Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Dear Theist, part 3

3 billiard ballThis will likely be the last of this mini-series of interactions with a Christian, as you will see from Caroline’s post.    Her post ends with a typical Christian comment.  This isn’t a rare occurence, for a Christian to be rather nasty and then reconsider.  She did apologize, and you may visit her blog to see. 

The whole tone of this post and your previous ones smack of ridicule. And hatred. And conflict. Atheists like you are like vultures…like the unclean birds of the Bible. One Christian makes a respectful comment and you smell blood and swoop in with a barrage of accusations and derogatory comments. Your preferred tactic is to overwhelm your victim with so many criticisms and challenges that they’ll prefer to disregard them rather than respond.

I will respond to your challenges, but if you return with another comment I will likely trash it. Because I’m sure it will be more of the same…and that’s my prerogative. Yes, I’ve got a soapbox and so do you. You can have your say as much as you want on your own. You’ve had yours here. Now I’ll have mine.

You substitute “Tezcatlipoca” for God and think that foils my argument for his existence. I was arguing for a transcendent, supernatural creator, commonly referred to as God. Calling him something different doesn’t negate my point.

The universe needs a creator because it had a beginning. A transcendent, eternal being had no beginning so needs no cause. That’s not special pleading; that’s a concept even ardent atheists can accept.

Morality needs an objective standard – you have not said anything that can refute that. The differences that Christians and non-Christians have about what is right and wrong only demonstrate how miserably a human-based standard fails. God’s judgments do not change – we simply disagree in our understanding of them because we are finite sinners.

Your ideas about “the laws that make civilization work” are quite different from mine. Who’s to say who’s right? On what basis do you claim to be able to correctly assess that?

“Christians sure love to claim they understand god when convenient but oooh, if they get a hard question, they go right to claiming this god is all mysterious.”<– condescending and rude. You “have trouble understanding” Krauss’ explanation of how a universe could arise from nothing, yet you take it by faith that it’s true. And while we’re on Krauss…I watched his lecture and read his summary of his book and he never starts with nothing. He assumes energy or particles or gravity, and all of those are something. You don’t understand it because it’s beyond understanding because it makes no sense. You don’t need to be able to fully comprehend quantum mechanics or the Heisenberg Unpredictability theory to be confident in the plain fact that something can never arise from nothing without God.

“Caroline, your ignorance about modern science is showing. (Again…condescending and rude.) If your argument for your god is based on willful ignorance, what does that say about the strength of your faith?” My faith is strong because I have allowed the evidence to take me to its natural conclusion of a supernatural, intelligent, transcendent creator, unlike the average atheist whose a priori disqualification of the supernatural forces him to detour onto the ridiculous back roads of the multiple universe theory, imaginary time, and something from nothing.

You are “not looking to ridicule” but you take “great pleasure in ridiculing Christians.” I rest my case on that.

You “have frequently seen Christians claim that atheists are not respectful or considerate.” This should tell you something. You claim to know what we really mean yet you deride me for “deciding” that I’m “psychic.” I made an accurate assessment of your motivations based on your angry tone, for which you called me a liar, but you have the pomposity to tell me why I believe what I do, that it’s all nonsense, that I “don’t like the scientific method,” that I’m cowardly and ignorant, and then suggest that we “might talk” as long as I present some evidence.

That’s the average atheist modus operandi: assert superiority, ridicule and lambaste, barrage the opposition with baseless but confident denials, and multiply challenges that make enough sense to force the believer to consider them but too little to make for a reasonable debate.

I have posted your first comment so that other readers know I’m not making this stuff up.

Enjoy your Godless life…while you can.

Caroline,

It is unsurprising that you have been unable to specify one single instance of my being supposedly disrespectful, or ridiculing, or hateful. You have retreated to declaring the “tone” of  *all* of it supposedly is.  It is the actions of someone who knows they are making things up and who has projected what she wants to see onto someone else to avoid having to address the problems in her religion.  That is unfortunate.  It is also unsurprising that you have declared yourself the only “respectful” person around. Posting questions for atheists assuming that you know more than they do, disregarding answers and lying about people is not respectful.  It didn’t help that you ended your post with that last sentence that you posted “Enjoy your Godless life…while you can.”  You have apologized and the honesty behind it is only known by you.  I accept the apology.  I know that many Christians love to hate and threaten people.  Now you realize it too.  Perhaps that is the best result I could have gotten from this exchange.  

But let’s get to your excuses, Caroline. I have no problem in pointing things out again. If I am so “overwhelming” with my criticisms and challenges, please select one to address. No one is holding a gun to your head to do more.  And it is *your* choice to disregard anything you want. I cannot force you to disregard anything you don’t want to.  You and you alone make that choice.  Take responsibility for it.  I am sorry if I thought you could handle more than you could. You asked a lot of questions in your post and I answered them. Again, please do choose one and address it if that’s the only problem you have.

I would not be surprised that you would indeed trash anything else you might get from me.  I know that you are frightened by realizing that you could be wrong.  I was in that position once myself and it is not fun.  It will indeed be more of the same, more showing you how you are wrong.  I do have a soapbox, but I’m not a coward who ignores (let me amend that, tries to ignore since Caroline did finally put up my post) anyone she doesn’t agree with. You may comment on my blog at any time.  I will allow the comments and I will reply to them.  

We now have you claiming that you really mean a “transcendent supernatural creator” (TSC).  Yep, that’s what Tez is. So you believe in Tezcaltipoca!  Hallelujah! I guess that pesky first commandment doesn’t bother you at all. (you see, this last sentence is real ridicule) The Christian god supposedly is a TSC too. You are a Christian correct?  Your god has said that “thou shalt have no other gods” before him. This would indicate other gods, not that one god is going by other names. Or it might show that the writers of the bible and/or your god are a bit confused.  Tez has a lot of different attributes than your god.  Are you saying that your bible is wrong in describing this god?  Caroline, your god isn’t every god per the Christian bible so yes, I negated your point quite handily.  If so, we wouldn’t have your god saying that one should kill those who worship other gods. 

You then use special pleading again.  You wish the idea that something needs to have a beginning to apply to everything but your new “Transcendent Eternal Being” (TEB). Convenient that but you have yet to show that this TEB exists, much less what it requires. And as I stated in my last post, the current theory is that the universe doesn’t need a creator either or a beginning according to some cosmological hypostheses (see the cyclical univese with no end and no beginning).  You seem unable to allow for this but demand such a thing for your particular god and your only reason is that you must keep your belief in your god. 

Then you insist that morality *must* have an objective standard.  But again, you don’t say why.  Is it C.S. Lewis’ argument that somehow morals, if not divine, will magically become worthless and ignored?  There are plenty of reasons given by theists and they all fail at one level or another. Lewis’ fails because his prediction hasn’t come true. And it’s a little disturbing that that you are so very sure that Christians and non-Christians have different ideas about “right” and “wrong”.  We differ on some things, but rarely on how we want to be treated. The golden rule isn’t just Christian.  And, as I noted before, Christians don’t agree on “right” and “wrong” either.  You would not be able to distinguish me from a crowd of Christians, except for that I do not go to church, and as I know from many Christians, they don’t always go either or declare just how Christian they are from figurative street corners.  Morality can be objective if humans agree on it since we occupy the same reality.  I do believe that some things are morally objective, but even if morality was subjective, that would not say it was worthless nor would it say that humanity is innately bad.  We just take a while to learn from our mistakes. You also wish to claim that we simply disagree on our understanding of the morals that this god supposedly gives.  I always find that excuse amusing since it makes your god rather inept and definitely not omnipotent, for being unable to make itself clear to us puny humans.  As for your claim that God’s judgements do not change, that is untrue. Again, we have Christians who claim that their god is for “x” and is for “y”, directly contradictory things. God cannot agree with both so someone is wrong.  Christians have changed their minds over what this god has supposed said, the Roman Catholics are good for noting each change as if God somehow mumbles. Each claims that they and only they know what God really wants and none of them can provide evidence for this. 

You claim that my ideas about the laws that make civilization work are different than mine.  That could very well be.  Does that make your views right? No. Does that make mine right? No. But the ones that allow civilization to continue will be the beneficial ones by default.

And no Caroline, I do not take anything on “faith”.  You’ve failed again with your psychic abilities (or your “assessments”), Caroline.  I know a good bit of physics and it seems you missed reading the part where I said “I have trouble understanding it”. That doesn’t mean I don’t understand it at all.  You claiming I don’t understand it at all is another lie, Caroline, and it appears as an attempt to ignore what I have said.  I know that Krauss doesn’t start with “nothing”, because I took the time to describe how “nothing” means different things to you and a physicist.  You evidently did not take the time to actually read my post and that is unfortunate. You return to your argument from personal ignorance and of course have yet to show evidence that your god exists or that it’s the only thing that can cause anything to arise. You claim to be confident but again, avoid actually presenting any facts that might support you.  

My telling you that your ignorance of modern science is showing is not condescending and rude if it is true and by all of the evidence I have, your posts, it is. You might not like someone declaring this but that doesn’t make it wrong. You claim to have evidence for your god again.  Now where is it?  Or is asking for it “condescending and rude”?  And no, Caroline, I have not done an a priori disqualification of anything.  Again, you try to make false claims about me to support your desired conclusions about atheists, average or otherwise.  I have looked for any bit of evidence of supernatural events I can find. I would find the world a much more fun place if such things were true.  I have found nothing and theists have provided nothing.  Where is this evidence of your “supernatural intelligent transcendent creator”?  What can you provide me that a believer of another god cannot?  You also call the multi-universe theory(an actual way things might be), imaginary time (a way to look at things), etc ridiculous, but of course cannot actually tell me what they consist of, only that if Caroline doesn’t understand them why of course they don’t work.  Alas, that doesn’t work.  Scientists are currently working on a way to find evidence for multi-universes.  What happens if they find it?  Where will your ridicule go then? Theists have made claims that all sorts of things were “ridiculous back roads”, with their claims that we shouldn’t question their god, and then have had to either ignore the results or falsely declare that they knew this all along.  

I will call you out on your deceitful editing of my sentence which said “I invite you to do so since I don’t always want to be ridiculing Christians.  I have taken great pleasure in ridiculing Christians and I will continue to do so, however, my post to you wasn’t ridicule at all, Caroline.”   So Caroline, your claim that your case is rested is rather amusing since it’s only resting on a lie.  We now have you claiming that my entire post is ridiculing you, then that it’s the “tone” that is ridiculing you, and then that you now try to claim that since I have and do ridicule Christians some of the time, that simply must mean I do it *all* of the time.  The target is always moving and always wrong. 

Yes, I have frequently seen Christians claim that atheists are not respectful or considerate. And yes, this does tell me something, actually two things. One, atheists can be assholes but not all are and two, Christians will use it as an excuse to not respond to questions, like you.  With your claims that you know how I am thinking, that is declaring yourself able to read minds aka “psychic”.  Your claim that you accurately assessed my motives is highly inaccurate, Caroline, since you were wrong.  You created a strawman of an atheist in your original post, and decided that I was that strawman in your responses to me.  And oh, now you can find an “angry” tone in typed words.  Again, where is this tone now?  Where are those words of mine that convey it?  Again, I suspect that rather than admit that you cannot find any, you will retreat to vague baseless claims.  And I think it’s absolutely hilarious that you call me pompous for telling you why you believe what you believe but you do *nothing* to rebut me.  Caroline, if I’m wrong, why do you believe what you believe?  If you don’t dislike the scientific method, why do you claim it doesn’t work when convenient for your religion?  Show me that your religion isn’t nonsense with evidence.  Show that you aren’t a coward by answering a question and presenting this evidence you claim to have.  Pick any one you want.  I’m guessing you won’t but I’ll keep checking to see if you do.

Then we finish with more claims about my posts and not one tiny sentence of mine to support those claims.  You claim my denials are baseless, which is calling me a liar and I certainly don’t like that. If you can show that I am, I would correct it as soon as I could. Show which ones if you really think they are there.  It shouldn’t be this hard, Caroline.  I can provide evidence.  Why can’t or won’t you?

I don’t want or need a “God-blessed” life, Caroline, but I can understand and appreciate the sentiment if you think your god does anything good.  I would prefer that if this god of yours blesses anything, it might be those who suffer, not me in a nice warm First World home with plenty of food gained by the hard work and luck of myself and my husband. My observation is that it doesn’t do anything at all.

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8 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Dear Theist, part 3

  1. Club, you know I ask myself why would they write a letter to atheists and then have to moderate comments. If you are addressing atheists, allow them right of reply otherwise it is cowardly!

    • Indeed it is cowardly. I think the desire to write a letter to atheists and then run away from the responses comes from a certain amount of ignorance on the theist’s part. Most theists have never had to consider being wrong or consider why someone wouldn’t be just like them. They post to get approval from people and are shocked when they don’t automatically get it. Religion is built to convince people that they and only they are possessors of some magical “truth” and to paint everyone else as bad or flawed. Caroline desperately hopes I’m angry, but alas for her, I am not. Other common theist claims are that atheists are sad, lonely, rebellious, etc, all built to give the theist a reason to disregard any criticism because we “must’ be not thinking “right”.

      I may get angry at the harm religion does but when confronting yet one more theist who acts like she does, I’m, hmmm, I guess bemused is probably the best word.

  2. Club, i’ve been following the little dance going on over on carolines blog and your response was beyond awesome. I am officially impressed beyond measure. Read it last night and again this morning. Damn! With your mind you should be on stage, and that’s not lip service.

  3. Vel- First of all, be assured my apology was sincere, and I will even extend it to the rest of that post. It was late, I was tired, I felt irritated, misrepresented, and attacked, so I lashed out. Still…no excuse. I’m sorry for my own angry and hostile tone.

    Secondly, I have pretty much blocked out the rest of this day to respond to yours and the other readers’ comments. The reason I initially did not approve your comments was not because I did not want any opposing viewpoints or am unable to defend my beliefs. It was because, as I tried to explain, judging from past experience with other atheist bloggers, an interaction with you (based on the things you were saying and the way you were saying them) was not going to yield anything good but only “tit-for-tat” type exchanges (as you or someone mentioned) and I don’t have the time to waste on those. I have multiple jobs, multiple children, and it takes me awhile to put together a cogent argument because I think it through as much as possible since spiritual issues are so important.

    Thirdly, I am not the person you portray me as in your posts. I am considerate and respectful (most of the time), I too am “smart” (though would love to be smarter), and I have thought through what I believe in light of real evidence and am not afraid to engage with those who disagree with me. And I know you are not the person I initially pictured, and even though (since I’ve calmed down) I see you now more as a fellow human being trying to figure things out rather than a two-dimensional “angry atheist,” I realize I still don’t really know you at all. So, feel free to clarify if I misrepresent you.

    On to your comments.

    You said that I “have been unable to specify one single instance of my being supposedly disrespectful, or ridiculing, or hateful.” I don’t know how you can claim this when I specified not one but two instances in my initial response. Here are six more, from your first comment alone:

    “Ah yes, because you use special pleading, where you want rules to apply to everything but your one thing that can’t fit.”

    “You try to tell others what is right and wrong and you try to claim that there is your imaginary friend that backs you up.”

    “And yes, dear Caroline, things can be both unbecoming and unreal”

    “I would suggest that if you don’t like the scientific method so much, then you do stop using it. Can’t have you being a hypocrite, right?”

    “…you have kept yourself willfully ignorant about any other possibility.”

    “Present evidence, not the nonsense you have posted, and then we might talk.”

    I must assume you disagree that these are in any way disrespectful. But I believe if you imagine them coming from me to you, you will recognize that they are condescending and demeaning, showing a lack of respect for someone with a different worldview than you. Remember…this was before I had addressed you personally at all.

    Another thing I’m confused about: “If I am so “overwhelming” with my criticisms and challenges, please select one to address.” You accuse me of not responding to your points and your challenges but I clearly did, as you demonstrated by going on to address my responses. Perhaps I missed a few – I’d be happy to debate any of them, but in the interest of keeping this to a manageable commitment for both of us, let’s do them one at a time.

    I am not “frightened by realizing that (I) could be wrong” nor “a coward who ignores anyone she doesn’t agree with.” You don’t appreciate others indiscriminately categorizing, labeling, or stereotyping you. You don’t help your case by doing the same thing you criticize me for. Neither does name-calling compel me to seriously consider your argument.

    Addressing your argument now. My point about substituting Tezcaltipoca for God in my opening paragraph was in the context of establishing the existence of God apart from who or what this God is like. I was arguing for theism, not Christianity. And, before I go any further, I feel that I need to clarify the intent of my post “Dear Atheist…” I honestly did not write it as a challenge nor to draw atheists into a debate. I was expressing my views, which I believe are truth (as you do yours), hoping to perhaps get folks to think about it. A blog most certainly is a soapbox, is it not? So it’s a little unfair to accuse me, as several of you have, of only approving comments that agree with me. I was not interested in the kind of argument that this has become. As one of you has said, “my blog, my rules.” But now that we’re in it, I want to see it through.

    Back to Tez. You say he “has a lot of different attributes than (my) god.” Well, you didn’t say that in your first comment – you simply substituted his name for “God” and that did not alter my point. Yes, I am a Christian so of course I believe in the God revealed in the Bible as the only true God. But, again, I was arguing for theism, not Christianity. My concluding questions reference the Christian understanding of God because I am convinced that those who reject Christ will sincerely regret it someday. But before anyone can put their faith and trust in him, they have to first acknowledge the existence of God, so that’s what I focused on.

    What do you mean by, “”your god isn’t every god per the Christian bible”?

    “Current theor(ies)” are simply that…theories. Atheist scientists have to come up with some kind of explanation for the origin of the universe that doesn’t involve the supernatural. They have no alternative as they have defined science in such a way as to exclude consideration of anything outside of nature. And talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too…scientists committed to materialism have no qualms about employing their immaterial thoughts and ideas to further their theories.

    Regarding the something from nothing theory…nothing is just that – no thing. Scientists (and atheists) cannot get away with saying nothing is really something, be it quantum particles, fields, energy, gravity, or whatever. Nothing is what rocks dream about, as someone has said.
    And I’m no physicist, but I do know that it’s quite a stretch to assert that the something from nothing theory is what has allowed us to have computers and CAT scans. These technologies make use of existing “things” like energy and light waves, but do not depend on an explanation of where those things came from. And the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (or Predictability theory, as you put it) doesn’t address causality but predictability.

    “Your argument that since we’re so bad we can’t judge your god is hilarious when you insist this god made us exactly like that. That’s called trying to have your cake and eat it too. Can humans or can’t they understand god?” Christians don’t believe that God made us sinners. He made us in his image but with free will that allows us to rebel against and disobey him. And we can understand him to a point. But if we could fully understand him then we could conceivably be just like him, with perfect holiness and unlimited power. It is more than reasonable (it is wise) to believe that we can never understand him completely.

    My point about the incongruity of arguing against God’s character and not believing he exists was this: if he doesn’t exist, what good does it do to complain about his character and actions? He doesn’t exist. To argue against him because of characteristics that are “unbecoming” implies that he is real.

    Regarding evidence for Christianity…I presented some in a post from last August titled Why I Am a Christian (and why you should be too). We can get into details if you want, but again…one thing at a time, please. I can’t spend this amount of time on one post every day.

    “…all they mean is that they simply don’t like when atheists dare to tell them they are wrong and then dare to request that the theist actually engage in debate.” Here’s a lesson for both of us: no one wants to debate someone who just wants to tell you how wrong you are.

    “Please tell me why you shouldn’t be just as afraid for your soul as I am for mine, how do you know your god is real? Can you answer that, Caroline?” Yes. Reading my August post that I referenced should answer that. Do you believe you have a soul? That’s not a sarcastic remark – I mean it sincerely. If you do, how do you understand it? Where do you think the soul came from and is it “alive” and mortal, like your body?

    “Then you insist that morality *must* have an objective standard. But again, you don’t say why.” Because otherwise we cannot judge what anyone else does. It really isn’t morality then but preference. I can say that the notion of survival of the fittest allows me to take for myself food and money and clothing or whatever from you, if I deem it necessary for my family’s survival, now or down the road. And you have no objective recourse to judge my actions wrong. And I never said or implied that “…Christians and non-Christians have different ideas about ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’” I know that we do, and we do because we are made in God’s image with a conscience.

    “You also wish to claim that we simply disagree on our understanding of the morals that this god supposedly gives. I always find that excuse amusing since it makes your god rather inept and definitely not omnipotent, for being unable to make itself clear to us puny humans.” Omnipotence does not imply that everything God can do he does. He could cause a sheet of paper to materialize on each of our breakfast tables in the morning (on exquisite vellum paper with perfect handwriting, of course) with a personalized message in our native languages correcting any mistaken ideas about his Word that we have and setting the record straight. But we would likely suspect a fellow human with an opposing view left it there, though we would not be able to explain how. He could come audibly through our televisions telling us what he really meant, but we would think we were dreaming or delusional. The point is, he made the important truths clear enough, and we can understand them if we are humble enough to submit to him. The secondary issues are worth discussing, but our salvation doesn’t depend on them.

    “And no Caroline, I do not take anything on ‘faith’”. You did not witness the creation of the world; you have not observed any species evolving into another one. These and many other of your beliefs you must necessarily take “by faith.” You take it by faith that there is no God, because you can’t prove it.

    “I have looked for any bit of evidence of supernatural events I can find.” Vel…the best evidence of the supernatural, of the existence of God, is you. You are an amazing creation. The slightest grasp of anatomy and physiology gives evidence of intelligence and design. I know you and many others don’t buy it, but I also believe it’s primarily because you don’t want to. I know, I know…I’m no psychic. But I know human nature.

    The best explanation for the complexity and wonder of the human being, especially at the molecular level, is that it was designed by an intelligent being. Just as we know that Mount Rushmore didn’t happen by chance, we can know the complexity of a single cell with more information in it than a thousand sets of Encyclopedia Britannicas didn’t happen by chance.

    And finally (whew!)…my point about many intelligent people believing in God was simply to counter john zande’s implication that believers must be as dumb as “Iron Age goat herders.”

    I don’t know everything. I admit that. But this whole thing started because I care about people…believe it or not. I responded to an atheist’s blog post hoping to perhaps get him to think a little differently, and eventually (that’s my prayer) believe in God and avoid the consequences of not. I can’t prove God to you; nobody can. But I believe that the evidence testifies. beyond a reasonable doubt, to his existence. If you don’t agree…fine. I won’t try and persuade you any further. But please give me a little credit for coming to a reasonable, though different, conclusion than you.

  4. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Dear theist, part 4 Suprise! | Club Schadenfreude

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