A Strong Atheist's Case Against Christian Theology
This essay was submitted for publication here by Harvey Whippleman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I. *Representative* Scientific Objections to The Bible:
A. Adam and Eve story.
1. How did God create a female (Eve) from the male DNA of Adam's rib?
2. How did Adam and Eve successfully mate and produce offspring when, at most, they had identical DNA, and at least, they were twins?
3. How did a snake acquire the ability to speak in human language? How was this physiologically possible?
B. Crossing the Red Sea.
Stipulating: The sea is roughly 1900km long and at its widest is more than 300km. The sea floor has a maximum depth of 2,500m in the central median trench and an average depth of 500m, but it also has extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals. The sea has a surface area of roughly 438,000 or 450,000km².
1. Stipulating that, how did Moses and the Israelites pass through it? After all, it was substantial enough to deluge Pharaoh's army.
2. If the sea was parted, how precisely was that done?
C. Jesus' resurrection.
1. How did Jesus rise from the dead, and walk around good as new, when after dozens of hours of being dead, he would be brain dead, with decayed muscles, bloated from gasses, with blisters on his skin and with millions of dead and useless cells, including dead and useless heart and kidney cells? It should be noted that brain death is irreversible in every instance. It cannot be turned back. It is permanent.
D. Noah's Ark.
1. How is it possible to hold all the world’s species in an ark with the dimensions specified? There are possibly up to 100 million animal species alone.
2. How is it possible to feed these millions of animals?
3. How did specific species and classes of animals become trapped on different continents? For example, most marsupials are only found in Australia. If the Noah’s Ark story were true, then we should expect a more homogeneous converge of species.
4. Why didn't many aquatic ecosystems die off from the massive change in salinity?
5. Why didn't many modern plants die out, as they should have?
Note: One may not cite "miracles" to explain any of these phenomena until the concept of "miracles" is shown to have a scrap of merit.
For Reference on Miracles:
II. Science's Take on Theism/Design/Creation/Divine Guidance:
A. Pervasive Atheism Among Eminent Scientists.
Information is from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v394/n6691/full/394313a0_fs.html
In a survey of National Academy of Science scientists, 72.2% were overtly atheistic, 20.8% agnostic, and only 7.0% believed in a personal God. It should be noted that the NAS is the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States.
"Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality)."
From these figures, we can conclude: 93% of scientists who are members of the National Academy of Science are in fact agnostic or atheists. Indeed, looking at a chart that includes figures from earlier in the 20th century, one can only come to the conclusion that top scientists are more atheistic than ever before.
Expanded percentages (among "greater" scientists):
Belief in personal God 1914/ 1933/ 1998
Personal belief 27.7/ 15/ 7.0
Personal disbelief 52.7/ 68/ 72.2
Doubt/agnosticism 20.9/ 17/ 20.8
B. Illogic of Omnibenevolent, Omniscient, Omnipotent Designer.
This is by Steven Pinker, Psychology professor at Harvard University, and appeared in Time magazine:
"Our own bodies are riddled with quirks that no competent engineer would have planned but that disclose a history of trial-and-error tinkering: a retina installed backward, a seminal duct that hooks over the ureter like a garden hose snagged on a tree, goose bumps that uselessly try to warm us by fluffing up long-gone fur.
The moral design of nature is as bungled as its engineering design. What twisted sadist would have invented a parasite that blinds millions of people or a gene that covers babies with excruciating blisters? To adapt a Yiddish expression about God: If an intelligent designer lived on Earth, people would break his windows."
C. Lack of Scientific Support for Creationism.
"...Taking into account only [scientists] working in the relevant fields of earth and life sciences, there are about 480,000 scientists, but only about 700 believe in "creation-science" or consider it a valid theory. This means that less than 0.15 percent of relevant scientists believe in creationism. And that is just in the United States, which has more creationists than any other industrialized country. In other countries, the number of relevant scientists who accept creationism drops to less than one tenth of 1 percent.
A panel of seventy-two Nobel Laureates, seventeen state academies of science, and seven other scientific organizations created an amicus curiae brief that they submitted to the Supreme Court (Edwards v. Aguillard 1986). This report clarified what makes science different from religion and why creationism is not science. Note that there are no creationist Nobel Laureates."
Note: The scientific community's opinion, in itself, does not constitute proof of anything. However, equivalency arguments, comparing scientific opinion to general public opinion, are transparently fallacious. One need only ask oneself how many people on a busy street corner have any idea what "homologous structures" are.
III. Objections to the Bible's Accuracy, Historicity, Connection to Reality:
A. Archaeological Fallibility.
Many times, Christians will falsely claim that archaeology supports the accuracy of the Bible. They continue that the Bible's historical account has many times been substantiated by new archaeological information. Those are untruths.
"Archaeology supports at most the general background of the Bible and some relatively recent details. It does not support every biblical claim. In particular, archaeology does not support anything about creation, the Flood, or the conquest of the Holy Land.
If a few instances of historical accuracy are so significant, then an equal claim for accuracy can be made for the Iliad and Gone with the Wind.
Archaeology contradicts significant parts of the Bible:
The Bible contains anachronisms. Details attributed to one era actually apply to a much later era. For example, camels, mentioned in Genesis 24:10, were not widely used until after 1000 B.C.E.
The Exodus, which should have been a major event, does not appear in Egyptian records. There are no traces in the Sinai that one would expect from forty years of wandering of more than half a million people. And other archaeological evidence contradicts it, showing instead that the Hebrews were a native people.
There is no evidence that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were nearly as powerful as the Bible indicates; they may not have existed at all."
B. The Bible is Teeming With Errors/Contradictions.
"There are several aspects of the Bible that show it is not inerrant. These include factual errors, for example:
Leviticus 11:6 states that rabbits chew their cud.
Leviticus 11:20-23 speaks of four-legged insects, including grasshoppers.
1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalm 93:1 state that the earth is immobile; yet it not only revolves and orbits the sun but is also influenced by the gravitational pull of other bodies.
In Genesis 1, Adam is created after other animals; In Genesis 2, he appears before animals.
Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 differ over Jesus' lineage.
Mark 14:72 differs from Matthew 26:74-75, Luke 22:60-61, and John 18:27 about how many times the cock crowed.
2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 differ over who incited David to take a census.
1 Samuel 31:4-5 and 2 Samuel 1:5-10 differ over Saul's death.
The four Gospels differ about many details of Christ's death and resurrection. For example, Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19 have different inscriptions on the cross.
Matthew 27:5-8 differs with Acts 1:18-19 about Judas's death.
Genesis 9:3 and Leviticus 11:4 differ about what is proper to eat.
Romans 3:20-28 and James 2:24 differ over faith versus deeds.
Exodus 20:5, Numbers 14:18, and Deuteronomy 5:9 disagree with Ezekiel 18:4,19-20 and John 9:3 about sins being inherited."
C. Genesis' Incorrect Timeline.
Supposedly "infallible" Genesis has the natural timeline totally wrong.
"The creation account in Genesis 1 lists ten major events in this order: (1) a beginning; (2) a primitive earth in darkness and enshrouded in heavy gases and water; (3) light; (4) an expanse or atmosphere; (5) large areas of dry land; (6) land plants; (7) sun, moon, and stars discernible in the expanse, and seasons beginning; (8) sea monsters and flying creatures; (9) wild and tame beasts and mammals; (10) man."
"The real order is: (1) a beginning; (2) light; (3) sun and stars; (4) primitive earth, moon, and atmosphere; (5) dry land; (6) sea creatures; (7) some land plants; (8) land creatures and more plants and sea creatures; (9) flying creatures (insects) and more plants and land and sea creatures; (10) mammals, and more land and sea animals, insects, and plants; (11) the first birds, (12) fruiting plants (which is what Genesis talks about) and more land, sea, and flying creatures; (13) man and more of the various animals and plants."
IV. Logical Objections to Blind Theism (a.k.a. Debunking Pascal's Wager):
A. There is no point in believing in a God, even if one does exist, when one knows nothing about this deity's nature or expectations. For example, God could be benevolent and care about one's actions. Or, God could be malevolent and care about one's actions. Or, God could be benevolent and not care about one's actions. Or, God could be malevolent and not care about one's actions. Saying "I follow the Christian faith just in case God exists" is utterly nonsensical. That would be like somebody saying, "I follow the Satanist faith just in case a malevolent God exists." With limitless plausible possibilities, there is no way one can "be on the safe side" in terms of not offending God. And thus, Pascal's Wager is a loser.
V. Moral Objections to the Christian Conception of God:
A. God's apparent bloodlust.
I'll quote the Scripture:
Now the LORD had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold." (The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people.)
So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt-worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.
Exodus 11 (1-6)
Rather than doing something to the Pharaoh for refusing to let the Israelites go free, God chose to murder every firstborn son in Egypt. What did the poor slave girl do to warrant her firstborn son being murdered? Did the slave girl set the Pharaoh's policies? Did the slave girl's firstborn son set the Pharaoh's policies? Punishing children for the immoral society into which they were born is simultaneously cowardly and cruel. Worshipping the God of Exodus is worshipping a God who apparently engaged in casual infanticide. It is amazing to think that God, who presumably has a totally unlimited pool of options, decided the very best option in this situation was to engage in infanticide.