This blog intends to provide some balance in the religious debate by providing a counterpoint to Billy Graham's religious advice. On his website http://www.billygraham.org/ he responds to readers' questions by quoting from the bible. I am attempting to respond to those same queries by resorting to reason and rationality.

I must acknowledge a debt here to Jeff Hope who started in this vein but who has unfortunately taken a hiatus. His blog is http://atheistsanswer.wordpress.com/. Jeff has inspired me to continue.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Judgement For All

QUESTION: Today's comes from JM...
"Does God always judge people who are evil and deliberately do wrong? I'd like to think he does, but there are still a lot of evil people left in the world, and most of them seem to go through life without much bad ever happening to them."

Before your question can properly be answered we need to clarify two concepts. Firstly you mention evil people as opposed to good people. Please take a moment to think of a way to discern who is evil and who is good. Apart from some obvious villains such as mass-murderers it is extremely difficult to identify these character types. We are all a combination of varying degrees of these character types, and this can change over time. Are you an evil person or a good person? How many people are one extreme or the other?
Secondly you mention the concept of doing wrong. What guidelines would you draw up to determine whether an action is wrong or right? Most, if not all, decisions in our daily lives cannot be categorised as one of these extremes or the other. Different actions have different consequences for different people over different time periods. Often the consequences cannot be discerned in advance.
It's tempting to subscribe to the notion that the world's baddies will get what they deserve some day, and if it doesn't happen in this life then it will happen in another. However, the problem with this is identifying the baddies from the goodies and framing a moral structure to judge them. These are impossible tasks that religions claim to be able to achieve, however, they cannot exactly explain how. Beware of charlatans providing false hope.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Ritual

QUESTION: Today's comes from TK...
"We moved to a new city last year, and the church we've started attending is more formal or traditional than our old one. Recently, they've been talking about Advent, and I'm too embarrassed to admit I don't even know what it means. I know it has something to do with Christmas, but what?".

There is an Advent calendar which has a chocolate to eat on each day leading up to Christmas, but I haven't read anything in the Bible about this nor concerning Advent in any form. Christianity claims that the Bible is the whole truth but there are many Christian rituals and beliefs which don't appear there. Where do these come from? Are they holy or just some cultural curiosity? How did they originate? Why?
Don't be timid to ask questions when in church. Religions prosper when they are dictating terms to unthinking followers. If you are not sure on something or if it sounds implausible, speak up. Too many people just blindly accept what is told them without any period of reflection.
There are many differences in belief and ritual between denominations, and yet they all miraculously consider themselves to be right. If the church you have changed to does not satisfy you then go to another, or don't go to any, or start your own!


Sunday, November 21, 2010


QUESTION: Today's comes from E.McL.
"I've always believed in God, but some people I know are always talking about having a personal relationship with God, and I'm not sure what they mean. Is this different from just believing in God?".

A personal relationship is one that is the same as you have with another person. It doesn't necessarily have to be with a human being but it has to have the same characteristics, ie you can both see, converse with, and feel each other. Patently it is impossible to achieve this with a supernatural being whom you can never see, hear, nor touch. It is absurd to postulate that a human being can have a personal relationship with a supernatural being.
Religious recruiters tell you that to have a personal relationship with their god you need to work at it because good relationships rarely happen without effort on both sides. This is a convenient ploy to avoid people's natural disbelief. When you say to them "where is this god?", they avoid the issue by putting the onus on you to "work at it". In fact all you are doing is working at deluding yourself. Stop wasting your time trying to convert yourself.