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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why won't God heal amputees? (B)

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god7.htm

Chapter 7 - Why can't you move mountains?

Many people believe that God reaches down onto earth on a regular basis to answer prayers. People talk about their answered prayers all the time. Inspirational books and magazines document thousands of answered prayers.
In chapter 5, however, we learned that there is a specific group of people whom God never helps through prayer. No matter how much they pray, no matter how many people gather into a prayer group to pray for them, no matter how much they believe, no matter how deserving and holy they are, what we found is that God never reaches down onto earth to regenerate the legs of amputees. And amputees aren't the only group that God completely ignores. For example, God never reaches down onto earth to cure those who suffer from Down syndrome either. There are hundreds of diseases that are impossible to cure with prayer.
In chapter 6, things got even more interesting. What we discovered is that God actually does not answer medical prayers in general. We found that it is easy to create the illusion that prayer works. The way you do it is by reporting only on the successes of prayer. As soon as you start tracking both the successes AND the failures of prayer, and apply some statistical analysis to the data, it is easy to see that prayer has no effect on the outcome of disease.
The amputation experiment in chapter 5 falls into a class of prayers that could be called "impossible prayers." It is impossible, in the natural course of events, for a human leg to regenerate. It is easy to think of hundreds of other impossible prayers, and it turns out that impossible prayers can teach us something about how prayer works. Here are several examples:

  • "Dear God, I pray that, tomorrow morning at 8AM, you pick up and move the Empire State Building to Paris. Amen."
  • "Dear God, I pray that you levitate this car 5 feet off the ground right now, and leave it hanging in the air for 15 minutes. Amen."
  • "Dear God, I pray that you let me fly over the earth today, just like Superman does in the comic books. Amen."
  • "Dear God, I pray that you let me run the World's first one-minute mile tomorrow, shattering the Olympic record in that event. Amen."
  • "Dear God, I pray that you make a living, breathing Tyrannosaurs Rex appear on the Mall in downtown Washington DC tomorrow. Amen."
  • "Dear God, I pray that you move Mt. Everest to Newark, NJ tomorrow. Amen."
  • "Dear God, I pray that you put $100 million in small unmarked bills in my basement tonight. Amen."
  • "Dear God, I pray that you completely eliminate all of the diseases in the world tomorrow. Amen."
If you were to pray any of these prayers, none of them will ever be answered. Ever. We all know that. No matter how sincere you are. No matter how much you believe in God and his ability to answer prayers. No matter how many people gather together in a prayer circle. Your impossible prayers will go unanswered.What if your impossible prayer is incredibly worthy? For example:
  • What if you are praying to levitate a car because a drunk driver has run over a college freshman and she is currently pinned under one of the wheels?
  • What if you are praying to fly like superman so that you can rise up to a tenth story window and save two children from their burning apartment?
  • What if you plan to donate the $100 million that God gives you to a worthy and deserving charity?
None of it matters. God never answers impossible prayers.Why is that?
It really is strange. We can take Mount Everest as the simplest example. It should be easy to move Mount Everest to Newark. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus talks about mountains directly and says quite clearly:
    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
What could be simpler? There are no reservations in Jesus' statement. There are no conditions. There is no waffling. A devoted person with a little bit of faith should be able to move Mt. Everest to Newark at a moment's notice. Jesus is God, so he cannot be wrong and he has no reason to lie to us in the Bible. If you believe Jesus, impossible prayers should be getting answered all the time. What could be clearer than, "Nothing will be impossible to you"?And yet... We have never seen a mountain move. Not even Jesus moved a mountain, even though he claimed it was easy.
God is omnipotent, so nothing is impossible for God. However, if you pray for anything that is clearly impossible in the natural course of events, it is not going to happen. You certainly are not going to see the Empire State building fly off to Paris one morning and settle gently next to the Eiffel Tower. Nor are you ever going to see a human being on the evening news stretch out his arms and zoom up to a tenth story window like Superman.
Although God should be able to do the impossible according to the Standard Model of God and Jesus' promises in the Bible, it never actually happens. It is essential that you ask yourself, "Why might that be?" It is a very important question.

Explaining the contradiction

How do we explain the fact that God never answers impossible prayers?
There is the "God must remain hidden" argument. But, as mentioned in chapters 5 and 6, a hidden God would never incarnate himself, or publish a Bible, or part the Red Sea, or put rainbows in the clouds, so obviously God has no need or desire to hide.
There is the "you are misinterpreting Jesus and taking his statements out of context" argument. But, since Jesus is God, and God is omniscient, Jesus would account for that. Jesus would know that when he says, "nothing will be impossible to you," normal human human beings would interpret it to mean, "nothing will be impossible to you." This is not rocket science. If Jesus did not mean that, he would not have said it.
Imagine the following conversation:
    Norm: Does God answer prayers?Chris: Yes, certainly. He has answered hundreds of my prayers.
    Norm: Pray for him to put $10,000 in my pocket right now.
    Chris: It does not work that way. I said God answers prayers, not that he is a cosmic genie.
    Norm: So, in Mark 11:24, when Jesus says, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours," what did he mean? That sounds like you can have whatever you pray for.
    Chris: He means that you pray for something, and if it is his will then you can have it.
    Norm: If it is his will, aren't I going to get it anyway? Why pray?
    Chris: Ask, and you shall receive. You have to ask...
    Norm: ...and then you should receive. Jesus does not say, "Ask, and you might receive if it is my will." His statement has no conditions.
    Chris: Well, he meant that. It is implied.
    Norm: OK, why does he never answer impossible prayers?
    Chris: It is not his will.
    Norm: Ever?
    Chris: It is never his will.
    Norm: So in Matthew 17:20, when Jesus says, "nothing will be impossible to you," why isn't flying-like-superman or $10,000-in-my-pocket-right-now part of that?
    Chris: What he meant is that nothing that is possible will be impossible for you.
    Norm: So when Jesus uses the example of moving a mountain, which is clearly impossible, what did he mean?
    Chris: He was speaking metaphorically.
    Norm: So when Jesus said "anyone with faith can move a mountain," what he actually meant was, "No one with faith can move a mountain."
    Chris: No.
    Norm: Then, who can move a mountain?
    Chris: God can move a mountain.
    Norm: But he never does.
    Chris: It is not his will.
    Norm: Let me make sure I have this straight. Here is what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20:
      You will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
    But here is what you think he meant:
      You will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you, as long as it is possible and as long as it is my will.
    Is that right?
    Chris: You are really splitting hairs here.
    Norm: Answer the question. Is that what he meant?
    Chris: This is irrelevant to the conversation.
    Norm: Here's what I don't understand. What Jesus said in the Bible is quite clearly wrong. If God is inerrant, there is no reason why God would put something that is completely wrong in the Bible. Why do we need human beings like you to interpret and massage and explain what God might have meant in the Bible? Why wouldn't an omnipotent, all-knowing God have written it the way he meant it, in an understandable, clear, unambiguous, truthful, correct way? There isn't anything vague about, "Nothing will be impossible for you" or, "Ask, and you shall receive." Yet, it is completely wrong. Explain that to me.
    Chris: You are completely missing the point.
And so on...Most people can see the problem that is apparent in this conversation. There is no reason why an all-knowing, perfect God would write down, "you can move mountains" or, "nothing will be impossible for you" or, "Ask, and you shall receive" unless he meant that.
Unfortunately, the reality is that no one can move mountains, and thousands of things will be impossible for you. Not even Jesus could move a mountain.

Divine inspiration


Key Point

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus promises that you can move mountains and that "nothing will be impossible for you." Unfortunately, the reality is that no one can move mountains, and thousands of things will be impossible for you. Not even Jesus could move a mountain.
A thoughtful person might say, "You arecompletely missing the point. Coal companies move mountains. Scientists create artificial limbs for amputees. A crane can make a car levitate. These human accomplishments are divinely inspired. God acts on this world through men."
There are three problems with this argument. In Matthew 21:21 Jesus says:
    I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Jesus does not say, "You will have to hire thousands of people, spend a billion dollars on heavy equipment and then work 24 hours a day for 20 years to move this mountain into the sea, and it will be done." He says, "You can say, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done." The mountain actually moves itself in Jesus' statement.The second problem is that the vast majority of people do not have a billion dollars. Therefore, Jesus statement is false even if he had earth-moving machinery in mind.
The third problem is that, if these human accomplishments are "divinely inspired," then there is no reason why God did not "divinely inspire" them 4,000 years ago. For example, why didn't God "divinely inspire" a smallpox vaccine in 2000 BCE, rather than waiting until 1950? Why would an all-loving God want tens of millions of people to suffer and die from smallpox over the last 4,000 years, and then suddenly decide to "divinely inspire" a cure in the twentieth century? If that explanation is true, then God is clearly a sadist. Only a sadist would cause the suffering of smallpox for thousands of years when he had a "divinely inspired" cure waiting in the wings. Why would we want to worship a sadist?
The reason why we call them human accomplishments is because they are humanaccomplishments. God has nothing to do with them. If God is divinely inspiring them, then the headline in the paper should never be, "Scientist discovers transparent aluminum." It should always be, "God divinely inspires scientist to discover transparent aluminum." In that case, you have to wonder why God is so unfair in his distribution of inspirations. You also have to wonder why we pay the scientist, since quite clearly he didn't do anything. And why did the scientist need to go to college?

Explaining prayer
The fascinating thing about impossible prayers is that they allow us to see what is actually happening when a person says, "God answered my prayer."
Let's imagine that a person prays for something that is impossible, no matter what it is. For example, a person prays that Mt. Everest fly to New Jersey. Obviously this is not going to happen, despite all of Jesus' promises. So the religious person prays and nothing happens.
How does the religious person rationalize the prayer's failure? The person will rationalize the unanswered prayer by saying, "it is not part of God's plan." Is this rationalization true? No - of course not. The fact is that this event is impossible, Jesus lied and God is imaginary. That is why no impossible prayer will ever be answered.
Now let's look a different situation. A person prays for something that is possible. For example, a person prays to win a church raffle, and he actually does win. What is happening here is nothing more than a coincidence. Here are the steps that led to the coincidence:
  • The event in question must be possible. It has to have some non-zero probability of happening.
  • Then it does in fact happen.
  • A person, coincidentally, happens to pray.
That coincidence is an "answered prayer." How can we prove that this "answered prayer" is a coincidence? We simply look at all the losers. If there were a million people entered in the raffle, then 999,999 people lost. Since it was a church raffle, they all are believers and they all prayed. That's 999,999 unanswered prayers vs. 1 answered prayer. It is a terrible ratio. As soon as we look at the successes AND the failures of prayer, it is obvious what is actually going on. "answered prayers" are coincidences every time.What we are seeing here is important. There are two easy ways to unmask the illusion of prayer:
  1. Ask a believer to pray for something concrete that is impossible. According to the Bible and the Standard Model of God, God should be answering impossible prayers all the time. However, what we will find is that every impossible prayer goes unanswered:
    • This explains why God ignores the prayers of amputees.
    • This explains why no one can move a mountain.
    • This explains why, if Jeanna's prayer circle had prayed that God completely eliminate rabies worldwide, nothing would happen.
    • And so on...
  2. Ask a believer to pray for something that is possible, and then simply count both the successes AND the failures of the prayer. As soon as we count both sides, we can statistically analyze the situation and see that "answered prayers" are nothing but coincidences. The statistics prove it every time:
    • This explains why non-believers win lotteries just as often as believers do.
    • This explains why believers die of cancer as often as non-believers do.
    • This explains why believers need health insurance just like non-believers do.
    • And so on...
Even if you are a devout believer, you should be starting to see a pattern here. God does not answer the prayers of amputees. If he did, we would see amputees regenerating their severed limbs on a daily basis. God does not answer medical prayers. If he did, you would not need health insurance. God does not answer impossible prayers. If he did, people could actually move mountains like Jesus promises.
If you are a believer, here is the question that you must seriously consider: Is it possible that God is imaginary? Is this the reason why God is not answering all of these different kinds of prayers? The advantage of this explanation is that it perfectly fits the data that we see in our world. No rationalizations, hand waving, explanations or excuses are required. Let's look at another example that will further reinforce this line of reasoning....
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Chapter 8 - Why do bad things happen to good people?

"Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?" It is an incredibly common question.
This question is so common, in fact, that there is a well known book by that titlewritten by Melvin Tinker. There is another, even better known book entitled, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. Even more popular is the book When God Doesn't Make Sense by James Dobson.
For James Dobson to weigh in on this, it must be an important question. And that makes sense -- it is a total paradox for any believer, and rightly so.
In his book, James Dobson opens with the story of Chuck Frye, a gifted student who graduated from college and was accepted to medical school. Frye had decided to work as a medical missionary and Dobson says, "If permitted to live, Chuck could have treated thousands of poor and needy people who would otherwise suffer and die in utter hopelessness. Not only could he have ministered to their physical needs, but his ultimate desire was to share the gospel with those who had never heard this greatest of stories." Unfortunately, despite fervent prayers from his parents, family and friends, Frye contracted and then died of leukemia shortly after starting medical school. As Dobson puts it, "how can we make sense of this incomprehensible act of God?"
We see this kind of thing all the time. For example, we read about a woman who is a devout believer. She is so devout that she goes to church three times a week. She gives her time and money to charity. She is constantly helping others. She wears a crucifix and a WWJD bracelet. She walks with Jesus. Then one day a car jacker forces his way into her car. There is a Bible sitting right there on the front seat next to her, but it does not matter. The car jacker shoots her in the head and dumps her body in a ditch. Her family is left to pick up the pieces in bewilderment.
When we ask, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" the essence of the question is simple. If God is looking down upon us from heaven and answering our prayers, how could he allow these horrible things to happen to true believers? How could he ignore their prayers? If someone lives a good and faithful life, and if a person is doing God's work, then why would God allow bad things happen to that person? Why doesn't God -- the all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing creator of the universe -- protect a person who is going to church every Sunday, putting plenty of money in the offering plate, following the commandments, praying faithfully and so on? The case of Neva Rogers in Chapter 1 is a perfect example of the problem.
The reason why this question is so puzzling is because the question makes two assumptions:
  1. God exists
  2. God keeps score
In other words, the question assumes that God is sitting in heaven looking down on us, answering our prayers and keeping track of who is good and bad on a minute-by-minute basis. We assume that God keeps a record of "goodness" and "badness" for each of us. Under the Standard Model of God, the reason why God is keeping score is so that he can decide whose prayers he should answer and who should go to heaven once they die.But what if we were to approach the question from the opposite angle? What if we hypothesize that God is imaginary?
As in chapters 5, 6 and 7, once we hypothesize that God is imaginary, the paradox and the mystery evaporate completely. If there actually is no one in heaven answering prayers and keeping score, then one would expect bad things to happen to good people all the time.
When you look at it this way, everything makes sense. Whether you are good or bad is irrelevant. In the real world that we live in, things like cancer, hurricanes and serial killers would have no way to know whether you are good or bad, nor would they care. Therefore, bad things would happen to good people just as often as they happen to everyone else.

Bad things happen to everyone

To get a clearer picture of what is going on here, let's take a simple example. In the real world, what are your chances of getting cancer if you are good? We find that they are the same as your chances of getting cancer if you are bad. That is easy to prove statistically -- believers get cancer just as often as non-believers who have the same risk factors.
Why might that be? It is because any given cell in every human body has some probability of turning cancerous, and that probability is the same regardless of religious background. There are many different paths to cancer, but let's focus on one of them and use it as an example: cosmic rays.
Every hour of every day, your body is bombarded by about half a million cosmic rays. These cosmic rays have some probability of altering the DNA in a cell in your body. If a cell is altered in a certain way, the cell can turn cancerous and a tumor begins to form.
The cosmic rays in nature have no way of knowing whether you are good or bad, nor do they care. Everyone gets hit by the same number of cosmic rays whether they are good or bad. Therefore, everyone has the same probability of getting cancer from cosmic rays. Your goodness or badness has no influence on cosmic rays. Since God is imaginary, he will not protect you from cosmic rays if you are good. Therefore, cancer happens to good people in exactly the same way that it happens to bad people.
You actually can change the probabilities in certain cases. You do have some control over cancer. A person who smokes increases his probability of getting lung cancer. A person who likes to lie on a tanning bed increases her probability of getting skin cancer. A pilot or an astronaut gets hit by more cosmic rays and increases the probability of cancer. So by not smoking, staying on the ground and remaining pale, you reduce your cancer risk. But no one can eliminate the threat of cancer. You cannot stop the half million cosmic rays that will hit your body in the next hour.
If God is imaginary, these cosmic rays do not care whether a person is good or bad. In the same way:
  • A hurricane does not care if the people in its path are good or bad
  • A deer does not care whether the driver is good or bad when she leaps out onto a highway at midnight and crashes through a windshield.
  • Fat molecules do not care whether you are good or bad as they attach themselves to your heart's arteries and create the conditions necessary for a heart attack.
  • A volcano does not care whether good or bad people will be buried in its lava when it erupts.
  • And so on.
What we find in the real world is that a hurricane causes just as much damage for believers as non-believers. We also find that God does not divert hurricanes away from devout nations -- hurricanes hit the United States every year, often with devastating results, despite the fact that the large majority of Americans believe in God.
The thing for you to notice is this: If we assume that God exists and that the Standard Model of God is true, then the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?" is a complete mystery. Our world makes no sense. However, if we assume that God is imaginary, there is no mystery at all. Our world makes complete sense.
That lack of mystery is one way we can know, for sure, that God is imaginary. All evidence points toward the fact that God is imaginary. God is not reaching down from heaven and arbitrarily modifying the laws of probability on behalf of believers. We know that, with certainty, by analyzing the statistics. Nor is God sitting in heaven answering the prayers of believers. Statistics show us that as well. Therefore, bad things happen to good people all the time. Hurricanes, volcanoes, forest fires, tornadoes, tsunamis, car crashes, diseases... they do not care whether you have been bad or good. They are equal opportunity disasters. We can prove this both with common sense and statistical rigor.

God's plan

One of the things running through your head right now may be "God's plan." This is the way that believers traditionally explain things like cancer, hurricanes and car accidents.
For example, when God ignored the prayers of Neva Rogers and allowed the Red Lake gunman to shoot her in the head four times (see chapter 1), she died as part of God's plan. Her death had a purpose. God called her home for a reason. When two-year-old Ranika baked to death in a church van, her death was part of God's plan too (see chapter 4). You know how this works -- even if something bad happens, it is actually good because it is part of God's plan.
You can see how pervasive "God's plan" is by looking in inspirational books and magazines. For example, if we look in the book A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, we find this remarkable paragraph in Chapter 2:
    Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]
There is also this:
    Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.
Under this view of the universe, God plans everything.Take a moment and think about what Rick Warren said. Rick said, "He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death." Let's examine one incredibly simple implication of this statement. What this means is that God pre-planned every abortion that has taken place on our planet.
If you think about this simple implication for a few moments, you will begin to realize how impossible "God's plan" is. If the concept of "God's plan" is true, you can first of all see that God wants us to be aborting children. Every single abortion is planned by God, so God must be doing it for a reason. Second, you can see that both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child (God chose the "exact time" of the death, according to Rick Warren), the mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God's plan. You can also see that all the believers who are fighting against abortion are missing the point. They are actually fighting against God's plan, and their fight is completely futile. God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more than a million children a year to die in the United States through abortion. [ref] Each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God, so fighting against abortion is a totally wasted effort.
You may be thinking, "God does not intend for us to perform abortions!" But if you believe what Rick is saying, then you are obviously incorrect. If God exists and God has a plan for you, then God is actually the direct cause of every abortion on earth. If you find that notion to be uncomfortable, I would agree with you. Unfortunately, that is the logical outcome of God's plan.
In order to better understand God's plan, let's look at one of the biggest global events that humans have ever witnessed: World War II. According to Encarta:
    The human cost [of WWII], not including between 5.6 million and 5.9 million Jews killed in the Holocaust who were indirect victims of the war, is estimated to have been 55 million dead—25 million of those military and 30 million civilian.
In addition, according to Encarta:
  • 61 countries participated in WWII
  • 1.7 billion people participated in WWII
  • 75% of all human beings alive at the time participated in WWII
World War II was obviously a major disaster -- perhaps the most horrific event the world has ever seen. It is safe to say that nearly every human being on planet Earth prayed to God that this war would end.There is also Adolph Hitler. He was evil incarnate, and Hitler is well known for the atrocious things he did. It is interesting to look at Adolph Hitler in the context of prayer, and understand how people try to reconcile an all-loving, prayer-answering God with such a hateful man.
Consider this statement: "Hitler is part of God's Plan." Think about what Rick said:
    He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]
Rick also says:
    God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind.
If God has a divine plan for each of us, then he had a divine plan for Hitler too. It is when you stop to think about it deeply that the contradictions hit you.For example, simply think about what "God's plan" would actually mean. Since God is an all-powerful being, God's plan would, of necessity, need to be all-inclusive. Hitler and WWII would fit as one tiny piece in a supreme plan of massive proportions. Under an all-encompassing plan like this, the 60 million people who died in WWII all died for specific reasons -- each death had meaning -- and each death would have rippled through the world causing countless side-effects, also all part of God's plan. God's master plan would include everyone and everything, including Hitler and WWII.
Now let's imagine that you say a prayer in this sort of universe. What difference does it make? God has his plan, and that plan is running down its track like a freight train. If God has a plan, then everyone who died in the Holocaust died for a reason. They had to die, and each death had meaning. Therefore, Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they would still die. The idea of a "plan" makes the idea of a "prayer-answering relationship with God" ridiculous. Yet people attach themselves to both ideas, despite the irresolvable contradiction.
Think about what God's plan means for you personally. If the plan happens to say that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow, or that terrorists will blow you up, or that you will be shot in the head four times, then that's what will happen. It would be the same with any disease. If you contract cancer this afternoon and die three months later, that is God's plan for you. Praying to cure the cancer is a waste. God plans for you to die, so you will die. He has pre-programmed the exact time of your death. There is nothing you can do to change the plan -- no amount of prayer will help -- because your death will have meaning and your death will cause side-effects that are also part of the plan.
Who will you marry? You actually have no choice in the matter. God has pre-planned your wedding in minute detail. Rick Warren says, "God knew that those two individuals [your parents] possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom 'you' that he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you." Therefore, your spouse was pre-chosen by God for you so that you would create the children who are a part of his plan. You also have no choice in the number of children you will have -- God has pre-planned their births.
In addition, this sort of universe means that Hitler is blameless. Hitler was not "evil," because Hitler had no free will at all. Hitler was simply an actor forced to play his role in God's plan. God planned for millions of people to die in the Holocaust -- he planned their deaths in exact detail according to Rick Warren. Hitler had to kill those people. Hitler was God's puppet in making that those millions of deaths happen right on schedule.
In the same way then, every murderer is blameless. Since God has planned each of our deaths in exact detail, murderers are actually essential to God's plan. Why do we punish them? We should be rewarding them for doing their God-planned duty. What if you get raped tomorrow and get pregnant? God did that because he planned the exact time of that child's birth and death. God actually pre-planned your rape, and the rapist was God's puppet. Rather than hating the rapist, we should celebrate God's plan.
Do you believe that murderers and rapists should be rewarded? Do you believe that Hitler was sent by God to kill millions of people in the Holocaust? Do you believe that God is the direct cause of every abortion on this planet? Do you believe that you have no choice in your spouse or the number of children you have? Probably not. But that is what believers are saying when they say, "it is all part of "God's plan."
You should be able to see reality now. The statement "It is part of God's plan" is meaningless. when you sit down and think it through using your common sense, it makes no sense.

Understanding the illusion of religion

You may have believed in God's plan your whole life. There's a very good chance that you own a copy of Rick's book -- it has sold over 20 million copies.
The problem is, what Rick proposes is impossible. If God has "planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death", what that means is that you have absolutely no free will. Humans have no control over anything. We are simply puppets executing the plan. It also means that prayer is absolutely pointless.
You can understand the illusion simply by using your common sense. Work through the implications of what Rick Warren says. As soon as you think about it, you will begin to see what is actually going on. As you think about it more and more, it becomes obvious that God is imaginary.
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Chapter 9 - Who gets to go to the prom?

Jesus makes an extremely clear statement about prayer in Mark 11:24:
    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Nothing could be simpler than that. All that you have to do is say a prayer, then "believe that you have received it," and your prayer will be answered. That is what Jesus promises, and Jesus is God so he is perfect.But is Jesus' statement true? We can test it with this thought experiment.
Let's imagine the following situation. Two girls are attending a Catholic high school. Their names are Alicia and Kristin. Both of the girls are good students and devout believers. They obey God's commandments. They attend church twice a week. They pray to God daily. And they are both beautiful, so clearly God has shown them favor.
The prom is coming up, and the most eligible boy at the school is named Mark. Mark is perfect: A great student, a star athlete, good looking, yet humble and friendly. Everyone loves Mark. He too is a devout believer and he knows both Alicia and Kristin well.
With the prom approaching, both Alicia and Kristin pray a simple prayer. They both ask God to be Mark's date for the prom. They do this separately, and neither knows that the other is praying.
Alicia believes with all her heart that God will answer her prayer. Kristin believes with all her heart that God will answer her prayer. As expressions of their belief, both Alicia and Kristin go shopping for their prom dresses, knowing that Mark will invite them.
Jesus now has a problem. He has made a promise that he cannot keep. God is perfect and unerring, so the Bible can contain no mistakes. But clearly Jesus has made a mistake here. Both of these girls believe that their prayers will be answered, but one of them is going to lose. Jesus is going to end up lying to either Alicia or Kristin. Or he might end up lying to both of them -- maybe Mark is in love with Buffy, so he invites Buffy instead.
The fact is that Jesus' promise is a false one. Whenever two or more people pray for the same thing and only one person can have it, someone is going to lose. Common sense tells you that. It does not matter if they both believe, and it does not matter how fervently and sincerely they pray. The simple fact is that they cannot both get the same thing in that kind of situation. Therefore, Mark 11:24 is wrong.
In addition, there is nowhere in the belief structure that says that people are God's puppets. God cannot force someone to fall in or out of love because of someone else's prayer. Common sense tells you that. If we were God's puppets, we would all be walking around like zombies, doing whatever God wants.

Opposites

What if two people pray for two things that are opposites? If they both believe, who is going to win? For example:
  • Imagine that a farmer prays for a good, soaking, daylong rain on Saturday, while a bride who is having her wedding nearby prays for crystal clear sunshine on the same day. One of them is going to lose.
  • Imagine that the fans of two opposing football teams both pray for their teams to win the Super Bowl. One group is going to lose.
  • Imagine that one member of a devout couple prays to become pregnant, and the other prays that they do not. One of them is going to lose.
Someone must lose, and Jesus' promise in Mark 11:24 turns into a lie. It does not matter how much you believe or how fervently you pray. If someone else is praying for the opposite of what you are praying for, one of you must lose. It is easy to think of thousands of situations where Jesus' promise in the Bible cannot possibly be fulfilled.So... this is uncomfortable. Jesus unmistakably says in the Bible:
    "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
That is so clear and simple, it is impossible to misinterpret it. And Jesus is God, so there is no reason for him to lie about it. Unfortunately, if the prayers or two people are opposites, one of them is guaranteed to lose no matter how much they both believe. Jesus' statement is completely wrong.

An experiment

Do your own experiment. Take a devout believer to a casino. Have her pray sincerely to win. Have her recite Mark 11:24 one thousand times. Then have her place a $10 bet on number 17 on the roulette wheel.
Since Mark 11:24 is the word of God, Mark 11:24 must be true. Therefore, she will win and receive $350. Right? What other possibility is there? Jesus is perfect, and Jesus clearly says, "Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" and, "if you ask anything in my name, I will do it" and, "Ask, and you shall receive." So she will win.
Have her then bet the $350 on number 17 and pray again. She will win and receive $12,250. According to Mark 11:24, the odds of winning are 100%. This bet is a sure thing.
You will probably have to move to a new table at this point, because you will be over the table's limit. Move to a new table.
Have her bet $12,250 on number 17 again. She will win. That is what God promises. At this point a crowd will have gathered. Perhaps a news crew will be on hand. She will be holding chips worth nearly half a million dollars in her hands.
Have her bet it all again on lucky number 17.
Why should she stop? There is nothing that is impossible for God. Jesus clearly says that nothing is impossible through prayer. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:
    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
Nothing will be impossible for you. That statement is crystal clear, and this is the word of God.Because of Jesus' promise, your friend will soon be worth millions of dollars. Won't she? What will happen next?
  1. Millions of believers will descend on Vegas when they hear the news.
  2. Every casino in Vegas will be bankrupt one day later.
If prayer worked the way the Bible says it does, then Las Vegas could not exist. People would have prayed all the money out of Las Vegas years and years ago. Yet, anyone who has visited Vegas recently can see that Vegas is alive and well. It not only exists, but it is growing and thriving. Casinos are making billions of dollars from the unchanging laws of probability, despite Jesus' promises in the Bible.Here is another way to prove that prayer does not work. Take 38 devout believers to the roulette table. Have them all pray. Let all of them call their prayer circles on their cell phones. Make sure all of them recite Mark 11:24. Then have the 38 believers all bet a different single-number bet. There are 38 pockets on the roulette wheel, and there is one devout believers betting on each of the pockets.
Now spin the wheel.
How many of these 38 prayerful people will win? One. That is how the world works. It does not matter what Jesus promises in the Bible. It does not matter how much the 38 people believe. It does not matter how big or powerful their prayer circles are. No matter how much they all pray, only one of them can win if the wheel spins one time.

Explaining the reality that we see in our world

A believer might say, "Out of the 38 people, God will pick the one who is most deserving and let him win." An easy way to prove that statement false is to put one devout believer and 37 godless, convicted murders around wheel. If God were to pick the most deserving person, then the devout believer would win every time you spin the wheel. But that is not what happens. The laws of probability will make sure that each of the convicted murderers wins just as often as the believer does. It does not matter how much anyone prays or how much anyone believes.
A believer might say, "God only intervenes in lotteries and casinos occasionally, only when it is his divine will, and only for the most deserving people." That is not what Jesus promises in the Bible. And it is interesting that God only "intervenes" in a way that exactly follows the natural laws of probability.
If we simply look at what is happening in our world in an objective way, the actual truth of this situation is apparent. The fact that the outcome exactly follows the natural laws of probability conclusively and provably tells you that God is not answering prayers. When something exactly follows the laws of probability, what we are seeing is coincidence and nothing more. If God were actually answering prayers, we would be able to see a statistical effect of God's work. The laws of probability would work differently for praying people than they would for other people. We would actually have two "laws of probability" -- one for believers and one for non-believers.
Another person might explain it by saying, "Well of course Jesus does not answer prayers in a casino. Jesus never answers prayers for money. Prayers for money represent greed." That may be true, but in that case Jesus should have said, "nothing will be impossible to you, except if you pray for money." There are also lots of believers who would disagree with the statement, because they believe that God has answered their monetary prayers. The "Prayer of Jabez" is all about money.
Another believer might say, "God can not bend the laws of probability, in the same way that he cannot bend the laws of nature. If God was constantly bending the laws of probability, they would not be laws anymore." That makes sense, but that is not what Jesus said.
Here is what Jesus said in Mark 11:24:
    "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
That is clear and simple. But it is completely wrong. Why, then, did Jesus say it? Why would Jesus lie to us?The more important question to ask is: What kind of prayers does Jesus answer? If he never answers the prayers of amputees, and if he never answers medical prayers, and if he never answers impossible prayers, and if he never answers prayers that break the laws of nature, and if he never answers prayers that violate the laws of probability, and if he never answers a prayer that turns another person into a puppet... What's left? When does Jesus answer prayers?
What does your common sense tell you? Based on the experiments we've discussed in the last several chapters, we have discovered all kinds of prayers that God never answers. How do you reconcile what Jesus has to say about prayer in the Bible and the Standard Model of God with the reality that we see in our world?

Now what?

When you add all of this to the concepts from the previous chapters, you realize that Jesus misspoke rather broadly when he talked about prayer. Instead of saying:
    "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
What Jesus might have meant was this:
    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it might be yours, as long as it is possible, and as long as it is my will, and as long as what you pray for does not violate a law of nature, and as long as what you are praying for does not violate a law of probability, and as long as what you pray for does not turn another person into a puppet, and as long as no one else who is praying for the same thing believes more than you do."
If this is what Jesus meant, then it begins to explain why so many prayers go unanswered. Unfortunately, it also means that what Jesus had to say about prayer in the Bible is wrong. And it is hard to explain why God would publish something that is wrong in the Bible when God is perfect.Is there a better explanation? Yes, there is. If we assume that God never answers any prayers, then all of these conflicts and problems disappear completely. The huge advantage of this explanation is that it perfectly fits the data that we see in our world. And what it means is that prayer -- a cornerstone of the religious faith -- is meaningless. Whenever "God answers a prayer," what we are actually seeing is a simple coincidence, nothing more.
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Chapter 10 - Why do battlefield prayers sound so convincing?

If you have taken the time to read the preceding chapters, you may be starting to notice a pattern. If we assume that God is imaginary, then the world makes far more sense than it does if God is real. For example:

  • Why won't God heal amputees? If God is real, it is a mystery. If God is imaginary, it makes complete sense.
  • Why is there no statistical advantage to praying if you are sick? If God is real, it is a mystery. If God is imaginary, it makes complete sense.
  • Why can't you move a mountain? Why does God never answer impossible prayers? If God is real, it is a mystery. If God is imaginary, it makes complete sense.
  • Why do the laws of probability in Las Vegas apply to believers in exactlythe same way that they do for everyone else? Why haven't believers prayed all the money out of Vegas? If God is real, it is a mystery. If God is imaginary, it makes complete sense.
  • Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is real, it is a mystery. If God is imaginary, it makes complete sense.
Let's look at one more example that confirms this trend: The Battlefield Effect.The "battlefield effect" is one reason why so many people believe in the power of prayer. By understanding how it works, you can understand a great deal about how prayer works.
Let's say that a general sends 10,000 soldiers into a fierce battle. Although the general does not know it at the time, the 10,000 men end up marching into an ambush. The enemy has 30,000 troops, artillery support plus close air support and is able to decimate the 10,000 soldiers in short order. Once the enemy is finished, they leave 100 survivors out of the original 10,000 to limp and crawl back to base.
You may have heard that there are no atheists in foxholes. Before they died, we can assume that every single one of the 10,000 soldiers who marched into the ambush prayed fervently and deeply for God to spare his life. Despite those prayers, the enemy proceeded to attack with deadly force. 9,900 of those who prayed wasted their breath -- they died.
The 100 who return from the battle, however, feel as though their prayers were answered. They have been through a horrific firefight, and they are deeply grateful to have escaped with their lives. At the time they prayed, they were absolutely and totally terrified and desperate. To have survived seems like a miracle.
The 100 survivors fan out with their personal stories of answered prayers. They tell their soldier buddies how they prayed for their lives and their prayers were answered. When they arrive home they tell their families and friends about their harrowing experiences on the battlefield and how nothing but their prayers saved them. They give testimonials at church, give speeches in the community, write articles for magazines, etc. Millions of people are exposed to the positive, powerful, personal testimonials of the 100 survivors.
This is great advertising for prayer. And it works. People hear the stories of the survivors and they believe. The real power of this approach, however, comes from the fact that the 9,900 dead soldiers never get to tell their side of the story. Ninety nine percent of the soldiers died, and only one percent survived. Far more men prayed and died, but they never get to tell anyone about their disappointment.
So the 100 personal testimonials FOR prayer are strong, loud, frequent and compelling. Meanwhile the 9,900 personal testimonials AGAINST prayer are silent, because the dead soldiers never get a chance to speak. Therefore, to a casual observer, it appears that prayer works. Every story that you hear is positive. The reality is that 99% of the praying people died. It is another perfect example of God's Ratio (see Chapter 2).

Dropping like flies

Let's say that you listen to a person tell this story: "There I was in a horrific firefight on the battlefield. All of my friends around me were dropping like flies. But I prayed to God and he saved me." The question that any normal person would ask is, "Why did God let all the others drop like flies? And why aren't you running away from a God who killed 99% of your friends instead of answering their equally fervent prayers?"
The fact that 9,900 praying people died while only 100 survived should be plenty of evidence to indicate that prayer does not work. A 99% failure rate is significant. But for some reason, believers do not seem to think about the 9,900 who died. They instead celebrate the "answered prayers" of the 100. The 9,900 who died are swept under the carpet.
It should be becoming obvious to you what actually happens on any battlefield. The survivors benefit from random luck and nothing more. Their "answered prayers" are simply coincidences.
Here are several other examples of the same coincidental phenomenon. Imagine that you hear the following stories from four survivors:
  • "I was a prisoner in a concentration camp, and in the morning we were marched to the death chambers. I knew that I could not die -- I had to live so that I could see my baby again. I began praying the most intense prayers I have ever prayed as soon as we started marching. When we got to the gas chambers, an amazing miracle occurred -- I somehow had moved to the end of the line, and there was no room for me in the chamber! I was told to join a nearby work group, and I survived. God heard my prayers, and I was saved!"

  • God's Ratio

    Mary kills 20,000 people in the mud slide but answers the prayers of one. That's a 99.995% failure rate for prayers. It should prove to you conclusively that neither Mary nor God answer prayers.
     "It was the most amazing flood in the history of Honduras. An immense wall of mud cascaded down the mountain and through our city, killing 20,000 people. I was caught in the tide of sludge and sucked deep into the bowels of the torrent. In just a few seconds I would drown and die in a sea of mud. But I prayed to the Virgin Mary, and not one second later my head popped to the surface, I was able to grab a nearby branch and pull myself out. The virgin Mary answered my prayers!"
  • "There is no way to explain the miracle that happened next. I said a quick prayer before my car slammed into and then underneath the truck in front of me. As if by magic, the entire car crumpled like a wad of paper -- the entire car, except for the passenger area where we were sitting! God heard and answered my prayers by using his power to protect the interior of the car and save our lives!"
  • "I was on a business trip. I got drunk and had a one night stand with a stranger. It is totally unlike me, but it happened. In the morning I realized what I had done and I was wracked with guilt. I got down on my knees and said a very sincere prayer: "Dear God, please don't let me have AIDS. I cannot die of AIDS. The embarrassment and pain would be too much for my spouse, my children and my parents. It only happened one time, and I promise that it will never happen again. If you will grant me this prayer, I will do ANYTHING that you ask. Amen." I waited three months and I was a nervous wreck. I went to my doctor to get tested and I was clean. The relief that I felt was incredible, like a huge burden being lifted from my soul. God personally answered this prayer for me!"
Believers seem to love these stories. We hear miraculous personal testimonies like these all the time. They are supposed to show the "power of prayer" and the "love of God" in our world today.However, what I would ask you to consider is both sides of the story. Look at both the successes AND the failures of prayer, and what we see is extremely uncomfortable. All of them display God's ratio as described in Chapter 2. If God let millions of people die in the Holocaust, but then "heard the prayers" of one person and saved him, what sort of God is that? To say that God killed millions and saved one is a terrible ratio. God would have to be a monster. Killing millions of people is an unimaginable atrocity.
Believers seem to be completely comfortable with the sort of schizophrenia shown here. They are happy about the one person saved from the Holocaust by a prayer -- they actually celebrate his story and tell it with glee. They do not seem to care that, if it was God saving the one, then it must also have been God who killed the millions of others by completely ignoring their prayers.
With your common sense you can examine all of these situations and see what actually happened by looking at both sides of the story:

    God's Ratio

    God kills millions in the Holocaust but answers the prayers of one. That's a 99.99998% failure rate for prayers. It should prove to you conclusively that God does not answer prayers.
  • In the case of the Holocaust survivor, it was not a "miracle" that saved him. To believe that is to believe that God killed millions of others by specifically withholding his blessings from them. What actually happened was dumb luck and coincidence.
  • In the case of the mudslide, do you believe that Mary heard the prayers of one person while purposefully ignoring the prayers of 20,000 others and killing all of them? Of course not -- that is ridiculous. This man's survival involves luck and coincidence as well. If the man's story were actually true, it would make Mary a capricious demon guilty of mass murder.
  • In the case of the car, it is not a miracle that the passenger compartment remained intact -- that is how the car is designed. It is called a passenger safety cage. God had absolutely nothing to do with it. In the United States, 40,000 people die every year in car accidents. If God actually saved this driver, then it is an atrocity that God let the other 40,000 people die by ignoring their prayers.
  • In the case of the AIDS survivor, God did not answer the prayer. Tens of millions of people have died of AIDS. To believe that God answered the prayer is to also to believe that God killed tens of millions of other praying people. What actually happened is random luck. Despite all the media attention AIDS gets, in the United States less than one percent of the sexually active adult population has the HIV virus. [ref] And it is not guaranteed that HIV will be transmitted during every sexual encounter. So the odds are excellent that, after one sexual encounter, the person will not get AIDS. It does not matter whether the person prayed or not -- it was simply luck through the normal laws of probability.
The unconscionable arrogance of the blessed

Let's assume that a tremendous hurricane like Hurricane Katrina hits Louisiana. It does an incredible amount of damage, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes, killing thousands of people and wiping entire towns off the map.
Your sister, a devout believer, happens to live in Louisiana, and a week later when cell phone service is restored she gives you a call. The first words out of her mouth are:
    "Oh, God has blessed us so much this week! We prayed all through the storm, and he answered our prayers. The next town over was completely decimated, but our house is still standing. We are so blessed! God answered our prayers!"
What I would like you to do is step back for a moment, look at this statement, and think about the remarkable arrogance that it represents. What your sister is saying is this, "I am so special and God loves ME so much that God heard MY prayers and personally helped ME. All those millions of other people who God cursed -- obviously God hates THEM. I am cool in the eyes of God, and all those other wretched people out there are, obviously, uncool in the eyes of God. Otherwise he would have helped them just like he helped ME."For a beliver to talk about his or her blessings in a huge natural disaster like Katrina is to implicitly ignore the damage and suffering that are plainly visible for all to see. If God "blessed" one, while completely ignoring millions of other believers caught in exactly the same predicament, it says nothing about blessings. It says that God is an insane demon. For anyone to believe that God personally helped her while at the same time wreaking havoc on millions of others is a supreme arrogance. Yet believers seem to be completely comfortable with this arrogance.
The truth of the matter is easy to see if you will take the time to look at both sides of the equation. The hurricane hit, and God neither blessed nor cursed anyone. The hurricane did its damage according to the laws of nature. The fact that one house is undamaged while thousands of others are swept into the sea is not a blessing. It is random luck, nothing more.
When you hear people discussing their personal experiences with the power of prayer, simply listen to the stories they tell and ask to hear both sides. Look for God's Ratio. In every case, the prayer's power can be explained by coincidence, luck, normal probabilities, the laws of physics, human design or some other normal, non-miraculous process. And God's Ratio will be terrible, just as it was on Steve Homel's street.
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Chapter 11 - Reviewing the evidence about prayer

At the beginning of this section, we looked to the Bible and found that Jesus makes a number of specific and remarkable promises having to do with prayer. For example, in Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:
    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
In Matthew 17:20 Jesus reiterates that same message:
    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."
Jesus says something similar in Matthew 21:21:
    I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Jesus says something even more straightforward in Mark 11:24:
    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
In John chapter 14 Jesus describes just how easy prayer can be:
    12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.
In the case of medical problems, James 5:15-16 says:
    And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Jesus' message in the Bible is so clear and simple. God answers prayers. Ask and you will receive. The message is reiterated over and over again. In Mark 9:23: "All things are possible to him who believes." In Luke 1:37: "For with God nothing will be impossible." Nothing is impossible through prayer.However, when you look at the world around you, you find that things are not like that at all. You find yourself surrounded by contradictions:
  • God never answers the prayers of amputees. If he did, we would see amputated limbs spontaneously regenerating every day.
  • God never moves mountains -- if he did, we would see mountains moving around all the time.
  • God never answers impossible prayers -- if he did, people would be flying through the air like superman on a regular basis.
  • God never answers prayers that turn people into puppets -- if he did, then you are a puppet.
  • God never answers prayers that break the laws of nature -- if he did, then scientific equations and computer models would have to take God's random antics into account.
  • God never answers prayers that break the laws of probability -- if he did, then every believer would be rich and Las Vegas could not exist.
  • When two people pray opposite one another, obviously someone's prayer will go unanswered. If a million people pray for the same thing but only one can have it (e.g. - winning the lottery), then by definition 999,999 people will have their prayers unanswered.
  • God doesn't answer medical prayers -- otherwise the U.S. would not need to spend $2 trillion a year on health care.
  • God doesn't answer prayers to avert natural disasters -- if he did, hurricanes would not hit the U.S.
It is easy to see that God does not answer all of these different kinds of prayers. It is obvious through casual observation, but it is also easily proven with statistics. Statistical studies do not show any effects from praying. [ref] When people talk about "the power of prayer", what we are actually witnessing is "the power of coincidence."So let's agree on this point -- God does not answer prayers. Something this apparent should not be hard to accept, and this conclusion perfectly fits the evidence that we see in the world around us. There is no evidence whatsoever that any human god answers prayers. There are mountains of empirical and statistical evidence showing that prayers are never answered.
If it is this obvious, then why do believers so adamantly insist that God answers prayers? Why is there an entire industry built around inspirational literature? Why do believers demand prayer in public schools? Why do believers hang onto the idea of prayer so strongly when it is quite obvious that God does not answer prayers? To answer these questions, please see Understanding Christian Motivations.

The problem with prayer

The problem with prayer is simple: prayer is an illusion, and the people who believe in prayer must ignore reality in order to believe in it. If you look at the data rationally, you can see exactly what is happening here:
  • When we pray to God about any unambigous situation, God never answers the prayer. For example, if we pray to God to restore an amputated limb, absolutely nothing happens. See this page for an in-depth discussion.
  • When we analyse any ambiguous prayer using statistical tools, we find zeroeffect from prayer. For example, if we have Christians pray for 1,000 cancer patients, those patients do not recover any faster or live any longer.
In other words, the data shows us that every "answered prayer" truly is acoincidence, nothing more. God doesn't "answer prayers" at all. The whole idea that "God answers prayers" is an illusion created by human imagination.Christians, unfortunately, must ignore reality in order to believe in prayer.
Whether you are a Christian or not, I think we would agree that people who "ignore reality" and "turn off their ability to process factual information" have some sort of problem. And the problem is serious. For example, we would probably agree people who ignore reality are not the sort of people who we want in positions of responsibility in our society. And yet, Christians cling to their beliefs.
Thus, Christians find themselves in extremely awkward and, quite frankly, embarrassing positions. They must "believe" that God answers their prayers even though it is quite obvious that he does not. They find themselves in uncomfortable conversations like this one:
    Chris: God DOES exist! God IS all-loving and all-powerful! God DOES answer prayers! God is real and I have a living relationship with him every day! Lift up your heart and accept the Lord Jesus into your life today!Norm: Can you give me an example?
    Chris: Absolutely. Just yesterday I locked my keys in my car, and I prayed to God. Not five minutes later my husband came home unexpectedly for lunch and let me into the house. God answered my prayer yesterday!
    Norm: Can you not see that this was a coincidence?
    Chris: Absolutely not. God made my husband come home at that moment. God did it.
    Norm: Wouldn't that make your husband God's puppet?
    Chris: Absolutely not.
    Norm: So… God answered your specific prayer in five minutes by sending your husband home. God actually reached down onto planet earth and guided your husband. But on the same day, God allowed thousands of praying people around the globe to die of starvation, and he allowed thousands of praying patients to die of cancer and other diseases, and he allowed thousands more praying people to lose their jobs, die in accidents, contract diseases, etc.?
    Chris: Yes, God answers MY prayers.
    Norm: Does that make sense to you? Why would God have a relationship with you so intimate that he personally solves your most trivial problems, while at the same time he has given thousands of people new cancers today?
    Chris: God loves me.
    Norm: And what about the times when you pray for something and he doesn't answer your prayer? Or all the millions of people whose very sincere prayers go unanswered each day?
    Chris: When God does not answer my prayers, it's because it is not part of his plan.
    Norm: God has a plan for each of us?
    Chris: Yes, of course he does. God has counted every hair on my head. God has a plan for me.
    Norm: So… God's plan was for millions of people to die horrible deaths in the Holocaust? He planned that?
    Chris: Yes.
    Norm: Isn't a being who commits the pre-meditated murder of millions of people an abomination -- a horrific monster?
    Chris: Of course not. God is all-loving.
    Norm: Then what if God's plan for you is for you to die after being raped, tortured and then stabbed to death by a serial killer? When you pray for escape, God totally ignores you and you die because that is his plan for you. Would you say that God answered your prayers in that case?
    Chris: God would never let that happen to me. God loves me. God answers my prayers.
    Norm: Then how, exactly, did God totally ignore millions of praying people who died in the Holocaust?
    Chris: They were not believers. God punished them.
    Norm: OK... Then why did God kill the tens of millions of praying believers -- both soldiers and civilians -- who died during WWII? Why would God send your husband home for lunch, but completely ignore these millions of other people.
    Chris: It was all part of God's plan.
This discussion can go on and on and on like this, cycling endlessly. The believer appears to be unhinged on multiple levels. It seems to be the only way for the believer to maintain the internal illusion that God exists and that God wrote the Bible.

An Insane God

Simply look at the world we live in. All around us we have murderers, rapists, robbers, child molesters, terrorists, etc...
How do they do their deeds? If God is all-knowing and God answers prayers, then we have to believe that:
  1. God watches them as they murder, rape, molest and terrorize other people millions of times a day, but he does nothing to stop them.
  2. God watches the victims as they are being murdered, raped, molested and terrorized, but he does nothing to help them.
  3. God completely ignores the prayers of the planet to eliminate murder, rape, child molestation and terrorism and allows these atrocities to continue unabated.
According to the Standard Model of God, God is an omniscient, all-powerful, all-loving being who answers prayers. Imagine God sitting on his magnificent throne in heaven looking down upon Earth, seeing every detail. God speaks:
    "Look at all of those praying people getting tortured in that death camp. Excellent! I won't do anything to stop that. And look at that little girl down there being raped and murdered. Perfect! She is praying like mad, and so is her mother, but I won't do anything to stop that. And there are three terrorists preparing to blow up a church and kill 1,500 people who are saying the Lord's Prayer to me right now. Outstanding! I won't do anything to stop that. How wonderful it is that 1,000 prayerful people will die of starvation today in Ethiopia. I love it! I won't do anything to stop that. Oh… and there's little Suzy Jankins praying that I remove that pimple from her nose for her big date with Chad tomorrow. Let me go help Suzy right now…"

Key Point

If you believe that God is specifically reaching down from heaven to answer your trivial prayer to remove a zit or to help you find your lost keys, while at the same time God is allowing 27,000 children to die of starvation each day by specifically ignoring their prayers, then your God is insane.
Do you believe in a God who acts like this? Of course not. If you believe that God is specifically reaching down from heaven to answer your trivial prayer to remove a zit or to help you find your lost keys, while at the same time God is allowing 27,000 children to die of starvation each day by specifically ignoring their prayers, then your God is insane.Yet, if you believe in a God that answers your trivial prayers each day, this is exactly the type of insane God that you are worshiping. And you look insane for believing it.

The Power of Coincidence
What, then, is actually happening when God "answers" a prayer? Let's take a simple example of a trivial prayer:
    "I had finally gotten to the end of my rope with women, so I simply gave it up to God. I prayed, 'Lord, I need you to send me a sign. When you have found the woman you want me to marry, I want you to show me by letting her birthday be on the same day as my mother's. Amen.' And you know what? About a year later I met a woman, and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and eventually I got up enough nerve to ask her out. On our first date we had such a great time I asked her when her birthday was. It was the same day as my mother! I told her about my prayer, and we got married six months later. We have been happily married for 15 years."
That seems like an amazing event. It is so amazing that it must be the hand of God, right? It seems like a one in a million chance -- impossible without divine intervention. How could this man actually find a woman with the exact same birthday as his mother???It is nothing but a coincidence. And it is not a "one in a million" shot. The chance is 1 in 365 that any woman will have the same birthday as his mother.
What really happened? If the woman had had the wrong birthday, the man would not have married her, and eventually he would have found someone who was a match. Or, he would have simply forgotten about the prayer and married her anyway. In that case, we would not have heard the story.
Coincidences -- even remarkable ones -- happen all the time. The "power of prayer" should actually be called the "power of coincidence." The dictionary defines the word "coincidence" in this way:
    A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged. [ref]
"Answered prayers" are always coincidences, nothing more. The easy way to see that is to count unanswered prayers along with answered prayers and analyze the statistics. As soon as you do the statistical analysis you unmask the illusion of prayer.You could pray for 20 trivial things today:
  1. Pray for your car to start in the morning.
  2. Pray for traffic to be light so you get to work on time.
  3. Pray that you don't get fired for the mistake you made yesterday.
  4. Pray that the coffee stain on your purse comes out.
  5. Pray that it doesn't rain.
  6. Pray that the price of a stock has gone up.
  7. Pray that your computer doesn't crash.
  8. Pray that your son got a decent grade on his math test.
  9. Pray that there's enough money in your checking account.
  10. Pray that the guy you went out with on Saturday calls you.
  11. Pray that your mother in law cancels her trip for the weekend.
  12. Pray for there to be an available washing machine at the Laundromat when you get there.
  13. Pray that your car passes inspection.
  14. Pray that they have your size in the shoes you are thinking about buying at the mall.
  15. Pray that the envelope you are opening contains a check rather than a bill.
  16. Pray that your cat didn't pee on the new sofa.
  17. Pray for your baby not to wake you up tonight screaming so you can get some sleep.
  18. Pray that you have the winning bid for that camera on EBay.
  19. Pray that they have the video you want at the video store tonight.
  20. Pray that your team wins the game on Sunday.
Some of your prayers would get "answered," some would not. The next day you could simply watch 20 trivial things happen without praying. Some would work out, some would not. There would be no difference. The act of praying about them does not change the outcome.Coincidences happen to all of us every day. If you are a believer, you handle those coincidences in the following way:
  • If something nice happens, you attribute that to God -- he answered your prayer and is "looking out" for you.
  • If you pray for something and it does not happen, or if something bad happens, you rationalize that it is part of "God's plan" (see chapter 8). It is "his will" that this bad event happens.
An unbiased observer looks at the same good and bad events and sees them for what they are -- random events. God has nothing to do with them.It is the same with any superstition. Walking under a ladder is not "bad luck". Neither is breaking a mirror. Neither is seeing a black cat. Statistics prove that a broken mirror has zero effect on your life. In the same way, statistics prove that God never answers prayers.
If you are a believer, try this experiment. Go for a week without praying. You will find that things work and don't work in exactly the same way that they do if you pray. Coincidences and problems still happen whether you pray or not, and in the same numbers. Prayer has no effect on the outcome. Good coincidences will not stop happening if you stop praying. Bad coincidences do not stop happening no matter how much you pray.
The dictionary defines the word "superstition" in this way:
    An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome. [ref]
The belief in prayer is a superstition. When a prayer appears to be answered, it is a coincidence. You have seen dozens of examples in chapters five through ten that demonstrate the coincidental nature of "answered prayers."

Proving it to yourself

What I would ask you to do at this point is simple. I would like you to think this whole thing through. You have seen lots of evidence. What do you believe? Either:
    Assertion #1: You believe what Jesus says in the Bible about prayer. When Jesus says in the Bible that anyone with faith can move a mountain, you believe him, even though no one has ever moved a mountain. When Jesus says that nothing will be impossible for you, you believe him, even though God has never healed an amputee. When Jesus says that he will do anything that you ask in his name, you believe him even though you can ask for something right now and he will completely ignore you. You believe in prayers despite the evidence to the contrary.
Or:
    Assertion #2: You do not believe what Jesus says about prayer in the Bible. You simply look at the world around you and you can see that it is not true. God does not answer prayers.
The first assertion is incompatible both with common sense and with everything that you experience every day. There are thousands of examples. You see the world each day, and it is quite obvious that God does not answer prayers. It has been said before, but let's repeat it here:
  • God never answers the prayers of amputees. If he did, we would see amputated limbs spontaneously regenerating every day.
  • God never moves mountains -- if he did, we would see mountains moving around all the time.
  • God never answers impossible prayers -- if he did, people would be flying through the air like superman on a regular basis.
  • God never answers prayers that turn people into puppets -- if he did, then you are a puppet.
  • God never answers prayers that break the laws of nature -- if he did, scientific equations and computer models would have to take God's random antics into account.
  • God never answers prayers that break the laws of probability -- if he did, then every prayerful believer would be rich and Las Vegas could not exist.
  • When two people pray opposite one another, obviously someone's prayer will go unanswered. If a million people pray for the same thing (e.g. - winning the lottery) but only one can have it, then by definition 999,999 people will be left in the cold.
  • God doesn't answer medical prayers -- otherwise the U.S. would not need to spend $2 trillion a year on health care.
  • God doesn't answer prayers to avert natural disasters -- if he did, hurricanes would never hit the U.S.
If God does not answer all of these different types of prayers, it is clear that he does not answer prayers at all. When someone says, "God answered my prayers," what he or she means is that a coincidence happened.You can prove it to yourself right now. Simply pray for something. Pray for anything. What Jesus promises in the Bible is crystal clear and completely unambiguous:
  • If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. [Matthew 21:21]
  • If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. [John 14:14]
  • Nothing will be impossible to you. [Matthew 17:20]
  • All things are possible to him who believes. [Mark 9:23]
  • For with God nothing will be impossible. [Luke 1:37]
Nothing could be simpler or clearer than this. Jesus is God, so there is no reason for him to lie to you. In fact, it is impossible for him to lie to you because he is perfect. So go ahead and pray. Pray that God cures every case of cancer on the planet tomorrow. Pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this prayer it will help millions of people in remarkable ways.Will it happen? Of course not.

Watch in your mind
Now watch, in your own mind, what happens. You have prayed, but your prayer has not been answered. In your mind, you will start coming up with a thousand excuses -- reasons why Jesus has refused to answer your prayer. It is not his will. It is not part of his plan. This prayer is "too big". This prayer is "too obvious". The Lord works in mysterious ways. It will be answered three years from now, not today. You are not sincere enough. God will eventually inspire scientists to cure all forms of cancer, blah, blah, blah....
You are an expert at creating excuses like these. You have to be. The reason why you are an expert is because you have been creating excuses like this for Jesus your entire life. Jesus has disappointed you so many times that you expect to be disappointed. That is why creating this list of excuses is automatic for you.
There is a reason why God has never answered a prayer to restore an amputated limb. It is because God does not answer prayers. Every "answered prayer" is a coincidence. It is easy to prove it using statistics.

Proving it on TV

It would also be possible to prove that God does not answer prayers with a reality TV show. Imagine this -- we conduct a nationwide survey, and we find the 1,000 most devout believers in the land. We assemble them in a studio and ask them to form the nation's most powerful prayer circle. We then ask them to pray on live TV. Here are some of the challenges we would give them:
  1. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says, "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." We ask our 1,000 devout believers to pray that Mt. Everest move to Newark, NJ tomorrow. We watch and see what happens.
  2. We bring in a double amputee and have him sit in his wheelchair on the stage. We ask our 1,000 devout believers to pray for his legs to be restored as he is sitting there. We watch and see what happens.
  3. We find someone suffering from terminal cancer. We bring her on stage on a gurney. She is weak, gaunt and bald. She has just a week or two to live as her metastasized tumor consumes her body. We ask our 1,000 devout believers to pray for a miracle that cures her. We watch and see what happens. Let's say that a miracle does happen. She jumps off the gurney ten minutes later, completely cured. We bring in another patient. Ten minutes later that patient is cured. We bring in another patient, and the cure works again. So we ask our 1,000 devout believers to pray for the complete elimination of cancer worldwide tomorrow. We watch and see what happens.
  4. It is hurricane season and a Category 5 hurricane named Johansen is barreling straight toward the United States. We ask our team of 1,000 devout believers to pray that the hurricane be completely eliminated so it does no damage. Let's say that the prayer works. Do you know what this means? It means that the United States will never be threatened by a hurricane again. Every time a hurricane approaches, we can assemble our 1,000 devout believers and they will be able to eliminate the storm. This will save the United States billions of dollars, and thousands of deaths, every year.
  5. Etc.
You can see what would actually happen. Our team of 1,000 devout believers will not be able to move a mountain. They will not be able to restore the limbs of an amputee. They will not be able to cure cancer worldwide, or even one cancer patient on stage. They will not be able to divert all the hurricanes that hit the United States. They will not be able to accomplish anything reliably through prayer on TV. We all know it.
Why is that? Why is it that all of Jesus' promises about the power of prayer are false? It is because God does not answer prayers.

What does it all mean?

Please scroll back several pages and look at Assertion #2. The assertion is that God does not answer prayers. It should at this point be very easy for you to accept Assertion #2. We have demonstrated it from a dozen different angles. It is compatible with common sense and the things that you experience every day. It meshes perfectly with all of the evidence that we see in our world. The "power of prayer" is really "the power of coincidence." That should be plainly apparent to you.
In that case, you have discovered a profound truth. Here are several of the implications:
  • It means that the world makes sense. If you have been looking at the world wondering why God "answers" some payers while ignoring billions of others, you now have a sensible explanation for your observations.
  • When someone says that God "answered my prayers" or that "God sent a miracle," what you are actually witnessing is the power of coincidence.
  • It means that there is no supreme being sitting in heaven doling out favors to some people but withholding them from others based on his whims.
  • It means that when a person says a prayer, he is talking to himself. There is nothing wrong with that -- meditation can be a powerful and beneficial activity. However, there is no God listening to and answering prayers.
  • It means that praying for God's intercession in any catastrophe, like a hurricane or a terrorist attack, is pointless.
  • It means that public prayers, for example at conventions and sporting events, are a waste of time. There is no one at the other end of the line to hear the prayer.
  • It means that humans need to solve the problems of the world. Instead of praying to God to solve, for example, world hunger, you should use that time to work toward a solution to world hunger yourself. God is not going to do a thing about world hunger.
  • It means that people who believe in "the power of prayer" should not be taken seriously. When someone says to you that God answered his or her prayers, it means that the person is superstitious. The person is just like someone who believes in the power of horoscopes and astrology.
  • It means that everything that Jesus says about prayer in the Bible is wrong. Therefore, the Bible is not the "unerring word of the Lord." The Bible is a collection of stories written by primitive men thousands of years ago. We will discuss this topic further in the next section.
As an intelligent species, it is time for us to recognize that there is not a "God" in "heaven" who is looking down onto earth and answering prayers. We can see it, undeniably, using both common sense and statistics. In the same way that the pyramids of the Egyptians were pointless, and the Roman temples were pointless, and the human sacrifices of the Aztecs were pointless, praying to God is pointless.If you don't believe me, you can prove it to yourself right now. Simply pray for something concrete. Then watch as your prayer is ignored.

On a personal level

The fact that God answers no prayers has meaning to you on a very personal level. Let me give you an example of what it means.
Let's say that you have a friend who is 35 years old, and she finds out that she has breast cancer. Obviously she is devastated. The cancer is fairly advanced, and the prognosis does not look immediately promising.
If you are a believer, what is the first thing to do? The first order of business is prayer. Then the advanced believer would create a prayer circle to channel the "Lord's healing power" to your friend.
As you now know, both the prayers and the prayer circle are pointless. God never answers prayers. If prayer circles worked, then we would be able to regenerate the legs of amputees, and we know that we can't. If prayer circles worked, we would not need doctors or hospitals. If prayer circles worked, we would pray that God completely eliminate breast cancer, and no one on the planet would ever get this disease. The effort spent praying is a waste of time.
So what should you do instead of praying? Think about this question: What might actually help your friend? Do not waste the time praying -- spend your time wisely doing something that will actually help your friend. For example:
  • Make her family a nice dinner and deliver it to her home.
  • Offer to take care of her kids for several days while she recovers from her last round of chemo.
  • Make get-well cards to cheer her up.
  • Organize a bake sale or telethon to raise money for breast cancer research.
  • Go sit by her bedside in the hospital each day and read to her.
  • Bring happy movies for her to watch in the hospital.
  • Etc.
God does not answer prayers -- the evidence is all around you. Now that you know that for certain, make the most of this knowledge.
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Chapter 12 - Who wrote the Bible?

The Bible is the sacred text of the Christian faith. It is also one of the best known books on the planet today. All around the globe there are billions of copies of the Bible in every human language. Chances are very good that you have at least one copy of the Bible in your home right now. Nearly everybody does.
To Christians, the Bible is the error-free word of God. The Bible is not the work of men -- it is God's word to his creation. To reinforce this fact, there are over 4,000 places in the Bible where it says things like, "Thus says the Lord." [ref] The Bible itself refers to its author in a number of places. For example, in 2 Timothy 3:16 the Bible says:
    All scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:13 the Bible says:
    And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God.
In 2 Peter 1:20-21 the Bible says:
    Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
In Psalm 19:7 the Bible says:
    The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
The Bible is the law of the Lord, and it is perfect. So says the Lord.This quote from the Christian Courier sums up the position of many Christians on the origin of the Bible:
    God, although using human writers in the composition of the Bible, is nevertheless its ultimate Author. And since the perfect God cannot be the source of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) or contradiction (Hebrews 6:18), it must be acknowledged that the Bible is perfectly harmonious. [ref]

Key Point

The Bible states that it is not the word of men but the word of God, and that the Bible is perfect.
The fact that the Bible is written by God gives the Bible ultimate authority -- God's authority. Because it is the perfect, error-free word of God, the Bible is essential to Christianity. The Bible acts as the single God-given source of information for Christians.
If God exists and the Bible is the word of the Lord, then everything that Christians believe is true. Jesus is God, God does answer prayers, God did create Adam and humans have both souls and eternal life.
But what if the Bible was not written by God? What if the Bible is simply a book of legends and stories written by fallible human authors? What if God had nothing to do with this book? In that case, then Christianity collapses.
In other words, there is a lot riding on the Bible.
Is it possible to know who wrote the Bible? Answering this question is the purpose of this section.
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Chapter 13 - Why does God love slavery?

Frederick Douglass started life as a slave. He was born to a slave mother in 1818, at a time when slavery was practiced almost universally throughout the United States. At the age of 20 he was able to escape from slavery, educate himself and transcend his humble origins. This transformation gave Frederick Douglass a unique perspective on slavery.
Frederick Douglass wrote an autobiography in which he described many of his experiences as a slave in graphic detail. He was a person who experienced the atrocities firsthand.
For example, he describes the violence of his master in this way:
    He was a cruel man, hardened by a long life of slaveholding. He would at times seem to take great pleasure in whipping a slave. I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood. No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin. I remember the first time I ever witnessed this horrible exhibition. I was quite a child, but I well remember it. I never shall forget it whilst I remember any thing. It was the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a witness and a participant. It struck me with awful force. It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass.
He spoke of the slave trade in this way:
    We were all ranked together at the valuation. Men and women, old and young, married and single, were ranked with horses, sheep, and swine. There were horses and men, cattle and women, pigs and children, all holding the same rank in the scale of being, and were all subjected to the same narrow examination. Silvery-headed age and sprightly youth, maids and matrons, had to undergo the same indelicate inspection. At this moment, I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both slave and slaveholder.[Source: "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas" by Frederick Douglas.]
Imagine these injustices magnified across the lives of thousands upon thousands of slaves in the United States and you can begin to understand the horrific magnitude of slavery in America. Slavery is a scourge. It is an atrocity.All of us know that slavery is abhorrent. Slavery involves the loss of free will and the subjugation of one person to another. Slavery is a form of imprisonment. Slavery turns human beings into a type of livestock that can be bought and sold as the property of another person. As described by Frederick Douglass above, slavery is often accompanied by remarkable brutality. No human being would want to be enslaved. This is what makes the concept of slavery so repugnant.
Now that you have a clear image of slavery in your head, here is an important question: How would you imagine that God feels about slavery?
As the all-loving creator of the universe and of each human soul, you would expect God to be violently opposed to the enslavement of human beings. Our all-knowing God would certainly despise slavery in the same way that any normal person does. What other position could a perfect God take?
It is surprising, therefore, to discover that the Bible tells a different story. If we read the Bible, we find instead a God who embraces slavery wholeheartedly. The Bible is so supportive of slavery, in fact, that it was frequently used as a justification for American slavery prior to the Civil War
.
What the Bible says about slavery

Here are ten passages from the Bible that clearly demonstrate God's position on slavery:
Genesis chapter 17, verse 12:
    And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised.
In this passage God understands that people buy other people and, quite obviously, is comfortable with the concept. God wants slaves circumcised in the same way as non-slaves.Exodus chapter 12 verse 43:
    The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "These are the regulations for the Passover: No foreigner is to eat of it. Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him, but a temporary resident and a hired worker may not eat of it.
God again shows that he is completely comfortable with the concept of slavery and singles out slaves for special treatment.Exodus Chapter 21, verse 1:
    Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,' then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.
Here God describes how to become a slave for life, and shows that it is completely acceptable to separate slaves from their families. God also shows that he completely endorses the branding of slaves through mutilation.Exodus Chapter 21, verse 20:
    If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.
Not only does God condone slavery, but he is also completely comfortable with the concept of beating your slaves, as long as you don't kill them.Exodus Chapter 21, verse 32:
    If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned.
Not only does God condone slavery, but here God places a value on slaves -- 30 shekels of silver. Note that God is not sophisticated enough to understand the concept of inflation. It is now 3,000 years later, and a gored slave is still worth 30 shekels of silver according to God's word.Leviticus Chapter 22, verse 10:
    No one outside a priest's family may eat the sacred offering, nor may the guest of a priest or his hired worker eat it. But if a priest buys a slave with money, or if a slave is born in his household, that slave may eat his food.
Here God shows that the children of slaves are slaves themselves, and that he is completely happy with that concept.Leviticus Chapter 25, verse 44:
    Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
Here God states where you may purchase your slaves, and clearly specifies that slaves are property to be bought, sold and handed down.Luke, Chapter 7, verse 2:
    Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue." And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.
Here Jesus shows that he is completely comfortable with the concept of slavery. Jesus heals the slave without any thought of freeing the slave or admonishing the slave's owner.Colossians, chapter 3, verse 22:
    Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, work heartily...

Did God mean it?

Many Christians will try to argue that God does not intend for us to keep slaves today. That simply is not true. As you can see, both Jesus and the New Testament are strong advocates of slavery. In Isaiah 40:8 God says, "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever." In the twenty first century, God and the Bible fully intend for us to have slaves.

Here God shows that he is in complete acceptance of a slave's position, and encourages slaves to work hard. This sentiment is repeated in Titus, chapter 2 verse 9:
    Bid slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to be refractory, nor to pilfer, but to show entire and true fidelity.
Once again God shows that he is quite enamored of slavery.

God loves slavery

If the Bible is written by God, and these are the words of the Lord, then you can come to only one possible conclusion: God is an impressive advocate of slavery and is fully supportive of the concept.
If you are a Christian, I realize that what I am about to suggest is uncomfortable. However, it is crucial to the conversation that we are having in this book. What I wish to suggest to you is that these pro-slavery passages in the Bible provide all the evidence that we need to prove that God did not write the Bible. Simply put: there is no way that an all-loving God would also be a staunch supporter of slavery.
What does your common sense tell you about God? Doesn't it seem that an all-loving, just God would think of slavery as an abomination just like any normal human being does? If any sort of all-knowing, all-loving God had written the Bible, shouldn't the Bible say, "Slavery is wrong -- you may have no slaves"? Shouldn't one of the Commandments say, "thou shalt not enslave"?
As you can see, these slavery passages present us with a paradox:
  • On the one hand, we all know that slavery is an outrage and a moral abomination. As a result, slavery is now completely illegal throughout the developed world.
  • On the other hand, the creator of the universe states in writing that slavery is perfectly acceptable. Beating your slaves is fine. Enslaving children is fine. Separating slave families is fine. According to the Bible, we should all be practicing slavery today.
The intensity of this paradox is remarkable.

The importance of the Bible

Most people in the United States are Christians, and therefore in the United States we take the Bible completely for granted. It is like gravity or the morning sunrise -- the Bible is there all the time, so you don't even think about it.
Because we take it for granted, we tend to forget just how important the Bible is to our lives. Let me give you three examples of just how significant this book is.
First of all, think about Jesus. Everyone in the United States has heard of Jesus. We all know that Jesus was born on Christmas. We know that Jesus died on the Cross and was resurrected three days later. We know that God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). And so on. How do we know all of that? Because of the Bible. If the Bible did not exist, no one would have ever heard of Jesus. Without the Bible there would be no Christianity.
Second, there are the Ten Commandments. According to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, "Ninety-nine percent of Americans believe in the ten commandments." [ref] Scalia has also pointed out that the Ten Commandments are "a symbol of the fact that government derives its authority from God." [ref] Where do the Ten Commandments come from? The Bible. And because they come from the Bible, we assume they come from God. The Bible is God's word.

Key Point

According to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, "Ninety-nine percent of Americans believe in the ten commandments." [ref] Scalia has also pointed out that the Ten Commandments are "a symbol of the fact that government derives its authority from God." [ref]
Third, think about your soul. Chances are that you believe that you have a soul. In addition you probably believe that, when you die, your soul lives on forever. You also believe that your soul goes either to heaven or hell. Where did those ideas come from? They come from the Bible. The Bible is the place in our culture that tells us about heaven and hell. Without the Bible, these concepts would not exist. The whole notion of "everlasting life" is based on the Bible.
It really is quite amazing when you think about it. We take Jesus, the Ten Commandments, heaven and hell completely for granted. Nearly every person in America has heard of them, and few would question their existence. The place where these core concepts originate is the Bible. Without the Bible, these concepts would not exist. The Bible has a gigantic impact on the lives of people around the world. The only reason it has this impact is because Christians believe that God is the author.
Let's say that the Bible were not the word of God. Imagine that it was written by a group of random men 2,000 or 3,000 years ago and God had nothing to do with it. Would you believe in heaven and hell? Would you believe in the Ten Commandments? Would you believe in Jesus? No. Of course not. If primitive men wrote the Bible rather than God, no one would care about the Bible. Homer was a primitive man, and 3,000 or so years ago he wrote a book called "The Odyssey." In this book Homer talks about a Cyclops, a goddess named Athena and a place called Hades, along with many other things. Do we believe any of it? Of course not -- it was a fanciful story written by a man. We ignore the Odyssey in our daily lives because the author was human.

The Bible and Slavery

So now we have opened the Bible and looked at it, and inside the Bible -- God's word -- we have found ten extremely clear and outrageous passages about slavery. What these passages indicate, without any question, is that the Bible supports slavery. The Bible thinks that slavery is great. According to the Bible you are free to buy slaves and you are free to beat your slaves. There is no denying that, in the Bible, slavery is perfectly acceptable.
If you are a Christian, you automatically and unquestioningly believe in Jesus, the Ten Commandments, heaven and hell. Why? Because you believe that the Bible came from God.
The problem is that if you support the Ten Commandments and believe in Jesus, you must also support slavery. The same God and the same Bible that tells us about the Ten Commandments and Jesus is also telling us about slavery.
Take a moment right now to ask yourself this simple question: Do you believe in slavery? Having read how God feels about slavery in the Bible, do you now believe that in America and around the world we should repeal all anti-slavery laws and re-open the slave trade? If you are Christian, what choice do you have? God fully advocates slavery in the Bible, and you believe the word of God.
If you are going to believe that the Ten Commandments came from God because they are in God's Bible, then you must also believe that all of these slavery passages came from God. You, Justice Scalia and everyone else who believes that God wrote the Bible should be perfectly comfortable with the slave trade.

An all-or-nothing book

Key Point

If you are going to believe that the Ten Commandments came from God because they are in God's Bible, then you must also believe that all of these slavery passages came from God as well. Therefore you, Justice Scalia and everyone else who believes that God wrote the Bible should be perfectly comfortable with the slave trade. Christians must believe that all the laws that forbid slavery in the United States defy God's word, and we should be actively working to repeal them.
If you do not believe that God wrote the slavery passages in the Bible, then the obvious question to ask yourself is this: How can you possibly know which parts came from God and which parts were inserted by primitive men? How can you pick and choose like that? You have absolutely no way to know whether the slavery passages came from God or primitive men.
It is when you start thinking about the Bible in this way that you understand something very important about the Bible. Either the entire Bible really is God's Word, or the entire Bible was written by primitive men with absolutely no input from God. Here is the reason for this very strong dividing line:
    If part of the Bible came from God and part came from primitive men, how can you possibly know which is which? How do you know if Jesus really is resurrected, or if that's just a make-believe story inserted by primitive men? How do you know if God wrote the Ten Commandments or not? If any part of the Bible has been polluted by primitive men, you have to reject the whole thing. There is no way to know who wrote what, so the entire book is invalid.
There really is no middle ground. The Bible has to be an all-or-nothing book. Either the entire Bible came from God, or none of it did.

The Tylenol Scare

Why can there be no middle ground? To understand the problem, simply look at slavery passages in the Bible. Many Christians believe that God did not write these passages, and therefore reject them. These Christians believe that these passages were inserted by primitive men without God's approval. However, these Christians have no way to prove their belief. And by calling the authorship of these passages into question, they call into question every sentence in the Bible.
Pick any sentence in the Bible and ask yourself, "Did God write this sentence, or did primitive men write it without any input from God?" There is no way to know. Since there is no way to prove it one way or another, and since it is possible that primitive men wrote any sentence in the Bible rather than God (i.e. every sentence in the Bible could be a forgery), we must assume that every sentence is the product of primitive men.
An analogy can put a finer point on the problem. Imagine that I tell you that several madmen around the country have inserted capsules containing cyanide into random bottles of Tylenol sitting on store shelves. The poison capsules look identical to normal capsules, and the tainted bottles of pills are indistinguishable from normal bottles. If I now hand you a bottle of Tylenol capsules off of a store shelf, will you take one of the pills? Of course not. Every pill could, potentially, contain poison. There is no way to know which pills do and do not contain poison. Therefore, you must assume that every pill does contain poison. If you do not know who created the pills, you must suspect that every pill came from a madman.
This Tylenol situation actually happened in the United States in 1982, and it is the reason why all bottles of over-the-counter medicine now have tamper-proof seals on them. The lesson from 1982 is simple. Since every capsule of Tylenol couldcontain poison, we had to suspect that every capsule did contain poison. We threw out millions of capsules because of that uncertainty. In addition, all manufacturers began putting tamper-proof seals on all bottles of over-the-counter medicine to eliminate the uncertainty.
The Bible suffers from exactly the same problem. And the Bible contains no tamper-proof seal. If we suspect that any one sentence in the Bible might have been randomly inserted by primitive men without God's approval, then every single sentence in the Bible now comes under suspicion. It does not matter whether any of the Bible might have been written by God. Because we are uncertain and have no way to prove it one way or another, we must assume that primitive men wrote every sentence of the Bible. Because of the uncertainty, we must throw out all of the sentences, just like we threw out all of the Tylenol capsules. If primitive men could have written any sentence, we must assume that they wrote the entire Bible. We have no other choice. The Bible is an all-or-nothing proposition.

Drawing a conclusion

With this all-or-nothing reality about the Bible now understood, you can see that there are only two possible explanations for the slavery passages in the Bible:
  • The Bible is right, and God loves slavery. The entire Bible is God's word, so these slavery passages must be God's word too. The laws in the United States and other modern nations that make slavery illegal defy God's word. Justice Scalia should be promoting slavery in exactly the same way that he promotes the Ten Commandments.
  • The Bible condones slavery because the Bible was written by slave-owning men, not by God.
Chances are that you have a problem with the first explanation. God would not champion the abomination that is slavery. We all know that.Therefore, what you are left with is the second explanation. And suddenly, the Bible becomes a poisoned book.
Here is the thing that I would like to help you understand: You, as a rational human being, know that slavery is wrong. You know it. That is why every single developed nation in the world has made slavery completely illegal. Human beings make slavery illegal, in direct defiance of God's word, because we all know with complete certainty that slavery is wrong (see also Chapter 28). If God actually had anything to do with the Bible, then the eleventh commandment would be, "Thou shalt not enslave."
What does your common sense now tell you about a Bible that supports slavery in both the Old and the New Testaments? Given the fact that the Bible clearly condones slavery, and given the fact that the Bible is an all-or-nothing book, does it make more sense for you to believe that God wrote the Bible, or that primitive men wrote the Bible without any input from God? Be honest with yourself. Make a choice, and then let's look at another example that is just as outrageous...
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Chapter 14 - Why does God love animal sacrifice?

For most people, the last chapter offers sufficient evidence to prove to themselves that God did not write the Bible. Clearly, an all-loving God cannot be a huge proponent of slavery. Therefore, since the Bible specifies that slavery is perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the Lord, it is easy to conclude that primitive men wrote the Bible rather than God.
However, if you need additional evidence, then we can approach the Bible from another angle and reach the same conclusion.
To any normal human being, the idea of animal and human sacrifice is both abhorrent and nauseating. The dictionary defines "sacrifice" in this way:
    The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person. [ref]
This, quite clearly, is something that primitive savages would do. There is no need to beat around the bush: We all know, without question, that animal and human sacrifice is an absurdity. Sacrificing and burning an animal on an altar does not have any beneficial effect for anyone.
The Aztecs in Mexico would take a virgin to the top of a pyramid, slice her still-beating heart out of her chest and eat it -- or whatever -- and we all know that their practices were insane and barbaric beyond belief. [ref] The death of the virgin did absolutely nothing to improve crop yield or rainfall, nor did it "appease" the Aztec gods (since those gods were completely imaginary). It is impossible to understand why the Aztecs would do something so bizarre and disgusting. Was it mass delusion? Rampant superstition taken to the Nth degree? Total desperation? A horrific combination? There is no way to know, but we do know that the behavior of the Aztecs was insane.
Any normal person is disgusted by religious sacrifice, and you would imagine that God is too. Ritual slaughter like this has nothing to do with an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, prayer-answering creator of the universe. The idea of killing an animal, splattering its blood about and then burning its flesh is, quite obviously, absurd and ridiculous. God would have nothing to do with animal sacrifice.
But then we examine the Bible -- the holy word of God and the single authoritative source of all information about Jesus -- and find passages like these:
Leviticus Chapter 1
    The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. He said, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When any of you brings an offering to the Lord , bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock."If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he is to offer a male without defect. He must present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord . He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He is to slaughter the young bull before the Lord , and then Aaron's sons the priests shall bring the blood and sprinkle it against the altar on all sides at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Then Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the burning wood that is on the altar. He is to wash the inner parts and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord .
    "If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, he is to offer a male without defect. He is to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the Lord , and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle its blood against the altar on all sides. He is to cut it into pieces, and the priest shall arrange them, including the head and the fat, on the burning wood that is on the altar. He is to wash the inner parts and the legs with water, and the priest is to bring all of it and burn it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord .
    "If the offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds, he is to offer a dove or a young pigeon. The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. He is to remove the crop with its contents and throw it to the east side of the altar, where the ashes are. He shall tear it open by the wings, not severing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is on the fire on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord .
Burning flesh is an aroma pleasing to the Lord? Does this make any sense to you as a rational human being?Here is another example:
Leviticus Chapter 5
    'If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.'Or if a person touches anything ceremonially unclean-whether the carcasses of unclean wild animals or of unclean livestock or of unclean creatures that move along the ground-even though he is unaware of it, he has become unclean and is guilty.
    'Or if he touches human uncleanness-anything that would make him unclean-even though he is unaware of it, when he learns of it he will be guilty.
    'Or if a person thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil-in any matter one might carelessly swear about-even though he is unaware of it, in any case when he learns of it he will be guilty.
    'When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.
    'If he cannot afford a lamb, he is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for his sin-one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. He is to bring them to the priest, who shall first offer the one for the sin offering. He is to wring its head from its neck, not severing it completely, and is to sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering against the side of the altar; the rest of the blood must be drained out at the base of the altar. It is a sin offering. The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.
You are an intelligent human being, so think this through. Here is the logic expressed in Leviticus chapter 5:
    "Today I accidentally touched something that was 'ceremonially unclean,' and I didn't know about it at the time, but fortunately a priest brought it to my attention, and I am guilty. Now, I can't afford a lamb. But I can get two young pigeons for a shekel over at Saul's bird emporium, and then I can take them both to the priest. He will wring the head from the neck of one of them, but not sever it completely. And he will sprinkle the blood, and drain the rest. And then the priest will burn the other pigeon. Then I am forgiven. Thank God!"
What does your common sense tell you about this? It probably tells you that it is impossible to imagine an all-loving, all-knowing God demanding this, and you are correct.Here is another example:
Leviticus Chapter 7, The priest's share
    The Lord said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'Anyone who brings a fellowship offering to the Lord is to bring part of it as his sacrifice to the Lord . With his own hands he is to bring the offering made to the Lord by fire; he is to bring the fat, together with the breast, and wave the breast before the Lord as a wave offering. The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast belongs to Aaron and his sons. You are to give the right thigh of your fellowship offerings to the priest as a contribution. The son of Aaron who offers the blood and the fat of the fellowship offering shall have the right thigh as his share. From the fellowship offerings of the Israelites, I have taken the breast that is waved and the thigh that is presented and have given them to Aaron the priest and his sons as their regular share from the Israelites.' "
Does it seem more likely that God commanded this, or that primitive men looking for the "priest's share" wrote this?Here is another example:
Leviticus Chapter 9
    [Moses] then presented the other ram, the ram for the ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. Moses slaughtered the ram and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. Moses also brought Aaron's sons forward and put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Then he sprinkled blood against the altar on all sides. He took the fat, the fat tail, all the fat around the inner parts, the covering of the liver, both kidneys and their fat and the right thigh.Then from the basket of bread made without yeast, which was before the Lord, he took a cake of bread, and one made with oil, and a wafer; he put these on the fat portions and on the right thigh. He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons and waved them before the Lord as a wave offering. Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering as an ordination offering, a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the Lord by fire. He also took the breast-Moses' share of the ordination ram-and waved it before the Lord as a wave offering, as the Lord commanded Moses.
We have Moses putting the blood of a freshly slaughtered animal on the ears, thumbs and toes of other people.What does your common sense tell you about these passages?
When looking at passages like these in the Bible, everyone can see the problem. Animal sacrifice is abhorrent, and it has nothing to do with an all-knowing and all-loving God.
For most people, no further evidence is needed. It is obvious that primitive men wrote the Bible, not God. God would have nothing to do with the Bible if these passages are in it, and the Bible is an all-or-nothing book (see Chapter 13 for details). No all-powerful, all-loving God wants people to kill animals, splatter their blood, cut them up into pieces, arrange the pieces on an altar and burn them so that he can "smell the pleasing aroma." There is no difference between the Bible's book of Leviticus and the insanity of the Aztecs.
Therefore, in the same way that the slavery passages in the previous chapter prove that God did not write the Bible, these animal sacrifice passages prove that God did not write the Bible. The whole notion of an all-knowing, all-powerful God purposefully writing this material is patently absurd to any rational human being.

Key Point

All of this material about animal sacrifice is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. This is the same place where we find the Ten Commandments. Only about 20 pages separate Exodus chapter 20 -- the source of the Ten Commandments -- from Leviticus Chapter 1.

Keep in mind that all of this material about animal sacrifice is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. This is the same place where we find the Ten Commandments. Only about 20 pages separate Exodus chapter 20 -- the source of the Ten Commandments -- from Leviticus Chapter 1.

Human Sacrifice

If you are a Christian, how do you handle these passages in the Bible? A Christian has a problem, because it is hard to put faith in a book that harbors numerous passages where God demands animal sacrifice. As with the slavery problem discussed in the previous chapter, there are two possible approaches for a Christian:
  1. Pretend that the passages are not there and change the subject when they are mentioned.
  2. Try to develop some sort of highly convoluted rationalization on God's behalf to explain the passages.
Christians tend to take the latter approach, and then they do something quite unexpected. You would imagine that Christians would try to distance themselves as far as possible from animal sacrifice. But they do not.Suprisingly, many Christians embrace these parts of the Bible. Only in the context of this abhorent practice does the horrific death of Jesus on the cross (as portrayed in the movie The Passion of the Christ) make even a modicum of sense. For Christians, the human race had to actually move into the realm of human sacrifice to finally appease their God. Senselessly killing animals was not sufficient. According to the Christian faith, Jesus is the human sacrifice that satisfied God.
For example, here is something that a Christian minister might say:
    If you read all those dry regulations for sin sacrifices in Leviticus and if you read about the requirements for the Passover lamb, you will realize that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for sin. He is the first-born son, not of a sheep or a goat, but of God. He is innocent of all sin, He volunteers of His own free will—that is, He was convicted only by His own confession. He freely submitted to His Father’s will. He is, by the Levitical code, a perfect sacrifice, and therefore He perfectly removes all sin. He meets all the requirements for a fellowship offering, and thus places us in fellowship with God. Since even on the cross, none of His bones were broken, He also meets all the requirements for a Passover lamb, whose blood protects us from the angel of death, thus He prepares us for the Resurrection.[ref]
As uncomfortable as this sounds, this is the core belief of the Christian church. Christ had to die as a human sacrifice for our sins to appease the "God" of Leviticus. The most prominent religion on this planet, practiced by two billion people, has human sacrifice as its central tenet.When we read about animal sacrifice in the Old Testament, what we discover is a God who must be insane. No rational human being can accept that an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God could possibly support animal sacrifice.
But then we turn to the New Testament and find that God has moved beyond insanity. God becomes a monstrous absurdity who demands human sacrifice. In other words, Christians are dwelling in the same realm as the virgin-killing Aztecs.

Contemplating the crucifixion

Have you ever thought about how bizarre the crucifixion story is? Imagine the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe sitting on his magnificent throne in heaven. He looks down onto earth and says to himself:
    Those evil humans down on earth. I hate what they are doing. All this sin...Since I am all-knowing I know exactly what the humans are doing and I understand exactly why they commit each sin. Since I created the humans in my own image and personally programmed human nature into their brains, I am the direct author of all of this sin. The instant I created them I knew exactly what would happen with every single human being right down to the nanosecond level for all eternity. If I didn't like how it was going to turn out, I could have simply changed them when I created them. And since I am perfect, I know exactly what I am doing. But ignore all that. I hate all these people doing exactly what I perfectly designed them to do and knew they would do from the moment I created them...
    So here's what I am going to do. I will artificially inseminate a virgin. She will give birth to an incarnated version of me. The humans will eventually crucify and kill the incarnated me. That will, finally, make me happy. Yes, sending myself down and having the humans crucify me -- that will satisfy me. I feel much better now.
It makes no sense, does it? Why would an all-knowing being need to have humans kill himself (Jesus is God, after all) to make himself happy? Especially since it is a perfect God who set the whole thing in motion exactly the way he wanted it? The whole story of the crucifixion is absurd from top to bottom if you actually stop to think about it.Chapter 21 explains where this bizarre story actually comes from. It has nothing to do with "God".

Thinking about our sacrificial God

Have you ever stopped to think about it? If you are a Christian, have you ever thought about how uncomfortable this is? You are worshipping a God who demanded animal sacrifice, and then was finally "appeased" by human sacrifice. Many Christians seem to actually revel in human sacrifice. How else can we explain the tens of millions of Christians who flocked to the movie The Passion of the Christ?

Key Point

Many Christians actually seem to revel in human sacrifice. Tens of millions of Christians flocked to the movie "The Passion of the Christ".

Have you ever consciously thought about how truly uncomfortable this situation is?
Please simply take a moment and think about what you have read in this chapter. Here are two points of view for you to consider:
  1. God wrote the Bible and the Bible is the word of the Lord. God demanded animal sacrifice and he specified how he wanted the sacrifices done in minute detail in the Bible because God enjoys animal sacrifice. These ritualized animal killings allowed humans to atone for our many sins against God, and the aroma of the burning flesh was pleasing to the Lord. By moving to the level of human sacrifice, Christians were finally able to appease their God.
  2. Animal sacrifice is absurd, abhorrent, ridiculous and revolting. Human sacrifice even more so. The Bible was written by primitive men, not by God. Those primitive men were as insane as the Aztecs.
Use both your head and your heart to analyze the situation. Which point of view makes more sense to you?Now, let's look at another example that is just as outrageous...
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Chapter 15 - Why is God so sexist?

If you are a Christian woman, then in this chapter I would like to talk with you directly and openly about God. And let me get right to the point. When we look at the Bible -- God's Word -- God seems to have a major problem with women.
The dictionary defines a misogynist as "One who hates women." [ref] It defines the word "sexist" as:
  1. Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women.
  2. Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender
Do you, as a woman, think of God as sexist, or as a misogynist? Probably not -- why would a Christian woman worship God if he were obviously a sexist? When we think of God, we generally do not think of him as hating anyone. Under theStandard Model of God, we think of God as an all-knowing and all-loving father. We think of him as being fair. We think of God as loving each person equally, regardless of any distinction like skin color or gender.Yet, strangely, we find that God treats women quite differently than he treats men. For example, we find this in 1 Corinthians chapter 14:
    As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
This seems like a straightforward passage. And God is the one who inspired the Bible. In Isaiah 40:8 God says that the word of the Lord will last forever, and he says the same thing again in 1 Peter 1:24-25. So here we have God, in his eternal and everlasting Word, saying that it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Key Point

In the New Testament of the Bible -- God's holy word to his creation -- it says that it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. In 1 Timothy chapter 2 it says, "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent."
Why would God personally create man and woman in his own image, and then silence the women? What possible reason does an all-loving, all-knowing God have to be sexist?
Even more interesting is this question: why would you, as a woman, worship a God who acts like this?
The breadth of God's sexism
There are many places in the Bible where God talks about women. This quote from 1 Corinthians 11, for example, is odd:
    But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.
What, exactly, is God saying there? You may find it hard to believe that something that confusing is in the Bible, yet if you look it up you will find it is there.
Then there is this section from 1 Timothy chapter 2:
    Also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion. Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.
It is hard to miss God's meaning when he says something as direct as, "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent." (seechapter 12)If you think about it, you will realize that God started this type of sexism at the very beginning of the Bible. In Genesis chapter 17 God says:
    This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
God makes no mention of forming any sort of covenant with women.There are many other examples that we can find in the Bible:
  • In Matthew 25:1 Jesus says: "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom."
  • In John 20:17 Jesus says to Mary: "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father," as though the touch of a woman is somehow improper, but a few verses later, is happy to have Thomas touch him.
  • In Genesis chapter 3, God punishes Eve, and all women for thousands of years, with greatly increased pain during childbirth. No such pain is inflicted on Adam.
  • In Deuteronomy 22:28-29 we find this: "If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver to the young woman’s father, and she shall become his wife. Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives." So, what God is saying is if you are a man, and you rape a girl, she gets to be your wife. Very nice.
  • In Ephesians 5:22-24 we find this: "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
  • In 1 Peter 3:7 we find: "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."
  • In 1 John 2:13, John says, "I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father." No mention is made of women.
  • In Numbers 31:14-18 we find: "Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle. "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man." Making sex slaves of women apparently is God's will.
  • And so on. There are many, many examples like these throughout the old and new testaments.
There are other, broader examples of misogyny that are readily apparent in the Bible:
  • Are any of Jesus' disciples women? No.
  • Are any of the elders in the book of Revelation women? No.
  • Are any of the books of the Bible written by women? No.
  • Etc...
God, it would seem, wants nothing to do with women.

The modern rejection of God's misogyny

How do you, as a woman, feel about all of this sexism?
Keep in mind that God's misogyny as portrayed in the Bible has affected society for centuries. The United States constitution, for example, was originally drafted to specifically deny rights to women. Women could not even vote in the United States until 1920, and only then after decades of battle in the women's suffrage movement.
If you think about it, you will realize that something else is odd. In spite of the Bible and its far-reaching effects, and in spite of the fact that the Bible is supposed to be God's eternal Word, modern human beings have advanced well beyond the Bible's teachings. In fact, we totally reject God's sexism. Modern human beings completely ignore God:
  • We make women the CEOs of major corporations.
  • We elect women to high government offices.
  • We appoint women as presidents of universities.
  • We fill our schools with female teachers.
  • We allow women to speak freely in church.
We do all of this in direct defiance of God's Law in the Bible because we know God and his eternal word is wrong.Why do we completely defy the Bible like this? Why do you, as a woman, reject God's Word when it comes to sexism? I would offer this possibility: We do it because the Bible's attitude toward women is completely irrational. There is no rational reason for women and men to be treated in any way other than equally, and modern, intelligent human beings know that with complete certainty. Therefore, we have to reject what God says in the Bible.
Can you see the contradiction there? We are mere mortals, and we have told our all-powerful God that he is completely wrong.
The funny thing is, billions of Christians still worship God and claim that the Bible is the word of God. Women will happily stand up in church and proclaim how much they love God, in complete defiance of God's word. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will trumpet his support for the Ten Commandments, which come from the same book that tells women to shut up and be subservient (see Chapter 13 for details on Justice Scalia).
What is going on here?

Rationalizing misogyny

If you are an unbiased observer, you probably find this situation to be mystifying. There is not any room for misinterpretation when God says, "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission." Nor when God says, "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent." Why would God say that if he did not mean it? And why would Christians allow women to speak in church and teach in our schools given that God specifically forbids it?
A religious person might say, "God had to 'fit in' with the customs of the time." We discussed this argument in Chapter 13 when discussing slavery. What does your common sense tell you? If God -- the all-powerful creator of the universe and father of mankind -- wanted women treated equally, all that he had to do was set things in motion when he created Adam. Or God could have written a twelfth commandment that said, "Thou shalt treat men and women equally." God could portray men and women as equals throughout the Bible. Half of Jesus' apostles could have been women -- that would have made things utterly clear. If God wanted men and women to be equal, he would have made it happen.
You can think about it, and think some more. No matter how you slice it, the sexism is there, plain as day in the Bible. There is no ambiguity. We are forced to conclude God is an all-powerful misogynist, are we not?
In chapter 17 we will discuss the following comment in detail, but it is important to introduce it here: if God is going to take the time to write and publish "the Word of God," why does the book contain so many problems?
  • Why isn't each page of the Bible astonishing us with its brilliance and insight, and filling us with wonder?
  • Why, instead, does the Bible contain so much nonsense or, in this case, bigotry?
  • Why are Christians constantly having to justify, rationalize, excuse and explain the Bible? In this case, we find modern Christians trying to defend a God who obviously dislikes women on many different levels.
  • Why didn't God understand how he would look to intelligent human beings in the twenty first century, and get it right when he wrote the Bible? The fact is that we are forced to completely ignore God when he says, "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent." No one believes that, most especially the 50% of the population who are female.

Key Point

To any unbiased observer, the reason for rampant sexism in the Bible is very easy to understand: The Bible was not written by God. It was written by primitive men who were flagrant sexists. Just look at how men in primitive countries like Afghanistan treat women today.Those are the kind of men who wrote the Bible. God had nothing to do with this book.
If you are a Christian, I would ask you to consider the two possible ways to explain the sexism that we are seeing in the Bible:
  • You can assume that God actually did write the Bible and truly is sexist and misogynistic. In that case we are directly defying God's word today by allowing women to be equal to men.
  • Or you can assume that God had nothing to do with the Bible. In that case, the Bible is meaningless and we can discard it, as discussed inChapter 13.
Drawing a simple conclusion

To any unbiased observer, the reason for sexism in the Bible is very easy to understand: The Bible was not written by God. It was written by primitive men who were flagrant sexists. Just look at how men in primitive countries like Afghanistan treat women today. Those are the kind of men who wrote the Bible.
And we all know it -- Christians and non-Christians alike. The reason why modern societies (including most Christians living in those societies) completely reject sexism is because we all know that the Bible's sexism is wrong. It is exactly the same situation we see when Christians face slavery and animal sacrifice in the Bible. Christians and non-Christians alike reject the Bible's teachings in these areas because the Bible is obviously wrong. The part that is profoundly strange is that, while completely rejecting these parts of the Bible, Chistians will claim that other parts of the Bible are God's word. They seem to be blind to the obvious contradiction.
At some point, Christians have to accept the evidence that we all can see: Either God wrote the Bible, or he did not. If he did, then he is wrong, and we should reject the Bible and him. If he did not, then we should reject the Bible.
This fact should now be apparent to every woman, and to any rational man.
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Chapter 16 - Why does God massacre millions of children?

For most people, the last three chapters offer all the evidence that they need to prove to themselves that God did not write the Bible. Clearly, an all-loving God cannot be a huge proponent of slavery. Nor can an all-loving God be an advocate of both animal and human sacrifice. Nor can an all-loving God be a flagrant misogynist. Therefore, since the Bible specifies that God loves slavery and animal/human sacrifice and that God hates women, it is easy for most people to conclude that primitive men wrote the Bible rather than God.
However, if you need additional evidence, then we can approach the Bible from another angle and reach the same conclusion.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 2, mixed into the Christmas story, the Bible describes an amazing massacre of thousands of babies:
    And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
Think about the thousands of families who were affected by this massacre. The Bible describes their suffering: they wept and could not be comforted. Of course they could not be comforted. If you are a parent, you know exactly how distraught you would feel if an agent of the government came to your door one morning and slaughtered your children.Why did God do this? Being all-knowing, God knew that this would happen. In fact, according to the Bible, God acted on his knowledge. But why would God take the time to reach down to earth and save his own child, and then allow all of these thousands of other innocent children to die? If God is love, where is the love in that? How could a loving God willfully allow such massive suffering without taking action?
Think about how easy it would have been for God to prevent all of this suffering:
  • God could have appeared to Herod in a dream and told him not to kill these children.
  • God could have killed Herod.
  • God could have guided the wise men so that Herod would not have felt mocked by them.
  • God could have protected the babies.
  • God could have spoken to the murdering soldiers and turned them away from the task.
  • God could have sent all of these families to Egypt when he sent Jesus and his family there.
  • God could have made it so that no male children besides Jesus were born during that time.
  • God could have changed history so that Herod was not king.
It is easy to come up with thousands of solutions, yet God did nothing.God, by sending his son to earth, was the direct cause of this massacre. And God, as an all-powerful and all-knowing being, knew that it would happen and had the power to prevent it. In fact, God did take direct action to save Jesus. Instead of saving the thousands of other children, however, God stood by and watched as they were slaughtered.
It is interesting to note that this is not the only place in the Bible where God causes thousands of children to die. In the book of Exodus chapter 12 verse 28, God writes about one of his early massacres:
    So the people of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded through Moses and Aaron. And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.
Here the death of the children is directly at the hand of God.In Isaiah chapter 13, God paints this word picture:
    Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children.
What a lovely image.In Jeremiah chapter 49, verse 20, God paints a similar picture:
    Therefore hear the plan which the LORD has made against Edom and the purposes which he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Even the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea.
In Hosea chapter 13, God paints a similar picture:
    Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.
In Numbers chapter 31, God paints a similar picture:
    Moses said to them, "Have you let all the women live? Behold, these caused the people of Israel, by the counsel of Balaam, to act treacherously against the LORD in the matter of Pe'or, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Here Moses, acting as an agent of God, specifies that thousands of male babies and children be killed, as well as thousands of women. The Bible states in verse 35 that the captured women numbered "thirty-two thousand persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him." This was not a small attack. Tens of thousands men, women and children were massacred.In Deuteronomy Chapter 3 we find this:
    Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei. The LORD said to me, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon." So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og's kingdom in Bashan. All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages. We completely destroyed them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying every city—men, women and children. But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves.
They massacred all the men, women and children in 60 cities at God's request.Then there is Noah's flood, in which God massacred every single child on the face of the earth.

Key Point

It is appropriate at this point to speak to Christians, especially the "casual Christians" who go to church occasionally because it seems like the "right thing to do." Most Christians have never read the Bible. They have no idea that the God of the Bible is a huge proponent of slavery, or that God hates women, or that God finds the annihilation of small children so enthralling. Should we, as human beings living in the modern world, be worshipping a God like this?
Doesn't it feel odd to find all of this material in the Bible? Especially the quote from Moses in Numbers 31. You may recall that the sixth commandment is, "Thou shalt not kill."
What does God have against children? Why would an all-loving, all-knowing being act in this way? In the case of Herod's massacre, a religious person might say, "God had to do it to fulfill a prophecy in the Bible." But that makes no sense, because God could have left the prophecy out.
A normal person, after reading passages like these, is left first with a deep sense of disgust. Any normal human being knows that these acts are monstrous. What we are seeing here is not a loving God, but instead a demonic executioner working at a massive scale. Why would anyone worship this appalling monster?
A normal person then asks the obvious question: Did God actually write these verses in the Bible? Would God actually condone these acts?
I think we can all agree that a loving God would not condone these acts. Therefore, these parts of the Bible could not have been written by God. It should be obvious to all of us that God did not write the Bible.
It is appropriate at this point to speak to Christians, especially the "casual Christians" who go to church occasionally because it seems like the "right thing to do." Most Christians have never read the Bible. They have no idea that the God of the Bible is a huge proponent of slavery, or that God hates women, or that God finds the annihilation of small children so enthralling. Should we, as human beings living in the modern world, be worshipping a God like this?
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Chapter 17 - Reviewing the evidence about the Bible


In the last four chapters we have looked at dozens of Bible passages. We have found that God is a huge proponent of slavery, that God hates women, that God revels in the destruction of small children, and that God spells out detailed instructions for animal and human sacrifice. If you are a Christian, here is the important question that you should be asking yourself:
    Do you believe that an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, prayer-answering God wrote these passages in the Bible?
This question is incredibly important because of this fact:
    There is no reason for you to believe that you have a soul, or that you will have eternal life after death, or that there is a heaven and hell, or that God answers prayers, or that God wrote the Ten Commandments, or that Jesus is resurrected, and so on, unless you believe that God wrote the Bible.
If you insist that God wrote the Bible so that you can believe in the Ten Commandments or eternal life, shouldn't you also be a proponent of slavery and a misogynist? It is the same book in both cases.The point is simple. Can you imagine God sitting on his magnificent throne in heaven saying this?
    "As the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe, I shall write a book for my creation, and I shall call it The Bible. Let's see, what shall I put in it??? Well, I want to be SURE to write about my absolute endorsement of slavery in both the Old and the New Testaments -- slavery is very important to me and I want people buying and selling slaves for thousands of years. And I want to be CERTAIN that the book shows how much I hate women in both the Old and the New Testaments. And I can NOT forget the parts about animal and human sacrifice, because sacrifices are an essential element of every proper religion. I want people slaughtering animals, splattering their blood and then burning the carcasses on a stone altar because the aroma is pleasing to me. And I want to make human sacrifice the centerpiece of my worship. And I CERTAINLY need to include the juicy parts about child massacre in both the Old and the New Testaments. Baby killing is something that I will emphasize throughout this book because it is very important to me."
Do you believe this? Of course not. Yet, clearly, if God does exist and God wrote the Bible, this is in fact what God said to himself. You have seen with your own eyes the numerous passages in the Bible where God displays these tendencies. Confirm them yourself by looking them up in God's word.An all-knowing, all-loving God could not have written such appalling verses into the Bible. It should be obvious to you that primitive men wrote this book, not God.

What should the non-Christians make of this?

If you are a Christian, and if you insist that God wrote or "inspired" the Bible, then there is a second question that you may want to consider:
    Why do you worship this God? And why do you publicly and openly admit it?
Think about the non-Christians who live next door to you. They can read the Bible. Wouldn't it seem logical for people outside Christianity -- for example, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists and so on -- to look at you as a monster for worshipping such a being? By worshipping this God, giving him your money, etc., you show that you yourself must believe in slavery, misogyny, animal/human sacrifice and baby-killing. Do you not? All of these passages are right there in the Bible. Anyone can read them. By stating that you believe the Bible, are you not endorsing these passages? By worshipping this God, do you not show that you endorse his actions in the Bible? Why in the world would non-Christians want you openly spreading your messages from a slavery-condoning, woman-hating, sacrifice-loving, child-killing God?A Christian would respond to this question with something like the following: "God is NOT a murderer! God does NOT kill babies! God does NOT hate women! God would NEVER do any of the things that you are talking about. God is LOVE. It says so in the Bible!" Such a person is ignoring the obvious. The slavery-condoning, woman-hating, sacrifice-loving, baby-killing verses are all there in the Bible plain as day. They would not be there unless God wanted them there. God is omnipotent. If God took the time to write the Bible, he would also take the time to protect its contents from corruption. If God wrote the Bible, then every word in it was placed there -- intentionally and purposefully -- by God himself.
It is not as though God has one slip of the tongue that might be misinterpreted as condoning slavery -- there are at least ten places in the Bible where God openly, unashamedly and absolutely endorses slavery. God does not "sort of hint" that he might dislike women -- God displays open animosity toward women in his words and deeds. God not only likes animal sacrifice -- he demands it, and gives explicit instructions for how it is to be done. God does not kill one or two children -- God openly massacres millions of children and admits it in writing.
This is the God of the Bible. This is the God that Christians worship.

Why is the Bible so irrelevant?

For many people, the last four chapters prove that God did not write the Bible. They prove it beyond the shadow of any doubt. It is painfully obvious: Primitive men wrote the Bible, not God.
But what if you need still more proof? If so, then here is a question: Why, when you read the Bible, are you not left in awe? Why doesn't a book written by God leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement? If you are reading a book written by the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe, wouldn't you expect to be stunned by the brilliance, the clarity and the wisdom of the author? Would you not expect each new page to intoxicate you with its incredible prose and its spectacular insight?
Instead, opening the Bible inevitably creates a feeling of dumbfoundment. Have you ever noticed that? Instead of brilliance, much of the Bible contains nonsense. The topics of the previous several chapters, where we discussed the Bible's advocacy of slavery and animal sacrifice, the Bible's misogyny and so on, are excellent examples. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. You can open the Bible to almost any page and find nonsense instead of wisdom. Here are several examples:
Judges Chapter 4
    But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.
Genesis Chapter 19
    Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father."
Genesis Chapter 38
    Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord 's sight; so he put him to death also.
Judges Chapter 3
    Ehud then approached him [the fat king] while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, "I have a message from God for you." As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king's belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
Judges Chapter 19
    But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
    When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. Everyone who saw it said, "Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!"
Joshua Chapter 10
    When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.
1 Samuel Chapter 31
    Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me." But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.
Numbers Chapter 31
    Moses was angry with the officers of the army-the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds-who returned from the battle. "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord 's people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
Deuteronomy Chapter 25
    If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.
There are two things to notice in these quotes. First, they are all disgusting. Second, they all tell stories about men and women doing things that are utterly and completely irrelevant. Why do you care about a woman killing a man with a tent peg, or a man cutting up his concubine and mailing her body parts around? Do you care about Moses telling his soldiers, "kill everyone, but save the virgins for yourselves"? If God is going to take the time to write a book that will last for millennia, why fill it with such useless material?Another problem with the Bible is that it frequently contradicts the Standard Model of God. Here is an example from Leviticus 21:17:
    Say to Aaron, None of your descendants throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles; no man of the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the LORD's offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not come near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries; for I am the LORD who sanctify them.
Doesn't it seem odd for an all-loving God to discriminate against people with handicaps and genetic problems?Here is another example. In the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 21:18, the Bible says:
    If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
Doesn't that seem to contradict the sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill"? And doesn't it seem just a tad harsh? If we applied this sort of philosophy today (as Christians should, since they proclaim the Bible and the Ten Commandments to be God's infallible word), millions of our teenagers would need to be stoned to death.Here is another example. On the day Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments, he discovers that the Israelites have created a golden calf. To punish the people, Moses gathers a group of men and takes the following action in the book of Exodus, Chapter 32:
    "Then he [Moses] said to them, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.
So... one minute we have God carving into stone, "Thou shalt not kill." Then the next minute we have God telling each man to strap a sword to his side and lay waste to thousands. Wouldn't you expect the almighty ruler of the universe to be slightly more consistent than this? 3,000 dead people is a lot of commandment breaking.Some Christians try to find an out for all of this irrelevance and contradiction by saying, "Well, I don't believe the Old Testament. God sent Jesus to cancel it out." But that really is not the case. If God wrote the Bible, then God fully intended for the Bible -- the entire Bible -- to be a timeless book. In Isaiah 40:8 God says, "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever." In Matthew 5:18 Jesus says, "For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished." When Jesus says "the law" what he is talking about is all of the laws that God lays down in the Old Testament. Those laws include everything that God says about slavery, misogyny, animal sacrifice, stoning teenagers, cutting off hands and all the rest.
An experiment
Here is an experiment for you to try. Pick up any handy Bible. Open the book to a random page. Read it. You tell me -- is this a book that amazes you? I am trying this experiment this morning as I write this book. Here are the five random quotes that I came upon:
Leviticus 15:
    The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Say to the people of Israel, When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean. And this is the law of his uncleanness for a discharge: whether his body runs with his discharge, or his body is stopped from discharge, it is uncleanness in him. Every bed on which he who has the discharge lies shall be unclean; and everything on which he sits shall be unclean. And any one who touches his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And whoever sits on anything on which he who has the discharge has sat shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And whoever touches the body of him who has the discharge shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And if he who has the discharge spits on one who is clean, then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And any saddle on which he who has the discharge rides shall be unclean. And whoever touches anything that was under him shall be unclean until the evening; and he who carries such a thing shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Can you imagine every doctor and nurse following God's law?1 Kings 8:
    Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the feast in the month Eth'anim, which is the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. And they brought up the ark of the LORD, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the priests and the Levites brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.
Yes, so? How is this at all relevant? Why would God write this?Psalms 89:
    A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations. For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens. Thou hast said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: 'I will establish your descendants for ever, and build your throne for all generations.'" [Selah] Let the heavens praise thy wonders, O LORD, thy faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible above all that are round about him? O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as thou art, O LORD, with thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou dost rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, thou stillest them. Thou didst crush Rahab like a carcass, thou didst scatter thy enemies with thy mighty arm.
Again, how is this relevant?Acts 10:
    The next day, as they were on their journey and coming near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. And he became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God has cleansed, you must not call common." This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood before the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.
Revelations 12:
    And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Are you amazed by these passages? Are you inspired by their brilliance and insight? Do they leave you with a sense of wonderment? Do they have any bearing at all on you, or your life? After reading them, do you find the Bible to be a book that you would want to continue reading? Most importantly: Do these passages leave you with the impression that they were written by an all-powerful, all-knowing God? Or was this book written by primitive men? Try the experiment yourself and see what you find. Think about what you are reading in the context of an all-knowing God.Be honest with yourself. Does the Bible strike you as a book filled with brilliance, or with nonsense?

Think about what you are reading

What do I mean when I say, "think about what you are reading?" Let's use Leviticus 15, from the previous section, as an example. The passage is discussing "discharge." Why doesn't God in Leviticus 15 say:
    "There are 47 different types of abnormal discharges that I have inflicted on the human body when I created it. They are, in order of frequency of occurrence: 1) Discharge from an infected skin lesion, normally caused by some sort of cut or puncture wound. What is happening here is a bacterial infection. First off, whenever you get a cut or puncture wound, you should wash it carefully with an antiseptic solution to kill the bacteria, and then cover the wound with a sterile dressing to keep bacteria out. Also, make sure that your tetanus vaccination is up to date. These steps will prevent 98.7% of all infections. But if the wound does become infected, what you should do is incise and drain the wound. This will be painful, but it is important because if you allow the pus to build up..."
God should know all of this stuff -- according to Christians he is all-knowing. When reading Leviticus 15, any normal human being asks questions like these:
  • Why didn't God transcribe a useful medical guide into the Bible for these primitive people, rather than transcribing rituals that accomplish nothing?
  • Why doesn't God explain how to manufacture antiseptic solutions, sterile dressings, tetanus vaccines and antibiotic creams?
  • Even better, why not explain how to build a Star Trek Tricorder to instantly heal the wound?
  • Even better, why didn't God design the human immune system to prevent all infections in the first place and eliminate the discharges completely? Why would God intentionally inflict human beings with all of these different types of abnormal discharges?
Extending on these ideas, why doesn't God use the Bible to explain metallurgy, chemistry, biology, physics, manufacturing, mathematics, medicine, engineering, etc. to these primitive people so they can dramatically accelerate their development?Why, in other words, is the Bible so useless? Why does the author of the Bible, who is supposed to be God, who is supposed to be all-knowing, know so little? Why is the knowledge of the author limited to the knowledge of the primitive men who wrote the book? If you think about what you are reading in the Bible in the context of an all-knowing God who supposedly wrote it, none of it makes any sense. But if you think about the Bible as being a book written by primitive men like you would find in the remote regions of Afghanistan today, it makes complete sense.

Key Point

If you think about what you are reading in the Bible in the context of an all-knowing God who supposedly wrote it, none of it makes any sense. But if you think about the Bible as being a book written by primitive men like you would find in the remote regions of Afghanistan today, it makes complete sense. This tells you everything you need to know. The Bible was written by primitive men, not by God.
After reading the Bible passages in this section, what is your common sense telling you about the Bible? Do these passages from the Bible match up with your view of what an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful being would write down in his book? Does it make sense to you that a book created by an all-knowing God would contain so much nonsense? Are you left agape as you read the Bible, or are you dumbfounded by its utter stupidity?
Weigh the evidence. Does it seem more likely that the Bible was written by God, or by a bunch of primitive men?

Proving it to yourself

It is easy to prove to yourself that God did not write the Bible. We can do it in the following way.
I challenge you to go on national TV with me. We are going to go on a major, nationally broadcast show with a major host like Oprah, Larry King, Bill O'Reilly, etc.
Here's all that you have to do. You are going to read for 30 minutes from the New International Version or the New American Standard Version (your choice) of the Bible. This should be a dream come true for you -- here you will have the chance to spread the power of God's word directly to the nation.
There is only one thing that I ask. I want you to let me choose the verses that you will read.
Would you take the challenge? Of course not. If I pick the passages, I can make you look like a total idiot on national television. I can have you read verses about slavery, misogyny, animal sacrifice, child massacre, sliced up concubines, tent pegs and all the rest. No one in their right mind would take this challenge.
This is how we know, without a doubt, that God did not write the Bible. If an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing creator of the universe actually wrote this book, it would not be filled with so much idiocy. Slavery, misogyny and child-massacre are abominations and we all know it. The reason why the Bible contains this material is because primitive men wrote the Bible, not God.

What it all means

If the Bible really were the error-free word of an all-powerful God, it would be profound, meaningful, timeless, fascinating, and enlightening both at the spiritual level and at the technological level. It would tell us things that we did not already know. It would stun us with the brilliance of the author. We would look at the words in the Bible in awe.
Instead it is clear that God had nothing to do with the Bible. Simply open the book up and read it. The Bible is the work of primitive men who lived 2,000 or 3,000 years ago, without a hint of guidance from the "all-knowing creator of the universe." The previous chapters clearly demonstrate that beyond the shadow of any doubt.
If you are a Christian, this leaves you with two choices:
  • You can continue to proclaim that the Bible is the Word of God. You do that knowing that it is a lie. Quite clearly an all-knowing, all-loving God cannot also advocate slavery. Nor can he be sexist.
  • You can make a rational decision based on clear evidence: you can reject the Bible. You can accept that the Bible is the work of primitive men and is therefore completely irrelevant to us today. You can reject the Bible's authority, and you can reject all the people who claim that the Bible is a message from God.
Once you accept that the Bible is a book written by primitive men rather than God, it is a very powerful realization. It has many implications:
  • The Bible claims that Jesus is the Son of God. Now that you know that the Bible is the work of men rather than God, you can see reality -- Jesus was a man like anyone else.
  • Both Christianity and Judaism are invalid as religions, having lost the Bible as a theological foundation.
  • The Bible can no longer be used under "God's authority" as a tool of oppression. For example, take the Bible's position on women. In 1 Corinthians the Bible says: "As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." That's about as oppressive as you can get. Or look at the way the Bible discusses homosexuals. Leviticus 20:13 states: "If a man lies with a male as a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them." Conservative Christians are quite fond of these passages, and use them whenever they wish to justify their prejudice against women and homosexuals. They do so, in their minds, with God's blessing. Since it is quite obvious that the Bible is not the word of God, we can see that people who quote these verses are simple bigots rather than God's messengers. The next time you hear people try to marginalize or degrade anyone using the Bible, you are able to completely ignore them.
  • The Bible's story of creation is irrelevant, so we can completely ignore "creationists" and the proponents of "intelligent design". God did not create human beings as described in the Bible -- the entire creation story is a mythological legend written by primitive men. The concept of "original sin" and the concept of mankind's divine creation are invalid.
  • You have no soul and there is no eternal life after death. See Chapter 27 for details.
  • An amazing 59% of the American population believes that the Bible's book of Revelation will actually come true. Now it is easy to see that the Book of Revelation is a work of pure fiction.
  • And so on…
The Bible clearly is not the word of God. The slavery passages in Chapter 13provide more than enough evidence to prove that. When you think about it and truly let that fact sink in, the full implications are enormous. Once you eliminate the Bible, it is amazing what you eliminate with it.As intelligent people, what do we do with the Christians -- millions of them -- who insist that the Bible is the word of God? Let me answer that question with another question: What do we do with people who believe in astrology? You know the people I am talking about -- they believe in horoscopes, and they believe that the alignment of the planets affects our lives on earth today. What do we do with them? We ignore them. We do not take them seriously. We exclude them from reasonable public discourse and debate.
If a presidential candidate were to stand up and say, "the alignment of the planets indicates that in foreign policy, we should follow a path that…," or if he/she were to end a speech with "Jupiter bless America," we would not vote for this candidate.
People who believe in the Bible are in the same boat. Why would we listen to anyone who believes in slavery, hates women and supports a God who is a flagrant baby-killer? Do we want people like that holding public office, sitting on our courts, running our corporations or teaching our children?
The Bible is clearly the work of primitive men, many of whom were insane. Anyone with common sense can see that. Exodus 21:20-21 alone is enough to prove it. When people insist that the Bible is the word of God, we should ignore them and exclude them from public discourse. It's a free country, and people have a right to their superstitions in the privacy of their own homes. But no one is required to take them seriously in a public forum.
Simply look back through Chapters 13, 14, 15 and 16. The Bible is so wrong in so many places. What are we thinking when we quote from this book? Why do intelligent people allow this book to be referenced in public discourse? It is amazing when you consider how much evil this book harbors. See Chapter 28 for additional details.
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