Last time we met up, I showed you a bunch of reasons to believe in Christianity. Alas for their very hopeful bearers, they all sucked. But I found one list that contained every single kind of bad reasoning, threats, come-ons, and emotional manipulation we know and expect from these inept salespeople. This is the absolute list of ’10 Reasons to Believe’ that encapsulates everything Christians want us to accept. And I hope you’ll enjoy going through it with me!
(Obviously, #notallchristians are like the ones discussed here. Alas, the writer and their site never clarifies exactly what flavor of Christian they are. I’ve assumed hardline literalist-inerrantist evangelical due to all the Creationism horseshit in their Original Post (OP), but hey, I could be wrong. So to any Christians reading: This post is a shoe. If it doesn’t fit, then it wasn’t meant for you. I already know it won’t fit all or even most Christians. But it sure fits OP.)
Everyone, meet Bible:IQ; they think they’ve nailed the list of reasons to believe!
Today’s guest star comes to us from a business called Bible:IQ. At least, I think it’s a business. It might be a nonprofit, but there is zero nonprofit documentation visible on the site, so I’m guessing this is a play-it-as-it-lays for-profit business.
Whatever they are, they make digital/electronic learning programs aimed mostly at kids and teenagers. Apparently, they partner with private schools and homeschoolers to offer purely supplemental materials.
Interestingly, it’s hard to get a bead on exactly what flavor of Christianity this business follows. I’m guessing hardline literalist evangelical culture warrior, for reasons that will become abundantly clear in a moment. But there’s no “about” page on their site, nor any statement of beliefs.
I find these omissions very interesting, but they make sense, too, from a business perspective. Any evangelical seeking to get paid by a variety of sources is going to do the same exact thing. They don’t want to alienate any potential source of income.
Bible:IQ has been around a while, according to the Wayback Machine, which captured a 2011 page with the same URL. That said, that 2011 page is as barebones as barebones gets, really. It shows no signs whatsoever of being a business. In fact, there’s a note about being nonprofit there. They really got revved up around the beginning of the pandemic, though.
We have no idea who wrote today’s guest-starring post. I’m fairly sure it was written in 2023, though, which makes a lot of its “reasons” even funnier. If you’ve been around the skept-o-sphere for a while, you’ll recognize a lot of these golden oldies.
1. “You have nothing to lose”
I loved this one. A threat wrapped in a Pascal’s Wager right out of the gate! Here’s how its writer puts it:
Gambling is defined as a chancy venture where something is risked on an unknown outcome. On any uncertainty you can bet small or large – but would you be willing to bet your life on one toss of a coin or roll of a dice? Most would not be so foolish.
Those who don’t believe in God are betting ‘everything’ on when they die there is ‘nothing’ and they will simply cease to exist. But, WHAT IF death isn’t the exit door to existence? WHAT IF you have a soul that continues into eternity? WHAT IF there is a meaning to life?
I’ve also heard this attempt at persuasion called “the argument from but what if it’s true, though?” We can also describe it as an appeal to consequences, which is a favorite tactic of toxic Christians trying to forcefully gain others’ compliance.
This attempt doesn’t actually offer non-believers any evidence at all to support any of the Christian’s claims. It just threatens you with the imagined consequences if you reject their control-grabs. The problem with Pascal’s Wager is that it does not set up the “wager” correctly at all, nor even correctly define the risks.
In the Wager world, there exists only Christianity and atheism. In truth, Christianity exists alongside thousands of other religions, almost all of whose adherents make their own threats for noncompliance and rejection. Without adequately ensuring that only two options exist, the Wager falls apart.
Second, the Wager assumes that there’s no downside at all to becoming Christian. There is, in fact, plenty to lose as a Christian—especially the kind of Christian who thinks Pascal’s Wager makes for fabulous evangelism. This religion’s leaders have an entire slew of rules and demands for their followers, and most of them are designed to produce nothing but nonstop failure, anger, and anxiety.
Third and perhaps most of all, Pascal’s Wager allows an atheist to mouth appeasing words and get into Heaven. No faith is actually required to “win” the Wager. The god of the Wager is so stupid that it can’t tell the difference between genuine worship and simple self-preservation.
2. “There is a design behind everything in creation.”
The second totally amazingly compelling reason listed is a cringeworthy argument from design. I guess these are Creationists, or at least evangelicals who don’t understand science at all. Here’s how their writer tries to sell this one:
A book requires an author – like a program requires a programmer – like a poem requires a poet – like a design requires a designer – like an invention requires an inventor – like creation requires a Creator.
When we see an artwork, do we believe that the artwork created itself or is it self evident that an artist created it?
Animals are programmed for survival (zoologists call it instinct). Who is the programmer?
Talk.origins would probably file this attempt under CB180, which debunks the Creationist claim that DNA is some kind of programming language—which, accordingly, requires some kind of “programmer” to put into place. The simplest rebuttal I can give is simply that human language often informally bestows certain qualities on objects and processes that aren’t actually realistic. We know that a book requires some kind of writer and that poems require poets, but we know this because books and poems are real.
By making this comparison, Christians are equivocating, which means they’re swapping word meanings on us without clearing it with us first.
Christians, however, have yet to show us any objectively-real sign of their god. They are getting way ahead of themselves with this Creationist blahblah. First, they need to demonstrate that their god is even real. Then, they can work on trying to ascribe stuff to him. I could as easily claim that the “programmer” is the Giant Magical Invisible Pink Unicorn Arnie, Batman, or Harry Potter, and I’d have as much evidence to back my claim as Christians have for this terribad attempt at persuasion.
(I’ll also add that instinct does not mean “programmed for survival.” That’s just flat-out wrong. Instinct means that over many millions of years, animals who responded in certain ways to particular stimuli survived to breed, while animals that did not died out. I thought lying was a sin, but sales-focused Christians sure don’t agree.)
3. “It takes more faith to believe in evolution than in God.”
Here, again, we have an equivocation. This one involves the word “faith.” Here’s how their writer describes their mistake:
If someone said he had a theory that elephants evolved from prehistoric flying pigs, we might want to see their evidence before accepting it as fact. If they said they’d found no evidence or the evidence was missing, it would take a great step of faith to believe their theory.
Evolution is a belief that in the beginning there was nothing – the nothing exploded and gradually created everything.
Tell me you don’t understand evolution without actually telling me you don’t understand evolution.
First off, the Theory of Evolution (ToE) does not describe “the beginning.” It doesn’t even describe the beginning of life on Earth! It only describes why life on Earth looks the way it does today. No, this writer is thinking of something else entirely, probably the so-called Big Bang Theory. There are other competing theories that seek to describe our universe’s beginnings, but Creationists can’t be counted upon to know about those.
Second, the faith that people have in the Scientific Method (which is what the writer is poorly describing here) is earned every step of the way. We have faith in it precisely because it routinely works to give us accurate, predictable, reliable information about our reality. If Christians had some method of truth-gathering that worked better than the Scientific Method, chances are good we’d all be using it too. But they don’t. Their entire squabble with Creationism consists of trying to knock down the Theory of Evolution/Big Bang Theory so their blahblah sounds a bit more reasonable.
Contrast that with the faith-for-no-good-reason that Christians must have to believe in their blahblah. They cannot describe for us a single accurate, predictable, reliable trait of their god. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants, and they just have no idea why, ever.
It’s very interesting, isn’t it, that so far we’ve had two Creationism-based attempts to persuade? There’s a reason for it. We’ll get there. I promise.
4. “Life is more than the physical.”
Here, again, we get a subtle threat about the afterlife. But it’s also another Creationism-based attempt to persuade:
Science is limited to observing the physical world and many disregard that which cannot be examined. Yet, we all have a defining and timeless sense of self that transcends our fleshly casing – an inner self that houses all our hopes and fears, dreams and desires, beliefs and standards that cannot be observed on an operating table.
We should all question: When we die, where does that something (the real us) go? This is life’s central question.
Once again, this attempt fails because Christians have yet to demonstrate that an afterlife even exists or that souls really exist. For many millennia, nobody thought people had souls. It was only right around Philo’s time (he lived between 10-15ish BCE to 45-50ish CE) that philosophers began thinking in terms of something about humans that exists separate from our bodies. Two thousand years later, nobody’s yet figured out if that’s true or not. Nowadays, it’s “life’s central question” for Christians, since their religion manufactures a need to make sure their totes-for-realsies souls are safe after death.
That’s what this Christian is doing here, of course: issuing another vague threat about what’ll happen to us after we die. Whoever wrote this dreck, they know they can’t actually persuade us using anything in reality. So instead, they’ll try their best to make us question how we assess claims and what we know of reality. That’s the only way this blahblah might start sounding persuasive, and the writer knows it.
Life is indeed physical. As the classic story puts it, we’re made out of meat—and meat alone. So far, that is all we can say for sure about the matter. If Christians think something else is happening, then it’s on them to demonstrate that point. And they can’t. This Christian sure can’t, and as I said: whoever it is, they know quite well that they can’t.
5. “Christianity is judged unfairly.”
Awww, poor puddy! Everyone’s just so mean to TRUE CHRISTIANS™, amirite? They’re bein’ all PERsecuuuted fer jus’ bein’ KRISchin! But I had to laugh at this one. Check this out:
Many people reject Christianity on the basis of the horrible things done in the name of religion. However, we forget that Jesus Christ was not impressed with religion either. In fact, it was religious people that conspired to nail Him to the cross. [. . .]
Sadly, religion has given Christianity a reputation it doesn’t deserve. God is no fan of religion. If we reject Christianity on the basis of the despicable things done and said by religious people, we have judged Christianity and God unfairly.
Religion may wrong you, condemn you, malign you or nail you to a cross – but God certainly doesn’t want this. He desires to have an eternal, loving relationship with each of us no matter who we are or how we have failed Him.
It’s a RELAYYYYYSHUNSHIP not a RELIIIIIIJIN! Sure, Jan.
All we heathens can judge Christianity by are its adherents. Christians have never produced a single shred of evidence that their god exists, so they’re the ones we must look at when we judge their religion. The OP’s writer wants us to ignore all the horrible people and only look at good Christians, a group they mystifyingly but clearly believe they’re in. We are under no obligations to humor their demands.
The terrible truth is simple: Christians have never been able to get rid of the horrible people in their communities. This Christian is demanding that new recruits put themselves into harm’s way and associate with horrible people, but they can give their marks no true assurances of safety.
Worse, the writer is throwing their own religion under the bus. Christianity would not exist without the trappings of religion. It is, in fact, an actual religion. It’s never been anything else. So yes, I’ve heard pastors gripe about this tactic many times. And I betcha money that if we suggested removing all tax perks from churches, this writer would rediscover his religion’s completely religious nature with a quickness.
That said, it’s a lot easier for Christians to make unreasonable demands of heathens than to deal with their religion’s horrible-person problem. It’s not their marks’ fault that so many Christians fail to behave like they take their beliefs seriously.
Also: As a commenter noted on Patreon, yes, this one also sounds really antisemitic. Yikes. It sure wasn’t religious Christians that the Bible blames for Jesus’ crucifixion. Of note, the Gospels deliberately vilified Jews after their newbie religion separated from Judaism. That separation took a while, but it’s not like anyone was writing those books until the end of the first century anyway. And that editorial shift has caused countless deaths. WWJD? Pogrom and Holocaust the descendants of those supposedly responsible, obviously.
6. “We are what we believe.”
Ah, good: Another Creationism-based attempt to persuade, another attempt at Pascal’s Wager, another threat of Hell, and a couple of distinct insults to those who reject the writer’s control-grabs. Notice that no evidence is given. All the writer can do here is try to knock down a branch of science they very obviously don’t understand:
If we do not believe in the laws of gravity, will our beliefs stop us from the consequences of falling? As a rule, decisions we make are based on what we believe to be true – thus there will always be consequences as a result of our beliefs.
We should really consider what we believe. If our beliefs are based on a scientific theory like evolution (lack of supportable evidence means it is a theory, not a fact) we believe we are cosmic accidents with no high purpose – born simply to breed, suffer and die. [. . .]
The Bible states: ‘The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1)’; even though God’s handiwork is plainly seen in creation (Psalm 19:1). If we reject the biblical claim of God and Jesus Christ, what are the consequences if we are wrong? John 3:36 says: “He who believes in the Son (Jesus Christ) has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
There are always repercussions to our beliefs. Even if we fence-sit or say we believe in nothing, all our decisions will be based accordingly and we should consider the cost – both individually and collectively as a nation.
So what are the consequences of a belief in Christianity? It offers everlasting salvation, a code of integrity, a sense of purpose, a hope for the future and a meaning to all existence. (John 3:16)
The writer can insult and threaten people all they please. If we don’t believe, then we certainly won’t start on the basis of insults and threats. What the writer can’t do is give us a good reason to believe. Ironic, eh? That’s what they titled their post, yet so far it has failed utterly.
Further, notice the equivocation around the word “believe.” We know that gravity exists, even if we don’t know exactly what it is or exactly how it works. Because gravity exists, it operates regardless of what people think of it. Entire industries operate as they do (like airlines and rocket engineering) because gravity is a real thing. Our belief in gravity is borne out by reality a million times a day.
Christians want us to think their god is like gravity, but in almost 2000 years they still haven’t given us a single good reason to think so.
7. “Salvation is a free gift.”
This isn’t actually a reason to believe either, even by Christians’ standards. If someone doesn’t believe at all in any Christian claims, then “salvation” can be free as Christians please or as expensive as they can make it, but that person still can’t believe their claims on that basis. “Oh, wait, it’s FREE? FREE, you say? Wowzers! I guess I really DO believe in utter nonsense for no good reason now,” said nobody ever in the history of forever. But here’s how their writer puts it:
A gift is usually something ‘paid for’ by another and given free of charge – no strings attached. We do not earn or deserve a gift, otherwise it would be a payment or a reward. However, when a gift is given, it only becomes ours when we freely accept it.
God gave us the greatest of all gifts.
Hmm, but is it really a gift, much less a free one, much less the greatest one ever? I say a hard no, if only because this Christian has already spent most of their post telling me that if I don’t accept it, then I’m going to Hell. That’s not a gift. That’s extortion: “Do this, or else you will suffer mightily.”
Christians love to reframe that extortion as a gift, which makes me wonder sometimes if they’re really just trying to fool themselves. Nobody else buys it, that’s for sure.
The writer ends this section thusly:
Don’t be one who eternally regrets declining the greatest gift ever given, when by accepting it is as easy as ‘believing’ that it belongs to us. As it is freely given – it must be freely received. (John 6:40)
Yet another threat, yes. Extortion is never “freely received.” It’s done because the suffering the target faces otherwise is too much to bear. If a mugger tells their victim to empty their pockets or get shot, then neither can say to the police afterward that the victim “freely emptied their pockets.” A crime was still committed.
And if there’s no good reason to believe that the threat’s even real at all, then it doesn’t matter how Christians reframe it to sound like sunshine and lollipops.
8. “To avoid the impending disaster.”
If sales-minded Christians couldn’t threaten people with Hell, I don’t think they’d even be able to open their mouths. Threats are just so completely woven into their religion and psyches that they barely seem to detect them at all anymore. Instead of subtly threatening us, as in previous items, the writer dives into directly threatening us:
In times of impending natural disaster, there are those who choose to stay in their homes despite all the warnings to leave. Later, when we hear they have died, we naturally grieve at their unnecessary demise, at the same time realising they took a chance as a matter of choice. [. . .]
God has implored us many times in the Bible, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved… Acts 16:31’. It is now a matter of choice. For those who choose to reject God’s offer of eternal salvation, or choose to make no choice at all (after the age of accountability), God must ultimately respect their decision – and leave them to their own devices in a place set aside, where His provision (which has long been taken for granted) will be eternally absent.
First and foremost, it’d help if the writer could actually demonstrate that there’s any danger at all to us after we die. The writer can threaten us as much as they like, but threats aren’t evidence. Neither are Bible verses.
Incidentally, Christians really struggle with the concept of the so-called age of accountability. That’s Christianese for the age at which a child risks going to Hell for non-belief and/or noncompliance. Christians who believe in this idea think children younger than that get a free pass into Heaven. Even the worst evangelicals don’t usually feel comfortable with the idea of babies and toddlers going to Hell, even if their belief in “sin nature” points directly that way. Alas for them, the Bible’s writers unfortunately forgot to include the age of accountability anywhere. Even Jesus somehow clean forgot to mention it to his followers.
Much literalist, very inerrant!
9. “To receive heavenly citizenship.”
Again, another threat. Hell-believing Christians can’t resist threats. It’s what worked on them, so obviously it must work on everyone else, right? I’m guessing by now the writer realized they didn’t actually have 10 distinct reasons to list, so they’re double dipping. I think this is what, the 5th threat of Hell we’ve had? At any rate, here’s how the writer tries to make us fear what they fear:
God never intended this corrupt planet to be our eternal home. He desires all to be citizens of His Heavenly Kingdom and gain the magnificent eternal privileges and prosperity that it offers. Right now the border is open, the walls are knocked down and all we need do is accept Jesus Christ’s gift to become citizens of the most splendid Kingdom ever to exist. The choice is ours. If you haven’t crossed the border (by believing in Christ) – do it now. Citizenship will not be offered after life on Earth – do not miss the greatest opportunity of eternity. (Romans 5:8. Ephesians 2:8 -9)
This entire section is a long list of  notes, but that paragraph in particular made me laugh. Again, extortion is the opposite of a choice. And given how dishonest Yahweh/Jesus is with his followers, I don’t trust anything the Bible says about his imaginary afterlife.
It’s weird that Christians think their god is, in the words of that very same writer, “upholding all the universal laws of order and science,” and yet holds humans eternally responsible for their eyeblink of a lifetime. That really sounds like the kind of lopsided, over-the-top penalties that I’d expect a conjob to create in lieu of evidence to force a sale. It’s just so out of scope with justice that it’s inconceivably evil, and yet Christians burble happily about how totes justice-oriented and merciful their god is.
Of course, this was all stuff I had to realize well after deconversion. When you’re in the middle of the extortion racket, it’s hard to think straight. Hell exists as a doctrine because it’s so scary, after all. I don’t expect Christians who are still in the thick of it to get further than I did.
10. “Believing in God is a chance worth taking.”
This item also isn’t really a reason to believe. The writer here is reusing the “free gift” item, that’s all, to beg outright for the sale:
To prove our capabilities in certain endeavours, we often need someone else to take a chance and believe in us. When given such a chance, we then have an opportunity to prove their faith in us was well founded.
Awww, won’t you give poor widdle Jesus a chance, you meaniepie heathens? He just needs y’all to put a little faith in him! Give poor li’l ol’ Jesus a chance, won’tcha? Pweeeeeeeeze?
No thanks. But the writer makes matters considerably worse for themselves:
The world’s greatest intellects can neither prove nor disprove God’s existence. It all comes down to personal belief. If we adamantly don’t believe in something, we sceptically explain away all proof. We live in a world where seeing is believing; however, one of the greatest acts of trust we can show in another, is believing in them before the evidence is seen.
Christians’ dishonesty just reveals so, so much about them that they really shouldn’t want the rest of us to know.
You might have noticed that a lot of the “all proof” offered so far has involved Creationism. There’s a reason for that. It’s the same reason why none of the “10 reasons” listed could ever spark belief: This kind of Christian cannot demonstrate their claims, so chooses instead to terrorize, confuse, and beg unwary people into accepting them.
Christians cannot demonstrate that a single one of their claims is true. Not one, not ever. And I’m not just talking about Bible myths. I mean any of their claims: being better human beings than heathens, having happier marriages and families, having more functional communities, changing magically for the better after conversion, you name it.
It’s not on anybody, much less great intellects, to “disprove” the existence of Christians’ imaginary friend. It’s on them to demonstrate that he’s real.
And so far, they haven’t.
So their cowardly response to that problem is to push their burden of proof off onto everyone else, then claim victory when nobody can “disprove” their claims. It’s just contemptible.
‘Reasons to believe’ straight out of the past
It’s 2023. That’s the date stamped proudly at the bottom of Bible:IQ’s site’s listicle. And I don’t think they wrote it to deliberately make themselves, their religion, or their products look dumb. I think they really thought they’d stuck the landing here.
It’s all got a distinct whiff of 2000s-2010s Internet Blood Sports to it, though, doesn’t it? That period of time is what birthed Talk.origins in the first place and gave rise to its extensive database of Christian dishonesty. Back then, heathens online heard this horseshit online ten times a day and twice that on Sundays. Earnest, wide-eyed Christians would devour this kind of bad-faith, fallacy-loaded arguing from their mentors and heroes, then dutifully trot off to parrot it at their foes across the keyboard.
And then they’d get their asses handed to them and start crying about persecution and why can’t you meaniepie atheists just let us do our thing? as well as You must totally really believe deep down!
This cycle was as predictable as the tides. Every time a popular apologist or evangelist got their attention, we knew we’d see a new wave of Christians repeating their ideas at us in full expectation of the results their idol promised.
These ‘reasons to believe’ weren’t ever for us, though
Sooner or later, we heathens all came to understand that these bad-faith arguments were really aimed at the sheep buying and memorizing them, not at heathens who weren’t paying their creators a dime.
That realization made a lot of observations pop into place for us back then, and I’ve carried that understanding with me ever since. Thanks to it, I do think that this Christian’s post was written for the sheep, not for non-believers. Non-believers don’t fall for this stuff, but believers certainly do—due to confirmation bias if nothing else.
There’s hope, though. Remember, Bible:IQ sells Creationism-oriented educational products to private school teachers and homeschooling parents. Those adults were likely kids and high schoolers in those 2000s glory days of keyboard wars, and they never realized that their soulwinning and apologetics idols were just hucksters pandering to them for money and attention.
But their kids have a very good shot at realizing that and more. They almost all have, right in their little pocketses, a rectangle of glass and metal that contains nearly the sum total knowledge of humanity. If they ask those rectangles about any of these ‘reasons to believe,’ they’ll quickly find out the truth.
Otherwise, most evangelicals nowadays will fail to resonate with posts like that. They have generally moved on from trying to knock down the Theory of Evolution, a task that greatly preoccupied past Christians and today’s guest star. Instead, hardline literalist evangelicals are complaining these days about vaccinations and pandemic safety precautions, which are both outgrowths of their earlier science denial. That Bible:IQ even offered Creationist claims at all marks their age and their unwillingness to grow and change as surely as scene hair and raccoon eyeliner marks a woman as a Millennial who hasn’t quite adapted to adulthood.
Don’t worry. I’m keeping a weather eye on how they try to persuade non-believers. The age of Christian decline has had a huge impact on how evangelicals engage with outsiders to their tribalistic culture, but I suspect that they haven’t quite figured out how they want to sell to us in the modern day.
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