Bad Atheist Arguments? Let’s Investigate 16 of Them.

Bad Atheist Arguments? Let’s Investigate 16 of Them. April 23, 2019

Are you ready to test your wits by responding some (supposedly) bad atheist arguments?

I began a series of posts looking at bad Christian arguments almost five years ago. I titled it “25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid,” and after an initial flurry of posts highlighting 25 stupid arguments, more posts have trickled out so that now we’re almost to 50.

But two can play that game. The Bizarro World version of this blog is Frank Turek’s crossexamined.org, an evangelical Christian ministry aimed at college students. Turek’s blog recently reposted an article titled, “16 Bad Atheist Arguments and How to Respond to Them” by Jeremy Linn.

Do atheists have bad arguments as well? Let’s take a look.

Argument #1: Who created God?

“This question is asked under the assumption that God needs a creator. This assumption misrepresents the Christian understanding of God, where God is the necessary cause of all creation.”

Suppose a Christian apologist explains that the universe was created by God. An atheist might respond, “But who created God?” and the apologist would then say that God needs no creator by definition.

The apologist imagines a chain of causation that goes back to the ultimate cause, God, and there the chain ends. But simply making that claim isn’t the same as backing it up with evidence. If all those other things had causes, why not God? You can define God as “the necessary cause of all creation” (or anything you want), but that doesn’t bring it into existence.

Back in the real world, physics resolves the question of the infinite sequence of causes by arguing that some quantum events don’t have causes and that the beginning of the universe may have been one such quantum event.

(Click for more on the atheist justification for asking, “But Who Created God?” and the Cosmological Argument.)

Argument #2: Jesus never existed

“This objection flies against the conclusions of almost all scholars invested into Biblical and Roman history, along with evidence from both the New Testament books and extrabiblical sources.”

I don’t make this argument for two reasons. First, I haven’t read enough on each side of the argument to have an informed opinion. Second, and more importantly, I don’t see this as a practical argument. My focus is on apologetics—arguments and evidence for and against Christianity’s supernatural claims. From that standpoint, I don’t care whether at the beginning of Christianity there was an actual man or not. Each is compatible with my position that Christianity is false.

That doesn’t make this a bad argument (which was the initial claim), and maybe with more research I’d find that it is a bad argument. It’s just that other arguments make my case quicker and easier.

Argument #3: Atheists believe in just one less god than Christians

“There is a huge difference between a Theist (such as a Christian) and an Atheist. Theists believe in a supreme, personal creator of the Universe. Atheists don’t. This difference has huge implications for how each carries out their lives.”

But on the other hand, Christians reject Poseidon, Xenu, and Chemosh for the same reasons that atheists do—the claim that they are gods is remarkable, and there isn’t enough evidence to support it. Maybe theists and atheists aren’t so different after all.

Let’s not overestimate the commonality among theists. They can’t even agree on the most fundamental specifics: how many gods there are, what their names are, or what they want from us. Theists may all sense the supernatural, but either that sense is so muddled as to give radically contradictory views of the supernatural, or belief in the supernatural is just a many-sided cultural (and all-natural) phenomenon. My guess is the latter.

(Click for more arguing that “I just believe in one less god than you do” is a valid argument.)

Argument #4: Believing in God is like believing in Santa or leprechauns.

“The Christian claims to have evidence for God, and hardly anyone claims to have evidence for a real Santa. The alleged evidence for God cannot be simply dismissed with this silly statement.

It all comes down to “the alleged evidence for God.” When atheists ask for it, what they get are the same tired, unconvincing arguments. The best that they’ve got are deist arguments that argue for the Christian god as convincingly as any other. These are arguments like, “Why does the universe look fine tuned?” or “Why does life look designed?

Sure, let’s say that the evidence for God is not zero. For example, the 2+ billion Christians on the earth right now is evidence that their god exists. That doesn’t count for much—5+ billion non-Christians argue that they’re wrong, and 45,000 denominations argue that their perfect god is imperfect in getting his message across—but let’s grant that it counts for something.

Let’s not delude ourselves that evidence is what brings people to faith. Christians don’t monitor Shintoism or Jainism on a religious stock exchange, ready to jump ship if the evidence for another offering exceeds that for their current holding. In almost all cases, they don’t believe because of evidence, their intellectual arguments rationalize a position they hold for emotional reasons, and their preferred religion wasn’t chosen but was adopted from their culture.

I realize that God has a stick and can punish me, but Santa could put me on the naughty list. Neither entity is part of my worldview, so neither punishment bothers me.

Is there more evidence for God than for Santa or leprechauns? Adults do believe in God (unlike Santa), but Yahweh is just one of the gods that is in vogue at the moment. Millions of Romans believed in Apollo, whom Christians today quickly dismiss as mythology. The Christian argument begins to become compelling when they show how Yahweh isn’t merely fashionable (unlike Apollo) and isn’t a manmade god (unlike Allah or Shiva).

You’ve got evidence? Without it, God is indeed like Santa Claus.

Continued in part 2.

 If you can’t trust your own thinking,
and if you therefore cannot trust the arguments leading to atheism,
then wouldn’t it stand to reason that you similarly
cannot trust the arguments that led to a belief in God?
— Neil Carter, Godless in Dixie blog

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Image from Aimee Vogelsang, CC license
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  • Grimlock

    Oh, fun! I wanna have a go at those as well.

    But really, this post on Turek’s blog falls flat on its face at the starting line. These things ain’t very appropriately described as arguments – they are claims or assertions.

    Argument #1: Who created God?

    I’d frame this differently. Specifically, I’d consider this in terms of the cosmological argument, and wonder why the final chain of those arguments can’t be something natural/physical or non-sentient. That would, after all, have the advantage of ontological parsimony.

    Argument #2: Jesus never existed

    Controversial scholarly positions ain’t great arguments in general. But with just a minor modification, you have the support of the consensus: The Jesus depicted in the Gospels ain’t an accurate representation of an historical figure.

    Argument #3: Atheists believe in just one less god than Christians

    Some Atheists try to use this argument to show that there is not much of a difference between them and Christians. After all, Christians are “Atheists” for thousands of gods from other religions since they lack belief in those gods!

    The problem is, there is a huge difference between a Theist (such as a Christian) and an Atheist. Theists believe in a supreme, personal creator of the Universe. Atheists don’t. This difference has huge implications for how each carries out their lives.

    The aim of this line of reasoning is to draw upon a Christian’s dismissal of other mythological or legandary figures, and to point out the similarities with Christianity. The response quoted above misses that, and instead focuses on deism.

    So let’s rephrase the argument: I just dismiss one more mythological and ancient superbeing than you do.

    Argument #4: Believing in God is like believing in Santa or leprechauns.

    This statement calls God “made up,” equal on the level of something like Santa Claus. But the Christian claims to have evidence for God, and hardly anyone claims to have evidence for a real Santa. The alleged evidence for God cannot be simply dismissed with this silly statement.

    Let’s rephrase it again: Believing in Jesus is like believing in Santa or leprechauns.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Agreed. None of these, to me, are arguments for atheism, per se. But they are rebuttals to arguments made by theists.

      1) Who created God?
      That’s a response to “who created the universe? Everything that exists had to be created!

      3) I believe in one fewer gods than you
      That’s a response to “How can you not believe in anything?” You are telling them to use the same approach that they have used to dismiss all the other gods, and just take it one step more.

      • RichardSRussell

        I would contend that we don’t even need arguments for atheism. Not believing in something (anything, really) until it’s been demonstrated to exist is the default position. The burden of proof for showing that it does exist should always fall on the person making that claim.

        Even so, humans normally are willing to accept unevidenced claims if they’re reasonable. For instance, “I have a goat in my backyard.” Well, perhaps a tad offbeat for a city dweller, but we’re already familiar with things like goats and backyards, so unless you suspect a practical joke or scam, sure, might as well accept it. But “I have a unicorn in my backyard.”? For that we go right straight to “show me”. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.

        • Aloha

          The arguments come in when you feel a need to defend your conclusions … or want to convince somebody else to change their beliefs.
          I spent too much time proselytizing as a Christian to have any interest in proselytizing as an atheist, but some people do. They enjoy trying to convince people to leave a harmful system of beliefs.

        • There’re unicorn goats, so unless you’re thinking on the modern horse-like unicorn this is not so extraordinary.

        • Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.

          Evidence, of course, is whatever supports what you believe. If it supports what your online foe believes, it’s not evidence.

        • RichardSRussell

          That’s far too narrow a definition of evidence. In a court of law, the prosecutor hauls in lots of evidence to show that the defendant is guilty (blood on his hands), while the defense hauls in lots of evidence to show that the defendant is innocent (glove doesn’t fit). It’s all evidence, and it’s up to the jury to weigh and balance it to arrive at a judgment as to where the truth lies.

          Same deal in science. If you drop a ball bearing, you normally expect it to fall. But if you happen to be in a particular kind of magnetic field at the time, it’ll just float there. Those are both bits of evidence for what’s really going on, even tho they seem superficially to be contradictory.

        • I don’t have a problem with that. In the circumscribed context of a jury trial or a science experiment, we can establish exactly what we’d consider meaningful in terms of evidence. When we’re talking about religion, I submit that it has more to do with meaning, community, tradition, and authority than data.

          I smirk whenever atheists talk about how we’re nonbelievers because “there’s no evidence for gods.” I think we’re nonbelievers because of personality or our feelings about the political and cultural context of belief; we dress it up as an evidential project so we can dodge responsibility for our position and make it sound algorithmic and automatic. There’s no reason to make it sound like we’re not predisposed to nonbelief. We should be able to provide reasonable justification for our beliefs or lack thereof.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I think we’re nonbelievers because of personality or our feelings about the political and cultural context of belief;

          I think you’re projecting.

        • RichardSRussell

          You should check out Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and SLow. In it, he contends that most people make decisions based on snap gut reactions (fast thinking), then justify them thereafter (rationalization). But he also says that one of the benefits of the Renaissance and Enlightenment is that we started taking rationality (slow thinking) seriously and using it to reverse our previously held knee-jerk positions. (It sure seems that a heavier object should fall faster than a light one, doesn’t it? But that’s not really the way it works.)

          I think there’s way more slow thinking going on among intentional atheists than you give us credit for. (Not saying squat about unintentional atheists, like the billion or so Chinese who grew up without religion.)

        • But there’s a difference between decisions about what podcast to listen to on the one hand, and decisions about one’s entire worldview on the other. It’s hard to believe that one’s entire basis for experiencing and interpreting phenomena can derive from just a rational review of data, when there’s so much cultural and socioeconomic baggage that goes along with such a comprehensive project.

          Like I said, I don’t necessarily think we arrive at our positions so objectively, but we should all be able to justify our beliefs in a coherent, reasonable way. Unless we only consider other people’s beliefs worthy of scrutiny, I mean.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Like I said, I don’t necessarily think we arrive at our positions so
          objectively, but we should all be able to justify our beliefs in a
          coherent, reasonable way.

          You can talk to many former Christians here who looked at the beliefs they were raised with and found them to be unjustified, incoherent, and unreasonable. That’s how they ended up as atheist. It was an objective method and not just cultural or political context.

        • Susan

          there’s a difference between decisions about what podcast to listen to on the one hand, and decisions about one’s entire worldview on the other.

          You seem to be intentionally ignoring Richard’s point.

          Rationalization vs. rationality. “It sure seems that a heavier object should fall faster than a light one, doesn’t it? But that’s not really the way it works.”

          The difference being coming up with ways to check your work vs. not checking your work and building from there.

          That has nothing to do with what podcasts you listen to. And “worldview” is just a cheat way of ignoring the point.

          When you check your work, you can show your work.

          Yahwehjesus claims aren’t interested in either.

          I don’t necessarily think we arrive at our positions so objectively, but we should all be able to justify our beliefs in a coherent, reasonable way.

          Galileo did.

          Christians don’t.

          They claim that an incoherent, unevidenced agent plucked reality from metaphysical nothingness, came to earth to die for our sins, and that if we understand that claim the right way and do what certain humans tell us to do, our souls will go to heaven.

          It’s superstitious nonsense until you can show otherwise.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          I think we’re nonbelievers because of personality or our feelings about the political and cultural context of belief…

          Speak for yourself.

        • Speak for yourself.

          Well, it speaks volumes about us atheists that we’re exclusively examining other people’s beliefs. How selective is our skepticism if we’re never applying the same scrutiny to our beliefs about knowledge, science, history, morality, and society that we think is appropriate to apply to the things other people believe? If we’re criticizing the religious for bigotry, then let ’em have it. But we can’t exactly criticize them for intellectual complacency if we’re just as guilty of it as they are.

          I think message-board atheism fulfills a lot of emotional needs for people, needs that derive from family and societal circumstances. It’s no coincidence that Sam Harris’s manifesto The End of Faith kick-started New Atheism in the wake of 9/11 and the West’s last-gasp imperial wars in the Middle East. A lot of people quite understandably want certainty, order, stability, and a way to externalize responsibility for the world’s problems by blaming them all on religion.

          It just seems way too convenient to assume that atheism is some sort of prophylactic against bias, motivated reasoning, the Dunning-Kruger effect, and logical fallacies. We’re just as prone to these things as anyone else.

        • Greg G.

          How selective is our skepticism if we’re never applying the same scrutiny to our beliefs about knowledge, science, history, morality, and society that we think is appropriate to apply to the things other people believe?

          Speak for yourself. Many of us are atheist BECAUSE we applied scrutiny to our beliefs and do so continuously.

        • Kodie

          I’m going to just go ahead and say that there are atheists who don’t examine or have very good reasons to reject theist assertions. I don’t think pro-active atheists who look for discussions are those, but there must be a lot of atheists out there who aren’t discussing their beliefs or thinking about … I mean, Christianity isn’t the default position that has to be argued against, but for many people who are born into it, it is. There’s the short kind of atheism of “there doesn’t seem to be a god as far as I can tell”, then leave it at that, or they might even feel defective or left out. The notorious “rebel” that Christians accuse all atheists of being must also exist. I mostly think of teens going through a non-Christian phase, who usually return to Christianity in some form as an adult. They paint us all as self-centered pleasure-seeking immoral assholes who can’t just “leave them be,” who are trying to hate on everything just to be assholes. Christians can’t see what assholes they are when they impose their beliefs on others, they are louder than they think, but it’s just that atheists have to speak up all the time, and why won’t atheists shut up already. As though we are obnoxiously always talking about how we don’t believe in god and god-belief is idiotic and anyone who believes in god is an idiot. Like, we’re going around the room and everyone says what religion they are, and for random’s sake, the last person in the circle happens to be the only atheist, like that’s just their true answer to the category, it’s not meant to say, “all you fools! I reject all your fantastical superstitions!”

          I’m just saying, some atheists probably are some of those things, not really balanced thinkers. I’ve told before, I was born into a family without a religion, and thought I was an atheist, and it was all just an assumption. I even wanted to have a religion. So I guess I really was an atheist, but there was a sudden realization one day that adults sincerely believed in the stories of Jesus and god and all that weird magical bullshit, so along came the internet, and there you go. People who “get it” and can explain it better, especially those having been brought up in a religion.

        • Kodie

          I’ve told before, I was born into a family without a religion, and
          thought I was an atheist, and it was all just an assumption. I even
          wanted to have a religion. So I guess I really was an atheist, but there
          was a sudden realization one day that adults sincerely believed in the
          stories of Jesus and god and all that weird magical bullshit
          , so along
          came the internet, and there you go.

          I was thinking about this today and decided to expand on this a bit –

          not too much, I hope.

          I was also raised in the Northeastern US, where it didn’t seem anyone was actually more religious than I was. People might say they were Catholic or Methodist or Jewish or Hindu. I didn’t grow up in the bible belt where religious people might act differently. Everyone where I lived was pretty much the same, and I didn’t have any insight to what religion entailed. Nobody seemed to adhere strictly to the things I learned that religions believed, it was more like an identifying label… of culture or tradition… of course, there were people I knew who were sincere believers. I know the Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t phonies, and born-agains weren’t phonies, but for the most part, most of my community seemed rational and never talked about religion, or asked, so it was so much later when I found out if you challenged them by saying you’re an atheist, they will freak out. If you assume out loud that their beliefs are less strong than a fundie, they will defend their beliefs are absolutely so strong, their faith in Jesus is strong.

          They don’t have better morals than I do, they cheat, lie, litter, skim, or borrow permanently, and do things their church tells them is a sin, like a normal person, and might raise their kids Catholic too, but don’t think they are hypocrites. At the heart, they are still Jesus freaks, but on the daily, they obviously don’t think god is watching them, judging them, etc. It’s “do you even believe in Jesus,” and they are SO YES, how dare you assume my faith isn’t strong just because my behavior is like a normal human, none of us are perfect, that’s why we need Jesus.

          Yeah, so that’s when I became aware that grown adults were still somehow charmed by the fantasy of going to heaven, even when they didn’t follow the prescription for getting there. The more I’ve partially learned about works vs. grace, I am sure most people are “grace” all the way. I don’t have to do anything? Yeah, these people believe in Jesus as a license to act like they don’t give a shit about anyone else, and as long as they are Christians, how dare I or anyone judge their level of devotion. In my observation, “grace” rather than works gives Christians the freedom to act worse than they accuse atheists of being! They can be utterly terrible people, who torture and bully, are selfish, and act entitled, not to mention all the dumb and mean things they say, and then argue “objective morality!!!!!”

          When I found out that “true Christians” were the same unneighborly assholes I lived amongst all my life, “true Christians” as far as what their denomination said, they believed they were the “true Christians,” differing from fundie evolution-deniers who complained that prayer wasn’t allowed in school, etc., I was pretty taken aback. How can people seem so reasonable and still believe these myths deep down?

        • Pofarmer

          Well, it speaks volumes about us atheists that we’re exclusively examining

          Dude. some 80% of professional philosophers are atheists. Examining beliefs and knowledge is pretty much what they do. Plus, you’re simply asserting that atheists don’t examine their own beliefs, In point of fact, that process is nearly constant as you come across new information. As Matt Dillahunty says, “I want to believe as m any true things, and as few false things as possible, which entails always being open to new information. Can you say that about theists?

          How selective is our skepticism if we’re never applying the same

          scrutiny to our beliefs about knowledge, science, history, morality, and

          society that we think is appropriate to apply to the things other

          people believe?

          Why do you think we don’t? I know you’re big on the “scientism” bogeyman.

          If we’re criticizing the religious for bigotry, then let ’em have it.

          But we can’t exactly criticize them for intellectual complacency if

          we’re just as guilty of it as they are.

          In my experience, this simply isn’t the case. But once you’ve done the intellectual legwork to falsify a position, there’s not much reason to go back over, and over, and over it, either. That’s not complacency, that’s just life.

          I think message-board atheism fulfills a lot of emotional needs for

          people, needs that derive from family and societal circumstances.

          In the U.S. and other religiously dominated cultures it certainly does, so what?

          A lot of people quite understandably want certainty, order, stability,

          and a way to externalize responsibility for the world’s problems by

          blaming them all on religion.

          Which is a strawman.

          It just seems way too convenient to assume that atheism is some sort of

          prophylactic against bias, motivated reasoning, the Dunning-Kruger

          effect, and logical fallacies.

          Wow, it’s a good thing nobody is asserting that.

          We’re just as prone to these things as anyone else.

          Of course we are, which is why it’s important to know which methods can allow us to avoid those pitfalls.

          Which doesn’t have anything to do with atheism, but which assuredly has something to do with why some of us are atheists.

        • Greg G.

          StP is a hypocrite when he makes that claim. He doesn’t reconsider his position. You provide a little evidence in a blog forum, it isn’t enough so he ignores it. You provide a lot of evidence in a blog forum, he whines that it is “a wall of text” and ignores it.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Well, it speaks volumes about us atheists me that we’re I’m exclusively examining other people’s beliefs.
          How selective is our my skepticism if we’re I’m never applying the same
          scrutiny to our my beliefs about knowledge, science, history, morality, and
          society that we I think is appropriate to apply to the things other
          people believe? If we’re I’m criticizing the religious for bigotry, then let
          ’em have it. But we I can’t exactly criticize them for intellectual
          complacency if we’re I’m just as guilty of it as they are.

          Fixed it for you.

          It just seems way too convenient to assume that atheism is some sort of
          prophylactic against bias, motivated reasoning, the Dunning-Kruger
          effect, and logical fallacies. We’re I’m just as prone to these things as
          anyone else.

          Fixed it for you.

        • Pofarmer

          And this is why Shem is an idiot.

        • Kodie

          I would contend that we don’t even need arguments
          atheism. Not believing in something (anything, really) until it’s been demonstrated to exist is the default position.

          The question “how can you not believe in anything?” is why we need answers, such as 1. there isn’t any evidence, 2. critical thinking, and 3. I’m an adult.

          They love to accuse us of believing in god but wanting to be immoral, but we know that is a filthy rumor spread by the people who are up there in front of the church. The arguments for god sound like they make sense if you are emotionally subdued and want an explanation for your life. Truly, not too many people want to kill someone, but there is nothing preventing a theist from behaving immorally either, except whether you’ve been brainwashed to feel guilty for something you shouldn’t feel guilty about, but plenty of Christians are rude to others in a variety of situations – one could argue theists are more immoral because they become more self-centered and tribal, but won’t admit it if you call them out, because all of that is for the glory of god.

          Now I’ve made an assertion that sounds like it makes sense, it may match your experience with theists as well, and that’s how religious arguments convince those willing to be convinced – the power of suggestion gives people a call-back to the explanation when they start to notice more and more incidents to form a pleasing pattern, confirming the assertion, and resonating ideas remind people of experiences they already have had. All you need is to stand up in front of people and lecture them so that their experiences match your explanations.

        • RichardSRussell

          The question “how can you not believe in anything?” is why we need answers

          And I’ve got a really good one: “I do believe in things. I believe in you and me, for example. I just don’t believe in bullshit or con games. Show me one good reason why I should buy your religion instead of the tens of thousands of competing ones, each of which makes outrageous, unbelievable, unprovable claims, including the claim that all the others are wrong. They can’t all be right. But they can all be wrong.”

    • ThaneOfDrones

      … and hardly anyone claims to have evidence for a real Santa.

      The evidence for Santa is far greater than for the YHWH guy. The number of sightings is astronomical, and the presents keep showing up.

      • Greg G.

        There was a lot of evidence for the existence of the Easter Bunny this week.

        • Aloha

          The Easter Bunny would be like one of Santa’s angels. Just giving little snacks to tide us over until Christmas — and the motherlode of snacks and presents.

        • Greg G.

          That reminds me of the story of one of Santa’s Christmas Angels. Long story short, everything was going wrong one Christmas and Santa was at his boiling point. The Christmas Angel knocked on the door and said, “Here is your Christmas Tree, Santa. What do you want me to do with it?”

          And that is why we put an angel on the top of our Christmas trees to this day.

        • wtfwjtd

          And there’s your evidence for Santa! The Easter Bunny. Hip Hop Horray!

      • Len

        NORAD even tracks Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve:
        https://www.noradsanta.org/#section-village

    • Lex Lata

      Not even sure they’re firm assertions, strictly speaking. And they’re certainly neither thoughtful nor precise as written. Rather, these “arguments” all strike me as glib simplifications–which, to be fair, atheists sometimes use for rhetorical or emotional purposes (or because time is short, or Twitter is stingy with characters, or whatever). But I’m not seeing any genuine engagement with serious critiques of theistic claims here.

      • The “arguments” in the original were quite short. You won’t be surprised to hear the author say that there’s loads more to say to support his position … but he just didn’t have the space. Also, his goal was simply to present an atheist argument and then provide a zinger that the Christian can mechanically throw back.

        Maybe such zingers work in some situations, but they’re not going to work with the audience of this blog.

        • wtfwjtd

          “You won’t be surprised to hear the author say that there’s loads more to say to support his position … but he just didn’t have the space. ”

          Pardon me for asking an obvious question here–Then what the hell is a blog dedicated to Christian Apologetics for? Swapping your favorite recipes? Sheesh.

        • Pardon me for asking an obvious question here–Then what the hell is a blog dedicated to Christian Apologetics for?

          Heck, someone has to ask the obvious question. It’s clear that they aren’t.

    • wtfwjtd

      Yeah, like you, I look forward to seeing the next 12 “arguments” on that page get parsed and dismantled. And oh, my, the comments at the bottom of that page…what a sight to behold.

  • Christians reject Poseidon, Xenu, and Chemosh for the same reasons that atheists do—the claim that they are gods is remarkable, and there isn’t enough evidence to support it. Maybe theists and atheists aren’t so different after all.

    But the reasoning isn’t the same. What Christian says there’s “not enough evidence” to profess faith in Poseidon? That’s why this argument is such a weak one. Christians reject the other gods not because they have the same qualms as atheists do about professing belief in supernatural entities in general, but because they’re already dedicated to belief in the one they worship.

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, this is like saying that a Red Sox fan and someone who hates baseball “aren’t rooting for the Yankees—for the exact same reason.” The reasoning is totally different: the Red Sox fans are actively dedicated to their team, and people who hate baseball think the whole thing is a waste of time.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Yesterday the Yankees struck out four times in an inning – and won the game. If that’s not a miracle, then what is?

      • Brian Davis

        If that’s not a miracle, then what is?

        That people will sit through an entire baseball game?

        • Pofarmer

          Shem not being an idiot?

        • al kimeea

          Sadly, there is a real $unk Co$t in having your gloop filled with such knowledge beliefs and that it is marketed by institutes of higher 😉 😉 learning. Bastyr University should make PoMoWoo a required course for graduating NDs (Not a Doctor) as it provides the philosophical underpinning for their pseudo-scientific numbnuttery. It fits right in with moxi-bustion, homeopathy, chiropracty, acupuncture, HT, TT, reiki, or psychics, deities, demons…

          PoMo is really just a gussied up “other ways of knowing” (as mentioned elsewhere) which is commonly invoked by snake-oil peddlers of any kind & often hand-in-hand with scientism. It is very much like a religion at least in argumentation, if not beliefs, as consistency is not a virtue of the philosowoo, nor is clear, concise prose.

          Like religion, there are many flavours of PoMo further muddying the waters. All contribute FUD in the minds of a public largely leery of propeller-heads in lab coats as it is. And so, people choose medical quackery – AKA faith healing – over science based medicine and suffer and die needlessly. Pro-Plagueists are not immune to invoking this philosowoo as a shield from scientism and measles is breaking out all over like chickenpox.

          If homeopathy could show 85% efficacy vs anything I would turn on a dime as to my opinion of it sounding like a Mallard. According to a paper from one version of PoMoWoo, the $CAM industry needs its own methodology to achieve greater acceptance…

          IOW, other, mysterious ways…

        • wannabe

          The players, officials, and sports reporters are paid to sit through it.

    • igotbanned999

      I actually agree with you on that.

      Actually many Christians will tell you that the pagan gods are real, but are actually demons.

    • Susan

      But the reasoning isn’t the same. What Christian says there’s “not enough evidence” to profess faith in Poseidon? That’s why this argument is such a weak one. Christians reject the other gods not because they have the same qualms as atheists do about professing belief in supernatural entities in general, but because they’re already dedicated to belief in the one they worship.

      One could say the same about Poseidon worshippers.

      Committing to one unevidenced, supernatural belief allows one to dismiss all the other unevidenced, supernatural beliefs.

      That doesn’t make it “reasoning”.

      • Committing to one unevidenced, supernatural belief allows one to dismiss all the other unevidenced, supernatural beliefs.

        That doesn’t make it “reasoning”.

        I agree with you. But that’s exactly what I’m saying: the Christian or the Poseidonist rejects the other gods because they believe theirs is the only true god. That’s completely different from the atheist’s rejection on the basis that there’s no such thing as a true god in the first place.

        As you point out, the religious believer is working a double standard that the atheist isn’t. (Or are they merely affirming the existence of one more standard than we do?)

        • Susan

          the Christian or the Poseidonist rejects the other gods because they believe theirs is the only true god.

          Sure. Where’s the reasoning?

          That’s completely different from the atheist’s rejection on the basis that there’s no such thing as a true god in the first place.

          The atheist’s non-acceptance, you mean.

          I’m not sure why. There are buddhist atheists and apatheists who just don’t waste time wondering what a god is, let alone what a “true god” might be”. So, no.

          As you point out, the religious believer is working a double standard that the atheist isn’t.

          The important point is that when one makes claims about agents existing, they need to support those claims. If they claim that a particular agent exists, based on special pleading that they don’t accept from others, then they haven’t shown their work.

          Or are they merely affirming the existence of one more standard than we do?

          What do you mean and on what basis do you call it a “standard”?

    • What Christian says there’s “not enough evidence” to profess faith in Poseidon?

      I’ve heard this from apologists. They’ll argue that all the other religions are manmade but that Christianity is the real deal.

      But if you’re making a distinction between how they actually think vs. what they say, then I’ll agree with you there. They believe Christianity just cuz, but they might say that they do because all the evidence is in Christianity’s favor–Jesus was a real guy, the resurrection is a historic event, and so on.

      • Old Ishtar/Inanna worshippers would point to the planet Venus and claim that she’s there. Apologists will generally base their arguments on the Bible, that is God-inspired so it’s not man-made unlike the countless other faiths according to them.

        • Old Ishtar/Inanna worshippers would point to the planet Venus and claim that she’s there.

          And Christians can’t even do that! Interesting.

        • Greg G.

          Egyptians could see the sun moving across the sky. How could that happen without some type of dung beetle rolling it?

        • Well, I said Ishtar/Inanna due to her strong association with that planet but I could have also said Ares/Mars, Zeus/Jupiter, etc. If those planets known since ancient times were named after deities is for a reason.

      • Okay, I’ll concede I’ve never heard a fundie say they reject belief in other gods because there’s insufficient evidence. As others have said here, they’re much more likely to say that other gods are actually demons or something. I still don’t want to say that that kind of insincere and selective appeal to evidence represents the exact same reasoning as the atheist’s more consistently and responsibly applied appeal to evidence. You have to admit, the idea that someone’s lifelong religion just happens to contain the only set of supernatural truth claims that can bear the weight of objective scrutiny is exactly the sort of thing that sets our skeptic alarms ringing long and loud.

        This differs in kind from the basis on which a broad range of atheists reject religious belief, from those who think that supernatural truth claims have to this date been so lacking in evidence that any one proposed set is sure to be similarly lacking (the Do I Have To Smell Every Turd variety), to those who consider supernatural truth claims by their very nature nonsensical and content-free (the Not Even Wrong variety).

    • epeeist

      But the reasoning the same.

      Except that it is, in each case the proponent of a particular god, pantheon of gods or other spiritual entity is making claim to some kind of other, supernatural realm. They are also claiming that their particular entity or entities can produce effects contrary to or in addition to the natural effects we observe in our world.

      In other words, though the particular properties of these entities may differ in detail they are all part of the same class of objects.

      • Except that it is, in each case the proponent of a particular god, pantheon of gods or other spiritual entity is making claim to some kind of other, supernatural realm. They are also claiming that their particular entity or entities can produce effects contrary to or in addition to the natural effects we observe in our world.

        In other words, though the particular properties of these entities may differ in detail they are all part of the same class of objects.

        Um, that was my point. The Christian isn’t rejecting the very notion of supernatural entities or phenomena, and atheists are.

        That’s different, isn’t it?

    • Kodie

      That’s baseball. It doesn’t really matter.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    #2: This objection flies against the conclusions of almost all scholars invested into Biblical and Roman history…

    Impressive how they were able to identify the problem so quickly.

  • One problem with #3 is that many believers will simply argue that some of those other supposed gods were actually Satan or his minions, out to trick people from believing in the actual God. Yes, Mohammed did talk to someone, they’ll agree, it’s just that the someone he talked to was a demon.

    • Brian Davis

      That takes care of #4 also. Santa and leprechauns are all demons.

    • Same Buddha, Confucious, and others who are bashed by some Fundies with claims as them not giving salvation, the two first ones not caring as Jesus, etc.

  • eric

    Linn’s response to #1 I’d classify as a form of circular argument. I.e. asserting as a premise a quality of God that they are trying to convince nonbelievers (i.e. argue that) God has.

    #2-4 are really variants on Linn failing to understand where the burden of proof lies. I.e. proposers of explanation-providing entities have it, people skeptical of said entity don’t.

    I’ll also bet that #s most of 5-16 will also fall into these two categories, with only one or maybe two more categories of logical fallacies (on the part of the Christian respondent) needed to explain the ones that don’t. Christian apologetics repsonses to criticism are nothing if not repetitive.

  • RichardSRussell

    Theists believe in a supreme, personal creator of the Universe.

    Some theists believe this, not all of them. (Unless, of course, apparently like Frank Turek and Jeremy Linn, you think that the only theists who count are the Christian ones.)

    • Aloha

      I guess once you think God is disinterested, you become a “deist.”
      But there clearly is a scale of opinion here, as far as how powerful or how personal people consider their god to be.

      • eric

        IMO It’s more like they’re theists on Sunday and deists on Monday. To the congregationalist sitting next to them in the pew, they have Nicene-creed-in-all-it’s-details belief. To the philosopher sitting next to them on the bar stool, they have first-cause necessary-being belief

        • Usually they get to the arguments for Jesus. We must begin at the beginning though. If there’s no God, arguing that Jesus is him would be a nonstarter.

        • Kodie

          I just wrote another post about this – I had no insight to what theists actually believed, so they act like normal people with flaws, don’t feel or act guilty for being a selfish prick, and do things that I know their religion dictates are sins, and they don’t really seem to think anyone is counting that against them. In my youth, I considered that their beliefs were mostly cultural or traditional, or not as strong, and they let me have it. Their beliefs are strong as fuck. No fucking way, I think. This is not just the difference between a fundie and a Catholic, this is the fundie puts on an act so everyone knows what a fundie they are, while the Catholic takes the pill and hooks up a lot, had an abortion, lived with a guy, besides all the normal shitty stuff humans do, like acting like selfish shit in traffic, taking credit for someone else’s work…. all that shit that shitty people kind of do without thinking they don’t deserve it. I mean, some people seem more Catholic than others (despite whatever’s wrong with that), but they are at least adherent! They are sincerely devout enough to adhere. Someone who nominally credits Jesus for getting to spin the wheel at The Price is Right, well, that’s more credit than most contestants give, but the general level of devotion seems people just live as regular flawed people and don’t feel bad.

          This means Christianity doesn’t do shit for general morality, and may make people more selfish/entitled/tribal than they otherwise would be. Next time morality comes up, this is it. Christians don’t seem to give a shit what’s moral except to lecture other people on why they need to be Christians to behave morally.

    • The “personal” part is the key. Remove it and you end with something not very different of deism or even pantheism/pandeism, at least the impersonal version.

      Even the personal version would very likely be something way different of the Abrahamic one.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    WHAT?! Are you saying Santa does NOT exist. Damn, there goes my entire belief system. I’m go cry while I eat the ears off of a chocolate bunny.

    • Michael Neville

      Of course Santa exists. How else can we explain the coal in my stocking every Christmas?

      • Cozmo the Magician

        aint it great that feets don’t stink (:

      • Jennny

        And someone drank the milk and ate the mince pie my g/son left out on xmas eve. Animal lover that he is, he kept the half chewed carrot and wanted to put it out on subsequent nights in case Rudolf went hungry if he didn’t.

        • Greg G.

          A kind little man.

  • Polytropos

    #1: If someone wants to say everything in the universe has to have a cause except for god, then they need to demonstrate why god wouldn’t also require a cause. And if they accept there’s at least one thing which doesn’t require a cause, they can’t guarantee other things don’t also exist without being caused.

    #2: This isn’t so much a bad argument as an oversimplified and poorly phrased one. We can’t state with absolute certainty that Jesus never existed, but we can say there are no sources outside the Bible which credibly support the idea of a historical Jesus, and we can point to elements of the gospels themselves that strongly suggest they are literature, not history.

    Arguments #3 and #4 are essentially two versions of the same argument. In both cases the atheist is challenging the theist to explain why they believe in one supernatural entity, but not any of the many other supernatural entities other people believe in. This is a perfectly valid argument, because Christians tend to insist that while their supernatural beliefs are true, other non-Christian supernatural beliefs are not true (or are demonic). They should be able to explain why their beliefs are true, but other people’s beliefs are not. If they can’t, how can they expect to convince anyone?

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Yes, rather than address the “bad arguments”, Linn’s rebuttals only demonstrate that the points being raised are lost on him. I can’t say I’m surprised.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      I like to ask them how God did it. If they can explain the how, then in all likelihood the who will no longer be necessary. This is the entire history of science in a nutshell.

      • I Came To Bring The Paine

        I like this. I shall frame this comment over my fireplace.

      • Damian Byrne

        This. “God-did-it” is a phrase that doesn’t actually mean anything. A thousand years ago, “God-did-it” was the explanation for thunder and lightning, but there was nothing behind those words, no actual explanation as to what the heck is actually going on. Nowadays we say electro-magnetic discharges in the atmosphere when regions of low pressure and high pressure meet. What’s the explanation for the universe itself? “God-did-it”…okay, what exactly happened? What does that phrase mean? What is this God thing, and what did it do exactly? Did it hold a lit match to its anus and let out an almighty fart?

        • Greg G.

          Did it hold a lit match to its anus and let out an almighty fart?

          I knew a guy who liked to do that. I credit him with having a huge impact on my life for quenching any curiosity about using drugs.

        • al kimeea

          I went to school with guys who did that without drugs…

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Exactly. Theists/Creationists can say “God did it” all day long, all I have to say is “I don’t care who did it. I want to know how it was done.

        • al kimeea

          It’s god, it can do anything really isn’t much of an answer, oooh mysterious…

        • al kimeea

          Did it hold a lit match to its anus and let out an almighty fart?

          Yep, saw it on TV.

  • NS Alito

    Argument #2: Jesus never existed
    The fact that people have to argue whether the stories are based on an actual person is tough on Christianity. They don’t have the luxury of a clearly historic Mohammed or Joseph Smith or Mary Baker Eddy or even Confucius. It doesn’t help that so many of the claimed Jesus-related events* should have even made it to secular records but didn’t.

    _____
    *Roman town-of-birth census, zombies

  • NS Alito

    Let’s not delude ourselves that evidence is what brings people to faith. … In almost all cases, they don’t believe because of evidence, their intellectual arguments rationalize a position they hold for emotional reasons, and their preferred religion wasn’t chosen but was adopted from their culture.

    As a devout young’n I strove to understand why two different educated, thoughtful adults could confidently believe in conflicting things, and how human understanding worked. When I read survey results where most believers thought (1) they themselves had reached their beliefs through reason, yet (2) most other people reached their beliefs via irrational/emotional means, it marked a crucial early milestone in my understanding of how the human mind worked.

  • Damian Byrne

    The comments there are golden. There’s one person arguing that not one person has been killed by a Christian following the commands of Jesus Christ, and demands that someone show where in Jesus’s teachings killings are commanded.
    He also then rails against atheists and atheism, saying that 100 million people were killed in the past century by atheists. Does he show where in atheism killings are commanded? Nope.

    • mfm420

      dollars to doughnuts the 100 million would be the old “stalin, hitler, pol pot, mao” argument so many of them love to spout out, without a single shred of proof that any of the 4 did their actions in the name of atheism (while ignoring the fact that pretty much all of those guys had the atheists/intelligent people eliminated first, since those were the ones generally asking questions, and fundie nutjobs don’t tend to care much for people who ask questions)

      • Damian Byrne

        Yup you got it right. I left a comment there asking who is this Jesus Christ fella, I could’ve sworn he was at the very least an agent of (if not the actual son or incarnation) the Old Testament God. And everyone knows just how often that guy taught to turn the other cheek.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        “stalin, hitler, pol pot, mao”

        Hitler clearly was not atheist and does not belong on that list.

        Bertrand Russell, whose excellent writing seems to be no longer popular, considered soviet Communism to be a religion, and I think he had a good point.

  • Jim Jones

    > Argument #1: Who created God?

    Every man’s God’s are his own creation. All are unique.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    The whole Jesus did not exist argument was one i had recently, as i pointed out, i don’t give a rats ass if some apocalyptic rabbi called Jesus existed in the middle east 2000 years ago, what i care about is the claim that this person was also the son of god, the person i was arguing with seemed utterly incapable of understanding the the ‘Human’ Jesus and the ‘son of god’ Jesus may not be the same person. and even cast iron proof of the first does nothing for the second

    • epeeist

      i don’t give a rats ass if some apocalyptic rabbi called Jesus existed in the middle east 2000 years ago

      You don’t and I don’t but for most (all?) Christians the existence of Jesus is necessary, otherwise they have nothing to build their Christ on.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        true, but misses the point, proving that there was some rabbi called Jesus does nothing to substantiate the rest of the claims about the ‘godman’ Jesus, it’s like claiming that some chap called peter parker lives in new york some how proves spiderman.

        Separating the ‘real’ jesus from the ‘magical’ jesus is important, because i don’t except proof of one as proof of the other. and prevents one of the more typical sleight of hand tricks used by theists

        • Greg G.

          There were lots of guys named Jesus in first century Judea. But the early epistles don’t talk about any of them. Early Epistle Jesus is only described in Old Testament terms, comflating Isaiah’s Suffering Servant as an actual person with Zechariah’s Joshua, who is called Jesus in the LXX.

          Gospel Jesus is based on Epistle Jesus and other literature of the day.

        • Kodie

          So, if one were writing a piece of fiction there, they might name the main character Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          So, if one were writing a piece of fiction there, they might name the main character Jesus.

          If one were writing in Greek. “Jesus” is the English transliteration of the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name “Joshua”, which is the English transliteration directly from the Hebrew name. (Latin probably plays a role in the English transliterations.)

          Isaiah wrote about the “Suffering Servant” as a metaphor for the nation of Israel. But if one reads Isaiah 53 (12 verses) as a hidden mystery of a real person disguised as a metaphor, you have a humble person crushed and killed for the sins of the people, buried, and now intercessing for sins. It’s a basic form of Christianity. If you then read Zechariah 3 (10 verses), you see someone in dirty clothes (perhaps he was crushed) waking up in God’s presence in heaven, and the name of that person in the Greek Septuagint is “Jesus”.

          Then add out of context scriptures for details, like Hosea 6:2 for the resurrection being on the third day, and you have Epistle Jesus.

          Then if someone wrote a fictional story about Epistle Jesus existing 50 years earlier, you have Gospel Jesus. That is how I think it happened.

        • Kodie

          Kind of think it went more like a comic book.

  • Paul

    Back in the real world, physics resolves the question of the infinite sequence of causes by arguing that some quantum events don’t have causes and that the beginning of the universe MAY have been one such quantum event.

    (emphasis added)

    Arguing that it may have been a quantum event doesn’t demonstrate that it was such a quantum event. 1) Quantum particles arise in a quantum vacuum,
    but a vacuum is not the absence of everything. Quantum theory does not address the origin of the particle-producing quantum vacuum. 2) Quantum
    theory is merely a description of phenomena, not an explanation for it. 3) If the universe did arise in the same way that quanta do, quanta may
    still be best explained by non-physical causes.

    • Susan

      quanta may still be best explained by non-physical causes.

      Then, explain it.

      How does a “non-physical cause” work?

      • Lex Lata

        Well, see, a foreskin-obsessed, parochial, tribal warlord-father-son-ghost speaks things into existence. “Let there be quantum particles!” Bam, quantum particles.

        Rock solid science.

        • Greg G.

          “Let the charged quantum particles exchange energy electromagnetically” and there was light.

        • Lex Lata

          Aha! A fellow alumnus of the Liberty University physics program, I see.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Arguing that it may have been a quantum event doesn’t demonstrate that it was such a quantum event.

      Agreed. Now if only religious people would understand the difference between argument and demonstration then I’d never have to hear the Kalam ever again.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        They’re logicians of *convenience*…when it helps their position, they’ll be rational.

        When it harms their position, they’ll decry rationality as ‘cold and unfeeling’.

      • Doubting Thomas

        Also, if religious people understood the difference between assertion and demonstration then no one would be religious.

        • Paul

          Which is why everyone is religious. Science articles are replete with phrases like “may have,” “might have,” “could have,” “surmise,” “possibly,” etc…They are not demonstrating. They are speculating.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Yes, scientist are careful to acknowledge when they are speaking speculatively. This is called being honest.

          But you’re missing the difference. If scientist only spoke of things they had demonstrated to be true they could still talk about science. If religious people only spoke of things that were demonstrably true, then they’d never speak at all.

      • Paul

        Now if only religious people would understand the difference between
        argument and demonstration then I’d never have to hear the Kalam ever
        again.

        If only you could demonstrate that the universe came into existance via a quantum fluctuation/simgularity/big bang, then you’d never have to hear it again.

        If only you could go back in time and make a time-lapse video of scales slowly evolving into feathers. Then you could demonstrate that dinosaurs evolved into birds. Wait a mintue…there are birds in the same rock layers as dinosaurs.

        • Ah, you’re an evolution denier, too. Why am I not surprised?

        • epeeist

          Ah, you’re an evolution denier, too.

          Just another subject he knows nothing about.

        • Paul

          What do you mean by evolution?

        • ??

          Imagine you’re taking a course labeled “Biology 101.” Your textbook says Evolution.

          That.

        • Greg G.

          What do you mean by evolution?

          Look how cute Paul is when he disingenuously pretends he doesn’t know what Bob means by “evolution”. OTOH, maybe he doesn’t know.

        • MR

          Well, he obviously doesn’t. He’s already shown his lack of understanding on that.

        • Greg G.

          . Wait a mintue…there are birds in the same rock layers as dinosaurs.

          No wonder you deny evolution. You don’t understand a damn thing about it.

        • MR

          Ha ha ha! Another one getting his science from apologetic websites. Whether science is correct or not, if he’s misrepresenting the science, well, I already know he’s wrong. How can I trust him in anything else?

        • Wait a minute–there are monkeys in the same rock layers as humans and proto-humans.

          Checkmate, atheists!

        • Greg G.

          Does he think scientists thinks birds evolved from dinosaurs after they went extinct or that all dinosaurs evolved into birds at the same time?

        • I think it involves time travel.

        • Greg G.

          Are
          you
          talking
          about
          {SPOILER ALERT}

          Endgame?

        • I’m not. Haven’t seen it yet.

          What did you think? I’ve heard good things about it.

        • Greg G.

          I saw it today. They mentioned just about every movie about time travel.

        • Paul

          Scientists think birds evolved from lizard-hipped dinosaurs. Scientists don’t think that birds evolved from bird-hipped dinosaurs. Evolving a similar structure independently is called convergent evolution. What scientists lack is the evidence that this actually happened. As Bob would say, science doesn’t prove anything.

        • Greg G.

          What scientists lack is the evidence that this actually happened.

          Again you show you are out of touch with reality because you are reading creationist material that is in denial and 30 years out of date.

          Scientists think birds evolved from theropods because the evidence indicates that they did, certainly not from a lack of evidence.

          How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds
          https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-birds-evolved-from-dinosaurs-20150602/

          There are literally tons of evidence for evolution that your worldview is hiding for you. Open your eyes. Don’t let the religious nuts gaslight you.

        • Paul

          I reject the idea that everything came from a universal common ancestor. No reason to accept evolutionary just-so stories.

        • Michael Behe in Darwin’s Black Box accepts a universal common ancestor.

        • Paul

          Does his acceptance of it make it true?

        • Where do you get your arguments? I would’ve thought that Behe would’ve been one of the authorities that you would cite when he said what you wanted to hear. No?

        • Paul

          Kodie says Jesus never existed. What if I responding with “But Richard Dawkins and Bart Ehrman believe Jesus existed.”?

        • Greg G.

          Their opinion is irrelevant. What is their evidence and argument?

          Ehrman’s evidence is the phrase “brother of the Lord” in Galatians 1:18 and these documents:
          The Gospel of Mark
          The Q Document
          Matthew’s Independent Sources
          Luke’s Independent Sources
          Sayings Source
          Passion Narratives
          protoThomas

          The “brother of the Lord” appears to be Paul using sarcasm. We have the Gospel of Mark but the others are imagined to have existed based on the the assumption that Jesus existed and that they are about that Jesus, which means it is circular.

          Many sources for Mark can be identified as material that is not about Jesus. It may be the same with any other sources. Matthew and Luke have many parallels with Antiquities of the Jews and the frequency and arrangements go way beyond coincidence.

          So there is no good evidence for Gospel Jesus.

          When we examine the epistles, they have no interest in a teacher/preacher. They don’t have an interest in where he was from nor his immediate ancestry. Jesus is mentioned a lot, though, but as much as they loved to talk about him, everything is in terms of the Old Testament and not about the first century.

          This is evidence that Jesus was invented from Old Testament passages.

        • Paul

          Their opinion is irrelevant. What is their evidence and argument?

          Exactly. You can speculate on universal common descent all you want. Where’s the evidence?

        • Greg G.

          Where’s the evidence?

          I gave you evidence for common descent in the other thread. You are not interested in evidence or you wouldn’t be asking about the evidence for common descent. You are only reading creationist material so you can hide from the science.

        • Greg G.

          Also, there you go again, jumping to a different subject instead of dealing with the consequences of your failed argument.

        • Pofarmer

          Arguments. Plural.

        • Greg G.

          His valid arguments are nil.

        • Kodie

          Do you really feel like you’re smarter than everyone else and winning? A loony cult leader named Jesus almost certainly existed. The particular loony cult leader named Jesus that you think is your lord may or may not have existed! The particular loony cult leader named Jesus that you think is your lord actually being your lord and saviour – that’s on you to provide the evidence.

          But instead, you change the subject like a loser.

        • It’s the scientific consensus.

          Now that you have compelling evidence to overturn it, you go do that. When that consensus changes, I’m sure all the atheists here will do so. Until then, we will laugh at your pathetic raging against science that’s “wrong” simply because it makes baby Jesus cry.

          You lose.

        • Kodie

          First of all, link to where I said THAT. Ya lying dink. Secondly, does it really matter? I thought my official opinion was IT DOES NOT FUCKING MATTER. If certain atheists want to have a big fight about whether Jesus the man existed or not, I don’t care, because the only answer that matters is your evidence that Jesus was magical, rose from the dead, is the son of god, and evidence that there’s a god. You go now.

        • epeeist

          I reject the idea that everything came from a universal common ancestor. No reason to accept evolutionary just-so stories.

          Presumably you have the same qualifications in biology as you do in physics, cosmology and philosophy…

        • Presumably you have the same qualifications in biology as you do in physics, cosmology and philosophy…

          Wow, that’s probably true. Take it easy with this guy–he’s formidable.

        • Greg G.

          I reject the idea that everything came from a universal common ancestor. No reason to accept evolutionary just-so stories.

          Of course, you reject evolution. You don’t understand a damn thing about it. You don’t know much about how anything works.

        • Paul

          You think understanding it will make me think it’s true?

        • Greg G.

          You think understanding it will make me think it’s true?

          Maybe not. But you would have to deny evidence like a crazy person.

          Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand.
              –Kurt Wise

          But you have no right to deny evolution because you have not learned enough about it. You are stealing the opinions of people who do not understand evolution.

          I was a creationist when I was young. I started reading about evolution in books by scientists. I found that the creationist authors were lying about what scientists were saying. I found that the statements lifted from books and articles on evolution were deliberately taken out of context and they made perfect sense in the context where it was written. The creationist were lying.

          Another creationist geologist is Steve Austin. He read the “Don’ts” for collecting samples for dating rock samples from volcanic layers. In a volcanic event, the lava comes up through older layers. Rock from the older layers will break off and become embedded in the new layer. Obviously, it is older and can be distinguished. Austin wrote of his intent to collect those samples to and submit them to labs in order to discredit the dating method. He collected donations to finance the project. He touted that as proof that the dating method was wrong. But when the real scientists looked at the data, they could tell which layer the samples came from. It was a scam and his collection of donations was fraud.

          Austin also refused to give the expected dates for the layers he was submitting samples for. Testing the dates requires setting the dials to measure a specific reading. It is like the old mechanical scales at the doctor’s office where the big weight is set to the nearest 50 lb division under the weight to be weighed, and the small weight is adjusted to find the balance at the weight measured. Without that, the tests must be done several times to find the correct range. Creationists lie about the reason the labs make the request. It just saves a lot of work and expense doing trial and error work but creationists would imply that they were just making up the dates.

        • Kodie

          Nobody believes what you think evolution is.

        • Paul

          Demonstrate scales turning into feathers. Don’t make any speculations. Don’t make any statements like “it could have happened this way” or “it may have happened this way.” Show that that is indeed how things did occur.

        • You seem to be under the delusion that science proves things. It doesn’t.

          Learn some science before you come here to bad-mouth it.

        • Paul

          I’m not under the delusion. Nor am I bad mouthing science. I’ve told you time and time again that one’s worldview affects how how interprets the evidence.

        • My worldview is that I should follow the evidence where it leads. A corollary of that is that I must accept the scientific consensus as the best provisional explanation of the facts that we have at the moment (for any scientific field of which I’m not a participating member).

          When you have a Christian worldview, your mileage will vary.

        • Kodie

          It’s interesting how your “worldview” has to lie about what evolution is to a ridiculous degree in order to keep you from believing it. Nobody’s “worldview” leads to believing or accepting the butchered version of evolution you keep trotting out. So if your worldview affects how you interpret the evidence by getting it all twisted and wrong, then what does that say about your worldview? This is how you help make more atheists.

        • Greg G.

          First, you demonstrate your lineage from Adam and Eve. Don’t make any speculations. Don’t make any statements like “it could have happened this way” or “it may have happened this way.” Show that that is indeed how things did occur. Every generation.

          Did you read the link I gave you? They now have evidence that theropods had feathers.

          If you really want to know, study how scales develop in alligators and compare that to how feathers develop in birds from the same type of cells.

          Or you can go to https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2011/02/feather-evolution/ for a primer. It asks you to sign up to read the rest but you can scroll and still read the good stuff. Or you can copy the text and past it into something else. Science is a lot further along than a creationist can think.

        • MR

          If you really want to know, study

          Paul? Bwah-ha-ha!!

        • Greg G.

          Sometimes I am objectively optimistic.

        • Kodie

          You might just be too dumb to understand evolution.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Don’t conflate your ignorance of science as a problem of science.

    • Greg G.

      but a vacuum is not the absence of everything. Quantum theory does not address the origin of the particle-producing quantum vacuum.

      You are thinking of a perfect nothingness which is philosophical. There is no reason to think that could exist in reality any more than a perfect circle or a perfect triangle could exist in reality. They are merely concepts with certain dimensions with some of the dimensions being zero. A stable nothingness would need something to maintain the stability, so it would not be nothingness, so an unstable nothingness is more reasonable.

      If the universe did arise in the same way that quanta do, quanta may still be best explained by non-physical causes.

      You are locked into cause and effect thinking where a material cause affects another material in unidirectional time. A cause acting on nothing cannot produce an effect.

      When you see the sun, the photons left the sun 8 seconds before they meet your retina. But traveling at the speed of light means time doesn’t pass, so for the photon, leaving some atom of the sun and being absorbed by a pigment in your eye is the same instant. So what would appear to our brains to be two events separated by a thermodynamic-based understanding of time are one instantaneous quantum event that is self-caused.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Arguing that it may have been a quantum event doesn’t demonstrate that it was such a quantum event.

      True, and you are so, so close to an even more important truth here. Keep at it!

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Quantum theory, complete with acausal phenomena, provides the basis on which the computer you’re typing your drivel on *operates*.

      Either show proper respect for the science that allows you to peddle superstition and hate or GTFO the Internet, you ingrate!

      • Paul

        …complete with acausal phenomena..

        Are you assuming it’s acausal? Can you demonstrate there is not a cause?

        …show proper respect for the science…

        The scientific method is what allows to have things like computers. It required no belief in millions of years of evolution. FYI, the scientific method and modern fields of science were founded by Christians. Your assumption that I have no respect for it is unfounded.

        • The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics posits that some quantum events have no cause (the decay of a radioactive nucleus, for example) and can be defined only probabilisticly.

          If you’re asking for proof, science doesn’t offer proofs.

        • Paul

          posit: assume as a fact; put forward as a basis of argument.

          Yes,
          science doesn’t offer proof. Science is used to eliminate competing
          hypotheses. They can posit that some quantum events have no cause, but
          how do they test that hypothesis? How do they explain the existence of quantum events in the first place? They can posit inflation in the early
          universe, and it may solve the horizon problem, but what evidence was
          there for inflation in the first place? They can posit the existence of an Oort Comet Cloud, but there is not evidence for its existence. How do you test the hypothesis when you don’t have evidence of its existence?

        • Damian Byrne

          They can posit the existence of an Oort Comet Cloud, but there is not
          evidence for its existence. How do you test the hypothesis when you
          don’t have evidence of its existence?

          Are you of the mind that when a hypothesis is put forward, unless one has a method to test for it right then and there, then it should be ignored, dismissed entirely?

          Everyone knows the Oort cloud is hypothetical. The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation was first hypothesized/predicted in 1948, but it wasn’t until 1964 that it was actually discovered.

        • Greg G.

          posit: assume as a fact; put forward as a basis of argument.

          Do you understand English? Making an assumption as a basis of an argument is not offering a proof.

          Science is used to eliminate competing hypotheses.

          That is demonstrating that the hypothesis is inconsistent with the evidence. That does not mean the competing hypothesis is proved, at best, it is only not disproved.

          They can posit the existence of an Oort Comet Cloud, but there is not evidence for its existence.

          The Oort Cloud is not directly observed but there is still evidence in the form of comets. The trajectories can be determined by their path and velocities. We cannot directly observe Halley’s comet most of the time but they can still predict its next appearance.

          How do you test the hypothesis when you don’t have evidence of its existence?

          Good question. Tell us your evidence for god thingies.

        • The Copenhagen interpretation is the scientific consensus. I haven’t pursued it much beyond that. You got questions? I suggest Wikipedia.

        • It required no belief in millions of years of evolution.

          Are you not a biologist? Then explain how you can reject the scientific consensus in a field of which you aren’t even an expert.

          FYI, the scientific method and modern fields of science were founded by Christians.

          Yeah, and? Is this causative? If modern science was somehow encouraged or driven by Christianity, show this.

        • Susan

          Can you demonstrate there is not a cause?

          You suggested that there is a cause.

          Can you define “cause” in this context and demonstrate one?

          Can you then further on explain how an “immaterial cause” works?

          Or are you just blowing more smoke?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If the math didn’t work, neither would your computer.

          That’s enough for me.

          Ingrate.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          FYI, the scientific method and modern fields of science were founded by Christians.

          Try again. A *lot* of the foundations came from the Arab world and the Greeks (pagans, all of them). *RELIGION* became powerful in both areas and killed science just as Europe was on the upswing due to the Protestant Reformation weakening xtianity.

          That’s the luck of timing, NOT innate superiority of xtians.

        • Yep. Lots of math came from India and (particularly) the Muslim world. Also, astronomy. Engineering from Egypt, Greece, and Rome. And so on.

        • Susan

          The scientific method is what allows to have things like computers. It required no belief in millions of years of evolution.

          It does not require “belief” any more than working your computer requires “belief” in computer science.

          The best possible explanation for the way living beings behave is based on evolution by natural selection.

          If you have a better one, provide it.

          In the meantime, you avail yourself of all the benefits of all the work done by people who are dedicated to the scientific method. When you take antibiotics, get chemotherapy, or live in a world where vaccines are basic medicine.

          Any preacher who pretends otherwise is lying to you.

        • Paul

          It does not require “belief”

          The evidence is interpreted by one’s worldview.

          The best possible explanation for the way living beings behave is based on evolution by natural selection.

          What do you mean by “best”? Why did you rule out all other explanations?

        • Greg G.

          The evidence is interpreted by one’s worldview.

          Which is why it is important to subject one’s worldview to scrutiny before you depend on it to evaluate evidence.

          What do you mean by “best”? Why did you rule out all other explanations?

          Because the other explanations cannot handle the evidence. One can make predictions from existing evidence by using the theory of evolution. Other explanations are useless for that.

        • MR

          Other explanations are useless for that.

          Including Christianity. For me, evolution appears to be the best theory for that particular question. I haven’t ruled it out, but Christianity has certainly failed the test. It doesn’t explain things, and it should. I’ve ruled it out, even though at surface I considered it very appealing for other reasons. Who wouldn’t like there to be an infinitely good God overseeing the universe? It just all comes apart once you look at it with a little scrutiny.

          I don’t care whether evolution is true or not. It’s interesting, but if it were proven wrong, big deal. Whatever really is is, I simply want to know that. If Christianity is true, have them show me. I mean, to me it’s obviously not,
          but attacking evolution doesn’t make Christianity true.

        • MR

          The evidence is interpreted by one’s worldview.

          Not exactly. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. As a Christian, I considered the science from both a Christian perspective and a perspective that science could be right. You can exam the evidence from both sides. What I see lacking in you is an understanding of the science side. You don’t understand the science, so you only judge from your one worldview. As a Christian I considered and compared both. I was willing to consider I was wrong as a Christian and I was willing to consider science was wrong. When I hear you misrepresenting the science, well, whether science has it right or not, one thing is certain, if you’re misrepresenting the science, you’re already wrong in interpreting that worldview.

          ETA: I’d also add that 90% of atheists and Christian’s worldviews are essentially the same. There are really few differences. Not to mention that different Christians, even those of the same denominations or even the same church, have differing views on some of those same issues. There is no “atheist” worldview vs. “Christian” worldview. Every single person has their own “worldview.” The term is essentially meaningless. “Atheism” doesn’t inform my thoughts on evolution anymore than “Christianity” informs the the thoughts of Christians who happen to be pro-choice.

        • Kodie

          The evidence is interpreted by one’s worldview.

          You are basically saying you have a bias, and impugning everyone is biased, because you are. The evidence is bullshitted through your worldview, but the scientific method tries to remove all bias.

        • David Peebles

          Scientific method and modern fields of science (some, but not all of either) may have come from Christians, but they were Xtians who were not satisfied with the answer “god did it.” They had to fight their way out of those Xtian constraints–which often were powerful and even dangerous–to do the science. Many Xtians, probably the mainstream, did not encourage or support the scientific endeavor. They often opposed it violently. So pardon me for not assuming that you have respect for science just because you are a Xtian.

        • epeeist

          Can you demonstrate there is not a cause?

          Here is a simple example to start with, we can produce some actual quantum mechanics once we have the discussion under way.

          I give you a small box containing two Radon 222 atoms, the box ensures that they share the same environment. Now, what is the cause of each atom decaying to Polonium 218 and why do the two atoms decay at different times?

  • Paul

    If you can’t trust your own thinking,

    Who says we can’t? Thinking and rationality come from a mind. Therefore it’s reasonable to think that laws of logic, consciousness, and rationality would ultimately come from a mind. Since we are made in the image of God, it stands to reason that we can trust the laws of logic and reasoning. But materialists think that it came from non-living material. If matter is all that there is, why are there immaterial things such as laws of logic? Hypothetically, let’s say that’s true? What reason would we have to trust our thinking?

    and if you therefore cannot trust the arguments leading to atheism,

    You can’t trust the arguments leading to atheism, because they don’t lead there. Where did the immaterial come from?

    then wouldn’t it stand to reason that you similarly cannot trust the arguments that led to a belief in God?

    No. It’s more reasonable to think that laws of logic, consciousness, and reasoning came from a mind.

    • Doubting Thomas

      If matter is all that there is, why are there immaterial things such as laws of logic?

      Laws of logic aren’t immaterial things, they’re descriptions of how reality works.

      • Paul

        Thus they are immaterial.

        • Doubting Thomas

          So you think atheism can’t account for descriptions?

        • Greg G.

          They require material to be stored and processed.

        • Doubting Thomas

          ….and created.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thus they are immaterial

          Yes, the laws of logic are abstractions and abstractions are merely conceptual.

          In what way does this help your argument, though?

        • Courage is immaterial. Is courage something atheists (or biologists) can’t explain?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          They’re concepts, recognition of patterns in the Universe.

          Since they’re the result of examination of reality by minds, which only exist in brains to the best of our current knowledge, that would make ‘laws of logic’ at least 2nd order emergent phenomena.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Thinking and rationality come from a mind. Therefore it’s reasonable to think that laws of logic, consciousness, and rationality would ultimately come from a mind.

      Nope. Try again.

      Thinking and rationality are *properties* of *some* minds.

      And the laws of logic were *discovered*…they’re DEscriptive.

      Consciousness is an emerging property we don’t fully understand YET…no reason for a goddidit

      Ditto the last for rationality.

    • Max Doubt

      “Since we are made in the image of God,…”

      You only imagine that, so everything that follows is built on a premise you can’t demonstrate to be true.

    • Greg G.

      Thinking and rationality come from a mind.

      The mind is processed by a material brain like vision is a function of the eyes and the visual processing of the brain.

      Therefore it’s reasonable to think that laws of logic, consciousness, and rationality would ultimately come from a mind.

      No, it isn’t reasonable to think that. You just proved that you can’t trust your own thinking.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      If matter is all that there is, why are there immaterial things such as laws of logic?

      Yo Paul, please show us laws of logic without a material implementation. Please show us thoughts without a brain. We’ll wait right here for it.

      • Paul

        The onus is on you to answer that for your worldview. I’m not an expert on your worldview. Thoughts without a mind? Hmm..sounds like you’re secretly a theist. Unless you can demonstrate how thoughts came into existence from non-thinking matter.

        • Damian Byrne

          You’ve got be paying attention to who is making the positive claim and who is merely waiting for evidence for said positive claim. Religious theists, especially of the Abrahamic variety, tend to make the positive claim that their God is a mind without a physical shell, a spirit, etc. Well, we await the evidence of such.

          Unless you can demonstrate how thoughts came into existence from non-thinking matter.

          An emergent property of a sufficiently complex brain. Let me ask you a counter-question -is a single dropmolecule of water wet?

        • Or: does a single molecule of water have a pH? Turbulence?

          Whirlpools and waves are more emergent properties.

        • Thoughts without a mind?

          Huh? The issue is your claim of thoughts without a brain. We have zero evidence of this thing that you propose. Give us some.

          how thoughts came into existence from non-thinking matter

          Can you say “emergent phenomena”?

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Thinking and rationality come from a mind.

      Irrationality also comes from a mind. Which explains the gibberish you are spouting.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Since we are made in the image of God, it stands to reason that we can trust the laws of logic and reasoning.

      All you have to do is prove the former, and the latter follows. Good luck with that. We expect you’ll get started any minute.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Amusingly, the former can be accepted and it still doesn’t lead to the latter. Paul would still need to show how being made in the image of god makes cognition more reliable.

    • It’s more reasonable to think that laws of logic, consciousness, and reasoning came from a mind.

      These aren’t emergent phenomena?

    • David Peebles

      Aside from the fact that the immaterial isn’t a “thing” (“it” is an abstraction, or “they” are abstractions), the laws of logic and reasoning did come from a mind–the human mind, which is clearly an evolved activity of the brain. I don’t discount any alien minds that might exist, or even those of other animals.

      • Agreed. Newton’s Law of Gravity didn’t exist before Isaac Newton created it, but gravity itself obviously did. Similarly “November” didn’t exist before humans created it, but the 30-day block of time roughly halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice did.

    • zenmite

      I don’t know of any atheists who believe that matter is all that there is. The ‘laws’ of logic, consciousness and reasoning did come from…lot’s of human minds. These types of laws are simply descriptions of the way reality operates. We deduced them from observation and experiment. These laws are not handed down like the ten commandments.

      I realize that it is the theologically correct position to hold that yahweh created the universe ‘from nothing.’ But there is absolutely no reason to believe that any actual ‘nothing’ exists, has existed or will exist. This absolute nothing is an abstract creation of the human mind…much like absolute good, Just because we can think of something or imagine it…does not mean it actually exists outside of our own concepts. Nothing is a relative term that we have somehow decided must have an absolute corollary.

      • I realize that it is the theologically correct position to hold that yahweh created the universe ‘from nothing.’

        And yet Genesis 1 doesn’t even say that. Read it, and you’ll see that God created neither the water (chaos) nor the land under it.

  • wtfwjtd

    These aren’t “Bad Atheist Arguments” nearly so much as they are “Uncomfortable Questions for the Thoughtful Christian”. The rather weak-sauce come-backs by Mr Linn in his replies to these “bad arguments” makes that pretty clear. I mean, c’mon dude, this is the best you’ve got? For example–“The Christian claims to have evidence for God…” Well, fine then, out with it! Enough of the claims, let’s see some real evidence, along with being shown how this evidence differentiates the Christian’s claim to God from the thousands of other belief systems that claim the existence of their god(s) based on the same evidence.

    Is that too much to ask? (I jest–we all know here that of course it is).

    • Is that too much to ask? (I jest–we all know here that of course it is).

      Silly rabbit.

    • BlueSurgeon

      “The Christian claims to have evidence for God…” is not acceptable, it is no argument at all, you might just as well say “The Irish have evidence of Leprichauns”, “Children have evidence for Santa Claus and fairies”, “Backwoodsmen in Oregon have evidence of Bigfoot”, “The Nepalese have evidence of the Yeti”. All of these claims are accepable to their believers and none really have “True” evidence at all, to make an exeption in the case of Christianity is a case of special pleading.

      • Greg G.

        But… but…but… you are overlooking all of the good arguments for God. “Look around you, the universe exists, God made the universe, therefore God exists” or “tide goes in, tide goes out…”

  • wannabe

    My deleted “spam” comment noted that Jeremy Linn’s response to argument #3 was an argumentum ad consequentiam, a fallacy having nothing to do with the actual existence of any gods.

  • RichardSRussell

    I contend that there are essentially zero arguments for atheism. All we have are arguments against theism (which is where the burden of proof properly lies), and all of them pretty much boil down to “Why should I believe that?”.

    • wtfwjtd

      “I contend that there are essentially zero arguments for atheism.”

      …and it’s on those grounds that the theist wishes to declare victory by default. “There are no good arguments for atheism, so theism wins! Yay, god!”

      It’s the same old tired trope over and over–confidently assert theism’s superiority over atheism, or science, or rational thinking, with no evidence or hard work at all. I am forced to conclude from this, that the Christian’s belief system is entirely emotion-based, not evidence- and reason- based, and it’s too painful for many Christians to admit this. Hence, the popularity of Apologetics.

    • There are arguments of the sort: If God existed, we should see X; we don’t see X; therefore God doesn’t (or probably doesn’t) exist. I guess that would also be in the “arguments against theism” category, though “arguments against theism” in my mind are more attacks on existing pro-Christian arguments.

    • Michael Lonergan

      Evidence for atheism? Just how does that work? You might be an ardent believer in purple unicorns. I will tell you that I do not believe in purple unicorns. The burden of proof rests upon you to show me the evidence that purple unicorns exist. Same goes for a believer in God – any god. Humans have worshiped millions of gods/goddesses. So, then the believer in any one particular god has to prove that their particular deity is the correct deity. Meanwhile, those of us that do not believe in any deity wait upon the sidelines for such proof to appear. It never does.

      • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

        Heretic! The unicorns are invisible, but we believe by faith they are pink!

      • Kodie

        I think of it like, claims the bathtub is full of water or empty, I can go and take a look to see which it is. Everything everyone has ever heard about god came from another person and their own mind. It’s a delusion, I’m certain. Why are their arguments so poor? Why can’t any of them agree what god is/does/wants? This site explains it so much better. http://www.provingthenegative.com/
        I mean, I’ve looked at the bathtub, and it’s empty.

  • Sharon Dee

    How are we defining “bad” atheist arguments? I agree that all of these are bad if we’re trying to change the theist’s mind. But if we’re trying to score points for our own amusement, some of these work.

    • I answer these claims wholesale by arguing there isn’t a bad argument to reject the Christian faith. There are 4 parts to it beginning here:

      http://www.debunking-christianity.com/2013/02/there-isnt-bad-reason-to-reject.html?m=0

      • Greg G.

        I have quoted you on that from time to time.

      • Grimlock

        I’ve only read part 1 for now, but in it you seem to limit the scope quite a bit. Specifically, you talk about reasons for personal belief, not reasons that are compelling for others. But the arguments (or assertions) in the OP appears to be used in precisely that way – as reasons for why someone else ought to change their mind.

      • Grimlock

        Say, Loftus, any chance you could let me know why I’m banned over at Debunking Christianity?

        I was going to comment on one of your recent posts and found to my surprise that I’d been banned. Gotta admit to being curious as to why that is.

    • I agree that all of these are bad if we’re trying to change the theist’s mind. But if we’re trying to score points for our own amusement, some of these work.

      That’s what I’ve been saying. #3 is a witty quip (“Look at all those gods you don’t believe in!”), but it doesn’t hold water as a description of how belief and nonbelief work.

    • Paul

      “How are we defining “bad” atheist arguments? I agree that all of these are bad if we’re trying to change the theist’s mind. But if we’re trying to score points for our own amusement, some of these work.”

      To even make arguments, you would need laws of logic. You use laws of logic, but you never account for their existence in the first place. Why would laws of logic exist in a materialistic universe?

      • Doubting Thomas

        I have to ask how you think the laws of logic came to be? You seem to be taking the mundane as extraordinary.

        • Damian Byrne

          Exactly. He seems to be of the opinion that sans a God, all would be chaos…but how does he know that or figure that out? Why would there be no laws of logic sans a God?

        • Doubting Thomas

          Maybe he thinks the laws of logic are prescriptive?

          I just find it odd that someone would be amazed that we figured out that an object couldn’t both be itself and not itself.

        • Pofarmer

          God Virus has his brain.

        • You’ve got God to thank for that, my friend.

      • Pofarmer

        Why would laws of logic exist in a materialistic universe?

        Why wouldn’t they?

      • Greg G.

        Why would laws of logic exist in a materialistic universe?

        The material world has a limited number of interactions so it can only act consistently with those interactions.

        Life is a chemical reaction that needs chemicals and energy. Those that can find the needed chemicals most accurately and efficiently while avoiding being consumed most prudently are successful. Sensory systems and information processing are strategies for this. The systems begin simple and become more complex. Heuristics are more efficient than trying to collect all information and processing that so we should not expect brains to be completely accurate unless they were designed by a divine being.

        When we separate the thought patterns into those that are always wrong, those the are usually wrong but prudent, and those that are usually right from those that are always right, we can call one group “fallacies” and the other group “logic”.

        There is no reason to think that logic requires a god thingy. Presuppositionalists are crazy. Why don’t you pray for your god thingy to inspire you with logical arguments before you post? Do you fail to pray because you know that never works or do you fail just because praying never works?

      • Why would laws of logic exist in a materialistic universe?

        You’re saying that, without a god, laws of logic wouldn’t exist? That’s a fascinating claim. Now defend it.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Would repeating the same claim over and over again count as defending it? What about backing the original claim with other bald assertions?

          If not, expect to be disappointed.

        • I curse my high standards!

        • al kimeea

          Are, are you asking for evidence? How dare you!!… ! Such an overrated word.

        • Paul

          Already did. How do you get something immaterial from something material?

        • I’m missing the difficulty. Courage (to take just one example) is immaterial, but it comes from society, which comes from material people. Is this a hard concept for you? I’d have thought it would be obvious.

          The laws of logic are also immaterial, but humans make them up based on evidence from reality.

          And a question isn’t an explanation, so let’s go back to the unanswered challenge: defend the idea that without a god logic wouldn’t exist (assuming that’s what you’re claiming).

        • MR

          Courage (to take just one example) is immaterial,

          I disagree. Courage is nothing more than a label we place on certain behaviors under certain circumstances. It isn’t a thing, be it material or immaterial.

        • Pofarmer

          This gets into various kinds of philsophies which, frankly, I find ridiculous and makes my head hurt. It’s kinda the difference between Aristotle and Plato.

        • Kodie

          It’s a noun that describes a relationship or emotion. People like Paul are mystified by the fact they even have emotions, or that we have emotions and can deny evidence of a god or objective morality. Morality is the word we use in the language to describe behavior, and behavior is the word we use in the language to describe what we do. Different people can behave the same way due to different motivations. Motivation is the word we use in the language to describe the reason we behave like we do. Different people can behave morally toward other people out of fear of the judgment of their invisible friend, or because it makes them feel socially inclusive, and some people can be motivated to label their behavior moral because of their beliefs that their imaginary friend will judge them, i.e., plenty of “objectively moral” Christians believe it’s loving to deny homosexuals rights, or deny women abortions, or separate children from their parents at the border, and also to socialize their female children to submit to their future male husband, who will own them as chattel, and teach their children that science is a conspiracy against biblical “WORLDVIEWS”, i.e., that is the “objectively moral” code of conduct, and everyone else is wicked.

          I mean, isn’t Paul the one who started in with “interpreted through your worldview” shit this round? How to treat each other, interpreted through your worldview (a concept that seems bullshit propaganda by the Xtians to justify theirs), is not objective morality.

        • Greg G.

          How do you get something immaterial from something material?

          How does swimming come from a fish?

        • Kodie

          People make symbols, i.e. language to describe relationships between people and things. Grocery store isn’t just a building or a brand, it’s full of other things, particular kinds of things, so when someone says “grocery store,” you don’t think they meant pizza place or liquor store. If I say bread, you know what bread is. If I say I ate the bread, you know what ate means, without seeing me eat, seeing bread, or going to the grocery store with me. Are words things that exist because of print? I didn’t eat the printed word of bread that I bought with money at the printed words “grocery store”. Are words material?

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Laws of Logic are DEscriptive, not PREscriptive.

        Therefore, they’re merely codifications of regular patterns in observations.

        No origin fable needed.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Are you suggesting that humans were incapable of rational thought prior to abstracting descriptive logical laws?

      • Rudy R

        Since you are still pressing atheists about laws of logic and the materialistic universe, you can start by replying to my comment to you here at https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/christian_cowardice_and_the_suicide_tactic_07/#comment-4415631141

        • Susan

          you can start by replying to my comment to you

          Paul has been here before and doesn’t respond to comments. Except to hit the reset button.

          He keeps insinuating that everything requires Yahwehjesus, ignores the replies, and never shows a connection between Yahwehjesus and the the things that he implies require Yahwehjesus.

          i.e. He just repeats bad apologetics without examining them. Even when prompted respectfully.

      • Kodie

        You can’t account for laws of logic by inventing a god to invent them for you. Furthermore, you break the laws of logic by inventing a god to invent them for you.

      • DanD

        Because cause and effect are required by a material universe (at least this one). Logic is simply a method of tracking down cause and effect.

  • Duncan Robert Bryson

    There IS evidence for Santa Clause. Children get up on Christmas morning and find presents left by Santa. That PROVES he exists. Seriously, that’s how religion works. Children are TOLD Santa exists and they BELIEVE it. They find the EVIDENCE ergo the presents PROVE the lie. No different from indoctrinating young people in religion. It’s what the Nazis did through the Hitler Youth.

  • Gary Fowler

    “2) Jesus never existed.”

    “Immaculate conception”? Uh huh yeah sure gimme a break. Virgins don’t get pregnant today. They didn’t then, either. Jesus never lived. If he did, he certainly was not the “son of god.” He was either the son of Joseph or son of the milkman. “Hello-o-o! Milk delivery! Anybody home?” LOL

    • Brian Carter

      Good pint Gary. In my sceptical view, pregnancy in young girls was common then, as it is today. But if your culture punishes pregnant girls, perhaps abused by an uncle(!?), then there is a need to protest your innocence, often with an equal desire within the family to protect their ‘honour’. So, maybe ‘virgin pregnancy’ was very common then…

      • Len

        Good pint Gary

        So it was the milkman.

    • Hrafn

      You do realise that the “Immaculate Conception” is not the same as the Virgin Birth? The former is the (purported) birth of Mary, free from Original Sin.

      • izraulhidashi

        If a girl told you she was a pregnant virgin, would you believe her?

        • Gary Fowler

          The only way she could be a pregnant virgin is if she had gone to a fertility clinic, which all has to do with human technology that did not exist 2,000 years ago.

      • Tangent: If Mary is to bear the son of God, she has to be a perfect vessel, so she must be the result of an immaculate conception … but then why not just declare that Jesus’s conception was immaculate and be done with it?

        You can take zero steps or infinite steps, but one step (Mary’s conception was immaculate by definition) makes no sense.

        • Hrafn

          Also, if God can make Mary’s conception Immaculate, why can’t he do that for everybody, and simply wipe out Original Sin by divine fiat?

        • Greg G.

          Excellent point. Why not do an immaculate conception about once per year during Eve’s fertile years? Problem solved forever without torture and suffering.

          Why not put Jesus in Eden instead of Adam?

          Omniscient, my ass.

        • Hrafn

          It would make for great omnibenevolent care for his creation, but a really really boring religious narrative: ‘God created the universe, everybody lives happily ever after, the end.’

        • Pofarmer

          Where’s the guilt in that?

        • Hrafn

          God as stereotypical Jewish mother?

        • Pofarmer

          I was thinking Catholic, but Ok.

        • Greg G.

          What’s worse: Catholic guilt or Jewish guilt?
          https://thetylt.com/culture/catholic-guilt-or-jewish-guilt

        • Cynthia

          LOL. Good description of the difference.

        • Kodie

          God is such a fuck-up with planning. Blames the people for fucking it up. What an asshole.

      • Gary Fowler

        In my opinion, Darwin was correct. Human beings descended from apes.

        “Original Sin” is a made-up, bullshit term found only in the Hol(e)y Bible. There isn’t any such thing as “sin” or “original sin.” The is no “God” or “Satan.” There is no “Heaven” or “Hell.” There was no “Adam and Eve.” There was no “serpent” that tempted anyone to do anything. “Lucifer” is not a fallen angel. Mankind is not fallen, and needs no “saving.”

        It’s a bullshit, fearmongering story to pack the churches with gullible people, all hoping to get to a nonexistent place called “Heaven.”

        Isn’t the Immaculate Conception the made-up story about how Jesus Christ was conceived within Mary? That would have been nine months before the “Virgin Birth” that never happened. When I was a believer, my pastor’s story went that since God was all powerful, he simply waved his hand, and a seed miraculously appeared within Mary that fertilized her egg. A seed that “miraculously” also contained the required number of chromosomes and all other cell structures. Uh huh. Yeah. Sure.

        If Christ did live, he had a human father, and his mother was no virgin.

        Church officials only tell such stories to generate faith, so a majority of people never ask any questions.

        Well, after too much of it that didn’t make any sense, I said to hell with faith and started asking questions.

        Because, you see, “all powerful God” was somehow never able to provide my church, nor any other, with any cash or other assets.

        As a child, I heard a lot of nonsense “miracle” stories like that i.e., Jesus walking on water, turning water into wine, the raising of Lazarus when he’d been dead for 72 hours, etc. These stories are told only on the belief that Christ really was the “Son of God,” which is bullshit. Christ, if he lived at all, never performed any such miracles. This is why parents get their children into the church early, with their minds still open to receive, consider, and accept such falsehoods and bullshit as true.

        Today I know it’s all just a lot of bullshit. Miracles don’t happen today, and they never did.

        • I take it you were raised in a Christian environment?

        • Greg G.

          Isn’t the Immaculate Conception the made-up story about how Jesus Christ was conceived within Mary?

          AIUI, the Immaculate Conception is about Mary’s conception, so that she wouldn’t stain Jesus. Yes, they had to keep inventing ad hoc explanations to their ad hoc explanations.

        • It’s like your mom always told you: telling the truth is so much easier, so you don’t have a cloud of lies behind you that you always need to juggle to rationalize.

          Jesus is perfect, so therefore Mary must be, so therefore … but somehow it doesn’t need to go beyond Mary’s conception.

        • Damian Byrne

          Jesus is perfect, so therefore Mary must be, so therefore … but somehow it doesn’t need to go beyond Mary’s conception.

          That’s the one thing that ought to sink Roman Catholicism, at the very least (former Roman Catholic here). According to the doctrine, Jesus is perfect, free from any stain of sin. However, what about him being born of a fallible, imperfect human mother? Hmm…well the “obvious” solution to this little crisis is that God preserved her from any stain of sin while she was in her own mother’s womb.

          Now wait a gosh dang minute there. What just happened? Did God just…prevent sin from doing its thing? Did he just allow a sin-free human, who is not his only begotten son to be born? But…I thought that sin was something Jesus was supposed to deal with! Oh wait, what’s that, Mr. Catholic Apologist? Jesus’s conquest of sin had effects that rippled backwards through time?

        • Kodie

          This whole plan to save humanity taking several generations to even get going is so fucking stupid.

        • Hrafn

          I was not supporting the historicity of either the Virgin Birth or the Immaculate Conception (hence my explicit “purported” above), merely pointing out that they are two separate claims (albeit both claims relating to the purported origins of Jesus).

          Your lengthy post therefore seems to be a complete non sequitor to my post that it was purporting to be a reply to.

    • izraulhidashi

      Actually there were 2 men named Jesus in village of Qana, Lebanon. They had to refer to them by association of relatives, such as “Jesus, son of Mary.” And because everybody was a Mary, Mary would be “Mary, sister of Jacob.” And both Jesus’ had sisters named Mary. One was an older, the other Mary, sister of Jesus, son of Mary, was his younger sister. It’s believed he had at least 3 or 4, possibly older, which is most likely why no one can find their names anywhere. lol

      • Greg G.

        The Gospel of John gives the names of four women and three of them are named Mary. The fourth is Martha who has a sister named Mary. John does not give the name of Jesus’ mother but does say that one of the other Marys is her sister.

    • anne marie hovgaard

      Of course virgins can get pregnant today; artificial impregnation is a thing.

  • Amy

    I thought these were supposed to be bad arguments; you seemed to show clearly why we don’t believe in a god.

    • The Christian author claims that these are bad atheist arguments. My rebuttal is that he’s mostly wrong.

  • izraulhidashi

    Question… If someone over 21 has magical sex with a 13 year old virgin, would that make them a pedophile…or is there a gray area?

    • al kimeea

      VatiCorp age of consent is 12, so…

  • izraulhidashi

    Another question.. If I greet and depart with people using the phrase “Peace Be Upon You,” which in my native language of Aramaic is actually pronounced “Asalamualykum,” and I also pray on my face everyday (Mathew 26:39) would I still be considered an Irish Catholic?

  • izraulhidashi

    One more question…If I was actually born in Lebanon, more specifically in the district of Phoenicia, of lower Galilee, and my whole family is Lebanese, specifically from the town of Qana, Lebanon, and our native language is Aramaic, not Hebrew…can I still be a Jew born in Jerusalem, or do I have to remain Lebanese?

    I’m sure that may sound silly to all the professional experts here, but unless you know my last name, or knew that my grandparents names were, “Joachim & Hanna Omram,” a Lebanese couple from Qana, Lebanon, you just may want to choose your words carefully….

  • izraulhidashi

    One last question… If a girl claimed she was a pregnant virgin today, is there anyone here who would actually believe her?

    Because if the “I had sex with God” card would seem legit to anyone here, please don’t hesitate to speak up…

    Anyone?

    • Greg G.

      If a girl claimed she was a pregnant virgin today, is there anyone here who would actually believe her?

      There are Christians who believe that Trump is a Christian despite his Easter speech being more about the Easter Bunny, eggs, and himself, of course, than Jesus, so we should not expect there to be no Christians that would accept the possibility.

      Apparently, it seemed quite plausible two thousand years ago. Everybody knows about the Testimonium Flavianum at Antiquities of the Jews 18.3.3 but the next passage is The Seduction of Paulina about a beautiful, virtuous woman who was flattered that a god wished to sleep with her.

      Antiquities of the Jews 18.3.4 §65-80
      4. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs. There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character. Decius Mundus fell in love with this woman, who was a man very high in the equestrian order; and as she was of too great dignity to be caught by presents, and had already rejected them, though they had been sent in great abundance, he was still more inflamed with love to her, insomuch that he promised to give her two hundred thousand Attic drachmae for one night’s lodging; and when this would not prevail upon her, and he was not able to bear this misfortune in his amours, he thought it the best way to famish himself to death for want of food, on account of Paulina’s sad refusal; and he determined with himself to die after such a manner, and he went on with his purpose accordingly. Now Mundus had a freed-woman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skillful in all sorts of mischief. This woman was very much grieved at the young man’s resolution to kill himself, (for he did not conceal his intentions to destroy himself from others,) and came to him, and encouraged him by her discourse, and made him to hope, by some promises she gave him, that he might obtain a night’s lodging with Paulina; and when he joyfully hearkened to her entreaty, she said she wanted no more than fifty thousand drachmae for the entrapping of the woman. So when she had encouraged the young man, and gotten as much money as she required, she did not take the same methods as had been taken before, because she perceived that the woman was by no means to be tempted by money; but as she knew that she was very much given to the worship of the goddess Isis, she devised the following stratagem: She went to some of Isis’s priests, and upon the strongest assurances [of concealment], she persuaded them by words, but chiefly by the offer of money, of twenty-five thousand drachmae in hand, and as much more when the thing had taken effect; and told them the passion of the young man, and persuaded them to use all means possible to beguile the woman. So they were drawn in to promise so to do, by that large sum of gold they were to have. Accordingly, the oldest of them went immediately to Paulina; and upon his admittance, he desired to speak with her by herself. When that was granted him, he told her that he was sent by the god Anubis, who was fallen in love with her, and enjoined her to come to him. Upon this she took the message very kindly, and valued herself greatly upon this condescension of Anubis, and told her husband that she had a message sent her, and was to sup and lie with Anubis; so he agreed to her acceptance of the offer, as fully satisfied with the chastity of his wife. Accordingly, she went to the temple, and after she had supped there, and it was the hour to go to sleep, the priest shut the doors of the temple, when, in the holy part of it, the lights were also put out. Then did Mundus leap out, (for he was hidden therein,) and did not fail of enjoying her, who was at his service all the night long, as supposing he was the god; and when he was gone away, which was before those priests who knew nothing of this stratagem were stirring, Paulina came early to her husband, and told him how the god Anubis had appeared to her. Among her friends, also, she declared how great a value she put upon this favor, who partly disbelieved the thing, when they reflected on its nature, and partly were amazed at it, as having no pretense for not believing it, when they considered the modesty and the dignity of the person. But now, on the third day after what had been done, Mundus met Paulina, and said, “Nay, Paulina, thou hast saved me two hundred thousand drachmae, which sum thou sightest have added to thy own family; yet hast thou not failed to be at my service in the manner I invited thee. As for the reproaches thou hast laid upon Mundus, I value not the business of names; but I rejoice in the pleasure I reaped by what I did, while I took to myself the name of Anubis.” When he had said this, he went his way. But now she began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments, and told her husband of the horrid nature of this wicked contrivance, and prayed him not to neglect to assist her in this case. So he discovered the fact to the emperor; whereupon Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, and ordered them to be crucified, as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition, and who had contrived the whole matter, which was so injurious to the woman. He also demolished the temple of Isis, and gave order that her statue should be thrown into the river Tiber; while he only banished Mundus, but did no more to him, because he supposed that what crime he had committed was done out of the passion of love. And these were the circumstances which concerned the temple of Isis, and the injuries occasioned by her priests. I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would.

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    I’ve got evidence of Santa Claus!
    On Christmas morning there was a pile of wrapped gifts under the tree and someone had eaten the cookies and scotch i had left out!

    • Greg G.

      That was your place? I remember the cookies and scotch but I don’t know what I did with the presents I was carrying.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        You were just supposed to drink what was in the glass, not empty the bottle in the liquor cabinet, too

        • Greg G.

          Oops. Is it too late to apologize?

  • Pofarmer

    Apparently argument number two has some philosophical support.

    https://www.academia.edu/38953504/Why_Jesus_Most_Probably_Never_Existed_Ehrmans_Double_Standards

    • It seems that Jesus mythicism is getting a lot of attention from people on both sides of the question. I wonder if 10 years from now it’ll be a mainstream conclusion.

      • Pofarmer

        I dunno. It would certainly seem the only ones who can bring new ideas to the table are mythicists.

      • I’m just now beginning another anthology, this time of mythicist scholars. The goal is to see where they agree and disagree among themselves, and to see if one theory rises to the top over the others.

        • I’ll be interested to read that.

          I wonder if the Moses transition from historical figure to legend is how things will play out for Jesus.

      • JEKinTX

        Not even Richard Carrier or Robert Price writes off a narrow possibility that there was some preacher named Jesus or a conglomeration of 1st Century preachers that the stories are based but basically it has no bearing at all on the supernatural claims being true so the Gospel Jesus is so highly unlikely that it reasonable to go with what we know about life and conclude that there is insufficient evidence for such claims and treat it just like we do other similar claims.

        • Not even Richard Carrier or Robert Price writes off a narrow possibility that there was some preacher named Jesus

          Right. Me, neither.

          but basically it has no bearing at all on the supernatural claims being true

          Both scholars start the mythicist question from the assumption that the supernatural claims are not true.

    • Rudy R

      I share the author’s position. We have no real evidence that would make a purely human Jesus existing more probable than not. I find it damning that the small, and mostly Christian, New Testament scholar’s would approach their conclusion as a binary decision: is or is not a human. The Christian scholars cannot approach it any other way. Being Christian is prima facie that Jesus existed, so historians coming to a conclusion that Jesus is XX% probable to have existed would be contrary to their belief system, so the binary conclusion is the only option for coming to a conclusion to whether Jesus existed or not.

    • epeeist

      I would be careful about academia.edu, it is essentially a social networking site for which virtually anyone can register. You might want to have a glance at the other material produced by Narve Strand, he is supposedly an “independent scholar”. I used have discussions with someone who called himself “futurehuman” on the Guardian website, he also classed himself as an independent scholar, also “published” on academia.edu and claimed that Einstein’s GR was wrong because it ran counter to Marxist dialectics…

      • Pofarmer

        I had checked on Strands CV before I posted that link and he seemed legit.

        http://independentresearcher.academia.edu/NarveStrand/CurriculumVitae

      • I read a couple of articles from academia, which might’ve been a mistake. Now I get spam telling me how many zillions of articles reference me. They’ll tell me which ones once I sign up for the Premium subscription.

        • Greg G.

          That sounds a little bit like prostitution. If you pay them, they will stroke your ego.

  • JP

    If Jesus didn’t exist Christianity is false. If God does not exist, Christianity is false. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is false.

    • Greg G.

      1 Corinthians 15:19 (NRSV)19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    • Lifelessly

      A Jesus character could have existed but was puzzling scientific breakthrough back then consider a miracle maybe Jesus was a seriously smart and advance man back then who knows

      • Lifelessly

        I mean all folklore and myth or history starts some where

        • MR

          Yes, but folklore and myth could also start with a simple story, an attempt to rationalize something, to explain something, to illustrate a point, to manipulate people, it could start with a lie, a misunderstanding, a misinterpretation, or any number of things…. It doesn’t mean that some core person or event had to actually exist or happen.

        • Kodie

          A real person can by mythologized, i.e. the legacy of that person is much grander than their accomplishments in life, or even just one person/family/school/country’s forceful spin on the person’s life. For example, for one example, my friend growing up had a father who married her mother, but her biological father was a mystery. A soldier. I don’t know what her mother told her (she said he was Italian), but people keep secrets too. My friend fantasized that her real father was royalty, and that she was really a princess and he would someday come to reveal her true life (this also happens in movies a lot*)! Some single moms concoct comforting stories for their children why their father needed to abandon them, and some single moms concoct new images for themselves to start over in a new country… not always a new country, but it was, in that case.

          *Fiction, reading, movies, etc., can relate to humanity, as in, I could just make up a person that sounds like an actual person to you. I give them a real-sounding name. Characters are typically based on personal experience and observation of actual people. Some might even be closely based on an actual person with details and names changed. If you were guessing how the world started a long time ago, you might make up a god and a man and all the creation details and a mate that helped him populate the world with all the people you see now. If you don’t really know, that sounds like a decent guess, or a neat little story, as all cultures have traditional stories. A tortoise and a hare didn’t really get in a running race. If you were summing up the mood 2000 years ago in the biblical areas, you might make a story using a real guy’s kind of name and his crew, and his girlfriend, and his mother, it all could be based on a guy, or a composite of guys, and oh yeah, it has a happy ending that sticks in the legend for all time, taken literally, by many people who recognize that humans make up stories, and believe things that aren’t true, and might embellish stories they believe that aren’t true, so that they sound even more awesome. I could write a story about a character based loosely on my friend’s mom, the soldier, her adopted dad, and embellish lots of details to fit a narrative, and even have this biological dad come find my friend, and turns out she is a princess, but by now, she has her own accomplishments and abdicates. Maybe I can sell it as a Lifetime channel movie.

          What’s weird is when people don’t just feel happy for the characters as they had suspended their disbelief, but because I’m so credible, the story has the whiff of plausibility that they repeat it, and it becomes actual. Shit like that happens all the time.

        • MR

          Shit like that happens all the time.

        • Kodie

          One would think people would be able to recognize that this shit happens all the time, and be able to compare 2 like things.

        • Lifelessly

          Yeah but I rather be alittle more optimistic I mean I agree on what you said but some shit happens can not be explained by normal means like the breakthrough movie

        • MR

          Err…, first of all, it’s a movie. It’s a movie made by people with an agenda. Just because it is rare for someone to come out of something like that with their wits doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The doctors said it would be unlikely. Not impossible. They have to prepare people for the worst. Thank the medical responders for saving his life, thank the doctors, thank modern medicine. So, yes, it can be explained by normal means.

          People believe what they want to believe. That doesn’t make something true. People can be superstitious and they can be gullible. Think about how people believe in miracles in their own religion, but are skeptical of other people’s religion. “Ha ha, those other people will believe anything, but zomg! look what happened to my cousin’s wife’s sister!!!”

          I’ve told before about a dear family friend who got a rare cancer. She prayed fervently, her congregation prayed fervently and by gosh she was healed, praise God! She also participated in clinical trials, flying out to California every few months for treatment, she changed her diet, ate only organic, exercised regularly, lost a ton of weight, and adopted other lifestyle changes. She and her doctors did all the work but God got the glory.

          The story people craft for themselves and for others isn’t always the whole truth, and some stories aren’t true at all. How do you decide? Should you just believe what people tell you? Should you fall for the movie version?

          The cancer came back in my friend, by the way. She died of it a few years later. We don’t talk about that. People like to cling to their beliefs.

        • Lifelessly

          Sorry I m omptimistic

        • MR

          Optimism is good. Be careful of gullibility. 😉

        • Lifelessly

          Yeah thanks man

        • Lifelessly

          Like I only agree to some of what they say is because I mean it will be sad if all there is darkness waiting in the after life for everyone I mean it only make sense to cling to the hope of a supposed god by those people and do whatever it takes to enforce these ideas

        • Greg G.

          When your brain stops working, there won’t even be darkness. You won’t worry about it. Until then, make the best of the life you have left. It is finite.

          If there is no afterlife, it is a waste of the finite life worrying about it. If there is an afterlife, you are going to feel silly for eternity about the waste of the finite life spent worrying about it.

        • Lifelessly

          Yeah true I feel better thanks man

        • Kodie

          it will be sad if all there is darkness waiting in the after life

          If you think you will be conscious enough to be sad after your brain dies, you don’t understand death.

        • Lifelessly

          Yeah since I not dead yet I said that with full intention in thinking this during my life time

        • MR

          I said that with full intention in thinking this during my life time

          because I mean it will be sad if all there is darkness waiting in the after life for everyone

          “It will be…, during my lifetime….” At what point in the future do you plan to be sad about it? What will the point of being sad about it be?

        • Lifelessly

          Oh don’t know when I might die it what I saying doesn’t help that I think things to much into things ok now stop Riding me on this I gotten over this already

        • MR

          I see. I misunderstood. You will be sad, (or at least, might be sad) when your death is imminent. I could understand that. I’m glad you’ve gotten over it already though. That is good.

        • Lifelessly

          Yeah I was one of those people besides I wasn’t talking about me in the first place I was talking about people in religion that the only reason they don’t side with you atheist is that reason above and that got me think for a while but now I got over it your absolutely right why stay tied to a god you should just be enjoying this finite lives of ours

        • Lifelessly

          I got all into this relgious nonsense thanks to a channel in YouTube and a report on my newsfeed label end of days france betrays America and endless love ministry of Jesus Christ

        • MR

          Well, they’re not mutually exclusive. My concern is more, does God exist? Why stayed tied to the story of a god?

        • Lifelessly

          I rather not believe in a god your second answer is because people back then are mutually igonarant and superstition I guess anything they can’t explain they consider it a mircle of god as a quick and easy way out now the question do you think god exist

        • MR

          Your message is confusing. How does one “rather not” believe in something? Can you do that with snakes or disease? I’d rather not believe in them, but it doesn’t do much good. There is good evidence they exist.

          Secondly, earlier you were ready to believe in miracles, but now you’d “rather not?”

        • Lifelessly

          Huh maybe I should stop commenting I confusing the hell out of people let just say I can’t deny something that just because it can’t be explained through normal means but I don’t acknowledge it either so I rather not believe the existence of god beacuse my life would be easier that way

        • Lifelessly

          I will end this conversation by saying I do not believe in the god of the bible I am relgious just not so extreme like Christan but I do agree with the atheist point too also just to clarify I not Christian

        • MR

          The more you comment, the better you’ll get at communicating. Sentences with punctuation would help. 😉

          let just say I can’t deny something that just because it can’t be explained through normal means

          I guess my point about that was that it can be explained by other means. People chose to explain it by supernatural means, but it seems to me that the evidence for the supernatural is sketchy. You mentioned that “people back then are mutually ignorant and superstitious,” but that is also true today.

          so I rather not believe the existence of god because my life would be easier that way

          I think in that statement you are mistaken and should reconsider why you should believe or not believe in something. Think of the people who would rather not believe that vaccinations are a good thing because it would make their life easier. They put everyone, including themselves and their families, at risk. “Because my life would be easier” is not a good reason to believe or not believe something. “Because there is good evidence that it is true,” would be good evidence for something. Believing in something because it would make your life easier would make you no different that the ignorant and superstitious people “back then,” don’t you think?

        • Lifelessly

          Yeah your right I use to think but not anymore thanks ok I done commenting on this I made my point already

        • Kodie

          Sentences with punctuation would help

          Punctuation is over-rated.

          Believing in something because it would make your life easier would make
          you no different that the ignorant and superstitious people “back
          then,” don’t you think?

          I cannot imagine what would be easier about believing in a god or gods. I guess people find comfort in thinking, when things are bad, that there’s a reason for it, and motivate you to find that reason and be thankful for a hardship (making it more palatable to deal with), but you can do that without reason or an omni-being. It’s basically a function of being alive. We call it a lot of things, like “wake-up call,” or “rock bottom” or… you know, just being a person in society and consumers of popular culture, there are recalls and reminders all over the place. Socialization, influence, motivation. If someone close to you dies young, for example, you’re naturally going to feel sad for them, and more conscious (at least temporarily) of the value of your life, that you want to make some changes. It’s like New Year’s Day, you make a resolution every time someone dies, and maybe you don’t keep it, maybe you do. I think god-believers give more credit to god for regular human concepts and emotional responses, as though it’s a sign to get on board, to give your life a little purpose… to yourself. When god-believers think they have to serve a purpose on earth, their confirmation that they are fulfilling it is to themselves, like when you feel good about your day, you feel accomplished, you feel you are making a difference, etc., they take that emotion as a sign.

          I think that is the poison they are infected with. Every little thing is a sign from god, misappropriated by religions from the normal behavior of being human and reacting like a typical socialized human.

        • MR

          Punctuation is over-rated.

          But not to be entirely ignored.

          We call it a lot of things, like “wake-up call,” or “rock bottom” or…

          Also just being a mature adult.

          I think that is the poison they are infected with. Every little thing is a sign from god, misappropriated by religions from the normal behavior of being human and reacting like a typical socialized human.

          Excellent.

        • Lifelessly

          Don’t know it probably easier for people to explain the unexplainable but I consider that lazy

        • Lifelessly

          Hey do you know about the story of panida the Muslim woman who’s about to suicide but Jesus save her mom that story just wanna get your opinion on that story I not being guillalbe I just curious on a atheist point of veiw of this so call miracle story

        • MR

          I’m not aware of the story. Can you tell me what makes the story believable? So far from what you told me I’d say, if a Christian claimed that her mother was saved by some Muslim prophet so she converted to Islam, should that be enough information for me to believe it really happened that way? Just because she believes it doesn’t mean Jesus had anything to do with it. How do you verify that Jesus actually intervened?

        • Lifelessly

          Well actually I doubt the story too so little evidences they just spoke the story once and never again and most of the story is a copy of the original one with no origanal link to it too and the pastor I tried to search for some evidence he spoke with her beside from the video there no evidence for it so I really doubt it’s a legit testimony but I still want to get your input

        • MR

          Emotion, testimony, strong belief are powerful influences on us humans, but consider that every religion uses these same tactics. They can’t all be right. And they could all be wrong. You need something more.

          Imagine if this were in a court of law. You don’t just take someone’s word that something happened, right? In this case we’re taking the video makers’ word, so we’re even another step removed. Does this girl even exist? If she exists, did she lie? Did the mother lie? Did they exaggerate the situation? Was she mistaken in her interpretation? Did the film makers faithfully explain what actually happened? Do we have testimony from the doctors? From the mother? From family or friends? Did the doctors record this as a miracle? I can think of a thousand unanswered questions that a judge would need to consider. All I see presented is an emotional appeal.

        • Lifelessly

          Yeah your right thanks if I had ask someone outside this blog they give me more generic bullshit response instead of answer my question they just string me along

        • MR

          Well, they might not intentionally string you along. People usually honestly believe, but they don’t always examine their beliefs closely. Best of luck.

        • Lifelessly

          I doubt it too I just wanna get a atheist point of veiw it to hard to explain so I copy down the link address to the video
          Here 2 of them
          “SUICIDAL MUSLIM WOMAN CHALLENGED JESUS AND THEN THIS MIRACLE HAPPENED !!”

          “Muslim Woman Gives Jesus One Week To Prove Himself Before Ending Her Life. Then This Happens!”

        • MR

          I don’t know why it would necessarily be an atheist point of view. Christians can be skeptical of claims, too. Look at those two headlines you provided. Those are both classic click-bait style headlines. That should cause anyone to be skeptical.

          The story itself seems to be based on typical propaganda. It’s an appeal to emotions… dying mother, distraught daughter. Notice that even when you first described it to me, you were focused on the emotional aspect more than on the alleged claim of a miracle.

          The video, too, is all about emotion and is based on someone’s supposed “testimonial,” not evidence. It’s a supposed reenactment, with no way to verify actual facts. Did this even happen? Did it happen as described? Is there third party verification? I mean, there are a lot of unanswered questions. To my mind, the video is obviously propaganda meant to manipulate our emotions. Where is the actual evidence? Anyone can craft a story or embellish a story to make it emotionally appealing, but should I just believe every video I see on YouTube?

          I’ve seen enough of this kind of thing to be skeptical. It’s emotion based; it’s particularly appealing to a Christian audience because a scary Muslim came over to our side, Yay us!; it throws in doctors who “can’t explain” what happened, hence miracle. But facts? It’s light on facts. It’s light on believability. I mean, like I said, would you be convinced if the same story were used to promote Islam? People believe stuff that isn’t true all the time. How do I verify that something is true?

          What kind of evidence do you think I should accept before I believe something is true?

        • Lifelessly

          From what I know atheist blog like these provides a less bias toward response than any typical believers if I just ask this to anyone they will mostly give this generic response “amen Christ is great he the Lord” or some other generic response and I not trying to convince you I just wanted someone else opinion and yeah I agree to these video seem sketchy very little evidences to support this video .fake names were used and all the video appear to be done by one person with a different title each time and very few pastor reviewed this only a few one call horomoz shriat and a tv evangelist name bill salaus every did a Review on this

        • MR

          What kind of evidence do you think would be sound?

        • Kodie

          I don’t see a link in there or what site you say you got it from. Sounds like fake tabloid stuff.

        • Lifelessly

          No site just a video just copy the text and put it on YouTube or Chrome or whatever internet you use barely mention once and that’s it

        • Lifelessly

          I want a atheist point of veiw if a Christian saw this they will no doubt call me a blashemer or some other nonsense like heratic or some other bullshit

        • Lifelessly

          I tired of hearing “great testimony” or “gods great” from the mindless sheep’s peanut gallery or people getting there heads bashed in just for simple ly thinks its a fake testimony or it’s fake they payed the actors to say this which I am incling to agree I mean breakthrough and the girl with the tumor miracle evidence seems more compleing than this those have some eye withness with some evidence to back up but this seems like a one time story and that it no other pastor did a video or story on this beside a guy name horomoz shriat and Billy salaus but they were on time story and that it and with horomoz shriat no evidence he talk to someone like that so I highly doubt this

        • Greg G.

          How many successful suicides were there during that time where Jesus sat on his thumbs?

        • Lifelessly

          Who knows probably enough to fit up half of a suppose hell of bible

        • JEKinTX

          Do you bemoan the nonexistence”you” had prior to becoming alive? I think not. It is equally a waste of time to bemoan the idea of not being here again when you die. I understand it is sad to see others pass (particularly if you were close to them) and you may carry that the rest of your life and that’s understandable. I wish we could all live as long as we wanted to live whatever that may be but only if there is some level of appreciable quality of life and horrors and suffering is not the norm. Personally, the only thing that I have with death is whether or not I’ve done enough before that time to express my love to my friends, family, and others and whether or not I have been able to pass along some wisdom or useful knowledge. Well, also the point of leaving something for my wife if she survives me to live without a great deal of struggle.

        • MR

          Remember, you weren’t sad about it before you were born. We won’t be sad about it after we’re gone. Enjoy what we have now.

          Casting aside other things, hold to the precious few; and besides bear in mind that every man lives only this present time, which is an indivisible point, and that all the rest of his life is either past or it is uncertain. Short then is the time which every man lives, and small the nook of the earth where he lives –Marcus Aurelius

  • DanD

    It’s easier to disprove Santa than it is God, because Santa is supposed to produce tangible evidence. When you’re a kid, the presents show up, the cookies get eaten, etc. When you grow up, you learn that those things were produced by something that is not Santa. Therefore no Santa. Santa is falsifiable.

    Since God is never claimed to make a tangible change in our lives, it’s not possible to disprove. Not falsifiable. So I agree that believing in god is not the same as believing in Santa, but only because one of them is in a position where their existence, or lack there of (as opposed to their believer’s existence) has a direct impact on our lives.

    • God is testable also. Jesus says that prayer works. Test that, and you’ll discover that it’s a false promise.