Congressman says atheism is damaging

diaz-balartLincoln Diaz-Balart, a Florida Congressman, went and saw a Divine Performing Arts show and had this to say about the show’s meaning:

The fact is, some things are eternal, and no matter what the difficulties in this life the truth will prevail, and mankind cannot be destroyed.

That sounds nice, I guess, but it’s a list of bold, unprovable assertions. Especially “mankind cannot be destroyed.” I wonder if the Dodos had a similar mantra before they went extinct.

He goes on:

I was very moved by the song that talked about the damage that atheism has caused and is causing. It was very moving…. The songs carry the sense that evil will not prevail, and so the message is that the truth ultimately prevails…. These times will pass because eternal truth will survive atheism and the difficulties of the 20th Century.

In other words, atheism is evil and damaging society and “eternal truth” will prevail. And this is a Congressman!

  • BrightonRocks

    Nothing but bigotry and ignorance.

    He mentions the word ‘truth’ yet the reason I withold belief in any gods is that I put truth above wishful thinking.

  • http://atheistwisdom.blogspot.com Luke

    He’s right about the truth prevailing. That’s why religions are doomed to failure, and why 99% of them have gone the way of the dodo, while modern atheism is the same as it has always been.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “I was very moved by the song that talked about the damage that atheism has caused and is causing.”

    This is seriously laughable. Which is more damaging?

    A skeptic mind that holds a position of non belief in the existence of something supernatural of which there is no evidence, …

    Or the persistent shackles of religion that invade the minds of otherwise honest and logical people, as well as just about every political state that has ever existed, with it’s “truths” about the nature of people and the universe that are based in unsupported, uninformed faith in the man-made concept of the supernatural?

  • http://pocius.lt/ Karolis Pocius

    What do you expect? He’s a congressman who needs to appeal to the majority, which in the States, let me remind you, is Christian :)

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Karolis: I don’t think he’s appealing to the majority — I think he really believes that.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com/ Eamon Knight

    From the Epoch Times, ie. a Falun Gong propaganda rag. Sounds like the show is also a FG production.

  • http://davedragon.rilysi.com DaveDragon

    Another Blind Idiot regurgitating the shit they swallow on faith.

  • Vorjack

    “the damage that atheism has caused and is causing”

    What damage does he means? I suppose he’s one of the folks who would say that Stalin and Hitler were atheists. I wonder what damage he thinks we’re causing now, though?

  • http://sisyphusfragment.wordpress.com Sisyphus Fragment

    “I was very moved by the song that talked about the damage that the Jews have caused and is causing. It was very moving…. The songs carry the sense that evil will not prevail, and so the message is that the truth ultimately prevails…. These times will pass because eternal truth will survive the Jews and the difficulties of the 20th Century.”

    Does that look acceptable to anyone else here? I didn’t think so..

    It’s bigotry anyway you cut it. Unfortunately, Florida is full of crazies as well..

  • jason

    I live in south Florida and this guy, like most politicians that come from Miami, is a joke. The only thing that gets this guy and many other’s elected is the he’s latino and the latino community supports these guys cause hes ‘one of their own’. Like the rest of the country, they never vote for the best qualified or best person for the job, they vote for the ‘they are like us’ factor. Its not often in Florida you get candidates that are good for the job.

  • Speaker-to-Animals

    Even his assertion that “evil will not prevail” — assuming we could come up with a definition of “evil” we could all agree on — seems to assume that humans need do nothing to avert disaster and create their own destiny, that, rather, we can simply trust in the Divine Creator to sweep up our mess. How convenient.

  • Jerry

    Ah, yes! Evidence of the unpublished Beatitude: “Blessed are the ignorant, for they shall attain political office.”

  • http://digitaldame.wordpress.com Digital Dame

    :::banging head on keyboard:::

    It’s so disturbing that there are people who eat this crap up. A lot of people. And what does he think atheism is damaging? What does that mean? Did no reporter try to pin him down on that? Or does he only allow his minions to interview him?

  • http://digitaldame.wordpress.com Digital Dame

    @Speaker-to-Animals:

    And look how well that’s working! :)

  • Speaker-to-Animals

    @Digital Dame: Indeed

  • Pedro Latino

    I agree with Jason that the “caudilo” rules in the Latin culture. Most of us are Catholic so he’s speaking to that group, which if it buys the Christian myth will buy others too. As far as atheism being damaging, it most certainly is. It’s damaging to the manipulation, lies and outright fantasies which are the basis for all religions. The terminally churched hate atheists more than they hate evil. Truth makes them look like gullible fools, which they are.

  • JSN

    It is more specific than that. He is Cuban and anti-Castroism is one of his top legislative foci.

  • Jordan

    Scary thing is, it’s been going on for 2400 years.

    Read Plato and the trial of Socrates.

    “But still I should like to know, Meletus, in what I am affirmed to corrupt the young. I suppose you mean, as I infer from your indictment, that I teach them not to acknowledge the gods which the State acknowledges, but some other new divinities or spiritual agencies in their stead. These are the lessons which corrupt the youth, as you say.

    Yes, that I say emphatically.

    Then, by the gods, Meletus, of whom we are speaking, tell me and the court, in somewhat plainer terms, what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach others to acknowledge some gods, and therefore do believe in gods and am not an entire atheist – this you do not lay to my charge; but only that they are not the same gods which the city recognizes – the charge is that they are different gods. Or, do you mean to say that I am an atheist simply, and a teacher of atheism?

    I mean the latter – that you are a complete atheist.”

  • http://rufreeyet.blogspot.com JStein

    Please, people on this thread, don’t compare us to religious minorities in this country. We have enough trouble explaining why atheism is not a religion already.

    Instead, why don’t we use this opportunity to talk about all of the great things that this congressman’s “eternal truth” has helped to offer to society?

    Off of the top of my head I can come up with racism, censorship, homophobia, xenophobia, war, genital mutilation, chauvinism, slavery (both sex slavery and labor slavery) and, from time to time, genocide.

    We really should make a push at this guy individually as a bigot, but please make it about the overwhelming point that his religion has made him a bigot, not simply that he is one.

  • Dan

    to LUKE.

    “That’s why religions are doomed to failure, and why 99% of them have gone the way of the dodo”

    Christianity is growing for more rapidly than Atheism is today.

    There is a religious reform in the west occurring right now that the Atheists– excuse me — “Brights” are to ignorant to realize.

  • Wormwood

    “Christianity is growing for more rapidly than Atheism is today. ”

    Well, that certainly is one interpretation of the available data.

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/743/united-states-religion

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1010/p12s01-lire.html

  • Vorjack

    @Dan -

    “Brights” is a label that never took off for a variety of reasons. It has been discarded. And, of course, it never really applied to atheists alone. It was trying to be a replacement for the more antiquated phrase “free thinker.”

    Addly, the fastest growing religious population in the country – according to one Pew survey at least – are the “unaffiliated.” Not necessarily atheists, but not confessional Christians either.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/25/us/25cnd-religion.html?_r=1&ex=1361682000&en=f0f81c08d22aea7c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

    “The survey also indicates that the group that had the greatest net gain was the unaffiliated. More than 16 percent of American adults say they are not part of any organized faith, which makes the unaffiliated the country’s fourth largest “religious group.”

  • patrick

    while I believe that atheists are wrong, government sanctioned religion wouldn’t be that great either. The spiritual realm needs to be a personal matter for each of us to chose, or else we run the risk of a theocracy like Iran which would be the worst of all things.

    Most “evangelical christians” in government are really blasphemers who abuse the Lord’s name in the pursuit of personal enrichment of earthly, material things. The filthy sins of these so called “evangelists” are why America is hurting so much today.

  • Ty

    And if every religious person were like you, Patrick, I would never feel the need to mention religion again.

  • JonnyBlazze

    The man is an ass !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ed_CO

    I thought we were in the 21st century, not the 20th.

    Ed

  • Patrick

    Hasn’t evil already been in charge for the past few thousand years in the form of religion? I’d say the lack of religion equates to a lack of evil. For evil to exist at all, it takes religion.

  • Dan L.

    Christianity is growing for more rapidly than Atheism is today.

    There is a religious reform in the west occurring right now that the Atheists– excuse me — “Brights” are to ignorant to realize.

    Get back to me in 20 years when the swarms of fundie kids who are currently counted as the same faith as their parents are forced to deal with the real world and realize that their parents’ faith is undercutting their ability to compete for jobs.

    And “brights”? I like Dennett a lot as both a philosopher and a teacher, but even I laughed at him for that one.

  • http://www.thelowbar.com Jake

    It does astound me when any Believer makes the claim that atheism is damaging and destructive, especially in light of the Christian and Jewish wars against Islam currently taking place in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Gaza.

    Don’t even pretend for a moment that these are wars on terror. There would be no Islamic terrorists were it not for Christians (US, UK) and Jews (US, Israel) stealing Arab land and resources.

  • http://atheistwisdom.blogspot.com Luke

    Dan

    To think that Christianity will endure shows naivety. As I said, 99% of religions have died out completely. Christianity will go the same way. It has already fractured so much into countless different orthodoxies, all different enough from each other as to render the umbrella term “Christianity” almost pontless.

    On the other hand, as I said, atheism hasn’t changed, and atheists the world over are utterly united in their defining (lack of) belief.

  • Svennicus

    I think what he meant to say was “the damage that atheism has caused and is causing … to religion”

    Atheism is about having your mind released from the centuries of religious indoctrination. Atheism is about taking control of your own life, not waiting for someones sick little mindgame to come save you, there is a reason why they are called “flock” the blindly folow a piece of paper which has been translated, interpreted and more than likely had a sever case of chinese whispers.

  • Dan L.

    @Luke:

    Are we violently agreeing? I’m saying that the children of fundamentalist Christians will have a lot of pressure on them to pass over their parents’ faith and join the modern world in the coming decades.

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    and mankind cannot be destroyed

    Hold on, isn’t that what’s meant to happen … something about that is mentioned at the end of his Bible…

  • Pingback: Right Wing “Christian” Asshats In The News: Lincoln Diaz-Balart | Oliver Willis

  • jyp

    A lifetime would be insufficient to enumerate the list of horrors and crimes committed in the name of religion…

    Freely quoting Richard Dawkins
    … There are good men and there are bad men; to turn good men into bad men, one needs religion…

  • http://atheistwisdom.blogspot.com Luke

    Dan L:

    Sorry, I was replying to “Dan”, not “Dan L”. Shoulda been more specific there. I agree with your posts.

  • aaron

    atheism is just another widespread idea about the purpose of life. just like religion. i would even go as far as saying that it is a religion. but instead of worshipping a “god” you worship fact. everyone has their own way through life and when that is realized we will stop trying to force opinions or fact on people to make them believe something. the truth is that fact is just something that has been proven to be true over and over. it too started out as just an assumption or theory that few believed until it was fact. not saying that i am religious but i am spiritual and to completely deny something is to bring ignorance into your mind. not one person out there can say that their brain contains all the knowledge in the cosmos. therefore, you can not tell me that there is not a piece of information somewhere that proves or disproves someones religious belief. stop being concerned with what other people believe and focus inward.

  • Jon R
  • Stinghar

    As one of his constituents, I can only say this opponent was worse. In every way.

    Sorry folks. The upside, he’s a rep which means he has about as much power as the DC metermaid who tickets his car.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    aaron:

    Um, yeah. Mean old us, complaining when theists say we’re immoral and evil, and insisting that we accept their religion (which you admit has no evidence in its favour) is “eternal truth”. We should totally get over that whole “not wanting to be treated like second-class citizens” thing, right? I mean, if someone, somewhere has a holy book that claims a certain group of people ought to be put to death, who could possibly have a problem with that?

  • Christopher

    First there was ‘agnostic atheism’, then pushy atheism, then radical-critical-of-others atheism; and now militant-in-your-face atheism… What is so different? Now you atheists do what all the intolerant religious freaks do, only you do for and about NOTHING!

    You guys are not only pawned suckers of the New World Order (who want you dead, along with the rest of us), but your dumb schmucks. When you realize that to stand for NOTHING is to ACCEPT ANYTHING, you will realize that you have been suckered punched… But by then, the smiley face Neo-Nazis, with Amerikan-NAU flags on their Kevlar jackets, will be knocking at your flimsy door, waiting to put YOU on the gas chamber trains (the ones that drive INTO the gas chambers, not to them).

    Wake up. It is only when the usary of the NWO pulls the strings of religion and the faithful, which causes the wars and spilled blood THEY profit from. Now they use you as they have used all the others.

    Wake up Ameeerika! If you refuse to serve God, you will serve man. If you serve man, you will be either murdered, or enslaved (then worked to death). It is the REALITY of history.

    • janyie

      Well Said,
      Chris. Do we not understand. Religion is just a bunch of “Rules and Regulations”
      TRUTH is TRUTH = Mad Trust…… He talks about Evil in Atheist. And truth as if it is nothing .. Really you must understand and study Truth to accept it.. If your even blessed enough to be called.. You don’t have any control over who,or why or how you have become his beloved even if you don’t know him.. He know’s you…….. Your are His BELOVED …….Period.

      • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

        …what? Do you need to up your dosage?

  • Orthros

    Atheism is damaging… this isn’t rocket science.

    Anything Christians have done pale in comparison to Stalin, Pol Pot and their ilk.

    If there is no God, there is no ultimate truth.

    If there is no ultimate truth, might makes right, no matter how much you personally “feel” that something is right or wrong. Who cares? Certainly not those with power, as shown by Stalin’s 50 million deaths during his reign of terror.

    A society of atheists is a society which won’t be around very long. Atheism is the perfect belief system for those with no children and no desire to have them (and, frankly, no small bit of disdain for them).

  • Wormwood

    Man, this story really kicked over the rock, didn’t it?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    A society of atheists is a society which won’t be around very long. Atheism is the perfect belief system for those with no children and no desire to have them (and, frankly, no small bit of disdain for them).

    Why do you say that? Why do you think I love my daughter any less than anyone else loves their kids?

    Did you get into a bet with some (maybe Christopher, directly above you) to see who could be the most obnoxiously offensive to complete strangers?

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    Atheism is damaging… this isn’t rocket science.

    Then I suggest you try to prove it.

    Anything Christians have done pale in comparison to Stalin, Pol Pot and their ilk.

    Care to explain the reasoning that atheism caused their actions as opposed to their want for personal power?

    If there is no God, there is no ultimate truth.

    Prove it.

    A society of atheists is a society which won’t be around very long.

    Again, prove it. On the other hand, nations currently with a high percentage of secular/atheistic beliefs tend to be the best that can be currently found on the planet.

    Atheism is the perfect belief system for those with no children and no desire to have them (and, frankly, no small bit of disdain for them).

    Guess you’re out of luck there then, I have a child. And he’s doing pretty well in life so far.

    I suggest you try actually doing some research and thinking before you make groundless and factually incorrect comments in future.

  • Orthros

    Well, wintermute, let’s put it this way: When I see atheistic families of 4, 5, 6 or more kids, then I’ll reconsider.

    Oh wait. Those families are “selfish” because they’re harming the environment, right?

    And if you’re teaching your daughter that there is no God, then you are, in fact, being much less loving than any other theistic parent would be, wittingly or not.

    Be pissed off all you’d like: I consider it child abuse to tell a child that s/he is all alone in the universe, especially given the eternal repercussions.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    That was strange. It’s like someone sent over the heard. I’m not even sure what the heck Christopher was talking about.

    Why don’t people understand that some people are just bad, and some that might be bad are made bad by their beliefs, and it’s not possible to be made bad due to a lack of belief.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Be pissed off all you’d like: I consider it child abuse to tell a child that s/he is all alone in the universe, especially given the eternal repercussions.”

    Are you joking? You’d rather tell your child that if they don’t believe in Christ that they will burn in hell for eternity, than to tell them they will not live on after death? You must be joking.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “And if you’re teaching your daughter that there is no God, then you are, in fact, being much less loving than any other theistic parent would be, wittingly or not.”

    I don’t consider perpetuating a fairy tale “loving”. I’d rather not rely on superstition to make my child feel loved. It is too bad that you do not think that your love as a parent would suffice.

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    Well, wintermute, let’s put it this way: When I see atheistic families of 4, 5, 6 or more kids, then I’ll reconsider.

    I could name some friends of my family who are in that precise family situation. You can take your foot out of your mouth now.

    Oh wait. Those families are “selfish” because they’re harming the environment, right?

    That doesn’t exactly have anything at all to do with atheism now, does it? But a case could be made, I suppose, that people who have too many children are contributing to the current overpopulation problem we seem to have at the moment. *shrugs*

    And if you’re teaching your daughter that there is no God, then you are, in fact, being much less loving than any other theistic parent would be, wittingly or not.

    How so?

    Be pissed off all you’d like: I consider it child abuse to tell a child that s/he is all alone in the universe, especially given the eternal repercussions.

    What eternal repercussions would that be then? That dying is exactly the same as going to sleep but don’t worry because there’s no eternal torture/torment/celine dione to worry about? That this life is your one shot at things so experience and appreciate the wonders of the universe around you while you can? To be good to people just for the sake of being good, not because a magic sky fairy will smack you if you don’t?

    On the flip side of the coin, a case could be made that indoctrinating children (and reprimanding them if they dare not like going to church, praying or any other religious custom) before they can even properly conceive the concept of a deity is child abuse since you’re directly robbing them of free choice/will.

    As for being ‘pissed off’, I don’t recall being any such thing over your incoherent and illogical ranting.

  • http://knowitall.wordpress.com/ gmcfly

    It’s always interesting how Christians bounce back and forth between claiming what a big threat atheism is, and then asserting that they have faith in God or in the truth to win out.

    If God is powerful, and the truth of your faith is self-evident, then why worry about atheists?

    Maybe lashing out at atheism is really a sign of weak faith.

  • Wormwood

    “Maybe lashing out at atheism is really a sign of weak faith.”

    I’ve often thought the same thing.

    Perhaps there is a smoldering ember of doubt in the believer’s heart which is stoked when they encounter someone leading a happy, fulfilled life without the need for gods and afterlives.

    Maybe a little envy, now that I think about it.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    Matt, since when is depriving a child of free will “child abuse”. More humanistic thought processes from a doomed belief system (atheism).

    gmcfly, there is a threat from atheism… be it a temporary one, it is still a threat. The threat being it robs others at a chance for salvation because it is so easy to follow. It doesn’t threaten God’s will at all, but we who care about our fellow man and his/her salvation are threatened by self-absorbed do what you want belief systems as they are easy to accept and the science knows all campus is attractive to those who want no responsiblity for their actions.

  • Orthros

    Matt,

    Let’s take a few of your points.

    1) “I love children”

    Another I have “a child” one… sigh.

    Can you honestly say that you plan to have a large family, to promote the concepts which you so passionately hold and to fill the earth with your gospel of… well, nothingness?

    Faith and large families go together. A society of atheists is a demographic winter waiting to happen.

    Actually, it’s already here: the birth rate in the States for atheists and people of no declared faith is 1.6, well below replacement.

    Why do you think that is?

    It is the same in all societies that I’ve ever studied: birth rates are substantially lower among those with no faith.

    It’s entirely rational: If there’s no eternal consequences to our actions, why sacrifice here and now to raise children when I can buy another SUV, jaunt off to Tristan de Cunha or replace my furniture at Restoration Hardware?

    Assuming there is no God, we will devolve, quite naturally, to a nation of self-seeking, narcissistic, materialistic moral relativists.

    The best atheistic men and women will resist…. but the vast majority won’t, and it won’t make rational sense for those who do.

    Why be self-sacrificial? Ayn Rand is right on this account: if God is a lie, then altruism is weakness. Do what’s best for you, and to hell with everyone else if they don’t like it.

    If you teach atheism to your children, this is the de facto truths you teach. And it is the most cruel form of child abuse (hopefully in ignorance instead of malice) that I can imagine: the killing of the soul, both temporally and eternally.

    2) Atheism as driver of immorality

    Stalin and the Communist regime drove God from the public sphere as the basis of their power… not a sideline.

    If you don’t agree, then I think the conversation is over. No man of good faith can really admit otherwise.

    This doesn’t mean that all atheists want to kill and pillage, of course… just that it is a *rational* basis for those for whom there is no objective morality.

    After all, if I am the god of this world… why not? I am Pol Pot, I am Josef Stalin… what’s to keep me from doing what I want to do to consolidate power? Who’s to say it’s wrong?

    3) Objective truth

    You’ve asked me to prove some things. I’ve tried to address some of your items above.

    I will now return the favor: Prove that there is objective truth in a world lacking God.

    Whose truth is the Truth? If you think that killing Blacks is just fine, and you have the power, why is it wrong? Because we post-modern Western peoples think it is? If so, then was it OK thousands of years ago? If not, what makes something right or wrong for all time? Is abortion, euthanasia, environmental distruction, homosexual activity, torture, genocide, having sex with children right or wrong?

    Without a standard and ultimate Rulemaker, one who does not change over time… there is no standard.

    And if you or I have enough power, we can just rape and pillage to our hearts’ desire.

    Or worse, we can convince 51% of the population that something is right, and *poof* it is.

    This fallacy, legal positivism, appears to have something of an atheistic bent behind it… but I’m sure most would reject it today if only because the passage of Proposition 8 brings it front and center.

    4) “Atheistic societies tend to be the best on the planet”

    My turn! PROVE IT. The evidence is quite to the contrary.

    Demographers have repeatedly shown that the nations with the highest suicide rates have the highest rates of atheism.

    Crime has historically risen in several Western democracies as religious underpinings to those societies have crumbled.

    I can’t believe that even an atheist would want to live in a society completely devoid of religion.

    The vast majority of my atheistic and agnostic friends admit that religion serves the purpose of keeping the social fabric together in a way that atheism simply cannot.

    Atheists like to think of themselves as Morally Superior People(TM).

    I apologize in advance if this isn’t you, but even my atheistic friends, people who ostensibly like to hang out with me, very bluntly say that God-believers are fools and deluded simpletons (in varying degrees of bluntness).

    As such, I can hardly let the kneejerk response to this article of “Look at what this idiot thinks!” pass without pointing out the obvious:

    He’s right. Atheism damages society.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Are you joking? You’d rather tell your child that if they don’t believe in Christ that they will burn in hell for eternity, than to tell them they will not live on after death? You must be joking.”

    I would rather tell my child the truth than a lie. And yours is a common misconception used by non-believers to hit home their arguments against Christians. I have been around Christians my whole life and have never heard one threaten their child with believe or go to hell. What happens… is the love of God is expressed and the children grow to love God because of it… not because of the threat of hell. This is eventually known but should not be the cause of your faith.

    So if you want to be taken seriously, please use better arguments than, “it is child abuse to tell your child he/she is going to hell if they don’t believe.”

  • Orthros

    Nice one, gmcfly.

    Maybe lashing out at Christianity is a sign of the doubt in every atheist’s heart that he may be wrong, eh? :)

    It’s a silly game.

    The genetic fallacy holds here: Regardless of *why* or my personal faith life (or lack thereof), the truth remains: Either atheism is true, or it is not. Either God exists in some form, or He does not.

    A or not A. Can’t be both, can’t be neither.

    You can try to redefine terms to squirm out of it, but at the end of the day, it’s one or the other.

    What’s sad is that you can’t even logically think of why I would care to combat atheism… is there no logical reason you can think of as to why I would want to, given my Christian beliefs (which you rightfully inferred)?

    C’mon. You guys are Brights. I’m sure you’ll figure it out, although it will make you sick to have to type it in.

    I have faith (ha! get it? faith!) that you can do it. =D

  • Orthros

    Wormwood:

    It’s not envy.

    I envy, if you can call it that, those who are smarter or more diligent or more moral than I am.

    I don’t at all envy those whose belief systems are a closed circle with themselves at the centre.

    It is a small, pitiful, depressing universe in which there is nothing bigger or more important than man.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Faith and large families go together. A society of atheists is a demographic winter waiting to happen.

    Actually, it’s already here: the birth rate in the States for atheists and people of no declared faith is 1.6, well below replacement.”

    All that proves is that educated people don’t go around popping kids out. Atheists don’t have less kids because they have less supernatural love to spread. More educated people have a higher percentage of atheism, and more educated people have less kids on average. It’s called a correlation.

  • Jesse

    Am I the only Atheist who doesn’t care? And I know it’s gonna muddy some waters, but I don’t think Atheism could ever provide an adequate guiding mode for a society to exist. For one, it is usually arrived at through a level of intellect that most people won’t reach, and in most cases, can’t reach. The absolutism of society, consumeristic lifestyles, a poor education system–these prevent people from thinking. People need easy answers to complex problems. For most people, Christianity is that thing. In my opinion, the practical nature of Christianity is that of a box with a lever on it; pull the lever, some easy answers spits out. But let’s face it–the majority of the electorate needs that box. It puts a face on chaos. Kind of reminds me of The Stranger, when the main character mentions that he hopes his execution will be to the sound of the mob, of derisive comments and scorn. (Which is great, because I never really understood that part before.)

    …And, if people need (at least, to a degree) their lever-box, the ethical thing to do is live and let live. We can laugh at them, but ought to keep it to ourselves, eh?

  • Reformedsteve

    To introduce myself to the blog, I was raised to be an atheist but I have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ Jesus. I hope that introduction will clear up and make void the assumption that every one who has faith in the Christian God was forced to go to Church by staunch believers.

    I understand that the religion of Atheism is one that is built upon materialism. I use the word materialism in a naturalistic sense. By divorcing it’s self from the notion of anything supernatural the atheist has left himself or herself with only natural things; the world as the atheist sees it is made up of only the things that are observable. That said, I want to ask where the atheist observed any information that would suggest the non existence of the Christian God?

    Of course I would argue that the historical accounts in the Bible serve as a proof of sorts that a being known as I AM or LORD as it translated into English made covenants or agreements with His creation that He later fulfilled in the person, Lord Jesus Christ.

    I also understand that none of my statements will convert any atheist that may read them. And they are not meant for that purpose. My purpose in asking is I am curious how postmodern atheism deals with the historical accuracy of the Bible. I see atheism as a very inconsistent belief system. I hope someone will explain.

    On a final note, I don’t see where he mentions Christianity in the quote. Why is it assumed? An atheist only observes.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “it’s not possible to be made bad due to a lack of belief.”

    Because of the obvious lack of intelligence in this statement, I have to think you are no longer debatable. I hope those here, also, decline to respond to such ignorant narrative in the future.

  • Jesse

    And yes, I’m fully aware of the elitist ring of my comment. It’s not intended. Apologies.

  • Orthros

    McBloggenstein:

    If your child has a medical condition, it is abuse to pretend it doesn’t exist so as to be “caring” and “loving”.

    The real dilemma here is: Does God exist? Do Heaven and Hell exist? Are they fairy tales or the most real reality in existence?

    In fairness, if there is no God and no Hell, then it is certainly true that to teach children there is one is horrific….

    …. but, alas, Hell does exist. I wish with every fiber of my being it did not, but I also wish that my best friend hadn’t died in adolescence.

    My wishes do not de facto equal reality, nor do yours.

    Therefore, to teach your children it doesn’t is the most statistically certain way to point them in that direction.

    Compared to that, all other child abuse is child’s play.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “So if you want to be taken seriously, please use better arguments than, “it is child abuse to tell your child he/she is going to hell if they don’t believe.””

    Taken seriously among whom? I was merely making an analogy. I don’t believe that Christians threaten their kids with that idea, but you must realize that that idea goes along with the rest of the superstition, and to let them figure that fact out later is basically hiding the bad stuff until all the good stuff is solidly in place so as to not let the bad stuff waiver their faith when confronted with it.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Because of the obvious lack of intelligence in this statement, I have to think you are no longer debatable. I hope those here, also, decline to respond to such ignorant narrative in the future.”

    Good work on your accomplishment. I haven’t seen you here before, I’m afraid you don’t realize you are among skeptics.

    I welcome anyone to point out what is wrong with that statement. I will in fact repeat it and encourage you, Ketch, to tell me what is wrong with it:

    it’s not possible to be made bad due to a lack of belief

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “we can simply trust in the Divine Creator to sweep up our mess. How convenient.”

    Once again, lack of knowledge (ignorance) of the Christian faith. How many Christians in the house worship a God that doesn’t require us to be responsible for our actions? None. That is not the God we believe in so quit alluding to the idea that we do to promote your own agenda.

    “assuming we could come up with a definition of “evil” we could all agree on”

    Evil is the absence of God. So, yes, atheism is evil… whether you could all agree on it or not. Truth does not require belief to be true.

  • Orthros

    McBloggenstein,

    With re: your commentary on children, what I’m trying to show you is that your atheism clouds a man’s judgment with regard to children.

    Every society on earth… until the last 50-100 years… saw the simple equation as: More Children = More Blessed

    We are the first society that fulfills the prophecy of Jesus (which, if you are so inclined, take as just the words of any other man… but realize that He said this 2,000 years ago):

    “In those days they will say ‘Blessed are the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed’”

    It was such an incredible thought to think that anyone would see fewer children as a blessing.

    IN fact, every atheist I’ve met uses that phrase “popping kids out”… do you have meetings or something where you approve them?!

    Seriously, more kids = better as a general rule. There are always exceptions, but that is a worldview which was quite universal across theist *and* agnostic-atheistic cultures until the 20th century.

    Modern atheism takes us a bit further down the pathway to nihilism, as shown by the “popping kids out” model of thought.

    If you really don’t see a problem with a 1.6 birth rate, or with 1.1 or 1.2 in Japan, Italy and elsewhere… then you are a de facto nihilist, as these are levels at which demographers declare a “demographic death spiral” from which we have never, historically, seen a return.

    You’d think we would be drowning in children here in the States from the way folks like you talk… instead of rapidly inverting the population pyramid, which is only being staved off by immigration (Thank God).

    Oh, and on a lighter note: You should send a thank you note to my kids, since they’ll be propping up Social Security for you. =D

  • politicalseasoning

    I have always wondered how anyone knows what the “true” religion is. Each one believes their version of the truth and the others are misguided. It’s a decision to believe based on where you were born. All of them however are unaccepting of an atheist’s belief. If there is a God then does he/she belong to one faith or another? If God was able to create the earth and it’s flora and fauna… to create a whole universe- why do mere humans even dare to think for a moment we could understand the truths such a God would know. I don’t have any problem with believing in a God or spirit, I have a problem with the many organized religions that are so sure that they are the only ones that “get it.” I guess everyone else is going to hell… or purgatory or where ever non-believers go, which is also something you must decide to believe in.
    Everybody thinks they have the answers on all sides of the religion debate when truly no one can realistically know for sure one way or the other what happens after this life is over but of course that doesn’t really matter does it?

  • Orthros

    McBloggenstein:

    I think I can prove your statement false (as I only need one example to do so).

    My lack of belief that illicit drugs are harmful (which has to be chosen, by the way) will certainly cause me great harm.

    I grew up in the inner city of a large metropolitan area. Many of my friends growing up are either addicted or dead. I wish I could say that this was an exaggeration… I sadly say it is not.

    Their lack of belief, their rejection of my cajoling to believe that drug use is evil, lead to their destruction.

    Would you disagree?

  • Orthros

    PoliticalSeasoning,

    The belief in God and the particular pathway to follow are beyond the scope of this conversation as I understand it.

    Your objections are fair and noteworthy; I have, however, tried to approach this discussion from a Theist vs. Non-theist POV to keep things simple, and because (I presume) most readers on this site are atheists or agnostics.

    That said, your insights are extremely important. I would be more than happy to discuss them with you offline if you would like.

    One clue: Counterfeit money doesn’t disprove the fact that there is real money somewhere. In fact, a counterfeit usually is a strong proof that a genuine article exists… otherwise, what is being counterfeited?

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “More educated people have a higher percentage of atheism, and more educated people have less kids on average.”

    Intelligence makes you a fool without wisdom to back it up. Only the Word provides wisdom.

    “it’s not possible to be made bad due to a lack of belief”

    Well, to start with, “possible to be made bad” is not good writing. You aren’t made bad due to a lack of belief, but rather you lack adequate goodness without faith. Being good unto itself or yourself for worldy reasons are always selfish by nature. Until your only goal is for the glory of God, there is no goodness. Even the Scriptures tell us that there is none good, not even one.

    So in conclusion, you are right, we cannot be made bad… we are already bad… even those of us with faith… we just have hope.

  • Orthros

    Jesse,

    There are no truly easy answers in Christianity. A Christian gives up all in this world if he is truly Christian.

    Frauds can use Christianity as a crutch, or as a shield… but I have found the relative incidence of crutch/shield to be much higher in atheism, frankly. I’ve had several conversations with atheists which end with “Well, I would have to change this or that and I don’t want to”.

    I am glad at their honesty (there is always hope where honesty reigns), but saddened at their self-chosen delusion.

    As Camus (whom you referenced indirectly in his book The Stranger) said “I refuse to believe in God because I wish to keep sleeping with my girlfriend.”

    That’s about as honest an atheistic opinion I’ve seen, and I give him props for it.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Orthros

    “I don’t at all envy those whose belief systems are a closed circle with themselves at the centre.”

    I don’t see how thinking the likelihood of there being a god being very low based on lack of evidence puts me at the center.

    “It is a small, pitiful, depressing universe in which there is nothing bigger or more important than man.”

    You are insinuating that atheists think that man is the most important thing in the universe?
    I actually think it is egotistical of man to believe that he was made in God’s image, for a purpose, in a universe that was made for him, and that he will live eternally. That sounds far more egotistical than not assuming that he has a purpose. I am sorry that you feel that without your faith in something more, that you would feel small, pitiful, and depressed.

  • Lord of Numa

    His beliefs are different then ours. Let’s kill him.

    Oh, wait…

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    Orthros,
    Do you blog elsewhere? I would love to read some of your stuff if possible. You definitely have insight in areas I would love to explore.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Orthros

    “My lack of belief that illicit drugs are harmful (which has to be chosen, by the way) will certainly cause me great harm.”

    I’m afraid that is not a very good proof.

    You are assuming that without the belief that it is wrong, that you will not be able to control yourself and go crazy with the drugs. There is no reason to assume such a thing.

  • Jesse

    Orthros-

    Excellent points on Christianity! My own belief is that true Atheists and true Christians (the allowably sceptical ones) can get along much better than popular discourse accommodates for them to do so–in fact, discourse these days only accommodates them as enemies, or “others” of one another.

    But the Camus is example is a poor one. Camus, Sartre, and others arrived at Existential Atheism because of a demand for a Stronger moral/ethical system than Christianity or other twentieth century systems (dialectical materialism, nazi’ism, etc.). Their Atheism arose, in a word, from the death of God concept, which is nearly the OPPOSITE of the self-interest you appended to Camus…

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    We all have the idea of God in us… we just grow further from it as we go through life without Him. Pretty soon we find it difficult to imagine God at all… and with otherworldly influences convincing us that we are correct in non-belief, Christians must be the fools.

    There has to be a reason some of the most intelligent people who ever lived were believers. I know that there are those who were non-believers, but this is easy to explain… without an active search for God and a real “wanting” to know Him, it won’t happen. But how do we explain intelligent, natural skeptics, claiming faith in Jesus? Something had to have taken place.

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    Matt, since when is depriving a child of free will “child abuse”.

    You’re dictating a religious belief without letting the child experience alternatives before they can even create a schema about their own identity, let alone construct any sort of concept about any sort of deity figure. It’s indoctrination which is monstrous to push onto a child (or adult, for that matter).

    More humanistic thought processes from a doomed belief system (atheism).

    Oh, I don’t know. There have been atheists about since before christianity came onto the scene and it seems to be doing alright for itself.

    The threat being it robs others at a chance for salvation because it is so easy to follow.

    I’d actually say it’s harder to follow, since you don’t have the placebo of a deity figure supposedly watching out for you. The idea of a deity that watches you, answers prayers, etc is as comforting as it is false.

    The rest of your comment was so poorly put together grammatically, I have no idea what you were actually trying to say.

    Can you honestly say that you plan to have a large family

    Do I have plans to have a large family? No. Nor do I have plans to have a small one. It’s not something my partner and I have discussed yet. We’re both still young, plenty of time.

    to promote the concepts which you so passionately hold and to fill the earth with your gospel of… well, nothingness?

    Ah, a quite interesting example of your own misconceptions of atheism. How is atheism based on ‘nothingness’ exactly? It is indeed quite the opposite, as I indicated in an earlier comment of mine. You be good just for the sake of it, not because a god will otherwise punish you. You take wonder in the universe around you and you appreciate your life because this is the one and only shot you get.

    Faith and large families go together. A society of atheists is a demographic winter waiting to happen.

    Which is no relevance at all whether or not it is correct.

    On the other hand, having families (and thus populations) which are too large is a recipe for self destruction; you get factional separations, shortage of supplies, environmental stresses and so on.

    Actually, it’s already here: the birth rate in the States for atheists and people of no declared faith is 1.6, well below replacement.
    Why do you think that is?

    Most likely atheists no about that thing called ‘birth control’ and that too many people on the planet is a bad thing (as we are starting to see at the moment).

    It’s entirely rational: If there’s no eternal consequences to our actions, why sacrifice here and now to raise children when I can buy another SUV, jaunt off to Tristan de Cunha or replace my furniture at Restoration Hardware?

    Because we’re people who actually have some idea of morality and ethics. It seems to me that if there was no god in your life, then you’d be the first to abandon your family and go on a tour of debauchery. How ridiculous.
    I suggest you read up on such concepts as the ‘social contract’ or the evolutionary basis of morality.

    Assuming there is no God, we will devolve, quite naturally, to a nation of self-seeking, narcissistic, materialistic moral relativists.

    Why would we do that? Secular societies across the planet have constantly been working to improve laws, issues of morality/ethics. Just look at the improvements to human culture that have happened just in the last two centuries as secularism has gotten more common; abolishment of slavery, mass education and so on.

    Why be self-sacrificial? Ayn Rand is right on this account: if God is a lie, then altruism is weakness.

    Not at all. Your ignorance of sociological studies seems apparent now. To put it as simply (which makes it somewhat inaccurate but I don’t think I have much choice) it simply becomes a matter of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours).
    Of course, the appeal to altruism is false since we often see cases of apparent altruism in animal species such as primates, dolphins and some kinds of parrots on a regular basis. These creatures are not even self aware let alone hold any sort of god concept in their heads. Altruism, in other words, is a natural state for creatures that have any sort of social structure.

    If you teach atheism to your children, this is the de facto truths you teach. And it is the most cruel form of child abuse (hopefully in ignorance instead of malice) that I can imagine: the killing of the soul, both temporally and eternally.

    I’ve addressed the majority of this horrible misconception above.
    But your statement does assume that the human soul actually exists, when there is no evidence for such.

    Stalin and the Communist regime drove God from the public sphere as the basis of their power… not a sideline.

    They used it as a stepping stone for their own greater glory/power/advancement, which is what all their actions were done for. It’s as simple as that. They would have done any action would have assisted in that, there can be little doubt of that.

    After all, if I am the god of this world… why not? I am Pol Pot, I am Josef Stalin… what’s to keep me from doing what I want to do to consolidate power? Who’s to say it’s wrong?

    Are you trying to say that atheists think of themselves as gods? Don’t be absurd. Again, this seems to be ignoring the ramifications of what you’re saying; that without god watching over your shoulder then christians (and everyone else) would go about raping and pillaging? Gee, I wonder who the moral people are now? (Hint: it’s not the god fearers).

    Of course, the entire idea falls down when you realise that there are plenty of people living perfectly wonderful, moral, happy lives right now … who have never even heard of your god let alone believe in him.

    I will now return the favor: Prove that there is objective truth in a world lacking God.

    See above about people (both ancient and contemporary) who have never heard of god leading perfectly good lives.

    If you think that killing Blacks is just fine, and you have the power, why is it wrong?

    At one point, it wasn’t. Just like at one point slavery was encouraged and considered the in thing to do.
    Of course, it has been interesting (as previously noted) how morality has changed over human history. If objective morality did exist (and dictated to society by an unchanging deity) then morality would never change and we’d still be running about slaughtering any tribes/nations/whoever happened to disagree with us.

    Because we post-modern Western peoples think it is? If so, then was it OK thousands of years ago?

    Yes, it was actually. I suggest you go study some history.
    In fact, just look in your own bible for a few examples. Acts laid down as being holy and righteous are now considered to be monstrous and despicable.

    Such things change. Usually for the better.

    If not, what makes something right or wrong for all time?

    Everything changes, though humanity’s record of improving their own moral practices is rather encouraging and one of the species more impressive achievements; being able to throw away practices and go with what is better for the whole.

    Is abortion, euthanasia, environmental distruction, homosexual activity, torture, genocide, having sex with children right or wrong?

    I won’t go into the reasons (because that’s a whole different debate) but as a quick response I’d say (and depending entirely on circumstances): Right, right, wrong, right, wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Of those things you list, some were once considered to be perfectly fine. Having sex with children, for example, was quite fine just a few centuries ago – especially amongst members of the nobility. But again, humanity managed to improve itself and recognised that the practice was horrible and had it stopped.

    Without a standard and ultimate Rulemaker, one who does not change over time… there is no standard.

    Social contract or collective standard. To put it another way, the standard is always rising as humanity improves itself. You live by a static standard, you condemn yourself to mediocrity. Humanity needs to aim a lot higher than that.

    4) “Atheistic societies tend to be the best on the planet”
    My turn! PROVE IT. The evidence is quite to the contrary.

    Look at parts of Europe for examples, it’s not hard to see. Best economic performances on a more or less constant basis, less crime, more social cohesion and so on.

    Crime has historically risen in several Western democracies as religious underpinings to those societies have crumbled.

    That’s interesting. The United States, as far as western countries go, is incredibly religious. Yet it has some of the highest crime rates of western nations. Linked to this is that 97% of incarcerated criminals have religious beliefs.

    I can’t believe that even an atheist would want to live in a society completely devoid of religion.

    I would not mind it. Though I am not for the abolishment of religion (and most atheists I know are of the same mind). People are free to believe whatever they choose but a) they should not try to impose those beliefs on society through laws/rules/whatever b) they should be prepared to defend those beliefs in a rational, coherent manner in an evidence based way. If you can’t defend them, then it can’t be much of a belief system to begin with.

    He’s right. Atheism damages society.

    Yet shows no evidence or even mentions any concrete ways that it does.

    In fact, I’d say that is religious believes that often hurt societal cohesion. It often encourages intolerance (look at the idiotic proposition 8 idea) and holds back technological advancement (stem cell research springs to mind) while actively working to deny people they right to make their own choices (abortion debate, as an example).

  • Orthros

    McBLoggenstein,

    Do you deny that you can be hurt by things of which you do not know?! That drugs, which you may believe are of modest harm, can cause addiction? That alcohol, if alcoholism runs in your family, may be your ruin?

    I fail to see how this isn’t a very strong proof. In fact, most of the things that have hurt me most in life have had a strong dose of my refusal to belief that those things were, in fact, harmful to me, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

  • Ty

    Wow, these guys have all been reading from the same old theist argument playbook, haven’t they? Pascal’s wager? No morality without god? Pot Pot?

    Are these idiots serious?

    No point in wasting electrons on people who can’t even be bothered to read up on the counter arguments from their opposition.

    Hey, religiotards, every single point you’ve brought up in this thread has been repudiated ad nauseum long before you showed up. Recycling tired arguments probably seems really smart when you are surrounded by the equally uneducated, but it won’t fly here.

    And most of us atheists were at one time religious folks. I myself spent 30 years as a fundie evangelical before waking up to reality. So your accusations that we don’t know what we’re talking about when we talk about religion just make us laugh at you.

    Now go away. You’ve got a kid you need to beat with a bible. He’ll be one of our recruits in twenty years or so. Thanks for the help.

  • John C

    Ty-

    That explains your resentment, anger at Christians. Fundamentalism is legalistic, heavy, burdensome….religious.

    Not at all what He came to offer…liberty, mercy, life, peace…unconditional love.

    There is a life…

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Ketch

    “Only the Word provides wisdom.”

    What is your basis? There was a post here recently asking for proof of your “Word”. Feel free to provide your evidence over there.

    “You aren’t made bad due to a lack of belief, but rather you lack adequate goodness without faith. Being good unto itself or yourself for worldy reasons are always selfish by nature. Until your only goal is for the glory of God, there is no goodness. Even the Scriptures tell us that there is none good, not even one.

    So in conclusion, you are right, we cannot be made bad… we are already bad… even those of us with faith… we just have hope.”

    Oh, that’s my cue. This is where I borrow your cop out and say that you have proved yourself not worthy of debate. You are using the teachings of your holy book to argue in this debate, which ultimately is about whether or not your holy book is based on fact. Those points are not admissible. You are allowed to call me selfish based on your perspective of the world, but you would not be able to based on my lack of belief, except for the fact that your holy book tells you that because I don’t believe, I “lack adequate goodness”. I reject your argument and I take offense to you saying that I lack goodness simply because I am a skeptic. Don’t tell me that I just need to open the mind and let the love in.

    Orthros, I am open to discussion with you.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “If you really don’t see a problem with a 1.6 birth rate, or with 1.1 or 1.2 in Japan, Italy and elsewhere… then you are a de facto nihilist, as these are levels at which demographers declare a “demographic death spiral” from which we have never, historically, seen a return.”

    I almost feel as though you are suggesting that belief in God is necessary to proliferate. I have no doubt that a predominately atheist world would pop out less kids (as I like to say). Is that so bad? I understand that to you it is because of what the Bible says, but yes, I think that this planet is way over populated, and has been for a long time.

  • Jesse

    McBloggenstein! Put your five up!

    *High-five*

    Yeah!

  • Orthros

    Matt,

    Thanks for responding. Your willingness to respond has provided me with an insight I hadn’t previously had (and isn’t that what all good debate is about, anyway?) on where the true divide lies betweens atheists and theists: Objective vs. Subjective Truth.

    There is Objective Truth. Right is right and wrong is wrong, regardless of when and how many people follow it.

    One cannot tell morality like one tells time. Slavery, abortion, euthanasia, environmental destruction, torture, and homosexual acts are always and forever evil, regardless if 1% or 99% of the population approves.

    The irony is that by making truth relative, you open the door for things such as Proposition 8 (which, unsurprisingly, I enthusiastically supported) under your belief system. After all, if enough people believe it and inculturate it… it must be “true” based on a subjectivist perspective. This also creates issues for minorities, whether of belief, race, creed, etc. since, again, there is no foundational reason for their dignity and respect as persons, but rather whatever the prevailing milieu happens to be.

    In short, legal positivism in a new dress.

    While I may be (and almost certainly am) ignorant of the depths of sociological thought, I am not ignorant of history, religion, philosophy or logic, and would posit that my ignorance of sociology is balanced by yours in the areas I’ve happen to explore more deeply. This is especially so with respect to the concept of truth: nothing can be truly “true” if truth continues to move with the laws and mores of the time. Even altruism (as referenced above in your post) just becomes what we feel like doing within the context of a positive quid pro quo arrangement… and frankly, people are a lot less altruistic (relatively speaking) today than in past generations. (And doubly so, I have done enough work with game theory to know that altruism goes out the window if there’s something that works for me, screws you and I can get away with it).

    Therefore, my conclusion from all this is that an atheist who believes in Objective Truth is a work in progress: He will either reject it and revert to subjectivism and legal positivism (and the social contract arguments you’ve made in posts above, which amount to a kinder, gentler positivism) to maintain intellectual consistency, or continue onward to some form of Theism which has an Eternal Lawmaker as arbiter of Truth, which has the advantage of both intellectual consistency and being true.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Orthros

    “Do you deny that you can be hurt by things of which you do not know?! That drugs, which you may believe are of modest harm, can cause addiction? That alcohol, if alcoholism runs in your family, may be your ruin?

    I fail to see how this isn’t a very strong proof. In fact, most of the things that have hurt me most in life have had a strong dose of my refusal to belief that those things were, in fact, harmful to me, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

    I understand your point, but I don’t think it is a good analogy to not believing in God. Perhaps I erred by not being more specific in my statement, but I thought it was assumed I was always relating to the argument for faith.

    If your point about drugs were a good analogy for believing in God, then by your logic, not believing in God makes me more prone to suffering. I understand that because of your faith, you probably do think that I am, but you must understand that because I do not get my morals from the Bible, and instead from my peers in the society that I live in, I do not see myself as more open to suffering because of anything besides my own actions and interactions with my fellow humans.

  • shamelesslyatheist

    Ah, yes. I see we have heard from the bleating sheep. The US has the highest level of religiosity of any western country. It leads in other areas, as well: rates of nonviolent and non-lethal violent crime, homicide, adolescent suicide, teen pregnancy and teen STD transmission. Yet it is the least religious societies which are by any and every measure the most stable and happiest ones. Yet it is these same sheep that will tell you, along with the other unsubstantiated garbage in their comments above, that it is MORE religion that is needed. Critical thinking in these folks are at an all time low.

  • Orthros

    Ty,

    You can be very well assured that, far from converting my children… my children will be there to try to convert you, if for no other reason to release you from whatever drove such bitterness into your soul.

    If it is a Christian which has created this scenario (I sadly presume based on your response that this is the case), then please accept my heartfelt apology for the harm that has been done to you.

    A true Christian aims to affirm and build up. I can see, even in this thread, that I haven’t always met that standard. But it is, in fact, what I aim to do, however imperfectly.

    Also, be aware that I am an engineer by training, so I have my own special handicaps to overcome. :)

    Peace,
    O

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Orthros

    “The real dilemma here is: Does God exist? Do Heaven and Hell exist? Are they fairy tales or the most real reality in existence?

    In fairness, if there is no God and no Hell, then it is certainly true that to teach children there is one is horrific….

    …. but, alas, Hell does exist. I wish with every fiber of my being it did not, but I also wish that my best friend hadn’t died in adolescence.

    My wishes do not de facto equal reality, nor do yours.”

    The most real reality in existence? I don’t know what that means, but what evidence do you have to believe in such things? Hell exists? How do you know??? Honestly, are you asking yourself why you believe these things?

    You suggest that I am wishing that heaven, hell, God don’t exist. Why do you think that because I have not been presented with any evidence that shows me that they exist that I am “wishing” anything? I no more wish those things to not be true than I wish the answer to a mathematical problem to be a specific value. I am simply waiting for the problem to be worked out without any bias or assumption as to what the answer is. I am content with not knowing why we’re here, and I’m not going to assume that there even is a “why”.

  • Orthros

    McBloggenstein,

    I’ve tried to avoid theistic arguments… because I understand that you do not accept the Bible as infallible, so it is pointless to refer to it as such.

    That said, as I mentioned in the post to Matt above, I have made a rather large increase in my understanding of the issue that divides atheists and theists through this thread.

    Objective truth demands that we accept truth whether we believe it or not. If I jump off a cliff, I will feel the effects of gravity whether I believe in gravity or not. Likewise, smoking crack will likely result in addiction even if I refuse to believe so.

    Likewise, lack of God in one’s life, as it de facto separates objective truth from one’s personal approach to morality, is a real absence that results in something missing.

    I’m not sure how to synthesize the proof better than that, and I do in fact realize that the assumption inherent in what I’ve said is the key of contention, and one that you reject.

    I think I’ve just realized something else: Atheism vs. Theism are both matters of underlying assumptions or principles. If you start from objective truth, you are de facto a Theist. If you reject objective truth, you must, to be intellectually consistant, reject the idea of God and embrace moral subjectivism as identified by Matt in his post above.

    Truly, this is, intellectually, the best 2 hours I’ve spent on the internet in ages. And to think that it started on Reddit! =D

  • Orthros

    McBloggenstein,

    In response to your heaven/hell post: Unless we presume that we are the enlightened ones, and that scores of those already gone (Chesterton’s “Democracy of the Dead”) are mistaken, then Heaven and Hell exist.

    And yes, I see the irony in my using a morally subjective argument based on numbers even though I believe in absolute truth. :)

    But really… unless I’m mistaken, you believe in moral subjectivity, so has the vast majority of mankind been deluded? Has the truth eluded everyone except the enlightened cognescendi of this generation (and a few of the past generations)?

    Actually, I just came to another insight: If this were to be true, atheism is really more like a gnostic sect than anything else: Secret, arcane knowledge that is rejected by the masses, which only the enlightened few can accept. And I mean that with no ill will or criticism whatsoever, just that it would appear to be the case from where I sit.

    On another note, I never get a good answer other than a lot of anger when I pose this question, but I’ll try because it’s in good faith and I’m serious about it: How did everything, or anything, get here without a God? Even if the world started with a single atom… where’d it come from?

    For some reason, this question ticks off people more than the others… but it’s a serious one, and I haven’t ever gotten a good answer. The most common answer: It was always there. Thoughts?

  • shamelesslyatheist

    “One cannot tell morality like one tells time. ”

    Orthros, this is certainly untrue. The moral zeitgeist has changed significantly over time. Even the definition of murder has changed. The commandment not to murder at the time it was written simply meant ‘do not kill a fellow Jew’. There were even rules when killing was okay. Was it moral to kill a fellow Jew in the act of killing a number of gentiles, for instance? The answer according to religious authority of the time was, yes.

    You say slavery is immoral. Indeed, it is held that way by many today. Yet there was a time when it was considered an societal norm. It was tacitly approved by the bible. And, please, no nonsense about it being about indentured servitude. There is no such thing as a little bit of slavery.

    Your objective truth comes down to obeying your god’s word. Yet he both commands to kill and not kill. So, it’s really about obeying your god’s whim. I fail to see anything objective in this.

  • Orthros

    Shamelesslyatheist,

    Three points.

    1) Religiosity doesn’t equate to true fervor, either in the States or in countries in Europe (e.g. Sweden) where there is still a formal Christian faith for which taxes are withheld
    2) Pregnancy rates would be high if, say, people see abortion as murder and therefore refuse to be killers in addition to sexually impure
    3) STDs are also much more likely to be diagnosed in the United States versus many other countries. I wish I had the data at my fingertips, but this was in a paper I read a few years back (ca. 2003) that had absolutely nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with the “1 in 8 teenagers has an STD” stat that had everyone in a tizzy a while back.

    Correlation doesn’t equal causality… my favorite lesson when teaching stats classes.

  • Jesse

    Orthros:

    Yes, why anything, rather than nothing? How can we even answer the question if we lazily substitute intensive observation and analysis with prior, unprovable truth (BOTH “it was always there” and “oh, you know, God did it”).

    A la Heidegger, religion is antithetical to answering ontological or philosophical questions. A la Sartre and Camus, it is not only inadequate, but monstrously immoral.

    The order of reality which your questions presuppose are only that which you have projected into them, that which you have put there for yourself to find, like a string in a maze. But the whole time, the maze unfolds in the other direction, does it not?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Wow. Just wow.

    None of these arguments are original.

    Okay Christians and other theists: what is your purpose for commenting on this thread?

    If you really want to have a meaningful discussion with atheists such as myself, it would behoove you to do some basic research first before you come to us with the same tired arguments which have been debunked thoroughly, repeatedly.

    Also, why do people keep saying that a declining population is a bad thing? The Earth is dramatically overpopulated — if anything, atheists are doing you a favor by having fewer children!

    I sincerely wish that all of us (theists and atheists and everyone else) could move past the simple, exasperating, inaccurate assumptions and preconceptions which we have of each other.

    Many Christians and other theists are intelligent people.
    Many Atheists and agnostics are moral people.
    Many Christians and other theists love their families.
    Many Atheists and agnostics love their families.

    Good people are good. Bad people are bad.

    Some Christians like to tell me, in so many words, that “if you don’t believe what I believe, you have a smaller basis for morality than I do – you, in fact, have no basis for morality if you don’t believe exactly what I believe”.

    No, I believe that I have a larger basis for morality than many Christians.

    That book of yours, the Bible? Is that the basis for your morality?

    Well, my morality is larger than the contents of your book. My morality has certainly undergone revision in the last few thousand years. A few things have changed. It helps to keep current — relatively speaking.

    Even if the Bible is the basis for your morality, which parts of the Bible do you take your morals from? Do you accept the entirety of Biblical teaching without question? Do you accept every single verse and chapter of that book?

    If not, then you must have some external standard which you apply to determine what Biblical lessons fit your personal standard of morality.

    Your external standards for morality are as valid as my external standards — we all have external standards of morality which we actively apply through our interactions with this world.

    Your argument that I am less moral than you is wrong. Wrong in that history contradicts you. Wrong in that a study of cultures contradicts you. And, in all likelihood, wrong in that your own personal experience contradicts you. Partly because we are so often badly misunderstood, there are many more atheists and agnostics out there than people realize. And we have no less capacity for morality than you do — we are no less moral than you are. Period.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Orthros, I haven’t read your last two responses yet, but I wanted to first point something out. I went back and noticed the wording of my original statement, and I think you missed one word that made the point. Here it is again:

    “it’s not possible to be made bad due to a lack of belief”

    The key word here is “made”. By your previous analogy, I see how it is possible to be bad due to lack of belief, but like I said about how you will not automatically start using drugs for no reason, a lack of belief will not “make” you bad. Lack of belief can allow it to happen (in which case the potential was already there), but it can not make it happen.

  • Orthros

    Shamelesslyatheist,

    Then, ironically, what you’re saying is that the best world for an atheist… is a theocracy where the Pope is the head.

    Under traditional Christianity, murder is murder. I can’t kill an atheist, because he annoys me, without serious repercussions in this world and the next.

    Further irony is that an atheist who seized power a la Stalin could easily wipe out whole groups of people who would otherwise be sympathetic to atheists…. after all, the zeitgeist has changed, so morality has changed.

    We’re back to that Objective Truth thing again too, I’m afraid. Right is right, even if only a few say so, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone approves. I think deep down you agree; otherwise, a government which gained popular approval for enslaving blacks again would have to be considered moral under your ethos.

    As for the Bible, I’m afraid that’s beyond the scope of this post. I will only say this: Just as you and others challenge to understand their true positions, I challenge you to understand what the Bible truly says, within the context of the writer (exegesis) and not your assumptions of your time, color, origin, etc. (isogesis).

    Context is key, and interpreting different styles of Hebraic literature using the same lens is as erroneous as interpreting a love poem by the standards of a tech manual.

  • Orthros

    McBloggenstein:

    Re: “made” bad, I see your point.

    The underlying thought as I interpreted it was: I cannot become something by merely rejecting something as true.

    Without getting into what the word “Become” means, I am merely stating that refusal to accept truth that is revealed to us can be harmful or even fatal. Can we agree on this point?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “refusal to accept truth that is revealed to us can be harmful or even fatal. Can we agree on this point?”

    Of course. But this is where you suggest that God’s existence is true, and non belief in him and his teachings can be harmful. And then we fall back to the question, what evidence do you have that God even exists? Note, I am not interested in an answer to that question. Just making a point.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Orthros,

    Good point on the difference in the texts, but then again, no one worships Elizabeth Barrett Browning (at least as a deity).

    A love poem? A tech manual? A history? A prophecy? What is the Bible?

    I think we would both agree that in parts it is a bit of all of the above.

    However, what is our interpretation of this?

    I interpret these diverging purposes as an extension of the human origin of the text. It just seems to me that a clearly divinely inspired text would be different from what the Bible is. The Bible just reads like every other human religious document which we’ve already got. If Christianity purports to have a better claim than other religions to divine truth, then there should be a better rationale than the Bible. It is as human as any other people compiled by people under similar circumstances.

    Also, about truth: I believe that our truth, like our morality, is firmly rooted in our human experience, since truth and morality are both ultimately human sensations.

    That a thing is like what it is — that we can see that things have self-identity — it is a root of truth for us all. When a thing isn’t like what it is — when there is a discrepancy between the way something is and the way it is claimed to be — we know that is not truth.

    We do not need a supernatural element to tell truth. The origins of truths, I hold, to be self-evident. ;)

  • Orthros

    Jesse and Teleprompter,

    The same folks who say that Christians tout out “tired” arguments have, in my experience, never read Thomas Aquinas to the extent that I’ve read Nietschze.

    Apologies if I’m wrong here, but since I’ve tried to keep the debate simple (Theist… of any stripe… vs. Non-theist), what exactly does the atheist prove by his (lack of) belief?

    I will again restate my primary concerns. They have not been adequately answered:

    1) Where did the first piece of matter originate?
    2) What basis in morality do atheists have, if there is no God? What is the standard?
    3) If the answer to # 2 is “zeitgeist of the times” or similar, what’s to stop a group of people in the future from killing a bunch of folks that they don’t like or performing other atrocities under the banner of Truth?

    Not a proof per se, but a strong hint. # 1 is the closest to a proof, since scientifically speaking, nothing created can be its own originator. Therefore a non-created Creator has to exist… call Him what you will.

    Teleprompter,

    You asked an honest and damn good question: What’s the point?

    I had hoped, given the intellectual depth of the audience, and the assumption that I was a Christian (correct), that you would already know the answer.

    The answer is simply this: the salvation of souls.

    I may fail, but that is all that really matters to a true Christian, and there is nothing more worth me staying up far past when I should be asleep so I don’t do a headplant on my desk tomorrow.

    Believe it or not, I care for the folks I interact with on the Web… yes you guys… and hope that we can grab a beer together in the Great Hereafter.

    I know this opens me to complete ridicule… but it’s the truth, and you deserve a truthful answer.

    Oh, and only one of those places will have beer. The other will have Fresca. I’ll leave the proof as an exercise for the class. ;)

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Orthros

    “Objective truth demands that we accept truth whether we believe it or not. If I jump off a cliff, I will feel the effects of gravity whether I believe in gravity or not.”

    Again, you are suggesting that the truth of God’s existence is there whether we believe it or not. And again, how do you know he even exists?

    “I think I’ve just realized something else: Atheism vs. Theism are both matters of underlying assumptions or principles. If you start from objective truth, you are de facto a Theist. If you reject objective truth, you must, to be intellectually consistant, reject the idea of God and embrace moral subjectivism”

    I’m afraid this is not correct. Remember this: Atheism assumes NOTHING. What do you think it assumes?
    Think about this… If there were empirical evidence for God, we would not be having this discussion right now. Evidence for God puts him at the top of the list of things that explain stuff. Because there is no empirical evidence, God is very low on the list.

    Now, you believe in God. Who is making the assumption?

  • Jesse

    Teleprompter:

    Self-evident? Don’t you mean, socially-constructed? And consequently, relative?

    “when a thing isn’t like what it is—when there is a discrepancy between the way something is and the way it is claimed to be…”

    Claimed to be, by what, or whom, that does not have its origin in construction and finite, fleeting duration? Hmmm…

  • Jesse

    Orthros:

    I can’t even read the rest of your post after the enormous assumptions contained in its first assumption:

    the “first” piece of matter.

    I would agree that a Christian’s ontological view of existence is fission, but that does not require that the rest of us be so nuked by centuries-old philosophical arguments.

    I will repeat, the vectors which you perceive in reality, the telelology you proclaim, is only that which you have hidden for yourself to find.

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    There is Objective Truth. Right is right and wrong is wrong, regardless of when and how many people follow it.

    There is no evidence to support this statement.

    Slavery, abortion, euthanasia, environmental destruction, torture, and homosexual acts are always and forever evil, regardless if 1% or 99% of the population approves.

    There is no evidence to support this statement.
    As someone else mentioned, these acts were considered absolutely fine at one time or another. Some were even given the godly seal of approval in the bible but humanity has progressed since then and said ‘no’ to slavery, genocide and so on.

    The irony is that by making truth relative, you open the door for things such as Proposition 8 (which, unsurprisingly, I enthusiastically supported) under your belief system. After all, if enough people believe it and inculturate it… it must be “true” based on a subjectivist perspective.

    Not at all. I really have no idea how you reached that conclusion.

    I would argue that proposition 8 is immoral since it segregates a section of the community over a harmless part of their individuality which they have no control over. It certainly hurts societal cohesion and contributes to discrimination and other unhelpful related things.

    This also creates issues for minorities, whether of belief, race, creed, etc. since, again, there is no foundational reason for their dignity and respect as persons, but rather whatever the prevailing milieu happens to be.

    Again, I have no idea how you reached this conclusion.
    A moral person, as morality is understood in the modern day, would be absolutely appalled by your line of reasoning since it simply goes against everything humanity has been able to shape for itself as it has progressed through the millenniums.

    (snip some irrelevant meanderings)

    and frankly, people are a lot less altruistic (relatively speaking) today than in past generations.

    I would like to see hard evidence for that claim. I would argue that the form altruism takes has changed (we get a lot more of anonymous financial aid given about, less hands on barter style altruism) but the actual levels … no, I have seen no evidence to indicate they’ve dropped significantly of late.

    Then, ironically, what you’re saying is that the best world for an atheist… is a theocracy where the Pope is the head.

    Theocracy’s have been tried, they really don’t work out very well at all.

    Under traditional Christianity, murder is murder. I can’t kill an atheist, because he annoys me, without serious repercussions in this world and the next.

    For a given value of ‘traditional’ (quickly approaching ‘true scotsman fallacy’ area here). You could, however, happily murder an atheist, his family, livestock, neighbours and anyone else if god told you to (or you thought he told you to). Happens all the time in the bible.

    We’re back to that Objective Truth thing again too, I’m afraid. Right is right, even if only a few say so, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone approves.

    Again, there is no evidence to support this statement (as opposed to the other side, where we clearly see a lot of change both in ideas and practices as time has progressed).

    I challenge you to understand what the Bible truly says, within the context of the writer (exegesis) and not your assumptions of your time, color, origin, etc. (isogesis).

    I’ve read it cover to cover on numerous occasions and studied it’s history, context and so forth (product of a religious upbringing and all that). I still hold it is only good if you want to do some literary study but worthless when it comes to history, philosophy, morality or pretty much anything else.

    Context is key, and interpreting different styles of Hebraic literature using the same lens is as erroneous as interpreting a love poem by the standards of a tech manual.

    I think we both agree that the translations of the Bible about in western society today are horrendous by any measure. Badly translated from hebrew, then badly translated to greek then badly translated to english (which got some people killed, some to think on it). I would support the notion that any really serious christian would really take the time to do some independent language study.

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  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Well, yeah, Jesse, I didn’t say it was that simple.

    I was merely speculating as to the origins of one type of truth.

    Of course of the many guises of truth we observe in our world today, many of them, as you clearly pointed out, are socially constructed, and thus, relative.

    However, there are some things in this universe that are just not relative.

  • Orthros

    Couple of housekeeping comments:

    wintermute,

    I owe you an apology. I’ve gone back to re-read the thread, and I acted with all the tact of a drunken ferret in my reply to you. I sincerely apologize for being hurtful to you. It certainly didn’t do anything to shed light on the subject; I am a bit of a hot-head, and get passionate about things. Hopefully you are married to an engineer… then you can say “At least you’re not like this guy”. Again, my apologies.

    ketch22,

    I don’t blog at present. I had a financial blog once upon a time… but that is long gone. Given that I have half a dozen kids and a (recently executive-level) job, I don’t have a lot of time for other interests.

    That, and I had about 20 subscribers total… AdSense just wasn’t paying the bills. =D

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Orthros

    “In response to your heaven/hell post: Unless we presume that we are the enlightened ones, and that scores of those already gone (Chesterton’s “Democracy of the Dead”) are mistaken, then Heaven and Hell exist.”

    I’m not sure I completely understand what you are saying here. Do you have a better reason for believing in Hell other than the Bible says it exists?

    “But really… unless I’m mistaken, you believe in moral subjectivity, so has the vast majority of mankind been deluded? Has the truth eluded everyone except the enlightened cognescendi of this generation (and a few of the past generations)?”

    There have always been atheists. Perhaps there are more now, and it is probably because of the nature of our modern society to promote free thinking more than our entire history. You are suggesting that it is right just because more people than not have always believed it to be true. This is not a good argument. There are many books on the subject of why our minds create such ideas. Some easy examples to use here are Egyptian and Greek gods. They were created to explain things that they didn’t know how to explain. Today, we can explain more things than ever, therefore, less of a need to assign things to God.

    “How did everything, or anything, get here without a God? Even if the world started with a single atom… where’d it come from?”

    I’ll explain why this question upsets some people. It is because to ask it assumes that we need an answer.

    My answer? I don’t know. Say it with me… I… don’t… know…
    It’s really ok to say that. It’s ok to not know.
    You may feel as though you know, because of your faith that the Bible is true, but then you must ask yourself why you believe it to be true.

    Atheists are accused of making assumptions. I promise, we are not.

  • Orthros

    I wish I could continue the conversation, but it is now approaching 2am local time and I will need to be (somewhat) awake in a few hours.

    I regret that I couldn’t finish the threads that have been going on here… they were getting quite interesting. Perhaps I can pick them up tomorrow evening, assuming anyone is still hanging around this page. :)

    Thanks to all for your willingness to discuss and debate. I truly believe in the Socratic approach to debate and learn much more in that way than otherwise.

    Regards and God bless, =D
    O

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    1) Where did the first piece of matter originate?

    I don’t know what that has to do with atheism per se but it is an interesting question.

    Quite simply (and it is an extremely simple answer to the point of leaving a heck of a lot out and being somewhat inaccurate); The Big Bang (which is a fascinating area of study and supported by so much evidence that it isn’t funny from doppler shift, movement of galaxies, left over universal radiation, not to mention that the mathematics which fully supports it).

    How did the Big Bang happen? That’s still being studied but some excellent work is being done and several good models are being studied. There’s one with spontaneously appearing molecules (or is it something else? The detriment to posting on a hot day while tired, I’m afraid. Regardless, this spontaneous appearance has been observed) which looks very promising.

    2) What basis in morality do atheists have, if there is no God? What is the standard?

    The standard is not static, obviously. Ever changing, ever (albeit it with the occasional step backward) improving. I believe I dealt with this earlier. Please don’t repeat the same question when it’s already been answered.

    3) If the answer to # 2 is “zeitgeist of the times” or similar, what’s to stop a group of people in the future from killing a bunch of folks that they don’t like or performing other atrocities under the banner of Truth?

    The ever improving human condition, I would think. Is there a chance that a group like you describe will appear in the future? Certainly. But that’s the real beauty of the human race; it’s up to us to teach ourselves how to be a coherent and harmonious society without the imaginary aid of any sort of deity figure.

    Getting back to an earlier matter; When you start dealing with matters of ‘objective truth’ then there really is no evidence to support such a notion. Some people find the idea of lack of objective morality to be uncomfortable or unsettling … but really, tough. A lot of things about the universe are unsettling but that does not make them any less real (as observation has clearly shown).

    Followers of all the now discarded gods throughout human history has had full conviction that their truth was THE truth and as far as we can tell, they were wrong. Then again we all might be wrong and when we die, we’ll be somewhat surprised to see Odin in a grand festhall ready to judge us.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Orthros,

    “Jesse and Teleprompter,

    The same folks who say that Christians tout out “tired” arguments have, in my experience, never read Thomas Aquinas to the extent that I’ve read Nietschze.”

    The arguments are still tired. Also, it is just as mistaken for an atheist or agnostic or Muslim to assume that Aquinas represents the whole or brunt of Christian thinking as it would be mistaken for a Christian or Muslim to assume that Nietschze represents the brunt or whole of atheist thinking.

    I’m glad you’ve read what you’ve read, but that intrinsically does not mean anything for this discussion.

    “Apologies if I’m wrong here, but since I’ve tried to keep the debate simple (Theist… of any stripe… vs. Non-theist), what exactly does the atheist prove by his (lack of) belief?

    I will again restate my primary concerns. They have not been adequately answered:

    1) Where did the first piece of matter originate?
    2) What basis in morality do atheists have, if there is no God? What is the standard?
    3) If the answer to # 2 is “zeitgeist of the times” or similar, what’s to stop a group of people in the future from killing a bunch of folks that they don’t like or performing other atrocities under the banner of Truth?

    Not a proof per se, but a strong hint. # 1 is the closest to a proof, since scientifically speaking, nothing created can be its own originator. Therefore a non-created Creator has to exist… call Him what you will.”

    I am glad we are trying to keep this simple, but we both know it’s impossible.

    1) Where did the first piece of matter originate? Where did your god originate? Do we have an explanation for either question? Not really. So why should I believe you? You’re making a claim on divine truth — so where’s your evidence? Your claim, so it’s also your burden of proof. Where did your god come from? If he could always be here, then why not matter?

    2) What basis in morality do we have if there are no gods? What is our standard?

    I believe that morality is rooted in social norms (which are rooted in our evolving social traditions — what others have labeled the “moral zeitgeist”, which clearly has changed over time) and our basic human empathy and compassion (which I believe are influenced by natural selection).

    The “zeitgeist” argument’s shortcoming is that our natural empathy and compassion also play a role in the motivation for human altruism. You cannot ignore the role this plays in human behavior. Also, the laws and commonly acknowledged standards of our society are also powerful influences on our behavior. If this is the only life we’ve got, then we have even less incentives to spend it behind bars or be executed – if this is our one and only chance.

    3) I told you that the answer to number 2 is only partially “zeitgeist of our times”, but also human empathy and compassion. It’s where we got the Golden Rule, which has been prevalent among many diverse societies.

    If your god is the source of our morality, then how do you account for the morality of non-believers? This seems to be a fairly substantial gap in your argument.

    “Teleprompter,

    You asked an honest and damn good question: What’s the point?

    I had hoped, given the intellectual depth of the audience, and the assumption that I was a Christian (correct), that you would already know the answer.

    The answer is simply this: the salvation of souls.

    I may fail, but that is all that really matters to a true Christian, and there is nothing more worth me staying up far past when I should be asleep so I don’t do a headplant on my desk tomorrow.

    Believe it or not, I care for the folks I interact with on the Web… yes you guys… and hope that we can grab a beer together in the Great Hereafter.

    I know this opens me to complete ridicule… but it’s the truth, and you deserve a truthful answer.

    Oh, and only one of those places will have beer. The other will have Fresca. I’ll leave the proof as an exercise for the class. ;)”

    Well, at least you’re honest about it.

  • Jesse

    Teleprompter:

    Excellent clarifications! That should be useful for all. I liked the “moral zeitgeist” concept; it is incredibly difficult for most Atheists to rationalize morality, even as purely abstraction, in what appears to be a naturally immoral world…or however you would describe it, via whatever perspectives. Slavoj Zizek offers some pretty good analogies to the “moral zeitgeist” in terms of Hegel’s ideas (very strange reference for Zizek, an Atheist/Communist/Post-Marxist). I like Zizek because he is so challenging to read, and because he often challenges the claims of liberal “secular humanism” more strongly than your run of the mill righty stuff. Thanks again for your comment, though.

    Jesse

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Jesse

    I’ve got my *five* up now…
    I was out of breath before! hehe

    Bedtime. Off to dream of a world without religion, where I can rape and pillage. Wishful thinking, right?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Bloggenstein,

    Wishful thinking? I thought I was trying to avoid it?

    But little did I know, right?

  • shamelesslyatheist

    “1) Religiosity doesn’t equate to true fervor, either in the States or in countries in Europe (e.g. Sweden) where there is still a formal Christian faith for which taxes are withheld”

    Ah, the True Christian(TM). How does one measure that? If you excluded everyone that doesn’t share the same belief you will be left with only yourself, and the same would be true for every other Christian. There is no such thing as a ‘True Christian’. You are Christian or you are not. Besides, if a True Christian(TM) is not a Christian, then is he/she an atheist? I think not.

    “2) Pregnancy rates would be high if, say, people see abortion as murder and therefore refuse to be killers in addition to sexually impure”

    Sexually impure? What the…? Pregnancy rates are high because teens are not given information. Abstinence-only programs produce only one difference in sexual activity in teenagers and that is to not arm them with the information they need to protect themselves. Your solution seems to be the Nancy Regan strategy. Didn’t work for drugs and won’t work with teens.

    And what about violent crime? Spouse abuse? I see no refutation here at all.

    “3) STDs are also much more likely to be diagnosed in the United States versus many other countries. I wish I had the data at my fingertips, but this was in a paper I read a few years back (ca. 2003) that had absolutely nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with the “1 in 8 teenagers has an STD” stat that had everyone in a tizzy a while back.”

    You don’t have the data because it does not exist. Europeans and Canadians do just fine in diagnosing STDs. And it’s not 1 in 8. It’s 1 in 4 (at least where teenage girls are concerned). I’d say the CDC is a pretty good source. Teens taught abstinence only do not get the information on STD transmission, condom use, etc. It is only religious groups support such disastrous nonsense. So, contrary to your supposition, religion is very much in the thick of things on that score.

    And Orthros, saying that context is the key to understanding scripture just turns it into nothing more than a Rorschach test. You take away from it what you want, but you already understood the ethics of living before you ever picked up a bible. In essence, you never needed it. As Teleprompter said above, ethics is the zeitgeist of the times. History shows us that this is true even for Christian societies. Living an ethical life does not require religion.

  • ektachrome

    “…atheism has caused and is causing…The songs carry the sense that evil will not prevail…”

    I don’t understand the link between “atheism” and “evil.” Most atheists I know are pointy-headed intellectuals — they are not evil.

    Atheists would rather argue over a cup of coffee than go out and shoot up a Pro-Life Clinic.

  • http://www.myspace.com/basic_atheist Basic Atheist

    Yet another crock-o-shit from trashy politics. He’s just not commenting, he is spreading appeal to the idiots who want to listen to his opinion. He’s thinking “votes” not realism… The damn jackass. He makes me sick.

  • http://www.muziqcantiq.blogspot.com muziqcantiq

    Jesse ….

    atheism = scientific

    that’s a democracy !!

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    shamelesslyatheist,

    Yes, not only did I say that morality is in part a result of the moral zeitgeist of our times, I also claimed that morality is a result of our empathy and compassion which are hard-wired within our humanity, probably by natural selection.

    I just wanted to avoid the “your zeitgeist has no basis to establish good or bad because it changes so much with the times; having no basis is morality, it is inherently amoralistic” argument. By reinforcing the link between our concepts of morality and the natural empathy and compassion within us which inspire altruism, this argument can be refuted.

  • Aor

    I tried to read some of the blather from this flock of theists, but it seemed to be the same tired fallacies. If they manage to overturn thousands of years of logic and prove god exists, thereby removing faith from their Faith, thereby no longer being believers because they know instead of believe, then let me know.

    Until then it just reeks of witnessing.

  • Jabster

    Well that’s got me convinced!

    I can’t help being reminded of the recent thread that religion has the upper hand over science as it can just make stuff up. Oh and lets remember that it was god that did it.

    Seriously though this doesn’t actually represent the average views of a Christian does it?

  • http://www.lesfriendly.com lesfriendly

    he’s obviously religiously affiliated. And then I wonder, is he talking as himself? Or as a congressman?

    Indeed, with great powers come great responsibility. I guess he was just expressing an opinion, no matter how discriminatory it is.

  • rltjs

    The best that “atheists” can achieve I think is to erode established, static religious. “Atheism” has some good contributions, actually. Among the good things that “atheists” have uncovered are myths, or obsolete teachings, of established religions. While atheism is trying to kill established religions, it is actually contributing towards the formation of one common belief and belief in one universal God. Religions are drawn closer together. The best that “atheists” can do is to refine religions, killing static religious.

    A thesis [in this case religion] creates an anti-thesis [in this case atheism] that produces a synthesis or new thesis. [See Georg W. F. Hegel on Dialectic] Some anti-thesis became the synthesis [Protestantism from the old Roman Catholic Church, for example] but not all the time. Because, sometimes synthesis can develop as third party – by forces other than those representing the thesis and the anti-thesis. A more advanced and updated version of the old religion, plus something synthesized from the anti-thesis, developed.

    Yet, sometimes the synthesis is formed within the old thesis. The old church itself must evolve or it will be left out for being obsolete. Surviving religions are not the same since the time of Galileo, for example. That the earth is center of creation and universe is obsolete. Same with 7-day -creation of man and universe; so, are Adam and Eve.

    I don’t really believe in the existence of atheist as defined. All them I know have their feet [or at least a foot] stood on spiritual ground if they don’t know it. It is Religion or religious beliefs that are in fact, or factually, being opposed by them. And, an anti-thesis of religion is in fact [developing or modifying] religion.

    [God did not say a thing in the first place. And it was man who said things. And it is what man believed and said that is being opposed by another man. So, who or what is being opposed there?]

    But, I don’t think “Atheists” can kill religions and become the new thesis unless they can explain all the mysteries in this cosmos. If they can do that then God, and thus religions, will all be dead. Matter cannot be created nor destroyed. That, in itself, is mystery that cannot be explained by science and by “atheists”.

    So, what are all these cosmic drama all about in the “end”? A more refined mankind, I believe. An endless process of refinement, according to Hegel. Let’s thank the atheists for that in this case.

    I agree the statement attributed to American congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart is indeed incomprehensible. Only Matter CANNOT be destroyed. Life forms can be destroyed, turned to ashes, or to gas, or to liquid. We do have seen extinction of species so, it CAN also happen to man if mankind does not do anything against self destruction – the nearest possible cause to its extinction.

  • rltjs

    That mankind cannot be destroyed is a blind statement. That mankind can possibly go extinct have some basis – species known to exist that are already gone extinct.

  • VorJack

    @rltjs – “I don’t really believe in the existence of atheist as defined. ”

    And what, pray tell, is your definition of an atheist?

    Here we tend to use the word atheist to mean someone without the belief in a deity. Certain kinds of Buddhists and Hindus are atheist, along with Jainists. So “atheist” is not a word in necessarily in opposition to religion and spirituality.

    I would say that the antithesis of “spiritual” is “materialist.” I’ll grant you that most atheists you’ll meet online are materialists, but certainly not all.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Be pissed off all you’d like: I consider it child abuse to tell a child that s/he is all alone in the universe, especially given the eternal repercussions.

    I don’t tell her she’s all alone in the universe. After all, there are six billion other people who can keep her company.

    Isn’t it equally unloving of you not to tell your children that Allah is real and will punish everyone who doesn’t worship him, given the eternal repercussions?

    Actually, it’s already here: the birth rate in the States for atheists and people of no declared faith is 1.6, well below replacement.
    Why do you think that is?

    Is that statistically different than the birth rate for the population as a whole? Why do you think that the birth rate for Christians (taken as a whole) is also below the replacement rate? Is this intended as some proof that the Duggars are the Most True Christians on the planet, and everyone else should have exactly the same beliefs as them?

    wintermute,
    I owe you an apology. I’ve gone back to re-read the thread, and I acted with all the tact of a drunken ferret in my reply to you. I sincerely apologize for being hurtful to you. It certainly didn’t do anything to shed light on the subject; I am a bit of a hot-head, and get passionate about things. Hopefully you are married to an engineer… then you can say “At least you’re not like this guy”. Again, my apologies.

    Greatly appreciated. For the record, both my wife and I are computer programmers.

    Religiosity doesn’t equate to true fervor, either in the States or in countries in Europe (e.g. Sweden) where there is still a formal Christian faith for which taxes are withheld

    In Sweden, and a lot of Northern Europe, there are still taxes that go to fund the upkeep of churches. In some countries, these taxes are voluntary and only paid by people who tell the government that they’re of a particular faith; in others, they’re not. However, the rate of church attendance in these countries is about 5%, and the number of people who admit to a belief in a deity is not more than 15%. These are not countries overflowing with either “religiosity” or “true fervor”; they may believe that churches are pretty buildings that shouldn’t be torn down to build a shopping center, but don’t actually believe in anything so silly as a god.

    So, why do they have such low crime rates and such a high standard of living?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    rltjs

    It’s interesting that you think the fact that atheists are there to oppose religious nonsense is a way to “refine” religion. It cuts the fat, does it? This would mean that a believer of a particular religion, of which was put to atheists scrutiny, would actually concede points to those that oppose their ideas. This, to me, actually reveals the fallacy of far more than only what is conceded.

    “I don’t really believe in the existence of atheist as defined. All them I know have their feet [or at least a foot] stood on spiritual ground if they don’t know it. It is Religion or religious beliefs that are in fact, or factually, being opposed by them.”

    Simply put, you can’t imagine not believing in God. What a strange view of the world.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    wintermute

    “Is this intended as some proof that the Duggars are the Most True Christians on the planet, and everyone else should have exactly the same beliefs as them?”

    HAHA, that lady has been pregnant for 19 years straight!!! Prayze Jeezus!!

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Reformedsteve:

    I hope that introduction will clear up and make void the assumption that every one who has faith in the Christian God was forced to go to Church by staunch believers.

    I don’t think anyone here makes that assumption, Steve. It’s you who are making that assumption about us. I was not raised in a Christian household and became a Christian as a teenager. Many others have had similar experiences.

    My purpose in asking is I am curious how postmodern atheism deals with the historical accuracy of the Bible.

    What’s interesting is you’ve taken the WEAKEST argument for Christianity and tried to turn it into your strongest argument. Where’s the historical accuracy for Eden? The tower of Babel? The worldwide flood? The miracles of Moses? The enslavement of the Jews under the Egyptians? ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus? Herod killing the baby boys? ANY evidence for Jesus miracles? ANY evidence for ANY miracle at all?

    Steve, I know you are taught that the bible is historically accurate — and in some cases, it is — but it’s certainly not a model of historical scholarship. It’s a boatload of myths.

    In other words, we deal with the “historical accuracy of the Bible” by denying it and seeing no relevance, even if it was true. Most modern history books are considered “historically accurate” by both Christians and atheists (which is better than the Bible) — is that evidence to you that they are inspired by God?

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I think the theist arguments are best summed up by Shaw, on this thread:

    “Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.”

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I was going to leave without further comment, but I feel Ortho needs responding to. Christopher’s just a bonus.

    @Christopher:
    No surprise you buy into New World Order conspiracy theorist crap. Religion is the single biggest conspiracy theory of all time.

    Meanwhile, have you talked to a therapist yet?

    Have you heard the good news of Nothing?

    Nothing can save your soul!
    What awaits you when you die? Nothing.
    Nothing can magically cure all ills!

    Much easier to believe that any god.

    @Orthos:
    So the Ultimate Truth is okay with all those killed by the Inquisition, for starters?

    I suppose that death and torture was okay when it was religion doing it? Oh, but for you it’s about quantity:
    “Anything Christians have done pale in comparison to Stalin, Pol Pot and their ilk.”

    Ignoring the question of whether it matters that one or another genocidal maniac was an atheist ( I notice you prudently left Herr Schickelgruber off that list), are you saying that murdering a million people is inherently somehow worse than murdering a thousand?

    Or one?

    Sounds like moral relativism to me …

    Would that not tend to indicate a belief system with no “Ultimate Truth” underlying it?

    You want truth? There is no evidence for god, and least causes suggests to within an ace of certainty that he/she/it doesn’t exist except in the minds of his/her/its followers.

  • carefulfish

    Luke,

    I have trouble with your statement, here.

    “Religions are doomed to failure, and … 99% of them have gone the way of the dodo, while modern atheism is the same as it has always been.”

    First, you’re wrong. Religion is not extinct nor is becoming extinct. Your attempt at a witticism is actually flatulent falsehood. Religion has shown no decline in past centuries, and though, like many things, its strength will show trends in both upward and downward directions from time to time. To say that it is becoming extinct is wishful thinking.

    Second, you’re wrong about atheism. It’s not the “same as it has always been.” It has changed. Additionally your defeat your statement when you modify the athiesm you indicate as specifically modern atheism. This implies that there was once a traditiona counterpart in the same worldview and that the modern athiest is a breakaway from the views of the traditional atheist. Furthermore, atheism in modern times is not the strategic and well-rationed atheism scholars find in texts of early philosophy. It is the formula for the angry brick-in-church-window burn-crosses prejudice and attitudes we find around the world today. If one openly proclaims himself or herself a Christian then modern atheists no longer need to logically refute the Christian worldview but merely call the Christian an idiot for “going the way of the dodo.”

    Additionally, Truth as an abstract applies to more than arguments between little boys about whether there’s a God or not. The truth this politician indicates could be the truth found in human experience, be that the experience of illusions or sensations of human invulnerbility (a very real and widely shared human experience). Unfortunately, the truth is humans are often wrong about themselves. And still even more unfortunately, humans waste time attacking others for their beliefs.

  • Ty

    “You can be very well assured that, far from converting my children… my children will be there to try to convert you, if for no other reason to release you from whatever drove such bitterness into your soul.”

    “The same folks who say that Christians tout out “tired” arguments have, in my experience, never read Thomas Aquinas to the extent that I’ve read Nietschze.””

    And like nearly everything else you’ve said, you would be wrong about these things as well.

    I left religion, not because anything bad happened to me, but because I could no longer ignore the mountains of evidence against the biblical mythology. I don’t deal well with cognitive dissonance. Apparently you’re fine with it. But as far as your kids go? Statistics are on my side. More and more people are abandoning the religion they were raised in. That curve will only keep going up. ‘Unaffiliated’, the fastest growing religion in this century.

    And I read Aquinas. I was a devout student of the bible and the apologists. I’d bet I can mop the floor with you in any sort of theological debate. The problem, and one of the reasons I am no longer religious, is that Aquinas utterly fails to make a convincing argument. I realized that once I’d stopped granting him all his initial premises, all his arguments fell apart. Aquinas makes compelling arguments in favor of god only for people who already believe in god. His work is filled with logical fallacies if you don’t.

    And if you think Nietschze has anything to do with anyone becoming atheist, you really are ignorant of the other side. I don’t know a single person who became an atheist after reading Nietschze. I know dozens of them who became atheists after reading the bible. I personally became an atheist after reading thousands of pages of apologetics and attempts to justify biblical inaccuracy.

    The fact is, your arguments ARE tired. They are weak, worn out, limp attempts to fight the dissonance in your own head. Don’t be surprised when they totally fail to convince anyone else.

    Now go troll someone else’s blog.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Religion has shown no decline in past centuries

    A few centuries ago, the Catholic Church could execute people for not being Catholic, and ~95% of Europe was Christian. Now, no church claims that amount of power, and about 30% of Europeans consider themselves religious.

    I would say that counts as a “decline”.

    Second, you’re wrong about atheism. It’s not the “same as it has always been.” It has changed. Additionally your defeat your statement when you modify the athiesm you indicate as specifically modern atheism. This implies that there was once a traditiona counterpart in the same worldview and that the modern athiest is a breakaway from the views of the traditional atheist. Furthermore, atheism in modern times is not the strategic and well-rationed atheism scholars find in texts of early philosophy. It is the formula for the angry brick-in-church-window burn-crosses prejudice and attitudes we find around the world today. If one openly proclaims himself or herself a Christian then modern atheists no longer need to logically refute the Christian worldview but merely call the Christian an idiot for “going the way of the dodo.”

    Wrong on several levels. “Atheism”, pure and simple, is not believing in gods. If there has been any change in atheism over time, it’s purely that atheists today argue against different gods than Aristotle did.

    True, there are some atheists today (but far from all of them) who are more outspoken than they tended to be in the past. But that probably has more to do with the fact that they’re far less likely to be executed for their disbelief. Lynch mobs still murder the occasional atheist, but this is far from it being an official policy.

    Many atheists don’t care about religion at all, and many only object when religion forces its way into the public sphere (when politicians say that atheists shouldn’t be considered citizens, for example). Some small minority believe that everyone should give up religion, but I’m not aware of any that want atheism imposed by force; we tend to believe in personal freedom, after all.

    Even those who believe that religion is inherently harmful (Dawkins, for example) will argue against religion rather than simply writing theists off as “idiots” for “going the way of the dodo”. Of course, if you’re the 100th person to raise the same stupid, illogical, unworkable, factually incorrect arguments with them, it’s probably not too surprising if they’ve already gotten fed up with fighting the same battles over and over and over again. Come up with something original, and you’ll get a lot of polite, respectful attention from atheists.

    Unfortunately, that never seems to happen.

  • Ty

    Yeah. I think the most annoying thing are the theistic assumptions that 1) we haven’t really thought about it, 2) we don’t understand Christ/Christianity, because if we did, we would be Christians, and 3) we secretly believe in god, we just hate him.

    Once a person drops any of those three on me, they’re an idiot. I mean, I understand why they do. I used to fling those three fallacies around like nobody’s business when I was religious. But, then, I was also an idiot. I don’t hold anyone else to a standard I don’t hold myself to.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @carefulfish

    Religion is not extinct nor is becoming extinct.

    You know, I mentioned that to the guys down at the Circle of Zeus just the other day. Both of them agreed with you. So did the High Priestess of Samhain (we let her hang out with us because her false religion seems incapable of attracting more cultists).

    The only difference between the Christian mythology and any other that predeceased it is the power of literacy. An idea can capture a mind (even a bad idea), but it spreads more easily as interpretable text than as verbiage (or indeed as blog comments). The head in which the knowledge of God is encased can be removed (as the Christian Romans did to so many folks), but the book endures.

    But as history fills itself with examples, and the world and universe grow ever wider and more explored, religion eventually dies of terminal contradiction. Atheism is the only unchanged philosophy. There are no gods, period.

    This “flatulent falsehood,” you speak of–that explains why so many churches have to burn candles and incense!

    If one openly proclaims himself or herself a Christian then modern atheists no longer need to logically refute the Christian worldview but merely call the Christian an idiot for “going the way of the dodo.”

    Because modern Christians have a total corner on logical argument refutation. Atheists just turn up at baptisms, beat up preachers, and burn crosses or something. Ha!

    Although … um, cross-burning and beatings seem to be primarily a Christian activity, so far as I know. Or are you saying the Ku Klux Klan are Buddhists or something? Most atheists will just talk you to death.

    Additionally, Truth as an abstract applies to more than arguments between little boys about whether there’s a God or not. [...] And still even more unfortunately, humans waste time attacking others for their beliefs.

    May I just say:
    Well YOU started it!

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com RLTJ

    Vorjack,

    see webster or encarta about “atheist/atheism” and I mean what I said. I know what I talk about.

    I see myself more of science and a materialism. A materialist will neither deny nor confirm the existence of God. For or against any argument in there cannot be proven. No proof. A waste of time. It would be unscientific to be talking about thing one cannot prove or substantiate. see?

    A person who concludes that there is no God is in fact a phony, a fake if he says he is of science. There has never been solid proof that there is no God… The opposite side of some coin.

    By the way, Matter cannot be created therefore it has no beginning. Matter is there all the time since infinity. No explaination. Mystery. Not even Albert Einstein will venture a word more than that. Because I will bet you, you will have your feet off the ground and youll be flloating in spiritual space if you do.

    Beyond facts is off limits to true science and materialism. There is space for theory in there but not for conclusion.

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com RLTJ

    Mcbloggen,

    If you have not seen one, now you do – me.

    I look at what the very religious say and I look at what the “unreligious” say and I get what I sense is Nutrients in there and throw away the bones. That’s my religion.

  • VorJack

    @RLTJ -

    Well, my Websters defines Atheism as a disbelief in a deity. This states positively what I said negatively: a lack of belief in a deity. So, what’s your point?

    “There has never been solid proof that there is no God… The opposite side of some coin.”

    Man, I’m waiting until this one is finally dead. We respond to it on a weekly basis.

    1) It is impossible to prove a negative in most circumstances. I cannot prove that there is no God. You cannot prove I don’t have a dragon in my garage. You cannot even prove I don’t have a garage. I might have a house you don’t know about. I might have a garage in another dimension. I might have metaphorical garage.

    2) Since it is impossible to prove a negative, the burden of proof must fall upon the the one making the positive assertion. It is not for the skeptic to disprove the entity. The person making the assertion that the entity exists must provide sufficient evidence.

    3) The rule of parsimony states that we should not posit new entities when there is no need. There is no current evidence that require a deity to explain. Until such evidence is presented, we must provisionally conclude that no such entity exists.

    This simple fact is the point behind such thought experiments as Carl Sagan’s “dragon in the garage” and Bertrand Russell’s “teapot orbiting mars.” We cannot prove that there is no teapot orbiting mars. Is it reasonable to believe that there is one? Is it reasonable to be agnostic as to its existence?

    It is also behind such internet jokes as the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the invisible pink unicorn.

  • Aor

    @RLTJ
    You do not have the right to redefine a word contrary to what the established definition is. This is commonly done in order to deceive. If you cannot use the accepted definition of a word, don’t use it.

    Remember that. Not just now and here, but in all your future conversations with atheists and anyone else: the moment you feel the urge to redefine a word, you are being deceptive. Perhaps even deceiving yourself.

    Intellectually honest people will not act in that way. If you want to carry on a discussion using the actual definitions of words, please do.

  • Jesse

    Vorjak-

    Just a minor note, but thanks for those bullet points about the burden evidence. Always useful, and yet so easily lost in discussion. Thank you!

  • MUL98

    @Orthos:

    “Well, wintermute, let’s put it this way: When I see atheistic families of 4, 5, 6 or more kids, then I’ll reconsider. ”

    Great – my “atheistic” family includes 4 kids and 2 loving parents. We are friends with at least two other “atheistic” families of 6.

    Now we can put this whole stupid argument behind us.

    “Be pissed off all you’d like: I consider it child abuse to tell a child that s/he is all alone in the universe, especially given the eternal repercussion.”

    1. My kids aren’t alone in the universe, they are part of a loving family.

    2. If you consider this child abuse, you probably haven’t seen what child abuse actually looks like.

    3. There are no eternal repercussions for not believing in God.

    4. Scaring a kid in to believing that an eternity of torture awaits him for failing to believe or act the right way is just cruel.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    The arguments of theists on this blog remind me of the old joke. It concerned a man who found himself shipwrecked on a desert island. On his first night he was discovered by a party of castaways, all survivors of different vessels, who took him in and fed him.

    That night around the campfire, he witnessed a strange ritual. One man shouted “42!” And everyone laughed. Another shouted out “67!” and everyone howled. Standing beused as the numbers flew, the man asked a local what the deal was.

    “Oh,” replied his host, “We have only one book here, a joke book. And since it’s quite precious we don’t handle it. Instead, each of us reads it and commits the pages to memory, then when we want to tell a joke we simply yell out the number. He turned to the group and called out “Nine!” And everyone fell about laughing.

    So our hero dedicated his next couple of days to memorizing the text. Finally one night around the fire he stood up and called out “26!”

    There was utter silence.

    “Sorry,” he asked, “Did I say something wrong?”
    “Not really, replied a voice from the darkness beyond the fire, “It’s just that some people can tell a joke, and some can’t.”

    From now on, I suggest we pick some tome or blog post, and whenever someone turns up with the usual composted arguments that we had to beat flat last week, we simply reply with a link and a number.

    In the case of RLTJ’s Pascal’s Wager argument, I cannot offer a number. I would simply send him here.

  • http://www.reflux1.wordpress.com r chem

    In other news, an agnostic claims that congressmen are DAMAGING!

  • shamelesslyatheist

    Teleprompter: Well said. Those that dispute that ethics are inherent need a dose of Marc Hauser’s Moral Minds.

    I love how the old canard comes up of the ‘evil atheist’. Hitler (who’s name was surprisingly not mentioned – maybe some theists finally realize he was not an atheist), Pol Pot, Stalin – these were ideologues (where the real problem lies) every bit as dangerous as de Torquemada and his ilk.

    One fact that blows this argument out of the water is what of all those who carried out the terrible orders of their masters. Were they all atheists too? Rather impossible, I should think. People are people and religion is no guarantor of ethical behavior. In fact, it doesn’t seem to make any difference at all. Find out how the city of Jüdenberg got its name and you will know exactly what Stephen Weinberg was thinking of when he wrote:

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    Metro:
    I started a page of often brought up and silly creationist arguments on my blog, if you’re interested.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    I like it, Metro.

    It does seem frustrating to have to keep repeating yourself to beat down the same arguments over and over. I wonder, though, if it would be as fun. I mean, it is rare that a theist actually poses an interesting question, so if we had those threads to link to, we would mostly just be doing that in response to those tired arguments. In which case I think you would miss the debating as much as I.

  • John C

    @ Mcblog-

    If you are looking for an interesting question why dont you take a stab at the one I just post on the “atheists dont oppose God” thread.

    Consider what a game-changer that would be…or just how it might change…Mcb…

    Or…just pick it apart upon seeing the the letters “John C” as usual w/o ever even examining the content from a NEW perspective.

    JC

  • reformedsteve

    @Daniel Florien:

    If you don’t think anyone (read non-believer) here makes assumptions then you don’t read your own blog. I was making an observation about the comments that are posted here. You sir have made assumptions about me because you assumed that what I know about the accuracies of Scripture is based by what I was told in Church. The truth of the matter doesn’t fit so neatly.

    In other words, we deal with the “historical accuracy of the Bible” by denying it and seeing no relevance, even if it was true.

    So if I were to do this with a Richard Dawkin’s book you would accuse me of what exactly? I myself would accuse myself of putting my head in the sand and not dealing with the issues that oppose my beliefs.

    I’m still wanting you to point out where Christianity was discussed in the article.

    Solo Christo,
    Reformedsteve

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  • VorJack

    @reformedsteve – “In other words, we deal with the “historical accuracy of the Bible” by denying it and seeing no relevance, even if it was true.”

    Historians view the books of the Hebrew Bible as collections of myth, theology, literature and propaganda with a smattering of history – pretty much the same way we view the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Enuma Elish and the Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps you can make a case that we should treat it differently. I’d be interested in hearing it.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    VorJack,
    Your statement is utterly false. To use “historians” by itself with no identifier makes your entire statement incorrect. Try the word “some”, or “a few”, etc… The vast majority of historians view the Bible as historically accurate.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    ketch22,

    Which parts of the Bible are historically accurate: Adam and Eve? Cain killing Abel? Noah and the flood?

    Are you sure about this?

  • Aor

    The history and archeology of the area in question is well known. The bible tells falsehoods. The land was not monotheistic at a time when the bible claims it was. This is proven by the distribution of holy symbols of other religions. There are many scholarly works on this that you could read if you chose to. This information is all available publicly.

    Ketch, you claim that the vast majority of historians view the bible as historically accurate. I dare you to find a source for this. Something real and verifiable. As far as I know, the most knowledgeable in the relevant areas of history and archeology would disagree with you. You have made a claim that you should back up. If you want to declare that those experts in the fields of history and archeology are wrong, you will need to find something in a peer reviewed journal to back up a claim of that sgnificance.

  • VorJack

    @Ketch22

    I am a historian. (well, public historian, but let’s not start a fight here.) I am unaware that the bulk of those in my field have thrown out the principle of analogy, the hermeneutics of suspicion, the rules of evidence and the rest of the historians toolkit.

    Perhaps you can provide some evidence to back up your claim?

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Yeah. I think the most annoying thing are the theistic assumptions that 1) we haven’t really thought about it, 2) we don’t understand Christ/Christianity, because if we did, we would be Christians, and 3) we secretly believe in god, we just hate him.”

    I think the most annoying things are the anti-theist assumptions that 1) all Christians are Catholic and anything the Catholic religion has done relates to all belief in Christ, 2) Hitler was a Christian… believing in Jesus does not make you a Christian… trust and faith in what He did to atone for your sins and living a life in stride with His is what makes you a Christian, Hitler doesn’t fit the bill, 3) the biggest assumption they make is that there is no God. They spout that there is no evidence for God, while most people submit that there is (who is wrong?) If 95% of a nation tells you that they are oppressed, and 5% tells you that it is a great nation without oppression, most intelligent people would probably believe that the nation is oppressive. All Christians will tell you that God has made Himself real to them… just because you don’t have that revealed to you, doesn’t make it false… it just means that God hasn’t revealed Himself to you. Get over yourselves thinking that and blog about something you know… not something you don’t know (disbelief).

    “Once a person drops any of those three on me, they’re an idiot. I mean, I understand why they do. I used to fling those three fallacies around like nobody’s business when I was religious. But, then, I was also an idiot. I don’t hold anyone else to a standard I don’t hold myself to.”

    You were probably an idiot if you flung those three fallacies around. I don’t believe that about athiests and I am a believer. So if you did believe this when you were “religious” then you were probably an idiot. And idiocy doesn’t change just because you stop believing in a god.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    VorJack,
    You first made the claim, so I will wait (I am sure you will find it) for proof of your claim that historians don’t believe the Bible to be an accurate depiction of history. I will follow that up gladly by allowing you to see a few prominent historians (I won’t name them all) who view the Bible as historically accurate (and they aren’t even believers… just great historians).

    The Bible is one of the most well written historical documents from this era… other documents from this era don’t have the background this book has, yet they are without question… accurate for the most part. Because the Bible also claims to be divine in nature, a lot of athiest historians immediately dismiss the accuracy.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    And let us stop the child abuse nonsense. There is no child abuse in telling your child about God. That is complete nonsense and I think you know it.

  • smellytourist

    Wow, nice to know someone in Congress still knows who controls the universe (and is in keeping with our founding principles).

  • Reformedsteve

    @VorJack:

    Historians view the books of the Hebrew Bible as collections of myth, theology, literature and propaganda with a smattering of history – pretty much the same way we view the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Enuma Elish and the Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps you can make a case that we should treat it differently. I’d be interested in hearing it.

    You want me to do the one thing I can not and that is to change your mind. You seem to want me to make a case for this reason. After all in order for you to admit the Bible has a divine author you must leave a naturalistic view of truth aka you get converted. I maintain that the only one who can change your mind is God. This issue is highlighted by the arguements that are put forth on this blog. Both sides seem to use the same sources but see very different things. For example, I say the Bible is accurate and you say yes but so are other ancient books. The only difference is the presumptions used in their reasoning (your refusal and my acceptance of God as the author of the Scriptures). I was only interested to see how current atheists reason the non existence of God in the hopes of growing in my understanding of the religion and the people who practice it.
    Sadly, there is nothing new that can be added. From my point of view this is by design as it underlines the grace bestowed in the Lord Jesus Christ and not the persuasiveness of the debater.
    To use a church cliche, if I were able to save you I would have saved myself along time ago.

    Solo Christo,
    Reformedsteve

  • Dan L.

    I’m having trouble making it through this thread, but a few things for the theists to consider:

    1) Having a large family is not a goodness in and of itself. Worldwide, the birth rate is far above the rate of replacement and there is no risk of mankind going extinct. The argument that atheists are bad because they’re not having enough children is stupid. How many children did Mary have? How many children did Jesus have? And there are plenty of devout Christians with few children and none at all. Perhaps some people are simply not “called” to have children?

    If you’re wondering why the most successful societies were the ones with the most children, the question answers itself. When the average lifespan is 25 years and stillbirths and infant deaths are commonplace, only societies that have a lot of children are going to survive. But conditions have changed somewhat in the last century or so, in case you haven’t noticed.

    The other strange thing is that it’s typically atheists who have the biggest interest in leaving the earth a nice place for the future, even though they don’t seem to have so many of their own children. Perhaps atheists are SO moral that they see all of mankind as their family and wish to see all their brothers and sisters prosper both in the present and the future.

    2) Atheism is not a religion. If atheism were a religion, we would congregate and worship; say prayers and perform rituals. We don’t. We don’t worship anything. That’s the point. We don’t worship “facts” or “science” either. We see enough nobility in mankind that we don’t feel obliged to bow before some other power. It is not a “belief in nothing” that characterizes atheism, it is constant skepticism of ideas new and old. It is the notion that if you want be to respect your ideas, you should demonstrate why they are respectable.

    3) Without the Bible, there is no absolute morality. This is not a problem, because WITH the Bible there is no absolute morality. How many of you think homosexuals should be put to death? Disobedient children? Do you think you’re morally obligated not to eat lobster? Besides that, it seems to me that the New Testament doesn’t forbid anyone from anything as long as they repent and find Christ (even if it is on their deathbed). The fact is that you can take any tiny, homogeneous, orthodox Christian sect and STILL find several people in that sect who can’t agree on right and wrong. If you want to use your superior morals as an argument, maybe you should figure out what those are first and foremost. Seriously, go talk amongst yourselves. We’ll wait.

    Incidentally, there is a strikingly low proportion of atheists in the US prison population. Do you think this means that atheists CAN be (and are) moral, or just that they’re smart enough to get away with being immoral?

    4) A lack of a higher power than man does not indicate that “might makes right.” All over the animal kingdom we see cooperation used as a survival strategy, and it works quite well. Most people realize that cooperation is its own reward and that working together, people can accomplish much more than they can on their own.

    5) For those of us who base their atheism on doubt, the Stalin/Hitler/Pol Pot argument holds no water. The fact is that all three of these people came to power through a lack of skepticism on the part of their constituencies. Had the Russians, Germans, or Cambodians bothered to question why they were being told to do the things they did (as I would, and as I believe just about every one of the regular readers here), that evil wouldn’t have festered the way it did. All three of these men capitalized on the fact that their cultures put a premium on blind obedience, which is the very opposite of the philosophy of most atheists. Those nations were not atheist by choice; they were atheists by decree. This is the very opposite of the free thought that my sort espouse.

    Incidentally, I don’t believe that religion “causes” religious wars, inquisitions, or pogroms and I never use that argument. Such widespread acts of violence are, from what I know of history, always committed for the purpose of gaining political or economic power. When religion is involved, it is because those who stand to gain money or influence use it as a lever to motivate (really, manipulate) those who stand to gain nothing by laying down their lives. So I don’t think religion is inherently immoral, but I think it can be used to make people tools in the hands of immoral people.

    6) Someone above asked for an objective truth. Trivial. You will never at any point in your life leave the surface of the earth merely by flapping your arms. Objective truth: the earth is almost perfectly spherical. Light moves through a vacuum at 3 * 10^8 meters per second. I could come up with a hundred more off the top of my head, and these are all things with which only lunatics would disagree. The things about which we could find the most consensus across all the people of the earth are simple material facts. And the only people I’ve seen doubt the more complex material facts are people who don’t have the knowledge or background to understand how their truth was determined. Interesting, that.

    I see that many of my points were already made by some of the other posters, but I wanted to express myself on a couple of points made by believers above.

  • bobwama

    I absolutely despise people like this. They have no logical reason to believe in “God” and yet STILL persecute and practice bigotry it “His” name. I have no issue with Jesus Christ, or those affiliated with his name- they have the right to believe whatever they want. I myself believe that, though Jesus Christ did a lot of good, he was not the son of “God”, and regardless of whether he was or not his image should NEVER be used in anything less than a positive way toward any group.

    That being said, I feel that religion is a thing of the past, something that existed to explain the then unexplainable. People scoff at the Greeks’ notion of the Pantheon, without even considering that their explanation is just as far-fetched.

  • VorJack

    @Ketch22 -

    Well, let see. We can start with Isreal Finklestein, a Jewish archeologist in Tel Aviv. He’s probably the most prominent Biblical Minimalist currently operating. His works – “David and Solomon,” “Unearthing the Bible” and so forth – are probably the most approachable entry into the field – other that the tongue-in-cheek Guild of the Biblical Minimalists. You can see a list of their members here: http://minimalists.wordpress.com/

    Finklestein, and other minimalists like Hector Avalos, have managed to establish the a-historical nature of the Exodus by showing the lack of transition in the archeological record. They’ve even been able to wrangle concessions out of their nemesis, William Dever.

    Then there are literary historians like Thomas L. Thompson out of Copenhagen. He’s an interesting one. He’s done a lot of work with archeology and ancient history, but his most recent work is examining ancient literature. In his work, “The Messiah Myth,” he tries to show how literary themes from the ancient world are adapted in Jewish and early Christian literature.

    There’s a lot of interesting work being done on Jewish polytheism. Dr. Mike Heiser has a blog, “Two Powers in Heaven,” that looks like it’s picking up. Jarl Fossum, Daniel Boyarin and Alan Segal have also written about it.

    Let’s see, Phillip Davies, Kurt Noll, and Dorothy King are biblical minimalists. Of course, we’re stuck with Tom Harpur (Pagan Christ), but you’re stuck with Hershel Shanks (and you have my condolences.) There are other, like Rene Salm, who believe that the archeological evidence shows that Nazareth was unoccupied at the time of Jesus, but I can’t find out if there’s anything behind that. The mythicist debate is getting heated and I don’t like what it is doing to the discussion.

    I could list some blogosphere stalwarts, like Richard Carrier, Robert Price and so forth. I’m trying to avoid multiple links to avoid getting stuck in moderation, so you’ll have to google. Richard Carrier has some great essay up at Internet Infidels. While I’m at it, Dr. April DeConick – who would probably fit into the category of minimalist – has a great post up called “Theology is not History.”

    OK, I’m rambling at this point. I’ll stop.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    You first made the claim, so I will wait (I am sure you will find it) for proof of your claim that historians don’t believe the Bible to be an accurate depiction of history. I will follow that up gladly by allowing you to see a few prominent historians (I won’t name them all) who view the Bible as historically accurate (and they aren’t even believers… just great historians).

    Historians know that there was no global flood that killed all of humanity except one family; that Herod didn’t order a slaughter of the innocents; that the Census of Quirinius didn’t require people to leave their homes; that the walls of Jericho didn’t collapse just because someone played a trumpet.

    These are all historical claims made by the Bible that are contradicted by huge amounts of physical and textural evidence. The only people who do believe that these events actually happened are those people who do not consider any evidence other than the Bible itself; these people are not historians but apologists.

  • Dan L.

    Some questions I found somewhere in the mess above are worth answering:

    1) Where did the first piece of matter originate?

    This challenge has teeth only if you assume that the common-sense notion of causality is true universally. And it’s not. On another thread, I listed a few phenomena that do not obey causality, and they are some of the most fundamental phenomena in the universe: nuclear decay, atomic emission of radiation, particle/antiparticle creation and annihilation.

    In addition, human beings have a very parochial sense of what “time” is, and if you were to take the time to learn a little about modern physics, I think you would be forced to concede that the notion of the universe beginning is more problematic than you are implying in asking this question. I’ve used the example before that if you were to approach a black hole, your local time would slow down to the point that you could turn around and watch stars form only to supernova seconds or milliseconds later. You would watch the whole universe dissipate into a fine vapor before you made it past the event horizon. If the big bang was a singularity and you could travel backwards in time, you would experience something similar; you would never reach the actual beginning of time. You would experience something very like Zeno’s paradox.

    The notion that the origins of the universe should be intuitive is, at least to my mind, a very arrogant notion. Even so, I can think up a few possibilities to suggest that such a thing could happen without any sort of divine intervention. For example, there are interpretations of quantum theory — real, mathematically rigorous interpretations — that rely on many-worlds scenarios and say, in essence, that everything that could ever happen happens. Since our universe is clearly a possible universe, it MUST exist. There are other possibilities, and the fact that you think you’ve thought through all of them demonstrates nothing more than ignorance and a lack of imagination (sorry if I sound rude; I realize you must be a pretty bright fellow and quite imaginative in your own right, so please understand that I am only making this judgment within the context of origins).

    2) What basis in morality do atheists have, if there is no God? What is the standard?

    The golden rule makes a great standard, though I don’t think even that is necessary. Chimps and wolves don’t have God or His Word, but if you watch a social group of either species, they behave exquisitely morally towards one another. I’ve seen an alpha wolf give another wolf a “time out” because she tried to steal food from another member of the pack. She had to stand in a particular spot and any time she tried to move, another member would nip at her — though not hard enough to harm her. You can try to pass this off as autonomic behavior, but as I watched it, it seemed completely willful and strangely human.

    3) If the answer to # 2 is “zeitgeist of the times” or similar, what’s to stop a group of people in the future from killing a bunch of folks that they don’t like or performing other atrocities under the banner of Truth?

    What’s to stop them in the past or the present? That sort of behavior has been around for all of recorded history, and probably a lot longer. It’s coexisted with religion that whole time, and religion has often been used to justify it. While there have been societies that were nominally atheist that killed millions, they didn’t kill in the name of atheism; they didn’t justify those deaths through atheism. In fact, they tried to hide those deaths, because even in those societies they realized that murder is morally wrong. The notion that these things won’t happen as long as people continue to believe in God is laughable, since atrocities and belief have gone side by side for millenia.

    I would also like to make the point that morality must, in some ways, predate religion. The first believers must have felt some sort of resonance with the religion as it was preached to decide to devote themselves to it. In fact, if you want to get together a group large enough to be called a “religion”, they need to be moral enough to live together in relative peace even before they start talking about theology. Christianity (and Judaism) hasn’t been around for eternity, or even all of human history. Have you ever asked yourselves how people got by before they heard the Good News?

    @Ketch 22:

    You first made the claim, so I will wait (I am sure you will find it) for proof of your claim that historians don’t believe the Bible to be an accurate depiction of history.

    No, you made the claim that it was accurate before he made the claim that it was inaccurate. Pony up some scholarship to that effect. The ball is in your court. Nice try, though.

    1) all Christians are Catholic and anything the Catholic religion has done relates to all belief in Christ, 2) Hitler was a Christian… believing in Jesus does not make you a Christian… trust and faith in what He did to atone for your sins and living a life in stride with His is what makes you a Christian, Hitler doesn’t fit the bill, 3) the biggest assumption they make is that there is no God.

    1) I’ve never assumed all Christians are Catholics ever since I learned that there were other churches (I was raised Catholic). However, where did your Bible come from? Was there some kind of organization that compiled and preserved the texts between the years, let’s say, 100 AD and 1500 AD? Do you think it’s possible that the historical Catholic church may have had some universal impact on the current state of Christianity, as diverse as it is?

    2) In other words, you reserve the right to redefine Christianity until it excludes all people who might be an embarrassment to your claims of moral superiority. This sounds like a fun game. I want to play. OK, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot said they didn’t believe in God, but they weren’t true atheists. Hey, this is fun!

    3) I also assume there are no unicorns, fairies, goblins, gremlins, Hellenic gods, Egyptian gods, Norse gods, martians, or teapots orbiting Mars. Do these assumptions also annoy you?

    @Reformedsteve:

    I was only interested to see how current atheists reason the non existence of God in the hopes of growing in my understanding of the religion and the people who practice it.

    Please see my number (3) above. I assume things don’t exist until I see evidence otherwise, for the reasons Vorjack stated quite eloquently upthread. Since it’s impossible to prove a universal negative empirically, the negative position must be assumed until a positive case is made; otherwise, knowledge is arbitrary. This is how I reason the non-existence of God. And if God were to appear to me tomorrow, I would cease to be an atheist — the positive case would have been made.

    Also, if you’re going to say that atheism is a religion, please define “religion.” Otherwise, I am simply going to say “atheism is not a religion,” and you will say “is too!” and I will say “is not!” etc. The only way we can decide once and for all whether you’re correct that atheism is a religion is to have a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for a phenomenon to be considered a religion, i.e. we need a rigorous definition. I am doing you the courtesy of allowing you to define it, and I promise to abide by your definition so long as it meets the requirements mentioned in the previous sentence.

  • Dan L.

    @Reformedsteve:

    Also, what do you mean “practice it”? I’ve never seen an atheist church or a book of atheist psalms. I don’t know of any rituals that are performed by all atheists. In what sense can atheists be said to be “practicing” a religion?

  • http://recusatorysarcasm.blogspot.com/ Sam

    I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!

  • VorJack

    @Ketch22 – “a lot of athiest historians immediately dismiss the accuracy.”

    I think it has less to do with religion than you think. William Dever, a maximalist, is a secular humanist. Israel Finkelstein is a Jew and a pragmatic zionist (“we’re here, deal with it”). Finkelstein receives threats for his work showing that the conquest of Canaan and the Davidic empire never extended very far, which undercuts some of the Jewish claim to the Holy Land.

    Or take Dr. Jim West (please! http://jwest.wordpress.com/ ). He’s a minimalist, yet also a fairly conservative Christian. In equal measure he rants about “total depravity” and sneers at the latest attempts to prove the biblical narrative. But he’s a follower of Rudolf Bultmann, the great neo-orthodox theologian and historian who taught the necessity of de-mythologizing the Bible.

    So it’s not a clear athiest vs. Christian issue.

  • jimmyobishop

    Joshua 8:18-27
    18: And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
    19: And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
    20: And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.
    21: And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
    22: And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
    23: And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
    24: And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
    25: And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
    26: For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
    27: Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua.

    Teaching this to our children is the key to a healthy society.

  • jimmyobishop

    Joshua 6:21
    And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

    I do so love the Word of God!

  • VorJack

    Maybe I should clarify – “There’s a lot of interesting work being done on Jewish polytheism. ”

    The folks I’m citing here are dealing with late Jewish Binatarinism, which not really polytheism, but is a really complex topic. It may be important to early Christian theology, but it doesn’t really fit the discussion. That’s the problem with doing a stream-of-consciousness post.

    Early Jewish polytheism is another matter, and seems to be a pretty done deal. Take this paper from 1984 by – of all people – William Dever. It deals with Asherah, the consort of Yahweh: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1357073 .

    Alright, I promise I’ll shut up now.

  • John C

    @JimmyO-

    What did AI represent Jimmy? Do you know? Do you understand the deep symbolism? Who is Joshua a type of?

    Why was it necessary to leave none alive Jimmy? And why the number 12,000? What does that represent? Any idea’s? hmm?

    Tell us Jimmy…please.

  • poobles

    God will not be mocked.

  • VorJack

    OK, I lied.

    @reformedsteve – “After all in order for you to admit the Bible has a divine author you must leave a naturalistic view of truth aka you get converted.”

    If it come down to a leap of faith, we’re screwed. Let me put it this way:

    The Gospels say that Jesus was crucified, died, and rose for the dead.

    The Qur’an states that Jesus escaped crucifixion – though exactly how is up to interpretation.

    Both books are said by their adherents to be inerrant. But one of them must be wrong.

    The historian could make a leap of faith in order to decide which book to believe. But deciding which direction to leap in will probably come down to which book is accurate. Catch-22.

    If only there were some non-sectarian way to decide what actually happened. But you say there’s not. I guess we’ll never know.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Dan L.

    Religion is practiced in the matter which the religion in question defines it. For the Jews it is atonement of blood through the sacrifice of animals. This of course leads to the ultimate fulfillment of Christ for the Christian.

    I would argue that an atheist practices his/her beliefs in likewise manner. In the case of atheism it would worshiping one’s self. Finding pleasure in the flesh with the assumption of non existence in death. This pleasure be it indulgence or pride in a good work will ultimately be self worship. This is how an atheist practices his religion; scripture also teaches this as the sin of Satan. The atheist is not as “free” from the chains of religion as they might like to think.

    Unlike atheism Christianity directs it’s worship away from self and toward Jesus Christ who by his death and resurrection showed the glory of the Father.

    I say these things not to scare you. You have proven that you do not fear the judgment of God so I would be wasting my time if I brought up divine judgment as a scare tactic. Plus, too many false conversions have been the only result of a, “turn or burn” approach of the Gospel. I simply point out that atheism is a religion with its own set of conduct just like Christianity.

    Sola Fide,
    Reformedsteve

    PS. I hate to be a bother about this one point, but I’m still waiting for you or someone to show me where the article this thread is about mentions Christianity. I’m having difficulty finding it.

  • Reformedsteve

    @VorJack

    Read Genesis until you get to the bit about Sarah and Hagar. Then read the first chapter of Matthew. I think you will see why the Old Testament is more reliable. Also, bare in mind that the genealogy of the Old Testament has to this day a major impact on the Jewish culture. In case you want to know why I don’t have you look at the Islamic holy book it is because it’s first five books are the same with known modifications from the original Scriptures (look up the masorites if you have any questions about how that can be proven).

    Solo Christus,
    Reformedsteve

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    It has been said before, here… unless the veil is pulled back, the non-believer will never see, understand, comprehend what the believer does… they will mock and spit in your face what you know to be True.

    I love the jimmyobishop rant about the OT and God allowing the smiting of all those people. I love how the atheist cannot comprehend God. How they continually put man’s rules on an infinite God. “God killed innocent people… oooohhhh I want to follow that God.” You cannot even comprehend that God lives outside the rules He set for man… i.e. killing. It isn’t killing for God if He is the one that gave you life in the first place… it is just Him 1) taking back what was freely given, or 2) God moving a person from a natural point of existence to a spiritual one. It is His plan, His will, and for us to humanize it is idiotic. If you cannot even comprehend this very important idea of who God is, how can you debate His existence?

    @Dan L.
    No, He made the comment that historians don’t believe the accuracy of the Bible before I made the follow up comment that they do. And he still hasn’t proved his point… as he said historians, indicating most or all. All I got was a few references and they are obscure at best… especially the “minimalist” who claim Christianity yet refute the accuracy of the Bible. Laughable. So when God says that this is His word… He also meant “but it is not accurate.”? I respect the atheist more at his word than a self-proclaimed Christian who denies God’s authority and Word.

    And as the great Robbie James once said… debate rarely wins a soul to Christ, but prayer often does. So I will say a prayer for the group of you tonight, Christians included, that the Truth will reveal itself to you and/or strenghten you and that you will find it in your heart to truly seek God.

    Remember, He left the 99 to find the 1… and we are the 1.

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    It has been said before, here… unless the veil is pulled back, the non-believer will never see, understand, comprehend what the believer does… they will mock and spit in your face what you know to be True.

    If you can’t see the logical problem with that statement, you’re in trouble. Here’s a hint: Giving statements which boil down to ‘you can only believe if you want to believe’ is rather unhelpful and logically absurd.

    How they continually put man’s rules on an infinite God.

    So you admit to worshipping a god who is immoral and not bound to any sort of standards? Well, best of luck with that.
    On the other hand, I hold that any being/entity with the judeo christian god’s track record should be regarded as a petty and jealous monster not worthy of pretty much anything.

    And as the great Robbie James once said… debate rarely wins a soul to Christ, but prayer often does.

    Um, right. I’ve yet to see evidence that prayer actually does anything of any worth what-so-ever. I think you’d be better off doing something practical like offering to go and fix someone’s plumbing or whatever.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    @VorJack,
    If you truly want to debate the proof of the resurrection vs. the fallicy of the Koran, I can shoot you on over to multiple sites where this debate takes place. There are a couple of things you have to acknowledge.

    1. The truth can only be revealed to a seeking heart by God’s grace.

    2. The resurrection was not just written about in a couple of books, but over 500 people witnessed the resurrected Christ. People whose lives were changed radically by this witness. People who denied Christ and persecuted Christians, after seeing Christ risen, became the persecuted and spent the rest of their life in ministry, torture, and jail for this witness. People like Saul/Paul, Peter who was even afraid to say he knew Jesus became a radical, etc… and this doesn’t happen unless you see someone who definitely convinces you that He is alive and well. There is alot more here and if you want we can talk about it. I suggest reading some of Peter Kreeft for more on this.

    3. There have always been multiple religions opposed to the one true God… it has never been easy choosing. That is why we don’t choose based on what is best for us like most people do… we choose to submit and recognize our sin and depravity, and then only can we recognize the need for a God that only Jesus can supply… one who came and brought heaven to us… lived and then died to bring us to heaven. No other God offers that. Buddah can offer enlightenment, Confucious can offer words, Muhammed can offer the sword, but only Jesus did what needed to be done to offer us God. This is the God that I want to love and that I need. If you don’t think you need this, you are so wrong, but then again, you have to see it or you will never believe it.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “If you can’t see the logical problem with that statement, you’re in trouble. Here’s a hint: Giving statements which boil down to ‘you can only believe if you want to believe’ is rather unhelpful and logically absurd.”

    The Truth will always be absurd to the blind. And you can only believe if you want to believe is truth… until you have no choice, but then it will be too late.

    “So you admit to worshipping a god who is immoral and not bound to any sort of standards? Well, best of luck with that.
    On the other hand, I hold that any being/entity with the judeo christian god’s track record should be regarded as a petty and jealous monster not worthy of pretty much anything.”

    I submit the floor to you as you prove my point… you once again put a humanist view of what God should be in your argument about immorality. We are bound to God’s standards, God is not bound to ours. God sets the rules. I will say this again… how is it immoral for God to take life? When is it immoral for Him to take it? Should He let people live forever? (it was tried). Should He let people live and then die of natural causes only? What is natural? Doesn’t He still cause this death since He gives life and death? Should He not allow babies to die but only adults past the age of 18? Should He intervene in man’s stupidity in living in a hurricane zone and save everybody all the time? You tell me what His limits should be.

    I will tell you that God eliminated evil in the OT because it effected the way His world was headed. The innocent children were taken before they could be corrupted and spend eternity apart from God… and they were brought to God before this could happen. Where is the immorality?

  • Dan L.

    @Reformedsteve

    Religion is practiced in the matter which the religion in question defines it. For the Jews it is atonement of blood through the sacrifice of animals. This of course leads to the ultimate fulfillment of Christ for the Christian.

    I would argue that an atheist practices his/her beliefs in likewise manner. In the case of atheism it would worshiping one’s self. Finding pleasure in the flesh with the assumption of non existence in death. This pleasure be it indulgence or pride in a good work will ultimately be self worship. This is how an atheist practices his religion; scripture also teaches this as the sin of Satan. The atheist is not as “free” from the chains of religion as they might like to think.

    First of all, find me a Jew who sacrifices animals. Unless you’re saying that all the modern Jews who don’t sacrifice animals aren’t really Jews who don’t practice Judaism?

    Secondly, you’re accusing me of worshiping myself, and you don’t even know me. This only raises more questions. If you refuse to define “religion,” then define “worship” — offer me necessary and sufficient conditions for an action to constitute “worship” or we run into the same problem where you say “you worship yourself” and I say “I do not” and you say “do too!” and I say “do not!” ad nauseum. I would say that I don’t worship anything, least of all myself. If you want to convince me that I do, you will have to tell me what it means to “worship” myself.

    If you won’t define terms, then you’re not defending your claims: you’re masturbating. And I would call that self worship.

    As far as finding pleasure in the flesh, I’m more chaste than most Christians I know, and my greatest pleasures come from ideas rather than material comforts. I’m sure you can somehow spin my asceticism into “finding pleasures in the flesh” as long as you insist on refraining from entering into a serious debate, but if you do so please excuse me for writing you off as a judgmental coward.

    @Ketch22

    He never made the claim that any historians take the Bible seriously as a historical document. In fact, he pointed out a bunch of historians (theists no less!) who have written about historical inaccuracies in the Bible.

    Of course, historians don’t arbitrarily pick and choose what they decide is historically accurate. They compare independent sources, and when the sources agree despite their independence, the historian acknowledges that the accounts are probably historically accurate. It helps when the claims in those sources are backed up by archaeology. The fact that you don’t seem aware of this makes me highly dubious of the validity of your historical perspective.

    Of course, if you’re an inerrantist, you really have your work cut out for you. We only have to find one instance where the Bible is factually inaccurate to blow your premise out of the water. Here it is:

    There was never a worldwide flood as described in Genesis. It never happened. If it had happened, it would be pretty obvious to geologists; and if it happened within the last 10,000 years it would be obvious to archaeologists as well. Since the archaeological and geological consensus is that no such thing happened, well, the Biblical account isn’t looking so hot.

  • Dan L.

    @ketch22

    The Truth will always be absurd to the blind. And you can only believe if you want to believe is truth.

    Can you consider for a moment the fact that I could say the exact same thing to you? The Truth (that there is no God) will always be absurd to the blind (the religious) and you can only believe the truth if you want to believe the truth (i.e. if you don’t want to lie to yourself).

    And if, on your death bed, you finally realize their is no God and that you’ve wasted your life that you could have spent admiring the beauty and complexity of the real world and the wonderful people in it instead of some imaginary sky monster, you will have to acknowledge that it’s too late. You will have already wasted your life.

    Can you even imagine yourself being wrong? Imagining yourself being wrong is the essence of skepticism, which is the driving force behind my atheism, and I believe that of most of the regulars here if not all. Are you really so arrogant to assume that you’re the one with all the answers?

    And here I thought humility was a virtue.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    ketch22, you said the following:

    “I submit the floor to you as you prove my point… you once again put a humanist view of what God should be in your argument about immorality. We are bound to God’s standards, God is not bound to ours. God sets the rules. I will say this again… how is it immoral for God to take life? When is it immoral for Him to take it? Should He let people live forever? (it was tried). Should He let people live and then die of natural causes only? What is natural? Doesn’t He still cause this death since He gives life and death? Should He not allow babies to die but only adults past the age of 18? Should He intervene in man’s stupidity in living in a hurricane zone and save everybody all the time? You tell me what His limits should be.”

    Imagine a human father and his children. Here’s what I’m hearing from you:

    “I submit the floor to you as you prove my point…you once again put a childist view on what the father should be in your argument about immorality. The kids are bound to their father’s standards, the father is not bound to his children’s standards. The father set the rules. I will say this again…how is it immoral for the father to take life? When is it immoral for him to take the lives of his children? When is it immoral to allow them to place their hands in electrical sockets and on hot surfaces, even though they don’t know any better, and then punish them for it, when he knew perfectly well that it was in their nature to do just that? What should we expect him to do? Prevent his children from sticking their hands in dangerous places until they know better – or childproofing the house? What should he do when the kids hurt themselves — reprimand them, and then use the experience as a valuable lesson for continued development? No, he should be completely negligent about child-proofing the house and then punish his kids for not listening, even though it was completely beyond their ability to follow his rules.”

    According to your own accounts, your god never “sin-proofed” this world, took no precautions to protect us, and instead of teaching us to do the right things from experience when we didn’t know any better (knowing neither good nor evil), he irrationally decided (how typical) that it was impossible for us to learn to follow his rules altogether and cruelly condemned us, all the while causing chaos in the natural world as a further excessive punishment.

    Your god fails at parenting. In fact, your god as he is described is pretty much an abusive or negligent parent. Forget to reveal yourself for thousands of years into human cultural development, and then neglect almost all of humanity for the first few thousands years of your intervention? — more like a deadbeat dad to me.

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    The Truth will always be absurd to the blind. And you can only believe if you want to believe is truth… until you have no choice, but then it will be too late.

    Thank you for repeating exactly what you previously said without actually offering any sort of proof/evidence to back it up. It is still logically absurd, especially when you consider that it can be just as easily applied to any other religious belief system as your own.

    I submit the floor to you as you prove my point… you once again put a humanist view of what God should be in your argument about immorality.

    No, I say he should be bound by common decency no matter his role in existence (not that he exists, but let’s just roll with the hypothetical). I hold that any deity that willingly performs the acts detailed in the bible when other options are clearly available is a monster and is only worthy of worship by people who are themselves morally bankrupt (whew, that was a convulted sentence).

    We are bound to God’s standards, God is not bound to ours. God sets the rules. I will say this again… how is it immoral for God to take life?

    How is it not? It’s immoral for scientists to destroy life they create in a lab, hence why all experiments have to go through an ethical standards test/hearing. God is in no different position than that when you think about it.

    Should He let people live forever? (it was tried).

    No, it wasn’t; as can be evidenced by the fact there are no immortals walking the earth today. There are also no immortals mentioned in the bible … maybe you’re thinking about adam and eve but their supposed stint in paradise didn’t exactly last long, did it? And who do we have to blame for setting them up for their fruit tasting? Oh yeah … god.

    I will tell you that God eliminated evil in the OT because it effected the way His world was headed.

    Now how did he do that? Ah yes, by supposedly killing every person on the planet via flood sans one family when other options were clearly available (he’s supposedly omnipotent which means that there are ALWAYS other options available). There was also the ordering of genocide, including the massacres of women, children and even live stock (guess god doesn’t like sheep and goats or something. Oh well, to each his own).

    God, mostly in the OT but there are examples in the NT, is a self confessed jealous and petty god so by that standard we should be petty and jealous as well. Hey, after all, he’s god and nothing he does could possibly be bad. Now you might be starting to see where your line of argument falls down on it’s ass.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “1. The truth can only be revealed to a seeking heart by God’s grace.”

    So basically, “You will only see it if you want to see it.”

    Which in this case boils down to, “If you want to see it bad enough, you will see it.”

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    McBloggenstein,

    Isn’t this where all of our conversations with theists end up?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Heh.. yeah it’s interesting. I suppose it is inevitable, because all arguments by theists are based on an assumption that we are unable to accept for the most part, even for discussion’s sake, since that assumption has no basis. What’s even more interesting to me is that they can’t let go of their assumption for arguments sake. It sounds unfair to expect them to do such a thing when I don’t expect us to, but the point is that we are not making any assumptions, they are.

    Of course, they would not agree with that.

    I only wish I could keep up as much as some of you!

  • Dan L.

    To recap: the initial atheist position is that atheism is not damaging. The original theist position is that it IS damaging.

    That argument has devolved into an inerrantist spouting tautologies and insisting on the absurd lie that most or all historians vouch for the historical accuracy of the Bible (though he’s probably using his trick of “well, they’re not real historians if they don’t agree with ME…I mean the Bible!”) and an atheist come Christian (notice I don’t capitalize my word) insisting that I am a religion of one worshiping myself (even though he refuses to say what “religion” even means…I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he simply hasn’t seen my request to define “worship” yet).

    None of which does anything to make the case that atheism is damaging. In fact, they’ve steadfastly refused to address the arguments to the effect that it is not damaging.

    I think a certain quotation bears repeating here:

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.” ~ Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in physics

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com RLTJ

    Vorjack,

    “And what, pray tell, is your definition of an atheist?”

    Since I was asked my own definition of Atheism here it is:

    Atheist or Godless was an invention by religious chauvinists to tag a person that in their view or opinion is inimical to their belief or faith, a tool in their efforts to maintain religious status quo – their status. rltj

    And following is one established definition by Encarta:

    atheism [áythi izəm] noun

    unbelief in God or deities: disbelief in the existence of God or deities.

    [Late 16th century. Via French from, ultimately, Greek atheos ‘godless’, from theos (see theo-).]

    I think the established definition of the word atheism is factual enough. To change the definition could be twisting facts. And, as we can see my definition does not redefine the word but, incorporated into it, simply, actually just modified it.

    Because you are right, in reality “atheism” has been applied to people that are not atheist. [I don’t even believe that there are real atheists. People calling themselves atheist, maybe. But I’d rather not dance to the tune of the chauvinists. I myself had been tagged an atheist.] NEITHER DENYING NOR AFFIRMING the existence of God is not the same as CONCLUDING that there is, or there is no God. Science is not atheism as many says it is.

    I think we have to stick to established definition because if everyone makes his own re-definition there could be misunderstanding and confusion. I think that’s what you made to the word atheism. [“Here we tend to use the word atheist to mean someone without the belief in a deity”]

  • http://diaphanus.livejournal.com/ Ian Andreas Miller

    “These times will pass because eternal truth will survive atheism and the difficulties of the 20th Century.”

    I am calling God Wins Law!

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    RLTJ

    There is a difference between not believing in something, and knowing it doesn’t exist.

    No one here has claimed that they know God does not exist. In fact, I have read several atheists say that they are open to evidence of his existence, and would change their minds if given it. You probably think that our definition of evidence is held to an impossible standard, when it comes to God. I will say that it is merely the same standard that we (and probably you) hold to everything else in our world.

    Another note about your atheism definition: It is not actually that black and white. Richard Dawkins explains it well with a scale between 1-Strong theist, that knows God exists, and 7-Strong atheist, that knows he doesn’t.

    Even Dawkins says that he doubts there are many #7′s. He says that he himself is a #6, meaning:

    6. Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. “I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”

    This is by definition, a skeptic. Someone that doesn’t believe something to be true, unless he is shown good evidence.

  • Vorjack

    @RLTJ
    “NEITHER DENYING NOR AFFIRMING the existence of God is not the same as CONCLUDING that there is, or there is no God.”

    No. A lack of evidence requires us to render the provisional conclusion that the proposed entity does not exist. I laid out the steps behind that logic in my comment here: http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/01/12/congressman-says-atheism-is-damaging/#comment-8445

    What step do you take issue with? Do you not accept the principle of parsimony, the famous Occam’s Razor? Do you not agree that it is impossible in most cases to prove a negative? I cited Russell and Sagan. Do you disagree with their assessments?

    Or is this all too high-brow? How about I quote from a magician instead of a philosopher? Here’s Penn Jillette from his “This I Believe” piece:

    ——–
    “I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do. You can’t prove that there isn’t an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word “elephant” includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

    “So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. ”
    ——–

    What part of that do you disagree with? Do you believe that is is reasonable to be agnostic about the elephant in his trunk?

    Or should we use another example? Over at godchecker.com they list 2,850 different gods that humanity has believed in over the eons. They include the creature Yara-Ma-Yha-Who from the Australian aborigines. This charming fellow is a vampire with no teeth and suckers on his fingers who pounces on people who rest beneath trees and eats them. And them vomits them up, alive but a bit shorter than before.

    I think I can confidently say that 99.9% of humanity is willing to disbelieve in the existence of Yara-Ma-Yha-Who despite a lack of evidence either way. Would you say that this is not reasonable? Would you say that we should remain agnostic as to his existence – and to the existence of the 2,849 other Gods listed?

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    @ Dan L.
    VorJack stated: “Historians view the books of the Hebrew Bible as collections of myth, theology, literature and propaganda with a smattering of history – pretty much the same way we view the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Enuma Elish and the Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps you can make a case that we should treat it differently. I’d be interested in hearing it.”

    This was the first statement I responded to… so quit spouting that he did not say it or that he did not say it first.

    “There was never a worldwide flood as described in Genesis. It never happened. If it had happened, it would be pretty obvious to geologists; and if it happened within the last 10,000 years it would be obvious to archaeologists as well. Since the archaeological and geological consensus is that no such thing happened, well, the Biblical account isn’t looking so hot.”

    From an athiest point of view, I can guess how you would come to this conclusion. There is no god, therefore any evidence that points to Biblical accuracy has to be refuted and investigated… and if we find something that points to its inaccuracy, it has to be truth… There is a bias here, just as there is a bias on the part of believers. We know the Bible to be accurate, because we know God to be accurate, therefore anything pointing to Biblical inaccuracy has to be wrong and investigations lead in that direction.

    The Black Sea flood is one such answer. I have read numerous reports and such by great archeologists who claim its accuracy. You, on the other hand, would tend to listen to those who claim it is not. So until you understand that God is real, no claim made by anybody, no matter how convincing… would convince you… you would always seek somebody who had a refute and side with him/her.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @poobles:

    God will not be mocked.

    On the contrary, God has been mocked throughout history, is being mocked right now, and will be mocked in the future. Yet he does nothing about it — and he told me to tell you this — because he doesn’t actually exist.

    So you are wrong.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “And if, on your death bed, you finally realize their is no God and that you’ve wasted your life that you could have spent admiring the beauty and complexity of the real world and the wonderful people in it instead of some imaginary sky monster, you will have to acknowledge that it’s too late. You will have already wasted your life.”

    This does not effect me. 1) I don’t know how I could finally realize that there is no God. I will either know, or I won’t know. When I arrive in Paradise, I will know. If I cease to exist, who cares. I won’t. I won’t even know. 2) I admire the world and the wonderful people in it while being a Christian. I can multi-task. You use terms like “sky monster” to reiterate your ignorance and inability to debate. 3) How is it a wasted life if I somehow find out I am wrong? I lived my life as a Christian… I found something that shaped me into a good person who helped out in his community, loved his fellow man, raised great children, had a wife who didn’t give up on me because her faith indicated that marriage was sacred and so we whethered the rough spots and now we have a stronger marriage… I didn’t focus on things that don’t matter in the long run (I will cease to exist in a little bit and everything I learned and did will no longer matter to me). 4) Eventually everything will cease to exist and the universe will eventually die, and all the good and bad we did as humans will not be known… anywhere… in fact, we are basically like the cockroach and worm or some other organism who goes through life and eventually ceases to exist. Our laws don’t matter and our justice system is a joke because eventually everybody has the same fate… non-existence. Hitler and Mother Theresa are basically the same, just 2 similar organisms who chose different paths in life… and even rememberance of this will cease to exist.

    Answer me this. If you can’t possibly “know” that God doesn’t exist… you just believe He doesn’t exist… how can you debate against Him? Apparantly there is the possiblity that He does exist. And if He does, there is a possiblity He makes it known to some… and if He does, how can you, as a man of science, debate and claim that those who claim He does exist are idiots? You can’t possibly know everything that exists in the universe and the power that all these existences have to communicate with us. So if there is even the slightest possibility, how can you sit there and claim to know that we are wrong and that we haven’t been “communicated” to?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    The Black Sea flood is one such answer.

    But it’s not the flood described in the Bible. It’s not global. It didn’t entirely destroy all humans who weren’t in Noah’s immediate family. It didn’t last an entire year.

    Are you saying that the historical claims made in the Bible about this flood are false?

  • John C

    @Metro-

    In one of your posts, you mentioned that Atheists were a “non-prophet society”. I understand what you are saying but I see endless quoting and esteeming of such as Dawkins, Hitchens & Harris types…these to me very much appear to be your “prophets”….no? They herald and influence thought…perspectives, etc (quite falsely I might add) but have every right to do so.

    Just an observation….thx

    JC…

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    In one of your posts, you mentioned that Atheists were a “non-prophet society”. I understand what you are saying but I see endless quoting and esteeming of such as Dawkins, Hitchens & Harris types…these to me very much appear to be your “prophets”….no? They herald and influence thought…perspectives, etc (quite falsely I might add) but have every right to do so.

    They hold about the same status as Aquinus or Rick Warren; which is to say that they’re intelligent, thoughtful people who have interesting opinions of the topic and a fair amout of exposure, but no-one’s obligated to agree with them, or to take them seriously.

    But when people make the same, tired argument for the 20th time, it’s easier to link them to someone else’s refutation of that argument than to type it all your yourself.

  • Vorjack

    @John C.
    “these to me very much appear to be your “prophets””

    I don’t know if that analogy quite works. Prophets were originally God’s spokesmen in ancient Israel. Their authority stemmed from the belief that their words were inspired by God. Dawkins et. al., don’t possess that kind of authority among atheists. At most, they speak for a certain percentage of the group that happens to agree with them.

  • rltjs

    Vorjack

    “I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do. You can’t prove that there isn’t an elephant inside the trunk of my car…”

    That there is no God is another BELIEF, see?

    You may argue about non-existence of God forever and it wont get you anywhere, see?

    It’s because what you believe is ‘solid proof’ are in fact presumptions, assumptions, perceptions and beliefs. Same things as the thesis, just the opposite side of it. Beliefs.

    And we are talking about real thing called matter that has no beginning and not about car trunk and elephant which wont fit in it.

    Matter has no beginning and no end. Dot.

    Maybe you can do better. Maybe you can explain why matter has no beginning and no end. But, I can guarantee you all that are mere theory based on beliefs. So, normally I will end with the Dot and no farther. There is no sense in arguing about something no longer solid and concrete in the first place.

  • rltjs

    “knowing”? Thats a belief. Opinion.

    where are the facts? Dont tell me because what you have are beliefs upon heaps of beliefs. see? Id been there.

  • Vorjack

    @rltjs

    Did you bother reading the rest of the quote?

    “So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. ”

    The default assumption is that the proposed entity does not exist. The burden of proof falls upon the person making the assertion.

    Look, I’ll admit the language gets sloppy. Most people consider “disbelief,” “lack of belief,” and “belief in the non-existence” to all be synonymous. Penn’s a magician and professional nutjob, he’s doesn’t exactly have a philosopher’s clarity of language. But the basic point remains the same: prove it. You’re making the assertion, now define your terms and make your case. Until you do so, I am entitled conclude that your deity does not exist.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Look, the only thing atheists and agnostics need to do is wait for evidence. It’s not our burden of proof.

    People keep saying “how do you prove this?” or “how do you account for this?” I’m not the one making the supernatural claim(s).

    I want some evidence. I want evidence that there is an intelligent, personal, supernatural being or beings, and that out of all the myriad gods which humans have ever conceived of, your god or gods is indeed the correct one.

    All I can do is evalute the evidence I’ve been given. On one hand, I have all this evidence indicating that religion probably was evolved by humans (mythology, psychology, biology, sociology, comparative religion). On the other hand, the only reference I have for each deity are individual scriptures and theological works, which are often internally inconsistent and unreliable in many other ways.

    For those interested in the internal inconsistency of the Bible, for example, here is a great post from another blog:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/12/idq-flaw-of-meaninglessness.html

    There are multiple articles in the series.

    Please, tell me why I should believe your claims when there is no reliable source which tells me about your claims, and most of the other information I have contradicts your claims. None of the other issues are that important, except: why should I believe you? Where is your evidence? And how do you account for contradicting evidence? Thanks.

  • Aor

    RLTJ, your definition of an atheist is just another attempt to misdefine a word in order to skew the direction of the discussion. If you cannot use the accepted definition of a word, then stop using the word. If you claim to have the right to redefine atheist, then you are allowing everyone in the world to redefine any word they want to mean anything they want. I assume you are able to see how stupid that would be. Now that you see how stupid your opinion is, retract it and attempt to learn from your mistakes.

    I’ve said this countless times before: those who have the truth on their side will not feel the need to deceive. What you are doing here is just a common attempt to deceive. You may not see it that way, but every time I have seen a person deliberately misdefine a word it has come down to intentional deception. That should be enough to make you ask yourself some questions. If your beliefs are true, what is your reason for using deception? Shouldn’t the truth be able to defend itself? Why would a person with the truth on his side ever feel the need to avoid it, or hide it, or trick anyone at all? A person who truly believed in something would never feel the need to knowingly use misdirection and fallacies. Perhaps you do so unknowingly, perhaps.

    Oh, and this ‘matter has no beginning and no end’… false. Simply blatantly false. It is always surprising when theists start using terminology from the sciences, because it so often goes back to misdirection and ignorance. If you are ignorant of the relation between matter and energy, don’t bother bringing it up in a conversation about gods, because you will find yourself dealing with people who know vastly more about the subject than you do and the inevitable result of that is that you make yourself look foolish.

    If there is no sense in arguing about something that isn’t solid, why the hell are you here on an atheist website arguing about your religion? Each time your beliefs are confronted as being baseless, your response is ‘so are yours’. The truth of that claim is open to discussion, but the implications of you saying what you have said is also open to discussion. By saying that you have admitted that your beliefs are baseless.

    But this is all beside the point. The fact that you are here, attempting to use some form of logic and reason (however poorly) shows that you understand that logic and reason trumps faith. You wish to prove to us that your beliefs are true, which shows you understand how important it is to prove things. That causes a problem with faith. You see, if you had true faith you would not need or want or desire proof. Proof would remove faith from the equation. So by coming here and acknowledging the power of rational thought you are admitting that your own faith is not what it should be.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “The fact that you are here, attempting to use some form of logic and reason (however poorly) shows that you understand that logic and reason trumps faith. You wish to prove to us that your beliefs are true, which shows you understand how important it is to prove things. That causes a problem with faith. You see, if you had true faith you would not need or want or desire proof. Proof would remove faith from the equation. So by coming here and acknowledging the power of rational thought you are admitting that your own faith is not what it should be.”

    Excellent point!

  • John C

    Aor-

    Try something original, you use the accusations “deceptive”, “mis-defined” words etc over and over. They really DONT apply to everyone my friend…besides, I was feeling kinda special for a while there with all those titles (crowns) you donned me with…lol

    Try and hurl some new, original accusations…please.

    JC

  • John C

    @Daniel-

    I thought you said you couldnt prove He didnt exist? Now you tell poobles that God (rather emphatically) doesnt exist? This is the first such language I have heard from you in the definitive.

    As far as God being mocked…He has no identity crisis, feels no compulsion to MAKE you believe…besides, that is not the correct interp of the word “mocked” anyway my friend.

    Perhaps you have entered 09 with a more fervant “unbelief” than 08? Well…you know what that will bring dont you? Can you handle it? Yep…you are so close to invoking the mighty, ferociuos, holy…love of God (what did you think I was gonna say anyway?) lol

    JC

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @John: I don’t think God exists. I live my life that way, and I’ll tell others that’s what I think. However, he could still exist. I’ve been wrong before and I could be wrong now.

  • John C

    Fair enough…thx D for the response…you are good about that.

  • John C

    @Vorjack-

    Thx V…a prophet need not be Jewish…besides, have you not heard? “he is not a jew (Gods chosen people) who is one outwardly, but rather who is one inwardly”. Romans 2:28.

    So yes…a true’er, more contemporary and relevent definition would be one who pointed the way…and that influenced people inclined to believe that is the way. So yes, while I normally am quite docile w/regards to such discussions I would say that these men (dawkins, hitchens, harris) are much more the modern day atheist “prophet” than you might be inclined to accept.

    JC

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Try and hurl some new, original accusations…please.”

    Hehe… Why should the accusations be new, when the theist tactics remain the same?

    (no offence to you John)

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “So yes…a true’er, more contemporary and relevent definition would be one who pointed the way…and that influenced people inclined to believe that is the way. So yes, while I normally am quite docile w/regards to such discussions I would say that these men (dawkins, hitchens, harris) are much more the modern day atheist “prophet” than you might be inclined to accept.”

    Hmm.. Well, think of it like this: They are not coming up with new ideas, really. They are just each arguing their side the best way they know how, based on ideas about belief that have been around for a long time, and the current culture happens to relate to their words better than other authors. I’m not sure that means that they are “pointing the way” in at all the same way the old definition of a prophet would. I see what you are saying though. But they don’t appear to wish upon others that they should think like they do. They have merely put their ideas out there, and lots have just happened to have agreed with it, and have made them a little famous.

  • VorJack

    @John C

    Hmmm. Maybe. I think that waters down the definition a bit much. I should say that I have a strong bias in this matter: I refer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the American prophet. I find that no other word has the resonance that suits the purpose. I don’t want to see the word become overused and prosaic.

    Whatever I am now, I was raised a liberal Christian Southerner. There are certain built in facts that are non-negotiable. There are quite a few people of my father’s generation who speak as if Dr. King died for our sins.

    Still, I take your point, that Dawkins, James “The Amazing” Randi, Daniel Dennet and so forth have a great deal of influence and unofficial leadership over the modern atheist movement. I’d quibble over Harris, who I think is not as respected.

  • John C

    McBlog-

    Actually, even you might have to admit…”after further review” that I have maintained some rather original (and hotly contested) viewpoints there Mr. Marshmellow man…including many that my fellow “theists” would not dare yet venture into…yet.

    Or have you even noticed…perhaps you have been too busy defending the unbelieving fort of prey and its garrison from those tyrannical “theist” intrusions. lol

    JC

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    I do not dispute that your points are unusual for a theist, but I would still submit that they are mostly unoriginal.

  • John C

    @Tele-

    Gee…thx Tele…love you too man.

    “Theist” loving John lol

  • Robert

    One thing that always puzzles me – theists assume that atheism _necessitates_ belief in the nonexistence of the human soul.

    This is a non sequitur, in my opinion; it would be like atheists assuming that theism necessitates belief in the existence of the human soul. There’s no necessary connection between the two ideas, as far as I can see. I’m familiar with a number of belief systems that include the one, and not the other.

  • Aor

    @John C

    If the shoe fits, wear it. If theists didn’t repeatedly use deception and falsehoods and fallacies, I wouldn’t have to keep pointing out their use of deception and falsehoods and fallacies. Like, for example, how I pointed out your blatant lies, and proved them to be lies. Like how you don’t even deny that I proved you to be a liar multiple times on multiple threads, and instead you just pretend it didn’t happen. Like how you refuse to concede a point no matter how clearly and precisely it is made, nor how often. Like your attempts to misdefine words in order to suit yourself. Are you still claiming not to be religious, by the way? Are you still claiming atheists can’t feel love the way believers can? As I have said time and time again, John, you have no credibility and you have nobody to blame for that but yourself. You have tried to shift the blame to me, again, but if you had not come in and lied to us I would have no reason to call you a liar.

    Some advice, John. The best way to regain your credibility would be to admit to your lies and apologize for them. In fact, I think some people would call it the christian thing to do.

  • Dan L.

    ketch22:

    This was the first statement I responded to… so quit spouting that he did not say it or that he did not say it first.

    Your entire PREMISE is that the Bible is inerrant. All your claims in this entire thread are based on this premise. You are the one making claims of inerrancy, and it is incumbent upon YOU to back them up.

    Note that Biblical inerrancy does NOT follow from the existence of God, unless there is some reason to believe that God is, in fact, Yahweh and not some other deity from among an infinitude of possibilities. What reason do you have to believe this aside from faith? If it’s faith, bug off. We don’t have it and we don’t want it. Faith causes this kind of thinking:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/opinion/14goldberg-1.html?ref=opinion

  • Dan L.

    ketch22:

    From an athiest point of view, I can guess how you would come to this conclusion. There is no god, therefore any evidence that points to Biblical accuracy has to be refuted and investigated… and if we find something that points to its inaccuracy, it has to be truth… There is a bias here, just as there is a bias on the part of believers. We know the Bible to be accurate, because we know God to be accurate, therefore anything pointing to Biblical inaccuracy has to be wrong and investigations lead in that direction.

    By the way, this is incorrect. If evidence supports a certain part of the Biblical account, then they mutually reinforce each other. I don’t go out of my way to refute the Biblical account; I just won’t believe it unless it’s verified through reconciliation with independent sources. The fact that Herod was king during the time of Christ is not in doubt because it’s confirmed through multiple independent sources. The belief that Christ rose from the dead IS in doubt because the only source attesting it is the Bible itself (not to mention the fact that it’s prima facie an incredible story). I don’t deny that parts of the Bible are historically accurate. But much of it isn’t. See below.

    The Black Sea flood is one such answer. I have read numerous reports and such by great archeologists who claim its accuracy. You, on the other hand, would tend to listen to those who claim it is not. So until you understand that God is real, no claim made by anybody, no matter how convincing… would convince you… you would always seek somebody who had a refute and side with him/her.

    But the Black Sea flood is NOT the Biblical flood, unless the Bible got the details all wrong — which contradicts your premise of Biblical inerrancy. In fact, I’ve also read about the Black Sea flood and I find it rather plausible, although there’s not exactly a smoking gun. If someone were to find stone foundations of an ancient settlement underwater 20 miles from the coast of the Black Sea, I would say the Black Sea flood happened. That would be enough reason for me to believe it. The fact that the Bible includes an account of a flood does not have any bearing on whether or not any particular historical flood happened.

    It’s not a matter of me listening to this person instead of that person; I listen to EVERYBODY and doubt everything that ANYONE says unless they can make a good case for it. I try to systematically avoid bias. I would guess that you are projecting because your point of view is inherently biased and you refuse to acknowledge that someone else might try to avoid such a position.

  • John C

    Aor-

    Dude…your like a broken record of unbelief…do you ever get tired of hearing…you?

    Try something new…after all it a whole…New Year!

    Try kindness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness…see if any of those shoes…fit.

    JC

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Try kindness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness…see if any of those shoes…fit.

    Are you suggesting that atheists aren’t already trying those things?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C,

    Yes, atheists are just as capable of being “kindly, compassionate, merciful, and forgiving” (paraphrase).

    Why does one need spirituality…specifically your kind of spirituality…to realize these qualities?

  • Reformedsteve

    @Dan L.:

    Jews don’t sacrifice animals? Have you not read the Old Testament? Also, from a Christian point of view, the Book of Romans states very plainly that the church, meaning the believers in Jesus Christ, are the new Israel. Are they sacfricing animals now? No, most likely because they don’t have a temple. Why don’t they just build one. Oh, they will and it will be where the Man of Lawless proclaims himself above God (read 2thessolans). As far as your post about defining terms. I defined them all for you and gave examples. I am sorry that you do not like them. The thing about postmodernism and empricalism(sp?) is that you will never be able to know anything. If empricalism states, your experience determines truth rather then filtering truth through experience. You can’t do the later because truth is relative according to postmodernism. You in essence can never be sure of anything.
    I know a good bit about you from your posts. The route you go in debating is a hallmark of everything that I have said. How can I get away with that statement? Read 2Peter chapter two. You might not like it. If you don’t like it you may want to ask why. If truth is relative anyway then what does it matter. And if knowledge and or truth is determined by experience you can only get mad if you had the experience of 2Peter. Either way you go, I hope you make a consistent choice.
    Don’t result to name calling. But if you must I prefer something that rings true about me. Bible beater or Jesus freak comes to mind. Coward doesn’t fit because I have had this same discussion with people more knowledgeable then you in person. This is not to say that I think my intellect is greater then yours, but to say that my Master has promised that because He overcame the world so will I, because I belong to Him.

    Sola Christus,
    Reformedsteve

  • Dan L.

    ketch22:

    You use terms like “sky monster” to reiterate your ignorance and inability to debate.

    Hahahahahaha! Hahahaha! Hahahahahahahahahaha! Hahahaha! Hahaha! Oh, that’s rich…

    Answer me this. If you can’t possibly “know” that God doesn’t exist… you just believe He doesn’t exist… how can you debate against Him?

    How thick can you be? I’ve answered this question no less than three times on this thread alone, as have many others. I don’t “know” that unicorns don’t exist any more than I don’t “know” that God exists, but I will call anyone who CLAIMS that unicorns exist an idiot unless they can back it up with a live or dead unicorn that, upon examination by someone qualified to determine such a thing, seems to be authentic.

    And if they do turn up the unicorn, then unicorns exist. It’s as simple as that.

  • Dan L.

    @Reformedsteve:

    Jews don’t sacrifice animals? Have you not read the Old Testament?

    Have you been to a synagogue? Again, find me a Jew alive today who sacrifices animals to God. That is not how Jews worship.

    As far as your post about defining terms. I defined them all for you and gave examples

    No you didn’t. You never said what a religion was. You never said what it meant to practice a religion except that it was “worship,” and you didn’t define that one either. Your “example” was the laughable one above that Jews practice by sacrificing animals, which simply isn’t true. You fail at debate.

    The thing about postmodernism and empricalism(sp?) is that you will never be able to know anything. If empricalism states, your experience determines truth rather then filtering truth through experience. You can’t do the later because truth is relative according to postmodernism. You in essence can never be sure of anything.

    What makes you think I’m a postmodernist? I’ve certainly never claimed to be one, nor made any arguments in the mode of postmodernism. In fact, I vehemently deny being a postmodernist and will argue with any postmodernist who tries to tell me that truth is relative. Because I don’t believe that truth is relative.

    I know a good bit about you from your posts. The route you go in debating is a hallmark of everything that I have said.

    Evidently not if you think I’m a postmodernist or if you think that I believe that truth is relative. The route I go in debating is, in fact, antithetical to postmodernism, so if you concluded that I am a postmodernist from my method of argumentation, you also fail at reading interpretation.

    Coward doesn’t fit because I have had this same discussion with people more knowledgeable then you in person.

    Coward fits because you consistently fail to address my arguments or engage in debate in an honest manner. Instead, you refer me to more or less irrelevant passages from the Bible. What is 2 Peter:2 supposed to prove, exactly?

    And more knowledgeable in what domain? Biblical scholarship? I concede. To me, the Bible is worth the $5 I paid for my copy. Science? I haven’t summed up my entire knowledge of science in this thread, so I don’t see how you could conclude such a thing. Similar for philosophy.

  • John C

    @Tele/Winter-

    No…I was referring specifically to Aor…who is always harsh to me and any (theist) who might have a dissenting opinion….just encouraging him to make a change…or two.

    Was not a general indictment…

    JC

  • John C

    @Tele-

    What are the origins of said qualities? Our difference is that you take ownership of them and I say they are aspects of our original paternity…thats all.

    Btw…I’m sure you are a nice enough guy Tele…no wories there my friend.

    JC

  • Reformedsteve

    @ketch22:

    Basically, by know they (atheists) mean they have made an assumption based in observation an example of this is macro-evolution. You can’t say the Big Bang theory is a case of this because no one, but God, has witnessed creation of any kind. It is backed up by his unicorn example. If he was to take that example and apply it to the saving power of Jesus Christ, his dead unicorn would be the judgment throne of God. Most likely he will then say it is God’s fault for not giving him the proof he needed for belief. If he debates this way then his man centerness is revealed, if he doesn’t then he is boastful in his ability to stand before a holy God.

    Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ,
    Reformedsteve

  • Aor

    @john c

    I notice that once again you don’t deny anything that you lied. Its hard not to take that as a complete agreement with what I stated. If you planned on not acting like a liar, you sure picked a strange way to do it.

    Are you asking for forgiveness, John? Are you asking people to forgive you your lies, the lies you won’t quite ever admit to making? Are you asking for compassion? Do unrepentant liars deserve compassion? Are you asking for mercy? Kindness? Are you worthy of either? On what grounds? Shouldn’t you show yourself worthy of forgiveness by admitting your errors, worthy of compassion by repenting your lying and deceptive ways? You fail to live up to the ideals you claim to love, John. Fail horribly.

    I know you won’t have any rational response to this, as usual John.

  • Dan L.

    @ketch22, Reformedsteve:

    Each of you has denigrated my debating skills after each of you has shown you know absolutely nothing about how to debate. Here are some tips:

    Defining Terms:

    Debate is impossible if each side has different interpretations for the same words. Thus, to make any progress in a debate it’s necessary to specify the meanings of the important words in an unambiguous way. This means stating all the conditions that MUST be met for a phenomenon to meet a certain definition (necessary conditions) and all the conditions that (each alone) necessitate that a phenomenon satisfies a certain definition (sufficient conditions). In practice, it is often sufficient to state a sufficient condition to show that a phenomenon satisfies a certain definition.

    Stating Premises:

    Premises are the underlying assumptions made at the outset of a debate. In true debate, both sides must agree on the premises. Thus, in this case “God exists” is not a valid premise as some of the debaters are not willing to assume its truthfulness. Argument entails showing that the debater’s conclusions follow logically from the premises given the definitions involved.

    When a party to a debate is unwilling to either define terms or state premises — and neither of you have been willing to do either — I have to assume that they are not arguing in good faith. That party is essentially refusing to take a position in the debate, usually with the intention of subtly changing the character of their argument without informing the other parties. This is par for the course in internet apologetics by the way.

  • Dan L.

    Basically, by know they (atheists) mean they have made an assumption based in observation an example of this is macro-evolution. You can’t say the Big Bang theory is a case of this because no one, but God, has witnessed creation of any kind. It is backed up by his unicorn example. If he was to take that example and apply it to the saving power of Jesus Christ, his dead unicorn would be the judgment throne of God. Most likely he will then say it is God’s fault for not giving him the proof he needed for belief. If he debates this way then his man centerness is revealed, if he doesn’t then he is boastful in his ability to stand before a holy God.

    Here you show a complete lack of understanding of science and the philosophy underlying skepticism. There is good reason to believe that the Big Bang occurred, but no such evidence for unicorns. You fail science too.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Dan L.

    Is this were I find a way to compare you to Nazi Germany? Just Kidding, that comment was meant in good fun.

    I thank you for your advice. It is the same thing I heard in a Gordon H. Clark lecture. You should look into his work you might like it and even value it.
    I am interested in how`you would define religion.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Dan L
    Has a human being ever experienced a creation of a universe? You can’t have it both ways. You either know truth through the senses or you don’t.

    Try and discredit me and brush me off all you want. The fact you do speaks volumes about how you have run out of ammo.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    John C said:

    “What are the origins of said qualities? Our difference is that you take ownership of them and I say they are aspects of our original paternity”

    Yes, I take ownership of them! You have just said better than I ever could have exactly what I’ve been trying to say this whole time, John C. I take ownership of the good and bad that I do in this world. I don’t need an “original paternity” to complicate these questions. Thank you for illuminating my position.

    Reformedsteve said:

    “Has a human being ever experienced a creation of a universe? You can’t have it both ways. You either know truth through the senses or you don’t.”

    Has a human being ever experienced the creation of a god? Has any human being ever found anything that had an objectively verifiable supernatural explanation? Then how do we know any gods exist? You either apply your own principles to all things equally or you don’t. Otherwise you’re guilty of special pleading.

    Also, why do you insist that we must “know truth through the senses”? What does that even mean? Do your “senses” tell you that there is an intellligent, personal creator or creators, that s(he)/they that exist(s) are the ones which you worship, and that the dogma you agree with is the correct interpretation of these circumstances?

    Do you know all of that through your “senses”?

    Also, if you had been born to a Muslim family, wouldn’t your senses be equally like to indicate Allah in the same ways that you perceive your current beliefs? If you had been born in a Hindu family, wouldn’t your senses be equally likely to indicate Krishna and Vishnu and Shiva in the same way? What’s the difference between your opinions and those who disagree with you on religion? What separates your claim from other religious claims? Your “senses”?

    Would you like to know what doesn’t make sense to me through my senses? (This is a re-post from earlier.)

    “I submit the floor to you as you prove my point… you once again put a humanist view of what God should be in your argument about immorality. We are bound to God’s standards; God is not bound to ours. God sets the rules. I will say this again… how is it immoral for God to take life? When is it immoral for Him to take it? Should He let people live forever? (It was tried). Should He let people live and then die of natural causes only? What is natural? Doesn’t He still cause this death since He gives life and death? Should He not allow babies to die but only adults past the age of 18? Should He intervene in man’s stupidity in living in a hurricane zone and save everybody all the time? You tell me what His limits should be.”

    Imagine a human father and his children. Here’s what I’m hearing from you:

    “I submit the floor to you as you prove my point…you once again put a childist view on what the father should be in your argument about immorality. The kids are bound to their father’s standards; the father is not bound to his children’s standards. The father set the rules. I will say this again…how is it immoral for the father to take life? When is it immoral for him to take the lives of his children? When is it immoral to allow them to place their hands in electrical sockets and on hot surfaces, even though they don’t know any better, and then punish them for it, when he knew perfectly well that it was in their nature to do just that? What should we expect him to do? Prevent his children from sticking their hands in dangerous places until they know better – or childproofing the house? What should he do when the kids hurt themselves — reprimand them, and then use the experience as a valuable lesson for continued development? No, he should be completely negligent about child-proofing the house and then punish his kids for not listening, even though it was completely beyond their ability to follow his rules.”

    According to your own accounts, your god never “sin-proofed” this world, took no precautions to protect us, and instead of teaching us to do the right things from experience when we didn’t know any better (knowing neither good nor evil), he irrationally decided (how typical) that it was impossible for us to learn to follow his rules altogether and cruelly condemned us, all the while causing chaos in the natural world as a further excessive punishment.

    Your god fails at parenting. In fact, your god as he is described is pretty much an abusive or negligent parent. Forget to reveal yourself for thousands of years into human cultural development, and then neglect almost all of humanity for the first few thousand years of your intervention? — He’s more like a deadbeat dad to me.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Teleprompter:
    I don’t normally send people to wikipedia, but for you I make an exception. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism

    I am not an empiricist. I’m a calvinist so your ideas on free will are way different then mine. The bible is clear that it is man’s nature to sin. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.

    Also, I’m curious, do you imply that it is possible for a human being to fulfill all the requirements of the Law that is found in the Old Testament?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Reformedsteve,

    No, I do not imply that it is possible for a human being to fulfill all of the requirements of OT law. In fact, I believe that it is impossible to fulfill all of those requirements, which makes this whole plan even more ridiculous in my opinion.

    By the way, do you believe in the concept of “free will”? If not, why? If so, what is your interpretation of it?

    You said:

    “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”

    To me, that’s like saying “we’re not smokers because we smoke, we smoke because we are smokers”. That kind of statement just doesn’t make sense to me because it really fails to account for why people are smokers. You’re just telling us what people are. Also, it’s circular.

    Where do you think “sin” comes from? You just said that we sin because we are sinners? If Adam and Eve committed the first sin, did they sin because they were sinners? Isn’t it impossible for someone without sin to be a sinner? Or did they sin because they were always going to sin, even when they were without sin? Then they would’ve had no choice, and in my opinion, it would be blatantly unfair for your god to punish them under this scenario. So you see, that sentence just doesn’t make any sense to me.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Reformedsteve,

    No, I do not imply that it is possible for a human being to fulfill all of the requirements of OT law. In fact, I believe that it is impossible to fulfill all of those requirements, which makes this whole plan even more ridiculous in my opinion.

    By the way, do you believe in the concept of “free will”? If not, why? If so, what is your interpretation of it?

    You said:

    “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”

    To me, that’s like saying “we’re not smokers because we smoke, we smoke because we are smokers”. That kind of statement just doesn’t make sense to me because it really fails to account for why people are smokers. You’re just telling us what people are. Also, it’s circular.

    Where do you think “sin” comes from? You just said that we sin because we are sinners? If Adam and Eve committed the first sin, did they sin because they were sinners? Isn’t it impossible for someone without sin to be a sinner? Or did they sin because they were always going to sin, even when they were without sin? Then they would’ve had no choice, and in my opinion, it would be blatantly unfair for your god to punish them under this scenario. So you see, that sentence just doesn’t make any sense to me.

  • Dan L.

    @Reformedsteve:

    I am interested in how`you would define religion.

    It’s not an easy word to define, I’ll grant you. That is part of why I object so strongly to glib statements like “atheism is a religion.” I don’t think this is self evident, and object to such a statement unless the claimant can make a real case for it.

    Here is what Webster’s has to say:

    Religion
    Re*li”gion\ (r[-e]*l[i^]j”[u^]n), n. [F., from L. religio; cf. religens pious, revering the gods, Gr. 'ale`gein to heed, have a care. Cf. Neglect.]

    1. The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies, or by the conduct of life; a system of faith and worship; a manifestation of piety; as, ethical religions; monotheistic religions; natural religion; revealed religion; the religion of the Jews; the religion of idol worshipers.

    2. Specifically, conformity in faith and life to the precepts inculcated in the Bible, respecting the conduct of life and duty toward God and man; the Christian faith and practice.

    3. (R. C. Ch.) A monastic or religious order subject to a regulated mode of life; the religious state; as, to enter religion. –Trench.

    4. Strictness of fidelity in conforming to any practice, as if it were an enjoined rule of conduct. [R.]

    I have omitted the quotations, but they can be looked up easily enough on dictionary.com. To me, it’s evident that atheism does not satisfy definitions 1 through 3; a case could be made for 4, but dictionaries order definitions by the most widespread and accepted interpretations at top, so if one were to do so, I would say that atheism is only a religion in a pretty weak sense. Definition 1 is, I think, the most unambiguous and common sense interpretation given here.

    Personally, I would submit that necessary conditions for a religion would include:
    (a) a congregation
    (b) rituals
    (c) a creed
    Since atheism does not have (a) or (b), I would say that atheism is not a religion (I think (c) could be argued either way, but I think most forms would qualify as having creeds). However, I like to offer religious folk the opportunity to define it themselves since they are stuck with being members of a religion and I think it’s unfair to some extent to impose my own definition in such a situation.

    I am sorry if I may have gotten a little carried away. As I said, it irks me when people make glib statements about atheism constituting a religion when they refuse to say what they mean by it. I have been in too many arguments with theists wherein they refused to take an unambiguous position and prevaricated until all hope of reaching any kind of understanding was lost. To this end, I will be sure to check out Gordon H. Clark, since from what you say he is an advocate for reasoned debate, which is all I really look for in these kinds of arguments (at least I hope my debate is reasoned and try my best to make it so).

    It also bothers me when people assume things about my philosophical perspectives after reading only a few paragraphs of what I’ve written. I think that some of my beliefs are rather unorthodox even among atheists, but I try to challenge those beliefs at every opportunity and the ones I hold now are the ones that have best stood up to intense scrutiny. Of course, there’s always going to be some doubt as to how impartial one can be when criticizing one’s own beliefs, but I assure you that I at least try my best to do so.

    Thank you for trying to lighten the mood a little and for calming the debate down. While I’m not sure either of us are going to change our opinions as a result of this discussion, maybe each of us can at least come to understand the other’s position a little better. If we can do that as well as examine our own beliefs a little more critically, I think this conversation would be worth the investment.

  • Dan L.

    @Reformedsteve:

    Has a human being ever experienced a creation of a universe? You can’t have it both ways. You either know truth through the senses or you don’t.

    Try and discredit me and brush me off all you want. The fact you do speaks volumes about how you have run out of ammo.

    I am trying to be conciliatory at this point because I think the invective is a little counterproductive, but again, if this is what you think then you simply have a poor understanding of science. I am not trying to be rude — this is simply an observation.

    It’s true that I’m asserting that I can only learn truth through my senses, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t infer results that I can’t sense directly. The fact that Galileo could not see the moons of Jupiter with his naked eye did nothing to invalidate his discoveries, nor the inference he made from them that the earth revolves around the sun. Similarly, there are features of the universe that are incredibly difficult to explain without inferring the occurrence of the Big Bang. I’ve described these to some extent on another thread, and I think Daniel may be posting a little more on this some time soon if you’re interested in learning. If you would like to speak some more about why I think events that can only be inferred rather than perceived directly can still be considered “true” or continue any other part of this debate, feel free to email me at guyincognitozz@aol.com.

    And I assure you I am nowhere close to “out of ammo.” You’ve seen that my posts are rather long; this is after making the conscious effort to restrain my arguments to only the pithiest and most relevant points, and to allow a fair amount of blow-by. I would go so far as to say that so far you’ve only been hit with rubber bullets.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “But it’s not the flood described in the Bible. It’s not global. It didn’t entirely destroy all humans who weren’t in Noah’s immediate family. It didn’t last an entire year.

    Are you saying that the historical claims made in the Bible about this flood are false?”

    You are assuming that I believe in a new earth… I don’t. I also don’t believe the Black Sea was related to the Genesis flood. I believe the Genesis flood happened a while back when man was new… more than a few thousand years. I used the Black Sea as “one such answer” to counter that I don’t believe everything believers believe or ascribe to.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    If you don’t believe God exists, that is your prerogative… but don’t pretend that you know. I can respect the atheist that says, “there is no evidence that I have seen or experienced to lead me to believe in God.” But to those atheists that claim that there is no evidence that has led others to believe in God is arrogant and self-serving.

    1.You can’t possibly know there is no God
    2.Because of number 1, God can possibly exist (makes you agnostic)
    3.If God can possibly exist, then He can also possibly communicate to others without your knowledge
    4.If God can possibly communicate to others without your knowledge, your claims that believers are idiots are because you are not atheist, but rather anti-theist. Because if you were not against God, but just didn’t believe in Him, you wouldn’t go to all the trouble of debating against those that state they have had an experience with God.

    What if there is proof that God exists all around, but we don’t understand it unless He lets us? If He exists this is possible. I mean, He created the universe, He can keep us from understanding, right? The bacteria probably doesn’t understand anything outside its world… the ant… etc… even the dog and cat understand very little about anything outside their little worlds. So how can we expect to know much of anything outside our world? We don’t even know what causes gravity… we have theories, but we don’t know… we know such a little fraction of our universe, for anyone to say God doesn’t exist is ignorant and arrogant… and to say you don’t believe in God is fine, but arrogant to ridicule another who just might have met Him.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    ketch22 says:

    “we know such a little fraction of our universe, for anyone to say God doesn’t exist is ignorant and arrogant”

    Well, I believe that for anyone to say that a specific type of god does exist without compelling evidence for that belief is ignorant and arrogant. And for what fraction we have uncovered, we have yet to uncover any supernatural explanations. There’s not enough evidence. Also, the evidence I have (the Bible, etc. and other traditional scriptures) are so internally contradictory and contradictory with things we know in this world that it is difficult to assume any set of beliefs which is predicated upon these sources.

    “bacteria probably doesn’t understand anything outside its world”

    Ironic, because nowhere are bacteria mentioned in the Bible. That’s a pretty substantial omission, in my opinion.

    It’s supposed to be a divinely inspired work. It trys to mention as many forms of life as possible…yet neglects to mention most of the life on our planet, which is bacteria.

    Of course, if you believe that the Bible was written by people who were just trying to come up with the best explanations they could, and that the events depicted within were not literal, then this omission shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

  • Dan L.

    @ketch22:

    1.You can’t possibly know there is no God
    2.Because of number 1, God can possibly exist (makes you agnostic)
    3.If God can possibly exist, then He can also possibly communicate to others without your knowledge
    4.If God can possibly communicate to others without your knowledge, your claims that believers are idiots are because you are not atheist, but rather anti-theist. Because if you were not against God, but just didn’t believe in Him, you wouldn’t go to all the trouble of debating against those that state they have had an experience with God.

    1. You can’t possibly know that there is no teapot orbiting Mars. That doesn’t make the assertion that there is any more true, or likely to be true.
    2. This is true. God can possibly exist, but that admission does not make me agnostic. As a skeptic, I take the position that any claim is false unless convincing evidence or a convincing argument (almost always based on evidence) is laid out. I admit that this is an assumption, but it is a very weak assumption, and one that leads to the fewest possible false positives in terms of beliefs.
    3. That is true.
    4. I don’t usually go around claiming that believers are idiots unless they make that case themselves. It’s not so much that I’m trying to deny others’ experiences with God as that I am asserting that a subjective, internal experience of God cannot possibly be evidence of God to anyone but yourself. There is always the receiver of revelation is delusional, mentally ill, or simply mistaken as to the nature of a particular subjective experience. I constantly doubt the validity of my own perceptions including several of what one might call “religious experiences.” This is because I know that the mind can and often does play tricks. I do others the same courtesy of doubting the conclusions they draw from subjective experience unless those conclusions can be corroborated through independent means. I am not anti-God — I am anti-falsehood, and that requires constant vigilance. I think many theists overestimate how easy it is to be a skeptic.

    What if there is proof that God exists all around, but we don’t understand it unless He lets us? If He exists this is possible. I mean, He created the universe, He can keep us from understanding, right?

    I would argue that proof that we don’t understand is not proof at all. When we understand it, it becomes proof. This may come from having studied mathematics; a theorem isn’t proved until each step in the proof is unambiguously stated, and this can only be done by truly understanding each link in the chain.

    It is certainly possible, assuming there is a God, that he explicitly doesn’t want us to understand the nature of the universe. In that case, I think I’m content going to hell, because learning about the universe is my greatest pleasure in life. If God is an entity that seeks to limit my understanding, then from my perspective God is malevolent and I AM anti-God. I don’t think I could possibly believe in a God like that, though, even if I was disposed towards believing in some sort of God in the first place.

    I have often considered the possibility that, even assuming there is no God, that the material universe is not entirely comprehensible to man. Given some results of modern physics, in fact, this seems entirely likely. But the notion that the uncaring material universe defies my understanding is more attractive to me than the notion that an omnipotent entity is preventing me from doing so; and given everything I already know about the universe, the former seems much more plausible anyway.

    The bacteria probably doesn’t understand anything outside its world… the ant… etc… even the dog and cat understand very little about anything outside their little worlds. So how can we expect to know much of anything outside our world? We don’t even know what causes gravity… we have theories, but we don’t know… we know such a little fraction of our universe, for anyone to say God doesn’t exist is ignorant and arrogant… and to say you don’t believe in God is fine, but arrogant to ridicule another who just might have met Him.

    The fact that we don’t understand everything is not a problem for skepticism, and I’ve never understood why theists seem to think it is. I don’t mind acknowledging that there are many things, and especially many of the most profound truths, that I don’t know. But not knowing everything does not make me more inclined to arbitrarily decide what is true and what is not. In fact, the mystery is what drives my doubt; I can’t learn the truth if I’m too willing to blind myself with falsehood. That is why my beliefs are always contingent and subject to change.

    I like to think that I don’t ridicule people purely because they believe in God. I’m not sure that I understand faith, but I can accept that it’s a big part of many people’s lives. However, I am not shy about ridiculing people when they make ridiculous claims. Many of your posts above seemed to me to be espousing a literal interpretation of the Bible, which is a notion that I DO find ridiculous. I’m also not above those who mischaracterize my beliefs and their implications and throw those mischaracterizations in my face. This is something that you, Orthros, and Reformedsteve have all done on this thread. When you attacked my beliefs, you as much as asked for me to attack your beliefs. I’m sorry for being a little overzealous in this regard and for taking some of your statements a little more personally than I should have, but I’m quite passionate regarding the subject of truth and knowledge and have been for many years. My approach to discovering truth is one that I have been revising since I was a child and is a big part of my identity. You have to realize that as much as you might perceive me as having attacked your path to truth, I perceived the same about you. After all, you are the one who showed up at an atheist blog to tell us how dangerous our beliefs are; I had taken the defensive stance at first, but to a certain extent I was bound to take things a little personally and push back.

    I think there have been many misunderstandings on both sides here, and I would like once again to apologize for my part in that. Hopefully we can all learn a lesson from this and try to be more clear-headed when talking about these sorts of things in the future.

  • Dan L.

    There is always the receiver of revelation is delusional, mentally ill, or simply mistaken as to the nature of a particular subjective experience.

    Should be “the possibility that the receiver of revelation is…” I don’t usually do correction posts, but “possibility” is very important to the meaning of the above and I would like to try to minimize misinterpretations at this point.

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com RLTJ

    But let’s go back to the headline Congressman says atheism is damaging.

    I think Atheism is constructive instead of damaging in the interest of the whole.

    Lincoln Diaz-Balart is of course a politician apparently trying to get the support of those who are seeing atheism as killing them. Clear enough, the congressman wanted to identify [To the point of being ridiculous] with the religious, especially the types who are indeed struggling against extinction – a force on top of a considerable mass today, in fact.

    But instead of the baseless statement that Mankind cannot be destroyed maybe he should have put on probable like ‘there is no end of mankind’, ‘mankind will always find a way to survive’ or something more acceptable like that. Congressman Ballart by his statement [mankind cannot be destroyed] is in fact twice Atheistic than science.

    Addressing the theists, jumping off the board so to say, into empty space [virtual reality and world of spirits] I would define God as The Ultimate that did the impossible of creating what cannot be created – Matter and space. [Power beyond man’s comprehension.]

    And if you think the Devil has overrun the planet, think again. Maybe you are “atheist” yourselves because there is only one authority here. Otherwise, you are lost. Or, maybe you are worshipping a sidekick a weakling. And since there is only one authority, what we call devil therefore is a joke and a stooge. [I don’t believe in devil.]

    “There is a difference between not believing in something, and knowing it doesn’t exist.” Essentially there is no difference. “Knowing it does not exist” is itself a belief that is THE basis for not believing. A belief that is offshoot of another belief. :-)

    Neither denying nor confirming is like saying, “umm…I’m out of here”. Shutting things inside. To deny would appear foolish and to affirm would appear foolish. [Unless one has IRREFUTABLE evidence to back up CONCLUSION on any of them.] When Einstein concluded that matter cannot be created nor destroyed it became irrefutable law of Physics. Matter is always there on the table, probable, for anyone who wants to refute by all means available to man.

    Cars, trunks, and elephants are real, solids. They are probable. Just go to the car, open the trunk and see if there is or there is no elephant in there. God is BELIEF. Nobody can put God on the table for all to see, see him top, bottom and sides, dissect him, to settle the issues. It’s one man’s belief against another man’s belief when there is conflict. Both are improbable. So, one can only sell, bought or rejected. This is a free world.

    Just contributing, personal beliefs and opinions, of course. :-)

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    RLTJ,

    Sure, the possibility of a deistic god will always be an option for me, if there is enough evidence that there was some kind of supernatural or designing principle in our universe (or if evidence emerges that this is necessary for our universe).

    However, it is not mainly a deistic, impersonal god of which I am disputing the existence. Rather, I disbelieve in all existing religions which are currently practiced by humans.

    There is not enough evidence for me to commit myself to any currently existing religious belief system.

    The theists all want me to believe in their OWN belief system; why should I believe in any of them?

    It is not such a difficult question on that level: I am free to reject the existing claims because there is just not enough proof for any of them. I don’t need to justify any future claims about divine natures which may be true which have not yet been revealed.

    However, one reason which I do not embrace a deistic god is because we have yet to find any supernatural explanations for any of our human phenomenon. If we do find evidence, I am open to the possibility of a deistic “god”, but it is apparent to me that all of the current belief systems which we have now are all human in origin.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    You are assuming that I believe in a new earth… I don’t. I also don’t believe the Black Sea was related to the Genesis flood. I believe the Genesis flood happened a while back when man was new… more than a few thousand years. I used the Black Sea as “one such answer” to counter that I don’t believe everything believers believe or ascribe to.

    No, I’m assuming you believe that the historical claims made in the Bible are accurate. I assume this because you explicitly claimed that it’s true. I neither know nor care if you believe in a “new Earth”.

    If you agree that the Black Sea Flood is no the one detailed in the Bible as the Noachian Flood, why even bother to bring it up? It’s not the flood described in the Bible. What’s more, geological evidence demonstrates quite conclusively that the Noachian Flood never occurred; such an event would leave obvious, easily identified deposits that simply aren’t there. Furthermore, biogeography makes the idea that all the animals had to be saved on the ark completely ridiculous.

    Simply put, the historical claims that the Bible makes about the Flood are known to be utterly false. There’s simply no way to salvage them without being deliberately blind to the evidence.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    I love the way some of you think. The teapot orbiting Mars compared to belief in God is way out there. Man invented the teapot, therefore I have a good stance to say we didn’t orbit one around Mars. Some may believe that God was invented by man, but it is just a belief and therefore you can’t compare belief in God to belief in an orbiting teapot :)

    Why didn’t God mention bacteria? Well, why didn’t He mention that gravity is less on the moon? Why didn’t He mention that Pluto was not really a planet, or even mention Pluto? Why didn’t he mention that gun powder was a better way to go to smite the evil? Why didn’t He mention all other fashion of things that man hadn’t seen or understood yet? Because His intent was not to reveal all the secrets of the world and universe but to reveal His plan for salvation.

    Some of the philosophies here are childish and one would spend most of his/her time just trying to get some of you to see things in an adult fashion as compared to teapot, sky monster fashion… much less have any real debate on the existence of God. I suggest, not just reading the Bible, but understanding it and what its purpose is.

    I am off to another site where the debate is a little more “adult” and the atheists/agnostics are truly debating, not bashing belief in God.

  • VorJack

    @ketch22 -
    “The teapot orbiting Mars compared to belief in God is way out there. Man invented the teapot, therefore I have a good stance to say we didn’t orbit one around Mars.”

    I think you’re missing the point. Russell’s teapot is a logical thought problem, and these are extremely abstract by definition. You can’t deal with the problem of Maxwell’s Demon by saying, “I don’t believe in demons.” You can’t deal with Russell’s Teapot by asking, “How did the pot get there?”

    The fact that the teapot orbiting Mars is fantastically unlikely is part of the problem. It is also incredibly small in comparison to the amount of space involved. It is practically impossible for us to survey that amount of space and be sure that no such teapot exists.

    By the arguments that RLTJ and others present, that should mean that we cannot KNOW that there is no such teapot. We must remain agnostic as to the existence of the orbiting teapot. No matter how massively improbable we perceive the teapot to be, by their arguments we cannot say, “There is no teapot orbiting between Mars and Earth.” Is this rational?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

  • http://digitaldame.wordpress.com Digital Dame

    ketch22 said:

    “Some may believe that God was invented by man, but it is just a belief and therefore you can’t compare belief in God to belief in an orbiting teapot”

    I don’t see that. If both are invented by man, what’s the difference?

  • trusty rusty

    Way to take his comments out of context. I’m not particularly saying your comments are wrong. But the truth is that none of you have seen the performance, nor do you know what the song specifically meant.

    So as you sit there judging him as ignorant, arrogant, and wrongfully opinionated, all of you are guilty of the same condition. Interesting how you can think of yourselves as higher minded people…

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    ketch22 said:

    “Why didn’t God mention bacteria? Well, why didn’t He mention that gravity is less on the moon? Why didn’t He mention that Pluto was not really a planet, or even mention Pluto? Why didn’t he mention that gun powder was a better way to go to smite the evil? Why didn’t He mention all other fashion of things that man hadn’t seen or understood yet?”

    Have you ever asked yourself if this could possibly be because the Bible is not divinely inspired? You never thought about it like that?

    Wait, I thought the whole point more or less of the Bible was things that humanity has neither seen nor understood yet. Have we seen or understood the supernatural? No. But it’s in your Bible. Your argument is special pleading; nothing more.

    “I am off to another site where the debate is a little more “adult” and the atheists/agnostics are truly debating, not bashing belief in God.”

    And by “not bashing belief in God”, do you mean, not questioning your beliefs? Because I have yet to bash belief in god…

    You said that saying there’s no god is arrogant and ignorant, and I simply pointed out that saying there is a specific kind of god without confirming evidence is just as arrogant and ignorant. However, I did not “bash” belief, just uninformed belief, and I was pointing out the absurdity of your reasoning. Almost everything you’ve said is somehow related to special pleading of some kind, and all I do is point this out.

    If you’re really offended that people have genuine questions about what you believe, why don’t you either answer our questions (which you’re trying to do, I admit, and that is admirable), or leave? However, I would prefer that you stay. I enjoy the discussion.

    By the way, it’s funny how you refuse to address our points and then just use ad hominems against us such as being “less adult”. And you’re saying that this isn’t a real debate? You’re evading us, but also accusing us of not having a real discussion? Once again, you’ve committed the fallacy of special pleading…for about the umpteenth time on this thread. If you can’t handle it when people point out your errors or ask meaningful questions, I’m afraid I just can’t work with you.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @trusty rusty: How are his comments out of context? Please put them in context if I’m doing that, instead of simply making the assertion.

    You are right I haven’t seen the performance, but I’m also not critiquing it. I’m critiquing his words that clearly say atheism is damaging and he equates it with evil.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    trusty rusty says:

    “Way to take his comments out of context. I’m not particularly saying your comments are wrong. But the truth is that none of you have seen the performance, nor do you know what the song specifically meant.

    So as you sit there judging him as ignorant, arrogant, and wrongfully opinionated, all of you are guilty of the same condition. Interesting how you can think of yourselves as higher minded people…”

    Take his comments out of context? How?!?

    Here’s what he said:

    “I was very moved by the song that talked about the damage that atheism has caused and is causing. It was very moving…. The songs carry the sense that evil will not prevail, and so the message is that the truth ultimately prevails…. These times will pass because eternal truth will survive atheism and the difficulties of the 20th Century.”

    At the very least, the Congressman is equating atheism with the “difficulties of the 20th Century” such as World War One, World War Two, and the Cold War. These are wars which killed millions upon millions of people. And he’s equating that kind of catastrophic harm with atheism and reinforcing the stigma against atheists which is so prevalent in this country. And you’re wondering why we may be upset? You just don’t understand, do you?

    It doesn’t matter if we saw the performance or knew what the song meant. What the man said, he said. And what he said was offensive, not to mention ill-informed.

    So do I judge him for that? Yes, yes I do.

    I do believe he is ignorant to a certain extent. How much does he know about atheism? How many atheists does he know personally? How much does he actually know about the events of the 20th century?

    I agree that he is arrogant to a certain extent. Equating atheism with the largest catastrophes of the 20th century? It’s an unfortunate comparison.

    Wrongfully opinionated? No, actually I do not believe this. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, no matter how arrogant or misinformed they may be. America is a relatively free country, and I’d like to keep it that way.
    Freedom of speech is one of our most cherished and important rights. It doesn’t matter whether his opinion is right or wrong — I support his right to state what he believes.

    You think I am guilty of being arrogant, ignorant, and wrongfully opinionated? How am I guilty of this?

    Is it arrogant for me to say that I don’t have enough evidence to believe in the supernatural? Or would it be more arrogant for me to believe something and have complete blind faith in it though I have no evidence for it? You tell me which is more arrogant.

    Am I ignorant? Guilty as charged, but so is everyone on this planet. None of us are capable of knowing everything there is. Theists often say “how can you rule out the possibility of a god if you don’t know everything there is to know — see, you are arrogant!” However, how can you say that there is a certain kind of god if you don’t know all of the evidence which both supports and contradicts your idea. It would be great if all theists and atheists would continually strive to know as much as possible about our world, but often this is sadly not the case.

    The bottom line: what I don’t know, tells me that there is no evidence of the supernatural. What I do know, tells me that the religious scriptures we’ve got are highly internally inconsistent and often highly contradictory with known qualities of our existence. Once these factors are considered, why should I believe your beliefs? Does that make me ignorant?

    No, I’m not higher-minded than anyone else on this blog. I just know my own limitations.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Teleprompter:

    We sin because that is our nature. I agree with you on the inability to fulfill the OT Law based upon the sinful nature of the human race. In fact the Bible teaches just that. Christ having all the properties of deity and man, with the lesser properties of man trumped by those of deity, was able to be actively obedient in all ways to the Father (meaning he lived a sinless life). I of course don’t expect you to believe this, but this is the mechanics behind the saving work of the cross.

    I would need to know what you believe is free will in order to tell you if I agree with it or not. Free will is one of those things that have different definitions depending on who you talk to.

    I believe we have a free will to make choices. I believe also that we only make those choices based upon our nature. I believe those things based on bible passages, which is my source of truth and instruction. Jesus taught that we must die to self and be born again (meaning born of the spirit, which is in direct contrast to our nature) through faith in him.

    I hope it helped at least a little.

    Sola Christus,
    Reformedsteve

  • trusty rusty

    Are you going to tell me that the Chinese government in its attempt to destroy religion has not persecuted and killed? They have destroyed centers of culture and heritage from any group that they consider a possible threat in the name of atheism… From the Chinese point of view, atheism is destructive.
    If the congressman sympathizes with that it is perhaps because he saw the same happen to his homeland Cuba. We can argue about ideas, but historical events we can’t change. And since it seems to be a concensus in this blog that we dont know enough to figure out whether there is a god or not, he is just as right to claim his views from a faith based point of view, as you are right to claim yours from another point of view… you both will be just as ignorant or as correct.

    Ignorant: Not having seen the performance nor know the song he is referring to.
    Arrogant: To think that you know enough about the performance to judge a man for his reactions to it.

  • trj

    Congratulations, ketch22, your faith has progressed to the point where you are either completely unable to understand or completely unwilling to consider any kind of differing perspective, or indeed any kind of philosophical or hypothetical argument that doesn’t presuppose your god. At the same time any kind of counterargument is regarded as insulting or childish.

    You have blind faith.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    trusty Rusty:

    So, if I pointed to the Taliban in Afghanistan destorying ancient Buddhist monuments and killing people for being atheists, you would agree that theism is equally destructive?

    In China (as with Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao…) it’s not about no religion; it’s a bout no power structures that can compete with the state. It’s not atheism that’s causing the harm, but statism. Elevate worship of the state to a religion, and then persecute all other religions.

    Equally, the Taliban aren’t acting out of a love of God, but a love of power.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    trusty rusty:

    Fundamentalism of all kinds is destructive. Irrational dogmatism of all kinds is destructive.

    The autocrats to which you’re referring held/hold an irrational dogmatic zeal for their beliefs which gave them license to lash out and destroy those who oppose them or could possibly oppose them, not in the name of atheism but in the name of their own power.

    And as wintermute just said, there are plentiful examples of theists who use religion to gain power for themselves and oppress others. These types of arguments are not particularly effective against theism or atheism, because all humans are imperfect and humans of all backgrounds commit atrocities.

    “We can argue about ideas, but historical events we can’t change”

    This is true. Unfortunately, when one fails to grasp the proper context of historical events, one is bound to misinterpret their significance.

    “he is just as right to claim his views from a faith based point of view, as you are right to claim yours from another point of view… you both will be just as ignorant or as correct”

    The Congressman is claiming that atheism is equivalent to evil from his faith based point of view. I am claiming that I don’t have enough evidence for belief in any gods. Only one of our positions contradicts reality.

  • trj

    My words exactly, wintermute. I was going to point out that the regimes that are officially atheistic (Soviet Union, China, etc) will dismantle any potential kind of power structure as swiftly and brutally as possible.

    The first to go in a newly formed communist society is always labour unions, ironically. Next up will be any kind of political opposition, followed by critical media, religious organisations and what have you.

    These societies are not founded in atheism, it is never their purpose or their motivation. Atheism is merely embraced because it ensures one less potential threat to them.

    Trusty rusty, do you really think atheist citizens enjoy special privileges if they are somehow in conflict with the offical policy of these so-called atheist societies? Of course they don’t, they’ll be disposed of the same way as all other threats.

  • Aor

    @trusty
    Actually you are making a common mistake. You are equating the actions of a totalitarian state with the religion practiced by that state. This is an error. There can be totalitarian states that tolerate all religions, there can be totalitarian states that tolerate one or even none. In each of those cases the problem is actually the state and not the religion. In other words, the problem with forcing people to follow a belief system lies not in the belief system, but in the force. And I’m not talking Jedi.

    I think this point is well proven. If you don’t, please explain how and why you disagree rather than just giving the common theist ‘but but but I don’t want to admit it’ approach. When a point is made, an honest person will admit it. I hope that if you intend to discuss things rationally you will show the ability to admit when a point is made, since you will find most reasonable people do so.

  • Dan L.

    I love the way some of you think. The teapot orbiting Mars compared to belief in God is way out there. Man invented the teapot, therefore I have a good stance to say we didn’t orbit one around Mars. Some may believe that God was invented by man, but it is just a belief and therefore you can’t compare belief in God to belief in an orbiting teapot :)

    Some of the philosophies here are childish and one would spend most of his/her time just trying to get some of you to see things in an adult fashion as compared to teapot, sky monster fashion… much less have any real debate on the existence of God. I suggest, not just reading the Bible, but understanding it and what its purpose is.

    I am off to another site where the debate is a little more “adult” and the atheists/agnostics are truly debating, not bashing belief in God.

    You’re pathetic. Really. I explicitly explained to you how I wasn’t bashing belief in God, and then you go accusing me of bashing belief in God. You’ve apparently never even heard of the Russel’s Teapot argument and you think you have the high ground in a philosophical argument. How can you claim this when you aren’t even familiar with Russel, one of the most prominent philosophers and logicians of the late 19th/early 20th century?

    You seem to think that just because we don’t agree with your interpretation of the Bible that we haven’t read it and don’t understand it. True in my case, but there are some people reading here with some pretty impressive credentials along those lines. You seem to think “debate” means you talking and everyone else agreeing with you. I tried to explain to you what debate entails a little further upthread, but you’ve evidently ignored this as you haven’t made a single effort to actually make this a debate as opposed to a religion wank-fest.

    I tried to be conciliatory and to really explain where I was coming from, but you’re too much of a hack to really have an “adult” debate as you put it. You’re too arrogant to believe that someone besides yourself might have a valid opinion or to admit that you might possibly be wrong about anything. I’m not at all sorry to see you go, I have to admit.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    Again presupposition… I have heard of Russell (he actually has 2 “l’s” in his last name)… apparently you just researched him or you would have known this if you had studied or even read him. His celestial teapot doesn’t hold water in most circles and is amateur in its nature (that is not to say all of his philosophy is junk).

    The comparison of belief in God to belief in a teapot attempts to just point out burden of proof. This comparison doesn’t work… and here is why: If the existence of a teapot orbiting Mars was written down in ancient text, had fulfilled at least one prophecy, was the origin of a lot of the laws in the world, had changed the world as we know it, and was believed by the majority of the world to exist, including scientists, philosophers, mathmaticians, and others… then we would have a comparison worth talking about.

    Oh, and if a man claimed to be a teapot from Mars and then died for our sins and rose again, witnessed by over 500 people… again that would work in the teapots favor… other than that…

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    Oh, and in case you wanted to name drop another philosopher to show you are well read… here are some spellings: Kreeft, Nietzsche, Berkeley, Anselm, Plantinga (love him), and William Lane Craig (not to be confused with other famous Craigs).

  • Dan L.

    @ketch22:

    If the existence of a teapot orbiting Mars was written down in ancient text, had fulfilled at least one prophecy, was the origin of a lot of the laws in the world, had changed the world as we know it, and was believed by the majority of the world to exist, including scientists, philosophers, mathmaticians, and others… then we would have a comparison worth talking about.

    There are many untrue things written down in ancient texts, so I fail to see how that’s an argument for the existence of God. I would love to hear about this prophecy that was fulfilled; I’ve never seen an unambiguous prophecy, and ambiguous prophecies are inevitably fulfilled because many events can be interpreted as fulfilling them. By “the origin of a lot of laws in the world,” I assume you mean the 10 commandments, as if no one knew that killing and stealing were wrong without the Bible (which was predated by other and similar codes of law, by the way). By “changed the world as we know it,” I can only imagine that you mean THROUGH the religions, in which case it’s people changing the world as we know it, which we already knew. And then we have an argument from authority, which you would realize is not a valid argument at all if you knew nearly as much about debating as you claim.

    The fact that a teapot orbiting Mars is not exactly like Yahweh doesn’t really have any bearing on the argument, because Russell’s teapot isn’t an argument about the SUBJECTS of the claims; it’s an argument about the claims themselves. You are apparently unable to separate the subject of the argument from the validity of the argument itself, which suggests to me that you are incapable of rational argument.

    Given that you can’t understand that the properties of the subject of an argument don’t make any difference if the argument itself is incoherent, I guess I’ll have to provide you with a comparison that you can reason on. I can’t prove that Allah doesn’t exist. I can’t prove that Vishnu doesn’t exist. Each is the subject of ancient texts; each of those texts contains prophecies, and the believers of each religion believe that those prophecies have been fulfilled; India, at the very least, had similar laws to those in the Old Testament but independently derived; and between Hinduism and Islam, the majority of the world actually might believe in one or the other. Believe it or not, the majority of the world does NOT believe in the Christian conception of Yahweh. China and India between them make up half the world’s population and both have relatively small Christian populations; India is largely Hindu with some Buddhism, and China is officially atheist but largely Buddhist (in other words, at least one of your arguments above is either factually wrong or an outright lie).

    Well, so much for you going away, huh? And congratulations on being the first I’ve ever “debated” to use the “argument from correct spelling.”

    It amazes me that someone familiar with so much philosophy is so incompetent at argument. If you’re not willing to actually have a debate, then please get lost. You’re not bringing anything new or interesting to the table.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    ketch22,

    As you may have noticed, I’m not really into name-dropping. It reeks of appeal to authority to me. I believe that unless one is intimately familiar with an author or a philosopher, one should shy away from this practice.

    By the way, did you ever notice that Jesus predicts that he’ll come back within his followers’ lifetimes, but fails to do so? If you want to talk about prophecy, you can’t ignore the failed prophecies while simultaneously appealing to the seemingly successful ones. Special pleading.

    Oh, and all those other things you said are from accounts written years significantly after Jesus was alive, which have been mistranslated and mishandled many times over.

    Also, the majority of the world is in fact not Christian. According to adherents.com, Christianity only accounts for about a third of the world’s population.

    http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    Islam accounts for 21% of the world’s population.

    If you’re going to say that Christianity is valid because so many people believe it, why isn’t Islam also valid under the same standard, when obviously large numbers of people also follow that religion? Special pleading.

    Also, you mention scientists and philosophers who are Christian, but fail to mention scientists and philosophers who are non-Christians. Yes, it’s an argument from authority either way, but still…special pleading.

    Once again, why should I believe your claims?

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Well, so much for you going away, huh? And congratulations on being the first I’ve ever “debated” to use the “argument from correct spelling.””

    And congratulations on being the first I’ve ever “debated” to use the “you don’t agree with Russel(l), therefore you have never read him” argument.”

    “Given that you can’t understand that the properties of the subject of an argument don’t make any difference if the argument itself is incoherent, I guess I’ll have to provide you with a comparison that you can reason on. I can’t prove that Allah doesn’t exist. I can’t prove that Vishnu doesn’t exist. Each is the subject of ancient texts; each of those texts contains prophecies…”

    You claim to know how to debate and can’t understand why I can’t keep up… above is the reason why. The argument for teapot isn’t on whether the Christian God is the true God… it is whether there is reason enough to believe that a god exists at all. So your statement above doesn’t even reconcile that. The question is not whether my God exists, but whether a god exists… which you don’t believe to be true… you can’t use the teapot to argue which God.

    @Dan L and teleprompter
    My argument wasn’t that… because a lot of intelligent people believe in God… that makes it true… or that because our laws are based on belief in a god… that makes it true… or that the world has changed because of one man’s existence… that makes it true. I was making the argument that ALL OF THESE PUT TOGETHER PLUS MANY MORE REASONS make it stand apart from a mysterious teapot orbiting Mars argument. And I stated that if the teapot had all this going for it, it would be a lot more difficult to put aside and say, “I know” that it doesn’t exist. Please get the content of my statements instead of reading what you want to read.

    I am not arguing Christianity here but rather belief in a god or supreme being. Until you can acknowledge that the existence of a god exists, we cannot even begin to argue which God is the one true God.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    (Romans 1:20) For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

  • Dan L.

    ketch22:

    I don’t think it’s that you don’t agree with the teapot argument; it seems to be that you don’t understand it. The teapot argument is a thought experiment to point out that a proposition should be assumed false unless it can be demonstrated that it is true. And that is what I believe.

    And I didn’t use the teapot to argue “which god.” I used the teapot to argue the above, and you disagreed on grounds with which I didn’t agree. Nevertheless, I attempted to accommodate you by presenting a completely analogous argument, except using other gods instead of a teapot, since they’re comparable on the terms that you laid down as reasons why God is not comparable to a teapot. I was trying to argue on your terms, even though I didn’t really think that I should have to.

    That’s aside from me pointing out that your premises as stated for believing in God were just bunk. Bunk because they’re equally valid for either of the gods I mentioned, and because the case for each is mutually exclusive. But mostly bunk because they’re just bad arguments.

    Putting a bunch of invalid arguments together does not make a strong argument. Unless you gave me the worst of the lot, your “PLUS MANY MORE REASONS” doesn’t hold too much promise. Plus, it seems like all your arguments for the existence of God are either arguments explicitly for the existence of the Christian God or the good old-fashioned “well you can’t prove He DOESN’T exist!”

    I’m willing to hear arguments for the existence of God, though, so state your premises. You still haven’t done so, which is why I’m accusing you of not being able to debate.

  • Aor

    Ketch, it should be fairly obvious that you won’t get an atheist to believe that a god exists through the methods you have used so far, let alone a very specific version of a god.

    You seem to think that Russell’s teapot analogy doesn’t apply. Sorry, but it does and no amount of denial will change that. You even assume prophecies are real in order to back up the reality (not just the validity) of your own belief system. Sorry again, hate to be the one to break this to you, but people of many religions claim to have prophecy on their side. I doubt you believe them, do you? You need more than that, right? But only from other people, from other religions. From your own you are perfectly willing to just blindly accept prophecies and tall tales and myths in one book while ‘knowing’ that all the other book and prophecies are wrong.

    That is hypocritical. If you are going to apply one standard to your own religion then you must apply it to all others. If miracles can occur in your religion then you cannot claim miracles do not occur in other religions. I could go on, you aren’t willing to treat all religions equally. Do you know the word for people who don’t treat all religions equally?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    @ Aor

    Monotheists?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “His celestial teapot doesn’t hold water in most circles”

    PUN intended?

    It does, actually, in either case.

  • Jabster

    @Aor

    “If you are going to apply one standard to your own religion then you must apply it to all others.”

    This is true only if the standard you are applying is based on a logical/rationale premise in the first place. So if your reason for believing in which ever god that you do is based solely on faith (and I’ve never seen any believer that doesn’t do this regardless of the arguments that they may put forward) then there is no valid reason why you must apply the same standard across all faiths.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    My argument wasn’t that… because a lot of intelligent people believe in God… that makes it true… or that because our laws are based on belief in a god… that makes it true… or that the world has changed because of one man’s existence… that makes it true. I was making the argument that ALL OF THESE PUT TOGETHER PLUS MANY MORE REASONS make it stand apart from a mysterious teapot orbiting Mars argument. And I stated that if the teapot had all this going for it, it would be a lot more difficult to put aside and say, “I know” that it doesn’t exist. Please get the content of my statements instead of reading what you want to read.

    Lots of weak arguments don’t sum to one strong argument. Lots of bad arguments aren’t equal to one good argument.

  • Aor

    @jabster

    It would just make them hypocrites.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    Aor,
    Sorry to break it to you, but you are wrong on the “you won’t get an atheist to believe that a god exists through the methods you have used so far, let alone a very specific version of a god.” God has already set a few free in this manner. Stick to what you know.

    You also indicate that other religions have prophecy going for them as if that is what convinces me or any other believer that my God is real. You know, as well as I, that I don’t claim that prophecy is the only factor that convinces. But, alas, you dissect this out of my statements and act as if that is what I said. That is only a fraction. Again, stick to what you know.

    Also, I never claimed that other religions didn’t claim miracles. And again, that is not the only thing God presents to us for belief. Is this how you debate? Either you don’t understand why people believe in a supreme being, and how the Christian God ticks, or you do know and just play stupid so you don’t have to ask the real questions.

    Dan L.
    I know what the teapot analogy is used for. You don’t seem to get what I am saying. The analogy doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t work. Yes it indicates that a proposition should be deemed false until proven true. If you buy into absolutes that all propositions are false until proven true, despite circumstances, then you have a great idea. I, and most intelligent people, don’t believe the world works that way. All propositions have a defining set of circumstances that differ it from each other. So comparisons have to at least be similar to hold water.

    For example, if we heard from a few scientists, and some astronomers, that a teapot was seen through their telescope orbiting Mars, our first reaction would not be that it is false, but how did it get there. And then we would investigate further until we either got tired of looking, or discovered it was there. Just because we couldn’t spot it, wouldn’t mean it wasn’t there, only that it is difficult to find, or that possibly, all these scientists and astronomers, who didn’t know each other, saw the same hallucination.

    So, just because you seem to like Bertrand’s idea of orbiting teapots, don’t try to hold the rest of us down to that standard.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    ketch22,

    You keep asking us for things such as “real questions” and you keep making unbacked assertions which have no evidence. What atheists did you personally convince with these arguments or this style? I’d like to know.

    Many of your claims I demonstrated to be merely “special pleading”…then you would change the subject or ignore my response.

    You actually did respond to my last post, by essentially saying “I have more arguments”, but you didn’t actually give us any more arguments.

    Every time someone contradicts something you say, you say “that’s not the only thing God presents to as belief” and “that’s only a fraction”, but you never actually give us any GOOD reasons for belief.

    You keep shifting the goalposts: again and again and again.

    I want a good discussion as much as anyone. Why don’t you tell us WHY you believe what you do? I think that would be an excellent starting point for asking “the real questions”. Let’s hear some reasons.

  • Aor

    I gave you examples of how your religion isn’t special in any way, Ketch. You are the one that brought up prophecies. If you didn’t find them convincing you wouldn’t have mentioned it. If you didn’t find holy books convincing you wouldn’t have mentioned yours. You used the common fallacies, naturally. Perhaps you were aware of it, perhaps not.

    I notice you didn’t respond to any points about Russell’s Teapot. You keep talking about it as if it were irrelevant, yet somehow I think if a person had managed to show that his analogy was useless we would have Ketch’s Rebuttal to Russell’s Teapot as a topic on Wikipedia. It doesn’t seem to be there.

    Evil is the absence of God. So, yes, atheism is evil… whether you could all agree on it or not. Truth does not require belief to be true.

    Atheism is evil, therefore atheists are evil, therefore they are less than us. Classic bigotry.

    how do we explain intelligent, natural skeptics, claiming faith in Jesus? Something had to have taken place.

    So when a skeptic raised in an era when the alternative to christianity was death believes in that religion, that proves the religion is true. Sure. If you think about that for even a moment you will see that it applies to all religions equally. It does not defend yours any more than a religion that requires you to sacrifice blood from your penis in order to make the sun rise.

    The vast majority of historians view the Bible as historically accurate.

    Blatantly false. You have been asked to back that up, you did not. You have not retracted the words, you just pretend it didn’t happen. Either you deceive us or were incapable of understanding simple english.

    The truth can only be revealed to a seeking heart by God’s grace.

    Prove it. These kind of mindless phrases don’t impress rational people. I wonder what that implies when the truth contradicts the bible? So it god’s will that archeologists found that the tale of Herod having babies killed was false. Which side do you take on that, by the way? Was the bible right, or was it wrong and god was right to bring the truth out of the ground by the shovels and brushes of Christian and Jewish archeologists? Sorry but your whole truth/god connection is just a myth. Others make the same claim, yet you don’t believe them. Do you believe the book of mormon? Do you believe in Islam? Do you think they don’t make similar claims?

    The resurrection was not just written about in a couple of books, but over 500 people witnessed the resurrected Christ.

    Which version of the resurrection? Why don’t the stories match? Why don’t the people of the time write about the zombies walking the streets for days, or the sun going dark in the day, or the rest of the stuff in the bible? Why aren’t there other sources for something that would have been LIFE CHANGING for the entire population of Jerusalem. Imagine, zombies! Zombie Jewish Prophets and teachers, no less. Days of zombies! Yet, nobody writes it down. Interesting.

    As I said, you won’t convince people with those methods. You openly use fallacies on a site that advocates reason. Not impressive at all, in fact its so common that we get a handful of you every week. I think that showing how unimpressive and repetitive, not to mention deceptive, most believers that come here to argue are does quite a bit more to convert them to skepticism than any of them ever does to convert one of us.

    I’ve made this point before, I may as well make it again.

    The fact that you come here and attempt to use some form of reason, however spurious, shows that you need reason in your life. You understand how useful it would be to prove things, even simple things. You don’t think faith is enough, you want to back it up with something hard and tangible. You lack faith in your Faith, and each time you try to use reason you make your lack of faith apparent to everyone.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Aor:

    So when a skeptic raised in an era when the alternative to Christianity was death believes in that religion, that proves the religion is true. Sure. If you think about that for even a moment you will see that it applies to all religions equally.

    What is that suppose to mean? I think you mean that a man will at the least claim any faith to save his own life. If this is what you mean then what do you do with Saul of Tarsus. A man that actively persecuted the early church, and later became one of the greatest evangelists of the Christian faith.

    The standard atheist response, “it’s only talked about in the Bible” doesn’t hold weight here. Because in addition to the Scriptures you have the churches that Saul (also known as Paul) planted.

    So to state the question again; how do explain the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, a skeptic living in a pre-christian world?

    Sola Christus,
    Reformedsteve

  • Aor

    @Reformedsteve
    The meaning seems clear and simple. In an era where to be non christian was to be dead or ostracized, it is unsuprising to see that a skeptic could be a christian. The religion of the skeptic implies nothing about the validity if his beliefs.

    That means Ketch is just grasping at straws.

    Your point about Saul is not connected to this in any way. Frankly, I’m not sure what your point is at all. How do I explain the conversion of a skeptic? Do you mean that converting a skeptic implies that the religion is true? You would have to accept that a skeptic converting to any other religion would prove that religion true as well, so I fail to see what you are arguing for or against here. Not just that, but you would have to accept that a skeptic deconverting from christianity implies that christianity was wrong. So you will have to clarify just what you are trying to say, before you take a position that contradicts itself.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Reformedsteve,

    I see singular personal accounts as relatively weak anecdotal evidence for either religion or skepticism.

    Saul? Paul? George Carlin?

    It doesn’t matter either way — it’s just one individual point of reference in a larger population.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Aor
    Your point about Saul is not connected to this in any way. Frankly, I’m not sure what your point is at all.

    I bring up Saul because he was converted in an era that meant death to be a Christian. In fact he was responsible for most of those deaths. So, it is connected when you reason that a skeptic will claim a religion to escape persecution. I want to know how you reason a persecutor who chooses to be persecuted over denial of one’s deity. You can read the Book of Acts for background info into the life of Paul.

    Is it unreasonable to take Paul’s testimony about his conversion as an eyewitness account? For his testimony you are going to have to read Acts, http://www.biblegateway.com. I recommend the ESV translation, but you are free to choose any translation that you are comfortable with.

    @Teleprompter:
    I see singular personal accounts as relatively weak anecdotal evidence

    It would be anecdotal evidence if I said, Paul was a skeptic and converted, so all skeptics will convert. And by saying it was weak you mean it was good, because anecdotal evidence isn’t a good thing. I’m asking why you think he converted when he had nothing but persecution to look forward to. The direct opposite of the statement of skeptics claiming a faith to escape persecution.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Reformedsteve,

    I must have misplaced a comma.

    I meant it was weak, anecdotal evidence: it was weak because it was anecdotal, just as you’re implying.

    There’s a story of one man in history (well, Biblical history, which we can’t really confirm) who became Christian…whoo-hoo.

    He wasn’t even skeptical…he was a Jewish orthodox religious follower. That’s one problem with your analogy.

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com RLTJ

    Teleprompter,

    That there is God is a thesis. It is a thesis of people called Theists. It is a thesis that has proved [ ] to be improbable. Improbability of the thesis gave rise to antithesis – atheism, as we see it.

    This anti-thesis in return has proven to be equally improbable.

    But where is the synthesis? At this point in time I don’t think it is you. You are, in fact, just one part, one side, of the conflict. But everybody can keep on the discussion, debate, or should we say argument, which I think contributes to advancement of the specie called sapiens. This is exactly the process that separated man from the unthinking. This is progressive than damaging.

    I used to teach people when I was young, something like ‘Sir, yes sir, there is no God, sir!’ I’m not in the business now but I think they no longer employ that doctrine there. Most churches today are no longer entwined with State to be standing in the way. I guess religions have evolved different from the times when they dictated and fortified the Overlords. In fact many of them today take side against the established political orders. Some of them are actually being used to push for a cause today, like suicide bombing. [Yeah, much like Congressman Balart (?) would do for himself.]

    Old Russian and Chinese atheism was more of politics. Modern atheism would neither deny nor confirm. This explains why people are allowed to practice religion [unless they interfere with the State] in communist ruled countries today

    But back to Atheism meaning Godless, are they real? I remember eating burnt rice once when there was only one godless guy we left in a house rented very cheap because of gossips that it was haunted, to do the watch and to cook. What made him leave his post and the rice that was cooking? Imagine all the explanations he gave other than he probably felt his hairs stood entertaining some ideas and he left the house, and so the rice burned! Now when one believes in ghost he is actually on the path that ends on the doorstep of a more advanced belief that is God.

    Sometimes things are not what they seem. A person can recite that there is no God over and over again. But, alone by himself he grins and jumps with joy at good news! Such acts are driven by already what man call “spirit”… the spiritual side of man whether or not he is aware of it.

    Is there something that walks devoid of a spiritual side? That’s the walking robot developed by Mitsubishi Industries! A pure machine! Or, it could be a Homo erectus if it is a living organism on two feet!

    There is no such thing as Godless. It was as an invention. Atheist, meaning advances no further than facts, yes. Atheist, meaning man with foot stood on spiritual ground, denying some of its dimensions and frontiers? That‘s what it is mostly, at present. Fine. Nobody can fathom the fathomless anyway. Exploring in there may be dangerous. One can possibly get lost or deranged in there actually. And they are facts.

    But, do we remember the big fight of Mohammed Ali and that Japanese Sumo wrestler? Did not it end in a draw? The wrestler had his back at the canvass most of the time. And Ali kept jugging on his toes. It’s obvious; Sumo wrestler could have squeezed the shits out of him if Ali jumped him on the floor! And the Sumo wrestler could have been beaten to pulp if he stood up! Spectators howled home in disgust.

    Right, there has to be a common parameter in discussion. What we have now are two different dimensions that do not meet except at the borders.

    It would be nice if we would limit and we stick at things concrete. What is there? “atheism is damaging”. This one is easy as we can count the ayes and the nays although the result may not reflect ultimate fact. The result could be popularity.

    “mankind cannot be destroyed” Now, that by itself, besides being scientifically incorrect, coming from a “theist” is in fact atheism. Negation of God that can do the impossible even of destroying what cannot be destroyed – matter itself. [Following the logic of God’s ‘existence’] At best Mr Balart statement is wishful/hopeful, mere idealism.

    Which is not exactly the same as “Matter cannot be destroyed” This one is irrefutable law of physics based on facts. And if one drags God in there I guess science has only one response “Show us that, by God, but until the fact we are out of here.” And, they will tell you in case you don’t know that solid uranium for example simply become scattered energy and ashes not losing any weight and displacement. Matter can be transformed, never destroyed. They are facts on top of the fact.
    Beliefs and theories are override by Facts. They all become myths when there are facts. Senator Balart is right nothing is stronger than truth – Fact. And people, who stick to myths when facts are already available, are on the side of extinction unless they adjust to facts. And this act of adjusting is what man calls evolution.

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  • Aor

    Reformedsteve, I’m not sure you understand anything that I have said. My point is quite simple. A skeptic converting implies nothing about the validity of the belief system. Somehow you have the idea that it is convincing, but no, it is not. If you insist on bringing this up again I will have to insist that you apply that standard equally. If you want to use one skeptic as ‘proof’ of your religion then you must allow that all skeptics converting from one religion to another are ‘proof’ that the religion they convert to is true. The ridiculousness of that is clear, so please don’t go there. If you are confused as to what I was saying then please re-read the comments.

    Whether Saul was a skeptic at all is an entirely separate issue. I find it to be a baseless claim, so if you want to argue that switching from one belief system to another means he was a skeptic I’m sure I could help to destroy that position rather quickly. Perhaps a dictionary could do that for you on your own time.

  • Aor

    @RLTJ
    You seem to be declaring that atheists don’t exist. If we don’t, then you are here talking to yourself. That would imply that you are insane.

    Which is it? Do we exist, or are you nuts?

  • Aor

    Or, if you want to actually learn something about how silly your position is, you could read this.

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/no_atheists.html

  • Reformedsteve

    @Aor:

    Did you even read the Book of Acts? I’m guessing not, juding by your post. This is just a guess, maybe you did or maybe you just decided to post a comment without giving any skeptism to your position. There is a big picture here, in the conversion of Saul, but you refuse to even research it. Please, don’t let your laziness be your undoing. I have researched all the terms that you have used and I have looked at this from your point of view. I wish you would give the same effort.

    I’m not trying to prove the existence of God to you. I’m trying to help you understand that Jesus as the Son of God should at the very least be given the benefit of the doubt. No pun intended.

    Their is no reason why a Christian worldview should be barred from the market place of ideas.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Teleprompter:

    He wasn’t even skeptical…he was a Jewish orthodox religious follower. That’s one problem with your analogy.

    You really need to review your history, friend. Who paid Judas to have Jesus betrayed? I think you will find it to be the same sect that Saul belonged to. Who killed Stephen, the first christian murdered for his faith? I think you will find it to be Saul.

    At the very least read the Bible before you decide it is wrong. Start with Acts.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Reformedsteve,

    He belonged to a sect.

    Yes, that shows he wasn’t skeptical.

    You must believe skeptical to mean “didn’t believe Christianity”, but I want to know if he was skeptical of religious claims overall, which I don’t believe he was, and I point to your “history” and “review” it as evidence.

    I have read most the Bible…including Acts. That’s how I know that Paul/Saul wasn’t skeptical towards religion…just your religion.

    It certainly helps if one defines one’s terms.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Teleprompter:

    My religion, that’s cute. It’s Christ’s religion.

    Saul and the men traveling with him witnessed the risen Christ. Saul was blinded by the glory of Christ. Saul heard the risen Lord speak to him. My original question was: can the testimony of Saul as it found in Scripture be treated as an eyewitness account? If not, why?

  • Aor

    You are missing the simple and obvious point, Reformedsteve. Skeptic or not, his conversion proves nothing. Nothing. If it did, then all conversions would prove the same thing. That would mean a christian converting to atheism proves atheism. It is just such a nonsensical position to take that I am not even sure you truly understand what you are saying. I’ve made this point a few times and you ignore it. You cannot just ignore it, you have to deal with it.

    If you want to claim that Saul was a skeptic, feel free. It won’t mean anything because as I said, several times, the conversion of one person means nothing. Conversion stories apply equally across the board. All religions have them. None of those stories proves any of those religions are true. Plain and simple. If the guy across the street from you converted to sacrificing blood from his penis to make the sun rise, that would be just another meaningless conversion story.

    PS. Do you think Saul was really a christian when he didn’t believe in the holy trinity? He was pre-trinity. Think about that. A few hundred years later christians would have hunted people like him down and killed them as heretics for not believing in the holy ghost. Read your history.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @CalvinistSteve:

    Their is no reason why a Christian worldview should be barred from the market place of ideas.

    Of course not. Nobody thinks that. It seems you’ve got a persecution complex, where you think we want to ban your worldview. We don’t. Our point is that it doesn’t compete in the marketplace of ideas. That’s why there are fewer evangelicals the farther up the education ladder you go.

    I remember I had a professor at bible college who used to say, “If you let Christianity into the marketplace of ideas, it’ll always win.” I used to nod my head in agreement. Now I find it funny, because it doesn’t have a chance — especially evangelicalism. Liberals have a better chance, but I don’t think it can compete to not believing things when there is no evidence.

    You really need to review your history, friend. Who paid Judas to have Jesus betrayed? I think you will find it to be the same sect that Saul belonged to. Who killed Stephen, the first christian murdered for his faith? I think you will find it to be Saul.

    At the very least read the Bible before you decide it is wrong. Start with Acts.

    You’re missing his point. His point was that Saul wasn’t a skeptic at all. He was a crazy passionate Jew. So passionate he would KILL for his beliefs about God. That isn’t a skeptic. That’s a madman. Paul accepted Judaism hook, line and sinker and then did the same thing with Christianity. He wasn’t a skeptic — he was a sucker.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Aor

    I told you that I’m not trying to prove the truth of my faith to you. My faith has no less nor no more value if YOU believe it or not. My question to the board and you was, can the testimony of Saul as found in scripture be treated as an eyewitness account? If not, why?

    @Daniel Florien:
    Of course not. Nobody thinks that. It seems you’ve got a persecution complex, where you think we want to ban your worldview. We don’t.

    Do you normally think in terms of them vs. us?

  • Aor

    @reformedsteve

    I bring up Saul because he was converted in an era that meant death to be a Christian. In fact he was responsible for most of those deaths. So, it is connected when you reason that a skeptic will claim a religion to escape persecution.

    You brought up Saul to make a point that has been disproved. You ignore the disproof. You fail to mention it at all. Don’t think for a moment that people don’t notice how you just ignore it. If you want to claim that conversion stories prove a religion, you have failed and will continue to fail. The fact that you ignore such simple reasoning speaks loudly.

    I told you that I’m not trying to prove the truth of my faith to you.

    You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. It is surprisingly common for believers to come here proselytizing and witnessing and for some reason they deny it. Why deny trying to convert people when your religion encourages it? Are you ashamed to do what your religion tells you to do? Can you give me a good reason why you would try to convert people and pretend you aren’t trying to convert people?

    Even if we had video of him converting, HIS CONVERSION IS MEANINGLESS. You must understand this simple point, my guess is that you are just pretending not to understand in order to move the goalposts.

    Each time people point out that he wasn’t a skeptic, you ignore it. This implies that you are ashamed of the answer. Why would that be? If you are afraid to answer, chances are it is because you refuse to concede a point. That is a bad sign. Deceptive people are the ones who refuse to concede points when they are made. So speak up on that issue. Make it clear to us that you understand the points we have raised. If you disagree, then voice that disagreement and show us why.

    And as for your comment to Daniel above, you are just attempting to deceive again. Your own words:

    Their is no reason why a Christian worldview should be barred from the market place of ideas.

    You attempt to imply to imply that people are banning the views of your religion. It is not happening. You are making this an issue of us vs them and pretending it is Daniel? Deception.

    I’m not convinced that you are being honest with us or yourself. Honest people don’t need to avoid responding to all those questions you have been asked, honest people don’t need to avoid and deceive. Be honest with yourself, at the very least.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Aor

    Even if we had video of him converting, HIS CONVERSION IS MEANINGLESS. You must understand this simple point, my guess is that you are just pretending not to understand in order to move the goalposts.

    I’ve been trying to get you to say this for awhile.

    If you had videotape of his converison you would see God on the tape. That is why I keep asking about the trustworthyness of Saul’s testimony.

    And just so we keep things in context I said:

    I’m not trying to prove the existence of God to you. I’m trying to help you understand that Jesus as the Son of God should at the very least be given the benefit of the doubt. No pun intended.

    Their is no reason why a Christian worldview should be barred from the market place of ideas.

    So, now I ask you; do you give Christianity the benefit of the doubt? If not, how do you harmonize that with the exclusionist nature of atheism?

    Each time people point out that he wasn’t a skeptic, you ignore it. This implies that you are ashamed of the answer. Why would that be? If you are afraid to answer, chances are it is because you refuse to concede a point. That is a bad sign. Deceptive people are the ones who refuse to concede points when they are made. So speak up on that issue. Make it clear to us that you understand the points we have raised. If you disagree, then voice that disagreement and show us why.

    skeptic = http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/skeptic is why I disagree. The best advice I have received from this board was to get a dictionary, sound doctrine. Notice the third meaning of skeptic. See how it says “a religion” and not “all religions”.

    Also, you can save your moral judgments against me. I’m not here to hear about how I don’t conform to your idea of righteousness. That bar is set way too low compared to the OT Law.

    Sola Scriptura,
    Reformedsteve

  • Aor

    Do you give every single other religion in the world the benefit of the doubt? No. You wish atheists to give your religion more respect than you give any other religion in the history of the world. This is a hypocritical position. I am astonished that you don’t see it. Are you a skeptic for not believing in Islam? No. Stop making ridiculous claims like this. Your position is so clearly false that I have serious doubts as to whether you understand what you are saying. If you do understand then your intent to deceive is clear.

    You hope to misdefine the word skeptic, assuming none of us will catch it. Are you saying that before his conversion, Saul was an agnostic or an atheist? No, you want people to think that a man who believed in one set of supernatural beliefs was a skeptic until he switched to another set of closely related supernatural beliefs. Either you don’t understand the word or you are hoping that we don’t.

    Face it: No religions are barred from the market place of ideas. In the marketplace of ideas all religions are treated equally and must defend their beliefs against any and all criticisms. This is the entire point of the marketplace of ideas concept.. free competition on a level playing field. You do not get a free ride. Your beliefs are not immune to criticism. You do not get to make claims and deny others the right to make the same claims. You do not have the right to insist that your religion gets to meet a looser set of standards than any other religion.

    Can you understand this yet?

    I will freely judge you on your morals, Reformedsteve. When a believer comes to witness to their beliefs, the methods they use and the moral standard they show is something that must be taken into account. You have used deceptive methods and I will call you on that when you do so. No free rides. You lie, you get called on it. You avoid answering a question and use misdirection, you get called on it. When you do anything you can to avoid conceding a point that has been shown to you repeatedly, your intent is clear.

    When you behave dishonestly we notice.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Reformedsteve,

    you said:

    “So, now I ask you; do you give Christianity the benefit of the doubt? If not, how do you harmonize that with the exclusionist nature of atheism?”

    If you read the FAQ of this blog and read Daniel’s story, you’d discover that he did indeed give Christianity the benefit of the doubt. He didn’t want to be an atheist — that’s where he was led when he started to examine his religion critically. It was a very lengthy journey.

    Many of us were Christians for much or most of our lives. (For those of us in the U.S., Christianity is the dominant faith.)

    Yes, there are things that I miss about Christianity. After I first acknowledged to myself that the evidence I had had led to me to atheism, and that I was an atheist more than anything else, there was an initial period where I still wanted to pray all the time, even though I knew it was completely irrational. I had put so much emotional investment into my previous beliefs that it was difficult for me to readjust.

    You seem to be pretending that we started with an “atheistic worldview” and then decided to discount all other religions. This is entirely not the case. Most of the atheists or agnostics on this blog tried to “harmonize” their beliefs with what we’d learned about the world and about religion, but eventually, most of us just couldn’t keep defending our beliefs to our ourselves.

  • Reformedsteve

    @Aor:

    You are getting way too emotional to have a dialog with. I think how you accuse me of redefining words when all I did was post a link from dictionary.com shows how you are blinded by emotion.

    I wish you a good life.

    @Teleprompter:
    Many of us were Christians for much or most of our lives.

    What made you a Christian?

    Sola Scriptura,
    Reformedsteve

  • Aor

    I made points, Reformedsteve. You ignore them. That kind of behavior doesn’t earn any respect. Let me ask you a simple question to put this in persective.

    Are you claiming that a man who believed in a religion strongly enough to kill followers of another religion was a skeptic just for switching? Yes or no. No hiding, no running away, no pretending it’s my fault because I ask you tough questions. Just answer. I’d like to hear you admit that I am 100% correct on what the marketplace of ideas means. Show some intellectual honesty. When a point is made, admit it. Man up.

    I’ve dealt with many believers who have used your methods. Deception is the key, isn’t it? You never admit when a point is made, because to concede that point would mean that you couldn’t use it again. You want to use those things that you know to be false, so you refuse to admit they are false. Seen it, countless times.

  • Aor

    Another point, reformedsteve. Definitions are critical. You are attempting to misdefine Skeptic. You want to find some way to make Saul appear to be a skeptic. Sorry, won’t happen. No amount of sneaky misdefining of terms will make it true.

    Show us some respect and don’t try to trick us as to the meaning of common words. It is one of the most unimpressive tactics the believers use.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    ketch22,

    You keep asking us for things such as “real questions” and you keep making unbacked assertions which have no evidence. What atheists did you personally convince with these arguments or this style? I’d like to know.

    Sorry, I had to get their permission. John Barant, Sue Barant, Abby, and although I wasn’t an atheist, but rather an agnostic, I was also won over in this style. I don’t know why you had to know who they were, though.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Every time someone contradicts something you say, you say “that’s not the only thing God presents to as belief” and “that’s only a fraction”, but you never actually give us any GOOD reasons for belief.”

    1. Nobody has contradicted what I have said… you only believe that it has been contradicted because of your bias.

    2. Every GOOD reason for belief has probably already been presented to every atheist here. You just don’t recognize it because you either don’t want to as it interfers with your lifestyle to accept God… or you can’t recognize it because of other influences.

    And I am sorry, I don’t read every response here. There are many to one and if you would just condense the questions to one person posting I would have time to read it all and post. But it takes me forever just to go back and find my last post and then read all the responses since the last post. I have work, Church, community, family, and my own blog, so I can’t spend alot of time here with those who don’t want to understand God, but just would rather show why they are more intelligent than those that do.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “I gave you examples of how your religion isn’t special in any way, Ketch. You are the one that brought up prophecies. If you didn’t find them convincing you wouldn’t have mentioned it. If you didn’t find holy books convincing you wouldn’t have mentioned yours. You used the common fallacies, naturally. Perhaps you were aware of it, perhaps not. ”

    You gave me examples of why YOU think my faith isn’t special in any way… not of why it isn’t. Please type as if you understand the philosophies you claim to know. If all thought is subjective to the thinker, quit claiming an absolute like you just did. And I do find them convincing, just not by themselves. It is the whole that makes it convincing, not each individual part. Wake up.

    “I notice you didn’t respond to any points about Russell’s Teapot. You keep talking about it as if it were irrelevant, yet somehow I think if a person had managed to show that his analogy was useless we would have Ketch’s Rebuttal to Russell’s Teapot as a topic on Wikipedia. It doesn’t seem to be there.”

    Oh it is there… it is just not my original idea, so my name isn’t attached to it. If you think not one original thinker has ever had the idea I am stating here, you are confined to your own kind… kind of in a box there. And if you think Wikipedia is where the answers are, you need to research the internet a little more.

    “Atheism is evil, therefore atheists are evil, therefore they are less than us. Classic bigotry.”

    You threw in the “less than us,” in an attempt to prove bigotry that is not there. Common tool used by those losing a debate. I don’t think you are “less than us”. I think we all have evil in us. We are all depraved and fall short of God’s requirement. I am probably worse than you as I know my sin, yet I continue to do it. I am just forgiven. Doesn’t make me better than you… just the outcome will be better unless you find Jesus. So, please don’t throw in stereotypes that aren’t close to correct.

    “So when a skeptic raised in an era when the alternative to christianity was death believes in that religion, that proves the religion is true.”

    Again you use a tool that is often used by those without an argument. I never stated skeptics in a certain era who were threatened by death. I was talking about modern day skeptics, like Lee Strobel. But we can talk about the past as well… like Saul.

    “Blatantly false. You have been asked to back that up, you did not. You have not retracted the words, you just pretend it didn’t happen. Either you deceive us or were incapable of understanding simple english.”

    Actually it is true. I was actually waiting for you to back up your claim that it is blatantly false… as the first remark was from someone here claiming that historians considered the Bible a book of myths. Either you attempt to decieve with twisted words or all you do is understand the simple side of english.

    “The truth can only be revealed to a seeking heart by God’s grace.
    Prove it. These kind of mindless phrases don’t impress rational people.”

    I can only prove it if you have a seeking heart and by God’s grace. I guess you didn’t understand what I said. Prove it… LOL. And rational people all over the world are impressed already.

  • Aor

    @ketch

    Many people contradicted you. You pretend they did not, and that impresses nobody.

    So again I will ask you some questions, that you will either run away from or pretend don’t matter.

    The resurrection was not just written about in a couple of books, but over 500 people witnessed the resurrected Christ.

    Which version of the resurrection? Why don’t the stories match? Why don’t the people of the time write about the zombies walking the streets for days, or the sun going dark in the day, or the rest of the stuff in the bible? Why aren’t there other sources for something that would have been LIFE CHANGING for the entire population of Jerusalem. Imagine, zombies! Zombie Jewish Prophets and teachers, no less. Days of zombies! Yet, nobody writes it down. Interesting.

    You make the standard claims. We don’t recognize your reasons because we want to be hedonists or something. Same old crap. You make yourself look foolish when you trot out those stale old falsehoods.

    I mentioned this before to you. The fact that you come here and attempt to use reason shows clearly that you do not have enough faith. Those who have faith need no reason.

    My guess is that you are too ashamed to speak the truth to us. You realize that speaking truthfully would be to admit things about your beliefs that you simply cannot, because once you say them out loud they sound childish. Zombies! Walking dead in the streets!

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “I wonder what that implies when the truth contradicts the bible? So it god’s will that archeologists found that the tale of Herod having babies killed was false. Which side do you take on that, by the way? Was the bible right, or was it wrong and god was right to bring the truth out of the ground by the shovels and brushes of Christian and Jewish archeologists?”

    Aren’t you the one who claims something is false until proven true? Yet here you claim something is true when an opinion is that it is true in certain circles. I actually had never heard the opinion that the story of Herod was believed to be false… my bad… thanks for bringing that to my attention. However, I just visited 12 different non-biased and biased websites on ancient history and only 3 of them indicated that they thought this idea was true or likely. Maybe you know more. The common idea is that it might be embelleshed or it might be true. But most claimed to not know. Here is one such site.

    http://near-eastern-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/did_herod_kill_children

    So, please, quit acting like you know so much when all you do is believe what your fellow anti-theists tell you.

    As for the rest of your questions, I submit that in order for me to explain the ressurection proofs to you, you must first submit that the possiblility of a god exists… otherwise any explanation I give you will go in one ear and out the other. It would be like me trying to explain to you why cells divide, when you don’t even believe cells exist.

    So let us keep the questions to the existence of a god, and I will not try to explain to you why the God of the Bible is the one true God. You aren’t ready for that yet.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    It would be anecdotal evidence if I said, Paul was a skeptic and converted, so all skeptics will convert. And by saying it was weak you mean it was good, because anecdotal evidence isn’t a good thing.

    LOL

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Of course not. Nobody thinks that. It seems you’ve got a persecution complex, where you think we want to ban your worldview. We don’t. Our point is that it doesn’t compete in the marketplace of ideas. That’s why there are fewer evangelicals the farther up the education ladder you go.”

    LOL… what? This is one of the most absurd statement I have read here yet. Please show me where you got your statistics.

    “but I don’t think it can compete to not believing things when there is no evidence.”

    Really? You are still spouting your “no evidence” theory? Let us get this straight. Once and for all. Just because you think there is no evidence… does not mean there is no evidence. Evidence is subjective. There is evidence of man walking on the moon, however, there are people who don’t believe that this is evidence and dispute man walking on the moon. There is evidence that planes crashed into the World Trade Centers and were hijacked by extremists… however, there are those that don’t believe this evidence, and think it is a government conspiracy. Finally, there is evidence that God is real. Just because the atheist doesn’t see it (minority) doesn’t make it any less real. If you are going to spout philosophy, please believe your own rantings.

  • Jesse

    @ Ketch

    It’s not statistics, it’s logically exclusive modes of reasoning: subjective hyper-rationalism and informed, academic reasoning.

    No statistics necessary. From experience, there are very few evangelicals in higher, graduate level academia. No offense, but it is kind of a running cliche that most of them endure mental breakdowns.

    As for the rest of your arguments, your central principle is merely esoteric: in order to understand arguments for God’s existence, one must already believe; which is circular. I can think of quite a few passages that illustrate such a view. Never the less, any formal philosophical argument for God’s existence collapsed centuries ago. The fact of the matter is that the behavior of Christians today, in seeking to reaffirm demonstrably false views, reflects only political ideology, not religion. I know I’m treading dangerous ground there, but looking at the pseudo-mega-Christianity of evangelicals in America, it is virtually impossible to argue otherwise.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Why deny trying to convert people when your religion encourages it? Are you ashamed to do what your religion tells you to do? Can you give me a good reason why you would try to convert people and pretend you aren’t trying to convert people?”

    Get your ideas correct. We don’t try to convert people… we tell them about Christ. Only God can convert by offering His irrestable grace. Without it, you won’t believe. Those without God call it blind faith… Those with God recognize it as grace lifting the veil.

    “Each time people point out that he wasn’t a skeptic, you ignore it.”

    I just looked up the definition of skeptic from many sources, just in case I was wrong… but alas… it turns out you are wrong once again. This is why believers are so frustrated… you try and make your arguments based on false ideas or definitions.

    skeptical – disbelieving: denying or questioning the tenets of especially a religion;
    skeptical – doubting: marked by or given to doubt; “a skeptical attitude”; “a skeptical listener”

    Since Saul denied and/or questioned the tenets of belief in Christ = skeptic. A skeptic is not defined by a skepticism of all things, religions, etc… You can be a skeptic if you are skeptical of even only one thing.

    So, Saul was a skeptic… next?

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Are you a skeptic for not believing in Islam? No. Stop making ridiculous claims like this.”

    Actually I am… and not ridiculous… or do you have your own dictionary?

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “If you read the FAQ of this blog and read Daniel’s story, you’d discover that he did indeed give Christianity the benefit of the doubt. He didn’t want to be an atheist — that’s where he was led when he started to examine his religion critically. It was a very lengthy journey.”

    Yeah, but like you said earlier, a single skeptic’s journey doesn’t really matter in convincing us that something is true. So I just don’t believe that Daniel was ever truly a Christian. I am also not convinced that any of you were ever truly atheists either, based on your follow up statement that it was the dominant religion.

  • Jesse

    @ Ketch 22:

    “You can be a skeptic of only one thing.” So choosing that which one can be skeptical of, doesn’t violate the doubt requirement of being a skeptic? Interesting. If you impose a constraint upon skepticism, then it is probably not skepticism.

  • Aor

    Ketch, witnessing is a form of proselytizing. Your goal is to convert. If your goal of talking to people about your god is not to convert them, what could it possibly be? To get them to bake cookies for a bake sale? No honest person would have a reason to hide something so obvious.

    You again misdefine skeptic. Saul was a follower of religion A, who killed members of religion B, who then converted to religion B. If you want to define that as being a skeptic, I think you need your head examined. Go find a college or university near your home, find the philosophy section, find a professor who knows logic, and tell him what you think thats what a skeptic is. If he ever stops laughing, come back and tell us about it.

    The real reason that believers are frustrated (thanks for mentioning that) is because reason is no good to them. If the use it they need fallacies to defend their beliefs, and yet by using it at all they are admitting that they lack faith. If they had enough faith, if YOU had enough faith, then you would not be attempting to justify your beliefs in any way. You wish you had logic on your side.

    Your denial of wanting to convert people is amusing. Why are you ashamed of wanting to convert people? If it is part of your religion, if you are urged to do it, then why be ashamed? Why hide it? Hiding implies shame, which implies guilt. You feel guilty for trying to convert people.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    Reformed Steve…
    although we probably don’t entirely agree on free choice and what not… I admire your ability to stick to your philosophical guns and not let amateurs continue to ask irrelevant and biased questions that don’t pertain to the subject. They go back and forth and only ask questions that they believe they have the upper hand on, yet when confronted with an answer they can’t overcome, they throw false definitions and analogies your way and pretend you never answered or even asked a question that hasn’t been answered. This is satan at work and he even has them convinced that he is a myth.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    @ Jesse,
    “So choosing that which one can be skeptical of, doesn’t violate the doubt requirement of being a skeptic? Interesting. If you impose a constraint upon skepticism, then it is probably not skepticism.”

    The word “choosing” is interesting here. Either you are skeptical or not… I don’t understand choosing to be skeptical. Placing your own definition of skeptic… can you show me a definition from an unbiased source that states there is no constraint?

  • Aor

    Ah, the no true christian would ever deconvert argument. Stale, and simply false.

    That site you linked doesn’t say what you think it says.

    The common idea is that it might be embelleshed or it might be true. But most claimed to not know.

    From the page you linked:

    Aside from the Gospel of Matthew, no document from the first century A.D. (or before) attests to this event. Consequently, most secular, mainstream historians have looked upon the “Massacre of the Innocents” as more legend than factual history.</blockquote)

    While Stanford’s article casts some doubt on Herod’s massacring babies, it does nevertheless conclude (as do most historians) that such an atrocity was not beyond Herod.

    The bottom line is that there is no evidence for the “massacre of the innocents” story outside of the Bible. This fact, however, does not disprove the tale.

    That being written by a protestant author, by the way. Even he admits that there is no evidence outside the bible. This despite records of the era, not a single other reference to this massacre. Not even Josephus, who was hardly a fan of Herod.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/massacre-of-the-innocents

    Most modern biographers of Herod do not regard the massacre as an actual historical event.

    You don’t have a leg to stand on.

  • Jesse

    @ Ketch 22:

    Define skepticism. I’m interested to hear your definition.

  • Aor

    Skeptic

    1: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
    2 a: the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
    b: the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
    3: doubt concerning basic religious principles (as immortality, providence, and revelation)

    You may want to claim Saul was ‘skeptical’ with regards to a particular issue, but this is meaningless. It is not hard to imagine even the most gullible person being skeptical about something.. perhaps a mildly retarded child will doubt that cats can fly no matter how often you tell him. That does not make that child a skeptic.

    You are a poor witness if you have to deceive us.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    @AOR
    “Ketch, witnessing is a form of proselytizing. Your goal is to convert. If your goal of talking to people about your god is not to convert them, what could it possibly be? To get them to bake cookies for a bake sale? No honest person would have a reason to hide something so obvious.”

    Actually, you mince words again here to meet your goals. I will state only one more time and then ignore this line of reasoning… My goal is not to convert, my goal is to witness. Only God can convert. If what you meant to say (I doubt it) was that my goal was to bring people to the point where God would reveal Himself and then convert them… you are correct. But to imply that I wish to convert puts the process on my shoulders and puts me in control… not God. Sorry to let you down… I am not God. I would more likely be able to get them to bake cookies.

    “You again misdefine skeptic. Saul was a follower of religion A, who killed members of religion B, who then converted to religion B. If you want to define that as being a skeptic, I think you need your head examined. Go find a college or university near your home, find the philosophy section, find a professor who knows logic, and tell him what you think thats what a skeptic is. If he ever stops laughing, come back and tell us about it.”

    This is a profound lie in many ways. 1. I didn’t define skeptic… I got my definition from the dictionary, and from Princeton’s online dictionary. 2. I didn’t state that your A/B explanation was my definition of what a skeptic was. I stated that Saul was a skeptic because he didn’t believe in Christ. You seem to illogically follow that because I believe that A and B happened, that this is my definition of skeptic. Illogical. I also believe that Saul was blinded for a period… but this does not mean that this is my definition of skeptic. 3. I don’t think you would even know what a philosophy professor would say, as you apparantly haven’t been to any type of philosophy class beyond beginner. My wife is a philosophy major and is currently laughing at what you just wrote… stop it honey… they are only human.

    “If they had enough faith, if YOU had enough faith, then you would not be attempting to justify your beliefs in any way. You wish you had logic on your side.”

    You are partially correct (finally!). I don’t have enough faith, but that is the reason I am a Christian. I had to have proof and evidence, enough to get me to the place where I could start believing. God recognized what I needed, therefore He met me where it was needed. I had to journey alot further than alot of Christians because of my doubt and because of my lack of faith. Some people need less proof and more faith… I needed more proof. I am naturally a doubter. Not a skeptic, because I don’t automatically dismiss everything that is not proven. If I hear a report that there is a machine in Europe that causes atoms to collide and could “possibly” create a minature black hole… my first impulse is not to doubt. But instead, I believe until there is reason to doubt… like the source has been wrong several times before. The opposite happened with God. I wanted to believe… it would have been easier… but I doubted. Luckily I have a loving God who recognized by desire to be with Him and He met me where I was.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    That site you linked doesn’t say what you think it says.

    The common idea is that it might be embelleshed or it might be true. But most claimed to not know.

    @ AOR,

    “From the page you linked:

    Aside from the Gospel of Matthew, no document from the first century A.D. (or before) attests to this event. Consequently, most secular, mainstream historians have looked upon the “Massacre of the Innocents” as more legend than factual history.</blockquote)

    While Stanford’s article casts some doubt on Herod’s massacring babies, it does nevertheless conclude (as do most historians) that such an atrocity was not beyond Herod.

    The bottom line is that there is no evidence for the “massacre of the innocents” story outside of the Bible. This fact, however, does not disprove the tale."

    I am starting to see a pattern here. Pick and choose that which supports your world view and present it as fact. Here you do it again. You totally left out what the article was saying to imply it was stating the exact opposite of what it was actually stating. You sicken me.

    Here is what it really stated in full, without certain exerpts that just match what I want it to say;

    "While Stanford’s article casts some doubt on Herod’s massacring babies, it does nevertheless conclude (as do most historians) that such an atrocity was not beyond Herod.

    The bottom line is that there is no evidence for the "massacre of the innocents" story outside of the Bible. This fact, however, does not disprove the tale. King Herod may very well have issued such a terrible order, and we may one day uncover additional evidence to confirm it."

    It states exactly what I thought it stated. That there is no evidence outside the Bible for the massacre, but that does not disprove nor prove. Yet you claim it proves… kind of makes you an unskeptic. Believing before there is proof.

  • Aor

    Your goal is to convert. Shifting the resonsiblity to god is a cop out.

    Now you are just doing the standard avoidance dance. You chose to use a narrow definition of a word that is not suited for a more general application. If your girlfriend is a philosophy major, have her describe the issues around definitions. It is a first year topic in logics classes. Definitions must be general enough to be encompass all meanings, but narrow enough not to include anything that does not meet the definition. Yours fails that. If she can find a philosophy professor that disagrees I will be quite surprised.

    You say you had to have proof. Sadly, this is the antithesis of faith. If you have proof of your god, even the slightest, then you need no faith. That is your dilemma, by attempting to use reason to defend your faith at all. You cannot win. Even to claim to have proof, or to claim to need proof, is to lose the battle.

    By the way, the very first words from my professor in intro to logic class 15 years ago was ‘You cannot logically prove god.” If you have a way, then we can expect to see your face all over the covers of philosophy journals.

  • Aor

    There is no evidence for the slaughter of innocents outside of the bible. There are writings of other things. Other historians, other philosophers, various miscellaneous gathered words. None of them mention the story. This lack of testimony means that the biblical account is questionable. Other thing enter the issue. The size of slaughter that people believed in the past, in the thousands… it is laughable. Bethlehem was a small town at the time. Male children, under two years old, numbering in the thousands?

    Lacking other sources, such a fantastic tale can be assumed by a skeptical person to be fantasy.

  • Reformedsteve

    @brother ketch22:

    Yeah, I had to stop commenting to Aor for all the reasons you mentioned. It was very obvious to me that I was beginning to cast the master’s pearls before swine. Aor is more then welcome to spin the subject anyway he chooses and pretend that he is somehow a better person then me. Who knows maybe he can follow the Law and it’s “do not touch, do not taste”, but even so they are worthless to him without God.

    I’d be interested in your views of free-will, but I don’t think this is the place to discuss. If you have any ideas on how we can trade contact info or maybe another board about the subject let me know.

    Sola Scriptura,
    Reformedsteve

  • Aor

    Thats a lovely lie, Reformedsteve. I made points that you could not respond to. Others did as well. Rather than learn, rather than improve your methods, you chose to lie and you now chose to lie again.

    If you can’t take the heat, why the hell did you come to the kitchen and try to start a fire? Your lies won’t help you save face. Don’t you think your supernatural father figure will know you lied?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    @ Aor

    So the kids are going to pick up their toys and leave? Fine.

    Come back when you’re willing to have an adult conversation.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “It’s not statistics, it’s logically exclusive modes of reasoning: subjective hyper-rationalism and informed, academic reasoning.

    No statistics necessary. From experience, there are very few evangelicals in higher, graduate level academia. No offense, but it is kind of a running cliche that most of them endure mental breakdowns.”

    LOL… mental breakdowns… just as I thought… from your experience… LOL… that sure is proveable. God isn’t proveable so doubt is required… even if somebody else experiences it. But your experience is fact. LOL… same ol’ s#*t… just someone else spewing it.

    “in order to understand arguments for God’s existence, one must already believe; which is circular. I can think of quite a few passages that illustrate such a view. Never the less, any formal philosophical argument for God’s existence collapsed centuries ago.”

    It is not a difficult trick to be able to speak philosophy without understanding it… which you are doing. Vice-versa, in order to understand arguments against God’s existence, one must already doubt; which is circular. And thank you for capitalizing God. Your last sentence is another imagining from a mind that is totally lost. If you think any formal philosophical argument collapsed centuries ago… you need to come out of your atheist box and see the light my friend… it is growing leaps and bounds.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “Your goal is to convert. Shifting the resonsiblity to god is a cop out.”

    Since you cannot possibly know what somebody else thinks, get of your high horse. It is a cop out to pretend you know what I am doing so you can continue your inane argument without facing what I tell you I am saying and coming up with an argument based on that. True philosophical debate takes head of the other person’s ramblings… it doesn’t define what it determines what the other person is saying to match its argument.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    “If your girlfriend is a philosophy major, have her describe the issues around definitions.”

    You wouldn’t last a few days in some of the debates I am in right now… you don’t pay attention and/or read what people write… you see what you want to see. Another example… she’s my wife, not my girlfriend.

    “You say you had to have proof. Sadly, this is the antithesis of faith. If you have proof of your god, even the slightest, then you need no faith.”

    I challenge you to explain how you came up with this piece of dung. Show me how proof is the antithesis of faith. Show me where it is indicated that proof of God negates faith. Did you just make this up? The Bible clearly states that evidence of God is all around, and yet it states you also need faith. Where do you get your definition of faith that states that proof or evidence cannot occur?

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    I suggest you all go to http://www.arn.org/ for a while… join in on a few debates and/or blogs… and see how long you last. Intelligence and wisdom always win out over plain ol’ intelligence. My friends will rip you to threads. Until you come up with better arguments, I would stay out of the debate business. I am finding it impossible to even stay here when all I am doing is a continuous defining of what I am exactly saying, constant corrections, and reiterations of all the holes in your arguments. See you around :) buh bye.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    ReformedSteve… come on over to my blog and I will post the question… free will or predestination? Just click on my name.

  • http://mattcbr.wordpress.com/ Matt

    Why would we wish to go to ARN.org? It’s a den of ignorance and self delusion that, as evident by the very front page of the site, thinks that the ‘fine tuning’ argument holds any sort of weight; which is a pretty solid sign for the presence of scientific ignorance.

  • Jesse

    Ketch 22:

    Free will or predestination? What kind of person would willingly debate a thing with a thousand unintelligible positions, all relative to a presumption that only human freedom is paramount or measurable, a thing with such a plurality of explanations that inevitably only the most simplistic, idiotic views avail? Is Luther as far as you’ve come in your philosophical development? Is that why you unsuccessfully seek the last word, because you must move it onto your own limited territory, into a forum engine of co-optation? Home field advantage, eh? Bad season for Christianity, huh? Weak. If you look more carefully you’ll find that the answer to most of your questions is in the questions themselves.

  • Aor

    Ketch, you didn’t respond to the point about definitions. Why respond at all if you don’t deal with the issues people raise? Are you afraid to answer?

    Back to the good old dictionary. Back to putting you on the spot, Ketch.

    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
    4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.

    Do you see number 2? That ‘piece of dung’ you want to ignore is part of the definition of the word Faith. We’ve been over this ground before. You want to sneakily limit what words can and cannot mean. You selectively ignore the definition if it makes you look like a fool. How does your wife feel about your methods of purposely misdefining words? Does she do that in philosophy class? Or is it beneath her?

    If you bother responding again Ketch, you should bring better arguments.

    And really, the intelligent design action network? Are you afraid to talk here or something?

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com RLTJ

    That there is or there is no God is the conflict between Theists and Atheists. Lifting and throwing the Scriptures to prove or disprove a contention in there would be weakest. The Bible stands only between Christians, or between Christians and other theists

    True religion, true God, form of God and such, are conflicts between theists. They are no place for atheist. The best that atheist can do in there is to disprove beliefs – existing religious beliefs, but not getting nearer to the contention that there is no God.

    Written statements are real, solids. Any of them are therefore probable. Just for the sake of discussion, let’s take some of them.

    By Ketch22: “(Romans 1:20) For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    “Romans 1:20”

    That says it is of Christian Faith. And the following were the finished product of people who passed it on as tradition, translated them from the original, and yes, printed them in the era of paper and ink. They are open to probes wider than the mouth of the Amazon River. But, to simplify lets go straight to the sense and logic where I think the meat must be. Who says them are now not important.

    “Since the creation of the world”

    The statement is, should I say, obsolete if compared to “Since the Earth formed” And modern forensic evidences [against no figure presented] approximated that event to be 6-7 billions years ago. That modern man [depending on ones definition of “modern” man] appeared only not earlier than approximately 1.5 million years ago. He was clear, unmistakably, thinking creature some 30 thousand years ago.

    The age of the Earth is nothing awesome actually because matter was there since infinity. And, when we say INFINITY, billions and trillions of years are literally nothing to it. To summarize, 7-day-creation is literally a myth when stood against facts.’

    “God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,”

    Well, they are real in virtual reality, in the world of spirits. But, they are true and real only as far as those who see. And, but, “true” and “real” in the spiritual world are in fact perceptions, beliefs, in the physical world; and same with “seen” and “understood”.

    “So that men are without excuse”

    Now, this one can be perceived as threatening. I believe religions should be based on logic, sense, free will, free of threats and promises. Is not that religious chauvinism, particularly of Christians, in the past still being carried over? Threatening the flocks, the other religious to include the un-religious? Anyway, it still works for some people in some places today. But, tomorrow’s people can’t be threatened. They go only for fact, sense, logic, out of their free will.

    Are Atheists dangerous people?

    I think, atheism is no more dangerous than theism if it comes to that.

    Why do you think people strap bomb to themselves? Atheists do not do that. In special cases, I would say in situations that are hypothetical, probably they would do. In reality as in Cambodia and the third world, for example, we had man eliminating man. People see themselves as being eliminated so they simply must counter-eliminate. Mankind is no more than walking organisms + Self preservation + Survival of the fittest.

    Even such brand of atheism is not absolutely free of a spiritual side. Let’s call them idealism – love of country, love of future generations, heroism, living forever [in books since it cannot be real] Pure idealism is bullshits to a Real godless – to orangutans, for example. But if another is there on the tree that has been feeding them, whoa that could be different. Its simple self preservation, simple survival of the fittest! [Don’t they have spirit/mind?] :-)

    Ketch, I think you should evolve. The world is now full of wandering spirits, while many of them still identify with established religions; they see old religious thus religions themselves as ridiculous! I think it is because some beliefs have become myths. And when myths are passed as truth they become dead weight that makes sink. Throw them overboard or you sink. :-)

    I think that’s what atheism is telling static religious.

    Atheism as damaging? Like Devils now reign? Coming from “theist” that itself is atheism. Desbelief in God.

    [Something by me should have spelled “jogging on his toes”]

  • http://rltjs.wordpress.com RLTJ

    God is a belief. And nobody can take beliefs away from people.

    How God Created the cosmos, the universe, the Earth and man, actually I trust science about that than I can trust the Bible. That’s my religion. Nice post Mr. Daniel.

  • http://myspace.com/mcthfg Christopher Wing

    He’ll only think I’m evil when I’m popping him in the jaw…

  • JCCyC

    I can’t believe there’s an idiot here who really considers number of children a measure of goodness.

    I have two, 13 and 8. I guess that’s not enough to be “good.”

    Bonehead.

  • Max

    I have just spent an hour reading through this discussion, and as far as I can tell, most of your are just doing the dance of your particular belief system. Niether side really understands that the question of whether or not there is a god is completely and utterly mute. One contributor’s professor said, “One can never logically prove the existance of god.” I would go one further and suggest that since there is also no way to prove the non-existance of god, then what we are left with is a conflict between two belief structures: a “pro-god” faction that would point to the Bible, and other questionable sources, plus “faith”, to demonstrate the god exists, and a second “anti-god” faction that would attempt to quote prominent thinkers of the ages, and logic, and humanistic ideas to demonstrate that god cannot exist.

    Both positions boil down to the same base concept: belief. Now, belief is something different than faith. Faith blindly accepts a set of ideas as “truth” just because some other man (and it could not proveably come from any other source) said it was so. A belief is an initially neutral set of ideas that a person accepts because those ideas seem monst reasonable to him or her. Once accepted, the belief system ceases to be nuetral, and begins to take on the “proofs” of the group adopting that system.

    The problem is that in either case, belief cannot be proven or disproven anymore than god can (or can’t). Theists “believe” in god; Athiests do not, but that is really as far as the argument can go. Niether have a single actual proven fact to hang a belief structure on, other than what ideas they have chosen to accept as “truth”.

    The fact, inescapeable logically, is that there is no such thing as theism or atheism. Without a way to prove or disprove, no human can actually “know” if he or she is right or wrong. Christians will drag out the old claim that if a person has Jesus (or, one may assume, Mohammed, Buddah, Charles Manson, or whoever else) in their hearts then they will just “know” that god exists and that they know the truth. Atheists will counter that a religious experience is simply an emotional response to an intense ceremony, whether public or private, and one could, and does at times, have the same emotional response while gazing at the stars or the Grand Tetons, or whatever.

    So, the best that any of us can achieve, where god is concerned, is a committed agnosticism, or a committed devotion to — and this is the main point — an UNPROVEABLE BELIEF system.

    If you really are true to yourselves, you self-proclaimed athiests, then your position should be one of pure skepicism. Your motto should be: “I will believe that which is proveable to be, either by observable action, or demonstratable (and repeatable) result of observable action.” Those of you who cling to the belief structure of a 2000 year-old desert god would do well to do some study, putting emotion aside (because you can’t trust it, as anyone who has ever been in love can attest) and objectively search for the actual non-faith-based truth.

    “Faith” is one of the mose dangerous concepts ever to have entered the mind of man. It requires belief without proof; belief simply because some other man said it was true, who perhaps led you through some sort of emotional ritual. I could just as easily believe that Charles Manson is the reincarnated Jesus Christ!

    Skepicism should be your religion. Only that will lead you anywhere near the actual “truth”.

    And I can’t conclude without refuting a couple of your theists’ assertions. A godless person has plenty of reason to love his or her children. Love, and especially protection, of offspring has been selected for our species by evolution, as a survival advantage. In a larger sense, cultural morality has been selected for by the same forces. Those societies who destory each other don’t long survive. To suggest that a god is required for human morality is nonsense.

    Ketch, I don’t know where you got the idea that non-believers have fewer children than believers. In our western society it is fairly easy to have the number of children you want and no more. I’m afraid I can find no correlation to religion in the number of children families have (with the possible of exception of Catholics and Mormons, whose objective was to populate the world with offspring who thought like they did: an objective that hasn’t really worked out very well).

    And those of you who suggest that atheist societies are responsible for more atrocities against their fellow beings than theist societies, citing Stalin and PolPot as examples, I suggest that you study a bit more history. More and bloodier conflicts have arisen because of religion than any other cause in the history of the world. The list is endless: Romans killed Christains in the name of their gods. The Crusades of the 13th and 14th centuries resulted in continous bloodshed and destruction. The 16th century Inquisition slaughtered thousands of innocents. Queen Mary of England and Sir Thomas More routinely burned “heretics” at the stake for the sake of their beliefs. Even today, fundamentalist Islamic jihadists are very prepared to kill anyone whom the accuse of being a infidel. The list goes on and on — religion does not guarantee a moral society, and in many cases is antithetical to it.

    And on one last note, you theists: you cannot use the Bible to prove your belief system. Of course the Bible is going to affirm it. Paul said, “Those who have wisdom will know the truth” — as long as the “wisdom” he was talking about was the belief in his teachings.

    And you atheists: examine your positions. Are you any less zealous about something you cannot prove than the theists are? I suggest you adopt the position of Skepticism. There is where lies the path to truth, if there is one.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/briman232* Brian

    Alright you ignorant atheists… if there is no god, then HOW DOES THE SUN KEEP ORBITING THE EARTH? BAM!

    You see people, that’s how you deal with atheist skum. With LOGIC! Hit that bullseye and the rest of the dominoes will come down like a house of cards… CHECKMATE!

    And on that note…

    Dunt dun duuh DAAAAHHHH!

    !!!!!!!!!MY ATHEIST STORE!!!!!!!!!

    Aristotle’s Muse

    This is my store. Maybe wearing an atheist T-shirt won’t change the world, but enough of them just might.


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