Food for thought

Take the Pop Quiz
on Evolution and
the Origin of Life

Go beyond theory
to experience:

Explore the universal constant of design at

The Phi Nest

Is Atheism a Religion?

 Recommended books
In Association with



A hefty serving of food for thought

1st letter received

My response

Just followed your link from Dr Matrix's site, and was quite surprised to find such an informative and thought-provoking web site as yours, instead of the usual disingenuous dogmatic clap-trap dished out by most Creationists. I totally agree with you that there are quite a few problems/issues with the whole evolutionary theory which you have quite rightly pointed out. But you do seem to have jumped a little too quickly on the "Oh - we must have been created by God" band-wagon without considering the illogicality (in my opinion anyway) of the creation story as presented in the Bible. There are so many illogical propositions in the creation story which you haven't addressed at all. You seem to be saying, "Well here are all these problems with the Theory of Evolution, so therefore it is wrong and we must therefore have been created by the Christian God". I would have liked your web site a lot more if it were more balanced and shown some of the problems with the Creation story as well, rather than just attacking Evolution. Here are just a few problems (of many) which I have with the Creation story:

* Why do some bacteria have DNA chains many times longer than us infinitely more complex humans? Why did God need so much information to create a single cell organism?

* How do you explain the "junk" DNA which makes up the bulk of the DNA chain? Why not just create a chain with the minimum amount of information required to create each organism? 

* Why would God design our eyes where the nerves and blood vessels from the retina to the brain pass in front of the light-receptor cells, thus creating a blind-spot? Going by the first creation account in Genesis (rather than the second), all the animals had been created before man so if God created a squid with their eyes the "right" way around, why didn't God do the same for us?

* Why is the DNA of humans and monkeys so similar if we were created separately?

* Why did God create an entire universe "just for us"? There are more stars in the known Universe than grains of sand on our planet, but what is their point? Something pretty to fill up the night sky?

Have a look at this site for a great deal more inconsistencies and illogical reasoning behind the Creationist story:

If you have the time, I'd like to chat with you about some of the points I made and the site I provided. But I understand that you are probably getting a hell of a lot of these kind of emails so I will understand if you are too busy.

Well, hope to hear your response,

Thanks for your thoughtful letter. I was glad to hear that you found my site "thought - provoking." I'll be happy to correspond with you, but it may be that the best thing I can do is to challenge you to seek your own answers rather than try to provide them for you.

You are quite right in that I jumped quickly from "Evolution has a problem" to "God created us." I've tried hard to keep my site simple and engaging to keep interest and stir thought. The downside to this is that I can't, or at least haven't found a way yet, to cover everything in detail. Of course the other reason is that it is my site, and I chose to use it to open up people's minds and hearts to God.

I agree that I didn't pass through all the logical steps necessary to prove God to you. Perhaps my experience doesn't permit that.  Perhaps human experience doesn't permit that.  I didn't come to God because of the logic of His existence or the logic of the creation account in Genesis. I came to God because I had a very deep spiritual experience that I couldn't explain apart from God's existence. I was a rationalist and agnostic with zero interest in anything spiritual at the time, but found my life touched in a way that I couldn't attribute to anything natural. My site really reflects how I began to see the world differently after that, as I tried to reconcile my experience with what I "knew" about the world around me.

I did review the site you referenced on the "inconsistencies and illogical reasoning behind the Creationist story." The site didn't give any real reason to believe in evolution. All it seemed to do was to take shots, many inaccurate and condescending, at particular views held by a very specific group: literal-Bible, young-earth creationists. Even if it turned out this group were wrong in every one of their views, that gives no logical foundation to conclude that there is no God, that we weren't created by God or that evolution is true. Many of the statements show little research or imagination. Some are just plain wrong to the point of being ridiculous, such as:

"Creationism is about believing without question a particular interpretation of scripture. Indeed, in a belief system of that nature, any questioning or original thought about the revealed knowledge is not only incorrect, it is sinful."

Creationism simply means believing that we are here by the act of a higher power rather than by chance and natural causes.  Also:

"The Human Mind...just to be ornery, has moved from the heart, where it resided through New Testament times, into the brain."

I've read the entire New Testament. References to the heart refer to the center, the essence, the soul, just as it is used in present day English (i.e., the heart of the matter, knowing in your heart, etc.) There is nothing in the New Testament that says that brain functions resided in the heart.

The template for many of the strawmen he creates and then slays is "this seems inconsistent and I don't understand it, so all views on creation must be false." For this letter, I'd rather jump to the questions that you raised (all of which are good questions, by the way) rather than try to guess which statements on that site you considered meaningful. Give me a specific statement though and I'll be happy to try. With that as a background, I'll respond to your questions. It may be better if you think of my responses as perspectives. I don't represent what I'll say as provable fact, just insights that come from trying to think as God might think.

Why do some bacteria have DNA chains many times longer than us infinitely more complex humans? Why did God need so much information to create a single cell organism?

To be honest, I wasn't even aware of that. Are you sure it's correct? Here's some information on base pairs in the DNA from the Department of Energy's Genetics page at

Comparative Sequence Sizes (Bases)
(yeast chromosome 3) 350 Thousand
Escherichia coli (bacterium) genome 4.6 Million
Largest yeast chromosome now mapped 5.8 Million
Entire yeast genome 15 Million
Smallest human chromosome (Y) 50 Million
Largest human chromosome (1) 250 Million
Entire human genome 3 Billion

I'm no genetics expert. Perhaps you're right and the size of the genome isn't related to the size of the DNA chain. If so, could it be that DNA in humans is constructed, if I can make an analogy to software, like object-oriented code whereas bacteria is constructed more like older style programs? Length of code doesn't necessarily indicate sophistication of design. Also, human cells are specialized, working in concert with others to conduct life functions, whereas single-celled organisms must do it all. Could that have an impact?

How do you explain the "junk" DNA which makes up the bulk of the DNA chain? Why not just create a chain with the minimum amount of information required to create each organism?

Aren't we being a bit presumptuous to call things "junk" (also vestigial) just because we don't understand their purpose? We haven't even mapped the entire human genome yet. Most of what we understand of the gene is the "what" of our physical characteristics. The deeper mysteries of life and the human body are in the how and the why, about which we are mostly clueless. How does the brain really work? Why do we dream? What subconscious impacts do the olfactory senses play in human relationships? Where are instructions that tell a sperm cell how to swim? Every little piece of information for all this and many, many more aspects of our total existence must be included in the DNA. Does it reside in the "junk?"

Why would God design our eyes where the nerves and blood vessels from the retina to the brain pass in front of the light-receptor cells, thus creating a blind-spot? Going by the first creation account in Genesis (rather than the second), all the animals had been created before man so if God created a squid with their eyes the "right" way around, why didn't God do the same for us?

I've heard this evolutionist argument before and find it amusing. I'm pretty happy with the human eye, aren't you? It's an absolutely incredible piece of technology that provides incredible results. Is it "wrong" or deficient in function or just in the minds of evolutionists?  Could the design difference be due to the completely different environment in which they operate? Squid reside in the heavily filtered light of the ocean under extreme pressure of the ocean depths whereas we reside in extremes of sun reflecting off the snow and the darkness of moonless nights in the desert. There's something I don't understand about this particular evolutionist argument. If man evolved from sea life which already had highly evolved eyes, how did evolution completely reverse the design of the eye through natural selection? This difference seems to me to be a better argument for creation than evolution.  Even with the differences, can you logically conclude that the eye is more likely a product of chance and adaptation than the result of design with precise knowledge of the physical world in which it would operate?

Why is the DNA of humans and monkeys so similar if we were created separately?

Isn't that just what you would expect since we are similar in design and function? I would expect that the code for Microsoft Excel is more similar to Lotus 123 than it is to Doom. Also, if you had good code for Excel 97 (i.e., the chimp), wouldn't you use most of that same code in creating Excel 2000 (i.e., the human) rather than pitching the whole thing and starting all over? That's how humans create and evolve their designs. Why wouldn't God as well, especially if we are created in His image and think and create in a manner patterned after Him?

Why did God create an entire universe "just for us"? There are more stars in the known Universe than grains of sand on our planet, but what is their point? Something pretty to fill up the night sky?

First, we don't really know that it us just for us and that there isn't other life out there, so that assumption isn't necessary for creation to be true. Second, I read one theory that says that the amount of matter in the universe is necessary in order for the universe to be in this perfectly balanced state that allows matter to exist as we know it. Without this precise balance and dispersion the universe would either collapse back on itself or be nothing but energy or plasma. That precise balance alone is a miracle that is a sign of creation. Is it logical to you that an explosion of the magnitude of the big bang could result in such balance and order? And yes, maybe they are there too for beauty and as sign posts to lead us to seek outside ourselves. I find it fascinating that there is so much beauty and design to be found every time we peel back a layer of the unknown, whether it was seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time with simple optics or going the other direction with sophisticated electron microscopes. It's like a never ending puzzle and adventure.  Would you want the universe to be simple, even if you saw yourself as the highest creation of God?

There are undoubtedly many unknowns, even apparent inconsistencies, in our understandings of both creation and evolution. To know the truth, it is important that we seek our answers without bias on either side. That's hard to do because so much of our belief system is dependent upon our underlying beliefs, and understandings, about God. It's hard for me to be completely objective, although I do have the advantage of having lived under both belief systems. We have to be careful to not make the case for creation a simple matter of whether or not young earth creationists have all the answers. No human has all the answers. We need to be clear on what we mean by evolution. We observe natural selection, and make a small jump in faith to micro-evolution, make a bigger leap of faith that it proves macro-evolution and then make an even grander leap of faith that says that inanimate matter could come to life on its own. Yet we claim the truth of all this in the name of rationalism and science and then critique the creationists because they have faith.

From a spiritual perspective, I would say that God doesn't want it to be crystal clear that we are created. If you understand the Bible, you know that God wants us to come to Him in love and in faith. We were created with love and for love, but love requires a choice on our part. If God made His creation blatantly obvious, we would have no choice but to believe. If he eliminated the choice, we would be nothing more than pets, programmed to wag our tails as soon as they see their master. No, we can really only love God if we have a choice.  The only way for Him to provide a choice is to create a world which we could also attribute to chance.  That means that we must have some faith in whatever belief system we chose.  Still, He draws us, actually pursues us, to seek Him.

I've found that seeking to know God, and to love Him as a person, has made a profound difference in my life. It shows up in my understandings of myself, my understanding of human nature, the quality of my relationships with others and in my appreciation for the wonders of the universe around me. Although I can't give you a complete, rational explanation for everything that appears to be inconsistent, I would suggest that you not just study creation, but that you study the ways that God communicates with us. I've read the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita and other texts. All speak to our personal relationship with God. None was as clear to me as the words of Jesus Christ found in the Gospels.  The more truth you find about yourself and life in that study, the more you begin to develop perspectives that help you to resolve some inconsistencies and the more you can accept on faith that other apparent inconsistencies may be the result of the limitations of human understanding.

I think I'll end here. I hope you found my response to be helpful in some way. I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on what I said. I'd be happy to learn more about you and your experiences and beliefs.  Even though you may side toward the evolutionist viewpoint, you must be searching for deeper answers or you wouldn't be spending your time reading sites such as these. I've found the search into the spiritual side of life to be extremely rewarding and meaningful. Let me know if I can help in any way as you proceed on your own search. Thanks for writing.

Best regards,


2nd letter received

My response

Well, now I am impressed :) This is the first time I think I've asked a Christian some questions and had a detailed and logical rebuttal of every argument I proposed. And you are right - I wasn't expecting a reply at all, let alone the lengthy response you have given me to ponder. I will try to address as much as possible from your last email, but you've provided so much that I would be here all day if I did that - please let me know if I fail to address a point you thought crucial in your email.

First of all, so you can understand where I come from, I'll tell you a bit about myself. I was raised as a Baptist in Sydney by moderate Christian parents, but I can't ever remember feeling this power of God or spiritual experience that other people alluded to - so I was never really sure whether the whole story was true or not. Up until about 16 years old I would have told anyone who asked that I was a Christian, but at some point around then I changed to agnostic and only just a couple of years ago, at about 23 years old, I became a full-blown atheist. This was mainly due to a particular atheist friend of mine asking me a lot questions that I couldn't answer and getting me into science and knowledge in general. In the past 2 years I have read many books in various fields of science (evolution, the brain, gender differences, complexity, physics, astronomy, etc), as well as several books on history and philosophy. While I'm no expert in any of these fields - I'm actually a computer programmer - I feel that I've learnt enough to know that all religions (including Christianity) have been invented by man in order to provide a sense of meaning to life and attempt to explain for the world we live in. I don't deny the possibility of a God-like entity existing in our Universe - I do however deny that Christianity has a discovered the truth.
It is a religion much like any of the other thousand odd religions that exist or have existed throughout history. In fact, you are almost as much an atheist as me - I believe that ALL religions are bollocks, you however believe that all religions MINUS ONE are bollocks. How are you so sure that your one is right and all the others are wrong?

As you can probably tell by now, I'm not exactly looking for spiritual meaning in life because I have accepted that when I die I'm dead - simple as that. Personally I don't understand how anyone would WANT to live for all eternity, even if it were in the most magical place in existence. Have you ever seriously thought about the idea of existing for all eternity after your physical body dies. Eternity is a LONG time. My feeling is that for a few hundred years eternity would be fun. After a few thousand it would start to seem a little old. After a few million it would be mind-numbingly tedious. After a few billion we would all be insane. After a few quadrillion years... How would you fill in the time? What would not get mind-numbingly boring after you've done it a thousand or a million times? 

Now to address your responses to my questions. 

1) Why do some bacteria have DNA chains many times longer than us infinitely more complex humans? Why did God need so much information to create a single cell organism? 

I was told about this by my atheist friend who did a degree in biology. I can't see a reason for him lying to me and I'm quite confident he didn't just make this up, however you could say I'm appealing to an unbiased authority here. I'll ask my friend next time I see him what particular bacteria he was referring to and let you know.

2) How do you explain the "junk" DNA which makes up the bulk of the DNA chain? Why not just create a chain with the minimum amount of information required to create each organism? 

As I've said, I'm no expert in the field of evolutionary biology, but I've read quite a few books which all talk about this junk DNA which has no effect on the phenotype - but you are right to point out that the science for this is still in its early days so I won't pursue this argument. 

3) Why would God design our eyes where the nerves and blood vessels from the retina to the brain pass in front of the light-receptor cells, thus creating a blind-spot? Going by the first creation account in Genesis (rather than the second), all the animals had been created before man so if God created a squid with their eyes the "right" way around, why didn't God do the same for us? 

On this particular question, I still think that it is better explained by evolution than the creation story. Sure, our eyes work fine, but for me it's still strange that God would have designed them that way. And from what I know we didn't evolve from squid so it's not as if our eyes suddenly evolved from having the nerves behind the retina to the front. But even that is not impossible within the bounds of evolution anyway. I saw a picture of a frog in Richard Dawkins "Climbing Mount Improbable" where as a result of a mutation the eyes developed inside it's mouth so it had to keep it's mouth open in order to see. Richard Dawkins does provide a good argument to the "evolution of the eye" issue that has caused so much debate in the past.
Creationists seem to ask what would be the point of half an eye, but Dawkins shows many examples of eyes in living animals which range from simple flat light-sensitive areas (basically a very primitive retina) where an animal could only tell that something was casting a shadow on it, right through to concave complex eyes in humans and other animals. At every point along the evolutionary process, the eye is useful.

4) Why is the DNA of humans and monkeys so similar if we were created separately? 

In regards to your response on this, I think this must be yet another example of God creating nature in order to fool us into believing that man and monkey evolved from a common ancestor. It would have been a whole lot simpler if God didn't also create monkeys because then the Creation story would be a whole lot easier to believe. But as to the Christian belief that God created us in his image, does God then also has a belly button, an anus, sexual organs, internal organs, nipples - in fact almost any body part you care to mention? What would He/She need them for? 

5) Why did God create an entire universe "just for us"? There are more stars in the known Universe than grains of sand on our planet, but what is their point? Something pretty to fill up the night sky? 

It seems to me that if you look at the evidence provided by astronomy and physics, as well as believe in the creation story, then God has created the whole Universe/Earth/Nature, yet again, as if to LOOK like we started with the Big Bang and come about by natural processes. Thousands of craters on various moons and planets in our solar system show a violent, destructive birth of our solar system, rather than a perfect, snap of the fingers scenario as described in the Bible. The expanding universe and background radiation imply a Big Bang rather than the Universe being created as is - if it were created why is it still expanding? When you say "Is it logical to you that an explosion of the magnitude of the big bang could result in such balance and order?" - sure there is relative order now after 15-20 billion years in which gravity and the laws of physics have had their chance to settle things down - but chaos is still going on in the universe. Right now astronomers are witnessing the collision of 2 solar systems some 10 billion light years away. Comets/asteroids are still flying about the universe crashing into planets and stars. Stars (much like our own sun) are constantly dying and being born or swallowed up by black holes. What you will find if you read any book on astronomy is that the universe is a chaotic system, and a complex chaotic system will naturally have pockets of emergent order that come from that chaos (stars, planets, etc). Have a read of "At Home in the Universe" by Stuart Kauffman for explanations of this concept.

Ultimately, Christians have the same problem as we do in explaining the very beginning. Science theorizes that the universe was created by a Big Bang because of a Quantum level explosion of some sort creating clouds of hydrogen and helium; the billions of solar systems were formed out of the clouds of gases and dust by the force of gravity and produced heavy elements during these formations; and we along with the rest of Nature on Earth came about as examples of emergent order in a complex chemical system and then acted on by natural selection. Christians on the other hand say that everything in the Universe, from the laws of physics and quantum mechanics, to the trillions of galaxies, stars and planets, right down to the smallest bacteria living 10 feet underground on earth, were created individually by some God for the purpose of providing an arena for us humans to choose whether to believe in God or not. But now for the million dollar question -
"where did God come from?" Did he just appear as the result of some Spiritual Big Bang? I think that particular notion is just as if not more unlikely than a one proposed by science. While science can not prove many things because they happened in the past and the evidence for them has gone, the point is that there ARE theories for all of the big questions, even though we will most likely not be able to prove them - quantum theory to explain the big bang, the field of complexity and emergent order to explain how life began, evolution and natural selection to explain the resulting diversity from that initial life form. 

Perhaps the main reason that you have chosen to believe in a Spiritual Big Bang over the Scientific Big Bang, is that you get to go to a heaven and live for all eternity. Science in this regard is cold and unfeeling which is why it has been rejected by the majority of humanity. People don't want to know the truth - they want to know something that makes them feel better.
Science tells us that when we die we become fertiliser - and for many people this particular fact is what turns them away. Christianity tells us that all we have to do is believe that Jesus died for our sins and our spirit goes to heaven for all eternity - then we get to see all our friends and relatives who died in our lifetime (at least the ones who were Christians anyway).
Christianity is an entirely more attractive option than science, thus the relatively huge number of people going for this idea. But just because something feels good doesn't make it true.

The big problem I have with Christianity is what happens to all the people who don't believe that Christ died for them? Does every person who doubts this assertion (like myself) deserve to spend the rest of eternity burning in hell? Does the girl raised in a Muslim society with no ability to make any choices of her own (let alone her religion) who gets stoned to death for exposing her skin deserve to burn in hell? What about people with Down's Syndrome or some other mind-debilitating disease? What about children who die before they understand who/what Jesus is? What about the people who lived thousands and millions of years before Jesus and the people afterwards who simply did not hear the message? Does the crime of ignorance or skepticism warrant a punishment of eternal torment?

I'm going to have to stop here - there is a lot more I could talk about and I would like to continue this debate if you're interested. But I may as well let you know now that the chances of me being converted back to Christianity is, well, pretty damn close to impossible. And from what I can tell, you are quite conformable in your belief (which I have absolutely no problem with) and so I won't be convincing you to become an atheist in any great hurry.

But what I hope to achieve from this is a better understanding of the arguments for and against both religion and science. In the future I would like to create a web-site where both sides of the story are represented and perhaps our discussion could turn out to be the basis for that idea.

Regardless of how I may have come across in this email, I don't hate Christianity and I have no desire to turn you from your belief. Everyone needs to find their own meaning in life and if you're happy with your current one, then who am I to tell you to change.

Anyways, gotta go. Hope to hear from you soon, 


I know you didn't expect a long response, or perhaps even a response at all.

I enjoyed your letter and your questions, so this response may be even longer than you bargained for. I've attached it as an HTML file. I've found that works much better for formatting than e-mail and have also found that some e-mail systems truncate longer messages.

Even if you don't have time to respond to my letter, I'd appreciate a quick confirmation to let me know that you received this e-mail and the attached file successfully. Thanks for writing!

Best regards,



Well, I'm back and with not much time to spare. It was interesting reading your background. I found a lot of similarities to myself. I was raised in a protestant (Methodist) family. We went to church periodically, perhaps more because it was the socially acceptable thing to do. I never got anything spiritual from it. As I grew through my teens and early twenties I turned into an agnostic with a highly cynical attitude toward anything remotely religious or spiritual. The paragraph you wrote about "what about Muslims, the disabled, etc., etc. who never had a chance to know about Jesus, etc." sounded almost word for word like something I said to a Baptist girl in my late teens. She wanted to date me but wanted me to be "saved" first. I didn't have a clue what that meant. To make a long story short, I ended up at a youth group party with her and felt very judged and manipulated, which drove me even further away. In my twenties, I refused to date women who even mentioned religion in conversation. I refused to accept communion at the Catholic wedding of my best friend. I was his best man. When I got married, I had the minister eliminate all the parts about God and Christ from the marriage service. When I was your age I was quite comfortable, no, more like quite proud, to be an agnostic and rationalist with not a spiritual bone in my body. I tell you this so you can know that I didn't grow up "in the church" or have any kind of spiritual upbringing or inclinations.

I have to admit, however, that I never considered myself an atheist. An atheist denies the existence of God, while an agnostic believes that to be unknowable. To me, assuming that you could know enough to say with confidence that God didn't exist seemed lacking in reason and credibility. I think anyone who is honest has to at least concede that there are many things that we do not know and some which are probably unknowable in this life time, and the question of our origins is a prime example. Actually, by your own words, you are not an atheist, as you said, "I don't deny the possibility of a God-like entity existing in our Universe - I do however deny that Christianity has discovered the truth." 

You also said that I am almost as much an atheist as you are. First, I don't think you read my last letter carefully enough. Here is what I said: 

"I've read the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita and other texts. All speak to our personal relationship with God. None was as clear to me as the words of Jesus Christ found in the Gospels." 

As you can see, I didn't say that there wasn't truth to be found in other scriptures or religions. In fact there are many similarities, and the overriding theme is your personal relationship with God. I know from experience that this phrase, "your personal relationship with God" sounds weird to a nonbeliever, but that is the key here, not rituals, denominations, dogma and all the other things we associate with religion from the outside. What matters the most is your relationship with God. 

Second, the key point is that an atheist is someone who denies the existence of God. I, on the other hand, believe that He is our creator, a living person, eternal and spiritual in nature. That makes me a full-blown theist. My agreement or disagreement with the particular beliefs of any person or religion about God takes nothing away from that. Atheism isn't a disbelief in religion or various religions, but rather a disbelief in God.

You say that you've studied books on science and history and have concluded that God doesn't exist and that Christianity isn't true. A question: Would you go into the forest to determine if fish exist and whether they swim? Science is a field that only examines naturalistic phenomena and only permits naturalistic answers. What did you expect to find in your studies there? You've read a lot of books, but even so, think for a minute how miniscule your knowledge is, as is any of ours. Consider all knowledge and experience, limited by what is knowable vs. unknowable by humans, limited by what is known in the present vs. what will be discovered in the future, limited by what is known by billions of other people vs. what is known by you, limited by what you have experienced vs. yet to experience in your later years, limited by what your belief system will accept vs. not accept. I had no interest, or experience, in anything spiritual until the age of 38. I came to pretty much all of the same conclusions that you have, but then had an experience that changed my views, and changed me as a person. I've since realized that many of my conclusions were really mere ill-formed opinions, based on little knowledge and no experience in the things I was judging.

You say that you've learned "enough to know that all religions (including Christianity) have been invented by man in order to provide a sense of meaning to life and attempt to explain for the world we live in." Do you know that Jesus Christ didn't start a religion? He came to offer each of us a personal relationship with God. Have you investigated the story of his life from a historical perspective to understand how the life of this one man could have had such a significant impact on history and human civilization? C.S. Lewis was a passionate atheist, an Oxford professor, who set out to prove that Christianity was bunk. In the course of his research and study he concluded that Jesus is the Christ, the messiah of God. Lewis too found his life changed and he became one of the greatest Christian authors of the century. Have you studied material that would challenge your beliefs or just the material from naturalist and humanist viewpoints that will support your beliefs? Have you studied with an open heart to the possibility that God could be closer than you may realize? Can you explain what would cause a rationalist and agnostic like me to turn to God? Could it be that I've experienced something that is still to come in your life?

You said that you "don't understand how anyone would WANT to live for all eternity, even if it were in the most magical place in existence." Could that be because you haven't developed an appreciation and understanding for the eternal? Eternity is a long time to be dead too. Maybe God has already figured out a way to keep it fresh and exciting for us. Could it be that we've been here before, each life in a different time and place as history has unfolded, and with each life an opportunity to discover God, and ourselves, anew? It seems a shame that at your young age you already feel that this precious gift of life is something that is better ended and discarded after eighty some years rather than treasured for an eternity. Consider some of the things that Jesus said about life: 

(Matthew 7:14) But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 

(Matthew 10:39) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 

(John 5:39-40) You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, {40} yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 

(John 6:63) The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 

(John 8:12) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 

(John 10:10) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 

(John 14:6-7) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. {7} If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." 

This letter will already be too long, and I won't be able to explain to you all the ways that turning to Christ has changed my life. Even if I'm completely wrong and there is no afterlife, the model and standard he set for human relationships and existence far surpasses anything I would have been able to discover by my own experience in this brief life. You said, "Perhaps the main reason that you have chosen to believe in a Spiritual Big Bang over the Scientific Big Bang, is that you get to go to a heaven and live for all eternity." (Can't I have both?) No, it goes much deeper than that. By seeking to know and understand Jesus, and by following in faith his words over my own nature, I have gained a new wonder and appreciation for world around me. My Evolution of Truth site is a product of that. I have grown in my relationships and have come to understand a deeper meaning of what it is to love. This has helped tremendously in my marriage. His words have been an amazing source of wisdom and counsel in my professional life that have earned me respect from others and provided an opportunity to serve in ways that would otherwise have been impossible for me. I've grown to better understand the reward of helping others. I've found so much truth in the words of Jesus that I've also come to accept on faith that his words about the eternal are true as well. Some of my faith is based on responses I've seen to prayer. Even if I found out in the last five minutes of my life, however, that there was no afterlife, I would still be thankful for what Jesus did to make this life richer and more meaningful. 

You said, "I do however deny that Christianity has discovered the truth. It is a religion much like any of the other thousand odd religions that exist or have existed throughout history." It's not a matter of whether Christianity "discovered" the truth. "Christianity" has actually done a very good job of obscuring the truth with its inquisitions, rituals, denominations, etc. The only point to be considered is whether Jesus brought us the truth from God. The singular issue is this: Was he, or was he not, the Messiah promised by God throughout the Old Testament who would be the salvation of mankind? In that respect, Christianity is unlike any other religion. All other religions are based on man's attempt to find and please God. Christianity is the story of God's attempt to restore His relationship with each of us. Other religions base salvation of deeds and sacrifices. Christianity is the story of God coming to us as deity in human form, showing miracles as a small proof of the veracity of His claims, and asking just that we believe in Him and love Him and one another. (See John 3:16 and Matthew 22:36-40.)

If you can cut through all the garbage introduced by man that make it "religion" and go right to the words of Jesus you will find that He abhorred ritual and hypocrisy more than you or I ever could. (See the 23rd Chapter of Matthew for an example.) All of Christianity hinges on the truth of the resurrection, the final miracle and proof that Jesus was of God and one with God. Can you really name another religion that is like this? Of course you and I weren't there to observe this event. All we can do now is to study the accounts of these events and look at the historical evidence of what has transpired and evaluate it on a logical basis to determine if history is better corroborated by the resurrection of the Christ, or the death of a Jewish carpenter who had a wandering ministry for three years. It makes for a fascinating study. An atheist attorney once set out to prove the accounts were false by applying the methods of examination and evidence used in the courtroom. He too came away a believer. The beliefs of others mean little though. Some things can only be known if you experience them yourself.

As to your responses to my responses:

On the eye: Sure, you can make conjectures and rationalizations on how the eye could have evolved. The important thing is to get beyond the microcosm and consider the odds that the entire universe and the life within it just happened by chance. It's best to get beyond all the arguments for and against evolution and just look at the one question of whether the first cell with its millions of bits of information in the DNA and multiple systems (respiration, digestion, reproduction, excretion, etc.) required to sustain life could have happened on its own. Dawkins, by the way, is a passionate atheist with an agenda. I think you'll find more scientifically accurate interpretations of life and the universe in the writings of scientists who at least have some sense of wonder for the majesty of it all, even if they don't believe in God. Steven Hawkings, for instance, said: 

"The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ration of the masses of the proton and electron. . . . The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life."

On chimps: Hmm. Since you're a programmer, I would have thought my analogy of DNA to computer code would have been a great way to explain the similarity between human and chimp DNA. What is wrong with God creating another species of animal that shares some characteristic to us? Is every section of code you write a completely unique, never-seen-before creation? All mammals share many fundamental traits. Why must the chimp be a trick? (I recognize that this was your counter to young earth argument.) 

On "But as to the Christian belief that God created us in his image, does God then also have a belly button, an anus, sexual organs, internal organs, nipples . . .:" You need to understand that all scripture has an overriding spiritual context. "Created in His image" refers to qualities such as personality, intellect, emotions, creativity, a sense of humor, the ability to acquire and use knowledge, compassion, the ability to love. These are the traits you find in humans, and in God, if you seek to know Him. 

On the Universe: My point wasn't that the universe isn't dynamic and changing, but that there had to be a very precise balance among all physical laws in order for it to exist rather than to just collapse into a huge black whole or for energy to have just dissipated into nothingness. Saying that it just settled into its present state after billions of years is like saying that ice cubes in water just settled into their present state when a tenth of a degree on either side of the freezing point would turn everything to either water or ice. The balance itself is a miracle. "Show Me God" by Fred Heeren is a great book on this and related subjects. 

On your big problem with Christianity regarding what happens to those that doubt, don't hear the word, etc., etc.: I don't have any perfect answers. My own belief, which I think has merit in relation to scripture, is that it's a matter of what is in your heart toward God, not an issue of exactly what doctrine you have been exposed to or taught to believe. If Christ is deity, as He claimed to be, then he is perfectly correct in saying "No one comes to the Father except through me." All that He asks is our belief. How he chooses to talk to mankind in other times in history before he appeared to us as Jesus or those in Muslim countries is his own business and results in your question being a moot point. We all still can only come to God through God. As I noted, there are tremendous parallels between the Gospels, Hinduism's Bhagavad-Gita and the scriptures of other religions. While none seem to me as complete as the teachings of Jesus, that doesn't mean that they aren't inspired by God's continual pursuit of us as individuals and as mankind throughout history.

Well, if you saved this letter to read on your way to Europe I probably have provided enough material to get you to Nova Scotia. I hope you don't mind the length of this letter. I enjoy writing and seeking to help others to find the part of life that will make them want more than one shot of eighty plus years of it. Since you must have thousands of things to get done before you leave I won't expect a reply and don't feel you need to give me one. As you go on to this next adventure, perhaps take some time to open the door to the part of life that you won't find in the writings of Dawkins and others like him. If you like science, try a book like "Show Me God" that looks at cosmology and astrophysics from the perspective of a skeptical theist. If you want to get a deeper understanding and proof of Christianity, try "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. Best yet, find a Bible that looks interesting to you (there are many translations and approaches) and read the account and words of Jesus with a fresh perspective, an open mind and an open heart.

Here's the best analogy I can make to describe the potential experience that can come from it. Picture two acorn seeds. One never really came to life. It just died and returned to the dirt from which it came. The other seed was touched by a single drop of water that brought it to life. It became not just a tree, but an entire forest. I think our lives are similar. We need something to make us come to life and to know an existence that goes beyond anything we could imagine or achieve on our own. A few closing thoughts, first through the prophet Isaiah:

(Isaiah 55:8-11) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. {9} "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. {10} As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, {11} so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 

And from Jesus:

(John 4:13-14) Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, {14} but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 

I believe God, in His word, and in Christ, is that drop of water that brings us to life.

Our brief correspondence has been fun for me. I hope you feel the same. I wish you the best in Europe, Sydney and Oz. I've been to Melbourne. Australia is a great place, home to some of God's most marvelous creations! (What did a platypus "evolve" from, by the way?)

Best regards and Bon Voyage,


P.S. Check out my books page at

if you can't find any of the above books locally.

3rd letter received

My response

Text of his next letter with my comments added in red and the most important points in blue


Well I'm finally back after my travels and have settled back into a new life in Sydney. Hope you've been well in the meantime. Well, I've had a chance to go over your last email and I'll attempt to address all your points, but I'm afraid I've lost our original emails so I may end up repeating what I've said before. I have also been terribly busy at work since arriving back in Oz and so have only had brief opportunities to write this response in a piecemeal fashion. Because of this, my reply may not read very well as I jump from a line of thinking in one week to an entirely new thought the following.

Before getting into it I'll like for you to skim through the article at the following URL :

http:/ /

This is a compilation of thoughts from a theist-turned-atheist which addresses much of our discussion. I could have simply copied all the points I thought relevant and pasted them into my response but I thought it better giving you the original source and leave the rest of my email to look at points not covered by the article.

I also guess I really need to qualify what type of atheist I am. There are of course atheists who will DENY the existence of a God or Gods, almost as if they have proof of the fact - which is of course impossible as you so rightly pointed out. I, however, would rather say that I simply do not have a belief in a God or Gods, much like I don't have a belief in flying pigs. To my mind, there is no logical or rational argument or piece of evidence which proves the existence of God or flying pigs, so I simply do not believe that they exist. (The evidence exists, but only if you are willing to see it.) On top of this there is a hell of a lot of scientific evidence which contradicts much of the core doctrines in religions like Christianity and implies an unthinking and undirected formation of our universe. (There's just as much that shows design, if you are willing to see it.) In order for me to believe that God exists I must at least be given some evidence. Of course, you will say that there is no evidence of God except for what is written in the Bible (I never said that.  To the contrary, my entire site is based on showing God from a basis of pure logic and observation alone.  See

and I will reply that the Bible was written by man in a mythological time period, (I would contend that the ancients had more insight into many things than we do and that human nature hasn't changed a bit - and that is one of the key topics of the Bible, not technology) so you can't take the Bible as Truth - or even divinely inspired. (Have you read and studied the Bible or is this an assumptions on your part?)  So basically I can't say that there isn't a God-like entity somewhere in our Universe because that statement is impossible to prove. But I can say that there is no evidence available to prove this God-like entity, so until the evidence comes in I will remain a non-believer and stick with the scientific method (Science is a great tool, but the scientific method by definition limits itself to explanations founded in natural phenomena, so you'll limit your knowledge accordingly.  You're as likely to come to know God by staying with the scientific method as you are likely to come to know fish by staying deep in the desert.) along with the study of history (The Bible is some of the best recorded history we have) and philosophy (The philosophy of Jesus changed the world more than any before or after him).

There seem to be several techniques that religious people appear to think will convince non-believers, which you happened to use in your previous response:

* Arguing from authority : for example, pick out several greatly admired and intelligent people who believed in God in order to justify or prove the existence of God. As far as using C.S. Lewis as a way of proof that there must be a God, I can do the same thing and find a multitude of people who were believers and then became atheists. As for an example of this, maybe you have heard of Dan Barker, who was a devoted Christian and minister at several churches, and in his middle age realised that Christianity was wrong. See the following site for his story:


As for C.S. Lewis, so what if he changed from being a passionate Atheist to a Christian? Perhaps atheism wasn't providing him with food for the "soul" so to speak. Perhaps he wasn't as strong in his atheistic belief as you suggest and was unaware of all the arguments for atheism. (He was an atheist Oxford professor who set out to prove that Christianity was wrong.  Sounds pretty committed to me.)  Perhaps he was getting on in age, realised that he was knocking at deaths door (He was about 40 or younger when he started), and found in Christianity the comforting belief that he would continue on after his death (thus succumbing to one of the most powerful tools in the Christianity-conversion toolkit - i.e., preying on the natural fear of death).

* Pulling quotes from the Bible. Quite often you said through your last email, "Jesus says this, or Jesus says that". But why do you actually believe that these are the true words of Jesus? The first gospels of the Bible were written a generation after the death of Jesus by Paul (Entirely wrong.   Paul didn't write any gospels.  They were written by two of Jesus twelve Jewish disciples, Matthew and John, Mark, who accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey and Luke, a Greek, Gentile doctor who documented Jesus' life through investigation and interviews.) who had never actually met Jesus (maybe he saw Jesus crucified but there are no references in the Bible or anywhere else of Paul actually meeting and talking with Jesus).  (Wrong.  See Acts Chapter 9.)  And it continued to be chopped and changed over the next several hundred years by the newly forming Church. I've read from numerous sources (both from religious and secular sources) just how historically inaccurate the Bible is, simply because it was written after the fact - quite often much later after the fact. (Original manuscripts found in the last 60 years such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi Codices show virtually no change from the text of the Bible as it has been handed down and translated for thousands of years) One gospel will be inspired by the mythology and legends passed down through the generations, and other gospels will base their text purely on the writings of previous gospels. This leads to situations where the same story is repeated again and again, only the stories don't quite match up or are embellished and exaggerated from account to account. Examples of this are the Resurrection Story


and the journey of Paul and his vision on the road to Damascus. I've read a bit about the history and development of religions, and the accepted understanding is that most religions borrow their doctrines from other sources. The Noah's Ark story, the idea of Hell and Hell, the resurrection story, etc are all borrowed by Christianity from even more ancient religions like Zoroastrianism.

msubxmyth.htm?iam=ask&terms=Zoroast rian+Influences+on+Judaism+and
+Christianity+and+Monotheism <
msubxmyth.htm?iam=ask&terms=Zoroas trian+Influences+on+Judaism+and

Along with influences from other religions, Christianity also borrowed heavily from the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato. I understand that you have read the Bible, but that will only give you one dimension - the one that is coated in religious dogma and mythology. I'd like to know if you have looked from the purely historical dimension in order to more fully understand the history behind Christianity and the other religions you studied.  (I can always learn more, but the historical dimension is one of the best evidences for the truth of the account of Christ's resurrection.  How do you explain the growth of the early Christian church without it?  Why did people face death and persecution to follow Jesus if he was just a wandering teacher who was crucified after a short three year ministry in a land where even most of his own people rejected him?)

* Talk about a spiritual experience and claim that this "feeling" must have been caused by some external source, rather than produced internally. EVERY religious group in the world will always have proponents who claim to have had a spiritual experience which led them to believe in whatever they believe in. You say: "I came to pretty much all of the same conclusions that you have, but then had an experience that changed my views, and changed me as a person". Was this a spiritual experience? I'd like to understand what kind of experience you had which caused you to believe you had a divine experience. Perhaps a more rational and scientific explanation is that you had a dopamine/seratonin/adrenalin rush through your brain and body (much like when you take drugs which you might not have experienced) which gave a euphoric feeling and the impression that you were touched by God? * (It was anything but euphoric.  It was the sense of a presence which gave me a clearer insight into who I really was than I'd ever had before.   It brought the most shame and humility I had ever known, but then I found direction and peace in the words of Jesus which showed me a much higher standard to follow than the one I had set for myself.)   Talk about something that happened after it was prayed for. (Many, many things have happened after prayer that seemed too weird and unexpected to be coincidence.  Maybe I'll share more later, but at this point I sense that I'd just be offering personal experiences to ridicule, not a sincere and open desire to learn.)   Perhaps this is the kind of experience you were talking about? But then all Christians seem to say "Praise God" when their prayers are answered and say "It was God's will" when they aren't - thereby covering all possible bases. It never seems to be just simple coincidence when something good or bad occurs.

Anyway, moving on... I'll now start to address individual points you raised.

"I've read the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita and other texts. All speak to our personal relationship with God. None was as clear to me as the words of Jesus Christ found in the Gospels", so are you saying that there is truth in all other religions like Islam, Hindu, Buddhism etc? (Yes, not complete truth, but still truth.) Hindu for example doesn't have just one God but many. (Yes, and the Catholics have added saints that people pray too, but that wasn't Christ's message to us nor is the multiple God of Hinduism consistent with the Bhagavad-Gita, which has many parallels with Christianity in focusing on the story of one man's personal relationship with God) Buddhism and many other religions don't even have a God as such. How can you find bits and pieces of truth from all known religions when they vary so much in their focus and content? (If you really study them you find an underlying truth of human nature.)  Surely some or all of them must have been simply made up by men in power who started religion in order to control their people. But lets assume that the original Christian documents weren't just made up and were actually inspired by "God", the Bible is very clear on one particular fact : Christianity is the one and only TRUE religion. Any God or Gods described in any other religion is a false God or potentially represents the devil himself. Sure Islam, Christianity and Judaism all ultimately worship the same God, Jehovah/Yahweh/Allah/whatever, but that by itself is not enough to escape the punishment of an eternity in Hell. Christianity says explicitly that the only way to Heaven is to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins. You say "...but that is the key here, not rituals, denominations, dogma and all the other things we associate with religion from the outside. What matters the most is your relationship with God." But is it? Your personal relationship with God is probably very important but that won't guarantee you go to heaven - the only way to heaven is to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins. THAT'S WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. (Only way?  That's not the key concept.  Where does it say that?  Christ's atonement for our sins is certainly a Christian concept, but read John Chapter 3 and Romans 10:9) If you don't believe that you are saying that the basic message of the New Testament is flawed - in which case I will say "Well, if part of it is flawed, then why not the whole of it?"  (I do believe it, but you haven't represented it accurately or understood it.)

"Even if I'm completely wrong and there is no afterlife, the model and standard he set for human relationships and existence far surpasses anything I would have been able to discover by my own experience in this brief life". What models and standards for human relationships and existence in particular are you referring to? (Read Matthew chapters 5 through 7 for the best synopsis.)   And have your morals and standards really changed since becoming a born-again Xtian? In what way? (Very definitely.  Each person has their own unique weaknesses.  One of mine was pornography and only after seeing things through a higher standard did I see how it adversely affected my relationship with my wife in ways I had never before understood.  This understanding has caused me to turn away from it entirely.  My capacity to love my wife completely for who she is has grown in the process and our marriage relationship is far better and much richer than before.  For other people the problem they need to deal with could be drugs, alcohol, money, even simple pride and, for others, intellectual arrogance.  It all varies by person, but it involves seeing how your self-centeredness limits your own growth of character and hurts others, in sometimes subtle ways.  Other changes I experienced were in a heightened concern for others and a life view that makes me want to serve others rather than to pursue my own self-centered ambitions.   Still other changes are just in having a better insight and wisdom into human nature.)  I have a few points to raise with you on this issue:

* As far as providing a model for human relationships and existence, have the words in the Bible prevented the countless wars from occurring in the past all in the name of God? (No, but that's because people haven't followed God's commandments, so don't blame God but rather the people who put their own self-centered needs ahead of God's will and others rights.)  I know it says "though shalt not kill" and all that, but it also strongly persuades the believer that is it his duty to try and convert as many people as possible - which has been interpreted as "use any means to convert the disbeliever". (Very wrong!  Show me where Jesus said that.  I'm not saying it never happens, but this again is an issue of putting your own agenda ahead of the commands that Jesus has given us.) It matters little to me that certain parts of Bible disagree with this method of conversion - what is important is how it is interpreted. (So if you told me to not kill, but then I went out and killed someone and said you told me to do it that doesn't matter, as long as I say I interpreted what you said that way - even if you said completely the opposite?) it doesn't matter what you say, but what some.  Because of its vagaries and ambiguities, the Bible has and is being used for harmful purposes. (Is the God's fault or just an example of how far we have fallen from what we were created to be?)  When I look at America from various TV documentaries and other sources I see bigotry, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc commonplace among the Christians (i.e. fundamentalist mostly). It's always the Christians out there who are forcing their morals down everyone's throats with little regard to the other side of the story. (This isn't following what Christ said to do, but again a self-centered self-righteous agenda - EXACTLY what Jesus attacked the religious leaders for 2,000 years ago. See Matthew 23 for an example.   It's not that everything done in the name of Christianity is right, any more than that everything done in the name of government is right.  IT'S SIMPLY ABOUT FOLLOWING CHRIST!  YOU'RE SHOOTING AT THE WRONG TARGET AND MISSING THE POINT!)  Christians (in general) see everything in black and white, good and evil, right and wrong, because the Bible doesn't leave much room for grey areas. I believe we live in a "grey" world where no one particular set of morals can possibly be applied across the board. (Read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. Wouldn't the world be like heaven if we could just agree on these?)  * The Bible, as far as I am aware, mentions slavery quite a lot, (It mentions it because it was part of history.  It doesn't endorse it.  It mentions sin quite a lot too, but doesn't endorse that either.)  yet doesn't say that there is anything wrong with it because at the time the Bible was written it was an accepted part of life. Shouldn't slavery have been condemned if it is so morally wrong?   (How about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? That was a condemnation of slavery, was it not?  Jesus' most simple explanation of everything in God's commands and the words of God given the prophets is found in Matthew 7:12: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.")

* How about the way that women are depicted - though shalt obey thy husband and all this crap. (Wrong! This interpretation completely misses the point.   The Jews and others of the day treated women like property.  Jesus, on the other hand treated them with respect and invited them into his ministry.  You miss the context of the message in which Paul follows with this instruction to the husbands in Ephesians 5:25:   "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."  In other words, a husband should be willing to do submit himself to anything for his wife, including to die for her.   Christianity is based on submission of yourself to the will of God and the needs of others.  Mutual submission for the good of the other is a much better foundation for a marriage than mutual self-centeredness.   I've done both and know the difference from experience.   Paul's message to men about women raises them up, particularly against the standards of those times, but even today, if you understand it.)  Up until recent times when religion has finally lost much of its control over the masses in Western society, women have been treated like 2nd class citizens. You may say that things were better before when women didn't have the power they have today - in that they tended to remain in marriages rather than divorce their husbands - which was at the very least frowned upon by a moralistic society and at most not allowed at all. The greater evil in my opinion is when women are not given the means to divorce from a violent relationships and are forced to endure unhappy existences because some male-centred religious text says they must obey their husband.  (If people followed Christ we wouldn't have violent relationships to begin with.  This has nothing to do with following Christ, but is rather an example again of people living self-centered lives with no moral compass.) 

* What about the morals behind God deciding to exterminate whole cities. Did everyone in Babylon deserve to be slaughtered? I often hear from my Dad (who is a devout Christian) when there are problems in the Middle-East we should just blow them up - their all going to hell anyway. This is often the thinking of uneducated Christians - kill em all and let God sort them out.  (Uneducated indeed, and that again is not what Christ said.  You keep on shooting at the wrong target.  In the words of Oswald Chambers, "Christianity is not devotion to work, or to a cause, or a doctrine, but devotion to a person, the Lord Jesus Christ."  Should you reject Christ because of the actions of self-centered, self-righteous, uneducated people?)

* What about homosexuality? The bible says that homosexuality is just about one of the worst sins you can commit, so gay people should be killed and they are doomed to spend eternity in hell. Do you believe this? In this case, if someone uses the Bible as a source of truth and guidance, the believer will be blinded from scientific evidence which suggests otherwise. From a scientific perspective, homosexuality is not a choice or a sin, but that people are in fact born gay and it is just as "natural" as heterosexual sex - therefore it is not a sin because "gayness" is in-built. You only need to look to the animal kingdom to see homosexuality a commonplace phenomena - why would God create animals which had sexual encounters with their own sex if the act were so abominable? (We were obviously created higher than animals, so why should we act like them?)   This is one example of why I believe the Bible was written by ignorant men, not God. If God wrote it, it would have been written that homosexuality is natural, that it's mainly down to the amount of hormones they get while in the womb which determines whether you become gay or not, and people should not be condemned for their sexual preference. This is especially one instance where the Bible has been used to justify immoral behaviours - ie gay-bashing.  (Perhaps used, but used totally incorrectly.  We all sin and fall short of God's standard, whether our sin is gossiping, murder or homosexuality.  See Romans 3:23.  Christianity teaches to LOVE THE SINNER, BUT HATE THE SIN.  That's an incredibly important distinction that is lost on many, many people.  See Matthew Chapter 7.  Christ on the other hand said this: (John 13:35) "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.") 

* The underlying implication of Christianity is that all you need to know in order to have a fulfilling life is what is contained in the Bible. (Completely wrong.  Jesus said this: (John 5:38-40) "You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, {38} nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. {39} You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, {40} yet you refuse to come to me to have life. The key to Christianity is making Jesus Christ Lord in your life, knowing a personal relationship with Him as the Living Savior, knowing God through Him, and living your life with a commitment to a higher standard and purpose than your own.  I know that's a weird concept for an atheist, but that is what Christianity is all about.)  It matters little what you do and know in this world, so long as you follow the commandments and believe Jesus died for your sins, because God is returning soon, the world will be destroyed, so who cares what happens to Earth. The Bible may not imply this directly, (You're right, it doesn't so why hold it against the Bible?) but the indirect affect of a world full of religious nutcases leads to people thinking more of the afterlife than the here and now. All you need to do is look at the time since Christianity began and you will see a general dumbing-down of the population, free thought being suppressed, (why else were the Christian-dominated centuries called the "Dark" Ages?) and a great disregard for Nature because humans, in the Bible, are situated above the rest of the animal kingdom and it's our right (according to the Bible) to have dominion over it.  (FOCUS ON THE WORDS OF CHRIST, NOT THE ACTIONS OF HUMANS!)

I'm sorry, but I think that the morals and standards outlined in the Bible are outdated and unable to adjust to changing times. (Human nature hasn't changed in thousands of years.  Try reading the Bible and you'll be amazed.)   Many Christians believe that without the Bible, the world would be without morals - that somehow the Bible is responsible for all the good in this world and if left to the evil non-believers we would have anarchy and chaos. (I'm not saying you are defending this line of reasoning but many Xtians do). This is plainly false because most "normal" people who have been raised in a "normal" environment have an inherent altruistic behaviour towards other people, as it is beneficial to be good to others so that they will be good to you. This is all stuff you learn in the school playground in your childhood and does not need to be learnt from religious scriptures - so morals like "Thou shalt not kill, steal, commit adultery, etc" are almost unnecessary to mention because they are so obvious. (If it's so obvious then why now in the height of our technology in the last century was the world filled with more war and murder than ever before?  Why in the past several decades of increased religious "freedom" is the world more filled with divorce, rape, terrorism, adultery, sexually transmitted disease, etc.  Why do my kids fear being murdered at school?) I would really like to know what morals and standards you are referring to which you couldn't have gained without the Bible.  (READ AND UNDERSTAND MATTHEW CHAPTERS 5-7.   There you will find a far higher standard than even in the ten commandments.   It becomes a matter of not following rules and doing what is altruistic or logical, but of finding something in your own heart that takes you beyond yourself to know and demonstrate genuine love, compassion and mercy for other people.   You can't just read it though.  It has to make a change in your heart for it to hold any meaning.)

Something that was glaringly obvious on my travels around Europe was the difference in cultural and moral behaviour from one country to the next - depending a lot on how religious each country was. Those countries which were highly religious - Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey for example - had a far higher rate of male chauvinistic behaviour. In these countries there is a social stigma brought about by religious indoctrination which disallows girls from sleeping with men before they marry, leaving a hell of a lot of deprived and desperate sex-hungry men who would grope and hurl explicit comments at foreign girls who I was travelling with. In other countries where religion is becoming a thing of the past, the entire culture seemed to me to be more mature and rational. So by religion trying to force a particular set of morals on a society leads in this example to negative consequences. We are animals, advanced animals to be sure, but like animals we have sexual (and other) urges which can not be suppressed by quotes in some religious text. You can't stop people from doing things by telling them not too - and especially when it is against a "natural" behaviour. This is also why so many young boys are molested by Catholic priest whilst in their care, because Catholic priests are men and men have sexual desires. If a particular behaviour is determined to be detrimental to an individual or society, then it needs to be understood using science and psychology and addressed through self-help educational courses, the media and government rather than religion - because religion can only set the morals for people of that religion.

Do you know that Jesus Christ didn't start a religion?" Yes. Paul was in fact the one who started Christianity and Constantine who institutionalised it. It was Paul who had a vision that Jesus was the Son of God (all of Christianity rests on the question of whether the vision was from God or simply the delusions of a mad-man). (THIS IS SO, SO WRONG!  Read the Gospels for heaven's sake.   Many people recognized Jesus as the Christ long before Paul even came into the picture in the seventh chapter of Acts, the account of what happened AFTER the account recorded in the gospels.   Read Luke chapter 9 or John chapter 20 as an example.   Jesus said he was the Son of God.  You're still correct that Jesus didn't start a religion.  He came to restore our RELATIONSHIP with God.)  And it was Paul who spent a good portion of his life travelling around the Mediterranean converting as many people as possible to this idea that Jesus was returning in his lifetime. Of course that didn't happen, yet he had converted enough people by the time of his death that the ball had started rolling and the power of memes kicked in. All it took was for Constantine to become converted by his wife, declare Christianity as the one true religion, combine the Church and State, and then we spent around 1500 years under the yoke of the Catholic Church. In this situation it was impossible to believe anything other than the dogma given by the church without being sentenced to a horrible death. This is the reason why Christianity remains with us today - it would be impossible to eradicate a belief so forcefully engrained in our culture in such a short time period. On top of this it has some pretty powerful mind-hooks which have guaranteed that it will live on in our society for a good while longer:

* promise of an afterlife - so you will live forever and will re-unite with loved ones (so long as they were Christian)

* the guarantee that those who wrong you and do wrong to others will not get away with it - God will Judge them at the pearly gates. * an easy answer. To be a skeptic requires a lot of long hours of research in order to say with any conviction that God doesn't exist. To be a Christian on the other hand, only requires you to believe in a simple message (believe that Jesus died for you sins), read one book (most Xtians don't even do this) and go to Church on a weekly basis (some Xtians like my parents don't go to Church and read the Bible instead). (WRONG.  You have a worldly view of Christianity that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what it means to follow Christ in your life.  It's not at all about saying a few words, following a few rules and showing up in a building once a week.  It's about changing your definition of life to move from being self-centered to seeking to serve God and others through an ongoing commitment to grow in your relationship with Christ and to put the standards he set for us above your own.  Your definition of being a skeptic requires only a self-centered, self-assured intellectualism, not a change to grow beyond your own nature and limitations.)  This is why I feel that most Christians lose the ability or desire to think rationally and critically analyse their belief system.

"Have you studied material that would challenge your beliefs or just the material from naturalist and humanist viewpoints that will support your beliefs?" As you know I was a Christian for the first 16 years of my life, so yes I have read this material you mention. (Were you really a Christian or just someone who attended a church of a Christian denomination?  Do you know the difference?)   After becoming an atheist I have indeed spent time perusing the Christian web sites in order to see the other side of the argument. When I do see a reasonably good argument from the Christian camp (like some of the arguments in your web site), I then go to a number of Atheist web sites to see the counter-arguments. From my experience, the atheist rebuttals sound a hell of a lot more plausible than the comments made on Christian sites. (You're not seeing with any spiritual insight or real knowledge of Christianity yet, so of course the secular viewpoint is going to strike a chord with you.)   So far I haven't come across a point made by a Christian which have even mildly upset my Atheistic viewpoint. A question : Do you do the same? You were an agnostic once (which puts you in a very different camp to the Atheists I think) but have you gone back in recent times to see what the Atheists are saying? (I get letters from atheists quite frequently - all the long ones are from atheists, in fact.   Just like yours.)  Or have you comfortably assumed that you have discovered the real truth and so found it unnecessary to challenge your beliefs. (I always try to learn more, which is one of the purposes of my web site, but my beliefs have already been challenged to the point of causing a complete change in both my beliefs and my life.  Have yours been pushed to that point so that you really know what it's like to be on both sides?)

Going back to my original email to you, I remember raising the following point : Why would God create a single-cell organism which requires more DNA instructions than a human being? And you replied saying you'd never heard about this and asked me to confirm - which I couldn't at the time. Since then I've been re-reading Carl Sagan's "Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors" and this is his quote on this particular issue : "The more you know how to do, the more advanced you are - and you might think, the better your chances for survival. But the DNA instructions for making a human being comprise some 4 billion nucleotide pairs, while those for a common one-celled amoeba contain 300 billion nucleotide pairs (WRONG.  See the U.S.   Human Genome Project

in particular and

for more information.) and .... again, some, maybe even most, of the genetic instructions must be redundancies, stutters, untranscribable nonsense. Again we glimpse deep imperfections at the heart of life". This also addresses the other point I made about "garbage" DNA which doesn't code for anything. You said in regards to this something like, "How do we know what this so called garbage DNA is actually useless". Well, using another quote from Carl : "Sometimes the DNA goes into a stuttering frenzy in which the same ravings are repeated over and over. In the kangaroo rat of the American Southwest, for example, the sequence AAG is repeated 2.4 billion times, one after the other; TTAGGG, 2.2 billion times; and ACACAGCGGG, 1.2 billion times. Fully half the genetic instructions in the kangaroo rat are these three stutters". This fact, along with amoebas containing nearly a hundred times more genetic instructions than that required to build a human being, seems to imply that the process involved in creating these DNA strings, was the unthinking and undirected approach of Evolution, rather than the directed and intelligent approach of a God.

"What is wrong with God creating another species of animal that shares some characteristic to us?". There is nothing wrong with that particular thought - it just seems more likely to be an evolutionary processes rather than creative processes when all of Nature is inexorably tied together by a hierarchical DNA tree. There is no example of an animal or plant in this world which has stumped the Theory of Evolution - say an animal or plant with a completely unique DNA code. Maybe if there was then I would be open to suggestions that a God was necessary to have created that animal or plant.

As for recommending some good religious books for me to read, I'm sorry but I'm not going to read the ones you supplied. I went over to to have a look at the reviews of the books you mentioned.

For "Mere Christianity"
ts/book-customer-reviews/0684846381/o/qid= 943841776/sr=2-2/103-2933839-1007028

ts/book-customer-reviews/0684846381/o/qid =943841776/sr=2-2/103-2933839-1007028>

 - all of the 5 stars were given by religious people, and the atheists all gave it 1 star. This says to me that he is preaching to the converted and not supplying enough solid reasoning for the more skeptical among us. I also read Dan Barkers review of the book:

(There were 46 reviews at Amazon, most of them five stars, and yet you refuse to even look?  He wasn't preaching to the converted in most cases.  Read statements from readers like:

"A confirmed agnostic of many years, I believed Christianity was illogical and no reasoning person could believe in it."

"This book allowed me to forget all I knew about God and investigate from a totally new perspective. I could never just rattle off chapters, this is a book to be read SLOWLY, absorbed and digested. My brain got a great workout."

"A staunch agnostic, I read this in college and was floored by the imagery Lewis brings to faith."

These people weren't in the choir.  What are the REAL reasons that you won't "see the movie" for yourself?)


which convinced me entirely that it was not going to be a book which would give me reason to believe in God or that Jesus died for my sins. It was the same story for "Show Me God".

You may call me "close-minded" for saying this but I think 've heard most of the arguments from people trying to attempt to prove God... and I haven't been convinced - not even remotely.  (Don't expect people to convince you.  They can only tell you of their own experiences and give you a hint as to where to look.  You have to have your own experience with God, but you won't find it in intellectualism and self-confidence.)  Ultimately, and I think you will agree with me on this, there is no way you can prove God, and it must be left up to faith to bridge the gap of reason in order to believe. Faith, in my opinion, is a cop-out - an acceptance that the question of whether of not God exists in unknowable by any other means than simple "belief", much like many people have a "belief" in UFOs, ghosts, Shiva, 100-foot fire-breathing elephants, etc.  (Help me out here.  Your belief in spontaneous generation of life from inanimate matter is based entirely on FAITH so how is that any less of a cop-out?  Can't one just as easily and logically say, using your own example, "there is no way you can prove that life began on its own, and it must be left up to faith to bridge the gap of reason in order to believe. )

Just in case you want a link to some more atheistic viewpoints, here tis:
msubath_arg.htm?iam=ask&terms=%22Da n+Barker%22

msubath_arg.htm?iam=ask&terms=%22D an+Barker%22>

Anyway, said way too much, and it's time to finish this email. Feel free to reply and address any points you feel need addressing, but if you've read this far then you probably realise that I'm an atheist through and through - providing me with quotes from the Bible won't sway me from my line of thinking. So if you wish to leave the discussion here then I will understand. Just the process of writing this response has helped me to organise my thoughts on this topic more fully, so I will have gained from this conversation even if you don't reply. But I hope you do.

Well, all the best.

It's been six months since we've written and it's hard for me to believe that you even remembered our correspondence.  I guess I must have at least given you something to think about, even if you don't agree with me.   I'm glad to hear that you are settled in Sydney.  From the pictures I've seen, it looks like they had quite a celebration for the millennium.  Hope you were there.

Well, that was quite a letter you wrote.  We do seem to be willing to go to great lengths to try to convince each other, and possibly ourselves, of our own viewpoints don't we.  I starting responding to various points in your letter and got to a point at which it just seemed better to stop.  What I did write is in red and blue below.   I want to respond to you, but as I continued on it became hard for me to see the point.

So, do you like movies?  Have you seen any good ones recently?  Suppose you'd seen a really great movie and you were discussing it with someone who said it was a really bad movie.  You start to discuss the movie in more detail with the other person to understand their view.  In the course of the discussion, you begin to realize they haven't even seen the movie yet, nor do they have any real interest in seeing it.  You find that everything they know about the movie is based on what someone else has told them about the movie.  Much of it is wrong and doesn't even make sense.  You try to tell the person your view of the movie and find that not only are they unwilling to see the movie, but they won't even read favorable reviews of the movie!  You can try as hard as you can to communicate why you think the movie is good and worth seeing, but with no common ground of experience, and with no willingness on the part of the other person to do anything but read unfavorable reviews by movie critics, there's not much you can say that will seem to make much of a difference, wouldn't you think?

As you might have guessed in reading the above, this is how I feel in trying to discuss this topic with you.  I've enjoyed our correspondence and care enough about you to want to write, but I need to feel that you're at least willing to "see the movie for yourself" to have this dialogue even make sense.  Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem as though you've even read the Bible, yet you claim to have all sorts of knowledge of it.  If you did read the Bible at some point in your life, your understanding of it is quite limited.  Your views seem to be based on the writings of atheists, most of whom are biased to the point of being blind.  Take, for instance, the article that you said summarized your thoughts.  His entire discussion was pretty well summarized by his opening statement: "There is no good evidence or sound argument for any god whatsoever."  Do you believe that to be TRUTH?  You detest self-righteousness, right?  So why do you accept it in atheists?  This may not be PROOF, but of course there is evidence and reason to support the existence of God.  You can look to spiritual experiences of millions, documented "miracle" / unexplained healings, the mathematical improbabilities of life occurring on its own, incredible technology in life's design, "natural" laws that are precisely balanced to support life, circumstantial historical analysis that supports the account of Jesus, recent archaeological finding that corroborate the Bible, etc., etc., etc.  Science itself states that life doesn't come from inanimate matter and the odds of it forming on its own are extremely small.  What kind of conclusion does a completely rational, non-biased mind draw from that information?  Now this doesn't mean you have to believe in God because of this, but anyone who just categorically denies that any evidence or reason even exists is simply so blind and biased that it undermines the credibility of anything else they say.  If that's the means by which you want to acquire TRUTH in your life, you are free to make your own choice.  I can only recommend to you that be more open-minded in your search.

For the most part, atheists are people who have had NO experience in the spiritual, nothing in their lives to let them know what it feels like to know the presence of God.   (Note that I say no experience in the spiritual, not no experience in the church.) If you wanted to know what it really means to love someone - how it feels, how it changes your life, what you do differently, its joys, its pains - who would you turn to someone who had never been in love and detests girls (an eight-year-old boy, for example) or someone who had the a successful EXPERIENCE in love which brings knowledge, insight and wisdom into the matter?   Similarly, you could ask hundreds of people blind or in the dark since birth about light, but what would you really learn?

If you have enough passion about this topic to want to read and write about it, at least be willing to have the experiences in your life that give you first hand knowledge of it.  Go see the movie yourself.  Read the Bible.  Read it not as somebody who has organized their thoughts and already "knows it all" at a relatively young age, but as one still seeking to learn about life the same way a child asks why the sky is blue.  Try praying to this unseen God for a while before you conclude based on second, third and fourth-hand testimonies from embittered others that He doesn't exist.  Try reading what may very well be His thoughts given to you, and all of mankind, in the words of Jesus.  That is the only way that anyone really comes to have faith in God.  It's not an issue of what other people say.  Those are just opinions.  It's a matter of what you experience, and what you experience is a matter of where you are willing to go and what you are willing to see, just as with anything else in life.

You have organized your thoughts, but much of what you written and forwarded via links is simply wrong.  Much of it is factually incorrect.  Some of it is misinterpretations that show limited understanding of the Bible and Christianity.  You criticize CHRISTIANS and CHRISTIANITY at length, but don't seem to realize that TRUE Christianity is about knowing and following JESUS CHRIST, not acting like people who may call themselves CHRISTIANS or adopting the dogma or ritual of any particular denomination that calls itself Christian.  Many people who call themselves Christians are simply members of a church and that's all there is to it.   They ignore every command given by Christ.  Does that make them Christians?  Read the gospels and you'll find that Jesus detested the same things in people and religion that you do!  You lash out against anything that involves faith, but don't seem to realize that without God you too are required to have an incredible FAITH in life forming from nothing, against all odds and through completely unknown processes which have never been observed and are in fact in contradiction to much of what we do observe.  You can't explain your own existence without faith in something unprovable.

We could go on and recreate megabytes of opposing viewpoints, much of which has already been written by others.  I don't see that there will be much fruit in that.  I want to help you in your search for truth, but our communication won't mean much if you aren't even open to at least reading the one book we are talking about - The Bible.   You've got to "see the movie" for yourself in order for this to have any meaning.  It can take a year or more to do a proper reading of the Bible.   That's a big commitment, but not for a true skeptic or a true seeker.  If you want to start with a smaller commitment, I would highly recommend at least a reading of Luke and Acts, both written by Luke, a doctor and Gentile, as a single, continuous account.  Get something with good study notes so that you can understand the historical, cultural and theological context within which it was written.  I still think C.S. Lewis is a good introduction, but even there you'd just be reading the review of another person.   Check out the links below and let me know if you want to continue with the discussion.  For about $10 you can get the best source material I know on two small books of the Bible that you could probably read in a week or so.  Do this and you'll know a whole lot more than you would about Christ and the Bible from decades of reading second-hand reviews by atheists and more than many "Christians" know.  Even if you chose to not believe in God when you're done, you'll at least know your position from first hand experience and you may find, as I have, that there is some absolutely incredible wisdom for life in the Bible that can make this life much richer, if you have the openness to learn, the desire to understand it and the faith and courage to apply it.  If you don't reply again, I will understand.  Just know that whatever you may believe now, my experience tells me that God will be there whenever you turn to Him.  Let me know if I can help in any way, now, in six months or in six years.   I wish you the best in your pursuits.

Best regards,


These should be available through any local bookstore.

Book of Luke:

Book of Acts:

Entire Life Application Bible, New International Version:

Note:  See my additional comments to his letter in red and blue in the left column.

4th letter received

My response

Text of his next letter with my comments to him added in blue:


Just received your email. Thanks for quite a hefty serving of food for thought. (You're very welcome.  I'm glad you considered it as such.)  On first reading of your response I'm coming to the same conclusion that this conversation is really not going to be convincing either of us of the beliefs of the other, but I don't think this exercise is entirely in vain. If nothing else you have made me realise that I really need to get firsthand knowledge before I try and argue with someone as well versed in the Bible as yourself. It's funny how I can say exactly the same arguments to other atheists / agnostics / non-believers and I'm met with firm nods of agreement on most points but you don't seem to accept a single argument I make. I guess I just can't get my head around the whole "spiritual" way of looking at things making it almost impossible to argue with someone who is "spiritual". We live in separate paradigms which don't allow for an easy cross-transfer of ideas and concepts, so I need to at least try reading some spiritual books such as the Bible to understand your way of thinking. Perhaps in my readings I will acquire many enlightening views on how to enrich my life somehow - even if I am looking at the scriptures as the insights of a gifted teacher of philosophy rather than the message from the Son of God. (I think you'd find the study fascinating.)   In that sense, I now understand what you mean by finding truth in all religions but I would have instead used the word "insight" instead of "truth", because what is truth? I completely accept the point that every religion has something to say which can give a sense of purpose and provide new ways of perceiving the world and other people. But that doesn't mean they are "true". (Good point if you're talking from a secular or human perspective because then I have no more right to determine the truth than you or anyone else so there can be no absolute truth, only relative truth, which isn't really truth at all.  But . . . if there is a God, then wouldn't you agree that His perspective of the truth would be at least much greater than ours?  If He created the universe then His truth would at least be the truth in this universe, right?)  But then I often ask myself: is it really so important for something to be true if it gives purpose and meaning to people? For example, I have in the past attempted on several occasions to convince my Mum and Dad that God didn't exist (and got nowhere). But then would it make them any happier or content if I DID finally convince them? No, most likely not. They are happy in their belief that when they die they will go to heaven, and I'm sure their belief also helped them through hard times in their marriage. In their case as in yours, religion has only helped to improve their lives as well as the lives of people close to them.  (In my case, I'd say that God helped me rather than religion, but what seems like an important distinction to me may be semantics to you.)

My main gripe is therefore not with individual religious people like yourself and Mum and Dad, but more at the side-effects of religions. (I agree, but there's a great difference between religion as a social institution and religion as a personal spiritual experience.  Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water, or the Christ child with the holy water.)  You say "why now in the height of our technology in the last century was the world filled with more war and murder than ever before? Why in the past several decades of increased religious "freedom" is the world more filled with divorce, rape, terrorism, adultery, sexually transmitted disease, etc". But I disagree with you in believing that the world is getting worse and worse now that people are moving away from religion. Maybe I've been reading different history books to you, but the last few decades (where the movement toward atheism has been the greatest) (Actually atheism is even described in the Bible, and goes in cycles in human history.  It's nothing new to the industrial age.)  have been pretty tame compared to the rest of world history - we have a much better chance of living to a ripe old age and in far greater comfort than any time before say 1950 when the world overall was certainly a lot more religious. The move towards multiculturalism in most Western societies has forced people to accept other peoples religions and cultures and live peacefully together. (I think a bigger factor of our "peaceful" coexistence is the simple fact that since 1950 we've had the ability to completely annihilate each other.  Did you grow up in the 1950's and 1960's like I did where people built personal bomb shelters and Nikita Kruschev said he would bury us?  I remember as a child fearing that civilization would end before I would reach adulthood.)  Countless atrocities have been committed in previous centuries which could never happen in this day and age (the complete destruction of the Aztec and Inca societies once containing millions of people by the Europians in the 17th century; the decimation of the Aboriginals by the British in the 17th and 18th centuries, the thousands murdered in inquisitions and witch hunts perpetrated by the church over hundreds of years.; the hundreds of thousands of infidels wiped out during the Crusades, etc, etc, etc - I could go on and on here). (I think those at Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Auschwitz, to name a few who lived and died in this century, might have a very different take on this.  More people were killed in World War II than in all the previous wars in history combined.  Better living - and dying - through technology.  Don't get me wrong.  I love technology.  I just think we're in a phase in history when the pendulum has swung too far to the secular and materialism and we've lost our spirituality in the process.)  As a whole, I think in most dimensions we are much better off now than in our past. (We certainly are in terms of physical well being, but how do the last 50 years compare in spiritual well being, a sense of community, commitment, the depth of character and purpose in people's lives, etc?)  Adultery has been going on since marriages were invented. Sexually transmitted diseases have been around for thousands of years. Natural disasters "appear" to be on the increase. These "problems" may appear to be rising but only because the media can distribute stories far more quickly than ever before from sources all over the world. Marital problems were once kept relatively secret, but now thanks to Oprah and Jerry Springer we can see first hand the extent of the difficulties we humans have in living together. And the situation you have in America where kids are being murdered at school is almost uniquely an American problem. You rarely hear about these kind of things happening in Europe, the UK or Australia which are under the same process of moving away from Christianity. (Christianity is booming in China!)  This is down to serious cultural problems in America probably resulting from the predominance of uneducated morons living there (not you of course!). I won't even start guessing as to why America has ended up in such a state (maybe you can offer some opinions on this) but the rest of the world will often use the term "Only in America" when referring to these examples of extreme human behavior demonstrated by your fellow Americans.  (I fear we're repeating the history of all great nations and civilization, like England and Rome, hitting our heyday and then falling as morals slide and people have no greater purpose than their own self interests.)

Maybe I haven't expressed this in my previous emails, but I don't think of religion as all bad. There are many examples of Christians doing much good in the world, as well as providing a sense of community and fellowship for so many people. If all Christians were like yourself there wouldn't be a problem. But maybe you can at least agree with me that there are serious problems with religion and I guess that is where I'd like to take this conversation if you are up for it (of course I will address the points you made in your last response if you like but I fear we will just go around in circles). (As noted above, I'll be more than happy to pick it up at the point you suggested.  Rather than go in circles over various points perhaps we can just make a comment or offer another view for the other's consideration, as I have tried to do above.)  Over the next few weeks I'll compile a list of things I see as adverse side-effects of religion, and we can determine firstly if it is indeed adverse, and what can be done to solve these problems. Of course we are not going to be actually solving them ourselves (it has to start with someone!), but maybe it will help to bridge the gap between the atheist and religious camps if we can firstly accept that there are problems with religion and contemplate ways of improving the situation. And of course you will most likely see many problems with the movement of the world towards atheism and the adverse consequences of this, which I would like for you to share with me. (Sounds like a good plan, but let's save it for later.)  I don't think we are going to get anywhere in trying to convert one another to our belief systems but at least we can work out a way of our two camps living together harmoniously.  (Sounds downright spiritual!)


I really didn't expect that we'd have much to write about anytime too soon, but your last letter was quite different from the one before it. You said you had difficulty getting your head around a "spiritual" way of thinking, but recognizing that there may be things that you do not yet know or fully understand is actually a very important step in seeing things from a spiritual perspective. In doing so you've brought us to a point where we can now find a meeting of the minds. I agree with you that there is much in religion that is bad and would even be interested in collaborating with you on your "adverse impacts of religion" initiative . . . as long as we really work to produce something of value.

Taking gold mining as an example. We start by digging ourselves into a dark hole, hurling rocks and piling up of tons of dirt all around us. No value there. Next we sift out the ore. A little value there, but still nothing useable. Finally we smelt the ore to produce pure gold. Pretty and shiny, but even a lump of gold doesn't do much good.  Only when we take what is pure and mold it into something usable do we obtain something of beauty and lasting value.

I think it would be very interesting to do the same thing here and I'd like to participate in your mining expedition, if you're interested.  Your first letter to me this year showed that you'd certainly dug up a lot of dirt so far and have thrown some rocks. Maybe there's enough there for us to start sifting it out.  In your last letter you acknowledged finding at least a few things in religion that seemed to have some potential value.  The next step then is to understand the characteristics that distinguish the dirt and filth from the ore.  You can list hundreds of separate atrocities in your list of adverse impacts of religion, but what would really be more useful would be to understand the characteristics that are common to them.  What caused them?  What were the motives and essential aspects of human nature, character and behavior that were being demonstrated in them?  Love?  Hate?  Mercy?  Greed?  Pride?

If you find this interesting and worthwhile, go ahead and start your list.  Perhaps it could take the form of "Religion stinks when people have blank instead of blank."  I'll fill in anything I can see that you missed.

Best regards,


P.S.  A few responses / other viewpoints to your last letter are in blue (at the left).

Final Note to Reader:  Dave never responded to the religion stinks idea, but my correspondence with him was part of the inspiration for my site called "Snapshots of God,"  which was started and completed within about one month of the letter above.


Copyright 1997-2002, The Evolution of Truth