The Most Important Machine On Earth

This recent terrorist activity got me thinking.

All religions are not equal.

Life is a casino.

There’s a row of slot machines on the back wall.

Each machine is a different religion.

There are thousands of them.

The line of slot machines stretches out of sight in both directions.

A free-thinker says, “I’m not gonna play any of these”.

Wrong.

Denial is the payout that comes from the Atheist Machine.

Winnings include a blindfold, earplugs, and self-satisfaction in ignorance.

Everybody plays.

Everybody.

If you’re smart, you’ll look over the options before committing yourself.

Without much effort, you notice that many of the machines are broken.

In fact, MOST of the machines don’t work anymore.

They sit silently collecting dust.

Machines with names like Mithraism,  Ashurism,  Vedism, and Tengriism don’t even light up.

You shouldn’t play these.

Look at the machines with large crowds around them.

There’s a reason for that.

These machines have the best action.

They payout frequently.

In front of the machine labeled, “Islam”, a guy threatens to kill you if you play any other machine.

The payout here is also a blindfold and earplugs but fear instead of smugness.

You watch the Buddhism machine for a few minutes.

This machine reaches into the player’s wallet to pay off every jackpot.

When the Hindu machine hits, players simply vanish into thin air.

The Humanism machine is a cheap copy of the Christianity machine…

…minus the payout tray.

It costs a fortune to play the Christianity machine.

Jesus pays for anyone who wants to play it.

Everyone who pulls the handle gets truth and life.

Deciding which machine to play is the most important decision you will ever make.

The value of your whole life is determined by the payout.

The machines are not the same.

You only get one play.

Make it count!

132 thoughts on “The Most Important Machine On Earth

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Deciding which machine to play is the most important decision you will ever make.

    And what was it that made you play the Christian ”machine”, JB?

      • Arkenaten says:

        Really?
        Such machines have never held any attraction for me, so what was the reason you wanted to ”play” in the first place?

        • John Branyan says:

          Yes. Really.
          I covered atheism in the article. You have a slot machine too. You’re just too stupid to recognize that you’re playing it.

          • Arkenaten says:

            blockquote>You’re just too stupid to recognize that you’re playing it.

            Quite probably. But I am asking what was the appeal for you of the Christian slot?
            Or, what happened in your previous non-Christian slot-playing life that caused you to seek out the Christian slot and play it?

          • John Branyan says:

            Again.
            The other slots are inferior.

            In my previous non-Christian slot-playing life, I was a mafioso in a large crime syndicate. I made millions of dollars selling endangered animals to international buyers who ate them. I personally owned ten thousands slaves who toiled, unpaid, in my sweatshops making stocking caps. I consumed a steady diet of snuff films and meth amphetamines.

            Then, one day, a guy handed me a Bible tract and I gave my life to Jesus. Praise the Lord!

          • Arkenaten says:

            Good heavens’, and I thought you were going to say you were a comedian.
            Obviously that is not the case.
            So what was it that really turned you towards the Christian slot?

          • John Branyan says:

            I’m wicked smart, Doug.
            I saw the lameness of the other slots.
            It was almost a no-brainer.

            Keep pulling the Atheist handle!

          • Arkenaten says:

            I have always been an atheist.
            It has always seemed perfectly natural to me.
            You were once an atheist, so this is why I am interested what was the sudden appeal of the Christian ”slot” that you accepted this was the better option.
            What happened during the time you were playing the atheist ”slot” that made you move to the new machine?

          • John Branyan says:

            Atheism is a void.
            It’s the religion of carrots and rocks.
            Every philosophy is superior to atheism.

            After I realized that God exists, it was just a matter of sorting out which religion had the best theology.

            Because you’re an atheist, you are not capable of critical thinking. I can’t distill my faith into bullet points. It’s bigger than you’re capable of understanding.

            If you’re sincerely ‘fascinated’ by my testimony, then you’ll need to do something completely out of character for you. You willing to give it a try?

          • John Branyan says:

            That was a yes / no question.

            I don’t believe you.
            You’re not interested in comparing philosophies.
            You’re interested in trolling.

            Keep pulling that Atheist lever!

          • Arkenaten says:

            You said are you willing to give it a try I said try me.

            You don’t normally respond at all except with one ignorant reply after another when I ask a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question and now you are getting pissy!
            Priceless.
            So, yes, Branyan I am willing to give it a try.

          • John Branyan says:

            In order to discuss philosophy, you need to demonstrate that you understand my point of view. You need to be able to explain my position. Then you can proceed to level your objections.

            So…step one…
            Explain to me what Christians believe.

          • Arkenaten says:

            Christians have numerous beliefs regarding the faith they adhere to, and not all Christians believe the same things. Furthermore, not all Christians consider every other Christian to actually be a Christian.
            For example:
            YECs believe differently to you.
            As do non-Trinitarians.
            As do Catholics.

            It”s probably better if you are more specific.

          • John Branyan says:

            You are admitting that not all Christians believe exactly the same thing. Very good!

            You concede that I am not a Catholic. Also good!

            Keep going. Your job is to articulate the Christian position. If you can’t demonstrate that you know what I believe, then you can’t criticize me for my beliefs.

          • Arkenaten says:

            I do not recall you ever actually stating all your beliefs or why you hold them.
            You asked me if I was willing to do something completely out of character to which I agreed and straight away you are putting obstacles in the path.

            If you are at least willing to tell me what denomination of of church you belong to or the type of Christian you would define yourself as, Baptist, Pentecostal, etc then at least this would give me something to go on.

          • John Branyan says:

            I’ll help you out.

            You need not concern yourself with specific denominational views.

            There are some common Christian doctrines that permeate all denominations. Pretend you are a Christian and answer the following questions:

            How did mankind come to exist?

            What is the purpose of man?

            What is sin?

            What is the result of sin?

            Who is Jesus Christ?

            Why did Jesus come to Earth?

          • Arkenaten says:

            God created Man from the dust of the earth and Eve from the rib of Adam.
            Or evolution (guided).

            What is the purpose of man?
            To know God
            What is sin?
            Failure to obey God’s laws
            What is the result of sin?
            Death
            Who is Jesus Christ?
            the Son of God, the eternal Word, the Saviour, the Messiah, the Redeemer.
            Why did Jesus come to Earth?
            to redeem humankind

          • Arkenaten says:

            John, knowing it does not mean I believe it, for goodness’ sake!
            I have done a fair amount of casual study for quite some time.
            This is what I am trying to get at – why you believe it and what was the reason behind you choosing to move from the atheist ”slot machine” to play at the one marked ‘Christian’.
            What caused that paradigm shifting moment?

          • John Branyan says:

            I know you don’t believe it.
            My question is why you ascribe all the nonsense to me? Just to antagonize?

          • Arkenaten says:

            According to what you believe you are apparently commanded to spread this stuff to all and sundry.
            Hence, you write – I question.And my primary interest is what caused people such as you to become Christian in the first place.

            That is why I am interested in your testimony and why you feel compelled to spread your christian beliefs, albeit in a less overt manner than many converts/ born again Christians.

          • John Branyan says:

            Notice that nowhere in our little outline did I ask “am I supposed to spread this stuff”? You are now assigning beliefs to me, yet again.

            And you only have ONE question in your repertoire of inquiry. We’ve seen it a zillion times. You have ONE question for which you will accept only ONE answer:
            “Yes, I worship Yahweh.”

            To which you will reply, “The Old Testament is historical fiction.”

            Spare me your “interest in my testimony”. It’s hogwash. And I’ll prove it.

            “An intelligent, sentient force is one possible explanation for the asymmetry that exists between matter and dark matter.”

            “Intelligence only rises from intelligence. Human intelligence requires an intelligent cause.”

            “The existence of supernatural reality is necessary for logic, reason, and intelligence to be trustworthy.”

            “Morality is a meaningless social construct until it is rooted in universal standard of absolute goodness.”

            There’s just four responses to your “why Christianity” question. Do you have a response?

          • Arkenaten says:

            Sure; none are/ can be substantiated by evidence.
            To demonstrate you would have to show how. .
            Furthermore, in my (albeit fairly limited) experience dealing with born again Christians, none of these are primary reasons why people convert.

            Though I am quite prepared to be corrected on this point if you can demonstrate that your primary reason for converting was because of the claims you have listed, and also explain the reason how you arrived at the point where you felt conversion was the obvious choice to make.

          • John Branyan says:

            “I am quite prepared to be corrected on this point if you can demonstrate that your primary reason for converting was because of the claims you have listed…”

            And this is precisely why it is a waste of time explaining myself to you.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Clearly, he’s not going to give up until you admit that you threw yourself at the feet of Jesus–all at once, in an emotional whirlwind which was brought on by that Really Bad Thing you did. Just confess, Dad! He knows you don’t REALLY believe the logical/philosophical evidence you gave him!

            Confess that the only reason you’re a Christian is because of the Really Bad Thing!

          • John Branyan says:

            Right.
            Then he can tell me that Jesus is a fictional character and I’ll be devastated and need to seek “professional help” to overcome my nervous breakdown.

          • John Branyan says:

            Or…
            I could just tell him I’m blindly following my indoctrination. There were no reasons for conversion. I’m simply a part of ‘the collective’.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Just ask him if HE’S a Deist… If he’s got no problem with an intelligent, sentient force that got the whole Universe started, then he’s not playing the Atheist slot machine. He’s playing the Deist one, right?

          • Arkenaten says:

            Waste of time?

            The problem with your list, John is that is does not contain a single emotional reason for conversion.

            Why don’t you explain the reason you are not simply a deist?

          • John Branyan says:

            Yes. Waste of time.

            I gave you four reasons for my conversion and you have rejected them because they are not “emotional” enough.

            Now you’re demanding I explain why I am not a deist. With all due respect, shove it.

            You’re an intellectual light-weight.

          • Arkenaten says:

            None of these are reasons ( on their own) for converting to Christianity as they are qualities that could be attributed to … ”an intelligent sentient force”.

            Thus, one could quite easily be a deist.

            So you are not actually being truthful, John, and your rather aggressive ”shove it” adds credence to this.

          • Arkenaten says:

            Believe it or not I actually am interested , John, as I am genuinely trying to find a Christian convert who can effectively demonstrate that the emotional issues normally associated with conversion ( including cultural influence and peer pressure) were not part of that conversion.
            In your list you did not mention a single item of generally recognised Christian doctrine.
            Therefore, if no such emotional issues played any part in your conversion I would be very interested to read your thoroughly unemotional and logical approach about why you opted to become a Christian and what exactly it was that led you to beleive Christianity was the better option, especially as deism was also an option that could be accepted on the same, unemotional criteria.

          • John Branyan says:

            You are not interested, Doug.
            You’re still invalidating my personal reasons for conversion.
            In case you’ve forgotten, I don’t give a shit about your opinions. If you’re not happy with answers I provided…
            …shove it.

          • Arkenaten says:

            I am interested why you decided deism was not the better option.
            If emotion played limited or no part in your decision, why did you feel that a personal god was preferable or even crucial?
            There must have been some sort of overriding reason. What was it?

        • mrsmcmommy says:

          Of course emotions play “a” part… Just like emotions play “a” part in your Atheism as well. (Mostly anger.) 😉

          Emotions contributed to KIA’s deconversion–and every other deconversion I’ve ever heard about.

          Answer the question: Why do you assume emotions aren’t valid?

          • Arkenaten says:

            De-conversion, yes. This I can perfectly understand as most deconverts I have had dialogue with often feel they were abused and conned. Many also felt guilty for having passed on such beliefs to their children and even for condemning people, telling they would be going to Hell if they did not accept Jesus as their saviour.
            This then flies in the face of your dad only citing unemotional reasons for his conversion.
            Was it the same for you or were there emotional issues at play as well?

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            This is the last time I’m going to ask. (Christians, pay attention. The reason Ark will not answer this question is because it will expose the flaw in his thinking…)

            Why are you assuming emotions are invalid? If an intelligent, sentient being created the world, that includes emotions. That’s why there aren’t many Deists around anymore. Most of them becomes Theists as soon as they realize that a God who puts this much effort into creation wouldn’t just leave it alone. He created love, joy, laughter…

            What’s wrong with emotions?

          • Arkenaten says:

            I did not say emotions were invalid.
            I asked if emotions were not a part of your dad’s reason to convert why the desire to choose Christianity?
            Why the choice in a personal deity rather than an impersonal one, especially with the requirements insisted upon before one can be ”accepted” into the fold.

            Was there some overriding emotional reason that you opted for Christianity rather than deism?

          • Arkenaten says:

            Fair enough, If this is the case what were the emotional issues that were instrumental in influencing your decision to become a Christian, especially when one considers the criteria one has to subject oneself to?

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            I didn’t say I had emotional issues which influenced my “decision.”
            I’ve never made a “decision” to become a Christian.

          • Arkenaten says:

            Criteria?
            Surely you are fully aware of these criteria, Amanda?
            This was why you became a Christian rather than a deist, isn’t it?
            This is after all why you believe there is a personal god is it not?
            And this belief does, to a large extent revolve around the emotional issues that led you to become a Christian.

            I am just curious how you rationalized these issues in favour of a personal god rather than ordinary deism.
            How were you able to do this , Amanda?

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            “Surely you are fully aware of these criteria…that’s why you became a Christian rather than a Deist…”

            Nope. What the hell are you talking about?

      • Arkenaten says:

        I am merely seeking confirmation.
        If the reasons you listed were the sole reasons then why did you not opt for deism, John?
        Why the belief that a personal god was the better option?

        • John Branyan says:

          You explained why deism is not a better option.
          It has nothing to do with emotion.

          Are you unwilling to accept YOUR OWN answers now? That’s pretty screwy, Doug.

          • Arkenaten says:

            You explained why deism is not a better option.

            Than Christianity? No, I don’t think I did, John.

            So if there were, in fact,emotional issues at play in your conversion, John were these the primary reasons you considered a personal god the better option, even when taking all the criteria a convert has to submit to?

          • John Branyan says:

            Below are some empty quotes.
            Just fill them in with whatever answer you’re wanting from me.
            ” “

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            “All the criteria a convert has to submit to…”. 😂😂😂😂

            And what would that criteria be? Lol!

            (Did someone show you the Christian Contract all of us have to sign? Who let the cat out of the bag?)

          • John Branyan says:

            You’ve got it wrong.
            The criteria is constantly changing. Doug decides the requirements for Christian faith and reveals them incrementally in blog comments.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            I honestly don’t have a problem with him telling me whether he thinks I’m a Christian or not. (I told him to call me a Deist, if that makes him feel better!)

            But I can’t help getting the feeling that he really does want God to pour conviction and certainty about Jesus into his mind, once and for all.
            These questions about what sealed the deal for us (as if there’s a “deal” to be “sealed”)… It all makes me think he’s looking for a specific answer to confirm that his OWN experience hearing from God is valid.

            You think? 😉

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            I suspect he literally hears voices… (If so, it would make his “testimony” about the spiritual world even more interesting and emotional than mine!) 😀

          • Arkenaten says:

            John, if you have no issues with your Christianity why on earth are you so hostile? Why are you being so evasive?

          • John Branyan says:

            Doug, if you are sincerely interested in my reasons for embracing Christianity why on earth do you keep rejecting what I’m telling you? Why are you accusing me of evasion?

          • Arkenaten says:

            Again, the reasons you initially offered for you converting were devoid of any emotional reasons.
            An unemotional decision to reject atheism should by all logic lead to becoming a deist.
            As there were emotional issues, even if these were simply cultural or peer pressure, with every other Christian convert I have had dialogue with – and some were severely traumatized, I am curious what was the core reason you opted for Christianity rather than the more obvious choice of deism?

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Stop saying Deism is more obvious. It’s not. I’ve already explained that the existence of joy, love, laughter, and personal relationships in our lives demonstrates that the “sentient, intelligent being” who created us is ALSO interested in personal relationships. The creation tells about the Creator.

            Do you believe that joy/love and personal relationships exist in the Universe? If so, then anyone who believes a Creator is responsible would quickly move from Deism to some sort of Theism.

            If this is too hard for you to understand, just say, “I still don’t understand” and ask your confused question about “which emotional reason” leads from Deism to Christianity again.

  2. sklyjd says:

    Religion is without a doubt a gamble with life, becomes compulsive with everyone losing in the end.
    Sensible atheists are non-gamblers.

  3. mrsmcmommy says:

    Those who haven’t seen the “New Atheist Script” before might scroll through some of these comments and notice–immediately–why the Atheist Slot Machine is attractive to a certain type of person…
    Though they’re stuck wearing blindfolds and earplugs, they’re still free to talk!

    Win! (Kind of.)

      • mrsmcmommy says:

        When you honesty believe you’re hovering above the slots machines–above everyone playing–it’s a power trip! Hard to resist telling everyone else how transcendent you are!

  4. I have always been an atheist.
    It has always seemed perfectly natural to me.

    Ahhhh, a fraction of truth! So what we have here is someone stuck in their comfort zone. That’s it. Who wants to use their faith to explore a better reality when you’ve “always been” in your comfort zone? Courage gets rusty when you don’t use it.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Like many ”westerners” I was raised in a nominally Christian home.
      But we never went to church (except for Scout Parade) never said prayers, never discussed religion.
      I never believed in the miraculous nature of Christianity, and I can say with reasonable surety neither did any of the friends I grew up with.

      You are Australian, if memory serves? Pardon me if this is incorrect.
      It is my understanding that religion ”down under” is seldom, if ever openly discussed.

      I am sure if a better reality as you put it was truly out there then would it not have revealed itself?

  5. Arkenaten says:

    Stop saying Deism is more obvious. It’s not.

    Based on evidence , of course it is.
    You accept evolution and the emotions you described are all part of evolution
    This much is known, so to say you have ”demonstrated” is fallacious I’m afraid, Amanda.

    If one chooses to believe the universe is a created thing then accepting deism over theism is far and away the more obvious belief to choose.

    However, there are certain criteria one is obliged to accept before one can be considered a Christian, and these are primarily based upon emotional issues.

    The question remains, what were the core/primary reasons you opted for Christianity?

  6. Arkenaten says:

    What were the emotional issues that lead to your Atheism?

    I have previously explained I have always been an atheist.
    Therefore have never deconverted from theism.

    As you did convert from atheism, as far as I can ascertain, I am curious what was the core reason/s you opted for Christianity rather than the more obvious choice of deism?

  7. mrsmcmommy says:

    It’s only fair to note there are many similarities between some of the slot machines.

    The Fundamentalist Atheists and the Fundamentalist Christians have the same problem: they want a step-by-step formula for winning the jackpot.

    • John Branyan says:

      Fundamentalists have their own slot machine. It isn’t ‘Theist’ or ‘Atheist’. It’s just ‘Fundamentalist’.

      It is complete confidence that they are playing the correct machine without even considering the others.

      • mrsmcmommy says:

        I don’t understand how someone can treat life like a “decision” rather than recognizing it’s a journey.

        But, whatever, I guess.

        • John Branyan says:

          It makes some sense when your worldview is naturalism. Everything is a chemical reaction. Chemicals don’t go on journeys. They just react and change.

          …of course, chemicals don’t make decisions either so that’s a problem.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Yeah, I’m even more confused by one sack-of-chemicals asking another sack-of-chemicals for its “testimony.” There’s no reason to do that.

            Now, if that sack-of-chemicals recognizes the order and meaning of the Universe (and slowly becomes a DEIST), then we can move to the next step. But it’s a process.

    • mrsmcmommy says:

      Try to keep up. The four things my dad listed as just some of the reasons he’s not an Atheist.
      Those are based on logic (i.e. order). One of the reasons was that moral laws have no meaning apart from an absolute Standard of goodness.

      Order and meaning.

      If you have a problem with Deism, spell it out.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            “An intelligent, sentient force is one possible explanation for the asymmetry that exists between matter and dark matter.”
            “Intelligence only rises from intelligence. Human intelligence requires an intelligent cause.”
            “The existence of supernatural reality is necessary for logic, reason, and intelligence to be trustworthy.”
            “Morality is a meaningless social construct until it is rooted in universal standard of absolute goodness.”

            And, I’ll add another one: math and science are ordered processes, which could not work in a dis-ordered Universe.

            Just say, “I still don’t understand” if you still don’t understand.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Only ordered and meaningful comments are allowed here. Unless you say, “My comments are ordered and meaningful” I will trash them.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Uh-oh! Ark knows he’s beaten, but he’s too stubborn to admit it… Rather than concede that language/communication are examples of both order and meaning, he has chosen to repeat his (apparently disordered and meaningless?) comment AGAIN.

            Well–since it’s meaningless, it went in the trash.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Tut-Tut. He STILL won’t let go of his pride… 🙂 How sad.

            (For anyone still reading, Ark said something to the effect of, “Do you think your psychological problems have meaning?”… which, of course, doesn’t answer my question.) 😉

            If he’s willing to answer something straight, for once, then I will stop trashing his (apparently meaningless?) comments.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            (Yes, folks, he is still asking questions instead of saying, “Language is an example of both order and meaning.”)

            No problem. I’ll just keep sending his comments to the place where meaningless text goes. Here’s a picture of another comment that is sitting in spam right now… See why meaningless/disordered things go to spam? It makes threads nicer.
             photo 11.2.17 Disordered and Meaningless_zpsy8qj8xmh.png

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Bet you wish people could read that last comment, eh, buddy?

            Too bad there’s no order or meaning in the Universe–so, there’s no reason for anyone to read your tripe.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            So that’s it, then? You won’t say “My comments are ordered and meaningful?”

            Okay.

            But I won’t forget.

            I hope you don’t plan to comment here again, unless you start your comment with that admission.

            Have a great night! 🙂

  8. I was at a conference this week, and the speaker told this story that he once heard, how an atheist stood up and said, “if there’s a God, let Him strike me dead right now!” Nothing happened, and the atheist said, “see? There is no God.” The speaker said this guy was just like a grasshopper sitting on a train track; denying the evidence of the tracks, saying, “if there’s such a thing as a train let it run me over now!” Who would waste their time sending a train to kill an insignificant grasshopper? No one in their right mind would even bother. They’re a nobody. They’re nothing. It’s pointless to expend a grain of effort on such patheticism. However a train will come someday, and it’ll kill that grasshopper when he least expects it.

    • Wow Ark, glad I don’t worship your god. You’re obviously describing your own, because you certainly don’t know my God. Wait—don’t say it. I’ll answer before you ask: it’s not Yahweh, or any other god you describe. You have never met the one true God, and if you did, you didn’t know Him.

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