Is Four Old Enough?

How old were you when you became Christian?

In a survey by the International Bible Society — indicated that 83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, that is, when they are children or early youth. The Barna Research Group surveys demonstrate that American children ages 5 to 13 have a 32% probability of accepting Christ, but youth or teens aged 14 to 18 have only a 4% probability of doing so. Adults age 19 and over have just a 6% probability of becoming Christians.

Because the 4-14 age period slice of the pie is so large, many have started referring to the “4-14 Window.” Many people serving as career cross-cultural missionaries have testified that they first felt God calling them to missionary service during that 4-14 age period.

It’s a fair question. How old were you when you accepted Jesus?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

112 thoughts on “Is Four Old Enough?”

  1. Just want to let you know that I will no longer respond to Skadefryd’s comments. You can approve and like them all you want, but I am not going to waste any precious time answering questions mixed in with treats and personal attacks. A certain level of friendliness is required if one wants to communicate with me.

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  2. I’m sure 4 – 14 is the perfect age range for indoctrination, just ask Hitler, Mussolini, Jim Jones, et al. As we can affirm, the most difficult to throw off the yolk of superstition from the age as well I’m sure.

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  3. 99 percent of all children are at genius level when it comes to creative and divergent thinking (according to research). They also have fever memories stored in their hippocampus/brain. As it turns out to break subconscious patterns enhancing creativity and suppressing memory is needed. As we grow older we grow out of creativity and into patterns formed by memories. Our subconscious is a strange thing and according to research comparable to a dictator and a puppet master. These researchers are actually asking themselves “who is really in charge here?”. Some of them even going as far as asking if consciousness even exist. Wondering this is all more like a pr stunt to make the person believe that he or she is in charge.

    In addition all children are being born believers. “The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children’s minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose,” Dr Justin Barrett

    If creativity (innovation not dictated by memory) really is the true sign of intelligence and consciousness, then maybe we should all stay a little bit more awake and alive like children.

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    1. I wouldn’t say they are born believers, but gullible and believe whatever a trusted adult tells them. In that respect they are born atheists. If not, how would you explain feral children? Virtually all cases the child adopts the morality and behavior of the host species which is very rarely unlearned after reintroduction into a human family. Belief in god is a learned behavior.

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      1. I would call it a question of survival, a built-in trait. To survive an Earthian baby has to adopt the mores of whatever is taking care of it , even if it is a surrogate AI. I think we see that in many cross species rearing. As for the god thing, again we have to look deeper than parental brainwashing. I knew two things as a child: that “God” was a monster to be appeased or else, that was my Catholic religion upbringing, and that there was something else, something that gave life, that cared, that could be relied on which was different but was still in the realm of the unknowable, something mystical. Later on I dropped the Christian/religious based “God” but I have kept the conscious awareness of that deeper thing. I call it life now. Or the life force. That has no rules, laws or prerequisites for some kind of special treatment, it just is. Some will insist it’s my imagination, in which case bully for me, I can imagine an entire universe and I can keep it going with my own imagination. I can bring forth and I can end. I control time and space. And in my imagination, having that kind of power doesn’t excite me: it just is.

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        1. It is kind of silly that the biblical god, the father figure has a set of rules and opinions, one of them being it important to believe in him or he becomes a bully, exacting physical torment on your spirit.

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          1. Normally, it shouldn’t take much of an IQ to reason that one out… but… are we proceeding, as a species, within normalcy? For me this isn’t black and white. We certainly have some freedom of choice but isn’t it limited by the forces that surround us, the “seen” and the “unseen”? Earlier we talked about consciousness – which implies interconnectedness , which implies no real original thought if we’re all drawing from the same well, and I brought up the idea of dark energy and matter… and what is that? How does that affect our thinking? Let’s push it even more: what kind of “sentient” forces could be working within this dark world? (It’s OK, I’m allowed, Halloween is just around the corner – that’s when they come out you know, just find a pumpkin patch, wait and watch…)

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      2. What makes your statements (even if supported by science) outweigh the result of other studies that contradict it? For there are plenty of research even conducted by atheists that contradict that belief is learned. That rather it seems to be an evolutionary trait. Who gets to decide what is statistically relevant? Who is neutral on a moving train?

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            1. ”Second, in doing so, they utterly fail to explain the totality of religious experience and belief”. It certainly doesn’t explain the totality of unbelief either. There are many ways of being religious without believing. The animist or The panpsychist doesn’t believe but experiences the world as one connected organism. It’s a way of living. Christianity and Islam took it to the road, packaged it and sold it with the threat of immediate death then hell and now we can’t escape that bias. Millions didn’t believe it and it cost them their lives. If you want to claim belief is an evolutionary trait or our natural state, then so is this; there are very few non-compliant genes left in the pool. We are now operating at diminished capacity like in the Russian fox experiment, it only takes a few generations for this type of compliance through fear to weaken our very nature. Now the author depends on this and desperately wants it to be the norm to justify his shadow of his former self.

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            2. Dear Jim:-) You are focusing your attention on a few religions. Independently of each other all kinds of beliefs have emerged through history that has common traits. The problem is that unbelief is also belief; trusting personal choices about where to put attention, focus and deciding what information is relevant. As our species direct our attention on a few areas, we are turning a blind mind and eye to the rest. Now that is based on neuroscience about our subconscious, and not some creationist claiming to be an atheist. Technically a Muslim scientist could discover fundamental truths about our universe. How do we then sift through science when everybody could be biased in ways hidden from us? If we are already programmed to search what we are looking we will surely find it. Is lying possible? Yes. Does it alter or change truth. No! So in our biased ways all of us believe lies and make them real. Self-proclaimed experts in reality. Well, if self-doubt is reserved for everybody else and not oneself, then I guess we do align with those foxes. Reporting how many chickens are left in the chicken coop based on self-interest. A self-boasting proud creature at the center of the universe with the science to prove it. Passing out judgment on others that they are indeed the ones that are wrong, self-boasting and proud. We may very way claim to be kind, humble, and a just. However, would others perceive us this way? Do “evidence” support this? There are as many views as to who we are as there are humans that interact with us. Who is then right? Do you define you or do others? Do we judge others and make excuses for ourselves?

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            3. Isabelle, that’s a well known creationist site that constantly tries to spread lies.

              No, unsurprisingly, the “study” is just an opinion piece in Nature. I’m guessing you didn’t actually read the essay, but this is what I find most pertinent about it “For the time
              being, the data support a more modest conclusion: religious thoughts seem to be an emergent
              property of our standard cognitive capacities.
              Religious concepts and activities hijack our
              cognitive resources, as do music, visual art,
              cuisine, politics, economic institutions and
              fashion. This hijacking occurs simply because
              religion provides some form of what psychologists would call super stimuli. Just as visual art
              is more symmetrical and its colours more saturated than what is generally found in nature,
              religious agents are
              highly simplified versions
              of absent human agents,
              and religious rituals are
              highly stylized versions
              of precautionary procedures. Hijacking also
              occurs because religions facilitate the expression of certain behaviours. This is the case for
              commitment to a group, which is made all the
              more credible when it is phrased as the acceptance of bizarre or non-obvious beliefs” https://www.nature.com/articles/4551038a.pdf

              So, we have a brain that is predisposed to certain things, however belief in your god isn’t one of them. Predispotition is a tendency, not a guarantee like the article from your link tries to claim when it tries to claim that there are no atheists. Humans *can* but not *will* believe in a lot of silly things. So, you are right if you intended to say that humans believe in a lot of nonsense but that nonsense isn’t necessarily true. You are wrong, if you were trying to claim that since humans may believe in things, they have to be true.

              Most Christians, in my experience, would have been trying to make the second argument. I’m guessing you are too since you have found an article that misrepresents the original essay.

              The creationist article finishes with this “But why should anyone feel “existential dread” in the first place, if not for the fact that we long for something greater and beyond our mortal lives? Why is that longing for greater purpose there in the first place? This argument reduces to “religion evolved to meet a need” without, however, bothering to explain where the need itself came from.
              Well, where does it come from? Perhaps the answer was given by a different Pascal — not Pascal Boyer but Blaise Pascal. Centuries ago, he argued that if we find a “God-shaped vacuum” (a popular but apt paraphrase of his view) in the human heart, that is simply because God put it there.”

              And of course they make the baseless claim that their god has to be the source, like you seem to be doing.

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            4. I want to thank you for communicating significantly kinder than the last time we interacted. Thank you for sparing me from personal attacks that has etched some rather unpleasant memories in my brain. Listen, discussions are interesting and especially respectful and friendly ones. You have really softened and for that I am grateful. My communication skills are not the best in the world and the original message that was supposed to be about our automatic brain got completely lost. It is no longer a conversation of what originally intended. It is not about not about isolated pieces of information that are out there interpreted until we are blue in our faces. I need to work more on my communication, so that it does not trail off.

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            5. I’m not communicating any differently, Isabella. Your perception may have changed.

              What you have claimed as “personal attacks” weren’t. Many theists try to play that card when their claims aren’t taken as truth.

              You have tried to present an essay as research, trying to support this claim of yours “What makes your statements (even if supported by science) outweigh the result of other studies that contradict it? For there are plenty of research even conducted by atheists that contradict that belief is learned. That rather it seems to be an evolutionary trait. Who gets to decide what is statistically relevant? Who is neutral on a moving train?”

              You present creationist nonsense as fact. I have no respect for that.

              Do you agree with this, the sentence I got from your creationist website’s article: ““But why should anyone feel “existential dread” in the first place, if not for the fact that we long for something greater and beyond our mortal lives? Why is that longing for greater purpose there in the first place? This argument reduces to “religion evolved to meet a need” without, however, bothering to explain where the need itself came from.
              Well, where does it come from? Perhaps the answer was given by a different Pascal — not Pascal Boyer but Blaise Pascal. Centuries ago, he argued that if we find a “God-shaped vacuum” (a popular but apt paraphrase of his view) in the human heart, that is simply because God put it there.””

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            6. Now, I am not here to claim that I am inert. My subconscious is making its predictions. Like you are trying to paint a picture of whom I am in a subtle ways. Everyone has to navigate based on experience. We have a wonderful pattern searching machine in our heads. It is only natural that you try to find common Christian traits in me. One would have to assume that I am pretty clueless as to whom you are as you are to me. Do you follow a crowd of atheists? Or are you unique. Should I pronounce a common judgment over you based on my group theory. Of course not. I should not cast any judgment at all. No, never because I do not see the whole picture. I do believe in humble love and kindness though. Our species are full of contradictions something also demonstrated in the field of science and research. Like you are demonstrating here with the original work of Pascal and how it is interpreted in various ways.

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      3. Hi again<3 Sorry for the very late reply. If God was something humans could understand and demonstrate he would not be much. As you atheists beautifully and clearly demonstrate religious people do not always portray the best of morals. You do find democracy and a sense of order everywhere in nature though, and that is part of the bigger picture. You find statically relevant information by looking at general, normal and the bigger picture.

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        1. There is no evidence for your version of god, Isabella. You like so many theist try to claim your god is some vague bit of nonsense so you can claim to know some “secret” about the universe. There is no “democracy” in nature, and the order is just from the laws of physics. And you have yet to show any of your suposedly “statistically relevant” information. Where is it?

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            1. Hopefully you will stop spreading false claims. If not, then I’ll be there to counter them when I can , so people can see what you claim isn’t true. That’s my goal, to stand against theists who spread false information out of ignorance or selfishness.

              where is your “statistically relevant information”?

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            2. I do not communicate or negotiate with terrorists. Skadefryd er ufullkommen kjærlighet. Så dersom du ønsker svar må du oversette dette. Bli mer vennlig og ikke være ute etter å angripe for enhver pris. Da blir hele diskusjonen meningsløs. Målet mitt er å spre kjærlighet og godhet i verden. Du er ett hinder for ett slikt mål. Så jeg må bare som en hest på vei mot frihet hoppe over dette hinderet. Freedom.

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            3. That’s nice, Isabella. It’s not so nice when you lie and call me a terrorist. Since you didn’t want to explain what you posted I had google translate for you.

              “Injury is imperfect love. So if you want answers you have to translate this. Become more friendly and do not want to attack at all costs. Then the whole discussion becomes meaningless. My goal is to spread love and goodness in the world. You are an obstacle to such a goal. So I just have to jump over this obstacle like a horse on my way to freedom”

              Love isn’t lying to someone or about someone neither is goodness. Lying to someone is restricting their freedom to make an educated decision. You’ve chosen to try to spread false claims again, Isabella. All you want is blind agreement, not friendship.

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            4. Dear name unknown. It does not translate well and the meaning got lost. You are not a terrorist. It was just a stupid attempt on my part to get a friendly conversation instead of a hostile one. I do not know you or a thing about your life. So, it would be rather unfair of me to judge you based on fragments of information.

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            5. “name unknown” hmmmm?

              If the meaning got lost, try again. You seem to write english very well. You called me a terrorist. It’s amazing that you think calling anyone a terrorist is a way to get a friendly conversation started. I suspect that it wasn’t that at all, but it may have been.

              I am waiting for the evidence that you say supports your claims.

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    2. I would agree that children are born to believe. Survival would be impossible otherwise. One needs to believe the people in your world who have survived to the age of reproduction because that is simply your greatest odds of survival.

      And of course it also makes sense that we would get the impression that the world is designed. After all the concept of God couldn’t have always been passed down. At least once in human history it must have originated. There are many hypotheses for how this might come about which seems plausible. I’ve always like Douglas Adams simple explanation the best:

      We know that in a few generations those genes which favour a thicker coat will have come to the fore and we’ll come and we’ll find that the animals have now got thicker coats. Early man, who’s a tool maker, doesn’t have to do this: he can inhabit an extraordinarily wide range of habitats on earth, from tundra to the Gobi Desert – he even manages to live in New York for heaven’s sake – and the reason is that when he arrives in a new environment he doesn’t have to wait for several generations; if he arrives in a colder environment and sees an animal that has those genes which favour a thicker coat, he says “I’ll have it off him”. Tools have enabled us to think intentionally, to make things and to do things to create a world that fits us better. Now imagine an early man surveying his surroundings at the end of a happy day’s tool making. He looks around and he sees a world which pleases him mightily: behind him are mountains with caves in – mountains are great because you can go and hide in the caves and you are out of the rain and the bears can’t get you; in front of him there’s the forest – it’s got nuts and berries and delicious food; there’s a stream going by, which is full of water – water’s delicious to drink, you can float your boats in it and do all sorts of stuff with it; here’s cousin Ug and he’s caught a mammoth – mammoth’s are great, you can eat them, you can wear their coats, you can use their bones to create weapons to catch other mammoths. I mean this is a great world, it’s fantastic. But our early man has a moment to reflect and he thinks to himself, ‘well, this is an interesting world that I find myself in’ and then he asks himself a very treacherous question, a question which is totally meaningless and fallacious, but only comes about because of the nature of the sort of person he is, the sort of person he has evolved into and the sort of person who has thrived because he thinks this particular way. Man the maker looks at his world and says ‘So who made this then?’ Who made this? – you can see why it’s a treacherous question. Early man thinks, ‘Well, because there’s only one sort of being I know about who makes things, whoever made all this must therefore be a much bigger, much more powerful and necessarily invisible, one of me and because I tend to be the strong one who does all the stuff, he’s probably male’. And so we have the idea of a god. Then, because when we make things we do it with the intention of doing something with them, early man asks himself , ‘If he made it, what did he make it for?’ Now the real trap springs, because early man is thinking, ‘This world fits me very well. Here are all these things that support me and feed me and look after me; yes, this world fits me nicely’ and he reaches the inescapable conclusion that whoever made it, made it for him.

      I question Adams’ reasoning about the gender about God, because I think there would be good reasons to assume God could be female. He goes on to say:

      “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in – an interesting hole I find myself in – fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”

      The truth behind nature is incredibly hard to grasp without some very deep thought and careful experimentation. The type of things we did not really evolve to do. By almost every observation to the naked eye, everything does appear to be moving on its axis. There is no way we can sense our own motion as the Earth rotates on it’s axis, but we have evolved to judge velocity based on the movement of objects in relation to other objects and thus it appears everything is moving around us. Barrett’s study, doesn’t in anyway state that this observation that there is an intelligence behind creation is correct. Only that it would appear to children that this would be the case. This perspective is merely one that exists from a lack of education and the proper tools to study the natural world around us. Just as was the case for the geocentric theory.

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      1. Hi<3 Thank you for responding, and sorry for the late reply:-) Yes, those researchers do not change their perception when finding that faith is an evolutionary trait. My impression is that you keep your facts straight, which is great. Now I am a controversial Christian if you did not already know. The biggest problem is the level of faith either way, due to the sheer complexity of reality and cognitive limitations. Our subconscious and what science uncovers about it raises a lot of red flags. There is not one single thought that arrives in our consciousness that our unconscious mind has not thought up and brought up before. One can even start to question awareness itself and free will. Our thoughts are almost dictated to us. The adaptable brain that you are describing is a very thin layer on top of a blind unconsciousness brain that encourages in the moment behaviour. Discoveries regarding our blind mind also questions all sensory input that are sifted through by it. Making its predictions based on likelihood, relevance, statistics, and giving us the finished interpreted result. Our subconscious really do falsify information, something that usually works just fine. To top it off all options are in superposition with one another at the quantum level. So, that the input itself appear to be observed into existence. Always putting the observer at the center of the universe. Just like your reference narrative. We get the world revolves around me perception. Not just because the big bang happened everywhere, but also because of Einstein's theory of relativity.
        Our subconscious is comparable to a puppet master with its coding and algorithms unknown to us. Driving ourselves to think that we are more in charge and conscious than the rest. Surely we are less biased! Thinking to ourselves that it is in fact all those other people this is referring to, not me. Well, that is the trap we set for others that surely traps ourselves. Getting stuck in patterns. Not realizing that endless rotating repetition of similar objects simply give the illusion of life. Why do I believe in Christ? Well why do we believe anything in life? We base it on our experience (in my case my experience), if we leave all our options out there in superposition with each other we would surely be everywhere but; at the same time, nowhere . Scattering into nothing and gibberish.

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        1. Hi Isabella. Thank you for your reply. I was a little confused by your use here of the subconscious and the switching back and forth with unconscious. The existence of an entity in the brain called the “subconscious” has not been shown to be true, but if you simply mean activity in the brain that we are not conscious of then I understand what you mean by subconscious.

          You might be a controversial Christian, but certainly not unusual as you seem to employ the philosophy that since we can’t be sure of anything given how much our own personal perception filters the view of the world that scientific facts are not really facts at all, but experiences, and that a religious experience is no less invalid. I hope that’s not an unfair summary here.

          Let me first say that I don’t think all personal experiences are equal in terms of their closeness to some objective truth. While I would agree that perhaps we can’t be sure of anything 100%, there are higher probabilities and lower probabilities in that range of uncertainty. Truth can’t solely be a matter of personal experience, because as with the example of geocentric and heliocentric theory. The experience of everything moving around you was an incorrect view of what’s actually happening. Interestingly what I love about the example of orbital motion, is that it is completely possible, save for the fact that you don’t feel yourself moving, to postulate that the Earth is turning on its axis. This is an equally possible explanation to why everything move one direction across the sky. And there were those who proposed that idea as a possibility. So two people having an experience which suggests two different models of how the universe works have both the possibility of being right, but evidence eventually weighed more heavily in favor of the other. What made the heliocentric theory far stronger was that we were able to actually make predictions with high accuracy, which is what any good theory does and how we know we are closer to some objective truth. It seems to me that is the one thing that religion has been very bad at, which is making predictions that turned out to be accurate, except in a very ambiguous, horoscope sort of way.

          I guess I would also submit that, whether conscious of it or not, you at least take advantage of the highly probable “true” things on an everyday basis. Your world is surrounded by devices, appliances, structures that are possible through scientific investigation. This is the value of science is that it is a methodology that does not have personal bias baked into it. Of course that doesn’t mean, in any way that any one scientist doesn’t have personal bias, and I would no more assume one scientist is right about the results of an experiment than a person who had a religious experience, but when a lot of people, independently find the same thing to be true. When conclusions from one experiment can be relied upon to make new predictions that also come true, well then this becomes a big deal. The scientific method is a way out from our biases, not a product of them. We can argue about why the universe can be discovered through any logical means at all, and say that some divine consciousness is at work, but it’s not clear that any particular religion has figured out the nature of such a consciousness.

          I would also argue that there is some specific reason why you believe Christianity to be right over others, beyond your personal experience. There must be some evidence that makes you think the story of Jesus is more true. If that isn’t the case, then it must follow that any other religion has an equal chance of being right about the precepts that they argue based upon anybody’s personal experience. It must also follow that had you grown up in another part of the world the probability of you having a personal experience associated with Christianity would be far lower making you believe in a different religion.

          There is much of course we don’t know about the brain, but that doesn’t mean we know nothing of course. For one thing we know we are capable of imagining all sorts of impossible scenarios and we know the unreliability of memory. How can you even know your experience that you have in your memory is the same as you experienced it? How do you know you haven’t morphed it into something else to fit a pattern than you already believed to exist in some way? As a social species we also apply intention to things that have no intention, because evolutionarily speaking, guessing intention was important to our survival. It is thus natural for our species to apply intention to patterns we believe we have found. However it could also be that there is no intention at all to those patterns.

          In the land of uncertainty some people are willing to fill that uncertainty gap with the divine. Personally I am not. I’m willing to say we just don’t know, and leave it at that. While personal experiences guide me like anyone else, I’m not willing to count on those particular experience to define objective truth, only what is true for me, and I try to remain open minded enough to accept that new experiences may change what I see as a truth for me. The trouble with experiences is that they can also narrow our vision and increase our biases. So as you said in your first comment…maybe we would be best to be more like children, at least some of the time. 🙂

          Sorry this was so long! Thank you for reading…assuming that you did. lol

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          1. Hi<3 Thank you for your friendliness and your reply. It is fairly long and hopefully my brain is able to take onboard the information in without too many misinterpretations (disclaimer warning; English is my second language and not ruling out cognitive limitations either). Just to let you know, I am not here as an attempt to convert anyone. My goal is to learn, improve my arguments and communication skills. Something worthless though if it did not at the same time increase empathy, kindness and love. Now, I am going to talk to you like a friend. Do you find communication easy? If you read clubschedenfreude's comments (no offense) this is where communication breaks down (from this observers perspective). It becomes about painting a picture of the opponent, instead of getting to know her. The pure objective becomes winning the discussion at any prize. To me, it is not about such small victories, for there is tremendous potential for learning when failing. Success on the other hand has very small teaching potential. My response will be split into segments, in order to keep better track.

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          2. Subconscious and consciousness

            Consciousness arrived late in evolution and exist on top of earlier versions of our brain. At the bottom we have instincts that are about event and response, and it is blind. Then, you have the emotional brain that encourages in the moment behaviour. Now we have event and response based on what emotionally rewards us (not to mention what is beneficial for survival). It is not until consciousness with its arrow of time arrive that creating better tomorrows become within our capacity. With this new consciousness, we can properly think before we move. You and I simulate events/choices before we make them, and voila modern society. We do not require immediate rewards for good behaviour, but can work towards really long-term goals. Known as self-regulation and it requires self-awareness (mirror self-recognition). In summary, our consciousness has to operate on top older versions of brain. The subconscious is defined as parts of the mind of which one is not fully aware, but which influences one’s actions and feelings. Now, it does seem logical that our subconscious might be linked to older parts of our brain. Especially when sheer size and the time-span is taken into consideration.

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          3. Philosophy

            Philosophy is asking a different set of question. Strip philosophy back and your left with this core; observation is ongoing. It requires consciousness; I think therefore I am.

            Objective truth in mention

            Requires quantum computers/ AI/cloud singularity. With their arrival God will most likely be written out of history by science and research. There will be no arguments left, but this end game is not what it seems.

            Geocentric (Earth-centered) model and the Heliocentric (Sun-centered model)

            Black hole centered.

            Christianity

            Calling myself a Christian due to the absence of another word.

            Programmed, imagined experience morphed by memory

            I will end with the beginning. My original comment, about children, creativity and memory. Creativity and memory are tools to break subconscious patterns.

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      2. Who is neutral in a universe where everything is moving relative to everything else with our own unique space time? Can we find a person that is constant? That someone whom can encompass everything ever discovered in science, scientific theories, research and information. Not to mention, sift through it erasing all contradictions in an unbiased way? Everybody is a gambler and nobody is neutral. Choosing not merely the science in which to trust, but how we view and interpret it. All of us are invested and caught up in unique world-views. Who can obtain infinite speed/energy without becoming infinite mass. Therefore, never erasing that relativity linked to our very existence. Like a slice of bread, time and space is served.

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        1. I apologize for the delay in reply. Life has been busy, and I also wanted to try to ruminate on your response as well. I’m not sure I completely comprehend what your main point other than to the best we can be we must prevent our thinking from being too narrow. I would definitely agree. I’m not sure that this has anything to do with whether there is a divine presence or not. I think what’s clear to me is that we are pattern seekers, this is how we navigate the world and so we are always going to be looking for things to fit some sort of higher level of organization, and we are going to question whether or not that pattern we see in nature isn’t part of some design, since we make our designs. Of course not all species look for patterns in the way we do. That drive to look for patterns is what often leads us astray and can do the same to the theist and atheist alike. But this is the great dilemma we face. Chase down patterns that aren’t there and we waste a tremendous amount of time and energy. Fail to recognize patterns we also waste a tremendous amount of time and energy. We choose to be a species that looks for patterns, and hope we get it right, so that we don’t waste our time. When we truly recognize existing patterns we can make great strides in understanding. We can also lose some of that creativity in finding new patterns, or larger patterns which has a sea of smaller patterns in it. In math we might call this second order, third order, fourth order, etc harmonics.

          I was actually just listening to a podcast today that was talking about consciousness. We are not the only species of course to have consciousness, but certainly we have it at a higher level than other species. The debate on the podcast was as to whether consciousness served an evolutionary purpose. Having read quite a bit of literature on free will, I am convinced that we don’t have it, and everything we think, feel, and do is happening before we consciously become aware of it, and we would do all the things we do, even if we didn’t have consciousness. Now personally I love consciousness, but in terms of function it doesn’t really fit the Darwinian model. Maybe it will someday when we know more about it, but at this point I try to not to invest too much into consciousness as being some sort of special power that taps into a divine consciousness or that consciousness itself is some fundamental force in the universe. Not to say that it couldn’t be, but consciousness is such a difficult topic to study that one persons views on consciousness are just as valid as anybody else’s. It’s a fun place to imagine what might be true, and I am always amazed by the possibilities, but I think that’s mostly where we are right now is just a sea of possibilities.

          I am glad we are having a conversation as friends. It is the best way to have a conversation. 🙂

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          1. Maybe the Darwinian “model” is wrong, huh? Maybe it’s another institutional tool to prevent people from developing a broader understanding of their world? Maybe it’s another blue pill?

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            1. Not sure where you are getting that from Sha’Tara. Do you have evidence that the Darwinian model is incorrect? It is a strongly evidenced theory. It is both observable, predictive, and replicatable.

              You’ve also missed the point I tried to make. When I said it didn’t fit, this was only to imply that we either don’t know the function of consciousness as to why it might have been selected for. We don’t know whether it is something that exists only in mammals, or what the level complexity has to be in an organism before it appears. If it is in fact an emergent property, it may not be selected for at all. It could be just something extra we are carrying around and actually has no value in terms of survival. Many organisms have such things that don’t seem to be selected for. But this could be because we lack the understanding of function. So when I said consciousness doesn’t seem to fit, it in no way implies it’s a counterpoint, I meant simply to say that we can’t describe what the selection pressure for consciousness might be in a Darwinian framework. And if it’s not part of that framework it in no way implies that the theory of evolution is wrong, only that it has limits to what it can describe.

              Maybe it’s another institutional tool to prevent people from developing a broader understanding of their world?

              What was life like before the theory of evolution? Were people far more broadminded before Darwin’s time? I think you’ll find the level of religious fundamentalism much higher as a percentage of the population. The power of the theory of evolution is that it dispels the notions that we are somehow uniquely special and far above the other life on this planet. We are just along a spectrum of life that has evolved here. That loss of conceit is a humbling and freeing experience. Evolution aside, the renaissance and enlightenment has opened up our range of discovery about our world far more than anything that came before it. More importantly, through the scientific method, we have a litmus test for testing claims about how the universe works. It puts the onus on those making the assertions to make their case with evidence. Evolution has made it’s case, and quite convincingly, if you’re going to assert that there is a better alternative, you need to assert yours.

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            2. I’m not just being a bitch, Swarn. I “know” beyond a shadow of doubt – for myself that is – that there is “something” fundamentally and deadly wrong with the theory of evolution. Hell, if I was to have to make a choice between faith in God and faith in evolution, I’d pick the former. As much as I’ve pondered it and I could even say, studied it, the THEORY of evolution has less answers, of answers that truly matter, than does the THEORY of faith. Somewhere “out there” Swarn, there is a third alternative, with a lot better answers to the existential questions I face on a daily basis. For me, I find that the theory of evolution which to my knowledge applies only to the physical realm, is bereft of everything that makes us human. I have no problem with adaptation and that’s as far as Darwin and his followers should have ever taken it. Evolution is another dead end, another of man’s manifold false gods. As for consciousness, that is a cosmic event, part of what we refer to as “life” beyond the laboratory and the scalpel; beyond the birth canal and the crematorium. (Disclaimer: all of this is personal awareness, choice, or preference, whatever. I like living outside all of the boxes. Make any box around me and I’ll be long gone before you close the lid. Always been an admirer of Houdini!)

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            3. bereft of everything that makes us human

              But this is just a faith based argument Sha’Tara. You assume that what it means to be human is something beyond the physical realm. This is the fundamental basis of every religion. If there are extra special things about being human, they are still physical, and thus subject to some theory that explains them.

              As for consciousness, that is a cosmic event, part of what we refer to as “life” beyond the laboratory and the scalpel; beyond the birth canal and the crematorium. (Disclaimer: all of this is personal awareness, choice, or preference, whatever. I like living outside all of the boxes. Make any box around me and I’ll be long gone before you close the lid. Always been an admirer of Houdini!)

              Well this is also magical thinking and I’m glad you admit that. I guess perhaps I’m more concerned about the fact that you religiously want to get out of boxes. I don’t see scientific laws or theories as boxes and it seems unnecessary to reject something based solely what seems as almost spite. A well supported scientific theory can just be the launch point for moving forward. It’s not a trap.

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            4. Then tell me this, Swarn. Why is today’s world in such a social and environmental mess with no improvement over the past? What has science accomplished? All the old problems are returning and stalking the entire planet and science is solidly in bed with the ruling psychopaths, inventing new drugs and new poisons to spew in air and on land, in the food we eat; inventing profitable and useless vaccines to destroy the immune system in children; inventing or fine-tuning weapons of mass destruction, smart missiles, attack drones, surveillance equipment. Aldous Huxley published Brave New World in 1932. If he could see “scientific” man’s brave new world today he would feel quite justified in his prophecy. But even so, none of that is the main point. The main point is, we are spirit-fueled beings. We have a sense of morality and I don’t care how deep a hole you dig, or how far in space you go, you will never find the source of “that” in the physical realm. The destruction of man’s nature mandated by science and those who make it into their new God is what concerns me. Science worshipers are barking up the wrong tree if they really want a “new and improved” humane human.

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            5. I mean I just don’t agree with any of this Sha’Tara. I mean how do you think life was in the 1300’s? Was it some idyllic paradise that I don’t know about? Tbe fact is that science has reduced infant mortality rates significantly. It has increased leisure time, it has reduced poverty. It has made agriculture more efficient and increased yields to feed hungry people. I mean there are tons of data to support the theories and science you are rejecting here. Are thing perfect? Certainly not, but science has made vast improvements over people’s well-being.

              Show me some data of something that has gotten worse since before the scientific revolution to now and let’s talk about it.

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            6. Hey Swarn… I almost did not respond because I knew I was going to get the standard “scientific improvement” line. Which is accurate if one totally ignores the problems that arose as a result of such “improvements.” Take one point: infant mortality greatly reduced. Wonderful, right? As long as we don’t engage the topic of overpopulation. This is the dichotomy of people of science. They believe in evolution and of course, they believe that life has a way of balancing itself via the predator-prey concept. It is clunky, but it works, if painfully so, except that “science” won’t let that happen in man’s world. Increase successful births: more people. Increase crop yields (questionable – the green revolution was an abject failure world wide and now look at the thousands and rising lawsuits against Bayer-Monsanto and their Roundup poison): more people surviving famine. Increase bodily comforts and conveniences across the board: more people using more resources and now, lo and behold, anthropological climate change. It seems that for every solution there is a new problem, but if we don’t address the problem, or just talk about it, it will go away. We can plough ahead with “new and improved” methods which end up being little more than money making schemes and scams. Science “created” today’s world of poisoned agricultural lands; of resource war and refugee crises; of overpopulation; of the disappearance of potable water and salinization of wells; of metropolitan living which ensnared people to become entirely dependent upon artificial methods of survival – the UN predicting 68%(!) of people living in cities by 2050. You tell me, as resources relied upon to maintain artificial lifestyles, where are we going? I know that “science worshipers” don’t worry about such things: science is God, therefore science always has an answer, a solution, to problems caused by science. Alternate sources of energy are going to solve dwindling fossil fuel availability. We know this as a matter of faith. Like God, science has reached an impasse with humanity. The future of man belongs to chaos, not science nor God. In the end all science is, is cosmetic improvements into the lives of people who have no idea why they’re here or what they should be doing about any of it. Science has made no fundamental difference to man’s understanding of his world or himself. The word is fundamental change. I admit, I’m a philosopher, not a scientist.

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            7. I think you are both right. But Sha’Tara, I think you have to accept both truths separating elitism from the majority of regular people. All of the intended good trickles into the hands of the powerful who had nothing but money, charisma, or a lie to hijack the intent of any innovation. We do have enough through technology to end hunger and improve lives, but that isn’t really on their agendas overall.

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            8. I understand that, Jim. That’s why I insist on looking at the whole picture, not just one side of it. When I was a fighting environmentalist, we were thrilled here to have David Suzuki, a renowned Canadian (Vancouverite) scientist, educator and environmentalist, on our side. Where have the rest of them been while the environment was being decimated for corporate profit? Why are so many “scientists” like those who helped Hitler’s 3rd Reich with weaponry and human extermination efforts and in human experiments, siding with the rich, lying about the dangers of nuclear power (example) and endlessly covering up for the likes of Monsanto, instead of coming out on the side of the world and its real needs? Scientists (researchers, doctors, whatever) have no credibility with me because they are whore for the machine… exactly like those fundy Christian leaders. No difference Jim. Greed sums it all up. So some 11,000 scientists finally are speaking up about the decidedly dangerous trends indicative of climate change… 11, 000 out of millions and so far they have had less effects than little Greta Thunberg. Why? because they fear to lose their perks whereas she has nothing to lose. I reiterate, it was scientists that made WWII possible in the extent of its devastation. It was scientist who were, and remain, responsible for the dropping of nuclear weapons on civilian cities in Japan when the war was already essentially over. Who apologized? Who was cited for war crimes? And let’s not forget Operation Paperclip, how the US military and covert ops rounded up Nazi war criminal scientists and brought them to the US under false names to further US research in nuclear weaponry, Wernher Von Braun being one of them. The deadly resource wars in the Middle East and Africa are only possible with technology brought forth from scientific research and development in top secret labs and many US universities heavily funded by weapons manufacturers and the military . They make weapons of mass destruction and they teach. They bear the guilt for war crimes and now ecocide, training future generations to further the destruction. That’s my take on it, as it’s been for over 50 years and I’ve never been given any valid reason to change my mind about science and its military-industrial complex masters.

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            9. There is so much to unpack here, I’m not sure where to begin, and I’ll admit that I have trouble conversing with people who seem angry and indignant over something when they don’t understand the subjects they are talking about, but I will try to not be dismissive. I know you are intelligent, but for whatever reason you seem to have some strong beliefs that aren’t actually supported by any evidence.

              infant mortality greatly reduced. Wonderful, right? As long as we don’t engage the topic of overpopulation.

              It’s hard to understand why you think overpopulation is a problem created by science. Moreover it’s hard to understand how you think it’s a better solution to let babies die over a concern of overpopulation. At least that’s what you seem to be implying. Let’s first think of the possibility that when people are spending less time grieving over loss children and women spend less time investing in the costly (not talking finances here) investment of getting pregnant for 9 months only to lose their child, that this improvement in well-being actually is an overall benefit to humanity. That aside if you want to look at this causes of over population, I don’t think you should blame the survival instinct, and there are plenty of religious reasons why over population happens. Commandments like “Go forth and multiply”, and church edicts like using contraception is murder. In addition overpopulation happened even way back before the scientific method. What is considered overpopulation is dependent on the environment and humans have always had trouble living in harmony with their environment.

              They believe in evolution and of course, they believe that life has a way of balancing itself via the predator-prey concept. It is clunky, but it works, if painfully so, except that “science” won’t let that happen in man’s world.

              First of all not a belief. I don’t need to believe in something for which there is an abundance of evidence of.

              Second evolution doesn’t say life has a way of balancing itself out via the predator-prey concept. And even if that were true about evolution, it doesn’t specify the timescale. It may very well be that life does balance itself out and we go extinct as a result of our action. It will just take a long time, but not long on geologic timescales. In addition the fact that species go extinct at all makes it clear the evolution doesn’t predict some sort of a balance. Other species aren’t consciously attempting this balance, and so we shouldn’t expect humans to consciously attempt this balance.

              Finally it’s also not true that “science” won’t let that happen in man’s world. I am not sure exactly what that even means. But science demonstrates easily the dangers of over population. Science can tell us what factors reduce population best, and science can even help show that it should be a moral value at this point in our history to be mindful of how many new people we bring into the world. The fact remains however that we have the resources to feed everyone, but we don’t. That’s not the fault of science. Factual sex education (brought to you buy science), birth control (brought to you buy science), and health care such as vaccinations (brought to you buy science) all contribute to lowering the birth rate.

              (questionable – the green revolution was an abject failure world wide and now look at the thousands and rising lawsuits against Bayer-Monsanto and their Roundup poison)

              Not sure why you consider the green revolution, associated with those companies. The connection between cancer and roundup is not as clear as you think. The scientific evidence is actually fairly weak, and there is a reason for that, as explained by the limits of what science can do. These articles help explain.
              https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2019/03/22/521240.htm

              https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/10/09/if-you-accept-science-you-accept-roundup-does-not-cause-cancer-13490

              The court’s decision is based on

              more people using more resources and now, lo and behold, anthropological climate change.

              If we all still burned wood, the carbon levels in the atmosphere would be far higher. We always used resources, and we’ve always overused resources. The idyllic sustainable living in the past that you seem to believe in, just isn’t supported by historical or anthropological evidence. Yes we are a much larger population, but again if you want to blame science for our survival instinct, I guess, but all life has that instinct and so it’s not surprise that any human endeavor is an attempt at survival. Remember it is religions like Christianity which have people believing the earth is here for our purpose, and all that is on it, was provided by God and we are free to use as we wish. Christianity has led to a far worse raping of the land than science.

              It seems that for every solution there is a new problem, but if we don’t address the problem, or just talk about it, it will go away

              The fact that new problems always arise, is not the fault of science. All species attempt to work around the problems, just most have to wait for generations of evolutionary change to solve them. Yet even in those cases, new problems arise. Welcome to life, with or without science. And no scientist that I know believes that not addressing the problem, or just talking about it, makes it go away.

              Science “created” today’s world of poisoned agricultural lands; of resource war and refugee crises; of overpopulation; of the disappearance of potable water and salinization of wells; of metropolitan living which ensnared people to become entirely dependent upon artificial methods of survival

              Humans have always damaged agricultural land. This is not new. We get far higher crop yields than ever before, and the amount of starvation per capita is less than in the past.

              Resource wars were always a part of human history. Less people die in wars per capita today than before in human history.

              https://towardsdatascience.com/has-global-violence-declined-a-look-at-the-data-5af708f47fba

              Per capita, cities are actually greener than rural areas. This article admits this, but it is also in support of your argument that cities have problems too. My point is that it’s not completely clear cut. In general, a concentration of people, cooperating and sharing resources is a better idea. Clearly we have to make a lot of improvements though in how we live. Science is helping with that. Again no species focuses on sustainability, they are trying to survive. The fact that we can better predict outcomes, thanks to modeling capabilities of the computer, and we can understand processes better, helps us make better decisions.

              science is God, therefore science always has an answer, a solution, to problems caused by science.

              No scientist I know believes this. Do you have a source? Science doesn’t always has answers, it just tries to solve problems when humans have questions. And we have a lot of them. You talk about some method of investigation that exists better than science or religion, well I suggest you come up with that third alternative. Until then, I am quite comfortable using the best way of knowing that we have which is the scientific method. That doesn’t make it God. That just makes it the best tool we got.

              Alternate sources of energy are going to solve dwindling fossil fuel availability. We know this as a matter of faith

              It’s not faith, we have a lot of renewable energy possibilities. We have to work to make them more efficient. We’ve done this with many thing before, and thus are “faith” in being able to improve the efficiency of renewable energy is based on past history. It’s not like religious faith in the least.

              In the end all science is, is cosmetic improvements into the lives of people who have no idea why they’re here or what they should be doing about any of it.

              I don’t know that this should be science’s purview. I don’t think it ever claims to be the the thing that discovers the reason for existence. But again it is a tool that might be used to answer that question. We’ve made some progress, not a lot. For me, I answer the question simply. I evolved out of some single self-replicated protein over billions of years to be here. And before that my atoms came from the core of exploding suns. That’s amazing to me. And as to what I should be doing about it…well should I value existence, and live to help other people value existence and try to make the world a better place in so far as I am able. That seems good enough for me. And I thank science for giving me that perspective.

              Science has made no fundamental difference to man’s understanding of his world or himself.

              This just isn’t the least bit true. We live in far less fear today that we did 10,000 years ago, having a clearer understanding of how we behave and the world behaves around us. We understand germs, bacteria, and disease, we understand why natural disasters happen, and we understand many of the causes that lead to war and human strife, and that knowledge has kept many people from harm, and increased human flourishing as a whole. Whatever notions of the past you have that you think are better than what we have today, you are absolutely fooling yourself.

              I’m a philosopher, not a scientist

              The fact that you think those two are separate, makes me worried that you don’t understand either one of them properly. They are essential to each other. There is a reason why a Ph.D. has philosophy in it. Not all scientists are as steeped in philosophy as they should, but not all philosophers are as logical thinking as they should. Philosophy as a field, was historically the field you went into when you wanted to be a scientist. It was the leading edge of thinking about every subject. The goal of philosophy is to pose questions, science then takes those questions and tries to find answers with empirical evidence. Philosophy and science are connected in a circle for which once questions are asked and answered, new questions arise.

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            10. Some of what you say is poetically beautiful while much I disagree with because of my own readings (not studies, I got through high school and worked my way through life afterwards so no academic knowledge here) and observations as well as involvement in environmental and social issues. At this juncture, and once again, the best part of valour is to agree to disagree. Let time demonstrate the truth of it.

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            11. Fair enough. I don’t really like it when we fight. 🙂 I know you are a good person who cares deeply about things. As a result conversing with you is never a waste of time.

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          2. Hi again! Nice to see you, and your kindness is appreciated. The moment discussions spiral into “I am right you are wrong shut up!” it becomes pointless. With zero value as walking in circles never really gets us anywhere besides ourselves. My views are difficult to express in a simple way Especially when reduced to a comment section. I have written a book that is a distilled version of an ocean of faith. Here is an analogy, your eye color is a fact about you. A truth that cannot be disproved. Yet, it is an extremely limited description. You and I can call it a layer of truth. After all, your irises do not have any color, neither do mine. They simply absorb all the other wavelengths of light and emit the colors you and I see. So, when not seeing eye to eye layers of truth can be taken into account on both parts. Not refuting that we are indeed cells, molecules, atoms and subatomic particles all coming together as a biological machine. An ordered structure/body displaying the fractal geometry of nature. Yet, fully aware that one fact and cause does not leave out a symphony of information and mechanisms. In the end not denying that higgs bosons gives us weight, but do not interact with our arguments. Leaving them to the relativity of space-time. So, yes you are right in regard to avoiding narrow thinking. You are also right in terms of free will, as far as I can see. Although you and I draw different conclusions from this. I question the credibility of our reality on all levels based on science and research. Where my view is that creation and evolution both happened separately. Where my truth behind the ocean of mystery is Christ. Although in my eyes a very misunderstood concept since religion has made it all a smudge, anointing themselves as a judge. Making a creator not creative, alive or infinite. Reducing him to their rules, dogmas, rituals and interpretation. Please understand that I do not claim exclusiveness or copyright with my theory of everything. It is all worthless if I do not live as an evidence of love. So, I wish you a lovely day and send you my love <3. Hugs, Isabella

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            1. Well, thank you Jim. Now, I have to work on improving my arguments even further if he reads it! It is kind of funny that you did that though as it was totally unexpected. I have this crazy idea that only people actually liking the book end up reading it. That it remains hidden to the rest. Yeah, maybe I am full of contradictions like this poem from years ago.

              ?

              The predictable unpredictable me
              The kind cruel person
              The giving envious human
              The loving caring indifferent self
              A self-loving hating strange creature
              A cute ugly young old carbon based life form
              The contradicting spread oneness
              Humble and full of myself?

              … My goodwill

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  4. Great question. I don’t think I ever officially “accepted Jesus.” If I did I don’t remember it. My family went to church because it was a social expectation. I don’t remember any of us being “saved.” I’m sure that’s why I muddled about in Christianity for so long. If I had paid real attention to it, I would have gotten out much sooner!

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  5. EA: You said God knows everything that’s happening, has happened and will happen?
    CP: Yes, God is all knowing.
    EA: Has anyone gone to hell?
    CP: Unfortunately, many have lost their way, yes.
    EA: And they suffer in everlasting hell.
    CP: Yes.
    EA: So, God knowingly breathed life into them, knowing they will go to hell.
    CP: Ah yes, but you have a choice, you see. God gives us choices.

    True story from the 1960s. I was 14 when I had this conversation (as close as I recall) with the Catholic priest in my parish. Yes, I was a bit sneaky, drew him in and slammed the door shut. But he had this quiet superiority of a man out to save “Africa from the Africans”. Okay, I was a Singaporean in Singapore – same difference, I reckon. He was a French priest in his 50s and I was this ignorant native who needed saving – or so, he figured.

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    1. Creating a fear in the afterlife has continued to be a key player for religion. All over the world they use this fear to instill doubt, but we see countless indigenous peoples all aver the world who understand (or understood) death already had no sting, but is a natural part of the experience.

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  6. I was raised to be a Christian. Started questioning it when I was 12, because I read the whole Bible then. I tried to cling to it for some years(family and peer pressure), then dropped it completely. My initial problem with Christianity was not what I most commonly see in deconversion stories. It was finding out that much of the Bible and Christian history was built on deliberate fraud. The prophecies cited in the New Testament, for example. None of them are real prophecies and all were taken out of context by the Christian authors. If there were any truth to any of it, there would have been no need to do that. There would have been no need for early Christian preachers to appeal to faith or special insight available only to church leaders. I then found out about ancient critiques of Christianity, sought out their remains, and found the arguments compelling. I also found out how the Bible was made and how there were many sects of Judaism and Christianity at one time. The most ruthless and politically powerful sect just used force to wipe out competition. People by and large did not embrace the sect of Christianity that was in power because of its truth, but because of Roman gold and Roman swords. Centuries of persecution were needed to establish it. I started reading early Christian writings like the Church fathers, apocryphal texts, and excluded or heretical texts. I also learned about historical and (then) current Jesus mythicism. That line of study has definitely far since then.

    By now I have some working hypotheses of Christianity and Jewish origins. A few things I have focused on studying are things that I have not seen atheists talk about among themselves or with Christians. For example, human sacrifice right out in the open all over the Old Testament. It is commanded and approved of. Hardly talked about, though I have seen some older authors that had knowledge of it(including Jean Meslier). Many today will falsely tell you that it bans human sacrifice, but that is not in the text.

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    1. Human sacrifice was seen in the tyrannical Moses hero as well as others (Jephthahs daughter as a burnt offering) “ Moses commanded his officers to kill every Midianite male and non-virgin female, but to keep the virgin females alive for themselves — except for one in a thousand which were to be given to God. After examining the females, the soldiers found 32,000 virgins, 32 of which were God’s “booty”. Sixteen of these were sacrificed to God as a “heave offering.”— Numbers 31
      It is funny that Christians are aghast with the Aztecs and other cultures that practiced this, but skim over their own history looking for the good parts. Really, the relevant good in the Bible could be published in a pamphlet.

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      1. Yes, that is a clear case. However, most of those events that some people all “genocide” in the Bible are actually descriptions of mass sacrifices. Take Jericho for example. The word used for what Joshua is ordered to do to it, and what he does to it, is “cherem” in verb form. That word is used in the legal and ritual codes such as in Leviticus 27 to describe anything “devoted to the lord”. Animals that are sacrificed, land given for use by the priests, objects, and humans can all be “devoted”. Cherem is described as qdsh, the word translated as “sacred” or “holy” to the Lord.

        Leviticus 27
        Nothing that a person owns that has been devoted to destruction for the Lord, be it human or animal, or inherited landholding, may be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to the Lord. 29 No human beings who have been devoted to destruction can be ransomed; they shall be put to death.

        Think about Jericho. The Israelites kill everything, human and animal. Many people ask “why kill all the animals?” when reading sections like this. If you see this for what it is, a mass sacrifice, then that becomes very clear. The verb used literally means that they “devoted or sacrificed” everything to Yahweh. And remember how they take all the precious metals and valuables and put them in the tabernacle? It is because they were all devoted objects. In Joshua 7, the Israelites incur Yahweh’s anger because they have “devoted things” among them. In other words, someone stole some things from Jericho that were to be offered to Yahweh. Joshua does some cleromancy to figure out who it is. It is a man named Achan, and it turns out that he kept a Babylonian garment and some gold and silver from the items taken from Jericho. The following is what is done:

        Joshua 7
        24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, with the silver, the mantle, and the bar of gold, with his sons and daughters, with his oxen, donkeys, and sheep, and his tent and all that he had; and they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord is bringing trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him to death; they burned them with fire, cast stones on them, 26 and raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day.

        There are several passages that make it clear that if a devoted thing(of any sort, animals, objects, humans) is spared or taken, then those responsible and even those around the one(s) responsible will have to be sacrificed too. Also, think about how angry Samuel and Yahweh were with Saul because he spared Agag and some cattle. Saul had been ordered to “cherem” all the Amalekites, hence the order to kill them all down to the babies and the animals. Saul’s disobedience in even a minor way in this matter made Yahweh every bit as angry as he was over Achan. The following from Deuteronomy makes more sense when you look at it in light of all this.

        Deuteronomy 13
        12 If you hear it said about one of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you to live in, 13 that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods,” whom you have not known, 14 then you shall inquire and make a thorough investigation. If the charge is established that such an abhorrent thing has been done among you, 15 you shall put the inhabitants of that town to the sword, utterly destroying it and everything in it—even putting its livestock to the sword. 16 All of its spoil you shall gather into its public square; then burn the town and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It shall remain a perpetual ruin, never to be rebuilt. 17 Do not let anything devoted to destruction stick to your hand, so that the Lord may turn from his fierce anger and show you compassion, and in his compassion multiply you, as he swore to your ancestors, 18 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God by keeping all his commandments that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.

        הַחֲרֵם֙ is translated as “utterly destroy”. This is an example of the usage of “cherem”. What is literally said is “sacrifice them” and the part about this being a “whole burnt offering” makes it more clear. When a whole burnt offering was made, nothing was to be left over to eat. This is pretty much a warning against doing anything like Achan or Saul did. Don’t take anything, sacrifice it all, or else.

        “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction”- Exodus 22:20. The word “devoted to destruction” is cherem again. In other words, whoever worships any god but Yahweh must be sacrificed to appease Yahweh. This is a smaller version of what I quoted from Deuteronomy where the same must be done to an entire town. Things like David’s sacrifice of Saul’s sons and grandsons, Moses giving 32 Midianite virgins to Yahweh, Jephthah’s sacrifice of his daughter, and Saul’s near sacrifice of Jonathan, all make more sense this way. This happens many times in the Old Testament, usually just seen as yet another mass killing. This concept is not unique to the Old Testament. Other West Semitic cultures closely related to the Hebrews had this concept. It appears by word and example on the Mesha Stele, which describes how Moab threw off Israelite control. It also appears in some other texts and fragments of the region, though not as detailed as on the Mesha Stele.

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    2. I daresay few (if any) Christians have studied the history of their faith to the extent you have. Yet they will argue until they are blue in the face that you don’t have a clue — or that you are biased and have “interpreted” the information to suit your own non-belief.

      Funny how validated facts are just “your opinion” in discussions with believers .

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was baptized at 5, but that meant nothing to me at the time. I was probably 14 when I “accepted” Jesus after being forced to attend church every Sunday (right up until I turned 18 and immediately quit). It really isn’t true acceptance when you’re being brainwashed.

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    1. Your parents just did it wrong Eileen. They should’ve had you except Jesus and then guilt you. I have a hard time imagining you being brainwashed by anybody.

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      1. They really had me going for a while. But actions speak louder than words and my mother professed to being ultra-Christian, but sure didn’t act the part! But sometimes even in my 20s, I really wanted to believe there was a god. That biblical deity never fit the bill, though.

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        1. The term God, has been hijacked by Abrahamic religion and the imagery of the tyrannical father figure is not what God would be at all. Now if people have what would be deemed as a spiritual experience are almost forced to interpret that as the biblical God. There are much better options if you need to believe without attaching yourself to the pre-package ready made explanations of what it all means

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          1. Oh I’m satisfied in my understanding (and lack thereof) of the universe. I’m content and unconcerned about what happens after death (if anything). The dying part is another matter!😏

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            1. I agree with you. I believe there’s “god” as in overt power that psychopath types tap into to control, oppress, abuse and empower themselves thereby and then, there’s “god” or “goddess” or that which has no choice but to remain unseen, kind of like the transmission in the washing machine. Just because you don’t see it working doesn’t mean it isn’t there. As for death, same here… if it wasn’t for the dying part, and the body’s falling apart state before that! Once out though, I have some ideas but I’m ready for any surprise.

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  8. Thank goodness I had decent intelligent parents and while I did the obligatory thing of going to Sunday school a few times and a few times at actual church, when I was quite young ( as was the custom of the day), I never was religious, much less a Christian.

    I’m not sure my parents were actually atheists, but they certainly followed no dogma, never spoke of religion at home or did any kind of prayers.

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    1. My upbringing was similar; however, I did get bamboozled when I was in my 20’s. Lasted about 15 years before I wised up. Haven’t regretted it for ONE SINGLE DAY!

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      1. Imagine growing up in a house with no secular literature at all, every day taught how god does all this stuff all the time. Even when you do good things god gets the credit, and at the end of the run you’re holding an empty bag and a life spent wasted hoping for nothing, gut shot and embarrassed. On top of that avoiding any real discovery, even about yourself.

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  9. As Succulent Savage already stated, Catholics do it differently. While some protestant nonsense has invaded the culture of Catholicism, it still has and holds to its ways.
    So, even though the concept implied by your question is answerable, “never” is mine because I don’t see it that way. It’s just not the same.
    I would like to say that all my Sacramental experiences growing up Catholic were proud and pleasant moments and I have no bad memories about those events.
    However, if you need an answer, it was when I received the Sacrament of Confirmation (and took my middle name) at about age 14, which coincidentally corresponds with my first ‘falling away’ and the seeding of my disbelief.
    The protestant concepts of ‘got saved’ and ‘accepted Jesus as …” are nonsense to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was never asked to accept him, we were brought up as Catholics, and there was much in the way of guilt piled upon the children, lots of singing and churchgoing, but I only recall being told of parables and the stations of the cross and such, no actual questions about what we accepted or thought or believed, they weren’t interested in any of that, it was already the case that we must do I suppose. I was always very detached from it, and found it interesting, all the ceremony, strange even. I was always bound to leave, and I’m grateful I did.

    – Esme Cloud

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    1. It shows a deplorable lack of faith. I’ve often said, mommy and daddy use their free will to find Jesus and took my free will away. No faith, only clinging to fear

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  11. I was raised Catholic. My mom was Catholic and my dad was Pentecostal. They agreed when I was born they’d let me choose for myself. That was all well and fine until they divorced. I was baptized Catholic at 8 years old. I was frightened half to death by a number of things I saw happening in services! There was a healing mass where people were “touched by the spirit” and fell down to be healed. Yes, in a Catholic church!!! I kid you not!!! I refused to ever go to another healing mass. EVER!!! About a month after my baptism, I followed the age protocol and did my first communion and first confession. Again, I was horrified as an 8 year old little girl that if I didn’t make up some “sin” to tell the priest I was going to burn in hell. I honestly think of all the Christian religions, Catholicism is the most frightening. There’s also no choice in it for yourself until you’re confirmed at about 15. That’s when you make the active choice to join the church yourself.

    I was an atheist long before I was confirmed!!!! Religion never took for me. I wasn’t exposed enough in those early crucial years to be properly indoctrinated. Add a bit of intelligence and a strong will and I wasn’t going to follow along easily!!!

    When it came time to be confirmed, my mother literally forced me even through I told her repeatedly that confirmation was MY CHOICE to join the church and I didn’t believe any of it. As a 15 year old kid, I really had no choice when I was being signed up, forced to attend the classes and no amount of screaming made any difference. I did what was expected of me. So, I am Catholic, by all rights. I’ve completed all of the regular sacraments, including a church wedding when I was really young.

    I was in my early 20’s when I pulled away and stopped going pretty much altogether. Aside from the priest scandals and the church itself, I don’t have much nice to say about a good number of Catholic people I’ve known. I’ve known many!!!

    Sorry my response is so lengthy….

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    1. At about 11or 12 I decided after the day-long fights and beatings over religion I watched between my parents and older brothers that I would be the good son and never disappointed them. I buried myself in the Bible and literature wanting to believe it all, and I did for a time, then I pretended. Even still do around certain family and friends to keep the peace. I was 50 when I realized I was an atheist.

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      1. That’s a long time to battle, Jim. I rode the fence for many years unsure, trying to believe. It is easier socially, though our numbers are growing. One day in my mid 30’s I quit struggling to believe anything or worry about it either way. I accepted that I don’t believe. I’m not able to stay silent when my feelings and beliefs aren’t honored. I remember a holiday dinner where a stink was made because I refused to participate in the blessing of the meal. Ahhh.. great days! lol

        I enjoy your blog a lot. Thanks for putting such a well thought out blog out there on atheism.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This had to be my own, expert-free journey observing things how they are, vs what we hope they are. That conflict was my undoing. Haha. I hung in there a long time. When I did say I didn’t believe I lost my best friend brother and hundreds of friends. Anyone that will embrace you over belief will abandon you over unbelief. Truth!

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  12. Fascinating. I was 13 when I rejected Jesus. Maybe this is as fertile an age group for atheists as it is for theists. All we have to do is get organized, establish an ideology, create an indoctrination program, … , uh … never mind … sounds like work to me. (Atheists, too lazy to indoctrinate our youth!)

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    1. All it takes is a comment or two. Eg; nobody really believes any of this, but your supposed to pretend you do sometimes for the culture

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  13. I was a kid, that’s for sure. Some ass told me god would protect me from my father, who I believed was trying to kill me. Well, he never stopped trying, though it turned out he was just a coward pretending to be a bully. No way is any child ready to make such a decision. All that exists at that time is black and white, no shade of grey. Of course a kid is going to believe, he or she is not given a choice. When we are threatened with eternal damnation, we take the easy way out. Then one day I woke up…

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  14. I was 14 when I was “saved.” I was invited by a friend to a Word of Life “Superbowl” event. We went to a hockey game, went bowling, played games and had a pizza party. It went all night. I don’t think I got home until around 1am. It was at the end of the night that one of the adults asked me about Jesus and convinced me to accept him as my savior. I was not only nervous about being put on the spot, but I was also quite sleep-deprived from being up all night. The people who put that event on knew what they were doing. They enticed us teenagers in with a sports game, bowling, food and fun. Then they sprung Jesus on us and made us feel guilty.

    They don’t call it a “Superbowl” event anymore. They call it “Reverb” but it is still the same thing. Here’s a link: http://reverb.wol.org/

    Their homepage says that “Reverb is an insane all-night event with a single goal: to share the Gospel with unsaved teenagers!”

    Insane is right.

    Looking back, I was not prepared to accept Christ at 14 even though I believed in Jesus from a very young age, but I did it anyway under pressure. It was a big commitment. I think my parents must have known what this event was about but didn’t tell me. I told them about accepting Jesus that day and I remember how happy they were that I took that next step. But at 14, I wasn’t really mature enough.

    My oldest son was 6 when he was “saved.” It was under my supervision and guidance. I thought he was ready and mature for his age. I knew that I taught him well from the Bible and he was also learning from the church. I now know it was wrong and ridiculous to think a 6 year old could make a decision like that. It was done because he was encouraged and he felt like he was making us proud, but he really didn’t know what he was doing. I regret it, but he knows now (at age 14) that it was done because of how deeply involved we were in religion at that point in time. It was with the best of intentions. He doesn’t hold it against us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Young kids will accept pretty much EVERYTHING that comes from their parents. If mom and dad say so, it must be THE TRUTH. After all, they’re still in the learning stage so why not?

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      1. Yup.

        Santa’s real. Easter Bunny is real. Tooth Fairy is real. Jesus is real. Kids believe in all of them for the same reason. They trust the ones who told them the stories.

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      1. Binyamin ‘Son of the South’. In the Book of Genesis, it is treated as meaning ‘Son of the Right Hand”. Honestly happy he escaped. Integrity and preaching don’t mix well.

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        1. Yeah, I agree. But she was actually trying to say that my son, Matthew, wanted to be a pastor. His name means “God’s Gift” so he seemed more destined for preaching than me. 🙂

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    1. Nicely observed. I have a neighbor that has 3 kids under eight. There is not one piece of non Christian literature or video in the house. All Jesus, all the time. It’s pretty good marketing when you can scare the parents into forcing the product onto their target audience. Both of them were born Christians (if that’s even possible)

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      1. You can’t consume a product without even it being produced. That’s what born Christians are. Haha! It’s like telling what chocolate tastes like without even eating it.
        Makes no sense at all.
        The kids will move on, we know that.

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            1. I tell them it is disrespectful. A few agree, not many. Most just try harder to convince me I need to return to the fold. At least some author got it right when they called christians sheep. They believe anything but the truth.

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