Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” – preview of a critique

Being completely bored, I signed up for Bible Gateway’s shilling of Lee Strobel’s new book “The Case for Christmas”.  I figured this will at least give me something to do and give me a few posts for this blog.  The videos are free, but they really, really want you to buy the books.

Unsurprisingly, this is just a rehash of Strobel’s apologetics books “The Case for Christ”, “The Case for Miracles”, “The Case for Grace/Hope/Faith”  (three separate books), “The Case for a Creator”, etc.  All of these present the same claims and demonstrate that apologetics are not for those who have a question, but for those who are desperate to cling to their religion.  Apologetics are also for those writers who have nothing else and want to squeeze their faithful one more time for the same information.

So continue to read if you’d like.  If you’ve frequented my blog before, it’ll be some, if not entirely composed, of the same counter-apologetics aka facts you’ve seen before. An age ago I ran the local planetarium’s Christmas show, so I have some experience in the range of nonsense that can be offered.

“Even when he was an atheist, Lee Strobel enjoyed the Christmas season–the gift-giving, holiday parties, and being with friends and family. But after his wife became a Christian, Lee started to investigate the real meaning behind all those nativity scenes he had seen outside of churches. In this four-week study, Lee reveals what he discovered as he sought to separate the holiday from the holy day, the facts from the fantasy, and the truth from the tradition. In each session you will explore:

What the Bible actually says about Jesus’ birth and how you can know it is accurate

Whether the Christmas story actually happened or developed from the myths of the day

The Bible’s claim that Jesus was born of a virgin and why it is important to your faith

How Jesus–and only Jesus–fulfilled hundreds of biblical prophecies about the Messiah

The Case for Christmas will invite you to look beyond the familiar traditions of the season, challenge you to examine the evidence for yourself, and consider why Christmas really matters.”

I’m guessing a lot of Christians will be confused since they generally have no idea what is in the bible.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – as expected Christians who supported Trump now insist that they never did

As some of my readers might remember, I’ve clashed with John Branyan and his rather peculiar daughter Amanda before.

They were all for Trump, how great he was, how Amanda voted for him and how dare anyone point out how much he was a failure.  We can see that right here “On behalf of your friends and family who are sick of listening to you but are too polite to stop you, I’m offering 6 things you can do instead of nursing your irrational hatred for Donald Trump. You believe you’re doing a good thing when you “expose Trump’s vile behavior”. You’re wrong. We prefer Trump’s behavior to your endless bloviation…”  You can only see part of his nonsense now.  JB is hiding behind a “membership” wall on his blog.  How expected.

He also had lovely bits like this too:

“Vote by mail requires you to be stupid. To be clear, the people suggesting vote by mail are quite clever. They might even be geniuses. Vote by mail is a brilliant idea that will have an enormous impact on national elections. Only stupid people think that is a good thing.

Universal vote by mail was created strictly for the purpose of cheating.”

Always good to see that poor JB agreed with Trump….once upon a time

and now we get:

“My target audience for this article is Christians who boarded the “Trump Train” back in 2016 thinking it would take them to where America was great again.

Other people would start this article with, “I hate to say I told you so,” but it would be dishonest for me to do that. I LOVE to say, “I told you so.” Being right about things feels great!”

oh gosh, poor JB doesn’t quite figure out that his blog is a recorded media.

Now, how many quatloos you want to bet he’ll try to claim he was just “joking”?

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – yet one more TrueChristian(tm) offers a “challenge” to atheists and fails

So, we have a Christian, Andy Bannister, who wants to ask “Why are some atheists so afraid of changing their minds?”.  This is a video, and of course, the comments are turned off.  So much for being the “confident” Christians that Solas claims on their website, eh?

Unsurprisingly, the video starts off with the usual false claims about atheists, how rude we all are for not blindly accepting what the particular Christian says, that we all evidently can’t come up with anything ourselves but have to repeat what other atheists say (which begs the question “since we are all repeating someone else, who is actually the originator of these things?”), that we have bad grammar and spelling (oh do call the kettle black, pot), and of course trying to be insulting by equating atheist with idiot, in the ever-so clever “village atheist” comment.

We end up quickly in the claims somehow atheists are fearful and this is “why” atheists don’t engage with the “best” arguments for Christianity.  This isn’t a new claim, it is just the “sophisticated theology” bit of nonsense that many Christians trot out, that atheists only pick the low hanging fruit to address.  This excuse is, of course, dependent on the theist being willfully ignorant about how atheists have indeed addresses those “best” arguments too.  This video isn’t for atheists, it is for a Christian to reinforce the false beliefs of himself and other Christians.  Apologetics aren’t for atheists, they are for theists.

Unsurprisingly, Andy says that atheists should “properly” examine the claims of the Christian faith.  The term “properly” comes up often in apologetics and the definition that is used this context is “in an acceptable or suitable way” not “in an accurate or correct way”.  It is nothing more than a code word for agreeing with the theist and not questioning what they say, something that is “acceptable” to them.

Andy goes on to appeal to authority in the form of Alistair McGrath, who evidently must be correct because he has a degree.  This fellow, anglican priest at Oxford (who defines atheists as ” I became an atheist – somebody who deliberately and intentionally does not believe in God and thinks that anyone who does believe in God is mentally deficient or seriously screwed up.'”, supposedly received a letter from a student that who became a Christian after reading one of McGrath’s books and the “very best” Christian philosophers.  Of course, this student was an atheist, because that makes the story.  This atheist never ever read the “other side of the argument” but when he did, poof, he became a Christian.  This of course ignores reality since this doesn’t happen every time, and indeed, atheists often become atheists because they did read the holy book of Christianity and realized what nonsense it is and read other books to see that the bible didn’t reflect reality.  To see McGrath’s other use of failed apologetics, here is a video/transcript of an interview with him.  This is the “quality” of McGrath’s arguments:  “Number one, there are a very large number of scientists who are religious believers; and these are not stupid people at all. ”  Quite a pathetic start, an appeal to authority fallacy.  Here‘s a more thorough take down of McGrath’s arguments.  If he is one of the ‘best’, Christianity doesn’t have much to support  it.

Andy goes on to repeat the claim that atheists don’t address the “best” arguments for Christianity by recommending these “best” authors like Rebecca McLaughlin.  Now, Dr. McLaughlin is one of those with again degrees, beloved by Biologos and is an entirely awful apologist.  This is her on her ‘one minute apologetics.”  “The Jesus of the Gospels is either God in the flesh or a terrible imposter. There is no middle ground.”  That is really all she has, nothing different from Paul saying, yep, we believe becuase we gotta believe.  She wrote a book, Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion.  That’s one assumption right in the title, since we know that Christians don’t consider each other Christians by the millions.  Looking at the amazon preview of the book, we see the usual apologetics, that somehow Christianity has dibs on every good human action and is the only thing responsible for human rights, the claim that persecution makes Christianity true, that somehow atheists have no morality, etc.  In other words, the same false and baseless claims, nothing new or “sophisticated” here at all.

He also of course tries to claim that atheists don’t read these arguments with an open mind and accusing atheists of being cowards and not “serious”, to again try to claim that we aren’t being honest or brave or seriously considering the material.  He also insists that pointing out that a Christian is wrong is being “rude”, doing the typical appeal to politeness when he has nothing else.  Nothing like a Christian accusing someone of lying and having no evidence for it.

It is interesting that Andy never mentions what a single one of these “best” arguments are.  One would suspect that is because when one of the arguments is dismantled, he can insist that wasn’t one of the “best” ones and then run to the next, never taking responsibility for his claims.

Atheists aren’t afraid of changing our minds.  We have no reason to .

What the Boss Likes – Some random photos

I was going through my photos on my phone and decided to put a handful up.

pumpkin pie
pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie that I made this weekend.  I’ve found I like the Joy of Cooking version the best, which uses heavy cream rather than the common American ones that use evaporated and/or condensed milk.

 

two cats
two of our cats

This is Mr. Athena (top) and Hera (bottom).  Mr. Athena (a male cat that we named before we could tell what sex the kittens were) is the kitten of Hera.  Hera had five kittens who grew to this size.  They are about twice as big as she is.

PA forest and creek
PA forest and creek

This is a pretty typical forest/creek in western PA.  It’s in a place called Mineral Springs, outside of Emlenton, PA.   There are many orange colored seeps in Western PA thanks to the coal, iron ore and sulfur in the area.  It is called Mineral Springs because of

Mineral Spring
Mineral Spring

This mineral rich spring.  You can see leaves and branches being coated with minerals.  They’ll probably be fossils someday. At one point, people could take the waters here for their health.

praying mantis
PA forest and creek

A praying mantis that came with a delivery of plants when I was working as a plant merchandiser.  She was having a good time eating.

hummingbird clearwing moth
hummingbird clearwing moth

You can see a hummingbird clearwing moth at the lower left.  He was hard to get a picture of since he was moving fast.  Those are butterfly bushes being visited.

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – and so the Christians don’t feel smug, a nice lie from our old friend Ray Comfort

buzz’s expression when the moron Trump says “‘At some point in the future, we’re going to look back and say, ‘How did we do it without space?” in reference to space exploration.

As often happens, many Christians want to pretend they are martyrs.   They have to, their bible says they won’t get the special prezzies unless their prophecies come true.   They have to insist that it was magical that their bible predicts they would be ridiculed for their nonsense.

So, on ol’ Banana Man’s youtube channel,  he is trying to claim that NASA was up to something they didn’t mention Buzz Aldrin’s wine and cracker on Apollo 11.   Alas, for Ray, Buzz wasn’t a Christian who ignored his bible and didn’t shout it from the streetcorners like Ray et all do, since no one would notice they were Christians from their actions.  Incidentally, Buzz was a Presbyterian.  He sounds like more of deist now from his book.  Can you imagine what ol’ Ray would say if a Catholic did this?

As usual, its always great fun to see Christians lie again when they want to pretend that Christianity is everyone’s religion. The world heard the quotation of the bible on the Apollo 8 mission.   Madelyn O’Hare protested it and was quite correct to do so since all Americans and all the world aren’t Christians.

Astronaut Aldrin practiced his faith and had no need for it to be advertised (you know, like JC says about not shouting about your faith from street corners like Ray does, Matthew 6). You can read about it in his great book “No Dream Too High” https://www.amazon.com/No-Dream-Too-High-Lessons/dp/1426216491 .

Poor Christians, I do love that they ignore their bible when convenient.  Here are a few bits by Buzz in his book:

“In the few weeks prior to launch, when I told Deke Slayton, one of the original astronauts who now ran the Apollo 11 flight crew operations, what I planned to do, Deke balked. “No, that’s not a good idea, Buzz.” He cautioned me, “Go ahead and have Communion but keep your comments more general.” I didn’t agree with Deke at the time but I understood and complied with the instructions. Looking back, he was probably right.”

“I radioed Mission Control “I would like to request a few moments of silence,” I said, “and invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever they may be to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and give thanks in his or her own way.”

“Over the years, I’ve often wondered if I did the right thing, that perhaps I should not have engaged in such an overtly Christian rite, because we wanted to emphasize that we traveled to the moon on behalf of all mankind – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, agnostics and even atheists. But I cannot deny history. The truth is the first liquid ever poured and the first food eaten on the Moon were Christian Communion elements. ”

“I don’t go around giving testimony to my faith and when anyone asks about the Communion on the Moon, I tell them I wanted to do something that was symbolic and something that was appropriate to the magnitude of what we accomplished. The best way to do that was to encourage everyone to give thanks in their own way. ”

Buzz believes in a higher power, but he acknowledges that there are good people of every kind.  A shame that so many Christians find a need to pretend that only they are important.

Buzz also has no problem in punching conspiracy theorists.

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – oh look a Muslim creationist lies: Atheism succinctly refuted

a theist, muslim in this case, caught in a lie.
a theist, muslim in this case, caught in a lie.

oh look, a Muslim creationist lies.

It isn’t Ilya Prigogine lying, it is our friends over Blogging Theology.   Now, how did I know to question this false claim?  Well, Dr. Prigogine signed the Humanist Manifesto in 2003.  Rather unlikely that someone like this would be an authority that a theist would run to, right?  It stank of a lie.  

this is what the real quote is:

“The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.”Ilya Prigogine (Chemist-Physicist) Recipient of two Nobel Prizes in chemistry I. Prigogine, N. Gregair, A. Babbyabtz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28

The statement is misquoted and removed from context so as to inaccurately simplify and overstate the authors’ statement.

The exact phrase is (see also above):
The probability that at ordinary temperatures a macroscopic number of molecules is assembled to give rise to the highly ordered structures and to the coordinated functions characterizing living organisms is vanishingly small. The idea of spontaneous genesis of life in its present form is therefore highly improbable, even on the scale of the billions of years during which prebiotic evolution occurred…

Theists are often lazy and almost always making false claims. How pathetic when their holy books tell them not to lie. Poor Paul has failed to listen ““Lying is not permitted except in three cases: a man speaking to his wife to make her happy; lying in times of war; and lying in order to reconcile between people.””  and “

“O you who believe! Fear Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).”(9:119)”

Tsk, lying just like a regular ol’ conservative Christian.  

What the Boss Likes – my interview about the event in Harrisburg

It’s on instagram  @keystonecalendar