Author Topic: Christian Apologetics is the Non-Believers Best Friend  (Read 2188 times)

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Online Boots

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Re: Christian Apologetics is the Non-Believers Best Friend
« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2014, 01:38:25 PM »
But isn't this the crux of the matter, Median? Without confirmation bias could any religion survive at all? I mean, without CB everyone who prays would quickly see that nothing happens - ever - when one prays.
A religion can certainly survive without confirmation bias getting in the way.  One need only bring to bear The Ultimate TrumpcardTM - mysterious ways.  Absolutely nothing can overcome it.  There is literally no outcome of any kind that cannot be ascribed to the mysterious ways of an omnipotent, omniscient entity.

Something happened that is incongruent to expectation - for example, an entity that can will anything to happen, doesn't want bad things to happen, but bad things happen?  Mysterious ways.
Prayer not answered?  Mysterious ways.
Absolutely zero confirming events, outcomes, results, or state of reality that coincide with the existence of god?  Mysterious ways.

When you've got The Ultimate TrumpcardTM handy, there is no need for this petty 'confirmation' of anything.  Such confirmation is unnecessary and gratuitous.  It's just true.  Doesn't seem true?  Mysterious ways.

* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

"Many of my ultra-conservative Republican friends...have trouble accepting the idea God is not a Republican. " ~OldChurchGuy

"We humans may never figure out the truth, but I prefer trying to find it over pretending we know it."  ~ParkingPlaces

Offline median

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Re: Christian Apologetics is the Non-Believers Best Friend
« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2014, 02:17:07 PM »

Perhaps it is significant. 

I confess I have taken critical thinking up to the point of rejecting God's existence.  Yet, I am not willing to stay in that frame of mind as I feel "empty".  It is a subjective experience I realize and, having tried it 5 separate times so far with the same results each time, I am happy being a theist.  If that means my critical thinking skills will always be below the level of members of this web site, so be it.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

Hey I very much appreciate your honesty OCG. It is fundamentalist (inerrantist) religion that I cannot tolerate. I have many friends who are theists (Hindus, general deists, liberal Christians, etc) and they are pretty cool people to be around. Fundies though not so much.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Christian Apologetics is the Non-Believers Best Friend
« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2014, 02:30:42 PM »
But isn't this the crux of the matter, Median? Without confirmation bias could any religion survive at all? I mean, without CB everyone who prays would quickly see that nothing happens - ever - when one prays.
A religion can certainly survive without confirmation bias getting in the way.  One need only bring to bear The Ultimate TrumpcardTM - mysterious ways.  Absolutely nothing can overcome it.  There is literally no outcome of any kind that cannot be ascribed to the mysterious ways of an omnipotent, omniscient entity.

Something happened that is incongruent to expectation - for example, an entity that can will anything to happen, doesn't want bad things to happen, but bad things happen?  Mysterious ways.
Prayer not answered?  Mysterious ways.
Absolutely zero confirming events, outcomes, results, or state of reality that coincide with the existence of god?  Mysterious ways.

When you've got The Ultimate TrumpcardTM handy, there is no need for this petty 'confirmation' of anything.  Such confirmation is unnecessary and gratuitous.  It's just true.  Doesn't seem true?  Mysterious ways.

I'm repeating myself, but for the benefit of newbies, here it is.

Its a good thing God operates in mysterious ways. Otherwise there would be no explanation for anything!  ;D
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Christian Apologetics is the Non-Believers Best Friend
« Reply #61 on: January 04, 2014, 08:15:56 PM »
Really Skeptic? The problem of evil has been solved? Let's see this amazing solution.

Without evil, you can't have good. One is meaningless without the other. Same with light and darkness.

Darkness doesn't actually exist. it's merely the absence of light.
Cold doesn't actually exist. It's merely the absence of heat.
Evil doesn't exist. it's merely the absence of good.

Extremely simple kindergarten knowledge here.

The problem here is that you think you can create reality with words. It is not a new concept; many ancient peoples including the Judaic and Arabic tribes thought that saying something was the same as creating that thing. So they really valued the spoken word, oral traditions, oral poetry, etc. Other cultures valued the visual depiction of the world; look at the complex artwork that the aboriginal people of Australia use to describe their religious beliefs.

However, while using words or pictures are culturally cool things, neither are objective ways of determining what is real. Just because you can say something or draw something does not make that thing real.

You can measure light and dark scientifically in ways that everyone can agree with. You can measure hot and cold scientifically in ways that everyone can agree with. Those are objective concepts.

However, you cannot measure good and evil scientifically in ways that everyone can agree with. Morality and immorality are culturally relative concepts, and will change depending on the time and place, because human beings created those concepts. Good and evil do not exist out in the universe somewhere. There are no good and evil animal behaviors or plant processes or geological events. There is no good or evil in weather patterns. There are no good and evil black holes.[1]

That does not mean that there are no rules and anything goes--exactly because human beings decide what is good or bad depending on the cultural context. We have been round and round on this with how the bible describes warfare, killing, slavery and yes, marriage from completely different perspectives than most people do today. None of those words means the same thing today than they meant in ancient times.

Show me anywhere in the bible where it says a powerful man would be in trouble if he forcibly assaulted one of his slaves, one of his concubines, one of his wives or even one of his children. None of these categories of people were protected because they did not own their bodies. The man owned their body to do with as he saw fit, so as a crime it did not apply. Perfectly acceptable, moral or legal?

In modern societies, no thanks to any gods, we have decided that servants, employees, women, men and children all have ownership of their bodies and do not have to submit sexually to anyone, no matter how powerful, and no matter what the relationship. I would argue that we are far more moral in this regard than in bible times. This has been a development of only the past 100 years in the US and Europe, so I don't want to hear any Christians claiming that they were at the forefront of women's or workers or children's rights.

Marriage was a financial contract between a father and the future husband, and was handled much like the transfer of a valuable camel or horse. Polygamy and lots of nookie on the side were part and parcel of biblical "marriage"-- a wealthy man was expected to have many wives, plus mistresses and enslaved concubines and to have children by all of them. Some powerful men kept male slaves for nookie purposes as well.  None of that is considered acceptable, moral or legal in most modern societies today. So, where is the unchanging moral code?

So, let's not get all high-handed about the sanctity of marriage being upset by allowing people of the same gender to legally commit and get the benefits thereof. In bible times, marriage was not about being in love or being committed to raising a family together, or having an equal partnership between two people as many would describe it today.

In order to pretend that there is an unchanging moral code in the bible, you have to do some pretty fancy dancing with crap like "slavery was just being a servant, like an employee" and "today we are wage slaves and we are slaves to creditors" --yeah, right. A slave was exactly like an employee who owed money on a credit card, just one who could not leave, was not paid, could be beaten to the point of death, had no choice of employer and could be sold to someone else. Exactly like the employment situation in most countries today. Right. Maybe North Korea, ironically one of the least Christian countries on the planet, has the most "biblical" working conditions for most of the population.[2]

Besides, if slavery was no big deal, no more than employment, than 1)why didn't the Jews just suck it up and stay in Egypt instead of leaving in the Exodus and 2) why are Christians so quick to take credit for ending slavery in the US? Instead of deciding it was wrong and eliminating slavery completely, why didn't Christians just make it more "biblical"?

You can't have it both ways, skeptic. Words about morality do have meanings, but only because people decide what those words mean. And when circumstances change, so do the meanings. No thanks to any gods.
 1. That is why god telling the Jews to kill an entire society including all the animals, or god drowning all the animals on the earth in the flood "to rid the planet of sin" is absurd on its face. Evil panda bears, full of the horrible sin of looking cute while eating bamboo shoots?
 2. Of course, wealthy conservatives in the US would love to have those kinds of "biblical" working conditions imposed on people today....
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 08:20:13 PM by nogodsforme »
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Christian Apologetics is the Non-Believers Best Friend
« Reply #62 on: January 05, 2014, 11:16:06 PM »
I would argue that we are far more moral in this regard than in bible times.
Per your argument, wouldn't we be precisely as moral as they were?
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Christian Apologetics is the Non-Believers Best Friend
« Reply #63 on: January 06, 2014, 04:38:01 PM »
I would argue that we are far more moral in this regard than in bible times.
Per your argument, wouldn't we be precisely as moral as they were?

Well, I suppose, if you want to slice my words that thin. (Damn nitpicking philosophers grumble grumble...)

I do not have a problem with the concept that people in ancient times did things that we consider horrible, like capture and sell people as slaves, or kill a woman for not being a virgin at her wedding, or cut off people's hands for stealing. They were behaving just as morally by their standards as we are by ours. If I had lived in those times I would have accepted all that as normal and moral. Why wouldn't I? Making slavery illegal, ignoring a non-virgin bride or giving a shoplifter community service would have been immoral back then.

My main point is that what is considered to be moral and correct changes depending on the time and place.  And most people are pretty happy with that, it seems, because when conservative religious elements try to turn the clock back, they themselves don't even want to live that way. We don't see modern Christians flocking to live like the Amish. [1]Moreover, modern Christians are quick to condemn places in the world that permit slavery, polygamy, stoning people for adultery, amputation for stealing, etc. The Taliban in Afghanistan is far better at practicing OT bible morality than Christians anywhere I know of.

If you try to argue that there is an unchanging morality handed out by god to the entire universe at the beginning of time, and that morality is encoded in the bible, you have to deal with the fact that we are apparently behaving very immorally by expressly NOT following biblical slave, marriage or food rules.

What is galling is how so many Christians today try to fancy dance around this obvious problem. Slavery was not that bad (although we Christians should take credit for abolition). The food taboos only apply to Jews (so it's okay for us Christians to eat yummy bacon). We Christians don't have to follow most of the (unchanging godly moral) Old Testament rules today because Jesus cancelled them, somehow. Although we still want the (unchanging godly moral) 10 commandments posted in public places.  And the catchall--that thing about no mixed fibers in Leviticus was just a metaphor for something or other. Of course it is still fine to mistreat gay people--we are absolutely positive that was no metaphor. Convenient, that, since we don't like gay people. &)
 1. Look at what happened in southern states that passed biblical "covenant marriage" laws that made it much harder to get divorced. Hardly anyone really wanted it although they paid lip service to the evils of liberal divorce. Most people preferred the regular secular marriage that permitted divorce. And kept on getting divorced at higher rates than atheists. You would think that religious people shouldn't need a special hard to break marriage law anyway because god, but no....
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.