Going back to arguing god’s existence on the internet.

I actually got my debate start talking about god with Christians online.  It’s a good way to get a grasp of what your every day Christian is saying (as opposed to apologists who get paid to hand wave effectively).  I don’t do as much of it anymore since I’ve got the blog and live debates, but a friend of mine posted my piece about how I’m reacting to Fred Phelps’ forthcoming demise (alliteration means you can write at a high school level at least).  In that, a person (let’s call her Mary M.) left a “He’ll answer to god” comment.  Another person came back and said god didn’t exist.  Mary M. then said:

Dont intend on debating with you. Just stating that whether Atheist Or Christian we can and should all agree on being nice to fellow human beings. with that said it seems pretty ridiculous to believe a perfect blueprint called DNA of every living thing screams of a creator. However, not interested in convincing you or any other Atheist cause I am a polite Christian.

I didn’t feel like letting that slide, so I jumped in.  What followed was enough to convince me that even though a few years have passed you still hear the same stuff.  I said:

“Dont intend on debating with you.”

Then….

“…it seems pretty ridiculous to believe a perfect blueprint called DNA of every living thing screams of a creator.”

So you don’t want to discuss, you want to snipe and have it go unopposed? No dice.

The “perfect” DNA to which you referred produces down syndrome, wisdom teeth, the appendix, etc. The replication of DNA is actually very clunky and flawed. Cancer is a product of a flaw in DNA replication, for instance.

And you’re accounting for the “ridiculousness” of the rise of DNA (even though we have explained the natural phenomenon that go into producing it) with a guy who rose from the dead and walked on water, gleaned from a book which says that the earth came before the stars.

“Just stating that whether Atheist Or Christian we can and should all agree on being nice to fellow human beings”

You’re aware that in the bible god commanded that everybody who works on Saturday be executed, right? (See Exodus 35:2). Even if you think that doesn’t count anymore, do you think it counted at one time? If not, then you think the bible is bunk (at least in part) and that god is morally confused. If you do believe that, then at best you can say we should be nice to fellow human beings *unless god commands otherwise*. Well, that’s exactly what tons of religious people around the world are doing. Hard for you to say they’re wrong if that’s your stance.

“However, not interested in convincing you or any other Atheist cause I am a polite Christian.”

Insisting that others defend their positions or pointing out where you think someone is wrong is not a failure to be polite.

JT

Mary M. retorted with:

Didnt wish to discuss my beliefs about faith all. A fellow poster belittled my faith and then blocked me from seeing her post. I am friends with Sarah and get along fine with her. I didnt realize you all resented people of faith commenting on this post. The other lady told why she thinks faith is impossible to believe and and I in turn told one little aspect of why I think it is impossible not to believe. I certainly dont resent Atheist so why resent me.

as for flawed DNA sir I have a genetic disease that killed my father and gave me cancer. I meant a Dna code that is unique to every organism that hss ever been born. That is a blueprint of that being which screams of a creator. understand now

It seemed to me she wanted to dig the hole deeper, so I decided to help:

” I didnt realize you all resented people of faith commenting on this post.”

Disagreeing or thinking you are in error is not resentment.

“as for flawed DNA sir I have a genetic disease that killed my father and gave me cancer. I meant a Dna code that is unique to every organism that hss ever been born. That is a blueprint of that being which screams of a creator. understand now”

Wrong. If the existence of a DNA molecule that produces cancer and all those other maladies is proof of a creator, it’s proof of a creator who hates you.

But why does it scream of a creator? Because it’s complex? Complexity does not require a creator. Take snowflakes, far more complex than liquid water, but nobody feels the need to invoke a snowflake-making god because we know the natural processes that produce order all by themselves.

Likewise, we know how natural forces shape DNA, the evidence is crystal clear. Ten minutes on wikipedia would confirm this for you. Suffice that all you need to augment complexity in a self-replicating molecule (like DNA) are three forces: reproduction, mutation, and selection – all of which act upon DNA.

But even if we had no clue how the DNA molecule became complex, that’s not evidence for a god. Think of all the times in the past we’ve posited god when we had no idea how something worked: lightning was god’s wrath, sickness was demons in the blood (the bible even says this), etc. The fact that all of these have turned out to have natural causes suggest that saying “god did it” instead of “I don’t know” is a pretty lousy way to arrive at the truth.

And remember, you’re trying to dredge some semblance of scientific proof for god (DNA) out of a book which says the earth came before the stars (this could not be more offensive to astronomy). If scientific rigor is something you hold dear, the bible should go.

Lastly, it’s very condescending for you to tell me “understand now” when it’s clear you know very little about DNA. What’s more, did you have anything to say in response to…

“You’re aware that in the bible god commanded that everybody who works on Saturday be executed, right? (See Exodus 35:2). Even if you think that doesn’t count anymore, do you think it counted at one time? If not, then you think the bible is bunk (at least in part) and that god is morally confused. If you do believe that, then at best you can say we should be nice to fellow human beings *unless god commands otherwise*. Well, that’s exactly what tons of religious people around the world are doing. Hard for you to say they’re wrong if that’s your stance.”

Just wanted to know how you reconcile the necessity of being nice to everybody while worshiping the god in a book that commands some of the most arbitrarily heinous crimes imaginable.

For those wanting to learn how to debate, my goal here was to keep the pressure on with the one argument she continued with and to keep reminding her that other arguments were still live so she couldn’t just walk away from them.

Mary M. responded with:

Jesus picked wheat on the sabath toeat and give to disciples. When corrected by the religious elite, Jesus told them that the sabath.was.designed to give a day of rest and worship not a reason to condemn. Science and the Bible compiment each other nicely. Read “A Case for Christ” for proof. As I dont have time to type it all out.Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. The harsh laws you speak of no longer existed after Christ and was put in place by priest not God. You seem to not understand my point on DNA at all. It is my observation that why you feel the ovberwhelming need to TRY to put me down and humilate me is your lack of confidence. Why be aggressive toward what you dont believe. I disagree with you lack of faith but I dont think you desrve ridicule or shamed. Yes, I represent Christians due to my faith as you represent Atheist due to your lack of faith. I would love to discuss why I believe the way I do but this isnt the time or place. However sir I will never show you contempt for your belief systme as you have me. It is unfair and unjust. This is America where we have the right to believe or not believe. You sir are an angry young man that I suspect has been hurt by a Christian in the past.

Maybe I would’ve let it drop there if not for the personal jabs.  But she made them and so I continued:

“Jesus picked wheat on the sabath toeat and give to disciples. When corrected by the religious elite, Jesus told them that the sabath.was.designed to give a day of rest and worship not a reason to condemn.”

You’re not answering the question. The question was do you think it was morally right to kill people for working on the sabbath at the time it was commanded. If not, then you are making pretensions to greater moral wisdom than god (and you should stop believing). If so, then how do you get off telling people they must be nice to each other?

“Science and the Bible compiment each other nicely. Read “A Case for Christ” for proof.”

I have. Why do you get your science from non-scientists? What do you think would happen if Lee Strobel submitted that book to scientific peer review?

And since the bible “compliments” science so nicely, perhaps you could explain a few things:

1. Do you think the earth came before the stars? If not, then the bible is offensive to science.

2. Do you think a person rising from the dead jibes with what we understand about medicine? (hint: it doesn’t)

3. Do you think the idea of someone walking on water is in harmony with physics? If so, that kinda makes it not miraculous then, doesn’t it?

4. Do you think somebody being converted to a pillar of salt makes any sense in the light of chemistry? (hint: no)

I could go on, but you get the gist.

“You seem to not understand my point on DNA at all.”

I can’t help but notice that no explanation for where I was amiss followed this claim.

“It is my observation that why you feel the ovberwhelming need to TRY to put me down and humilate me is your lack of confidence.”

You got all that from me explaining where I think you’re wrong? Fascinating…

Why would you think I’m motivated by a lack of confidence and not just believing that you’re wrong? If I were more confident would I be more inclined to let your wrongness slide?

What’s more, I’m a bit turned off by your confidence. You make assertions about DNA when it’s clear you know very little about it. You make assertions about my past (being hurt by a Christian) when you know nothing about it. I don’t think confidence about things of which I know little or nothing is a virtue. You say that you are “representing Christianity.” If you wish to present Christianity as a religion of humility, you’re not exactly doing a bang up job. Perhaps you could benefit from the very thing you accuse me of.

“Why be aggressive toward what you dont believe.”

Your faith must be paper thin if somebody explaining why they think you’re wrong qualifies as aggression.

If you mean “Why explain why you think I’m wrong?” then the answer is pretty simple: because I think you’re wrong, and I think being wrong, particularly about the value of faith, has tremendous consequences.

” I disagree with you lack of faith but I dont think you desrve ridicule or shamed.”

Could you copy and paste where you think I tried to shame you rather than just saying why I thought you were wrong? That would help me to know what you’re talking about.

“Yes, I represent Christians due to my faith as you represent Atheist due to your lack of faith. I would love to discuss why I believe the way I do but this isnt the time or place. “

If so, why drop the DNA argument up thread?

“However sir I will never show you contempt for your belief systme as you have me.”

You can feel free to show contempt for my belief system. I’m capable of defending mine.

As for contempt for you, personally, if there’s anything in me that approaches contempt for you it is drawn from your repeated assertions that me explaining why I think you’re wrong counts as contempt or despising.

I would also point out that being passive aggressive by calling me an “angry young man” to imply that I’m driven by empty emotion and not by facts and reason, or calling me “unconfident” to imply I’m motivated by self-loathing and not by simply thinking you’re wrong, or insisting that I’m here because a Christian hurt me in that past to imply I’m not here simply because I think you’re wrong, is all demonstrating contempt, just without the forthrightness of doing it plainly.

“It is unfair and unjust.”

I’m pretty sure contempt is an emotion which is not beholden to any rules of fairness or justice (this is not an admission that I’ve demonstrated contempt, just pointing out the folly of assigning qualities like fairness and justness to it).

“This is America where we have the right to believe or not believe.”

Am I trying to take away that right? No. I’m explaining why I think you’re wrong, which doesn’t trespass upon somebody’s right to believe as they do in any way.

You seem to be eager to feel persecuted. You take explanations for why I think you’re wrong to be indicative of contempt. Then you assert that in America people can believe as they choose as if anybody was challenging that. Relax. I think you’re wrong and I explained why because you (yes, you) dropped an argument above that I didn’t feel like letting slide.

“You sir are an angry young man that I suspect has been hurt by a Christian in the past.”

You, ma’am, don’t know anything about me. There are things in life that make me angry (and justifiably so) and things that give me joy, just like everybody else. I don’t need to have some emotional vendetta to move me to explain why I think you’re wrong. You seem to be implying that my arguments are emotional due to a personal experience. But no, I think you’re wrong for the exact reasons I’ve typed.

You may also notice that I’ve never gone after you personally in this entire thread. I’ve made no comments about your emotional state, your age, your confidence. I have stuck to rebutting the arguments you’ve tossed out and that’s it. You, on the other hand, felt the need to try and belittle me directly by calling me an “angry young man” as if any supposed anger I felt or my age impacts the soundness of my arguments. You also asserted I was not confident, implying that I’m petty enough to disagree with you based on that rather than because I think your arguments suck.

You’re not doing much for “representing Christianity” (your words) by sneering at me in that way right after patting yourself on the back for being so polite.

JT

And that’s where we stand.  The persecution complex is real.

Honestly though, it felt good to go back to that medium.  I spent a lot of time doing this in college and it sharpened me for what I do now.  For those wanting to learn how to debate, I really recommend it.


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