parents; so we don’t have any problem saying we are human. God says the same way it works in the natural relationship is the same way it works in the spiritual relationship with him and his children; end of story. Whatever else we may say, God contends that until we are reconciled with that fact we are walking in darkness by the new brand of Christianity that makes void the power of God, and all the foundations of the whole earth remains out of alignment, waiting for the sons of God showing up in men to care for his creation as Adam was given the responsibility to do.

              Jesus was made like the first Adam having no sin… deathless under the condition he did not sin. Apparently Adam did and consequently died in spirit and body. Disobedience killed the first Adam, obedience killed the last but because he had no sin to pay for death could not retain him. The point is not so much that he would live again but that he was without sin which was the requirement to redeem and reinstate the whole family of God back to righteousness.

              On the other hand if you happen to be one of the fortunate ones who are already righteous neither have need for any physician none of this is going to make any sense to you. Meet a guy who is a sinner, and is dying for want of a physician; that man won’t care about the particulars of that physician only that he can save him; all other points are but idle intrigue.

              If you can be more specific on the question of Mark 13, I’ll be happy to respond.

              1. I have a serious question for you, newgenesisres:

                Ex hypothesi, the kenotic Weltanschauung of the post-Judaic dharma centring on the Хριστός, that His lay should be as sclaves, would you posit manumission as:

                a)epistemologically, indicative of αϊρεσις
                b)contingent on hierographology or
                c)a genus of intercessory sensus fidelium inspiring the Sancta Sedes, strictly ex cathedra?

                I look forward to your reply.

              2. “human life is required as payment for the wages of sin”
                While this may have been stipulated, this does not comport with the idea of an all-loving god (here I make the assumption that you subscribe to this belief).
                By “thought crime” I did not mean Adam’s (why not Eve’s, incidentally? She bit first…) original sin, I was referring to thought crimes that Jesus specified such as looking on a woman in lust, as I was jumping ahead to the usual response of “we are all sinners” (even children, I take it..) to the question that I didn’t ask which was “Why do we inherit a sin? That is not a good system” but perhaps I should have started there. Your response about birds’ nests seems to contradict Jesus’ statement about sinning despite not acting on thoughts.

                As for your response to the second half of my extended questioning, Adam & Eve did not exist as described in Genesis. As Jerry has pointed out many times, the human race never bottle-necked at 2 people, there would be clear indications of this in our DNA. Also, I don’t feel that you really answered my question – “he was without sin which was the requirement to redeem and reinstate the whole family of God back to righteousness” doesn’t answer the question of how human sacrifice is ever acceptable, especially in the eyes of an all-loving god.

                With regards to Mark 13 – I mean all of it. When you read that chapter, do you sit back & take comfort in thinking that Jesus’ words came true or do you think “Hang on a minute, 2000 years is stretching the meaning of ‘nigh’ [as in “the end”] isn’t it? That generation has long passed & the Earth is still here.”

              3. Hello J,

                Engaging the process of sin is fatal to the one so doing. You don’t have a smorgasbord of options from which to choose the consequence. You put a Smith Wesson to your temple and pull the trigger usually one outcome follows. The all-loving God is the one who authored and executed the plan to bring life back again by giving his life as payment for sin in place of the sinner. She may have bitten first but unlike Adam she was deceived, Adam was not. God only assigns blame where there is a conscious willful act of transgression: knowing and doing wrong. With children there is what I understand the age of accountability after which they know right from wrong. That point is made clear where God says when a man knows that he has done wrong the he shall be guilty, but if he has no knowledge of it his conscience is clear. This goes to your point of thought crimes. You are constantly bombarded by thoughts through your information gathering facilities; some directly sought and others indirectly. There is a difference between a random thought that occurs to you and even a random thought that you approve of and choose to harbor in your spirit. You are not responsible for thoughts that occur randomly but the ones that you allow into your spirit to drive your actions.

                Even Einstein’s e=mc2 is starting to receive second looks these days because evidence is pointing to particles that may travel faster that light. When you sign on with this guy and his DNA bible and later down the line he says to you, Oops I screw up; what are you going to do, sue him?

                If you want the skinny on all of Mark 13 that’s quite a bit of info to squeeze in. I can say for now however that those events predicted have taken place already. Arguably the only thing that I might hold in question is whether the gospel been preached in all the world for a witness. (Verse 1) speaks of the great diaspora which took place in 7O AD. (Verse 28) speaks of the parable of the fig tree putting forth its leaves just before summer representing the Jewish nation coming back together as a nation this took place in 1948. A generation is considered to be roughly 40 years. That would have brought us up to about 1988 which technically puts us 24 years over due for the end. To me 24 years is a negligible consideration. On the one hand when God is patient by 24 years waiting for some poor soul to come around, you condemn him for being a slacker, but if he follows through on the wages of sin issue then he can’t win there either cause he’s mean.

              4. Hello truthspeaker,

                [But why did God decide that death has to be the result of sin?]

                Not meaning to be flip, but why is antimatter, antimatter? It is the opposite of matter. Sin is the opposite of God. God is life, the opposite of life is death.

              5. So sin must be repaid by death because God says so.

                Your God sounds like a dick.

                And remember – Adam’s sin was mere disobedience. God told them not to seek knowledge (by eating the fruit). He did anyway. That deserves death?

              6. Hi Truthspeaker,

                The sin is not so much an act as it is making a choice to be something that is the opposite of life; the opposite of God. To contemplate which act is to contemplate which fruit on the tree instead of looking at the tree.

              7. If the knowledge you seek death, and evil. This is not just talking about swimming, you are jumping into the pool. It’s one of those tricks you don’t come back from. You go or you stay.

              8. Not meaning to be flip, but why is antimatter, antimatter? It is the opposite of matter. Sin is the opposite of God. God is life, the opposite of life is death.

                That’s nice.

                We know what type of track a antiproton left in the bubble chamber of the Bevatron.

                What’s your evidence for any of the multitudinous of gods in your pantheon? Can it even compare with the evidence of positrons?


              9. Hello Ben,

                Not meaning to be philosophical here, but isn’t it a little tricky when you are committed to way of thinking that declares to begin with that God is not, to then anticipate seeing something which is inconvenient to that commitment? It’s like an Atheist making a website that proves God exists is a diametrically opposed concept. It’s one thing to miss something because it was too small; to miss it because it was too big and everywhere, that is strange but possible. What you find usually is a result of what you start out looking for. Most people start out with a totally wrong concept of God and in the end their search yield nothing worthwhile. I hate to say it, but it ain’t hard to wind up being an Atheist based on what is offered in argument for God most of these last 2000 years. I know this sounds contradictory, but Ben the proof of God is everywhere when you decide find him.

              10. isn’t it a little tricky when you are committed to way of thinking that declares to begin with that God is not

                I can’t speak for Ben, but I am not committed to such a way of thinking.

                I am committed to a way of thinking that only accepts things as true if there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they are true. This way of thinking is called “sanity”. If there were evidence or God, I would believe he existed.

              11. truthspeaker

                It’s not that the knowledge is secret; it’s just not the kind of thing that for most of the general global population pays the bills, and is more abstraction than most people care for, but the world you and I live in since 1905 is exponentially vastly different from that before it. It can’t even be compared to the ludicrous flat earth/round earth controversy many years before. When you look closely at the world you live in, hard proofs are a thing of the past; probability rules the day. You live in a world of chances. Knowledge isn’t going to wait for you to catch up, it just moves along to the next guy that’s ready. Not even Einstein who insisted on hard proofs and predictability could make the grade here. 12 years after his death J. Clauser built a machine to prove Einstein was right and wound up proving the contrary; that probability and chances is a precondition of our reality. If you are cleaving to the relic of the proofs, you are likely to draw the short straw. All of science is just the refinement of our everyday thinking and when you consider that the vocabulary that scientists are using to describe our real world include: absurd, imaginary, preposterous, ridiculous, irrational, unbelievable, confounding, voodoo, spooky, illegal, insane; it should be a cue for us to re-evaluate our positions on what we think we know. These are all the words pejoratives we use to dismiss the possibility of God. That reality is only an illusion is not just poetry.

              12. truthspeaker
                I think we are probably talking past each other but I’ll make another attempt at an answer. I say the proof that he exists is all around you it can be clearly seen by the things that he has made. 2000 years ago he said he is light, demonstrated he was literally light, and he basically gave spelled out e-mc2 that proves that all things are made of light; this was 2000 years ago. We can now prove that.

              13. But the fruit of the tree of knowledge was not evil. It was all knowledge, or knowledge of good and evil. How is the pursuit of such knowledge the opposite of life, the opposite of God?

              14. truthspeaker

                Parallels are drawn between Christ and the pre-fallen Adam; the prupose of Christ is to bring us back to that pre-fallen state. If you allow what the scripture says, Christ has the mind of God “by which you know all things about God” as would Adam the first have had. That said, the only knowledge Adam would have been without is to know evil, and death as he already had the knowledge of good in the mind of God. The only gain in eating from the tree is to would not have been anything good, but know what it is to be dead, you cross over and don’t come back from that knowledge. The knowledge of good you knew, now you have the knowledge of evil and death in contrast; hence, the tree of knowledge of good versus evil.

              15. But why put it right by the humans if you don’t want them to eat off it? Sounds like you’re setting them up to do the thing you told them not to do.

                It sounds like obedience is what’s most important to this god. Why would I want to spend eternity with such an unpleasant thing?

              16. I hate to say it, but it ain’t hard to wind up being an Atheist based on what is offered in argument for God most of these last 2000 years. I know this sounds contradictory, but Ben the proof of God is everywhere when you decide find him.

                Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

                Which god?

                And how is one supposed to know that this particular god of yours is the real deal, as opposed to the countless hundreds of thousands of other gods you’d agree with me are childish idiotic nonsense?

                And if your answer involves “faith,” so help me Quetzalcoatl, I will sell you some Arizona beachfront property, complete with the London Bridge and a real cherry of a used Yugo that’s been souped up so it’ll outdo a Ferrari on the quarter mile.



              17. Ben Goren

                The God that I mean is the one who introduced himself by the name I AM THAT I AM and said we live move and have our being in him; all things are made of him and by him. He is all power (sentient energy possessing all the dimension of personhood without bodies as we have…spirit which cannot be created of destroyed…eternal).

                [And how is one supposed to know that this particular god of yours is the real deal, as opposed to the countless hundreds of thousands of other gods you’d agree with me are childish idiotic nonsense?]

                Ben I suggest you ask him, he can speak for himself. As sure as he gave you a mouth, and ears to hear, he can speak and hear you as well.

              18. The God that I mean is the one who introduced himself by the name I AM THAT I AM[….]

                That would be the same talking plant (on fire!) that gave magic wand lessons to the reluctant hero?

                And you still believe such nonsense? How on Earth could anybody with a double-digit age possibly be so gullible?

                Ben I suggest you ask him, he can speak for himself. As sure as he gave you a mouth, and ears to hear, he can speak and hear you as well.

                Well, that would certainly explain it. You’re delusional.

                I don’t care how clearly you hear the voices of your imaginary friends, they’re not real. And you would do us all a favor if you would discuss these auditory hallucinations with a licensed physician. There are excellent treatments available today, and no shame in seeking them. It’s an illness, as treatable as diabetes.



              19. Hi Ben,

                I wonder if you are actually aware that right now science is pushing the bounds of what we perceive to be real to a point that is as equally preposterous and even more so than anything this ridiculous God has ever said. They have gotten to a point that what they observe is described in words like (absurd, imaginary, preposterous, ridiculous, irrational, unbelievable, confounding, voodoo, spooky, illegal, insane; these are all the words pejoratives we use to dismiss the possibility of God. If you were to briefly search your own comments you’ll see you have used quite a few of them yourself. That reality is only an illusion is not just poetry.) I hate to excite your volcanic temper even more at this point, but it’s not lost on me just how much you remind me of some of the Christians I talk to who can’t look beyond the limits of their theologies and doctrines to see the truth.

                I took some time to evaluate your comments. If you can restrain your contempt long enough to hear me out I’d really appreciate it. Where your reluctance toward the mechanism of faith is concerned you’ve made yourself quite clear. A word like “faith” is charged with a lot of negative baggage so I can understand that; I don’t think however that it is the process of faith so much that troubles you as much as the attendant negative baggage. Actually another word that works is “chance”; taking chances is basically what faith is. Einstein who fiercely disagreed with this, rolling of the dice idea died in 1955 holding firmly to that position. 12 years later John Clauser working on his Phd. in Astro Physics couldn’t complete the program because he was failing his courses in quantum mechanics, so just to be fly in the ointment he set out to prove that Einstein was right, and this world is not a game chances in rolling the dice, but hard proof and concrete predictable certainties. In the process he discover the earlier works of an Irish Physicist who proposed that a machine could be built to definitively provide the evidence that he was looking for. He successfully built the machine, ran it and the result came in, but to his chagrin the proof verified that the order of things was according to chances, not absolute certainties. Scientists don’t use the word faith, they say chance, and instead of possibility, {as where God says all (impossible) things are possible with you}, science uses the term “probability”; but it comes down to the same thing.

                Where you are flat out resolved not to consider the idea of faith, you may not think of it this way, but what you are saying amounts to: I don’t want to know God; which is like burying your head in the sand not our of fear but simply wanting to be a stick in the mud. The reason I say this is because your senses that you would prefer to use rather than faith or chances can only handle things that are possible. Everything that Jesus did was outside the range of what is possible. I don’t know at what point that would be, but even if you were able to get on board with God by using your senses, it wouldn’t be long before you couldn’t go forward using your mind because you would be confronted by the challenge to do something where there is just no way of performing logical calculation to accomplish it, because the nature of God defies the constraints of our cosmology base reality. God fills the cosmos and goes infinitely beyond it. You are then asking him to reduce himself so you can grasp him, instead of growing in your capacity to know him. (The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Henri Bergson). The liability of the position you have chosen confines you to only what is possible, and that makes God impossible for you.

                Best regards Ben,


              20. Hello again , newgenesisres; I recall you offering to answer any question. You did not answer mine, so here it is in the vernacular.

                Given the idea of the ‘self-emptying of one’s own will’ in post-Judaic law within Christianity, that Christians should be as slaves, would you consider the freeing of slaves as:

                a) as far as we can know, an example of heresy
                b) dependent on the study of sacred texts or
                c) as an example of the Holy Spirit, in answer to prayer, inspiring solemn papal definitions, via the Holy See.

                Happy New Year, and I look forward to your reply.

              21. Everything that Jesus did was outside the range of what is possible.

                And that’s how we know he didn’t really do those things.

              22. I own my house, I put the furniture where I like.

                A responsible adult does not keep paint thinner in an apple juice jar in the refrigerator where the kids can get to it.

                And if said adult were to then evict the kids without even the clothes on their backs after they became ill because their deadbeat uncle tricked them into drinking said “juice,” CPS would be calling the police to have the both of them arrested and locked up for a looooooong time.

                So why on Earth would you do anything so crass as to “worship” such a monster?



              23. Sorry, newgenesisres, but you haven’t proved the existence of God to anyone’s satisfaction. I suggest you go to a website where people don’t need any evidence beyond their wishes to believe in sky fairies.

              24. Adam’s sin was eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so how can god hold him accountable if Adam didn’t have any knowledge of good and evil?

              25. “The God that I mean is the one who introduced himself by the name
                I AM WHAT I AM…”

                God is GLORIA GAYNOR?
                God is SHIRLEY BASSEY?
                Wait a second, in the beginning were the lyrics, so god must be JERRY HERMAN!
                Gulp, god is…gay? Naw, unlikely, he’d have better taste, and he’d be more considerate towards women.
                Therefore, god must be a cover version.

              26. @ Occam

                “…in the beginning were the lyrics…” I do like that. Title of the second volume of Bob Dylan’s autobiography?

          2. Oh, what bullshit.

            Look. It’s simple.

            If I were to tell you that I still believed in Santa, or the monsters under my bed, or that thunder comes from Thor tossing off his hammer, or that Horus tricked Set into eating a jizz lettuce wrap, you’d think I was a blithering fucking idiot and tell me to grow up.

            So, when you come to me and tell me that you still believe in an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry giant, or in a talking plant (on fire!) that gave magic wand lessons to the reluctant hero, or that Jesus got his rocks off by ordering his thralls to fondle his intestines through his gaping chest wound…well, guess what?

            I think you’re a blithering fucking idiot, and you need to grow up.

            Your problem is that you’re still talking to your imaginary friends. All your gods — your whole pantheon, Jesus, Satan, God, Moses, Mary, Gabriel, the Beast, the whole works — they’re figments of a collective imagination. Obviously, transparently, unquestionably so. And for putative adults to take them seriously…well, it’s as pathetic as if all y’all had raging arguments over the safest way for Superman to impregnate Catwoman, and whether or not Hermione would make a good midwife for the baby — and should she have a lightsaber handy to cut the umbilical?



          3. Still not clear as to how, if a death is required as the logical outcome of sin, a non-death suffices.

            A “temporary” death is nonsensical; if your cat named Church dies and then comes back to life and lives happily ever after, in what sense has it really died?

            God’s transaction with man basically amounted to a payment followed by an almost immediate refund.

            What might make some sense is that sin demands that someone has to suffer – a painless death payment would not do. The opposite of God is really suffering. A whole lotta’ sinning by the human race would require some massive suffering.

            God pondered this dilemma that he is 100% responsible for creating. The entire human race will suffer their ass off and I love those rascals too much to let that happen. I’ve got it! Someone must suffer on behalf of humanity. It can’t be me, because I am the opposite of suffering. So I will send my son, who always existed (like me) yet is still my progeny in every sense of the word, to suffer on humanity’s behalf.

            Oh sonny, I’ve got a job for ya.

            Now how much suffering..let’s see if we take all of the homo sapiens that ever existed (but NOT including any other hominids), multiply by average number of sins, carry the one…that works out to a few hours on a cross and perhaps some whipping and bruises and getting manhandled.

            Fuck, I just remembered…my son and myself are of the same “substance”, as 3rd century Christians will begin to say. We are both God, so how could HE suffer?

            Well, file that one away as another one of those mysteries. I’m still not sure how a perfect God like me made such imperfect beings that required me to impossibly torture myself to save only SOME of them, or why I bothered to alter my perfect reality and create the Universe in the first place. But no one’s perfect.

            Oh wait, I am! By definition, anything I do is unassailable and good! Yipee!

              1. Hey newgenesisres,

                1.) If Eve was merely tricked into trangression, why did she receive the same punishment as Adam?

                Seems almost as unfair as dangling temptation in front of humanity when you know 100% that they will partake of it.

                2.) Did Jesus the son/God the Father/Holy Moly see this whole sinning mess coming a mile away? If yes, why create such fallible human beings in the first place?

                If no, why worship such an incompetent?

          1. Do you know when a ‘New Testament’ was first defined?

            .. how many of the books in the NT are forgeries? How many are anonymous, with authors assigned arbitrarily?

            .. that Martin Luther had trouble deciding whether “Revelations” belonged in the Protestant NT?

            .. that we have no originals of any part of the NT (or the entire Bible for that matter)?

          2. Do you believe that Elvis still walks among us and/or JFKs brain is being stored in vat in a bunker under the Colorado mountains ?

            By your standards I’ve seen convincing evidence for both claims, much more convincing that that for your zombie god.

      2. If you have a certain question you’d like to ask a *real Christian, please don’t hesitate. I’m at your service.

        Why is there evil? Why didn’t God create the world without evil?

      3. I have a question:

        Why, when God was writing the 10 commandments, did he have the time to write 3 of them about how people should worship God, but couldn’t find the time or interest to command people to wash their hands? I mean, it’s GOD. Don’t you think that God knew how many lives could be saved if people washed their hands? Beyond your primitive fear, why would you worship a God who either didn’t know (in which case, he knows less than your average third-grader), or worse, didn’t care?

        I’m so glad to finally ask a real Christian now.

      4. You’re not a true christian. I am a True Christian. And I agree with the commenter above. I don’t know anything but I pretend to.

      5. masterrosie wrote:

        If you have a certain question you’d like to ask a *real Christian, please don’t hesitate. I’m at your service.

        Thank you. I am late, but I would like to ask:

        1.) How are you defining ‘God?’

        2.) Is it possible, in theory, that you are mistaken and God does not exist?

        3.) If you are mistaken, then what would persuade you to change your mind?

  3. (a clear allusion to C. S. Lewis’s autobiography; indeed, McGrath is writing a biography of the man)

    I am ever amazed by the number of people; mostly theists but a few atheists as well, who consider Lewis to be brilliant. I have not read a lot of his stuff, but what I have read did not leave me with the impression of brilliance.

    1. I liked Lewis a lot when I was a Christian. If aren’t familiar with how to logically evaluate claims, or the counter-arguments, his stuff is pretty good. Now that I’m an atheist and skeptic upon rereading Mere Christianity it is quite embarrassing to think that I found it at all convincing.

      To explain why Lewis is held up as brilliant by a lot of Christians you have to evaluate who they are comparing him too. It isn’t David Hume or JL Mackie, it’s to bestselling Christian authors like Joel Olsteen, Max Lacado, Rick Warren, and whoever wrote ‘The Shack.’ Compared to those authors CS Lewis looks like a theological genius.

  4. Lewis was a good writer with a knack for beautiful allegories. Those qualities tend to obscure his glaring logical errors (e.g. his false trilemma about Jesus, his false dilemma about morality), and the fact that he doesn’t show that his allegories reflect anything real.

    1. It’s not a false trilemma.

      He just got the answer wrong.


      Of course, that’s assuming one can prove the person actually existed. Which one can’t. Funny that. The man Christians call the most important carrier of e. coli in the history of our species, and we only have vague unsupported myths surrounding him.

      1. Of course, that’s assuming one can prove the person actually existed. Which one can’t.

        Which brings up a fourth choice, Legend, thus proving the trilemma is false. You just defeated your own statement.

        1. …and there’re plenty of other options. Conman immediately springs to mind. Or patsy. Or an entertainer who got taken seriously and didn’t know how to stop the ride.

          That’s all, of course, granting for the sake of argument the ludicrous proposition that there’s any substance behind the myth.



        1. ORLY?

          Why, pray tell, should it therefore be that, with the literally libraries worth of documents we have from Jerusalem, Judea, and the rest of Mediterranean from the first half of the first century, there isn’t even a single vague hint of something that could possibly be interpreted as being tangentially related to the Jesus incident if you squint at it just right?

          Or why even the early Christians went to great pains to equate Jesus with all the other pagan demigods popular at the time?

          Or why pagans mocked Christians as being deluded whackjob nutcases, and bragged about how they duped the idjits into adopting pagan “mysteries” wholesale into their own religion?



          1. …and this, the tenth month, will be followed by a month-long celebration of the two-faced god.

            Really, the argumentum ad calends has got to be one of the stupidest, most self-defeating ones I’ve encountered.



            1. No, Ben. You’re missing the point. It’s not just in a book, it’s on a calendar. So there’s a corroborating source, ’cause, you know, they started calling it year one right when Jesus was born, and it had nothing at all to do with the catholic church dominating euroopean culture for centuries.

              What a nitwit…

            2. And the calendar doesn’t start after Jesus’ death. The Messiah died around 27 C.E. Don’t let the odd fact get in the way of a religiously ecstatic fantasy.

              It seems you equate Anno Domini (in the Year of the Lord) with some kind of post-mortem measurement. Wrong.

              You can do better than that.

          2. Technically, the names of the days of the week are named after “planets” (that is, what were regarded as planets in a geocentric system; thus, including the sun and the moon), and the planets are named after Teutonic gods, with the more common Roman names for the planets showing up in Romance languages.

            The Church did devise a numerical scheme to avoid using these pagan gods’ names, which persists in Portugal and Iceland.


            1. Ant Allan, your link clearly shows that Wednesday and Thursday are not named after planets, but after the gods Odin and Thor. As others mentioned.

              1. Yes, but mercredi and jeudi were named after Mercury and Jupiter — and Wotan and Mercury were considered equivalent, the same as Thor and Jupiter were, the same as Jupiter and Zeus or Mars and Ares and Tyr or….



              2. I think Ant is actually right, for the reasons Ben gave. The Romans were always finding equivalencies between foreign gods and their gods.

              3. Not just the Romans. This is from no less a source than the first apology of the first Christian apologist:

                And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God[….] And if we even affirm that He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. And in that we say that He made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by Æsculapius.

                Lots more where that came from. Not only entire chapters, it was one of Martyr’s obsessions. And he wasn’t the only one….



              4. Monday – Moonday
                Tuesday – Tiu’s day
                Wednesday – Woden’s day
                Thursday – Thor’s day
                Friday – Fria’s day
                Saturday – Saturn’s day
                Sunday – Sun’s day

                All from memory; that’s what I was told, when growing up.

              5. I don’t believe the characters of Odin and Mercury are similar in any way, save for being gods.

                That never stopped the Romans!

        2. Go do a little research and find out when they decided to make the purported year of Jesus’ birth year 1 or 0 or whatever… Go on… go see how many hundreds of years after his supposed death that they retroactively labeled the year as the birth of Christ. And while you are at it, read how they changed when the new year started and when the world agreed it would be on January 1st. Oh, and find out how many hundreds of years after Jesus’ supposed death that they decided to make “December 25” his official birthday and why.

          Go on– it’s all available for you on Google. It’s not like Jesus was born on December 25 of year 0 and then on January 1 they decided that this should now be called Year 1. These dates were assigned hundreds of years after the guy supposedly lived.

          Oh, and for the record the people who lived before Christ weren’t counting their years in BC.

          1. “the people who lived before Christ weren’t counting their years in BC.” I’m in love with this one. It could be by C. Hitchens.

        3. Quick, what number year is this in the chinese calendar?
          What number year is this in the jewish calendar?
          What about the muslim calendar?

          How come they don’t all line up, at all?

        4. You do know that the “BC/AD” system was not devised until about 525 CE by a monk called Dionysius Exiguus (Denis the Indadequate) and did not begin to be adopted for another 200 years?

          They’ve been debating the existence of the Historical Jesus over at Rational Skepticism for nearly 1000 posts and still haven’t got an answer. I think one reason may be one of definition. What if one Jehoshua preached the Kingdom and was executed for sedition, another told parables and another was a faith healer? (Never mind virgin birth, resurrection or miracles.) Was there a HJ?

        5. He … EXISTED

          That is plain capitalized crackpotism.

          There is absolutely no historical evidence for the supposed founder of christianism anymore than other such religions such as buddhism, confucianism of mohameddanism. They are always described generations after and many miles away from the purported fact.

          Fancy that.

  5. One has to be careful here because it is not clear whether McGrath is talking about dark matter or dark energy. They are not the same thing.

    Dark matter is associated with galaxies and is posited as being responsible for the fact that observable matter is inadequate to explain certain phenomena such as the observed gravitational lensing. Dark matter is attractive.

    Dark energy, on the other hand, is posited as being responsible for the acceleration of the expansion of the universe and is hence repulsive.

    1. Doesn’t matter. The same rules apply. One is a proposed solution to a series of observations, the other is a myth.

    2. I think the mentioning of gravitational effects is the giveaway that McGrath is talking about dark matter as he claims.

      Your description is not adequate on general relativity, so it misses this.

      Dark matter is more generally cold, particulate masses that alone predict the observed gravitational lensing. Nowadays there is even a lower bound on particle mass. So dark matter has a gravitational effect.

      Dark energy on the other hand sets up a negative pressure resulting in the an acceleration of ongoing cosmological expansion. It is not a repulsive “antigravity”, it has no gravitational effect directly on matterenergy, but acts according to general relativity on spacetime.

      [Disclaimer: I haven’t studied general relativity.]

  6. Its outcomes change down the ages. Its interim reports are always important and interesting, but they are also provisional. [Millenia] ago, [theologians] thought that [Jesus had not] always been here. Now, we believe [He was].

    This guy is talking about the evolution of Christian sectarianism, right?

    We know which branch of science is correct. But which branch of Christianity is? Or which branch of Islam?

    It’s impossible to take seriously anyone who cannot immediately spot the hilarious, gaping holes in these not-even-specious arguments.

    1. How sad it is, that people see some great difference in the terms ”supernatural” and the word ”reality.”

      By saying ”Islam,” I’m assuming you’re referring to Muslims. Just so you know, the Koran (the Muslims’ Bible) borrows heavily from the Christians’ Bible; not to mention, the Koran is 1200 years old, while the Bible is over 5000 years old. Don’t even begin to relate the two (because the Bible is the oldest piece of recorded history and doesn’t borrow from anybody).

      1. Oh, you poor, deluded fool.

        The Bible is closer to 2500 – 3000 years old, far from the oldest recordings made by humans (there’re cave paintings dating back over 30,000 years), and nothing but laughably idiotic faery tales. I mean, it opens with a story about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry giant; it has a talking plant that gives magic wand lessons to the reluctant hero; it finishes with a bizarre zombie snuff pr0n fantasy; and the coda involves the ultimate zombie invasion.

        Grow up, will you? Your credulity is painful, even from this distance.



        1. You’ve never heard of the Dead Sea scrolls obviously. Evolutionists use carbon dating to find all those random dates. Did you know they once killed a squirrel and it turned out to be 20 million years old? No joke. And besides, I said it’s the oldest recorded piece of history. Cave paintings don’t document anything.

            1. Clearly, ‘masterrosie’ is the designated troll for this thread. Monumental ignorance (perhaps intentional),cognitive incompetence (perhaps willful), persistent and obstreperous yammering at the same topic – all classic symptoms of designated trollism. Poor person!

          1. “Did you know they once killed a squirrel and it turned out to be 20 million years old? No joke. ”

            No, but your interpretation is. A James Chick tract told a similar story (I don’t use those words lightly) about some freshwater molluscs that had an anomalous radiocarbon date, but it made the mistake of citing the paper in question. It was something they ate.

      2. No part of the Bible is 5000 years old, although some of the stories may be based on stories that old.

        The Bible is certainly not the oldest piece of recorded history. I’m sure you’re familiar with written works from Sumer and Babylon. The Bible does indeed borrow from other written works – the story of Noah’s flood is very similar to a story in the Epic of Gilgamesh, for example.

        1. I’m sure it is. Lots of people remember the flood. It was a world wide event. Moses is thought to have written the book of Genesis, so that would explain why your wonderful book may be older.

              1. Who remembers being killed by a flood? If they remember, they weren’t killed.

                People recount disaster stories and people exaggerate so minor local disasters whether flood, fire, or famine become world wide. Add in that Christians were looking for worldwide flood stories when they encountered new peoples, and, you’ll get a proliferation of stories of world wide floods for which no geological evidence exists (for local floods yes but no one denies those happen). I suspect the collection would be equally large if they had been looking for fire stories or famine stories.

              2. lol. Only Noah and his family survived the Great Flood, which we know occurred because but lots of other cultures mention the Flood too. What genius logic! Once again a Christian apologist has left me speechless.

              3. Ha. That’s not what I said. The other cultures remembered the flood because Noah and his sons recounted their story to future generations.

                But nice try to make me look like a lunatic.

              4. No, that isn’t what you said. You said “Lots of people remember the flood.” Now you’re changing it to “Lot’s of people who were never there remember Noah’s story about a flood.” That’s not the same thing at all. It also undermines your original argument, which is the reason that other cultures have flood myths which predate Genesis is that they too experienced the flood event.

                No one’s trying to make you look like a lunatic. You’re doing that all on your own.

              5. So you want me to go back and say, ”People (other than Noah and his family) saw the flood?” But that’s not what I want to say at all. You would like me say something that would discredit my validity, but what I’ve said before is what I say now, no matter the wording.

              6. masterrosie, you have no credibility. The only thing you’re being called out on is your lack of consistency. But even if you were consistent it doesn’t change the fact that we know there was never a global flood in the Earth’s history. It never happened. Sure, you can say it was all magic, but then anything at all can be justified that way, and things like evidence, reason and logic go out the window. So you have shown yourself to be as lunatic who ignores reality in favor of a book of fairy tales. Credibility? Please. You are a deluded cultist. And a pretty typical one at that.

      3. the Koran is 1200 years old, while the Bible is over 5000 years old. Don’t even begin to relate the two

        Yes, the Qur’an is necessarily the most recent because we know that it is God’s last and final revelation to mankind. This final authoritative revelation assures us that the polytheist Christians will burn in hell for their disbelief in God. And unlike the Bible’s numerous dubious translations, we have this in God’s own original Arabic:

        Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three … if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.
        Original: لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ هُوَالْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ
        مَرْيَمَ وَقَالَ الْمَسِيحُ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اعْبُدُواْاللّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ مَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللّهُعَلَيهِالْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ
        لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلاَثَةٍ وَمَا مِنْإِلَـهٍ إِلاَّ إِلَـهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِن لَّمْ يَنتَهُواْ عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِي
        The Qur’an (القرآن), Sura 5:72–73 (The Dinner Table, سورة المائدة)

        1. Hahahahaha. Allah? Not the same god as the Holy Trinity. You really think they’re the same god? The crazy dude who wrote the Koran was a drunkard and a child molester. He was kicked out of a city for his radical claims and violence. Nothing like a Christian.

            1. Whenever I hear “drunkard” in the context of religion I always think of Noah. We’re told that every single person is irredeamably evil (including children) so they must all be killed. You know, lovingly. By drowining them.

              And when the waters fade what does Noah do, the paragon of virtue, the one shining light in this festering pile of sin? He drinks untill he passes out.

              1. I think you’re selling Lot short. He got drunk and then had sex with his daughters. Noah couldn’t top that.

              2. Yeah, but Noah passed out naked. When his son Ham pointed out his father’s drunken, nude state he was punished. Or rather his descendants were punished to a life of slavery. Christians interpreted the Hamites to black people and this was one of the many biblical references used by anti-abolitionists in the 19th century (and probably prior to that).

                Yet another illustration of the backwards “morality” presented in the bible: The passed out naked drunk guy is morally superior to the son, whose only sin was pointing this out. I guess this was part of the whole “Honour thy (drunk, naked, passed out) Father” thing.

              3. “When his son Ham pointed out his father’s drunken, nude state he was punished.” According to some analysts “to see someone’s nudity” means to have sex with them. Given that the one who was passive was considered guilty, Ham’s crime was to be raped by Noah.

          1. Yep, nothing like the christians. Those christians just armed themselves and went on a rampage pillaging and raping as they tramped along from what is now western Europe on to Jerusalem and to Turkey. It didn’t even matter if the victims were muslim or christian because those christian crusaders were so fair minded.

        2. By “God’s own original Arabic” presumably you mean Classical Arabic, as documented on the tomb of “Imru’l Qais, son of ʿAmr, king of the Arabs” at Namarah, dated 328 CE? Or can we include the last two lines in Arabic of the ‘Obodas the God’ inscription at ʿEn ʿAvadat? Of which the possible dates range between the last quarter of the 1st centry CE and the 2nd quater 2nd century CE? Both in Nabataean script? Nabataean being the ancestor of the classical Arabic script. So where does Arabic, in its long development and variety of scripts, begin being “God’s own”?

      4. I’ve never understood why some people seem to believe that because an idea is old, that somehow makes it reliable. The bible describes the earth as flat, disc-shaped, resting on pillars in a vast ocean, and covered by a transparent dome, with the stars and planets carefully placed by a benevolent intelligence in order to provide us with portents and signs. Ancient Greek health science consisted keeping the Four Humours in balance. Need I go on?

        1. No, because you aren’t quoting the Bible at all. Non-Christians believed that the world was flat, but you’re mistaken if you think real Christians didn’t know full well that the world was round.

          Job 26:10

          Proverbs 8:27

          1. Plato, 360 B.C.E.:

            (The Creator) “…made the world in the form of a globe, round as from a lathe, having its extremes in every direction equidistant from the centre, the most perfect and the most like itself of all figures2.

            Pythagoras, Parmenides and Hesiod (ca. 750 to 650 B.C.E.) are also thought to have considered the earth as spherical.


              1. The writers of the bible appear to have believed that the earth was snow-globe shaped– round and flat with a dome over-head. They didn’t seem to have any clue about other planets or the fact that our sun was another star. The bible is in no way scientifically prescient; rather, it speaks to the ignorance of the people writing it.

                I think it’s pretty clear to everyone who doesn’t imagine themselves saved for having faith (and damned for doubt) that the bible was written in it’s entirety by primitive men and not by any omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnibenevolent beings.

              2. To you, and all the others, who find it strange and stupid for me to commit suicide if God doesn’t exist, if we weren’t created, then why are we here? If God doesn’t exist, and therefore we ”appeared” with no purpose, then what’s the reason to go on living?

                My reasoning is perfectly logical. Yours is not.

              3. If God doesn’t exist, and therefore we ”appeared” with no purpose, then what’s the reason to go on living?

                Why go on living if your god actually exists? In other words, why does a god creating you give you purpose to your life? If you genuinely believed that aliens had created humans for food, would you accept that your “purpose” was to be eaten?

              4. masterrosie –

                Neither of the biblical passages you listed describe earth as a sphere. And though the word circle is mentioned, it is not referring to earth. Inscribing a circle on the face of the deep and on the face of the waters does not describe is not saying that earth is a circle. Also, a circle is not a sphere.

          2. Don’t you think atheists have bibles? I have one right here.

            Job 26:10:
            “He has marked out a circle on the surface of the deep as the boundary of light and darkness.
            The pillars of the heavens tremble and are stunned at his thunderous rebuke; By his power he stirs up the sea, and by his might he crushes Rahab; With his angry breath he scatters the water, and he hurls the lightning against them relentlessly; His hand pierces the fugitive dragon as from his hand it strives to flee.”

            Proverbs 8:27:
            When he established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth…” etc.

            Maybe a more accurate translation that renders both passages as “It’s not a disk, it’s a sphere.”

            Also, hint: Christians didn’t write the Old Testament.

            1. You’re right. The term ”Christian” wasn’t invented until way later. But the book was written by Moses, who believed, obeyed, and loved God. He even gave God’s people the ten commandments.

              In those days, people were waiting for the Messiah (although Jesus didn’t come until many years after that), including Moses. That’s why right after Jesus died, he visited all the people who were waiting in Sheol (the believers) to tell them that He was the one they had been waiting for. Then He took them all to heaven.

              So technically, Moses eventually became a Christian.

              1. No serious Biblical scholar thinks Moses wrote any part of the Old Testament. The Old Testament as we know it now was compiled during the Babylonian exile, circa 580 BC. It is composed of pre-existing stories of various ages.

  7. McGrath: “Now, we believe it had a beginning.”

    Sorry, no. You’re out of touch. The modern conception of our universe is that it is part of a multiverse that indeed has been around pretty much forever.

    Please stop using arguments that have been discounted for at least 30 years.

    1. McGrath last published a pure science paper in 1977. A quick trawl through his long list of publications since that year reveals them all to be inspired by theology. A strange arc of a career.

      1. The “multiverse” thing is extremely controversial, with nothing beyond some suggestions of mathematical elegance to support it. That the Big Bang was the absolute beginning of our universe is still the best supported hypothesis.

        1. I’m fond of the analogy to terrestrial geography.

          There’s nothing further north of the North Pole, and there’s nothing before the Big Bang.

          There’s certainly plenty of stuff above (and a fair amount below) the Pole, and there may well be more to existence than that which has happened since the Big Bang. But, whatever that may (or may not) be, it didn’t happen before the Big Bang, any more than Polaris is north of the Pole.



            1. Well, I know it because it’s what I understand from physicists who have proven to my satisfaction that they’re reliable sources of information.

              And what I understand is that the Big Bang is a singularity. Time and space did not exist at the moment of the Big Bang. Without time and space, there’s no more meaning to “before” and “after” than there is to “above” and “below.”



              1. But we don’t know that the Big Bang was a singularity, because we don’t have a theory that works in that scenario. We don’t have a theory combining gravity and quantum mechanics, and quantum gravity effects are expected to dominate at scales below the Planck length.

                So we really cannot say what happens early in the universe before the Planck time (about 10^-43 s into the Big Bang). It is possible that our universe tunnelled into that state from a pre-existing multiverse (indeed there are lots of good arguments for this, though none of them are yet conclusive). And if that happened, there could have been a continuous timeline through the Big Bang.

              2. Since JAC quoted Sean Carroll as an expert in this area, he has written several books talking about what might be before the BB. It is an active area of investigation and not just something fring quacks indulge in.

                I think the confusion is that the conditions of the BB appear to wipe out evidence of a prior state (if any). There are indirect means of studying the question though.

                If you have a chance, pick up some of his books, they’re very well written and talk a lot about the open questions in cosmology such as what physicists mean by “multiverse” and what might have prededed the BB.

        2. No, the idea that the Big Bang was “the absolute beginning” is not actually “supported”. The multiverse idea is highly provisional, but is doing no worse (and possibly better) in terms of supporting evidence.

        3. Not at all, it is merely the most popular. We have no support for a singularity preceding the inflationary epoch of standard cosmology.

    2. You, sir, obviously have no affiliation with science. Albert Einstein and five other leading scientists all have observed and calculated (with the Hubble Space Telescope) that our gala xy is expanding. Now think logically, if all the galaxies in the universe are expanding at a certain rate that can be calculated every year, then that means at one point in time they must have been smaller, and in a more enclosed area. Thus, if you go back in time far enough, you’ll see that the universe must have ”exploded” in a great dispersion of energy and light. Did you know that the ”big bang” theorists only formed their hypothesis AFTER this fact was revealed? I can hear you saying, ”It proves the little dot/big bang theory,” but in reality, it compliments the theory of, ”Let there be light.” *BOOM

      1. Also, do you know the origin of the word ”universe?” ”Uni” in Latin means ”single” or ”only one.” And ”verse” means ”spoken sentence.” Therefore ”universe” is ”a single spoken sentence.” Again, ”Let there be light.”

        1. Yes I do, Master;

          The Latin word derives from the poetic contraction Unvorsum — first used by Lucretius in Book IV (line 262) of his De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) — which connects un, uni (the combining form of unus’, or “one”) with vorsum, versum (a noun made from the perfect passive participle of vertere, meaning “something rotated, rolled, changed”). It means the same in Latin as in English.

          Took me 15 seconds of research in Wikipedia.

          The calendrical argument is demolished; now the equally absurd etymological one has been binned. What next? The argument from random analogies?

          Fiat lux, Master, let there be soapflakes, as the Good Book nearly says.

          1. Congrats. You just blew your case by looking on wikipedia, my friend. It’s written by random people, not to mention you only cited what the noun was linked to; not its actual meaning.

            But I give you full credit. At least you LOOKED serious.

            I have to go eat lunch now. Be back later.

            1. You’re critiquing Wikipedia when your source for science information comes from an outdated text that whose writers would have thought we were gods with our internet thingy?

              You trust a book said to be inspired by a 3-in-1 “uncaused first cause” who became his own son to save his imperfect creations from the hell he knowingly created for them to go to, but you distrust those who actually supply real evidence– the kind you don’t need to have faith to understand?

              Someone has really done a number on your brain

              Are you a homeschooled child by chance?

            2. If you really believe wikipedia is no place to look for anything factual, and that anyone can write or edit any article at any time, why don’t you go ahead and try to edit one of the pages? Maybe the calendar page or the universe page? LOL

        2. We can understand the origins of things by checking the origins of the words for things? Wow, what a timesaver.

          Wait, I have a microscope that is nearly two feet tall. Something’s not right here.

          Akshully, “versus” is the past participle of the verb “vertere”, “to turn”. See “circular reasoning”.

      2. “You, sir, obviously have no affiliation with science. Albert Einstein and five other leading scientists all have observed and calculated (with the Hubble Space Telescope) that our galaxy is expanding.”

        Sorry, no, it isn’t our *galaxy* that is expanding (no observations show that) it is the space between galaxies that is expanding. That’s just one of the flaws in your error-strewn post (were you really intending to imply that Einstein had used the Hubble Space Telescope?).

              1. Hubble was a person, he wasn’t “invented”.

                The Hubble Space Telescope is a device that was named after Hubble. It was launched in 1990.

              2. I wasn’t talking about the person, my friend. I was obviously talking about the telescope. And again, it was INVENTED in 1929 and LAUNCHED in 1990. Albert Einstein had access to it LONG before it was launched. I can see you’re trying really hard though; and I don’t want to discourage you.

              3. I suggest you get your history for wikipedia rather than where you are getting it now. Einstein dis not use the Hubble Telescope:


                If you are interested in the truth rather than confirming your preferred delusion, I suggest you get your science from actual scientists. They have a vested interest in the truth and they don’t fear they are going to suffer forever if they fail to confirm a story in a magic book. Believers have a vested interest in having the right belief that they’ve been told will earn them “happily ever after”.

                Look… a real scientist that you have access to thanks to the wonders of the internet!!

                Clearly the sources you have been trusting for information have been leading you astray.
                You may wish to disregard future information from where you got the delusion that Einstein was using the Hubble telescope.

              4. Albert Einstein had access to it LONG before it was launched.

                You can’t be serious.

                The Hubble Space Telescope couldn’t be used from earth. It wasn’t proposed until the 1970s and wasn’t built until the late 1980s. Einstein didn’t have access to it because it didn’t exist yet.

                Are you maybe thinking of the Hubble Constant? That was a discovery Hubble made.

              5. Obvious troll is obvious. C’mon guys, are you really letting this masterrosie bait you? From this vantage, it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

              6. Obvious troll is obvious. C’mon guys

                Other than the confusion of the Hubble Constant with the Hubble Space Telescope, all the nonsense he has spouted is commonly believed in certain fundamentalist Christian circles. His description of the Big Bang – and his belief that it’s part of the theory of evolution – come straight from Kent Hovind. His idea that Moses wrote the Old Testament and that the Dead Sea Scrolls prove the veracity of the Bible are both arguments I’ve run into before. To us they sound so stupid that nobody could possibly believe them, but there are communities in the United States where children learn this nonsense in school and, because they are told to distrust all non-approved sources of knowledge, they never learn otherwise.

                You and I take it for granted that we can pick up an issue of National Geographic or turn on PBS and get some simplified but accurate knowledge of the world, and we assume most other people were raised in similar environments. It is a mistake to underestimate how cut off from the mainstream some American fundamentalists are.

              7. @truthspeaker

                Well, you may very well be right, but for the depth of apparently targeted ignorance displayed by masterrosie to be so extreme, I would expect it to be also accompanied by more CAPS, spelling, and punctuation errors.

                Believe you me, I really do know the depth of American fundamentalism, because I used to be in that group, although it was the fundamentalism of the more learned kind (not a high bar, I know). My grandmother forbade celebrating Christmas for a number of years based on two observations: 1) there is no clear documentation of the time of Jesus’ birth, so why hold Dec. 25th sacred?; 2) there is ample documentation that Dec. 25th is based on various Pagan and/or Roman solstice celebrations like Saturnalia, so we shouldn’t celebrate it because it is heathen.

                Yeah, no tree, no gifts, etc. in order not to offend the baby Jebus. And now I’m an academic evolutionary biologist and atheist. What a ride that was.

              8. I should also add that his ideas about Moses writing the Old Testament are taught in the divinity departments of schools like Liberty University and Oral Roberts University, not as antiquated ideas but as factual Biblical scholarship.

              9. Something like that. But really, who says he needs Hubble anyway? He could have used any telescope and it would still prove my point. You people get hung up on the most trivial of issues.

              10. I wonder if Masterrosie is confusing an actual historical incident. Einstein did make a famous visit to Hubble at the Mt Wilson Observatory in California in 1931. One of my favorite quips came out of this visit. The people at Palomar (then the world’s most elaborate observatory) were explaining to Einstein’s wife that this enormous and expensive telescope was used to to figure out the size and structure of the universe. Elsa Einstein replied “Well, well, my husband does that on the back of an old envelope!”

      3. You, sir, obviously have no affiliation with science. Our galaxy, in fact no galaxy, is observed to be expanding.

        Maybe you are confusing this with cosmological expansion of the whole observable universe?

        I note that you don’t provide references to your specific claim of “Einstein and five other leading scientists all have observed and calculated (with the Hubble Space Telescope)”. No mean feat of Einstein, who never was an astronomer and died 1955, while the Hubble was launched 1990.

        Also, if you take a moment to google it up, multiverse theories embed the standard inflationary cosmology in a larger inflationary setting. Most multiverse theories have no big bang, just a local end of inflation which promotes the reheating that we see as a “dispersion of energy”.

  8. Would somebody be so kind as to explain how Christianity answers these unanswerable questions? Not the answers it comes up with, but the means by which it arrives at those answers.

    Because, last I checked, the “answers” are to be “found” by “analyzing” an ancient anthology of third-rate faery tales, including a whopper of an opener about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry giant. And the justification for us accepting those answers wouldn’t be good enough for 90% of the population when buying a used car from a guy in a plaid suit.

    That’s really where the science / religion fault line lies.

    Religion exhorts, “No need to take a test drive — she’s a beaut. Trust me!”

    Science, on the other hand, opens the inspection station to the public, tapes the inspection results to the windshield, and has sitting on the driver’s seat a detailed manual on how to perform your own testing. Oh — and, if you can come up with a new method for testing, the scientists will be happy to include it in their test suite and manual, and give you credit as the originator. They’ll get especially excited if you can find a fault in their testing methodologies, too.



      1. Okay. If you insist.

        How can you expect anybody to take you seriously when you yourself take seriously a story about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry giant?



        1. Glad you asked. It all depends on your perception of reality. For instance, if talking animals had been commonplace in our world, you would’ve accepted it (and it wouldn’t have seemed weird to you at all). The stories make perfect sense. Your problem is that you think God can’t do all the stuff the Bible says he did because YOU can’t do it. But if He’s God, of course He can do it.

          1. Speaking of fairy tales, an evolutionist forces himself to believe dots (which have not been seen or documented in history and have no origin) explode randomly and create the universe. That’s really about as plausible as a baby randomly banging on a computer keyboard to program a video game, or a tornado crashing through a junkyard to put together an airplane (and even then, I’m being generous with my examples because I’m assuming that the baby and computer and the tornado and junkyard are already there).

            1. Evolution has nothing to do with the creation of the universe, and there is no theory of cosmology that involves dots exploding.

              1. No, the theory of evolution says absolutely nothing about the beginning of the universe. It is not concerned with anything other than life on earth.

              2. You should educate yourself in this matter. Are you aware of the fact that evolution is taught in public schools, and that it ALWAYS attempts to explain how, not only life began on earth, but also how the universe came about?

                Sure evolution doesn’t explain life, but that doesn’t mean its supporters don’t ATTEMPT to explain it.

              3. Are you aware of the fact that evolution is taught in public schools, and that it ALWAYS attempts to explain how, not only life began on earth, but also how the universe came about?

                I have had courses which discuss evolution in biology courses and geology but not a single one of them have ever discussed cosmology. I too think you’re lying or badly misinformed. Can you back up this claim.

                The best I can do is to imagine that, since evolution is a science and cosmology is also a science, that supporters of evolution will also tend to be supporters of cosmology. But dang, that’s a stretch. It’s sure hard to be generous when you say things like this!

            2. Have you ever heard of the Big Band? Then you are aware that the story of its explosion starts out with a tiny dot (”smaller than the period on this page…) which begins to spin. Faster and faster, it spins. Until the friction causes it to explode. And that’s how evolutionists attempt to explain why all the constellation spin.

              1. I am familiar with the Big Bang, and it is almost nothing like you described it.

                The “tiny dot” is all the matter in the universe compressed into a very small space, possibly as small as the Planck length.

                No cosmological model claims that it spins.

                No cosmological model claims friction caused it to explode. We don’t have the technology or the knowledge to know what, if anything, it was doing before it started expanding.

                And it has nothing to do with evolution, which is a theory about life on earth.

              2. Also, constellations don’t spin. Galaxies spin, but not because of any spinning at the beginning of the universe.

              3. Yes, planets spin. Planets are not constellations. Stars spin too. And no, evolution does not try to explain the spin of the planets.

          2. It appears we’ve got a live one – a genuine, true-to-life young earth creationist (and the most logically logical critic to boot!). Seriously, how old are you?

              1. Your childishness would be more, well, understandable, if in fact you were a very young child. If you are ten or older, well then you’re just a tiresome fundamentalist moron – the likes of which I’ve seen a thousand times. Not worth the time of day.

          3. But we know that we do not live in a world where animals talk. This isn’t a perception of reality, it is reality. Snakes can’t talk. Donkeys can’t talk.

              1. Parrots, budgies, macaws…


                Let’s take a time out. Can you explain your rather disturbing gravatar, in which what appears to be a younger relation is somewhat viscerally rubbed out?

                Is this person on your own private Index Librorum Prohibitorum?

              2. Oh– I see… it’s magic!

                God likes to use his magic powers for silly things every once in a while– or rather, he used to. Now he only uses his “omnipotent” powers to do things that look like coincidences and natural occurrences.

          4. No, the reason I don’t think your imaginary friends can make animals talk is because you’d need to take off your shoes to count my age — and then get confused when you ran out of digits.

            At least, that was the case the last time I encountered somebody who found convincing an “argument” such as you just burped up.

            I mean, really? What’s next? “Sophisticated” discourse on the Kryptonite content of Superman’s condoms, and what would happen to Lois Lane’s uterus if one of the condoms should break?



          5. “It all depends on your perception of reality. … Your problem is that you think God can’t do all the stuff the Bible says he did because YOU can’t do it. But if He’s God, of course He can do it.”

            If you percieve God as a being who can do anything, then God can do anything. Therefore, it’s all true.

            Now why didn’t I think of that? Who do you usually discuss religion with, 6-year-olds?

            1. I’m sorry if my comment confused you. Let me clarify: Obviously animals don’t talk (without us knowing); they’re soulless creatures. My point is that if God exists (and evolution isn’t true) anything that God chooses to do is possible.

              1. Are you saying that animals “don’t” talk (rather than animals “can’t” talk) because they don’t have souls? Fascinating.

                I must say, your previous remarks indicate that you’ve been the recipient of a very bad science education. If you’re young, your ignorance is not your fault. But if you aren’t, go read better books, would you?

              2. Why are you even arguing with me? All you’re saying is, ”God doesn’t exist!” But what’s the point of saying that? If He doesn’t exist, then there’s no purpose to life (if we are just a random accident and there is no creator, then there is no such thing as immorality). The problem here is simply a lack of accountability. Anyone who loves and obeys God isn’t afraid to say He exists. Whereas if you practice sin daily, and say God exists at the same time, people would say, ”Oh, so you believe in God? Then why don’t you obey Him?”

              3. If he existed I would say that I do not obey him because he is a monster to be resisted, not obeyed and worshipped.

        2. He thinks your angry giant is “Goliath”.

          He doesn’t realize that you’re talking about Yahweh, the Big Kahuna, the capo di tutti capi.

          One would hope that there would be a better variety of chew toy appearing here.

  9. Dark matter makes calculations fit nicely. Llike creationism physics by calculation bears a strong resemblance to creative bookkeeping. What has happened to the noble art of philosophy?

    1. It merely derives from the Greek for ‘speaking in defense’, usually associated with using reason to defend a religious position. Socrates, as well, delivered an unsuccessful apologia at his trial.

      St. Paul uses the term. In view of that, I don’t think that Christians will be giving up the word. The fact that the root has evolved to connote a request for forgiveness in modern English takes you back to Darwin’s early observation in ‘The Origin…’ on the mutability of language.

      If apologists want to keep the word and its original meaning, let them. Wouldn’t the language be less rich for its absence?

      1. Nah…you’re waaaay over-thinking it. Truth in advertising, baby! The Christers are (intellectually) the sorriest lot you’ll come across, and it’s downright…Christian…of them to be so forthright about it.



  10. I find criticism of the provisional nature of scientific knowledge interesting. Firstly some knowledge is more provisional than other knowledge, some things are so close to 100% proven as makes no difference, other stuff we can’t be so sure of. As new knowledge is aquired, discarding ideas that have now been disproven is the only way to advance. The alternative is to carry on being wrong, why would you want to do that?

    Of course the religious folk might be able to answer that one, why do you wan’t to carry on being wrong after your ideas have been proven false?

    1. There is also ‘proof’ in the mathematical sense and that is the sense in which science does not attempt to prove anything. However, as the ordinary human understands the word ‘prove’, science has indeed proven many things. What fool would step off a cliff expecting to float in the air like Beep-beep the roadrunner? Come to think of it, gravitation didn’t need science to prove its existence; what Newton did was to prove it acts, to excellent approximation, according to simple rules.

  11. I read Aliser McGrath’s article in full. There is nothing there about getting to Heaven. McGrath is probably a Liberal Christian, who believes Jesus’ teaching about peace and good will. Liberal Christians don’t believe in life-after-death.

    Liberal Christianity is like Reconstructionist Judaism. They have compassion for their fellow man, and feel it is too negative to say God doesn’t exist. Like the American atheist John Dewey, they think God is real because the idea of God causes people to change their behavior.

    Be that as it may, Protestants are weak on metaphysics. Advocates of intelligent design are mostly Protestants. They don’t understand why human beings have souls and why God exists. They rely of the argument for God’s existence from design.

    1. Well David, nice job of demolishing your strawman.

      I think you’ll find that just about every Protestant denomination — liberal or otherwise — teaches the divinity of Jesus and a belief in eternal life through belief in Jesus’ salvation. Many major Protestant denominations profess a belief in the bodily resurrection of the dead (just as you Catholics do, by reciting the Nicene Creed each and every Sunday).

      Seriously, if you’re going to misrepresent someone else’s beliefs, at least try to get some of the major details right.

    2. “who believes Jesus’ teaching about peace and good will”
      These teaching are expanding from a tiny dot, far tinier than the teaching about hell, torture, revenge, etc.

  12. Jesus could only WISH he was like dark matter.

    People who try to ensnare science into the rope of religion are only doing it out of jealousy. Science is far more wonderous and exciting than anything religion has ever dreamed of. Ms. McGrath may have been given a PhD. in molecular biophysics, but she left her sense of wonder in bible school.

  13. I found the typo “comic magnification” quite humorous. But I think it’s a great term to describe the haughty over-reaching claims of theologians.

  14. I will now call this theological strategy religionism.

    I hope you aren’t toying with us because I love this idea! If it spreads as well as ‘fatheism’, I think it could be a great way to open some minds.

    Scientism indeed.

  15. McGrath:
    ” The inspiring beauty of the night sky, solemn arctic landscapes, or a magnificent sunset fill us with wonder.
    Yet they also make us ask deep questions.”

    Woody Allen to the rescue:
    “Today I saw a red-and-yellow sunset and thought, How insignificant I am! Of course, I thought that yesterday, too, and it rained.”

    It’s bad news for a theologian when a comedy writer asks more pertinent questions, lightly and obliquely. It’s worse news for a theologian that this happens very often. Some would say, all the time.

  16. “For Christians, faith is not a blind leap into the dark, but a joyful discovery of a bigger and clearer picture of things, of which we are part.”

    This line seems out of place, not a blockquote or anything. Appearing as if JAC had written it himself.

  17. And in Chambers 1994, The Oxford Dictionary of English 2006, Master. Richard Dawkins himself admires wikipedia.

    Go on, Master, have a go at Dawkins; I’m enjoying this.

    1. Please go find something productive to do. If evolution is true, then when you die, your body will be recycled and there will be no life after death or judgment. Go have some fun. You have a limited amount of time until recycling happens.

      1. Yes, there is no life after death and there is no judgment. If you want any justice you have to create it on earth. Eschatological judgment is another fabrication of religions, from the Greek Hades to the poor christian ripoff called heaven and hell.

      2. But, Master, a lexicographer needs to understand phonetics; and to compare phonetics between living and dead languages; and therefore to decode the meanings of ancient and hitherto mysterious scripts, contemporaneous with the Bible.

        For example, there are about 150,000 clay tablets of Hittite script waiting to be translated by the few scholars of that language. There’s a chance that one of those tablets will confirm the entire Torah. Now wouldn’t that be ‘productive’?

  18. There’s no reason to argue any further. You’d all like to believe you have security in the fact that so many of you believe evolution. But you’re basically arguing that there is no purpose to life, really no reason to live. If God did’t exist, I would commit suicide.

    Your lives are so empty and meaningless, that you spend your time arguing that, basically, there’s no reason to argue about anything; because there’ll be no consequences!

    I hope you all find the happiness and security that Christians like myself have found.

    1. If you would commit suicide because there were no god then you are a fool. You are also a fool for believing you need any gods to give your life a purpose. I have news for you though: there is no god and as the old saying goes: life is what you make of it. I do not wish to have the false security and other delusions of christians.

      1. Let’s pretend that when you die, you suddenly appear in front of your maker.

        Pretend He says, ”So many people tried to tell you about me, but you wouldn’t listen. What do you think I should do?”

        What would you say?

        1. Rosie, you’re forgetting something. It’s GOD. Why does the creator of the universe have to rely on word-of-mouth advertising?

        2. “Why would you care why I believe you exist? If you wanted me to believe you existed, why didn’t you tell me so yourself?”

          1. “Why would you care why I believe you exist?”

            Or to paraphrase that great theologian, James Tiberius Kirk, “What does God need of a believer?”

        3. But there is no ‘maker’. At any rate, to take the hypothetical bait, if it were the murderous abusive evil god of the bible I would rail against it and do my best to destroy it and end its tyranny.

          1. Nice.

            I said the same thing to Chris Mooney once. He deleted my comment and banned me from posting on his blog.

        4. Pretend He says, ”So many people tried to tell you about me, but you wouldn’t listen. What do you think I should do?” What would you say?

          Do something about the intelligence and empathy levels of these “many people” of yours, for Christ’s sake. So many of them are such tiresome, bothersome bores.

          1. (take note of the sneaky way I avoided ad hominem there. I used the Phil Plait gambit. [that is, leave the tiresome boors unidentified, yet still implicate the original poster by suggestion])

    2. Ladies and gentleman, please stand and raise your glasses to the comic genius who is (dramatic fanfare), the Master Himself, I give you masterrosie!

    3. “If God didn’t exist, I would commit suicide.”

      This must be one of the most desperately vacuous statements ever uttered by a religionhead on this site. It means you haven’t got a life of your own. It means that, short of clinging to the delusional equivalent of a psychotropic drug, you are not getting anything out of life. It would be infinitely sad were it not so inane.

    4. …then what’s the reason to go on living?

      Because I’m fairly certain at some point I will get to experience death. So why shouldn’t I experience life? (No matter how I happen to be here…)

  19. Contrary to McGrath’s claim, religion purports to explain everything (unless you’re ‘sophisticated’ like McGrath, in which case you lie and say No True Religion does that) and to ‘provide meaning’ and ‘seek truth’. I can’t even imagine what ‘meaning’ religions provide (aside from interpreting natural events as supernatural portents) and religion has never discovered any ‘truths’ of any sort.

    1. God created us in the first place so that He could have companionship and someone who would love Him and someone that He could love back. But humans disappointed Him by sinning, and He knew that, by His own rules, someone has to pay (with death) for our sins. That’s why He sent Jesus to die.

      None of you seem to care, though. So continue wasting your life.

      1. He’s doing a pretty rotten job loving the Africans, what with all the famine, drought, malaria and AIDS. Maybe Jesus is a racist. I guess that would explain why God tried to kill him.

        Considering that God created billions upon billions of stars, flooded the planet, and sent a dozen prophets and eventually his son, God seems strangely unwilling to reach out to those he loves. At least dead-beat dads sometimes pick up the phone. Is God shy or what?

      2. God created us in the first place so that He could have companionship and someone who would love Him and someone that He could love back.

        But if God is perfect, why does he need companionship or someone to love him?

        But humans disappointed Him by sinning, and He knew that, by His own rules, someone has to pay (with death) for our sins. That’s why He sent Jesus to die.

        Then why didn’t God make humans such that they do not sin? And why did he make the “rule” that someone has to pay with death for our sins?

      3. Let me see:
        An infinite god needs finite companionship, an infinitely loving god needs to be finitely loved back, wherefore he kills himself, nevermind his eternal nature, in atonement for the failures of the creatures he created in his omnipotence and omniscience?

        Well done! No atheist could have summarised the ineptitude of the christian creed in such a tiny nutshell.

      4. But humans disappointed Him by sinning, and He knew that, by His own rules, someone has to pay (with death) for our sins.

        Why did he make his rules that way? Sounds like a dick.

      5. Dude, you’re so full of shit you’re making no sense at all. God created humans so he can have some toys to play with? I suppose you ‘know’ that because a little bird told you so?

        1. It’s certainly not in the Bible, although that would be no more credible than information from a little bird.

      6. Okay, masterrosie, you’ve trolled enough. Before you can post here again with your antievolutionist garbage, tell us clearly exactly what the evidence for God is that you find so convincing.

        That’s something I usually require of people like you before you’re allowed to disrupt threads.

        1. Great. Now I have no excuse not to go clean up more Christmas crap. I’d rather feed the troll. Thanks a lot, JC.

          1. I’m finished ”trolling” now, thank you. You’d have to be blind, deaf, mute, and utterly senseless to say the evidence of a creator is nonexistent. If you looked at a video game, say Call of Duty, and asked me how it was made, you’d think I was crazy if I told you that it came about by a baby slamming his fingers on a computer keyboard.

            You, and all the other evolutionists, have chosen to be ignorant. It’s a more secure mindset, ”knowing” that you’ll never be judged for your sins.

            1. There’s millions of scientific articles that are utterly consistent with no god.

              You’re going to have to do better than your assertion.

              1. Let’s make that the “HitchRaz”.
                And start a new era counter from it.

                2011 CE shall be known as Year Zero of the HitchRaz Era.

      7. Why would a god create imperfect humans – that it knew would disappoint it – for companionship? Why wouldn’t it create another god?

        And why was he bound by rules, his or anyone else’s?

        1. Maybe another god wouldn’t be sufficiently obedient for the kind of “companionship” he desires.

          It would explain why he got rid of his wife, Asherah.

  20. I will now call this theological strategy religionism.

    Of course. But only if those defining points includes claiming “scientism therefore “science is based on faith””.

    As regards Carroll’s last link, is is one of the more torturous posts of his. You don’t have to do a detailed analysis of religion and the supernatural to dismiss it. It is enough that it isn’t observed, while other explanations abound.

  21. I cannot understand how supposed educated people can pour forth such misinformation. These are the people that the general public look to for information. Thankfully we in the general public also can find his claims to be dubious. His ideas on science seems more equivalent to how a savage looks at a ship.

  22. You cannot prove the existence of God. That is why our “knowledge” of God is called believe. The inspiration in the words of the Bible come from reading in love and faith. It is possible and it has happened so many times in history that it is beyond counting to use the words of the Bible to foster hate and prejudice. But every tool that is powerful is misused, look at the mess we have made of nuclear energy and the bomb. “The fault (to misquote Shakespeare) lies not in [the powerful tools] but in ourselves”
    The words in the Bible can twisted a thousand ways but their truth can be life changing if read in love and faith.
    As for science I like the phrase often attributed to Einstein “getting to know the mind of the Old One”. But science too is a powerful tool and must be treated with care. The horrors of Dr. Mengele were once passed off as science. Science without values is also of little or no value – so are we back to faith and love again – faith in the value of our fellow man and the love of truth?

    1. You can prove that God exists for two reasons: 1) It is a formal result in the method of inquiry called metaphysics. 2) People who don’t admit that God exists are either ignorant of the proof, don’t understand the proof, or are being disingenuous. A possible example of disingenuousness is the “Who made God?” argument. Many people don’t understand why humans are embodied spirits.

      If everyone knew and understood the proof and some made the judgment that God exists and others did not, then the proof would be just an argument. Saying someone who disagrees with you has bad judgment or is irrational is circular reasoning.

      Faith in God is a positive response to revelation. It is both a decision and a gift from God. If someone says, “God hasn’t given me the gift of faith,” they are admitting God exists and are acknowledging the persuasiveness of the reasons to believe. It is wrong to criticize the judgment of people who don’t agree that God has communicated Himself to mankind.

    2. You cannot prove the existence of God. That is why our “knowledge” of God is called believe

      And that’s why those beliefs can be dismissed out of hand.

        1. Your flaw is with step two. It’s long since been demonstrated that Aristotelian notions of causation are as outdated as Aristotelian astronomy or Aristotelian medicine.

          Simply put, the universe is brimming with uncaused finite entities. And if you had stayed awake in your introductory physics class — the section on quantum mechanics — you’d know that.

          You’d also know that if you had bothered to read any of the other dozens of responses to your inane blatherings on this subject, which makes me wonder why I’m wasting my time reminding you of it yet again.



        2. There are several logical flaws in your “proof” that have been repeatedly pointed out in this thread. They have also been repeatedly pointed out in philosophical literature, so if you’re as educated as you claim to be then you would have come across them before now.

          But here they are again:

          You have not established that finite beings need a cause.

          Even if they do, it does not follow that an infinite being exists.

  23. Albert Einstein made use of the Hubble Space Telescope! Haha, wow, I sincerely hope for masterrosie’s sake, he is just a troll having some fun with you all. The alternative is too frightful to contemplate.

  24. “Is Dark Matter Supernatural?”

    Given that theologists are compeltely in the dark and that, to them, it makes no matter, I think we have an answer to this question….

  25. There is another, more charitable, interpretation of McGrath’s writing (but where is the fun in that?): that he simply hasn’t kept up-to-date on dark-matter research. After all, his position was quite legitimate at one time.

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