God Doesn’t Exist: Believers are Products of their Environment

What fraction of Muslims were not raised in a Muslim environment?  What fraction of Christians were not raised in a Christian environment?  What does it say about the validity of religious claims that people typically take on the religion of their culture?

When someone gets a religious vision, why does it have elements from that person’s religion and not some other religion?  Why do Hindus not get visions of Mary or Jesus or Christian angels, and why do Christians not get visions of Hindu gods?

To avoid the charge of special pleading, Christians must argue that they were just extraordinarily lucky to have been born in a place and time in which the correct religion happened to be available.

Religion is like language.  I speak English because I was raised in America.  I didn’t evaluate all the languages of the world before I picked the best one; it was just part of my environment.

Any Christian will tell you that babies born to Muslim parents are almost exclusively Muslim for no more profound reason than that they were raised in a Muslim environment.  Why should it be any different for babies born to Christian parents?

Christians aren’t Christian because Christianity is true, but because they were born into a Christian environment.  Christianity is a cultural trait, not a reflection of the truth.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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33 thoughts on “God Doesn’t Exist: Believers are Products of their Environment

  1. Pingback: God Doesn’t Exist: Historians Reject the Bible Story | Cross Examined

  2. Well here we go again with Bob’s absurditys. God has dertermined before the foundation of the world who are His elect.. It does not matter where you are born, God will call His prople throughout the world.. As he has from day one!
    And by the way there are only TWO people in the world Christians, and unbelievers.
    Unbeleivers are Ahthiests, Agnostics, Hindus, muslim’s, JW’s , Mormons, RCC, Etc. We put names on these religions that Ape Chrisitianity.. But as the Bible tell us there are only the Sheep and the Goats, THe wheat and the tares, the Saved and the unsaved, the Elect and the unelect. The redeemed and the unregenerate. Another faulty argument from the unregenerate ( Bob theAtheist) THat where you are born determiines what religion you are.

    • And here we go again with more of Bob C’s religious claims.

      We’re talking past each other–I’m trying to make a logical argument (to which I expect a counter-argument in return) while you’re stuck in the domain of Christianity, making religious claims.

      Are you able to make a logical argument? If so, that would be preferable.

    • And BTW, the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25) is an interesting one. It makes clear that you get into the kingdom by works, not faith.

      Finally–some theology that makes sense!

  3. Boy, theres an oxymoron! An atheist giving commentarys on Matt 25? And an Athesit is going to exegete on the theology of soteriology. LOL! And an atheist asking for LOGICAL arguments. When in the Athesist worldview there is no logic. How does the Atheist account for Logic? In a natural material world how does the Atheist account for univeral, invarrient, abstract laws?

    • If you have an argument to make, I’m all ears. So far, I’ve heard none, so I guess you’re just throwing in the towel on the Matt. 25 question.

      As for the logical argument question, I appreciate that Christianity has an answer to where logic came from: God did it. Of course, the Christian has no idea where God came from, so we’re still left with a fundamental question.

      Various religions and philosophies might well have all sorts of answers. But so what? Do I have any reason to accept them? That’s the key issue that the Christian seems to fall short on.

  4. Yup, another picture of Judgment day. The parable is explaining the description of beleivers ( Santification) Once God elects the sinner and gives the sinner spiritual life ( a supernatural act) that sinner is immediatley Justified.. God’s wrath is removed from that person, Jesus righteouness is imputted to the sinner. And the legal act for that mans sins are paid for by the blood of Jesus.. He is now not guilty in God’s eyes. And the result of this new supernatural birth is the sinner is a new creature. His heart of stone is gone and now has a heart of flesh. And the results are now good works..Not perfect works but good works. This is caled sanitification..The longer the Christian lives the more santified he becomes..As Jesus explains in the parable. The goats on the other hand ( which is Bob the Atheist) remain goats. They love there sins and want no part of the Holy Triune God. And they will be thrown in the lake of fire for erternity..They get what they want. Which is seperation from God.

    • Whoa! Which parable were you reading?!

      The parable of the sheep and the goats says that you get into heaven by works, not by faith. The parable isn’t especially confusing.

      If you could address my claim directly, that would be more efficient (and save you typing in lots of Christian dogma that’s off topic).

  5. Nope, works are the results of the new birth. In fact if you read Matt 7: 21-23. (which comes before Matt 25) You will see people who did many “Good Works” in Jesus name.. They phrophisied, did miracles,cast out demons. And Jesus said to them he never knew them. Only those the Father gives the Son will inherit eternal life. (John 6) And only those Jesus wills to reveal the Father to will inherit eternal Life. ( MAtt 11 which comes before Matt 25) Your problem is you are ignorant on the bible’s teaching on Soteriology.

    • You’re changing the subject. Let’s focus on just this parable. Don’t try to reinterpret it to better suit your own beliefs with the help of other Bible verses. There’s no ambiguity here. The parable very clearly (and very beautifully, IMO) says that works gets you into heaven (more precisely, the “Kingdom”).

      You’re hammering the Bible to take the shape of your beliefs. Shouldn’t it be the other way around??

  6. I’m sorry, but I dont see how the passage supports “works gets you into heaven.” If we read verse 34, which states, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world”, one has to ask “how is it based on works if the kingdom was prepared since the creation of the world”?

    • Your admission into the Kingdom is based on works.

      The Kingdom might have been prepared yesterday or since the creation of the world–I don’t see how that matters.

      Or am I missing something?

  7. No I am not changing the subject. The Bible plainly teaches How fallen man enters the kingdom of God. You are trying to take a parable about judgment day, and trying to read into it some kind of works salvation.. Where is Jesus saying “works get you into heaven” And also why are you assuming this parable to be prescriptive? A prescription of what one must do to get into heaven? And not Descriptive? Describing that only those who are truly in Chrst are the Elect?

    • I’m trying to take the parable and read it honestly.

      Jesus says “works gets you into heaven” when he says, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink …'” (Matt. 25:34-35).

      Why are those on the right allowed into the kingdom? Because of the good works they did (feeding the hungry, etc.).

      Where is this unclear?

  8. Yes, But you are assuming the good deeds they did got them into heaven..One must have saving faith ( a gift exclusively to God’s elect) to produce good deeds. Good works are the evidence of Saving faith. You are twisting it to say Goods works gets you faith.
    ” For by Grace you have been saved through faith, NOT OF WORKS,it is a GIFT of God. lest any man can boast. ( Eph 2:8)

    Only the saved are the Sheep of God, and the evidence of their True saving faith is there works.

    • “Twisting it”? I don’t see how I’m twisting this parable to say anything. This parable says that good works gets you into heaven. If it actually says that faith gets you into heaven, please show me in this parable.

      Don’t quote me from Ephesians! Let’s let the Bible speak for itself without you making it into a sock puppet. This parable clearly states that good works gets you into heaven. I can appreciate how you don’t like that, but your opinion counts for nothing when put up against what Scripture actually says–am I right?

  9. You are wrong. YOu still assume Matt 25 is a soteriological parable. Sorry it is not! You also assume it is a prescriptive verse, sorry it is not. It is a discriptive. And the entire NT assumes man is saved by God apart from works. The entire plan of the Triune God is The Father from all eretnity has chosen a specific people for Salvation. The Son Redeems these eople the Father gave Him. And the Spirit gives that person eternal life, and indwells that person to do good works. Notice the Economic Trinity? and the role of each of the persons in the Godhead? Sorry Bob any kind of work salvation is impossible..
    That is why I usually do not exegete scripture with the ungodly as they are not able to understand spitiuall things, sorry no offense meant. Just qouting scripture that you are unable to understand God’s word.. You are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14

    By the way are you even concerned about a book of fables? And about salvation? And in the atheist world view of no absolute truths who cares what it says? It is all relative. It is just your subjective opinion angains mine. Who cares/ At least be consistent and follow your arbitrary woldview you live in.

    • So you get to interpret the Bible the way you decide? Don’t you think you should let it speak for itself instead of turning it into a sock puppet?

      You’re simply stating that I don’t get it. This isn’t an argument, just a claim. If you have an argument, please present it.

      As for why I’m concerned about this, I have a post planned for Monday that will address this.

      No, I don’t see any absolute truth or meaning. That doesn’t mean that I can’t find truth and meaning! I’m completely consistent (but thanks for asking).

  10. Nope, I did not interpret the Bible the way I decide. The Triune God has predestined His plan to save His sheep. And works are not a part of that plan. It’s out of my hands and your hands.

    You said:
    “No, I don’t see any absolute truth or meaning…”

    So what you are saying is No , It is absolutety true that I see no truth or meaning.. OK , I understand now. Your sentence self refutes itself! LOL

    • So what you are saying is No , It is absolutety true that I see no truth or meaning.. OK , I understand now. Your sentence self refutes itself! LOL

      Ah, the old kindergarten try! In fact, this is exactly the example I give when I define the caltrop argument.

      If you actually read what I wrote instead of ineptly shoehorning it into this fallacy, you’ll see that I didn’t say “It is absolutely true that …” but rather “I don’t see….”

      If you want to respond to what I actually said (and, oh I dunno, actually offer evidence in favor of absolute moral truth) that would be fine.

      (And, once again, citing dogma doesn’t respond to my argument that Matt. 25 teaches that works gets you into heaven.)

  11. Nope it is your opinion Matt 25 teaches works gets you into heaven. ( Funny thing is that the cults that proclaim works get you into heaven do not even use Matt 25. As soteriology is not the context of Matt 25). The point is God has determined how His elect get into heaven, and works is not the way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth , and the Life..

    Sorry Bob, You exegeting scripture is an oxymoron.

    • There’s probably not much point in my repeating this because it seems to fall on deaf ears, but your simply making a claim doesn’t help advance the conversation.

      I make an argument, and then you respond to that argument (with reason and evidence) in return.

      Or is that not how you play the game?

  12. I responed.. You are trying to make Matt 25 a prescription as how to enter heaven. To do this you must break all hermenutical laws. and exegetical laws . You must change God’s entire plan of redemtion..Sorry Bob..It won’t work..Also it is sola scriptura and tota scriptura. Not lets take a parable and make up something it does not even apply to = Soteriology. Sorry Bob, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    • What I’m talking about is the fact that a plain and charitable reading of Matt. 25–y’know, just letting the text speak for itself, without applying any presuppositions to it–says that works get you into heaven.

      I agree that other parts of the New Testament say that faith alone gets you into heaven. Resolve this ambiguity any way you want, just don’t dismiss this parable because it’s inconvenient to your presuppositions.

  13. I don’t. You say ” It says works gets you into heaven”? Sorry i missed that verse? It is a descriptive verse ( not a presecriptive verse) It describes that only those “IN” Chrsit. Have a new nature and te evidence of this saving faith, is doing Chrsit sommandments. Jesus said if you love ME you will obey me. And that is immpossible to do unless you have the new birth..Then the results of this new birth is doing the work of Chrsit. Not for salvation but in love for Him.
    Ok, Bob, for argument sake lets go with your opinion.. Lets us say these are people doing works to get into heaven. Now lets go to Matt 7:21 (berfore MAtt 25). Jesus first says not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven.. Only those doing the will of my Father in heaven.
    Then Jesus explains: MAny will come to me and say did we not cast out demons in your name? Did we not prophesy in your name? and did we not do many mircales in your name?
    So here Bodb are groups of peope In Jesus name doing many good works. Miracles, casting out demons, giving prophesy.. So I ask you why did not these good works get them into heaven? Are there some good works that get you in and other good works that keep you out? Please explain to us.

    • You say ” It says works gets you into heaven”? Sorry i missed that verse?

      Hard to miss, I think. It’s Matt. 25:34–36. Why are the sheep on his right? Because they put themselves in that category with their good works.

      You say that you get into heaven by faith alone? Then this parable should mention that! Those on his right are getting into the kingdom, not because of faith, but because of what they’ve done.

      So here Bodb are groups of peope In Jesus name doing many good works. Miracles, casting out demons, giving prophesy.. So I ask you why did not these good works get them into heaven? Are there some good works that get you in and other good works that keep you out? Please explain to us.

      If different verses harmonize nicely, I’m not sure what the problem is. If they don’t, this simply underscores my point, that this book was not divinely guided but is simply the work of men.

  14. You did not answer this:
    So here Bodb are groups of peope In Jesus name doing many good works. Miracles, casting out demons, giving prophesy.. So I ask you why did not these good works get them into heaven? Are there some good works that get you in and other good works that keep you out? Please explain t
    Explain how the good works in MAtt 25 get them into heaven, and these good works send them to hell?
    Also if you want a deffinition of what a Sheep is you would go to John 10..Then you would understand why these Sheep in Matt 25 are Jesus elect. They are predestined to etrenal life before the world began..As stated in MAtt 25 before the parable of the Sheep that you fail to mention. Sorry Bob works have nothing to do to get your ticked punched for heaven..Only Jesus Sheep inhereit eternal life..It is a legal forensic decree of Justification..

  15. China has more Christians than Europe. In the last fifty years we have seen a dramatic demographic shift in the church away from the traditional “Christian” countries of europe and the Americas to Asia and Africa. It seems that there are an awful lot of Christians who did not come from a Christian environment. I’m sorry Bob, the evidence just doesn’t support your argument on this.

    • What environment did these newly-Christian Chinese grow up in? They obviously got their Christianity somewhere.

      My point is a simple one: you are an (imperfect) mirror of your environment. Sure there are exceptions. But the correlation between environment and adult religion is strong and relevant.

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