Answering a few questions from the debate thread.

Answering a few questions from the debate thread. March 13, 2014

I really wanted to stick to more uplifting stories today…but there just aren’t a lot of them.  So I’m going to answer some questions I got asked in the Brummit vs. Eberhard debate thread by wtfwjtd:

 1) In his opening gambit, Aaron seemed to suggest that we have the ability choose the reality in which we live. How would you respond to this JT?
2) At one point, Aaron said that all the atheists he knew didn’t want to believe in god so they could keep doing all the fun stuff that the Christian God has forbidden them in the Bible. JT, do you think this is a fair characterization of the atheists you know?
3) Aaron claimed that the bible has “absolutely no contradictions” and is the inerrant word of God. What are your thoughts on this JT?

We’ll take ’em one at a time.

In his opening gambit, Aaron seemed to suggest that we have the ability choose the reality in which we live. How would you respond to this JT?

Yeah, he presented us with two possibilities (which, of course, aren’t the only two): we live forever in paradise or death is the end of our ability to experience the world.  One of the implications of this, which I pointed out, was that the truth is in any way dependent on what’s most pleasant.  But it’s not.  What we’d rather is not always what actually is.

But even if it were so, I don’t think we can choose to believe whatever we wish (How many of us wish we were wealthy?  How many of us actually are?).  I think our beliefs are a function of whatever facts exist within our brains.  The example I use to confirm this is that nobody can just choose to believe gravity doesn’t work.  If god exists, he created us with such minds and then made the path to heaven contingent on believing something absurd: like a man rising from the dead.  Why can’t we get into heaven believing that fire is hot?  This is the architecture of a god that wants to see people in hell, not heaven.

At one point, Aaron said that all the atheists he knew didn’t want to believe in god so they could keep doing all the fun stuff that the Christian God has forbidden them in the Bible. JT, do you think this is a fair characterization of the atheists you know?

I don’t, and as someone who likely knows far more atheists than Aaron and has never heard one of them say this, I cannot help but think that Brummit is full of shit and just looking for more straw with which to construct phantom opponents.  Atheists don’t believe in god because they find the evidence they have been presented unconvincing.  We’re atheists with regard to Christianity because it makes impossible claims, like people rising from the dead and walking on water, and hasn’t substantiated them.

The fact that we get to enjoy the pleasure arbitrarily forbidden by the various religions is just a happy byproduct of this.

Aaron claimed that the bible has “absolutely no contradictions” and is the inerrant word of God. What are your thoughts on this JT?

It’s a bit like saying a cooking book has absolutely no recipes.  The contradictions in the bible are so thick you’d think it was the purpose of the whole book.

Rather than believing god says what he means, apologists will try to contort the words in the bible to mean something other than they usually do in order to make it all line up.  I just have to wonder why that is necessary.  Nobody feels the need to twist around the words in Harry Potter to make it align, J.K. Rowling doesn’t require it.  If god is the greatest communicator in all the cosmos, why can’t he be at least as clear as J.K. Rowling?

The number of different branches of Christianity confirm that god’s will is not clear.

God could’ve avoided any apparent contradictions in the bible.  He certainly could have made it so that the endless hand-waving and re-defining of words to resolve what appear to be clear contradictions was unnecessary.  However, if generations of different people wrote the bible without any divine influence then the various disagreements are precisely what we’d expect to see.  If god exists, he’d know that, but still chose to produce a holy book that looks exactly like one written by several disconnected mortals.  If he’s trying to get people into heaven, this is a pretty shitty way to go about it.

Hope that helps.  🙂

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