Feed me!

I’ve been wanting a different flavor of post for what I write at Atheism Resource.  Part of the problem though is that I’ve been doing this for so long I’m just convinced that most atheists know the answers to all the shitty religious arguments out there.  However, I’m still solicited for help in rebutting religious hogwash, so I know that can’t be the case.

So let’s do this.  Since Sunday is the lord’s day (pfft), every Sunday I will throw up a post around 1pm EST (giving all of you time to hit your morning church services) asking for arguments to address in the coming week.  If you have a particular question stumping you or if you’d just like a different take on it, leave it in the comments.

Let this be our first go at this project.  I will write posts over the coming week addressing whatever arguments get left in the comments over at Atheism Resource, and will re-post here a day later.

  • http://carlsagansdanceparty.wordpress.com Steven Olsen

    The argument from “but it gives people comfort.”

  • Adam

    The best argument for that is that it may give them comfort, but not everyone gets comfort the same way. Some people prefer firm mattresses, some prefer water beds, and some people prefer recliners and some prefer sofas. It would be silly for the sofa-lovers to believe the recliner-lovers are wrong and the only way to be happy would be to learn to love sofas.

    Finding comfort and dealing with mortality is fine and dandy, but it is silly to force your comforts on other people.

  • Douglas Kirk

    What about the “you’re arguing against christianity, not my super secret brand of neo-buddhist-atheistic-paganism…” argument? I know Don Severs talked indirectly about what religion is a while back with his UU posts and it generated a lot of comments. Perhaps, what separates a religion from a philosophy of life, and what makes even benign religion harmful where benign philosophy isn’t?

  • Adam

    Again, the evangelism and the desire to force your views on other people in order to “save” them. Most new age “religions” are philosophical and they tend not to force themselves on others. If they don’t try and replace science in schools with their spiritual/aura reading/past life nonsense, then they’re fine. Non-harmful religious beliefs like that will die out slowly.

  • Douglas Kirk

    @Adam

    I agree that the desire to force your views on others definitely makes for a socially harmful religion. But I also feel like the “not religious, but spiritual” new age position can also do social harm; mostly by inadvertently empowering the truly despicable faiths. I mean, how many times have you had to deal with “we go about it differently, but we all believe in the same God”? That unilaterally comes from new agey or liberal religious sects (evangelicals don’t normally say this, in my experience). Then they yell at atheists for painting religions with the same brush!

  • Douglas Kirk

    Oh, scrap that article idea, JT pretty much already wrote it and posted it yesterday… damn.

  • JT Eberhard

    Douglas,

    lol! My pleasure. :P

    JT

  • Scott Admire

    are you familiar with the minimal facts approach by Habbermas and Licona? I try to listen to Christian arguments critically and even skeptically, but this is an argument I had trouble finding holes in. I’d like to see your response to it.

  • Douglas Kirk

    @Scott Admire

    I don’t think you’re going to find much in the way of evangelical scriptural and theological argument here. (I’m assuming you are an evangelist, and assuming that arguments from science and usefulness are not what you are looking for) I did a little hunting to find the right website for you to raise your objections and found John Loftus’s wonderful Debunking Christianity. He’s a former apologist and evangelical preacher, and he tackles christianity from a historical scriptural perspective:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/

  • Scott Admire

    @Douglas

    Checked out the website but not sure what article you were directing me to. And I suppose I might be an evangelist, but that depends on your defintion. I am not nearly as much of an evangelist as I ought to be, and probably not nearly as ‘evangelistic’ as you or JT.
    Either way, scientific evidence is always a plus, and so is usefulness. The minimal facts approach actually uses a modern accepted historical approach to find base historical events that can be widely agreed upon by skeptic and believer alike, and then constructs the most plausible account of the time period. I attended an apologetics conference where Licona presented his minimal facts approach in 4 outbreak sessions. I would happily send either of you a copy of the audio which really serves as an overview of the method. It was presented to undergrad/grad students and the public and may not be the most critical or thorough commentary, but it gives the main ideas.

  • Douglas Kirk

    I wasn’t directing you to an article, just a better website for the specific questions I’m sure you want to propose. And by evangelist I meant a member of an evangelical christian denomination.

  • Scott Admire

    @Douglas

    I am. But my ties to my denomination are not nearly so tight as my ties to truth. I do not believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead because I belong to an evangelical denomination, but I belong to an evangelical denomination because I believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

    I’m totally fine with science and solid evidences and sound arguments. I know there are many MANY people who are smarter than me and more read on a number of topics, but I don’t feel I’m that irrational of a person. I certainly have met non-believers who were more irrational than me. But I do believe Jesus rose from the dead, and it has impacted my peace and my hope. But again, I do not believe because it has impacted my peace and my hope, but in believing my peace and hope have been impacted. It’s an important distinction.

  • Scott Admire

    @JT

    here is something I’ve never understood:

    If we start with a premise that morality is merely a production of evolution then:

    (1) why is immorality a universal human experience as well? (do we see other creatures failing to use adaptations created for survival as miserably as humans)

    and

    (2) if we get to a point where it is more beneficial for the survival of humanity to kill off weaker nations/groups of people (imaginable in view of over-population, decreasing natural resources, etc.), would it then be (through the means of adaptation for survival) morally acceptable and even a moral praise to commit genocide? Along these same lines, if Hitler were promoting the survival and rule of what he believed to be a superior human race (or in other words pushing evolution forward), how could his actions be deemed immoral if evolution is the only basis for morality to begin with?

    I am more interested in point 1 because it’s less hypothetical and requires explanations for what we see currently in the human race. The mix between a desire to do good and a failing to do good is confusing in view of evolutionary principles alone.

  • Scott Admire

    @JT

    Philosophically speaking, is it wrong for a Christian to evangelize or attempt to persuade someone to adopt his/her worldview?

    IF (not saying this is correct, but for argument’s sake) someone truly believed that you were going to suffer eternal judgment from God for wrongs you have done in your life unless you accept Christ’s punishment on the cross as your substitute…. again, IF you believed that.. would it not be more hateful to keep this message to yourself?

    I know you believe it would be the responsibility of the sane person hearing the message to return the favor and save this person from their delusion… but I’m confused as to why atheists/non-believers get angry with someone for sharing with them their beliefs in a caring way. I understand yelling at someone to believe or die is wrong.. but if you simply believed it was true your best friend was going to Hell unless he accepted Christ, would it not be more morally wrong to NOT share the message, even if it was akward or uncomfortable?

    atheist Penn Gillett’s explanation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhG-tkQ_Q2w


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