Richard Dawkins: Good And Bad Reasons For Believing

John P.

Open LetterThe following is an open letter from activist atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins written to his daughter Juliet on her tenth birthday and published as the last entry in his book A Devil’s Chaplain.

The topic of this letter is Good and Bad Reasons for Believing, and the short summary would be that Dr. Dawkins advocates that his daughter (and presumably all of us since the letter is public) employ analytical reasoning whenever new information is presented.

Before we get started, here is a lengthy examination, from the Christian Damaris foundation, of the letter which is also worth examining.

And now in it’s complete and unedited format, the letter:

(By the way, I don’t recommend you read this if you generally become offended when people seriously question God using science or pure logic arguments.)

Dear Juliet,

Now that you are ten, I want to write to you about something that is important to me. Have you ever wondered how we know the things that we know? How do we know, for instance, that the stars, which look like tiny pinpricks in the sky, are really huge balls of fire like the sun and are very far away? And how do we know that Earth is a smaller ball whirling round one of those stars, the sun?

The answer to these questions is “evidence.” Sometimes evidence means actually seeing ( or hearing, feeling, smelling….. ) that something is true. Astronauts have travelled far enough from earth to see with their own eyes that it is round. Sometimes our eyes need help. The “evening star” looks like a bright twinkle in the sky, but with a telescope, you can see that it is a beautiful ball – the planet we call Venus. Something that you learn by direct seeing ( or hearing or feeling….. ) is called an observation.

Often, evidence isn’t just an observation on its own, but observation always lies at the back of it. If there’s been a murder, often nobody (except the murderer and the victim!) actually observed it. But detectives can gather together lots or other observations which may all point toward a particular suspect. If a person’s fingerprints match those found on a dagger, this is evidence that he touched it. It doesn’t prove that he did the murder, but it can help when it’s joined up with lots of other evidence. Sometimes a detective can think about a whole lot of observations and suddenly realise that they fall into place and make sense if so-and-so did the murder.

Scientists – the specialists in discovering what is true about the world and the universe – often work like detectives. They make a guess ( called a hypothesis ) about what might be true. They then say to themselves: If that were really true, we ought to see so-and-so. This is called a prediction. For example, if the world is really round, we can predict that a traveller, going on and on in the same direction, should eventually find himself back where he started. When a doctor says that you have the measles, he doesn’t take one look at you and see measles. His first look gives him a hypothesis that you may have measles. Then he says to himself: If she has measles I ought to see…… Then he runs through the list of predictions and tests them with his eyes ( have you got spots? ); hands ( is your forehead hot? ); and ears ( does your chest wheeze in a measly way? ). Only then does he make his decision and say, ” I diagnose that the child has measles. ” Sometimes doctors need to do other tests like blood tests or X-Rays, which help their eyes, hands, and ears to make observations.

The way scientists use evidence to learn about the world is much cleverer and more complicated than I can say in a short letter. But now I want to move on from evidence, which is a good reason for believing something , and warn you against three bad reasons for believing anything. They are called “tradition,” “authority,” and “revelation.”

First, tradition. A few months ago, I went on television to have a discussion with about fifty children. These children were invited because they had been brought up in lots of different religions. Some had been brought up as Christians, others as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or Sikhs. The man with the microphone went from child to child, asking them what they believed. What they said shows up exactly what I mean by “tradition.” Their beliefs turned out to have no connection with evidence. They just trotted out the beliefs of their parents and grandparents which, in turn, were not based upon evidence either. They said things like: “We Hindus believe so and so”; “We Muslims believe such and such”; “We Christians believe something else.”

Of course, since they all believed different things, they couldn’t all be right. The man with the microphone seemed to think this quite right and proper, and he didn’t even try to get them to argue out their differences with each other. But that isn’t the point I want to make for the moment. I simply want to ask where their beliefs come from. They came from tradition. Tradition means beliefs handed down from grandparent to parent to child, and so on. Or from books handed down through the centuries. Traditional beliefs often start from almost nothing; perhaps somebody just makes them up originally, like the stories about Thor and Zeus. But after they’ve been handed down over some centuries, the mere fact that they are so old makes them seem special. People believe things simply because people have believed the same thing over the centuries. That’s tradition.

The trouble with tradition is that, no matter how long ago a story was made up, it is still exactly as true or untrue as the original story was. If you make up a story that isn’t true, handing it down over a number of centuries doesn’t make it any truer!

Most people in England have been baptised into the Church of England, but this is only one of the branches of the Christian religion. There are other branches such as Russian Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, and the Methodist churches. They all believe different things. The Jewish religion and the Muslim religion are a bit more different still; and there are different kinds of Jews and of Muslims. People who believe even slightly different things from each other go to war over their disagreements. So you might think that they must have some pretty good reasons – evidence – for believing what they believe. But actually, their different beliefs are entirely due to different traditions.

Let’s talk about one particular tradition. Roman Catholics believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was so special that she didn’t die but was lifted bodily in to Heaven. Other Christian traditions disagree, saying that Mary did die like anybody else. These other religions don’t talk about much and, unlike Roman Catholics, they don’t call her the “Queen of Heaven.” The tradition that Mary’s body was lifted into Heaven is not an old one. The bible says nothing on how she died; in fact, the poor woman is scarcely mentioned in the Bible at all. The belief that her body was lifted into Heaven wasn’t invented until about six centuries after Jesus’ time. At first, it was just made up, in the same way as any story like “Snow White” was made up. But, over the centuries, it grew into a tradition and people started to take it seriously simply because the story had been handed down over so many generations. The older the tradition became, the more people took it seriously. It finally was written down as and official Roman Catholic belief only very recently, in 1950, when I was the age you are now. But the story was no more true in 1950 than it was when it was first invented six hundred years after Mary’s death.

I’ll come back to tradition at the end of my letter, and look at it in another way. But first, I must deal with the two other bad reasons for believing in anything: authority and revelation.

Authority, as a reason for believing something, means believing in it because you are told to believe it by somebody important. In the Roman Catholic Church, the pope is the most important person, and people believe he must be right just because he is the pope. In one branch of the Muslim religion, the important people are the old men with beards called ayatollahs. Lots of Muslims in this country are prepared to commit murder, purely because the ayatollahs in a faraway country tell them to.

When I say that it was only in 1950 that Roman Catholics were finally told that they had to believe that Mary’s body shot off to Heaven, what I mean is that in 1950, the pope told people that they had to believe it. That was it. The pope said it was true, so it had to be true! Now, probably some of the things that that pope said in his life were true and some were not true. There is no good reason why, just because he was the pope, you should believe everything he said any more than you believe everything that other people say. The present pope ( 1995 ) has ordered his followers not to limit the number of babies they have. If people follow this authority as slavishly as he would wish, the results could be terrible famines, diseases, and wars, caused by overcrowding.

Of course, even in science, sometimes we haven’t seen the evidence ourselves and we have to take somebody else’s word for it. I haven’t, with my own eyes, seen the evidence that light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. Instead, I believe books that tell me the speed of light. This looks like “authority.” But actually, it is much better than authority, because the people who wrote the books have seen the evidence and anyone is free to look carefully at the evidence whenever they want. That is very comforting. But not even the priests claim that there is any evidence for their story about Mary’s body zooming off to Heaven.

The third kind of bad reason for believing anything is called “revelation.” If you had asked the pope in 1950 how he knew that Mary’s body disappeared into Heaven, he would probably have said that it had been “revealed” to him. He shut himself in his room and prayed for guidance. He thought and thought, all by himself, and he became more and more sure inside himself. When religious people just have a feeling inside themselves that something must be true, even though there is no evidence that it is true, they call their feeling “revelation.” It isn’t only popes who claim to have revelations. Lots of religious people do. It is one of their main reasons for believing the things that they do believe. But is it a good reason?

Suppose I told you that your dog was dead. You’d be very upset, and you’d probably say, “Are you sure? How do you know? How did it happen?” Now suppose I answered: “I don’t actually know that Pepe is dead. I have no evidence. I just have a funny feeling deep inside me that he is dead.” You’d be pretty cross with me for scaring you, because you’d know that an inside “feeling” on its own is not a good reason for believing that a whippet is dead. You need evidence. We all have inside feelings from time to time, sometimes they turn out to be right and sometimes they don’t. Anyway, different people have opposite feelings, so how are we to decide whose feeling is right? The only way to be sure that a dog is dead is to see him dead, or hear that his heart has stopped; or be told by somebody who has seen or heard some real evidence that he is dead.

People sometimes say that you must believe in feelings deep inside, otherwise, you’ d never be confident of things like “My wife loves me.” But this is a bad argument. There can be plenty of evidence that somebody loves you. All through the day when you are with somebody who loves you, you see and hear lots of little tidbits of evidence, and they all add up. It isn’t a purely inside feeling, like the feeling that priests call revelation. There are outside things to back up the inside feeling: looks in the eye, tender notes in the voice, little favors and kindnesses; this is all real evidence.

Sometimes people have a strong inside feeling that somebody loves them when it is not based upon any evidence, and then they are likely to be completely wrong. There are people with a strong inside feeling that a famous film star loves them, when really the film star hasn’t even met them. People like that are ill in their minds. Inside feelings must be backed up by evidence, otherwise you just can’t trust them.

Inside feelings are valuable in science, too, but only for giving you ideas that you later test by looking for evidence. A scientist can have a “hunch'” about an idea that just “feels” right. In itself, this is not a good reason for believing something. But it can be a good reason for spending some time doing a particular experiment, or looking in a particular way for evidence. Scientists use inside feelings all the time to get ideas. But they are not worth anything until they are supported by evidence.

I promised that I’d come back to tradition, and look at it in another way. I want to try to explain why tradition is so important to us. All animals are built (by the process called evolution) to survive in the normal place in which their kind live. Lions are built to be good at surviving on the plains of Africa. Crayfish to be good at surviving in fresh, water, while lobsters are built to be good at surviving in the salt sea. People are animals, too, and we are built to be good at surviving in a world full of ….. other people. Most of us don’t hunt for our own food like lions or lobsters; we buy it from other people who have bought it from yet other people. We ”swim” through a “sea of people.” Just as a fish needs gills to survive in water, people need brains that make them able to deal with other people. Just as the sea is full of salt water, the sea of people is full of difficult things to learn. Like language.

You speak English, but your friend Ann-Kathrin speaks German. You each speak the language that fits you to ‘`swim about” in your own separate “people sea.” Language is passed down by tradition. There is no other way . In England, Pepe is a dog. In Germany he is ein Hund. Neither of these words is more correct, or more true than the other. Both are simply handed down. In order to be good at “swimming about in their people sea,” children have to learn the language of their own country, and lots of other things about their own people; and this means that they have to absorb, like blotting paper, an enormous amount of traditional information. (Remember that traditional information just means things that are handed down from grandparents to parents to children.) The child’s brain has to be a sucker for traditional information. And the child can’t be expected to sort out good and useful traditional information, like the words of a language, from bad or silly traditional information, like believing in witches and devils and ever-living virgins.

It’s a pity, but it can’t help being the case, that because children have to be suckers for traditional information, they are likely to believe anything the grown-ups tell them, whether true or false, right or wrong. Lots of what the grown-ups tell them is true and based on evidence, or at least sensible. But if some of it is false, silly, or even wicked, there is nothing to stop the children believing that, too. Now, when the children grow up, what do they do? Well, of course, they tell it to the next generation of children. So, once something gets itself strongly believed – even if it is completely untrue and there never was any reason to believe it in the first place – it can go on forever.

Could this be what has happened with religions ? Belief that there is a god or gods, belief in Heaven, belief that Mary never died, belief that Jesus never had a human father, belief that prayers are answered, belief that wine turns into blood – not one of these beliefs is backed up by any good evidence. Yet millions of people believe them. Perhaps this because they were told to believe them when they were told to believe them when they were young enough to believe anything.

Millions of other people believe quite different things, because they were told different things when they were children. Muslim children are told different things from Christian children, and both grow up utterly convinced that they are right and the others are wrong. Even within Christians, Roman Catholics believe different things from Church of England people or Episcopalians, Shakers or Quakers , Mormons or Holy Rollers, and are all utterly convinced that they are right and the others are wrong. They believe different things for exactly the same kind of reason as you speak English and Ann-Kathrin speaks German. Both languages are, in their own country, the right language to speak. But it can’t be true that different religions are right in their own countries, because different religions claim that opposite things are true. Mary can’t be alive in Catholic Southern Ireland but dead in Protestant Northern Ireland.

What can we do about all this ? It is not easy for you to do anything, because you are only ten. But you could try this. Next time somebody tells you something that sounds important, think to yourself: “Is this the kind of thing that people probably know because of evidence? Or is it the kind of thing that people only believe because of tradition, authority, or revelation?” And, next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: “What kind of evidence is there for that?” And if they can’t give you a good answer, I hope you’ll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.

Your loving,



  1. Charles says

    To whom it may concern,
    I found this essay to be overwhelmingly refreshing. To previous comments, I was intrigued by the format of the piece as a letter to his daughter. I do not believe that it was written purely for his daughter, which I have no objections to. The essay dumbs down the claims made against all religions, but only does so to point out that this is the only way that pious individuals can understand it. I have read intensive papers and books on the fallacies and wording of the Bible and religion. This essay introduces most of these topics efficiently, while not bogging itself down in complicated reasoning and wording that can turn a non-atheist or non-agnostic away. I have gone through a Catholic High School and have first hand seen the pressures that are put on children at a very young age. Bringing up that there is no evidence for god, or reasoning is useless against the now throughly trained minds of religious followers. However, most of the arguments can be refuted as simple logical fallacies, such as “The Bible says that God is real. God wrote the Bible, therefore God is real,”. You may either want to burst out laughing or become furious by this quote because of its utter stupidity. But throughout my life, asking well respected religious figures, I have hear quotes similar to this. I am no one but a concerned citizen for my country and our world.
    This is a link to an extensive look at the Bible that opened my mind to an argument that I had never encountered. I hope that anyone interested will take the time to real at least the beginning of this essay:

    If there is any follow-up questions for me, or if anyone feels like discussing these crucial topics, please feel free to email me at


  2. Harv says

    Starburst, I also use the agnostic label, but am, like most who use it, effectively an atheist. If you would like to see a convincing disproof of the standard Christian god’s existence, see
    It is a logical argument showing that that deity cannot exist because its very definition and attributes are self-contradictory. It is like asking someone to bring you a square ball – can’t be any such thing.

  3. starburst says

    I am an agnostic, arguably the most logical choice when it comes to beliefs. Theists take it way too far in extreme beliefs based on tradition, authority, and revelation, thus are unable to think logically and rationally. Atheists are much more logical as science has no evidence for any god, but plenty of evidence to rule out much of the Bible’s content (living inside a fish, splitting the sea, the great flood, etc.); plus science provides solid evidence for evolution, and decent evidence for a Big Bang. Agnostics, like atheists, see this common sense, but we are open minded enough to say that Hey, just maybe there is a chance that an intelligent creator did some work here- BUT, we won’t believe in any such thing until we see evidence, and we don’t see evidence. No one (in their right mind) sees evidence, and if they claim they do, put them in a mental hospital because they are delusional.

  4. Rory says

    There’s two things that strike me as weird about this. Firstly, I was still messing round with lego when I was 10, i certainly wouldn’t have been in the mood to read a 3,000 word essay, let alone one that includes the death of my dog. Secondly, what kind of father sends a LETTER? I mean, me and my dad were pretty distant but hell! Did he post it to his own house? Or did he slip it under her bedroom door and run away?

    I mean, I’m not an idiot, I know that it’s just to sell a few more books and whatever, but this is just the kind of waterered down tripe I’ve come to expect of Dawkins.

    People should go and read some real philosophy, instead of this pop culture neo-athiest bullshit and they might end up with a more balanced view of the world.

    (And I’m an athiest)

  5. says

    This is an awesome letter, although it’s a pity Dawkins got stuck into details about TV shows, Mary, etc… I find that as soon as you do that the religious nuts come back at you with a pile of ‘reasoning’ that has little or nothing to do with the basic point. I don’t have the time or inclination to deal with that nonsense.

    Try to keep it really simple and those who are open to reason will understand. But don’t forget that most people don’t want to understand.

    Evidence: Using observation and reasoning to iteratively build and test theories -> GOOD
    Tradition: It’s as untrue now as it was when someone first came up with it -> BAD
    Authority: The person telling you something could easily be wrong. In fact they may benefit by misleading you -> POOR
    Revelation: Like believing you’re going to win the lottery because you feel good about it. Stupid. -> BAD

    The scientific method hasn’t given us all the answers. And we make mistakes as we iterate towards the best explanations. But at least rational thinkers and atheists don’t make wishful assumptions. I maintain that there is as much evidence that Papa Smurf created the universe as there is that God did it. Prove me wrong and I’ll prove you wrong about God.

    Anyway, great article – thanks for posting it.

  6. JD says

    LOL Why is it that everything is a crazy exteme when it comes to religion. The FACT is, the Bible is not reliable and if you take it at face value, then murder and stoning should be the punishment for saying ‘god damn’ or working on Sunday. We will advance in science to maintain life, hell, is it not the creationists that think people lived for hundreds of years on gods watch a few thousand years ago??? If that is not far-fetched, then the fact that the brain only dies due to the other organs giving out, means thats the source of the issue. So if we can continue to keep blood flowing who knows. Scientist are on the verge of producing a fully functional pig heart, then who knows how long we can live. Get off the end-of-times bandwagon and get on some prozac and enjoy life. Religion has a cycle similar to a drug user. You go to church to get your fix, then throughout the following day(s) you do things that are wrong and you need another fix for you feel terrible about yourself, for you sinned OMG OMG. I take that back, your completely normal, speaking in tongues and believing that everyone outside of you is crazy. Lets build massive churches instead of living like Jesus would have, huddle at a park and give the money to charity and poor. Oh I am sorry, those dead beats on welfare are garbage and undeserving, but the children in other countries are important. Lets spend money to travel there and save them, its worth the effort, but screw the kids two blocks over, probably try to sell me drugs. If Jesus was alive today, every religious person would call the guy nuts. If some guy claimed to be Jesus, or did that happen in PN..hmmm, you would right it off. Jesus would probably smoke a joint and demand we start helping each other, not be selective and forceful due to beliefs not being in-line with our own. The ironic thing is, most religious people cannot even maintain a religious life. You irritate me, I cannot even approach this from my usual stand point: Religion is not bad, the people who practice it are. Faith is a nice excuse to side-step reality. I hope the Muslims are right, I will see you in hell.

  7. says


    I find these proofs of “unfulfilled prophecy” rather unreasonable. It seems that you impose a certain understanding of how you think the prophecy should be fulfilled, and when it does not meet your narrow interpretation, then you condemn it. Is that the kind of “reason” that you hold to?

    Let’s look again at those examples and see if there is not a “reasonable” explanation, or at least the possibility that they could mean more than we might see:

    1. Cain – first of all, was this an unconditional prophecy? In other words, was God going to force Cain to wander the earth, or was it more of a recommendation from God that this would be the best for him, or perhaps an indication of what he would have to do to avoid others that might be distrustful of him? Secondly, just because he built a city for his son (which might have been nothing much more than a wall around a bunch of tents…some seem to think this is what it indicates), does this mean that he never wandered and that he settled there for the rest of his life? The text does not say anything about it. He seems to have wanted something better for his son, but rather than lead his son to the God whose law Cain had defied, he led him to trust in human fortifications. Whoever wrote or inspired the Bible seems to understand human nature quite well.

    2. Jehoiakim/Jehoiachin – Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, reigned for one hundred days. The prophecy had said that “he shall have none to sit upon the throne of David” which means that none of his seed would reign. That his son sat for a short 3 month period is apparently not counted in the scope of the prophecy. The prophecy is speaking about longer terms…at least a year. Some ancient records, such as the Ptolemaic Canon also omitted the mention of kings who reigned for less than a year, so this is not unusual. The other details about the death of Jehoiakim were fulfilled just as the prophecy stated.

    3. Immanuel – this name means “God with us”. In the Bible, names are used to indicate character, and that is exactly what Jesus was, and claimed to be: “God with us”. 1Ti 3:16 “…God was manifest in the flesh…” It is a most significant prophecy because many of the Jews of Jesus’ time only wanted to acknowledge him as a prophet, a man. They did not want to see His divine nature, because He was so different from what they thought God should be like. That there is no record of anyone calling Him by the Hebrew word “Immanuel” doesn’t bother me…that was not the intent of the prophecy. The name is merely the vessel that contains a certain meaning. The treasure is in the meaning, and that treasure was revealed in Jesus. And there were many who witnessed that He was “God with us.”

    Now a few other words. I had no difficulty with Dawkins’ letter to his daughter. There is a place for reason in religion, and to merely follow tradition without thinking about it is simply superstition. This however is primarily a problem with human nature, and can just as easily plague science as religion. As rational as we like to think we are, our “rationality” and even how we view the “evidence” is influenced by our feelings, our pre-conceived ideas, and our narrow views.

    Some of the biggest questions of life have not been answered by science: why are we here? where are we going? why do we die? what is the purpose of life? I couldn’t find answers to these questions in science, and so I turned to religion and DID find answers, even reasonable ones. And more than answers, I found power to overcome human weaknesses. What does science offer me for that?

    Here’s another question: what does science offer to solve the basic problems of humanity? why is it that with each new scientific discovery, the first purpose is to use the knowledge to gain military advantage over other nations? How is this different than the cavemen clubbing each other over the head? Why is it that with all our evolution and scientific advance, we are no better off morally than our ape-like ancestors (if you believe in evolution)?

    Here’s one more. Science is primarily a study of laws. The Bible says that life does not come from the law “Is the law then against the promises of God?” (Gal. 3:21) Or we could read it “Is science against the promises of God?” And the answer: “God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness [life] would have been by the law.” You see, science has it’s place…it is a study of laws, so we can appreciate them, and use them wisely. It’s not against religion. But it also has it’s limitations…it cannot give life. You can’t get life from a law! If I drive too fast and lose my leg in a car accident, I won’t get it back by obeying the speed limits.

    But scientists hope this; they hope that they will discover the antidote for death and be able to make men live forever…they also hope they will discover the secret to creating life. But these are both impossible, because you can’t get life from the law. Certainly you can extend life through the law, you can make that “spark” burn as long as possible through wise use and care, but in the end it will go out.

    But now, even though it’s impossible, let’s imagine what would happen if scientists did discover the antidote for death. First of all, big huge patents would be slapped on the formula, and only the richest people could afford it. The poor wouldn’t like this, so they would rise in rebellion and fight the rich. Then other nations would scramble into the war to get their hands on the coveted prize. If one person did emerge from this struggle as master, he would have to surround himself with massive amounts of armed guards. Not being able to trust anyone, he would wipe out those whom he suspected as plotting to overthrow him. This would encourage all sorts of false accusations from those who wanted to knock off the person who was above them so they could climb higher. This supreme ruler would want men to worship him as a god and would take any amount of wives or anyones wives for his harem. And so on…does it sound a bit like some of the history of man? Is it any wonder then why the Bible says that God did not allow man to stay in the garden of Eden, where the tree of life was, after he sinned?

    If science could give man wisdom along with knowledge, then it might be a threat to true religion. Until then, I’ll allow both their proper place. Science + Faith = Righteousness!

  8. Christians are Dangerous says

    To Timothy Fish,

    What are some ‘predictions’ of the bible that have come true? There have certainly been unfulfilled prophecies:

    1- Genesis, Chapter No. 4, Verse No. 12, it says:

    God told Cain: you will never be able to settle you will be a wanderer.

    Few Verses later on Genesis, Chapter No.4, Verse No.17, says:

    Cain built up a city

    – Unfulfilled prophecy.

    2- If you read Jeremiah, Chapter No.36, Verse No.30, it says that Jehoiachin the father of Jehoiachin – no one will be able to sit on his throne – The throne of David, no one will be able to sit after Jehoiachin. If you read later on, II Kings, Chapter No 24, Verse No 6, it says that “Jehoiachin after he died, later on Jehoiachin sat on the throne” – Unfulfilled prophecy.

    3- One is sufficient to prove it is not the word of God – I can give plenty. If you read Ezekiel, Chapter No 26, it says that:

    Nebuchader, he will destroyed Tyre.

    We come to know that Alexander the great, was the person who destroyed Tyre – Unfulfilled prophecy.

    4- Isaiah, Chapter No. 7, Verse No 14, says, prophesying of:

    The coming of a person who will be born to a virgin – his name shall be Emmanuel.

    They say the Christians – it refers to Jesus Christ peace be upon him. Born to a virgin – the Hebrew word there is “amla”, which means not “a virgin”- “a young lady”. The word for “virgin” in Hebrew is, “baitula”, which is not there. Even if you agree – we are using concordance – we agree “Virgin” = “Virgin” – No problem. It says:

    He will be called Immanuel.

    No where in the Bible is Jesus Christ peace be upon him, is called as Immanuel – Unfulfilled prophecy.

    The bible is not a book of scientific facts. you use it the source of evidence that 500 people saw Jesus. This is not a solid argument as the Bible is not proven to be factual. (i mean, come on. noah’s ark?) all of the evidence you provided is from the bible, which is a completely unreliable source. What gives it any authority over what scientists have proven through experiments and rationality?

    It makes no sense at all, yet I know that nothing I say will waver your faith in god. Why? Because your faith is BLIND.

  9. says

    Dawkins speaks highly of evidence, but he ignores the evidence that God has provided. Do we have evidence that the mountains turn over? Scientists tell us that they do. Lava comes from the bottom and then goes out the top. Do we have evidence that the Earth sits on nothing? We have pictures to prove it. The book of Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible, told us these things even before we had the evidence to prove them to be true. We have evidence of older books in the Bible predicting future events and it has never been incorrect. No one has ever been able to repeat that. Is that chance or is it evidence? The Bible records that over five hundred men saw Jesus alive and walking after he was crucified, stabbed in the side and left in a tomb with a Roman guard for three days. We may not understand it, but the evidence shows that he is alive. It is hard to dismiss the beliefs of the early church as being nothing more than a fairy tale. They truly believed that Jesus was alive. It may be easy for people now to dismiss the beliefs of these people, but they face persecution for their beliefs. Some of them were crucified for their beliefs. The evidence shows that they did not think they were believing in something like the Easter Bunny. Many of these people were the educated people of their day. If that is not enough, there are plenty of people alive today that have had a personal experience with Jesus. These people are not following religious dogma as a means to and end as is true with some religions. These people know that Jesus is actively involved in their lives and they want others to have the same. I am all for evidence. The God of the Bible does not ask for blind faith, he gives the evidence. That is even more than what Dawkins has for some of his beliefs.

    • VanBeelerBeard says

      @timothy fish…
      The bible is not evidence for itself. If 500 people saw jesus risen from the dead and all the crucifixions you mentioned you’d think some historians would have recorded it somewhere other than the bible. Could you cite them please?

  10. says


    I think Fred was making a reference to a common phrase “it’s so hot you need asbestos underwear”.

    This would then imply that anyone who does not accept God without evidence is going to hell… where it’s very hot.

    Therefor his is a fear-based argument. Hell is hot. Asbestos underwear is itchy. You don’t want either, so believe in God. :-)


  11. Darran says

    “When you get the “evidence” that your dull mind wants it will be too late. Got asbestos?”

    Asbestos? That’s the best example you can come up with to challenge critical thinking? What a non-sequitur.

    • ben says

      Let’s make one thing clearabout the words agnostic and atheist: Everyone is an agnostic when it comes to religion. It only means nobody knows for sure if religion A or B is right or if god does or does not exists. If someone claims to KNOW for sure, then he sould probably visit a doctor because he has a little something called scyzophrenia. Now for the word atheist, you must realise that you were born an atheist, like everyone else. You probably had some religion teaching when you were young and now you can decide if you believe or not. The default position is to be an atheist: it only means you havent been tainted by religious propaganda. If you really believe in god, a god or multiple gods you are a theist, if you’re not sure, you’re an atheist, the default position.

    • says

      In Islam you have no religion till the age of 7. After that time parents can teach them why is it importanrt to have religion etc etc.

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