A Reader Asks About Arguing with Atheism

…over at the Register.  An atheist respondent replies that there are no arguments for atheism, notes that he has never heard of Thomas’ two arguments for atheism, and then appeals to babies being atheists as support for his position.  Not one of the finer moments from the Cult of Intellect Worship.

Update: Whew. Commenter Michael over at the Register actually succeeds in offering the most intellectually vacant defense of atheism I have ever witnessed in nearly 20 years on the Internet. That is saying something.

  • Marsha

    This is an example of why generally I do not argue with atheists. If they have particular questions, I will answer those questions otherwise I don’t respond as there is no real method to the madness and often the art of twisting words and meanings has been long mastered. There are a couple of atheists I know personally that I can have decent conversations with, but the rest of the atheists I know personally or through the internet are militant in their beliefs and incapable of reasoning.

    • Dana

      The entire basis of theism is built on faith absent proof and reason. Saying an atheist is militant in their belief is an oxymoronic statement. An atheists position does not rest on belief, that is for the theist. To prove my point, you have “faith” in God. Faith is the belief in something without proof.

      • Mark Shea

        False. The conclusion “God exists” can be shown from natural reason without faith. That you are ignorant of this only demonstrates that you worship and do not use the intellect.

        Meanwhile, many atheists rely entirely on faith for a great deal of their thinking.

        • Dana

          Mark – if your “God” created nature he / it / she can not be justified through aspects defined in nature because he / it / she must be outside natural to create it. If something in nature created all that is natural he / it / she would have to be something else or you have a tautology. Check out Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem if you doubt such.

          Some additional arguments against the naturalistic fallacy can be seen in arguments from G.E Moore. Once there you might bump up against Russell’s Paradox which simply said that there can be no master set (think God) that is not inside another master set etc. That is why Aristotle created the great axiom “The Unmoved Mover” so as to stop the infinite regression this train of thought takes.

          • http://pomeraniancatholic.blogspot.com/ Geoffrey

            Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem has nothing to do with it. The theorem concerns the impossibility of constructing an algorithm that, based on an input of consistent axioms, would generate an exhaustive list of all theorems about the natural numbers. In other words, any given axiomatic system will not be able to prove all true relations between the natural numbers. This means that there must exist propositions which are true but are nevertheless not able to be established within a system of deductive logic.

            Russell’s Paradox is not at all what you say it is either. Let A be the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. If A qualifies as a member of itself, it would contradict its own definition as a set containing all sets that are not members of themselves. On the other hand, if such a set is not a member of itself, it would qualify as a member of itself by the same definition. This results in a contradiction. Think about it and you’ll see it. That’s why naive set theory was abandoned.

            Frankly, I have no idea what you mean by “Russell’s Paradox which simply said that there can be no master set (think God) that is not inside another master set etc.” But we can indeed speak of a collection of all sets in modern set theory. If that were not true, consider a clay pot. Define it to be our whole universe under consideration. The whole of the clay pot is the collection of all sets of stuff making up the clay pot. I could very well say it is the set of all sets, but we don’t use the word “set.” Instead, we use “collection,” and so nobody can pose a paradox. But common sense wise, it is indeed the set of all sets. We mathematicians are just obsessed about using consistent language.

            I’ve got a master’s degree in pure mathematics with a minor in theoretical physics. I’m currently pursuing my doctorate in mathematics education. We’ve got a big enough problem with mathematical illiteracy in this country as it is. Please, Dana, don’t add to the confusion with your uninformed opinions. You shouldn’t trust most philosophers when they opine about mathematics. Very often, they have no idea what they’re talking about.

            In Christ,
            Geoffrey

            P.S. Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” was not an axiom, but was argued from the proposition that:

            1) Any being not containing the reason for its existence must have a prior cause.
            2) Every being must have a reason for existence.

            The above proposition were established by Aristotelian axioms, then, from there, Aristotle argued that there must be a being which contains the reason for its own existence. Why this being is the source or reason of the existence of all others takes a bit more proving, but if you accept Aristotle’s metaphysical axioms (not enough room to get into them here), the proof is valid. It indeed follows from the axioms.

            • Dana

              Geoffrey – Well said, but the caveat of a congruence theory of truth, which follows from Godel’s incompleteness theorem, is that it relies on the validity of concepts with respect to the axiomatic concepts in the framework in which they are framed, in other words, if you have two axiomatically diametrically opposed, but self-consistent and empirically untestable systems, they are both equally valid, firstly, and secondly they say nothing about whether the axioms themselves have ontological representation (i.e, whether they actually exist)

              What this means is that while deities can exist in some axiomatic deductive systems, it would be erroneous to claim that these deities definitely have ontological existence, or that these axioms represent absolute reality (the existence of which itself has to be assumed axiomatically, nudge nudge wink wink)
              The reason it is erroneous to claim this is that an axiom can either be true or false insofar ontological correspondence is concerned, but if you assert that it definitely is or is not by taking a leap of faith, you are arguing that a possibly empty set definitely contains an element, which is logically absurd. (A set with an element cannot be empty by definition)

              So, if someone claims that some versions of deities that are logically possible actually exist one can just point out using the same leap of faith in the other direction that they don’t exist. To sum it all up, the flaw in the argument is going from a may exist ——> a definitely exists, which would also justify going from a may not exist —————> a definitely does not exist.

              • Rosemarie’s Husband

                This is gibberish. It doesn’t make any sense. Necessary Existence is not a system. If you want to make a mathematical allegory of God, you are not making an allegory of some master set -vs- some other systems. Your better allegory is the Mathematician -vs- the formulas he’s writing on the paper.

                Also, your assumption is that God is a being alongside other beings, only more uber. This doesn’t even come close to what Classical Theism postulates. Your entire conception of God is childish & anthropomorphic, not even close to the Classical Theism of Augustine, Aquinas & Anselm.

      • Dan Berger

        Said the philosophical illiterate. Go read some Aristotle, Dana.

        • Dana

          Dan – According to Aristotle’s theory God never leaves the eternal repose in which His blessedness consists. Since matter, motion, and time are eternal, the world is eternal. Yet, it is caused. The manner in which the world originated is not defined in Aristotle’s philosophy. It is simply assumed.

          • Rosemarie’s Husband

            +J.M.J+

            Aquinas didn’t believe that you could philosophically prove that the universe had a beginning. You could only know this by divine revelation. So I don’t see what your point is. Aquinas’ proofs presumed, philosophically, a past eternal universe. Aristotle’s God is God as we know Him through pure reason. The Bible just fills in the details (via revelation) that reason alone cannot tell us.

      • http://thesauros-store.blogspot.com thesauros

        And your evidence that this is a material universe only would be? I know, there isn’t any. All I ever hear atheists say is, “I”m an atheist because I don’t believe what they believe.” Pfft!

        • Dana

          Thesauros- I didn’t say we are a material universe only. That is creating a strawman, but your comment does bring up an interesting questio. Exactly how would we investigate a non material theory using material tools?

          Also, and this might be nit picky, but grammatically someone can’t be a non thing. I can’t “be” a nonbeliever, I can only be a believer. Not being a believer does not make me a nonbeliever. This is not a dichotomy, such as I either choose belief, or I choose nonbelief. These are absurd notions. Belief and non belief are not forks in the road.

          A persons mind needs to have something grounding it. That is why there are so many variant forms of “belief”. A person does not really care what he believes, just that there is a belief to fill the void of the unknown. It is loosely related to Gestault syndrome. It is easier to assume a belief structure, which is why there are more “believers” than non-believers. It takes an intellectual effort to ignore the path towards belief. Believing takes no effort as it is intellectually void,(this is not an insult although it may seem so on the surface) as it allows a mind to sidestep reason and rationality as an aspect of justification.

      • Marsha

        Well, given I have run into atheists that will practically chase me down the street (metaphorically) with “proof” God does not exist even after I say I don’t have questions and don’t want to discuss this topic with them… that is militant to the extreme.

        Definition militant:
        1: engaged in warfare or combat : fighting
        2: aggressively active (as in a cause)

        Seems like the people I am thinking of fall into both definitions of militant through verbal combat and not wanting to let it go even when the other person does not want to engage in the conversation with them. Aggressively active, check again as I’ve been sent videos that are hours long and they actually expect me to watch them. I’m extremely secure my beliefs and I’ll answers anyone’s questions, but I am not going to chase or hound any person with my beliefs.

        • Dana

          Marsha,

          If you are so secure with your belief, please describe “God” in precise non-contradicting terms.

          • Marsha

            Dana,

            I notice you state one cannot be a militant atheist and when I respond with my reasoning why one can be a militant atheist you divert the topic to a description of God. I call rabbit hole here and politely decline your request to do the very thing I initially said I do not do as I do not have to prove my security in my beliefs to you. Have a great day.

  • Tom

    There are no arguments for atheism. Atheism is a position of disbelief, not a claim. For most, it is a position of disbelief because the burden of proof has not been met by those who claim a deity, generic or specific, exists. What are the arguments for “disbelief in Santa Claus” or “disbelief in Zeus?” There are none. You either believe in Zeus, or you do not. You either believe in Santa Claus, or you do not. While there may be arguments for or against the existence of Zeus and Santa Claus, there are no arguments for or against the belief or disbelief of either.

    Technically, babies are atheists. An atheist is a person who does not believe in gods. Babies are incapable of belief in anything, including gods. If you answer the question, “Do you believe in any gods?” with anything but a “Yes,” you are an atheist. Babies cannot answer the question at all, but no answer is still not a “Yes.”

    • Mark Shea

      Faaaaaaaascinating.

    • Cinlef

      The argument for disbelief in Zeus, would run something like “there is no (or not enough) evidence for belief in Zeus”. Which is precisely the argument you’re making

      • Tom

        I concede that I worded it poorly. What I was trying to say is that atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods; there is no argument to be had about it. Of course there are arguments and/or reasons *why* one is an atheist.

    • http://thecrawfordfamily.net/blog Ken Crawford

      Tom, that is some of the most tortured logic I’ve seen in a while. The ability to answer a question verbally (or writing it down or whatever), does not mean one does not have thoughts. Babies have active brains and have thoughts and thus are capable of believing in things… and there’s no evidence to suggest that belief in the divine is something that only comes later in life. If anything the evidence is that youth is full of believe in that which can not be seen and only over time do we become more skeptical.

      • Tom

        Sure there is evidence that babies do not inherently believe in deities. My son is 8. My wife and I have never told him about gods. When he found out that other children in his school believed in gods, he told me, “they have no proof.” If they’re not told about gods, and they don’t invent them with their own imaginations, then they are completely ignorant to the entire concept of gods and they are inherently atheists.

        “Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.”
        —Carl Sagan

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      The evidence for the existence of Zeus is thunder and lightning. Zeus is the lightning and the lightning is Zeus. “Belief” is the intensifier for “lief”, which is cognate with the German Liebe, and so means something like “be-love.” But a devotion to Zeus is predicated on fear (of being struck by lightning) and his worship amounts to an effort to soothe and placate him so that he does not send any lightning our way. Now, the metaphysics is all screwed up. The Greeks, outside a small coterie of Platonists and Aristotelians et al., did not hold to an all-powerful God, and hence were unable to conceptualize Nature as operating on secondary causation; but otoh they were able to point to empirical evidence for their gods. “Don’t believe in Zeus? Then what the heck do you call that?” (Pointing to the lightning playing about the peak of Olympus.)
      + + +
      By Tom’s same argument, the baby does not believe in logic, science, or the theory of evolution. This tells us precisely nothing about God, logic, science, or evolution. Sheesh.

      • Tom

        A baby’s atheism is not meant to be an argument for or against atheism or theism/deism. The argument against theism/deism is the lack of evidence to support claims of any deity; it has nothing to do with the fact that babies are atheists.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          If it isn’t an argument for or against atheism then why do you bother presenting it? It would seem you think it somehow valuable to your position, otherwise you wouldn’t bother mentioning it. It’s not a good argument, however. Babies don’t know much of anything, which is why we teach them. Ignorance – not knowing – is not considered a desirable state to remain in. So the fact that they don’t know there is a God is irrelevant. They also don’t know the existence of atoms, that doesn’t mean there are no atoms. All it means is that babies don’t know a lot of stuff. For an atheist to mention infantile ignorance as some kind of support for his atheism (otherwise why bring it up at all?) is pointless.

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      Have an interview with a baby to hand?

    • http://www.pilgrimage.subcreators.com Lori Pieper

      Tom, if babies can’t answer the question of whether or not there is a God in your terms, it wouldn’t make them atheists, just agnostics. A better way of saying it would be that they have not yet come to any explicit knowledge of God. A child a few years older would not know the word “God” (unless someone has taught it to him), but would still be capable of wondering how he got here, and who made everything. Children aren’t naturally prejudiced against belief, as so many atheists are.

      • Tom

        Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. Most atheists (including myself) are agnostic atheists. I do not claim knowledge of whether gods exist or not (agnostic), but I do not believe in any gods (atheist). My 8-year-old son is capable of wondering how he got here. He doesn’t wonder “who” made everything, but instead has sought out scientific evidence of “how” we got everything. And when he discovered that people believe in such things (gods) without his mother or I ever having discussed such topics with him, his response was, “they have no proof.” I’m not prejudiced against anything. But if you expect me to take your claims seriously, you better provide proper evidence for them.

        • The True Will

          As Lewis said, you can argue with someone who says “rice is bad for you”, but you can not even argue with someone who says “Rice is bad for you, but I am not saying this is true.”

        • http://www.pilgrimage.subcreators.com Lori Pieper

          I suppose the fact that he has atheist parents has nothing to do with the way he answers? That he hasn’t been prejudiced at all by you? I find that hard to believe. If you’re going to complain (as most atheists do) that believing parents prejudice the children in favor of God, you can’t let yourself off the same hook.

          • The True Will

            My parents decided that the way to deal with the problems of “mixed marriage” was to sweep the matter under the rug. As any fool should have been able to see, what this meant was that I was getting the message loud and clear that religion is something shameful, that “nice” people don’t talk about it, that “normal” people aren’t even INTERESTED. Perhaps Tom thinks this is desirable. I do not, and I will not be a party to inflicting it on anyone else.

            • Tom

              //My parents decided that the way to deal with the problems of “mixed marriage” was to sweep the matter under the rug. //

              The difference is, I will (and do) talk to my children about various religions. With my older child, I have already begun speaking about religion. The difference is that I wait until they are old enough to understand religion to discuss it with them. It is the same reason I wouldn’t discuss politics or economics with my small children. They can form their own opinions about such topics when they are old enough to do so.

        • http://www.pilgrimage.subcreators.com Lori Pieper

          I suppose the fact that he has atheist parents has nothing to do with the way he answers? That he hasn’t been prejudiced at all by you? I find that hard to believe. If you’re going to complain (as most atheists do) that believing parents prejudice the children in favor of God, you can’t let yourself off the same hook. And since Christians do have proofs, the objection isn’t very credible.

          • Tom

            Christians have proofs? And what are those proofs, exactly? My guess is they’re the exact same circumstantial “proofs” that Hindus, and Muslims, and Sikhs, and ancient Greeks, and ancient Egyptians, and ancient Scandinavian peoples have/had. My guess is that the best “proofs” you have for your belief are arguments from ignorance. Your claim that my child has been prejudiced by me is unfounded. Having never mentioned the subject, I neither promoted belief in gods nor criticized it. His feelings on the subject are completely his own. In fact, as he gets older, I will encourage him to learn about various religions, as I have. Whether he comes to believe or remains an atheist, I’ll take solace in knowing that he arrived at that decision all on his own.

            • Rosemarie’s Husband

              >Your claim that my child has been prejudiced by me is unfounded.

              That does not seem likely. You are an evident believer in some form of weak Positivism & have imparted that concept to your kid. After all I take it when your son said his classmates had no “proof” of God I take it he meant some form of empirical scientific proof as opposed to a philosophical proof or a historical proof? Naturally I doubt his classmates recited the 5 Ways of Aquinas or the Argument from Reason or the Transcendental regiment etc..all philosophical proofs.

              You said that science is not the only means of Truth but the best means. Well how do you prove that concept scientifically? Well you can’t without begging the question. If you tried to prove this concept you would have to venture some form of philosophical argument. Which shows it weakness in that you would not be using the “best way to knowledge” to know it but a less form via philosophy. Thus the concept refutes itself. The best way to natural knowledge is by both science and philosophy. Science alone is a dead end.

              A.G. Flew at the height of his Atheism in the 50′s abandoned all forms of Positivism as hopelessly incoherent. Tragically modern Gnu Atheists have dug it out of its grave & propped it up like Pope Stephen VI did with the body of Pope Famocious & it stinks more.
              Positivism is nothing more than Young Earth Creationism for secularists. Proof of God starts with philosophy as does all knowledge. This is self-evidently true regardless if God exists or not.

              http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1174/

              http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1184/

        • Rosemarie’s Husband

          >Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

          Not really. Historically the first known public Atheist the Greek philosopher Democritus said “The gods do not really exist and the world is nothing more than atoms gathering in the void”. Agnosticism is to profess ignorance of the existence of God. Naturally those who profess such ignorance lack any belief since how can you logically believe in what you don’t know exists? But conflating it with Atheism really empties Atheism of any meaning. An Atheist says there are not gods. This trick of equivocating them is an act of sophistry designed to put the Theist solely on the defensive and relieve the Atheist of any burden to prove his or her own implicit positive beliefs. Such as Skepticism, Positivism, Materialism, Monism, reductivist physicalismetc . All of which he assumes by default not by rigorous philosophical analysis or argument.

          I don’t buy it. If you invoke almight SCIENCE to give testamony to your beliefs due note that even Daniel Dennett says there is no such a thing as a philosophy free science there is only science with philosophical assumptions brought on board without analysis.

          • Tom

            I do not invoke science to give testimony to my lack of belief in gods. There is only one reason I am an atheist: there is no evidence to support the claim that any gods exist. We can, however, use science to validate or falsify certain claims (those that are testable) that various religions make.

            //>Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

            Not really … Agnosticism is to profess ignorance of the existence of God. //

            Yes, really. I do not profess knowledge that gods do or do not exist. I lack belief that any exist. Hence, I am agnostic and atheist.

    • Rosemarie’s Husband

      +J.M.J+

      Babies are also illiterate, unable to walk, have no bowel or bladder control, etc. Does that mean it’s desirable for all adults to be that way as well? What’s your point?

      • Tom

        My point was only that babies are atheists, contrary to what many people claim. It was not meant to credit or discredit atheism or theism/deism.

        • Rosemarie’s Husband

          Rosemarie’s Husband here,

          Your claim Tom is irrational and a slight of hand. You are defining Atheism in a purely negative manner (i.e. lack of belief in gods). The problem with this is I can also define Theism is a purely negative manner as a lack of “No God belief”. In which case therefore all babies are Theists since they clearly lack “no God belief”. I can ask Harlen Elison “Do you believe in God?” & he can answer “No I believe there is no God & I am sick an tired of whim Agnostics who sit on the fence and are unsure”.

          If I ask a baby that I get “goo goo”. So they lack “No God belief” ergo all babies are Theists.
          see here
          http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2011/05/against-terminological-mischief-negative-atheism-and-negative-nominalism.html

          Let’s call a spade a spade. Gnu Atheist types are to the last man or woman philosophical ignoramus and incompetents. Dogmatically & arbitrary defining Atheism solely in the negative is just a ploy to avoid making a positive case for their unstated philosophies of reductionist materialism, monism and Positivism.

          It’s a cowardly move and a sign of intellectual inferiority.

          • Tom

            //You are defining Atheism in a purely negative manner (i.e. lack of belief in gods)//

            Because that’s exactly what atheism is! Examine the word:

            Prefix: “a”
            Meaning: not, without
            Examples: atheist, asymmetric

            Atheism is quite literally, “without theism,” and theism is defined as:

            theism
            noun
            Belief in the existence of a god or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures

            • Rosemarie’s Husband

              @Tom

              You are full of crap dude.

              >Because that’s exactly what atheism is! Examine the word:

              Consult any dictionary you will find multiple definitions of the word Atheist/Atheism.
              What is your authority to claim this is the one and only definition?

              >Prefix: “a”
              Meaning: not, without
              Examples: atheist, asymmetric
              Atheism is quite literally, “without theism,” and theism is defined as:

              I reply: But the literal syntax is ambitious and contains nothing in regards to belief. or lack of belief or content and nature of belief. Thus literally “without theism” can be a positive statement that we live in a reality without any God or gods as well as a statement of lack of belief in gods. Hence the word needs to be modified by an adjective such as Classical, Negative, Positive, Practical, Strong and or Philosophical to flesh out it’s meaning.

              What you are doing here is taking the definition of Negative Atheism and applying it across the board to the unmodified word via special pleading. That is not rational or convincing.

              Webster’s dictionary defines an Atheist as “one who believes there is no God”.

              Why is webster wrong and who are you to say that he is?

              II you are going to quote a dictionary, picking one definition out of many and by special pleading make it the sole definition is not convincing.

              >theism
              noun

              >Belief in the existence of a god or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures

              Thus logically such a belief mandates “a lack of belief in no God(s).” Infant children lack belief in no-gods therefore infant children are Theists.

              I’m sorry but even if you are ultimately right about the existence of God(s) you argument is an epic philosophical fail.

              It is just childish sophistry nothing more.

              • Rosemarie’s Husband

                For the record the moral difference between myself vs a Gnu like Tom is I know the words Atheism and Theism cover board categories of belief and to claim the definition of Negative Atheism is the sole definition of Atheism across the board is morally equivalent to me claiming Theism only refers to Christianity or Catholic Christianity.

                Myself I am a Classic Theist which means I reject Neo-theism and or Theistic Personalism.
                http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/09/classical-theism.html

                But it would be stupid to define Theism exclusively in terms of Classical Theism to the exclusion of the Theistic Personalists or Neo-theists or Open Theists.

                Just as it is stupid to define Atheism exclusively in terms of Negative Atheism.

              • Tom

                //Why is webster wrong and who are you to say that he is?//

                First of all, Merriam Webster defines it as:

                1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
                2a : a disbelief in the existence of deity (tah-dah!)
                2b : the doctrine that there is no deity

                Words can have multiple definitions. Oxford dictionary defines it strictly as “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.”

                Regardless of which definition you might subscribe to, all atheists lack belief in gods. Some atheists go further and claim that there are absolutely no gods, or have an active belief that there are no gods. That doesn’t change the fact that all atheists lack belief in gods.

                • Rosemarie’s Husband

                  @Tom

                  >>.Why is webster wrong and who are you to say that he is?

                  >First of all, Merriam Webster defines it as:
                  1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
                  2a : a disbelief in the existence of deity (tah-dah!)
                  2b : the doctrine that there is no deity
                  Words can have multiple definitions.
                  Oxford dictionary defines it strictly as “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.”

                  I reply: This concedes the lion share of the argument to me and makes my point.

                  Even this link which argues (IMHO quite weakly) for the negative definition

                  found here
                  http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-definitions.html

                  Makes the following concessions regarding the
                  QUOTE”Note that the OED definition covers the whole spectrum of atheist belief, from weak atheism (those who do not believe in or credit the existence of one or more gods) to strong atheism (those who assert the contrary position, that a god does not exist).”

                  The article then goes on to cherry pick those Atheists who define it negatively and ignore those who might define it positively. Which is about as convincing as defining Christianity by exclusively citing Catholic authors to the exclusion of other denominations.

                  >Regardless of which definition you might subscribe to, all atheists lack belief in gods. Some atheists go further and claim that there are absolutely no gods, or have an active belief that there are no gods. That doesn’t change the fact that all atheists lack belief in gods.

                  The same goes for Theism. All Theists lack a belief in no-God(s). Thus we can call babies theists since they evidently lack no-God(s) belief.

                  • Tom

                    Thank you for proving my point. Babies are “weak atheists” as you defined it above; they lack belief in gods.

                    • Rosemarie’s Husband

                      No they are weak Theists if we apply your irrational “argument” consistently.

                      They are also weak Nominalists, weak Realists, weak conceptionalists etc….

                      The argument is either stupid or trivial or both.

        • The True Will

          If it is not meant as an argument, why do online atheists keep bringing it up?

          • Tom

            I don’t know, to prove a point? I only brought it up because it was mentioned in the blog post. No one suddenly comes to believe in the Zeus myth, or the Odin myth, or the Jesus myth, without first having been told of it.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              And no one suddenly comes to believe that the earth revolves around the sun without first having been told of it. That doesn’t mean the earth does not revolve around the sun.

              • Tom

                Science can be demonstrated to be true. That’s why it’s science and religion requires faith.

                • Rosemarie

                  +J.M.J+

                  Which is irrelevant to the point – that babies need to be taught what is true, so just because babies don’t know something doesn’t mean it is not true.

                  Do you believe that the only things that can be proven scientifically are true? That anything which cannot be scientifically proven is not true?

                  • Tom

                    //Do you believe that the only things that can be proven scientifically are true?//

                    No. However, it is the best method we have by which we take specific claims and test their validity for truthfulness.

                    • Tom

                      Sorry, meant to say “test their validity/truthfulness.”

      • Rosemarie

        the previous was me.

  • Jake

    Everyone knows what it’s like to be an atheist, to a certain degree. I mean, if you believe in Jesus, then you’re denying the existence of thousands of other gods. Many which are just as credible as what’s in the bible. Believing in a god is understandable, believing in a specific god is delusional. Most people in the USA, where I’m from, are believers in the Judeo Christian god. I’m sorry, I can’t get behind stoning the gays to death thing or think it’s right for a women to marry a man who raped her. Sure, most of you believers don’t agree with that either…. So you then you’re hardly anymore of a believer than I am. You just cherry pick what you like out of the bible and claim to follow jesus and everything his book. At that point, you’re just picking your own morals, what atheist do, without basing it off anything except what you think is right in your mind, not what the holy book says.

    • Mark Shea

      Yeah, because the proposal to stone gays and for women to marry rapists is really a live issue. Scratch an atheist, find a fundamentalist.

      • abb3w

        Depends in what part of Christendom you’re checking. Uganda appears to be predominantly Catholic and Anglican; it looks like speaker Rebecca Kadaga is Catholic.

        And, while the stoning of gays isn’t particularly a live issue, the Biblical passages that call for it continue to be cited by those opposed to gay marriage here in the US.

    • Cinlef

      Just because you’re unaware of the method the Catholic Church uses to interpret the Bible (which is fairly complicated and involves among other things taking into account how passages were understood by the early Church and interpreting the Old Testament through the New Testament, ) doesn’t mean that there is no method and we’re just choosing passages at random.

    • Shane

      I’m always fascinated with the “One God further” argument by atheists. It always truck me as a category mistake, a confusion between monotheistic conceptions of deity (of which there are a handful in world history) and a broadly polytheistic conception of deity.

      The idea that there would be an equivalence between Zeus and Yahweh is importing the improper categories. Polytheism doesn’t ascribe the attributes to their gods that monotheism does. In a simplistic explanation: polytheistic gods are often mediators and intercessors of an ultimate reality to whom sacrifice is offered to maintain cosmic balance; this often takes the form of quid pro quo exchanges (as in ancient Roman religion) or human sacrifice (The Aztecs, for whom the maintenance of a cosmic order necessitates human sacrifice).

      In short, Zeus, Minerva, Odin, Tiamat, *insert favorite god here*, would, in any sketch of a divine economy, be “under” the monotheistic God.

      Monotheism (especially the Jewish/Christian/Islamic variety) is the identification of that ultimate reality with the God that has been revealed in their traditions. The ultimate Good (in a Neoplatonic sense) that many polytheistic religions vaguely postulated, for whom their pantheons mediated, is now revealed and made clear as the Trinue God/Yahweh/Allah…
      I mean, if we are truly going to get into a numbers game, the monotheisms that have their exclusive claims of deity are a tiny handful of all religious traditions; that “thousands of Gods” gets called into proper focus.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        Yeah, that’s the problem with the “One God further” argument. The One God we believe in is the eternal, infinite Creator and Sustainer of all things. Not at all in the same category of even Zeus or Odin. The gods of polytheism tend to be more like immortal human beings with preternatural powers and limited spheres of influence (if you’re going to war, pray to Ares; if you’re traveling by sea, pray to Poseidon. Visa versa wouldn’t make much sense.) They are all specialist “deities” and each had a beginning. None are the Prime Mover or Necessary Being.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      A democrat is just like an anarchist. The anarchist simply believes in one less form of government than the democrat.
      See also: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/04/one-god-further-objection.html

      You just cherry pick what you like out of the bible and claim to follow jesus and everything his book.
      This is a common fundamentalist complaint, and a serious misunderstanding of the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and other Traditional churches. They do not find their Faith in the Bible. They found their Bible in their Faith. That is, they do not read the English translations of ancient texts in a naively prosaic sense, to which they apply 20th century categories of thought. (E.g., As late as the Renaissance, the term “rape” also included “seduction.”)

      if you believe in Jesus, then you’re denying the existence of thousands of other gods
      It’s more like a be-lief in God supersedes a devotion to angels and demons. They might still exist, but gods are not God. God is not a member of a genus, comparable to other gods only more perfect and wearing a Spandex costume with a cape and the letter Y on his breast. The term “Supreme Being” is misleading. God≠max{gods}
      Personified lightning (whether called “Zeus”, “Jupiter”, or “Thor”) is not the same kind of thing as Existence Itself. These gods, if they exist, must take their existence from Existence itself.
      But even so, what of it? One may easily deny that the Mediterranean Sea is “Poseidon” or that the lightning is “Zeus” without in any way rejecting the reasoning of Aristotle or Plotinus about the God that orders the whole world.

      • Dana

        So “God” is simply the master set of all other gods. Very clever, but a linguistic construct of a set does not result in the creation of something that did not exist a priori. There is no way to get to your logic train without words to lead us, therefore “God” is only a symbolic construction.

        • SouthCoast

          Yep. It’s just turtles, all the way down.

    • Rosemarie’s Husband

      I don’t usually post here..but I won’t go there. Jewish tradition in the Talmud and the Mishnah teaches “that a woman of age is acquired in marriage with her consent & not without”. No adult Jewish woman can be forced to marry a man against her will according to Torah. A Jewish man guilty of rape or seduction can be forced to marry his victim against his will(if she will have him) and never be able to divorce her.

      Catholics & orthodox Jews don’t believe in the Protestant doctrine Sola Scriptura or Perspicuity and it is goofy that the Gnu Atheists who post here do and judge Catholicism by that standard.

    • The True Will

      Right because “our holy book” DOESN’T SAY that Christians are no longer under the Law. (Sarcasm, in case you missed it.)

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Be gentle. After reading his posts, I’d bet dollars and donuts that “Michael” is no more than 24 years old. And I suspect he’s a good deal younger than that. I think you’re debating a bright, if misuguided, high school kid.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?

    – C.S.Lewis

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    I think that many atheists post on religious blogs because they would like someone to argue them out of what is obviously a dead end. Dead end.

    People don’t come to belief through the Bible. No one would believe a word of the Bible if there were not within human beings a knowing of the transcendent in the world and in themselves.

    But atheists are people asleep or only half-waking. When they awake, as they must, they will see and know.
    I think they will, as Lewis would have said, be surprised by joy.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I think that many atheists post on religious blogs because they would like someone to argue them out of what is obviously a dead end. Dead end.

      I hope you are right. A truly intellectually honest atheist should look at the abyss into which his life is heading, and ask, nay beg, to be convinced that he is wrong.

      • Psy

        The other guys offered me 72 virgins.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Excellent deflection using humor! It will help you not think about things. The reality is that I know you. I’ve been you. Those moments when you’re alone, trying to get to sleep but can’t shut your brain off, and you wonder if you’ll ever wake up again. Then you can’t sleep.

          The trick is not just to hang around places where people can help you, but actually look for help.

          • Psy

            No you haven’t been me, you haven’t had your children come home from church with their garandmother in tears because some misguided preacher lined all the kids up and yelled and screamed at them. Telling them how worthless and ulsess they are and how they will burn in hell over and over. Then your 4 year old daughter come running into your arms begging to never have to go back and face that aganin. Then you try that same stupid stunt on me.
            ” look at the abyss into which his life is heading,”-”Those moments when you’re alone, trying to get to sleep but can’t shut your brain off, and you wonder if you’ll ever wake up again. Then you can’t sleep.”
            That’s all you have to offer, fear-mongering, threats of impending doom, abusive child psychology 101. It’s now wonder a few groups are working together to legislate a workable law to prevent this mental abuse. Don’t you have any shame? Oh right, the ends justify the means.

            • Rosemarie’s Husband

              You should read William Murray’s biography and what it was like growing up with Madelyn Murray O’hair as your mother. What a psychopathic witch she was and it was & the psychological manipulation all tied to her dogmatic Atheism.

              As for fear mongering all I hear from the Gnus all day long is their fear that the world will be consumed by a giant religious Theocracy which will wipe out all non-beleivers.

              Also let us not forget it is impossible to comfort your child whom you are raising Atheist with the message that this life is all you get. Anything you do will be forgotten in 100,000 years and when you die you “self” will fall into nothing and it will be no different then if you had never existed at all.

              Faced with that I would take Hell any day.

              • Psy

                You seem to be implying your life is ruled by your fear of death. Get over it and get on with what time you have left and make it a better place for those to come after us.
                You can’t spend your life living in fear of death and call that living.

                • Psy

                  “Faced with that I would take Hell any day.”

                  Its a false dichotomy based on beliefs. Why is acceptance of the possibility of an end to your existence so hard for you?

                • Rosemarie

                  +J.M.J+

                  Actually, Christians don’t fear death because Christ has conquered it. All atheists have to offer, however, is annihilation, which is not the Christian understanding of death. That’s the point.

                  • Psy

                    How convenient and comforting. Yes, I’ve read the Bible and Catechism, are there any other religious claims that you don’t think I am aware of?

                    • Rosemarie’s Husband

                      All my wife is saying is if you are going to make a purely emotive appeal for Atheism against religion you will loose. It’s simply a brute fact an Atheist worldview is more bleak then a religious one. Thus on the emotional level its a loser.

                      Of course the truth or falsehood of Atheism or Theism isn’t dependent on these emotive claims. You need to start with philosophy.

                      I’m sorry your grandma’s preacher was such a dick but in principle that can never prove christianity or theism wrong too me.

                      Just as if I was an Atheist no emotive appeal to Hitler receiving ultimate justice for his crimes & his victims being compensated with Heaven can make me believe in God.

                      Neither argument is philosophically valid.

                • Rosemarie’s Husband

                  >You seem to be implying your life is ruled by your fear of death.
                  Get over it and get on with what time you have left and make it a better place for those to come after us.

                  Actually I was just exposing the fallacy of your emotive claims. Your Grandma’s bad preacher = Religion is bunk then William’s psycho bitch Atheist mother = Atheism is bunk.

                  Teaching kids the reality of Hell =abuse and fear. Well then teaching kids they will cease to exist can also =abuse and fear.

                  I wish I could remember the link but there is an ex-atheist women on line who talks about how she was razed an Atheist and she was terrified of non-existence.

                  Your pleas to face the dying of the light with bravery are no better then telling children to trust God, believe in Jesus & repent then they need not fear Hell.

                  The downside of your view is dead is still dead regardless if you face it bravely or go kicking and screaming and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter which you choose.

                  Your pie in the sky Atheist has no meaning to me even if I deny God tomorrow.

                  • Psy

                    Sure Jesus offers heaven or hell, Mormons offer a planet and someday you can be a god in your own universe, some far eastern religions offer nothingness, reincarnation, or a place to go but I don’t recall the details. Atheism is simply no accepting the claim of the existence of deities, it makes no statement as to afterlife or anything else. Personally I’ve sen no evidence of afterlife, just empty promises from different faiths and speculation from others. Threats and claims is not proof. I imagine it wont be too many years before I get to find out first hand. I’ll send you a postcard, or not.

                    • Rosemarie’s Husband

                      Whatever dude. My points stand.

                      You emotive arguments are simply non-starters.

                      Them’s the breaks.

                  • Psy

                    If you are interested, my daughter has been technically dead twice, which I don’t count as dead. One time no experience or memory of it. The other time she had the whole tunnel of light and feelings of calmness and a long story of the experience. I asked her if she thought there was an afterlife when she finished the story. She said no, in her opinion its just the process of the brain shutting down and eventually the light would go out. But as I said that was her opinion and not proof either way. You are free to draw your own conclusions if you choose too.

                    • Rosemarie’s Husband

                      It’s rather convenient the brain shuts down in such a way as to make it appear you are going to an after life. Very convenient a reality that has no purpose or Divine Intelligence somehow conspires to fool you into thinking there is something beyond death.

                      OTOH it reminds me of Zola who said even if he saw the sick being healed at Lourdes he would still not believe.

                    • Psy

                      “It’s rather convenient the brain shuts down in such a way as to make it appear you are going to an after life. ”

                      You are assuming it appears to be going to an afterlife, that’s an interposition of the effect.

                      “Zola who said even if he saw the sick being healed at Lourdes he would still not believe.”:

                      It would be evidence of healing but nothing more.

                  • Psy

                    “Well then teaching kids they will cease to exist can also =abuse and fear.:

                    Actually I told them I didn’t know, that I didn’t think there was anything after, then asked them what they thought. Why would you try to make up crazy assumptions abut what I told my kids?

                    • Rosemarie’s Husband

                      Yes and when my mother told me about Hell she didn’t go into graphic detail or make lurid descriptions of the suffering of the damned & she told me to be good and love God & others & not to worry about it. You simply don’t scare kids that is common sense.

                      >Actually I told them I didn’t know..

                      This concedes the Atheist view is indeed bleak otherwise you would not even afford them the slime hope there was something after this life by pleading ignorance.

                      HP Lovecraft said “Well I didn’t so much mind not existing before my birth so I assume I won’t mind it after my death”. That is the Epicurean argument.

                      OTOH one atheist poet wrote how that comfort falls flat when you contemplate the maw of the black void of nothing waiting to devour you at the end.

                      >Why would you try to make up crazy assumptions abut what I told my kids?

                      I am simply showing the Gnu Atheist trope that it is somehow abusive to teach kids about hell is bogus.

                    • Psy

                      >Actually I told them I didn’t know..
                      “This concedes the Atheist view is indeed bleak otherwise you would not even afford them the slime hope there was something after this life by pleading ignorance.”

                      They were well aware their mother and grandmother believed, that’s why they asked me. Why do you have problems with honest answers like “I don’t know” and telling the truth, I just had this conversation with a Mormon last week who justified lying. Is it common practice for Christians to make assumptions without facts? There seems to be a fear of ambiguity related to belief, a need for certainty, an immediate answer whether its right or wrong.

              • Claude

                Setting aside the ambiguity in the Gospels as to whether “Gehenna” involves suffering eternal torment, you would choose Hell over annihilation? Why?

                • Rosemarie’s Husband

                  I find the existential horror of not existing after already having existed to be greater then the horrors of Hell via the logic of classical philosophy. If Aquinas & Aristotle have taught me anything is the transcendental property of being is convertible with goodness. Merely to have existence/being is to have goodness.

                  In Hell you are striped of all the goodness you have in this life and the goodness you might had as a consequence to rejecting Goodness Itself/God except you being.

                  To take take would not only leave you with nothing but it would reduce you to nothing. So how can it be good? Frank Sheed once quipped it is likely without the distraction of their body if you asked a damned soul if he would like to be annihilated they would say no. After all they choose a disordered self-love over Love Itself/God so why would they want to give away their last penny?

                  Mister Eckart once speculated that even the damned with all their just sufferings can take pleasure in simply being. So even in Hell their is some mercy.

                  Mind you I want by the Grace of God more mercy then that.

                  • Claude

                    Hmm. Well I certainly understand how vexing the prospect of non-being can be. But…do Catholics still believe Hell is a place of eternal torment? What do you envision this “place” to be? Do you believe it involves physical torture, or do you think it’s more like consciousness in exile?

                    Reading back over Jesus’s references to “Gehenna” it seems possible he meant Hell does involve annihilation, though it’s not clear how “with the measure that you measure, it will be measured to you” plays in.

                    • Rosemarie’s Husband

                      Well Scripture says very clearly they will be tormented day & night forever and ever. So I don’t know how that can be squared with annihilation.

                      The chief agony of hell, however, is the loss of the Beatific Vision(direct vision of God). This outshines any other agony that one might endure. It’s possible that the damned may experience physical, psychological & spiritual agonies as well. But the deprivation of the Beatific Vision is the ultimate pain since it is God’s general will that we experience it & in choosing sin over Him we reject it & endure the consequences of that wicked choice.

                      I believe it was St. Alphonsus who said the following in a sermon on hell(which I paraphrase from memory). He gives a lurid description of all the punishments inflicted on the damned(I’ll spare you the details but think of any Clive Barker film and crank it up to 11). But he then goes on to emphasize that the greatest pain is the loss of the Beatific Vision. He says: If an angel descended into hell & said “The Almighty has granted you clemency to remit just one of your many agonies. Which shall it be?” All the damned and demons would cry out with one voice, “Give us the Beatific Vision!” And here’s the funny thing; if they had the Beatific Vision, seeing Love, Beauty & Goodness face-to-face, they would not heed their other torments, even though they still had them. Conversely, if God also withdrew the Beatific Vision from the blessed in heaven, then heaven would become as hell to them in spite of all the other joys present. They would willingly cast themselves into hell & endure its torments in order to get back the Beatific Vision.

                      Hell is chiefly the loss of Goodness Itself & the pain that comes from that. The rest is commentary

          • Psy

            Andy, Bad Person, interesting my response to your post from yesterday is the 16th yet you posted it on the 17th and I can’t seem to fiend the word abyss anywhere on this page.

    • Tom

      I post on religious blogs because my mind is boggled by the fact that we still have so many religiously superstitious people in the 21st Century, and many categorically misrepresent atheism.

    • Claude

      I for one did not start reading religion blogs out of existential angst. That made me laugh.

  • Psy

    “I think that many atheists post on religious blogs because they would like someone to argue them out of what is obviously a dead end. Dead end.”

    Most come to debate and learn or thinking Christians are nice people only to find scorn and ridicule.

    • Jon W

      Yeah, Christians just suck, don’t they?

      • Psy

        No they just feel threatened by those who are not like them.

        • Jon W

          Or maybe they can’t resist making a little mild fun of people who try to stick them up with a philosophical water pistol.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Not like you, right, who swoops in, calls everyone idiots, and then pretends there’s no difference between Islam and Christianity?

      • Psy

        “pretends there’s no difference between Islam and Christianity?”

        Just another strawman misrepresentation of what I said, Are deception , accusation, threats of eternal doom and ridicule the only tools you have to promote or defined your beliefs? Next time why don’t you use my actual quote.

    • Rosemarie’s Husband

      >Most come to debate and learn or thinking Christians are nice people only to find scorn and ridicule.

      You though Christians are nice? But what about the preacher you mentioned above who yelled at and scared your kids? I thought we where all jerks who terrify children and motivate people by fear?

      Or could it be by “nice” you expected Christians to be like the Amish in the move WITNESS & you play the role of the jerks who walk up to them and smush Ice cream in there faces because they won’t fight back? That is until you make the mistake of trying to do that while facing Harrison Ford.

      Maybe Christians & people in general would treat you better if you where less passive aggressive.

      Just a thought.

      • Psy

        I’m faltered that that topic is now ME. But Michael is the subject of this witch burning, sadly Mark or someone deleted the Benjamin witch burning thread a few days ago. Why don’t you wait to see if Mark decides to have another one in my honor? He could have at least invited Micheal to his own witch burning to defend himself.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          What’s with the overblown rhetoric? “Witch burning”? Benjamin is alive and well somewhere in the real world; no one burned him at the stake. It was an internet disagreement, one of thousands that go on in cyberspace every day. Yet when Christians disagree with atheists you absurdly characterize it as a “witch burning.”

          That’s just a naked attempt to vilify a typical example of internet discourse in order to silence Christians, to keep us from answering when someone attacks us or correcting a foolish statement. Don’t think we can’t see through such histrionics; no one is fooled. Oh, and as someone on that deleted thread pointed out, six of us were defending Benjamin in the combox (myself included). As that person said, it wasn’t much of a witch burning with six of us waving fire extinguishers.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          Maybe you’re the topic because you made yourself the topic. You volunteered quite a bit of information about how your children were screamed at by a mean preacher, a child’s near-death experience, etc. Then you’re flabbergasted when stuff you brought up becomes part of the discussion? You added it to the discussion. You thought it would bolster your point that Christians are bad. Yet you don’t expect us to address all your assertions when trying to defend ourselves?

          I know, you’d rather the discussion be about us. How all Christians are horrible brutes because some psychotic preacher somewhere (no names, denomination, nothing) yelled at preschoolers. And because Mark had the *gall* to highlight a statement by Benjamin that struck him as absurd – how dare he! Why, that’s the moral equivalent of tying someone to a stake, lighting the tinder underneath and watching while they’re burned to a crisp!

          If you honestly can’t see the difference between what Mark did and a witch burning then you have no sense of proportion. But I give you more credit than that. I think you do see the difference. It’s just part of what you do: mock online Christians and then, when they answer, get all emotional and accuse them of being a bunch of big, bad meanies. Do you ever consider that *you* are also being mean in attacking us? That *your* hostile tone may contribute to the overall tone of the discussion? Or are all Christians just fair game for insults because some crazy preacher once hollered at little kids? Should we all be punished for something rotten that someone else did – even if we find such behavior abhorrent – but you are innocent of verbally abusing us?

        • Rosemarie’s Husband

          Drama queen much, Psy?

          PS: You’ve just been bawled out by my wife, buddy. Let me give you some advice from someone who’s been there: take your humble pie like a man (or woman). Cheers. BenYachov is out.

          • Psy

            Yes, accusations and assumptions of peoples motives and straw-manning, atheist do this atheist do that, comes across more as bigotry or fear.

            • Rosemarie’s Husband

              +J.M.J+

              What about your assumptions of our motives? You’ve assumed above that we fear death and that we fear an “ambiguity about belief.” Seems you’ve been making assumptions about us as well. All I’m asking is, are you aware that you’ve been doing basically what you accuse others of doing? Treating us rotten and then justifying it by saying that Christians treat you rotten. Assuming our motives and then complaining that we are assuming your motives. Can you see that?

              • Psy

                ” Seems you’ve been making assumptions about us as well. ”

                It’s an observation of what I see repeated over and over in this thread. I was asking you to confirm or clarify. Why do you insist on twisting my words? Are you afraid to answer my questions?
                ” Is it common practice for Christians to make assumptions without facts? There seems to be a fear of ambiguity related to belief, a need for certainty, an immediate answer whether its right or wrong.”

                • Rosemarie

                  +J.M.J+

                  You speak of Christians as though they are a monolithic group. We’re human beings, we’re all different. Some make assumptions, some don’t; some have certain fears, some have other fears, some may have no fears at all. I really don’t know how to answer your question; it’s like asking, “What do women want?”. Different women want different things; we’re all individuals.

                  But I’ll try my best: Some Christians do need absolute certainty about everything, others don’t. Some are comfortable with mystery or at least resolved to the fact that we won’t know everything this side of heaven. Generally young people seem to want to “have all the answers,” but the older you get you learn to accept that no one has absolutely all the answers to everything. That doesn’t mean you stop believing in God, it just means you become more comfortable with the ambiguities of life. We just leave what we don’t understand in God’s hands. I don’t know if that’s the answer you wanted, but there it is.

                • Rosemarie’s Husband

                  Rosemarie is all mine.

                  Ha! Tough break suckers!

                  • Psy

                    You have a good lady there.
                    And thanks for the discussion, I learned a few things.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      Thank you. From my husband and myself, peace be with you.

    • The True Will

      I would point out that when we try to be “nice” with Christian-baiters, the usual response is a sneer like “Well, isn’t that SPECIAL!” Or they heap up the abuse, and then sneer at us for not “loving” them, which they think, or pretend to think, we are supposed to be doormats for them.

  • Knower

    I’m nothing short of shocked to learn that Mark Shea in his Register article wrote, “that the universe operates according to knowable law that the human mind can penetrate and understand” is “a faith proposition” held thru “an act of faith”. For as I understand the idea of “faith”, whether divine or human, it means holding a proposition on the authority of some witness or witnesses other than oneself. But we all observe for ourselves the regularity of physical and biologic processes — day and night, cyclic phases of the Moon, breathing, orderly growth of a child, cyclic seasons, etc. And from these processes, each of us infers for himself, not on the authority of anyone else, “that the universe operates according to knowable law that the human mind can penetrate and understand” — law manifested in our calendars, our farming methods, our daily routines of sleeping and waking, etc.

  • http://www.bookloversunite.wordpress.com Nami

    It seems to me that commenter Michael claims that he’s not trying to defend atheism and just wants to provide a different perspective for seekers of truth, but then argues with those who respond to him by saying, “I don’t need arguments because I know I’m right.” But saying that the arguments for a position are not sufficient does not guarantee that that position is false. It simply means that the arguments for it are insufficient. If arguments against it are sufficient while those for it are not, then there is greater evidence against the position. However, just saying “these arguments are insufficient” without saying why does not encourage anyone to seek the truth (which appears, by Michael’s own account, to be his aim). To provide other people with a different perspective you have to have a perspective to provide. He doesn’t really seem to do this, in the comments of his that I’ve read. For instance, he says:

    “I won’t (and can’t) refute the arguments you make, because they are littered with logical fallacies that render them unable to be logically reconciled.”

    That makes no sense. If arguments are illogical or based on logical fallacies, and we know of the existence of such fallacies, then they can be pointed out and refuted using logic. Especially if you believe your position is right and more logically based (which from claiming that there are logical fallacies in the opposing arguments Michael appears to believe) you ought to point these fallacies out. You would be doing your opponent (I hate to make it sound like a fight when it should really be a dialogue) a favor by helping them get closer to the truth, if you are indeed right.

    Sorry for such a long-winded comment!

  • http://mudpiemagnet.hubpages.com mudpiemagnet

    “Most come to debate and learn or thinking Christians are nice people only to find scorn and ridicule.”

    ouch. I think he’s got you there. Maybe it hurts a bit too much to admit that we Christians are probably mostly responsible for the atheism in this world…


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