Forty Two Reasons

I have collated 42 good reasons (imo) why we should not believe Christianity is true. In subsequent posts I will explore each of the reasons. Links will appear below as new posts are written. If you know of a reason you think should be on this list, or one that shouldn’t, then let me know in the comments.

1. The inconstancy of Christian morality. If “the good” is constant and eternal, then how can moral law have changed?

2. Christians cannot agree on how the life and death of Christ atones for sins. The very reason God’s son allegedly came to Earth, and it is not clear to Christians how he accomplished his mission. No-one actually knows what was done to free believers from the wages of sin. Nonetheless, Christians insist that it was accomplished!

Take your pick from the moral influence theory, the ransom theory, the Christus Victor theory, the satisfaction theory, the governmental theory, the penal substitution theory, the recapitulation theory, and several others.

3. Even if Jesus was resurrected, this does not verify he is the Messiah or the Son of God. According to Matthew, many rose from their graves on the same day. (Matthew 27:50-53)

4. There is no physical evidence for the resurrection and the written evidence is insufficient.

(Reasons 2 & 3 actually make this irrelevant, but let us suppose that they can be overcome.)

5. As Thomas Paine pointed out, second-hand revelation is a contradiction. That the Bible is claimed to be the word of God does not make it so.

6. Jesus said not washing hands, even when you eat, is fine, condemning humankind to well over 1800 years of unnecessary illnesses and millions of preventable deaths. (Mark 7:1-19 )

Making a theological point does not excuse him of all that easily preventable suffering. The only excuse is that Jesus wanted people to suffer and die from not washing their hands. It makes you wonder why he bothered to heal a few sick individuals.

7. The God of the Bible is not good. Jesus doesn’t mind.

8. There is no independent contemporary attestation of biblical miracles, by Egyptians, Romans, or anyone else.

9. Why did Jesus not perform any lasting miracles we could witness today?

10. The (theological) problem of natural evil. Why are we plagued with hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, floods, volcanos, and diseases such as cancer? Why do half of pregnancies end in the natural death of the fetus? Why is the natural world full of cruelty and suffering?

11. The ten commandments omit anything about rape. This is the serious moral oversight of an all-too-human patriarchy.

12. God’s alleged presence is objectively indistinguishable from non-existence.

13. Faith, being absent of conclusion from reason and objective evidence, is not reliable. Individuals have been convinced of many false things. Many individuals must be deluded in their religious convictions (as all religions cannot be true). Feeling love does not mean there is a lover.

14. Even the Bible says revelation cannot be trusted. (Ezekiel 14:9)

15. As Christopher Hitchens pointed out, we are supposed to believe that for over 196,000 years of the existence of the human species God declined to offer his version of hope to anyone, nor was he concerned about how people behaved. Then God announced himself to Abraham. It was another 2000 years or so before any non-Jews got the benefit of this religion.

16. According to Matthew, Jesus promised the end of the world and his return during the lifetimes of his disciples (Matthew 24:1-34). Two thousand years later, the world has not ended and Jesus has not returned.

17. The failure of prayer. Not only is prayer illogical (for God is not supposed to change His mind), it doesn’t work.

18. The conjunction of two facts, that the Gospels are falsely attributed, and that there exist only copies of copies of (of copies of…) the originals, is enough to be suspicious of the veracity of the contents.

19. The Gospels contain absurdities, and contradict one another and the Hebrew Bible many times. Even statements attributed to Jesus are contradictory.

A wonderful resource is www.skepticsannotatedbible.com

20. Christianity plainly has a non-uniform geographical distribution. We cannot believe that God has a bias against Indians (for example) or that Indians were made to be more disposed to reject God. We must accept a sociological, not theological, explanation of why people accept or reject religions, if we are to explain the distribution.

21. The writers of the Gospels were not eyewitnesses and were writing to gain converts.

22. There is no independent verification that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies the Gospel writers say he did, and some details were plainly made up that were not Messianic prophecies (and in some cases not even prophecies) to begin with.

23. Even if Jesus was born, lived, and died as the writers of the Gospels said he did, this would not verify Jesus as the Messiah. Key Messianic prophecies remain unfulfilled.

23a. Historical contingencies that closed opportunities, and contradictions in the original text, are not good reasons to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. I urge believers who have been impressed by essays as to why Jesus is the Messiah to think carefully and soberly on the preceding sentence. Most of you are not converts from Judaism.

23b. The idea of the second coming has no support in the Hebrew Bible. It is best explained as an invention to justify the non-fulfillment of Messianic prophecies.

24. In enlightened times, we have better explanations of mental illness, seizures, being crippled, and inability to speak than demon possession, an antiquated idea that Jesus apparently believed in.

25. Lack of imagination.

Scientific explanations of the origins of humanity, the Earth, solar system, galaxies, the universe are more complex, strange, and awe inspiring than any story in the Bible.

26. If God is perfect, why is there sin?

27. It can be shown by analysis that key parts of the Bible are only plausible as literary fiction. If one denies the analysis, then there are left no methods to determine which parts are intended to be literal truth. On the other hand, if one insists that the Bible is all to be taken literally, then physics, geology, biology, and cosmology show that it cannot be true.

28. Vicarious forgiveness (“scapegoating”) is immoral. Only the victim can forgive. Redemption of sin undermines the concept of personal responsibility.

29. The Christ hates the natural sexual impulse and unrealistically preaches against it. The vitality of sex is negated. It is better that your physical powers be degraded, to the extent that your body be mutilated, than for you to feel this natural impulse! (Matthew 5:28)

30. It is learning that enables humans to survive, that gives us power, yet Jesus has a distrust of knowledge. Jesus wants his followers to be like children. (Matthew 18:3)

I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

(Matthew 11:25)

It is a backwards and suspicious philosophy that offers its truth only to the foolish and ignorant, and denies it to the educated.

31. Jesus in the Gospels clearly conforms to a mythological type rather than an actual person.

32. To Jesus, what comes from a human is only bad. He fails to see any good. This lopsided view of humanity justifies his enfeeblement of the human race. We are to him all sick, defiled, weak flesh, too mean to speak good.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander

(Matthew 15:18-19)

33. The misogyny in the Bible bears the all too Earthly stamp of privileged men.

34. Allowing the majority of people who have ever lived (and will ever live) to suffer eternal fire is irreconcilable with mercy and justice.

35. Unless the faithful are to become automatons, loved ones suffering eternally in Hell is irreconcilable with a heaven without mourning, crying, and pain. (Revelation 21:1-4)

36. How can you be saved? Faith? Good deeds? Surely the Bible is clear on this? Not so much.

37. Jesus spoke in parables to confuse people so he could send them to hell.

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

(Mark 4:11, Matthew 13:10-15)

Here, Jesus plainly does not want everyone to convert and be saved.

38. Jesus held the unjust belief that the sins of the father are visited on the children:

Ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. … Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? … Upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar

(Matthew 23:31-35)

39. The threat of Hell is not a reason to believe, nor to keep believing. If you don’t believe in magical events purported to have happened two thousand years ago, you are supposedly going to be punished infinitely. This is operating on the level of chain letters/emails. The psychology is identical, and the proposition should be taken no more seriously.

40. There are perfectly consistent, scientifically verifiable reasons why suffering exists. To attribute suffering to sin, as is done by many Christians, either simply as dogma or as a supposed way out of the problem of evil, entails that the laws of physics could not have applied until humans sinned. Yet we know the laws of physics were in operation long before humans, the world, or even the solar system existed. We know this due to observations of distant objects and successful consilient theories in cosmology based on these observations, due to the successful science of Geology and other Earth sciences, and due to our scientific understanding of biology, in particular evolution. In the face of this, all theological excuses look ridiculous.

41. The “faith alone” notion of salvation held by many denominations is in conflict with justice.

No matter what good you have done in this world, you will suffer horribly forever. No matter what crimes you have committed in this world, no matter how much suffering you have caused, if you repent of your crimes and turn to Jesus, you will have eternal bliss. If eternal reward is the alleged consequence of a wicked life followed by repentance, this in turn degrades the notion of justice in this life.

42. For the average American, as an example, the decision to be a Christian is an easy one. In fact, most Christians are raised going to church. Their family, neighbours, and friends are Christians, to NOT be a Christian would create much difficulty. A lot of these Christians never read the Bible extensively for themselves. However, in some places to be a Christian would mean ostracization or even risk of death. Why would people who do not become Christians in such circumstances get punished, while those who are Christian “by default”, through no act of deliberation or bravery, get a place in Heaven?

One thought on “Forty Two Reasons

  1. I think you doth protest too much. Life is a journey. God is Love which far too few of us possess to any degree. As far as Hell, God will not send anyone there for an eternity. No one will go there to stay unless they want to or actually choose to. A period of punishment for those who have done evil, than another chance in another life and another and another until they fulfill the mission God chose for them. God is not going to punish you for being born in a bad family. As for evil, If you don’t have Love what do you have? I may be at odds with many in the Christian community, but they’re are still searching for Truth and that’s a journey. The Bible? Stories that show that evil behavior can lead to disaster. And? I really believe that all of humanity will be saved, all of it, even Judas. If you know Love than you know God. What do you think Love would do?

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