Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Getting Killed by the Messenger

Over at the Jolly Nihilist's blog, I got into a running argument a couple of months ago with a Christian commenter about Christianity. One of his odd arguments was that Christianity must be true because so many people in the world, perhaps a billion, are Christians. If Christianity was false, he reasoned, then someone would have pointed out its mistakes centuries ago and the religion would have died out. Apparently, he never heard of things like the Inquisition, the burnings of heretics and those accused of blasphemy and witchcraft, the extermination of the Cathars, and other policies that were not exactly conducive to a climate of free inquiry in Medieval Europe.

But my main counter-argument to this commenter was to explain an important factor that was responsible for Christianity to break out of its largely European confines* to become the worldwide religion that it is today.

As just about everyone knows, in 1492, the Genoese navigator Christopher Columbus, in the service of Spain, set out to find a passage to China by sailing west across the Atlantic. Coming up short in his calculations of the circumference of the Earth, Columbus believed he could provide his patrons with a path to the riches of Asia that would bypass the hostile Muslim powers and the tremendous geographic expanse of Africa. But as we all know, rather than reaching China, Columbus stumbled upon something unexpected, the Americas. And these lands that made up the continents of North and South America were populated by tens of millions of people, many of whom belonged to sophisticated civilizations like the Maya, the Aztecs and the Incas. It was not long before Spanish conquistadors began to descend upon the Americas in search of gold and glory.

In relatively short order, the Spaniards were able to conquer the Aztec and Inca empires. While greatly outnumbered, the Spaniards had important advantages, which included horses, armor, steel weapons, and gun powder. But these factors alone, while important, could not decisively tip the balance in favor of the Spaniards due to the tremendous disparity in numbers between them and their native American enemies. The most devastating weapon in the Spaniards arsenal was one they did not realize they had brought with them - smallpox.

In his book "Guns, Germs, and Steel", Jared Diamond devotes a chapter to livestock and germs. Diamond points out that prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, there was an absence of "lethal crowd epidemics" in the New World. The main reason, he concludes, is that "Eurasian crowd diseases evolved out of Eurasian herd animals that became domesticated." The Americas, on the other hand, were lacking in domesticable animals. Thus, once native Americans became exposed to smallpox and other diseases transmitted to them by Europeans and the African slaves they brought with them, their lack of immunity decimated them.

Diamond cites several examples to demonstrate how catastrophic the spread of disease was to the native peoples of the Americas. Hispaniola, the first largely populated island colonized by the Spaniards and which today consists of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, saw a decline in its native population "from around 8 million, when Columbus arrived in A.D. 1492, to zero by 1535." In 1520, when the Aztecs were facing off against Hernan Cortes, smallpox "proceeded to kill nearly half [of them], including Emperor Cuitlahuac... By 1618, Mexico's initial population of 20 million had plummeted to about 1.6 million."

And the devastation was not limited to those unfortunate souls who came into direct contact with the Spaniards. Writes Diamond, "When Hernando de Soto became the first European conquistador to march through the southeastern United States, in 1540, he came across Indian town sites abandoned two years earlier because the inhabitants had died in epidemics. These epidemics had been transmitted from coastal Indians infected by Spaniards visiting the coast. The Spaniards' microbes spread to the interior in advance of the Spaniards themselves." This included the mighty Inca Empire, whose population was similarily stricken in advance of the arrival of Franciso Pizzaro in 1532.

Now, what does this have to do with the spread of Christianity? For starters, thanks to smallpox and other diseases, tens of millions of pagans died. For the fraction of the population that remained, it was not unreasonable for them to conclude that the religion of the Spaniards must be true, because the Spaniards seemed to be immune to the plague that killed off so many of their kin. A decimated population is much easier to conquer and convert.

While it is purely speculative, it is interesting to ponder how history might have turned out differently if you remove the disease factor from the collision between the Spaniards and the Aztec and Inca empires. The Spaniards undoubtedly would have required greater manpower to conquer and control the native populations. But one must remember that events do not happen in a vacuum. While the Spaniards had tremendous resources at their disposal, they would not have been able to bring them all to bear upon the peoples of the Americas. During the 16th century, the Ottoman Turks and their North African proxy states contested the Spaniards for mastery in the Mediterranean Sea. Furthermore, the rulers of Spain, the Hapsburgs, also controlled important domains in Central Europe and were frequently embroiled in wars on the European continent that taxed its manpower and resources. If the native Americans were not vulnerable to smallpox, might they have been able to fight the Spaniards to a standstill, leaving the latter only in control of some Caribbean islands and coastal settlements?

Now Christians who take their religion seriously will tell you that unless one accepts Jesus Christ as a personal lord and savior that person will not be able to achieve salvation in the afterlife. Christians will also respond to the argument about why God permits bad people to commit horrible atrocities by explaining the doctrine of free will. In short, God cannot be blamed for bad deeds perpetrated by evil people. Fair enough. But here's the thing. First, the Spaniards who sought to conquer the New World for Christ and King did not intentionally kill millions of native Americans with smallpox. Granted, like the native Americans, they must have looked upon this disease driven holocaust as divinely ordained, but it was not a deliberate act. Secondly, the Spaniards were serious about spreading their religion, Roman Catholicism. Millions of pagan native Americans were on the brink of learning about Jesus Christ, but they never heard the message because they died from diseases transmitted to them by the very messengers of the gospel of salvation. It is a tired, worn-out argument to ask why God permits evil in the world. But if belief in Jesus Christ is necessary in order to be saved, then why would God, this "intelligent designer", create a situation whereby the native Americans would be susceptible to diseases carried by the very people who were spreading the message of Christ?

Of course, I can already anticipate one counter-argument. Evangelicals will argue that Catholics are not true Christians. But without getting into the argument about what constitutes a true Christian, suffice it to say that the Spanish Catholics, whatever their flaws, were the instrument by which the message of Christ was being revealed to the peoples of the New World. Whatever Christian denomination a particular Christian belongs to today, that denomination ultimately has its roots in the Protestant Reformation when various groups of Christians detached itself from the authority of the Catholic Church. For centuries in the Christian West, the Catholic Church was Christianity.

The catastrophic death toll that smallpox inflicted on the native Americans also raises problems for Young Earth Creationists who believe, based on the Bible, that the Earth is less than six thousand years old. According to Genesis 1:25, God made "the livestock according to their kinds," meaning that when God made Adam, there were already animals that were available for domestication. Further on, in Genesis 4:2, we are told that "Abel kept flocks". According to a Biblical Literalist, the native Americans are descended from one of the many people who scattered after God confounds everyone's speech in the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11. In order to believe that the Bible is literally true, a Literalist must accept that the ancestors of the native Americans had livestock. But if this were really the case, then it should be reasonable to believe that (1) the native Americans would have brought some livestock with them to the New World, and (2) they should not have been susceptible to diseases carried by the Spaniards, diseases of which the Spaniards were immune because thousands of years ago their ancestors had been exposed to pathogens transmitted to them from livestock.

Once one gets one's head out of the Bible and looks at the evidence, then it becomes clear why the native Americans did not have livestock and were so vulnerable to the diseases carried by the Spaniards such as smallpox. Archaeologists have dated the earliest human settlements in the Americas to approximately 11,000 B.C., during the waning of the last Ice Age. The domestication of animals in Eurasia did not begin until around 8,000 B.C., around the same time that the inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent began to take up agriculture. Therefore, the available evidence clearly indicates that the Americas were colonized BEFORE the domestication of livestock and the adoption of farming in Eurasia. The native Americans were geographically and genetically isolated from the civilizations of Asia, Africa and Europe for over ten thousand years.

Thus, in summary, the spread of Christianity in the Americas is indebted to the deaths of millions of native Americans who perished because their ancestors migrated to the Western hemisphere thousands of years before the adoption of agriculture and the domestication of livestock in Eurasia and thousands of years before the Earth was supposed to have been created according to a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis.

* There were of course Christian communities in the Middle East, North Africa, Ethiopia, as well as scattered communities of Nestorian Christians in Central Asia. But with the exception of Ethiopia, Christian kingdoms were confined to Europe, Asia Minor, and the Caucuses.

28 comments:

Stardust said...

Great post, tommy. You have summarized in one essay the real reason for the spread of christianity. Christianity spread not by divine inspiration and a message of love, but by brute force.

Whenever christians use that numbers argument to legitimize their beliefs, that is just simplistic thinking. A popularity contest. If we go off the numbers thing, then Christianity makes up only 33% of the world population, the other two thirds of the people on this planet do not believe in christianity. So by the christian's own argument, they are following a false belief because more people do not follow christianity than those who do.

Christians use the numbers game in place of actual solid evidence for the existence of their god.

Lui said...

An excellent post. I personally find the whole "Christianity must be right because so many people believe in it" argument utterly banal, self-congratulatory and narrow-minded. Perhaps you should also have mentioned the indoctrination of children as a key factor (perhaps the only significant remaining factor in the 21st century, at least in the West).

Tommy said...

Thanks Stardust and Lui. Lui, I assume you recognized that the Christian to whom I referred was PCG.

Trissa said...

I really enjoyed reading your post.

The majority argument for Christianity is ridiculous. A thousand years ago everybody believed the world was flat, but that didn't make it true.

Sirkowski said...

That pretty much nailed it.

But it's normal that a blind believer would use that kind of argument. Fundies are authoritarians, they believe in mob rule (as long as they're in the mob).

They are the same people who will say that if the majority of the people thinks gay marriage should be illegal, then democracy should nullify civil rights.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Excellent post!

Although I'm a frequent reader of Exercise in Futility, I rarely post comments on any blog. This time, I just had to let you know what a great job you did smashing through Christianity's smoke-and-mirrors defenses.

The only thing which could substantiate Christianity is this: Overwhelmingly convincing evidence of an extraordinary nature.

I don't care about how much "good" Christianity has done. I don't care about how many people believe in Yahweh. I don't care about its allegedly civilizing effects.

Where is the god damn evidence for God?

pgc1981 said...

Tommy,

Yeah hello, I'm glad I sparked a good post, thanks for the credit.

Bad things happen to good and bad people. Good things happen to good and bad people, that’s human nature.

Did you ever think for a second that over several thousand years the native Americans lost their immunity to those diseases when they spread out? Did you ever think to check the number of deaths from small pox where you claim the disease came from? How many millions were killed in the Black plague in the 1300’s? These people were diseased ridden themselves when they went exploring. The fact is they died just as easily from sickness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death

Did you ever think that the natives decided not to take livestock with them when they scattered knowing they wouldn’t survive the long journey? Did you ever think that the livestock could have died on the journey? Did you ever think that they didn’t have livestock in the first place? The Bible doesn’t say all had livestock, so no I don’t have to assume that natives had livestock, good try though. Oh yeah, if I’m not mistaken didn’t the natives have horses? The bible says livestock so what exactly do you mean when you say livestock? What kinds of animals are you talking about?

Christianity started 2000 years ago with Jesus and quickly spread from there. The great roman empire, the one who crucified Jesus, was the first denomination formed, Roman Catholic Church. So my question to you is if Jesus was a phony and fake than why did the Romans end up adopting Christianity?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Church

Christians were persecuted by Jews and the Romans from the beginning. They hung them on crosses, stoned them etc. So maybe when Christianity became 'legalized' by Constantine the first in 313 they decided to fight back. The fact is war and death and infliction of rule was the way of life back then and that's how things were done, that's what people knew. They didn’t exactly know peace did they? I'm glad it's not that way today anymore with Christianity

Anyway my whole point the numbers thing is, in my opinion, if Christianity was a hoax or fairy tale it wouldn't be the largest following in the world. That site referred to by stardust says 33% of the world population, that's still the largest number on that chart. Throw in Islam and Judaism (Judaism, that number is much smaller than I realized) and more than half the world believes in the same core foundational roots. Islam has gone astray but Christianity and Judaism have stuck to their beliefs. Furthermore Christians were persecuted and killed before they began to persecute and kill anyone else. If it was bogus despite the persecution by Christians it would have died even before the Christians had a chance to persecute anyone. If it were not true many wouldn’t have followed Christ in the beginning knowing that they could get killed for becoming a Christian. The fact is Christians were persecuted and killed during the uprising of Christianity if it and if it were not true it wouldn’t have grown so greatly and the great Roman Empire wouldn’t have adopted it as their religion. The fact is they killed Jesus, they were their to witness the realness of Christianity and that’s why they eventually followed Christ. Christianity grew because people of that time were there to witness the events and realize Christ was real and God was real. It’s carried on because of witness accounts to its truth and because God is real and has ultimate control.

To set the record straight I don’t believe in God and Jesus because of Christianity being the largest religion. I believe because of Christ and the Bible, not because it’s the popular choice.

pgc1981 said...

sirkowski

"They are the same people who will say that if the majority of the people thinks gay marriage should be illegal, then democracy should nullify civil rights"

Democracy is what the majority of the people want. Democracy is the people. You tell me where gay marriage is talked about in the constitution? If same sex marriage is voted on by the people and passed by the people and made law than it would be violation of civil rights if they were denied marriage. Until it's law its not violation of civil rights.

This is an issue with many people not just Christians.

Tommy said...

For the millionth time PGC, just because X amount of people believe something to be true does not make it true.

2000 years ago, they did not have the internet and Google. If a group of marginally educated people are proselytized by Christians in 3rd century Britain, how are they supposed to investigate whether or not the events described in the Bible really happened? And you clearly ignored the opening paragraph of my post when I described the climate of persecution in Medieval Europe. You were not allowed to believe in anything other than the God of the Bible.

By the way, try Googling John Frum Cargo Cult for an example of an a religion that came about in recent times that venerates a person who likely never existed.

But again, you totally missed the point of my post. When diseases kill off millions of pagans, then it stands to reason that the proportion of Christians will increase as a percentage of the world's believers. If you factor out the devastation caused by smallpox, you have a larger native population that might have resisted Spanish conquest and conversion to Christianity. Why this fails to seep into your cranium is beyond me.

The native Americans did not have horses until the 18th century, when the Plains Indians adopted them and took up buffalo hunting.

What do I mean by livestock? Well, obviously the animals that were used by the people of the Middle East 5,000 years ago. Duh!

The Black Death was different from smallpox. Rather, it is commonly believed that the outbreak originated among rats in Mongolia, and because the Mongol Empire spanned the breadth of Asia into Russia, the sickness was able to spread to Europe through trading networks.

Again, in summary, the spread of Christianity in Latin America and parts of Africa and Asia is a legacy of European colonialism. In some instances, it is a result of an accident of history. My wife comes from the Philippines, which owing to its colonization by Spain, is something of an anomaly in Asia by being a heavily Catholic country. The exception is the southern part of the Philippines, which is heavily Muslim. If the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines a century later, they may have encountered an archipelago that was almost exclusively Muslim. This is what happened to the Dutch, who colonizes the islands of Indonesia, which were already largely Muslim by the time the Dutch arrived.

pgc1981 said...

“For the millionth time PGC, just because X amount of people believe something to be true does not make it true.”

Your right it doesn’t. So that fact that 99.9% of all scientists believe in evolution doesn’t make it fact than does it? I didn’t use the numbers thing to claim being right or wrong here, you made this post because of my claims and stardust brought that link as reference, I made a point that’s all. If you don’t like it that’s fine.

“2000 years ago, they did not have the internet and Google. If a group of marginally educated people are proselytized by Christians in 3rd century Britain, how are they supposed to investigate whether or not the events described in the Bible really happened? And you clearly ignored the opening paragraph of my post when I described the climate of persecution in Medieval Europe. You were not allowed to believe in anything other than the God of the Bible.”

And you missed my point. Christians were persecuted and killed right from the beginning after Christ died. I said it was human nature to fight back, you killed us so I kill you sort of thing. That’s my point, from the very beginning Jews and Romans killed Christians, so Christians were killed first and later repaid the violence with more violence. Life back then was all about power and all they knew was rule by power, infliction and war, so what else do you expect? It’s not like that today is it? So it’s safe to say we learned from stupid mistakes and realized we were wrong.

“By the way, try Googling John Frum Cargo Cult for an example of an a religion that came about in recent times that venerates a person who likely never existed.”

Who cares, what does that prove?

“But again, you totally missed the point of my post. When diseases kill off millions of pagans, then it stands to reason that the proportion of Christians will increase as a percentage of the world's believers. If you factor out the devastation caused by smallpox, you have a larger native population that might have resisted Spanish conquest and conversion to Christianity. Why this fails to seep into your cranium is beyond me.”

I like your words MIGHT HAVE, you are speculating to something that you have no idea how it would have ended up. Can you tell me with 100% certainty that the natives would have resisted? No you can’t. And you missed my point again, as well. Did Christians die from small pox back then? I’m going to guess and say that they did. Do Africans die from malaria? If went to Africa without a malaria shot we could get sick and could die from it, as well as Africans getting sick and dying from malaria. So your point to the smallpox thing really has nothing to do with Christianity being true or not. Like you said they didn’t intentionally give them small pox did they?

“What do I mean by livestock? Well, obviously the animals that were used by the people of the Middle East 5,000 years ago. Duh!”

What kind of animals? Is that a better question? Anyway who really cares about the livestock issue because again, it proves nothing about Christianity being true or not.

“The Black Death was different from smallpox. Rather, it is commonly believed that the outbreak originated among rats in Mongolia, and because the Mongol Empire spanned the breadth of Asia into Russia, the sickness was able to spread to Europe through trading networks.”

Yes, but it still killed millions upon millions didn’t it? Millions upon million, of which were probably Christians, Jews, pagans, etc. Disease has to start somewhere and somehow, but again it doesn’t prove Christianity to be true or not.

None of what you said in this post disproves Christianity. It may help you convince you and other atheists who frequent this site, but it doesn’t make me think twice about it.

If I can’t use the Christianity majority numbers to my advantage than you boys can’t use the scientist’s majority thing either. Too often atheists use that to their advantage. Hey 99.9% of all scientists believe evolution to be fact so that’s what makes it fact. If I remember right Jolly and Lui both used that fact at one time or another.

Tommy said...

PGC, the purpose of the post is not to address whether or not Christianity is true. What I am discussing is how Christianity spread outside of its largely European confines to become the global religion that it is today.

With regard to my hypothetical about how history in the Americas might have turned out differently if the massive die-off from smallpox had not happened is supported by what happened in Africa. Precisely because many Africans were not susceptible to smallpox, (as I mentioned in the post itself, Jared Diamond mentions that it was an African slave who was a carrier of it) that you did not see large numbers of Africans die from diseases from the Europeans. Consequently, it was not until the latter half of the 19th century that the European colonial powers conquered almost all of Africa.

Even decimated as they were by the smallpox epidemic, the Aztecs put up a ferocious fight against the Spaniards. The Spaniards literally had to take Tenochtitlan block by block. So, considering the tenacity of the Aztecs and other native Americans against the Spaniards in spite of the smallpox epidemic, and the example of Africa where many indigenous powers managed to maintain their independence until the latter half of the 19th century, I believe it is quite possible history would have turned out differently in the Americas had the smallpox epidemic never happened.

With respect to the John Frum Cargo Cult, I do not argue that it is proof that there was no historical Jesus. It is merely to show you that it is possible for a religion to be based upon a person who never existed, so that it is supporting evidence for the argument that the Jesus of the Gospels was not a real person. Again, it is not 100% proof, but rather evidence in support.

As for the persecution of Christianity argument, I argued on Jolly Nihilist's blog that once Christianity became officially recognized in the Roman Empire, what you saw was different Christian factions persecuting each other. Some Christians suffered for their Arianism, others for their Donatism and so on. Does the fact that an Arian was willing to suffer and die for his beliefs mean that Arianism was the correct form of Christianity?

As to why Christianity spread within the Roman Empire and was ultimately successful in transforming Rome from a pagan to a Christian state, that is something that I intend to study further. But I have addressed this on Jolly's blog as well. For all of Rome's greatness, life for most of the people in the empire was a bleak existence. People tend to turn to a new religion when their old faiths seem to have failed them and their world has turned upside down. The empire in the 3rd century was sagging under enormous strain from civil wars, growing barbarian pressure on the European frontier, a resurgent Persian Empire, inflation, outbreaks of plague and so forth.

I would posit that by the late 3rd century, when the emperor Diocletian instituted large scale persecution of Christians, their numbers had already reached a tipping point. You also have to understand the limits of the power of bureaucracy and the ability to communicate policy throughout the empire. It's not like the emperor declares on Monday that all Christians are to be persecuted, and then bam the next day they are being crucified throughout the empire. In some places, the order will be received sooner than others. In some places, the number of Christians will be smaller and easier to persecute, whereas in other areas will be greater and the local governor will put it at the bottom of his to do list.

After Diocletian's death, with all of the problems the empire was facing, it was probably quite rational for his successors to conclude that they had better things to do with their time than to persecute Christians.

pgc1981 said...

Persecution of Christians
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians

I like this site because it gives good information. Anyway your point to saying how Christianity was spread may be true and has good points. Yes a lot of that horse crap happened, but for some reason you missing my point and you are jumping ahead of the beginning of Christianity to make your point. Christianity started from Judaism when Christ died on the cross. And as I said before very, very few actually believe he was a complete myth and didn’t exist, among historians and scholars. Anyway Christians were persecuted and killed from the beginning and yet the religion grew anyway. People knew that if the Jews or the Romans found out they were Christian they could get stoned or hung. So despite the persecution Christianity grew and grew quickly. So in essence Christianity didn’t grow by brute force like you are saying, it grew despite brute force to prevent its spread. The Roman government and leaders eventually adapted Christianity around 300 ad, so say all you want about the oppressed people of the Roman Empire, it was the leaders who accepted it, adopted it and made it the first denomination of Christianity.

Like I said before brute force was the way of life back then, you can use the Spanish as an example of forcing Christianity, but they ruled and that’s how rulers did things. It was their way or no way. I bet other countries ruled by force and forced their ways on the people of their land. I get what you are saying but it’s not the main reason why Christianity spread. If it spread by force than don’t you think it would have died out by now? It’s been 2000 years almost and it has been a great following over those 2000 years and it has been quiet possibly the most deadly and controversial following ever. If it was a fairy tale like you like to believe I found it hard to believe it would go through all this and still be strong and going along.

Again Disease killed all sorts back then it just depended on the disease and the people, things happen and if you want to speculate that they would have denied Christianity that’s fine. It’s possible they would have rejected it and theirs chance they would have accepted it over time. We can speculate but we will never know for sure.

I’m not telling you to convert back, but just realize there is a possibility that you are wrong and Christianity is real. Maybe you should start from the beginning to see it’s authenticity.

Tommy said...

Regarding the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, here is what the site jesusneverexisted.com has to say about it:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/persecutions.html

Tommy said...

Speaking of the John Frum Cargo Cult, here's to wishing it a Happy 50th Birthday!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6363843.stm

pgc1981 said...

Tommy

that site is bogus and I've given you links from wikipedia to back my statements. Like I told you before, some sites are completely bogus and can be made by anyone who says anything they want. You pay very little for a .com site and can post any darn thing you want, so don't believe everything you read. The Wikipedia site is very reliable and is not fake and as I said before it supports evolution to the core so that should help you like it more.

Research Christianity from the beginning if you want an accuate vision of it. Don't skip to the middle and don't read from bogus horse crap sites like jesusneverexisted.com, if you have reliable info from reliable sites I will read it, but I'm not reading any crap from that site, I've been their and I know it's crap. Wikipedia will give you a good run down on the history of Christianity and I'm sure you can find info about your spanish empire as well.

pgc1981 said...

Tommy

to add one more thing, Iran's president and a bunch of other crazy loons held a conference back in December about the holocaus being a hoax. I bet thier is even a site about it, I can't find it but I bet one exists. As we all know the Holocaust was NOT a hoax and it did happen. So like I said don't believe everything you read.

Tommy said...

I read about that bullshit Holocaust conference in Iran last year. Of course, they did not see fit to invite any actual holocaust survivors or interview any of them.

The Muslim world is schizo regarding the Holocaust. On the one hand, they say it never happened, but then they turn around and say it was too bad Hitler didn't finish the job.

Lui said...

"If I can’t use the Christianity majority numbers to my advantage than you boys can’t use the scientist’s majority thing either. Too often atheists use that to their advantage. Hey 99.9% of all scientists believe evolution to be fact so that’s what makes it fact. If I remember right Jolly and Lui both used that fact at one time or another."

That's a rather disingenuous way to put it. I have indeed mentioned the large proportion of scientists who accept evolution, but not to "prove" evolution. I was using it in the context of demonstrating a point to you, which was your hypocrisy in implying that somehow the only reason scientists accept evolution is because they are separated from God. This I found to be a rather vile slur, and a self-congratulatory insult by someone who confesses that they are not "scientifically minded". If you're not scientifically minded, and have no interest in looking at the scientific evidence, then how can you even ascertain the reasons for evolution's wide acceptance? But somehow, the millions and millions of Christians are to be taken as evidence for the truth of Christianity? How arrogant can you get? Scientists don't know what they're talking about, but the scientifically ignorant masses do? And on top of that, you use the fruits of science but deny that the same science can act as the basis for any theory that contradicts your dogmatic acceptance of the Bible in its entirety. You seem to ignore that scientists don't even use the same criteria for accepting something that many others do. They need evidence; others often need only "faith" or indoctrination. And yet we're supposed to ignore that difference, and jump to the conclusion that non-scientific belief trumps scientific evidence? Please.

pgc1981 said...

Tommy

"I read about that bullshit Holocaust conference in Iran last year. Of course, they did not see fit to invite any actual holocaust survivors or interview any of them."

yeah I noticed that too.

"The Muslim world is schizo regarding the Holocaust. On the one hand, they say it never happened, but then they turn around and say it was too bad Hitler didn't finish the job."

That's a good way of putting it, I never thought of it that way.

Did you check out the wikipedia site?

Lui,

Just stating my opinion. and you are the only person to call me arrogant, I'm actually far from it, but I guess thats just your opinion as well.

pgc1981 said...

Lui,

Just to add one more thing. If you didn't notice I didn't say your name it that statement. I encountered atheists at other sites back in the fall that 3 or 4 of them on the same site all used that reason that evolution was right. So that is why I made that comment, I didn't necessarily finger you with that acussation

Helen said...

Hi Tommy,

FYI someone mentioned this blog entry to me and I posted about it on a blog I host today.

pgc1981 said...

wow I read the same thing someplace else I can't remember where. So to sum things up and I've stated this before, CHRISTIANITY SPREAD MUCH SOONER AND BECAME BIG BEFORE THEY BEGAN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD AND MOVE AROUND AND TAKE OVER TERRITORY. DESPITE LARGE PERSECUTION TO PREVENT THE SPREAD IT SPREAD ANYWAY.
I'm sick of speculation about who would have rejected Christianity before they died from disease. It's speculation and nothing more. Billions of people over the course of history have died from disease

Wow I could say that if Hitler and the Nazi's won wwII this entire world could possibly be Nazi and white suppremists and the Nazi government would inflict their rule on people and killed whoever denied them and if they had diseases which caused people to die that also helped the spread of naziism.
It's all speculation none of what can be proven or disproven and it's bogus speculation because of that.

Now maybe we are forgetting that in the Bible their are going to be translation differences, words today didn't mean the same thing thousands of years ago or were not even around. Dinsosour is a perfect example, the definition or word didn't come about til 1841. So it is very possible that LIVESTOCK was translated to our word definition and what we know and not what the word meant thousands of years ago. Hebrew words have many different meanings so it's entirely possible that some english words we know and hebrew words don't mean the same thing

Tommy said...

Wow, somebody is cranky today!

Darn, just when I was starting to like PG he unleashes a temper tantrum.

This IS my blog ya know. If you are sick of what I write, you do not have to come here and read it. It's like hating the service at a restaurant in your neighborhood but you continue to patronize it.

You are always welcome here as long as your are civil and intelligent. I leave that decision up to you.

Trissa said...

Tommy,

I hope you don't mind that I shared your blog with Helen. Conversations at the Edge is a blog I frequently read and I thought your post would be a perfect conversation starter over there.

Thanks,
Trissa

Tommy said...

Hi Trissa,

No problem at all. If it gets me any new readers it will be worth it.

The only downside is that a lot of the negative commenters at Helen's site based their comments solely on reading the excerpt of my post that Helen provided rather than reading the entire post. So they ended up reacting to arguments I never made, such as blaming Christianity itself for the smallpox epidemic or that the Spaniards deliberately spread the disease in order to kill the natives.

Some people, including a certain commenter whose tag I will not mention, fail to distinguish between blaming Christianity for the smallpox epidemic, which I have not done, and arguing that the spread of Christianity was facilitated by the smallpox epidemic, which I have done.

pgc1981 said...

Tommy,

Yeah sorry I did get upset. I wasn't saying that at you more so helen who made the post and probably didn't spend any time reading what I had posted. But like I said and pointed out to you, Christianity spread before all the stuff you are talking about in your post and what helen posted. For some reason people want to find reasons not believe Christianity and say how Christianity is bad when all the while they are not starting at the beginning and gettig the proper information.

Yes things like this happened and other things that Christians did along the way happened that were bad. But starting in the middle or even picking up things now to point out things isn't the right way to go about it. You must start at the beginning understand it and then look at things when a good understanding

One thing you must understand is that Christians are not perfect and will not do any perfect things.
They make mistakes just like everyone else. I just don't get why some people hold Christians up on this high pedestal. Maybe it's because some Christians do that themselves, I don't know.

pgc1981 said...

Tommy,

"Some people, including a certain commenter whose tag I will not mention, fail to distinguish between blaming Christianity for the smallpox epidemic, which I have not done, and arguing that the spread of Christianity was facilitated by the smallpox epidemic, which I have done."

your not getting soft on me are you? thats not like you.

I thought I was arguing the spread of Christianity. Sorry if I miss spoke, but my intention was to argue the spreading of Christianity. I thought I made a very good point one of which you haven't come back with a response to yet.

Sometimes my brain thinks faster than I can type and sometimes I don't read over what I typed before I post it. For now I will try to read it over before posting

Anonymous said...

Hello there!
My question to the writer of this article is this, "Lets say that I agree. Now what? What did you hope would be wrought from this?"

ON another note. The folks responding on here seem rather anxty. Your comments tones are almost venomous. I am wondering why? I mean this sincerely. Why so much blunt force?