Skip navigation

Perhaps Jesus of Nazereth existed. In the gospels, Jesus is commonly known to be from Nazareth. However, according to prophecys claiming he would originate from the city of David, Bethlehem, the scripture writes that Caesar ordered all citizens to return to their hometown for a census (Luke 2:1-2). Historically this simply never occurred, and such a census was never issued. But some evidence eludes simply from the story. If Jesus was completely mythical, why falsely change the story? So perhaps he existed, but as C.S. Lewis put it, “He must have been a madman or the messiah.” And when evidence is examined, we can clearly find our answer.

Socrates had similar questions risen concerning his existence. There is ample reason to believe he indeed created all of the work credited to him, but regadless he differs from Jesus in a major way: he did not claim deity. His philosophical work, like most academics, are natural truths that would eventually be discovered. They were not truths unknown and without evidence, unlike where the pupil was forced to believe simply because of its existence. They are truths that can be tested and judged accordingly. Again, this differs from Jesus in another profound way: Was Jesus even moral? This is a seperate discussion, but Socrates’ teaching on self development seems much more moral than take no thought for the morrow and do not invest (Luke 10:4), placing one’s moral responsibility for their own actions on another (John 3:16), or leaving one’s own family without even an explanation (Luke 9:61-62).

Another important fact seperating Socrates’ truths from Jesus’ lies is the fact that Socrates never said “Believe what I say as eternal fact… because my mother never had sex.” For sake of argument, say Jesus was born of a virgin. Hell, lets say he even rose from the dead. First. both of these statements enters the realm of biology, so if one believes these, he cannot say religion and science are seperate. But the point is even if those outrageous claims were factual, they provide no evidence of what the man says. His words and claims must be taken seperate from his birth or death. That provides no more evidence to his claims than me being born in Atlanta secures that I will be a doctor or you being born in New York and therefore obviously the most athletic. The claims are still just as factually wrong. Why exactly are they so wrong? I’m glad you asked…

Take the Bible, the claims that were taught from birth as truth, and actually examine them. Also, lets examine the story itself. We have God, and after 4.6 billion years he decides to intervene. He sends himself on a suicide mission to one of the most mystical and illiterate regions on earth. He then peculiarly follows many other religions in his life story, specifically the egyptian god Horus. Then he dies by an outdated method, which surprisingly there is no outside record of by anyone who is not a believer, nor any record by the state of execution. He rises from the dead and reveals himself to women, who were the most illiterate, hysterical, unbelieved people of that time. Their testimonies were not accepted in court, yet somehow accepted to proclaim the messiah? Then he preaches and publicly ascends, yet again no one else has record of? A few decades after this nonsense, people who never met Jesus recorded it, and 200 years later a few of these were selected as evidence.

Are we serious? We are smarter than this. Let’s break free from these myths, once and for all.

Advertisements

This is a quick post, specifically for conversation. I am reading a few books that Christians asked me to believe and I have a question for all believers: What do you believe, and why? Thats it. I want to know what you believe, for instance if there is a god, which god? And why you believe that. Pretty open ended, so comment, email me (dmill68@hotmail.com) or lets meet for coffee. I would love to hear your point of view, but please only contact me if you have reasons for why you make these claims.

While listening to the Atheist Experience from last Sunday (atheist-experience.com) from iTunes, I  heard a caller make a claim about atheism that is sadly all too common. It was a religious man telling the atheist hosts what they do and do not believe as atheists. It infuriates me to hear this. There is apparently a rumor going around churches these days that atheists have no morals, no beliefs at all, or are just scared of god and running. Who are you to tell someone what they believe?

Let’s say you’re a Christian. That means you’re a 99% atheist. You don’t believe in Muhammad, Buddha, Thor, Zeus, etc. Humanists simply take it one step further and throw your god in the equation. It is vitally important to know there is no belief qualifications for atheism, simply a lack of a belief.

To say you’re a Christian suggests two things about you:

1) You believe Jesus IS the son of god.

2) You don’t believe other religions lead to eternal life.

To say you’re an atheist simply says what you do not believe in. It does not at all say what you do. To find out what an atheist believes, you must ask them personally. Atheists aren’t some group with the same moral values and belief systems, they just agree on the lack of evidence for a supreme being. It like saying “I am not a deist, or a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Christian, or a Buddhist, etc.” But instead of naming all religions, we just sum it up with one word.

To be an atheist does not mean you believe in the Big Bang, accidental existence, or even evolution. It does not mean you’re a Democrat, or Republican, or Socialist. It does not mean you’re favorite color is blue, or red, or green. It does not mean you’re for abortion or against, or a Yankees fan over Red Sox, or a Star Trek nerd. ALL it means is you do not believe there is a god.

So next time you hear someone call themselves an atheist or humanist, please don’t think you know what they DO believe, you simply know they don’t believe in a god.

Some more posts should be coming today, and I’m going to try out podcasting and vidcasting, but I have been meeting with a lot of people lately to discuss religion. What I find is many people, nearly everyone I’ve met with, wants to stray from religion. They have expressed how they cannot believe in a god, but have been taught to their whole life which causes psychological trauma when trying to think for yourself. So just to help, heres some links to help progress those peoples thoughts. Living in a religious nation, it is easy to find links to religious information, but much harder for the non-religious. So here’s some that have helped me.

ACA (Atheist Community of Austin)- http://www.atheist-community.org

The Atheist Experience- http://www.atheist-experience.com . This group does a weekly television show to debate callers on religion. Just YouTube “Atheist Experience.” It’s also a great podcast on iTunes, and completely free. Check it out.

Talk Origins (Explanation of Biological Arguments Against Religion) http://www.talkorigins.org

God is Imaginary (argument for religion as mythology)- http://www.godisimaginary.com

American Atheists- http://www.atheists.org

Atheist Forum- http://www.atheist.net

Atheist Alliance- http://www.atheistalliance.org

Atheist Revolution- http://www.atheistrev.com

Atheist Media Blog- http://www.atheistmedia.com

Some great authors on the subject, all have great debates/interviews worth checking out on YouTube:

Sam Harris (Neuroscientist): Letter to a Christian Nation. The End of Faith

Christopher Hitchens (English Author and Journalist. Columnist for Vanity Fair): God is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything. The Missionary Position (A look at Mother Theresa). The Portable Atheist. Is Christianity Good for the World?

Richard Dawkins (Oxford University Biologist): The God Delusion. The Greatest Show on Earth (Evidence for Evolution)- not religious, but great book on the explanation of evolution. The Blind Watchmaker.

Greg Epstein (Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University)- Good Without God.

Daniel Dennett (Modern American Philosopher): Breaking the Spell.

Dan Barker (Ex Evangelical Preacher, Turned Atheist Rights Speaker)- Godless. Losing Faith in Faith.

Burton L. Mack- Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of a Christian Myth.

Again, all these authors have great videos on YouTube, as well as The Atheist Experience. Check it out and think for yourself! You’re not alone, I met with a ton of people this week who all felt the same way, and for as much hate mail I receive, I receive just as much mail of people who agree.

Check it out. Theres much more, including shorter clips if you go to the sight.

In sociology and psychology, a term was given by Robert Merton to describe how credit for the work of many scientists were being given to other, more known, yet undeserving scientists. But as this example was studied, it was found to be a much bigger problem than could be imagined.

The theory comes from Matthew 25:29, which states “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him”(NIV). In science, the problem arose when Nobel prizes were being given to undeserving recipients. Hard working men would study a field and discover new areas, such as the quantum optics controversy in physics in 2005, and the prize would be given to less deserving men. It occurred many times in the field of science and mathematics, so the question arose: Where else in society does this occur?

Take a hockey player. When looking at a data base of current NHL players, you find that players who were born in the first 3 months of the year were far more common than players born in the latter 9 months. This has nothing to do with astrology, but rather with the childhood of the player. The cutoff date for little league hockey is January 1st. This means growing up the player born at the beginning of the year had an age advantage towards other players. As a child, this can be a huge difference in physical physique. When players are older and more advanced, naturally their coaches give them extra practice and training. This evolves into them becoming better players and ending up on the ice.

It also occurs academically. Suppose a boy is born in a wealthy family and is sent to a private school. At the same time a boy is born to a single parent in a poor neighborhood and attending a failing school system. Who do you think will go on to higher levels of education? It has little to do with their natural intellect, and more to do with the setting they were raised in. Take reading for example. If a child is a better reader than another child, he will read more because it will be easier and more enjoyable. Through years of more reading, his education will be enhanced and will be much more likely to succeed academically, all because the way he started as a child.

Talent is usually defined by someone’s natural ability. But suppose this is not the case. Examine how many Ivy League students were born into wealthy families and how many were born with nothing. Coincidence? Malcolm Gladwell in his remarkable New York Times best selling book “Outliers” describes talent as work ethic and personal drive to succeed. That makes much more sense. Forget a child’s “talent” as a child and work on molding their esteem towards achieving their goals. When the correct motivational drive, a child is much more likely to become successful than on their childhood abilities.

This is a great concern when we look at poor neighborhoods in America. There is a clear reason to why the citizens in these areas are much more likely to live there generations to come, and the areas are much more likely to be areas of high crime. When people fall victim to the Matthew Effect, it is almost impossible to “be all they can be.” Society literally doesn’t give them the chance. I suppose for our economy to be efficient there must be people not as successful as others, but if we could provide them with the chance, perhaps we could provide them with  less crime, thus making the American Dream AMERICAN, not the Wealthy Person’s Dream.

NON-FICTION:

1. “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell has two other mentionable works, “The Tipping Point” and “Outliers.” In “Blink” he provides a close examination of the way our brain subconsciously works during quick decisions. He looks at our instinct and explains how we think without thinking. He boldly answers why some people seem to succeed on instinct alone, while some find themselves only falling into trouble based on first emotion. In this work, the brain is examined closely  to find exactly why it reacts the way it does, and how we can manipulate this for our advantage.

2. “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris

This is Harris’ first major publication since “The End of Faith” following the 9/11 tragedies. This is a light and easy read, barely 100 pages and no chapters. This is not an apologetical attack, but merely food for thought on the persuasion religious thought has on American culture. Harris merely asks questions on true Christian morality and reasoning in daily scenarios. An excellent read for Christians and non-believers alike.

3. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

No, I’m not kidding. This is one badass book. Sure, Carnegie could’ve been more creative with the title, but what happened to not judging a book by its cover? There is a reason why this book has been a best seller for half a century. Carnegie looks at how to communicate in all scenarios, from business to personal relationships. This is a great book to read with a pen and notebook, and a book worth carrying out in your own life. Before judging the corny title, check it out.

FICTION

1. “Gone Baby Gone” by Dennis Lehane

After I read Shutter Island, I went on a Dennis Lehane spree. I went through 7 of his books in 10 days, and can’t get enough of him. He has a series based on two private Bostonian private detectives. Each is filled with incredible twists, sarcastic humor, and incredible detail. Like Shutter Island, they keep you guessing till the last page, and even after. Sure, many of his books have now become movies, but I promise you, after reading them all and watching all the films, you will hate yourself if you watch the movie first. This guy has pure talent… and sarcasm.

2. “Native Son” by Richard Wright

From the author of “The Outsider”, this book is about a young black man growing up in the 1930’s in Chicago. The 30’s wasn’t a glamourous time for anyone in America, but try being a black kid in a huge city. This book is an easy, light read but packed with incredible detail. Through crime and racism, it captures the very essence of the awkwardness in the lifestyle of the “free” black man in this era. I reluctantly read it for a friend and haven’t regretted it for a page.

3. “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Amazing. You can read this book as many times as you want and always come away with something different. It needs no synopsis, just freakin read it. There is a reason 50 years after it was written it is still being used in schools across the world. It has inspired people to come out of the closet, move on with life, and even assassinate John Lennon. This book was banned for many years, but is back stronger than ever. In the early 70’s, teachers who assigned the book were either fired or forced to resign. To find out why, pick it up, asap.

I don’t agree with everything he says here, but its food for thought. Marilyn Manson discusses the same theme of my last post here, so let me know what you think about his view. Here’s the link to the first vid, but theres two. The link to the second is on this page..

I visited Columbine High School a few weeks ago, the school outside of Denver where in 1999 two students shot and killed over a dozen classmates. It really got me thinking about a favorite American topic: violence. We are a very violent animal, by far the most dangerous. After Columbine, I looked at where many people placed the blame. Was it Marilyn Manson, the parents, crazy kids? Or was it something right in front of our eyes, something scarier than any level of hell Dante could imagine?

On the day Columbine happened, President Clinton sent off more missiles overseas than any other day that decade. But of course, those missiles were nowhere to be seen on the news after Columbine, cause who cares when hundreds of foreigners die, when a dozen AMERICANS died! At least that seems to be the frame of mind in our country. The most Christianized civilization left, and possibly the most selfish and conceited. Coincidence?

Try it out, turn on the news and see the stories. Madonna remaking herself (again), a man missing in Oklahoma, U2’s new tour update. Now look at the bottom of the screen in that small, ignored print. 15 killed in Iraq. 7 Russians go missing. Ambush leaves 12 dead in Beijing. What happened to every person deserves life and liberty? When did it change to every AMERICAN?

And as far as the blame go, violent outbursts that leave small mountain towns like Littleton Colorado bewildered, are usually incredibly easy to find the cause. They listened to Marilyn Manson, but so do I and I’ve never shot up my class. They were stressed with high school graduation, but so are thousands of teens this time of year. So what was it?

Lets try this for size: How many times could people push you away, ignore you, and treat you as their shit’s pet before you retaliated? How much mental abuse and you handle before you change your view of humanity? Perhaps people of such strong violence are not insane, but neglected. Maybe that kid you ignore tomorrow morning, is thinking of suicide? Would you stop and say hello? Or maybe the lady sitting alone next to you is thinking of killing her abusive husband tonight. Would you buy her coffee? We read these stories every day, and we understand how much a small hello and smile can do, yet we refuse to do it.

My last point is pointing out that violence is in our American blood. The crucifix is the greatest mass market piece of merchandise ever sold. Perhaps there’s one around your neck as you read this, or one on your wall? Stop and think of it. When you look at the man hanging on a cross on your door, its speaks more than decoration. It speaks of human sacrifice, homicidal slaughter, hatred, betrayal, and violence of the highest nature. It is engraved in our minds, in our world as we walk, and cannot be avoided. So maybe, just maybe, when violence occurs on a media stage, instead of thinking who’s fault it is, look in the mirror.

I was asked by a high school friend to hang out after school. He wasn’t on the baseball team with me, and didn’t have a girlfriend on the cheer squad, so hanging out with him could be devastating to my popularity. Without hesitation, I declined.

The next week he was found with a bullet through his temple.

I do not blame myself, obviously, but I can’t help but wonder, what could I have done? Who would have thought hanging out with him was his call to save his life? You never know what the person next to you is thinking or going through, so do me a favor..: Stop reading for a sec, look up around you, and smile at whoevers near. Did they smile back? If you’re alone, pick up your phone and text someone. Just ask how there day’s going, and wish em a good evening. If you don’t have a phone, then get outa the 1940’s and catch up.

Let’s stop blaming other outlets and realize until we make small efforts to intervene in peoples’ lives, violence will only escalate. There is a logical reason why suicide rates rise as people become more isolated. Let’s fix it.

So this post has nothing to do with anything going on in the world, but its dedicated to an amazing friend. I think the title speaks for itself, so lets begin:

1. Call her

2. Take a deep breath

3. Read a good book

4. Go for a drive

5. Get a drink at Starbucks

6. Go on a picnic

7. Have a water fight in a sorority house

8. Put on comfortable shoes and go for a walk

9. Listen to a good song

10. Play guitar

11. Look up a funny video on youtube (perferably the fat guy singing the techno song)

12. Frown until it hurts, then remember how easy it is to smile

13. Draw a dinosaur picture

14. Go find a cool looking leaf

15. Masterbate (personally, I think this should be higher on the list)

16. Save a Plant

17. Watch 15 year old reruns of Braves games (especially ’95)

18. Finger paint

So there you have it. Do all that, and I promise you’ll love life. Any other ideas?

And a big thanks to my friend Dory for this post.