Feeding trolls with honest questions - Continued

I promised to follow up on the conversation I was having with the Christian evangelizing on an atheist discussion board, and we're in luck, it continued.
Hi Mike,

I would have to say that your humanism sign over to the right of your blog caught my attention this morning.

Could you explain to me, in 1 paragraph what humanism means to you?

I am here to share Christ with you.

That means tell you God loves you, which He does and what he has done for you to be forgiven.
As a follower of Jesus, we must stay with the gospel message.That is why I only post what I have. If I could answer all of your questions, it still would not have anything to do with you believing the gospel message.It is the Holy Spirit working in your life that convinces you and convicts you, not me or anyone else.

I have to work for 24hrs, so I will not get back to you until Tuesday.
Have a good Monday.

I was happy to answer his question about what I take from the philosophy of Humanism, but I also wanted to give him one more chance to address my questions.

Shawn, I’d love to help you better understand humanism. I find it ironic and amusing that you want me to keep it short, but no problem I can be concise.

Humanism is the belief that:
  • Every human life has inherent value; it is not defined by an outside force or god.
  • As social creatures we have a need to live in cooperative groups, therefore we have a responsibility to each other to behave morally.
  • We must make rational decisions about right and wrong based on human needs and interests. This means making choices about actions and policy based on observation, experimentation and rational analysis. Basing them on superstitions, prejudices, and other unsubstantiated claims (religious or otherwise) is unethical.
  • This is the only life that we are certain we get, and should make the most of it for ourselves, for our community, and for the next generation. Time spent concerned about a hypothetical afterlife is time wasted.

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
— Marcus Aurelius

I quote Marcus Aurelius because he says it so eloquently, but his words should stand on their own without the authority of his name attached.


The reason I am hounding you for answers Shawn, is because even if there is truth to the Gospel message, that does not make it a good message. Those two questions are just a small sampling of many problems I have with the message itself. If the gospel stories are true then god appears to be unethical for requiring human sacrifice. And yet at the same time it also appears that the sacrifice is a charade, because after dying god rises again and returns to heaven. How do you deal with these problems?

To put this in another way: I’m not asking these questions because I don’t believe scripture; I stopped believing scripture because, among other things, no one could answer these questions. Can you answer them? If not, will you say so and acknowledge that these pose a significant problem to the idea that your god is moral and benevolent?

I look forward to hearing back from you when you get a chance.

I was hoping to hear his thoughts on Humanism, if he thought it was a good or bad philosophy and why. If he objected to the assertion that we don't need outside forces for our lives to having meaning and values. And of course I was hoping that just maybe he would address the questions I keep posing and rephrasing for him. This was his reply today.
Our God is a loving, caring, just, merciful, and patient.
Without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins.
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Heb 9:22
There was not a charade the day that Jesus died either Mike.
Here you have Holy God who never sinned, incarnate in a human body, suffering at the hands of the people he chose to reveal himself to.
One of his friends betrayed him, the rest ran away when he was arrested.
He was beaten, spit upon, thrown in to prison, had a crown of thorns put on His head, nailed to a cross, and did all of this for you.
He has suffered the punishment for your sins, so you do not have to.
God loves you so much he did this for you.
God took away the sins of us all in one day.
One day Mike.

For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Zech 3:9

Taking inventory:

  • No comments on Humanism, too bad. I have yet to get a Christian to give their opinions on it, which probably doesn't bode well for what they're thinking when they hear it.
  • The response to "isn't human sacrifice brutal and immoral" was an assertion that god's law requires wrongs to be righted through blood sacrifices. This doesn't justify blood/human sacrifices, it only states that the Christian god demands them. If a judge required them would we call that moral and just? I don't think so. So I will take this as an admission that god is immoral, but Christians believe that since he's all powerful he can make any rules he wants.
  • To my accusation that nothing great was sacrificed, I will give Shawn the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't understand what I'm saying. Jesus rose again, and then went on to rule everything for eternity according to Christian theology. It was a temporary discomfort for infinite reward. A man that jumps on a grenade and loses his only life to save his friend sacrifices more, for less reward, than a deity that experiences temporary death for all of humanity. The man's sacrifice requires more bravery and deserves more respect than the deity's.

I gave Shawn ample opportunities I believe. If he wishes to I welcome him to comment on the blog and continue the conversation. Otherwise I think this is the last we'll be hearing from him.

To our other readers: what's your take on the conversation? Have I been too rude? Unclear? Do you think I'm asking the wrong questions? Any thoughts are appreciated as always. And if you want to step in and address the topics I raised with Shawn, feel free! I welcome the discourse.

In search of reason,



  1. "That means tell you God loves you, which He does and what he has done for you to be forgiven."

    As an afterthought, I find the idea that I need to be forgiven for existing to be offensive. You only need to be forgiven for things which you have control over, things you are responsible for. I do not require forgiveness for being human. If your god exists, then he requires my forgiveness for making me as a "wretch" and a "sinner" when in his omnipotence he could have created something so much better.

  2. Yeah the problem of evil is rather tricky and I have not heard many good arguments against it.

    Oh and I feel I should be polite and say congrats on the blog and everything else in your lives.

  3. Mike,

    I stumbled across your blog, and have to say that in your discourse with Shawn you seemed both respectful and eloquent.

    I think that, as is usual when a person such as Shawn and a person like yourself argue, it's akin to two sides of the same coin trying to see one another. It's just not going to happen, no matter how valid the arguments or respectful the discourse.

    Unfortunately, all the most important questions in life seem to have no clear answers. The best we can do, I think, is find what works for us and keep an open mind and an open heart towards our fellow human beings.

    I look forward to delving deeper into your blog.



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