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According to Evangelical Pastor Dax Hughes, Life Without Jesus is Disastrous

life without Jesus

A common trait of Evangelicals is their insistence that life without Jesus is miserable, meaningless, empty, and void of happiness. Now, thanks to Dax Hughes, current or former pastor of Heartland Worship Center — a Southern Baptist congregation — in Paducah, Kentucky, we have a new word to add to the list: disastrousHughes writes:

Life without Christ is disastrous. Check your soul and you will see it is true. We all know this deep down that there is something more for us beyond ourselves and his world.

Hughes asks readers to check their souls. Fine, where is my soul? How can I access it? Is my soul like the check engine light on my car, where, when something is wrong with my automobile, the electronic control module (ECM) trips a code and causes the orange CHECK ENGINE light to appear? If the answer is yes, where is my CHECK SOUL light? Maybe the reason I can’t see it is because my soul is black like my heart.

There is no evidence for the claim that humans have a soul. Evangelicals insist that everyone has some sort of ethereal eternal soul that leaves our body when we die, only to be reunited with our body when our bodies are resurrected so we can stand before God and be judged. According to Hughes, everyone KNOWS deep down — wherever the heaven deep down is — that is there is more for us than the here and now. Sorry Dax, I don’t know any such thing. All I “know” is that life is short and then we die. I have plenty of evidence for this claim of mine. What does Hughes offer up for his claim? Assertion. That’s what Evangelicals do — they assert without proof that their beliefs are infallibly true. Filled with self-righteous certainty, zealots such as Hughes cannot imagine any other truth claim but their own. I know, based on what I can see with my eyes and understand through observation, that humans are born, live, and die. End of story. There is no evidence for the claim that life continues in some other form after death. No one, not even Jesus, has come back from the dead. After thousands of years of people living and dying, it is safe for us to conclude that when people die they stay dead. It is for this reason that I give the following advice on my ABOUT page:

You have one life. There is no heaven or hell. There is no afterlife. You have one life, it’s yours, and what you do with it is what matters most. Love and forgive those who matter to you and ignore those who add nothing to your life. Life is too short to spend time trying to make nice with those who will never make nice with you. Determine who are the people in your life that matter and give your time and devotion to them. Live each and every day to its fullest. You never know when death might come calling. Don’t waste time trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find one or two things you like to do and do them well. Too many people spend way too much time doing things they will never be good at.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter. It’s your life and you’ best get to living it. Someday, sooner than you think, it will be over. Don’t let your dying days be ones of regret over what might have been.

Hughes goes on to list his top ten reasons life without Jesus is a disaster. My response in indented and italicized.

You need to be perfect to meet God’s standard and you can’t even get close by your own efforts.

There is no God so we need not worry about meeting “God’s standard” — Greek for Hughes’s personal interpretation of the Christian Bible. Humans are infallibly flawed. The best any of us can do is to love others and treat people with kindness, decency, and respect. When we behave badly, we need not seek out a mythical God’s forgiveness. Instead, we should seek out the forgiveness of those we have offended. God and religion are middlemen that complicate relationships.

You waste your whole life pursuing stuff and people that never brings you real joy and peace.

Remember, Hughes thinks life is disastrous without Jesus. Would he listen if I told him that atheists and other non-Christians have joy and peace, along with meaning and purpose? Probably not. Evangelicals are walled off from any worldview but their own. For Evangelicals, life begins and ends with Jesus, the Bible, and faith. Think for a moment about how much of life Evangelicals miss when they narrow their living down to only Jesus matters. Think of all the stuff and people they miss out on because they are busy brown-nosing Jesus. It is Evangelicals who have shallow lives, lives un-lived because of what this or that Bible verse says. In what other realm of life do we think it is okay for a bronze-age religious text to dictate the terms of life? The world would be much better off if the Bible was put on the shelf with other ancient, outdated, irrelevant books. At the very least, Christians should update the Bible so that it is applicable to the 21st century. Evangelicals need to stop trying to convince themselves that the Bible is a timeless book filled with unsearchable riches. I know that this claim is not true because I, unlike many Christians, actually took the time to read and reread the Bible numerous times. I don’t need to read it again to know what it says.

You are trying to find purpose in life without ever connecting with the only one who can give you real purpose. (It is like playing chess without the king on the board.)

*Sigh.* Hughes cannot imagine any other way of looking at the world but his own. If he could, he would notice that the majority of the human race finds meaning and purpose in life without “connecting” with the Christian God. I have no problem with people such as Hughes “connecting” with their God, but it is offensive for them to suggest that the lives of others have no purpose without becoming followers of Jesus and Hughes’ flavor of Christianity. Billions of people are a living testimony to the fact that what Hughes says here is not true. It might be true for him, but most people have no need for Jesus or Christianity. Life is good without God.

Being religious in order to clean up is about as beneficial as putting perfume and nice clothes on a corpse and calling it full of life.

Hughes is attempting to advance the claim that what true Christians have is a relationship not a religion. I hate to break it to Hughes, but Christianity is a religion made up of thousands of sects. Suggesting that Christianity is not a religion is as absurd as playing chess without a king (see Hughes’ illustration above).

Your enemy is stronger than you and can beat you down every time without divine intervention.

Who is this enemy Hughes speaks of? Satan? Carbohydrates? I assume Hughes is speaking of the Devil, another mythical being in Christianity’s panoply of myths. As with the existence of God, there is no evidence for the existence of the Devil. Saying THE BIBLE SAYS is not evidence. If Hughes has evidence for the existence of Lucifer, by all means he should share it. The existence of evil is not proof of Satan’s existence. All its existence proves is that humans are capable of doing bad things — no devil needed.

You were made to bring glory to God and you are trying to give it to someone or something else and it’s making you miserable inside.

I was made through my father and mother having intercourse. An egg united with a sperm and nine months later Bruce was born. If anyone deserves credit for my existence, they do. Mom and Dad are dead, so I can’t thank them for bringing me into this world, but I can spend the rest of life giving credit to whom credit is due. As a humanist, I believe that I should praise, compliment, and thank people who do well. When a server at a restaurant takes care of our dining needs, should we dial up the restaurant’s corporate office and thank them for the great service? Of course not. It is the cook who made our food and the server who brought it to our table who deserve credit for the quality of our dining experience.

Hughes wrongly thinks that non-Christians spend their lives being unhappy and miserable. Perhaps Hughes should spend some time talking with atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians. I think he will find that we are, for the most part, a happy lot. Yes, chronic pain and illness make my body feel miserable, but I choose to embrace and enjoy life despite my pain.

You place all your emphasis on living it up for the 70 years or so on earth and give no emphasis or preparation for the eternity you will have left after this life.

Hughes is correct on this point. I plan on living it up until I die, knowing that this is the only opportunity I will have to do so. If not today, when? I feel sad for Evangelicals who choose to refuse themselves the pleasures of this world in the hope that they will get some sort a divine payoff after they die and enter God’s Trump Tower — Heaven Location®. Of course, dead Evangelicals will not know what they have missed out on. They will, like all of us, die, and that will be the end of the matter. They will have no chance to reflect on an un-lived life. Henry David Thoreau was right when he said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I fear that many Christians will come to the end of life only to find, as Thoreau says, that they have not lived.

You are blind, unaware, ignorant, and deceived and you think you can figure out your meaning on this earth on your own.

To this point, all I can say is that the grand project of humanity is to find meaning and purpose. We need no God or religion to guide us. All that is necessary is that we open our eyes wide and walk forward, embracing the tests and challenges that come our way. If we live long enough, we will most likely learn something about ourselves, others, and this planet we share. My grandchildren marvel over Grandpa knowing so much stuff. Well, I have been walking the path now for almost sixty-five years. I would hope, by now, that I have learned a thing or three. There is much that I do not know, and I will likely run out of life before I figure out the ways of women, but I can humbly say that through hard work and diligence and hell of a lot of reading, I know a bit about this life.

I find it offensive that Hughes suggests that I and my fellow heathens are blind, unaware, ignorant and deceived, all because we reject his anti-human religious beliefs (and we reject Christianity because we have weighed it in the balance and found it wanting).

You will face a terrible judgment by the most powerful judge of all time who has overwhelming proof against you and can give the most devastating punishment and you are willing to take a chance that it will all go in your favor without any real reason to believe so except that you want it to be ok.

Hughes attempts to uses the well-worn trope Pascal’s Wager. Memo to Dax: Never, ever use Pascal’s Wager. It is a lame, dumb, stupid, ignorant, silly, and asinine argument. How can anyone know that Hughes’ deity is the right one? To be safe, shouldn’t we embrace all the religions of the world? Shouldn’t Hughes become a Buddhist, Muslim, and a Catholic just in case the one true God is NOT the Evangelical God? Better safe than sorry, right?

You think you are pretty good compared to most of the world when your wickedness just looks different than yours [sic].

I have no idea what Hughes is saying here. Do I think I am better than some people? Absolutely. Do I think I am better than everyone? Of course not. Believing so would be arrogant, especially since I know quite a few wonderful people — starting with my wife, children, grandchildren, and many of the people I have met through this blog, to name a few. The world is filled is with godless people who just so happen to be kind, loving, and compassionate. Their wonderfulness needs no deity or divine instruction. I would argue that Evangelical belief often makes Christians unkind and unloving, lacking compassion for anyone who is not like them. One need only look at the culture wars and the recent presidential election to see that many Evangelicals are mean, nasty, arrogant, self-righteous, hateful, and vile. What religious group is at the forefront of the war against LGBTQ people and same-sex marriage? What religious group is behind the anti-immigrant hatred that currently permeates our culture? Everywhere I look, I see a religion that is all about power, wealth, and control. If Evangelicalism is all about Jesus, Evangelicals might want to figure out where they left him. Evangelical behavior suggests that Evangelicals practice a do as I say, not as I do religion. As long as Evangelicals continue to wage war on those the Bible calls “the least of these,” it has nothing to offer the American people.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    Thanks for the interaction. I read your blog. i won’t waste our times with dialogue as I have said mine and you have said yours. If I didn’t know the Lord I too would live it up for tomorrow you die as the Epicureans famously coined; yet, I believe there is more beyond this and I do not see any true joy or hope sort from knowing who I am in Christ. Wish you well on your journey.

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    Yes, well said Bruce and, like Neil, life took on a whole new dimension. It’s called freedom. Ha ha to the bible verse ..’the truth shall set you free’….I marvel how many years I was a slave in fundy-ism before seeing my entrapment. And Dax, like Bruce many of us tried as hard as we could to come to terms with the cognitive dissonance of what the bible said and the hatred and bigotry of fellow-believers but realised we could no longer accept christianity as the one true truth. Like Bruce, who said that he and his wife sat down and made a list of answers to prayer they had received over many years. I did that too, and it came to less than the 5 possible ones Bruce got. And how I prayed, for everything from lost spectacles (hallelujah, they were on my forehead all the time!) to world peace and food for the hungry…Guess we will get the old tired response, you weren’t truly saved, the stock answer to anyone who has honest doubts and dares ask questions – or use the brain your God apparently gave and then forbade us to ever use to think for ourselves.

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    Hi bruce. I did a kind of response post as well to dax’s post on my blog, the Recovering Know It All. Disastrous? Nope. Scary? Yes, but reality is scary. I’d rather face reality for what it is than hide in a comforting and comfortable lie like christianity anymore. Recovery Awaits!

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    Without Jesus I would probably be in prison. (This, uttered by my brother, has been a reason to believe in Christ.) How to argue with such conviction, such self-no-ledge (sic) Free from the bonds, the torturous self-hatred of evangelical belief, I can clearly see the prison my brother is in now, oddly similar to one he feels he avoided but he is gleefully obsessed and like Dax, cannot fathom why others would not accept such a free ‘vacation’.
    Dax is correct in suggesting that little else needs saying and this is challenge that we face with holy Woo, that some people wish themselves more and more harm in delusion and cannot help themselves leave others be. Dax has to proselytize. He is a slave to the Woo and happy. I am quite content to let him be but I do wish these folks arrived with a volume knob. Even while he says enough said, he prepares another sermon.
    Wait for it…
    Dax, enough, enough. Please be quiet now?

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      Becky Wiren

      Oh but Brian, they want to save YOU. Or at least, they want credit from their god that they want to save you. Never mind that they are largely annoying and upsetting. And never mind that they ignore the 2nd great commandment. Or they claim their preaching is love, although they largely treat others with contempt. I think it really is contempt. They look down on all who don’t follow their exact method of religious salvation. Of course, once you’re in their gang, they rejoice.

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        Slapping lipstick on a pig doesnt change the fact that it is a pig( especially if they are green and love bird eggs) gift wrapping hate speech by saying you are doing it with love just makes it worse. Oh and most people who live in reality can spot it a mile away.

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    I wonder if Dax has ever won the lottery? Almost certainly not because the odds are so astronomically against.

    There are well over 4000 religions throughout the world and within Christianity there are some 40000+ denominations. Add in all the variations of other religions, then add in redundant religions, and the numbers are frightening. Now what are the odds that, purely down to an accident of birth, Dax has been lucky enough to be inserted into the one true faith? Oh and one other point; unlike the lottery there’s actually no prize guaranteed at all!

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    The argument over the existence of “the soul” goes back much further than Christianity, so Mr. Hughes’ theology is clearly not the answer to the question of the soul (or at least not the only one). It is a question argued by philosophers from Plato to the present, with no clear consensus yet.

    Science has shown us in the last century is how much of our world we do not yet understand. The Hadron Collider at CERN as found evidence of the Higgs boson, aka “the God particle”. String theory has tremendous implications for our understanding as well. Neurobiology continues to invent new psychotropic medicines without really understanding how or why they work or why one drug works for person A and sends person B into a psychotic rage. Rigorous research is being done using hallucinogenics to combat PTSD and other mental disorders and the role of the pituitary gland during periods of profound mental/physical distress. (It is suspected that it releases DMT, a powerful hallucinogen that exists in almost everything we eat but is destroyed in the digestive tract.) And atheist Sam Harris has found a great deal of benefit from mindfulness meditation, stripped of any religious overtones. All this suggests that the question of the soul is one not yet able to answered, but we’re working on it, dammit.

    Personally, I do not know if the soul (if it exists) is like a ghost or just another type of sense that we possess– the infamous “sixth sense” or the Quakerly Inner Light. I do feel that there is a “spiritual element” to our existence but I cannot define it, even to myself. Let alone to anyone else. But I see secondary evidence of it in the almost universal existence of some sort of religious/spiritual beliefs across time and cultures, and in what Brian “the feels”. Determining if this something we innately possess or whether it is a cultural artifact left over from our pre-science days that still clings to us is way beyond my pay-grade, but something that fascinates me nonetheless. But I do get severe cases of “the feels” quite often. Maybe my pituitary gland is acting up. 😉

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    So that actually is this complaint that I sometimes do have about having become an atheist… I lost my sense of meaning, but whenever I complain about it my fellow atheists remind me that living one’s life as a puppet for Christ isn’t really all that meaningful either.

    I think it’s the idea of making one’s own meaning that is both scary and liberating. In Christianity everything was handed on a platter; meaning, lifegoals, everything. Now I have to think of it for myself, and that is puzzling sometimes. I’m still finding it all out and that can be disconcerting. Yet having the chance to personalize meaning as it were, does make it more your own too. It becomes your own meaning; it doesn’t belong to a group of people or a huge and sometimes powerful religion. It’s much smaller, but it is yours. Your own.

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    Justine Valinotti

    “Life without Jesus” is life without an imaginary friend.

    Becky–One semester, one of my students tried to “save” my “soul” from “the enemy”.

    She cheated. And she helped another student to cheat. Her rationale was that she was helping her and him get the grades they’d need to get into some program that would have helped them do “God’s work”.

  10. Pingback:Life without Jesus a Disaster? | The Recovering Know It All

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    Kevin K

    I would argue that we humans all have the same “purpose” in life. And that purpose is to perpetuate the species.

    You do this by being a good parent (including the “it takes a village” style parent for those who are biologically childless by choice or chance), by being a contributing member of the society in which you live, and by being a careful steward of the Earth’s finite resources.

    Anything else — especially the theistic “purpose” of trying to get the kitchen upgrade in your post-death apartment — is unevidenced nonsense.

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    Psychology Today hints that there is proof of a soul.
    This experiment suggest there is a soul.
    I could go on and on with links you would never read….

    So your argument about the availability of “accessing the check engine light of your soul” although comical is really a moot point. You can’t control gravity but you have it. Newton laws state that anything, including yourself, that has mass has gravity. Do you have a service engine light for it? No. In fact even in this modern day and time we still don’t understand gravity that well at all. We do realize it is there now thanks to Newton but we don’t understand it enough to create artificial versions of it. If we did our space explorations would be further along. Humans could last longer in space under an artificial gravity that did not require a spinning action (centrifugal force), but I digress. Just because you can’t “access or measure” your soul or current science hasn’t completely defined it doesn’t mean it isn’t a thing. We as a species have vast things in the universe left to explore and define. There are still many left just as close to home as there are light years away.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Neither article you reference presents evidence for the existence of a human soul. The first article references two studies that are now believed to be flawed or false (as the article mentions).

      There is a difference between discussions about consciousness and whether humans have souls. The belief in the existence of a souls is almost always related to spirituality or religion — matters of faith, not science.

      I would ask you this: why is knowing whether we have a soul important? In what way would believing I have a soul affect how I live?

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    There are many ways in which the knowledge of a soul would change the behavior of a person in this current life. To say your current form of being is all there is and after your death in this life there is nothing, well this violates a scientific principle in my eyes. I was taught that nothing is created or destroyed only transformed. So when you die you are transformed, that energy in the neurons of your brain will be transformed into something. Call it a soul if you want. I just have a difficult time believing that this is all there is. If this is it, then life is pointless, meaningless, and empty. Without a soul and the faith of an afterlife then all you are left with is an ego/persona that you feed in this life. Since you don’t believe in a soul, do you mind sharing in what you live for? What keeps you going when things get rough in life?

    BTW, you missed the point of the last two or three paragraphs of the last article I linked. I linked them in that order and the last one on purpose. 😉

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      Bruce Gerencser

      No, I got your “point”, but I don’t buy it and the articles you reference do not, in any way, prove the existence of human souls. Saying humans have souls is s statement of faith, not scientific fact. Such thinking is rooted in religion, not science. Whether I have soul is inconsequential to me. Now if I believed in the Christian concept of a soul, that would be different.Or if I believed in reincarnation, that might affect my viewpoint. There may or may not be something beyond us, but if there is, that entity/power/god has not made itself known to us. I can, with great confidence, dismiss religious teachings on humans having souls. There is no evidence for such claims, and until there is, I have no reason to give such beliefs one moment of my time. I plan to live until I die, end of story.

      I would encourage you to do some serious reading on how atheists and nonbelievers view life. We have EVERYTHING to live for because this is the only life we have. I have a wife, children, and grandchildren. They alone are enough reason for me to get up in the morning and do what I can to make this world a better place for them. I don’t need the promise of an afterlife to motivate me to do good. Do you? Is the only reason you are good because of some sort of promise of life after death?

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        I’m glad your family brings you joy. I don’t see how you can look at your kids and especially your grandkids and not believe in a higher power of some kind. That they are just here as a coincidence of amino acids mixing in a pool of goo eons ago. That the spark in their eyes and the personality differences are just a quirk. I just can’t buy into that.

        I still stand with my original point. Just because science is not able to measure a soul today doesn’t imply the lack of existence. (Check engine light or not) There are countless things that were laughable that science have proven to be true given enough time. One that I find ironic is that the earth was considered the center of the universe. The church would put you in prison to believe otherwise (circa 1633). Now here we are centuries after Galileo and it is flip flopped the other direction. Science is now treated as a religion everyone takes as a belief with “faith”. Anything that isn’t proven by the science at that exact moment in time is bunk.

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      Gregg, Bruce has responded fully, but let me address one point you make. You say nothing can be ‘created or destroyed’, but this refers to matter, atoms as it were. If I dismantle a car and sell the constituent bits, I’ve destroyed the ‘car’ but every single atom still exists. So it is with the brain, which is what gives consciousness, which leads to belief in the soul. When you die your atoms spread; they are not destroyed.

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    On the quantum level what happens to the information between the neurons of the brain? Google spooky action at a distance and quantum entanglement. On the quantum level, that is basically energy information being transferred in our brains, things don’t behave like they do on the atomic level. The building of the quantum computer was to bypass the limits of speed on the atomic level. You can entangle two particles and anything you do to one is transferred to the other immediately. There is no speed of light limit and no distance restraints. That is why there is a search going on for a unification theory that combines the weird world of quantum mechanics and the world most people know, the atomic and matter world. Right now string theory is the most popular choice going forward to unify the two but it takes extra dimensions to do so. Does extra dimensions sound anything like another plane of existence to you? So who is to say your soul exist in the quantum world and continues on in the extra dimensions when the physical existence ends?

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      Bruce Gerencser

      I have faith in science being the best way for us to understand the universe and our place in it. Religious faith claims what it cannot know. Science says, we don’t know, but we are looking for answers. If you want to believe you have a soul, fine. However, if you want ME to believe the same, I am going to want evidence for that claim. Maybe you need to believe, and that’s fine too. I don’t. I am quite comfortable with accepting that this life is all there is. If, after I die, I find out I was wrong, will it matter? No. The only way it would is if religionists are right.

      Are you a Christian? If so, are you looking to science to give weight to your beliefs?

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    Yes I am a Christian. I don’t look to science to give weight to my belief, I see how the two are starting to merge more and more as time passes. I see how archeology is starting to find the locations mentioned in the Bible exactly like they were described.

    I have faith in God, science has failed me many times and will continue to. Science is only human understanding to date after all. I just quickly ran through all the “Laws of science” we currently have in every field of science. In total there is less than 100 Laws. For something to be a law in science it has to never fail. There are thousands and thousands of theories and postulates but less than 100 laws that humans can say they “fully understand”. To be honest over half of them are so specific in description that the conditions in which they are laws borders ridiculous. So if this science is what you put your belief in… I wish you well.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      I figured you were a Christian. I’m pretty good at spotting Christians even when they try to hide it. ? So then, you believe the soul concenpt found in the Bible comports with what you believe science tells you about its existence?

      Let me be clear, I put my faith in the scientific method. It remains the best way for us to investigate and understand our world. Without it, we’d still be offering blood sacrifices to Bronze Age gods. Oh wait …..?

      It is easy to test your faith and your lack thereof when it comes to science. The next time you have a serious illness, just pray. Don’t seek medical care, medicine, testing — you know all the stuff science, not God, has given to us. Let me know how just praying works out for you. As atheist Dan Barker is fond of saying, nothing fails like prayer. Without science, I would have been dead years ago. God never lifted a finger — nor could he — to help me. Thanks to science, medical professionals have added years to my life. As a Christian, I was expected to genuflect before God and thank him for “all”he had done for me. I finally realized it wasn’t God at all, but real, live, flesh and blood humans who had materially made a difference in my life. I realize you will respond that God works through people, so he is the one who deserves the praise and credit. This, again, is a faith claim. As an atheist, I cut out the middle man, giving credit to whom credit is due.

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      Gregg said

      “For something to be a law in science it has to never fail. There are thousands and thousands of theories and postulates but less than 100 laws that humans can say they “fully understand”. To be honest over half of them are so specific in description that the conditions in which they are laws borders ridiculous. So if this science is what you put your belief in… I wish you well.”

      You don’t understand the difference between laws and theories in science. ‘Laws’ in science describe, as precisely as we are able, the effects of a particular phenomenon, for example the boiling of water. They are an equation based on repetition that enables us to know what results you can expect in respect of that phenomenon. Of course it can fail, in which case it must be re-visited, for example the Newtonian laws of motion were varied when Einstein came along. Note Newton wasn’t shown to be wrong, it’s that Einstein showed he wasn’t completely right.

      A ‘theory’ in science takes a phenomenon and attempts to explain it, even though there may be no laws that adequately describe it, for example evolution. Evolution is accepted as factually descriptive of the gradual change in life on the planet, and is so well evidenced that it is pretty delusional to deny it. Yet it still doesn’t lend itself to being a scientific ‘law’ simply because it isn’t predictable.

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        I don’t understand the difference and you use a standard of measurement like boiling point of water as a law proof? ROFLOL Water boils at a different point dependent on air pressure. It isn’t a law, it is a standard of measurement at sea level. Try again….

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    See you just don’t ever know to whom you are speaking to on the internet. I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder in 2009. It first took out my ability walk and I got so weak I couldn’t open a coke can. I was told there was no hope of ever walking again and there was no cure. Look up CIDP and Stiff Person Syndrome. The doctors in Paducah couldn’t help, Vandy was no help… I ended up at University of KY Neurology Department with Sidney Houff as my doctor. He stated again that I would never walk. The damage was to severe and went too long. Most of my medications was to just keep me sedated and comfortable if I was to be honest about the situation. When I was transported home there was a steady stream of people that came by and prayed for me, with me, and prayer request at churches I didn’t even know existed went out. When I started walking again and visiting places people were shocked and told me of the prayers at different places that went on for months. It was really overwhelming and I didn’t even know how to respond. The recovery process wasn’t overnight and it wasn’t without pain and trying but I walked again in 2012. It just happened to be right before Dr Houff retired. He was amazed and speechless. My physical strength is about 75% of what I had prior to this whole ordeal. It has left me with a bountiful amount of time to reflect and think about questions of religion, spirituality, and god. I think that if you believe in an afterlife you will find evidence in science of his hand in creation. I also believe that if you don’t believe in god you will never see it.

    I will leave you with this thought. The Greeks took an abstract idea of making a circle then measuring it. They divided that circumference by the diameter and came up with a number called Pi, 3.14159. That number comes across in so many unrelated things in the universe. Pi turns up in equations that describe subatomic particles, light and other quantities that have no obvious connections to circles. I believe pure thought, like this abstract idea, takes a soul to achieve. Once you find a universal truth, a connection like that, it lets you take a small glimpse that there is a divine hand at play. I’m sure it is a coincidence in your eyes.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Well, I believed in your God for fifty years, including thirty plus years spent deeply studying the Bible, preaching, and devotedly and completely following Jesus. So, for me, it is not just a matter of “either you believe or you don’t.” While I understand why people want/need/desire belief in the aftlife and God, I am at a place in life where I have zero interest in such things.

      I also see how Evangelical beliefs/Fundamentalist Catholic beliefs/Mormon beliefs often cause psychological harm and impede personal/cultural/social progress. A good example of this the fact that over 40 percent of Americans believe God created the universe exactly as recorded in Genesis 1-3. This means they believe the universe is less than 10,000 years old. Here it is 2017, and we are still fighting battles over such nonsense as this being taught in public school science classes. (I do support the Christian/Jewish/Islamic creation myth being taught in a comparative religion class.) The same could be said for millions of Americans who think the Bible is the standard for human/sexual behavior. Religious Fundamentalism lies at root of all sorts of discrimination (i.e. Against women, LGBTQ people, same-sex couples, atheists). One need only look at the culture war to see where things would be headed if Christian Fundamentalists get their way. 82% of white Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. These same voters are behind efforts to outlaw and criminalize abortion. Some within this cohort want all birth control outlawed. My point is, from my perspective, I see Evangelicalism and other Fundamentalist expressions of faith as being anti-human, anti-progress.

      As someone who is dying ever-so slowly (I worked outside today, so my body is saying death is coming soon ? ), I want to do what I can to make the world a better place for my children and grandchildren. Now that the Evangelical curse has been lifted from my children, I am encouraged to see my grandchildren move through this world unencumbered by ancient, irrelevant religious dogma. Some of them may believe in a God, and I’m fine with that. What I desire for them is the freedom to walk whatever path they want to walk. For now, I’m delighted that my four older grandchildren are voracious, advanced readers. Three of them are in elementary school and are already reading at high school/college level. This thrills me because I know that through reading anything is possible.

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    Exactly where in the bible do you come up with the notion that the universe is described to only be less than 10,000 years old? I’ve been reading and re-reading the bible my entire life and I’ve never come to a time stamp on the beginning date of the bible despite some people trying to do so with ages of people mentioned. Let me ask you this since you are well versed and studied and even taught so that maybe you can point me in the correct scripture, How long was Adam in the garden of Eden before Eve was created? How long did they both live in the garden before they were kicked out? Since Adam and Eve were both created and had no penalty of death before they sinned and since they were created and not birthed would there be a reason to keep track of years lived prior to sin and being evicted with the death penalty? I am sincere in my hopes that you have a clear answer in these questions. I do question things. There are things left open ended in the bible.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Most Evangelicals are literalists. This means, that when Genesis says God created the universe in six 24 hour days, that is exactly what be did. Beginning with creation and following Biblical history and genealogies, the earth is exactly 6,022 years old. This means that all the dating methods used by scientists are wrong.

      Of course, this view has numerous holes (as your questions reveal) and it contradicts much of what science tells us about the universe, but FAITH makes all difficulties disappear.

      “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3

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    I take it literal, maybe too literal? Maybe so much so that I see that there is gaps between the verses or should I say every process of every step of creation isn’t spelled out like a cake recipe. You can’t take Genesis 1:1 and make a new universe with it so there must be things not listed, right? How long was it left to bake? Did he use two membranes like most scientist believe happened now to cause the bang? Let’s look at day 1, it only covers 5 verses so it shouldn’t be much of a stretch.

    The morning and evening of day 1 in Genesis didn’t start/stop till the end of verse 5. It wasn’t until verse 5 that day was separated from night and then the end of day 1. No time is given prior to the ignition of our star we call the sun in verse 5. Gen 1:1 said that the heavens and earth were created at once kind of sounds like a sudden appearance and I see no issue with calling it a big bang. I don’t even have issue with it taking a long amount of time between creation and the end of day one in verse 5. I see no contradiction between science and the bible. Science can’t really tell us what banged they can’t even tell us what was prior to the bang, the math breaks down at the point near the big bang.

    This is all well and good to talk about creation as you brought it up but I still have no answers to my questions of the length of time Adam and Eve spent in the garden. That to me is a sticking point to the dating problem most people just assume with ages of individuals in the bible. The creation days you bring up just add to the issue instead of clarifying the questions I asked.

    I find it ironic that you quote me a chapter that is based on “faith” to reply to question that ask for hard proof on dates. LOL The “faith” is that a man made a correct guess in that the bible can have a calculated date of 6000 years in it. That is faith in a man made calculation. I make no such faith in that guess. I find flaws in that guess as stated in this and the previous post. I was guessing that this is where you pulled the 10,000 years of bible history from. NOT ALL CHRISTIANS and I would venture to say not even a majority believe that way today. There was a point in time it was believed, just as sure as the world was flat. But when evidence was revealed and new generations study deeper you can find flaws in old logic.

    Oh, BTW, I never was hiding the point that I was a Christian and I told you when you asked. You just never asked. I thought for sure you understood from my stance to start with. I just wasn’t going to preach it to you out of respect to your rules of engagement you have listed… well and that isn’t my personal style anyway. If I become too much of a correspondence issue just let me know and I will leave on first request. I’m not here to convince you of anything but to learn. I learn about how other feel and believe in what they believe in and why. That is the only reason I contacted you. You are the first person I’ve ever responded to on the blog sites that is a non believer. I just wanted the other point of view.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      You grossly underestimate the number of Americans who believe the earth was created less than 10,000 years old. Check out Pew’s research on the subject. Add creationists to theistic creationists and you end up with three-quarters of Americans believing “God did it.” In rural America, especially in the South, the vast majority of people are creationists. Scores of state and federal legislators are creationists too. One of the primary hinderances to addressing global climate change governmentally is creationism — God created everything, he’s in charge, no worries. I’ve written a few letters to the local newspaper about creationism/evolution. Doing so always brings caustic responses from Evangelical zealots. If these zealots had their way, the Bible would be the standard by which all science is judged. Such people are enemies to reason and progress, and this is why I push back at their attempts to infiltrate local public schools. They are free to believe what they want, but they are not free to intellectually cripple children and teenagers with their Bronze Age view of the world.

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    Apparently I am weird because I don’t feel the need for a purpose for my life. My parents had sex, a certain sperm fertilized a certain egg, that fusion implanted in my mom’s uterus, she carried me to term, I was born (full breech so my mom needed a c-section, so I was fortunate to have been born in a modern time and place where medical care was available). I was vaccinated and survived childhood, grew to adulthood, and produced 2 offspring. Personally, I try not to be an a$$hole for the most part. I hope I have made a positive impact on other people. One day I will die, and hopefully some people will remember something good I did for them, and one day they will die and no one will remember. I certainly don’t want to be remembered by history as a monster like Hitler or Stalin or Trump. I am glad I chose not to live my life as the slave of a nasty, made-up deity – in essence being a slave to a religious organization that wishes to exploit and control me for the gain of its human leaders. Given the size and age of the universe, I am lucky to be here for a brief blip.

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    ... Zoe ~

    Gregg: “That they are just here as a coincidence of amino acids mixing in a pool of goo eons ago.”

    Zoe: Actually, this is more of a miracle (non-supernatural) and that brings me to the joy of the sparkle in my grandchildren’s eyes.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Thank you for this, Bruce. When I stopped believing, my life became more meaningful and interesting. Why? Because I grew up. You nailed it when you said folks like Dax can’t prove, they can only assert. That’s what 12-year-olds do: They seem to think (especially when they know their ass is grass and someone else has the lawnmower) that if they repeat a lie often and boldly enough, it will become true–or, at least, believed.

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Bruce Gerencser