Caroline, I’m taking this to a full blog post rather than just adding on comments, since the formatting is much better here and I can put in links. I’m also not worrying about what you might think the “tone” is. I’m writing if I’m talking to you. This is the blog post that ate the world. It will seem repetitive. It’s meant to be.
Your apology may indeed be sincere. I can understand being angry, but typing is one of those things that isn’t quite as knee-jerk as a discussion. You also seem to be trying to claim I have an angry and hostile tone so you can excuse yours. Again, no, I am not angry nor am I hostile. You have either projected that or you wish me to be some atheist strawman that I am not.
Tit-for-tat type of exchanges aren’t innately bad, Caroline. But they can be crazy long and I didn’t want to clog Duck’s blog comments with doing my post that way. You seem to wish to blame me for answering your post. Is that not what you intended? (I guess not lower down which is edifying) Or did you think you had arguments that no atheist could address so you were “safe” in posting them? As for you thinking things through as much as possible, I will assume that means you have little time to think things through or research them since your arguments have been very weak. And, as I said last night, you got into this knowing you had restrictions on your time. Mentioning them now seems to be only a convenient excuse.
Caroline, you are the person you have portrayed yourself in the posts. If this is not the way you want to be portrayed, it is not me you should be addressing, it is yourself. I’ve allowed your voice to represent you completely. You have made claims about others that are untrue, you appear to have assumed you had unassailable arguments and did not even do the most basic research to see if they were so, and you have claimed you are right and others are wrong with no evidence. That does not show respect, that shows that you make poor assumptions and were arrogant enough to act on them. You may be smart, but as I have pointed out, being smart doesn’t make your god, or any gods, exist. That is probably one of the best examples that you don’t always think things through as well as you might assume you have. I have shown where you have attempted to misrepresent me, Caroline. You can re-read my posts to see those comments. You mention “real evidence”. I’m still waiting for that. If you want to know a bit more about my background, you can go here. This was written for a friend who wanted to help his mother understand who atheists are since he had just “come out”. It’s a tiny bit dated, I’m 46 now.
Caroline, I know you tried to specify instances where you wanted to claim that I was disrespectful, etc. And I rebutted them. Pointing out that you are ignorant and wrong isn’t disrespectful, etc. Ignorance isn’t always bad. It can be corrected. It only becomes bad when you don’t. You seem to mistake evidence based observations for being disrespectful. Well, if that’s the problem, then reality must be disrepectful too. You *have* used special pleading. You have tried to tell others what is right and wrong and you try to claim you imaginary friend backs you up. And really, “And yes, dear Caroline, things can be both unbecoming and unreal” is something you have a problem with? They indeed can be. You can call me “dear” too if you want. It’s part of my vocabulary. It is hypocritical when you attack science when it shows your myths are wrong but then use it when it makes you comfy. You don’t want to be a hypocrite, right? That’s also a form of compartmentalization. You are willfully ignorant about things since it is more than obvious that you haven’t researched any one of the arguments you evidently thought were so good and which failed. Did you consider googling “atheism”, “why atheists believe what they do” etc? If not, then you were not interested in what we had to say and thus you kept yourself willfully ignorant.
You claim that I am condescending and demeaning. I’m sorry if you find that being told you are wrong is that, but it will not stop me from telling you that you are wrong (removed a “that”). Many people don’t like their failures pointed out to them, but if it is true then it is a declaration of fact. I am telling you were you are mistaken, and I am doing it as a superior to an inferior because I have the facts on my side and am coming from the position of strength. I have told you that your claims are nonsense and shown you why they are, that they are based on –no- sense, and no evidence. I do not need you to address me “personally” when you were addressing *all* atheists with your claims about Pascal’s Wager, assumptions that your god is the only one, etc. I will also state that I do not need to respect you or your beliefs. Respect is not automatic, it is earned. I can be polite, but respect is not the same thing. If you cannot support your claims, respecting your claims would be like respecting the claims of an adult who insisted that Santa Claus really existed at the North Pole. It’s not worth it and it does demean the respect given for things that are true.
In your original post, and in your second response, and in your third response, we can see how things have gone. You made the claim that atheists just try to overwhelm theists, not I, Caroline. That was your excuse for not responding, remember? “Your preferred tactic is to overwhelm your victim with so many criticisms and challenges that they’ll prefer to disregard them rather than respond.”
In #1, You tried to claim that your god was the only one that was real, that the universe was evidence, used special pleading to exempt your god from the need for a creator, that no one can judge this being, and then tried Pascal’s Wager. I responded by replacing Tezcatlipoca in your claims. I told you that most if not all religions claim that the universe is the evidence for their god and asked you to please show evidence that the universe is for your god only and that your god exists. I asked why there needed to be a creator at all. I asked what if *you* were the one who got the wrong god. I’m still waiting. So take any one of those three if you wish to address smaller topics.
You responded that you “really” meant a transcendent, eternal being. This was an attempt to move the goalposts, not an answer. You appeared to want to narrow the field so that only your god fit. I pointed out that Tez was the same. You claimed that your god was most every god, but I pointed out that this doesn’t work if you think your bible is correct. You have claimed your god doesn’t need a creator but everyting else does. That again is not supported. Simply saying “well he just doesn’t” isn’t any different than me saying the universe is just “that” way. However, I have theories that are starting to describe why it’s “that” way.
You asked for an explanation of how things can have no creator, and I responded. You then proceeded to answer evidently not having read my post and again relying on personal incredulity.
I will amend my accusation. You do indeed respond. Your responses open up even more failures because your base assumptions are faulty, and I have pointed those failures out. I have no problem with people labeling me if the label is accurate. I find my labels accurate for you and I have shown why by pointing to your actions. I’m a woman, aggressive, plain-spoken, sarcastic, etc.
Caroline, now you are claiming you are arguing for theism not Christianity. Sorry, but God doesn’t mean just any god, like the Latin Cross doesn’t mean Judaism. It means the Christian one, the one you were agreeing with Cogitating Duck over on his blog, where you are saved through the blood of his son Jesus Christ. A lot of Christians, when finding their god doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as written, make their god much vaguer than they initially do. They start with God, who was all through the OT, and NT, an intelligent being that did all sorts of specific things that they claim they can prove as true. Gods get vaguer as the problems grow for their existence.
It baffles me that you now try to claim that you “honestly did not write it (Dear atheist post) as a challenge nor to draw atheists into a debate.” That reads as such horse poop, Caroline. Let me see, you were on Mike’s blog, you were saying atheists were wrong, didn’t have a “serious desire” to understand your god/bible correctly, and then point a link to this very post as a response to the criticism you were getting on Mike’s blog on the very day you were getting it. That you think I would believe that you asked several paragraphs worth of questions and didn’t mean it as a challenge or to draw atheists into debate is rather amazing. Did you think no one would question you since you were so sure you had such “tough” questions? You could have expressed your views without using questions but you did not. You are free to approve or disapprove comments, but a blog is a public beast by nature and you *invited* people to your blog for one specific post. To avoid posting replies until shown how bad it looks, shows less than honesty on your part.
You then have tried to excuse yourself by saying claiming that since I didn’t post an entire description of Tezcaltlipoca, you had no idea that I meant a total substitution. Really, Caroline? It wasn’t obvious in context, since I was doing a *complete* replacement? If you didn’t know who Tez was, you didn’t bother looking this up? Sigh. And it does alter your point Caroline. Your post claimed that we were wrong in doubting *your* god, God, the Christian one, not some vague one you’ve tried to make up. I made the same claims about Tez that you made about your god and demonstrated that you have no more evidence for your god, God, than I did for Tez. You have no evidence that anyone will have any more reason to regret rejecting your god than I do that someone will have if they reject Tez. You claim you “focused” on the existence of God, but you have yet to explain why your claims don’t work equally well for any other transcendent, eternal god.
Let me explain something here, Caroline. You ask: “What do you mean by, “”your god isn’t every god per the Christian bible”?” This was in response to your claim: “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” Your original post was about your Christian god. That’s all it referenced and all it claimed was real. If there are many gods, then your claim that only one god did anything is shot. In the italicized sentence above here, you try to claim that your god is just “commonly refered to as God” and that calling this god “something different” doesn’t negate your point. I am not simply calling your god Tezcaltipoca. I am using a whole different god that is very unlike your god, except that it a creator god, eternal and transcendent. This god likes hearts ripped out. Does the Christian one? Your bible claims that your god said “Thou shalt have no other gods” before me. This shows that this god, or at least those making up the story, think there are other gods. If there are other gods, then your god is not the only one and not simply being renamed and given entirely different attributes to (not all gods are supposedly triune, kill themselves for themselves, etc). Since there are other gods that have the *same* claims of support your claim for your god, your Pascal’s Wager fails since you cannot be sure you picked the right one or that there is any god out there to pick at all.
Your words about theories show again that you are willfully ignorant when it comes to science. You may not like to hear that but it’s true…again. You have no idea what the word theory actually means, and try to assume it means only a guess. That is not true. You, Caroline, depend on these theories every day. You, whether you acknowledge it or not, trust these theories. And this is why I call you a hypocrite when you attack these theories that you have no problem with as long as they don’t show your religious myths to be false. The theory of gravitation works real well doesn’t it? And, it’s “only” a theory. What shall you say is holding us in place? Invisible silent Velcro? Intelligent falling (and oh yes, that is pure ridicule.)?
It’s hilarious that you want to call thoughts “immaterial”. No, Caroline, they are quite material since they require a brain and the real world to exist. Thoughts don’t exist in a in dead brain and thoughts are not the same in an injured one. No god needed at all. It’s also just great to see you say “Atheist scientists have to come up with some kind of explanation for the origin of the universe that doesn’t involve the supernatural.” Why yes, they do and they have proven accurate in all of the predictions based on them. Now, how about we write it like this: “Christian scientists have to come up with some kind of explanation for the origin of the universe that doesn’t involve the mating of Rangi and Papa.” How silly and how ignorant! That’s what it sounds like when you try to claim your myth is any better when you have *no* evidence.
And again, you use your personal ignorance to give you a reason to not accept quantum mechanics. Since that’s what makes your computer work, why are you still using it if it “obviously” doesn’t work? What does make your computer work, Caroline if you are so sure you know that quantum mechanics doesn’t? Yet again, we see your ignorance makes you say such stupid (yes, I said stupid) things as “it’s quite a stretch to assert that the something from nothing theory is what has allowed us to have computers and CAT scans”. I didn’t say that, poor Caroline. I said that quantum mechanics which contains the theory of something from nothing, does this “Quantum mechanics is a set of theories that appear to be the best description we have for the world since their predictions have proven true and accurate, there are equations that say that from “nothing”, there was a fluctuation in that nothing, and this created something..” Accuracy is always important, right? Didn’t do a bit of research did you? Educating yourself on such things would go along way to make you seem less arrogant. If you had, you would have seen that since scientists research the properties of those “things” like energy and light waves based the theories proposed and the predictions that have been proven true, they’ve come up with ways to make them do what they want. Right now, we are getting chips so small that we have to take into consideration the quantum mechanics of atoms so they can move on the chips. We don’t even need tiny things like chips to have to use quantum mechanics, tunnel diodes work quite well. Your flash drive uses quantum mechanics. CAT scans depend on computers, but I was thinking of PET scans when mentioning a direct association to quantum mechanics, because it depends upon predicted decay, though CAT scans use this too.
From all of the evidence we have, there is no place where there is truly absolutely nothing, (just like there is no evidence of a god) so we have worked to match reality with human assumptions. It is an ideal at best, in reality as that, but not as something that can be acted upon. Just like a god.
It doesn’t take much effort to tell you that you are wrong in your claim that Christians don’t believe that God made us sinners. I’m from a Calvinist background and predestination says that exactly. Your bible says it in Romans 9, where your god gives its grace on a whim and intends some “pots” to fail. I figured you would try to use free will. Some Christians believe in it, some don’t. Can you please again show me why I should be believe your version versus another? Free will fails as soon as your religion claims your god interfered in the real world, via miracles, direct murdering of people (see the first born of egypt), forcing his will on people (making the Eqyptians give their wealth to the Israelites), etc. With your claims, your god must have given free will to the angels too, with the story of Satan? And your claim that if we understood god complete, then we would somehow be just like him. That’s another assumption that has nothing to support it. However, per your bible, your god did give us the exact same understanding as him suposedly, and was desperately afraid that Adam and Eve would chomp on the tree of life and make themselves just like this god. We supposedly already have the knowledge, and only need immortality to just like your god, unless the bible is wrong again. It is neither wise nor reasonable to believe anything without any evidence. You only want to claim that it is to excuse your actions and make them sound better than they are. You need to claim no one can understand your god so you can try to convince them they shouldn’t question it.
Caroline, like so many theists, you want to claim that there is no purpose in saying that your god’s character is horrible. You want to make people sit down and shut up, by playing pretend that there are no repercussions of your religion. People believe in this violent god and their actions reflect the supposed character of this god. And again, you seem to again ignore my posts. I can say that Darth Vader is awful and have a good reason to do it. I don’t want anyone imitating him. My nephew got it in his head that he could use “force lightning” on his mother when he was upset with her. My telling my nephew that he shouldn’t do this does not imply that Darth Vader is real or that the Force is real. It says he shouldn’t emulate bad behavior of a fictional character. I’d prefer if humans didn’t emulate a character than kills people on whims, throws tantrums, etc. So, the usual tedious bit by theists who so want to say “see, see atheists believe in my god so that means it’s real” is just more tomfoolery.
Your post “Why I am a Christian and why you should be too.” is just the same “looky the universe, *my* God did it” nonsense you’ve used before. You claim you need a “special revelation”. Yep, you and every other theist that makes up nonsense. There is no evidence of your “savior”, no evidence of a virginal conception, nothing. When you say that golly, since nothing else “rings true” to men, then it must be false is such the classic theist. Yes, Caroline, the rest of the theists make the same claim about their gods too. You, like always, make claims of all of this evidence and don’t mention a single instance that could be addressed. That’s fairly astute on your part since you can’t be ridiculed for thinking that the mere mention of Christians in a book means that your god exists. If that were the case, the mention of any believers of any god would be the same kind of evidence that could be used to claim that those gods exist too. (It’s also nice to see you make statements like “I know he is good because of realities like the way my body heals itself when I get cut.” and blithely ignore the folks who have hemophilia, etc. I’m guessing it’s their fault, somehow, yes? And here’s something in this world your god supposedly created too, that is supposedly so beautiful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracunculiasis ).
“Here’s a lesson for both of us: no one wants to debate someone who just wants to tell you how wrong you are.”
No, Caroline. I have no trouble with debating with someone who can show that I am wrong *if* I am indeed wrong. Debating is for showing the strengths and weaknesses of a position. I have done anything but “just tell you how wrong you are”. I have shown with evidence how wrong you are. You have yet to show me much at all, except claims about gods that are generic.
Your August post has told me nothing new that other religions haven’t also claimed. Your magic triune god is no different from Atum-Ra. Can you show me a soul, Caroline? Or someone’s ba or ka? I understand that Christians claim that the soul is essentially them without a body, some eternal thing, that can be eternally tortured (or destroyed) or eternally pleasured, that will somehow go to a magical place and have one of the two done to it depending if the person worshipped the right god in the right way. Since there is no evidence of such nonsense, I do not believe in it. The person is the body and the mind, here is no supernatural other. If someone’s brain is injured, they change. If there was some soul, this would not happen. And yes, I’ve heard all of the usual Christian excuses, claiming that near-death experiences are real (they aren’t), that the brain is some kind of “receiver” for the soul (no evidence again), etc.
You again make a baseless claim that there must be objective morality because if not, then we can’t judge each other. More baseless claims. Of course we can judge others, Caroline. One only needs empathy. If I don’t like to be hurt, and I see someone hurt someone else, then I can judge the person doing the hurting as deleterious to me. It’s morality, since morality is nothing more than the laws that humans have come by. And yep, you could say something like the notion of survival of the fittest allows me to take for yourself my resources, but you would be repeating the ignorance of other Christians who don’t understand the idea of survival of the fittest and how it relates to evolution at all. Act like a greedy asshole and reap the consequences, for the blunt version. I can judge your actions wrong because they would hurt me and if these actions were done to any other human it would hurt them too. But, even if morals were totally subjective, we as a species have been getting better and are not stuck with an old book that says slavery is just peachy keen. We hurt each other less and that’s always a good thing. So even subjective morals are better than your god.
You also misrepresent yourself when you said that “never said or implied that “…Christians and non-Christians have different ideas about ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’” You didn’t imply it; you SAID it: “The differences that Christians and non-Christians have about what is right and wrong only demonstrate how miserably a human-based standard fails.” Unsuprisingly, you go back to one more baseless claim trying to claim that all humans have the same idea of right and wrong because of your god, so which is it? Is it humans or your god? Another just as possible answer is that we have the similar ideas of right and wrong since we are all humans, no magical god needed. You claim that magical thing called a conscience too. What of those who seem to have no conscience through no fault of their own? Sociopaths seem one good example, children another. Why do we have to grow into them and they depend on human interaction?
We get to where the Christian depowers their god because a real omnipotent and omniscient god is hard to excuse. Omnipotence means all-powerful. If your god is all-powerful and chooses to allow people to be confused, why? Does he like death so much? That gets to the problem of evil. Yep, your god could do exactly like you said, let all of us know about it, but it doesn’t. Its best answer seems to have been have ignorant xenophobes write a bunch of books, have men decide which of those to include all with no evidence but a lot of talking and opinion, those who lost were killed or exiled. Then have Christians split in to thousands of sects who are all sure that their version and theirs alone is the “right” one, and who are on the internet asserting it. It makes your god to be less smart than a human that it can’t figure out how to put this message somewhere that can’t possibly be done by a human? Poor god. This god is just a limited as his worshipers are. I can think of some things that would work pretty well, the only other explanation would be advanced aliens. How about the commandments written on the moon? In the stars? I’ve a pretty low standard, how about a burning bush just for me? Cause manna to rain down on all of Africa, I’m good with that. You simply stomp your figurative feet and say “the important truths are clear enough”, when all evidence shows that they aren’t. People *die* because these truths are confusing and conflicting. If other believers can claim that their god came right to them and gave them proof, like oh Thomas maybe, why not for me? You return to your usual nonsense, claiming that as long as we are humble *enough* (always a handy out for when your claims fail) we will understand, aka agree with you. And nice running away there, trying to declare that anything you don’t want to address is magically “secondary”. Sorry, Caroline, but I know Christianity and I know that they can’t even agree on what is required for salvation.
Pity that you must try to misrepresent me again, Caroline. No, I don’t take things on faith. I use experience and trust that is earned. It’s so curious when someone like you says “you didn’t witness it, so it must not be real”. Think about this for a second, Caroline. Use your own arguments on yourself. Did you witness Jesus on the cross? No? Hmmm. Did you witness God creating anything? No? Darn. And you claim it all occurred. So how does that work? You take it by faith that there is no Tezcaltipoca since you can’t prove it. And though I’ve not witnessed it personally, we have all the evidence one needs that things have evolved: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html But now I’m pretty sure you’ll try to redefine evolution.
Again, you claim that the evidence for your god is the universe. Yep, and it’s the best evidence for Allah, Quetzocoatl, Atum-Ra, Isis, Odin, Jupiter, Zeus, etc. The slightest grasp of anatomy and physiology shows your god is at best inept, at worst malevolent. Do you know anything about anatomy at all, Caroline? How about the lovely tendency for this lovely creation to spawn cancer? The appendix that can kill you but is essentially worthless (maybe not if you need a feces transplant), wisdom teeth that come into jaws evolved too small for them? The breathing opening right beside the food opening? The most common apologia for that is how the human form is “really” perfect and it’s just “sin” that made it not so. Again, evidence please. It’s always just great fun to see a theist insist that atheists just don’t want to know something as their next excuse. Golly, Caroline, you just don’t want to know about my good friend Tez. It’ just your rebellious and hateful nature isn’t it? I know human nature too.
You want to cite complexity at the molecular level. At the molecular level, DNA gets things wrong occasionally. My family happens to have one of those wrong things: alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency. Nasty stuff, killed my uncle because he had it and breathed silage and welding fumes. My aunt was a teacher so chalk dust got into her lungs and now she’s on very expensive drugs. I probably only have one copy of the defective gene. This would indicate your god is a little less than perfect in getting what he makes to work. And cells didn’t happen by “chance”, again more ignorance about biology and statistics. They happened thanks to the laws of chemistry and physics. This is no Doctor Seuss universe. Where those laws come from? Oh yes, where’s the evidence for *your* god again? Let me ask you, did a crystal have a creator? It has lots of order in it. If it did have a creator, I’m sure you’ll call it a god, show me it was *your* god and show me this god.
Caroline, the people who came up with the bible stories *were* Iron Age goat herders. Nothing more, nothing less. They came from a civilization that nothing important came from. There is no evidence of impressive temples, or palaces. There is nothing that supports the Israelites myth about Egypt, and or a magical flood, or the supposed existence of a man/god who gathered a legion’s worth of people several times outside an occupied city. You tried to use the fallacy appeal to authority and you got caught in it. ““Such arrogance. Or blindness. Or both. There are plenty of men and women much more intelligent than you or I who strongly believe God exists…based on the evidence. Please see my response to your atheist friend regarding a universe from nothing.”
You of course are unwilling to admit that smart people believe in gods other than your own. If smart people believe in God, that makes it good for you. But if smart people believe in Vishnu, then you have a problem.
You may care about people but you want external validation that you are right too. Christians often claim that they care about people and what person wouldn’t tell another their house was burning. The problem is that there is no house burning. You can’t even show that there is a house. You told Mike that he was wrong in his interpretation and told him he wasn’t “serious” enough and he was “angry” since he dared disagree with you and golly you didn’t think it would do any good to even try to share your wisdom with him. That’s not caring for someone, that’s preening and thinking you are better than someone. You use threats of the magical “consequences” and have yet to even prove one bit of what you claim. You then finally take refuge in claiming that no one can prove god to anyone to excuse your failure. You’ve sure been trying with your claims of evidence but now that they’ve been shown as what they are, oh, it’s the atheist’s fault, not yours and not your god’s. But your god did say it was possible to certainly at least show evidence of god, when he said “even if you don’t believe in what I say, believe in the miracles I do” (John 10) Show this evidence, Caroline *and* tell me why it doesn’t apply to other gods and other religions that you *don’t* believe in. As I’ve said repeatedly, most if not all religions say that “what I’ve said proves my god beyond a shadow of a doubt” and they deliberately ignore that their arguments are those of everyone else.
This will sound blunt, but I give you no credit at all, not when it comes to your religion. I may as well say that you get credit for believing in Santa Claus or ask you to give credit to a believer in Zeus, Ahura Mazda or Vishnu. Your conclusion is neither reasonable nor supported by evidence that isn’t used to support every other god. It arises from being told stories by people whom you had reason to trust and selectively educating yourself to keep up that belief since it is a heady one, that some omnipotent being cares for you and only you and will reward you with heaven or eternally torture you in hell. I found that those promises appealing, but there is no evidence for it or any other religion. I am not afraid of your god or its threats. If it is the being in the bible, it is not worth worshipping. If it is not the being in your bible, you in the same boat as me. If there is no god at all, I have not wasted the time, resources or emotions on it. That’s the answer to your wager.