Mr. Mehta, and a Briefer Defense of a Brief Piece

Now what Chesterton said is true, that “the atheist is not interested in anything except attacks on atheism.” Thus my last post, 3 Arguments Atheists Aren’t Allowed To Use Anymore, attracted the beautiful and educated eyes of a certain Mr. Mehta, who contributes to The Friendly Atheist. Whether he really is friendly is a thing I’m unsure about, for the word “friend” is derived from the Old English freond, “to love,” and to love is to desire the ultimate good of the beloved, and the ultimate of good of my posts is to be a) paid no mind or b) to lead further to the harsh, fluorescent glare of truth.

My post was simultaneously paid attention to and left entirely undiscussed. The whole point of the 3 Arguments post was not “Here, 3 brilliant things internet atheists say, watch me rebut them!” — though in fairness, I have been caught doing that in public a number of times. No, the point of the post was that these were 3 Arguments that were hardly arguments at all, perpetuated by a great number of well-meaning but very foolish redittors, 9gaggers, dawkins-fan-boys and other Very Cool Kids.

Thus when Mr. Mehta says, of my claim that Babies Aren’t Atheists:

“Just because they might have thoughts about the supernatural at a young age doesn’t mean any of it is accurate. Just because children believe in Santa doesn’t make him real. And no one really believes babies are thinking about Jesus or Allah or Vishnu or miracles or all the other nonsense that comes along with belief in god…”

I couldn’t agree with him more wholeheartedly. But I in no way, shape, or awkward contortion made such an silly argument — I merely pointed out that the popular meme that gets shared around:

…is false. It would be equally false to say that babies are born theists. All we know for sure is that babies are born thinking supernaturally. Whether that’s something that needs to be logiked out of ‘em is the rest of the discussion, and the reason Mr. Mehta and I inflict our thoughts upon the blog-reading public.

This is the same of the priests as child-molesters. I made no argument that there haven’t been priests who’ve raped children, nor that the administrative actions of the bishops with authority over those priests were always good. I merely argued the the stereotype is whack.

As for the last argument, I can only assume Mr. Mehta was momentarily caught up the intoxicating presence of Divine Love here, because this…

Barnes is responding to the idea that, in Genesis, God created light on Day 1… but the Sun/Moon/Stars on Day 4. (His response: God just created photons on Day 1, you guys…)

Well, I guess if you think a fertilized egg is basically the same thing as a grown fetus, that’s not a huge stretch…

I don’t even need to get into the science, though. This is only one of *many* things Genesis gets wrong if taken at face value. And it goes against the 60% of Americans who believe in the literal six-day-Creation-myth in Genesis (according to The Barna Group).”

…ain’t no argument. Not only did I specifically say “the first recognizable particle to form after the Big Bang were photons…particles representing a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation”, and nothing about God creating photons, but also — what?

Mr. Mehta accuses me of attacking strawmen. It’s certainly possible. But surely the complaint of strawmannery is awkward when Mr. Mehta claims that I made arguments that — with just a click — any man may verify I did not?

Despite this, and in the words of Bernard Shaw, it’s all good in the hood. Thanks to Mr. Mehta’s kind response, I plan on writing “Why Religion is an Integral Part of Human Nature”, a comprehensive answer to the question, “Did the Catholic Bishops Intentionally Shelter Child Molesters?” and — to finish all the goodness — “How Catholics Read Genesis #everywordisrealerthanscience.”

I’d also like to invite Mr. Mehta to engage in a debate, back and forth, on the question of god/God, if he is so inclined.

  • Matticfrancis

    You’re amazing. Keep it up!

  • Belle

    I’m looking forward to this summer.

  • Lucy

    At this rate, summer will be EPIC.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

      ONLY IF WE PUT SOME DANTE HOMER MILTON VIRGIL TOLKIEN in… this was a friendly reminder from the Society (of one) for the Proper Use of the Word Epic…

      BUT ITS SO FUN to beat up trolls… (*weeps single tear*)

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    How the hell are US american so foolish? I really can’t think that 60% of modern americans believe in genesis in the literal way. Where I live, this has never been the case.

    • Gail Finke

      If you find it hard to believe it’s probably because they don’t. Yeah, we have a lot of people here who believe that, but 60%? No way.

      • Alexandra

        This is part of why there are so many people who don’t believe in a literal creation myth. People don’t trust scientific studies, they think their own empirical observations are more reliable.

        • Alexandra

          I’m so full of typos today. I muddled people who don’t believe in evolution with people who believe in a literal creation story.

  • Miller Geoffrey

    Oh don’t take the bait, badcatholic. Some atheists have an uncanny ability to be annoyingly dense when it comes to anything remotely resembling the obscure and cultic phenomenon many modern scholars refer to as “good humor.” I wouldn’t be surprised to find a strong correlation between non-belief and a failure to grasp irony, metaphor, and sarcasm.

  • Pmartina

    Just the usual awesome.

    Yes Genesis was real but old, that band formed back in 1967.
    Oh, the Book of Genesis is not old.. it is timeless, neither old or new.
    I will be popping popcorn for the http://www.badcatholic smackdown, please let us know we don’t want to miss the show.

  • http://twitter.com/AnnaGDawson Anna Dawson

    If you haven’t already read them, these two books by Philip Jenkins are above and beyond worthwhile: Pedophile Priests; and The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice (this last covers many topics including and beyond the pederasty scandals).

    PS–I love what you do here. Keep up the good work pissing people off in all the right ways.

  • Steven Dillon

    Given the great objections to theism that are out there, I find it ridiculous that folks would appeal to these 3 arguments lol. Pick up Schellenberg’s Divine Hiddenness, Oppy’s Arguing about Gods or Sobel’s Logic and Theism (etc.) for pete’s sake :p

    • Jtraughb50

      As a response to that I would strongly recommend Moser’s The Evidence for God as well as his Divine Elusiveness.

      • Steven Dillon

        I don’t mean to denigrate Moser’s works at all in saying this, because he’s extremely intelligent and educated, but I agree with Schellenberg: Moser’s responses to the Divine Hiddenness argument seem largely irrelevant (e.g., he spends a lot of ink talking about the hiddenness of the Hebraic god when Schellenberg is concerned with the bare-theistic god), and of those that are relevant, they’re on the weaker side of the spectrum (e.g., if god precluded reasonable non-belief, our freedom would suffer).

  • Cal-J

    If there’s going to be a fight in here, too, I think I’m going to cry.

    • Corita

      I kinda feel the same way. The New Atheists are fundamentalists with all the personality and logic errors of same. Not only are they boring but the can take over a place and get all the regular joes and joannes all stirred up. The narcissism is absolutely unbearable.

      • Cal-J

        I’m not moderating if it happens. I reffed in the last one.

        • Marc Barnes

          …and you did a fantastic job at it. Without you I’d never leave the computer.

        • Alexandra

          Did you? I kind of feel like you were just a part of the last tizzy.

          Without your input it would have been a whole lot smaller.

          • Cal-J

            You don’t know that. Without my input, it might’ve been a whole lot meaner, too, with everyone jumping on poorly made points about cats and dogs.

          • Alexandra

            I mean I don’t, but I specifically only engaged with people who were being reasonable.

            Seriously half of that tizzy was just you and me.

          • Cal-J

            Tizzying like a boss.

          • Alexandra

            But for serious, if you really don’t want to have the conversation, don’t engage with me. It’s really that simple.

            Or, if you’d just like for me to stop posting. Tell me that. I’m happy to leave if my welcome has worn out, but I’m of the impression we’re still having interesting conversation.

          • Cal-J

            I never told you to stop posting.

          • Alexandra

            I know you didn’t.

    • Cal-J

      There’s a fight. And I’m crying.

    • John Francis

      BadCatholic Hunger Games!

  • Clare Marie Joyce

    kudos.

  • InvictusLux

    Atta-boy Marc. Keep these atheists off the public sidewalks and streets and sitting at home answering the mail…

  • Dash Riprock

    Yeah, I was not surprised to find the general atheist response entirely missed the point. For whatever reason, the Brights seem to not catch on that rejecting a bad argument is not the same as making the opposite argument.

  • http://modthirtyone.wordpress.com/ Anh

    Looking forward to that Genesis article. And to whatever debate that may ensue from this. Keep it up!

  • Catherine

    Yay! I’m glad about the frequent posts!

  • Corita

    I have known some wonderful, measured and erudite atheists in my life. I count two of them as dear friends. The atheists these days are sad, sad. They are barely Cliff Notes versions of great atheist literature.

    • Cal-J

      ^Stealing.

  • Johnkenny29

    FIGHT!!!…FIGHT!!!…FIGHT!!!!…TEAR THE GODLESS B******S APART!!!….oh dont look at me like that fellow catholics, you know perfectly well we are responsible for over one hundred million ,zillion,gazillion deaths since the foundation of the church so dont pretend you aint itching for blood too,it,s what we do, is it not?

    • Cal-J

      We do it with an attempt at grammar. Slight difference.

    • MF

      What a weirdo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryliziz Mary Liz Bartell

    Marc, my husband is always telling me, don’t feed the TROLLS. I heard a very wise man also once say “Don’t win an argument and lose a soul.” My response to this gentlemen atheist is that our belief isn’t founded in anything a scientist can disprove for all the knowledge given to them comes from God’s creation. They may miss the forest through trees many times, but our universe is God’s playground. He doesn’t need to be proven to be, he just is. For all the good that it does us in arguing he is or ain’t it isn’t going to move this man to believe for he lacks humility, he lacks the desire to believe, and he’s not willing to even ask GOD to reveal himself to him “if’n he is there.” So let’s just pray for his conversion, heart mind and soul to Christ along with all the other Catholic bashers out there. God works in his own time, calling all souls to him. Fulton Sheen said that he calls out to souls even at the moment of death and if they move to him they may be subject to his Divine Mercy. We don’t know how this will play out but just remember, being right isn’t necessarily the advantage Christians have. Jesus is right, and we can mess things up if we focus on winning rather than loving.

    • Korou

      Don’t you realise that Marc is the troll?

      • Argentum_horse

        Trolls for God… best kind there is.

      • Marc Barnes

        Who, me?

        • Korou

          ‘fraid so.

      • Cal-J

        Is the Troll still a Troll in his own cave? ‘Cause it would seem to be less than wise to antagonize trolls in their natural habitat.

        • http://www.facebook.com/neal.l.meyer Neal Meyer

          Oh Cal-J, a troll MUST be a troll in his own cave. If a troll stopped being a troll in his own cave, he would be undergoing a substantial change, which is preposterous, as leaving the case is but an accidental change…..

          a better question is that if a Troll leaves the cave and sees the True Forms, is he still a troll? I don’t do “the twitters” so I’ll make up a hashtag…. #PlatoAristotlemashup

          • Cal-J

            You’re amazing.

        • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

          Yo dawg. I heard you like to troll. So I created to blog to troll the trolls so you can troll while you’re trolling

      • musiciangirl591

        how is he trolling? its his blog :P

        • Korou

          “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

          It’s true that, as this is his blog, parts of the definition of troll don’t apply; so fair enough. But inflammatory, and with the intent of provoking readers – those sound about right.

          • musiciangirl591

            ever think that you are trolling his blog :P

          • John Francis

            Since when has “the intent of provoking readers” been a bad thing? Mental stimulation ist verboten?

  • JwilliamT

    Can you do a post on “What’ll happen if any belief based on religion is disallowed in the public square/politics” since one of the things that really bug me are the people who basically say, “That’s a religious belief, separation of church and state, nyah nyah nyah” (paraphrased) whenever a discussion about homosexual ‘marriage’ or abortion or contraception or anything else really comes up?

  • Mike

    I have always wondered, in a good-natured way, why atheists are atheists. Compared to Christianity,it has little explanatory power and atheists seem to spend most of their time explaining why religions are false and not why atheism is true. Maybe Mr. Mehta will assist us.

    • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

      Food for thought. Something you find to be self-explanatory through faith may not be self-explanatory to atheists. God gave us different talents/traits/etc and in different amounts. We are equal, yet different. These are things most people would regard as true.

      Where it starts to branch off is simply through the trait of faith. People have faith in different amounts. Can it be built up? Yes, to an extent. Just like how it can be brought down to an extent through experiences, etc. But through my 20 years on God’s green earth one thing I have noticed is that you either have faith, or you don’t (on average).

      You and I both believe Christianity is self-explanatory though the faith we have. Most atheists do not have the trait of faith that we do. It doesn’t make them less than us. I guarantee they are better in other areas/traits than I am. However, it does explain why they believe religion is false. Since they do not have faith, seeing is believing. Now I could go into examples of personal experiences I have, but what’s the point? Most of them aren’t here to be “evangelized.” Maybe one or two are, and if they are I would be more than welcome to enter into dialogue with them on it. But most just will not have that faith you and I have, or at least to the level we do. It does not make them bad people or lesser people. Just makes them different.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

        Nah, I think it’s just Pride.

        • Alexandra

          Pride? In the fact that you have the ability to have faith?

          Nate is right, some people just cannot have faith.

          • AttentionDeficitCatholic

            I would not say “cannot”, I think it is more accurate to say (and I believe this is the point that Nate was trying to make) is that faith comes harder to some than to others. Heaven knows it comes hard to me.

          • Alexandra

            That’s probably accurate. I’ve never been able to have faith, even as a kid raised. As an adult I could probably try really hard to, but it’s so challenging, and to me worthless because I don’t see any truth in it, so I don’t.

          • Alexandra

            GAH! Kid raised in a faith.

            It’s time to run up to the break room for some coffee.

          • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

            I hear ya. I’m going on an hour of sleep because of a final in thermodynamics I had this morning. If I was back in my dorm I’d be out cold right now.

            But going off of what I said earlier. AttentionDeficitCatholic basically summed up what I was trying to say the best. For a lot of people (myself included every now and than), it just isn’t that easy to put faith in trust in something you can’t physically see, and as we believe, won’t be able to see until we pass from this world. One of the things I love about the Church is how they want you to question things that happen. Question the theology of it all and why someone believes what they do.

          • Marian

            I sympathize. I’ve never really been able to do calculus, even though I had math classes all the way through college. As an adult I could probably try really hard to, but it’s so challenging, and to me worthless because I don’t see any point in it, so I don’t.

            That’s probably going to sound snide, but I really don’t mean it to. My point is, just because something seems hard, doesn’t mean it isn’t true (insert Chesterton quote). Alexandra, from your comments I get the impression that you are intelligent and honestly trying to make sense of the world. That is wonderful! One little thing I would suggest: Don’t close yourself off to possibility. A true scientist does not say, “This theory seems wrong to me, therefore I’m not going to investigate it.” The scientist tests everything, is open to the seemingly impossible, explores all sources, because that is how you discover truth, and how you ultimately form your impressions of the world. And even as we investigate, all of us (those with faith and those without) should keep our minds and hearts open to experiencing the world, and the people in it.

          • Alexandra

            Thank you, that was the kindest “come to our side” type post I’ve gotten. And I’m really not trying to be snarky.

          • Alexandra

            html fail. I meant for only the really to be italicized. I guess I forgot to close it.

          • Marian

            :) It is funny how communication is both easier and more difficult in our information age. I’m glad you’re here, talking things through with us. You’re respectful in your posts. Would that we were all respectful and courteous of each other in these comboxes. And I have to say that charity is one of the most beautiful and important messages of the Christian faith. It is a pity that we Christians are not always so good at demonstrating that. It would certainly make our points better than any amount of words would (I guess that’s what St. Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 13).

          • Alexandra

            Well all slip up and behave in ways we’re not proud of.

            I’ve met some people on this blog who really don’t want to engage with me on the topics I bring up, and some who do.

            And a good portion of those who do, do it in a very civil and loving way and I think we both come away from it knowing more about humanity and realizing how much we really are brothers and sisters.

            I learn more about how they, as people I know to be intelligent and good, believe in something I find to be so obviously false. I think people learn about how I fail to have faith, but that I share a lot of the same values and goals that they do.

            I’ve enjoyed posting here. Sometimes it ends up being a bickering mess where we hit walls and people, myself included, say things they’re not going to be proud of once they’re not so worked up, but for the most part I’m really learning a lot and appreciate the compassion and understanding that is being shown to me.

        • Cal-J

          That was uncalled for. Faith is a gift of grace from God; telling someone that they don’t believe in God because they suck isn’t going to help.

        • Jesus God

          Catholics, Mormons and Scientologists also have pride in their beliefs!

      • Marian

        Agreed, although I do have one issue with what you said. With the way you describe faith, you make it sound like God purposely withholds faith from some people (i.e. your analogy of talents). I’m not sure that’s the best way to understand faith. As Cal-J says below, faith is a gift from God. But I believe what Christianity teaches about faith is that all of us human beings are born with the capacity for faith, the capacity to love God. That capacity is nurtured when we are open to the experience of God, when we learn about our beliefs, when we love others. The capacity is starved when we close ourselves off from the operation of God’s grace, when we close our minds to investigating the possibility of his existence. Our lives, as they come into contact with others, are made up of different experiences, and those might contribute to nurturing or starving our capacity for faith. Some people’s experiences may make it easier or harder to believe. But ultimately, it comes down to free will. You choose to be either open or closed to God. This is why you can find someone who is poor and suffering and and relatively ignorant who has faith in God, and someone who has had every privilege handed to them and has been educated in their faith their whole life who has turned away from God, and vice versa.

  • Emily

    all the upcoming posts sound wonderful!

  • Marco M. A. Zane

    Dear Marc,
    My name is Marco, I am a italian seminarist from the Diocese of Venezia. I’ll give you the warmest congratulations for your blog! I will pray for you. Ad multos annos!
    Marco Zane

    • Marian

      Rock on, Marco!

      • Cal-J

        Marc’s gone global.

        • joaco

          for a while now mate… we’ve been reading his chatter down under for a while! Greetings from Australia!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angelo-Ocampo/100000081911147 Angelo Ocampo

          In fact, his blog is being read here in the Far East. :)

  • Korou

    This thread is great. Is this really how Catholics think of themselves when it comes to debating theology? As reasonable, logical, humble?

    Wonderful.

    • Peter

      Real swell actually!

    • Cal-J

      As much as or more than you are. Most you’ve done is tell us we’re wrong and wave The God Delusion in our faces. That’s not logical in any interpretation.

      When your not being a snide prick, of course.

      • Jesus God

        Other than the fact that Dawkin’s only depends on logic and data so if you did take the time to read it- you could interpret that as logical.

        …and the snide prick comment is ironic… and now I’m being ironic as well.

        • Cal-J

          Dawkins regularly misunderstands and mischaracterizes opposing trains of thought and make little to no amends for it. His current career has basically been built on calling religious people stupid and getting people to laugh at his jokes. When pressed, he’s ended up resorting to half-assed admonitions that he isn’t absolutely certain one way or the other, but feels perfectly justified in continuing about as he does.

          He has no idea what we mean when we say “God” and has struggled to wrap his head around Aquinas, often only managing to shadow-box against arguments he doesn’t grasp.

          Dawkins’ depending on “logic and data” only works if you realize that his logic doesn’t particularly apply and his data rejects anything but a particular interpretation of particular data based in an extreme empiricism.

          • Alexandra

            That’s not really fair, Cal.

            Sure Dawkins is a piss-poor theologian, but he’s a good scientist. The science parts of his book are very much about logic and data, and that part of the book alone is enough to make you have serious doubts about the Abrahamic God if it doesn’t convince you of the fact that he isn’t real outright.

            The theology part really is just to show the budding atheist what the oppositions arguments are. Whether or not he does a good job of rebutting them in your opinion is irrelevant. He’s already shown that there are no gods.

          • Feeneyja

            I find it amazing that educated folks can say that science (ie Dawkins) has shown that there is no god. All science has done is shown that the existence of god is not something that is measurable by human standards. This does not show that a god does not exist. Can you measure love? Can you demonstrate the the beauty of a sunset by scientific standards. Of course not. And no one is asking you to, thank you very much. I can enjoy love and beauty, and the existence of a loving and beautiful God, without the establishment of any of it by science.

            How shallow and mundane our world would be if it was only what scientists could demonstrate through scientific method.

          • Alexandra

            When I say science, I’m not talking about just the physical sciences. Social science is important in determining that it is so exceptionally unlikely that the Abrahamic God is real that it is reasonable to dismiss it.

            History is also important. My point is that you can make an incredibly compelling argument without touching theology. I’m not that you can’t measure God with the physical sciences, therefore there are no gods. That’d be absurd. I’m saying that history and scholarly research has shown us that the god hypothesis has no support and therefore can be dismissed.

            And neurology had definitely expanded what we know about how we experience beauty and love. In a sense they are measurable.

          • Jesus God

            SAM HARRIS. THE MORAL LANDSCAPE.

          • guest

            I am a member of a 2,000 year old institution that has retained the same hierarchical governing style since its infancy. My institution was born from another anomaly: a odd, lowly, and obscure tribe of individuals with a very weird God. They have been around for the past 4000 years… Many an empire and people have come and gone during their tenure on his earth; quite odd. Especially fantastical considering (as Mr. Dawkins believes) they are both deranged and delusional, spreading evils lies from sea to sea. Awesome feat for an intrinsically flawed institution and people.
            I think their may be a few historical points to be made on my side.

          • Alexandra

            You can make the same historical arguments for dozens of other religions, which is a point against all of them.

          • guest

            Nope, you can’t. There is not a single religious INSTITUTION older than the Catholic Church. And I think if you’re being fair, the Jews are the only religion still around from 4,000 years ago. But I suppose, you could argue that Hinduism was sort of beginning 5500 BC. It’d be a tough sell though.
            Jesus God…I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

          • Jesus God

            So what helped spread Christianity more… Constantine or word of mouth?

          • Cal-J

            Well, what exactly is the God hypothesis?

            Again, Catholics have a unique view of how the supernatural works, and God especially.

            Disproving a particular mythological existence doesn’t lead into saying all supernaturals are bunk. Kind of why we get upset at people who go on about us believing in some Sky Guy with unlimited magical powers.

            Tangent: Also, why neurology may tell us what goes on in our brains when we experience beauty and love, that doesn’t equate with telling us why they occur (some who insist on identifying the how and the why have put themselves in really awkward philosophical positions; I read an old National Geographic article on the subject and found a captioned picture suggesting a man at the height of his wedding celebration was ultimately motivated by the propagation of the species).

          • Alexandra

            The thing is that you can explain everything without the god hypothesis (the god hypothesis being the idea that there is a supernatural personal god). Some things we can’t explain yet, but historically we’ve never needed to invoke a god or supernatural in our explanation of how things work.

            There’s no reason to believe that there is anything supernatural. Everything has an explanation that is rooted in the physical world. It comes down to that we don’t need the supernatural to explain anything, and moreover there are serious flaws in the logic of faith systems that invoke the supernatural.

            It’s like the theory of evolution. It works, we know it does. We’re continually refining it and throwing out parts that are wrong or we don’t need. Theistic evolution has a part we don’t need and have no reason to believe we might need it. Having a personal god as part of it actually makes it make less sense, so we reject the idea that there is a personal god involved in it and our understanding of evolution gets even better.

          • Feeneyja

            So, if everything can be explained in time, then you believe that God can, in turn, be explained one day…except you exclude God already from the possibility of existence…Thus your statement “everything can be explained” is bogus.

            Kind of like those who say that everything is relative, except when you are invoking an absolute statement like “everything is relative ” you are saying that this particular statement is not relative. Therefore negating the entire statement of relativity.

          • Alexandra

            But there’s no question about gods that needs to be explained.

            There’s nothing that makes me believe that there is a god. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much time passes, we don’t even have a question that needs an answer.

          • Feeneyja

            Then why are you here arguing that there is no God? If there is nothing to be explained, then there is nothing to say…but you seem to come up with all sorts of reasons why science says there is no God. Therefore there certainly is a question that you are answering. If there were no question about God, atheism would not exist. The very fact that you have a belief system that says there is no God means that the concept of God is something which you are questioning. But if all questions can, in due time be answered, then the God question is one that you propose can be answered. But you exclude it outright…meaning that you really don’t believe everything can be explained. It is a faulty argument.

          • musiciangirl591

            “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature”- St. Augustine (third time i’ve posted this i think it applies in all different responses :) )

          • musiciangirl591

            “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature”- St. Augustine

          • Gail Finke

            In what way has history shown that, precisely? As someone who studied history for four years in college and has studied it less rigorously for more than 25 years since, I would really like to know.

          • guest

            Alexandra, I have not read any of Dawkins’ books (not for lack of trying) but I do read his essays and watch his videos from time to time (I do love myself some British accent). The problem with Dawkins–in this foolish theist’s opinion–is that he is an unfair debater. He loves the snarky, the witting, the sarcastic; which, of course, is good in an argument, but cannot be the foundation. Sure he uses logos but its all distorted by his unrelenting pathos, which, as Cal pointed out, tends to mischaracterize, misunderstand, take out of context, etc. To answer the questions of eternity, life after death, the essence of existence, there needs to be some honesty; Dawkins has none. He is bitter, mean, and uninformed about religion–save the religious extremes that serve his purpose.
            His Abrahamic God stuff is fun; its written with beautifully crafted Rhetorical devices and what not but its no aristotelian master piece. He never answers any counter arguments; he never approaches religion seriously. In other words, he is wholly unconvincing to us stubborn religious folk because he is not arguing against us. Rather he is arguing against some vague, whacky, unintelligible religious individual that we cannot relate to Take it from this Theist, you Atheists deserve better.

          • Alexandra

            I can’t stand watching Dawkins debate, either He’s not a good debater. He interviews okay, but he definitely doesn’t debate fair.

            The God Delusion was the first atheist literature I’d ever read and it was exactly what I needed. Recognizing that you are an atheist is difficult and The God Delusion is about guiding a budding atheist into the world of atheism. Dawkins fills a very specific niche in the world of New Atheism, and it’s definitely not communicating well with theists.

            I like Dennett best if I’m going to watch a debate where I actually want to see someone fight fair. Harris does a pretty good job too. Unless he’s talking to William Lane Craig, but Craig doesn’t fight fair either.

          • laursaurus

            Dawkins flat out refused to debate Craig when he toured the UK last year. The heat was really on, because they planned to put an empty chair on the stage to represent Dawkins cowardice. Had he just continued to ignore Craig, it would have been better than his attempt to defend his refusal to engage.
            Instead, Dawkins published an article in the Guardian that was a disgraceful adhom attack on Dr. Craig’s moral character based on an incredibly dubious source. PZ Myers blog generated a hit piece that didn’t even link to what Craig had actually written.
            He joined the “baboons” (sycophantic followers of Pharngula) who are notoriously lazy when it comes to thinking for themselves. Apparently Dawkins learned nothing after he managed to run afoul of the horde for satirizing frenzy over Elevatorgate with his infamous “Dear Muslima” comment. The victim of the lynch mob lead by Myers, foolishly believed a hit-piece spawned by the exact same libelous source.
            In the end, Dawkins wound up making a total ass of himself. Had he just lost a debate, he’d at least have his integrity.

          • musiciangirl591

            “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature”- St. Augustine

        • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

          Logic and data? Oh come on. In his book the man quoted a professor who said Jesus may not have existed. What did this professor study and teach? The Germanic language. Any credible history professor will tell you he existed. It’s one thing to say he wan’t the son of God and that the stories came out of a mob. Ok, I can take that. When someone has to go as far as quote a professor to who teaches German to say something as fundamentally wrong as Jesus not ever existing when he clearly did, and as early in the book as the third chapter instantly loses any credibility for his “logic and data.” The man misrepresents more data than Fox News.

          • Alexandra

            There are a lot of very credible historians who will tell you that Jesus didn’t exist. Google it.

            I don’t remember who Dawkins quoted in The God Delusion, but there is real debate about whether or not Jesus existed.

          • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

            If there are many credible historians who believe Jesus never existed, why did he need to quote Professor G.A. Wells of London University (Doctorates in German, Natural Science, and Philosophy)? Now I will admit, the man has written books on Jesus not existing physically, so it is not like Dawkins is pulling some random quote out of the air. But as I have heard from many atheists: just because someone wrote it down and gave copies to the masses doesn’t make it true.

            One of the strongest cases for the existance of Jesus is Saint Paul. The man personally knew the best friend of Jesus (Peter) and the brother of Jesus (James). All three of these men historically did exist (St Paul put many early Christians to death before converting, and St Peter was the first pope) and were historically documented by the Romans. Also: James. The brother of Jesus.

          • Alexandra

            I don’t remember if Dawkins actually believes in the Christ myth theory, I know I don’t. In my memory of the book he just kind of brought it up as a hey, there are even scholars who argue that Jesus didn’t exist. The guy has written popular books about the theory, so it’s not completely out of no where that Dawkins would bring him up.

            All I can remember for sure right now is that Hitchen’s didn’t believe in the Christ myth theory and he made some very compelling arguments for why it is very like that there was a man named Jesus of Nazareth.

          • Jameslfrendo

            Im sure that if Jesus never lived, every Jew and their dog would be on their roof yelling “We didnt crucify anybody, and your religion has no basis!”
            inb4 shroud of turenne

          • Alexandra

            The shroud is a fake, that’s well known.

            Also, there are no records of the crucifixion outside of the Bible, that’s part of the people suggest that Jesus didn’t exist.

          • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

            Here’s the long complicated story of the shroud

            When the church refound the shroud which was stowed away long long ago, it did what a lot of clothing does when exposed to the elements, it was starting to fall apart. Just because light radiated from it doesn’t mean the thing is made of graphene. The church didn’t want to show the shroud in the condition it was, and patched up some of the parts that tore off, etc. When the shroud was carbon dated. They did what most people in that field would do: take a bit from the corner to date it ( dont want to rip apart an artifact). Those patches were mostly around the outside, because, logically, that would be the part that would get the most beatup.

            Later on that dated a part from the center. The date fits. So in a nutshell if you’re saying it’s a fake because of carbon dating: sort of. It’s not the entire original shroud, but it mostly is.

          • Jameslfrendo

            yes, not to mention that the radiation that would have been needed to implant a 3D image into the cloth would have had to come from the whatever was inside it, like a body.

            Also, the bible is actually library, so discrediting parts that are atributed as fact is in fact discrediting mulitiple authors, mulitple “studies” (eg luke wasnt around till after jesus’ death) and therefore discrediting a refrenced fact because it only occured four times. and this is excluding divine inspiration entirely from the argument.

          • Alexandra

            I radiocarbon date things for a living. One of the professors that runs the lab I work in was an author on the shroud dating. I’ve heard all of the arguments for the reasons why the date could be wrong, and none of them are compelling.

            The Church has never allowed the cloth to be re-dated since the 1988 dating.

            You can hand-wave all you want about corners and stuff, but the 14C dates were only done once and those dates are legit.

          • InvictusLux

            The Shroud of Turin is a fake?? Are you kidding? YOU have no scholorship whatsoever on the Shroud and don’t know what you’re talking about. I have studied this for few years now and spoken to princpals and it is absolutely NOT true that its proven fake. In fact NO ONE can duplicate the 3 dimensional image imprintation into the very molecular fiber structure of the shroud. The wounds line up PERFECTLY with the description of the wounds in every detail. The blood stains actually bend around the body in the same orientation as it was wrapped. There is pollen from the burial ointments and flowers that perfectly date to the time and region of the entombment. Further it has revealed ever more secrets – it appears to be the SAME table cloth used at the last supper – complete with food stains. There is no known technology on the planet that can duplicate the imagery. The rumors of it being a fake were due to the incompetence of the secular scientists who took carbon dating samples from the patched portions of the shroud that were partially burned during the middle ages when a fire dripped hot silver from its surrounding frame etc.

          • Alexandra

            Actually the secular scientists were not allowed to take the samples of the shroud. The piece was cut off by the Church.

            I can at least tell you for certain there was nothing wrong with the 14C dates and unless it was truly a patch, it is accurate. If it was a patch, that’s the fault of the Church, because they’re the ones who took the sample.

          • Alexandra

            Also the pollen has never been dated either. The pollen just tells you that it was likely to have been in Israel at some point, not that it was in Israel at the time of the crucifixion.

            It is most likely that the shroud is a medieval work of art that was made to appear to be like the burial shroud of Christ.

            Read the Nature paper on the dating. The sampling and dating was done properly.

          • InvictusLux

            Medieval art? Nonsense. There was NO PIGNMENT. The imagery was caused by intense non-visible light radiation that branded a perfect negative image. Even today, such technology would take super computers to compute and control a high intensity UV light source that could compute the geometric shape and warp a 3D imprint to a 2D image. Must have been some super artists back in the day huh?

          • InvictusLux

            The irony here is that these are the same people who will then take without question the literature of the Greek philosophers (Socrates, Plato etc. ) that The Church preserved for centuries in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire from the barbarian hoards as legitimate forensic evidence that Plato and Socrates ever really existed. There’s been no other literature on the planet as studied and scrutinized as the Christian texts. There are NO credible skeptics who can claim that the man we call “Jesus” did not exist. The only question for non-believers and skeptics is the question of His divinity. But given that Jesus stated that He was Lord then the only thing that can come into question is if he was: 1) A Lunatic, 2) A liar or who He said he was 3) Lord. The man was too cogent and rational to be a lunatic. And a liar does not go to his death for the lie – ergo Jesus was who He said He was – Lord.

          • Alexandra

            I’m responding to your comments about the shroud here.

            You’re right, we haven’t completely replicated the cloth with medieval methods yet, but there was a group that got close in 2011. It is a very cool piece of history, but there’s nothing to lead us to believe that it was divine instead of some very crafty medieval artists.

            You can disagree, and I can respect your disagreement if it is for the right reasons, but pretending that the 14C dates are bunk because of the work done by the secular scientists is ridiculous and says a whole lot about the amount of bias that has gone into forming your opinion. The Cardinal cut the cloth, and he specifically took the sample away from the patched area in consultation with a religious scholar.

            Also I find it interesting that you prefer the scenario to come down to CS Lewis’s question of was Jesus of Nazareth a lunatic or Lord instead of was he Lord or a story.

            I do believe there was probably a preacher named Jesus from Nazareth who claimed to be the son of God, but once you strip away all of the supernatural he was just a guy walking around in the desert.

            But there absolutely are credible historians who discuss the possibility that Jesus was entirely mythical. Just because there’s a lot of Christians who don’t consider them credible doesn’t mean that there isn’t an academic population that does.

          • InvictusLux

            Alexandra you like most atheists sure go out of your way to jump sideways and step backwards just to dodge and go around the evidence. I am almost convinced by your fanatical commitment to skepticism that you and your kind have elevated the philosophy of skepticism to its own religious status and have more unabridged raw- faith in “the religion of unbelief” than most Christians have in their more simple and natural faith in God.

            The Shroud of Turin is not even essential to Catholic/Christian belief. It is not part of the sacred “deposit of faith”. Catholics are free to personally accept it as genuine or not. The church accepts it as a relic – worthy of veneration & honor (but not of worship) just as it permits Catholics to venerate images & statues (especially blessed ones) of Christ and the saints etc.

            I don’t know just how you imagine you can “strip away” all his supernatural attributes to arrive at just a man in the dessert without you as an atheist even knowing or subscribing to what is supernatural. The thing you must consider with Jesus is that we claim that He was BOTH perfect unfallen man in every aspect (save sin) and also Divine ( kind of new prototype for a new elevated race of humanity – new Adam). So there’s actually was quite a bit of human recorded history in the NT texts of “just the man” too – some remarkable and others very ordinary – but extraordinary in human depth of knowledge and wisdom and emotions. How many men do you know who can touch so many people and have them give up all that they had to follow him for no personal gain whatsoever and then go to their deaths out of pure conviction and belief in “just a man”? How many men have been able to do that for 2,000 years after they died and left the planet? Its more than just ideology and philosophy so don’t name the famous atheists such as Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao who led 100′s of millions to their deaths – those were forced executions…

          • Alexandra

            What evidence do you think I’m jumping around? About the shroud? Or just in general?

            I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong if there really is convincing evidence. There just isn’t any for the shroud. If the Church allowed another date and it showed that the original dates were wrong, I really would reevaluate.

            I do know radiocarbon dating well, but I can absolutely admit that I’m not an expert on much else. This is just one point I know I’m right on and it’ll take a lot to persuade me that the date doesn’t represent the age of the cloth.

          • InvictusLux

            I was speaking about religious faith in general – in particular Christian/Catholic faith.

            I have lost the bubble on the current attitude of the church viz The Shroud being retested etc. The Church has nothing to prove to anyone since the shroud is not held up as any infallable sign and wonder – it is a revered relic worthy of veneration. I think the bishop(s) involved with the Shroud objected to having to sacrifice anymore material for carbon dating and having it become sort of an object of morbid curiosity like in a circus freak show. And given that the skeptics are pre-inclined to disbelieve anything anyway there’s no real motivation to go through all that media hype and antagonism again.

            The evidence I was speaking about are mostly the historical, the written testaments and the evidence of faith in the 11 million or so early Christians – who didn’t even fight back when persecuted and had nothing to gain for standing firm in their faith. There are many books written on all this.

            If you can believe in the astronomical improbability that random/chance events of nature could have conspired to “magically create” all of creation out of nothing and given as much order that we have at both the cosmological level and the subatomic level and with such low entrophy (high signal to noise – a young universe) then why do can’t you even step up a notch to agnostic to consider that the radically more probably accounts being accurate trump your thesis by unfathomable orders of magnitude of probability?

            Seems that you are betting on the infinitely more improbable bet and on a bankrupt/null pot/reward with nothing to even win/gain. If you’re right no one will ever know or care. But if you’re wrong as we think you are – consider that there’s the real possibility for an eternally negative pot/reward too.

          • Gail Finke

            No there aren’t. Not credible historians.

          • Alexandra

            By your call.

    • Corita

      Why didn’t you respond to people’s attempt to respectfully discuss the supposedly earnest thoughts you brought up on another thread? Why hang around and throw insults? It doesn’t mean you are superior, it means you are small.

  • Jesus God

    A Catholic doesn’t believe:

    Eastern Catholic Churches
    Eastern Orthodoxy
    Greek Orthodox Church
    Russian Orthodox Church
    Oriental Orthodoxy
    Coptic Orthodox Church
    Syriac Christianity
    Assyrian Church of the East
    Protestantism
    Anglicanism
    Anglican Communion
    Church of England
    Church of Ireland
    Episcopal Church (United States)
    Anabaptists
    Amish
    Hutterites
    Mennonites
    Baptists
    Lutheranism
    Methodism
    Messianic Judaism
    Pentecostalism
    Oneness Pentecostalism
    Reformed churches
    Puritans
    Presbyterianism
    Religious Society of Friends
    Spiritism
    Unitarianism
    Restorationism
    Seventh-day Adventists
    Christadelphians
    Latter Day Saint movement (Mormonism)
    Community of Christ
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a.k.a. LDS)
    Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a.k.a. FLDS)
    Iglesia ni Cristo
    Jehovah’s Witnesses
    Islam
    Kalam
    Kharijite
    Ibadi
    Sunni Islam
    Hanafi
    Hanbali
    Wahhabi
    Maliki
    Shafi’i
    Shi’a Islam (Shi’ite)
    Alawites
    Ismaili
    Twelvers
    Sufism (a form of Islamic mysticism)
    Buddhism
    Theravada
    Mahayana
    Zen
    Vajrayana
    Tibetan Buddhism
    Kagyupa
    New Buddhist movements
    Aum Shinrikyo (now known as Aleph)
    Hinduism
    Vedanta
    Advaita Vedanta
    Vaishnavism
    Gaudiya Vaishnavism
    ISKCON (Hare Krishna)
    Shaivism
    Shaktism
    Smartism
    Yoga
    Hindu philosophy
    Jainism
    Sikhism
    Persian religions
    Manichaeism
    Zoroastrianism
    Mytraism
    Zurvanism
    Mandaeism
    [change]Religions of East Asian origin
    Confucianism
    Cao Dai
    Juche
    Mohism
    Shinto
    Oomoto
    Taoism
    Tenrikyo
    [change]Creole religions
    Candomblé
    Haitian Voudun
    Macumba
    Santería
    Umbanda
    Winti
    [change]Faiths of indigenous peoples
    African religions
    Akamba mythology
    Akan mythology
    Ashanti mythology
    Bushongo mythology
    Dahomey mythology
    Dinka mythology
    Efik mythology
    Egyptian mythology
    Isoko mythology
    Khoikhoi mythology
    Lotuko mythology
    Lugbara mythology
    Pygmy mythology
    Tumbuka mythology
    Voudun (Voodoo)
    Yoruba mythology
    Zulu mythology
    European religions
    Anglo-Saxon mythology
    Basque mythology
    Chukchi mythology
    Druidry
    Finnish mythology
    Greek religion
    Hellênismos
    Roman religion
    Norse mythology
    Asatru
    Slavic mythology
    Middle Eastern religions
    Yezidis
    Native American religions
    Abenaki mythology
    Aztec mythology
    Blackfoot mythology
    Chippewa mythology
    Creek mythology
    Crow mythology
    Guarani mythology
    Haida mythology
    Huron mythology
    Ibo mythology
    Iroquois mythology
    Kwakiutl mythology
    Lakota mythology
    Lenape mythology
    Navaho mythology
    Nootka mythology
    Pawnee mythology
    Salish mythology
    Seneca mythology
    Tsimshian mythology
    Ute mythology
    Winnebago mythology
    Zuni mythology
    Northern indigenous religions
    Aleut mythology
    Evenk mythology
    Inuit mythology
    Yukaghir mythology
    Oceanic religions
    Australian Aboriginal mythology
    Cargo cults (Jon Frum, etc.)
    Dievturiba
    Hawaiian religion
    Micronesian mythology
    Maori mythology
    Modekngei (Republic of Palau)
    Nauruan indigenous religion
    Polynesian mythology
    Tuvaluan mythology

    and MORE…

    An atheist doesn’t believe in all that AND:

    Roman Catholicism

    • Marc Barnes

      No silly, we’re in full communion with the Eastern Catholic Churches.

      • Miller Geoffrey

        Yep. Eastern Catholic representative right here. Same beliefs, different poems in our liturgy and better food afterwards.

        And we Catholics have only minor disagreements with a lot of the other Christian groups you mentioned. And besides, it’s not like we disagree wholesale with other religion’s beliefs either. See Nostra Aetate.

        I’d love to see a similar list done for all the theories a behavioral psychologist doesn’t accept. Then at the bottom, put, “An ignoramus doesn’t believe in all that AND: behavioral psychology.” You could do the same for Scientology, or Moon-Landing Conspirators, or 9-11 Truthers…I’m absolutely mystified as to what argument you’re attempting to make here.

        • Jesus God

          Mystified? Just try a little harder. The point stands even if you cut that list in half (including Eastern Catholics).

          And I’m sorry I didn’t include Scientology, Moon-Landing Conspirators, or 9-11 Truthers… But they fit just as well in that list!

          • Cal-J

            Who believes in the 9-11 Truthers besides the 9-11 Truthers?

          • Jesus God

            Possibly Catholics.

          • Cal-J

            I think your coherence is imploding, boss.

            9-11 Truthers belong on the list of things Catholics don’t believe, but Catholics possible believe them?

          • Jesus God

            I teach disabled children so you should be able to get this no problem…

            Nevermind- I’m exhausted by this choir’s thread. Good luck folks- Before you settle on Catholicism- I simply urge you to give an equal amount of time to the thousands of deities past and present so that you can make an informed decision!

          • Steph Steph

            Too late, Darling!

          • Jesus God

            You’ve built your walls up a long time ago eh?

          • JimP

            A garden actually.

          • Millerjmike71

            If you aren’t any smarter than your comments indicate, I really feel sorry for those kids

          • Atwomey

            pwned

          • Jesus God

            Not really.

          • Jesus God

            No, not really.

          • Gail Finke

            Miller Geoffry is right. Your point, if you have one, is not obvious.

      • InvictusLux

        Yes. And also are actively working to get the schismatic Orthodox who are of the same faith to come back into the fold. Those many Anglicans who always considered themselves Catholics are also coming back to the Catholic church in large numbers now that the cultural English church is showing extreme liberalism and disaffecting many. The Protestants are all internally fragmenting and will I suspect many will soon find their way back to the Catholic church for stability as well.

      • Jesus God

        Also- do you think Constantine had more to do with the spread of Christianity or word of mouth?

      • Angela Joyce

        I think Jesus God overlooked the Salvation Army. Just sayin’.

    • Cal-J

      A Catholic doesn’t believe in reading that whole list. Good Lord, that was, like, three Page Downs.

      • Alexandra

        I think that’s part of the point. That the list is so gynormous. There are so many other gods and mythologies, it seems pretty arbitrary to be able to say Catholic is the correct one.

        • Jesus God

          Thank you Alexandra- BUT well put Cal-J, most Catholics probably wouldn’t believe in reading that whole list! Cheers.

          • Marian

            (To Alexandra’s comment above) If you believe no religion is true, that is a belief. You cannot definitively, scientifically, and irrefutably disprove the beliefs of any of the religions on the list, anymore than I could definitively, scientifically, and irrefutably prove that Catholicism is the fullness of truth. Both of our stances require a leap of faith: Yours that the past several thousand years of human existence involving religious belief was ignorant foolishness, mine that religious experience that has existed almost simultaneously with the very earliest evidence of human life (Paleolithic burial ritual evidence) means something significant about the purpose of human life on this planet. You yourself seem to understand this by (rightly) stating that science does not equal atheism. Science is an investigative tool for gaining understanding of the material world. Atheism sometimes takes that tool of investigation, turns it on the spiritual world, and says “Aha! God is disproven!” It’s like trying to view photons from a beam of light using a magnifying glass. The tool is not entirely appropriate to the object of investigation.

          • Jesus God

            Is my non-belief in unicorns a belief? Show me evidence unicorns don’t exist.

          • Jesus God

            Is it a leap of faith to believe unicorns don’t exist?

          • Marian

            That is my point. Neither you nor I can definitively prove that no animal ever existed that was horse-like with a horn on its head. Neither of us have a perfect map of the fossil record, with every animal ever in existence, not to mention every mutation ever in existence. There are horse-like animals with antlers. Scientists discover new species all the time. There could very well be natural explanations for the myth of unicorns. But again, neither you nor I can definitively say, with the physical evidence at hand, that “unicorns” ever existed or did not exist. Your belief is based in the fact that you’ve never seen a living unicorn, therefore you assume they don’t exist. While I’ve never seen one either, I prefer to keep an open mind and open eyes, because there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy (or mine, for that matter). The prevalence of unicorns in art and literature points to the possibility of something once existing that could have been mistaken for a unicorn (a mutated or mutilated deer with only one antler, perhaps).

          • Jesus God

            So you also wouldn’t be able to say if there was a ‘flying spaghetti monster’ orbiting the Earth (no apologies for the cliche reference).

          • Jesus God

            But your open-minded to the possibility.

          • Jesus God

            What about Zeus? Are you open to the possibility of Zeus being the one true god?

          • Marian

            Yes, lots of cliches being thrown around. I’ve read Greek mythology, there are many interesting lessons that can be found there (Cupid and Psyche is a particularly beautiful story, and there is truth in it). I don’t recall it ever claiming there was only one, true god. The main difference is, we do have evidence for Christ’s humanity and divinity in the consistent eyewitness accounts of the New Testament and in the documented behaviors of those who are his followers (the extraordinary lives of the early Christians and of the saints). The same cannot exactly be said for any of the other religions you listed. That does not mean they are 100% false. That does mean that Christianity is 100% true. That is why my open-mindedness to the physical possibility of a material creature (a unicorn) is rather irrelevant to my belief in the existence of God. As for flying spaghetti monsters, spaghetti is a delicious man-made food product that cannot fly unless you fling it off your fork. As far as I know, there are no true believers in the flying spaghetti monster. It’s merely a straw-man (or a spaghetti man?) that atheists pose to Christians to make themselves feel clever.

          • Cal-J

            Unicorns do exist. We just use the word rhinoceros, now.

          • Jesus God

            And yes- religion does trace back to the infancy of the homosapien species- thank you for pointing that out!

        • InvictusLux

          If you are going to apply a principal of “a needle in the hay stack” are you going to grant “atheism” an exception and reduce it all to a fagot pile just to declutter the floor or are you going in to assume what survives must be that needle?

          • Alexandra

            But atheism isn’t a mythology. So I don’t really get your point. Atheism is a part of the pile, it’s the ground that you have this pile on.

            Your choices are no god, one of these gods, or all of these gods. All is clearly wrong, justifying one is next to impossible, so you’re left with none.

          • Jesus God

            “Alexandra RULES” – God

          • Cal-J

            She knows how to make your points better than you do, certainly.

          • Corita

            Although I can’t for the life of me figure out why people keep replying to somebody who trolls on a blog with name-calling, then earnestness, then if you write someting actually thoughful refuses to read it saying, “Oh, too long, ” or, “oh what is the point?”

            Classic manipulation of a bully, actually. And there was an awful troll over at the NCR for a while who got shut down who read a lot like this one.

          • Alexandra

            Ugh, Atheism ISN’T part of the pile.

            I’m failing so hard this morning.

          • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert

            Why isn’t Atheism part of the pile?

            It seems to me that our experience of the world is the foundation, the ground we build our piles (or homes) upon. Religions and philosophies – Atheism included – are the homes we build: they are our attempts to make sense of our experience.

          • Alexandra

            Well no, atheism isn’t an attempt to make sense of our experience. It’s just rejecting mythologies and supernatural. Scientific theories would be the closest you’d have to an explanation for our experience, but those aren’t atheism.

          • InvictusLux

            You’re claim that atheism isn’t a mythology is arguable. But you include it as another choice in “the pile” – which is proper and to my point. But it’s not clear to me how you escape your own improbability of being incorrect by picking atheism out of the pile of “many” offings.

            From the Catholic universal point of view all these other partial truth faiths (e.g. Protestant derivatives and schismatics etc.) and the outright fraudulent beliefs (such as atheism, pantheistic views etc.) the large pile is less an obstacle than it might appear at first glance to skeptics.

            What we have here in this circumstance of pluralism is an OPPORTUNITY for God to RATIFY and HIGHLIGHT the correct faith by a principal of marked exceptionalism and contrast; showing the unfinished and uncut raw diamond among the coal and the cut away shards so to speak. Over time the dross and bracken perish and fall away into irrelevance (except as negative teaching examples – what we use anathemas for). It’s a kin to dead chaff or dead-ended species is in the Darwinistic mode of thinking of “survival of the fittest”. But rather than evolution we have a principal of discernment and honing good stone such that its built upward until it towers over the man-made babel (think literal Tower of Babel here) to a summit that eclipses all the others with a self evident light.

            This is in fact what Catholics believe – that The Church is the shining light on the hill that God will cause to stand higher and shine brighter than all other lights – not so much to bring attention to itself but rather to show the way to those who are overshadowed by their own defects and errors.

            The Church is being perfected – we are not yet finished. The Church is ancient and has outlived all its enemies and critics – even entire empires. It is a natural conviction that through the long annealing and purifying trials (more than a mere heuristic since we can’t experiment with a truth that can not “change”) it is inevitable that only one true faith will rise to outshine all others – even to those who close their eyes and imagine all light comes from their own intrinsic facilities. Truth is by principal “absolute” – it can not change and it can not be subdivided into fragments and remain “truth” anymore so than a garment can remain whole if one pulls loose threads or divides it for personal gain like the Romans tried to do to Christ’s clothes.

            Your choices are no different than anyone else’s. What is impossible is concluding the answer must be “none” only because you think there are too man choices and the easy choice of “none” therefor must be correct. Where did this principal of “justice” viz convenience come from?

          • Alexandra

            TL;DR

            Mostly because I included it in the pile as a typo.

          • Jesus God

            YOU WROTE : “You’re claim that atheism isn’t a mythology is arguable. But you include it as another choice in “the pile” – which is proper and to my point.”

            1. Atheism is most definitely not a mythology (no contest).

            2. She made a typo- she did not include it as another choice in the pile.

          • InvictusLux

            OK if you prefer we’ll just move the myth of atheism from the large pile and put it directly into the refuge and discarded garbage pile with all the other mistakes of human history. Nip that errant species in the bud and move onto other things and not waste time with it…

            By the way Gehenna has the same purpose – the place outside the city walls of Jerusalem where the useless things unfit for any positive human or godly purpose were interned and burned. It was the perfect metaphor for “hell” in the OT and NT accounts….

          • Jesus God

            Yeah but Islam is the true light.

          • Jesus God

            Except atheism is a non-belief. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The onus is on the believer.

          • Marian

            Any claim should require evidence, don’t you think? The onus is on each of us to investigate.

          • Jesus God

            “Truths” (or lessons) can be found in any story…

            Pixar movies have great lessons (truths) for kids! Would I base my understanding of the universe off a Pixar film though? No probably not.

          • Cal-J

            Yes, Pixar movies have great lessons for kids.

            Many of which you seem not to have learned.

          • Korou

            This is joining the conversation late, but I just have to ask:
            Is it possible to fully investigate each and every religion? I don’t think anyone has enough time in their lives to do that.

            Fortunately, there is a solution: remain in the default state of atheism (I know that the universe around me is real) and if any religions present themselves to you with unproved claims about supernatural entities, ask them for proof, and don’t believe them until they give you some.

          • InvictusLux

            Is it possible to investigate every religion? That would just make “investigation” a new religion onto itself – the default atheist religion “the science of skepticism”.

            Science & scientific methods are involved with the study of the material world. By its limited scope it has no authority or mechanisms for exploring the metaphysical or supernatural. Religion & theology are however perfectly suited to studying the supernatural. The two are complimentary domains as both seek truth which in the Christian viewpoint both all lead to God – by both reason and by faith. There are scores of philosophical proofs for God’s existence that are not the same as scientific proofs but are valid none the less through philosophical and logical constructs that we use in our very way of thinking and accepted and famous human principals discovered through induction (e.g. a concept of causality and ” ex nihilo nihil fit” and “Cogito ergo sum”).

            Some religions are outright frauds with highly dubious origins and immediately may be discounted as “not credible” (Mormonism, Gnosticism, Jehova’s Witness etc.) since they self-contradict or are based on fallacies. Some other religions are just derivitives of a core religion using partial truths with human embellishments & subtractions of secular convenience (e.g. Protestantism). And a few are very close and theologically same as others (Orthodox and Catholicism) and only differ due to political schisms and in the recognized line of authority. Some are mere philosophies lumped into the pot of “religion” by people too ignorant to know the difference.

            Human history proves that the default is NOT atheism – atheism is a learned philosophy of skeptism that in modern times becomes a devotion and fanaticism that borders on some primitive religions. It is foolish to be an atheist since it is betting both against human history and is assuming there’s not an eternal loss – it bets everything against the possibility of an infinite reward for nothing to gain – it’s irrational (ref. Pascal’s Wager).

            Here are the 20 best philosophical proofs for God’s existence on scholar Peter Kreeft’s site:
            http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm

          • Marian

            Is it not extraordinary to claim that every belief that human beings ever held is totally bunk? It’s really no less extraordinary (if anything, it’s more extraordinary) than the Catholic belief that every religion has some truth to it.

          • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

            That every religion has some truth to it is not a position atheists disagree with. After all, all religions involve humans, human emotions, human aspirations, human fears. It would be extraordinary if a religion that was successful enough to survive (in belief or in historical memory) did not resonate some truth.

            That doesn’t change the fact that most religions make claims about reality that are mutually exclusive. Either there is a single god, who inspired Saul on the road to Damascus, or we have Zeus who seduced Leto who bore Apollo and Artemis or an angel conversed with Joseph Smith about Jesus’ adventures in the Americas. A third option is be that non of those claims is true and there is a different reason the narratives have survived.

          • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

            Seeing as how atheism is newer to the scene than Christianity/Catholicism I’d actually say the burden is on the newer group. Atheists are the ones who claim they are purely science and reason. In science, when a new theory is brought out, the person who introduces this theory has the obligation to not only say why their theory is sound, but why it should replace older theories. So no, the burden in on atheists to prove as a fact there is no God.

          • Alexandra

            That’s not true at all. Atheism is the default state. Atheism has been around since we migrated out of Africa.

            You’re talking about New Atheism, which is just a movement based in atheism.

          • Jesus God

            GOD LOVES ALEXANDRA! GOD ALSO VOTES HER THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THIS THREAD.

          • Steph Steph

            God has better things to do.

          • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

            Not necessarily. Every Mesopotamian Civilization after the Neolithic Revolution from the Egyptians and the Akkadians to the Sumerians had some sort of deity/deities that they credited to everything good and bad that occurred to them. Maybe there was one group that was never ever to record what happened to them before they were wiped out but to go to that kind of level is a pretty big stretch.

          • Alexandra

            It’s true, people have always created deities. The idea behind that is it is evolutionarily advantageous to be a child who is receptive to indoctrination. That children that accept things that adults tell them and obey are more likely to not get eaten by bears or die in the cooking fire. So humans that are more likely to survive are more likely to accept whatever faith system is put to them. Atheism probably always existed in other societies, but they’d be a minority because not believing the things your taught is a good way to get wiped out by hazards.

            Atheism is only more prevalent now because we understand how the world works better, people are on average better educated, and being a smartass is less likely to get you killed by the elements.

            It’s not new by any means. I mean most of China has always been basically atheist.

          • http://twitter.com/ncloeter Nate Cloeter

            I wouldn’t necessarily jump the gun to that. Education is not a correlation to religion. The next step to your argument would almost definitely lead to an insulting of my intelligence. Can we please not go down that road?

            In my experiences (and please stop me if this isn’t true) The biggest issue people have with the Christian God is the Old Testament. Genesis cannot be taken literally (I believe it was inspired myth though. If you look at the relative flow of things, about 95% of it relatively works.

            But, like you said. Part of it has to do with the understanding of the Earth. Let’s just make a crazy motion here that God directly inspired the first tellers of Genesis (that’s the other problem, for centuries large parts of the Old Testament was told by mouth and not written down. Makes it easy for details to change to what they weren’t supposed to be) to go out and tell the Hebrews, Sumerians, Assyrians, what have you, that we evolved from monkeys, originally all being single cell organisms and all about the big band and subatomic particles that they would believe it? The Hebrews were mocked by them to begin with!

            I believe in Evolution, but that we were divinely meant to get to this point. God gave us free will. This means for the most part we go and live our lives, and we commit good and evil to one another and are judged for it. Does this mean God is not omnipotent? No. I believe God created everything that makes us and everything around us. The only time God intervenes (miracles) is if God knows this person is needed for something. Whether it is for the good of humanity, the planet, etc.

            Now before the whole wrath of God in storms case comes up, storms are a continuation of cause and effect. They don’t just come out of nowhere. The original cause (big bang) started an effect, so on and so forth. When someone gets caught in a storm/natural disaster, it was simply the wrong place in the wrong time.

        • JoAnna Wahlund

          They all contain elements of the truth — even the philosophy of atheism contains elements of truth, according to Catholics. The question is not, “Which one is true?” but rather “Which one has the most truth?”

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Difference is, Catholics believe that all of the above contain elements of the truth (just not the fullness of truth).

      • Jesus God

        Just not full truth- therefore hell for eternity. Obviously.

        • AttentionDeficitCatholic

          Yeah, I’ll have to look it up in the catechism later so that I can give you a proper quote, but a Catholic never pretends to know who goes to hell and who does not. The mercy of God is infinite, man can have regrets at the moment of death, so there is no way to know. For all we know, Adolf Hitler could be in heaven! (granted, I personally find that scenario unlikely, but it is certainly possible) (also, sorry to invoke Godwin’s Law, didn’t know I was til I finished this comment) Somebody who is consciously searching for the truth, even without finding the complete truth, is still in good shape spiritually. The point is, while a Catholic may believe in a Saint (somebody we know for certain is in heaven), there is nobody we know for certain is in hell (the devil notwithstanding).

          So yeah, your comment is false.

          • Jesus God

            Oh look a moderate! He finds it ‘certainly possible’ that Hitler went to heaven… What an interesting god you believe in! And you’re right- no catholic has ever told anyone they are going to hell!

            As far as searching for the truth- when an individual ‘finds’ a religion- their truth seeking slows down considerably- I mean shit- they now have god’s word on their side.

            An atheist has to search harder- they fortunately don’t have a ready-made ancient text to refer to…

            God hates fags by the way.

            So yeah- the falsehood lies within your interpretation and flawed logic.

          • Jesus God

            Mormonism is the true light.

          • Cal-J

            For somebody who mocks us for the idea that non-catholics go straight to hell (which we have not espoused and which you threw out there), I find it mildly interesting for you taking offense to the idea that Hitler went to Heaven.

          • Jesus God

            No offense taken though. Hitler must be in heaven.

          • Jesus God

            AND REMEMBER- Scientology is the light.

          • guest

            Another wonderful argument by the atheist: there are many religions and creeds and ideologies therefore none could be right. Equivalent to saying there are many political ideologies and government structures therefore none could be right. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself? hey this weird concoction of molecules (also known as man) seems bent on the whole supernatural thing… maybe he is on to something…. You see the argument folds on itself. The great number of religions just points to the muddled and fallible human mind; not that the mind is wrong. Do you have any idea how many bust scientific theories there are before one is settled on? Truth is hard to find.
            And it’s not moderate to say these other don’t go to Hell. It’s common sense. God has established His Church on earth, but that doesn’t mean He refuses to work in other mysterious ways.

          • AttentionDeficitCatholic

            HAHAHAHA, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

            Man, you funny.

            Honestly, I say that there is a possibility that salvation and eternal bliss is possible even for one who is used so frequently as an example of modern evil, and you take that to mean that he must OBVIOUSLY be in heaven? Truly your ability to understand merely enough bits and pieces of what people have to say to give an infuriating response is astounding.

            Alright, I corrected your false portrayal of Catholics as a club of cool-kid haters for anybody who really wants to KNOW and LEARN what Catholics actually believe. You, however, are a troll, and from this point on, on this and any and all future posts that Marc writes, you can say whatever the heck you want without fear of me correcting you.

            You know why?

            Because your trolling and lack of a desire to learn aren’t even a little bit subtle anymore, so I have decided to ignore you. I may still read your posts, laugh a little inside, but I shall refrain from replying openly to give you something else to grasp at.

            Have fun eating somebody else’s morsels, troll, because I certainly won’t stoop to use my knowledge and insight to feed your rage anymore.

          • Jesus God

            So you really have no idea you’re on the wrong side of the argument eh?

          • Feeneyja

            Warning, warning…Feeding the troll!

          • Jesus God

            Troll is such a new hip word. You’re too hip Feeneyja.

          • Cal-J

            I know. Carrot in one hand, stick in the other.

          • Jesus God

            But you know it’s Buddhists who know the real truth right?

    • musiciangirl591

      i have a couple of Byzantine Catholic friends (is that the same as Eastern Catholic?), and we celebrate the same Mass, have almost the same traditions, etc.

    • Johnkenny29

      what in gods name was the point of copying and pasting that!!

    • Dan

      that not true, Catholics are in communion with one another.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Babies are certainly not born thinking supernaturally. To a baby (or an older child… or many poorly educated adults) there is no concept of the supernatural for the simple reason that there is no understanding of the natural.

    To a baby, “natural” simply describes its environment. The idea of something beyond that is well beyond its intellectual development.

  • Mara Roth

    Now, babies are certainly born with an inclination towards God.

  • Alexandra

    Nate, I said nothing about intelligence and religious belief. Religious belief is a very complicated issue, I know that. I know people who are smarter than me that are theists. I don’t make any sort of claim that I’m more intelligent because I’m an atheist.

    What I did say is that education opens more people up to atheism. If there are non-supernatural explanations for things that more people are educated about, more people are more likely to reject the supernatural. Before we had these explanations, and before many people were educated about them, of course most everyone was a theist, it was the best explanation. Education doesn’t cause atheism as a rule, but it education is key to atheism spreading.

    The biggest problem I have with the Abrahamic God is actually the scapegoating and blood sacrifice in the New Testament, as well as the concept of an all loving God that allows for people to suffer for eternity for crimes for finite crimes.

  • SaulPaul3

    I’m new to this blog and absolutely love it… thank you for what you do and how you do it…a great example of JPII’s quest for the New Evangelization. God Bless.

  • mk

    [Recognizing that you are an atheist is difficult and The God Delusion is about guiding a budding atheist into the world of atheism. ]

    Oh no, the next thing you know they’ll be out there picketing for the right to marry!

  • Alexandra

    Invictus, I am agnostic. Most atheists are. Agnosticism speaks to what we can know, atheism is about what we believe. An agnostic atheist believes that we cannot know if there is a god, but personally doesn’t believe that there is one.

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about when you say “radically more probable accounts.” Can you elaborate? Do you mean that it’s more probable that the Abrahamic God exists than that he doesn’t? If that’s the case, that’s just where we disagree. I don’t agree that his existence is probable. I think it’s incredibly improbable. That said, it’s not probability that determines whether or not something is true.

    You’re right, the existence of the Earth and life is incredibly improbable. It is just mind blowingly amazing that it exists. But it does. We know that it does, and even though it’s improbable, it still happened and we have evidence to show that it did happen. But there’s no evidence that there is a supernatural. Everything makes more sense once you reject the idea of a supernatural.

    I’m absolutely open to being shown that I’m wrong. I’m not rejecting evidence. I continually try to consider different ideas and purposefully make myself uncomfortable in my positions. I appreciate being challenged and called out when I make mistakes. I really do think seriously about it when people challenge what I believe.


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