Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Attempt To Accept The Cage Match Challenge

Dear Luca, thank you for your document.  First of all, you don't seem to understand the point of the atheist cage match challenge.  Please re-read rule 3.  As for the comments in your document:

By the "murderous immorality of Yahweh in the Torah" I mean the indictment that I begin with the phrase "The god of the Torah...".  By Jesus's doctrine of hell I'm referring to where I say Jesus "promises sinners not a thousand years' unrelenting torture, nor a million or a billion, but an eternity of excruciating torture by fire [Mk 9:43, Mt 18:8, 25:41, 25:46]."  By Jesus's incompetent revelation of his doctrine of hell, I'm of course referring to the fact that Christians have such wildly differing interpretations of what is arguably the most important doctrine of Christianity: the stick being threatened as the alternative to the carrot.  Yes, my point about eternal suffering doesn't apply to Christians who don't espouse that doctrine -- but I also have nothing to fear from a weak-kneed Jesus whose only threat to me is that he will leave me alone during my eternal afterlife if I don't worship him.  Please, hurt me with that problem, as compared to my current problem of no afterlife at all.

Your Daniel 7 cite is simply not a claim of ontological identity with Yahweh.  On the topic of divinity claims, I'll give you a separate sub-challenge.  On this fundamental issue of who the heck Jesus claimed to be, I challenge you to restrict yourself to uninterpreted gospel quotes from Jesus, just as I did.  This should put me at a catastrophic disadvantage, as the only evidence I'd be allowed to use against Jesus's identity are his own statements of who he was.  Of course you won't accept, because Jesus didn't dare make the claims that the Christian religion imputed to him centuries after he died.

Jn 14:6 is hardly an explanation of Jesus's salvation doctrine.  Salvation is supposed to be a deal: do or believe X, and receive Y.  Jesus was so vague and self-contradictory on this crucial topic that Christians still can't agree what the terms of deal are.  With all due respect, I can't emphasize enough how much of a joke that makes Christianity appear to be.  Sorry.  I mean, come on -- Jesus spent a year or three promoting a deal, and divinely inspired at least four different writers to tell us about that deal, and now you Christians can't even agree on what the terms of the deal are!

You say "people who witnessed the miracles (especially the skeptical) would have been far to happy to point out that the miracles we have written in the bible today were far from the truth".  This does not even begin to rebut my argument in my "Missing Evidence" section.  All I would add to it is that "skeptical witnesses of non-miracles" wouldn't even have been alive to rebut the gospel claims that got written and circulated 50-100 years later.

Again, the point of my challenge is for you to create a self-contained argument for Christianity that you think should persuade an intelligent skeptic raised outside the Christian tradition.  The text you sent me does not even try to be such a document.  Thanks for your time, but I don't think you quite understand what my challenge asks you to do.

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