|The divine comedy|
Todd Friel is the host of Wretched Radio, a conservative, evangelical Christian radio show. From January 2006 to November 2008, he hosted the Way of the Master Radio show, a two‐hour daily Christian talk show, with both Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron as frequent co‐hosts.
Friel shares similar views with Cameron and Comfort, and he often uses several classic arguments proposed by them. Unfortunately, Friel has yet to come up with his own arguments, like the Crocoduck or banana fallacy. Friel, rather than using rational arguments, uses his crafty words alongside his charisma to appeal to audiences in order to gain support. Friel is described as "one of those glassy‐eyed glad‐handing used‐car‐salesmen of the soul types" by PZ Myers.
Friel has had many people call in on his show to debate him. One such example was Christopher Hitchens. Friel does not engage in live debates that much, but he did debate co‐president Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Eddie Tabash, chairman of the national legal committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Friel is a born‐again evangelical Christian and shares similar beliefs with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. He believes salvation comes through grace and not works. He takes the Bible literally, he is a young earth creationist – he believes that God created everything from nothing, or ex nihilo. Friel does not accept evolution because he believes it is random chance, and thus insulting to our intelligence. Friel commonly argues those who do not believe in Jesus must therefore hate Jesus.
His common argument against atheists, besides that they hate Jesus, is that they cannot provide a single case for atheism and cannot prove God does not exist. Instead, they bash at Christianity over other religions, but they cannot disprove God. The burden of proof is on the theist to provide proof, and not once has Friel met it. Of course, Friel ignores all the arguments against the existence of God, such as why the first cause argument fails.
Who deserves death?
Friel is anti-choice and believes not a single doctor has ever said it is medically necessary to have a late term abortion, and there has never ever been an issue in America where an abortion could save a mother's life. However, if Friel believes God has the ability to save people (such as on 9/11), then God chooses not to save those who perish in miscarriages (there are three to four times more miscarriages per abortion every year, so God is not pro‐life). If Friel wanted an example when an abortion did save a mother's life, all he would have to do is spend a short time doing actual research. Here is one of the many examples: Sister Margaret McBride, who is described as "saintly" "courageous" and a "moral conscience of St. Joseph." She was a senior administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. One year, a 27‐year‐old mother of four came in 11 weeks pregnant and seriously ill. Doctors and experts said if her pregnancy were not terminated, she would likely die, taking her unborn child with her. The Hospital stated: "In this tragic case of treatment necessary to save the mother's life required the termination of an 11 week pregnancy. Sister McBride supported that statement and many medical ethicists said it was the right call, such as Prof. Art Caplan." However, the bishop in Phoenix, Thomas J. Olmsted, did not agree; in fact, he stated he would have let the mother die. He later announced that Sister McBride was excommunicated, although she still works at the hospital, just in a different position. There are many examples of late term abortions saving the mother; even though it may not be common, it does not overrule the fact that it does happen and women should have the right to protect themselves.
We all deserve to be hurt by God
In a debate with Eddie Tabash, Friel claimed that we all deserve to be hurt by God. Whether it is a tower falling on 18 people, 9/11, etc. we all deserve to be hurt by God because of justice. Friel states that everyone wants the guilty (murderers, rapists, liars, thieves, adulterers, etc.) to be punished, and since we are all guilty in the eyes of God, then we must be punished here and now and in the afterlife unless we repent.
He believes Hell is "reasonable justice." His justification for such a belief is that any crime, no matter how small, must be punished, and the guilty must suffer in Hell for eternity. For example, if he lied to his daughter, not much harm is done. If he lied to his wife, that is troubling. If he lied to his boss, he could be fired. If he lied to the government, he commits treason. However, in the eyes of God (the big guy), it is very offensive, and so much as lying about your weight is punishable by burning for eternity. This is clearly not reasonable. The punishment should fit the crime. An infinite punishment for a finite crime is not justifiable, nor is it just or reasonable.
View on Islam
Friel holds a negative view towards Muslims and Islam (as do most of the staff on Way of the Master). After Pres. Obama gave a speech in Cairo, stating that Islam has "always been a part of American history", Friel stated that Pres. Obama had never read a history book. Friel goes on to say Muslims were not among the pilgrims, revolutionists, founding fathers, signers of the Constitution or Bill of Rights, nor were Muslims seen in the women’s suffrage movement or the abolitionist movement (in fact, Friel says that Muslims are the largest human traffickers today, they are cruel to them, and it was evangelical Christians who started the abolitionist movement because the Bible strictly forbids slavery[note 1]). Rather, Muslims have only been seen helping the Nazi Party and committing acts of terrorism. This is hardly true for either Muslims or evangelical Christians, who also supported slavery in other cases, plus other unworthy causes like opposing women's suffrage. Muslims have lived in the US from the beginning, mostly as African slaves, which includes some who fought in the American Revolution (mostly for the Americans, including Moroccan mercenaries in French service), so Friel is just wrong about that (not surprisingly).
Talk with Christopher Hitchens
Wretched Radio, hosted by Todd Friel, had Christopher Hitchens call in for an interview/debate in April 2009. Christopher Hitchens was a popular atheist and author. Throughout the talk, Friel tried to convince Hitchens that God was real. Friel rehearsed most of the common tactics performed by Way of the Master; however, Hitchens did not play along as Friel hoped for. Instead, Hitchens virtually disagreed with everything Friel proposed and provided a solid argument each time. Christian listeners may not have understood the solid arguments, and instead may have just believed that Hitchens was against God.
Friel begins by playing a game of “what if?” The people on Friel's program introduce Hitchens, they say that Hitchens hates God. Friel welcomes Hitchens and tells him that they will play a game of “what if it is true?” where Friel will tell Hitchens a story and Hitchens will respond as if they were true.
Round One: Todd's first question to Hitchens is “What if God is real, and he has provided everything for you (life, literature, food, etc.), would he not be good to you?” Hitchens responds that no, he would not, because that would imply that he has an eternal sympathizing parent who would never let him grow up and live his life without supervision and surveillance. Hitchens mentions the then-ruler of North Korea, and Todd replies that he's "not sure whether God's Kim-Jong Il". Hitchens suggests asking Kim-Jong Il ("He might have a different opinion.") Friel responds “But if God allowed you life, wouldn't that be an act of kindness to you?” Hitchens answers no, he does not want anyone's permission, especially when afterwards he is expected to grovel for eternity.
Round Two: Friel asks “Do you believe that God who has provided everything for you has rights on your life?” Hitchens answers no, why should he, why would he own me? Friel responds “because he made you.” Hitchens does not want to be owned and he believes no one has the right to own him. Hitchens mentions the section in his book where he implores the world to escape the slavery of religion, and this sort of attitude is precisely what Friel is encouraging: a form of slavery and owning another person. Hitchens, hypothetically accepting Todd's premise that God made him and cared for him, would not accept that God owns him, or especially his children. Friel responds “even though he keeps you alive, he gives you air to breathe, he provides you with food and everything that is good, do you still say he has no rights to you or tell you what to do?” Hitchens answers no, and adds "does that mean the people who are sick or poor or hungry are excused of this obligation?" Friel answers “Well, that is not part of the game show.”
Friel introduces Hitchens again and Friel hopes that the “Everything” in the title of Hitchens book is a hyperbole, but Hitchens says no. Touching back briefly on the last issue, Friel asks “so ownership is a bad thing?” Hitchens answers “of other people, yes.”
Friel then asks Hitchens, “What if there is a Judgment Day and God makes you account for every word, every deed, how do you think you will do on that day?” Hitchens responds with “I would ask by what right? If someone stops me and says 'I have a few questions for you' and I say 'Sorry, I'm in a hurry' who would you be imposing these questions?” Friel repeats the premises what if God created you and has the right – but Hitchens repeats himself “By what right?”
Round Four: Todd moves on, just playing a game of what if, Todd asks “what if God rode you through the Ten Commandments, the standard of goodness and redemption, how do you think you will measure you?” Hitchens replies saying he does not need to and does not think anybody else should either. Hitchens says he does not need to be told not to steal or kill, and such, but he does not keep the Sabbath. Hitchens maintains this standard is not wholly good or perfect; it says nothing about child abuse or abolishment of slavery or genocide. Todd asks Hitchens if he has specifically taken God's name in vain? Hitchens responds “I have never completely known” nor does he see anything wrong with it. Todd asks Hitchens if God has ever been the first thing in his life? Hitchens answers God has been nowhere in his life. Todd says that Hitchens has broken the first three commandments, Todd guesses that he broke the fifth, and then he walks Hitchens down the are you a person? routine by specifically asking him if he broke the other commandments and telling him how the Bible interprets breaking those commandments. Hitchens never killed anyone, but Todd says that since Hitchens has been angry then Hitchens has committed murder in his heart. Hitchens says he lusted after women. Todd says that it does not look good for Hitchens if God exists and there is a Judgment Day. Todd asks Hitchens “What would God do with you?” Hitchens hopes that he does not go to Heaven, and points out that Todd is basing this on if you believe in the God of the Old Testament.
Round Five: “What if God did come to this earth in the flesh of Jesus Christ, and he took the punishment from you which you deserve, what if this is true, would that be the greatest kindness gift to your life and the world?” Hitchens says no, he does not want anyone dying for him and would seek to have him prevented from sacrificing himself. Todd says “if that did happen, wouldn't it be an act of kindness?” Hitchens answers no, it takes away his free will and gives him no choice, but too bad, the son already died and now he [Hitchens] is committed. Todd begins to plead with Hitchens to admit that it would be an act of kindness, but Hitchens does not give in and his answer remains the same. Hitchens notes that he already addresses this in his book, and Todd is not asking something new. Hitchens does not think it is an act of kindness, it is a tyrannical act. Todd asks “you think it is tyrannical that someone sacrificed themselves for you?' Hitchens replies “according to you, he didn't. He was alive again shortly after.” Todd says he did die and we celebrate it called Easter, which has been going on for thousands of years – Hitchens adds in “to no effect.” He was supposed to come back during the time of his listeners, that was a direct promise, and he did not keep it.
Round Six: “What if the bible is accurate, (sharing a quote Romans 1) 'For the wrath of God is revealed from the gates of heaven, all in godliness and righteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them from his attributes, his power and divine nature are clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world and the things that have been made so that they are without excuse.' Does that sound like you sir?” Hitchens answers no. Todd repeats the question “Does it seem he is describing you in this quote from Romans 1?” When Hitchens answers no again, Todd asks his “You are not suppressing the obvious truth that there is a creator because you sir would prefer to live your life autonomously?” Hitchens answers no.
Todd asks Hitchens if he had ever heard of Charles Spurgeon? Hitchens answers he has heard of him, but isn't familiar with him. Todd says Spurgeon came across a nonbeliever who “fights and wars against God”, such as Hitchens, and asked him if the reason he was so against God you should follow him home. Todd asks Hitchens if the reason he wars against God is so he can live his life autonomously and live his life any way he wished without being accountable to his creator? Hitchens answers it may be highly probable. And with that, Todd ends the interview.
Debate with Eddie Tabash
Atheist Eddie Tabash debated Todd Friel on March 26, 2007 in Daytona Beach. Eddie Tabash is the chairman of the national legal committee of Americans United for separation of Church and State. Part 1 and Part 2.
|Tabash-Todd Debate||RationalWiki Responses|
Questions: Eddie to Todd
|Eddie asks Todd to explain the vagueness and sleight of hand done by Christians to claim that certain Old Testament prophecies point to Jesus Christ, such as Isiah 7:14. Also, Eddie asks Todd to comment on the Bible was not considered "infallible" until the 18th century.
||Not only did Todd ignore the question, but he also missed the point. If one prophecy can be faked, then it's possible all of the prophecies could be faked. Todd did not name those eight prophecies, but statistical science is hardly a valid argument. If one considers the statistical evidence of going to the moon, the odds would seem near impossible. Or if the statistics of several other prophets and saviors are concern, the odds may be larger than those of Jesus.|
|Next, Eddie asks another question – but points out Todd did not fully address his question. The next question is another sleight of hand by the New Testament authors of Psalm 22:16 which does not say anything about nails or crucifixion, but the literal translation is mauled by a lion. How can the Bible be infallible and trustworthy when dishonest tactics like this occur often.
||Here, Todd blatantly ignores the obvious and is willfully fine with the dishonesty. He acknowledged, does not refute, that prophecies could be changed, but he only relies on the sheer number of prophecies as convincing evidence. How about when considering that all of the prophecies could be changed? How about considering that the Gospels were written forty or more years after the supposed events and accounts of events could have been changed to fit some interpretation of a supposed prophecy? Then Todd is left with nothing. Eddie's only presupposition towards the Bible is “Can I verify the accuracy and truth of this book?” When an outsider looks into a religion, they are more likely to spot mistakes or odd things in the religion. So Eddie does not approach the Bible looking for evidence that it is false, instead he takes a skeptical approach to see if the Bible can prove there is one God along with the other stories included in its texts.|
Questions: Todd to Eddie
|Todd asks Eddie where did the energy, space, matter, particles, chemical elements, galaxies, planets, etc. come from? Where did the laws come from?
|Todds next question is regarding abiogenesis. How did we come from non‐life to life? And how did we learn to reproduce?
|Finally, Todd asks Eddie a which came first question. Todd says Eddie can choose answer one of five: the DNA or RNA; the muscle or bone; the lungs or the throat; the nervous system or the hormone system; or the immune system or the means for it.
Questions From the Audience
|First question to Eddie Tabash: Why do you think the apostles would testify to what they had witnessed even to the point of death? Eddie responded that the gospel authors do not give accurate or non‐contradictory accounts of the death of Jesus. On another note, religious fanatics often die for their beliefs, but that does not make them true or give them special credibility. The Muslim hijackers on 9/11 firmly believed they were going to Paradise for being martyrs. If we really measured the truthfulness of a religion of followers who are willing to die for their beliefs, we would all have to become Muslims. To claim that the supernatural exists, you need evidence of the supernatural, not the testimony of people in a story. The apostles claimed to see the risen Jesus, well Eddie could bring in to share with the audience people who believed they saw the floating Indian guru from New Deli. Eddie could bring in more people who claim they were abducted by aliens. However, nobody would believe them, and rightly so. In the same manner, we would not believe the apostles account of witnessing the risen Jesus. The big thing to remember, is that there must be evidence of the supernatural, however there is none.
First Question redirected to Todd. Todd begins by sharing that earlier Eddie made a joke that he flew to the debate by flapping his arms. If Todd walked around and asked people if they saw Eddie fly to the debate, and they said "no" but if Todd found one person say "yes" Todd would ask that person "are you willing to die for it?" If the person said "yes" Todd may trust that person. Todd says the difference between Islam and the flying guru and Christianity are eye‐witness accounts. Todd says people may die for a lie, but Christianity has evidence of the supernatural: 500 witnesses who saw Jesus after he was crucified and buried. Todd asks "where is the body? Why didn't the Romans bring out the body and hush all the nonsense?" However there was no body because Jesus rose from the dead and 500 people witnessed it (not for a lie, because they actually saw it).
|If Todd is willing to believe anything simply because a person is willing to die for something, then as Eddie already said Todd should become a Muslim. If a person was willing to die to defend evolution, would Todd believe it? Todd knows that dying for a belief is not sufficient evidence at all, but he has to say it is otherwise his faith has no proof. However, there are several big problems. For instance, there is absolutely no evidence at all that 500 people saw anything. The gospels do not say who they were, where they came from, how old were they, what did they say, who did they tell, were they all sober and mentally functional, and such. It is very likely that the 500 is just a number written on paper, simply propaganda. Also, the number of witnesses makes no difference regarding if something is true or not. Todd already does not accept the testimony of alien abductions, but the number of people who claim to have been abducted is much greater than 500 (perhaps more than 1,000). Also, seeing is believing, but not knowing.|
|Second Question to Todd Friel: How do you resolve the problem of free will if God is omniscient and knows what will happen to us in the future, then by definition we cannot have free will. Todd first responds with "whose definition?" Can we have free will, of course we can. Just because God knows everything we are going to do does not mean that we don't have free will. Todd believes the two are completely compatible.
Second Question redirected to Eddie Tabash. Eddie says they are not contradictory to us, but they are for God in his nature and goodness. If God knows for certain that Hitler, Pol Pot, or the Turks will commit genocide and mass bloodshed then God should not have created those people or simultaneously create people who will prevent them from committing genocide. Free will is not meaningless to us, it is for an omniscient God. God knows in advance when people will commit acts of evil, or when a very good person will be born and live a good life, but will not believe in the right religion and choose Buddhism, God will send that good person to Hell.
|How can the two be compatible? If a person walks down a road, and comes up to a left or right turn, and God knows that the person will make a right turn, how is that different from not having free‐will? This would mean God knew everything eons before a person was born of whether they would end up in Hell or not. On the other hand, if a person took a left turn and surprised God, then God cannot be omniscient.|
|Third Question to Eddie Tabash: If there is no God, what do you base your morality on? Eddie answers he would base it on something much more stable than an evil dictator who punishes people simply for picking the wrong theology. Eddie goes through several commandments in Scripture that demands the death of certain people (witchcraft, homosexuality, and such). Eddie bases his morality on secular humanism, which can apply human reasoning to morality, whereas a literal Bible believer believes that all they can do is to not even reflect on something in The Bible – if the Bible says it, then it shall be done. Eddie goes on to explain his secular morality would not cause him to persecute multiple people or suppress certain rights as Christianity does around the world.
Third Question redirected to Todd Friel. Todd looks forward to an argument/debate for if God does not exist. Todd says the word 'good' is not all good, it leaves out things like: righteousness, love, justice, kindness, rational, etc. Todd says good turns a blind eye to justice and love. Todd points out when Eddie said he would not send that innocent Buddhist to Hell, but Todd says there is a problem: there is no such thing as an innocent Buddhist, there is no such thing as an innocent child, there is not an innocent anybody on this planet. God is not just into killing anybody he wants to, because we have all sinned against God. Todd points the finger at atheists who go around and telling people that God is not all good and not worthy of worship, but Todd says we are not good at all. That is why God is justified in killing any of us any time he wants to, that is why we die. Todd asks Eddie and other atheists "why do we die?" Todd answers the bible says we will all die and give an account for our sins.
|Love, righteousness, justice, and such are different human concepts, and society deems them all good. Todd demonstrates the immorality of his theology when he says that no person ever on the planet is innocent and is worthy of death at any moment. This is a theology that makes us all guilty criminals by default. The Bible says we are are all worms and sinners who deserve eternal torment for simply offending his ego. How can a bunch of carbon organisms on a tiny rock in some dark corner of all the vast universe offend an almighty eternal being? The reason why we die is not because of Todd's theology. Death was a part of the world for millions of years before man evolved. As then as now, micro organisms die as well as massive organisms. Did they offend God? Does God hold bacteria accountable for their sins? What sins could bacteria cause? Dominating the world?|
|Fourth Question to Todd Friel: How do you explain the immaculate conception and other bible stories of that sort? Todd says they are "cookie" stories. Todd then quote 1 Corinthians that God has chosen the foolish things of this world. Todd says this is what Christianity is all about, and brings up an example of a Christian minister named Anna. She calls herself Banana to remind her of her younger brother who used to call her "Anna banana." Todd says that is sweet, as long as you have the missing information, the same with the Bible stories. God gives grace to the humble and the childlike faith and resists the proud nature like atheists.
Fourth Question redirected to Eddie Tabash. Eddie points out that Todd did not answer the question about immaculate conception, but wonders why Eddie cannot use the Bible as an argument, but Todd can use the Bible to prove the Bible? What is sweet about a story of a bully telling a little child "you cannot play with this football, but I can"?
|Todd completely and purposely missed answering the question. How does the "missing information" fix or make sense of immaculate conception. What exactly is the missing information that decodes the enigma of immaculate conception? If Todd's response is repeating his theology of a savior, he not only failing to address the question again he would be wasting time. We are aware of the tenets of the theology, but how can Todd explain and defend immaculate conception?|
Debate with Dan Barker
Todd Friel debated at Dan Barker at the University of Minnesota, March 2006 on the subject "Does God Exist?" The whole debate can be watched here. Throughout the debate, Todd Friel appealed to emotion, provided threats of hell, and tried to make the audience feel guilty by claiming that the conscience was given by some god.
Opening: Dan Barker
Dan Barker begins with his opening speech. To provide a short background, Dan Barker was once a leading evangelical Christian minister in America, he preached and evangelized everywhere he went even out of the country. Dan was a born‐again, bible‐believing preacher, song writer, and a missionary. However, after questioning his religion he slowly became an atheist, concluded God does not exist, and discarded faith. Dan tells a story that one day he went hiking, saw a snake on a trail, but then realized it was a stick. Dan explains why the brain functions like that, and included works by Daniel Dennett, Pascal Boyer, Justin L. Barrett, Scott Atran, and others who research the cognitive science of religion and various cognitive mechanisms. Going back to our ancestors, they saw agencies in things that cause harm and wonder, such as storms and earthquakes. Frightening they were, and man developed a link to these unexplained things to agents similar to humans to explain the unknown. Man gave these agents names, like Thor (which coincidentally the day of the debate took place on a Thursday, and Dan pointed this out that it was "Thor's" acknowledgment day) However, we now know about electricity and plate tectonics to explain these phenomena, and similarly we know the origin of the universe and life therefore we no longer need faith in deities to explain away the unknown. Dan asked why the audience does not believe in Thor, Zeus, Jupiter, etc.? Are they all doubters, skeptics, nonbelievers? Why, people believed these things very sincerely for thousands of years. Likewise, a religion arose in the desert and man created a war‐like God named Yahweh, and a few people in the room believe in Yahweh. Dan pointed out that the main difference between them was that Dan believes in one less God than those certain people, but we are all atheists to a degree (even the first Christians were called atheists). Dan brought up several valid points, such as the burden of proof is on those making the positive claims. Dan can say that he believes in unicorns and can describe them by quoting the unicorn text, but it is not Todd's job to refute Dan, it is Dan's responsibility to prove his unicorn beliefs. Dan says likewise, Todd has failed to prove the existence of his God because there is no evidence for this god. In fact, there is no clear definition of God. The common definition of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God cannot logically exist. Dan brings up the problem of evil, if God is all‐powerful but unwilling to help the suffering then he is evil. But if he cannot help, then he is not all‐powerful. Theists cannot agree on the nature of god and his moral principles. Believers in the Bible appear on both sides of social issues. There are many different denominations of Christians, and they believe they have the correct interpretation of the bible while the others are wrong. The Bible is a major source of confusion, history testifies to that. Dan retells several horrible acts committed by Christians against each other for simply disagreement. Dan then says there are no good arguments for the existence of God. Millions of people live happy, moral, loving, fulfilling lives without a belief in God. Dan points out that people who do believe in God are living more poorly than those who don't. Divorce rates are the highest amongst Christians, especially born‐agains. Theists take drugs (or more drugs depending on the state) than nonbelievers, but Christianity is suppose to transform people to becoming better people — however, this does not appear to be the case. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Churches attract people with low self‐images who think they are sick (sinners) and tell these people that they need to be saved. However, Christianity and religion has made no world moral difference — some would argue the opposite. Belief in God led believers to fly planes into skyscrapers. Dan says that people only debate things we do not know, we do not debate gravity. We debate that which has a lack of certainty.
Response from Todd
Todd Friel produced a DVD titled "The Case for Atheism – There Isn't One" in which he made several responses to Dan. In the DVD, Friel will address three points: how to answer the accusations of atheists, how to witness to somebody who does not believe God exists, and finally how does someone go from loving Jesus to hating Jesus? Friel says that when he entered the debate with Dan, he recommends viewers to do what he encourages: you do not want to get caught up in the world of the intellect argument, instead the Bible says you should go for Creation and Conscience." Creation means there must be a creator, the fool says in his heart 'there is no god,' and the conscience (not the land of the intellect where we can debate and argue) that testifies that they have sinned and done wrong against that creator. Friel says the law of the Lord is perfect, they should be used as a mirror to see how sinful they are. Friel asks the audience if they ever seen a child tie their shoelace, they often put several knots and it makes it difficult to undo each knot. Friel says in this debate, Dan tried to tie Friel up in several knots, but Friel did not want to take the time to address them. However, in this DVD, Friel takes the time to address those knots. RationalWiki will provide a side-by-side format, with Dan's Opening along with Todd's response in the left column while a refutation to Todd's arguments provided in the right column. Dan's speech will be in normal font with Todds response in italics.
|Todd's Case for Atheism - There Isn't One||RationalWiki Responses|
|Dan begins to describe what he once was: a born‐again, bible‐believing preacher, song writer, and a missionary. He changed his mind....long before we understood electricity or the weather, our ancestors used to look up in the thunder and the lightening and say 'What is that!?' Ummm...do we have proof that a prehistoric man had this feature?||Studies in both anthropology and psychology have a lot of explanatory power.|
|and hyperactive agency detector says that must be some kind of bird, animal, human, creature thing up there doing that and they named is Zeus or Thor and they thought this thing was communicated with them How does he know this happened?||Seriously? Unbelievable. Did Todd skip ancient history class? It is clear Todd has absolutely no rudimentary knowledge of the worlds major religions and belief systems. Does Todd wonder why all ancient gods are portrayed as human, or with animal features (like Egyptian mythology)? Has he even ever heard of Egyptian mythology?|
|How many people in this room believe in the existence of the god Thor? Or Zeus? Or Jupiter? What, is this a room full of skeptics? Are you all doubters? The Bible is not written as a legend, all you have to do is read the New Testament and any ancient legend. There is a reason those legends have not endured.||Not written as a legend? Of course, Todd does not provide any resources for this, but his claim is easily refuted. Read the gospels Mark, Matthew, Luke and John in order, take note of all the extraordinary events that happened at the Resurrection and you will see that the story gets larger and larger and larger. This is exactly the style of legendary embellishments. The gospels contain many evident fictions.|
|Do you doubt what these millions of people once believed for thousands of years? Millions of people could be wrong. What does this have to do with the question, "Does God Exist?"||It has a lot to do with it. Todd admits people can be wrong, and so can Todd and every other theist could be wrong. The topic is "Does God Exist" and we have yet seen Todd present empirical proof that he is correct, and thus he can be very wrong.|
|Now there was a desert religion that started in the middle east, and they had a war‐god named Yahweh. How many people in this room believe in the existence of Yahweh? That is one of Dan's false understanding of the character of attributes of the existence of God. Dan thinks God is war‐like. Read Exodus 34:6,7 – this is the first time God describes himself and I believe these are the attributes that you should share with the world. Verse 7 God goes to war against sin, not because he is some cosmic meany.||What Todd ignores is the history and development of Yahweh and the four different sources in the old testament that portray God. Yahwah, the war‐like God, is the first developed, but over the years other views are included and some are pushed to be mentioned before the war‐like figure. Just because Todd thinks Exodus 34 talks about God first does not mean this is how the development of god came about.|
|The only difference between you and me is that I believe in one less God than you do. Well that very funny punch‐line for atheists, however it does not work. You see, he makes our religion sound all acquainted and cute' well we just believe in one less god than you do' BUT if that God is the true god, then it is not funny. He is terribly wrong and is in big trouble.||This is a fallacious argument known as Pascal's Wager. It is a funny line, and it is true. There are over 30,000 different denominations in Christianity, so Todd is in greater trouble of being wrong than Dan.|
|Belief in God makes a no moral difference in the world, it has not – Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao – in fact, some would argue that is has made a negative moral influence. It was a belief in God that partially flew those planes into the World Trade Center Dan is confusing Christianity with Islam. Furthermore, he is not building a case for atheism, he is arguing against Christianity.||No, Dan is not confusing two different religions. He specifically said "A BELIEF in God that partially flew those planes into the World Trade Center." Hitler was a Roman Catholic. As for Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao none of them justified their evil deeds for their lack of belief in God or religion. The point is Christianity has made no moral improvement in the world, and it is true. Christianity is the driving force for many evils throughout history, such as the Crusades, witch hunts (which still occur today), persecution of Native Americans, condemning millions to die every year of AIDS, and much more.|
|Combined all these lacks of evidence – Except for a huge, intricately designed universe – lack of argument, lack of need with the fact that there are good naturalistic explanations – Nothing became something and it blew up and became everything. – for the existence of a belief in a god, belief in God makes no sense at all. Isn't it obvious that there is no god? Yes. If you didn't have an intricately designed universe.||Continuing to repeat the lies and straw‐mans will not help your case, in fact it hurts your case. It portrays you as a dishonest and deliberate liar. Is the universe designed? No. We may spot design in the universe, but that does not mean the universe as a whole was designed. Simply labeling it as so does not alter reality to fit your personal beliefs. Naturalistic explanations does NOT say there was nothing. That is a deliberate and dishonest straw man of the Big Bang theory.|
|If there were a god, why are we having this debate? – Because God gives us choice. – We do not debate gravity. Dan is right. Debating the existence of God is as silly as debating if a watchmaker made a watch. You only debate things in which there is a lack of certainty. Like debating an intricately designed universe? The reason why we are still debating the existence of God is because his existence has not been proven, the burden of proof has not been met, and I am justified in saying that there is no god. There is another reason why we are debating. Psalm 14:1||Todd constantly repeats fallacy after fallacy. Throughout his 'responses' to Dan, he repeatedly uses the presupposition that his narrow version of God exists. The reason we have these debates was already answered by Dan, because the burden of proof has not been met. Todd can call doubters names all he wishes, but that does not change the fact that Todd's God has not been proven at all.|
|Barker-Todd Debate||RationalWiki Responses|
Second Opening: Todd Friel
|Todd Friel begins his speech the debate with a prayer. Just kidding. Instead, he starts off with a story of a man named Naaman who came from a country called Ahram (northeast of Israel). Friel gets this story from 2 Kings 5, but does not mention 2 Kings 2:24 when God had Elisha send bears to sick 42 children. Naaman was captain of the guard and popular with the king because he was successful and famous. However, Naaman had a skin disease, probably leprosy. Naaman heard of a man in Israel called Elisha who could heal such diseases. So Naaman went to Israel, found this residence of this person, but when Naaman knocked on the door a servant answered. The servant said if Naaman wanted to see Elisha, he must go into the Jordan River, walk in up and down its waters seven times. Naaman was furious, but he went ahead and did it. When he did what was instructed and came out of the water, the Bible says his skin was like a child. God healed him, and Todd says that is the missing information the atheists in the crowd needed to determine whether God exists or not. Todd says that this was "missing information" and there were going to be two stories told that night and Odd said both are foolish. One story is Dan's story called "atheistic Evolution": nothing became something, it blew up and it became and organized everything. That is foolish. Todd openly admits that his story "theistic Creation" sound foolish as well: something created everything out of nothing. Todd says that sounds foolish too, unless you have the missing information from earlier. Todd says the story of Naaman is a very true story and an allegory for the gospel. Once you understand the gospel, everything will make sense to you. Todd says he has interviewed thousands of people who do not believe the Bible, and then discusses Peter who announced to a crowd of Jews "You crucified God. you killed part of God's well arranged plan." Todd says the gospel is God's pre‐arranged plan for his glory. Before time began, God decided to do something that would cause people to praise his name. He created a perfect world with perfect people, but then gave them choice. Todd says God already knew beforehand that the people would choose to sin and rebel against him and bring the world into disease, destruction, and such. God did this because later he would do something that Todd calls "so amazing." Todd says, "The God who spoke the world into existence in six literal 24‐hour days, would step off of his throne, come down and became one of us instead of crushing us like he bugs that we have been in behaving that way rebelliously toward our king, but instead he came down as one of us and died to save us so that all creation from all of eternity can go 'what a good god. What a kind god. What an amazing god.' That is the story of the gospel and once you understand that God has chosen the foolish things of world to confound the wisdom of the wise suddenly God – speaking everything into existence in six literal 24‐hour days is not foolish, it's amazing. The Red Sea parting – beautiful. Jonah in the whale – of course. He spoke the world into existence, once you have the missing information. Atheistic Evolution - we came from nowhere, we believe in nothing, we are going nowhere. There is no teleology, there is no purpose, there is nothing going on. Th Gospel of Jesus Christ says this is for his glory." Friel says people will come to God like Naaman by humbling themselves like children instead of being rich, intellectual, proud, or smarter than god. Todd claims that God said he will save you so he can get all the credit. Todd says the Bible says we are saved by grace not of works. Todd moves on to discuss his "proofs" for God, starting with Creation (which he calls a no‐brainier). Todd addresses several objections like "you just made a lot of assumptions, such as God exists in the first place." Todd dismisses it and says of course God exists. Todd points to his microphone and says it did not "evolve" rather it was intentionally designed. Todd says a painting means there is a painter, a watch has a watchmaker, and creation requires a creator. Creation is God's clear sign of his existence. Todd hypothetically says if he lined up ten Oreo cookies, people would not say that it was random chance that arranged them. All a person needs are eyes that can see and a brain that can think. Todd addresses the human eye as having million of light‐sensitive cells, which could certainly not be the result of evolution. Todd's second proof for God: the conscience. The conscience is testimony for a creator, it speaks to us that we have done wrong and we must get right with the creator. Todd asks the audience several questions: if they constantly thank God, do they made a graven image out of him, or do they just reject him and blaspheme? Todd says that God will make us account for our sins (we have lied, lusted, stolen, and blasphemed) and we should seek him out and ask for forgiveness.||This opening was barely a debate and more like open preaching — a very bad start. There is a lot to cover in this opening, even Dan would not have the time to address it all. How's this for "missing information." Todd just lied to you! Lied to you in a very large, dishonest, disgusting way. First, starting off with "atheistic evolution." At not a single point does atheism or evolution say that there is "nothing." That is purely a Christian invention turned straw‐man to make atheism appear foolish. Atheism does not say life has no purpose, and atheists certainly do not believe in nothing (that is called nihilism, and Todd supposedly already knows this but misrepresented it anyway). Atheism makes no comment on origins, including the universe. It is simply a lack of belief in any god(s), nothing more, nothing less. In fact, many atheists would argue that there was never "nothing" but always something here. Since matter cannot be created or destroyed, then it must always remain here and does not require any special creation.
Todd uses Elisha, a man who had God murder a dozen kids, as an allegory for the Bible. Todd also says that the story of Naaman is a true story, but asserts no REAL historical evidence to prove this. Perhaps something involving a real person named Naaman happened similar to what is said in the Bible, although the inclusion of a miracle makes the Bible's account extremely dubious.
Creation is almost certainly not true and those claiming otherwise typically fall back on faith or poorly constructed philosophical arguments. There is no evidence at all that the universe was created in less than a week. What Todd is proposing, and Todd spelled it out himself for us, is that God created everything by speaking everything into being via an incantation (i.e. MAGIC). That is what Todd and his ilk are arguing for: magic. His microphone argument is fallacious, because microphones are not alive and cannot reproduce to pass on genes to produce variations. Scientists have proven that the eye can and has evolved. Todd ignores that other forms of eyes exist, some are incredibly simple, some animals are blind or have lost their eyes, (a testament for evolution).The Bible does not make sense of anything, in fact it makes everything make less sense. To accept the Bible is literally true is to deny observable reality.
Second speech: Dan Barker
|Dan begins by openly stating that he will not humble himself like a child and will not fall for that type of preaching. Dan wants to learn, and if there is a God who created everything including us it may have something to learn from us. Dan learns a lot from his kids, and he does not expect his kids to humble themselves to him. Expecting them to behave in such a way is dictatorial. Dan point out Todd's biggest problem: he is arguing from the Bible, using it as his source. Dan argues the Bible is he worst source to ague from. It it contradictory; full of errors and deceptions; contains scientific mistakes; has very poor moral examples; any one of us could have written a better book. Dan addresses one such contradiction, regarding Creation (the very thing Todd accepts as literally true). Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 contradict the steps of creation. This is one of the contradictions, Dan recommends Misquoting Jesus a book by Bart Ehrman (who himself was a born‐again Christian but no longer). Dan says we know a microphone has been designed, but Todd assumes anything can only be created by an intelligence. However, if the mind of God complex and functions in an orderly manner and is not random, by Todd's logic his mind would require a higher designer and thus enter infinite regress. Naturalists say let's just stop at what we know is true, implying Occam's Razor and not trying to explain a mystery with another mystery (which is no answer at all). Dan says all the arguments of God boil down to the god of the gaps fallacy. Unanswered questions allow theists to point fingers and insert their god as the answer. Isaac Newton was brilliant and made great discoveries, but everything he could not answer he linked to God. However, we now know the formation of stars and galaxies, and for all of Newton's brilliance he was wrong and his reasoning was bad. Dan points out that when a gap closes, Todd's beliefs demand that he finds a new gap. Dan then addresses the human eye, shows that it is not brilliantly designed and contains many flaws. The human body has many flaws, and is better explained through the process of evolution via natural selection. Dan says that Todd appeals to emotion and uses hell as a threat, and if a system's morality boils down to threatening someone to behave, then that system and those who follow it are morally bankrupt.|
Second speech: Todd Friel
|Todd asks Dan how many fingers he is holding up. Dan answers correctly: four. Todd moves on to address Newton and light, and wonders how we are the only creatures who found use for light. Todd then asks which evolved first: the eye or the brain? Was it the retina or the cornea? Was it the flappers or the little spritzers that shoot water out. Todd tells the audience they should be buying a lot of lottery tickets because they have a lot of faith in chance. Todd concludes there is no way that these could just come about, and he claims he can prove it. Todd holds up his watch and announces it "evolved" and came to be on its own, and he appeals to humor and ridicule by asking the audience who would like to buy this 'evolved' watch? Todd says he is insulting their intelligence, and so is evolution. Todd moves on to talk about a dairy farm and again tries to appeal to humor. Todd concludes you have to believe real hard to believe that nothing became something, that it blew up and everything. Todd then addresses Dan and his point that there are Christians out there who disagree with each other and do bad things, and Todd agrees. Todd says this is why the missing information is important, because there are a lot of hypocrites in the church (if fact, Todd says most of the followers of Jesus are hypocrites). Todd points out that Baptists are the leading group with the highest divorce rates. Todd says the reason why there are so many hypocrites is because they do not understand the law of God – the Ten Commandments. Dan said Hell is a threat, Todd disagrees. Todd says Hell is not a threat, he shouts out that Hell is "reasonable justice!" Todd says everyone wants criminals punished, their conscience demands it. If God did not punish, he would not be loving – because love and justice go together. Todd remarks on Dan claiming that you cannot trust the Bible and the scholars he relies on. Todd brings up G.H. Wells, but Dan says he does not rely on him. Todd ignored Dan and said G.H. Wells lacks the credentials in the required field, lack of publication in the recognized academic literature in the field, and such that he Wells is labeled "fringe scholarship." Todd tells Dan (who does not accept that Jesus existed) that his beliefs are so far out. Todd asks Dan if he thinks Julius Caesar existed? Dan says yes, and Todd moves on to discuss Julius Caesar's "Gallic Wars" written 45–100 BCE. The first copy is about a 900–1000 year span after Caesar died, and we only have ten copies. Todd moves on to the New Testament, a few fragments written about 45–100 years after Jesus died, with 5600 copies in the original language. From this, Todd says you can definitely trust the Bible. Todd, with little time left, tells the people that debates get heavy, and Todd is not angry he is just passionate. Then he asks who here has a presupposition, he tells people you do not have to read the Bible with the presupposition there is a creator and a conscience (but Todd says he wishes people did!). Todd tells the atheists to lose the presupposition that God does not exist and read the Bible. The gospel is for the glory of God, and you will glorify him one way or the other in Hell or in Heaven.||The first thing that everyone should note, is that right after Dan pointed out who here has the burden of proof, and Todd did not bother address or attempt to prove the existence of God. Rather, he would bash evolution and science as if doing so would mean his position should win by default. Todd intentionally and dishonesty misguides the audience what evolution actually addresses. For example, evolution is not random or chance. Natural selection, the mechanism that drives evolution, is the direct opposite of chance. Todd's objections to the evolution of the eye is an argument from incredulity. Watches do have an evolutionary history. First there was a stick casting a shadow, then there was a sundial, followed by a pendulum clock, a wind‐up pocket watch, finally culminating in Cartman's Teiko digital sports watch. Todd also drastically misleads the audience about the historicity of Jesus. The existence of a person in history is not determined by literature written about them and how many copies were made. For Julius Caesar, we know he existed from various sources. One important one was literature written by his own hand. We have artifacts, coins, and statues made after him. We have actual contemporary independent eye‐witnesses who wrote about Caesar, whether friendly or his enemy. Plus, Dan already addresses Todd's argument in his book Godless. If you follow Todd's argument and logic, then Todd should accept the miracles of Mohammad and especially Joseph Smith (whose books were written much sooner than Jesus and made tons of copies). Yes Dan quoted Wells in passing, but if Todd wishes to denounce ALL sources labeled "fringe" then he must also immediately drop intelligent design and all it's proponents. It has been proven in court that intelligent design is fringe science beyond any doubt, even its senior members openly admitted it. However, it is very likely Todd will not follow his own argument and remain dishonest.|
Closing statements: Dan Barker
|Dan opens with "Hell is not 'reasonable justice.'" If his kids did something wrong, like stealing a cookie, Dan does not send them to the gas chamber. The punishment should fit the crime. He does not spank his children, he would try to find a way to make his children learn. If the child offended Dan's ego, is Dan reasonable for telling his child "I am going to BURN you!"? This is not reasonable justice, that is insanity. God is a tyrant who forces his creations to follow his will with threats of violence, this is morally bankrupt. Salvation is the cure to its own sickness. If salvation is the cure, then atheism is the prevention. Sin is just a religious concept that comes through a religious book. Dan says if there was a God who sends people to Hell, then Dan would proudly go to Hell (if Dan had the chance, he would tell God to go to Hell because he is immoral). Dan asks if Todd has a sense of morality, even though he talks about justice, fairness, goodness, but he is stuck in Old Testament idea that we are all slaves and children before some father‐figure. Dan recalls a quote from someone he cannot remember: "Ethical people will do what is right no matter what they are told, most religious people will do what they are told no matter what is right." Todd's morality is basically following and obeying a dictator, Paul proudly called himself a slave. Most of us are not impressed with these kinds of arguments, we have risen above that. Blasphemy is a victimless crime. Dan admits he did quote G.H. Wells in passing, but given Todd's ad hominem attacks on his character, Wells has made many points but Dan does not rely on him. Dan points out Todd ignored the scholar Dan did rely on and used in the current debate, Bart Ehrman. Ehrman does have the right credentials, he worked with people with the right credentials, he wrote several textbooks. Dan challenges Todd to discredit Ehrman who wrote about the contradictions, discrepancies, errors and unreliability of the gospels. Dan says if Todd argues from the Bible, Todd is not only morally bankrupt but also intellectually bankrupt.||Indeed Todd is morally bankrupt. Todd demonstrates his absolute born again arrogance by pretty much telling Dan Barker that the 3000 or so people who were killed in the Twin Towers toppled by fanatic Middle Age ignorance and superstition probably deserved to die (or God would have saved them like he saved all the people who managed to escape). The audience responded with loud heckles and deservedly prominent shouts of "boo! boo! boo!".|
Closing statements: Todd Friel
|Todd begins by explaining he did not "do his job right" because Dan keeps saying Hell is not reasonable justice and the crowd keeps applauding. Todd says he is not here to scare the audience, but they should be horrified of Hell and the just God who will judge everyone. Todd says everyone knows there is a Creation because their conscience tells them there is. Todd stresses the audience to not flee to the Savior for the fear of Hell, but flee to the Savior because he is "so kind to save you from Hell. He is a kind god. He is a good god." Todd asks the audience if they know the speed of light, how large the Milky Way is, and how many galaxies like ours exist. Todd portrays the Milky way as very big, and there are billions like ours. God measures the universe with his "big hand." Todd literally begs the audience to not "trifle with God and listen to your conscience." Todd encourages fear to drive people to belief in God. Todd tells the people to use the following presuppositions: there is a creator and a creation. Todd then talks about the law, the Ten Commandments, and Judgment. Then think of the sacrifice of Jesus because "it will break your heart" and we should repent.||What a disappointment. Not once did Todd present any proof of God. His best tool is to repeat a refuted fallacy so many times that he hopes people will ignore the rebuttal. If this had been a serious debate then Mr. Friel would also have made sure he at least had a rudimentary knowledge of the world's major religions and belief systems, instead of the usual Christian fanatic idea that his religion is the only valid one and anyone who even thinks about anything else is damned to Hell.|
- Wretched Radio, About us. wretchedradio.com. Retrieved on 20 December 2015.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZB0lLIcXIA The interview in question.