Nothing new here, but it’s a way to spend some time if you are bored. I, of course, have given comments. We’ll see if they remain.
Here are my notes when I was watching my chat with Robert. I hadn’t known that he was going to include his comentary but that’s fine. These notes are long. Unfortunately for Robert, I’ve learned to not trust Christians. I’ve also put these remarks on youtube with the video. I don’t know if they’ll show up.
It is true that there are Christian scientists. We also have Isaac Newton, an antitrinitarian Christian, who got us a lot of knowledge but also thought that alchemy works. It is true that Christians had to step away from the bible and its contradictions and false claims about reality and try a more metaphorical interpretation.
References to Christian things isn’t a turn off, because I know how Christians think, a lot of different kinds of Christians. Just saying what you believe doesn’t bother me or offend me. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t show how it fails.
Before the Big Bang, we aren’t sure of what was in existence. Currently, we aren’t sure if the BB is part of a series, etc. From what we can see, it seems that there couldn’t have been time. However, we have nothing that says that the laws of physics couldn’t have existed. We also don’t know if infinities really work or not. They are really weird. The idea of a universe that ends seems to go against what the bible claims as some magical event with people flying around, being raised from the dead and either being destroyed or eternally tortured.
I do love the science fiction analogy but it fails since it doesn’t have an omnipotent being, which could do anything by interpretation. Other than Contact, the book “The Hercules Text” is an even better version of that story IMO.
I do understand what transcendence means and so do most atheists. I do see evidence that it happens as claimed by Christians. As for a “nest of vipers”, Christianity is so self-contradictory, and Christians make up their versions in their own image that there is no such thing as true Christianity. And yep, I am critical of Christianity from every perspective. Christians have little choice to be hypocrites since few read the bible, and as above, have made up their religion in their images.
I’m as doubtful about Christianity in general, as each Christian doubts each other. We can see that schism in the current splitting of the Methodist church.
To claim that one doesn’t believe in god, but being a theist is rather silly and seems to be a little bit of a dodge. For a theist to be a theist, there is a god. For Christian, there is the one defined in the bible. Catholics do have other sources they claim just as valid. If there is no god, then there is no eden, then no need of Jesus. Repeating something out of rote if you have no idea it is true then it is pointless.
Properity gospel is silly but it is as Christian as any other Chrisitan claim. JC (Jesus Christ) says that any prayer, any ask, will be answered. Shall we disbelieve that?
People who are different in IQ do have trouble in communicating. However, neither are omnipotent. IF this god can’t make itself understood, then it isn’t omnipotent. Even a smart person can modify their words to help others understand them. This god doesn’t or can’t do that.
That a Christian wants to ignore Paul or at least part of what he says isn’t new. If something is just an “interpretation by Paul” and we can discount it in favor of something else, then why consider any of the bible to be some magical truth? Claims of “mystery” is a way to dodge problematic issues in religion.
“go with the interpretation which leads towards love”. Here is a problematic statement. Christians constantly tell me that they love me, Jesus loves me, God loves me, and there is no evidence of this. Even if you go with the definition of love in 1 Corinthians, this god fails it, and if Jesus is this god, Jesus fails it (though Jesus sometimes seems far more loving with his concern with the poor, the sick, etc). In my experience, for most Christians love doesn’t mean a concern for someone for which you’d do almost anything to make them happy and to protect them. Love for them is obedience to this god no matter what in the belief that this god will protect them and give them what they want.
It isn’t interesting that someone goes to 1 Corinthians and says that it’s a pretty good definition of “love”. In the bible, where we hear about love, it is what the bible defines “love” as. And this god fails that definition. It isn’t that this atheist thinks that the bible is right, I think that it is fairly close to what love is, not that it and it alone has the right definition of “love”. And no, it didn’t make me happy at all. I wanted nothing to do with any bible nonsense. As I said, it made other people happy, Christians who I am related to who I do care about. That’s what real love is.
Nope, no Christ needed to be loving. I am entirely disappointed with Robert that he tries to make that claim.
Christians do indeed disagree and contradict each other. It isn’t using this as a tool, it is a fact that Christians differ from each other in very basic ways. It is true that Christians make Christ into what they want, and no, he didn’t supposedly said anything new or special. We’ve had the “golden rule” for vastly longer than Christianity has existed. The ancient Chinese had it, the ancient Hebrews had it and the ancient Egyptians had it. Jesus had a different interpretation of this god nonsense just like every Christian has a different interpretation of what Christ/god supposedly said. Resurrection comes from latin sugere which means to rise or spring up. In- as a prefix means insurrection means act of instance of revolting against an authority aka rebel. Of course, in- as a prefix is a pain in the ass. Does this mean “not rising”? Does it mean “on or in a rising”? that last seems more like it. In any case it means the same as rebel though I can understand it can have different connotations to people rather than the denotation that it gets in the dictionary (my English teacher taught me “D – dictionary, denotation; C – connotation, impliCation”
The claim that no one “really” knows what Christ is saying and that this is where “fundamentalism” comes from, is Christians trying to claim each other are wrong. If we can’t trust the words from the authors or the translators, then there is no reason to believe any of them. Jesus says to follow the laws in Exodus, Leviticus etc. Should they all be followed? Some?
The same holds true for the question “what is baptism?” Well, we get a pretty good idea from what John the “Baptist” did. However, as Robert says, there are many different version of what Christians think is baptism. In my area, there are the Amish which are a part of the anabaptist movement. What indeed is a “truly” baptized Christian? In Mark 16, it says that any baptized believer in Christ as savior can do magic aka miracles. Is this the reason that no Christian can since none of them were “really” baptized?
Being a “manager” doesn’t help much with facts especially when you have a baseless claim that something that has no evidence is “good” for them. It also doesn’t work when a manager isn’t omniscient and this god supposedly is. There is no evidence that this god can create anything much less a “clockwork mechanism”. This is the argument that this god didn’t want to create something perfect because it wanted “free will”. As those who have read my blog before, free will never comes up in the bible. We have miracles which is this god interfering with human actions. As soon as it interferes, there is no free will. We also have very definite times where this god removes free will: killing a child for the actions of its parents, forcing the Egyptians to give up their wealth to the Israelites, hardening Pharoah’s heart so it can show off, etc.
This god pushes people constantly in the bible. Again, what the bible says and what a Christian wants is different. If things that are perfect are “dead”, then that doesn’t give much hope for heaven.
In regards to abortion, this is another example of love as obedience.
There is no evidence that this god is “infinite”. So one can escape. It isn’t nihilistic to be good with the universe ending. Being accepting of death isn’t nihilism. Death is part of life. I get out of the way of someone new. I would miss being alive and I don’t want anyone to be sad I was gone. Not wanting this god or this heaven isn’t nihilism.
“The bible isn’t the message”. There is no evidence that the “message” is anything different than the bible or that it is “bigger” than the bible. As much as Quakers and Catholics want to pretend otherwise, this is where they started. That they have changed their minds and declared they have some new truth is nothing new; all Christians reinvent their religion in their own image. There is nothing to show that this god started the message and the universe is around 13 billion years old (we keep refining that number with new information but it is around that old per all the evidence we have) not “3 trillion years old”. Not even remotely.
There is nothing to show that the Christian claims are evolving across time. That is a modern Christian claim. And again, there is no reason for this god for not giving the absolute truth. It is materially false when the bible makes claims that aren’t true. That we are still looking at the universe and though we though it was one way e.g. “steady state” vs big bang, no one said that this was a magical divinely given “truth”. Christians claims truths and then a generation later those supposed truths change, often in response to very human changes in morality or in response to scientific discoveries. Scientists don’t say “God told me this is the truth.”
The BBT doesn’t say that the universe is expanding from a “central point”. The BBT is far more bizarre than that.
We do find and refine what we think is true. The claims of Christians shouldn’t have to do that. If this god is limited by humans, it isn’t much of a god, especially when Christians claim that this god damns people for not getting things “right”.
“who says what it says and which bible” This is in response to me pointing out what the bible says. Chrsitians all claim that they and they alone know what it “really” says. And, since this is the case, there is some truth in saying “who says what it says”. Christians make that up as they go along, with no more evidence than the next Christian who disagrees with them, “love” not withstanding. If the translation makes a difference, then why does it? Can this god do nothing about that? Why does this god allow “wrong” translations and then damns people who don’t know any better?
Robert says he is a universal salvationist which essentially means that everyone will have a chance at accepting this god and some thing that we will all agree with them that this god is what they say. Robert might not agree with this exactly but this is what I’m going with since the ‘net seems to think this is what it means. As I noted, this is very much not what the bible says or what most Christians believe. He believes that eventually that I or everyone who isn’t Christian will “eventually lose” and we will have to accept this god’s message. No matter what it is. According to Robert, the only way to avoid the heat death of the universe is to accept his god. If this god is what is presented in the bible, I don’t want it or its afterlife. I have better morals than that and as it stands this heaven can’t seem to exist since it by being perfect is “dead”.
It didn’t surprise me much to have Robert think that C.S. Lewis’ idea of hell in “The Last Divorce” to be preferable to the fire and worms that the bible presents. However, C.S. Lewis presents a hell where Christians forget those they loved. A good review of this book is here. In short form, C.S blames the non-Christian, in my opinion blaming the victim. Honest doubt is claimed to be nothing more than intellectual laziness and selfishness, if one dares to disagree with the author. Lewis also ignores the bible and has that those in hell can leave by choice. The bible never says this and the church fathers never say this either; heck, they claim that unbaptized children are damned because they dare to be born with the nonsense of “original sin”. Then as we know, the RCC invented purgatory since such nonsense seemed too cruel.
Lewis’ argument is that people have to submit, again showing what so many Christians claim as “love” to be nothing more than obedience needed by their god. When a Christians relies on false claims like this “human being can’t make one another happy for long” and “You cannot love a fellow-creature fully until you love God” then we are in classic cult territory.
“Folk beliefs”, “infantile babyfied ways of looking at heaven and hell”. This appears to be what a lot of atheists call “sophisticated theology”. That link leads to rationalwiki’s entry on it which describes how Christians are sure that other Christians aren’t quite getting Christianity “right”, when they are taking the bible at its word. In this, hell isn’t this god daming people to fire and worms, it is the non-believer choosing not to agree with the believer. It’s not their or their god’s fault that they are unbelievable.
“It is essentially pagan to think of God as Odin…” This is very similar to arguments made by people like Karen Armstrong and Tillich that somehow their god is “different” than everyone else’s god, that it is the “ground of being” and can’t be held to human description so it gets vaguer and vaguer in definition. This vague entity is very hard to reconcile some god that has a blood sacrifice to “save” people.
People that are happy in believing nonsense is most humans: Muslims, Hindus, Christians that Robert doesn’t agree with, etc. That doesn’t mean that any of their beliefs are true. One’s personal beliefs aren’t true and cognitive science accepts this. Cognitive science doesn’t say that Christianity, or any religion, is true.
“It’s okay to take the bible literally.” One would think a Christian would say this since they all take some part of it literally. It just depends on the Christian what parts. And then they declare that those Christians who don’t agree with them aren’t “really” Christians. Robert wants people to take the bible morally, literally, allegorically and what I think he is saying “anagogical” which means “a mystical or spiritual interpretation” of statements and events. Per the wiki entry on “anagogue” this is some kind of a allegory that isn’t a “simple” allegory”, it is a divine revelation.
In that Christians all make claims of how their god (or the holy spirit) tells them what something “really” meant, aka knowing anagogically, there is no reason to think one Christian has a better interpretation than another.
“Religion is like science”. No it isn’t. I don’t say that I believe in science just because it can be wrong or improved. Science does come to truth across time. We are limited humans. It is not true in religion since every religion claims it has the truth and that what it interprets Jesus/God as wanting as the “truth”. What happens is that those supposed truths, declared strongly by Christians, change to another “truth” by Christians who disagree. Science is rarely declared as some immutable truth, and shouldn’t be declared that since we know things can change when we find something new. Religions, such as Chrisitanity, depend on declaring dogmatic “truth” and then they often proceed to kill each over these supposed “truths”. Few theists ever admit that they doubt what they claim is true. If they didn’t think it was true, they wouldn’t believe it.
Science isn’t about “feeling” the truth; its about facts. All Christians claim that their version of Christ is “truth” itself. All claim that Christ manifests in them and again we have drastically conflicting messages from supposedly this “Christ”.
“when there is no ultimate, infinite goodness that exists apart from us, we have removed the fixed point toward which we can aspire.” This is an argument that this god is some moral or ultimate ideal. Most Christians try this. This assumes that somehow we need this god to get better. There is no evidence for this at all. Humans have gotten morally better (subjectively of course) and it is the religions that have constantly changed their gods to catch up. Our imaginations can always make us better. Robert wants to claim we can’t get “infinitely better without his god, but there is again no reason to think his god exists or that it is infinite or better than humans. Infinities are again, weird things, and there is no reason to think that there is an “infinite” better-ness. That idea is attached to the cosmological argument that there has to be some “perfect” being that for some reason has to make the universe, under the assumption that existence is “better” than non-existence. Every religion says that only it gets you “infinitely” better, a claim with no evidence for it at all.
Newton did come up with physics and Newtonian physics works. It still works and we did need quantum mechanics. Einstein didn’t accept quantum physics. Newton’s laws work and are true, quantum laws are true, and we don’t *yet* know how they interact or if they do. We may never know it. That makes neither untrue; this is a false dichotomy argument. Religion claims an ultimate truth and it can’t show it.
Humans are bad at truth and the scientific method helps us in finding it. What we’ve found is no “third party”, and as it stands each religion claims that they and they alone have that third party that agrees with them, with no evidence again. That we don’t need a third party confounds many theists since their world depends on a presupposition that we do. That presupposition comes from the human need to think that intelligent agency is behind everything. The fact is that it isn’t.
There is no evidence for some “far distant truth” from some god. We do rely on us humans. No god can be shown to have done anything and humans reach for the stars on their own. This religion has done its best to squash questioning, killing those who questioned like Giordano Bruno, to keep us from the stars.
That I’ve stopped being afraid of this god or any god I can achieve much. I’ve decided not to believe in a god that limits humans, that punishes humans for questioning. My subjective morality allows me to move forward. Robert, though he is a very nice Christian, does try to claim he has a truth. Searching for a truth doesn’t involve saying “I *know* that “x” is true” which is what he and I discussed on his blog in the comments. Every Christian says that every other Christian isn’t getting the right answer.
It’ll be billions of years until an “end”, but that isn’t usually the end that most Christians are predicting. They have an end where this god comes back, and judges people. That isn’t the heat death of the universe which doesn’t care about anything.
Christianity would be rather bizarre with me in it, but I appreciate the thought. Christians, imo, are terrified. One happy atheist shows that the claims of Christianity aren’t true. Christianity claims a truth and that it is “greater” than everything else.
The bible is indeed violent just like Pulp Fiction the movie. I just don’t get the analogy Robert uses. This bible has that this god intentionally assigns innocents to the worst fate ever. You can try to ignore that part of the bible but it is still there. No free will in Chrisitanity at all
Those of you who don’t know Pern, it’s a science fiction, kinda fantasy series of books with dragons on an alien plant with the descendants of colonists. You can read about it here.
But at least we agree with Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin. 😊
Rabbi Gellman, who used to be part of the God Squad with a catholic priest, still has a syndicated column. I occasionally address them there. This time it’s a column that in my paper is titled “why don’t animals talk”.
Now many cultures have myths on why this is. They are just-so stories like Kipling wrote. Raven can’t talk anymore because he stole fire for mankind and carried it in his beak.
The answer we have from the rabbi to ostensibly a third-grade girl is that it is somehow to teach humans “not just about right and wrong but also about wrong and right and even more right.” (Italics mine) What the hell? This certainly drives a spike into the objective claims of morality from theists. If this god allows something that it kinda isn’t good with, but there is a better idea, then why not require the truly “good” idea? The rabbi wants to have it that eating meat is okay with his god but its better if we could eat without causing some animal to “suffer and die”.
In this column, Gellman mentions Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. They are, with a little added for context (the specific verses are italicized):
“26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”27 So God created humankind[e] in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1
0 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
1God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.” – Genesis 8-9
So, we have a god that has no problem with killing and burning animals for its own pleasure, so Gellman’s claim that this god is all about veganism isn’t true in the slightest. This god is so all about meat is that he rejects Cain’s offering of fruits and vegetables, and approves of Abel’s offering, also making it questionable why Abel was bothering with killing animals at all since they weren’t eating them, and why this god had to kill and skin animals to make clothes for the newly naked Adam and Eve. The rabbi claims that his god gives the allowance to Noah to eat meat “grudgingly”. That is no where in the verses.
The rabbi then gives a rather horrible little story (midrash) about how Noah wanted a hamburger. He has the snake being truthful and saying one has to make a hamburger (and seemingly implying that it was being evil, which begs the question, why was this snake on the ark?). Noah, for no reason other than personal want, kills and eats his friend the cow. This is from a person who chats regularly with this god. The end of the story is that animals don’t talk to humans because that Noah ate one of them and they are upset.
So are animals upset with this god too since it demands their death?
Which of the cows did Noah eat and how does this work with the other utterly silly story in the bible where it can’t make up its mind on how many animals Noah took with him on the ark?
If we can eat “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” then why the claims we can’t eat some of these things in Exodus and Leviticus? This god is so forgetful, losing things, forgetting what he’s said before.
This a prime example of theists making up nonsense thoughtlessly and making things ever worse for their bible’s claims.
“Back of all these superstitions you will find some self-interest. I do not say that this is true in every case, but I do say that if priests had not been fond of mutton, lambs never would have been sacrificed to God. Nothing was ever carried to the temple that the priest could not use, and it always so happened that God wanted what his agents liked. Now, I will not say that all priests have been priests “for revenue only,” but I must say that the history of the world tends to show that the sacerdotal class prefer revenue without religion to religion without revenue.” – Robert Ingersoll (lots more excellent quotes here for those who don’t think atheists used to be as feistyt as they are now)
This weekend I was at an holiday craft show with my art. Despite rather awful weather, standing in a puddle the first day and being wind-whipped the second, I did fairly well. It’s always a nice thing when people actually buy something you’ve made or even just compliment it. I hate to admit I do like the external validation 😊
One of the things I was selling were these little resin casts of cat faces. The mold comes in a set with a good kitty, having a gem in its forehead and a bad kitty with little horns. Now, if you have cats, you know they can be bad kitties often, mine currently having been chewing on my yule tree. I sold quite a few of these little guys.
I had wondered if, since this was a Christian sponsored event, anyone would comment. And sure enough someone did.
A nice millennial-type gal came up and bought a magnet and a holiday painting of a couple of candles with a Christmas tree in the background. She then came back and asked me if I was into “witchcraft” and picked up one of the kitty heads, a back one with gold horns. I said, “Nope, they are just kitty heads, if you are into witchcraft or whatever doesn’t mean much to me if you see them that way. I’m an atheist.” I may as well have grown a third eye, but she hid her surprise well. “Oh well, I was wondering since this is a church event. Okay, thank you.”
And then she came back again with her boyfriend. “I mean, I just have to ask, were you a Christian before or how did you…..” she trailed off. I grinned and said “Yep, I was raised a Presbyterian and was one until probably my early twenties. Then I read the bible and realized that there was no evidence for anything in it.”
“Oh. Well, did you read “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel.”
“Yep, it’s a very bad set of claims that have no evidence for them.”
“Oh it’s such a powerful book.”
“Sorry, I didn’t see it that way and I can answer all of his points. I’ve also read Craig, Lewis, and they are trying to convince Christians, not convert anyone.” They were at a loss so I gave them my business card and invited them to email me if they wanted to talk further. They wished me Merry Christmas and left.
I was half-expecting to be asked to leave if they ran to the organizers but nothing happened. But this is the mission that has to ask the entire community for donations when there are hundreds of churches around, so I think they are happy to have anyone support them. Incidentally, if you are looking for a review and rebuttal of Strobel’s books, there are a couple here: https://infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/strobel.html and https://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_doland/strobel.html They are all a rehash of the same poor arguments.
Now, I’ve been finding various Christians insisting that they have such great ways to answer skeptics, like these two Christians could have used. Haden Clark, over at “Help me believe” does this.
In this blog entry, we have Haden claiming he has 5 tips for talking with skeptics. Let’s look at how well these will work.
As someone who claims that they know “a bit” about Christian apologetics, Haden thinks these ideas will help someone. When the someone finds they don’t, well, it doesn’t look good for an apologist. When promises don’t come true, belief in them fails as religion is finding out as more and more people leave it. What Haden gives are excuses.
1) You are not Superman
This is where Haden says that the apologist doesn’t need the answer to every objection. Aka how dare someone expect a Christian to know what they are talking about. So, Haden advises, if you don’t know the answer, it’s okay and Christianity has lasted 2000+ years so it doesn’t need you. The problem with this is that Christianity has changed vastly in those 2000+ years because Christians don’t know much about their own religion.
2) Ask the First Question
Here, the first question is “If Christianity were true and you could know it with 100% certainty, would you become a Christian?” The problem here is which Christianity? Christians don’t agree on the most basic things, so the apologist has a problem.
Haden, like most Christians, assumes that he and only he has the “truth”. And that any “level-minded” person would agree with him. With the lack of evidence for any truth, Haden has a problem with his question. If Christianity is what some Christians claim, I’d not have much problem with following it. If it is like other Christians claim, I might believe in this god but would never become a Christian. Since I read the bible, I certainly would never become a follower of this god if the bible’s stories were true, even if I might believe in it.
Haden also makes claims about people he has supposedly interacted with but it’s hard to know if these interactions ever occurred. Haden claims that if someone won’t agree with him that they would become a Christian if he could show Christianity true, then he can’t discuss things with them because he needs the excuse that they will “never” accept what he says, a common Christian excuse. As opposed to what Haden claims, yes, as skeptics, they are indeed rejecting Christianity because they find it hard to believe. If this god was shown to be the violent primitive one in the bible, there is good reason not to accept it, even if one does believe it exists. Haden recommends prayer to his god to get people to agree with the apologist, which never works out and offers another problem: why does this god not answer his believers? Well, as most of my readers know, this is when this god becomes “mysterious”.
It’s easy for Haden to recommend low-hanging fruit and avoid someone who might offer some resistance.
3) Ask More Questions
A rather curious bit of advice considering the advice given above. Haden is quite sure that most people haven’t thought about why they believe or why they don’t. So he advises asking questions of the target of his conversion: “What do you mean by that? And “How do you know that?”
Those two questions get Christians in a lot of sticky situations for them. That second one is the common one where some creationist tries such nonsense when asking “how do you know that evolution happened?” And then when asked “how do they know the events in the bible happened?” they find they can’t come up with a valid answer that won’t show their question to be asked in hypocrisy.
The first question is when the Christian ends up trying to redefine words so their claims work. In Haden’s example, he says that he defines a “fetus” as a human child and non-christians claim it is “clump” of cells”. Well, we don’t since most of us know that a fetus is beyond the clump of cells stage. We also know that a human child is what a fetus becomes.
He also tries to shift the burden of proof from himself and onto the person he is asking questions of. He offers a strawman atheist claim “In this scientific age, we know miracles don’t happen” and then proceeds to attack it. What would have been said is that “In this scientific age, we have no evidence that miracles happen.” If Haden wants to claim that they do, then it is his burden to show that miracles happen now and have happened. His attempt to shift the burden is easily recognized and laughed at. He also wants to try to redefine miracle to gain an advantage. Since in his Christian context, a miracle is a action by his god that is not explainable by natural laws, then we know what he is claiming happens. That we have no evidence of this is his problem.
Just asking questions doesn’t take the “stress” off the apologist at all. It just shows that they can’t answer what is asked and need a trick to avoid doing so.
4) Don’t Get Sidetracked
So, here, when the Christian apologist is asked questions, Haden advises to avoid answering. How not surprising. And I really don’t remember asking “What about dinosaurs?” to a Christian.
He tries to avoid the problem by simply asking “who cares?” aka “I haven’t a good answer so I’m going to falsely pretend these things don’t matter.” These “silly questions” are posed since the Christian and their religion make claims that aren’t supported by evidence. They make claims that aren’t supported by even their own bible. These things have plenty to do with the Christian and their religion, despite Haden’s false claim that they don’t.
Haden claims that the only things that matte are his god’s existence and the resurrection. Okay, then we can ask questions about those too, which makes Haden’s protests look very funny. There is no evidence for those claims either.
Haden believes in the innerancy of the bible, but claims that even if it were true that the bible contained contradictions, it wouldn’t mean that his god doesn’t exist or that Jesus didn’t rise from the grave. Unfortunately for Haden, that is exactly what it means since there is no reason to believe the claims about this god’s existence nor the resurrection. The bible is his only source of claims for both.
5) Be humble.
The world “humble” is a problem for Christians because they really really want to be called humble, but they also want to claim that only they know the “TRUTH”. They want to win arguments no matter what, despite Haden’s false claim that they don’t.
When they find that their claims aren’t being accepted without thought, that’s often when the “I’ll pray for you” comes out and the discussion ends.
I’ve let Haden know that I’ve done a post on his, but he seems loathe to let me comment. That seems to speak volumes about his confidence in his claims.
Back near Easter, I had a youngish Christian wanting to try out apologetics on me. He’s back and I’m very pleased that he did return. It’s not a easy thing to debate religion with an atheist, and one as aggressive as I am.
You can see his post attempting to refute my post about easter here. I figured I’d make my answer here and there so we can have a nice fresh page to debate on.
Hah, and you think your post is long! Hi Derek, Again, thanks for returning. I know that it can be uncomfortable to discuss Christianity and theism with an atheist. I am definitely one of the more aggressive ones, so be warned. And don’t worry about length. You’ve certainly seen where I don’t give a hoot how long a post is. I’d love to have parakeets but I think my cats would terrorize them to death. I need a big ol’ crow that could stand its own.
My point about the second class citizens is that the Bible has much about how second-class women are and has one very little bit about how everyone is supposed to be equal. As always, the parts of the bible to be followed depend on the person, not some idea that the words are a divine truth. There are some sects that do not treat women as such, but most consider a woman less than a man, basing their nonsense on Paul. Of course, most of these sects ignore the parts about women not teaching, because that’s rather inconvenient in the US. IJM does good work (though there are some questionable things they’ve done as my research has shown). However, the basic idea of women as second-class is about as Christian as the idea of taking care of the least of these.
I’ve always been interested in the various sects of Christianity. My former church was Presbyterian. It split because one woman said that this god told her that the church we had needed to be torn down and replaced. The “new church” half was recognized by the Presbytery and the other considered well, I think heretics isn’t too strong a word since they didn’t believe the woman’s claims and kept the old church. They became an independent church. It seems that splits like this are always happening in Christianity, there’s always someone who thinks that they have the “right” version. Open theism is certainly a strange one. It seems like a rather curious attempt to make God over into what reality indicates, a way to have a god but excuse its incompetence. It certainly isn’t the god of Christianity it’s describing.
I’d like to ask you, why do you “lean” more towards Wesleyan Aminian theology? What makes it better than say Calvinism or Roman Catholicism?
Now, onto the other stuff. There is no evidence that this cruxifiction happened at all. If it happened on a Passover, one could recalculate it since Passover is based on lunar events. There would also have been a Roman date which we also could figure out what it was in our calendar, and Romans are anything but “atemporal” as a people. But we have neither. And yes, dates are forced on other ancient documents. We know Alexander’s birthday. That we do not know one of the most important dates in your religion makes it seem very odd to me. I ask you to tell me what reference to Jesus are contemporary and non-biblical. I want to know which ones you are talking about before I tear into them. Again, there is no evidence anyone was cruxifed as this man. But, assuming the story is true, then he was crucified as a danger to Rome. He was also supposedly famous for doing miracles, so much so that he had over a legion’s worth of men (plus women and children) just outside of Jerusalem an occupied city. And no one noticed this, in a country that was, as you said, known for revolts. Or remarked upon this to the soldiers. Knowing more than a few soldiers, I find that hard to believe considering how they gossip. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – troopies, welcome Derek, a seminarian who is braving the leopard’s den”
One of the strangest things about religion is the concept of apologetics. Apologetics is essentially when criticism of a position is answered and rebutted, or at least that’s attempted. It can be used for any position but the term is usually used for attempts to defend religious positions and beliefs. The strangeness of apologetics in religion is that there should be no need for it at all. If religion is truth and if it is from a omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent (e.g. the God is love! nattering) god, it should be self-evident within the words themselves. It should not change from person to person, culture to culture and age to age.
However, it does and many theists know that this is a problem, one made worse with the advent of easy information retrieval. They often say that apologetics is “just” the defense of their faith, but in reality, it is “defense of my version of my faith, the only *right* one”. Those two things are quite a bit different.
Since I know Christianity better, I shall focus on that. However, most points made about it will be applicable to any religion. Here’s a brief overview.
Apologetics started early in Christianity, with JC being called on the spot to defend his version of Judaism against the Saducees and Pharisees, if the story is to be believed. His teachings were different than the other Jews but if one reads the bible, the differences were more about the intent of the law as opposed to the application. For instance, should the draconian law of no one may work on a “Sabbath” be understood as that or should there be some leeway in the interpretation so one isn’t murdering people for tending the ill, milking a cow, etc? And having lived on a dairy farm, I know that cows do not care about the Sabbath. You might think that this god would have “intelligently designed” them so they did. 🙂
Indeed, this concept of interpretation is the basis of religious apologetics everywhere: what does this stuff *really* mean and how can we determine it?
Paul continued on the path of apologetics when he came up with his own versions of what this god really meant and his own defense of it. One can find websites devoted to the idea that JC and Paul did not agree on many things (an interesting one demonstrating the fractioning of Christianity along those lines from Christianity Today notice the “careful nuancing” aka coming up with yet one more “interpretation”. Here’s another and another.). Indeed, you can find websites (here’s one that will burn your eyes by the usual problem that nutty people have with designing a webpage and one about as bad rebutting it) that decry Paul as an anti-christ since he fits the warning JC gave about anti-christs nicely.(Matthew 24). Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Apologetics, the real alchemy”