Answering Allegedly Unanswerable Questions

Answering Allegedly Unanswerable Questions June 5, 2018

 

“Hello! You’ve reached ChristianApologist.com. And I’m S. J. Thomason, and today I’m gonna present to you eleven questions that atheists cannot answer.

The first question: How do you explain why the early Christian martyrs preached for decades, saying they saw the risen Christ?”

Shall we start with Paul? As I understand it, he seems to have seen a flash of light and heard voices that his friends around him couldn’t hear. Some scholars think that he had a stroke, and this lead him to write an awful lot of irrational nonsense for the rest of his life; sometimes claiming to have personally witnessed things he’s never actually seen, which is the Christian tradition.

Remember, the crux of any religious faith is pretending to know things that you don’t or can’t really know. This is already enough to inspire martyrdom, especially when one believes their salvation depends on and rewards martyrs for their stoic faith against all reason, for being ridiculed for ridiculous beliefs, regardless whatever religion it is.

In the 3rd Foundational Falsehood of Creationism, I explained how religious martyrdom occurs in most religions, if not all of them: especially those claiming a personal relationship with their god, as many of them do. They all make the same pleas about changed lives, and healing, and miraculous blessings, and all that too.

This includes claims of actually meeting their gods in person, seeing them, hearing them, and sometimes even touching them. Because you have to know them. Pretending to be friends with someone who can bend reality is all part of the God game.

So the first question that you think an atheist can’t answer is one this atheist has already answered ten years ago. Why would you think that an atheist can’t answer this? Like everything else you believe, this too doesn’t make any sense. Anyone studying comparative religions can answer this, regardless whether they believe in any god.

And why are we only talking about Christianity? What makes y’all so special?

“2. How do you explain the rise of Christianity, to between five and six million by 313 ce, when it was finally legalized, from such humble roots?”

The first Christians were oppressed and impoverished renunciates, justified by their rejection of personal wealth. That’s the “humble beginning” you’re talking about. That worked for people who didn’t have any financial or political power—until they got some of course. Then they flipped the script to renounce the teachings of Jesus in favor of Prosperity Gospel, as if the eye of a needle is somehow big enough for rich evangelists to fly their private jets through.

Christianity rose the same way all religions rise, from a grass roots following to one with a strategic advantage for manipulation of the masses that is then revised and forcibly imposed by the state.

While Rome was initially tolerant of many different religions, once Christianity was politically promoted over all others, it was soon illegal to be anything else.

If you have the political power to murder an infidel on the word of one or two witnesses, that will do a lot to promote your particular religion, whatever it is. But it is important to note that had it not been for Constantine pushing it on everyone militarily, the old hippy socialist religion would have died out as humbly as it began, like all other religions of that time.

Why did you think an atheist couldn’t answer this question? There are some Christians who give this answer. If you ask this same question of a Muslim or a Sikh, would you not get the same explanation? Their religions both rose the same way yours did, and Islam is now growing much faster than yours, even though it’s much younger. Can you explain that? Because I’ll bet that’s a question you can’t answer. Failing that, I think you’ll blame it on an evil spirit instead.

“3. What powered inflation of the Universe?”

Again, a question you think atheists can’t answer is one that it seems only atheists have even attempted to answer. I’ve already explained this in a few of my videos. As I understood it, cosmic expansion could be a product of a 4th special dimension giving the appearance of inflating 3-dimensional space-time, but professional cosmologists say there is evidence that it is actually empty space that’s causing the expansion of the universe.

Though that does answer your question, we still don’t yet know any possible explanation for how that happens, but we know your suggestion is not possible. Before we can say that something is possible, there must be a precedent or parallel or verified phenomenon indicating that such a possibility exists. You don’t have that for God, and miracles are impossible by definition.

So turning that around, this is a question most Christians won’t answer, because you refuse to accept any explanation that doesn’t implicate your magic imaginary friend.

Understand that giving an answer doesn’t mean making up some bullshit excuse that isn’t true or doesn’t work. It doesn’t qualify as an answer until you can show that your explanation is defensibly justified. Blaming gods and magic or other unsubstantiated things doesn’t explain anything and isn’t supported by anything, and therefore doesn’t constitute an answer to anything.

You may be satisfied accepting baseless speculation asserted as fact, but I know that an unsupported assertion has no more validity than a claim that has already been proven false. So anything that is not explained by science isn’t explained by religion either. Because there is no truth to any religion, meaning there is nothing any religion believes that they can actually show to be true. That’s why it depends on faith, which is auto-deceptive.

You can’t brag about a question atheists can’t answer if you can’t answer it either, and neither can anyone else.

“4. Why are humans spiritual?”

We’re not, though many of us pretend to be.

We have such an ability for pattern recognition that we see animals in the clouds or faces in our floor tiles. Likewise we see people and animals in constellations by connecting the dots between stars that have really have nothing to do with each other, imagining these and many other things that aren’t really there.

The same illusion happens by erroneously associating events too. Such that some people seem to be lucky, as if things are being orchestrated for them as an enchantment, (better known as a blessing) from some cosmic script writer. Because how else are these things gonna be manipulated that way?

Again, this atheist has already answered your question in the 4th chapter of my book, where I explained that people have good reason to be aware that someone or something may be watching them at any given time. This leads some to assume that someone is always watching them: and whoever it is is intimately interested in everything we ever do or even think.

One thing that is uniquely human is this pretense of mind-over-matter, where we think that being convinced of a lie can somehow make it come true if we really really believe it. As false as that is constantly demonstrated to be, this still makes us seek communion with whatever telepathic entities we imagine might be tuning into our minds.

This question is obviously better answered by atheists than by anyone else, and not just because we don’t presuppose a spirit that can’t and we know doesn’t even exist.

“5. Where did consciousness come from?”

This is another question atheists can obviously answer better than anyone else.

Consciousness is an awareness of your surroundings, established by a network of neurons in association with nerve sensors. Some organisms have only a couple senses or tactile sensation or homestasis [feeling healthy or ill]. Others add a sense of sight or pain without enough of a neural network to be fully aware or even awake. The more synapses you have, the more aware you are, and the more things you can be aware of.

I’ve met believers who think that humans have a soul and animals don’t. And because of that, that animals are just biological machines that don’t really feel anything. They believe this for no reason and against all reason, because there is plenty of proof that other animals have feelings including love and compassion, and not just from mirror neurons.

Some believers even imagine that a mindless embryo is somehow infused with consciousness once they’re infused with a soul—even though you can’t remember anything from that first year when your brain wasn’t adequately developed.

The study of Evo Devo notes parallels between embryological and evolutionary development. So obviously there was a time when our ancestors were barely cognizant, with only basic mammal intelligence, like we had in infancy.

Either way, it’s so obvious that consciousness came from development of the brain. Yet religious believers still pretend that it comes from somewhere else—even when y’all know better. Seems the real answer isn’t good enough.

Religion has required beliefs and prohibited beliefs, meaning you’re not allowed to accept or understand certain things, and you face the threat of a fate worse than death if you do. But atheists are typically free-thinkers, following truth wherever it leads. There is no question you can answer but that we can’t, because there is no truth we need fear like you do. There are questions believers can’t answer but that free thinkers can, because we can accept the real explanations, even the ones you refuse to admit.

“6. How do you explain what some have called our sixth sense?”

I’m not sure if these are all numbered in the right order. Did you mean our sense of balance and acceleration? That’s based mostly on fluids in our ears and works in principle a bit like a simple construction level.

Though I suspect that like many believers, you forgot about half of these and are instead alluding to a fantastic psionic ability, which doesn’t really exist. It’s a phantasm, which stems mostly from fallacious reasoning, by which I mean logical fallacies like confirmation bias that invalidate your conclusions.

I shouldn’t need to explain that it isn’t real. Though in addition to pointing out there is no possible mechanism by which extra-sensory perception could work, I can also say that there are many tests that have been done to show that it definitely doesn’t work. You’ll get equal success with a Magic 8-Ball.

“7. How did the Earth overcome what M.I.T. and Stanford physicists call “statistically miraculous odds” to have habitable conditions?”

Again, you think this is a question atheists can’t answer, but a few atheists have famously answered this already, as I explained myself in previous videos.

For example, in this letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, an atheist cosmologist explained the Probabilistic fallacy that you’re citing right now. Correcting that, he went on to say: “We currently do not know the factors that allow the evolution of life in the Universe. We know the many factors that were important here on Earth, but we do not know what set of other factors might allow a different evolutionary history elsewhere.
…We have discovered many more planets around stars in our galaxy than we previously imagined, and many more forms of life existing in extreme environments on our planet than were known when early estimates of the frequency of life in the universe were first made. If anything, the odds have increased, not decreased.
…This is more likely an example of life being fine-tuned for the universe in which it evolved, rather than the other way around.”

Now, if you prefer to dream of a genie who fine-tuned this universe just for us, then why is it we can only survive temporarily on a fraction of the surface of this one tiny speck of dust in an incomprehensibly vast abyss of freezing and boiling, poisonous chaos that would kill us instantly everywhere else?

“8. Why does humanity cherish humility and honesty over pride and deceit?”

Looking at our current political situation, that doesn’t seem to be true anymore. It’s not true for you, for example. Or else you wouldn’t allow yourself to be completely convinced of things that aren’t evidently true or that are evidently not true. And consequently, you wouldn’t have said that atheists couldn’t answer any of these questions. Or you would have corrected your video once you saw the first of many rebuttals to it.

If you state something as fact when it isn’t a fact, (meaning that it can’t be objectively verified) that’s a lie. Yet that’s what all religions do. So it’s especially ironic that you would pose this question as if atheists can’t answer it. You shouldn’t even ask it.

Again, the atheist is in a much better position to answer this than the believer. I am atheist because truth matters more than whatever I want to believe. Because only accurate information has practical application, and the only way to improve understanding is to seek out the flaws in your current perspective and correct them. Faith can’t do that. In fact it does the very opposite of that, being inherently auto-deceptive.

I know many believers who aren’t ashamed to lie and even brag about it, and don’t care if other people lie to them. Look who y’all pay tithe to. Look who you voted for.

But I put lies and violence in the same category. Lies and violence are inexcusable, except in rare and desperate situations of self preservation. Lies and violence are both abusive too. Because if people base their decisions or actions on your information, then your lies are hurting them.

Pride however is another matter. Religion wants to strip people of their pride, all except for the clergy of course, who get to be simultaneously the most humble among you while being the most lavish and powerful and treated with undeserved honor and esteem, as if they knew something the rest of us don’t. The rest of us are supposed to submit to religious authority without question, without reservation, and without reason.

Cult leaders say that the best way to control people is to strip them of their pride. Because pride comes connected to two other things, honor and shame. You can have too much pride. But if you have no pride, then you have no honor, and you have no shame, and thus can be made to do any foul thing you’re commanded to do.

So be proud if you can be, but have enough humility to admit when you’re wrong or that you don’t know what you’re talking about, which is another attribute believers typically lack.

“9. Why do almost all feel compelled to do what’s right by helping neighbors? Why is there a norm of reciprocity?”

Again, the question you think an atheist can’t answer is one I’ve already answered in my first public speaking gig. There I noted how animals who were raised in dependence by a nurturing mother are the very ones who show empathy for others. And I explained how man is a social animal, and that as such we have developed an innate sense of compassion for our family, friends, and fellows. And this is true of all social animals. Anyone with a dog should be able to see that.

Those who collaborate with and support the common good are the most beneficial to that society and the most productive, while deviants tend to be ostracized, by being imprisoned, banished, or killed. So our concept of morality is actually an emergent property of population mechanics driven by strong selective pressures.

As a result, we’ve even developed mirror neurons to enhance our empathy with others. And this is even further enhanced by over-development of the frontal lobes: where those lacking this tend to be more selfish, cruel, shortsighted, and reactionary, and very often religious.

Society then depends on the function of the individuals with it. All social animals, including humans, have this sense of compassion and community that in many species leads to acts of devotion, defense, and even altruistic self-sacrifice on another’s behalf.

Whereas religion has no explanation for any of this at all. Because it doesn’t matter how evil you are. All your sins will be forgiven if you but believe. But if you don’t believe, then it doesn’t matter how good you are, because the only sin that will not be forgiven is the sin of disbelief. Thus gullibility is the sole criteria for redemption.

Were it otherwise, if salvation were based on morality instead of credulity, then kind, fair and charitable heathens and infidels could all get into Heaven, while selfish, cruel and vindictive criminal Christians would be denied forgiveness of any crimes for which they have not atoned.

“10. What is our greater purpose?”

We don’t have one. Or at least, it’s not determined for us by someone else. Because there is no one other than myself who can determine my purpose. We may not have free will, but at least we have the choice of what purpose—if any—we choose to adopt or reject.

This again is a question only atheists can answer. Christians can’t because y’all pretend that your purpose is to kiss Hank’s ass forever. Unable to escape from little Anthony Freemont, you’re damned to grovel before the great Trump in the sky. You clearly have no purpose that could be considered great in any respect.

“And 11. Why is there evil in the world?”

I guess you’d say the answer is in Isaiah 45, where your god’s alleged father said that he created evil. But since there’s no determinable—or even possible—truth to that, and it doesn’t make any sense either (especially since that god IS evil himself) then that can’t right.

Of course the real answer is because there are aberrations in every population, as I’ve said before; due of course to the suite of unique mutations inherent in every individual. As well as, you know, environmental conditions, upbringing, and that sort of thing.

And if such people are not identified and restricted from whatever harm they mean to cause, they may find the means to conceal their continued malevolence while they perpetuate it in disguise: like in the clergy for example.

Who do you think invented all these religions?

Never mind. Seems that’s a question believers can’t answer; nor correctly anyway.

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