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Book Excerpts

This journey of mine began not by seeking God or Jesus, but by seeking truth.  This does not mean I was searching for the “lack of Jesus” either.  I was simply searching for a better understanding of the universe, my fellow humans, and the meaning of life.  If truth led to God, so be it.  If truth led to a world without God, so be it.  - Preface

Without divine purpose or intrinsic meaning, we are free to give our lives meaning.  We are even free to live meaningless lives!  Perhaps this is the work of God giving us the gift of ultimate freedom; freedom from divine purpose as well as freedom from divine consequences for our choice. - Chapter 3

The perfect God of the Bible, or any “first cause” outside the universe, is not subject to any universal laws that do not yet exist.  What this ultimately means is that no intelligence is necessary for this creation.  Without any pre-existing laws to follow, anything goes.  If there is a powerful force that is the first cause of the universe, it could be as dumb as a dodo bird and still result in the world we live in today — life and all. - Chapter 7

One cannot use the Bible to prove God’s existence just as one cannot use the book “Harry Potter” to prove the existence of the Hogwarts School. - Chapter 9

We fail to see good and evil as subjective because we fail to take into consideration cultural and societal norms.  But most of all, we fail to understand our fellow humans.  It is much easier for us to make moral judgments based on our morals rather than accept the idea that the line separating good and evil is not as clear as we once thought. - Chapter 10

Martyrdom simply requires belief, not truth. - Chapter 11

Although evolution states that we share a common ancestor with apes, the evolution deniers like to say that they don’t believe that they evolved from “pond scum” or something equally as vile.  I find this argument, if one can call it that, quite amusing since the alternative is that God made us from dirt and blew life into our noses (Genesis 2:7). - Chapter 12

But some people like the idea of being a passenger in the car of life, as long as God is the driver.  The big question is: can you tell God to stop the car and get out if you wanted to?  If you can’t, freewill doesn’t exist, and you are nothing more than God’s puppet and can no more make moral choices than your mailbox can. - Chapter 15

If belief in the supernatural is the way to eternal paradise, then knowledge, logic, and reason are not gifts; they are curses. - Chapter 16

Since the beginning of recorded history, there have been those who use this unquestionable faith in others to take advantage and manipulate them.  Over a billion people count on religious leaders to interpret the Bible for them and tell them how God wants them to act, how God wants them to vote, and even how God wants them to think.  Have faith, but have faith that your natural tendencies to question ideas and doubt “authority” are there for a reason. - Chapter 18

What about forgiveness?  Would Jesus forgive Hitler?  Forgiveness and justice are often in direct conflict.  It seems as if Jesus would do the forgiving but the God of the Old Testament would open up a serious can of whoop-ass on Hitler.  But if Jesus and God are the same, what wins?  Forgiveness or Justice?  Maybe Jesus/God would forgive Hitler and allow him in Heaven, but when you get to Heaven, would you want to have a slushee with him at the local Heaven-Eleven? - Chapter 32

While it may seem “blasphemous” to criticize God, I have no problem with criticizing the ancient beliefs of the authors of the Old Testament. - Chapter 33

Some may argue that prayer is really just an act of faith to prove to God your devotion to him.  Once again, an all-knowing God would not require proof of your devotion, furthermore a physical act by no means can represent the faith one has inside.  Prayer is not for God; prayer is for people. - Chapter 34

It seems as though modern-day Christian understanding of this alleged sexism stems from C.S. Lewis’ Book, Mere Christianity.  The idea is if the man and woman cannot agree and they are in a “stalemate”, then the man is right.  Why?  Because the man has a penis.  Once again, the Bible believing Christian is forced to compromise on what he or she knows is wrong, in so many ways, in order to defend this inerrant Biblical idea of God. - Chapter 36

If you believe in God, turning your gratitude into service for humanity is the ultimate form of praising and glorifying God.  If you don’t believe in God, turning your gratitude into service for humanity is a way to do your part in making the world a better place.  Either way, both you and humanity win. - Chapter 39

...it’s not “God the being” that fulfills all these needs, it’s “God the idea”.  This is strong evidence that God the idea exists, not God the being. - Chapter 40

Biblical interpretation is more of a revelation of your own inner beliefs than anything else.  If you are gay, you will see where the Bible supports gay relationships.  If you are a woman, you will see where the church empowers women.  If you really don’t want to keep to Jewish law, you will focus on how Paul stresses the Jewish law isn’t important rather than focusing on what Jesus himself actually said about keeping the Jewish law.  Perhaps this is what is meant when Jesus said, “seek and you shall find”.  Whatever the true purpose of the Bible, I am pretty sure it was not written so people can use scripture to confirm their own beliefs and/or forward their own political agenda. - Chapter 43

Those who insist on an error-free Bible are concerned that if one cannot believe the entire Bible, then one cannot believe in any of it.  If I shared their views, I would be much more concerned with the practice of explaining away contradictions and different theologies through implied allegory, translation issues, vague and subjective use of language, and other linguistic acrobatics.  Such an unclear, subjective, and non-literal book hardly seems like the work of a perfect God. - Chapter 44

You might still have a problem with giving credit to Christianity for a concept that has been around for centuries prior, but think of Jesus as the Bill Gates of the concept of charity.  Gates was responsible for bringing the PC to the masses, just as Jesus was the man responsible for bringing the concept of charity to the masses.  Without Christianity, charity would most likely not be as widespread as it is today and without Bill Gates, I would probably be typing this on a typewriter. - Chapter 50

As time passes, fact turns to fiction, stories turn to legend, and Jesus, a man OF God becomes Jesus, the man God.  No longer are his works of human origin, but they are works of God.  No longer do people believe that a simple man could have possibly delivered such a powerful message, but he must have had divine help.  No longer was Jesus the Batman who represented the pinnacle of human achievement, but he became Superman, the humanoid that none of us can ever be. - Chapter 53

Christianity never had to deal with the kind of modern textual criticism practiced today.  Super-fast computers, global information sharing, and the growing number of secular universities offering programs in religious study all pose an increasing challenge to what was once virtually undisputed Biblical fact.  As it becomes increasingly difficult for moderate Christians to ignore the differences between the historical Jesus and the theological Jesus, we will witness Christianity enter in its next phase of evolution. - Chapter 56

I do believe God exists; yet I consider myself a nontheist because I do not accept the many properties and actions that are generally accepted as part of the theistic God.  God is not a person, not a being, but a concept that we have created and continue to create.  Simply put, God is the concept of perfection.  God is “The Concept”. - Chapter 57

By adopting the conceptual view of God, we are letting go of the idea that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being — who created the universe and everything in it — gave our ancestors an “instruction book” on how to live.  By letting go of this ancient belief, we are free to make our own instruction book on life, and if you have ever read the whole Bible, you know that we can do a much better job. - Chapter 59

Christian Nontheism is different from atheism because it’s based on the goal of understanding Christianity.  It includes an appreciation for the history and mystery of the Christian faith, as well as a philosophy that explores the universe and our place in it. - Chapter 60

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"A delightful combination of straight talk, friendly challenge and a singular absence of bitter ax-grinding... he shows in plain-spoken, engaging prose how his view (and mine!) just makes better common sense.  I just love the section on heaven!  This book is quite and achievement.  Read it!" - Dr. Robert M. Price, Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies, Host of "The Bible Geek"

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