Author Topic: A Coherent Defense of Christianity  (Read 15867 times)

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Online One Above All

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #232 on: March 01, 2010, 02:58:53 AM »
@CC:
your point #1 is shifting the burden of proof
it is up to those who claim that jesus did in fact rise from the dead to prove it. they have failed and therefore we conclude, due to the amount of evidence against it, that he did not
we also conclude, due to the amount of evidence against it, that he did not even exist
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Offline velkyn

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #233 on: March 01, 2010, 01:29:17 PM »
Now that's funny!  I would like to see that :)
Reading Aquinas won't have you laughing. It's dull. :( Many people eight centuries later believe he has done it. See E. Gilson and J.Maritain.[/quote]

Aquinas is boring but it is revelatory to the minds of those who would claim his arguments are evidence of the Christian God.  If I recall correctly, Aquinas' arguments can be reduced down to 1. "there has to be a prime mover".  Which is amusing since there is no evidence for a need for this, nor any evidene of a such a thing, OR that it has to be the Christian God.  and 2. "There is design so there is a designer and everythign has a purpose and an "end"", which begs the question, what design, as I ask after coughing til I "saw stars" because my esophagus is too close to my trachea and boy does this shoot the whine of "free will" that many Christians use in the foot.  It again comes down to why believe your version of Christianity is the right one, must less the right religion. 
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Offline lectricpharaoh

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #234 on: March 08, 2010, 07:47:51 AM »
Pharoah. To answer your question about me personally: I am from an observant Catholic family of Irish descent. As a teenager in the seventies I hit the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. My friends thought atheism was cool and so did I. Not that we discussed it a lot. I think I had a general idea that no-one believed that anymore.  My Dad relented and allowed me not to go to Church. In college, I realized that a great many people had good philosophic reasons for believing in something like a Supreme Being. I joined them but without the Church stuff. I couldn't and don't now accept a materialist explanation of what we observe about ourselves and the world.
Sorry it took so long to respond; I've been pretty busy lately, and I only get a little bit of time to visit the forums.

Anyways, I agree with the sentiments of some others here.  Specifically, I think the fact that you were raised Christian (being forced to go to church until your dad relented, as you put it) is a huge factor.  This was a form of indoctrination, and I doubt I'm out of line when I assume that it began very early in your childhood.  I also feel your temporary atheism (possibly agnosticism?) was likely a normal teenage act of rebellion.  You know, a 'Mom and Dad believe this, so I'll believe something else' kind of thing.  I don't see it as coincidence that you share the same faith as your parents, at least nominally; rather, I see it as a product of your upbringing.

With me, I was raised in a household more or less free of religion.  I've never really discussed religion in detail with my parents, but I'd describe them as agnostic.  Still, from an early age, I rejected the concept of God, as well as a lot of other supernatural stuff, just because it seemed so unreasonable to me.  The whole thing was underscored by my maternal grandmother, who was more than a little nutty when I was a child, and proceeded to become more so as time went on.  As an example, she believed she could use her psychic abilities to predict winning lottery numbers, and was genuinely convinced that every time she bought a ticket, she would win.  When this inevitably failed to occur, I'm not sure how she rationalized it to herself, but even as a child, I could see the problem.

I can see that I am a material being but I also observe that I am a spiritual one. Reason, memory, creativity, emotions, will, self-awareness: what I would now call my soul. Effected by material things such as our brains and so on but not reducable to matter and clearly, to me anyway, not material in itself.
Here's where we disagree.  Just because something is less tangible or more abstract doesn't make it any less real, or any less based in material things.  For example, if I arrange four stones in a square pattern, you can clearly 'see' that there is a square.  However, there is no actual square; it is a concept, not a physical 'thing' in the normal sense.  However, this doesn't make the pattern any less real, nor does it mean it's some spiritual/non-material thing.

Likewise with the brain and the mind: the brain is a complex network of connected cells that are each part of a larger system, and this whole system creates the emergent property of 'mind' or 'self'.  I don't see a need for some spiritual or supernatural explanation any more than I'd need one to explain the invisible attraction (or repulsion) between two magnets.

As my soul came into existence at a specific point in time it must have a cause. A cause that is itself spiritual seems more rational than a material one. As for the world I observe outside myself: everything individual thing we observe comes into being and passes away. This means I think that there is no necessary reason for them to exist. And so with the material world as whole. If there is no necessary reason for matter to exist, it is possible that it will cease to exist. Given an infinite amount of time that possibility should have been realized. But it hasn't. Matter exists. I can imagine a void. There is nothing logically impossible about nothing existing. And so God comes in. I first heard the 'so who created God argument' fom Carl Sagan's Cosmos years ago. I thought then, as I think now, that he was missing the point. There must be something whose existence is necessary, something whose very nature is to exist, something that doesn't need a cause. Aristotle's unmoved mover is a similar idea but not quite. The argument goes from contingent beings which we observe to necessary Being. I didn't start reading the Bible or think about Christianity much until my late twenties. At some point I became a Christian partly because I saw many of these ideas in The Bible. The creation myth. God's description of Himself on Sinai as "I am" . I read the NT and felt it gave me some evidence to believe in the resurrection.
My view on the 'existence is necessary' idea is that the universe might just be such that existence is a natural result of the way the laws of the universe are.  I don't think that existence is necessarily mandatory, but it is evident that it had happened in our case.

My view that the matter in the universe can spontaneously emerge (from vacuum fluctuations or whatever) or may always have existed is, to me, simpler than positing an intelligent creator.  Why do you accept the creator idea, but reject the alternatives?

Well okay. It's your belief that some kind of new era is being born. The belief that every logical, intelligent person will become an atheist when they are provided with the facts is presumption. Bart Ehrman remained a Christian for many years after he educated himself on the facts. It was the issue of suffering that turned him into an agnostic not his reading of the Bible.
It's still one of the many arguments against the Christian version of God.  Why would an omniscient, omnipotent, and good being allow suffering?  The only alternatives I can think of are a) the being considers suffering to be good, or b) the being does not exist.

Christianity would have a lot fewer arguments against it if it didn't ascribe many traits to its deity that contradict things we observe in the real world.

Fine. But we haven't discussed this at all here have we? And as you have already concluded with such certainity, 100% certainity, that the Biblical God does not exist then is this not one of the assumptions you have brought to our discussion of the resurrection. Is this not what I said in a previous post which you denied: that we both bring different assumptions to the table. In this instance your assumption about the non-existence of God based on the attributes He is described having in the Bible makes your conclusion foreordained.  I really don't think it's as easy as you think.
There's a difference between unwarranted assumptions and beliefs formed by observation and evaluation.  I have burned and cut myself before, and have first-hand experience that it can hurt.  I have every reason to believe that if it happens again, it is likely to hurt then, as well.  I also have known people who have broken bones, even though I have never broken a bone myself, and each of them tells me it hurts, too.  I've never had anyone say 'Oh, I broke my arm, and it felt great!', so coupled with the evidence in support of 'broken bone == pain', I have a belief that it would hurt me if it happened to me.  This is not an unwarranted assumption, and if you tried to convince me to take a hammer to my hand because it would feel good, and then pulled the 'different assumptions' card, it wouldn't convince me to do it.

Regarding the assumptions, do you think the unwillingness to believe a fantastic story of resurrection is out of line?  Why should we not question your assumptions when you believe a claim that's so at odds with reality as we understand it?  What verifiable evidence can you produce to indicate that your claim of a dead man coming to life has even a 50% probability of being correct, much less the certainty of truth?  If you can produce no such evidence, surely you can understand why we dismiss such claims, and other claims predicated on this one (ie, pretty much all of Christianity).

If I tell you that Canada just won a gold medal in men's hockey we are not going to have an argument. although if someone said I don't believe what I saw on TV we could argue with him.
Argh!  Just when I'd recovered from all the Olympic hoopla, I read this.

I'm just bitter because I've had to navigate my way to work on public transit for the two weeks of the Olympics, and the worst was right after Canada won the gold in hockey.  It was completely nuts, with people yelling, screaming, and blowing these loud plastic horns, including into my ear at about three inches from some idiot.  I'm glad they're finally over.  :)
The Bible is one of the select few books that is wholly deserving of being burned.
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Offline kindred

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #235 on: March 08, 2010, 08:43:11 AM »
Still don't see any logic in defense of christianity. I was thinking of putting things here in sylogistic form. Then I saw how stupid that would've been.  ;D
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Offline ReasonIsOutToLunch

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #236 on: March 08, 2010, 12:34:51 PM »
^^^The title of this thread still makes me laugh.
God, doesn't know pi.