Matthew Taylor: Confessions of a Young Earth Creationist

I was interviewed by the Graceful Atheist last week and the episode is now available to listen. Use the link below to find the blog and episode.

It tells some of my story, of which some is told in this blog. If you enjoy the episode, please let me and the Graceful Atheist know.

If you have a story to tell, contact the bedroom l Graceful Atheist at the blog.

via Matthew Taylor: Confessions of a Young Earth Creationist

Podcast: Still Unbeliveable: Episode 13: Why Christian Apologetics is Faulty Science and Faulty History

 

In addition to the Ask An Atheist Anything podcast, I also occasionally co host on the Still Unbelievable! podcast. Here is the latest episode, in which Andrew and I chat with Professor Brian Blais.

 

<b>Scientist Rejects Atheism</b>

Scientist Rejects Atheism

What’s the most effective way to win over thousands of fans is one fell swoop? Declare a positive relationship between science and religion, that’s how!

And in this, now world famous, quote you can go a step further and declare atheism the enemy of science. Now sit back and watch the adoring new fans throw their money at you. The next book that gets written is guaranteed to be a best seller! Who needs integrity anyway?

The rationalists are of course, sitting there, scratching their heads, wondering when it was the science didn’t support the notion of not coming to a conclusion when there isn’t enough information.

Worse than that, the whole point of religion, especially the Christian one, is to do exactly that, jump to a firm conclusion, one that makes you feel all cuddly, and then pick what looks like it supports the idea. But be very careful not to pick too many bits of science otherwise you run into the problem of replication, best to keep the mystery bit at the fore front, that’s the important part. Can’t be having make believe stand in the bare light of scrutiny after all.

Maybe science will take Templeton more seriously when a Templeton prize subject also wins a Nobel.

Bible-Science Guy

(3 Minute Read)

Do scientists have to be atheists?

Can a scientist be open to the possibility that God exists?

At least one leading scientist in the news thinks that atheism is not consistent with the scientific method.

What world-renowned physicist said this?

“Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. Atheism is a belief in non-belief. So you categorically deny something you have no evidence against. I’ll keep an open mind because I understand that human knowledge is limited.”

This millionaire cosmologist is a native of Brazil and an ultramarathon runner.

Who is he?

This man grew up in Rio de Janeiro’s Jewish community which provided him a sense of identity and community. He said,

Science does not kill God. . . . You hear very famous scientists making pronouncements like, “Cosmology has explained the origin of the universe and the whole, and we don’t need God anymore.” That’s…

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I’m now Officially a Podcaster!

 

Was it really almost a year ago when I announced the collaborative book project I’d been working on? (more here: https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/reasonpress-site-launch-and-a-book-that-im-very-excited-about/)

If you have read that book I would love to know your thoughts on it. In the year since more stuff has happened, I am now a podcaster, so if you wish to hear how this limey sounds then point your listening devices at these podcasts and listen for the grumpy old Brit 🙂

Ask An Atheist Anything (https://anchor.fm/reasonpress)
Still Unbeliveable! (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/still-unbelievable/id1448210557)

If you’re like me and enjoy podcasts on the interface between religion and atheism, then these others may interest you too. These include people who were also involved in the Still Unbelievable! book that launched last year.

Doubts Aloud (https://www.spreaker.com/user/heremcast)
Skeptics and Seekers (https://anchor.fm/skeptics-and-seekers)

If any readers have other podcasts that they enjoy and wish to recommend, then please feel free to give your recommendations in the comments, I and others may very well enjoy the content too.

In addition, if any reader (atheist or believer) wishes to review or comment on my podcast content, or better still join me on either podcast for a discussion, then I will gladly receive the feedback and engage in the chat. Now that I’ve gone public on the podcasting, I will attempt to create a new post for future episodes so followers here will get a notification.

This year, I intend to continue building on the podcast content and there are plans for further book content too, but I can’t divulge more than that right now.

The missionary position

Sometimes a short post is all that’s needed to convey a deep thought. And Makagutu’s posts is both.

While I do side with him on his thoughts, my own position on the matter is a little bit more complicated.

Firstly the easy bit. It think the Christian Missionary culture brought with it much that is bad. They ravaged local cultures and customs and forced those living in the lands they invade to convert to their doctrines. The side affect of this is that those who followed found it easy to pillage the occupied lands and take the wealth back to their own nation. Leaving those who knew and loved the lands worse off. I think that is a terrible legacy that is yet to be redressed.

I am a product of that which I condemn. I grew up in Zambia and spent many of my formative years cocooned within the missionary environment there. I have benefitted from it. Emotionally I love Zambia as a country, it is beautiful and those who live there are beautiful. Humans and other animals, all of them are beautiful.

It’s been more years than I care to admit since I visited and I miss the country still. I miss the dust and the smell of rain and the many sounds and the fabulous food.

Yet, much of what I love is tainted by the knowledge of injustice that took me there. Injustice that I once supported. Injustice that I once thought was godly and right. Injustice that in some small way was carried out by my own family line. it is done, it is past and I can do nothing about that. Sometimes that knowledge hurts.

Without that, I could never have seen some of the wonders I have seen. I would not have the memories that lead me to call the Victoria Falls my favourite place on earth. A name that itself is a product of that culture.

I was taught that those who died making first contact in the spread of the gospel were heroes and martyrs. There are Christians today who still think that.

I can only shake my head in disbelief, tainted with a small amount of shame.

Random thoughts

In this post I wrote, following, Professor Makau Mutua, that indigenous religions should be protected against the proselytizing religions, that is, Christianity and Islam.

Those of you who don’t live under rocks have heard about the missionary, John Chau, who met a not very good fate when he went to spread the not so good news of chesus to guys who were not interested.

Maybe had my ancestors meted the same treatment to early missionaries, the profile of our world would be different. If the missionaries believe their god is everywhere and can perform miracles, I would suggest they pray and fast, while at home, and ask the gods they pray to to convert whoever it is they are interested in saving from a death that meets us all.

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Creationism – Still a problem for Christianity

Here in the UK, the main publisher of Christian content is Premier Christianity. They do radio broadcasts, podcasts, a magazine and host various blogs.

This week they published a pair of blog items that were guaranteed to grab my attention.

https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/10-questions-to-ask-a-young-earth-creationist
https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/10-questions-to-ask-Christians-who-believe-in-evolution

The ten questions for Creationists are:

1. Can we start by agreeing that the Gospel is more about the Rock of Ages than the ages of rocks?
2. Does the age of the earth – or its shape – matter to a Christian?
3. Does the Bible teach that the earth is spherical?
4. How could people in 1000 BC grasp the idea of geological time?
5. Does the Bible always speak in a direct literal way?
6. Why do you assume that animal death only began to happen after Adam ate the fruit?
7. Is young earth creationism the traditional Christian view?
8. Were early geologists opposed to Christianity and did they use their geology to undermine belief?
9. Did Christians oppose old earth geology in the past?
10. Why do you claim that so many geologists in the last 350 years got their geology wrong?

The ten questions for those who accept evolution are:

1. If the Bible was your only source, would you ever suggest that Jesus Christ used evolution?
2. Why do you believe rocks containing thorns are millions of years old?
3. Why would you believe that Jesus the Creator used such processes to create the world, and then hypocritically declared it to be “very good”? (Genesis 1:31)
4. Why would God use a process which favours the strong over the weak?
5. How do you reconcile the truth of God’s word with millions of years?
6. At what point did humans become humans?
7. Was Jesus mistaken?
8. How can we trust God?
9. If evolution is true, then why didn’t God simply tell us that?
10. What would the Apostle Paul make of the theory of evolution?

Some of the questions (like Creationist question no.3) look to me like ‘softballs’, unserious questions designed to allow a standard response to a common internet meme. Given the majority readership of these posts is likely to be Christians, this seems like a waste of a question. Why not present a question that promotes deeper dialog between different Christian factions? I for one am not interested in this sort of question, it’s not challenging.

I’m also disappointing by the depth of the answers to the questions, they are all brief and only cover the the question superficially when some of them (like evolution question no.5) deserve much longer answers. Maybe what should have been done is cover each question in a single blog post and allow a bit of dialogue between the two individuals involved in the questions. That would have been my preference anyway.

Questions aside, it’s the public comments below that have produced the most heat. I have weighed in with my own views and predictably ran into the expected presuppositionalist telling me what it is I believe. I find those highly irritating and it is always a test of patience to remain civil in my replies.

As is to be expected, the more thoughtful comments come from the Christians who accept an old earth and some form of evolution and the more antagonistic comments are from the creationists, who espouse a much more literal version of the bible accounts. Sadly, they don’t continue their biblical literalism into the verses that talk about loving your neighbour and witnessing with respect and gentleness.

Oddly, I find myself welcoming the terrible comments from Creationists, not because I enjoy reading what they say, I don’t. I welcome the comments because it permits the rotten part of Christianity to expose itself. The more this literal and unloving section of Christianity floats to the surface and spews it’s bile, the more people will be turned away from it and be unconvinced by its claims. The clutter and chaos created by the creationists acts as an inoculation against the more attractive aspects of Christianity. Because at the very core, Christianity is still a myth trying very hard to be taken seriously and Creationism reveals that in the most effective way possible.

Why ice cream makes me love Jesus more.

Why ice cream makes me love Jesus more.

This blog post raises a theme I have often seen made in Christian circles and it really is among the dumbest claims that get made by Christians. It comes under the banner of validation by self identified victimisation. Apparently, being mocked validates your beliefs. Or rather, mocking something means it’s real because no one ever mocks a not real thing. Golly!

Well, that must mean the earth is really flat, unicorns exist, there’s a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, and amazingly, atheism really is true! Oh the contradiction!

But, the question that you really want me to answer is….

Would I try this Ice Cream? Hell yes!

More importantly, why didn’t I know about it when I was in Toronto last summer? Oh well, guess I’ll have to arrange a trip back one day.

6 days / 66 books / 6000 years

Recently we read about an ice cream in Canada called ‘Sweet Jesus Ice cream.’ 1

  • The ’t’ of ‘sweet’ is an inverted cross.
  • The ’s’ of Jesus is the sign of an ‘SS style “S” that was popular among Satanic metal bands of the ’70s and ’80s.

#  Some of their promotional slogans 

  • ‘Everyone has a cross to bear.  Yours won’t be hunger.’
  • ‘Eat like its your Last Supper.’
  • ‘Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain, but God Damn that’s delicious.’
  • ‘Love is patient, love is kind, but you can’t lickit.  So who cares?’

#  They are a good advertisement that Jesus is real.

Nobody mocks a non-entity, a fiction or a fable.  They do what the Bible says:

  • Jesus will be mocked.  He was mocked at the Cross, “Then they spat in His face and struck Him with their fists.  Others slapped Him and said, ‘Prophecy to…

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Being Anti-Theist

I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook discussion boards on religion. I generally try to be polite and considered, but there are also times when I let that drop and I respond to theists in the manner that they have spoken to me. The result of that is that I have been called anti-theist.

I don’t especially object to that label, mainly because how a theist wishes to describe me is of little concern to me. Over the years I’ve been called lots of things by theists and as a general rule I’ve noticed that theists who apply labels to those like myself tend not to be bothered by the accuracy of their proclamations. SO being labelled anti-theist by a theist isn’t something that bothers me at all, though it’s not a label I would necessarily apply to myself.

That’s not to say I don’t find some things abhorrent that come from the religious, those things do exist and when I see those things I do shake my head and wonder to myself “Where does this poison come from?”

One such example happened only this weekend, in response to the following story.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/14/nyregion/david-buckel-dead-fire.html

I can’t even comprehend what would drive someone to do that. The story makes me shudder at the imagined pain such an act would cause.

So what is my anti-theist beef today?

Well, I was alerted to the story when a Christian posted it to Facebook with the comment

Everybody’s got a religion…

Reasonpress site launch and a Book that I’m very Excited About

I hope the title of this post isn’t seen as click-bait because it’s all true. I am excited and it is about a book and a website , but it’s also more than that.

For the past year I have been involved in a collaborative project to get a book out, it’s been running under the title of The response Book Project and it’s gone live and there are plans to expand the site into something more. The something more will have to wait for now, this post is about the book.

But first the link, the curious can click this link and come back here for the boring bits later.

https://reasonpress.net/

 

Why?

It all began with a Christian radio show and podcast called Unbelievable? I’ve been a regular listener for a number of years, as are many atheists. It’s the only religious podcast I regularly listen to, because it is generally interesting, relaxed and stimulating to listen to. Details can be found at the link below:

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes

Last year, the host of the show released a book to state why, after ten years of hosting the show and talking to atheists, he was still a Christian. The book was officially launched at the Unbelievable? conference in London and I attended, along with a handful of other atheists to get our hands on the first copies of the book so that the response project could get underway. On balance we were not all that impressed. It seems that talking to atheists does not involve listening to them.

Find the book here, if you dare:

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Unbelievable-the-Book

 

What now?

Well, the site is not intended to be a static site. All the chapters of the response book are free to read on the site and there is a Discus comment block under each one so the hope is that there will be a chance to take the response further and have an active back and forth and not a stale opinion page. There are plans to extend the site beyond just this response book, but those ideas will have to wait until they are made real before I announce them here. For now it’s just the book and that’s about all the excitement I can contain anyway.

A Personal Update

It’s been a while since I gave a personal update, so for those who are interested, here it comes.

I continue to engage in discussion with theists, mostly on facebook in a closed group that exists for that purpose. My experience so far is that reasonable Christians who are prepared to engage with atheists who will directly challenge their beliefs are vastly outnumbered by those who prefer to throw insults and avoid addressing direct challenges. I think this is a feature of the medium being used rather than a true slice of the Christian demographic.

The interface theism and atheism continues to interest me and so I have booked myself to go to the following Christian conference in a week.

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Features/Unbelievable-The-Conference-2017/Seminars-Topics

Unbelievable? is a weekly UK Christian radio show that focuses on that interface and is pretty much the only religious themed show I listen to. I download the podcast version each weekend.

I am disappointed that the conference based on the show does not have any atheist or non Christian speakers. I am looking forward to hearing what the Christian speakers have to say about atheism and atheists. I am expecting to hear them confidently state what it is that atheists think and believe and I am expecting these projections to not match my own thoughts and ideas. I am stating this up front because it is a common experience I have when Christian leaders talk on the subject. Let’s see how right I am!

I am considering tweeting my thoughts during the event, we shall see. I’m not a big twitter user, so it would likely increase my number of tweets ten fold!

Specifically, I am interested in hearing the talk by Justin Brierley; he is the host of the Unbelievable? radio show and he’s written a book titled “Why after ten years of talking with atheists I am still a Christian”. I am expecting to that I’ll be buying a copy since it’ll be launched at the event. I am also interested in hearing what John Lennox has to say about the case for god, he was on the Unbelievable? a month or so ago and his argument consisted of a list of assertions without evidence, I wonder if the talk will be any different.

Do any of those seminars pique your interest? Which, if any would you go to and what questions would you ask?

I took a big step on my facebook page over Easter last month. I got bored of seeing the same comment item from the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, I can’t find the item right now but it essentially gave a serious of arguments why we should believe the bible account of Jesus, his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. So many of my Christian friends shared it that I put up a post linking to a counter list of arguments poking at all the holes and showing why it is valid to question the bible accounts of Jesus. It’s the first time I have been that blatant. I’m not aware that it’s lost me any friends, and I didn’t get as many bites as I expected, but there was some comment and one person in particular has said he wants to have a conversation on the subject. It’s someone I respect so we’ll see what results.

Away from religion I continue to try to write, I have a handful of fiction projects I want to work on, progress is too slow because time is hard to find. I am also looking forward to visiting the great Canadian state of Ontario later in the year. It’s been about 15 years since I saw Niagara Falls and I am looking forward to seeing them again.