Are all Atheists just making excuses?

Where does Atheism come from?Child

This is not an academic question with a simple answer to point to the birth of atheism in the 17th century and its spread during the early part of the 19th century. It is a question which goes much deeper and asks “why and when do we decide that there is no God for us?”

Someone recently commented on the kind of debates we mostly have today when we talk about religion. One of the major things that came up is that people who refuse to accept the possibility of existence of God do so in order to avoid any sense of being responsible to someone else. From a psychological point of view he said “it’s like trying to grow up, when  a child looks forward to becoming his/her own person”. I Think this was meant to represent a sense of emancipation kind of freedom from oppression under which they did not want to stay. This says more about our upbringing and far less about any meaningful understanding or relationship one is supposed to have with any higher being.

2 Tim 3:16 Every scripture23 is inspired by God24 and useful for teaching, for reproof,25 for correction, and for training in righteousness, 3:17 that the person dedicated to God26 may be capable27 and equipped for every good work.

How do we discern or decide what is right? Philosophy of thought has, according to some, completely disappeared. People often look to others to guide them and if one is to escape this and come to his own views, how is he/she to go about their way in order to find that inner happiness of knowing that their mind was not made up for them by somebody else. According to Christians, Jesus came to provide us with this option, his word, the Bible, is that independent tutor who can teach us, under whose light we can make up our own mind.

Honesty or dishonesty – Fear-mongering or open debate: This light is necessary otherwise how can anyone make sense of anything in the darkness? There are therefore many reasons to attack these pillars of the Christian faith in order to stay at the same elevated position of not being obliged to own anyone or anything. But can we truly say that we are totally independent, or self-sufficient? I think it was Marx who said that “Humans are social animals” therefore we are co-dependent on one another. I know of no one who happily exists in his/her solitude and can claim that they can do things their own way.

We often have much greater expectations of God than anybody else but frequently we refuse to give him even the slightest possibility of granting him the same rights that we would offer to anyone else. (So we judge him more harshly but we give him absolutely no rights, the very thing we so boldly demand) Isn’t our humanity limited by time and space to  gather  and process information and isn’t our knowledge often lacking in its entirety but is what we do know enough to see us through to the point where we can say with great certainty that we know and understand all the answers to all the basic questions we ask as humans such as  Why are we here? Who are we? Where are we going? These are not simply philosophical questions that are irrelevant to us. Indeed they make us what we are. Our view of ourselves, the directions we take and the desires we cultivate are nothing short of being honest searching and our attempt to answer the question of life and to find meaningful reasons for our existence.

According to the Bible our life span is not intended to be limited to the 80 years (average life span) we spend on earth. We have all heard of John 3:16 3:16 For this is the way36 God loved the world: He gave his one and only37 Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish38 but have eternal life.39 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,40 but that the world should be saved through him.


Emperor’s new clothes: God appears to have generous desires that are aimed at saving, protecting, bettering and enhancing our lives rather than taking away, destroying or profiteering from our involvement with Him. Indeed, there seems to be no apparent benefit to God by us being adopted or accepted by Him. So why is he so patient,  understanding and welcoming and always seems to display his loving kindness? Is it this question that frightens many? There are those who do not wish to be tricked like the vain Emperor (in the story about his new clothes) who was exploited by greedy weavers who promised him the “the best robes ever” made out of the pure GOLD that the Emperor himself would provide for them. However, according to the weavers these new clothes would be only visible to those who were bright and not ignorant.  Interestingly enough, new atheists have a name for themselves, which is very self-congratulatory but very brief.  They call one another “Brights”, not stupid, with intellectual prowess,  but with greater superior intellect  that is far above anyone who would dare to believe in God. It is not until someone comes with a CHILD-like faith and logic and asks a direct question that is not masked in flowery language, that  the full extent of the meaning of this new name is discovered. What we need is more direct questions. We don’t need our questions being answered with yet more questions.

For me, the meaning of the story is simple, weavers are the atheists who actively publish books which are full of hot air, and very little substance. They sell their books, and become quite rich in the process. It is not until a small child comes and discovers the Emperor’s foolish nakedness that the Emperor finally finds out that  his trust was misplaced, and his faith in the weavers abused. As a Christian I don’t think we can profit from our faith and for atheists, here is my challenge. If their interest is  truly in humanity neither should they benefit from those who are genuinely and desperately searching. If this is their livelihood they should own up to it, or if it’s making them rich and offering fame that they would not otherwise obtain, they should question their motives.   I don’t accuse atheists of being talentless. I only caution those who act like “village idiots” pretending to possess the knowledge and understanding of the entire universe.  This is simply not possible in our short lifetimes and although people may specialise in certain aspects, they simply cannot know all there is to know.

Don’t be fooled: The Bible is right when it states “The fool said in his heart ‘There is no God’ ” for how can anyone know or prove such a “fact”. He/she either lacks modesty or is completely dishonest with himself and is intentionally seeking to deceive others so as not to be alone in his corner of disbelieving. We still yearn to be loved, approved and respected in a world that some perceive to be overpopulated. A little bit of love and companionship goes a long way. We need to stop self-adoration and stop self-medicating our emotions and  instead challenge our minds.  Only once we understand can we truly be emotional about anything at all.

I am often impressed with my children who ask the right questions with a great deal of insight. It seems to me that philosophy for many only serves to confuse and distract the real issues. Unfortunately for me, Philosophy is one of my favourite subjects but I think we need to be honest if we are trying to find answers to our questions, and not simply trying to seek  the answers that we desire. That would be a  definition of the fundamentalist, “Someone who is collecting data that will support his/her theory at the expense of any other information that may disprove his/her hypotheses.

Honesty is a great quality. Our personal experience does not hold all the answers. We can ill afford such luxury of ignoring our future. We are programmed to plan for the “rainy day”. We save for our pensions, we build our houses, we plant and reap and store our food, yet when it comes to eternity we seem to pay so very little attention.

I’m not suggesting that we should spend our life meditating and ignoring our everyday life. On the contrary, as we go through our everyday life I would encourage people to continue asking that simple question “Why”. This is the very question we used to use as we were growing up as parents of young children will undoubtedly know. There is no reason why we should stop now. I know what  the right answer for me is but before I reached the conclusion I had to ask many questions.

Note that for Christians there are no multiplicity of right answers. Jesus himself puts it like this in John 14:6 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

We have been granted freedom of choice, we are gifted with brains and a sense of reasoning. It is, however, our duty to ask questions. Please investigate the claims made by the Bible “to have the answer to our questions”.

The question continues to stand “what did you do with your life”? Did you ask yourself “where we are going”? Are you being honest with yourself? Are the quick dismissive answers you give simply a self-defence mechanism to protect your vulnerability?

There are many items on this blog that attempt to provide some answers to many of the questions that are being asked today. We should not be ashamed or afraid of attempting and even finding a degree of certainty for ourselves. Matthew 7:7 says this Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you“. You know what you need to do.  God on the other hand has made a promise that he will bless your and my searching. So let’s test this promise and see whether our faith in him is being misplaced.

Kind regards

Defend the word

36 tn Or “this is how much”; or “in this way.” The Greek adverb οὕτως (houtōs) can refer (1) to the degree to which God loved the world, that is, to such an extent or so much that he gave his own Son (see R. E. Brown, John [AB], 1:133–34; D. A. Carson, John, 204) or (2) simply to the manner in which God loved the world, i.e., by sending his own son (see R. H. Gundry and R. W. Howell, “The Sense and Syntax of John 3:14–17 with Special Reference to the Use of Οὕτωςὥστε in John 3:16, ” NovT 41 [1999]: 24-39). Though the term more frequently refers to the manner in which something is done (see BDAG 741-42 s.v. οὕτω/οὕτως), the following clause involving ὥστε (hōste) plus the indicative (which stresses actual, but [usually] unexpected result) emphasizes the greatness of the gift God has given. With this in mind, then, it is likely (3) that John is emphasizing both the degree to which God loved the world as well as the manner in which He chose to express that love. This is in keeping with John’s style of using double entendre or double meaning. Thus, the focus of the Greek construction here is on the nature of God’s love, addressing its mode, intensity, and extent.
37 tn Although this word is often translated “only begotten,” such a translation is misleading, since in English it appears to express a metaphysical relationship. The word in Greek was used of an only child (a son [Luke 7:12, 9:38] or a daughter [Luke 8:42]). It was also used of something unique (only one of its kind) such as the mythological Phoenix (1 Clement 25:2). From here it passes easily to a description of Isaac (Heb 11:17 and Josephus, Ant. 1.13.1 [1.222]) who was not Abraham’s only son, but was one-of-a-kind because he was the child of the promise. Thus the word means “one-of-a-kind” and is reserved for Jesus in the Johannine literature of the NT. While all Christians are children of God (τέκνα θεοῦ, tekna theou), Jesus is God’s Son in a unique, one-of-a-kind sense. The word is used in this way in all its uses in the Gospel of John (1:14, 1:18, 3:16, and 3:18).
38 tn In John the word ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi) can mean either (1) to be lost (2) to perish or be destroyed, depending on the context.
39 sn The alternatives presented are only two (again, it is typical of Johannine thought for this to be presented in terms of polar opposites): perish or have eternal life.
40 sn That is, “to judge the world to be guilty and liable to punishment.”
Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible ( (Biblical Studies Press, 2006; 2006)), Jn 3:16-17.
23

tn Or “All scripture.”
sn There is very little difference in sense between every scripture (emphasizing the individual portions) and “all scripture” (emphasizing the composite whole). The former option is preferred, because it fits the normal use of the word “all/every” in Greek (πᾶς, pas) as well as Paul’s normal sense for the word “scripture” in the singular without the article, as here. So every scripture means “every individual portion of scripture.”
24 sn Inspired by God. Some have connected this adjective in a different way and translated it as “every inspired scripture is also useful.” But this violates the parallelism of the two adjectives in the sentence, and the arrangement of words makes clear that both should be taken as predicate adjectives: “every scripture is inspired…and useful.”
25 tn Or “rebuke,” “censure.” The Greek word implies exposing someone’s sin in order to bring correction.
26 tn Grk “the man of God,” but ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) is most likely used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women.
27 tn This word is positioned for special emphasis; it carries the sense of “complete, competent, able to meet all demands.”
Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible ( (Biblical Studies Press, 2006; 2006)), 2 Ti 3:15-17.

You have it wrong. Atheists aren’t “people who refuse to accept the possibility of existence of God,” but people who have recognized that there isn’t any real proof for the existence of god(s). That is a HUGE difference. Atheists accept that it is possible that their is a god, but are aware that it is also highly unlikely.

Your idea of becoming an atheist, “in order to avoid any sense of being responsible to someone else” is also utterly ridiculous. If anything, you’ve got this backwards. Atheists know that the responsibility of making the planet a better place falls directly on the shoulders of humanity, while the religious throw their hands up because some god is going to swoop in and save the “believers” and punish the “wicked” sometime soon.

defendtheword.wordpress.com

Thanks Jackson

Somehow your “HUGE difference” only to my assessment does not match my experience. It is very easy to hide behind the words, especially with comments like “there isn’t any real proof for the existence of God(s)” First of all, how do you know this? Have you checked all the information and all the claims that have been put forward by theists? I doubt this to be the case. Secondly, this shows your prejudice against religion and stops you from being impartial in this debate. Regarding your last point about the responsibility of care for the earth, note that long before atheism was established there have been many theists who advocated very strongly that we need to look after this earth as we have been put in charge and have a duty of care to do so.

You have to also remember that you most certainly do not have the “Answer” to the question of religion. You are right  to acknowledge that the possibility of there being a deity still stands (even though you think this to be very unlikely) but note that your closing statement of this being “highly unlikely” shows that we as per usual resort to making statements and not engaging in real evidence. Note that whenever I hear an atheist trying to destroy evidence they only open more questions as destroying one side of the argument does not close the door to the argument of God’s existence. For some time atheists have persisted that Evolution is a strong proof that God is dead yet they fail to acknowledge that DNA and RNA do not have intelligence that directs their factory like production lines, and neither are any other sub-atomic particles that are showing all the signs of DESIGN. So much so that even atheists have to admit by reassuring each other with sayings like “we have to remind each other that  the universe is not designed despite the initial signs, when presented with the structure of cells and apparent complexity…” We know that evolution offers one step forward and five steps backwards yet this is accepted as being a perfect explanation to our existence. And  do not forget that the meaning of Life here on earth can not be satisfactorily explained by simply relying on materialism.

I’m sorry but when presented with information like this, I can only conclude that Atheism demands just as much faith as  any other religion, the only difference is in  its philosophical bias. Humanism, Existentialism and even scientisam only serve to confirm the tools used by the atheists are to elevate Human selfish and arrogant self-obsession. These do not provide adequate resolution to the difficulties we still face. We live in a world where the weak are destroyed by the strong, so called “smarts” also known as atheists ridicule theists in order to humiliate and bring into submission fearful opposition. It was Albert Einstein who said that he is amazed by the work of God in our modern society, where we have been given intellect big enough to understand enough, that we do possess only a limited knowledge of the universe but can nevertheless understand its magnificent design and appreciate the designer.

Not to mention the fact that any intelligent human being would agree that “knowledge” only seems to increase and not decrease  the number of questions we have. So how on earth can any “Smart atheist” then claim to have more than 50% of the definitive answer that can reassure skeptics and searchers that they (the Atheists) know best.

A little humility goes a long way, and in particular we should be reminded that meekness is not the same as weakness, trusting in God does not make us less capable or intelligent or caring. In fact He gives us more moral support and authority than we need in order to continue the good fight.

Kind regards

Defend the word

jackson Joseph

Thanks for taking my comments. Attacking me personally instead of addressing my claim is an Ad Hominem and doesn’t really further your argument. If you have any real, credible evidence to the existence of any deity or group of deities, I’ll be the first person to admit that I was wrong.

You also mentioned making a claim without providing any evidence, but that is EXACTLY what you did with your “Last point on the responsibility of care for the earth.” The idea that atheism was “established” at some point in history is ludicrous. Atheism isn’t a belief system, but a lack of belief in a supernatural god or gods. The burden of proof doesn’t fall on me for NOT believing in something, but it does fall on you to prove your claim is true. If someone were to come to you and claim that, “The earth’s core consists of a giant ping pong ball filled with mayonnaise and dead elephants,” it would be up to them to prove it, not up to you to disprove. (on a side note, NOTHING can be disproved with 100% certainty, so I invite you to disprove that claim.)

On another note, I didn’t bring up the Theory of Evolution, but I’ll be happy to talk with you about it. We can continue here, or we could converse via email if you would rather. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of having in-depth discussions in “comments” just because of the lack of formatting options. I will say this however, your saying that “evolution offers one step forward and five steps backwards,” when it is the backbone of Biology, immunology, virology, as well as the field of medicine shows that you don’t really understand much about evolution at all. Like I said, I’ll be happy to talk to you more about it, just let me know.

Saying that Atheism requires as much faith as any other religious belief system doesn’t make any sense. As I mentioned above, Atheism isn’t a belief system. There isn’t any dogma that every atheist follows. We are just people that have this one thing in common. It may seem that way since you are on the other side of the fence, but your claim is the same thing as saying that both you and I follow the same dogma because we both don’t believe in Bigfoot (I’m assuming that you don’t in fact believe in Bigfoot.) It is funny that you should accuse atheists of using ridicule and fear as weapons when it is really the other way around. Atheists try to convince others by appealing to rational thinking by asking rational questions while Christians promise damnation and hellfire to those that don’t come around to their way of thinking. Which of those tactics uses more fear?

Oh, and as far as Einstein goes, he also said, “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

defendtheword
defendtheword.wordpress.com

Hi Joseph

Sorry I called you Jackson in my previous reply.

Thank you very much for taking time to give an answer to my reply. I will attempt to be rational in my reply to you, but have to admit despite my high IQ results according to the IQ tests I still struggle to know everything that there is to know.  I guess this is due to the fact that Knowledge and Intelligence and two separate things. I still investigate and still regard reason as one of the most important assets that God gifted me with.

Let me put it the way you would hopefully agree with me. I will attempt to use Socratic reasoning with you and you can then answer my questions.

1. Do you think reasoning alone can answer all our questions that are outstanding in order to find truth? I hope your answer should be a BIG NO, otherwise how do you explain that almost all contemporary philosophers continue to highlight shortfalls of reason?

2. Do you think that contemporary science has all the answers we need including for our understanding of  the spiritual world or realm as some put it? Again I hope you will answer a Big No to that. This is often overblown by atheists and frequently condemned by serious scientists who maintain that science is not able to justify the existence of God or disprove it. (I call this scientisam, a belief that science holds key to all our knowledge, note however that this is very unscientific as it’s exactly what the Philosophy of science states.)

3. Would you agree that if there is a God of the Bible he is not an hypothesis but a person, therefore significantly different. For many it’s not so much I don’t believe in God as I don’t believe God is for me.

4. Would you agree that there are still around 40% of highly educated scientists who profess a belief in a personal God? This is related to the fact that scientific data is open to interpretation and that no highly educated person should ever forget this?

5. I’m always confused as to why people choose to take one side of the argument but ignore the other? In your Case about Einstein you forget to mention that whilst he did not agree with the Biblical God nevertheless he stayed DEIST. I.e. that is a belief in a God who is real but removed and impossible to know.

6. Your assumption that I don’t understand Evolution again does not help our argument. It removes us from logical reasoning and makes this debate more emotional. This is a subject that I have followed for many years. I believe my understanding not to be faulty, data is not unknown to me but we do differ in our interpretation. See many posts on this blog listed under “Evolution” you can filter this on this blog.

7. To say that there is no God when there is no evidence for it you have to use faith, there  are no two ways about it. This is not to say I think you are any worse or better than me, it’s only making a statement that we are two sides of the same coin. (Philosophically talking)

8. Talking about the earth and its core containing Ping pong balls is a straw man argument as the two are completely different. You can be intelligent and still be a Christian which is proved by the fact that today there are many Christian scientists who are happy to go on the record that they are followers of Jesus. This is the same argument Richard Dawkins uses, i.e. like a belief in the flying spaghetti monster, Father Christmas and the Tooth fairy, etc are the same as a belief in God. This is not logical and does not compute the right data and sequence for anyone to be able to logically examine this. There are many people who stop believing in the Tooth fairy when they are 6 years old but they become Christians in later life. Complexity and God are not two worlds apart, science is not anti-God, it is only that some Scientists are anti-God (around 40% declare themselves to be atheists, whilst there is a further 20% who say they are agnostics i.e. it is impossible to know)

9. On your very first point of giving you proof that there is a God, I can offer a number of them but again they are all open to interpretation like any other scientific data. Personal prayer and answers are pretty good for me. I.e. How do you explain when you pray for specific needs and God answers your prayer? I have personal experience of this. During my student days when I had a severe lack of finances I used to bring personal requests for eg a new pair of shoes, or trousers etc. which were  exactly what I was given. I know of no other reason why God would waste his time fulfilling our wish/need list except to say “I’m here and I care!”. There are also a number of other reasons, like prophesy fulfillment given in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament. Some very specific examples about Jesus, for instance, can be found in Isaiah chapter 53. There are good cosmological reasons, sub atomic particles and structures which still stay unexplained by science. The  fact that we have a so-called “God element” shows that even science gets puzzled by the workings of the universe. The fact that we have a Big Bang theory also points to singularity that resulted in everything we know and see today. A complicated ecosystem that is codependent on many variables, location of earth to the distance of the sun, and moon, which protects us from excessive radiation etc. including  the location of the gas giants who act like a hoover for comets allowing life to develop and exist on the earth.

10. On the point of mocking and deliberately attempting to embarrass opponents please note the following: There is a difference in “Fear God” or “fear man” One is external to our influence and distance which offers freedom of expression i.e. I could believe and could not believe, the other is “you must be stupid to believe”. Our desire for self-reliance, and self governance is admirable but not self-sufficience. We still depend on what others say and do as we strive to be part of society. As Karl Marx put it “we are social animals”. This brings me to my last point, with further clarification on the belief system of an Atheist.

11. Assumptions (and therefore faith) of the Atheist stand as follows. These are basically attempts by some prominent Atheists like Karl Marx, Bertrand Russel, Sigmund Freud, and even today’s atheists favourite Richard Dawkins to explain the atheistic view point.

a.) There is no God or Gods
b.) Some poor self deceived people believe that there is a God (Often accompanied by insults of lack of intelligence)
c.) As God is not real this belief is driven by wishful thinking or self-delusion
d.) Faith is a choice as it fulfills their personal need (note that Dawkins says he can not understand what was the evolutionary benefit to the Belief in God)
e.) Faith in religion is a human invention as is God. Man created God not the other way around.

All of this is dependent on the first assumption that “there is no God” and is therefore  a circular argument, which is self-dependent on the first point of the argument. One could therefore rightly conclude that Atheism is Faith as it follows a structural belief system that is not based on fact but on wishful thinking.

I don’t mind continuing our conversation here or alternatively you can e-mail me on defendtheword@ymail.com if that is easier for you. And by the way I apologize if you took my comments as a personal attack. They are not meant to be attacks but note that it is very hard to engage if I can’t answer directly to your comments.  Also, most of my comments will be driven by my previous personal experiences, as I’m forced to read between the lines when communicating through the internet. As I’m not able to read your body language, voice intonation etc.

Kind regards and my respect for wanting to engage in conversation.

Defend the word

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50 Responses to Are all Atheists just making excuses?

  1. John Sutton says:

    The author is clearly obsessed with the idea of a supernatural being. Some people are indoctrinated to the point of illness. Great harm has been done to him and it cannot be cured with a few words of truth from me. If you remove a limb no amount of discussion will cause it to grow back. Such people deserve our pity. The best we can do is to prevent them from inflicting similar harm on others.

  2. Thank you John for your concern and I would like to note your freedom to both share your opinion and your desire to control others by wanting to prevent ideas from being disseminated to the “gullible” masses I’m guessing? (Note: friendly sarcasm on my part here).

    There are two things that you need to think of before you make such statements.

    1. Did the author of this blog hear this “enlightening idea” before? (Yes I have) Is he capable of understanding what I’m saying, is his argumentative position at all attainable or simply delusion that can not be cured. Does this sound like reasonable and logical analysis of the situation that you just attempted to understand? Hey look I can cope with your sarcasm, how are you coping with my friendly comeback?
    2. If my (Your) comments are published will this make me (You) look intolerant and short-sighted in fact some may perceive it as being a bit of a bully, don’t you agree? After all I have not stopped you from voicing your opinion here have I?

    As someone who regards reason and reasoning highly I would guess you are trapping yourself in the corner here, as I don’t see logical explanation and reasoning that can lead me to interpret this any other way. But hey I’m not taking this as a personal attack even if it’s meant it to be, I’m more than happy to open up and even offer hand of friendship if need be.

    Kind regards and once again thanks for your comments

    Defend the word

  3. Vincent E says:

    The author starts with the assumption that god exists when he asks where does atheism come from! Does he not realise that we all start out as atheists and only pick up that baggage later? What about animals, do they believe in god and are going to heaven?
    These are such tired old propositions which have been thoroughly refuted time and again. How do we get our morals? Apparently he is still sporting bronze age ones. I hope he hasn’t erected any graven images lately. The author accuses atheist authors of pretending to know things they cannot know but this is exactly what religious people do. Too many contradictions to list here. Infantile piece.

  4. Hi Vincent

    Thanks for your comment, however there are few problems here. And by the way you are lucky you are being personal with me and not picking on others, as that attitude will not be tolerated anymore on this blog.

    Personal attacks are always a preferred choice of those who promote atheism, they can not deal with idea and philosophy, but they know that there is no perfect man on this earth, and therefore easiest way out is to find something that is personal. I.e. He is fat, or short, or too tall, or wares glasses or not from the same ethnic background, or his skin colour is not same as mine, et, etc. yet none of these are related to the idea that is being presented here, why do you think this is? Whilst you didn’t say it in these words, fact is you are saying things like “Apparently he is still sporting bronze age ones. I hope he hasn’t erected any graven images lately”.

    I don’t mind people making fan of me, as Christian I find that very reassuring as that is precisely what the Bible said would happen, great insight into human mind and soul, would you not agree?

    When you learn to properly formulate your answer and document why you disagree please feel free to come back with more coherent answer or attack if that is what you are after. Simply saying these things have been refuted successfully does not provide us with any evidence for it, does it?

    We should all learn to behave as intellectual gentlemen not football hooligans who will opt for a fight when we disagree with each other. I use to do that when I was a young boy, one of the reasons I was into Martial arts was precisely because I thought this could settle many arguments but I was wrong. Now that I’m grown up, I behave accordingly, again let me repeat this yet again, you do not have to agree with me, but I would appreciate if you look at the evidence and then soberly and calmly compose counter argument that is based on ideas not on sweeping statements.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  5. metasapien says:

    I am afraid you are a terribly deluded and confused human being, defendtheword. As is tragically common amongst the religious, you suffer from a psychological condition which I might term Cognitive Inversion Syndrome (or CIS). In effect, this causes you to look at the world entirely through the filter of your religious beliefs, and this filter acts like a pinhole camera, inverting the image of reality that your mind sees, so that right becomes wrong (and wrong becomes right), true becomes false (and false becomes true), illogical becomes logical (and logical becomes illogical) and illusion becomes reality (while reality becomes illusion). I have encountered this condition with countless religious people I have had online debates or real-world discussions with (sometimes heated and confrontational, sometimes courteous and good-natured, but always exasperating). The best way to demonstrate the reality of your CIS condition is to highlight those parts of your article where the inverted perceptions and illogical thought processes that characterize it are clearly manifest:

    “There are those who do not wish to be tricked like the vain Emperor (in the story about his new clothes) who was exploited by greedy weavers who promised him the “the best robes ever” made out of the pure GOLD that the Emperor himself would provide for them. However, according to the weavers these new clothes would be only visible to those who were bright and not ignorant. Interestingly enough, new atheists have a name for themselves, which is very self-congratulatory but very brief. They call one another “Brights”, not stupid, with intellectual prowess, but with greater superior intellect that is far above anyone who would dare to believe in God.”

    You seem to be suggesting that because the weavers claimed that the people who could see the Emperor’s nonexistent clothes were ‘bright’ (lower-case ‘b’) (and I am not sure of this detail in the fable, incidentally – are you sure you didn’t just make it up?), and because some new atheists also describe themselves as ‘Bright’ (upper-case ‘B’), this is sufficient to equate the two, and suggest that ‘Brights’ are people who are prone to believe in illusions.

    This is an extremely tenuous link, to say the least, as it is based on a mere linguistic coincidence, and nothing more. I think a more accurate telling of the fable would be that it was the stupid, gullible people who believed the weavers’ claims about their invisible clothes, whether they might have *claimed* they were bright or not – i.e. they were in fact the exact opposite of bright. ‘Brights’, on the other hand, are not prone to believe in illusions. Indeed, this is one of the things that characterizes Brights – that, and the fact that a great many of them are indeed ‘bright’, in the common understanding of the term (i.e. well-educated, high IQ, etc.). So by attempting to assign a characteristic to Brights that is, in fact, 180 degrees out of alignment with reality, you were demonstrating perceptual inversion. And by believing that it is perfectly logical to assert an equivalence between Brights and the supposedly bright people of the fable, when the complete opposite is the case (because Brights are typically neither stupid nor gullible, and are not prone to believing in illusions), you were demonstrating illogical thinking. Both of the traits are typical symptoms of CIS, as I have said.

    “It is not until someone comes with a CHILD-like faith and logic and asks a direct question that is not masked in flowery language, that the full extent of the meaning of this new name is discovered. ”

    The phrase ‘childlike faith’ makes semantic sense, because there is indeed something childlike and innocent about having ‘faith’ – i.e. a belief in something in the absense of empirical evidence or logical justification to support it. The phrase ‘childlike logic’ does not make semantic sense, however; indeed, it could be seen as somewhat oxymoronic, because cool, clear-headed logical thinking is not something that most people associate with children or with childlike ways of thinking; logical thinking is not an innate trait, present in all of us at birth, but something that must be learned, often over many years, and this is why it is so seldom seen in children – or, at least, far less in children than in mature adults. The mere fact that you appeared to be unaware of the oxymoronic nature of the phrase ‘childlike logic’ is very telling (I am of course assuming that you meant the qualifier ‘childlike’ to apply to ‘logic’ as well as to ‘faith’; if you did not, then you would be tacitly acknowledging that ‘logic’ is not a trait associated with children – i.e. that it is associated with mature adults, in which case your original statement would imply that you expect the questioner to exhibit BOTH childlike AND adult mental attributes simultaneously, which also seems somewhat contradictory and confused); the fact that your remark seemed to suggest that you find nothing incompatible between ‘faith’ and ‘logic’ is also very telling; both of these things suggest that your understanding of the term ‘logic’ is, once again, 180 degrees out of alignment with the common understanding of the term. This again demonstrates both perceptual inversion and illogical thinking, i.e. CIS.

    “For me, the meaning of the story is simple, weavers are the atheists who actively publish books which are full of hot air, and very little substance.”

    Oh, so now atheists are the weavers themselves, and not just the people who believed in the existence of the invisible clothes? A narrative realignment that obviously serves your purpose, of course, but it betrays an inability to plan a coherent argument before you commit your words to paper (or blog), which is also indicative of CIS. And your assertion that the books that atheists write are ‘full of hot air, and very little substance’ is, of course, a statement made from naked bias, rather than a statement of demonstrable fact, so until you justify it, I think we can safely ignore it.

    “They sell their books, and become quite rich in the process.”

    As indeed do countless religious writers who make fortunes writing and selling books about their religious faith. Judge not lest ye be judged, eh? The inability to sense hypocrisy (moral inconsistency/illogicality) is also a marker of illogical thinking – i.e. CIS.

    “As a Christian I don’t think we can profit from our faith ”

    But many of you clearly do: look at the millionaire megachurch preachers and TV evangelists of the Bible Belt; look at the fabulous wealth of the Roman Catholic Church. There is big money to be made in the God business, obviously, but you seem to have overlooked this reality, or filtered it out; that perceptual distortion again, eh? CIS!

    “If this is their [atheists] livelihood they should own up to it,”

    As indeed should all those religious writers and broadcasters, and so-called ‘churches’ that are nothing more than tax-exempt fleecing operations set up by conmen to enrich themselves at the expense of their (often poor) congregations.

    “I don’t accuse atheists of being talentless. I only caution those who act like “village idiots” pretending to possess the knowledge and understanding of the entire universe.”

    Once again, the striking semantic dissonance of your statements betrays a profound perceptual inversion (indicative of CIS); since when was the phrase ‘village idiot’ synonymous with someone possessing knowledge and understanding? Is not the typical portrayal of a ‘village idiot’ someone who neither knows nor understands anything? And the fact is that atheists do not claim to possess the ‘knowledge and understanding of the entire universe’; they would not be so foolish or arrogant (unlike certain religious people, incidentally). They DO possess a considerable amount of knowledge and understanding about CERTAIN ASPECTS of the universe – at least, the scientifically-educated ones do (and this is a larger proportion of them). But it is very telling that you chose to (a) suggest that atheists pretend to know everything (false) and (b) condemn them for this imagined crime with the childish insult of ‘village idiots’. It suggest that you feel jealous resentment and intellectual envy towards people who dare to be cleverer and more knowledgeable than yourself. I have observed this often with the religious; one suspects that one of the main reasons they dislike atheists is not because we do not believe what they believe, but because the *reason* we don’t share their beliefs is because we are in fact cleverer than believers, and so are not so easily fooled. In other words, perhaps the real reason the term ‘Brights’ irritates you so much is because, deep down, you suspect that what it hints at may in fact be true – i.e. that Brights are brighter than believers. If this is the case, then the problem is not with us, but with you, and your issues of intellectual self-esteem. Unfortunately, these issues may not be easy to address, because in order to attain the same level of knowledge and understanding about the universe that many atheists have, you must first cure yourself of your CIS; perceptual inversion and illogical thinking are completely incompatible with a rational, scientific mindset (and this, incidentally, is why religious belief is fundamentally incompatible with science – despite what sloppy philosophers and self-deluding ‘religious scientists’ like Francis Collins might like to believe).

    “Don’t be fooled: The Bible is right when it states ‘The fool said in his heart ‘There is no God’ ‘ for how can anyone know or prove such a ‘fact’. He/she either lacks modesty or is completely dishonest with himself and is intentionally seeking to deceive others so as not to be alone in his corner of disbelieving.”

    This statement perfectly demonstrates the perceptual inversion of CIS, because it is utterly delusional and fallacious in every way, as can be demonstrated by the truth of its logical opposite, i.e.:

    “The fool said in his heart ‘There IS God’ ‘ for how can anyone know or prove such a ‘fact’. He/she either lacks modesty or is completely dishonest with himself and is intentionally seeking to deceive others so as not to be alone in his corner of BELIEVING.” :o)

    Moving on, this is the first true and sensible thing you have said in your entire post (and it would be mean of me not to give you credit – I am nothing if not fair :o) ):

    “I think we need to be honest if we are trying to find answers to our questions, and not simply trying to seek the answers that we desire.”

    Absolutely, defendtheword, couldn’t agree more! But whenever I debate with the religious, I am constantly struck by how all their statements of faith, and all their desperate attempts to justify their beliefs, always boil down to wishful thinking – to seeking the answers they desire. How ironic that you yourself could have identified the fundamental flaw in the religious worldview :o)

    As you have been quoting your Bible at me, may I quote an atheist writer at you? His name is Sam Harris – you may have heard of him :o) :

    “Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.
    ….
    How is it that, in this one area of our lives, we have convinced ourselves that our beliefs about the world can float entirely free of reason and evidence?”

    Full text here samharris.org/site/full_text/chapter-one/

  6. Hi metasapien

    I could not resist but agree to your “challenge”, it is so simple and you have amply proven my point by your more than inadequate quote from none other than Sam Harris.

    May I be as open and upfront as you have been? First you have a name for my condition, which is very convenient when you want to get others to come into your camp; I’m guessing this is due to the belief that no sane person would want to be treated with same amount of contempt. We call that intellectual bullying and scare tactics, note however that this is actually not a problem for those who are grown up; it may work on adolescent children who are yet to establish their own recognition and self worth.

    And now that we are on the subject of Children, let me tell you what qualifies me to talk about them the way I do; I have two of them so I consider myself plenty qualified here. When my young son tells his mother “Daddy is back from work” at the age of 2 and my wife asks him how he knows that; he then replays with “Daddy’s Car is in the drive”. Would you not agree that this demonstrates logic, this significantly refutes your definition of development of logic that has to be thought to little children. My remark was specifically meant for people that attempt to put too much emphasis on philosophical understanding of the simple concepts, this I explained by saying that one can not claim with any certainty that there is no God if not all data was available. If my 4 (He is now 2 years older) year old child can understand this I’m guessing this should not present a problem for such smart man like you.

    Here is another question for you my enthusiastic friend, aren’t you preaching here rather than reasoning? Second point to note here is; like you I agree that there are numerous churches that are way off the mark as to where they should be. That however does not make Christianity any less correct and relevant. (Misinterpretation of the teaching does not make original message voided only thing we can deduce from that is that message was misunderstood by the party that makes misuse of the original teaching) So can we agree that neither side should pretend i.e. that neither religion nor atheism is not great money making machinery?

    Note your lack of logic to understand that, I would also argue that this “blind spot” in your logic derives from indoctrination that you so readily accuse Christians of. Secondly you have maid massive assumption of my intelligence and education; and so incorrectly assume that this is not the norm for all the atheists. Also note that there are people who are either intelligent but not educated or people who may have some education, however note that increasingly in our society we suspect that the standards of education are not what they used to be. Therefore I refuse to be succoured into this trap, this boastful assertion and attempt to provoke reaction is childish. (Note I’m not saying childish equates lacking logic here). You should also freely acknowledge that there are plenty of scientist and well educated people who are Christians. Finally on this point let me just say I have no doubt that my intellectual ability and reasonable reading can probably suffice here, not because I have read so much but because I have always used my critical thinking.

    As someone who had to use critical thinking and ask question as part of my work I would suggest that you should do the same before making statements of knowing or possessing an insight into someone’s soul, that kind of sounds arrogant, don’t you agree? Things are not always what they appear to be, I’m guessing even you would agree to that. Your quote from atheists “great teacher” Sam Harris is quite funny but note this:

    1. He is making assumption on number of issues here:
    a. That devout Christina would not question his wife’s fidelity
    b. Fairytales and stupid ideas are equated with complex Christian teaching
    c. Biblical cannon (Talking from the Christian point of view) have been great source of enquiry and debate. Note sure if he didn’t notice, that actually people get their PhD’s for studying this subject.
    d. God is not invisible but has made himself known trough Christ Jesus who I hope even you should acknowledge is a historical character.
    e. Lack of understanding of the message of the Gospel also makes people like that miss the point about the Good News it’s not about hell but about the salvation of the man kind.

    Does any of this come across like illogical thought to you? You should check both your logic and your facts before you attempt to push your polluted logic. I say polluted as I consider it coloured by the teaching of others. I very much doubt you just happen to discover this for yourself. Most of the staff I hear here is not new but regurgitated and very rarely amended gibberish that makes no sense unless you sit in the same camp. Based on whole loads of assumptions my friend.

    Last point I will make, even science relays heavily on faith, (Faith based on the assumption that previous thesis which was tested is correct, i.e. this established information will have significant impact upon the new hypothesis) this faith is necessary as without it we would have to make constant checks before anything is moved to the next level. Yes we make frequent amendments to the old thesis, and sometimes these are replaced when we find that they may not be 100% accurate but you get general idea here. And note that going into how science at least admits that it’s not all knowing will not cut it here, no Christian of serious intellectual honesty will go there either, and if you read my Blog carefully you would find that this bloger holds exactly the same view.

    So as you will see, even logic and reasoning is often reliant on the fact that person processing this information is capable of understanding concept of philosophy of thought and all the components of the ideas that form part of the discussion.

    Without meaning to be demeaning may I suggest you check that you don’t corner yourself into an untenable position before venturing into accusatory and self-righteous position?

    What I mean by that is this; don’t consider yourself greater or smarter but rather by displaying humility utilise what Socrates did by using questioning technique raising questions when you may disagree with someone before gaining enough understanding on what they intended to say. Simply assuming that Christina bloger makes easy target due to some phantom psychological illness may make you regret that you have overcommitted yourself here. Note that I don’t consider myself above you, but don’t confuse meekness and gentles with weakness and ignorance.

    Regards

    And thank you for considerable effort

    Defend the word

  7. metasapien says:

    “I could not resist but agree to your “challenge”, it is so simple and you have amply proven my point by your more than inadequate quote from none other than Sam Harris.”

    That statement is as vacuous as it is smug. What ‘point’ have I proven? Why was the Sam Harris quote ‘inadequate’?

    “May I be as open and upfront as you have been? First you have a name for my condition, which is very convenient when you want to get others to come into your camp;”

    Just as the religious have names for other conditions – sinner, apostate, fornicator, blasphemer, godless, heretic, chosen, saved, righteous, godly – which are equally convenient when they want to get others into *their* camp, eh?

    “I’m guessing this is due to the belief that no sane person would want to be treated with same amount of contempt.”

    No sane person would give others any *reason* to treat them with contempt.

    “We call that intellectual bullying”

    Merely pointing out the intellectual deficiencies of someone’s beliefs and worldview does not automatically constitute ‘intellecual bullying’ (oh, how the religious love to play the victim card and claim persecuted status whenever people criticize or mock their beliefs!)

    “note however that this is actually not a problem for those who are grown up;”

    And from this we can conclude that religious people have not grown up, as it usually *is* a problem for them (because they tend to get annoyed and defensive).

    “And now that we are on the subject of Children, let me tell you what qualifies me to talk about them the way I do; I have two of them so I consider myself plenty qualified here.”

    Perhaps an unwarranted assumption, but continue…

    “When my young son tells his mother “Daddy is back from work” at the age of 2 and my wife asks him how he knows that; he then replays with “Daddy’s Car is in the drive”. Would you not agree that this demonstrates logic, this significantly refutes your definition of development of logic that has to be thought to little children.”

    It demonstrates logic of a very elementary kind, of the sort that laboratory rats are capable of (if I press the green lever, I will get food), though it hardly compares with the sorts of deep, subtle and complex logic used by mathematicians, scientists and logicians. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic )
    But at least it shows that your two-year-old son had a better grasp of logic than his father apparently does; ‘Daddy’s car is in the drive, therefore Daddy is home’ is a more logically defensible deduction than ‘I want to believe in God, therefore he exists’…

    “My remark was specifically meant for people that attempt to put too much emphasis on philosophical understanding of the simple concepts, this I explained by saying that one can not claim with any certainty that there is no God if not all data was available.”

    But, likewise, one cannot claim that there *is* a God if not all the data is available, either. And given that it is an extraodrinary, counterintuitive claim about the existence of an invisible, all-powerful deity, and would be incredibly important *IF* it were true, then surely the burden of proof lies with those who make it. Because if we all decided to make extraordinary claims and assert that they were true merely because no one was able to *disprove* them, then we all be free to believe in anything at all, much of it completely contradictory with other people’s beliefs, and no matter how outrageous and bizarre – which, of course, is precisely what the religious do.

    “Here is another question for you my enthusiastic friend, aren’t you preaching here rather than reasoning? ”

    No, I’ll leave the preaching to the religious – they do it so much better than I :o)

    “Second point to note here is; like you I agree that there are numerous churches that are way off the mark as to where they should be. That however does not make Christianity any less correct and relevant. (Misinterpretation of the teaching does not make original message voided only thing we can deduce from that is that message was misunderstood by the party that makes misuse of the original teaching)”

    Ah, so now it’s all a question of ‘interpretation’ of scriptural teaching, is it? Once again, Sam Harris has anticipated you:

    “Moderates in every faith are obliged to loosely interpret (or simply ignore) much of their canons in the interests of living in the modern world….The first thing to observe about the moderate’s retreat from scriptural literalism is that it draws its inspiration not from scripture but from cultural developments that have rendered many of God’s utterances difficult to accept as written.In America, religious moderation is further enforced by the fact that most Christians and Jews do not read the Bible in its entirety and consequently have no idea just how vigorously the God of Abraham wants heresy expunged. One look at the book of Deuteronomy reveals that he has something very specific in mind should your son or daughter return from yoga class advocating the worship of Krishna:

    [If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the spouse whom you embrace, or your most intimate friend, tries to secretly seduce you, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods, unknown to you or your ancestors before you, gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near you or far away, anywhere throughout the world, you must not consent, you must not listen to him; you must show him no pity, you must not spare him or conceal his guilt. No, you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God. . . .(Deuteronomy 13:7-11)]

    While the stoning of children for heresy has fallen out of fashion in our country, you will not hear a moderate Christian or Jew arguing for a “symbolic” reading of passages of this sort. (In fact, one seems to be explicitly blocked by God himself in Deuteronomy 13:1 “Whatever I am now commanding you, you must keep and observe, adding nothing to it, taking nothing away.”) The above passage is as canonical as any in the Bible, and it is only by ignoring such barbarisms that the Good Book can be reconciled with life in the modern world. This is a problem for “moderation” in religion: it has nothing underwriting it other than the unacknowledged neglect of the letter of the divine law.”

    So much for scriptural ‘interpretation’, then. (If you have not done so already, please do read the full text: http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/chapter-one/ )

    “I would also argue that this “blind spot” in your logic derives from indoctrination that you so readily accuse Christians of.”

    Which ‘blind spot’ in my logic? And who ‘indoctrinated’ me, and in what? These are empty accusations, unless you are prepared to be specific and back them up with reason and evidence.

    “Secondly you have maid massive assumption of my intelligence and education; and so incorrectly assume that this is not the norm for all the atheists. Also note that there are people who are either intelligent but not educated or people who may have some education, however note that increasingly in our society we suspect that the standards of education are not what they used to be. … You should also freely acknowledge that there are plenty of scientist and well educated people who are Christians.”

    Correction – there are lots of Christians who *claim* to be well-educated or to be scientists. But I would suggest that any education that did not instill in the subject sufficiently rigorous critical thinking skills to enable them to see religion for the mere concoction of ancient myths, silly superstitions and childish fables that it is would be seriously deficient, and would not entitle them to regard themselves as ‘well-educated’. Likewise, as I said in my previous post, religious belief is utterly incompatible with a rigorously scientific mindset, so I would question whether an devout Christian could also be a competent scientist at the same time. Once again, Sam Harris says it nicely:

    “….intellectuals as diverse as H. G. Wells, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Max Planck, Freeman Dyson, and Stephen Jay Gould have declared the war between reason and faith to be long over. On this view, there is no need to have all of our beliefs about the universe cohere. A person can be a God-fearing Christian on Sunday and a working scientist come Monday morning, without ever having to account for the partition that seems to have erected itself in his head while he slept. He can, as it were, have his reason and eat it too.”

    Except that I don’t believe he can (have his reason and eat it), though he might *believe* that he can.

    “Finally on this point let me just say I have no doubt that my intellectual ability and reasonable reading can probably suffice here, not because I have read so much but because I have always used my critical thinking.”

    Any devoutly religious person who claims to exercise critical thinking, or even to understand the concept of critical thiking, is simply making an empty boast, and lying to themselves. I have had this demonstrated to me countless times in debates with them. That was the whole point of my first post, defendtheword; you are suffering from Cognitive Inversion Syndrome, and as such you are simply *INCAPABLE* of critical thinking as such; although your perceptual inversion has *FOOLED* you into *BELIEVING* that what you are exercising critical thinking, you are in fact doing the *EXACT OPPOSITE* of it – i.e. hopelessly UNcritical thinking.

    “Your quote from atheists “great teacher” Sam Harris is quite funny but note this:

    1. He is making assumption on number of issues here:
    a. That devout Christina would not question his wife’s fidelity”

    He did not say that; he said the Christian would demand *proof* of his wife’s infidelity.

    “b. Fairytales and stupid ideas are equated with complex Christian teaching”

    Hmmm, let me see – the Great Flood, the parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth, the Resurrection, the Ascension, angels, burning bushes, booming voices from the sky, miracluous healings…Oh no, I can see how all those things make perfect sense, are all completely born out by historical records and archeological evidence, break no known physical laws and absolutely cannot be regarded as stupid fairytales! .

    “c. Biblical cannon (Talking from the Christian point of view) have been great source of enquiry and debate. Note sure if he didn’t notice, that actually people get their PhD’s for studying this subject.”

    FYI, Sam Harris spent many years studying the world’s religions, and probably knows more about Christianity and Biblical scriptures than most devout Christians, including you (which is why he can criticize both with such authority). And the mere fact that people can be awarded PhDs in Theology and similar religious disciplines proves nothing at all about the intrinisic intellectual rigour and academic respectability of these subjects. People can get PhDs in the lyrics of Bob Dylan, or the mating habits of butterflies, or the history of Walt Disney cartoons, or pretty much anything else these days, it seems; this does not mean that all these PhDs are equally worthwhile, of equal academic merit or social value, or of equal intellectual credibility. And I would suggest that PhDs in Theology and the like come pretty close to the bottom of the credibility spectrum, frankly.

    “d. God is not invisible but has made himself known trough Christ Jesus who I hope even you should acknowledge is a historical character.”

    Nonsense. The belief that God manifested himself through a human being is just ancient theological dogma, asserted with no supporting evidence. I am therefore free to ignore it. And no, I do not even acknowledge that Jesus Christ was a real historical character; there is very little in the way of *convincing*, *unambiguous* and *uncontestable* historical or archeological evidence that such a man ever existed. There is, however, plenty of evidence to suggest that he was, in fact, a purely mythological character, whose life story was cobbled together out of various pre-existing pagan myths. Indeed, the early 20th century mythologist Lord Raglan compiled a list of characteristics of the heroes from various ancient pagan mythologies, and scored those heroes according to how many of the characteristics could be found in their stories; the higher they scored, the more likely they were to be purely mythological, rather than real. On this scale, Jesus scored 19, making him more mythological than Hercules, Robin Hood and even Apollo! And if we strip away all his mythological characteristics, and still believe that a man called Jesus Christ actually existed at all, then we are simply left with a mortal human being, of no divine parentage, and with no divine powers, whose only remarkable traits were perhaps his profound humanitariansm and gift for public oration – i.e. a Martin Luther King, or Ghandi character – but certainly not a divine being with a hotline to his deity father. But if we try to find any actual archeological evidence, or convincing *contemporaneous* historical accounts of his life, there is actually very little, so we are in fact perfectly entitled to believe that he was pure fiction, and no more a real figure than King Arthur (who also scores 19 on the Raglan scale). ( http://missy.reimer.com/library/scale.html )

    So how about that, defendtheword? Your entire religion is based upon the belief that Jesus Christ actually existed, but what if he never did? What would that make your religion? And what would that make your Bible? Just another ‘Lord of the Rings’, I suggest?

    “e. Lack of understanding of the message of the Gospel also makes people like that miss the point about the Good News it’s not about hell but about the salvation of the man kind.”

    As I said, Sam Harris’s knowledge of the Bible probably surpasses that of most practising Christians, so if there is any ‘message of the Gospel’, I’m sure he knows what it is better than most :o)

    “Does any of this come across like illogical thought to you?”

    Where your thoughts are concerned, pretty much all of them, since you asked :o)

    “You should check both your logic and your facts before you attempt to push your polluted logic.”

    And you should try to understnd that, because you are suffering from CIS, your understanding of what logic is is completely upside-down, and it is not me who is being illogical, but you.

    “I say polluted as I consider it coloured by the teaching of others. I very much doubt you just happen to discover this for yourself.”

    We are all influenced by the thoughts and writings of others, and this is nothing to be ashamed of. You, after all, are influenced by the thoughts and writings of fellow Christians over the past 2000 years, so it is not as if anything you have said on this blog is necessarily your own original thinking, is it?

    “Most of the staff I hear here is not new but regurgitated and very rarely amended gibberish that makes no sense unless you sit in the same camp. Based on whole loads of assumptions my friend.”

    Honestly, defendtheword, that’s just so much defensive, vacuous crap, and you know it. You simply don’t have any cogent counterarguments, so you resort to petulant accusations – what I say is ‘regurgitated’, and based on ‘loads of assumptions’, and ‘makes no sense unless you sit in the same camp’?! Don’t you realize that I can say EXACTLY THE SAME THING about your religious beliefs?! No, of course you don’t, because you are suffering from the perceptual distortions of CIS – QED!

    “Last point I will make, even science relays heavily on faith, (Faith based on the assumption that previous thesis which was tested is correct, i.e. this established information will have significant impact upon the new hypothesis) this faith is necessary as without it we would have to make constant checks before anything is moved to the next level. Yes we make frequent amendments to the old thesis, and sometimes these are replaced when we find that they may not be 100% accurate but you get general idea here. And note that going into how science at least admits that it’s not all knowing will not cut it here, no Christian of serious intellectual honesty will go there either, and if you read my Blog carefully you would find that this bloger holds exactly the same view.”

    I don’t need lectures on the scientific method from a Christian, thanks very much; I have a very rigorous background in hard-core science (mathematics and theoretical physics). Do you?

    “So as you will see, even logic and reasoning is often reliant on the fact that person processing this information is capable of understanding concept of philosophy of thought and all the components of the ideas that form part of the discussion.”

    And I don’t need lectures on the interaction between human psychology, philosophy and science, either; I could write papers on the subject, with lots of fancy diagrams and scary-looking equations.

    “Without meaning to be demeaning may I suggest you check that you don’t corner yourself into an untenable position before venturing into accusatory and self-righteous position?”

    Mirror, meet defendtheword. Perceptual inversion again!

    “What I mean by that is this; don’t consider yourself greater or smarter but rather by displaying humility utilise what Socrates did by using questioning technique raising questions when you may disagree with someone before gaining enough understanding on what they intended to say.”

    If only Christians applied the Socratic Method to their beliefs, they might begin to see how fatuous and untenable they are. And it would only be fruitful for an atheist to apply such techniques to understanding Christians if he knew that (a) they are capable of analysing and expressing their beliefs rationally, (b) they are capable of being honest about their beliefs, rather than being devious, evasive and self-deluding, and (c) they are capable of giving answers that are intelligible and meaningful to a non-believer (i.e. devoid of theological gibberish and Biblical buzz words). If any of these preconditions is not met, then the Socratic Method fails. And I think it’s likely that none of them will be met.

    “Simply assuming that Christina bloger makes easy target due to some phantom psychological illness may make you regret that you have overcommitted yourself here. ”

    But it is *not* a ‘phantom’ illness; it is a very *real* one. The only reason you can’t see that is because you are suffereing from it, and one of the first affects of CIS is to make the sufferer unaware that they have it by realigning their view of the world so that they actually think their worldview is the correct one, and everyone else’s is wrong. This is what I mean by *perceptual inversion* – geddit?

    “Note that I don’t consider myself above you, but don’t confuse meekness and gentles with weakness and ignorance.”

    I don’t – but then I don’t confuse meekness and gentleness with nobility and righteousness, either; it is not always the quietest, most timid voices that speak the truth; sometimes it is the loudest and most confident ones.

    Speaking of loud, confident voices, I will end my reply with an excellent piece from the British (new) athiest philosopher, A.C.Grayling:

    “If one were asked to prescribe the fundamental condition for a good world, it would be: peace and freedom for all, where “freedom” means personal autonomy and mental liberation from prejudice, superstition, ignorance and fear. Cynics will no doubt think this a saccharine sentiment merely, if only on the grounds that it is unattainable and that one had better stick to the realities of a world in which the majority of people are trapped in economic and intellectual prisons made by history, perpetuated and promoted by demagogues and the greedy and powerful.

    The cynics are of course right about the realities, but that does not mean one should shrug one’s shoulders and capitulate. There is something one can do to fight back, by taking part in the battle that underlies it all: the battle (to put it in Voltaire’s terms) between those who seek the truth and those who claim to have it.

    On one side are those who inquire, examine, experiment, research, propose ideas and subject them to scrutiny, change their minds when shown to be wrong and live with uncertainty while placing reliance on the collective, self-critical, responsible and rigorous use of reason and observation to further the quest for knowledge.

    On the other side are those who espouse a belief system or ideology which pre-packages all the answers, who have faith in it, who trust the authorities, priests and prophets, and who either think that the hows and whys of the universe are explained to satisfaction by their faith, or smugly embrace ignorance. ”

    Full text here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/16/atheism-creationism-faith-doctrine

  8. Hi again

    Thanks very much for yet again lengthy and just as before one sided viewpoint.

    There is a significant blind spot in your logic but note that this can be corrected. Fist of all you continue to make assumptions, I will very quickly try to demonstrate this without actually wanting to “disprove” you. As I feel that this will only get your back against the wall and Increase your desire to defend your view point no mater what the cost, i.e. this can lead to confrontation rather than openness to understanding where does the opposing view come from.

    1. I don’t agree with everything you will find in many of the blogs on the web, that are purporting to be Christian. Neither do I take everything from Church as dogma.
    2. I think both Old Testament and New are in sink just fine, and there is no need to forsake old in order to justify the New Testament. This is a question of education and understanding not contradiction or change in order to fit the new cultural movements.
    3. Interpretation issue is not here to say “this is different to what others understood it to be” it is more related to Historical and Cultural background not neglecting philosophical and ethnic tensions that may have existed at the time.
    4. I am theologically trained which I doubt you are as many of your accusations are misrepresentation, note these are same as your beloved Sam Harris, or am I not allowed to question your favourite atheist author?
    5. With more than 20 years of experience to digest and analyse different kinds of philosophies and psychology I can confirm that many are just passing fades which unlike you I have questioned.
    6. I do often reject teachings of many Christian writers, and utilise my cognitive understanding to assess if what is being shared merits further testing or makes logical sense.
    7. I work as analyst and I’m well aware what is require in order to acquire full picture, one that was both tested and proved worthy of perusing a project that is not waste of time and resources.
    8. On the issue of phantom psychological disorder you have two issues that you did not consider, you can not diagnose someone from a distance I don’t remember seating around the table with you and talking to you about my psychological difficulties and neither have you had time to work out any kind of psychological profiling, note that this would be completely unacceptable anywhere in any academic establishment, in fact I would argue that this is very arrogant on your behalf. Secondly if you suffer from this illness this would exclude you from being qualified to diagnose it. Note that I’m note making assumption just pointing to the possibility of it. Note also that on the point of confidence and humility that you so readily reject is again costing you brownie points if you want to win people to your side of the argument. Fist do you think you are more self assured than Christians? If so you are yet again making assumption. Difference on both of our approaches that you should consider is as follows; What matters in any arguments is logical approach to reasoning and not confidence. If I treat you with courtesy and respect this does not make me less right, and likewise if one is displaying arrogance this does not make him/her wrong. But what it does do and ask any psychologist is, it creates lack of concentration and produces sloppy arguments as you will not bother to do your full research which is necessary in order to understand the subject fully.
    9. You have deliberately choose to distort real issues by picking specific bits from the Bible that are very vulnerable to the modern world views. This however does not make it incorrect. After all if you truly have credential in theoretical physics you do not follow its most basic of principles. Just remember that string theory for example endorsed and propagated by many atheists today sounds like fairytale to many lay people. And before you go there you do not need to explain it to me I’m very familiar with it.
    10. Your assertion that you can not be Educated and Christina is so short sighted and misses wonderful opportunity to be challenged. You simply introduce your own standards and rules that are only agreed by yourself and Dr Dawkins and Co. I don’t think this is accepted by general public. This shows circular reasoning as its self referential and not testable, other than being based on opinions of small group of people. Note that PhD in theology will deal with Psychology, Philosophy, History, Archaeology, Linguistics, and yes not list Theology itself. You can not compare this to other degrees as this is nothing to do with either Disney or Bob Dylan or other TV programs. Note my point made previously is being deliberately missed by trying to challenge quality of qualifications. Complexity of material is so significant as can be verified by many people who hold dual PhD qualification i.e. there are plenty of people who have PhD in other sciences i.e. Physics and Theology one good example is Alister McGrath and he is not the only example.

    This kind of closed philosophy is also relevant on number of other points you make. You accuse me that I can’t say things without giving supporting evidence yet this is exactly what you do. So I’m not allowed to do this, but you are. Some times things are self evident but you have to be careful with choices you make, when and how you are going to use this information.

    Lastly it is far easier to be sceptical about things than attempt to prove it. All it takes is for someone to say is; “I don’t believe you” the attempt to shift responsibility and ownership for me to prove my point misses the point. First of all note that the Bible never ever attempts to prove God’s existence, and as for your assertion that you do not believe in Historical Jesus just shows how much prejudicial your views are and not at all balanced. Your 29 or 19 (I forget) reasons are not supported with the list of them.

    Your comments about sarcasm and defensive arguments on my part are not valid for two reasons. One I can not be intimidated, for that to happen I would have to believe that you are of superior evidence and hold greater strength of argument, which I don’t and two your attempt to cause repulse against my argument as some kind of plea for mercy on the part of incompetent debater will not wash down well either. On the contrary you are on defence as I have exposed your juvenile primary school bully boy tactics. One I have published all your comment in all their entirety, two counter arguments simply point to your lack of logic utilised to disprove things that neither you nor Sam Harris completely understand.

    Fact is you are hiding behind Sam’s research which is basically saying “I’m (one opting to use others as source without checking validity of the quote) incompetent and I will relay on others to feed me necessary information”. This is either due to laziness or ignorance of which neither is positive. Sam is wrong and reason many ignore him is pricelessly because it is so easy to show that bitterness and aggression are not exactly most appealing of ways to start your research.

    Simply saying if you kill someone you are an evil person, this does not answer all of the questions that become now needed in order to be able to give full answer regarding ones character. I could have been defending my family or friends. In which case I would assume you would agree that I have a right to such actions. So let me repeat this it is due to significant lack of Historical, theological and philosophical knowledge, this is why people are making a significant catalogue of catastrophic errors on their judgements. For Sam Harris to simply say I studied other religions does not necessarily make you suddenly right. In other words you will have to bring each argument to the table and allow others to give you their explanation and view before full argument can be formed.

    You have probably heard it before; “just because you make statements does not make it true” talking authoritatively can fool many into believing that you know what you are talking about but does not make it any more correct. I think it was your first comment that you mentioned before that we are all born atheists and if it is not you may have been someone else. (it’s Not important) If this is correct than any Christian is far more objective than non Christian who starts only from atheistic perspective, as we have full perspective on the issue of religion rather than one sided viewpoint. And even when someone who may have been growing up in church or synagogue or mosque and then found that he disagrees with the religious philosophy, one would still have to question if he/she give equal amount of time to both sides of the argument. Note that the Biblical Christianity was always attacked (Historically speaking) and had plenty of bashing to deal with, and most discerning Christians would welcome this as a great opportunity to learn and grow.

    One of the most common mistake Atheists make is that they draw their views from their personal experiences, which limits them to geographical, historical and philosophical influences that are regional to them and note that this is conditional to the fact that they may or may not understand them. What he/she needs to understand is that their understanding of reality can in fact be incorrect as you rightly pointed out that I could be deluding myself, this same principle applies to you too.

    One of the most important things that you should note is that our background may influence our starting point in our arguments but should never control the mind to the extent that robs us completely from seeing things objectively.

    Lastly without wanting to go through to many things if you carefully re-read your reply you will find many answers within my first rebuttal.

    Kind regards
    Defend the Word

  9. metasapien says:

    And your viewpoint isn’t also ‘one-sided’? Oh, please – judge not lest ye be judged!
    Sorry? You don’t want to disprove me? Or is it simply that you don’t believe you can?
    1.Oh, believe me, defendtheword – I am not feeling the least bit like I have my back against the wall, and I am not feeling the least bit defensive; I have nothing to fear from you, so take your best shot, mate 
    Well, that’s a start at least. But it begs the question – if you don’t accept everything from your church as dogmatically true, from whence did you acquire your ability to question the dogma with which you disagree? It could not have come from within your church’s teachings, because that would be self-referentially contradictory. So it must have come from without, yes? So you are tacitly admitting that it is possible and admissible to critique the teachings of your church from an external perspective? And so you admit that external perspectives have something of value to contribute to an understanding of your faith, yes? Even if these external perspectives are nakedly atheistic? Oooh, perhaps…
    2.There are many ‘enlightened’ and ‘moderate’ theologians who would disagree with you about the compatibility of the Old and New Testaments. How would you explain that? And are you saying you are an Old Testament Christian (which would not be surprising if you are of the fundamentalist, scriptural literalist strain of Christianity, which I suspect you are…)?
    “3. Meaningless waffle, intended to throw me off the scent. I am not taking the bait. My crosshairs are still zeroed in on your ass, mate, and I’m gyrostabilized 
    “4. I did not say he was my favourite atheist author – I do not simply take my opinions from one author, or even from several; I am capable of forming and articulating my own opinions, because I have a brain and can think for myself. This may be a novel concept for you, I realize…
    “5. How old did you think I was? Did you imagine that I am some naive adolescent or college student? (I can understand how the belief that you were dealing with such a person might have given you some spurious comfort, of course.) Well, haha, you’re wrong – I am 47 (though I am told I look far younger), so I have had 7 more years than you to cogitate on the same issues and formulate my opinions. Not that mere age is the only critical factor, of course; intelligence, perceptiveness, life-experience and education come into it too.
    “6. Once again, I ask you where this faculty of independent, external criticism of Christian doctrine comes from, and what this might tell you about the validity of external perspectives, and the intrinsic viability of Christian doctrine itself. If even you admit that it can be questioned, where might this questioning process ultimately end? Will anything of Christian doctrine be left unmolested and unmodified?
    “7. What kind of ‘analyst’ do you work as? A psychoanalyst, a computer analyst, a business analyst? Not that it matters, of course; your profession is of no relevance to this debate, and I am not intimidated by professional titles any more than I am intimidated by people with PhDs in Theology, lol!
    “8. If someone on the other side of the world from me posts a purported proof on Oa blog that 2+2=5, I can easily conclude that he is an idiot and a mathematical ignoramus without ever having met him. And so it is that I can conclude, quite reliably, many things about you without ever having met you, simply by what you write. It’s not that difficult you know – after all, criminal psychiatrists are able to produce fairly accurate psychological profiles of criminals without ever having ‘sat around a table’ with them and talked to them, yes? And their techniques are accepted by many of their academic peers, and they are not accused of being ‘arrogant’, either. I only ask that you extend me the same benefit of the doubt that you would probably extend to them 

    Indeed, that would be true, if I did suffer from it. But I don’t, because my worldview is both validated and shared by the vast majority of intelligent, rational, educated people on this planet (although I admit that we are still, sadly, a minority of the world population), and I value their opinions far more than I value those of the stupid, irrational and ignorant (who, sadly, still make up the majority, but then the truth is not democratic, and – thankfully – cannot be decided by a majority vote).

    ‘Winning people around’ to my point of view is not my primary concern here, unlike you (you are the one with the blog, for broadcasting your beliefs to all who come across it, and hopefully gaining new converts to them, after all). But I believe the strength of my arguments can withstand any stylistic criticism – it is the substance of my arguments, not their form, that matters.

    “Fist do you think you are more self assured than Christians?”
    Yes, unquestionably. Because all religious belief is ultimately motivated by fear, insecurity and doubt. What will happen when I die? Do people like me? What is my purpose in life? Etc. Atheists have the same concerns, of course (we would not be human if we did not), but we can find the resources (both within ourselves and without) to answer those questions without subordinating out intellect integrity and surrendering our ethical intuitions to the ancient superstitions and ignorant ideological dogmas of religion.

    On respect and curtesy:
    Nonsense. Some of the smartest people who ever lived have also been some of the most intellectually arrogant and contemptuous of fools (and frequently with good reason). This might not have made them many friends, admittedly, but it also did not make them any less right in their ideas. Once again, you seem to be confusing meekness and humility with virtue, – a common Christian delusion, which historically served a very dark purpose, of course; how much easier it was for the ruling elite (including religious leaders) to exert control over the masses if they could instil in them the belief that it was God’s wish that they should be meek and humble and ‘know their place’, because humility was virtuous and godly. This is how religions became such effective and insidious forms of social control, and how many of them still are to this day.
    “9. ALL bits of the Bible are vulnerable to modern world views.

    Firstly, yes, I do have credentials in theoretical physics. Secondly, don’t lecture me on my own subject, please; the only reason String Theory sounds like ‘fairytales’ to lay people is because it is extremely abstract and mathematically sophisticated, and for this reason it is difficult to communicate to the non-specialist in such a way that they can truly understand it. This does not make it wrong, just abstruse. (And, no offence, but I very much doubt that you have much understanding of it.) But please don’t try to suggest that your religion is in any way comparable to String Theory; the reason why most intelligent, rational and educated people DO think that your religion is all fairytales is not because it is extremely abstract and difficult to understand; it is simply because it IS all fairytales! To assert otherwise is to commit the basic error of false equivalence.
    “10. Erm, I think you’ll find that it IS accepted by the intelligent, rational and educated public – though, as I have said, we are sadly in a minority, but that does not invalidate our opinion. And I repeat – even if it is only the opinion of a ‘small group of people’, as you claim (which it isn’t), that does not invalidate it, As I said earlier, the truth is not democratic and cannot be decided by a majority vote. There was a time when only one person in the world believed that the Earth was not the centre of the universe, and that the Earth and all the planets orbited the Sun. His name was Galileo. Everyone else believed he was wrong, and the Church – YOUR Christian Church – put him under permanent house arrest and threatened him with the most gruesome and agonizing torture unless he publically recanted. But he wasn’t wrong, was he? So much for truth being determined by majority opinion, eh?

    And I have also studied psychology, philosophy and history, and have a passing familiarity with linguistics and archeology (I am an avid watcher of documentaries and read widely – and, as I have said, I have 7 years on you as well :o) ).

    I was not equating them; I was merely challenging your implicit assertion that simply because one can be awarded a PhD in Theology, this means it is an academically respectable subject, demanding the same intellectual rigour as, say, theoretical physics  However, I also happen to believe that a PhD in Theology is almost as pointless and worthless as a PhD in the history of Walt Disney cartoons, and deserves no more academic respectability.

    Unless you have studied science or mathematics you can have no idea about the ‘complexity of material’ in these subjects, and how all other subjects, Theology most definitely included, are relatively trivial and intellectually unchallenging in comparison. I am not just saying that to blow my own trumpet; studies have repeatedly confirmed that the most intellectually challenging academic subject taught at universities is my own, theoretical physics – which is why it attracts so few undergraduate students compared to all other courses, incidentally. So you’ll forgive me if I’m not overly impressed by your claim that Theology is deep, complex and intellectually challenging. As I said, you simply have no idea how deep, complex and intellectually challenging a subject can be unless you’ve done TP.
    And regarding Alister McGrath, yes, he is a – somewhat rare – example of a scientist who became a theologian (and instantly relinquished his scientific credibility in so doing, I might add). Though he was not a physicist, as you claim, but a chemist and molecular biologist, which is most definitely not the same thing (I forgive you for not knowing the difference). And you will be very hard-pressed to come up with many examples of top-rank scientists (e.g. Nobel Laureates or members of the NAS or Royal Society) who hold religious beliefs – especially in the hard sciences, such as physics. The surveys are out there, if you want me to provide links.

    No, it is entirely the point. YOU are the one making extraordinary claims about invisible, all-powerful deities; WE have no reason to believe you until YOU can provide evidence to back up your claims. It is as simple as that. If you want us to take you seriously, provide some proof, otherwise you can expect nothing but our incredulity and mocking laughter, and you will richly deserve both.
    “First of all note that the Bible never ever attempts to prove God’s existence, “
    How could it? That would be impossible, after all 
    “…and as for your assertion that you do not believe in Historical Jesus just shows how much prejudicial your views are and not at all balanced.”
    It is not prejudice, or unbalanced, but an appraisal of the available evidence (such as it is) and the conflicting theories and claims about his supposed existence. Given the negligible evidence supporting his existence, and the compelling arguments for his non-existence, I choose to believe the latter. That’s what RATIONAL people do, defendtheword – they weigh up the data and make up their own minds.
    “ Your 29 or 19 (I forget) reasons are not supported with the list of them. “
    Look at the list of mythotypal characteristics, and count how many of them crop up in the life story of Jesus; you’re the expert on Jesus, after all, so I’ll leave it to you :o)
    “Your comments about sarcasm;
    Then you are deluded on both counts. I already know that you would not admit to the superior strength of my arguments, even if your CIS-induced perceptual distortions would allow you to recognize such, because your ego and your entire worldview is dependent on believing I am wrong in everything I have said. As for my intellect, if you wanted to place a bet on your IQ being higher, there is a 99.5 percent chance you will lose 

    Sorry, I know it might seem ‘juvenile’, but is it okay if I just start LAUGHING at this point…?

    There s nothing TO understand about your religion other than that it is COMPLETE BULL***T, and that your Bible contains MOUNTAINS OF LIFE-DESTORYING GIBBERISH (to use Sam’s memorable phrase).
    “Fact is you are hiding behind Sam’s research.
    No, that is what YOU and all your fellow religionists do – you people don’t have a single original thought in your head about your precious religion; everything you know and believe about it was handed down to you by past generations of believers extending back over TWO THOUSANDS YEARS. And on this, Sam Harris naturally has something to say:
    “Imagine that we could revive a well-educated Christian of the fourteenth century. The man would prove to be a total ignoramus, except on matters of faith. His beliefs about geography, astronomy, and medicine would embarrass even a child, but he would know more or less everything there is to know about God. Though he would be considered a fool to think that the earth is flat, or that trepanning constitutes a wise medical intervention, his religious ideas would still be beyond reproach. There are two explanations for this: either we perfected our religious understanding of the world a millennium ago, while our knowledge on all other fronts was still hopelessly inchoate, or religion, being the mere maintenance of dogma, is one area of discourse that does not admit of progress. We will see that there is much to recommend the latter view.”
    So, defendtheword, your head is full of TWO THOUSAND YEAR OLD GIBBERISH. That is just so tragic, and at the same time so funny, that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry for you.

    It is not true that ‘we are all born atheist’. Recent studies of children has revealed the contrary – i.e., that we are all born with a natural predisposition for religious and mystical belief. Various reasons have been put forward for this, but I believe the simplest explanation is that children do not have a sophisticated understanding of their environment, and of the laws of cause and effect, and are also prone to be frightened by strange noises in the night, darkened rooms and so on, and so they naturally invent unseen agents – goblins, bogeymen, monsters in the closet, etc. – to give their confusion and anxiety a substantive focus. It is only as they mature intellectually, and acquire a more educated and sophisticated way of looking at the world, that they begin to let go of these childish fantasies. In other words, it is the atheist worldview that is the mature one, and the one which must be acquired and learned through education, whereas it is the religious worldview that is the innate one, and associated with intellectual immaturity and ignorance about the world. And one is tempted to suggest that adults who are still religious are those who have been unable to let go of their childish, mystical worldview; in other words, they are in a state of arrested, pre-adult intellectual development (or, if they ‘discovered’ their faith later in life, then it is a state that they regressed to).
    “One of the most common mistake Atheists make is that they draw their views from their personal experiences, which limits them to geographical, historical and philosophical influences that are regional to them and they may or may not understand.”
    Utter rot (I think you are now so desperate to score points that you are just making things up as you go along, aren’t you?). Atheists value the objective over the subjective, and they view impersonal perspectives as more reliable than personal ones, because they have been validated against the experiences and viewpoints of others. It is the religious whose attitudes and beliefs are extraordinarily parochial and culture-bound. Proof of this is simple; if you had been born in India, you would not be a Christian but a Hindu; if you had been born in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, you would most likely be a Muslim. And in each case, you would believe that your religion was the one true religion and all the others were mistaken. If you deny the truth of this, then you are deluding yourself. So seligions are regional phenomena; science, on the other hand, is truly global and cross-cultural.

    In other words, you cannot think up cogent and convincing rebuttals to the points I made in my last post, so you are just going to *pretend* that you already answered them in your previous post and hope that everyone believes you. It is astonishing, and depressing, how often religious debaters try to pull this trick on me (no, you are not even being original in using it). Such cheap tricks only convince people who are easily fooled, defendtheword. Needless to say, I am not one of those people.
    However, I believe everything you have said in your posts so far amply demonstrates the truth of my assertion in my first post; namely, that you are suffering from Cognitive Inversion Syndrome, and are profoundly illogical and delusional in your thinking. I know you can’t accept this, but just try to entertain it as a hypothesis, and consider what it would mean if it were actually true. Then you might begin to look at your own posts through my eyes, and read them a little differently…

  10. metasapien says:

    For some reason all the quoted text from your response seems to have been been stripped out of my response, after I actually posted it. Apologies. I will try to repost the original response this evening.

  11. Hi metasapien

    Firstly, let me apologise if at any point I did make you feel threatened. Your tone seemed to show a great deal of irritation which can’t be good for your health. You will find this from any psychoanalyst.

    This will be our last open debate for two reasons:

    1. We keep on going over the same “self referential evidence” which is closed to logical reasoning. This is also peppered with plenty of bullying accompanying your free expression
    2. You have had plenty of time to say what you wanted and as you are not bringing any new information to the table we are continuing to go in a circle.

    Note that I’m always honest with you. Also note, that whilst I did grow up in a religious family, I was not always a Christian. Also note that there are plenty of people that have walked this journey with me from atheism or agnosticism to Christianity. Anthony Flew is one of the great atheistic philosophers who did just that.

    Let me just briefly answer your questions. I will not bother with the derogatory comments as this is just rising to your mischievous play fighting.

    1. I take all my instructions needed to discern church teaching from the Bible; e.g. See 2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    This is why I don’t have to look to atheists, but I do take notes and will from time to time agree with a number of things that atheists will say in order to disprove Christianity.

    Note however that I treat these as dishonest attempts to deflect attention away from the real issues.

    For example, you bring the Old Church up as a lunatic establishment that needs to be dismantled. I have to both agree with you and disagree at the same time but I guess this may confuse your one dimensional world view. Firstly, I agree the institution is corrupt and nothing like Jesus intended it to be. When people become rich on the account of Christianity they are not preaching Christ’s gospel (good news). As for the Church of Christ invisible, and entirely made up of believers in Christ, neither you, nor anyone else can destroy as it has been proven by the fact that it is still in existence 2000 years after its begining and if you take the Old Testament into account, then from the beginning of time.

    2. “There are many ‘enlightened’ and ‘moderate’ theologians who would disagree with you about the compatibility of the Old and New Testaments. How would you explain that? And are you saying you are an Old Testament Christian (which would not be surprising if you are of the fundamentalist, scriptural literalist strain of Christianity, which I suspect you are…)?”

    As I said previously I don’t need to conform to either “enlightened or moderate” theologians as that leads only to contempt both on me and them, from people like you so what is the point? I will not compromise on the truth.

    3. Meaningless waffle, intended to throw me off the scent. I am not taking the bait. My crosshairs are still zeroed in on you’re a**, mate, and I’m gyrostabilized”

    Please don’t give either you or me too much credit. I don’t want to take credit for what is Biblical as it only serves to make me big-headed and you too don’t need it as you are already happy with your personal achievements.

    4. “I did not say he (Sam Harris) was my favourite atheist author – I do not simply take my opinions from one author, or even from several; I am capable of forming and articulating my own opinions, because I have a brain and can think for myself. This may be a novel concept for you, I realize…”

    Thanks again for attempting to provoke me. It shows you care and by the way I do mean that without sarcasm. Yet you continue to quote him with such affection.

    5. You are right: I did think that you were much younger, that was probably to do with the style of your writing. I apologise if this offended you. I agree with you on this; congratulations on your age, and yes education and intelligence do play an important factor as does the openness to be corrected. As for age, we have saying “bitter old man” so age may not necessarily improve our disposition on understanding.

    6. I have answered your point 6 in my previous point which I think is still valid.

    7. “What kind of ‘analyst’ do you work as? I am not intimidated by professional titles any more than I am intimidated by people with PhDs in Theology, lol!”

    Good for you. That is how it should be; I did mention “project work” and “business case”. It should be therefore self-evident.

    8. “If someone on the other side of the world from me posts a purported proof on a blog that 2+2=5, I can easily conclude that he is an idiot and a mathematical ignoramus without ever having met him. After all, criminal psychiatrists are able to produce fairly accurate psychological profiles of criminals without ever having ‘sat around a table’ with them and talked to them, yes”?

    Metasapien on the issue of you diagnosing me; you make me laugh, I don’t mean this to be insulting but you do.
    • First of all, I don’t believe you to be qualified in that particular area,
    • Secondly, it is well known fact that Criminal Psychologist have been known to be wrong on significant number of criminal cases.

    The fact is that Psychiatry and Psychology are not exact sciences. There is plenty of room to make mistakes. And what gives you the impression that I do agree with their findings. You will also note that the origin of Physiology owes its beginnings to the 19th century occult.

    “I value their opinions far more than I value those of the stupid, irrational and ignorant (who, sadly, still make up the majority, but then the truth is not democratic, and – thankfully – cannot be decided by a majority vote).”

    Thank you for confirming my point so clearly. Doesn’t it sound like your physiological condition?

    “On being self-assured: Yes I am more self assured than Christians, (My paraphrase) unquestionably. Because all religious belief is ultimately motivated by fear, insecurity and doubt. What will happen when I die? Do people like me? What is my purpose in life? Etc. Atheists have the same concerns, of course (we would not be human if we did not), but we can find the resources (both within ourselves and without) to answer those questions without subordinating out intellect integrity and surrendering our ethical intuitions to the ancient superstitions and ignorant ideological dogmas of religion.”

    Yet again you fail to spot the lack of logic here:
    1. The ancient text is not wrong because of its age. New philosophical views are not necessarily going to stay permanent. In fact that is exactly what history tells us that philosophies change but Biblical Christianity is the same today as it was when it was first introduced.

    Believing strongly that you are right, does not necessarily make your statements correct or logical. Notice the false psychology of it.

    On respect and courtesy:
    “Nonsense. Some of the smartest people who ever lived have also been some of the most intellectually arrogant and contemptuous of fools. This might not have made them many friends, admittedly, but it also did not make them any less right in their ideas. Once again, you seem to be confusing meekness and humility with virtue, – a common Christian delusion, which historically served a very dark purpose, of course; how much easier it was for the ruling elite (including religious leaders) to exert control over the masses if they could instil in them the belief that it was God’s wish that they should be meek and humble and ‘know their place’, because humility was virtuous and godly. This is how religions became such effective and insidious forms of social control, and how many of them still are to this day.”

    On this issue you are both right and wrong; First let me agree with you that the Church did seek to control and subdue and this is one of the main reasons why atheists can be so aggressive. Note that this does not prove that God does not exist merely that there was an abuse of power, does this not happen today with non Christian leaders too? But secondly my point on humility comes from Martial Arts just as much as from the Bible. Knowing who your opponent is and capable of is just as important as what he/she is trying to do or say.

    9. “ALL bits of the Bible are vulnerable to modern world views”.

    This is only true of only one world view. You will agree this to be a particular world view, aggressive atheism is responsible for this, which is a bullying world view. This philosophy serves only one purpose – to intimidate, bit like Hitler and Stalin did.

    “Firstly, yes, I do have credentials in theoretical physics. Secondly, don’t lecture me on my own subject, please; the only reason String Theory sounds like ‘fairytales’ to lay people is because it is extremely abstract and mathematically sophisticated, and for this reason it is difficult to communicate to the non-specialist in such a way that they can truly understand. This does not make it wrong, just abstruse. (And, no offence, but I very much doubt that you have much understanding of it.) But please don’t try to suggest that your religion is in any way comparable to String Theory; the reason why most intelligent, rational and educated people DO think that your religion is all fairytales is not because it is extremely abstract and difficult to understand; it is simply because it IS all fairytales! To assert otherwise is to commit the basic error of false equivalence.”

    Unlike you I will not question your credential as they are too inconsequential to our debate. Note that you go in a circle here. Again self-referential evidence points to yourself as proof. ie “it’s true because atheists say it to be”.

    10. Thank you on your point of Galileo. Firstly, don’t blame me for past mistakes. I believe Catholic Church did apologise for this and secondly I’m not Catholic. The last part of this argument is that Galileo did not stop believing in God unlike you. As for the majority view I don’t put myself in that category as individualism and variety are the buzz words of the day. As for documentaries, I will just say please stop it. You are only proving my point. So many of them have been proven to be fabrications after only a few months. There is always a competing theory that follows the first proposition. Or did you not know that?

    As for the age difference you will find it in Psalm 119 that King David refers to that issue as someone who is smarter than the old man simply because he puts his trust in the Word of God. This will be my point too.

    On the issue of qualification I will not want to speculate anymore but I thank you for your frank opinion. This is however inconsistent with the evidence that is freely available to anyone to inspect.
    As for the issue of triviality of Theology when compared to Mathematics let’s just agree that they deal with different spheres of knowledge. You came to my blog; I did not come to your blog to comment on mathematics, did I?

    And again you go on with the invisible, Jesus was not invisible; you could actually touch him, talk to him and even see him eat. As for the fairytales, you need to take into account that I do agree with you that they sound sometimes implausible. Again this is what David Hume said i.e. “if I haven’t witnessed this then it can not be true”. But this is scientifically incorrect, just think of your Theoretical Physics here for a moment.

    “If you want us to take you seriously, provide some proof, otherwise you can expect nothing but our incredulity and mocking laughter, and you will richly deserve both.”

    Mk 8:11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it

    This is how Jesus replied to a similar request: This is despite the fact that they have witnessed many miracles demonstrated in the very community they were living in.

    You are asking me to provide the proof to something that is historic, are you serious with this? I can say however that God does intervene today Just read the Story of George Muller of Bristol who started the orphanage and be convinced.

    On the issue of Jesus not being an historical character I won’t bother except to say that there are other non Christian sources that mention him. You will find more information on my blog if you look. On the issue of Jesus’s story having a similarity to other fictional characters, note the following: anyone making such claims should be aware of the need to understand history and the sequence of changes to pagan beliefs. You will note that no similarities exist pre Christ, they only develop later so this is not a valid point to make.

    “Then you are deluded on both counts because your ego and your entire worldview is dependent on believing I am wrong in everything I have said. As for my intellect, if you wanted to place a bet on your IQ being higher, there is a 99.5 percent chance you will lose”

    My ego is not very big first of all. Don’t I allow you to make fun of me? Your view is blinding you from even considering the very possibility that I may be right. But interestingly enough you come back for more. Does this give you any boost to your self-worth?

    “Sorry, I know it might seem ‘juvenile’, but is it okay if I just start LAUGHING at this point…?”

    Yes it can be construed as juvenile and Mr Metasapien Yes it is OK to laugh. It’s a free country as they say.

    “There s nothing TO understand about your religion other than that it is COMPLETE BULL***T, and that your Bible contains MOUNTAINS OF LIFE-DESTORYING GIBBERISH (to use Sam’s memorable phrase).”

    Let me repeat my previous comment: the fact is you are hiding behind Sam’s research.

    “Sam Harris naturally has something to say:
    “Imagine that we could revive a well-educated Christian of the fourteenth century. The man would prove to be a total ignoramus, except on matters of faith. His beliefs about geography, astronomy, and medicine would embarrass even a child, but he would know more or less everything there is to know about God. Though he would be considered a fool to think that the earth is flat, or that trepanning constitutes a wise medical intervention, his religious ideas would still be beyond reproach. There are two explanations for this: either we perfected our religious understanding of the world a millennium ago, while our knowledge on all other fronts was still hopelessly inchoate, or religion, being the mere maintenance of dogma, is one area of discourse that does not admit of progress. We will see that there is much to recommend the latter view.” Are you sure he is not your favourite?

    You are so funny, thank you for that I will use it in my blog sometime. First of all Sam should remember that we owe our gratitude to the church for the existence of science.
    Second of all I reject scientism (that all should be proven through science) as being philosophically unattainable by the very nature that this is not what Science advocates. In fact again one has to question his understanding of what the purpose of science is.

    “It is not true that ‘we are all born atheist’. Recent studies of children has revealed the contrary – In other words, it is the atheist worldview that is the mature one, (or, if they ‘discovered’ their faith later in life, then it is a state that they regressed to).”

    This is your opinion to which you are entitled, but does not have to be correct. In fact you rightly point out that people tend to leave church during their youth but do tend to come back in later life. I would argue this is not regression but an understanding that they don’t have any need to prove anything to anyone anymore and lose interest in a need to be acceptable but choose to use reason above desire to be accepted.

    “Atheists value the objective over the subjective, and they view impersonal perspectives as more reliable than personal ones, because they have been validated against the experiences and viewpoints of others. It is the religious whose attitudes and beliefs are extraordinarily parochial and culture-bound. Proof of this is simple; if you had been born in India, you would not be a Christian but a Hindu; if you had been born in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, you would most likely be a Muslim. And in each case, you would believe that your religion was the one true religion and all the others were mistaken. If you deny the truth of this, then you are deluding yourself. So seligions are regional phenomena; science, on the other hand, is truly global and cross-cultural.”

    First, if you were born in India it is likely that you would not be an atheist. And by the way I do view atheism to be a form of religion as it is cantered on common beliefs that most atheists hold to be true.

    Secondly, Christianity is the largest religion in the world though not the fastest growing at the moment so the cultural breaking of barriers and even science starting credentials form an essential part of Christianity which you either deliberately ignore or did not know.

    As for referring you to my previous points, maybe I should not bother. The fact that this happened to you before only serves to prove my point, not disprove it.

    My Posts are based on an understanding of both world views as I have not always been a Christian.

    Regards

    Defend the Word

  12. metasapien says:

    As a trained mathematician and theoretical physicist, I can see more dimensions to reality than you could ever dream of, defendtheword. Compared to me, you live in mental Flatland.

    This proves nothing except that your mind-virus, TMV-C, is a tough little bugger which, like many ordinary bacterial and viral pathogens, we have yet to eradicate. And it also constantly mutates into new variants, just like biological pathogens. Think of it as a mental equivalent of the influenza virus, if you like :o)

    So yeah, you’re a scriptural literalist, as I’d guessed – which means you are infected with one of the very old, highly virulent strains of TMV-C, rather than a more recent, less virulent strain.

    So I’m being lectured on logic, philosophy and theoretical physics by a *Business Analyst*. Hahaha – I could have guessed!

    I’m as qualified as you are to lecture me on theoretical physics and logic; in fact, considerably more qualified. And your symptoms are not exactly hard to diagnose or analyse; I have encounterred them countless times before in other religionists.

    True, science is fallable. Whereas your religion and your Bible are never, ever wrong about *anything*, are they?

    As I said, science is fallable, especially the soft sciences like psychology. But it’s still a hell of a lot more accurate, reliable and true than any of the assertions of religion!

    True, great antiquity does not automatically imply worthlessness. But in the case of religious texts, they are generally very old and also very wrong in much that they assert about the physical world, human biology and psychology, ethics, and so on. This is understandable when once considers that they were the works of men who, by modern standards, were frighteningly ignorant and deluded about these things. And – once again – Sam Harris puts it very eloquently:

    “The benignity of most religious moderates does not suggest that religious faith is anything more sublime than a desperate marriage of hope and ignorance, nor does it guarantee that there is not a terrible price to be paid for limiting the scope of reason in our dealings with other human beings. Religious moderation, insofar as it represents an attempt to hold on to what is still serviceable in orthodox religion, closes the door to more sophisticated approaches to spirituality, ethics, and the building of strong communities. Religious moderates seem to believe that what we need is not radical insight and innovation in these areas but a mere dilution of Iron Age philosophy. Rather than bring the full force of our creativity and rationality to bear on the problems of ethics, social cohesion, and even spiritual experience, moderates merely ask that we relax our standards of adherence to ancient superstitions and taboos, while otherwise maintaining a belief system that was passed down to us from men and women whose lives were simply ravaged by their basic ignorance about the world. In what other sphere of life is such subservience to tradition acceptable? Medicine? Engineering? Not even politics suffers the anachronism that still dominates our thinking about ethical values and spiritual experience.”
    [end]

    I’m not sure what you are trying to say in that last remark, but FYI, I’ve some experience of martial arts, too – various styles, chinese and japanese, hard and soft – and their philosophies vary greatly about the role of ‘humility’ (as opposed to naked aggression, perhaps) in self-defence.

    It is not a ‘bullying’ world view; it is simply the *correct* worldview, because it is based on logic, reason and evidence, rather than irrationality, prejudice, ancient superstition and myth. There are not multiple truths, all equally valid (as some postmodern relativists love to – mistakenly – assert); there is only one truth, and it is the truth of western scientific rationalism and atheism. If you don’t like that, that’s just tough – but it doesn’t make it any less true.

    Well, no one’s perfect – even Galileo :o)

    Do you think that quoting from your silly little holy book actually proves *anything*?! And on the question of smarts, it’s not just about physical (or, more accurately, chronological) age, but mental age, too. That’s what IQ is all about, after all. And I really don’t think that Christianity (i.e. ‘trusting in the Word of God’) has ever been demonstrated to increase anyone’s IQ. Quite the opposite, in fact; numerous surveys have shown a strong NEGATIVE correlation between religiosity and IQ :o) But your Biblical quote is typical of the anti-intellectual attitude of religions towards the threat of *free-thinking, critical intelligence*; they disparage and dismiss it as inferior to the blind subservience to religious dogma. That is how religions keep their followers ignorant, stupid, docile and unquestioning – by convincing them that they *don’t need to know* aything beyond their religion, and are fools to question its dogmas. The Christian motto ‘blessed are the meek’ should really say ‘blessed are the meek, the stupid and the ignorant, for they will never question their faith and realize that it is all lies’. All religions are fundamentally anti-intellectual, and that makes perfect sense from their viewpoint – the last thing they want is for their followers to start thinking for themselves (even those which, like Judaism, appear to place great importance in scriptural learning and ‘scholarly wisdom’; the ‘learning’ is worthless, and the ‘wisdom’ is actually just dogmatic ignorance dressed up in clever-sounding language).

    “As for the issue of triviality of Theology when compared to Mathematics let’s just agree that they deal with different spheres of knowledge. You came to my blog; I did not come to your blog to comment on mathematics, did I?”

    So a mathematician is very well-qualified to point out the lack of intellectual rigour in theology, because mathematicians are the experts in intellectual rigour.

    “Just read the Story of George Muller of Bristol who started the orphanage and be convinced.”

    Oh, purr-lease! You mean this guy?: http://www.mullers.org/cm/general/127

    Does this in itself constitute *evidence* for the existence of God?! If I substituted the word ‘Zeus’ for the word ‘God’ everywhere on that webpage, would you then take it as evidence for the existence of Zeus?!

    NO, you are WRONG, dead wrong. And do you know what the Christian church’s official ‘explanation’ for these striking coincidences between the stories of Christ and the heroes of earlier pagan mythologies still is, to this day? It’s quite hilariously contrived; the *official explanation* is that the Devil TRAVELLED BACK IN TIME and PLANTED STORIES OF CHRIST’S LIFE IN EARLIER PAGAN CULTURES, so that future generations would see these coincidences as proof that Jesus was a fictional figure, and refuse to believe in him and his religion as a result! Yes, that’s right – YOUR CHURCH actually tries to explain away the blatant plagiarism of the Bible’s authors, and the absurd mythology of Christ, by claiming that the Devil is a TIME-TRAVELLER! And if you believe that, you will believe anything, I guess – including that Jesus was real and God exists, apparently…

    He (Sam Harris) is a fine writer, undoubtedly – well-researched, lucid, articulate and passionate, and I admire his writing style greatly. But nothing he says is exactly new to me; I have been of the same mind as Sam Harris (i.e. an ardent atheist) for many years before I read any of his books. So I’m afraid any accusation that I am ‘hiding behind his research’ (whatever that can mean) is just false – not just that, but it is a pathetically lame slur on my capacity for original thought (which, I assure you, is considerable, if I may be so immodest…).

    As someone memorably said, atheism is no more a religion than baldness is a hairstyle. To claim otherwise is to fundamentally – and perhaps deliberately – misconstrue what is meant by the term ‘religion’, and commit a blatant category error.

  13. Thanks again for your humble words. You continue with the same stuff as before, as I’m feeling sorry for you I have allowed your comments to be published yet again. This is due to two comments that you have made.

    One both Sam Harris comments (This is as you still fail to bring new material to the discussion on your own). Some of your boasting continues to lead you in wrong direction so I will try and help you spot what you are doing wrong and then either we can continue this communication through the e-mail or stop it altogether. This is unless you bring new material that we can go through as I believe that I have more than adequately answered your questions.
    Yes I believe that word of God is true and does not have any mistakes but calling me literalist will miss the point. When Jesus said he is the way, or door he did not mean it literally and you will note all such scriptures will be interpreted as per the text that follows such parable.

    Why am I not surprised about your comment on who is lecturing you; Fist of all I did work as Manager, Work Trainer, Sports Coach, Statistical Analyst, Finance Analyst and yes Business analyst. You have deliberately missed the point that I was making; which is that with all the analytical skills that I acquired trough my work I do not need you to tell me how to use either logic or reason. And if you can’t understand that then I question your willingness to consider any evidence.

    “True, science is fallable. Whereas your religion and your Bible are never, ever wrong about *anything*, are they? “
    I agree with you I would only remove the question mark. Errors that you find are confined to translations not the original text, secondly we know that they are and are able to identify them unlike any unknown in the modern science.
    You continue to give your opinion but only evidence you give is yet another opinion by another atheist. Does this sound like self referential material to you or is this not self evident to you?

    On Comment of Sam Harris note following;
    He assumes that christens are ignorant just like you despite the fact that you have mentioned it to me more than 10 times. This is ironic as either you should stop i.e. as you say give up doe to my ignorance or stop due to your ignorance as you have not spotted that your work is wasted.

    Hi assume limitation of religion yet this is impossible he can only judge this from on the inside.
    I want bother with his comments on moderate “world pleasing” Christians as they are not me and are not according to the Bible either. Him comparing Iron Age is yet again same scare mongering intellectual bullying that you so expertly display.

    He assumes that you have to be atheist to be creative. So he must ignore all the artists, philosophers and scientist that lived in our history and is obviously not aware that there are many of them in existence today. We do not relax our standards the contrary we have people like you that keep the standards high, it is good to be chalanged and benefits both parties. Keep the good challenges going but please not regurgitated rubbish that has been successfully refuted especially if you will find answers on the very blog that you are visiting. Long live logic and healthy challenge, to all we believe.

    On the issue of Martial Arts I guess we do have something in common. I’m just surprised that you didn’t learn anything in your training which is a shame. I remember attending classes there were plenty of people like that in my class to, coming for years but never quite managing to master even the basics.

    On your comment on Galileo I could not stop laughing. So you are OK to accuse the Catholic church, who incidentally did apologise about this, but the fact that Galileo stayed religious is deliberately ignored. You know what this is; I call that Atheistic fundamentalism; Take what you like but ignore other evidence at your own peril, so that you can make evidence fit your ideology. Simple but effective for those who do not want to see the truth.

    On IQ and Christians I consider Christina to be smart enough to understand that you are a bully yet again. You will also note form your lack of knowledge that IQ can fluctuate significantly, you are mathematician aren’t you? This will depend on time of day you are assessed, type of test, it has been proven that tests designed in Chine show Chinese to be smarter than Americans and vice verse. And here in Europe (UK) we like to pretend that we are above all others

    On your point of Mathematicians, I know few that are professors (They actually hold PhD’s in both Mathematics and Theology) Check William Dembski. I’m sure he would be happy to tell you how he worked out through mathematical equations that there must be God. He is very friendly man and I’m sure would be happy to help an open serious seeker.

    As for the Story of Gorge Muller you prove my point; here in Britain we have saying I can talk to you until I’m blue in face, but all of this is ignored. I wonder why, evidence did not suite you? Too much to cope with real life experience, or too scared to consider implications it brings?
    On your issue of time travel and change of History, I have to say I have honestly never heard this before and I have been a Christian for 20 years.

    On the issue of originality lets just agree that both your training, my qualifications, your self confidence my IQ test results (On most days above 140 points and sometimes even 150 not that I want to boast about it, as I consider it inconsequential I just like challenges)

    Atheism is a religion and you have amply demonstrated by quoting from the Holy Scriptures of Sam Harris and Co. They are same statements, same ideas and same philosophy. 1. There is no God. 2. Material testable world is all there is. 3. Religion is wrong for society. 4. Smarts (Atheists) should dictate to the intellectually incompetent. Etc. etc.

    Please next time either just quote Sam Harris, Christopher Hutchins or Richard Dawkins, but don’t bring same arguments that we talked previously you will note that I have reduced your comments somewhat, yet they are still longer then anyone else that decided to come and contribute.

    You are more than welcomed to come back and comment but stick to the topic, to the logical reasoning without wondering off and don’t repeat yourself too many times. Lastly I will have to insist for you to stop using insults, as I have had complaints and I have to take into accounts many other readers.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  14. Jonny Mantle says:

    Hello! This is my first post as I am new to this blog, and I wanted to add my own remarks in relation to some of the postings of Joseph/Jackson.

    “If you have any real, credible evidence to the existence of any deity or group of deities, I’ll be the first person to admit that I was wrong.”

    Credibility of evidence is purely subjective. A creationist may feel evolution is not credible because of the accounts given in, say, Genesis. An Evolutionist may say creationism is not credible because of the accounts given by scientists. Unless you can physically bear witness, they can only be philosophical views or theories, therefore neither are more or less credible than the other depending on your own personal belief or ‘faith’. If you are determined there is no God, or less likely to lean to the direction there is, the ‘credibility’ of an argument put forward will always be tainted by the initial presumptions/views held before the argument is made and vice versa.

    “Atheism isn’t a belief system, but a lack of belief in a supernatural god or gods. The burden of proof doesn’t fall on me for NOT believing in something, but it does fall on you to prove your claim is true.”

    I can see why you may feel if someone presents a statement to you, you may feel it their burden to prove they are correct rather than you to prove them not. However, it is illogical to suggest you have no responsibility of thought once the argument has been put forward by the person making the statement. In determining that you do not believe that statement, surely you would have a reason for that opinion other than “sorry, that wasn’t good enough to persuade me it is true”. That you have forged an opinion means you have had to think for yourself and used reason in your own mind as to why you feel it was not true, or not enough to persuade you it was. Therefore you have had to make a personal ‘argument’ in your mind to come to that conclusion, based on your own feelings, which you effectively become your counter-evidence.

    To hold an opposing view, or not holding one, simply because you don’t perceive someone else’s argument to be good enough suggests an inability to forge an opinion for ones’ self, unless spoon-fed it. It’s like looking at a blue piece of paper and having no need to decide what colour it is unless someone can effectively persuade you it’s blue.

    On a final note here, saying you don’t believe is in itself a view, therefore a belief, therefore a belief system. A belief ‘system’ is not determined as such by it being positive or negative to the subject matter (i.e. there is or isn’t a God), but simply that you have a belief/view one way or the other.

    “Saying that Atheism requires as much faith as any other religious belief system doesn’t make any sense.”

    It makes perfect sense. A faith is something in which you have a personal belief, for which there is no unequivocal proof. In the same way you can argue there is no hard evidence of the existence of any God, the same can be said that there is no hard evidence there is none. The Big Bang, Evolution, God, Creationism. They are all theories or philosophical arguments. Unless definitive proof is offered, which can only be done where it is possible to bear witness, they can only ever be theories or philosophical arguments or beliefs. So the weight one puts in terms of determining which is more likely is simply subjective – a personal belief or a ‘faith’. Given none of these can be proved unequivocally, the non-belief of a God is no less a faith than the belief of a God.

    On a lighter note, we will never be able to prove things such as the theory of evolution definitively, as we will never be able to go back in time to bear witness to this to show it is the case. However, we will one day have the opportunity to bear witness as to whether there is a God. Sadly, by that time it will be too late to do anything about it…

  15. Thanks Jonny you bring some very good points.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  16. metasapien says:

    I *did* made several original points in my last post, and several detailed rebuttals of your points, but most of these were mysteriously deleted from my post before it was published. Either you did this, in order to create the impression that I am only capable of quoting Sam Harris and have nothing original to say, or the blog moderator did, if you are not one and the same. I suspect, however, that you ARE the ‘moderator’, and you are deliberately butchering my posts to make me seem incoherent, and to delete any points I raise that you are unable or unwilling to answer. Are you so much of a coward, defendtheword?

    Are you dyslexic, or is English not your native tongue, or are you drunk when you write your posts, or are you simply illiterate? I am beginning to wonder about the reason that you commit so many grammatical and spelling errors.

    I will keep challenging you, as long as you actually *publish* what I write, and stop editing out the bits that are *too* challenging for you…

    How the herll do you know what I learned? Did I say *which* martial arts I have training in, or for how long? No – so don’t assume you know anything about my martial arts knowledge, you presumptious prat!

    No, what you have described there – most accurately, I must say – is CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM. The fact that you think it actually describes atheists is yet another demonstration of the COGNITIVE INVERSION SYNDROME which your religious MIND VIRUS has inflicted upon you. YOU ARE NOT RIGHT IN THE HEAD, defendtheword – please understand this.

    Aw, diddums! Poor ickle harmless, defenceless Christians being bullied by nasty aggressive atheists! Well, even if it were true (which it isn’t) then I guess you could consider it revenge for the CENTURIES of bullying and persecution that atheists and dissenters suffered at the hands of the religious. Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?

    Yes, I do know these things, being something of an expert on the subject FYI, I have taken numerous IQ tests, of different formats, at different times in my life, and have averaged all the results. The percentile I gave is that average

    On Wiliam Dembski; And I would be happy to tell him why he is completely WRONG, and is a very BAD MATHEMATICIAN. I quote from the Wikipedia entry on Dembski:

    [The mainstream scientific community rejects his ideas, with many leading scientific and scientific education organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and National Science Teachers Association rejecting intelligent design, describing it as “not science”, “lack[ing] scientific warrant” and “pseudoscience”, and his work has been characterised by prominent mathematician David H. Wolpert as “written in jello”.[3] Mathematician, computer scientist and number theorist Jeffrey Shallit, a former teacher of Dembski’s, submitted in a court expert witness report that Dembski’s work should not be regarded as significant.] ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Dembski )

    Which proves Sam Harris’s point about Christians – most of them don’t know enough about their Bible, the philosophical implications of their own faith or the fundamental doctrines of their Church to realize just how absurd it all is.

    Raw IQ scores are meaningless, as you should know (if you actually knew anything about psychometrics, which I doubt), because different tests give different raw scores for the same percentile score; the only meaningful measure is the precentile, as this is indepdendent of any specific test. For instance, Mensa takes its membership from the 98th precentile (and yes, I am a member). But I very much doubt that there is any IQ test on which you could score 140, frankly – you’re poor English and inability to do basic joined-up logical thinking tells me that.

    [Atheism is a religion and you have amply demonstrated by quoting from the Holy Scriptures of Sam Harris and Co. They are same statements, same ideas and same philosophy. 1. There is no God. 2. Material testable world is all there is. 3. Religion is wrong for society. 4. Smarts (Atheists) should dictate to the intellectually incompetent. Etc. etc.]

    I actually agree with all those things, yes (except perhaps the ‘dictate’ in the last one – politically, I lean towards liberal democracy (though recognizing its limitations and imperfections), not totalitarianism). But that does not make them ‘articles of faith’, just common sense.

    Ah, SO it WAS you!!! You COMPLETELY BUTCHERED my posts to render them ALMOST UNINTELLIGIBLE, and also completely DELETED not just my quotes of your posts, quotes of Harris, but also some ORIGINAL POINTS I had raised – perhaps because you either did not want to have to answer them or because they would have contradicted your claim that I had nothing original to bring to the debate. If you are not capable of debating with me FAIRLY, but must resort to the COWARDLY TACTIC of DELIBERATELY MUTILATING my posts to give yourself an unfair advantage, then that just speaks VOLUMES for your intellectual honesty and personal integrity, defendtheword. How dare you run your blog in such a one-side, underhand way, deliberately trashing the posts of anyone who disgrees with you!

    You are a COWARD! There, post THAT on your blog!

    I don’t believe you – I don’t believe you have that many other readers, and I don’t believe they have complained about my insults. You have revealed yourself, by your butchering of my posts, to be dishonest, cowardly and sly, defendtheword. Is THIS the example of a Christian that you want readers of your blogs to see.

    I would like an apology for the numerous mutilations of my posts. I don’t expect one, but at least it wuld sho me that you are willing to ‘atone for your sins’

    And I DARE you to publiush this post IN FULL, with no further mutilations. If you do not, then you will have proven my assessment of you to be completely correct!

  17. Hi Metasapien

    For someone who is part of the elite Mensa club you should have learned to read instructions of the tasks before you start completing them. Unless your tests are done differently, I would remind you that you have been warned not to be insulting i.e. It’s OK to say Defend the word your logic is incorrect. But it is not acceptable to go on about same issues and to utilise rude behaviour as a means of debating.

    Don’t get too upset, sit down and think what you are putting on a paper. I have broken my word already by publishing your comments yet again. Even though whilst you continue to claim that new material is brought, I can’t find neither relevance to the original post nor new material that was not covered before. Rephrasing your question does not make it different, as same answer posted in previous correspondence will still stands relevant.

    First of all I did make it clear that I did moderate your comments, secondly you do tend to go on, and thirdly you are often being very pedantic at the expense of the truth that is being addressed. Lastly fact that I have posted your last comment does prove that I do not have anything to hide.

    On the issue of intelligence, we just have to disagree; it is a well known fact that sometimes with high IQ’s people may lack their ability to relate to other people. This is why I don’t take your abuse too seriously. On the Issue of English, well I may be dyslexic, but note that this does not make any difference to my ability to use logic. On the other hand I English may not be my first language, in which case you should appreciate the skill that this may require for me to debate your “complex” issues. Either way I don’t know you that well for me to share, who I am lets just be happy that we have had opportunity to chat and exchange our ideas. I did not point out to all of your spelling mistakes which I had to change, not that this forms important part of our debate does it?

    I have deleted your insults of Dr Dembski; I don’t think he would appreciate me doing anything other than moderate illogical and aggressive tome of your comments. I would do exactly the same for you.

    I’m not surprised that you use Wikipedia to support your assessment, I don’t know if you are aware that there have been many Wiki entries that have had to be altered. Also note that someone may have not agreed with another person does not make either side correct or wrong. You would have to get that information examined. As a fellow mathematician I have told you to contact him directly and ask him some relevant questions, not slander, these are two separate things. Talk about Socratic questioning, which you should be familiar with.

    Unless you bring new material please expect your comment to be moderated, and if insulting continues expect them not to be published.

    Regards

    Defend the word.

    P.S. This does not mean that I’m closing the proverbial door. Any communication from you is welcomed, as long as you stick to the agreed rules and agenda. As for the readership of this blog in the last few days, I have been blessed enough to get between 72 and 182 daily hits which I consider to be significant and as such I owe them great deal of responsibility i.e. not to create environment which will be unpleasant in nature.

  18. metasapien says:

    [For someone who is part of the elite Mensa club you should have learned to read instructions of the tasks before you start completing them. Unless your tests are done differently, I would remind you that you have been warned not to be insulting i.e. It’s OK to say Defend the word your logic is incorrect. But it is not acceptable to go on about same issues and to utilise rude behaviour as a means of debating.]

    Believe me, defendtheword, I have actually bitten my tongue several times when being sorely provoked by your stubborn obtuseness, smug condescension and staggering irrationality. On those numerous occasions, I would have been justified in being far more ‘insulting’ and ‘rude’ than I believe I have been. But it appears that, in common with many religious people I have debated with over the years, you are very quick to take offence, and seem to regard any question or remark that dares to expose the cracks in your religious worldview as ‘offensive’ and ‘insulting’, no matter how mild the language in which it might be expressed. And then you play the victim card (another favourite tactic of the religious), and act all aggrieved and ‘hurt’, and accuse your opponent of ‘bullying’ you.

    Well, you know what they say – sometimes the truth hurts.

    And while we’re on the subject of what is ‘acceptable’, I can tell you that, on a publicly accessible blog onto which you invite people to post comments, it is NOT acceptable to maliciously edit those comments, destroying their narrative coherence and intelligibility, and deleting whole chunks of them, in order to distort, discredit and misrepresent your opponents arguments. If you are not going to reproduce their original posts as faithfully as possible, then there really is no point in people posting you comments at all, because can be no honest and open debate while you feel free to butcher and mutilate other people’s comments to suit your own purposes. If you don’t want people posting challenging comments to your blog, then you should remove the comment/reply facility and just turn it into a mouthpiece for your own views, and no one else’s. Being a ‘moderator’ of your own blog carries certain responsibilities of impartiality, transparency and personal integrity.

    [On the issue of intelligence, we just have to disagree; it is a well known fact that sometimes with high IQ’s people may lack their ability to relate to other people.]

    My many friends, colleagues and acquaintances would disagree with you, I believe, and report that I also have very high ‘social intelligence’; I am extremely sociable, approachable, love good conversation on diverse topics and can have interesting interactions with almost anyone I meet. Indeed, I am rather notorious for usually being the first guy in my group to strike up deep conversations with complete strangers in bars! The tragedy is that I think you would quite like me if we ever met socially, though of course we would have much to disagree about… 🙂

    [I have deleted your insults of Dr Dembski; I don’t think he would appreciate me doing anything other than moderate illogical and aggressive tome of your comments. I would do exactly the same for you.]

    Then I would invite readers to look at what other people have said about the quality of Dembski’s work and his claims to academic respectability:

    http://www.bostonreview.net/BR27.3/orr.html

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/jello.cfm

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/05/dembskis_mathem.html

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dem_nfl.cfm

    Just Google ‘William Dembski’ – there are reams of criticism of his mathematics and his academic reputation. They all concur with my remarks about him, whether you thought they were libelous or not.

    [I’m not surprised that you use Wikipedia to support your assessment, I don’t know if you are aware that there have been many Wiki entries that have had to be altered.]

    It so happens that, while Wikipedia can be challenged on its accuracy and impartiality where nonscientific articles are concerned, it is notable that its scientific and mathematical articles are usually of a very high standard in both respects; this is partly because of the nature of these subjects – it is very hard to post erroneous and nonsensical articles on science and mathematics and get away with it, because there are too many eagle-eyed scientists and mathematicians out there who can spot fraudulent rubbish in a microsecond. I believe readers can therefore trust the accuracy and impartiality of the Wiki entry on William Dembski 🙂

  19. Hi Metasapien

    Not sure why you think I would not like you? I always love being with people whose thinking is deeper than simply what colour shirt they are going to choose. I repeat, it’s OK to disagree and there is no need to apologise about that.

    As for the playing of the victim card, trust me I have been through far worse and have managed to come out of it without taking offence. If you check your comments you can ask others to see and give you their assessment of the situation.

    I understand that there are significant differences between what is OK in America and may not be acceptable in UK, this is why I don’t mind when people do say things that may not be approved by religious community.

    I do enjoy our exchanges, and would more than welcome your constructive criticism any time. I don’t mind personal remarks as long as they are not aimed at others. On the point of editing I do consider it to be acceptable for the blog owner to moderate but I would agree with you that this has to be done responsibly.

    On the case of friendship, if you are serious about that I would be more than willing to accept that without putting any conditions on it, i.e. that you should agree with me. In fact I do offer it now with great enthusiasm, I love when I’m forced to dig deeper, and no I would not want either of us to be extra polite just for the sake of “pretend friendship”. I would argue that sign of true friendship is that you could be honest and open with those you love as your friends.

    Please be aware that I do respect your enthusiasm, your readiness to engage others, I admire your forthright and outspoken communication style. And yes I do have great deal of appreciation for intelligent people.

    And if you continue to come back, you will find that I do have to say quite a few things against modern Christina institutions, and have very little respect. However I do believe that Church of Christ (Using here New Testament terminology) are people not buildings.

    Please as I said before if I offended you I offer my sincere apology. As for the moderation as long as we stay within the subject of the post, and they are reasonably respectable toward others then you have my word that they will not be moderated.

    With respect and regards

    Defend the word

  20. Vincent E says:

    Could you get any more condescending?

    Typical of a theist to play the hurt feelings card. If I wrote a piece about unicorns and you laughed at it I would also be hurt but I don’t think many people would offer their shoulder.

    To be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect a response and besides, what is the point in opening a dialogue with a creationist? They believe in something for which there is no evidence and I lay my stock in evidence based reasoning. You can’t argue against faith. I will always criticise it though.

    I appreciate the fact that you have left mine and other non-believers comments intact so maybe there is food for thought for the undecided reader, which is a lot more than could be said for many a theist. Information is usually the enemy of the church, after all.

  21. Vincent

    Thanks for your comment, I will however point out that I’m not hurt and don’t care what other people think of me. I will however not accept abuse going toward others, not that I’m accusing you of this.

    As for the Creationist, all Christians are Creationists some may believe that God created the world through the process of evolution whilst others may question this and would like as they say more Biblical approach. Either way Evolution does not have all the answers and is certainly not proven as an unequivocal fact (so is no more ‘evidence’ than creationism is). Neither does it disprove the Existence of God. However it is one of the most favourite subjects that Atheists use to “disprove” and “eliminate” need for God.

    I get challenged all the time about my beliefs, and I think it only right to challenge the very foundation of any arguments that do not consider all the information and cases put forward prior to making final judgements.

    Kind regards

    Defend the Word

  22. Hi Vincent

    Thanks again for your comments, you are right that there is no wonder that evolution is THE subject, however I have to remind you that what you are giving me is your opinion which is fine, but apart from the factual (That Christian and Atheist like to debate Evolution) other bits are not supported by any kind of evidence. This you will hopefully agree with me is not a “silver built” that will help Atheism and destroy Religion.

    We are not talking about touchy – feely emotional; subjective. On the contrary I hope this has to be rational and based on evidence. (They are simply just statements) Sometimes all we have is data which is open to the interpretation and I think it was you who pointed that this is driven by our world view.

    I would say great big AMEN to that, this is precisely my point, our background will play massive part in how we approach any issue. What we need to do on both sides of the argument is consider what the other side is saying and then make judgements based on all the available arguments.

    Regards

    Defend the word

    On the question of whether animals believe in God and are going to heaven. I will of course ask my daughter’s pet hamster about this – given mankind has not been fully able to get into the mind or psyche of animal’s every day thoughts, maybe this direct approach may work. However I cannot guarantee Nibbles will understand what I am saying (English is not her first language), nor can I guarantee I will understand her response.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  23. Vincent E says:

    It is no wonder that evolution is the only scientific theory that is attacked by the theists and is also the favourite weapon of the atheist – it explains our origins and does grievous damage to the churches position. Sure there are plenty of missing pieces in the theory and that is the only space the theist can operate in. This is not to degrade the theory, it is as well founded as many of the other theories which we base all our engineering on to produce the lifestyle that we enjoy.
    Even if we did have a complete theory of evolution people would still want to believe in gods. There is no amount of reasoned argument and evidence that will permeate their faith. It is in the nature of people to believe in ‘stuff’, people have through the ages and when Christianity goes the way of the ancient gods, there will be another to fill its place, ad nauseum.

    Hi Vincent

    Thanks again for your comments, you are right that there is no wonder that evolution is THE subject, however I have to remind you that what you are giving me is your opinion which is fine, but apart from the factual (That Christian and Atheist like to debate Evolution) other bits are not supported by any kind of evidence. This you will hopefully agree with me is not a “silver built” that will help Atheism and destroy Religion.

    We are not talking about touchy – feely emotional; subjective. On the contrary I hope this has to be rational and based on evidence. (They are simply just statements) Sometimes all we have is data which is open to the interpretation and I think it was you who pointed that this is driven by our world view.

    I would say great big AMEN to that, this is precisely my point, our background will play massive part in how we approach any issue. What we need to do on both sides of the argument is consider what the other side is saying and then make judgements based on all the available arguments.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  24. Sometimes it’s not a matter of refusing to believe in something.

    Faith and belief is not something that can be turned on just because a person would like it to happen.

    Going through the motions of church attendance, Bible reading, baptism, and prayer doesn’t mean that you are automatically convinced that God does exist. Furthermore, if God really does exist, which I suppose you can or cannot refute as a reality, how does this God and his power really matter in this world that we live in?

    I have pondered all of the pat answers to this question and I still cannot, as much as I would like to, believe that there is such a God who is actively involved in the world today.

    I would like to believe, to have that faith. There is a place in my consciousness that keeps telling me that it can’t possibly be a reality.

  25. Hi AllThingsToNoOne

    That is very interesting and hones comment that you make. I would say that you are spot on. Billy Graham famous Baptist minister use to say “Just because you stand in the garage it does not make you a car”. I would 100% agree with you on the issue of church attendance.

    As for the power of prayer:

    1. God does not want us to treat him like a vending machine, where we come to him only when we have something to ask of him. This will severely impact on our relationship with him.
    2. Praying is supposed to be conversation with God, it is a living relationship, and in my case talking to him is often more to do with receiving strength to deal with hard times and not always fixing my problems. Hard times have thought me to be better listener and easier to be with as a person.
    3. There are times when God does answer our prayers, in my case this was when I had nowhere else to turn to. I was a student in a foreign country with very little money; I can say that God provided for all my needs during this time.
    4. Sometimes we are not able to understand why God is not answering our prayers but we can be assured that he is there, based on the previous experiences (Count your blessing kind of thing) and fact that sometimes he just gives us strength and ability to cope with difficulties that normally we would not be able to cope with.

    We don’t have to understand why things happened to us, in order to justify his existence and his care for us. These become subjective rather than objective arguments. However you can rest assured that God does case for you personally, in the same way that he cares for all of us. That is what you will find in John 3:16-17.

    But as a final point about church, yes there is all sorts of staff that is done in the name of God. And Yes a significant number of those is by people who have not had always best of intentions at heart. To often people are preoccupied with how many people will attend their church rather than what is being said.

    True Christianity starts between you and God, it is then going to affect all other aspects of your life. If you carefully read 1 Corinthians first 3 chapters you will find that even the Bible can be very critical about what goes on in our churches today.

    Thank you very much for your comments.

    Kind regards

    Defend the Word

  26. asecularhumanist says:

    Atheism was around way before the 17th century I have no idea where you got that ridiculous bit of information. Not to make a personal attack, but your reasoning is very flawed and one sided. You think in new age terms and take the point of view from a progressive church. You do realize a progressive church is impossible don’t you? A religion is not a changing set of beliefs and rules, it is set in stone. All you are doing is rewriting rules and placing a “we’re friendly” tag on them.

    You don’t attack evolution, but simply state that it is not unequivocal fact. Maybe to you, but the science community doesn’t think so. The debate over evolution ended 140 years ago, it rages on in the public just because of people needing to justify their faith. That in itself is a contradiction, if it’s faith then you don’t need to defend your point, because there is no point to defend. You just believe and hope you are right based upon what you have been taught and told, not because of actual observations or faith. Which begs the question i suppose, why are you blogging? Your faith should be enough, you’re just trying to validate some personal decision that you are not fully ascribed to.

    I have a large problem with this quote.

    “That would be a definition of the fundamentalist, Someone who is collecting data that will support his/her theory at the expense of any other information that may disprove his/her hypotheses.”

    That is literally saying evidence is ignored. It only takes one piece of evidence to disprove a hypothesis, once that bit is supplied the hypothesis is invalid.

    I have a large problem when you say atheists are making excuses, not only have you made an extensive claim, but one that is virtually indefensible. Excuses would be your christian apologetics. You need to either concede a point or stick to what you are trying to defend because your religion does not allow you to be moderate, it is all or nothing for you based on your doctrines.

  27. Hi Secular Humanist

    “Atheism was around way before the 17th century I have no idea where you got that ridiculous bit of information.”

    Check your history, before this time this was oddity (Very rear oddity)

    “Not to make a personal attack, but your reasoning is very flawed and one sided. You think in new age terms and take the point of view from a progressive church. You do realize a progressive church is impossible don’t you? A religion is not a changing set of beliefs and rules, it is set in stone. All you are doing is rewriting rules and placing a “we’re friendly” tag on them.”

    On the contrary your reasoning here is an assumption, note that I’m OK for you to have an opinion about me, that is OK, however I’m looking to the New Testament, my favourite subject is Early Church History and I hope to be Christ Like and base all my opinions on the Bible not modern church. I would therefore argue that you rightly point out that the Bible is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.

    “You don’t attack evolution, but simply state that it is not unequivocal fact. Maybe to you, but the science community doesn’t think so. The debate over evolution ended 140 years ago, it rages on in the public just because of people needing to justify their faith. That in itself is a contradiction, if it’s faith then you don’t need to defend your point, because there is no point to defend. You just believe and hope you are right based upon what you have been taught and told, not because of actual observations or faith. Which begs the question i suppose, why are you blogging? Your faith should be enough, you’re just trying to validate some personal decision that you are not fully ascribed to.”

    Your understanding of faith is not same as my, I see it as something that is inseparably linked with my intelligence. I cross the road when the light is green as I know and believe that that Cars will stop on their red light and I will be OK to cross, when OK is for me to do that. Both are based on reason and faith.
    As for the reasons to stop my blogging I’m asking you why should I does this make you uncomfortable? Do giving reason for my faith contradict your views of what is acceptable? I would question then why do you feel that to be the case, and based on reason not faith please, God did not forbid reason to his creation. Jesus constantly confronts his attackers by giving solid reasons that one could not argue against. This kind of brings into question where did you pick that incorrect assumption? It is true that some churches who are very lazy will use that as an excuse, but it is not how most Christians would see our own responsibility.

    “I have a large problem with this quote.
    “That would be a definition of the fundamentalist, Someone who is collecting data that will support his/her theory at the expense of any other information that may disprove his/her hypotheses.””

    You misunderstand me there, I didn’t say one peace of evidence would be OK, there is plenty of it that is not answered, so lets not pretend that this is one missing link issue.

    “That is literally saying evidence is ignored. It only takes one piece of evidence to disprove a hypothesis, once that bit is supplied the hypothesis is invalid.”

    This is answered above your first comment

    “I have a large problem when you say atheists are making excuses, not only have you made an extensive claim, but one that is virtually indefensible. Excuses would be your christian apologetics. You need to either concede a point or stick to what you are trying to defend because your religion does not allow you to be moderate, it is all or nothing for you based on your doctrines.”

    As for the evolution itself, it does not exclude God, I just like to challenge those who think that it does. Fact that you have a problem with so much shows that there is an inter drive that makes you find excuses does confirming my first assessment of the situation.

    Main reason one would choose to use apologetics is not to convert anyone but to remove intelligent obstacles, these are usually by people like yourself very bright but sometimes need opposite perspective to see why others who are of “possibly reasonable intelligence” do hold on to their faith. And secondly what is it that they based their faith on.

    I cross the bridge because I believe that it will hold my weight, I take the buss because I believe that it will take me where it says it will take me. In fact science is just like that. You could not possibly progress science without the faith. You base your theory on my, and someone else will base theirs on both of ours.

    So I would hope you see that your assessment that faith is separated from logic and reason is not valid. Jesus himself used apologetics by approaching doubting Thomas and asking him to feel his hands (the scars) and his side. Where he was pierced and where the nails went through.

    Thank you very much for your comments.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  28. rupert says:

    > The fact that we have a so-called “God element” shows that even science gets puzzled by the workings of the universe.

    You are referring to the Higgs Boson. First of all it hasn’t been found yet, that’s why they built the LHC.

    And it is short for “that ‘god***n particle'”,

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/higgs.boson.cern.

    Nothing to do with God.

  29. Hi Rupert

    Thanks for your comment; issue is that we don’t understand everything not that one thing is called God or anything else for that matter. The God element is however what majority people would know it by; I can not speak about any less known nicknames.

    But other than that, (We should stick with the script) I would guess there is nothing else to add?

    Thanks for sharing some light on the name. On your comment that this is not related to God, if there is a God (And I would say that he is there) then this element is everything to do with God, as he would be the creator.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  30. asecularhumanist says:

    “Check your history, before this time this was oddity (Very rear oddity”

    Tell that to the Buddhists.

    “however I’m looking to the New Testament, my favourite subject is Early Church History and I hope to be Christ Like and base all my opinions on the Bible not modern church. I would therefore argue that you rightly point out that the Bible is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. ”

    I never said the bible was relevant. I actually hinted that most people don’t ascribe to the bible these days. Even if they do, they pick and choose what to believe. You’re not out there doing God’s will. You’re not stoning the gays, shunning the non-believers or even marking your sunday to complete leisure. You’re no different than the rest.

    “I cross the road when the light is green as I know and believe that that Cars will stop on their red light and I will be OK to cross, when OK is for me to do that.”

    That’s not faith, that’s a psychological affect brought about by conditioning. I can have faith that 2 + 1=4 and be wrong. I cannot be wrong if a car runs a red light and hits me, I was just conditioned to believe it would. Very different.

    “You misunderstand me there, I didn’t say one peace of evidence would be OK, there is plenty of it that is not answered, so lets not pretend that this is one missing link issue.”

    No, you misunderstand me. I am saying that even if you collect all the information you need to support your hypothesis. One piece of evidence from someone else that disproves your hypothesis is enough. It doesn’t matter if the fundamentalist finds a bullet casing next to a dead man and concludes he is shot, if the autopsy report shows he was actually stabbed to death. The fundamentalist is still wrong, all it took was the one tiny bit of information. You can’t just ignore evidence.

    “As for the evolution itself, it does not exclude God, I just like to challenge those who think that it does.

    Evolution completely destroys the notion of the Christian god. Christians believe God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. All powerful, all knowing, all seeing. You cannot be all powerful if you create a changing world. Even if it was caused by the fall, God would have to stem the grief because of his perfection. He can’t do that though because he is all knowing and can’t change what he already knows is going to happen.

    “Fact that you have a problem with so much shows that there is an inter drive that makes you find excuses does confirming my first assessment of the situation.”

    I’m not making excuses, I’m responding to your statements while you dodge questions.

    “Main reason one would choose to use apologetics is not to convert anyone but to remove intelligent obstacles”

    The obstacle is the argument. If two people shared the same views there would be no argument or discussion. You’re just dodging questions and neither conceding points nor backing yours up further.

    “Jesus himself used apologetics by approaching doubting Thomas and asking him to feel his hands (the scars) and his side. Where he was pierced and where the nails went through.”

    Apologetics isn’t reason and proof, it’s when someone isn’t taking a stand for either position in an argument and just meeting at a mid way point without arguing the issue.

  31. “Check your history, before this time this was oddity (Very rear oddity”
    Tell that to the Buddhists.

    You are right Buddhism is a big grey area, however note that they spend time preying, who do you think they address during their time of contemplation?

    “I never said the bible was relevant. I actually hinted that most people don’t ascribe to the bible these days. Even if they do, they pick and choose what to believe. You’re not out there doing God’s will. You’re not stoning the gays, shunning the non-believers or even marking your Sunday to complete leisure. You’re no different than the rest.”

    I understand your starting point, but you likewise must understand that my trust in The Bible according to me merits this respect, in my judgement based on all the evidence I have. On the issue of challenging Christians to stone people note that you are misusing and misquoting the text out of context. See other comments posted in the same post.

    “That’s not faith, that’s a psychological affect brought about by conditioning. I can have faith that 2 + 1=4 and be wrong. I cannot be wrong if a car runs a red light and hits me, I was just conditioned to believe it would. Very different.”

    You are deliberately playing semantics game here, knowledge is used to guide our behaviour and faith which is exactly the point I was making.

    “No, you misunderstand me. I am saying that even if you collect all the information you need to support your hypothesis. One piece of evidence from someone else that disproves your hypothesis is enough. It doesn’t matter if the fundamentalist finds a bullet casing next to a dead man and concludes he is shot, if the autopsy report shows he was actually stabbed to death. The fundamentalist is still wrong, all it took was the one tiny bit of information. You can’t just ignore evidence.”

    This is a very good point, but it works both ways. This neither proves or disproves anything unless there is such information that can positively discriminate against any competing assumption. This however I still haven’t found, and I have spent some years looking for it.

    “Evolution completely destroys the notion of the Christian god. Christians believe God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. All powerful, all knowing, all seeing. You cannot be all powerful if you create a changing world. Even if it was caused by the fall, God would have to stem the grief because of his perfection. He can’t do that though because he is all knowing and can’t change what he already knows is going to happen.”

    Not sure I follow your logic here, how can evolution disprove anything, it is only supposed to be a process, which could have been used by God. Who am I to tell God how he should do his creating, aren’t we making massive assumptions by making such claims?

    “I’m not making excuses, I’m responding to your statements while you dodge questions.”

    Not sure what question are we talking about, but if you look through this blog you will note that many are being addressed. Which is more than I can say about atheism?

    “The obstacle is the argument. If two people shared the same views there would be no argument or discussion. You’re just dodging questions and neither conceding points nor backing yours up further.”
    “Apologetics isn’t reason and proof, it’s when someone isn’t taking a stand for either position in an argument and just meeting at a mid way point without arguing the issue.”

    I would strongly disagree with this, not sure what kind of debating are you use to, but all I believe is here for all to examine.

    And on the contrary cynical atheistic philosophy has only one thing to offer and that is their belief in lack of belief. Simply continuing to ask for the explanation of the explanation, would make even modern science fall apart, let alone historical / theological teaching.

    On the issue of fundamentalism you have misunderstood me, what I’m saying is that both sides can be full of fundamentalist. I’m not calling myself fundamentalist, what I’m saying is that if you pick and chose your data at the expense of other data which you choose to ignore you become like fundamentalist.

    Thanks for your comments though.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  32. metasapien says:

    Thank you for your feedback, defendtheword. I will address the pertinent points.

    “I do enjoy our exchanges, and would more than welcome your constructive criticism any time. I don’t mind personal remarks as long as they are not aimed at others. On the point of editing I do consider it to be acceptable for the blog owner to moderate but I would agree with you that this has to be done responsibly.”

    The problem with this is that it is very much up to you, and you alone, to decide what constitutes ‘personal remarks’ and whether or not they have been ‘aimed at others’. You can interpret those conditions as widely as you like, of course, and could construe any remark of mine as *potentially* ‘causing offence’, however slight, to *some* Christian, whether yourself, another poster on the blog, or just any imagined member of the Christian community, and therefore requiring deletion before publishing the remainder of my post. And, as I have said, it seems that many Christians take offence at the slightest criticism of their beliefs or institutions, so under these circumstances, literally *anything* I write that is less than 100% positive, complimentary and supportive of Christians and their beliefs could warrant deletion according to your criteria.

    It is simply not possible to have an open, fair and balanced debate when the editorial policy of your blog is so loaded against anyone who might take a contrary opinion to Christian orthodoxy. And under those circumstances, it would be fair for someone to conclude that your blog’s editorial policy mirrors the tactics employed by the Christian Church in dealing with criticism – i.e.distorting and misrepresenting the arguments of critics or simply ignoring them. Not exactly good PR for your fatih, eh?

    “On the case of friendship, if you are serious about that I would be more than willing to accept that without putting any conditions on it, i.e. that you should agree with me. In fact I do offer it now with great enthusiasm, I love when I’m forced to dig deeper, and no I would not want either of us to be extra polite just for the sake of “pretend friendship”. I would argue that sign of true friendship is that you could be honest and open with those you love as your friends.”

    I thank you for your offer. Trust me when I say I am quite capable of having pleasant and engaging interactions and discussions with religious people, and am not aggressive or confrontational by nature. Only recently I had a two-hour conversation with a very nice Catholic chap (a middle-aged solicitor from Maidstone) in a bar in Brighton, mostly on the subject of religion and atheism. I think what made this possible was that, rather than trotting out spurious theological arguments in defence of his beliefs, he openly admitted that he was unable to justify them, but nevertheless found that they gave him comfort and guidance in living what he believed was a ‘good life’. He was also genuinely curious about how I had arrived at my atheist position, and wanted to understand how my worldview differed from his, and how it might possibly provide the same emotional comfort and moral guidance as his faith. What he did *not* do was spout passages of the Bible at me, or imply that I was destined for Hell, or parrot Christian dogma (indeed, he expressed honest criticism of many aspects of his Church and of religion in general that he had problems with). It was a very memorable encounter, and left me wishing that my frequent online encounters with Christians could be as pleasant, non-confrontational and constructive, and that they could all be as honest, open-minded, non-judgemental and non-dogmatic as that Catholic chap. Sadly, most have not been, and I admit that this may have influenced my opinion of Christians in general as being closed-minded, dogmatic, preachy and ostentatiously pious.

    “And if you continue to come back, you will find that I do have to say quite a few things against modern Christina institutions, and have very little respect. However I do believe that Church of Christ (Using here New Testament terminology) are people not buildings.”

    I would be interested to read some of your criticisms of Christian institutions; I suspect we might find much to agree on there :o)

    Metasapien

  33. metasapien says:

    Regarding the ‘power of prayer’, I have some alterantive explanations to suggest, defendtheword…

    [1. God does not want us to treat him like a vending machine, where we come to him only when we have something to ask of him. This will severely impact on our relationship with him.]

    This assumes that you can know the mind of God. Assuming that he does exist, isn’t this terribly presumptuous? After all, he is supposed to be an all-knowing deity, so in terms of knowledge and intelligence, his mental faculties must far outstrip those of a human Einstein, surely. Is it possible to truly know a mind – as in access and understand its thoughts – if that mind is infinitely smarter and more subtle in its cognitive capacities than your own? Could an ant know the mind of a man in this respect? Could it have any understanding of human language, art, poetry, ethics, music, politics, mathematics, science or any other construct of human conciousness? Could it know what a human is thinking? If your answer is ‘No’, then how can you believe that a mere human could possibly know the infinite mind of God? And how could we know what he wants, and what he doesn’t? As I said, the belief that we could seems terribly arrogant and presumptuous to me.

    [2. Praying is supposed to be conversation with God, it is a living relationship, and in my case talking to him is often more to do with receiving strength to deal with hard times and not always fixing my problems. Hard times have thought me to be better listener and easier to be with as a person.]

    My own understanding of the phenomenon of prayer is that, stripped of all its metaphysical assumptions about the existence of a deity that can receive and answer prayers, praying is simply a form of meditation.

    There are many forms of meditation, both those deriving from religious traditions and those that have no religious component but are merely techniques for inducing deep physical relaxation, mental calming and quiet introspection.

    I was taught Transcendental Meditation (TM) at the age of 14, and it falls into this latter category of non-religious meditation. And I can state that it produces exactly the same beneficial effects that you claim to receive from prayer – the feeling of drawing on deep inner strength, an enhanced ability to cope with stress and ‘hard times’, as well as many other things.

    The only difference, I would suggest, between TM and prayer is that, in the former, one is communing with one’s inner self, but in the latter one believes one is communing with God.

    What TM teaches is that we have vast reserves of wisdom already within us; we just need to quieten our minds enough to hear it speak. Perhaps the God you believe you are communicating with when you pray is simply the ‘God’ that is within everyone of us – our inner wisdom.

    [3. There are times when God does answer our prayers, in my case this was when I had nowhere else to turn to. I was a student in a foreign country with very little money; I can say that God provided for all my needs during this time.]

    Following on from my last comment about meditation and our ‘inner God’, I would suggest it was not the Biblical God that answered your prayers, but your inner God; your inner wisdom gave you the emotional strength and resourcefulness you required in your time of need.

    [4. Sometimes we are not able to understand why God is not answering our prayers]

    Continuing my line of thought, it is not your God that is not answering your prayers; it is your inner self. Sometimes people lack the inner resources to solve difficult problems, possibly because they have limiting beliefs about their own abilities (I am not strong enough/smart enough/patient enough/etc. to solve this problem) or are burdened by negative emotions such as guilt, despair, etc. which sabotgage their inner self’s ability to help them.

    Modern psychological techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Neurolinguistic Programming can help such people to overcome low self-esteem, limiting beliefs and negative emotions so that they can finally utilize the resources of their inner selves to solve their problems.

    [We don’t have to understand why things happened to us,]

    No, but it can’t do any harm to try, can it? Especially if it turns out that we might be partly to blame for the bad things that happen to us, and so can avoid those things in future by modifying our behaviour.

    One final suggestion conerning the power of prayer. I think you might find these websites very interesting – and challenging. They atart from the premise that God exists, and that prayer works, and then obtain contradictions derrived from these premises, which in turm suggest that either prayers are pointless, or God does not exist :o)

    There are text sections and also video presentations on both sites:

    http://www.godisimaginary.com/

    http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    I would be interested to know your responses to them.

  34. Hi Metasapien

    Thanks for your reply.

    “The problem with this is that it is very much up to you, and you alone, to decide what constitutes ‘personal remarks’ and whether or not they have been ‘aimed at others’. You can interpret those conditions as widely as you like, of course, and could construe any remark of mine as *potentially* ‘causing offence’, however slight, to *some* Christian, whether yourself, another poster on the blog, or just any imagined member of the Christian community, and therefore requiring deletion before publishing the remainder of my post. And, as I have said, it seems that many Christians take offence at the slightest criticism of their beliefs or institutions, so under these circumstances, literally *anything* I write that is less than 100% positive, complimentary and supportive of Christians and their beliefs could warrant deletion according to your criteria.”

    Let me just clarify what I meant, I appreciate that I may have made things unnecessarily complicated.

    1. You can disagree with anything and everything that is being said here and your comments are going to stay completely in tact.

    2. You can also state opposite views and that will also be included. I don’t believe that we should worry about what is said, it is about how things are communicated.

    3. This blog is visited by many Christians and it is for that reason that I need to insist that we do not use swear words as they can cause offence.

    4. I can’t put myself in the position of where other people that I respect are being denigrated and humiliated simply because they have certain views on Christianity. (This does not mean you cannot disagree with them as long as we don’t call them names.)

    So, on the issue of editorials, except for profanities and verbal abuse, most things are always included, though I have to say with the exception of yourself where I did possibly delete comments that had been said before. Now I do understand that this can be very irritating and upsetting so I do again apologise if that caused any annoyance. However, I would ask you to understand me. I often get e-mails from very angry atheists whose only objective is to insult me. Therefore, I’m guessing that we both had our reasons for being suspicious of one another.

    Regarding friendship, I’m very serious. I believe it to be very unchristian when people are shunned, ignored and confronted simply because they may not agree with our world views. I believe that Christianity makes very good sense and is strong enough to withstand any attack and/or criticism. Note that this is not a reference to the Institutional church. Yes it does have loads of influence and contacts in very high places. However, what I’m concerned with is the teaching of Jesus only. I love to be challenged as I like to test and see if my arguments for my personal faith are justified.

    On the issue of terrible “Christian” behaviour, let me clarify, I’m not against Christians but I’m very much against the phonies who call themselves Christians, the TV evangelists, Christian racists and alike who rob their congregations. These are the people who perform false miracles, the people who use manipulation and insincerity in order to gain trust of the attending congregation so that they can lord it over them. These are poor people who will one day have to pay for their sinful and selfish deeds and abuses of the gullible and ignorant.

    Here is a list of people I will stay well clear of

    1. Prosperity preachers (who want your money). You will find many of these on the God Channel, asking for your money.

    2. Hate preachers, who have forgotten that God is love and not hate. No racist could be acceptable to the God of Christianity and such a person is deluded if they think that they are part of the New Testament church.

    3. People that will come with something new (Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses etc). I base this on the fact that Christianity has been in existence for 2,000 years but suddenly they claim that the Holy Spirit has only just now decided to give these enlightened people a new revelation. I don’t think so.

    Thank you for coming back and if you check some of the comments I had from Misunderstood Ranter you will notice that I’m letting all his comments be published without any moderation.

    Thanks and regards

    Defend the word

  35. [“Regarding the ‘power of prayer’, I have some alternative explanations to suggest, defendtheword… “This assumes that you can know the mind of God. Assuming that he does exist, isn’t this terribly presumptuous? After all, he is supposed to be an all-knowing deity, so in terms of knowledge and intelligence, his mental faculties must far outstrip those of a human Einstein, surely. Is it possible to truly know a mind – as in access and understand its thoughts – if that mind is infinitely smarter and more subtle in its cognitive capacities than your own? Could an ant know the mind of a man in this respect? Could it have any understanding of human language, art, poetry, ethics, music, politics, mathematics, science or any other construct of human consciousness? Could it know what a human is thinking? If your answer is ‘No’, then how can you believe that a mere human could possibly know the infinite mind of God? And how could we know what he wants, and what he doesn’t? As I said, the belief that we could seems terribly arrogant and presumptuous to me.”]

    You give convincing argument that we don’t know who and what is God completely and neither what he (God) should thinks, if you hold on to presupposition coming from Atheistic World view point.

    However, if you are Christian then you would hold on to the “REVELATION” that comes from God himself that kind of leads us to the conclusion that it is world views at issues here (Philosophical rather than factual). If Jesus was sent by God to tells us what he is and what is his plan we should then consider it. On the issue of being minuscule of no importance, I would argue that this is not how God would view his creation, and further more we have all the faculties that ants don’t have, we use more than simple instincts. These are God given tools to process all necessary information.

    [“My own understanding of the phenomenon of prayer is that, stripped of all its metaphysical assumptions about the existence of a deity that can receive and answer prayers, praying is simply a form of meditation. There are many forms of meditation, both those deriving from religious traditions and those that have no religious component but are merely techniques for inducing deep physical relaxation, mental calming and quiet introspection.”]

    You will remember that I mentioned to you that I did martial arts, so I too know a bit about meditation, this experience was however not positive in my opinion, it only serves to elevate me at the place I don’t think I should be. I also know thing or two about self help meditations, I am well aware of CBT technique and don’t have problem in pointing out logical reasons why we should change certain bad beliefs about ourselves however, we are connecting dots where they should not be connected in other words we need to follow numbers and dots (Figuratively speaking).

    [“Following on from my last comment about meditation and our ‘inner God’, I would suggest it was not the Biblical God that answered your prayers, but your inner God; your inner wisdom gave you the emotional strength and resourcefulness you required in your time of need.”]

    This is hard to prove either way; it is after all based on our faith whichever way you choose to interpret it. There is a problem with self help methodology and one main issue is that it is leaving many people very frustrated. For example you may change your exterior, you may appear more confident but those facades are easily destroyed, if you put man under pressure soon they will reveal the real man underneath.

    Interestingly enough we find from the stories of the World War II that many Christians did indeed mange to find loads of strength from this “Imaginary God”. On the issue of studies of failed prayers from the videos that I watched in particular “Why God does not heal amputees” We are back at the point of treating God as some kind of Cosmic Vending Machine, after all if we should be humble not pretending to know his mind as per your first comment should this not be the case with healings?

    But I should also not forget to mention that there were studies done in America; these are statistical studies, grant you these are not millions of people, but one took 400 people and second were slightly higher. I can probably find more details for you if you want specifics, they monitored heart patients, and monitored affects of their recovery they split them in two groups observation conclusion was that more people who were prayed for survived and interestingly enough for those who were deeply religious and preyed for themselves seemed to do better than all, in fact study concluded that none of them died during the period of that study.

    Not sure if you implied that Christians suffer from low self esteem, I would argue that this is often attacked from the other side in fact from both sides, we are either “too arrogant” or “not bold enough” suffering from split personality presumably. This changes depends on whom you are talking to.

    [We don’t have to understand why things happened to us,]
    [“No, but it can’t do any harm to try, can it? Especially if it turns out that we might be partly to blame for the bad things that happen to us, and so can avoid those things in future by modifying our behaviour.”]

    Trying to understand is part of what we are, that is what is in our DNA, so I want argue against that, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    [“One final suggestion concerning the power of prayer. I think you might find these websites very interesting – and challenging. They start from the premise that God exists, and that prayer works, and then obtain contradictions derived from these premises, which in turn suggest that either prayers are pointless, or God does not exist )”] “There are text sections and also video presentations on both sites:” http://www.godisimaginary.com/ and http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/ I would be interested to know your responses to them.”]

    Thanks for these I did see number of them on Youtube before, I would however argue that some basic logical mistakes have been made in number of them.

    1. He assumes that Christians cannot think for themselves critically? Why do we have such a verity of denominations if this is the case?

    2. We could not make God heal anyone, this is his choice and in fact Jesus said as much when he was taunted to preformed miracles and give them some kind of sign. So the logic is squired and twisted, it is like this “humans have eyes” and “Cats have eyes” Cats can see really well in the dark therefore humans can see in the dark. It just does not follow, does he ever wonder why it that people will watch his videos yet still decide not to become atheists? This brings as back to that feeling of superiority. He probably thinks he has something that Christians don’t. I use to think that I was smarter than most people, but that can be very lonely place, Jesus whom I consider to be the most amazing and intelligent person ever to have walked this earth, spent time bothering to explain intricate inter-relational issues. He made God accessible through intellectual reasoning and faith, “you believe because you see” is what he said to Thomas. But he also praised those who would put their trust in him, based on the “enough evidence” in other words. It is good to seek and ask, but there comes a point where God says what about our relationship?

    3. I like how the narrator in the video equates, Mormons with Muslims and then with Christians. Just because you find miracles in all of them you should not conclude that they are all irrational and you live in the bubble of delusion. That is jumping a gun, first atheists would conclude that you could not know God, then when you say but God revelled himself through Christ they want to deny that too. You offer them evidence that even those who are non Christian accept that he was a Historical character, but people tend to choose minority fringe “scholars” on the far left as their authoritative source. As I keep on saying to people “you can’t simply pick and choose”, we have to stay objective about this.

    I can see now why you may think that all Christians suffer from self delusion, but note that the fact that this is aired to the general Christian population serves to show that either there are smart Christians who will understand his reasoning but find solution to his problem, as I believe I have. Or are none of us (Christians) are capable of understanding his argument, in which case he is wasting his time which is logical contradiction. Common saying amongst atheists and Christians as I just commented to someone else is that “Nobody can make you believe, this is what you do to yourself” now as I keep on saying that our faith is inseparably linked to our reasoning, so whichever way you go you still need to base these on presuppositions which you choose to be true.

    Just because people are confident in their faith, whether they be Mormons, Christians or Atheists this does not make us right (or wrong) we all use combination of Reason and Faith. If neither side has all the information then no side can claim to possibly use reason above anyone else.

    What I think is good and commendable is that people should allow others to challenge their beliefs, but this has to go both ways. I hope I didn’t make this too Christian for you and that it stands under the scrutiny of reason even if you may disagree with my conclusions.

    Thanks for coming back

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  36. baz says:

    “It is easiest to deceive oneself; for what we wish, we readily believe” – Demosthenes.

    If you wish to never feel alone, or never fear death, or feel that you are doing the right thing – like most people do – then you are more likely to believe in religion, which offers easy answers for these human problems. (The funny thing is, no matter where you are born, there’s always some religion around – and it’s always the right one!)

    You are also more likely to overlook the fact that the answers given are illogical and based not on evidence but on holy texts hundreds or thousands of years of years old, that are completely irrelevant today.

    The fact is, just like everyone else, you are still “alone” (there isn’t any higher “being”), you are still going to die, and you are only doing the right thing if you choose to do the right thing, rather than taking someone else’s word that it’s right.

    So stop believing in stuff just because you want it to be true, and start doing some actual WORK (i.e. logical reasoning rather than accepted dogma and faith) to find the truth.

  37. Hi Baz

    Thanks for coming and giving your view on the religious people. Note however that you rest your conclusion on one single world view. This may be correct but does not have to be. And that is all the difference in the world for many Christians. I don’t disagree that there are Christians who delude themselves, but likewise there are many atheists who do just the same. Lack of logic is not prevalent to believers only it is just as contagious amongst the “sceptics”.

    Difference is that many come out of “scepticism” to become believers through their examination of data. When so called “Christians” abandon their faith it is due to lack of evidence that they are still looking for. These are regional anomalies due to people in that church not having any interest in apologetics. More and more you will note that there is a significant increase in the amount of Blogs that crop up with the ambition to defend their faith. And what is so great is that even though they may go to church that is ignorant of all the facts, they are taking this upon themselves to find all necessary information. This has become so much easier for all the concerned who are still looking for an answer. Today you almost don’t need any faith at all to believe that the Bible is true.

    In the same way there are so many atheistic blogs today, with varying degrees of sophistication, so will you find amongst the Christians. However nobody can claim that Christianity is based on wishful thinking and blind faith anymore. Otherwise he/she just didn’t pay any attention to all the information that is out there, just waiting for you. Calling you, you could almost hear “come here, you have no excuses left, consider and then decide for yourself.”

    Be careful not to make comments that are not correct, this kind of accusation only serve to muddy the issues and are often deliberately distorting the fact.

    Regards

    Defend the word

  38. misunderstoodranter says:

    Out standing argument here… Christianity has a very weak argument indeed.

  39. Is this all you have to say? Or did you run out of comments, especially are you afraid that they may not measure up to the other atheists that have commented here?

  40. misunderstoodranter says:

    A lot of what needs to be said has been said by other contributors, and yes many of the comments and logic are better than the contributions that I would wish to make. In addition, if you didn’t listen to them then why will it make any difference if I repeat what they have said?

    Ask yourself this, if the fairytales in the bible contained within the old testament and the new are true then why did such things stop happening? i.e. voices from the sky etc…

    When was the last religious thing recorded about that is accepted across the Christian community, and why have they not been added to the bible – surely god is an ongoing thing – and who made the decision to stop editing and adding to the text.

    The texts that describe evolution and other scientific principles will keep evolving for ever as our knowledge expands – but the bible doesn’t why is that? In fact I hope that scientific texts are made obsolete and replaced with better texts.

    What evidence I do see is people in the Church taking advantage of others – I went to a Christening once in an English church, I was asked 5 times for money – and I was expected to give money on blind faith that it would do some good to the community… I am sorry but I don’t trust Christian’s at all (or any religious person) at all – I don’t trust them with my money, I would never trust them with my Children ever.

    Frankly the religious absolutely terrify me, and the more religious they are the more suspicious I am of them.

  41. [“A lot of what needs to be said has been said by other contributors, and yes many of the comments and logic are better than the contributions that I would wish to make. In addition, if you didn’t listen to them then why will it make any difference if I repeat what they have said?”]

    And yet you come back, not that I would want to stop you. If you reason with a fool what does that make you? I’m not being rude just pointing out yet again at your lack of logic on your comment.

    [“Ask yourself this, if the fairytales in the bible contained within the old testament and the new are true then why did such things stop happening? i.e. voices from the sky etc… When was the last religious thing recorded about that is accepted across the Christian community, and why have they not been added to the bible – surely god is an ongoing thing – and who made the decision to stop editing and adding to the text.”]

    Most Christians (99.9%) believe that the Biblical cannon is closed but, as per my previous reply, I do believe that God does his work even today. Those are two different things and should not be confused. The Bible is given for our instructions on the very rare occasion when the incredible does happen, we as Christians do two things. First we test these things then if they are in accordance with the Bible we can accept them. i.e. there are no new teachings, but sometimes even today God provides for his people when they need his help.

    [“The texts that describe evolution and other scientific principles will keep evolving for ever as our knowledge expands – but the bible doesn’t why is that? In fact I hope that scientific texts are made obsolete and replaced with better texts.”]

    You are comparing pears with apples. The Bible is not a scientific handbook so there is no need to make updated versions. God knows our characters and that is the main topic of the Bible. You should read it to find out for yourself.

    [“What evidence I do see is people in the Church taking advantage of others – I went to a Christening once in an English church, I was asked 5 times for money – and I was expected to give money on blind faith that it would do some good to the community… I am sorry but I don’t trust Christian’s at all (or any religious person) at all – I don’t trust them with my money, I would never trust them with my Children ever. Frankly the religious absolutely terrify me, and the more religious they are the more suspicious I am of them.”]

    I don’t know if I believe you. You keep on coming back which does not tell me you are frightened of me. I am a deeply “religious” person;I believe in God.

  42. Hi misunderstoodranter

    You obviously took some time putting all these together, I can see one or two things that we haven’t touched upon. I will try and point you to a web page that may be of some interest to you. I will have to prepare for tomorrow (Sunday) but I will be back on Monday.

    Go here: http://www.reasons.org/

    I don’t agree with all of their views but you may find them more up your alley, they make scientific predictions on how science is going to develop etc. They are so very different to Intelligent Design. I think you can also post your questions there.

    If I don’t provide you with my answers by the end of Monday do send me a reminder.

    Thanks for coming back

    Defend the word

  43. misunderstoodranter says:

    In response to the mindless rubbish that is peddled by:

    http://www.reasons.org/

    Please study “Why do people laugh at creationists?”

    This is a series of videos on you tube – whilst very entertaining, it also highlights the problem with creationalism and the organisations that peddle this nonsense.

  44. Are you kidding me? Do I look like a guy that would pay attention what people on youtube think? Secondly these are not scientific proposals on either side of the videos that you suggest I should look.

    I have spent already laterally hours of my time in the last few years, and have now added 10 min on looking at your criteria. This is only making me more annoyed, people can be so shallow. They think just because they think something is right, it has to be true. It also shows how susceptible you are to humiliation attacks I’m guessing that this is the reason that is stopping you from considering everything that you need to.

    When you comment on low quality of data I assure you we are not talking about reasons.com you are comparing it to the work of 15 year old children. This is the only way evolutionists can win, they like to humiliate people, they pick on people who may be new to this subject, and then they will triumphantly exclaim, “we are intellectually superior”. Intellectually superior to what? Donkey? You know what, I’m going to have to limit these debates to serious challenges only, not some pranksters, and fresh out of the kindergartens infantile ridicules.

    Dr Hugh Ross is worldwide known for his astrophysics work, so two just are not the same. I specifically told you that even though I don’t agree with him in everything you should check him out anyway. Please do the same as I just did with your rubbish videos suggestions, check them out then make your judgement.

    Unless you find some real challenges, don’t bother. I have put already enough material that can be looked at. No need to bring new staff, just get the information that is out here and challenge it if you can. That should do it, should it not?

    Cheers

    Defend the word

  45. misunderstoodranter says:

    I was comparing the information on reasons.com with the scientific information given to 15 year old children – you are right – and this is why reasons is wrong, a 15 year old in an average UK secondary school could spot the problems with their misinformation.

    Actually, you will find that the author of the videos starts off with some easy prey – he also reveals his reasons for doing this later in the series. But his real attack is at the hub of the creationalist movement – in the end a famous religious guy ‘Ray Comfort’ invites him to an interview – now I think this is pretty extraordinary. If Ray Comfort feels he need to speak to this man – then that alone must count for something – Ray Comfort, a man who is followed by Christians and is famous for his beliefs, eventually has to confront a relatively unknown man – that is an interesting debate, worth observing. Ray Comfort is not new to the debate – the author of the films however, is (or rather was) fairly anonymous.

    Yes I have read about Dr Hugh Ross – he is one of the very few creationalist that actually has an element of reason in his argument – however, as yet he has not published information related to his creationalist beliefs academically. He rejects young earth creationalists – which is unusual! He says that ID should not be taught in the class room – again this is very unusual.

    If Ross was a biologist, this would add more weight and interest for me – but he isn’t, he is no more qualified to provide informed comment on the subject of evolution than I am – i.e. he is not an authority on biology, therefore he should read and listen to biologists and what they are saying, and draw his conclusions from the evidence they have presented – or provide an academic argument that is published contradicting their view – this is science Ross should know this! If the leading biologists of the world turned around to me and said – actually Darwin was wrong – critically wrong – here is the overwhelming evidence, then this would change my mind – but the simple fact is they have not. Darwin was not aware of DNA during his time – he was working on a hunch, that hunch has been proved right by the discovery of DNA, and this is the reason why Darwin’s theory is held in high regard.

    IN addition, I am happy to include Ross’s idea of a supreme being outside of space time who created the universe – this fits well as an hypothesis, the only issue with it, is that there is no proof. The being could be supreme, it could equally be a process that is not sentient – there is nothing to say otherwise, so his hypothesis might be right, but it might not be – so it is unknown. I have a hypothesis that the world was created by a giant virus from another universe outside of our universe, this virus was exposed to antimatter and exploded and created the universe we live in by accident – I can’t prove it, so I am not going to peddle the idea – but you see my point.

    I do not discount god completely – I doubt the truth of the bible.

  46. metasapien says:

    Hi

    I have moved your comments onto a new Post as it gets a bit long. I will however direct people to here if they want to find the origin comments of our conversation. Please note that I did not delete one single comment they are only coloured differently so that people can follow our conversation.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this keep them coming. I will soon add post to deal with why I am not an atheist and you can give me your critique on it. With your justifications as to why you hold the opposite view.

    For the complete post go to: https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/questions-and-answer-session-where-do-we-get-our-morals-from/

    Regards

    Defend the word

  47. Hi

    I have moved your comments onto a new Post as it gets a bit long. I will however direct people to here if they want to find the origin comments of our conversation. Please note that I did not delete one single comment they are only coloured differently so that people can follow our conversation.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this keep them coming. I will soon add post to deal with why I am not an atheist and you can give me your critique on it. With your justifications as to why you hold the opposite view.

    For the complete post go to: https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/questions-and-answer-session-where-do-we-get-our-morals-from/

    Regards

    Defend the word

  48. Hi

    I have moved your comments onto a new Post as it gets a bit long. I will however direct people to here if they want to find the origin comments of our conversation. Please note that I did not delete one single comment they are only coloured differently so that people can follow our conversation.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this keep them coming. I will soon add post to deal with why I am not an atheist and you can give me your critique on it. With your justifications as to why you hold the opposite view.

    For the complete post go to: https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/questions-and-answer-session-where-do-we-get-our-morals-from/

    Regards

    Defend the word

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