Wayne Conner showed up underneath one of my real dialogues with an atheist, and gave us a quintessential display of the hypocrisy and essential silliness of the “angry”-type, sophistical atheist, who demands “evidence” for why the Christian believes as he does, and then mocks and ignores it when it is provided. It’s all just a big game, folks. Don’t waste time with people like this! I did, only to illustrate an important point. His words will be in blue.
None of this matters. If you are making an assertion for the existence of something, be it God, the Loch Ness monster or invisible unicorns on Uranus, you need provide evidence for that claim. What do you know and how do you know it? Going off into the weeds of morality arguments is a waste of time.
Glad to oblige:
Seriously Kalam and the watchmaker arguments? William Lane Craig? This horse is so dead, even his ghost was beaten to death ages ago. All this demonstrates is that you know how to cut and paste links on the internet and if you haven’t run across a counter argument to any of these claims then I highly recommend heading over to rationalwiki and doing some reading.
And none of those links answer the questions:
1. What is it that YOU claim to know?
2. What is the evidence for why you believe it?
Pointing me to the guy on the history channel saying “ALIENS!” doesn’t tell me what you believe about UFOs or why, any more than pointing me at WLC tells me what your personal religious beliefs are and why you believe them.
The usual pseudo-answer from a certain sort of pompous, bigoted atheist . . . You ask for evidence; it’s provided and then immediately mocked and dismissed. But provide it I did. If I hadn’t, then I’d be mocked (as you have already done) for exercising blind faith in things like unicorns. We can’t win, no matter what we do, with your attitude. And that’s the whole game with this mentality you exhibit: the atheist is the smart guy and the theist is always the troglodyte dumbbell.
It was precisely this sort of attitude you display that made me do the post above, “Why I Collect Scholarly Links for Atheists.”
But in the end you’re the loser if you go through life with that glaring blind spot and double standard.
If you want my particular reasons for why I believe as I do, and want to see my scores and scores of dialogues and debates with atheists, then go to my atheist web page. Go knock yourself out, seeing what I believe and why I do. Perhaps after that an actual conversation may occur, rather than your asinine juvenile chest-puffing and smirking.
And you are woefully ignorant of biblical theology as well (I can tell after perusing your comments on Disqus).
First of all, you chose to respond to me not the other way around
Exactly. You haven’t responded yet. All you’ve done is preach and condescend. If I hadn’t interjected reason into our “dialogue” there would be none. We would have only the Loch Ness monster, unicorns, and Zeus.
and when I was not blown away by your two minute cut and paste job of apologetics I’ve heard and debated a thousand times over,
That’s how you describe scholarly articles that had exactly to do with what you required of me: “you need provide evidence for [God]. What do you know and how do you know it?” Fascinating. But like you, I have debated these things a thousand times, and you are as typical of the atheist response as a bark is typical of a dog, or a bite typifies a mosquito. If this nonsense is what you call a “debate” I ain’t interested.
you got butt hurt.
I’m perfectly fine. If I’m anything, it’s amused at the utter inanity and stupidity of your approach. You just don’t get it.
Secondly, I’ve said nothing bigoted or derogatory about you,
Implying that someone is an idiot and imbecile simply because they believe in God is indeed a personal attack, because it is a lie about someone else.
yet when backed into a corner about providing specifics about what you believe,
Which I massively provided . . .
you lash out with ad hominem attacks.
Rather, I lashed out with a blistering critique of your atrocious method of “arguing” . . . I don’t know a thing about you except that you are altogether typical (textbook case!) of the pompous, proverbially “angry” atheist (i.e., a relatively small sub-group of atheists particularly common online) who looks down his nose at Christians. I certainly know that much about you, and it is that to which I have responded. If I didn’t know from your comments to me, I certainly would from your other comments on Disqus. For example:
The thought of trying to console myself with myths created by people who didn’t know where the sun went at night and believed that diseases were the work of the devil, just seems absolutely ridiculous to me. [link]
My meaning and morality are not stuck in the bronze age. . . . Biblical texts are frozen in time and often represent cultural norms that modern people find abhorrent (slavery, genocide, capital punishment for noncapital crimes, etc). [link]
Have you actually read the bible? It is a misogynistic and misanthropic text that teaches people to hate themselves and the rest of humanity. [link]
they’ve been raised to believe that an invisible sky wizard controls everything. [link]
I understand that belief is not a rational thing. When you believe, you’re believing from the heart not the head. But consider the fact that the way you feel, the way you believe is the same for everyone who has ever believed in a god or goddess over the centuries. In fact neuroscientists have found that believing in supernatural deities rewires the brain over time to be more inclined to emotion and transcendental experience and less inclined to rational thought. [link]
the author is trying to justify a faith that he knows does not square with reality. [link]
no civilized person would want to worship such a monster, so you, like many other Christians just make up the religion you want to believe in. This is not caricaturing your beliefs, I was raised Christian myself and I’ve talked to hundreds of people about their beliefs. Almost all of you cherry pick what appeals to you and then you do your best to explain away the things that you don’t. [link]
Etc. ad nauseam . . .
Assuming you are a Christian, aren’t you supposed to love your neighbor as yourself? Isn’t that the second commandment? Or does that only apply to looking pious in front of other Christians?
Yes I am, and part of that love is to excoriate hypocrisy and arrogance and self-delusions, as Jesus did with the Pharisees, for their own good. Jesus is the model of Christians, last time I checked, and He wasn’t always “meek and mild” by a long shot. He made folks so mad that they accused Him of being a madman, and wanted to kill Him (and eventually did just that).
Kalam and the watchmaker arguments tell me nothing about what You believe because they don’t point to a specific designer.
Teleological arguments as currently constructed go far beyond Paley and the watchmaker. But that’s the stereotype you can use to dismiss it. They tell you what I believe because I think that is far more plausible and rational than something (matter only) coming from nothing and having every potentiality and capability in and of itself (who knows why or how?) that we believe God has. I blisteringly satirized this state of affairs of what I call “atomism”.
Oooooh, you shoulda seen the ruffling of feathers, ruckus, and the dust-up that that caused!
You can just as easily use them to argue for Zeus or the idea that we’re living in a computer simulation as anything else. Kalam doesn’t get you to “and there for Jesus is the lord!” if that’s what your faith is.
I never said it did; nor has any educated proponent of that argument, that I am aware of. It gets you to some kind of immaterial Designer, such as what David Hume (who accepted a form of the teleological argument) believed in. It rationally gets one beyond materialism and monism.
The arguments I presented that refer specifically to the Christian God / Jesus Christ are in the collection, “God: Historical Arguments (Copious Resources).”
Again I pose the question, what is it that you personally believe and what evidence do you have for believing it?
Already answered. The evidence you demand is all there in the links I provided. Your question is like asking me, “why do you love your wife?” There are a billion reasons, and I don’t know where to begin. If I give just one or a few, you say, “that doesn’t explain it adequately enough!” If I give all billion, you and other readers are bored to tears.
You blew off the scholarly articles which constitute Christian reasoning for why we believe in God: mostly from a philosophical and scientific perspective, which shows me you’re not interested in an actual dialogue. You’re interested in making Christians and myself like like idiots, who supposedly believe in things for no reason at all; who allegedly have no “evidence” for our beliefs. You reject the evidence we give out of hand and mock it, but that’s no proof that we offer no evidence at all; only that you disagree with it.
And when you did that, I knew in that moment that you had no interest in real dialogue; that it was merely a “gotcha!” game for you. You had no intention whatever of actually interacting with some of the “evidence” that you demanded I give, and so you mocked and dismissed it. It’s far too threatening to you to actually interact with. The sky would fall if you ever did that!
Then you ask me to give the evidence in my own words. Again, I’ve done it hundreds of times (back to “why do you love your wife?”), so I point you to those dialogues and papers where I have done so, if you want to know. You want water? I give you an ocean. But you’re not interested. That’s fine. I have less than no interest in attempting dialogue with a person who doesn’t know what it is from a hole in the ground.
But you have provided a very valuable service to my readers, in showing (as an archetypal example) how many (not all) atheists go about “arguing” with Christians. You’re simply a condescending sophist, playing games, and a bigot when it comes to religious people. These games and this sort of anal-retentive bigotry don’t work with me; never have, and never will. I simply expose it for what it is (I put a bit more effort than usual, doing it this time) and move onto serious thinkers.
You could simply answer my question with one sentence, like:
“I believe in god xyz because as I sat in church he filled my heart with love and I knew he was real.”
Yeah, I could if that’s how it happened, but it wasn’t how it happened, and there are a hundred cumulative reasons for it. But you didn’t start out talking like this: sort of “give me your personal testimony”. Your first [extremely typical atheist] question was: “If you are making an assertion for the existence of . . . God, . . . you need provide evidence for that claim.” [my bolding] That’s an epistemological / philosophical discussion, not in the realm of personal testimony / experience. So I answered accordingly.I gave that evidence, but you refused to accept it. You simply dismissed and mocked it. Why bother asking, then? If you wanted a conversation, you wouldn’t have mocked, and started out referring to unicorns on Uranus. Your intent was obvious from the start. Any apologist like myself could spot it a mile away. I called your bluff and exposed your game.
You’re just here to argue aren’t you? Having an actual conversation about your personal beliefs would be too honest and probably vulnerable for you I’m guessing. You’d rather hide behind other peoples arguments than give me your own.
Absolutely classic projection. I was here to thoroughly answer your question, but you wanted no part of that.
And no, I’m not spending five hours down the rabbit hole of your links.
All you had to do was spend five minutes with any one. But you’re not interested. And I knew that from the start: and knew it with virtual certainty after I looked at some of your other comments. Everything you have done is utterly predictable for your type: the bigoted, former Christian [I would guess: a fundamentalist] atheist who likes to play sophistical “gotcha!” games with Christians. But I’m not just any Christian. I’m a professional, published apologist (50 books), who has debated atheists for 37 years now.
The question is, what do YOU believe in? How do YOU know that its true.
Catholic Christianity. I know it based on the cumulative effect of hundreds of arguments and facts. These are described in the papers I gave you links for: about which you don’t have the slightest interest. So you ask, but you don’t give a damn about the answers.
I’m not asking what William Lane Craig thinks or a bunch of apologetic arguments that no one has ever stood up in church and cited as why they came to <insert savior=””>.
What do you believe and why do you believe it? If you cannot honestly answer that, then I have nothing further to say to you.
Again, that’s not how you put it at first. You have changed horses in mid-stream. You inquired (i.e., accepting your questions at face value) as to the “evidence” I could produce. That’s philosophical and objective, not personal and subjective.
You make a halfway decent point about few Christians saying this is why they believe as they do. This is correct. Most believe (including myself, initially) based on holding to positions that are “properly basic”: as Alvin Plantinga has argued. See:
My collection of “15 Theistic Arguments” gets into that in great depth, but alas, you weren’t interested. Later, those of us who are inclined towards apologetics and philosophy of religion, get into the theistic proofs.
If you want my own strictly personal testimony: the whole thing, from beginning to end: including my early pagan history, I have compiled that as well, in ten parts.
So that is exactly the reply you say you are looking for now (as opposed to before, when you demanded “evidence”): my personal, subjective story of why I am a Christian. But even this lengthy account (75 pages in one of my books) does not get into every jot and tittle of reasoning. It doesn’t cover everything. The complete reasons for why I believe as I do are extremely complicated because it incorporates hundreds of arguments and bits of reasoning and facts. It includes the arguments I gave you links for.
I’m sure now that you will sit down and read my entire 75-page conversion story! You have such intense interest in my reasonings, as you have made obvious all the way through.
PS: cite all of my old comments you want. I stand behind them 100%.
Every word of yours will be in my new dialogue that is going up shortly. At least you have the courage of your convictions.
I don’t know if you just troll these comment sections looking for arguments, but please go back and read my original post. It has nothing to do with me asking you anything. I actually read the article here and what I wrote was my personal observation. Then you came along thinking you were going to wow me with your links and got upset because I had no interest in them. Still don’t.
What do you believe and why do you believe it?
If you can’t answer that in one simple sentence then you’re hiding behind a whole lot of BS.
I think God’s existence is exponentially more probable and plausible than atheism, based on the cumulative effect of a multitude of good and different types of (rational) theistic arguments, and the utter implausibility, incoherence, irrationality, and unacceptable level of blind faith of alternatives.
How’d I do? Does that qualify for your Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, or have I royally messed up yet again, trying to meet your exacting specifications for the way Christians ought to talk and engage in epistemology?
That’s actually a good answer which gives us the ability to have a real conversation. Because let’s be honest, the field of apologetics was created as a distraction from the fact that personal beliefs are indefensible.
That would make me a liar and inherently dishonest in what I do as my occupation (arguing for things I don’t and rationally can’t possibly believe in), and I’m not a liar; but you are lying about apologetics.
No one stands before a congregation and claims they came to Jesus because of the kalam cosmological argument.
I know. I already agreed with that.
They have personal feelings, a personal experience
Yes they do (I did too). And they also believe in God as a “properly basic belief” which is perfectly rational, and as far from “unicorns on Uranus” as east is from west. We do it with regard to many other things all the time.
or they were raised in it,
Yep. Many people (including atheists) simply follow what they were raised in. That’s a completely separate discussion.
none of which, as you know, constitutes evidence when you step back and examine it skeptically.
Which is, of course, why I gave you the various theistic arguments, because they do deal with evidence. You simply dismissed them with disdain, which, as you know, is no rational argument. So I gave you exactly what you are looking for, but you disagree. Like that is some momentous surprise: an atheist disagreeing with mountains of Christian and theistic evidences and arguments?
So you believe that a god is more probable than not, great. Thats not an entirely bad reason to be open to the possibility of a celestial architect. That still doesn’t get you to “and therefore Jesus” or if you’re a Hindu “and therefore Brahmin” or a NeoPagan “and therefore Zeus.”
As I said, the “historical arguments” I provided get me to Jesus (in terms of strictly “evidence”).
For me it doesn’t come down to wanting to deny God “X” because I don’t like him/her/it (granted, I do find Yahweh a pretty repellant character),
Exactly, because what you think is God is not: it’s an atheist fancy and caricature.
it comes down to do I have good reason to believe the claims made by a particular religion. Most people are far more critical when picking out a toaster than they are weighing the claims made by a particular religion. But we both know, that most people are born into their beliefs rather than choose them and those who do generally aren’t coming to based on rational skepticism.
That’s why I am committed to defending Christian beliefs with reason; showing the complete harmony of faith and reason, religion and philosophy, Christianity and science, etc. It’s precisely because most people aren’t taught to think about these things, and the importance of that, and in fact do not do so. I’m trying to encourage them to do it.
That’s actually a good answer which gives us the ability to have a real conversation.
That’s assuming I want to. I don’t, and the reason is because you’ve acted in a condescending and arrogant fashion all the way through this, and now you are casually throwing out insinuations of fundamental intellectual dishonesty. Those things all wreck discussion and take away any hope for it being constructive, so it was real . . .
May God bless you abundantly.
I understand why you think I’ve been condescending and arrogant. Its because I’m unwilling to play your games and be impressed by your websites. But in point of fact, I have been nothing but civil to you.
The problem is, you didn’t understand my initial post and clearly still don’t. I don’t care if you have a mountain of apologetic arguments, it is not evidence. You have absolutely no evidence for the supernatural, if you did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. What you have is nothing more than rationalizations for beliefs you cannot support with actual evidence.
[reply to another Catholic in the thread] What evidence? Apologetics is a shell game, designed to obscure the fact that the person using it has none.
For example, lets say I’m a Hindu arguing for the existence of Brahman as the Supreme creator of the universe. All the apologetic arguments – cosmological, teleological, ontological, moral, transcendental, presuppositional and because our religion is really old and our holy books say so – all work equally as well for Hinduism as they do for Christianity or any other gods based religion. They are philosophical sheilds that people like Dave hide behind rather than just admitting that all they have is belief.
That was the jist of my original point, it’s been my point all along and I can’t believe I have to keep explaining it. If you make a claim to knowledge about the existence of god, big foot, or whatever, then you have to provide actual evidence and not just a bunch of tired philosophical rationalizations.
I’m not “toeing the party line” I’m telling you what I think, not what anyone has told me to think. Dave did not provide evidence, he simply gave more assertions. For example:
The argument from first cause is making the claim that “everything” has to have a first cause and that cause is therefore God. Anyone using this has to then demonstrate how they know that things cannot actually arise without a cause, same as if they make the claim that the universe can’t come from nothing. You can’t say “I don’t know how the universe started without a god so therefore god.” (which also happens to be the god YOU believe in, not the 2000+ others mankind has worshiped) you’re just making a god of the gaps argument which again is not evidence.
Have you guys not heard of basic philosophical reasoning like epistemology, the burden of proof, etc? Have you never read any counter-apologetic arguments? Do you not know how tired and unconvincing this stuff really is? I’m sure Dave really wows them on his blog but to the rest of the world its like listening to your uncle talk politics.
Btw, I don’t follow Dave. I don’t know who Dave is and I don’t really care, he seems like a douche. I was simply making an off the cuff remark about THIS ARTICLE and Dave rolls in throws a bunch of links at me that I couldn’t care less about. Some how I let myself get sucked into arguing with him because that’s how the internet works, but I think I’m done now.
[14 minutes later] Allow me to define what you don’t understand:
Holder of the burden
When two parties are in a discussion and one makes a claim that the other disputes, the one who makes the claim typically has a burden of proof to justify or substantiate that claim especially when it challenges a perceived status quo.
Shifting the burden of proof
One way in which one would attempt to shift the burden of proof is by committing a logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance. It occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true.
And I’m going to pull a Dave on you here and give you a link:
It’s a good site and well worth your time to understand why you should be skeptical in all claims, not just those that are religious in nature.
You’re done here because you are banned for personal insults. Even before “douche” you repeatedly implied that I am being deliberately dishonest in my very work (apologetics). Discussions cannot occur with that baggage, so you serve no purpose here except to show how atheists ought not “argue.”
[to a fellow Catholic] Wayne crossed one too many lines and is now banned for rank insults, which I don’t allow here [see my Discussion Policy].
Photo credit: Publicity photo for The Three Stooges short subject Disorder in the Court. Copyright Columbia Pictures, 1936. [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]