God speaks to me

I posted a version of this in my response to Don Hughes the other day, but I think it needs a modified version that applies every time you talk to someone saying god speaks to them.


We’ve all heard this, usually as evidence for god’s existence.  Consider the implications of it.

God didn’t speak to the followers of every other deity throughout history.  How could he if the god of the bible is the only true god as the book claims?  The people who heard the voices of those gods were either mistaken, deluded, or outright crazy, because they can’t have been right.  For the Christian to be right, this must be the case.

God also doesn’t speak to every Muslim that lives today or to every Muslim that has lived since the 7th century.  Whatever they were hearing (and telling us they heard), it wasn’t god.  They were either mistaken, deluded, or outright crazy – every last one of them without exception.  God didn’t speak to the pious men who believed in Jesus as well; men who were certain god commanded them to stoke the fires of the Inquisition.

Nor did god speak to Andrea Yates, the Christian woman who drowned her children because god told her to.  God spoke to Abraham and commanded him to murder his son, but not to Andrea.  And what Christian believes Daphne Spurlock, the deeply Christian woman who slit her son’s throat at the behest of god’s voice?  So while god truly spoke to Jephthah, binding him to immolate his daughter, Daphne was just hearing voices.  God also didn’t speak to the Neumanns, who watched their daughter die of a treatable illness rather than test god’s benevolence by taking her to the doctor.  Truly, like literally every other follower of every other religions, even Christians can make the mistake of thinking they’re really hearing god’s voice.

Neither, we presume, does god speak to the other denominations of Christianity, who are hearing different things about god’s will.  So it’s not just every believer of every god throughout history, each thinking they were sincerely in communion with their god or gods, who was genuinely mistaken, clearly most Christians are making the mistake of thinking they’re really hearing god’s voice.

All of these people were either confused or dishonest.

So who does god really speak to?  Well, god speaks to whatever Christian is presently making that claim, that’s who.  So many fakers, so many people fallaciously thinking they communicate with god, but this believer?  They’re the real deal.  They see almost everybody insisting they had the ear of god being sincerely mistaken, and haven’t thought for even a second that they might be in the same boat.  No, god speaks to humankind through Moses, through Abraham, through Jephthah, through only particular filicidal people millennia ago, through Jesus…and through whatever Christian you are speaking to at the time.

It’s a pity god only seems to convey his will to these people, but never a good reason for anybody else to believe this person isn’t just like every other believer: either deluded, lying, or crazy.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • unbound

    Still one of my favorites:

    “The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.”
    ― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

  • Icy Cantu

    “God didn’t speak to the pious men who believed in Jesus as well; men who were certain god commanded them to stoke the fires of the Inquisition.”

    Jesus is God. Therefore God spoke to them.

    “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    • kagekiri

      Eh, he could also be a myth constructed from various people’s histories/mythologies used to manipulate people over the centuries. CS Lewis was making an obviously false trichotomy.

      If Jesus was real and his story accurate, though, I’d vote that he was a deluded madman or scumbag liar.

      I agree with CS Lewis that he could not be a merely human “good teacher”: his teachings were abominable and unworthy of respect. Thought-crime, no justice on earth, no fighting for bettering yourself on earth, self-mutilation for the sake of the afterlife, glorification of pointless martyrdom, etc. Everything he taught looks custom-fit to make mindless followers who won’t rebel against their overseers and betters, and the God he claims to be is a monster of a “lord”, not a being worth worshiping.

      I love seeing the moral relativity in all your posts in this thread. “Oh, those believers who do bad things are deceived by demons, but the delusions I like are obviously God sent!” You judge those things thanks to moral standards of our modern culture, not by “God’s” standards.

      God didn’t mind commanding genocide, aborting babies, slaughtering children and innocents, punishing children for their parent’s mistakes, sacrificing humans, leaving humanity alone for centuries so that generations would die without a chance for salvation, supporting slavery, allowing and even encouraging raping along with their genocide, and so on.

      Jesus and Paul like to act as though God was going “easy” on the Israelites (“oh, God let you divorce because you were weak”), as though God didn’t slaughter the Israelites indiscriminately whenever they stepped out of line and constantly claim that he’s unchanging and uncompromising in his standards. No, your “God” had his absolute control over dictating morality before, and it was disgusting.

      Your Bible stories are empty of any moral value or even basic consistency, stop quoting them at us and expecting us to be wowed. You’re not a martyr. You’re just deluded by a well-told lie. It’s your “God” and “Savior” who are scummy deceiving stories used for brainwashing that should be only held as a memory of a more barbaric time.

  • Icy Cantu

    The disciples that followed witnessed Him in His life and His resurrected glory. They passed on His teachings.

    Many have misinterpreted these teachings and done despicable things in His Name.

    The devil is a dastardly deceiver.

    • Nathan

      Icy Cantu–would you care to make an argument that actually addresses the original post, rather than regurgitating standard Christian apologetics?

  • Brownian

    The disciples that followed witnessed Him in His life and His resurrected glory. They passed on His teachings.

    Actually, they were deceived by the devil and misinterpreted his teachings. How do I know? Someone once said:

    Many have misinterpreted these teachings and done despicable things in His Name.

    The devil is a dastardly deceiver.

    Does God speak to you? If so, why doesn’t he have you make sense?

    • Icy Cantu

      It doesn’t really have to make sense right now. I am a fool for Christ and I long for the day that you are too!

      Not trolling or poe’ing or any other sophistycated label you might dangle. Just here to tell you all that you are all wrong. How do I prove this? I can’t. All I can do is love you by telling you the truth about Jesus Christ and pray for you (as I do).

      Jesus is my joy and you can’t take Him away from me or anyone else that has received Him…not even with the Magic Han Bammer.

      Christians argue with one premise in mind: Jesus is God. He said so in His Word and that is enough for me and those who believe. There is no argument!

      You can keep proselytising your nullities-made-nice, but the sad truth is that it is a doctrine of death. You have no hope when you get to death’s door because you believe there is no hope beyond it.

      Jesus defeated death at the cross for those who are willing to believe in Him.

      There you go. Ready for fiery darts and hammers. Thank you for reading…I’m gonna go mow.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

        “I am a fool”

        We know. But thanks for admitting it.

      • Desert Son, OM

        I am a fool for Christ

        No kidding.

        and I long for the day that you are too!

        Interesting that you long for foolishness, not just for yourself, but for others. It’s not enough that you want a certain condition for yourself, you also want that to happen to others even if it’s harmful.

        Just here to tell you all that you are all wrong. How do I prove this? I can’t.

        We know, which is why you are unsuccessful.

        All I can do is love you

        Keep it. Seriously, keep it. I’m not actually interested in your love. I had enough of that growing up in a religious tradition, and long years of observation show it’s less about genuine compassion, more about lording power one over another. The “relationship” with god isn’t about love, it’s about abuse, as was demonstrated way back when you were posting Bob Dylan videos and quoting The Karate Kid.

        pray for you (as I do).

        You’re free to waste your time in whatever manner you see fit.

        Jesus is my joy and you can’t take Him away from me or anyone else that has received Him…not even with the Magic Han Bammer.

        You’re free to believe in whatever nonsense you want, how often you want, ritualized however you like, so long as it does not harm anyone else. What you’re not free to do is dictate terms to anyone else, and there has been far too much term-dictating by people interested in “Him” for far too long.

        He said so in His Word and that is enough for me and those who believe.

        Congratulations on your insularity. I know this may be hard for a believer to understand, but atheists and skeptics don’t find faith a virtue, not that such knowledge is likely to change your approach to the conversation, but there it is.

        There is no argument!

        You’ve demonstrated that in every post you’ve made.

        You have no hope when you get to death’s door because you believe there is no hope beyond it.

        Actually, it’s not that we believe there is no hope beyond it, it’s that we do not believe there is hope beyond it. Subtle but important distinction. We’re still waiting for evidence, and it’s still not forthcoming, as you’ve already admitted when you said you can’t prove it. So because there’s no evidence, there’s no reason to believe. Hence no belief, not a belief in no.

        Ready for fiery darts and hammers.

        Do you think “martyr” is a self-appointed position?

        Still learning,

        Robert

      • http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/ Stephanie Zvan

        Jesus is God. He said so in His Word and that is enough for me and those who believe. There is no argument!

        What a coincidence! So am I. And you know it because I said so in this, my word. No arguments now.

      • JSC_ltd

        Here’s a “sophistycated” label for what you’re doing: Godbotting. Not offering any argument, not adding anything to the discussion, just quoting bible verses as though they are somehow going to magically convince the rational. They won’t convince the rational, because they are not good arguments. Indeed, bible verses are not arguments at all. You’re just wasting time and bandwidth being a godbot, which is annoying.

        • amyc

          Xe’s a fideist. Xe honestly believes that by quoting scripture and praying for you, the Holy Spirit will move in you and change your mind. Fideists typically don’t argue or offer up any evidence or reason for their beliefs (contrary to what 1 Peter 3:15 says). They quote scripture and believe god will do the rest. It’s kind of sad to watch really…

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      I don’t suppose you could, like, demonstrate any of your claims?

      If not, don’t be surprised if you continue to be treated as an insane lunatic.

      • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

        That’s directed at Icy, BTW

  • naturalcynic

    Icy Cantu….
    eyeroll. You just don’t seem to understand.

  • Supermental

    Alright.. where is the “Like” button? :)

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

    Everybody else was deceived by the Devil. Not the Real True Christians™, though. Directly line to God, they’ve got.

    So even if it were true that somebody were communicating with a supernatural being (a premise I don’t imagine ever coming true, but granted for sake of argument), how would one know which one they’re talking to? If he really is such a clever beast that he can prop up so many false religions and fool billions of people, then surely even an RTC would be susceptible.

    A question I’ve posed before takes it a bit further. The faithful tell us that God is the author of the Bible. But what if they’re wrong about that? What if Satan wrote it and just swapped the names? I mean, if we flip through it and see who caused more death and destruction throughout, it’s the God character. What if that were really Satan and he just tricked all the fundies into following him straight to Hell?

    • ah58

      I think the fact that the entity he claims to be talking to is unable to give him a way to prove that it exists is a clear indication that it’s NOT a god.

  • Icy Cantu

    God never lies.

    …in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago… -Titus 1:2

    “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” -Numbers 23:19

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      How do you know that? How do you know those versus are accurate?

    • Richard
    • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

      The people who wrote those verses were lying.

      Or are you going to say next that people can’t lie?

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      Icy,

      Do you believe that your approach towards trying to convince us of these things will be effective? Do you think Bible quotes mean anything to us?

      If not, why do you take the approach you do?

      • Icy Cantu

        Why do you bible verses make every unbeliever cringe so badly?

        O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. -Jeremiah 20:7-11

        • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

          Why do you bible verses make every unbeliever cringe so badly?

          By the way, that’s an awesome example of a red herring.

          • Randomfactor

            Why do you bible verses make every unbeliever cringe so badly?

            We’re not cringing, we’re barely suppressing laughter.

        • Parse

          Do you wince when you see a guy hit himself in the crotch? It’s the same principle – it’s in sympathy with the shame you would feel, if you knew how poorly you make Christians appear.

        • Yellow Thursday

          If we cringe when we see or hear Bible verses, it’s in the same way that one cringes when one hears a bad joke.

      • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

        Why do you bible verses make every unbeliever cringe so badly?

        It doesn’t. Next question.

        Again, if you want to convince us of anything, your best bet is empirical objective demonstration, not inane quotes from an insane book.

        Anything else is just a waste of time.

      • Icy Cantu

        Right.

    • Desert Son, OM

      God, who cannot lie

      So, according to text attributed to Saul (later Paul) of Tarsus, there is something god cannot do.

      So much for omnipotence.

      Still learning,

      Robert

      • Icy Cantu
        • Desert Son, OM

          Now that’s the Icy Cantu of embedded movie clips from previous posts!

          What you’ve done there, Icy Cantu, is exactly the same thing that you did when posting Bob Dylan clips and Karate Kid movie quotes. You have once again provided evidence that a film or other artistic expression was made.

          What you have not done is provide evidence for the existence of a god (yours or anyone else’s). You’re like a collection of arrows all lodged around one spot just outside the most exterior concentric circle on a paper target: consistent, but inaccurate.

          In other words: Cool story, bro. Thanks for sharing! Please enjoy this picture of a Turkish samovar at Wikipedia. (Meme h/t to Martin Wagner at The Atheist Experience.)

          Still learning,

          Robert

      • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

        Alright, you’re a troll. You’re not even attempting to have a discussion.

        • Icy Cantu

          What about Bob? What about MakeALamb?

          They can make mocking responses about the Creator of the Universe being satan and limited in His abilities, and I am expected to respond with sincere discussion?

          • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

            They can make mocking responses about the Creator of the Universe being satan

            Actually I wasn’t mocking. That was a serious question. You just don’t want to address it. You believe the Bible was written by God, but how would you know if you were wrong about that? Surely you don’t believe yourself infallible. So how would you know if the Bible was not the word of God? Corollary: why should I believe it is?

        • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

          They can make mocking responses about the Creator of the Universe being satan and limited in His abilities, and I am expected to respond with sincere discussion?

          Yes.

          That is, if you ever want any kind of hope of doing anything other than wasting the one life you have.

          Your discussion doesn’t have to be “nice” or pull any punches. We do expect it to at least try to adhere to some kind of demonstrably effective epistemological framework.

          • Icy Cantu

            The foundation of the framework on which I rely is Christ.

            If you do not accept this foundation as Truth, then you are right…I am wasting my time.

            The answers are all found in Christ.

            I enjoy sharing this Truth with you.

          • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

            Then we will simply continue to speak past each other.

            The difference between your framework and ours is that our framework is demonstrably effective.

            You were the one who decided to come here and convince us of “the Truth”. If you wish to be successful, you must utilize our framework, otherwise, you will simply be regarded as background noise.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

            The foundation of the framework on which I rely is Christ.

            If you do not accept this foundation as Truth, then you are right…I am wasting my time.

            In other words: you assume you are right, and I won’t be able to see how right you are unless I also assume you are right.

    • ah58

      Dude, god freaking lied to Abraham. It’s in your book.

  • Richard

    Ironic that a true believer™ would show up in the comments of a post illustrating just how fucking stupid these arguments are, then do the whole alliteration bit. “Just here to tell you all that you are all wrong. How do I prove this? I can’t” As it has been said before, and will be said again ““That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” Good ol’ Hitch.

  • Desert Son, OM

    By the way, Icy Cantu, I going to call special attention to this post above by Stephanie Zvan.

    Later this week, when telling your fellow religious believers how you “mixed it up” with a bunch of atheists, skeptics, and generally-all-around kick-ass group of people on the Intartubez, you’ll want to refer specifically to Stephanie’s post above, and a phrase you’ll find particularly useful in your narrative is:

    “And that’s when I got pwnzzored.”

    No, no need for thanks. It’s reward enough knowing we’ve helped.

    Still learning,

    Robert

    • Icy Cantu

      Unlike you, I do not come here for high-fives, self-aggrandizement and “community”.

      It is to tell you unwaveringly that Jesus Christ is Lord.

      Stephanie is her own god, I’m sure. Good luck to her in that.

      • Parse

        If the only reason you’ve come here is “to tell you unwaveringly that Jesus Christ is Lord”, well, you’ve done that. You did that the first time you came here. We get your point, and you can tell what we think of it. However, that doesn’t explain your inane posts, and your bible-quoting since then (especially since you know that, as nonbelievers, quoting the Bible at us is as convincing as Muslims quoting the Quran at you).
        No, I’m pretty sure you come here for abuse, so you can get your Martyr card stamped next Sunday. Sorry, but you aren’t being persecuted for your faith; you’re being ridiculed for your poor arguments.

        If you don’t want us to mock you and your god, provide evidence, not bible quotes and bald assertions.

      • Desert Son, OM

        Probability that I am surprised you missed the point of Stephanie’s post that I referenced?

        Statistically indistinguishable from zero.

        Unlike you, I do not come here for high-fives, self-aggrandizement and “community”.

        I come here for a lot of reasons. The high-fives and community are just part of the benefits (though, to be sure, those are definitely a highlight). There’s also things like: education on issues and topics I’m unfamiliar with, witty banter, excellent examples of solid and reasoned arguments against belief in superstitious nonsense that I previously didn’t know, an opportunity to have my own mistakes pointed out so that I can work on correcting them and being more cognizant in the future (sort of like peer review), contact with individuals I might not otherwise have a chance to meet or interact with in a meaningful way, and the occasional discussion about video games.

        As for self-aggrandizement, you must have me confused with someone else. I’m not particularly powerful or important, and coming here and refuting the disingenuous and misaligned nonsense that you spout doesn’t somehow make me more powerful. It just further illustrates your ignorance, and really, anyone can do it. This thread is replete with people that have been calling you on your bullshit all day, and JT’s subject post was the initial iron bar that you walked right into. You’re trying to shift the burden on to me. The burden remains on you, Icy Cantu, to demonstrate the evidence for the things you continue to insist are true without substance. Don’t make this about me.

        It is to tell you unwaveringly that Jesus Christ is Lord.

        You’ve done this. Consistently. Mission accomplished. The point you’re missing, though, is that talking unwaveringly about Jesus Christ is Lord is irrelevant to skeptics and atheists. It’s totally irrelevant (and that’s the underlying thing you missed about Stephanie’s post which highlighted the invalidity of presuppositionalism and the fallacy of the argument from authority).

        You’re not communicating effectively. You’re just not. Insisting over and over and over again that THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE does not reach skeptics and atheists. You have a better chance of reaching an atheist and skeptic audience by making reasoned, rational arguments devoid of fallacies, and most importantly, by presenting evidence that supports positive claims. You haven’t done that. You just quote bible verses, or embed movie clips.

        You are not reaching the audience to whom you’ve been sent, or to whom you’ve elected, to preach.

        Stephanie is her own god, I’m sure. Good luck to her in that.

        Now, Icy Cantu, this is a strange thing for you to post, having already posted interminably how you feel that “Jesus Christ is Lord.”

        Unless, of course, you’re a pantheist, and think that in addition to Jesus Christ or YHWH there are other gods.

        Or is the real story that, in fact, you actually did get what Stephanie was doing in her post and, realizing what a massive cannon hole her post shot in the hull of your faith, you’re desperately trying misdirection in an effort to deny that you’re taking on water?

        Still learning,

        Robert

      • ah58

        No, you come here to get your “martyr cred” with your equally delusional friends. You can tell them that you stood there like a rock (or dumb as one) and were unswayed in your fanatical devotion to your imaginary friend.

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      Stephanie is her own god, I’m sure. Good luck to her in that.

      I know this might be hard to comprehend, but just because we don’t worship a god, doesn’t mean we think we ourselves are gods.

      That’s you putting words in our mouths. We don’t say or think anything like that. In fact, we think “worship” is dumb.

      Now that you’ve been officially informed of this error, your continued use of it would be a lie, and bearing false witness against your neighbors (or is “neighbors” supposed to be taken literally in this specific instance, thus letting you off the hook?)

      • Icy Cantu

        If you are not your own gods, and there is no God, then who makes the rules?

        Is it whomever sets up his own little domain for whatever he chooses to believe and fields the most followers?

        Is it the one who wields the almighty ban hammer?

        Is it the one who exhibits the most cunning?

        Is it the one who has the biggest bombs?

        This group is somewhat rebellious and anti-authoritarian.

        Who do you follow and why?

        If you do not follow anyone you are by definition your own god.

        If you follow JT, you have made him your god.

        Who has the truth? You are hanging your hopes on invisible rational frameworks.

        At least the “Invisible Framework” that I base my arguments upon was a real person (as the Holy Scriptures, Josephus and many others attest)…and He still lives.

        • Desert Son, OM

          If you are not your own gods, and there is no God, then who makes the rules?

          Glad you asked! This, Icy Cantu, is an excellent question (though I should warn you, if you continue down the path of asking excellent questions, you’ll be in grave danger of learning something).

          Your question requires clarification, though. Rules about what? If it’s rules about how the universe operates – things like gravity, things like the speed of light in a vacuum, things like electromagnetic wavelengths and so forth – the answer is easy:

          There’s no evidence to suggest that there is any “who” that makes any rules. The evidence thus far suggests that those rules are simply the state of the universe, the ways in which matter and energy relate.

          If your question is about rules about how human beings behave with regard to, say, issues and questions of morality and social laws, the answer is also easy:

          Humans make the rules. We do this under the influence of things like physical laws of the universe, evolved characteristics of our species, our cognitive abilities, and our psychologically- and socio-culturally mediated spaces.

          Next!

          If you do not follow anyone you are by definition your own god.

          Ah, see, what you’ve done there is a common mistake. You’ve made the error of assuming that If NOT one thing THEN it must be ANOTHER thing. When in fact the real circumstance is If NOT one thing then we must OBSERVE to determine IF there is ANOTHER thing at all.

          As I’ve explained before, atheists don’t believe in gods. Moreover, there’s no evidence to suggest that we are gods. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m just an animal, nothing more, nothing less.

          By the way, your comment about “by definition your own god” borders on blasphemy (I’m not worried, mind, because I don’t believe there are any gods, so I don’t see any evidence for any effect). After all, if as you’ve suggested, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” then surely “by definition” people aren’t their own gods, right? Not to mention, if people are their own gods, well that doesn’t make the state of being gods particularly powerful, does it, and that suggests that YHWH or Yeshua aren’t particularly powerful, either.

          So, once again, so much for omnipotence.

          Don’t worry, I promise not to tell your pastor, or priest, or spiritual leader, or whomever you regularly talk to about questions of religious guidance about your little moment of heresy there.

          Who has the truth?

          What truth, or truths? Clarification needed.

          You are hanging your hopes on invisible rational frameworks.

          First of all, be careful throwing around phrases like, “You are hanging your hopes.” Until anyone expressly describes a hope you are attributing characteristics or behaviors without evidence.

          Second of all, invisible is hilarious in this context because I could just as easily turn around and say, “You’re hanging your hopes on invisible irrational imaginings.”

          Third, rationality is a tool that helps humans analyze information, that’s all. This is why I cautioned against speaking about hopes. It’s not that humans (including skeptics and atheists) don’t feel hope. Hope is, after all, just an emotion, like love, fear, joy, anger, confusion, sadness, excitement, silliness, etc. Emotions are behavioral expressions of neuro-chemical processes.

          The thing about atheists and skeptics, though, is that instead of approaching information from a standpoint of hope – or at least hope alone – they approach information from the standpoint of “What does this indicate and how do I know?”

          That is markedly different from approaching information from the standpoint of “I really hope this is what is indicated” or “I like the sound of this so it must be true.”

          At least the “Invisible Framework” that I base my arguments upon was a real person

          Evidence required.

          (as the Holy Scriptures

          Unreliable narrative.

          Josephus and many others attest)

          Hie thee to Richard Carrier Blogs, post-haste! I think you’ll find that there’s some disagreement about the “realness” of the supposed Yeshua, son of Yosef, ostensible resident, occasional craftsperson, and possible rabbi of the Roman Imperial Levant.

          …and He still lives.

          Evidence required.

          Still learning,

          Robert

          • JSC_ltd

            Now that is an excellent demonstration of why you have an OM. FWIW, I award you an Internet.

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      Pffft – she actually said that.

      Alright, take what I said and apply it to atheists not Stephanie.

      Her post was a joke, by the way.

  • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

    If you are not your own gods, and there is no God, then who makes the rules?

    What makes you think it’s a “who”? We don’t know why the universe has the laws of physics it does, so our status is “We don’t know”. To go from that to “therefore God” is simply a logical fallacy.

    It’s a logical fallacy that theists have used on everything from lightning, to earthquakes to disease. On everything that they thought was supernaturally driven, that we’ve finished investigating. 100% of them were godless causes.

    There’s no reason to think at this point any kind of god is required for anything at all. But, we’ll see when we can actually investigate the phenomenon in question.

    Is it whomever sets up his own little domain for whatever he chooses to believe and fields the most followers?

    No.

    Is it the one who wields the almighty ban hammer?

    No.

    Is it the one who exhibits the most cunning?

    No.

    Is it the one who has the biggest bombs?

    Are we talking about laws of physics or morality? Morality is a consensus driven by an analysis of what rules work or don’t work for operating a successful happy society. No gods required.

    This group is somewhat rebellious and anti-authoritarian.

    Damn straight.

    Who do you follow and why?

    I don’t follow anyone. I’ve agreed to abide by the “rules” in my society that have been generated by consensus and efficacy analyse. If I decide not to, I can either leave the country, or go to jail.

    If you do not follow anyone you are by definition your own god.

    That’s a ridiculous statement. I do not have supernatural powers. I do not create universes. I am not infinite anything.

    You’ve revised “god” to mean “whom you follow”. You’re doing a bait-and-switch, which is dishonest.

    If you follow JT, you have made him your god.

    Even if I did, that’d be incorrect – see above.

    Who has the truth? You are hanging your hopes on invisible rational frameworks.

    No one has the truth. There’s a truth in reality, and we’re doing our best to look into it, but it’s a cooperative effort with lots of peer review, scrutiny, fact checking, re-fact checking, re-peer review, and re-re-refact checking.

    My “invisible rational framework” has produced the computer you use, the cellphone you use, the medicine you use (if you live in the U.S. that may be less likely), the airplane you fly, the GPS system, digital cameras, etc etc etc.

    All this technology you use 100% absolutely uttterly demolishes your dismissal.

    Your fantasy world of fairies and invisible men in the sky can’t even come close to matching the sheer efficacy and application of science.

    “At least the “Invisible Framework” that I base my arguments upon was a real person”

    You can’t even demonstrate he was a real person, let alone was the son of any deity. In your worldview, stating something and just believing it real hard apparently makes things true.

    (as the Holy Scriptures, Josephus and many others attest)…and He still lives.

    So there’s a book that make more unsupported undemonstrated claims that aren’t even in the same plane of existence as the standards of evidence and epistemology. How surprising!

    Please cite one contemporary extrabiblical piece of evidence for the historicity of Jesus.

    • Desert Son, OM

      At the risk of high-fiving, “community,” and self-aggrandizement:

      “Strong in the ways of win this one is.” -Yodatheist

      Thanks for that post.

      Still learning,

      Robert

  • Richard

    Hey, Jasper T, spot on, so high five. o/

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

    I’ll take the refusal to answer my question as an “I have no idea.”

  • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

    Assuming Icy isn’t just a troll, I don’t think he’s here to convince us of anything.

    I think he’s here because of his doctrine-mandated persecution complex. He’s entered the “lion’s den”, stir the pot with infantile and ineffectual argumentation so that he’ll be bashed on.

    And if he gets through it with his faith intact, he wins in his mind – because it’s not about us – it’s about him – it’s about getting some batting practice in for maintaining one’s beliefs even if they 100% contradict everything in reality.

    • Desert Son, OM

      I think it’s important to respond regardless of whether Icy Cantu’s handler is even now giggling at the keyboard saying, “Yow, they really think this is true, lolzrockets!” or whether Icy Cantu really is a True Believer(tm).

      The value of the responses isn’t in convincing Icy Cantu (though it might, someday. Pharyngula played no small part in my abandoning religion and other nonsense). The value is in those who are wondering about these questions themselves and are actively looking for the arguments at the heart of these issues.

      For every Icy Cantu determined to go down with the ship all the while insisting that the ship is totally seaworthy, there’s a chance that someone out there is looking at the ship they’ve been sold and starting to think, “Why the fuck did I take to the water in a colander?”

      Keep laughin’, Icy Cantu, if you are. And if you aren’t, keep thinking. You might just get there, someday.

      Still learning,

      Robert

      • Icy Cantu

        Not laughing, Bob.

        Actually, the only water in my ship is from the tears I weep for you and your friends.

        The shell you have constructed is a hard nut to crack. I appreciate the opportunity to interact, but I will be unable to respond to all your demon darts for lack of time.

        So, as I move on to more of the work that I have been tending to between posts, I bid you farewell. May your darkness soon be shattered by the Light of Truth. Until then, ramble on.

        • Desert Son, OM

          Not laughing, Bob

          Have we met? Regardless, that gives me more perspective on this, and reinforces what I posted in response to Jasper T above. I don’t think you’re likely to see reason (though maybe you will), but maybe someone else reading will.

          I will be unable to respond to all your demon darts for lack of time.

          I have demon darts! Cool! I wonder if those are a Supernatural Ability, Extraordinary Ability, or Spell or Spell-like Effect. Hmmm . . .

          Still learning,

          Robert

        • Daniel Schealler

          In terms of nut-cracking: It’s important to get your sequence right.

          For myself, here’s the order in which I form my beliefs:

          1) Start with a concept of what qualifies as good evidence – for me, a simplified version is ‘that which is cross-verifiable, repeatable and measurable’.

          2) Submit a claim for verification. Claim: God exists.

          3) Compare that claim against the totality of available evidence as defined by part 1): No good evidence for God’s existence has been presented to me yet.

          4) Match confidence in the claim in direct proportion to the available evidence for that claim. In the case of ‘God exists’ there is a total lack of evidence, therefore a total lack of confidence, therefore a lack of belief, therefore atheism.

          That’s the way through: My conclusion of atheism is founded solely on the evidence presented. Present good evidence that is contrary to my conclusion, and I will have no choice but to update my conclusion to fit it.

          One of the mistakes Christians usually make when they attempt to prosthelytize at me is that they get my reasoning process precisely backwards.

          They start with the belief they are trying to prove, search for anything that could be considered support for that belief, then retrofit their definition of ‘evidence’ to include whatever it is they want it to include.

          Then they wind up bickering with me about what does or doesn’t qualify as evidence. However, every time this has happened the Christian has been unable to make a case for why I should change my standard of evidence without making an appeal to the conclusion they are trying to prove.

          So what they are actually doing is trying to smuggle in their conclusion as a hidden premise within their definition. That’s assuming your conclusion. Naughty.

          So I point out the fallacy, and they say: “Yeah, so what? Why is that a problem?”

          And then I just laugh and walk away.

          If you want to convince an atheist like myself (I doubt I’m unique in this), you need to start with evidence. Good evidence.

          If you want us to change our concept of evidence, you need to provide good reasons why we should do so that don’t boil down to a desire to draw a given belief. Because that’s just a sneaky way of assuming your conclusion, which will get you laughed at and dismissed.

          If you can’t come up with a good reason why we should change our concept of evidence, then you’ll just have to work with it and find something that qualifies. Argue from that starting point, and see if you can get to ‘therefore, God exists’.

          If you can neither come up with a good reason why we should change our concept of evidence, nor come up with any evidence that supports your desired conclusion… Then realize that this is exactly how the world looks when you’re wrong about something and are just on the verge of realizing it.

          Remember: Feeling right feels good. Finding out you were wrong feels bad. But being wrong feels indistinguishable from being right. So always be on the lookout for signs you might be wrong. The transition sucks at the time, but coming out of it with a more accurate view of the world is worth it many times over.

          All the best.

          • Desert Son, OM

            Icy Cantu, if you read no other comments in this thread, I hope you will at least read the above comment from Daniel Schealler. It’s outstanding.

            Thanks for that comment, Daniel.

            Still learning,

            Robert

          • R Johnston

            Good post, but there’s one thing I’d like to comment on. There’s a step 2.5 that you’re missing that is important for god claims: Narrowly and accurately define the terms of the claim. Without sufficiently well defined terms there’s no way to determine whether or not good evidence is actually evidence in favor of a claim, against a claim, or indifferent to a claim. You can’t compare a claim against the evidence if you don’t know what that claim actually means.

            Ordinarily this isn’t too much of a problem, but in the case of “god exists” it’s a step you can’t get past. Pretty much all arguments in favor of affirming the claim “god exists” end up resting in part on equivocation over the meaning of the word “god.” Most of them–i.e. any argument appealing to supernaturalism, or claiming a god that exists outside of space and time–equivocate over the meaning of the word “exists” as well. Whenever evidence offered in favor of the claim “god exists” is attacked as irrelevant or contrary to the claim you can be sure that the response will be equivocation over what the claim actually means. The equivocation may be subtle or it may be blunt, but it’s always, always there.

            Stating a claim isn’t enough to test that claim. Claims are often ambiguous or subject to equivocation. Existential claims about gods in particular tend to be too incoherent and poorly formed to even be meaningfully tested.

          • Daniel Schealler

            @R Johnston

            Excellent point.

            If I could edit the comment to include something on that effect, I would. ^_^

      • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

        Not sure if serious

        • Icy Cantu
        • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T
        • Desert Son, OM

          My reply to you at 14.1? I was serious, I do really think the value of the responses isn’t necessarily for Icy Cantu’s benefit, but maybe for others asking questions.

          Still learning,

          Robert

          • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

            No, sorry, I was responding to 14.1.1

            Threads confuse me, apparently.

          • Desert Son, OM

            No, sorry, I was responding to 14.1.1

            Cool, thanks for the clarification, no worries. Also thanks for your solid posts this thread. Good stuff.

            Threads confuse me, apparently.

            The nesting sure throws me for a loop sometimes. It doesn’t help that I get long-winded. Thanks again.

            Still learning,

            Robert

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  • stubby

    My born again brother told me recently he thinks god speaks to him. It is very worrisome because our mother had schizophrenia.

    • Richard

      That is awful, my mom had schizophrenia too but it was acquired through ten years of chemotherapy brain damage. Very depressing, seeing symptoms in those you care about. *hug*

  • Drakk

    Dear, sweet, non-existent lord.

    Is there a reason we keep people like cantu around here?

    • Desert Son, OM

      I was like Icy Cantu once, very much steeped in religious belief, though I was never evangelical and the thought of going out in the world to “proclaim” or some such was dreadful (intense childhood shyness may have been a factor. Not available in all areas. See store for details).

      Pharyngula was the death blow for faith, for me. It had been coming a long time, gradually building as I asked more questions and gradually moved further from belief, but Pharyngula and its awesome commentariat placed the coins on the eyes and set the corpse of my faith in the ground.

      If not Icy Cantu, maybe somebody else will read this thread, or another like it, and make a move away from faith. Which is why it bugs me whenever someone says, “Loud and in-your-face places like Pharyngula aren’t helping atheism!”

      Not that Icy Cantu’s mode of interaction isn’t frustrating, to be sure.

      Still learning,

      Robert

  • Daniel Schealler

    Chewtoy.

    ^_^

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