I somehow stumbled across a video that I just have to comment on. I don’t want to provide a link to it, because the counter showed that I was only the 3rd person to see it. Hours later, there was only one more view. So I’m not going to call attention to him. I suspect this guy isn’t ready to respond to the harsh reality that we so stridently represent. My intention is not to preach to the choir here. You guys have already heard it all anyway. I intend to address this one individual anonymously, but without excluding other readers who didn’t see his video.
This person said he was looking for the ‘rift’ between ‘non-believers’, by which I assume he means atheists, skeptics, rationalists, apistevists, etc. (Whom I will attempt to speak for here) and the ‘make-believers’ whom he represents in the context of this post. He suggested that ‘we’ likely assume that all Christians are just simple-minded folk. While that is grotesquely true way too often, (and there is even a growing body of clinical research to support that!) it is not always the case. It usually comes down to a question not of intellect, but of intellectual honesty. Whether you have an emotional ‘need-to-believe’ in some irrationally preconceived notion, and whether that overrides your desire to understand whatever the truth really is, regardless what it might turn out to be.
Now I would say that any honest earnest quest for truth must begin with the abandonment of faith. Are you prepared to lie in order to maintain your self-induced delusion? Or are you bold enough to question your own convictions and even test them to find out if they’re true, and discard them if they are not? That’s the rift. That’s the difference between us.
Now this person was promoting an upcoming conference called ‘Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World‘. (sigh) Where do I begin just with that?
1. There is nothing reasonable about faith. Those two words mean completely opposite things. Putting them together creates an oxymoron, That’s why William Lyin’ Craig thought it would make a clever book title. Faith is an unreasonable conviction which is assumed without reason and defended against all reason. That’s why faith is the most dishonest position it is possible to have. It really is!
Having reason means that you’re amenable to reason, and that you can be reasoned with, because your position is based on logic and evidence [reasons] instead of faith. With evidence, you neither require nor desire faith, and visa versa. In a reasonable perspective, the truth is what the facts are, and truth becomes paramount. Thus we do not have any a-priori assumed conclusion which we’re predetermined to defend; we are free to follow the evidence in whichever direction makes the most sense. It doesn’t matter what you believe; all that matters is why you believe it, and how accurate you can show your beliefs to be. Can you show there is any truth to it? Guess how I’ll answer that question.
2. From what I understand from willful believers, their perspective is wholly opposite of ours, because however confident they pretend to be matters more than whether they actually know what they’re talking about. That’s why they assert as fact that which is not evidently true, and that’s why attest the strength of their conviction without justification from any defensible data. They see actual factual truth as irrelevant. There need not be any measurable truth in anything they ever claim, and in fact there isn’t. No religion out there can show that their baseless assertions are correct at all, much less whether they are any more so than all the other religions.
Thus everything they say is completely empty to us. Unsupported assertions of impossible absurdities are indistinguishable from the illusions of delusion, and no one should believe anything that requires faith. Because faith requires that we believe without question, without reservation, without reason. That is irrational, foolish; that’s what a fool is. Your Bible got it wrong. Any assertion that requires faith should be rejected for that reason.
We of course have a prerequisite mandate that we cannot honestly state as fact that which is not actually factual. That means we have to be able to prove that it really is true by some sort of objective verification. We have to have multiple lines of evidence independently indicating only one conclusion over any other before we can say that anything is actually true. We can’t even say that something is probably true unless we already have the data indicating that probability. Otherwise we could only say that we believe X to be true, but we can’t say that we know it is. If you can’t show it, you don’t know it. If we can’t verify your claims to any degree at all, by any means whatsoever, then it is a fact that you cannot possibly know what you only think you know.
Having no reason to believe something is a good reason not to believe it. There is no way to be certain of anything if you cannot demonstrate or verify it objectively. If you can’t show that anything you say is certainly true, then it is meaningless. And in the case of Christian claims, it would still be meaningless even if it was true, but that’s a topic of deeper conversation than our subject is ready for.
We have to reject all the logical fallacies on which religious beliefs depend. We have adhere to the rules of science. So we can disprove a positive claim, and the Bible makes many claims that have been conclusively disproved, the flood, the tower of Babel, the Exodus, and so on …and on, and on. But we needn’t bother trying to prove a negative claim -like ‘there is no god’. In science, there is only what is supported by evidence and what is not supported. Whatever is not supported by evidence doesn’t yet warrant serious consideration. Come back when you have something of substance. These are some of the rules of logic to which we must adhere. For example:
“Positive claims require positive evidence;extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
“What can be asserted without evidence
can be dismissed without evidence.”
This is an example of the ‘minds’ who speak for science, for reason over faith. The person who’s video I am addressing said he was excited about the ‘minds’ that will be speaking at that upcoming conference; he said they were brilliant. But these showmen make the most extraordinary claims, unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, and consistently shift the burden of proof when they’re called out on that. Such people represent less ability to ‘dazzle with brilliance‘ than they do to ‘baffle with bullshit‘.
The person I’m writing to said these speakers have answers to important questions, specific ones which he listed in his video. I have answered those questions below, just for the sake of consideration / comparison.
Q: Why does God allow evil? A: Because God is evil.
The supposedly sacred fables in the Bible describe God as creating evil intentionally, of consorting with evil, being compelled by evil, and of gambling with the devil -with human suffering as the desired outcome. In fact, God is depicted as being almost entirely evil himself, throughout the entire cluster of repugnant horror stories. The Bible is NOT the ‘word of God’, nor could it be, since it is dead wrong about damned near everything back to front. It is an obviously internally conflicted compilation conceived by ignorant and bigoted savages attempting to justify slavery, genocide, sexism, racism, and other inhuman atrocities. Consequently the book itself is evil in that it endorses everything that evil is.
Q: Is there evidence for the resurrection? A: No.
There is strong inference that Jesus is at least a legendary character -if not entirely mythical, (and plagiarized from previous polytheism), yet he still failed to fulfill any of the Jewish prophesies of the coming Messiah. Then there are the notably epic events of his death, like the official attention from multiple heads of state, hours of global darkness, undead saints in downtown Judea; none of which was remembered or recorded by any historian of that time. Considering all that, and the fact that there was never any evidence that he ever even lived in the first place, then logically there can be no evidence of him having lived …again.
Q: Does God exist? A: No.
(a) God is defined by his miraculous nature, defying the laws of physics. Thus he is physically impossible by definition. (b) God is defined as existing outside our reality rather than within it, thus he does not exist in reality, again by definition. (c) God evidently does not exist, since there is no evidence to indicate any such thing, and (d) there is plenty of evidence to show that the whole idea was contrived out of earlier, equally erroneous theologies, and adapted by superstitious primitives.
Q: Is scripture reliable? A: No.
This is an especially important point, because this answer would still be no, regardless how one answers the preceding question. Even if some -or all- of the legends in that tome were actually true, the Bible still wouldn’t be reliable on its own without outside verification. Human journalism never has been nor will be. But even if God exists, and he wrote the book himself, (in which case it would be completely different) the authority of the author is not enough. It would still require outside verification from independent evidence, and that is just not the case.
Where you were born usually determines whatever religion you embrace. And the more men speculate, the more their religions divide into different sects, denominations, cults and so on, continuously dividing and contradicting each other, because it is the blind leading the blind. But if you give up whatever faith and pursue evidence instead, then it doesn’t matter what religion you came from, you’re going to find yourself zeroing in on the same one-and-only evident reality as everyone else in the global scientific community. That is the truth of nature and the nature of truth.
There, I saved you a trip. Now you don’t have to go to that oxymoronic conference where baffling bullshitters will tell you just what you want to hear, but who will never tell you the truth, nothing that any of them can honestly say they actually know, or that is even possible, much less rational, or otherwise logical, nor anything important to the ‘faith’ which can be proven to be true.