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Main Discussion Zone => General Religious Discussion => Topic started by: median on April 04, 2013, 12:38:48 PM

Title: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 04, 2013, 12:38:48 PM
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews.

I am betting that absolutely none (zero) of you Christians will be able, or willing to adequately finish this challenge. My prediction is 2 fold (for those that actually take the challenge - because most of you believers have no confidence in your beliefs and won't take the challenge). But for those who do, you will either...

1) Obfuscate or avoid the tough questions and eventually give up or leave, or...
2) End the discussion by saying something like, "Well, I just have faith."

Neither of these are adequate responses but if you wish to actually do what your bible tells you, then please bring your A game and demonstrate (not just claim) how you know your deity Yahweh is actually real.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: John 3 16 on April 04, 2013, 10:55:01 PM

2) End the discussion by saying something like, "Well, I just have faith."

Neither of these are adequate responses but if you wish to actually do what your bible tells you, then please bring your A game and demonstrate (not just claim) how you know your deity Yahweh is actually real.
What's wrong with saying "Well, I just have faith"?

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: John 3 16 on April 04, 2013, 10:55:47 PM
Thank you Ambassador Pony for resuscitation.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: John 3 16 on April 04, 2013, 11:10:13 PM
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews.
I don't know which version of bible you have, but mine reads kind of like this.  Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. (1 Peter 3:15)

I am ready to explain my hope as a Christian anytime. :laugh:

(Jude 1) ????  But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. (Jude 1 17-19) OK I agree with the scripture so what?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: John 3 16 on April 04, 2013, 11:28:57 PM
Quote from: median link=topic=24696.msg(548838#msg548838 date=1365097128
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did),,,,
I don't have  to demonstrate my God because He already did
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20)

Jesus actually didn't command us to show off miracles, He commanded us to spread the gospel.
I am certain that we (Christians) did greater works than Jesus as far as spreading the gospel all over the world and still spreading.  Whereas Jesus only affected small parts of Israel.

Because Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us until His return.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 05, 2013, 12:40:59 AM
What's wrong with saying "Well, I just have faith"?

Well, in My case, I would be lying if I said such a thing and I would know that I was lying.

I don't believe in your god, J316.  I have never believed in your god.  Lying about it isn't magically going to make it happen; it would simply put My brain into a state of cognitive dissonance, with the conscious mind pretending to believe and the unconscious mind sabotaging a belief that it knows to be false.

I also don't understand why your supposed god would want someone to believe without evidence, or worse, to lie to themselves about it.  If it's so concerned about humanity, couldn't it just pop by for tea or something?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Dante on April 05, 2013, 02:07:38 AM
The problem J, is that faith is an emotion, a wishful thinking with, at the most, very little basis in reality. Which, on its face, is fine and no problemo. The problem is that most of you faithful expect to make laws, and thus make everyone else live by your faith. Not ours, yours. Yet you have no evidence that your faith is beneficial to us individually, nor the world in general.

The rest of your post is preaching. Yet again with no verifiable evidence in our reality. But, if i were to create a religion, those verses you quote are what I would be telling everyone that would listen. Would you not, were it  were a work of fiction that you wanted people to believe it the truth?

Your god exists only in your mind.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: kcrady on April 05, 2013, 05:49:08 AM
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20)

Well then, it ought to be fairly easy for you to provide examples.  Please note, it isn't good enough to give anything along the lines of, "Oooooh, stars!  Preeeeetty!  Therefore, the Christian God exists."  Paul claims in the passage that you cited, that the "invisible qualities" of his particular god are self-evident in the created Cosmos.  That means you should be able to provide examples of this phenomenon that validate your god specifically, and rule out other proposed gods, such as the god of Islam, Zeus, Isis, etc..  If Paul is correct, it was all blatantly obvious in his own time, so this ought to be ridiculously easy for you, having access to Hubble telescope images, the results of global exploration and cataloging of biological species, etc., etc..  You get to take for granted vast panoplies of knowledge about the Cosmos and the Earth that was undreamt of in Paul's day.  If you can't knock this one out of the park with surpassing ease, then Paul's claim is falsified, and with it, your religion.  By all means, step up to the plate and take a swing!

Jesus actually didn't command us to show off miracles, He commanded us to spread the gospel.
I am certain that we (Christians) did greater works than Jesus as far as spreading the gospel all over the world and still spreading.  Whereas Jesus only affected small parts of Israel.
 

I'm not quite convinced that a TV ministry really counts as a "greater work" than raising people from the dead; but then, there's not any real evidence that Jesus actually accomplished such feats, so I suppose the bar for you isn't that high.

Because Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us until His return.

Is that so?  You Real, True Christians (whichever group of you that is) ought to have a significant, demonstrable advantage over us ordinary mortals who have to get through life without any help and guidance from an infallible, omniscient, perfectly-honest, and omnipotent force.  With knowledge and power like that at your back, you guys should be superheroes compared to us!  So how come it doesn't work out like that?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 05, 2013, 11:57:13 AM

2) End the discussion by saying something like, "Well, I just have faith."

Neither of these are adequate responses but if you wish to actually do what your bible tells you, then please bring your A game and demonstrate (not just claim) how you know your deity Yahweh is actually real.
What's wrong with saying "Well, I just have faith"?

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)


Faith is not a reliable pathway to truth, that's why. Anybody can just have faith in anything (as all religions ultimately revert to), but when the chips are down, you can't give good reasons, and then you pull out the "Well, I just have faith" argument, it isn't sufficient. Faith is the excuse people give when they don't have a good reason for believing something. What's wrong with it? It isn't a reliable pathway to separating fact from fiction.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 05, 2013, 12:12:15 PM
Quote from: median link=topic=24696.msg(548838#msg548838 date=1365097128
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did),,,,
I don't have  to demonstrate my God because He already did
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20)

Jesus actually didn't command us to show off miracles, He commanded us to spread the gospel.
I am certain that we (Christians) did greater works than Jesus as far as spreading the gospel all over the world and still spreading.  Whereas Jesus only affected small parts of Israel.

Because Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us until His return.

NOPE. More spin and rationalizing doesn't get you there dude. Jesus specifically said you would do THE WORKS he did, and greater. You spinning the text so as to lessen your job, trying to make it say what you want it to say, fails (just as it fails for Muslims when they attempt this spin tactic with the Koran). The text does NOT say you'll just spread the "good news" and that's a greater miracle. It states clearly that his true disciple will demonstrate the same types of miracles he supposedly did (greater than moving mountains!). Read your bible dude (Mark 11, Matt 17). The disciples (supposedly) demonstrated some of these same types of miracles in the book of Acts, at Jesus' directive (just as the pentecostals and faith healers claim they do today).

Second, quoting a bad argument from your bible (Romans 1) doesn't demonstrate that a deity did anything - anymore than a Muslim or Hindu quoting their holy books demonstrates anything. Nature is proof of nature. It doesn't tell you how it got here until you investigate. The trees don't say, "Made by Yahweh" on them, and rabbits don't have "Hecho in Heaven" tattooed on their asses. You need more than an infinite, "Because my bible tells me so" to demonstrate your deity. Read the OP again. A mere claim is not a demonstration.

Regarding Jude 1, read the whole chapter.


p.s. - Your definition of miracle seems to be quite low. By your definition, then, Muslims did "greater works" when they spread Islam to billions of people. What a miracle huh!? Please explain how we can distinguish a miracle from a non-miracle by your extremely low standard of what a miracle is.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 05, 2013, 12:49:21 PM
What's wrong with saying "Well, I just have faith"?

I think you've been here long enough to know what is wrong with faith.  If you don't know, you've not been paying enough attention. 

You should also know by now that quoting scripture to support your argument is at best useless.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Tonus on April 05, 2013, 01:41:48 PM
That's a convenient set up: "just look around at nature and you'll find god; it's so obvious that it's inexcusable not to."  And if a person finds that to be ridiculous, just point them at "there will be scoffers seeking their own selfish ends and trying to divide you."  To doubt the Bible and to speak to others of that doubt is to 'follow unnatural desires,' and be 'ungodly' and an attempt to divide the faithful.  The amount of guilt that you are threatened with is suffocating.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 05, 2013, 02:32:52 PM
That's a convenient set up: "just look around at nature and you'll find god; it's so obvious that it's inexcusable not to."  And if a person finds that to be ridiculous, just point them at "there will be scoffers seeking their own selfish ends and trying to divide you."  To doubt the Bible and to speak to others of that doubt is to 'follow unnatural desires,' and be 'ungodly' and an attempt to divide the faithful.  The amount of guilt that you are threatened with is suffocating.

And of course the ASSUMPTION he is making, that his bible is "the word of god", is suffocating him from breathing reality. All these gullible religious people do it (Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, etc). How sad.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 07, 2013, 11:50:00 AM
Yep, just as I suspected...when the tough questions come out the fundy religionists run for the hills. So typical...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 07, 2013, 09:24:36 PM
In all fairness, the fundies are more scarce here than they used to be.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jdawg70 on April 08, 2013, 04:25:12 PM
What's wrong with saying "Well, I just have faith"?

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Sincere question:
Why do you want to please god?

Edit: missing word 'you'
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 08, 2013, 05:48:10 PM
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews.

I am betting that absolutely none (zero) of you Christians will be able, or willing to adequately finish this challenge. My prediction is 2 fold (for those that actually take the challenge - because most of you believers have no confidence in your beliefs and won't take the challenge). But for those who do, you will either...

1) Obfuscate or avoid the tough questions and eventually give up or leave, or...
2) End the discussion by saying something like, "Well, I just have faith."

Neither of these are adequate responses but if you wish to actually do what your bible tells you, then please bring your A game and demonstrate (not just claim) how you know your deity Yahweh is actually real.

In respect of the performing of miracles, my understanding has always been that this was a specific gift provided to the early apostles as a means of establishing the early church. Seemed to work, too.

What was your understanding of these passages back when you were a Christian apologist?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 08, 2013, 05:56:50 PM
In respect of the performing of miracles, my understanding has always been that this was a specific gift provided to the early apostles as a means of establishing the early church. Seemed to work, too.

What was your understanding of these passages back when you were a Christian apologist?

When I was a christian I would have pretended like any little thing I did was "greater miracles" than Jesus performed. Since then I have realized that I was just believing what I wanted to believe. Also, as a christian I can honestly say I wasnt nearly as well versed as I am now because in church functions they had us read the verses they wanted us to read, over and over, year after year. Never quite got to the ugly stuff many of us object to here.

The church spread thanks to Constantine, not the disciples.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 08, 2013, 06:05:52 PM
In respect of the performing of miracles, my understanding has always been that this was a specific gift provided to the early apostles as a means of establishing the early church. Seemed to work, too.

What was your understanding of these passages back when you were a Christian apologist?

When I was a christian I would have pretended like any little thing I did was "greater miracles" than Jesus performed. Since then I have realized that I was just believing what I wanted to believe. Also, as a christian I can honestly say I wasnt nearly as well versed as I am now because in church functions they had us read the verses they wanted us to read, over and over, year after year. Never quite got to the ugly stuff many of us object to here.

I asked Median because presumably he gave these issues considerable thought (as an apologist), and didn't gloss over them as your church appears to have unfortunately done.


The church spread thanks to Constantine, not the disciples.

I guess it all comes down to how broad a definition of 'spread' you go with. After all, how did Constantine come to faith hundreds of years after Christ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 08, 2013, 06:40:30 PM
I asked Median because presumably he gave these issues considerable thought (as an apologist), and didn't gloss over them as your church appears to have unfortunately done.


I guess it all comes down to how broad a definition of 'spread' you go with. After all, how did Constantine come to faith hundreds of years after Christ?
I know you were asking median, but I figured I'd take this dance while he was getting some punch   ;)
But I wouldnt say glossed over, I would say they focused on the good stuff, and the stuff we could actually do. I will say I never have been to a church where they taught to critically examine whether the claims were true, and furthermore if they were good.

As for the spread of christianity, I guess it depends on how far back you want to take it... after all how did Jesus become a Jew?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 08, 2013, 06:46:54 PM
Mary was Jewish.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 08, 2013, 07:18:05 PM
Family was tracked through the lineage of the father...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 08, 2013, 07:19:07 PM
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews.

I am betting that absolutely none (zero) of you Christians will be able, or willing to adequately finish this challenge. My prediction is 2 fold (for those that actually take the challenge - because most of you believers have no confidence in your beliefs and won't take the challenge). But for those who do, you will either...

1) Obfuscate or avoid the tough questions and eventually give up or leave, or...
2) End the discussion by saying something like, "Well, I just have faith."

Neither of these are adequate responses but if you wish to actually do what your bible tells you, then please bring your A game and demonstrate (not just claim) how you know your deity Yahweh is actually real.

In respect of the performing of miracles, my understanding has always been that this was a specific gift provided to the early apostles as a means of establishing the early church. Seemed to work, too.

What was your understanding of these passages back when you were a Christian apologist?

Jesus didn't JUST say, "Only these twelve apostles should do the works I do...and greater." He said (supposedly he said it - b/c everything in the bible is alleged) that ALL his disciples WOULD do these things (see Mark 16 and John 14 - amongst other places that speak to this effect). The "it was only for back then" argument is an obfuscation in order to avoid refutation of the religion itself. What did I believe as a Christian? I believed what the text said. But of course, the text is contradictory in many places. So, go figure.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 08, 2013, 07:22:50 PM
Family was tracked through the lineage of the father...

Not necessarily.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_is_a_Jew%3F
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 08, 2013, 07:25:27 PM
What did I believe as a Christian? I believed what the text said. But of course, the text is contradictory in many places. So, go figure.

I'm more interested in how you defended the passages. If you believed the text referred to all Christians, how did you explain the problem of miracles not being performed today?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 08, 2013, 08:36:46 PM
What did I believe as a Christian? I believed what the text said. But of course, the text is contradictory in many places. So, go figure.

I'm more interested in how you defended the passages. If you believed the text referred to all Christians, how did you explain the problem of miracles not being performed today?

LOL. Are you really asking your opponent to tell you which chess move to make next? The point is, those passages cannot be defended because they aren't true. Sure, you can obfuscate, rationalize, twist, and spin the text any way you want, in an attempt to save it from refutation, but now you're doing the same thing that the Muslims or Mormons I debate with do - trying desperately to hold onto an assumption (a conclusion you started with) instead of doing disinterested critical investigation (as with a salesman at the door, or anything else in life).

But to answer your question directly, I answered with things like "There ARE miracles today! They happen in Africa etc, but America...not so much. We just don't have enough faith." Of course, this is immediately refuted when you actually GO on a mission trip all over Africa (where these miracles are supposedly happening) and see no Jesus like miracles occurring. Sure, people CLAIM miracles all the time (all over the place) but claims and reality are all too often not in alignment.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 08, 2013, 08:52:10 PM


LOL. Are you really asking your opponent to tell you which chess move to make next?

You're mistaking me for a pawn again Christian.


 Sure, you can obfuscate, rationalize, twist, and spin the text any way you want, in an attempt to save it from refutation

Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: kcrady on April 09, 2013, 06:06:27 AM
Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

The problem isn't "literal" vs. "metaphorical/allegorical/mystical/etc." interpretation.  It's that interpretation--a subjective, un-verifiable, unfalsifiable, "eye-of-the-beholder" process is necessary at all.  At least with regard to any exclusivist monotheistic religion.  Historically, Christianity has been based on the following principles, about as far back as we can go:

1) There is only One True God.
2) There is only One True Understanding of this God (who "He" is, what "He" wants, etc., i.e. "sound doctrinetm")
3) It is necessary to believe in the One True God and have the One True Understanding of "Him" and "His" nature, commandments, etc.--otherwise you're a Vile Heretic
4) If you do not meet condition #3 within fairly close tolerances, you are not "Saved," and it is vitally important that you be "Saved."[1]

Our earliest Christian writings, the authentic epistles of Paul, are filled with thundering denunciations of other Christianities than his own (such as the "Judaizers," and mystics who used the "gifts of the Spirit" in ways he disapproved).  Likewise for the other Epistles, and Jesus as portrayed in the canonical Gospels.  Nowhere do we find room for a whole lot of squishy interpretation or toleration of the diversity of views that necessarily results.  Christianity isn't like Hinduism, where nobody would ever even think it mattered whether or not Hanuman really carried the mountain, because it's a story about his loyalty, dedication, strength, and pragmatism.  And since it's never even asserted as The One, True Truth With a Great Big Capital-T that you have to believe, it's perfectly OK to treat it as a story and interpret it in different ways.  Heck, its OK to worship Krishna or Sita or any of hundreds of other deities if Hanuman isn't your flavor of cuppa.  In Roman-era Paganism, the gods and goddesses weren't fussy.  Call him Mercury, Hermes, Thoth, or Djehuti--the god himself was fine with it whichever way.  You could even kit-bash deities together--e.g. "Amun-Re" or "Ptah-Sokar-Osiris," or "Serapis."

So the problem isn't "Waaah, you atheists take everything so literally!"  It's that you Christians expect everyone to accept the One, True Understanding of your One, True God even though you, and your "interpretations" of your One, True Holy Text are all over the map.  You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or else!" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

Edit: That said, I can point to a few counter-examples, Christians who don't hold to the "One, True" aspects, and for whom open-ended interpretation of "Scripture" (and for that matter, atheism, paganism, etc.) wouldn't be as much of a problem.  People like Fred Clark at Slactivist (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist), or Bishop Spong.  But even they would argue that their Christianities are at least in some sense "more correct" than fundamentalist or traditional-hierarchical (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) Christianities.  Also, progressive, open-minded, tolerant Christianities like theirs are a bright, shiny, new modern invention that relies on ignoring pretty much the entire history of Christianities, from Paul's onward, to justify their openness.
 1. Even most Christianities that do not feature a Hell of everlasting torment would still argue that becoming the right sort of Christian (theirs, natch) is pretty bloody important.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 09, 2013, 01:03:25 PM
You're mistaking me for a pawn again Christian.

No, I asked you a question and you didn't answer it.



Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?


Do you interpret the resurrection, hell, the second coming, and creation of the universe by Yahweh literally? As I said before, you can (as many fundies do) attempt to re-interpret any passages, of any alleged holy book, any way you want in order to justify continuance of "faith" and/or belief (this is why there is no one true Christianity, only Christianities pl). So what. That's what every religionist/apologist does when they face refutation. And that is why faith is useless for determining fact from fiction.

If you think the Christian interpretation of the bible (that miracles are for today) is mistaken then welcome to the world of Christian sects who can't agree with each b/c your bible disagrees with itself. Making the assumption that the bible is "the word of God", from the start, is the main problem anyways. Stop beating around the bush and get to your point.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 09, 2013, 03:21:01 PM
Mary was Jewish.

Well, I guess that means no heaven for that little missy! (Church lady voice.)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 09, 2013, 05:31:13 PM
Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

The problem isn't "literal" vs. "metaphorical/allegorical/mystical/etc." interpretation.  It's that interpretation--a subjective, un-verifiable, unfalsifiable, "eye-of-the-beholder" process is necessary at all

Perhaps interpretation isn't quite the right word to use when it comes to understanding the intent of a biblical passage, because I do not agree that biblical passages are subject only to an "eye of the beholder" process. Passages are examined using historical, geographical and cultural context. Some passages even blind Freddy can see are figurative, some passages even blind Freddy can see are meant to be taken literally, but some passages are not so clear and require a lot of careful study.

A problem, you say? Not to me. But I believe God exists.


Historically, Christianity has been based on the following principles, about as far back as we can go:

1) There is only One True God.

Yes.


2) There is only One True Understanding of this God (who "He" is, what "He" wants, etc., i.e. "sound doctrinetm")

Yes. But I'm not sure any one person who ever lived was blessed with it.



3) It is necessary to believe in the One True God and have the One True Understanding of "Him" and "His" nature, commandments, etc.--otherwise you're a Vile Heretic

Yes to part A, no to part B. We can know many things about God, but there are many we don't know, and probably many that we mis-understand.



4) If you do not meet condition #3 within fairly close tolerances, you are not "Saved," and it is vitally important that you be "Saved."[1]
 1. Even most Christianities that do not feature a Hell of everlasting torment would still argue that becoming the right sort of Christian (theirs, natch) is pretty bloody important.

No. Salvation comes through repentance and believing that Jesus died an undeserved death for sinners. Living a life God desires comes after salvation, when you are actually desiring such a life (but still regularly failing).

Nobody can earn salvation.



Our earliest Christian writings, the authentic epistles of Paul, are filled with thundering denunciations of other Christianities than his own (such as the "Judaizers," and mystics who used the "gifts of the Spirit" in ways he disapproved).  Likewise for the other Epistles, and Jesus as portrayed in the canonical Gospels.  Nowhere do we find room for a whole lot of squishy interpretation or toleration of the diversity of views that necessarily results.  Christianity isn't like Hinduism, where nobody would ever even think it mattered whether or not Hanuman really carried the mountain, because it's a story about his loyalty, dedication, strength, and pragmatism.  And since it's never even asserted as The One, True Truth With a Great Big Capital-T that you have to believe, it's perfectly OK to treat it as a story and interpret it in different ways.  Heck, its OK to worship Krishna or Sita or any of hundreds of other deities if Hanuman isn't your flavor of cuppa.  In Roman-era Paganism, the gods and goddesses weren't fussy.  Call him Mercury, Hermes, Thoth, or Djehuti--the god himself was fine with it whichever way.  You could even kit-bash deities together--e.g. "Amun-Re" or "Ptah-Sokar-Osiris," or "Serapis."


I rather think I agree with all of that. Which is perplexing me, because I assume that means I am somehow disagreeing with something I have said earlier. I'm not seeing it, but I am sure it will be pointed out to me.



So the problem isn't "Waaah, you atheists take everything so literally!" It's that you Christians expect everyone to accept the One, True Understanding of your One, True God even though you, and your "interpretations" of your One, True Holy Text are all over the map.

I don't 'expect' non-Christians to understand God and the bible the way Christians do, in fact its to be expected that they don't. I hope they do. For some, I pray that they do. It's God who'll grant that understanding, not me or any other Christian. I do, however, expect a self-professing critical thinker to accept that, just because there are different views on what bible passages are communicating, it doesn't mean that there is no logical process to be used in gaining understanding.



 You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or elsee" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

That's just absolute nonsense. You're telling me that, because there are some passages in the bible that are difficult to understand, or difficult to know how to accurately interpret, the central claims of Christianity are falsified and the central theme of the bible is un-knowable? You're a smart person, but even a pretty dumb person can read the bible and know with absolute certainty that it teaches:

* there is one God
* God created the world and everthing and everyone in it
* God gave humans rules to live by, and we broke them from day one and continue to do so
* God promised a saviour
* Jesus was that saviour
* Jesus died and was resurrected
*No one comes to God but through Jesus

Believing those things...diferent kettle of fish. Clearly.



Edit: That said, I can point to a few counter-examples, Christians who don't hold to the "One, True" aspects, and for whom open-ended interpretation of "Scripture" (and for that matter, atheism, paganism, etc.) wouldn't be as much of a problem.  People like Fred Clark at Slactivist (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist), or Bishop Spong.  But even they would argue that their Christianities are at least in some sense "more correct" than fundamentalist or traditional-hierarchical (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) Christianities.  Also, progressive, open-minded, tolerant Christianities like theirs are a bright, shiny, new modern invention that relies on ignoring pretty much the entire history of Christianities, from Paul's onward, to justify their openness.

The central teachings of the bible are as clear to Fred Clark as anyone else. He can take from that what he wants.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 09, 2013, 05:32:08 PM
Mary was Jewish.

Well, I guess that means no heaven for that little missy! (Church lady voice.)

?? Lost me.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 09, 2013, 05:40:40 PM
You're mistaking me for a pawn again Christian.

No, I asked you a question and you didn't answer it.

Oh. Wow. You wanted me to give a proper answer to that question? I could have sworn it was rhetorical. Make yourself clearer next time.


Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?


Do you interpret the resurrection, hell, the second coming, and creation of the universe by Yahweh literally? As I said before, you can (as many fundies do) attempt to re-interpret any passages, of any alleged holy book, any way you want in order to justify continuance of "faith" and/or belief (this is why there is no one true Christianity, only Christianities pl). So what. That's what every religionist/apologist does when they face refutation. And that is why faith is useless for determining fact from fiction.

If you think the Christian interpretation of the bible (that miracles are for today) is mistaken then welcome to the world of Christian sects who can't agree with each b/c your bible disagrees with itself. Making the assumption that the bible is "the word of God", from the start, is the main problem anyways. Stop beating around the bush and get to your point.

My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 09, 2013, 06:02:43 PM
mm, we atheists don't interpret anything in the bible literally-- if it involves supernatural stuff done by god-beings. Because no evidence of god-beings or the supernatural has ever been documented as fact. We can say with almost 100% certainly that, for example, nobody ever died and then came back from the dead, walked on water, or turned water into wine.

As for the non-supernatural, that depends on whether there is reliable independent documentation. If there is, then we can accept that it is literally true. If there is not, then all we can say is that it might have happened, we don't know. Like, there might have been a rabbi in the Middle East named Jesus. Since the evidence is not conclusive, all we can say is such a person might have existed.

But we can say that such a person never did magical things like walk on water or come back from the dead.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jdawg70 on April 09, 2013, 06:36:00 PM
You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or elsee" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

That's just absolute nonsense. You're telling me that, because there are some passages in the bible that are difficult to understand, or difficult to know how to accurately interpret, the central claims of Christianity are falsified and the central theme of the bible is un-knowable? You're a smart person, but even a pretty dumb person can read the bible and know with absolute certainty that it teaches:

* there is one God
* God created the world and everthing and everyone in it
* God gave humans rules to live by, and we broke them from day one and continue to do so
* God promised a saviour
* Jesus was that saviour
* Jesus died and was resurrected
*No one comes to God but through Jesus

Believing those things...diferent kettle of fish. Clearly.
I think the 'unknowable-ness' that Kcrady would be alluding to would be the 'knowing what to believe is true' part.  The argument, I think, is that the central themes of the bible cannot be known as true.  If you've got a book that's got, say, 20 claims regarding objective reality in it, you'd be hard pressed to say that any of those claims are correct if, say, 25% of the claims are strictly demonstrably false, 10% of the claims are vague and/or confusing, and 50% of the claims are principally unknowable.  Unless, of course, you look at other sources to validate or invalidate those claims.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 11, 2013, 03:26:40 AM
My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.

Oh, I answered the question just fine (and in doing so I anticipated the "Oh, you were just interpreting those passages wrong" attempt, which is the all too common default rationalization from just about every apologist I've encountered. It's the, "I assume the bible is the word of God. So any other interpretation is false" fallacy). You just didn't like the answer I gave b/c of this anticipation. The bigger question is, why are you accepting this one ancient textual account on faith?

Again, sure you can attempt to spin and rationalize ANY bible passage that makes your worldview inconvenient, untenable, and/or uncomfortable. But that is no different from what every religion on the planet does with their alleged 'holy' books when they are in danger of refutation. How unimpressive! Make a big fat assumption about what an old book says, and then go about defending it at all costs b/c you've invested yourself, and your surroundings, so heavily that it would be social suicide to get out. Smart!

"Difficult passages" isn't the first issue. Demonstrating how you think you know your alleged holy book is from a God (whatever that means) is.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 11, 2013, 08:23:07 AM
You don't get to say "Believe the right things, or elsee" followed by "Well, it's all a matter of interpretation."  The very facts that: the texts are open to a range of interpretation, that extensive scholarship in textual criticism, dead languages, ancient culture and idiom, history, mythology, etc. are necessary to grapple with those texts in an intelligent manner falsify the claim that there is a One, True Omnimax God who is very picky about what humans believe and practice, who revealed the One, True Way through One, True Book.  Or at least, it would prove that such a deity--requiring that we get exact right answers on the Celestial Quiz, then blindfolding us with a veil of subjective interpretation and forcing us to try to pin the tail on his invisible ass under threats of torture (by his human minions now, or by him after we die)--is a gigantic douchebag.  And how many Christians would admit to worshiping a gigantic douchebag?

That's just absolute nonsense. You're telling me that, because there are some passages in the bible that are difficult to understand, or difficult to know how to accurately interpret, the central claims of Christianity are falsified and the central theme of the bible is un-knowable? You're a smart person, but even a pretty dumb person can read the bible and know with absolute certainty that it teaches:

* there is one God
* God created the world and everthing and everyone in it
* God gave humans rules to live by, and we broke them from day one and continue to do so
* God promised a saviour
* Jesus was that saviour
* Jesus died and was resurrected
*No one comes to God but through Jesus

Believing those things...diferent kettle of fish. Clearly.
I think the 'unknowable-ness' that Kcrady would be alluding to would be the 'knowing what to believe is true' part.  The argument, I think, is that the central themes of the bible cannot be known as true.  If you've got a book that's got, say, 20 claims regarding objective reality in it, you'd be hard pressed to say that any of those claims are correct if, say, 25% of the claims are strictly demonstrably false, 10% of the claims are vague and/or confusing, and 50% of the claims are principally unknowable.  Unless, of course, you look at other sources to validate or invalidate those claims.

Yes, indeedy.  It may well be that the Bible is crystal clear that (to pick one) "God created the world and everthing and everyone in it".  But the Bible also says that the health of a goat's offspring depends on what it sees when it conceives.  If we can discount one of those assertions as being false, then there is no reason at all to assume that any other assertion it makes is true - indeed, wisdom would speak against it.  Find one error or inconsistency in a book, and you should take less notice of any other claims that it makes.

If this was a textbook, or a biography, or an encyclopedia, and you found numerous contradictory entries, would you place full reliance on another entry that you hadn't found to be contradicted?  Or would you think "damn, this book had a whole load of errors in it - I'd best not believe anything it says".  What special criteria are you applying to the Bible that says that multiple contradictory claims mean the few uncontradicted claims should be taken seriously?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 11, 2013, 08:52:44 PM
Where does Jesus ask ME to do that? I must have missed the memo.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 12, 2013, 07:50:58 AM
Where does Jesus ask ME to do that? I must have missed the memo.

Hi, holybuckets.  Nice to see you back.  To what is your post responding?  The OP?  Please clarify.  It will help us answer your question.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Tonus on April 12, 2013, 03:43:45 PM
Perhaps interpretation isn't quite the right word to use when it comes to understanding the intent of a biblical passage, because I do not agree that biblical passages are subject only to an "eye of the beholder" process. Passages are examined using historical, geographical and cultural context. Some passages even blind Freddy can see are figurative, some passages even blind Freddy can see are meant to be taken literally, but some passages are not so clear and require a lot of careful study.

A problem, you say? Not to me. But I believe God exists.

The thing is, people have been carefully studying those texts for centuries.  As far as I can tell, the amount of the Bible that even most sides can agree are figurative or literal is very small, while the parts that are "not so clear" are almost all of it.  How many more centuries of careful study are required before men can benefit from the holy word of the kindly, loving, caring god who wants only the best for all mankind?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 12, 2013, 10:37:03 PM
Perhaps interpretation isn't quite the right word to use when it comes to understanding the intent of a biblical passage, because I do not agree that biblical passages are subject only to an "eye of the beholder" process. Passages are examined using historical, geographical and cultural context. Some passages even blind Freddy can see are figurative, some passages even blind Freddy can see are meant to be taken literally, but some passages are not so clear and require a lot of careful study.

A problem, you say? Not to me. But I believe God exists.

The thing is, people have been carefully studying those texts for centuries.  As far as I can tell, the amount of the Bible that even most sides can agree are figurative or literal is very small, while the parts that are "not so clear" are almost all of it.  How many more centuries of careful study are required before men can benefit from the holy word of the kindly, loving, caring god who wants only the best for all mankind?

Indefinite, so it seems. This deity isn't checking in, updating his own "word", demonstrating itself to the whole of humanity on a consistent basis, and is generally indistinguishable from a being that doesn't exist. So much for a God that loves and cares for us and wishes that "none should perish". For a deity that is supposedly all-powerful he certainly isn't using those power in any way that is distinguishable from not using them, not having them, and not existing. 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 05:35:47 AM
My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.

Oh, I answered the question just fine (and in doing so I anticipated the "Oh, you were just interpreting those passages wrong" attempt, which is the all too common default rationalization from just about every apologist I've encountered. It's the, "I assume the bible is the word of God. So any other interpretation is false" fallacy). You just didn't like the answer I gave b/c of this anticipation. The bigger question is, why are you accepting this one ancient textual account on faith?

Again, sure you can attempt to spin and rationalize ANY bible passage that makes your worldview inconvenient, untenable, and/or uncomfortable. But that is no different from what every religion on the planet does with their alleged 'holy' books when they are in danger of refutation. How unimpressive! Make a big fat assumption about what an old book says, and then go about defending it at all costs b/c you've invested yourself, and your surroundings, so heavily that it would be social suicide to get out. Smart!

"Difficult passages" isn't the first issue. Demonstrating how you think you know your alleged holy book is from a God (whatever that means) is.

I just carefully read your post at reply number 28 and also the one quoted here, and I'm quite surethat you have not, in fact, answered this:


Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

Lets see if you can manage it this time? Here's a handy hint - ridiculing the question is not the same as answering it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 14, 2013, 06:09:56 AM
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says? When it plainly says to kill people, why dont Xtians embrace that and get to killing? Instead arguing that it really means NOT to kill? Seems to me that you all will be punished like the Hebrews when they didnt kill all the people in the land of milk and honey. Imagine the shock when you get to those pearly gates and Jesus asks you, "Did you keep my commandments, did you bring before me those who did not not want me to Lord over them and slay them before me?" before he casts you into hell for not following his clear and plain orders he left you in his Word.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 06:28:00 AM
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says?

Firstly, what's with 'Xtians' instead of Christians? I see it here often.

Secondly, why do you think the bible, as a document, should be studied without adhering to the usual rules of context that are used to help aid understanding?

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 14, 2013, 06:41:37 AM
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says?

Firstly, what's with 'Xtians' instead of Christians? I see it here often.

Secondly, why do you think the bible, as a document, should be studied without adhering to the usual rules of context that are used to help aid understanding?

You did not answer the question though. Instead posing your own question. Perhaps I can even help you out...
In what context is it okay to bring non-believers before Jesus and slay them, as he demands you do? Perhaps once you answer that question, you will understand why many of us could care less for your "context" escape hatch.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 14, 2013, 07:01:06 AM
Where does Jesus (as opposed to YHWH) command his followers to slay non-believers?  For that matter, when and how often did YHWH command that?  The only place I can recall is during the conquest of Canaan.  Are there other places where this is commanded, Old Testament or New?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 14, 2013, 07:10:52 AM
Where does Jesus (as opposed to YHWH) command his followers to slay non-believers?  For that matter, when and how often did YHWH command that?  The only place I can recall is during the conquest of Canaan.  Are there other places where this is commanded, Old Testament or New?

Luke 19:26-28 should be sufficient...

here is the NIV version: 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me. 28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. "

This is right before Jesus is to make a grand entry into Jerusalem and orders two disciples to go to town and steal a horse to make his arrival look triumphant. The more I read of the Jesus fellow the more I realize he was a complete ass clown.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 05:30:15 PM
We're back to a question that I ask all the time but never get an answer for.

Why do Xtians fight tooth and nail to claim the bible means exactly the opposite of what it says?

Firstly, what's with 'Xtians' instead of Christians? I see it here often.

Secondly, why do you think the bible, as a document, should be studied without adhering to the usual rules of context that are used to help aid understanding?

You did not answer the question though. Instead posing your own question.

Are you seriously telling me that wasn't a rhetorical question? Come on...you were making a statement.

In what context is it okay to bring non-believers before Jesus and slay them, as he demands you do? Perhaps once you answer that question, you will understand why many of us could care less for your "context" escape hatch.

Let's look at the context of the verses you refer to, shall we. I have bolded the one which you seem to think compels me to bring non-believers to Jesus and slay them:

While they were listening to this, he started to tell them a story. He did so because they were near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God would begin right away.
 
12 So he said, `A man who belonged to a respected family went to a country far away. He went to get power to rule. Then he was going to come back.
 
13 Before he left, he called ten of his servants. He gave each of them some money. He said, "Go and trade with this money until I come back."
 
14 `His people hated him. They chose some men and sent them after him to tell the king, "We do not want this man to rule over us."
 
15 But he was given the power to rule and came back. Then he called the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much money each one had made by trading.
 
16 The first one came to him and said, "Sir, your money has made ten times more money."
 
17 `The ruler said, "You have done well. You are a good servant. You will rule over ten cities because you have done well with a very small thing."
 
18 The second one came to him and said, "Sir, your money has made five times more money."
 
19 The ruler said, "You will rule over five cities."
 
20 `Then another servant came and said, "Sir, here is your money. I hid it in a cloth and kept it.
 
21 I was afraid of you. You are a hard man. You take in where you put nothing out. You gather where you did not plant."
 
22 `The ruler said "You bad servant! I will judge you by your own words. You knew that I was a hard man! You knew that I take in where I put nothing out. You knew that I gather where I did not plant.
 
23 Why did you not put my money in the bank? Then when you came home I would have had my money with interest."
 
24 `Some men were standing there. He said to them, "Take the money from him. Give it to the man who has ten times as much."
 
25 They said, "Sir, he has ten times as much already!"
 
26 The ruler said, "I tell you. Anyone who has some will get more. But he who does not have anything, even the little that he has will be taken away from him.
 
27 But where are those people who hate me and did not want me to rule over them? Bring them here and kill them right here in front of me." '
 
28 When Jesus had said this, he went on ahead of them towards Jerusalem.


This is a parable, used to convey a meaning beyond the literal words used. This particular parable relates mainly to believers, and addresses the gifts we have been given by God to further His kingdom. You needn't concern yourself with this part of the parable at this time in your life.

The bolded verse is a warning of the fate that awaits those who reject Jesus as God's appointed judge and redeemer. This part concerns you. (or it should)

Now: havig carefully considered the context, do you think that bolded verse is a directive to Christians to kill non-Christians? Is that the context of the verse? Is the Christian explanation of that verse reasonable, or do you maintain that it's a baseless and contemptible attempt to explain away something unpleasant?




Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 14, 2013, 06:07:05 PM
It's all so very clear!

The places in the bible where god and/or Jesus seems to be a complete a$$ clown are metaphors, figurative, parables, hyperbole, only meant for the ancient Israelites, or poetry. Like the stuff about following all 613 of the OT laws to a jot and tittle (heh) including the treatment of slaves, the sacrificing of animals, keeping the Sabbath holy-- whatever that means-- and the abomination of eating delicious cioppino with a side of bacon.

That inconvenient-for-modern-urban-life stuff in the OT is not, under any circumstances, to be taken literally. Except for the part about not letting two men or two women get married in the eyes of the US federal government. (That's not actually in the bible anywhere, but it should have been, so it's literal.)

The stuff in the bible that makes god and/or Jesus look like a cool hippie dude is also to be taken literally. Jesus gave out food and medical care for free. He also hung out with a bunch of unemployed guys, partied with homeless people and hookers, drank wine, told random stories whenever anyone asked him a direct question.

Hey, Jesus reminds me of one of my uncles, who was also a cool hippie dude, but not a very good father to his abandoned children by several different women.[1]

Unless you don't really want to give away all your belongings and leave your family to help the less fortunate. Having lots of toys is the capitalist way,  which is also not exactly in the bible, which is way more communist than Karl Marx,  but it should have been, so it's literal. Not at all contradictory with the give all your belongings away bit.

So if there is anything god and/or Jesus said or did that you really don't want to do, then it's metaphor, parables, etc. Easy peasy.

Especially since god and/or Jesus did not say any of the following actually timeless, actually useful, actually helpful stuff:

don't kill anyone unless in defense of yourself or someone else;
don't have sex with anyone without their permission;
don't hurt children, the elderly or the disabled;
don't enslave anyone;
don't take advantage of anyone for your own gain;
don't mistreat people of different genders, sexualities or ethnicities;
don't abuse animals for fun or profit;
don't do nasty sh!t to the environment that you can't fix;
don't persecute people who do not believe the myths and legends of your faith or tell them they are going to hell.

That's only nine, off the top of my head, and any one of them would help humanity far better than the first four of the so-called "Ten Commandments".
 1. Unlike Jesus, though, my uncle had the excuse of serving in the military during the Vietnam War and got his brains scrambled before he became a hippie dude and started drinking wine and telling random stories.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 06:15:30 PM
Yes, NGFM. Very easy to mock. But I notice that at no point have you actually discussed the methodology used by biblical scholars to determine meaning and context, or attempted to refute this methodology.



Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 14, 2013, 06:29:13 PM
Yes, NGFM. Very easy to mock. But I notice that at no point have you actually discussed the methodology used by biblical scholars to determine meaning and context, or attempted to refute this methodology.
I mock because the entire question is based on a silly premise.

If the bible was clear-- and if it came from the one true perfect loving god, than nothing should be clearer-- there would be no need for all these biblical scholars to try to figure it out for the rest of us. If it was clear, all the scholars would come to an agreement rather quickly. If it was clear, there would only be one interpretation, and only one religion in the world.

Remember, we are discussing what is purported to be the single most important message ever given to human beings. That should not take a team of experts to explain, and there should not be any debate whatsoever as to the meaning of the message.

To understand any religious text from any of the worlds ancient faiths, you need a team of linguists, archeologists, historians and theologists trained in that area. That right there should tell you that the message of the bible is not clear, not unique and probably not necessary.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 06:48:16 PM
As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.





Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 14, 2013, 06:52:23 PM
As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.
Emphasis mine

What does the bolded sentence mean? Could you restate that more specifically please?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Tonus on April 14, 2013, 07:10:14 PM
The JWs taught that the central message of the Bible was the vindication of god's sovereignty through the establishment of his kingdom on Earth after the fall of man (via Adam and Eve's sin).  Is this what you believe it to be, magicmiles?  Or is it something else?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 07:10:51 PM

As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.
Emphasis mine

What does the bolded sentence mean? Could you restate that more specifically please?
Sure. The central message of the bible is that God created us to live in relationship with Him, but that relationship has been severed by sin, firstly at the garden of eden and then ever since. God can't dwell with sin, but He promised a way for the relationship to be restored. That way was Jesus, who died on a cross avut was resurrected. He will return as God's judge and all those who have not trusted in Him will perish.

Do you believe any of that? No. That drives all discussion/disgareement you and all atheists have about the bible.

To suggest that the fact some passages require careful consideration and lead to disagreement is a reason for disbelief is not true. The dis-belief was already there.

I don't expect for one second that, even if I could have you all concede that some passages do not mean what you claim they do, you would suddenly come to faith in God.

However, I will all the same defend the bible and the methodology used to help us best understand many of the passages.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 07:39:46 PM
The JWs taught that the central message of the Bible was the vindication of god's sovereignty through the establishment of his kingdom on Earth after the fall of man (via Adam and Eve's sin).  Is this what you believe it to be, magicmiles?  Or is it something else?

I haven't looked very carefully at what JW's believe. My understanding (which may be flawed) of their beliefs is that they combine some elements of biblical teaching with some additions of their own which are apprently imparted by angels. I do know that they believe some things which go directly against what the bible teaches.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 14, 2013, 07:47:42 PM
So do all Christians.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 14, 2013, 08:10:47 PM
My questions, on the other hand, clearly weren't rhetorical. And you didn't answer them, choosing instead to re-state your perfectly clear position.

Oh, I answered the question just fine (and in doing so I anticipated the "Oh, you were just interpreting those passages wrong" attempt, which is the all too common default rationalization from just about every apologist I've encountered. It's the, "I assume the bible is the word of God. So any other interpretation is false" fallacy). You just didn't like the answer I gave b/c of this anticipation. The bigger question is, why are you accepting this one ancient textual account on faith?

Again, sure you can attempt to spin and rationalize ANY bible passage that makes your worldview inconvenient, untenable, and/or uncomfortable. But that is no different from what every religion on the planet does with their alleged 'holy' books when they are in danger of refutation. How unimpressive! Make a big fat assumption about what an old book says, and then go about defending it at all costs b/c you've invested yourself, and your surroundings, so heavily that it would be social suicide to get out. Smart!

"Difficult passages" isn't the first issue. Demonstrating how you think you know your alleged holy book is from a God (whatever that means) is.

I just carefully read your post at reply number 28 and also the one quoted here, and I'm quite surethat you have not, in fact, answered this:


Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

Lets see if you can manage it this time? Here's a handy hint - ridiculing the question is not the same as answering it.

LOL. So, only if I answer the question in exactly the fashion that YOU WANT then it's answered?? WOW. You obviously haven't read Plato or Socrates. Your posts just wreak of the "Out of context!" fallacy. It's funny how you apologists call "out of context" on any interpretation of your bible that displays it in a light which doesn't suit your presupposition of it. As others have pointed out, somehow for you, it's OK to SPIN, and rationalize the passages alleged "context" when it has been demonstrated as faulty, in error, irrational, immoral, or inaccurate. Again, it's the whole, "I assume the bible is the inerrant 'word of God' until someone shows me otherwise". But the dirty little secret is that no one could ever show you otherwise b/c you have a pre-commitment to it. That is the opposite of intellectual and investigative honesty.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 08:31:06 PM
Does a moderator feel compelled to jump in here and suggest that Median might want to answer my question, rather than comment on it?

I've seen smaller dodges in a detroit factory.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 14, 2013, 08:33:48 PM
As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.

There is no "central message". You have 66 "books" written by 40+ different authors, many of whom cannot agree with each other (and contradict one another quite regularly in there). You have Jews, Christians, and Muslims (and hundreds of others from thousands of different sects and religions) who cannot agree on doctrines that are considered "central".


And somehow you think there's a "central message"? No, this assertion is just a demonstration that you ASSUMED your position on the bible from the outset. You took the backwards-easy route of starting with your conclusion.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 14, 2013, 08:51:56 PM
Magicmiles has a central message that he can project onto the Bible.  Other people do too.  It's a way of avoiding responsibility.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 14, 2013, 08:52:28 PM

As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.
Emphasis mine

What does the bolded sentence mean? Could you restate that more specifically please?
Sure. The central message of the bible is that God created us to live in relationship with Him, but that relationship has been severed by sin, firstly at the garden of eden and then ever since. God can't dwell with sin, but He promised a way for the relationship to be restored. That way was Jesus, who died on a cross avut was resurrected. He will return as God's judge and all those who have not trusted in Him will perish.

Do you believe any of that? No. That drives all discussion/disgareement you and all atheists have about the bible.

To suggest that the fact some passages require careful consideration and lead to disagreement is a reason for disbelief is not true. The dis-belief was already there.

I don't expect for one second that, even if I could have you all concede that some passages do not mean what you claim they do, you would suddenly come to faith in God.

However, I will all the same defend the bible and the methodology used to help us best understand many of the passages.

Yeah, just like Muslims do with the Koran and Mormons do with the book of Mormon. Big whoop! That's just another example (amidst the thousands of examples) of religious SPIN. You can "defend" any mythical, non-demonstrable, non-falsifiable assertion (from any alleged holy book or relic story from the past) with rationalizations/favored interpretations and pretend it's all OK b/c your interpretation fixes the problem (but it doesn't). Saying it is so doesn't make it so (especially when this is something you are so heavily invested in, and can't afford to lose).

Would you accept your own argument if a Muslim made it toward you? How about if every time you demonstrated how the Koran/Hadith could not be reliable he pulled out his "context card" and handed it to you (metaphorically speaking). "Koran out of context, my friend! It's true but you won't see it!" Would that work for you? Would you accept his argument and agree with his assertion that the Koran is sound?

This "methodology" you're using is one (just like the other religions) that makes the huge assumption that it is "the word of God". Would you trust a salesman at your front door who used reasoning like this? "Yes sir, this potion is magic. I knew it when I first heard about it and read the articles."
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 08:54:42 PM
Magicmiles has a central message that he can project onto the Bible.  Other people do too.  It's a way of avoiding responsibility.

Have you read the bible start to finish? Did you see any central message shining through?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 14, 2013, 08:56:03 PM
Most of it.  And no.  I don't have an agenda to project onto it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 08:57:54 PM
I didn't ask you if you had an agenda. I asked if you saw any central message.

So, you didn't?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 14, 2013, 09:01:38 PM
Magicmiles has a central message that he can project onto the Bible.  Other people do too.  It's a way of avoiding responsibility.

Have you read the bible start to finish? Did you see any central message shining through?

Yes, I've read the bible multiple times. As a former born-again Christian evangelist, pastor, and "defender of the faith" (for nearly 20 years) I attempted to use the exact same arguments you are now attempting to make. But they are flawed b/c they START with the assumption that your bible is "God breathed". Just b/c those 66 different documents have one nice leathery cover around them doesn't at all mean there is a central message (unless of course you're willing to admit that the central message is fiction). HINT: The Jews don't agree with you on that message! And neither do thousands of other religious people who are reading/interpreting that text.

There is no central message. There is only a PERCEIVED central message based upon what you assumed from the outset.  Perhaps more importantly, even IF you could demonstrate that there was a central message 1) that would in no way show that any of it is true or accurate and 2) it wouldn't mean your personal interpretation is the correct one.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 09:03:14 PM
I wasn't asking you. I've found asking you questions to be a frustrating exercise.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 14, 2013, 09:05:27 PM
I wasn't asking you. I've found asking you questions to be a frustrating exercise.

Only b/c you assumed that if I didn't answer a question in the way you wanted me to, then the answer wasn't valid.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 14, 2013, 09:23:33 PM
I didn't ask you if you had an agenda. I asked if you saw any central message.

Because I have no agenda for it, not being a believer in it, I never projected a central message onto it.

So, you didn't?

See above: no.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 14, 2013, 09:27:44 PM

As I pointed out very early in this discussion, the central message of the bible could hardly be clearer. That central message is the one you have a real issue with.
Emphasis mine

What does the bolded sentence mean? Could you restate that more specifically please?
Sure. The central message of the bible is that God created us to live in relationship with Him, but that relationship has been severed by sin, firstly at the garden of eden and then ever since. God can't dwell with sin, but He promised a way for the relationship to be restored. That way was Jesus, who died on a cross avut was resurrected. He will return as God's judge and all those who have not trusted in Him will perish.

mm, I swear on whatever you would deem acceptable that I am not trying to pick a fight with you. I'm really, really not. I know that you are being very sincere, and very patient, and I appreciate it. I'm being equally sincere in return.

I used to believe in God. Completely, unquestionably, believed that God existed, and was aware of me, specifically and personally, and was interested in and actively supporting my best interests. I sought to feel "the presence of the Lord". I prayed. I defended my beliefs when questioned, which was admittedly rare. And I in turn asked questions. I questioned my mother*. I went to a parochial elementary school so I questioned the nuns. When their answers didn't satisfy me, I was sent to the priest, and bless his heart, he did his best to answer my queries so that I could understand what was expected of me as a child of God. I want to be very clear - that was my motivation, I wanted to know what was expected of me as a child of God.

(*my father married into religion, so I figured my mom was a more reliable source, since learned everything he knew about it from her anyway. I believed THAT because, well duh, he didn't know about God until he wanted to marry my mom, and God wouldn't be able to recognize their marriage if my dad didn't go to church and believe in God too. I admit that I thought that meant that he wouldn't be able to pick them out of a crowd  - I was pretty young, but also, I was THAT kind of believer - adopted into a Catholic family where God's presence is a given. The Ten Commandments were written on the wall at the end of the bedroom hallway, and Jesus watched over our television set from his place on the wall, right next to the Pope)

Now, to be fair, I came out of the gate with tough questions. I opened with the Trinity, and that kept me going for several months, trying to make some sort of sense of the answers gathered from all parties. Eventually I just gave up and accepted that God's ways were mysterious and that faith was the answer. So we moved on to faith.... you know, in retrospect I was a very challenging child, although I totally didn't get that at the time.... and the faith thing kept me gong for the next few years. They never should have used the phrase "blind faith"and I suspect my mother would have cheerfully strangled the priest for sending me home with that one.

Then, in my early adolescence, our church hosted a visiting statue of Mary (or as my grandmother would say "theblessedvirginmary") that cried
about abortion. Things began to get a bit warm when I had the audacity to ask how they knew what she was crying about, and they got downright hot when I finally had the sense to ask what, exactly, the Catholic church's position on abortion meant for a pregnant mother in danger of dying with kids already at home.

None of the people who were, according to the belief system that I was raised in, the ones who's job it was guide me on my journey as a child of Christ, were able to give satisfactory non-conflicting answers to a kid. On the single most important topic of my life no less!

Then I had a friend who's mother left his father for a woman, and I really understood just how much the church didn't seem to give a sh!t about real people, the church gave a sh!t about being obeyed. I finally understood that the problem wasn't God, the problem was people.

And that carried me along for years. I still believed in God, I just figured that people were really stupid and had completely missed the point. For what it's worth, that's still pretty much what I believe, except for the existence of an actual god entity.

Quote
Do you believe any of that? No. That drives all discussion/disgareement you and all atheists have about the bible.

To suggest that the fact some passages require careful consideration and lead to disagreement is a reason for disbelief is not true. The dis-belief was already there.

I don't expect for one second that, even if I could have you all concede that some passages do not mean what you claim they do, you would suddenly come to faith in God.

However, I will all the same defend the bible and the methodology used to help us best understand many of the passages.

And here's the part I want to talk about. My disbelief in God is not in any way based on the accuracy or lack thereof, of the bible. It's not based on empirical evidence. It's not because everything I know about science indicates that a god is not necessary for the existence of the universe, or of humanity. None of these things are why, although they all serve to reinforce and support my disbelief.

I don't believe in god. Or God. Or Allah, Thor, Ba'al, Isis, Zeus or Aphrodite - I'm a gender neutral atheist, I disbelieve in god and goddesses equally. This is beyond my control. If i woke up tomorrow determined to believe in god, I could fake it, and probably fake it well if circumstance required it - I used to believe so I know the routine. Here's the problem - if I somehow turned out to be completely wrong and god does, in fact, exist, and bears any resemblance to god of the bible, he would know I'd been faking and I'd fry anyway.  :o

Do you really believe us when we say we don't believe in god, God, or gods? Sometimes I think you don't quite believe how much we're not kidding (you or ourselves) about our lack of belief. It's not a light switch that can be turned on and off at will - either you believe or you don't.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 09:28:02 PM
I wasn't asking you. I've found asking you questions to be a frustrating exercise.

Only b/c you assumed that if I didn't answer a question in the way you wanted me to, then the answer wasn't valid.

Humour me. Link to the section of your post(s) that you think has answered my questions. Lets throw it open for other to decide.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 14, 2013, 09:33:41 PM
@ Jag, thanks for your lengthy post. I am really, really out of time here, so my response won't be for a few days.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 14, 2013, 09:38:33 PM
Looking forward to it, we'll talk then. Take care mm!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 14, 2013, 10:35:58 PM
Where does Jesus ask ME to do that? I must have missed the memo.

Hi, holybuckets.  Nice to see you back.  To what is your post responding?  The OP?  Please clarify.  It will help us answer your question.
Thanks Screwtape,
The post is the original post: "Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews."

First of all, as a Christian, Jesus never commanded me to do miracles. I have a couple of card tricks, but that's about it. Secondly, 1 Peter says to give answers "for the reason of hope'.. unfortunately for you guys....... well, let's just say, I don't have to give you an answer... and finally, in giving atheists answers, Matthew 10:14 says: "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."  So, in answer to the original poster... there's your answer!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 15, 2013, 01:58:41 PM
The problem here is that the "central message" of Christianity, or any religion for that matter, depends on the interpretation people give to their holy texts.  I've read virtually all of the Old Testament, and I can honestly say that if there was a "central message" to it, it was that the only reasons humans existed was to obey YHWH slavishly and in every particular, and if they didn't, bad things would happen to them and their country.  Oddly enough, at the hands of invaders/conquerors (the Hittites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans), which weren't believers in the Jewish religion.  Time and time again, Israel was conquered and the inhabitants enslaved, and by those who didn't believe in their god.  In other words, YHWH was either not willing to lift a hand to spare his disobedient people from the horrors of being conquered, even when it meant that they were exiled from their promised land, or he actively connived to cause the invasions.

I suppose you can call that a relationship.  You can also call a person living with an abusive spouse a relationship.  Doesn't mean I'd want a part of either one.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 15, 2013, 06:54:34 PM
The problem here is that the "central message" of Christianity, or any religion for that matter, depends on the interpretation people give to their holy texts.  I've read virtually all of the Old Testament, and I can honestly say that if there was a "central message" to it, it was that the only reasons humans existed was to obey YHWH slavishly and in every particular, and if they didn't, bad things would happen to them and their country.  Oddly enough, at the hands of invaders/conquerors (the Hittites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans), which weren't believers in the Jewish religion.  Time and time again, Israel was conquered and the inhabitants enslaved, and by those who didn't believe in their god.  In other words, YHWH was either not willing to lift a hand to spare his disobedient people from the horrors of being conquered, even when it meant that they were exiled from their promised land, or he actively connived to cause the invasions.

I suppose you can call that a relationship.  You can also call a person living with an abusive spouse a relationship.  Doesn't mean I'd want a part of either one.

QFT

Thing that the religious dont seem to grasp is that this story of obeying god and punishments for not obeying makes absolutely no sense from an outside observer. We have the supposed god over EVERYTHING punishing people who disobey him using people who dont even recognize his existence. If the story were to make sense then either both groups would be punished, OR the atheistic group punished by the "chosen" people.

However, in the OT we do get the latter, however, again from an outside observer it doesnt make a lick of sense. We have god helping his "chosen" people slaughter the not chosen people because they did not believe, because they werent the "chosen" people. Perhaps if yahweh had revealed himself to the non chose instead of the hebrews maybe the roles would be reversed.

And it completely ignores that yahweh is sposed to be the god of everyone. Then when you try to heap the NT on top of already absurd text you get, well, you get what we have now....
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 15, 2013, 11:03:37 PM
I wasn't asking you. I've found asking you questions to be a frustrating exercise.

Only b/c you assumed that if I didn't answer a question in the way you wanted me to, then the answer wasn't valid.

Humour me. Link to the section of your post(s) that you think has answered my questions. Lets throw it open for other to decide.

Wow, we're still on this? I answered in Socratic fashion (which btw had a double purpose). I asked if you take the passages regarding the resurrection of Jesus, Yahweh creating man instantaneously out of nothing, water into wine, the virgin birth, the 'miracles' in the book of Acts etc etc as 'literal' in order to 1) find out what exactly you mean when you use the term (which never happened) and 2) if you're answer was yes, then to answer the question via your own answer.

Jesus specifically commands his followers (not just the ones back then) to do miracles. But of course when some Christians don't see the miraculous happening today they spin the text, instead of admitting these holy book claims are just false. They (like I anticipate you will attempt) can see that, "No Modern Events Have the Characteristics of Bible Miracles." And say the reason (really a rationalization) is, "Spiritual Gifts Are No Longer Needed, Because They Have Fulfilled Their Purpose."

HA! What a perfect way to build into your belief system an immunity from evidence (while trying to 'concoct the context' - make up your own version of Christianity as you go, which is basically what happened back then). Mark 16 clearly commands that believers WILL do the miraculous. He allegedly said, "And these signs will accompany those who believe..." Now, if you'd like to point to passages that contradict this (some have tried 1 Cor 13) great! The bible contradicts itself (throughout). It is only those who ASSUME the bible is "God breathed" who are attempting to STILL give it a pass. But that is hypocrisy b/c you would NOT give a pass to other religions when they try the same trick.


"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father."- Gospel of John 14:12-13 NIV


If anyone can be found to be 'context dropping' is would be you apologists who can see deep down that your theology is bunk and that this stuff just doesn't hold water. Yet, you've made such a heavy investment in your socialized worldview that it would be socially suicidal to give it up and walk away - thus causing you to spin, rationalize, context drop, pick n choose, practice confirmation bias, and hold a double standard instead of being honest.

Why would anyone think the bible (or any other holy book) is divine, or "from God"?? Who gave you this idea and why did you buy it?

http://www.gospelway.com/god/miracles_duration.php (http://www.gospelway.com/god/miracles_duration.php)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 15, 2013, 11:52:17 PM
At this point, Median, I just have to shake my head in wonder. Two very, very simple questions. Four posts by you in response. No answer to my questions.

I invite anybody else to review posts 28, 35, 57 and 76and tell me if they think Median has actually answered my questions.


Edit to upgrade the post numbers. I had mis-counted how many times this numb-nuts has dodged my two questions.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Tonus on April 16, 2013, 09:33:18 AM
I haven't looked very carefully at what JW's believe. My understanding (which may be flawed) of their beliefs is that they combine some elements of biblical teaching with some additions of their own which are apprently imparted by angels. I do know that they believe some things which go directly against what the bible teaches.

They take the Bible as a literal document from start to finish, and interpret scripture on the basis of help from the holy spirit, which they consider to be god's "active force" and not an actual being.  I was just curious how it would compare to your version, and it's not far off.  I think that if there's any common thread through the Bible, it's that goodness was lost to mankind and god created a plan to restore it.  I don't have a problem with the central theme, it's pretty straightforward.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 16, 2013, 12:43:19 PM
Where does Jesus ask ME to do that? I must have missed the memo.

Hi, holybuckets.  Nice to see you back.  To what is your post responding?  The OP?  Please clarify.  It will help us answer your question.
Thanks Screwtape,
The post is the original post: "Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews."

First of all, as a Christian, Jesus never commanded me to do miracles. I have a couple of card tricks, but that's about it. Secondly, 1 Peter says to give answers "for the reason of hope'.. unfortunately for you guys....... well, let's just say, I don't have to give you an answer... and finally, in giving atheists answers, Matthew 10:14 says: "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."  So, in answer to the original poster... there's your answer!

Have you read the passages? Jesus IS (allegedly) commanding you to do the works he did (and greater). He states:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father."- Gospel of John 14:12-13 NIV


Now, why have you assumed the bible is the "word of God"? And why are you trying to defend it against all criticism and/or refutation?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 16, 2013, 01:59:01 PM
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews.

I am betting that absolutely none (zero) of you Christians will be able, or willing to adequately finish this challenge. My prediction is 2 fold (for those that actually take the challenge - because most of you believers have no confidence in your beliefs and won't take the challenge). But for those who do, you will either...

1) Obfuscate or avoid the tough questions and eventually give up or leave, or...
2) End the discussion by saying something like, "Well, I just have faith."

Neither of these are adequate responses but if you wish to actually do what your bible tells you, then please bring your A game and demonstrate (not just claim) how you know your deity Yahweh is actually real.

In respect of the performing of miracles, my understanding has always been that this was a specific gift provided to the early apostles as a means of establishing the early church. Seemed to work, too.

What was your understanding of these passages back when you were a Christian apologist?

To answer this ONE MORE TIME (so there is no confusion), I took the text to mean what they said and said what they mean (specifically the two passages listed) - that "all who have faith" WILL do miracles (and greater). You can attempt to point to passages that allegedly contradict this view, but then I say fine! The bible contradicts itself and the only reason you're attempting to defend it is because you have a pre-commitment to make it seem as if it doesn't (and, as I mentioned in another post, what a convenient way to make your view immune from having to provide solid evidence and demonstration!).

So again, why are you believing and defending that your bible is "the word of God"? What makes you think this book is in any way "divine" in origin? Please don't just make claims...demonstrate.


http://www.catholic.com/tracts/do-miracles-still-occur
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 04:13:49 PM
Median, these are the questions I have been waiting for you to answer:

Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

But don't bother any further with it. I know longer wish to discuss anything with you. I find you quite unpleasant.


Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 04:34:53 PM

And here's the part I want to talk about. My disbelief in God is not in any way based on the accuracy or lack thereof, of the bible. It's not based on empirical evidence. It's not because everything I know about science indicates that a god is not necessary for the existence of the universe, or of humanity. None of these things are why, although they all serve to reinforce and support my disbelief.

I don't believe in god. Or God. Or Allah, Thor, Ba'al, Isis, Zeus or Aphrodite - I'm a gender neutral atheist, I disbelieve in god and goddesses equally. This is beyond my control. If i woke up tomorrow determined to believe in god, I could fake it, and probably fake it well if circumstance required it - I used to believe so I know the routine. Here's the problem - if I somehow turned out to be completely wrong and god does, in fact, exist, and bears any resemblance to god of the bible, he would know I'd been faking and I'd fry anyway.  :o

Do you really believe us when we say we don't believe in god, God, or gods? Sometimes I think you don't quite believe how much we're not kidding (you or ourselves) about our lack of belief. It's not a light switch that can be turned on and off at will - either you believe or you don't.

I suspect your experience is quite common. It seems pretty common amongst members here.

Faith is obviously a personal experience, and I find its next to impossible to try and explain my own personal faith.

I see the same evidence regarding the existence of the world as you (although I am not good with science, I understand the basic premise behind the big bang, evolution and natural selection). I look at the world around me. Not just the physical world, but the behaviour of human. When I think about it deeply, as I have many times, I always arrive at the same conclusions - the biblical account of how this world came to be makes sense. The alternate theories on how this world came to be simply don't.

Does the bible make complete sesne to me? Of course not. But on the whole, I find it compelling.

Do you know the people who find it most compelling, in my experience? Those who have read it with absolutely zero exposure to Christian teaching.

For me to deny God's existence would be dishonest. I know what I believe.

I will be completely honest here, and then sit back and count the down-votes:

I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

Take care.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 16, 2013, 04:42:59 PM
I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

Then there is absolutely no point in pretending to have a meaningful discussion with you.  Fuck off.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 04:49:30 PM
OK.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wright on April 16, 2013, 05:26:04 PM
Greetings, magic. I've been following this and the other threads you've been participating in.

Faith is obviously a personal experience, and I find its next to impossible to try and explain my own personal faith.

That I have no problem with. I just don't like theists who say that and in the next breath assert that they know exactly what their personal deity wants for everyone else.

I see the same evidence regarding the existence of the world as you (although I am not good with science, I understand the basic premise behind the big bang, evolution and natural selection). I look at the world around me. Not just the physical world, but the behaviour of human. When I think about it deeply, as I have many times, I always arrive at the same conclusions - the biblical account of how this world came to be makes sense. The alternate theories on how this world came to be simply don't.

magic, with respect, there is evidence backing up the Big Bang and other naturalistic explanations of the universe we find ourselves in. There is zero verifiable, empirical evidence for it being deliberately created by any god, much less the Biblical one.   

Does the bible make complete sesne to me? Of course not. But on the whole, I find it compelling.

Glad you admit that the bible is at times opaque to you. That you find it compelling is unsurprising, given that is the predominate religious view (correct me if I'm wrong) in your native culture and upbringing. There are Muslims, Hindus and probably even some Zoroastrians who feel exactly the same about their religious beliefs.
 


For me to deny God's existence would be dishonest. I know what I believe.

Fair enough.
 
I will be completely honest here, and then sit back and count the down-votes:

I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

magic, that was a very arrogant assertion to make, as well as quite wrong. An apology for assuming you can somehow read the minds of every forum member here would be nice.

Take care.

And you as well.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 05:39:25 PM
Thanks Wright.

I can't read minds. But I do believe God makes Himself known. I know that makes it nigh impossible to continue discussion with me, as Azdgari gently told me. But I hate dishonesty, and I would be lying if I answered Jag any other way.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 16, 2013, 05:41:26 PM
Lying about other peoples' thoughts doesn't seem to bug you.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 05:47:58 PM
Lying about other peoples' thoughts doesn't seem to bug you.

Irony clap.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 16, 2013, 05:50:36 PM
You corrected me when I was wrong.  I acknowledged it.

Will you accept correction in this case?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 05:54:42 PM
No, I won't. It's what I honestly believe.

Could I be wrong? Sure.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 16, 2013, 05:54:56 PM
I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.
You really shouldn't project your own personal beliefs onto other people.  It's presumptuous, to say the least.  How would you react if someone said to you, "I believe that, deep down, no Christian, including you, really believes in their god"?  I think you would find it to be patently ridiculous, at the very least, because they're presuming to say that they know you better than you know yourself.  Yet that is exactly what you're saying about the atheists here - that you know them better than they know themselves, at least as far as "god-belief" goes.

There is only one person you can make statements about regarding what they believe, and that's you.  To say that about anyone else is an insidious form of self-deception.  What makes you think your god has actually made himself known to the atheists on this forum, or ever will?  That's why it's self-deception, because you're deceiving yourself with something you believe to be true, but cannot possibly know is true.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 16, 2013, 06:06:05 PM
No, I won't. It's what I honestly believe.

Well then, there's actually no irony at all to my accusation, is there?

EDIT:  There's also the difference that my opinion of your thoughts was at least based on an observation of what you were saying, even if I drew the wrong conclusion from it.  Your position on what the thoughts of this entire forum must be, is drawn without necessarily ever talking to the people in question.  Awfully ignorant and arrogant prejudice there.

Could I be wrong? Sure.

You admit you could be wrong, but proclaim that you will never accept correction on the point.  Strange.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 06:17:53 PM
I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.
You really shouldn't project your own personal beliefs onto other people.  It's presumptuous, to say the least.

How could I answer Jag honestly any other way, if it is what I truly believe?


How would you react if someone said to you, "I believe that, deep down, no Christian, including you, really believes in their god"? 

I would accept that is how they felt, and explain as best I could why I do believe in God. As has occurred between us on these forums, countless times.

I don't think it would offend me, but I would need to make a decision if there was much point in engaging with them further. Just as you all can make that decision.

If no-one wants to enagage me, I inderstand. I'll eventually drift away from the forum. Again.



What makes you think your god has actually made himself known to the atheists on this forum, or ever will? 

Thanks for asking.

Mainly, Romans 1: 19-20

since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

There's a lot more besides, to do with what I see occurring on the forum and in real life. I'll try to express it more thoroughly another time...if anyone is still talking to me.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 06:38:45 PM


You admit you could be wrong, but proclaim that you will never accept correction on the point.  Strange.

I won't rescind what I believe whilst I still believe it. Would you?

I might stop believing it. I don't think so, but maybe. If I do, I will let you know.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Tonus on April 16, 2013, 06:56:07 PM
I will be completely honest here, and then sit back and count the down-votes:

I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

I don't take offense to that statement.  I even think I understand where it comes from.  I had lost my faith in god many years before I acknowledged it.  Not only did I never wish to stop believing, I pretended to believe even after I no longer did.  By the time I admitted that I was a non-believer, there wasn't a shred of belief left to grasp.

I think that religious belief is emotional in nature.  We approach god emotionally, and then we make a token attempt at making him fit our world rationally.  Once we put emotion into its proper place and approach god and religion rationally, belief shrivels away.  "Heart and soul" are just another way to say "emotional center."  Anyone whose been head-over-heels in love knows that emotions are often irrational, and sometimes spectacularly so.  And what generates a more emotional reaction than the belief in an almighty god who has a plan for us, who gives us a truly transcendent goal to aim for?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 16, 2013, 07:05:46 PM
The problem, magicmiles, is that your belief could be completely and totally wrong, as you admitted.  You don't have any way to confirm whether it's correct; everything you can reasonably draw on as support is fundamentally drawn from a belief that you can't be sure is true at all, whether it's yours or someone else's.  For example, you cited the Bible to support your belief, but you can't show proof that the Bible is anything more than human writings, not divinely-inspired at all.

Do you see the problem here?  You're basing your belief that your god has revealed himself to everyone on a house of cards, belief stacked on belief stacked on belief.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 16, 2013, 07:27:41 PM
^^ Sounds somewhat like most religious beliefs.  The difference, of course, is that in this case the belief is not about the unverifiable existence and qualities of a hypothetical extra-dimensional entity.[1]  In this case, it's a belief about other people.  Other people are definitely real.  And they know themselves better than magicmiles knows them.  Magicmiles is lying about being able to know their thoughts better than they do.
 1. Or however you want to define "God" so that it's beyond the reach of observation.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 16, 2013, 08:03:54 PM
Where does Jesus ask ME to do that? I must have missed the memo.

Hi, holybuckets.  Nice to see you back.  To what is your post responding?  The OP?  Please clarify.  It will help us answer your question.
Thanks Screwtape,
The post is the original post: "Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews."

First of all, as a Christian, Jesus never commanded me to do miracles. I have a couple of card tricks, but that's about it. Secondly, 1 Peter says to give answers "for the reason of hope'.. unfortunately for you guys....... well, let's just say, I don't have to give you an answer... and finally, in giving atheists answers, Matthew 10:14 says: "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."  So, in answer to the original poster... there's your answer!

Have you read the passages? Jesus IS (allegedly) commanding you to do the works he did (and greater). He states:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father."- Gospel of John 14:12-13 NIV


Now, why have you assumed the bible is the "word of God"? And why are you trying to defend it against all criticism and/or refutation?
Thanks Median, Jesus was talking to his disciples in John 14:12-13. He was not talking to me, I was not there. Of course atheists do not accept this, but His disciples actually did great things. Look at the Christian world today, how big it is, and it started with 12 men. So, I would say that Jesus was right on - on that one.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 16, 2013, 08:20:36 PM
I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

Take care.

Thank you mm. Regardless of what reaction this reply may have gotten you from anyone else here (I deliberately opted to respond immediately without going any further down the thread), I want to make sure you know that I appreciate the honesty of your answer.

I wasn't sure you were going to reply at all. Now that you have, I'm not quite sure where to go from here...

I guess I have to go read the follow up posts and see what came of this.


Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 08:33:20 PM



I wasn't sure you were going to reply at all. Now that you have, I'm not quite sure where to go from here...


The ice cream shop. That's never a bad move.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 16, 2013, 08:46:50 PM
Ok, I've read the follow up posts, and think I should make this point: I'm the one who put him in this position.

I asked him outright if he really believed that we really don't believe (ignore the awkward wording please) and he answered the question I asked him.

I'm very much with Tonus in not being offended. (The rest of his post fits me quite well too and is very similar to how I would explain the rest of my story beyond the details I shared with mm.)

While I'm not thrilled that my suspicion proved to be correct, I think we need to be remember that he responded to a direct question with a direct answer, exactly as I asked him to.  We may not like his answer, but in this case we ARE talking about a subjective truth, mm's beliefs about our beliefs.

Whether he's right or wrong on this doesn't matter, what he said is what he believes. He could have lied to us - how he would have dealt with his conscience is up to him, and beside the point.

If there is fall out from mm being truthful, then some of it should rightly fall on me as well - this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't put him on the spot.

And mm? I really apologize for that. In retrospect, it wasn't very well thought out, and I should have seen that I was unintentionally setting you up. I wouldn't apologize if it had been deliberate, but it wasn't. I'm sorry.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 16, 2013, 08:50:43 PM
Think nothing of it. I'm certain I've said it before. And been told to fuck off and never darken the forums doorstep again.

Somehow I seem to keep lobbing back though.

Christians can be persistent buggers.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 16, 2013, 11:00:38 PM
Median, these are the questions I have been waiting for you to answer:

Just so we're clear: are you saying that your understanding of the passage is the only correct one? Do you interpret everything literally?

But don't bother any further with it. I know longer wish to discuss anything with you. I find you quite unpleasant.

LOL. I know you do b/c I'm challenging your presuppositions that you have invested so much into, and would feel so much pain to lose. I felt the same way about ex-Christians who challenged me when I was an apologist.

Did you come here so you could just talk to non-believers who you find "pleasant" (i.e. - the ones who won't challenge your biblical assumptions) and will only answer you in the fashion YOU want? It seems I'm not the only one who is displeased with the manner in which you behave yourself here. But that's OK, I didn't expect much more and didn't think you would be able to meet the challenge of the OP.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 16, 2013, 11:36:47 PM
I see the same evidence regarding the existence of the world as you (although I am not good with science, I understand the basic premise behind the big bang, evolution and natural selection). I look at the world around me. Not just the physical world, but the behaviour of human. When I think about it deeply, as I have many times, I always arrive at the same conclusions - the biblical account of how this world came to be makes sense. The alternate theories on how this world came to be simply don't.

Does the bible make complete sesne to me? Of course not. But on the whole, I find it compelling.

Why do you find it compelling? Have you not read the contradictions there? What about Yahweh's endorsement of slavery, genocide, infanticide, human sacrifice, and eternal torture is compelling?

Second, just looking at the world and then "thinking about it deeply" doesn't mean your thinking is rational. That requires a demonstration of this thinking you are doing. And what about the bible's account of creation (presumably Genesis 1) "makes sense"? It just makes an ASSERTION. There is no demonstrable evidence. Trees don't naturally say "Made by Yahweh" or "Hecho in Heaven" on them. Like other ancient writings claiming the supernatural, Genesis simply CLAIMS that Yahweh "did this". Why do you buy it?

I will be completely honest here, and then sit back and count the down-votes:

I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

Take care.

And I don't believe there is a single Christian (including you) that, deep down, doesn't secretly know (in their "heart of hearts"), that this stuff is a hogwash delusion of wishful thinking. We can 'believe' (i.e. - have "faith") in anything. But faith is not a reliable way to separate fact from fiction. How does merely believing what makes you feel good make it anymore true? We are interested in WHY you believe these things. And I would assert that the reason you believe that every non-believer is a secret believer is that you assumed your bible to be the word of God in advance (in particular Romans ch1, among other places). But you can't assume your position. The point of the OP is for you to DEMONSTRATE your deity - not just come in here and make baseless accusations about what you "have faith" are true.

Please "take care" more rationally.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 17, 2013, 12:39:51 AM
I will be completely honest here, and then sit back and count the down-votes: I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

I won't down-vote you, Miles, but I do believe that you're wrong about this.  My own lifelong experience has been of a complete inability to believe in the reality of any gods... Including the goddess that I play on the Internet.

If there existed a lie-detector version of an MRI Brain scan, I'd be willing to subject Myself to such a test.  I'd expect it to show a lack of brain response to any attempt to sustain belief, like damp matches flaring and dying out immediately.

Now I have a question for you.  Please take your time with this, and don't rush to answer it.  How would it affect you if it turned out that you were wrong about what we believe?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 12:48:12 AM


Now I have a question for you.  Please take your time with this, and don't rush to answer it.  How would it affect you if it turned out that you were wrong about what we believe?

Do you mean, if it was somehow demonstrated beyond all doubt that you really do have zero belief in God?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 17, 2013, 12:50:41 AM
Do you mean, if it was somehow demonstrated beyond all doubt that you really do have zero belief in God?

Yes, precisely.  How would you reconcile that data with what you currently believe?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 01:11:30 AM
Well, that's a tough one to answer. It does require a bit of thought. It's hard to know how it could ever be verified.

Might be a while before I get back to you, like you suggest.

I want to clarify my statement somewhat also. Again, that might be a while.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: kcrady on April 17, 2013, 01:19:10 AM
Mainly, Romans 1: 19-20

since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Then it ought to be ridiculously easy for you to provide examples from the "created" world that demonstrate the invisible qualities of your particular god.  And not just something like "Oooh, stars!  Preeetty!  Therefore, Goddidit!"  Since Paul is claiming that everybody--including believers in other gods and goddesses--has no excuse not to believe in his specific god because it's just sooo self-evident, you should be able to demonstrate all of the important "invisible qualities" of your god from aspects of the real world.  For example, if one has to believe in the Trinity to be saved, the Cosmos should prove the Trinity somehow, so that Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. "are without excuse."  If Paul is correct, this should be easy.  Go ahead, rub our faces in it.

Edit: Grammar.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Quesi on April 17, 2013, 08:50:46 AM
I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

Really?  Wow.  MM, do you think that we believe in your god?  Just a little bit?  Do you think that Hindus believe in your god too?  Just a little bit?  Do you believe in Vishnu, just a little bit too?  Or does all of humanity really believe in your god, (just a little bit) even though only a third of humanity identify as Christian?  Do you agree with the premise that that Christians and Jews and Muslims all believe in the same god?  Or is believing in the Jesus resurrection story a necessary component?   Muslims believe in the same creation story as you do, with Adam and Eve and Noah and Abraham and whatnot.  They even believe a virgin named Mary gave birth to a kid she named Jesus, who was a great prophet.  Is that good enough?  Or do you think that the 22% of humanity that ascribes to Islam really believe in the resurrection, but pretend that they don't?   Do you think that isolated tribes in the Brazilian Amazon believe in your god too?  What about people who lived 3000 years ago, let's say, on the American continents or in the Far East? 

I've got to tell you.  I would be delighted to believe. It would be so much easier to believe.  In any of the gods. Your god and harps on clouds in heaven for all of eternity.  Reincarnation, in which my good deeds in this life make me super cool in the next life.  Taking a boat trip to the afterlife, with all of my favorite possessions, like the ancient Egyptians.  Or more images from pop Christianity, in which dead children are little angels, smiling down upon us, and my sweet dead parents are micromanaging the tough days in my life. 

It would be so much easier.  Easier in terms of popular culture and easier to tell my sweet daughter how our dead cat is young and lively and pouncing on little mouse toys in the after life.  Easier to be "accepted" as the good deed doer that I pride myself on being.  Easier to not think about the impact of global warming.  Easier to accept that "there will be poor always" and that I can just give the poor food and pat myself on the back, rather than fighting the roots of poverty and economic marginalization.  Easier, when I have a greedy moment, a selfish moment, an arrogant moment, to just accept that I'm a sinner because Eve ate an apple, rather than take responsibility for my actions. 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 17, 2013, 11:21:43 AM
I'm not offended at magicmiles's statement either.  He's saying what he honestly believes, and that's important, because it means he respects the people here enough to say what he thinks even though he knew going in that it wouldn't be received well.  That it probably would be an offensive statement to a number of people.  If he wasn't willing to be honest (even though he's almost certainly wrong about it, which is not the same as him knowingly lying) when it was unpopular, how could we ever trust him to be honest in other circumstances?

That being said, I do think he's wrong in that belief.  For starters, he's advanced the proposition that every member of this forum has some belief in his god, even if it's buried really deeply.  But he has no way to realistically verify that statement - no way to actually test whether someone has a secret, hidden, or buried belief in his god.  Furthermore, his proposition can only be true in one instance - if every member of this forum actually does have that buried belief in his god.  In every other instance, it would necessarily be false, and thus falsify his proposition.

Given that it's his proposition,  he needs to be able to demonstrate a way to verify its truth value.  If he can't, then it's not a useful belief.  It would be like advancing a belief in a specific race of aliens who lived on a specific planet - while he could try to convince anyone he wanted that it was true, without evidence to support it, there's no reason to accept it as true.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Dante on April 17, 2013, 12:16:28 PM
I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.

Do you find it offensive if I were to say that you, in your heart of hearts, doesn't really believe in the bullshit you espouse?

Because you basically just called us all liars. And that makes it hard to accept anything you say to us genuinely.

So, I gotta go with Az's assessment too. You really should fuck right off.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 06:24:27 PM

Given that it's his proposition,  he needs to be able to demonstrate a way to verify its truth value.  If he can't, then it's not a useful belief. 

Obviously I can't verify it. I don't anticipate that, even if an atheist member here wanted to step forward and declare that in some part of their being they suspected God was a reality, they would feel comfortable to do so. There was an OP from a regular atheist poster about a year ago which made that clear to me. (the way the OP was responded to made it clear to me)

Anyway, soon enough I will expand a little on my controversial statement.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 06:25:39 PM
Oh joy.  More preaching our personal qualities to us.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Hierophant on April 17, 2013, 07:14:12 PM


Now I have a question for you.  Please take your time with this, and don't rush to answer it.  How would it affect you if it turned out that you were wrong about what we believe?

Do you mean, if it was somehow demonstrated beyond all doubt that you really do have zero belief in God?

I can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that I have zero belief in God. Follow me around for a year or two and you'll observe absolutely zero speech or actions from me that would lead you to think I might believe in God.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 07:25:57 PM


Now I have a question for you.  Please take your time with this, and don't rush to answer it.  How would it affect you if it turned out that you were wrong about what we believe?

Do you mean, if it was somehow demonstrated beyond all doubt that you really do have zero belief in God?

I can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that I have zero belief in God. Follow me around for a year or two and you'll observe absolutely zero speech or actions from me that would lead you to think I might believe in God.

Done deal. I live in Australia. Do you want to come here or should I go to you?

Seriously, that would demonstrate nothing much at all.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Hierophant on April 17, 2013, 07:34:03 PM
Sounds to me like there's no evidence you'd accept, then, if you refuse to admit my actual behavior as evidence. I know I have no belief whatsoever in your god. Whether you accept that or not is really not very relevant... the fact that you refuse to accept my claim is merely proof that you are arguing disingenuously.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 17, 2013, 07:44:07 PM
Obviously I can't verify it. I don't anticipate that, even if an atheist member here wanted to step forward and declare that in some part of their being they suspected God was a reality, they would feel comfortable to do so. There was an OP from a regular atheist poster about a year ago which made that clear to me. (the way the OP was responded to made it clear to me)
As I'm sure you know, just because you believe something doesn't make it true.  That goes for anything you believe; unless you can support and verify it with something that exists in reality and isn't subject to interpretation, there's no reason to consider it having any more validity than any other unsupported opinion.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 07:51:40 PM
I wonder how magicmiles would feel if scores of people believed, deep down, that he was sexually attracted to little boys, and would not accept any of his actions/behaviour/protests to the contrary as evidence that they might be wrong.  A belief held by faith alone.  How would that be, for him?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Dante on April 17, 2013, 08:01:36 PM
It occurs to me that mm's belief that we're all theists is exactly like his god. It's all in his delusional head.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 08:02:28 PM
I wonder how magicmiles would feel if scores of people believed, deep down, that he was sexually attracted to little boys, and would not accept any of his actions/behaviour/protests to the contrary as evidence that they might be wrong.  A belief held by faith alone.  How would that be, for him?

I'd be hurt. I'd know it wasn't true. I'd try and get to the bottom of why they believed that.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 08:07:27 PM
It occurs to me that mm's belief that we're all theists is exactly like his god. It's all in his delusional head.

I haven't gone so far as to put a 'theist' label on anybody. Theist (to me) implies a deliberate, all encompassing belief in God. Not what I had in mind.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 08:18:36 PM
I'd be hurt. I'd know it wasn't true. I'd try and get to the bottom of why they believed that.

I already told you why they believed that.  Faith.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 08:31:29 PM
I'd be hurt. I'd know it wasn't true. I'd try and get to the bottom of why they believed that.

I already told you why they believed that.  Faith.

Yes. And I wouldn't be satisfied with such a pat response. I'd want to delve deeper into what that faith actually consisted of. It might even lead to meaningful discussion, assuming I hadn't told em all to fuck off (which would certainly be very tempting).

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 08:32:23 PM
Well, if they told you that for one reason or another, they would never change their minds on the topic, that temptation might get a little stronger wouldn't it?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 08:38:50 PM
Well, if they told you that for one reason or another, they would never change their minds on the topic, that temptation might get a little stronger wouldn't it?

Sure, but excuse me for thinking that being accused of believing (on some level) that God exists is not as offensive as being accused of a sexual attraction to little boys.

Edited to more accurately describe the analagy Azdgari used
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 09:03:04 PM
Agreed.  However, a similar problem presents itself doesn't it?  The offense factor is definitely different, but the frustration factor in dealing with people who have permanently made up their minds about you without knowing a thing about you is the same.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 09:07:18 PM
I guess so. And what a boring old forum it would be if such problems didn't arise. Gives us all something to do.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 09:08:20 PM
That line could be used to justify all manner of trolling...just sayin'.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 17, 2013, 09:08:58 PM
There's a difference between acknowledging that a god could exist, and believing that one does. I'm in the first camp.

I'm not even stretching for an example when I state that I absolutely think Bigfoot is way more likely. And I don't believe in Bigfoot either.

As I said earlier, I defaulted to a very vague amorphous idea of God after I bailed on the church. Eventually, questions from my kids forced me to start dealing with the weird left-over bits and pieces of my former beliefs. I parted ways with as much of the negative catholic conditioning as I could, but I continued to shy away from examining what I did believe by staying focused on what I didn't.

Unvarnished truth: I was scared to face it. As long as I avoided actually thinking about what I had left I was fine, but every time a stray thought slipped in, it scared me. So I kept ignoring it. I kept telling myself I wasn't ready; in retrospect I was being a childish.

By the time I decided I was ready to examine what remained of my beliefs about God, it turned out there really was nothing left. What I had been afraid of for all those years was the idea of being truly on my own in the universe. I didn't even remotely believe in a participatory God anymore, and along the way, everything else had faded completely away.

And it felt great. In almost every single objective measure my life is better. It IS better in every subjective sense. I now delight in the idea that we are on our own, to succeed or fail as a species based on our own choices. It's liberating.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 09:11:24 PM
That line could be used to justify all manner of trolling...just sayin'.

Agreed, but hopefully my contributions don't amount to trolling, no matter how unappealing.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 09:12:14 PM
No, they don't.  Hence "could".
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 17, 2013, 09:15:02 PM
There's also a difference between being told what you believe (which pisses most people right off) and not believing what you've been told, no matter what it's in regards to.

It's very frustrating - not many things genuinely "red-rage" me, but being told what I think or believe is one of them. I don't see what you said quite like that, but I understand why it provoked the response that it did.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 09:16:02 PM
In response to Azdgari's Karma comment, I can accept what Jag says in post 130 without any difficulty or dishonesty, and whilst maintaining my original opinion.

I do, however, need to make some follow up comments on that opinion. I don't have time to do it justice at the moment though.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 17, 2013, 09:31:02 PM
True, I suppose there's another way out:  Telling him that he's not lying, but simply wrong.  That you know his mind better than he does.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 17, 2013, 09:36:55 PM
I think there's more to belief than the mind. But more on that later.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 17, 2013, 09:45:31 PM
Sure, but excuse me for thinking that being accused of believing (on some level) that God exists is not as offensive as being accused of a sexual attraction to little boys.
Of course you don't think it is - you think it's a good thing to believe in your god.  But believe me, it's pretty offensive to say that someone believes something when they state that they don't.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 17, 2013, 10:31:58 PM
People can say anything. But they reveal more by their actions.

Based on actions, atheists are as ethical and moral and kind and generous and law-abiding as theists. In many cases, more so. (We have lots of evidence that places with less religious people are better on every human development measure than more religious places.)

Is it because, secretly, deep down, without even being aware of it, we atheists actually believe in the Christian version of god and want to go to heaven when we die? Even though we never worship, pray, or show any god-belief in any way? Or is it because we really think this is the only life we get and we should try to make it as good as we can for everyone?

On the other hand, most religious people behave every bit as badly as any atheist. Just as likely to break traffic laws, rob banks, beat up people, rape and molest, neglect their children and elderly, get divorced, have illicit sexual relations, steal cars, drink, smoke, take drugs, etc. Maybe even more so.

Even though they claim to believe that a god-being is watching them 24-7 and judging whether they are being good or not.

So, who is more likely to be acting on what they say they believe?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Hierophant on April 18, 2013, 02:12:06 AM
I think there's more to belief than the mind. But more on that later.

Funny, you rebuked me for giving you my own actions as evidence. Now you're saying this? Oh well.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 18, 2013, 02:31:43 AM
He probably doesn't mean actions, but rather something supernatural.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Hierophant on April 18, 2013, 03:25:44 AM
So... a presuppositionalist argument then?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 18, 2013, 03:38:28 AM
.....The offense factor is definitely different, but the frustration factor in dealing with people who have permanently made up their minds about you without knowing a thing about you is the same.

I guess so. And what a boring old forum it would be if such problems didn't arise. Gives us all something to do.

Actually, if one side (or both) is flatly refusing to change their mind; refusing to accept there is even any possibility of changing their mind.....then so far as I am concerned there is no longer any point in conversing with that person.

There's little or no point in me trying to understand their position.  Certainly there is no point trying to understand why they hold that position.  All I need to know is how their position may or may not affect me. 

Its like arguing with a locked door - it may be mildly interesting to know who built the lock, why the door is locked, or what is behind that door, but at the end of the day if that door is impassable then my focus has to be on how I circumvent that door.  Does it mean I have to sit in front of it forever, or do I go somewhere else?  A better analogy might be arguing with a bomb-on-wheels.....it's irrelevant WHY this bomb may want to blow me up, all I need to know is how fast it goes, and what damage it will do.

When a mind is entirely impervious to change, its motives are moot.  All that matters is how its opinions will affect the world.  And in great part, that may be a conversation best held without the input or knowledge of the unchangeable mind.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 18, 2013, 06:52:05 AM
I am actually not bothered by MM's belief comment at all...
why? because it actually is him admitting that he is atheist.

As you all have surely noted, a lot if not most of, theist arguments here are projections. They project how they behave onto others. So his belief that we all believe is actually an admission that he is a non-believer that refuses to admit it. You can see this line of reasoning everywhere in theist arguments. "if you dont believe in god, what do you believe in?" suggests that because they believe in something, we must too. "Without god we would have no morals" suggests that because they would behave like savages we would too. "You all have a belief in god" means that because he lies about his belief, we must be lying too.

Thank you for the admission MM, and welcome to the ranks of the non-believers!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 18, 2013, 12:08:16 PM

Thanks Median, Jesus was talking to his disciples in John 14:12-13. He was not talking to me, I was not there. Of course atheists do not accept this, but His disciples actually did great things. Look at the Christian world today, how big it is, and it started with 12 men. So, I would say that Jesus was right on - on that one.

So, according to your interpretation then, nothing Jesus said applies to you, right? B/c he didn't say it to you in "his word", right? By your logic you shouldn't be a Christian then because nothing Jesus supposedly said was actually said to you. Yeah, that's some serious SPIN there dude. You really need to study your Christian history and start getting honest with yourself.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 18, 2013, 12:23:03 PM
.....The offense factor is definitely different, but the frustration factor in dealing with people who have permanently made up their minds about you without knowing a thing about you is the same.

I guess so. And what a boring old forum it would be if such problems didn't arise. Gives us all something to do.

Actually, if one side (or both) is flatly refusing to change their mind; refusing to accept there is even any possibility of changing their mind.....then so far as I am concerned there is no longer any point in conversing with that person.

There's little or no point in me trying to understand their position.  Certainly there is no point trying to understand why they hold that position.  All I need to know is how their position may or may not affect me. 

Its like arguing with a locked door - it may be mildly interesting to know who built the lock, why the door is locked, or what is behind that door, but at the end of the day if that door is impassable then my focus has to be on how I circumvent that door.  Does it mean I have to sit in front of it forever, or do I go somewhere else?  A better analogy might be arguing with a bomb-on-wheels.....it's irrelevant WHY this bomb may want to blow me up, all I need to know is how fast it goes, and what damage it will do.

When a mind is entirely impervious to change, its motives are moot.  All that matters is how its opinions will affect the world.  And in great part, that may be a conversation best held without the input or knowledge of the unchangeable mind.

Great point. Ultimately what magicmiles is going to have to fall back on (just like all other apologists) is "faith" in his first big assumption ("The bible [my interpretation of it] is the word of God!") - not sound reasoning, not solid evidence, but faith. So then, all of this arguing about "good reasons for believing" is just a shell game. "I had a personal experience and I won't allow anyone to change my mind about it - no matter the cost."

How is this any different from superstition?


Perhaps more importantly, notice how all of these smoke and mirror games are a distraction from DEMONSTRATING this deity. As might have been so easily predicted, they can't demonstrate this alleged "Yahweh" thing. It's all just a big fat belief in the Santa Claus for grown ups.

It's Wayne all over again! They must have went to the same indoctrination therapy.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 18, 2013, 05:23:20 PM
Has atheism been proved? Has it been proved that is NO GOD?
Has evolution been proved? Has it been PROVED that man evolved?
Seems to me there should be a challenge to atheists as well.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 18, 2013, 07:50:47 PM
Hi there holybuckets, welcome to Logic 101.

Rule #1: You cannot disprove a negative. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim.

We'll move on to Rule #2 when you understand this one.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 18, 2013, 08:01:33 PM
I knew I'd tackled this quite nicely once before!

hb, below is a re-post of a reply I made in this thread: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24186.0.html

If you decide to go read that thread, feel free to skip the video in the very first entry. You really don't need to waste that hour of your life, even if you watched it through closed eyelids while snoring quietly. It's almost not relevant the the rest of the discussion. Read to the end of what I have below to see why you're not making any headway here.

magicmiles, you might want to take a peek too.

Quote from: mhaberling on December 22, 2012, 06:35:56 PM

    you sure know alot about what it means to be a.christian for an atheist

Reply from Jag:
You might be surprised to realize that most of the posters on this board are VERY well read former believers. Many of us were passionate in our desire to experience a personal relationship with god. Every single one failed to find anything to substantiate even the possibility of such a thing.

Don't make the common believer mistake of thinking that we all dismissed god-claims as implausible without careful consideration of the facts. Most (but certainly not all) of us went through tremendous amounts of pain and misery before concluding that if there is a god, his impact on the world is so minimal that we can't discern the slightest evidence of his existence, therefore it makes perfect sense to live our lives as though there is/are no god/gods whatsoever. My life is no different than that of a believer - there's been absolutely no impact at all.

I happen to be a former believer myself. I have not read the bible cover to cover, but I've read most of it spread out over a long time - frankly it's too grim in the OT, and too far-fetched in the NT for me to take it all in in a cover to cover reading. I arrived at my conclusion after years of being a Catholic, followed by years of seeking an alternative belief system, followed by years of ignoring the entire issue of religion. I finally admitted to myself that I don't BELIEVE in god, and probably never really have. I cannot force myself believe in a god. I can consider the idea of a god, but not believe in it. For me, it's the equivalent of believing in fairies - I understand the idea of fairies, but I don't believe that fairies actually exist.


http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24186.msg539401.html#msg539401
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 18, 2013, 10:56:19 PM
Hi there holybuckets, welcome to Logic 101.

Rule #1: You cannot disprove a negative. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim.

We'll move on to Rule #2 when you understand this one.

Thanks Jag,
Then atheists are hypocrites. If they claim that there is no God (and I know what you are going to say- "I never said we don't believe in God, it's the fact one has not been proven) Look, atheists, by in large, DO NOT believe in God. So, if you cannot prove there is no God, then why constantly attempt to make Christians "prove" their God. Hypocritical at best.
Same thing with evolution. It has not been proven, so you are in the same boat as creationists.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: kcrady on April 19, 2013, 01:33:33 AM
God can't dwell with sin

Pretty amazing really, that mere humans can create a metaphysical force so powerful that it can repel an omnipotent god like a cross repels a vampire.  One would think that "God can't" would be two words that a Christian could never string together.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 19, 2013, 03:38:26 AM
Rule #1: You cannot disprove a negative. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim.

Then atheists are hypocrites. If they claim that there is no God (and I know what you are going to say- "I never said we don't believe in God, it's the fact one has not been proven) Look, atheists, by in large, DO NOT believe in God. So, if you cannot prove there is no God, then why constantly attempt to make Christians "prove" their God. Hypocritical at best.

Because "no god" is not a positice claim.  "God is", is. 

Holybuckets, how would you go about disproving Ganesh, to the satisfaction of a devout Hindu?  Would you even try, or would you feel that the burden is on them to substantiate their claim of Ganesh's existence?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 19, 2013, 08:28:03 AM
Has atheism been proved?

I don't think you can prove an "ism" but atheists exist, therefore there is atheism, therefore atheism exists.
Quote
Has it been proved that is NO GOD?

Has it been proven that there are no pixies?

Quote
Proof of no god (I warn you that this is quite long and you may not be able to concentrate for the whole time required.)

Any claim for the existence of any god (a remarkable concept) has to be supported by remarkable evidence. To date I have seen no evidence for gods and neither has anyone else.

Earlier (and perhaps elsewhere on this forum) there was the question of the existence of Santa Claus. Just to recap, the legend is that Santa Claus delivers one present to every person on the planet (6 Billion) in the period of the morning of 25th December. Think how many presents per second that is (if it helps there are only ~32 Million seconds in a year.) No one here is going to say that this is proof of Santa Claus; all will say that it that the unlikelihood is so great that it amounts to proof of Santa Claus' non-existence.

However, if I made the same statement about a god, theists would say that a god could deliver that many presents in the same amount of time and argue that this is proof of god, or is, at least, one of his attributes.

Theists claim that a god is exempt from the constraints of space and time but do not seem to think that Santa Claus might be. There is the same (lack of) evidence for each statement. So why do the theists not accept Santa Claus?

It is man who has exempted gods from the bounds of time and space. It is an attribute given without evidence. Mankind now has a creature that not only can be everywhere, do everything and know everything, but we have one whose existence cannot be shown or even inferred, because its existence enters and leaves the only dimensions we may perceive. Why should the existence of gods be inferred or even credited?

On the other hand, if existence outside the bounds of time and space is accepted then this attribute should be comprehensible, demonstrable and repeatable. Once we comprehend, it is no longer supernatural. However, our having such knowledge would not mean that we become as gods, it would mean that gods become as us. This is “The god of the gaps.”

It may strike you at this stage that people believe in gods because they cannot understand them - this seems very strange.

If we may never comprehend gods, then nothing they say or do can be comprehensible and this alone should be a reason not to worship them. We know the effects of weather but the weather system is chaotic (although governed by space and time) yet all its effects are explicable, if not precisely predictable, yet we do not worship weather. Thus we will not worship something we can broadly comprehend but do worship something we do not.

We now have reached a point at which we can say that there is no evidence at all for gods. We can say that gods’ attributes are man made; we can say that the attributes are invented and incomprehensible, yet people still think that there might be gods. However, based on similar evidence, people are absolutely sure there is no Santa Claus.

These 2 ideas cannot exist side by side, yet some hold that they do. Those who accept gods are thus voluntarily or involuntarily deluded.

NEXT PARTS
 
My estimates:
Interactive god: 0.0000000000000000001%
Caring god: 0.00000000001%
Any old god: 50% because I have no reason to lean either way--it just does not matter.
I know you pulled these figures out of the air but basically, you say there is an evens chance of their being a deity. You think there is an even chance of there being such a thing as a ‘god’! I know priests who aren’t as sure as that!

See my third quote below and remind yourself of my earlier example about my saying there is a unicorn in the forest, and your not believing it – i.e. you are indicating there is no unicorn in the forest. Yet you think – on the same evidence – that there is an evens chance of there being a deity. Where is your statistical reasoning? Where is your critical thought?

On with the show : )

Disproving god:
Part I

Gods exist only as ignorance but there is a perfectly good word for ignorance – it is ‘ignorance’.

Three quotes to start us off:

(i)    “Science knows it doesn’t know everything, otherwise, it would stop. Just because science doesn’t know everything, it doesn’t mean that you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairytale most appeals to you.” Dara O'Briain

(ii)   “If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”? Penn Jillette,

(iii)   A: "I don't know why X happens but I suggest it is caused by the metal contracting as the temperature drops, which allows air to enter. I will do a few experiments at varying temperatures."
B: "I don't know why X happens but I suggest it is a goblin entering the laboratory at night and releasing the seal. Someone told me that goblins do that sort of thing, so I don't need to check anything."
A: "???"
B: Well if neither of us know, either of us could be correct."
- Graybeard.[/i]

It is a strange conceit, but when a Westerner talks of “god” he speaks usually of the Judeo-Christian deity and dismisses all others. Classically, the atheist just dismisses one more god.

The Christian does not think that Obassi Osaw and Obassi Nsi of the Ekoi of Nigeria are real – why might that be? The Ekoi know that in the beginning there were two gods, Obassi Osaw and Obassi Nsi. The two gods created everything together. Then Obassi Osaw decided to live in the sky and Obassi Nsi decided to live on the earth. Obassi Osaw gives light and moisture, but also brings drought and storms. Obassi Nsi nurtures, and takes the people back to him when they die. One day, long ago, Obassi Osaw made a man and a woman, and placed them upon the earth. They knew nothing so Obassi Nsi taught them about planting and hunting to get food.

The American Christian dismisses the Native American deities as not being the way to salvation. Why?

How many creation myths have you read? How many do you accept? Why do you reject the others? Are they quite unbelievable? Or is it that you were brought up in a Christian country by Christian parents? Children are strange creatures – I know, I was one – they believe adults… even superstitious ones.

So what chance Obassi Osaw and Obassi Nsi existing?[1]Look at the third quote.

Taking the Judeo-Christian god – we have to set him on a par with every other god. Even those who wrote the fiction of his biography agree that there are other gods and, in that book, He Himself admits it. He puts Himself forward only as the tribal god of the Israelites. He does not say that He is the be-all and end-all, only that you should believe that – His troops flee before a human sacrifice to Chemosh (another god). Yet how many of his followers agree there is a Baal-Haddad (more of whom later) or Marduk, or Astarte?

Think of it – you take a holiday to Europe and visit a country whose national religion is taken from a small Amazonian tribe – you hear the whole story and think it is amusing garbage. Yet you return and are in a country where the religion is taken from a small Middle-Eastern tribe and is no more than amusing garbage?

See how easy it is to not believe in gods and dismiss them as fiction?  And rightly too. At this stage, on the balance of probabilities, there are no gods.

Part II

OK. Let’s say you meet a god. How would you know it’s a god? It would have to do something supernatural, right? So, the god, being benevolent tells you how it is done. You can’t do it, but then on the other hand you can’t fly like a bird or stay submerged for a lifetime like a fish. You understand… The event is no longer supernatural, it is natural; the god is no longer a god.

Time for another quote:
(iv)    “Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

We therefore see that a god is the embodiment of our own ignorance. They exist only in our ignorance.

Then there is the problem of energy. If a god is to turn water into wine, it will need energy – there is no way around this. What is the source?

And then there is the universe. Where did that come from? – If you’re thinking “some god” you did not read my first quote – go back and do it.

You trotted out, “God does not want to be found” This is quite ridiculous.  If God does not want to be discovered, does he want people pointing out evidence of his possible existence? Have you considered that the unicorn <insert any mythical being/god> simply does not want to be found? Where shall we stop when it comes to believing anything that any mind can think up?

(v)   2 Chronicles 15:13 Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

And yet you suggest God does not want to be found? I thought you were supposed to be intelligent… or, failing that, at least have read a bible.

At this stage, there is proof beyond reasonable doubt that there are no deities.

Part III

What has God ever done?

Can you think of anything?

No. neither can I.

You know what else has never done anything? A unicorn.

Which one shall we believe in?

Do we understand enough of the universe to know that there is no need for gods? Yes. Don’t believe me, then read some of Dr Stephen Hawking’s books or look at his mathematical work. [vi] “Hawking's latest comments go beyond those laid out in his 2010 book, ‘The Grand Design’, in which he asserted that there is no need for a creator to explain the existence of the universe.”

That there is no sign of a god, despite mankind having sought evidence of a god – any god - for over 40,000 years, now places the proof firmly into the “Believe in gods and you’ll believe in anything” category. It is not for nothing that in any justice system, “God told me to do it.” is not a defence.

Part IV
At this stage, and despite my warnings that God is no different from other gods, you will have thought of a few Bible verses that you vaguely remember. OK, let’s look for evidence of the Judeo-Christian god in the Bible. You may claim that parts of the Bible are in fact historically correct. One or two might be but these are generally restricted to small unelaborated ideas not involving deities or prophets and, in any case, lack detail.

The last time the god Yahweh allegedly appeared to man was on Mount Sinai: (bear with me on this one – it is, of necessity, long but it shows what charlatans the authors of the Bible were.)

Exodus 19 Has God telling Moses to gather the people at the foot of Mount Sinai to see God appear in a cloud. So Moses goes off and tells them this and they gather there. God appears on the top of the mountain and calls Moses up to tell him to go down and bring Aaron with him

Ex:19:25: So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

Ex:20  Starts with  “And God spake all these words, saying, [A lot of Laws]” Either the scene is (i) the top of the mountain with God and Moses or (ii) Moses is in the camp and speaking

Ex:20-Ex:23 [A lot of Laws.]

Ex:24 God then invites Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel up Sinai, although “And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.”
Ex:24:3: And Moses goes down the mountain and tells everyone who agree Yahweh is their god

Ex:24:9: Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
Ex:24:10: And they saw the God (Elohim) of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
Ex:24:11: And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God (Elohim), and did eat and drink.

Note that at this point, (i) THEY (Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ) saw the God of Israel. (ii) THEY are up the mountain

Ex:24:12: God then invites Moses the rest of the way up to give him  “tables of stone, and a law, and commandments” Moses goes off ( Ex:24:13: And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.) with Joshua (Who is Joshua? Was he invited? Why Joshua?) telling the others that unless they have business down below they should wait until he and Joshua  return.

…and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (OK, where’s Joshua?)

Ex: 25to 31 More details of how to worship and build and run a tabernacle with Aaron in charge Ex:27:21: In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.

Ending with Ex:31:18: And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Cut to the Israelite camp:

Ex:32:1: And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, (who inexplicably seems to have come down) and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Now bear in mind that Aaron has just seen God and has been chosen as the head of the Yahweh priesthood… so what does he do?

Ex:32:2: And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.

Ex:32:4: And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Ex:32:5: And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
Ex:32:6: And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

Cut back to Moses and God: God is upset. He has seen the golden calf. He tells Moses to sort it out. Moses and Joshua hurry down with the tablets. They see the naked dancing and the calf. Moses loses it and breaks the tablets and smashes the calf.

Aaron gives a lame excuse saying that the people had insisted and Moses has the pagans slaughtered. (but not Aaron)

Apart from the facts that
(i)   nobody is sure whether Moses is up a mountain or at the bottom,
(ii)   disregarding the fact that Moses refers to himself in his own book as “Moses”,
(iii)   setting aside the variety of people who might or might not have been allowed to see God and/or approached Him, What was Aaron thinking of?

We are asked to believe that Aaron, who has been appointed God’s Priest, and various others, actually saw God and then, ignoring, “Ex:20:4: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” went down to the camp and decided that they needed to create their own false god. Perhaps he was responding to a particular popular call?

Why would that be and why a calf? In Canaanite myths preserved at Ugarit ( ca. 14th-13th century BCE), we learn that Baal Hadad (Adad) could take on the form of a bull. He was the god of thunderstorms and rains. In one myth he mounted his sister, Anat, who taking on the form of a cow, later gave birth to a bull calf. The myths note that storm clouds were called ADAD'S CALVES.  We note that God made himself manifest to the nation at Mount Sinai in the form a great storm cloud full of thunder and lighting.

Ex:24:15: And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
Ex:24:16: And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
Ex:24:17: And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
Ex:24:18: And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Had a Ugaritic Canaanite (for example Aaron) been at Sinai, he would have understood the storm cloud to be ADAD'S CALF.  The calf they produce is associated with storm clouds. I am of the persuasion that it is Canaanite religious beliefs dating from Late Bronze Age times (14-13th centuries BCE), that lies behind Iron Age (ca. 1200-1000 BCE) Israel's worship of the Golden Calf, But what of

“Ex:32:4: And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods [Elohim], O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”?

Well, there never was a period of captivity – there is nothing in Egyptian records to show that there was. So trying to link a 400 year captivity in Egypt and worship of Egyptian bulls is wrong. But the writer added it anyway as he has already given the story.

And then there is, Num 23:22  GodH410 brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.H7214  Here (i) the word El is used for God and  the word for unicorn is rem derived from H7213; a wild bull (from its conspicuousness): -

So all is explained. Aaron honestly thought that the Deity on Mount Sinai was Baal Haddad; he had no idea that it was Yahweh. Hence his lame excuse, which was, in fact, true because the Children of Israel were Ugaritic Canaanites.

One thing remains: "And he received the gold at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made a molten calf; and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out the land of Egypt !" (Exodus 32:4, RSV) (One calf, many gods?)

So we see

"So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, "You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan." (1 Kings 12: 28-29)

The Canaanites were a henotheistic people. The calf was the symbol of the Elohim, the gods; El, Ashure, Baal Haddad, Baal Hammon, Baal Molech, Baal Dagon and many others. (Compare this to the Pantheon in Athens – the temple of all the gods.)

Aaron’s mistake was not knowing that it was Yahweh at the top of the mountain and Yahweh was a jealous god. How could he be so mistaken?

"Storm clouds were called Adad's `bull calves'." (p.111, "Ishkur/Adad," Jeremy Black & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia- An Illustrated Dictionary. Austin, Texas. University of Texas Press. 1992 ISBN 0-292-70794-0 pbk.)

"Adad. His name is probably etymologically connected with Arabic hadda 'to break' and haddat, 'thunder.' (p.1, "Adad,"  Gwendolyn Leick)

Obviously, this visitation from God (at least Yahweh) is lies and inventions by those whose morals, intellect and research capabilities were zero and whose self-interest and deluded mindset was paramount[2]  – Bronze Age peasants… and yet, here we are thousands of years on and people are saying – “I believe in God.”

What is there to believe in? Can you not see? There are no gods. Never have been, never will be. People invent gods that is how gods enter mythology.

Two more quotes:
(vi)    “All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.” Douglas Adams
(vii)   "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" Douglas Adams'

CONCLUSION:
So periboob,
QED There are no gods. Man invents gods when he does not know the answer (see the second quote right at the top) and does not even think of searching for it. Otherwise, what did/does a god do?

And now a moment of prayer based upon Ex:15:3 to thank the Almighty for this revelation:

“O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it--for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.” – Mark Twain

PS
If you have read this far, thank you. JeffPT also has a contribution here: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,23300.msg528703.html#msg528703
[/size]

 1. I was again concerned about your critical thinking skills when you started giving odds on unicorns versus Bigfoot. A man who can distinguish between the chances of mythical beings existing is … remarkable, but not in a good way.

You say no one has seen a unicorn therefore the chances of there being unicorns is slim… do you believe (i) that people have seen Bigfoot? (ii) that throughout history, no one has claimed to see unicorns? If so, you would be wrong on both counts.
 2. To keep this to manageable length, I have not referred to the authors (who were not Moses) or the redactor of the Pentateuch who constantly push their own agenda to such an extent that none can be believed

Quote
Has evolution been proved?

Yes, it is proven to the same extent that gravity is proven.

Quote
Has it been PROVED that man evolved?

Yes, we have a very complete fossil record and we see the evolutionary diversity in the human species.

Quote
Seems to me there should be a challenge to atheists as well.

Well, it would seem like that to you who knows nothing about science at all and prefers to believe in an invisible man in outer space who likes the smell of burning goat's flesh.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 19, 2013, 10:39:08 AM
Hi there holybuckets, welcome to Logic 101.

Rule #1: You cannot disprove a negative. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim.

We'll move on to Rule #2 when you understand this one.

Thanks Jag,
Then atheists are hypocrites. If they claim that there is no God (and I know what you are going to say- "I never said we don't believe in God, it's the fact one has not been proven) Look, atheists, by in large, DO NOT believe in God. So, if you cannot prove there is no God, then why constantly attempt to make Christians "prove" their God. Hypocritical at best.
Same thing with evolution. It has not been proven, so you are in the same boat as creationists.

Wha....? How does that prove that "atheists are hypocrites"? And I'll thank you not to put words in my mouth, as I wasn't going to say any such thing! I know what atheism means, I'm not so sure you do though.

There is no "by and large", atheists BY DEFINITION do not believe in god(s) - that's what atheism means - you might be referring to agnosticism, but that doesn't actually support your position either.

Did you actually bother to read what I posted? You can not prove a negative - the burden of proof is on the one making a positive claim. In this case, that means YOU are the one who is expected to provide proof that your claim is true. This isn't some random crap that a bunch of internet atheists dreamed up to mess with believers, this is a fact of logic. Take it up with the ancient Greeks if you don't like it.

We've not being hypocrites. You apparently don't know what that means either.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Mrjason on April 19, 2013, 11:02:39 AM
Hi there holybuckets, welcome to Logic 101.

Rule #1: You cannot disprove a negative. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim.

We'll move on to Rule #2 when you understand this one.

Thanks Jag,
Then atheists are hypocrites. If they claim that there is no God (and I know what you are going to say- "I never said we don't believe in God, it's the fact one has not been proven) Look, atheists, by in large, DO NOT believe in God. So, if you cannot prove there is no God, then why constantly attempt to make Christians "prove" their God. Hypocritical at best.
Same thing with evolution. It has not been proven, so you are in the same boat as creationists.

Lets put what Jag says another way...

My evidence that god does not exist is that there is no evidence for gods existence.

edit for spelling
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 19, 2013, 11:22:48 AM
Thanks Jag,
Then atheists are hypocrites. If they claim that there is no God (and I know what you are going to say- "I never said we don't believe in God, it's the fact one has not been proven) Look, atheists, by in large, DO NOT believe in God. So, if you cannot prove there is no God, then why constantly attempt to make Christians "prove" their God. Hypocritical at best.
Hypocrisy is defined as pretending to be something that you aren't, or pretending to believe something that you don't.  Trying to argue that atheists are hypocrites because it is logically impossible to prove a negative is...strange, to say the least.

So, what do you call scientists, who approach experimentation the same way?  Since it's impossible to prove a negative, scientists expect that the person who proposes a hypothesis has to provide evidence to support it.  If they don't, then their hypothesis isn't accepted for lack of evidence.  This is not hypocrisy by any stretch of the imagination, it is skepticism.

You see, the position of atheists is essentially that religious people need to provide evidence to show that their beliefs are true, and that if they can't, then they have no business spreading those beliefs based on supposition and hearsay.

Quote from: holybuckets
Same thing with evolution. It has not been proven, so you are in the same boat as creationists.
There are so many pieces of evidence available for evolutionary theory that it would be impractical for me to even list a tiny fraction of them all.  But one of my favorites is that the further away an organism is from us (based on classification), the less DNA we have in common.  This is exactly as evolutionary theory predicts, the DNA of organisms that have diverged from a shared ancestor will be different, and more different the further they get from that shared ancestor.

It's funny, though, how your statement attempts to equivocate evolution and creationism, as if evolution not being 'proven' (of course, what you mean is that it hasn't been absolutely proven, not that there's no proof for it) means it's a completely unsupported belief, no different than creationist beliefs.  Doesn't work that way.  Evolution has enough solid evidence behind it that there is no comparison at all between it and creationist beliefs.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 19, 2013, 11:33:48 AM
Thanks Jag,
Then atheists are hypocrites. If they claim that there is no God (and I know what you are going to say- "I never said we don't believe in God, it's the fact one has not been proven) Look, atheists, by in large, DO NOT believe in God. So, if you cannot prove there is no God, then why constantly attempt to make Christians "prove" their God. Hypocritical at best.
Same thing with evolution. It has not been proven, so you are in the same boat as creationists.

This apparent sensitivity about god's existence is rather telling.  One would think that if god's existence was fact, that it would be simple enough to prove it.  We can demostrate the existence of gravity, we can demostrate the existence of microwaves, we can demostrate the existence of radiation.  Why should it be so hard to demostrate the existence of god?  People 2,000+ years ago were apparently able to do it, so it shouldn't be any harder now.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 19, 2013, 03:07:13 PM
Allow me to paraphrase a post that I made in response to another theist who denied science:

Christians who say they follow the bible often deny the discoveries and theories of scientists. They think that acknowledging that the Theory of Evolution, for example, really does work means they have to abandon the bible and god.

But they [religious people] eventually accept the new information, adapt their thinking to it and absorb it into their supposedly unchanging biblical world view. Then they can just soldier on as if everything was the same as in 300 AD. Except they also get to enjoy the modern conveniences that science gives them. (They don't really want to live in 300 AD!)

Examples: in the 19th century good Christian religious folks denied Darwin's ideas. (Even though he was religious and considered becoming a clergyman.) No, animals could not go extinct because god made everything perfect. Humans could not possibly be related to other animals because god made humans separately. We are special, the only beings on earth with souls.

There were no dinosaurs because the bible did not allow that--they could not fit on the ark, etc. The earth was not old enough for anything to evolve, live for 200 million years, and go extinct or become fossilized. Nobody believed in germs--it was god's will if you were healthy, sick, lived or died.

Now pretty much everyone recognizes extinction and even global climate change--but as signs of the last days! Jesus rode a dinosaur and your doggie and kitty cat will be in heaven with you because they have souls just like people. The time it takes for "micro" evolution speeds up or slows down, depending on what the argument against "macro" evolution is.

There are too many or not enough fossils to prove anything. Those "Lucy" remains are just a deformed human or maybe a deformed chimp--scientists don't really know anything. Germs are everywhere, especially in heathen countries, because Satan. Flu shots work because of evolution but we just ignore that and get them anyway. And god still finds missing keys for comfortable Americans while letting babies starve in Sudan.

But we are the ones who have no evidence.  &)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 19, 2013, 07:15:34 PM
Atheists are hypocrites.
You can use all of the "rules of reason" or whatever you guys use in your chat rooms or whatever.  Here is the bottom line:
NOBODY on this earth has seen God.

First of all, I challenge anyone to dispute me on that!

Secondly, Christians believe that there IS a God.

Are you with me so far? I can type slower if you do not understand.

Thirdly, Atheists do NOT believe in God.  Oh, I know some will say it's not that they don't believe or not believe, but a God has not been proven.

It is hypocritical to say they a person is wrong because they believe in God but cannot prove it, and say that there is no God because they cannot prove it.

Once again, I know you are going to apply your law of "reason"... but you are only stroking yourself.  You may buy the argument- and more power to you.

Same with evolution. There is NO PROOF humans came from fish or some ape looking thing.  NO PROOF. Do you hear me? There is no proof that man evolved from ANYTHING. NO PROOF.  There is MORE proof that Jesus resurrected from the dead than there is for evolution.

Atheists think they have it figured out, but offer NO PROOF!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Ambassador Pony on April 19, 2013, 11:06:06 PM
Effusive stupidity is the worst kind of stupidity. The in-your-face attitude of the self-righteous ignoramus astounds me. 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 20, 2013, 12:23:23 AM
Effusive stupidity! Thank you, I knew there was a word for it!  ;D
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Philosopher_at_large on April 20, 2013, 12:34:29 AM
To the first part, the "work" that believers were told to do was to spread the gospel message and correct theological error, it wasn't to do "magical shit".

to the second part, in order for me to reason with you the way that Paul reasoned with the Jews, you would have to first have accepted Judaism and then listen as I tell you that Jesus is the Christ. Since you never believed that there would be a Christ in the first place, and I have no interest in trying to convince you of any theological anything, we are incapable of having anything close to that kind of conversation.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 20, 2013, 12:52:10 AM
This apparent sensitivity about god's existence is rather telling.  One would think that if god's existence was fact, that it would be simple enough to prove it.  We can demonstrate the existence of gravity, we can demonstrate the existence of microwaves, we can demonstrate the existence of radiation.  Why should it be so hard to demonstrate the existence of god?  People 2,000+ years ago were apparently able to do it, so it shouldn't be any harder now.

Precisely!  For something as allegedly powerful as the god of the Bible, it leaves a mighty small energy footprint...

...Unless it's actually expending all its energy on a cloaking device.  That *would* explain the dearth of answered prayers:  Either it has no juice left to work signs and wonders, or it knows we'll spot it if it actually drops the invisibility field long enough to do anything. ;D

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 20, 2013, 12:54:21 AM
Here is the bottom line:
NOBODY on this earth has seen God.
Secondly, Christians believe that there IS a God.
Thirdly, Atheists do NOT believe in God. 

Holybuckets, do you accept that there is a magical leprechaun under my bed who opens the curtains in my room for me each morning?

If not, why not?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 20, 2013, 06:49:24 AM
Here is the bottom line:
NOBODY on this earth has seen God.

First of all, I challenge anyone to dispute me on that!

Ex:24:9: Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
Ex:24:10: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

Mind you, you are quite right. Like the rest of the Bible, it is all fairy tales and lies. None of those mentioned really saw God, even though they said they did.

Quote
Are you with me so far?

No, not really.

Quote
It is hypocritical to say they a person is wrong because they believe in God but cannot prove it, and say that there is no God because they cannot prove it.

No it's not. If I say, "I've got a 1lb bar of gold in this locked box, I will sell it to you for $100." Do you believe me without any proof? I am the one who is saying that there is gold in the box, how can you show to me that there is or is not? You would have to weigh it (but it might be lead) So, you would want to see it before you parted with your $100. i.e. you would want proof.

Quote
Same with evolution. There is NO PROOF humans came from fish or some ape looking thing.  NO PROOF. Do you hear me?

I disagree but tell us -> What would you consider to be proof?

Quote
There is no proof that man evolved from ANYTHING. NO PROOF.

I disagree but tell us -> What would you consider to be proof?

Quote
There is MORE proof that Jesus resurrected from the dead than there is for evolution.

As an absolute fact there is less evidence that Jesus even existed than there is for Evolution, which like gravity, is a pretty solid law.

Quote
Atheists think they have it figured out, but offer NO PROOF!

Unlike Christians who, as proof of their gods have a magic man making other men out of mud, burning bushes, snakes and donkeys that talk and iron ax-heads that float!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 20, 2013, 10:21:33 AM
Here is the bottom line:
NOBODY on this earth has seen God.
Secondly, Christians believe that there IS a God.
Thirdly, Atheists do NOT believe in God. 

Holybuckets, do you accept that there is a magical leprechaun under my bed who opens the curtains in my room for me each morning?

If not, why not?

I have never seen your leprechaun and neither have you. Right? We BOTH have NOT seen your little friend. I say he/she exists, you claim he/she does not.

Am I going to fast for you? I'll slow down.

You use your argument of "reason" to claim there is no leprechaun because there is no proof one has been seen.

I use my argument of "reason" to claim that there are residual effects the are proof the leprechaun exists.

Now, before you jump to conclusions- this is hypothetical. I have not been to your room nor have I looked under your bed.

The fact that you have NOT seen a leprechaun DOES NOT mean one DOES NOT exist. Once again, it's hypothetical. I know how you atheists are.

The fact that I have, what I believe to be residual evidence does not "prove" the leprechaun exists, but it does not prove the leprechaun does not exist either.

My bottom line is that you have no proof that God does not exist. He could, you just have not seen Him.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 20, 2013, 10:24:04 AM
"Ex:24:9: Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
Ex:24:10: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

Mind you, you are quite right. Like the rest of the Bible, it is all fairy tales and lies. None of those mentioned really saw God, even though they said they did."

I said "On this earth." I do not believe that Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu are still walking around.  Secondly, prove the Bible is a lie. You can't, no one has in 2000 years. This makes you hypocrites.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 20, 2013, 12:16:58 PM
Here is the bottom line:
NOBODY on this earth has seen God.
Secondly, Christians believe that there IS a God.
Thirdly, Atheists do NOT believe in God. 

Holybuckets, do you accept that there is a magical leprechaun under my bed who opens the curtains in my room for me each morning?

If not, why not?

I have never seen your leprechaun and neither have you. Right? We BOTH have NOT seen your little friend. I say he/she exists, you claim he/she does not.

Am I going to fast for you? I'll slow down.

You use your argument of "reason" to claim there is no leprechaun because there is no proof one has been seen.

I use my argument of "reason" to claim that there are residual effects the are proof the leprechaun exists.

Now, before you jump to conclusions- this is hypothetical. I have not been to your room nor have I looked under your bed.

The fact that you have NOT seen a leprechaun DOES NOT mean one DOES NOT exist. Once again, it's hypothetical. I know how you atheists are.

The fact that I have, what I believe to be residual evidence does not "prove" the leprechaun exists, but it does not prove the leprechaun does not exist either.

My bottom line is that you have no proof that God does not exist. He could, you just have not seen Him.

So, you agree that it is perfectly reasonable for me to believe in the leprechaun?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 20, 2013, 01:11:15 PM
I said "On this earth." I do not believe that Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu are still walking around.  Secondly, prove the Bible is a lie. You can't, no one has in 2000 years. This makes you hypocrites.

No dear, this means that you still don't know what the word "hypocrite" means.

Definition of HYPOCRITE
1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings


Now, can you tell me how that applies to us? It's fine for you to be upset or even hostile about our continued resistance to your message - ineffective, but acceptable. That doesn't make us hypocrites by any stretch of the imagination. You don't get to redefine words to mean what you want them to mean, and then try to use your own special meaning of it to insult us.

As I stated in an earlier post - atheists are not responsible for the creation of the rules of logic, that goes back to the ancient Greeks. You are trying to "prove" that we can't "prove" there is no God. Well Sherlock, we already agree that we can't do so, but that's hardly a point for your side of this debate. Trying to blame that on us only "proves" that you don't know wtf you're talking about.

If you're going to try to be insulting, at least come up with something that fits. You could tell me I'm being a bitch, for instance. There's evidence to support that.

Edited to correct formatting
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 20, 2013, 02:15:08 PM
Atheists are hypocrites.
Incorrect.  Atheists are skeptics.

Quote from: holybuckets
You can use all of the "rules of reason" or whatever you guys use in your chat rooms or whatever.
This is not rocket science, holybuckets.  People have known that you can't prove a negative for thousands of years.  It is physically impossible to do so.  This isn't something atheists made up to jerk Christians around.

Quote from: holybuckets
Here is the bottom line:
NOBODY on this earth has seen God.

First of all, I challenge anyone to dispute me on that!
Certainly true.

Quote from: holybuckets
Secondly, Christians believe that there IS a God.

Are you with me so far? I can type slower if you do not understand.
True, thus the burden of proof, to show that there is a god, lies on Christians, who believe there is one.

Quote from: holybuckets
Thirdly, Atheists do NOT believe in God.  Oh, I know some will say it's not that they don't believe or not believe, but a God has not been proven.

It is hypocritical to say they a person is wrong because they believe in God but cannot prove it, and say that there is no God because they cannot prove it.
Incorrect.  Hypocrisy is claiming to believe something that one does not in fact believe, or something equivalent.  Requiring believers to provide evidence for the existence of gods before acknowledging the existence of gods is not hypocrisy.  It is skepticism.

Quote from: holybuckets
Once again, I know you are going to apply your law of "reason"... but you are only stroking yourself.  You may buy the argument- and more power to you.
Your unwillingness to accept an argument means nothing except that you are unwilling to accept that argument.  You don't get to redefine words to mean something else at your convenience.

Quote from: holybuckets
Same with evolution. There is NO PROOF humans came from fish or some ape looking thing.  NO PROOF. Do you hear me? There is no proof that man evolved from ANYTHING. NO PROOF.
Yes, there is.  There is lots and lots and lots of proof.  Getting mad about it won't change that.

http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_3.htm (http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_3.htm)
http://www.teachthemscience.org/evidence (http://www.teachthemscience.org/evidence)
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46 (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46)
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/fitch/courses/evolution/html/evidence.html (http://www.nyu.edu/projects/fitch/courses/evolution/html/evidence.html)
http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence (http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence)

That's just a tiny handful of the total amount of proof that scientists have found to support the theory of evolution.

Quote from: holybuckets
There is MORE proof that Jesus resurrected from the dead than there is for evolution.
Sorry, but that's simply not true.  The only 'proof' that the resurrection occurred is in the Bible.  There are no contemporary accounts regarding it, and indeed, some of the claims that the Bible makes regarding the resurrection are improbable, to say the least.

Quote from: holybuckets
Atheists think they have it figured out, but offer NO PROOF!
It is impossible to provide evidence to show that something doesn't exist.  That is why atheists offer "no proof" of the nonexistence of gods, because if something doesn't exist, there will be no evidence to show that it doesn't exist.  It is impossible to prove that something doesn't exist.  That means that atheists can't actually prove that gods don't exist.  What they can do is show that nobody's ever provided evidence for the existence of gods, and thus there is no reason to believe in them unless and until someone does provide evidence for them.

But as I've shown with evolution, there is tons of evidence to show that it occurred, and is still occurring.  That's because evolution exists, and thus evidence for it also exists.  That is the key difference.  It is possible to prove that something exists.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 20, 2013, 03:26:21 PM
Secondly, prove the Bible is a lie. You can't, no one has in 2000 years. This makes you hypocrites.

It's very simple to demostrate that the bible is a falsehood.  You just need to see if the historical/geographical records matches with those in the bible.

The bible said the world was created in six days.  The facts show that it took billions of years for the world to be created.  The bible talks of a worldwide flood.  There is no evidence of a worldwide flood.  The bible talks of a massive exodus out of Egypt.  There is no evidence of such a thing.  These are all things that if true, we would've found overwelming evidence a long time ago.

I'm sure you'll say something about "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", but this does nothing for your part.  You still need to provide evidence for your arguement.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 20, 2013, 08:04:28 PM
I said "On this earth." I do not believe that Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu are still walking around.

And they never walked about

Quote
Secondly, prove the Bible is a lie. You can't, no one has in 2000 years. This makes you hypocrites.

You've been correct on your English, now let me ask you. The Bible says there was a flood that covered the earth. Yet, as the Flood was happening, there are records from Egypt that the people there did not get wet at all. There are also other civilisations that did not seem to be flooded - The Chinese for one missed out on it completely.

New Testament: Herod King of Chalkis (Herod V) and High Priest of Jerusalem (d. 40 or 48 AD) Acts 12 is confused in the Bible with Agrippa I. We know this because Josephus, who was around at the time when Jesus was allegedly alive, correctly describes Agrippa I and we know when he reigned.

Then you only have to look at the genealogies in the NT to see that they contradict each other, and these are essential for the line of David.

Then there is the difficulty of where and when Jesus was born - the Bible does not match known history.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 20, 2013, 08:09:28 PM
Secondly, prove the Bible is a lie.

Burden of proof is on you, Holybuckets.  Kindly courier a real live Talking Snake™ (Genesis 3:1) to My house.  If you can't do it, then I'll continue to operate on the assumption that the Bible is, at the very least, truthiness-impaired.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 20, 2013, 09:18:40 PM
"This is not rocket science, holybuckets.  People have known that you can't prove a negative for thousands of years.  It is physically impossible to do so.  This isn't something atheists made up to jerk Christians around."

Thank You,

Someone actually TRUTHFULLY answered my question. Atheists CANNOT PROVE their case. YET, they are constantly putting Christians under scrutiny to do so.

That's called hypocrisy my friends.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 21, 2013, 04:09:05 AM
Note to those who may be waiting for a follow up post from me in this thread (Astreja and Jag, mainly) - I have a very big 2 weeks coming up, with my boss away and having to baby-sit a trainee. It may be at least 2 weeks before I can commit the time to respond meaningfully. of course, not having time hasn't always stopped me before...so who knows. Anyway, I PROMISE to re-engage here when I can.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 21, 2013, 05:30:35 AM
"This is not rocket science, holybuckets.  People have known that you can't prove a negative for thousands of years.  It is physically impossible to do so.  This isn't something atheists made up to jerk Christians around."

Thank You,

Someone actually TRUTHFULLY answered my question. Atheists CANNOT PROVE their case. YET, they are constantly putting Christians under scrutiny to do so.

Yes we are.  Because Christians are NOT being asked to prove a negative.  They are being asked to prove a positive - the existence of the thing they are asserting.

That's called hypocrisy my friends.

Nope.  It would be hypocrisy if atheists were refusing to prove a negative, AND asking Christians to prove a negative.  That is not the case.  That is why it is not hypocrisy.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 21, 2013, 05:36:18 AM
Atheists CANNOT PROVE their case. YET, they are constantly putting Christians under scrutiny to do so.

You're still not getting this.  Atheism is the null hypothesis with regard to one particular question: the existence of deities.  It bears no burden of proof because it is making no claim to prove.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 21, 2013, 05:43:10 AM
"This is not rocket science, holybuckets.  People have known that you can't prove a negative for thousands of years.  It is physically impossible to do so.  This isn't something atheists made up to jerk Christians around."

Thank You,

Someone actually TRUTHFULLY answered my question. Atheists CANNOT PROVE their case. YET, they are constantly putting Christians under scrutiny to do so.

That's called hypocrisy my friends.

Well, no, the Christian god has been proven non existent over and over again... the god that cant be disproven or hasnt been is the "god" of deism. You see, once you start making claims about your god and describing it in books, it then becomes testable, the tests either confirm or refute your god. Yahweh was probably the easiest god to prove non existent EVER. His definition proves he doesnt exist, we dont even need to do work to show that!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 21, 2013, 06:18:41 AM
It may be at least 2 weeks before I can commit the time to respond meaningfully.

You're making more comebacks than Lazarus.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 21, 2013, 08:39:13 AM
Atheists CANNOT PROVE their case. YET, they are constantly putting Christians under scrutiny to do so.

You're still not getting this.  Atheism is the null hypothesis with regard to one particular question: the existence of deities.  It bears no burden of proof because it is making no claim to prove.

You're still not getting me. You are making a claim that something does not exist. You can hide behind your null hypothesis, negatives, and teapots all you want, but at the end of the day you cant prove anything.

Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not? It is a very simple question.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 21, 2013, 09:08:08 AM
Atheists CANNOT PROVE their case. YET, they are constantly putting Christians under scrutiny to do so.

You're still not getting this.  Atheism is the null hypothesis with regard to one particular question: the existence of deities.  It bears no burden of proof because it is making no claim to prove.

You're still not getting me. You are making a claim that something does not exist. You can hide behind your null hypothesis, negatives, and teapots all you want, but at the end of the day you cant prove anything.

Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not? It is a very simple question.
There is no evidence of a god, therefore it is silly to assert one.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 21, 2013, 09:08:41 AM
You're still not getting this.  Atheism is the null hypothesis with regard to one particular question: the existence of deities.  It bears no burden of proof because it is making no claim to prove.

You're still not getting me. You are making a claim that something does not exist.

What part of "atheism is not a claim" do you not understand?

Quote
You can hide behind your null hypothesis, negatives, and teapots all you want, but at the end of the day you cant prove anything.

Because the atheist is making no claim to prove.  You are attempting to hold the atheist to something that he never said.

Quote
Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not?

Answer this question.  Is there a purple leprechaun in my closet, or is there not?  Your answer to that question is almost certainly going to be the same as my answer is to yours.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 21, 2013, 09:16:22 AM
@Pianodwarf

to make the question even more similar you should ask if you have an invisible 8 ft tall midget in your closet. This would account for the hiddeness of 'god' along with the contradictory nature
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 21, 2013, 10:26:55 AM
I think he's hiding in Bertrand Russell's invisible teapot - and holybuckets can't prove me wrong either.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 10:34:59 AM
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews.

I am betting that absolutely none (zero) of you Christians will be able, or willing to adequately finish this challenge. My prediction is 2 fold (for those that actually take the challenge - because most of you believers have no confidence in your beliefs and won't take the challenge). But for those who do, you will either...

I went with a pastor, friend of mine , visiting my farm. it is located about 50km away from where i live. This pastor was never there. When we arrived, a employee of mine welcomed both of us.
When this pastor shaked my employees hand, he said straight away to him : God shows me, that you had a car accident, in 2002. You almost died. You lost a lot of blood. Your intestine was open, and could be seen. But God has a plan in your life, that is why he saved you there. Ed, ( my employees name ) was shocked. He could not say one word. But his sister arrived, and heard everything the pastor said. After he finished, she screamed, and said : Ed, everything this pastor said, is true. Two weeks later, i went again to my farm, and met my employee again. He confirmed me the whole story, and said, that indeed, God called him many times, but he always avoided to convert. After this event, he converted, and is now a born again christian. His sister converted as well. I could tell other similar stories as this. I have presenced this, its all true, not a invented story. My pastor was never at my farm, never met my employee. How do you explain this ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 21, 2013, 11:15:40 AM
I went with a pastor, friend of mine , visiting my farm. it is located about 50km away from where i live. This pastor was never there. When we arrived, a employee of mine welcomed both of us.
When this pastor shaked my employees hand, he said straight away to him : God shows me, that you had a car accident, in 2002. You almost died. You lost a lot of blood. Your intestine was open, and could be seen. But God has a plan in your life, that is why he saved you there. Ed, ( my employees name ) was shocked. He could not say one word. But his sister arrived, and heard everything the pastor said. After he finished, she screamed, and said : Ed, everything this pastor said, is true. Two weeks later, i went again to my farm, and met my employee again. He confirmed me the whole story, and said, that indeed, God called him many times, but he always avoided to convert. After this event, he converted, and is now a born again christian. His sister converted as well. I could tell other similar stories as this. I have presenced this, its all true, not a invented story. My pastor was never at my farm, never met my employee. How do you explain this ?

Why should we have to "explain" anything?  You claim that the story is "not invented", but you gave nothing to back up that assertation.  Right now, it's all just words on a screen.  Words that you may very well have made up on the fly.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 21, 2013, 11:36:27 AM
I went with a pastor, friend of mine , visiting my farm. it is located about 50km away from where i live. This pastor was never there. When we arrived, a employee of mine welcomed both of us.

There are a number of possible explanations for this phenomenon, but as Brian Dunning has notably pointed out in the past, the first step in explaining a phenomenon is determining whether or not there is a phenomenon to explain.  Do you have any documentation to support your story?  If not, then I'll also add that Christopher Hitchens has notably pointed out that what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 21, 2013, 11:38:23 AM
Demonstrate your deity. Your bible (Mark 16, John 14) commands you to do miracles (greater works than 'he' supposedly did), and it also commands you to defend your faith with reasoned argument (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1), just as Paul "reasoned" with the Jews.

I am betting that absolutely none (zero) of you Christians will be able, or willing to adequately finish this challenge. My prediction is 2 fold (for those that actually take the challenge - because most of you believers have no confidence in your beliefs and won't take the challenge). But for those who do, you will either...

I went with a pastor, friend of mine , visiting my farm. it is located about 50km away from where i live. This pastor was never there. When we arrived, a employee of mine welcomed both of us.
When this pastor shaked my employees hand, he said straight away to him : God shows me, that you had a car accident, in 2002. You almost died. You lost a lot of blood. Your intestine was open, and could be seen. But God has a plan in your life, that is why he saved you there. Ed, ( my employees name ) was shocked. He could not say one word. But his sister arrived, and heard everything the pastor said. After he finished, she screamed, and said : Ed, everything this pastor said, is true. Two weeks later, i went again to my farm, and met my employee again. He confirmed me the whole story, and said, that indeed, God called him many times, but he always avoided to convert. After this event, he converted, and is now a born again christian. His sister converted as well. I could tell other similar stories as this. I have presenced this, its all true, not a invented story. My pastor was never at my farm, never met my employee. How do you explain this ?

Why didnt your pastor warn those killed in the bombing in Boston to not be where they were? Seems like your god couldve had a more practical use for his random intervention...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 21, 2013, 11:47:27 AM
Pianodwarf,
I asked you a very simple question. I will repeat it again, since you dodged it the last time:

Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not? It is a very simple question.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on April 21, 2013, 12:38:42 PM
Of course, the pastor might easily have seen the story on the TV or in the newspaper and just happened to remember it as it was rather gorey...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 21, 2013, 01:04:30 PM
I asked you a very simple question.

Yes, you did.

Quote
I will repeat it again, since you dodged it the last time:

I did not dodge it.  I actually answered it.  My response was meant to make you think.  I should have known better.

Quote
Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not? It is a very simple question.

It appears you lack the mental firepower to understand the point I was trying to make, so let me try to dumb it down to a junior high school level for you:

"I don't know, but since I have never seen any evidence for one, I presuppose that there isn't."  There.  Is that simple enough for you?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 21, 2013, 01:44:18 PM
I asked you a very simple question.

Yes, you did.

Quote
I will repeat it again, since you dodged it the last time:

I did not dodge it.  I actually answered it.  My response was meant to make you think.  I should have known better.

Quote
Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not? It is a very simple question.

It appears you lack the mental firepower to understand the point I was trying to make, so let me try to dumb it down to a junior high school level for you:

"I don't know, but since I have never seen any evidence for one, I presuppose that there isn't."  There.  Is that simple enough for you?

So, there is a possibility the IS a God! Yes or no? Again, this is a very simple question.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 21, 2013, 02:32:17 PM
Someone actually TRUTHFULLY answered my question. Atheists CANNOT PROVE their case. YET, they are constantly putting Christians under scrutiny to do so.
Yes, because Christians are making the claim that there is a god despite not having any evidence whatsoever to prove there is one.  If you believe there is a god, you have to prove it.  Until you can prove it, nobody else has any obligation to believe you.

Quote from: holybuckets
That's called hypocrisy my friends.
Are you being this dense on purpose?  Hypocrisy is claiming something that you don't actually believe.  It is not holding someone accountable for a claim they're making despite not having any evidence to support it.

You're still not getting me. You are making a claim that something does not exist. You can hide behind your null hypothesis, negatives, and teapots all you want, but at the end of the day you cant prove anything.
And the thing you're just not getting is that they aren't trying to prove there are no gods.  You cannot disprove the existence of something that has not been proven to exist in the first place.  Atheists know that.  Atheism is not about disproving the existence of gods, it is about getting people away from believing in and acting on behalf of things that don't exist.

Quote from: holybuckets
Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not? It is a very simple question.
No, it's a blatant attempt at a 'gotcha!' question.  The only reason you are even asking is to attempt to 'prove' that atheists are hypocrites.  Given that you knew atheists wouldn't answer that there is a god, you expected they would answer that there isn't one, and would then call them on making a claim without evidence.  Unfortunately for you, it didn't quite work out that way.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 02:55:52 PM
There are a number of possible explanations for this phenomenon, but as Brian Dunning has notably pointed out in the past, the first step in explaining a phenomenon is determining whether or not there is a phenomenon to explain.  Do you have any documentation to support your story?  If not, then I'll also add that Christopher Hitchens has notably pointed out that what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

there are testimonial evidence, as Eds sister, that presenced it all, and my wife. Come visit me, and you can interview them. I have plenty of similar stories. On a trial, testimonies serve as evidence. Why should they not in regard of the quest of Gods existence ? The thread opener has asked for miracles. I have provided them.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 02:58:00 PM
"I don't know, but since I have never seen any evidence for one, I presuppose that there isn't."  There.  Is that simple enough for you?

So what evidence do you have for positive atheism ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 03:00:08 PM
Yes, because Christians are making the claim that there is a god despite not having any evidence whatsoever to prove there is one.  If you believe there is a god, you have to prove it.  Until you can prove it, nobody else has any obligation to believe you.

present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is. As long as you do not have any, nobody else has either obligation to believe you. So far, not ONE strong atheis has been able to present convincing positive atheist arguments, which make a compelling case for strong atheism.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 21, 2013, 03:08:30 PM
So, there is a possibility the IS a God! Yes or no? Again, this is a very simple question.

Inasmuch as the possibility has not been eliminated, yes, it is possible that a deity or deities exist.

You're acting like this is some kind of a triumphant revelation on your part, when in fact this is the attitude held by most atheists, and it isn't even something that we keep secret; we're quite open about it.  I remember the same kerfuffle coming out some months ago when Dawkins, in an interview, said that he did not completely rule out the possibility that there are one or more deities, and the press went to town on him.  Which was pretty peculiar, since Dawkins has always held this attitude and has always said so.  Why it was such a big deal that time is beyond me.

The number of atheists who claim to know, with certainty, that deities do not exist is pretty small.  I haven't seen any scientifically valid surveys or anything, but if my admittedly-anecdotal experience is any indication, I'd say that fewer than ten percent of all atheists are that type.  And this is what I keep getting at when I try to tell you that atheism is not a claim -- for at least ninety percent of all atheists[1], it isn't a claim.  It's merely lack of agreement with someone else's claim.
 1. Again, if my anecdotal experience is any indication
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 21, 2013, 03:10:28 PM
"I don't know, but since I have never seen any evidence for one, I presuppose that there isn't."  There.  Is that simple enough for you?

So what evidence do you have for positive atheism ?

I have none and have never claimed to.  So why are you asking?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Quesi on April 21, 2013, 03:41:12 PM

there are testimonial evidence, as Eds sister, that presenced it all, and my wife. Come visit me, and you can interview them. I have plenty of similar stories. On a trial, testimonies serve as evidence. Why should they not in regard of the quest of Gods existence ? The thread opener has asked for miracles. I have provided them.

Welcome to the forum, skepticofatheism. 

May I ask you a question.  If I testified that I am the reincarnation of Cleopatra, and that I was abducted by aliens last night, would you accept my testimony at face value?

If this teenager in custody testifies that he was instructed by god to place the bomb at the Boston Marathon[1] would you accept his testimony?
 1. I don't think that is what he is going to say, but I could be wrong
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jdawg70 on April 21, 2013, 03:53:41 PM
"I don't know, but since I have never seen any evidence for one, I presuppose that there isn't."  There.  Is that simple enough for you?

So what evidence do you have for positive atheism ?
I have some rocks that keep away tigers.  Just $5 each (plus shipping and handling) - interested?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 21, 2013, 04:13:01 PM
Yes, because Christians are making the claim that there is a god despite not having any evidence whatsoever to prove there is one.  If you believe there is a god, you have to prove it.  Until you can prove it, nobody else has any obligation to believe you.

present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is. As long as you do not have any, nobody else has either obligation to believe you. So far, not ONE strong atheis has been able to present convincing positive atheist arguments, which make a compelling case for strong atheism.

He is not trying to convince you, or any other believer for that matter, of anything.

It's the other way around - believers are the ones insisting without evidence that their premise is true, non-believers are not accepting that premise without proof. That doesn't mean that we have an agenda to get you to agree with us, we're still trying to get you to present evidence that we should accept your premise. We can't move on to convincing you of anything, since we can't agree on a place to start the actual discussion.

But a lot of us sure do enjoy explaining why we don't agree - by pointing out the flaws in the believers position.  ;D

I know this remains difficult for you to understand, but you are comparing apple and oranges, while discussing bananas and fish. Why is this so hard to understand? We've been explaining it for, what... two or three pages now?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 21, 2013, 05:22:40 PM
present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is. As long as you do not have any, nobody else has either obligation to believe you. So far, not ONE strong atheis has been able to present convincing positive atheist arguments, which make a compelling case for strong atheism.
First off, I'm not an atheist, let alone a strong atheist.  Second, I don't really care what you (or holybuckets) believes.  If you want to believe in an invisible, undetectable, omnimax deity, go for it.  Just don't expect me to blithely accept your statements that this deity exists unless and until you can present evidence to show it.  I can and will call you on it, until such time as you present actual evidence that I can evaluate.

Oh, by the way, your testimonials are anecdotal evidence and thus not convincing to prove the existence of your god.  For all we know, they could be faked; your pastor could have done research on your employee before going there and thus had the information he needed to be able to put together a convincing "God sent me a vision" speech.  Or you could be misremembering how things happened.  There's other explanations as well that don't require the existence of a supernatural deity.  This is why anecdotal evidence isn't convincing, because it's so easy to spin.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: shnozzola on April 21, 2013, 06:19:18 PM
Visiting theists,

           Speaking only for myself, it is not that I know for sure there is no god, it's just when believers start screaming "Praise Allah," and fly airplanes into buildings to prove their point, it is no longer fucking acceptable to remain quiet.

I know you'll say, " But their beliefs are wrong."  And I say, unfortunately for us all, they are as certain of their beliefs as you are.  Do you understand the danger, and why atheists must speak up?

(well, I guess my post should be under the challenge to Muslims thread, :-[)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 21, 2013, 06:28:19 PM
Jaimehlers,
You commented:
"Just don't expect me to blithely accept your statements that this deity exists unless and until you can present evidence to show it. "

Please, let's make no mistake about it. I do not have to present any evidence and show it to you.

Please read my posts. I am claiming that atheists are hypocritical cowards.

Secondly, God proves Himself to every man. We have the free will to accept or reject. By rejecting Him is not my problem, it is yours.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 21, 2013, 06:39:08 PM
there are testimonial evidence, as Eds sister, that presenced it all, and my wife. Come visit me, and you can interview them. I have plenty of similar stories. On a trial, testimonies serve as evidence. Why should they not in regard of the quest of Gods existence ?

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

A claim of magic is not evidence.


Quote
The thread opener has asked for miracles. I have provided them.

You told a story.  A story is not a miracle.


Quote
present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is. As long as you do not have any, nobody else has either obligation to believe you. So far, not ONE strong atheis has been able to present convincing positive atheist arguments, which make a compelling case for strong atheism.


As others have said in this thread, it's not up to us to prove that something does not exist.  It's up to you to prove that your claims are true.  Thus far, I don't believe in a god due to simple lack of evidence.  From what you've posted, I doubt I'm going to get much anything other than "eyewitness account are vaild!"
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 21, 2013, 08:03:32 PM
I can list a hundred different things that I would accept as evidence for the existence of a god-being, or at least a being with god-like powers (could be an alien).

For example, a copy of a sacred text with words that nobody could change. Or a person who could make amputated limbs grow back at a touch. Or millions of people in different parts of the world all getting the same  message from this god at the same time in their own languages. I could then believe that there might be such a thing as a god.

However, what evidence would our religious posters accept for the non-existence of god(s)?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 08:39:46 PM
I have none and have never claimed to.  So why are you asking?

Then you have a lost case. Case closed.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 21, 2013, 08:49:57 PM
You are aware, aren't you, that someone has to first make a case in order to lose it...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 21, 2013, 08:50:25 PM
Then you have a lost case. Case closed.

Exactly what part of "I see no evidence for god, therefore, I do not believe" do you not understand?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 09:14:36 PM
present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is.

I, sir, do not deal in "solid evidence."  I deal in pragmatism and probability.

I have never seen any gods except in the mirror, and I remain agnostic as to My own divinity.

On the other hand, I have participated in the natural world for over 55 years, with the exception of the times I have been asleep or intoxicated.  The natural world seems quite consistent in its makeup.

Therefore, {probability of natural world being the whole of our reality} > {probability of gods}, and that is sufficient for My needs.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:23:44 PM

May I ask you a question.  If I testified that I am the reincarnation of Cleopatra, and that I was abducted by aliens last night, would you accept my testimony at face value?


May i ask you a question as well. What do you think, motivated me, and millions over the world, to testify the miracles they presenced ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:26:15 PM
Yes, because Christians are making the claim that there is a god despite not having any evidence whatsoever to prove there is one.  If you believe there is a god, you have to prove it.  Until you can prove it, nobody else has any obligation to believe you.

present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is. As long as you do not have any, nobody else has either obligation to believe you. So far, not ONE strong atheis has been able to present convincing positive atheist arguments, which make a compelling case for strong atheism.

He is not trying to convince you, or any other believer for that matter, of anything.

It's the other way around - believers are the ones insisting without evidence that their premise is true, non-believers are not accepting that premise without proof. That doesn't mean that we have an agenda to get you to agree with us, we're still trying to get you to present evidence that we should accept your premise. We can't move on to convincing you of anything, since we can't agree on a place to start the actual discussion.

But a lot of us sure do enjoy explaining why we don't agree - by pointing out the flaws in the believers position.  ;D

I know this remains difficult for you to understand, but you are comparing apple and oranges, while discussing bananas and fish. Why is this so hard to understand? We've been explaining it for, what... two or three pages now?

you cannot base a world view on a negative. Thats why you need to provide positive evidence for your case, if you want to be taken seriously. Have any ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 09:26:58 PM
May i ask you a question as well. What do you think, motivated me, and millions over the world, to testify the miracles they presenced ?

Personally, I think you mistook an uncommon natural phenomenon for something supernatural.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:31:37 PM
present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is. As long as you do not have any, nobody else has either obligation to believe you. So far, not ONE strong atheis has been able to present convincing positive atheist arguments, which make a compelling case for strong atheism.
First off, I'm not an atheist, let alone a strong atheist.  Second, I don't really care what you (or holybuckets) believes.  If you want to believe in an invisible, undetectable, omnimax deity, go for it.  Just don't expect me to blithely accept your statements that this deity exists unless and until you can present evidence to show it.  I can and will call you on it, until such time as you present actual evidence that I can evaluate.

Same me. Do not expect me to believe, positive atheism is true, unless you provide solid evidence to back up this view.

Quote
Oh, by the way, your testimonials are anecdotal evidence and thus not convincing to prove the existence of your god.

I met the challenge. I have provided the only possible evidence for a miracle. A testimony. Challenge met. If you do not believe it, i can provide you the contact information of the person in question, and its sister. They will confirm everything i said. Why do you believe they have interest to lie ?

Quote
  For all we know, they could be faked; your pastor could have done research on your employee before going there and thus had the information he needed to be able to put together a convincing "God sent me a vision" speech.

Argument from incredulity.

Quote
Or you could be misremembering how things happened.

why should i ?


Quote
This is why anecdotal evidence isn't convincing, because it's so easy to spin.

sure sure..... its however not so easy to spin a world view of pure naturalistic means. Try......
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:33:04 PM
  Do you understand the danger, and why atheists must speak up?


Yeah, Please speak up. Start , presenting a consistent world view based on positive atheism.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 09:36:19 PM
Yeah, Please speak up. Start , presenting a consistent world view based on positive atheism.

That'll do for a start.  Over to you...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:38:32 PM

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

A claim of magic is not evidence.

The biggest miracle is a universe without a cause. If you claim that, your case is a lost case.


Quote
The thread opener has asked for miracles. I have provided them.

You told a story.  A story is not a miracle.

The narrative was about i miracle i presenced. Challenge met.

Quote
As others have said in this thread, it's not up to us to prove that something does not exist.


Neither have i asked for that. You should read more carefully what i have asked for. Are you sure you understood it correctly ?

Quote
It's up to you to prove that your claims are true.

I do not have to prove anything. Evidence is enough. I have plenty of it. Do you have any to back up your world view ?


Quote
Thus far, I don't believe in a god due to simple lack of evidence.


So where is your evidence for philosophical naturalism and positive atheism ?  You cannot make a case on base of a negative.


Quote
From what you've posted, I doubt I'm going to get much anything other than "eyewitness account are vaild!"

This thread is strictly a challenge of miracles. I have presenced one, and narrated it. Challenge met. That does not say anything else about what evidence i have on hand for theism.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:40:34 PM
However, what evidence would our religious posters accept for the non-existence of god(s)?

Just provide evidence that the natural world is all there is. No God needed to create the universe, the natural laws, the fine tuning of the universe, arise of life, human consciousness, the hability of speech, sex. Just to name a few.....
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:44:55 PM
You are aware, aren't you, that someone has to first make a case in order to lose it...
This website and the majority of participants sream out " there is no god ". This becomes clear after the first assertion, that their case is only disbelief in deities. Its for most of them more that just this. Most do actively deny Gods existence. So they want to make a case. Unfortunately, it has not a solid foundation. Just to build it up on disbelief is not enough. Atheists must be able to stand for a entire world view without God, to make a convincing case. By closer examination however, if falls down like a card house. John Lennox debate with Richard Dawkins was a total humiliation for Dawkins. Its no wonder, most debates are a desaster for the atheist debaters. Under closer examination, it becomes very clear, how strong atheism is a bankrupt hypotheses, without any rational foundation.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 21, 2013, 09:46:08 PM
I have none and have never claimed to.  So why are you asking?

Then you have a lost case. Case closed.

If you were to set up a chess board and ask me for a game, and I for whatever reason declined to play, would it be your contention that I had lost the game?  That's what you're doing here.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:50:30 PM
  I deal in pragmatism and probability.

The probability that the universe came out of absolutely nothing is exact...... ZERO. All quantum fluctuation speculations are all irrational nonsense, since a quantum field does not arise from absolutely nothing. A eternal universe is a failed hypotheses, since otherwise we would be in a state of heath death.

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I have never seen any gods except in the mirror, and I remain agnostic as to My own divinity.

You do not need to see the author, to understand that a conscious mind wrote Mary loves Jane, on a sand dune. In the same way, you do not need to see the author, to understand that only a conscious mind can be the author of the codified information stored in DNA.

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On the other hand, I have participated in the natural world for over 55 years, with the exception of the times I have been asleep or intoxicated.  The natural world seems quite consistent in its makeup.

It absolutely is. The only quest is about its author and origin. What evidence do you have the natural world is all there is ?

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:52:18 PM
Personally, I think you mistook an uncommon natural phenomenon for something supernatural.

So you call the fact, that my pastor new what happened to my employee in 2002, without never met him before, a " uncommon natural phenomenon " ?
Why do you think it was natural, and not supernatural ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:56:11 PM
Yeah, Please speak up. Start , presenting a consistent world view based on positive atheism.

  • Does not burn people at the stake as "witches."
  • Tends to alter worldview in accordance with new scientific evidence.
  • Does not teach people that they were born evil, and that they must accept a proxy human sacrifice in order to avoid eternal torture.
That'll do for a start.  Over to you...

Just scientific evidence is not enough to build a entire world view. More is required. And you need to be able to provide evidence of how the entire universe could arise by entirely natural means, be finely tuned. Be able to explain abiogenesis, present a natural mechanism for complex, specified , and codified information as stored in the cell. Explain homochirality,  the irreducible complexity in the cell, explain consciousness, and how it arose through evolution. And so sex, the hability of speech. Why men have beards, woman have not. I have a few other issues on hand, but thats enough for now. Just pick one issue, and provide evidence that  methodological naturalism provides the best explanation. Over to you.......
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 09:58:54 PM
So you call the fact, that my pastor new what happened to my employee in 2002, without never met him before, a " uncommon natural phenomenon " ?
Why do you think it was natural, and not supernatural ?

First of all, perhaps the pastor had information from an outside source and was simply pretending that the information came from a god, rather than from another human being or from a news report.

Secondly, he might have simply been good at "cold reading" or seen some physical signs such as a scar or a neurological anomaly suggesting a prior injury.

Finally (although I consider this far less likely than the other two options), perhaps he possesses a previously unidentified talent for mind reading that the science of the future may be able to analyze. 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 09:59:31 PM
I have none and have never claimed to.  So why are you asking?

Then you have a lost case. Case closed.

If you were to set up a chess board and ask me for a game, and I for whatever reason declined to play, would it be your contention that I had lost the game?  That's what you're doing here.

You are here to play. If you don't , you loose the game.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 10:00:54 PM
Just scientific evidence is not enough to build a entire world view. More is required.

Nonsense!  I, for one, simply don't need anything more.

By the way, are you "Gibhor" from the Randi forum?  Because he asked that same question about beards... Over and over and over again. 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 10:03:23 PM
First of all, perhaps the pastor had information from an outside source

I know this pastor. His job is not to deceive people. He was never at my ranch, and never met my employee.


Quote
Secondly, he might have simply been good at "cold reading" or seen some physical signs such as a scar or a neurological anomaly suggesting a prior injury.

My employee had not spoken one word to him. We arrived, the pastor got out of the car, shake my employees hand, and started to make the revelation. No cold reading involved. I presenced it all. There was no way this pastor could have got the information from my employee at this moment.

Quote
Finally (although I consider this far less likely than the other two options), perhaps he possesses a previously unidentified talent for mind reading that the science of the future may be able to analyze.

So you admit dualism is true ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 10:04:17 PM
Just scientific evidence is not enough to build a entire world view. More is required.

Nonsense!  I, for one, simply don't need anything more.

By the way, are you "Gibhor" from the Randi forum?  Because he asked that same question about beards... Over and over and over again.

yes, i am. I have always a lot of fun to read the nonsense answers to this question.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 21, 2013, 10:06:41 PM
The biggest miracle is a universe without a cause. If you claim that, your case is a lost case.

The biggest miracle is a god without a cause. If you claim that, your case is a lost case.

Explain why that statement is different than yours.


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The narrative was about i miracle i presenced. Challenge met.


An anecdote is not evidence.  You want us to believe a story, a story you may well have made up on the spot.


Quote
Neither have i asked for that. You should read more carefully what i have asked for. Are you sure you understood it correctly ?

In your post following the one I'm quoting, you wrote down "Just provide evidence that the natural world is all there is. No God needed to create the universe..."

You're effectively asking us to demostrate that god does not exist.


Quote
I do not have to prove anything. Evidence is enough. I have plenty of it. Do you have any to back up your world view ?

You have provided no evidence whatsoever.  You only provided a story that may or may not be entirely fictional.


Quote
So where is your evidence for philosophical naturalism and positive atheism ?  You cannot make a case on base of a negative.


Where is your evidence of god?  The only claim I'm making is that I have seen no evidence for the existence of god.  Thus, I'm not inclined to believe in one.  No need to confound the issue further by adding talk of "philosophical naturalism" and whatsnot.


Quote
This thread is strictly a challenge of miracles. I have presenced one, and narrated it. Challenge met. That does not say anything else about what evidence i have on hand for theism.

Again, an anecdote is not evidence.  You haven't even presented any means to verify this account.

Also, what's with the spelling of "presented"?  You mispelled it twice the same way, so it's not a simple typo.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 10:08:19 PM
By the way, are you "Gibhor" from the Randi forum?  Because he asked that same question about beards... Over and over and over again.

yes, i am. I have always a lot of fun to read the nonsense answers to this question.

Mods have been duly notified.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 10:13:23 PM
Mods have been duly notified.

very smart. Protect yourself. Otherwise you risk to have the nonsense of your world view exposed.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 10:15:07 PM
very smart. Protect yourself. Otherwise you risk to have the nonsense of your world view exposed.

Expose it, then... By having your god visit Me in person, in My office.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 21, 2013, 10:40:50 PM
Expose it, then... By having your god visit Me in person, in My office.

He is always there. God is present everywhere, all the time. He is All knowing. If you are not able to perceive it with your senses, that does not mean, he is not present.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 21, 2013, 10:49:19 PM
He is always there.

Baseless assertation.


Quote
God is present everywhere, all the time.


Baseless assertation.


Quote
He is All knowing.

Baseless assertation.


Quote
If you are not able to perceive it with your senses, that does not mean, he is not present.

Baseless assertation, unfalsifiable claim.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 21, 2013, 11:33:28 PM
He is always there. God is present everywhere, all the time. He is All knowing. If you are not able to perceive it with your senses, that does not mean, he is not present.

An alleged entity that is invisible, inaudible, intangible, totally unresponsive to My inquiries and totally undetectable by any means known to current science -- and whose "presence" doesn't even annoy My cats -- is a de facto imaginary being that has no fucking relevance to the life that I am currently living.

In other words, even if it *is* real I don't bloody well care, because it has no perceivable effect on My reality.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 21, 2013, 11:37:09 PM
"In other words, even if it *is* real I don't care, because it has no perceivable effect on My reality."

I hate to disagree with you, but if "it" [God] is real, He will have a profound effect on Your reality.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 12:30:30 AM
Has atheism been proved? Has it been proved that is NO GOD?
Has evolution been proved? Has it been PROVED that man evolved?
Seems to me there should be a challenge to atheists as well.

What "seems to you" is grossly wrong.

1. Atheism is not an assertion or 'belief'. It is the REJECTION of an assertion, namely that there is a God (just like someone who rejects there is a Santa Claus would be called an "a-Santa-Clausist"). Atheism is the lack of belief in something. Not a belief in something.

2. Evolution HAS been proved, actually (in as much as anything in science can be demonstrated - such as germs causing decease). Change over time IS a fact. Please visit www.talkorigins.org and do some homework. But of the course, the question of evolution doesn't have anything to do with whether or not a God exists. If all of the absolutely overwhelming evidence for evolution were overturned tomorrow that still wouldn't get you one step closer to your biblical 'Yahweh' God. At best, you would have to admit (if you were intellectually honest with yourself) that you simply don't know how we got here. It would NOT lead you to, "Oh, God did it cause I can't think of any other way." That is called the argument from ignorance fallacy. Look it up.


Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 22, 2013, 12:45:24 AM
Same me. Do not expect me to believe, positive atheism is true, unless you provide solid evidence to back up this view.
What part of "I am not an atheist, let alone a strong atheist", are you having trouble understanding?  I'm not making an argument for "positive atheism" in the first place, because you can't prove something doesn't exist.  The burden of proof for proving that gods exist, and thus disproving atheism, rests on you and believers like you, not on atheists or skeptics.  And, quite frankly, testimonials aren't going to cut it.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
I met the challenge. I have provided the only possible evidence for a miracle. A testimony. Challenge met. If you do not believe it, i can provide you the contact information of the person in question, and its sister. They will confirm everything i said. Why do you believe they have interest to lie ?
Testimonials aren't evidence of anything except what someone believes to be true.  Look up "confirmation bias", for example.  People can and often do get fooled by what they expect to be true, even though it isn't actually true. Furthermore, there's no way that you can rule out a non-miraculous explanation with a testimonial.  If you want to show that something is a miracle, explainable only by divine providence, then you have to be able to rule out every other possible cause for it.  And testimonies can't do that, because they're based on a person's subjective perspective.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
Argument from incredulity.
No, I'm suggesting alternatives to "your pastor had a vision from God".  I'm not saying your explanation can't be true because it's incredible[1], I'm saying that you have a very high standard of evidence to meet, and demonstrating why testimonial/anecdotal evidence doesn't cut it.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
why should i ?
Because the human memory is not a video camera or a tape recorder.  Every time a person remembers something, they change the memory.  That's why they have to separate eyewitnesses so they can't compare notes, for example.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
sure sure..... its however not so easy to spin a world view of pure naturalistic means. Try......
I'm honestly not sure why you included this.  Spin, as I used it, means to provide an interpretation of an event in order to sway opinion.

The biggest miracle is a universe without a cause. If you claim that, your case is a lost case.
So, question for you.  You believe that the universe was caused by your god; that is to say, your god caused it to come into existence.  So, what caused your god to come into existence?

Quote from: skepticofatheism
The narrative was about i miracle i presenced. Challenge met.
No offense, but this is one of the least miraculous 'miracles' I've ever heard of.  I don't even define it as a commonplace "one in a million" miracle (which happens on average once a month to everyone), let alone a divine miracle.  For one thing, based on your story, none of you actually questioned where he got his information from.  You simply took him at his word that God gave him that vision right at that moment.  Maybe it did happen that way, but I'd bet against it.  For another, you're relying on eyewitness testimony, which is notoriously inaccurate (especially when the eyewitnesses talk to each other after the fact).  There are other problems with it, but those will suffice for now.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
Neither have i asked for that. You should read more carefully what i have asked for. Are you sure you understood it correctly ?
You're asking us to explain it.  I can tell you right now that I can come up with several other explanations, none of which require the intervention of a supernatural deity.  And you can't actually disprove those explanations satisfactorily, because you're relying on eyewitness testimony.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
I do not have to prove anything. Evidence is enough. I have plenty of it. Do you have any to back up your world view ?
Well, let's see your evidence.  Note that anecdotes don't cut it on their own.

Also, the point of atheism is that until something is shown to exist, there is no point to believing in it.  If something doesn't exist, believing in it won't make it exist, and if something does exist, not believing in it won't make it go away.  It's really that simple.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
So where is your evidence for philosophical naturalism and positive atheism ?  You cannot make a case on base of a negative.
Nor is he.  The case for philosophical naturalism is that you can explain every event that happens without invoking something from 'outside' nature.  That is to say, supernatural or divine.  And your statement about positive atheism is based on your misunderstanding of it.  Positive atheism does not say that it is impossible for gods to exist; it says that if gods existed, we would see evidence of them, and since we do not, they almost certainly do not exist.  But that is not the same as saying they definitely do not exist.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
This thread is strictly a challenge of miracles. I have presenced one, and narrated it. Challenge met. That does not say anything else about what evidence i have on hand for theism.
Again, no offense, but the event you reported was hardly miraculous, even by the definition of "a one in a million chance of it happening".  There are numerous ways to explain it that don't require the intervention of a god.  For example, your pastor faked it - he researched your employee beforehand and presented it as if God were whispering it in his ear.  Or, your pastor was playing a confidence game - he asked leading questions and used his observations of your employee's reactions to determine if he was correct or not.  Or, he read about it some time before, forgot that he read it, and when you introduced the two of them to each other, he recalled it and mistakenly thought that God was giving him the information.  Or, you and your pastor had discussed it at some point previously, and either forgot that you had or intentionally planned it out to get him to convert to Christianity.

Testimonials have two serious flaws; they assume that the people testifying remember it with perfect accuracy, and they rely on the honesty of those testifying.  Why do you think lawyers cross-examine someone testifying on the stand?
 1. though it is incredible, incredible things have been proven true before, emphasis on proven
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Samothec on April 22, 2013, 12:58:54 AM
I went with a pastor, friend of mine , visiting my farm. it is located about 50km away from where i live. This pastor was never there. When we arrived, a employee of mine welcomed both of us.
When this pastor shaked my employees hand, he said straight away to him : God shows me, that you had a car accident, in 2002. You almost died. You lost a lot of blood. Your intestine was open, and could be seen. But God has a plan in your life, that is why he saved you there. Ed, ( my employees name ) was shocked. He could not say one word. But his sister arrived, and heard everything the pastor said. After he finished, she screamed, and said : Ed, everything this pastor said, is true. Two weeks later, i went again to my farm, and met my employee again. He confirmed me the whole story, and said, that indeed, God called him many times, but he always avoided to convert. After this event, he converted, and is now a born again christian. His sister converted as well. I could tell other similar stories as this. I have presenced this, its all true, not a invented story. My pastor was never at my farm, never met my employee. How do you explain this ?

50 km is not a great distance so the pastor could have read a newspaper article on your employee's accident and upon meeting him decided to use that knowledge to try and convert him.

You avoid mentioning whether or not the employee was shirtless at the time of meeting which would have revealed the scar which would have told the pastor a lot on its own. You also don't say when this meeting happened trying (dishonestly?) to imply it was recent which would make the announcement of 2002 a somewhat remarkable feat. But if this happened several years ago (only a year or two after the accident) and the pastor saw the condition of the scar he could have made an educated guess about the timing - after all, he only gave a year, not an actual date.

You say "I went with a pastor, friend of mine , visiting my farm." and your employee "always avoided to convert." A more honest wording would have been to use the word "took" not "went with". But that leads to the question of why you took him there. Was it to have them meet so the pastor could try to convert him?

Was the employee working for you back in 2002? Then you already knew about the accident although you imply that you didn't (which supposedly clears you of informing the pastor). But knowing about the accident means you could have at any point in the past told your friend, the pastor, about the employee.

These are just a few of the holes in your testimonial.


Just scientific evidence is not enough to build a entire world view. More is required. And you need to be able to provide evidence of how the entire universe could arise by entirely natural means, be finely tuned. Be able to explain abiogenesis, present a natural mechanism for complex, specified , and codified information as stored in the cell. Explain homochirality,  the irreducible complexity in the cell, explain consciousness, and how it arose through evolution. And so sex, the hability of speech. Why men have beards, woman have not. I have a few other issues on hand, but thats enough for now. Just pick one issue, and provide evidence that  methodological naturalism provides the best explanation. Over to you.......
You are good at parroting things from others but you make it obvious by your misspellings and poor use of commas.

Why do we "need to be able to provide evidence of" anything natural? Only an idiot asks for natural things to be proven.

As for the idea that the universe is "finely tuned" that makes a huge and incorrect assumption: that any other arrangement of forces could have resulted in a stable universe. Scientists have found that "absolutely nothing" might not be stable either. So initially nothing existed but was unstable. Instabilities cause change which could have altered the forces. Which then caused another instability instead of a universe because they were not in balance. Again this forces a change which again caused another instability and so on. Until this combination was arrived at and a stable universe developed so here we are.

Abiogenesis – a couple possibilities proposed and are being tested. Look them up yourself.
DNA - ditto
Homochirality – it is stupid to even suggest that this needs explaining
"irreducible complexity" – doesn't exist; it is fiction
Beards – not sure but probably a sexually selected trait.

"provide evidence that  methodological naturalism provides the best explanation" – no. You can ask for evidence as has been done with theists claims about god(s) but you don't get to pick anything beyond that. Unless you are willing to prove that Osiris exists rather than Yahweh – or whatever god is picked by the person who answers you to your satisfaction. Because that is really the issue you're trying to manufacture: a test no one can answer sufficiently.
 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 22, 2013, 01:12:42 AM
you cannot base a world view on a negative.
Agreed conditionally, and I don't base my world view on a negative. I'm not sure that I couldn't, but that's a different topic, and not of much interest to me. You should start a new topic if you want to discuss that.

You assume that my world view is based on a negative because you can not conceive of a world without God - for you it's THE defining feature but don't assume I share your hangup. I don't base my world view on the absence of a god figure, I base it on my experiences of the world. You really need to stop thinking you can speak accurately on my behalf - you keep getting it dead wrong.

Again: I know this remains difficult for you to understand, but you are comparing apple and oranges, while discussing bananas and fish.

Thats why you need to provide positive evidence for your case, if you want to be taken seriously. Have any ?

Evidence of what? What is this "case" you keep trying to hand off to me? I have no vested interest in whether you take me seriously or not; as far as I can tell, you're a random uptight fellow with access to the internet, a poor grasp of logic and an attitude of entitlement. That hardly compels me to care if you take me seriously.

You make no sense at all - you are the one making demands out of nowhere and insisting that you are owed something, not I.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 01:41:43 AM
I have none and have never claimed to.  So why are you asking?

Then you have a lost case. Case closed.

The time to believe a claim is when sufficient sound evidence has been presented - and not a second before. Your gullibility and credulity don't get to dictate that we have "lost our case". Have children who no longer believe in Santa Claus "lost their case" because they will not go out and try to prove a universal negative?? You are talking absurd hypocrisy talk.

Can you prove "positive a-Santa-Clausism" is true?? Santa must exist!! NOT...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 01:46:50 AM
you cannot base a world view on a negative. Thats why you need to provide positive evidence for your case, if you want to be taken seriously. Have any ?

HA! You just missed the underlying point of your own words! "You can't base a worldview on a negative..." EXACTLY! That's because atheism is NOT a worldview. It is simply the rejection of one claim (that a "God" exists). You should stop listening to the Greg Bahnsen/Matt Slick types that try to tell you otherwise. There are many different non-believers of religion (atheists) with many different "views" of the world. Your thinking is just too narrow here to realize the flaw.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 02:00:29 AM
Same me. Do not expect me to believe, positive atheism is true, unless you provide solid evidence to back up this view.

Really? Do you believe in unicorns?

Get back to the OP and DEMONSTRATE YOUR DEITY. Just making MORE claims to the supernatural isn't meeting the challenge of the OP. Get to the "greater works" of Mark 16/Matthew 14 and start SHOWING - not claiming.

I met the challenge. I have provided the only possible evidence for a miracle. A testimony. Challenge met. If you do not believe it, i can provide you the contact information of the person in question, and its sister. They will confirm everything i said. Why do you believe they have interest to lie ?

You're not the final decider on what counts as sufficient evidence and what is not - especially when it comes to extraordinary claims to the supernatural. Sorry, your standard of evidence is far too low, and quite hypocritical. Do you believe ALL personal testimony to the supernatural? Your religion is not the only one with such claims, you know. Testimony is NOT sufficient - even for you! If a salesman comes to your door selling a magic potion, that will cure all deceases, will you believe his "personal testimony" that it worked for his mom and grandma (even if they both confirm it with their words)?

You are practicing credulity.


Quote
This is why anecdotal evidence isn't convincing, because it's so easy to spin.

sure sure..... its however not so easy to spin a world view of pure naturalistic means. Try......

HA! I love the "sure sure" part. It's like, "Yes, you're right. But...moving on!!" Dude, you just agreed that anecdotal evidence isn't sufficient - meaning you shouldn't be making a judgment about whether it's true or not. You should be withholding judgment. But, of course, that isn't good enough for you, is it? You just have to know!

What hubris and arrogance!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Seppuku on April 22, 2013, 02:10:40 AM
SoA, the anecdote you've given us could have multiple explanations, you've only chosen to believe one, as has your employee and his sister, it doesn't mean it's the right one, it's just the one the pastor would like you to believe. Considering Darren Brown, an atheist with no claim to God powers, is able to pull the same sort of tricks suggests to me there are alternative explanations. Good magicians can seemingly defy the laws of physics and our understanding of the world, when in reality all they're doing is creating an illusion. If you're a believer or are more susceptible to it, it makes it easier for you to interpret such things as supernatural and heck, it can influence your constructive memory of how things transpired.
So as you can see, an anecdote isn't exactly reliable.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 02:10:50 AM
Just scientific evidence is not enough to build a entire world view. More is required. And you need to be able to provide evidence of how the entire universe could arise by entirely natural means, be finely tuned. Be able to explain abiogenesis, present a natural mechanism for complex, specified , and codified information as stored in the cell. Explain homochirality,  the irreducible complexity in the cell, explain consciousness, and how it arose through evolution. And so sex, the hability of speech. Why men have beards, woman have not. I have a few other issues on hand, but thats enough for now. Just pick one issue, and provide evidence that  methodological naturalism provides the best explanation. Over to you.......

Your first and primary fallacy begins with your idea (which likely some other Christian apologist "sold" you, and which you bought full price) - that you just have to explain it all, and have all the answers to existence, right now! In case you hadn't noticed, there is no "I don't know" worldview. This is the beauty of science. It readily admits when it doesn't know something AND THEN GOES OUT IN SEARCH OF DEMONSTRABLE ANSWERS THAT CAN BE TESTED! You, on the other hand (for some strange reason) felt comfortable (as so many apologists are) starting with your conclusion. "I bought this and believe it and now I'm going to go out and defend it!" That is the opposite of critical thinking and investigating. It is called being GULLIBLE. When you don't know, you should admit it. You'll find that life is much better when you are honest with yourself.


"Nature proves nature. It doesn't tell you how it got here until you investigate."
Matt Dillahunty
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 02:23:15 AM
He is always there. God is present everywhere, all the time. He is All knowing. If you are not able to perceive it with your senses, that does not mean, he is not present.

"If you can't perceive Santa, that doesn't mean Santa doesn't exist Timmy!! Neener, neener, neener!!"

Anyone can claim that nearly anything exists, and then say, "You can't prove it doesn't!" That doesn't help your case one bit. You can't prove lots of things don't exist (unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, etc). So what! The time to believe is AFTER sound demonstrable evidence has been presented for the extraordinary claim, not before. 

Please stop regurgitating paraphrased bible quotes ("He's always there..." etc) b/c those are nothing more than restating the big fat assumptions you have made from the very beginning, based upon your presupposition that the bible is "the word of God". The OP asks you to DEMONSTRATE this deity - not just make more claims or start quoting bible verses from memory (i.e. - bible thumping).

If you can't demonstrate your "Yahweh" deity, then why not just be honest and admit it? Doesn't your bible command you not to lie?? Then be honest and admit when you can't meet the challenge.

Stings, don't it...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 22, 2013, 04:13:03 AM
Answer this question. Is there a God, or is there not? It is a very simple question.

About as simple as "do you still beat your wife", but never mind.

"Could there be A god"?  Yes.  There could indeed be A god that I have hiterto not yet examined the evidence for.  I am always open to new hypotheses.

"Is there a God?"  No.  I have seen no evidence for God (by which I presume you mean Yahweh), so I dismiss it as not existing in the same way I dismiss Allah, Vishnu, Odin, Osiris, pianodwarf's leprechaun in his cupboard, and every other deity that I have ever examined.

Many people say to me "my god exists!".  And I polutely ask them to define that god, to see if it matches what I understand and perceive of the universe.  It rarely does.  I ask them to show me the evidence for their god, and rarely if ever do I receive any.  I ask "how can I find/communicate with/experience this god for myself?"  And rarely if ever do I get an answer.  When I do - and I follow the instructions - I invariably have no results.

And so to all those gods that I have examined, I confidently say "NO.  That god does not exist."

EXACTLY the same way, holybuckets, that you say that "Ganesh does not exist".

Or do you agree that Ganesh exists?  I wouldn't want anyone to think that YOU were a hypocrite.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 22, 2013, 04:18:55 AM
So you call the fact, that my pastor new what happened to my employee in 2002, without never met him before, a " uncommon natural phenomenon " ?
Why do you think it was natural, and not supernatural ?

Another explanation could be that the pastor had read or heard something about this man, and then consciously forgotten it.  When the man appeared in front of him, his name or his face triggered the memory of what happened.

For most people, when that memory popped up, we might say "oh, didn't I HEAR you were in a car crash?"  But for your pastor - a man steeped in belief who genuinely believes his god speaks to him and imparts information - when that memory popped up, it would be extremely likely he would "feel" it was his god speaking to him directly and imparting that information for the first time.  As a result he would speak the information just as he did.....but with no requirement for ANY supernatural intervention.

It is, of course, impossible now to prove that your pastor had never read or been told of the accident.  But of course, nor is it possible to prove that there was a god who DID decide to pop some information into your pastor's brain.....though to accept there IS a god, who DID do that, one would have to explain why then?  Why not give some useful information to someone who could use it for something other than a cheap parlour trick?

But I digress.  In the absence of proof either way, my explanation is perfectly reasonable, and benefits from requiring no additional supernatural elements.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 22, 2013, 06:02:40 AM
You are here to play. If you don't , you loose the game.

In this case, you asked me to support a claim I never made, then when I said I couldn't support the claim and that I had never made the claim in the first place in any event, you said that my claim was invalid.  If this was an honest mistake on your part, just admit it and move on -- I promise you, no one is going to sneer at you for being mature enough to admit you erred.

(On the other hand, if it was deliberate, and if that type of behavior is your norm, you can probably expect moderator intervention soon.)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 22, 2013, 06:25:07 AM
He is always there. God is present everywhere, all the time. He is All knowing. If you are not able to perceive it with your senses, that does not mean, he is not present.

An alleged entity that is invisible, inaudible, intangible, totally unresponsive to My inquiries and totally undetectable by any means known to current science -- and whose "presence" doesn't even annoy My cats -- is a de facto imaginary being that has no fucking relevance to the life that I am currently living.

In other words, even if it *is* real I don't bloody well care, because it has no perceivable effect on My reality.

your inquiries have a apropriate answer - which you willfully ignore. Read the bible.
There are millions of testimonies of people that pray, and have their prayers answered.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on April 22, 2013, 06:50:22 AM
skepticofatheism,

Its all very well to tell us about all the people who make claims about prayer working but it can't be shown to be true. Sadly, the best study to date found that prayer doesn't work (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).

You see there are quite are few things that are claimed by, for exmple, Christianity like prayer being effective and so on. Yet when it is tested, it is clear it has no effect. Now I know you can tell m eof people who claim it works but think about this example.

There are 20 patients in a hospital ward, each with a 5% chance of survival from some nasty disease. Sure enough, all but one die. now each patient's family prayed for their loved one. Can the family of the one who survived claim their prayer was effective, because if so there are 19 families for whom is wasn't? is it not the case that people claim prayer is effective by ignoring all the times it didn't work and then, by chance the think they pray for happens so that prayer worked?

It is when one gets to the predictions a religion makes and then finds the prediction is false than one gets to wonder if there is a god at all or if the whole thing was made up by men as a way of control a stone age population.

Now, let us see just bit of hard evidence that anything your religion predicts should happen actually does happen.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 22, 2013, 06:51:20 AM
your inquiries have a apropriate answer - which you willfully ignore. Read the bible.
There are millions of testimonies of people that pray, and have their prayers answered.

Read it.  Prayed.  No answers.

Muslims read the Koran.  Prayed.  Got answers.

Not sure what your point is here?  Astreja's point is that if following all the required steps to make contact with a particular deity produces no effect or response, then there is no need thereafter to consider that deity as being existent, nor to live one's life with any nod to that deity's alleged wishes or desires.

Can I ask how many prayers you have directed to Lord Ganesh?  How you structure your life to take into account Lord Ganesh's teachings and wishes?  And what your answer would be to the question "does Lord Ganesh exist"?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on April 22, 2013, 06:52:17 AM
Im just assuming SoA is lying about the whole thing until some evidence is put forth. My testimony is that there is no god, now we have to determine truth between two opposing testimonies. How shall we do that?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Dante on April 22, 2013, 07:07:58 AM
I met the challenge. I have provided the only possible evidence for a miracle. A testimony. Challenge met. If you do not believe it, i can provide you the contact information of the person in question, and its sister. They will confirm everything i said. Why do you believe they have interest to lie ?

Bwahahahaha!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 22, 2013, 07:15:17 AM
This website and the majority of participants stream out " there is no god ". This becomes clear after the first assertion, that their case is only disbelief in deities. Its for most of them more that just this. Most do actively deny Gods existence.
Of course, there are a lot of gods you don't believe in, aren't there? Do you believe they exist? If not, why not?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Quesi on April 22, 2013, 07:45:58 AM

May I ask you a question.  If I testified that I am the reincarnation of Cleopatra, and that I was abducted by aliens last night, would you accept my testimony at face value?


May i ask you a question as well. What do you think, motivated me, and millions over the world, to testify the miracles they presenced ?

Great question!  I would say that the same factors motivated you to testify, and motivated millions of others to testify about god and aliens and being the reincarnation of Cleopatra. 

Here is an article in Psychology Today, which describes some of the traits that are common among people who claim to have been abducted by aliens.  I've listed 4 of the 5 traits, and I suspect that each of these traits is common among folks who have received messages from god or experienced miracles or have seen ghosts or fairies or demons or who remember past lives.   http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201207/five-traits-could-get-you-abducted-aliens



* Tendency to Recall False Memories: In an elegant set of experimental studies, McNally and colleagues found that individuals who claimed to have been abducted by aliens were prone to what is known as “false memory syndrome." That is, alien abductees regularly claimed to recall words, items, sentences, etc. in memory tests that they had never actually seen before. If this “false memory” affect can be generalized to autobiographical memories, then individuals who claim to have been abducted by aliens would be twice as likely to “falsely remember” things that had never happened to them than would non-abductees.

*   High levels of “Absorption”: Alien abductees also score significantly higher than most people on the mental characteristic known as ‘absorption.' This is a trait related to fantasy proneness, vivid imagery, and susceptibility to hypnosis and suggestion.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_(psychology)

New Age beliefs: (New age beliefs are more likely for reincarnation or alien abductions.  "Old age beliefs" are more likely for god and fairies and demons.)[1] ... They score highly on measures of magical ideation and endorse New Age ideas that encompass beliefs about alternative medicines and healing, astrology, and fortune telling. Such beliefs would certainly allow the individual to accept things happening to them that would be dismissed by existing scientific knowledge.

A familiarity with the cultural narrative ...  Pretty self evident.  We tell these stories over and over again.  And then certain members of the society that is telling the story imagine themselves to be a protagonist in the story.

I'm guessing that you and your wife and your pastor and your employee are all familiar with the cultural narrative of Christianity, and most of you believed it before you had this miraculous experience.  I would also guess that all of you probably have fairly high absorption levels, and that this experience is probably not the first false memory that you have had. 

Hundreds of years ago, no one reported being abducted by aliens.  Today reports come in from all over the world.  For many hundreds of years, members of certain cultures reported seeing fairies and goblins and mysterious creatures, who would often pull pranks and knock over buckets and move items around and eat food and whatnot.  Not too many people report a lot of fairy activity these days.  But some folks tell ghost stories. 

Throughout all of human history, there have always been folks who got special messages from their deities.  Ancient Greek gods spoke to mortals all the time.  Had sex with them too.  Ancient Mayan gods approached both royalty and common folk, and offered farming tips and suggestions for temple construction.  The god of Abraham sometimes offers really nasty advice, such as placing bombs or killing your children.  But in spite of being really busy, that god still takes the time to send illusionary pastors to re-tell stories of accidents to individuals, rather than making himself universally known to everyone, and nogodsforme suggested he could. 

I know you believe it.  I know you do.  And if you lived in ancient Greece, you would probably have been visited by a member of the pantheon.  And if you lived in ancient Guatemala, you probably would have gotten a message from a corn deity.  And if you lived in a community that was more new age and less fundamentalist Christian, you probably would have been abducted by aliens, or recognized yourself as the reincarnation of some famous person from the past. 

As long as Christianity exists, some people are going to imagine themselves as protagonists in some important aspect of the story. 

 



 1. My editorial comments, not included in the article.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 22, 2013, 08:42:37 AM
your inquiries have a apropriate answer - which you willfully ignore. Read the bible.
There are millions of testimonies of people that pray, and have their prayers answered.
I think you are mistaken! The enquiries do have an answer, but it is in the [wiki]Bhagavad Gita[/wiki]

If you visit just a few of the Hindu websites, you will see that "There are millions of testimonies of people that pray, and have their prayers answered."

Your god is not there and it is just coincidence that you ask for say, "good health for a friend" and it happens. With Ganesha, he really does listen and He acts. He is not like your imaginary god.

I know Ganesha, Lord of all existing Beings, is real. You are deluded and your karma will not be resolved; you will never attain moksa (liberation) and you will be condemned to eternal cycles of reincarnation.

I urge you to accept Ganesha as your Lord and Protector.

(http://blavatskyblogger.theosophywales.org.uk/ganesha.gif)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 22, 2013, 09:41:58 AM
Hi skepticofatheism

welcome to our site.  My green text indicates I am acting as a moderator.  I am not participating in the discusion, but trying to help guide you.

You have taken a rather bombastic and in-your-face approach.  I suggest you dial back on that.

You also say a lot of things without any support or citation.  For example, this:

The probability that the universe came out of absolutely nothing is exact...... ZERO. All quantum fluctuation speculations are all irrational nonsense, since a quantum field does not arise from absolutely nothing. A eternal universe is a failed hypotheses, since otherwise we would be in a state of heath death.

You need to show your work or link to a legitimate source that shows this statement is correct.  Your say so does not cut it.  Or you can stop saying things like this. 

For your benefit, there are links to the site rules below in my sig.

Thanks for your cooperation.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 22, 2013, 10:36:50 AM
If miracles are evidence for a god, do Christians acknowledge the gods of Islam or Hinduism? Because they also have miracles, dozens on websites, just like Christians.

Even if there were documented miracles (supernatural events) it would still be a stretch to say that the miracles came from one particular god. Because there are a lot of gods out there, according to the various religions that exist. How does anyone know that it is their own special diety that is responsible for all the world's miracles?

Besides, I have yet to have a Christian explain to me the difference between an unlikely but normal human event (someone has cancer and gets better after praying) and a supernatural one, impossible without divine intervention (everyone in world with cancer is cured overnight by prayer).
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 22, 2013, 11:12:20 AM
Quote
Can you prove "positive a-Santa-Clausism" is true?? Santa must exist!! NOT...

Interestingly, you can prove "positive a-Santa-Clausism"
http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/physics.asp (http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/physics.asp)
Argument with the conclusion "If Santa ever did deliver presents, he's dead now"
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 22, 2013, 12:21:59 PM
There is no proof that man evolved from ANYTHING. NO PROOF.  There is MORE proof that Jesus resurrected from the dead than there is for evolution.

(Springy G stops giggling and starts typing...)

Well, let's see what we have here...

On the pro-evolution side:  Millions upon millions of fossil specimens, DNA analyses, physiological commonalities, experiments such as Richard Lenski's famous E. coli experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment) and innumerable transitional lifeforms, supported by a theory that has yet to be falsified in favour of a more elegant one.

On the pro-Jesus side:  A few old stories full of supernatural crapola, none of which were written in the time period in question, describing events that over 40 contemporaneous scholars in the Jerusalem area apparently never witnessed and never recorded.  One would think that somebody other than the Gospel authors would have written about that 3 hours of darkness, or the resurrected-saint zombies wandering the streets, or even the mob scene with Pilate addressing the masses from his balcony.  Nada.  Not a sausage.

I think I'll stick with evolution, thanks.  At least it can be used for useful things such as disease control.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 22, 2013, 12:38:25 PM
Astreja, I just want to take this opportunity to say that you are the most believable goddess I know of  ;)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 22, 2013, 12:39:12 PM
So, there is a possibility the IS a God! Yes or no? Again, this is a very simple question.

No, not a chance. And even if there were, the chances of it being your god would be next to zero.

You are seriously proposing an invisible being living in outer space, completely undetectable, no source of energy, who is immortal and unaffected by time[1], of the trillions of stars all with planets, is genuinely concerned about wearing mixed fibre or women with short hair?

This improbable being can make us live for ever although no dead people have ever given witness to this? But only if we have obeyed His Commands even though everyone has a different idea of what these commands are and whether they are still valid.

Not only that, but if anyone in the Bible had had the slightest intelligence, they would have asked Jesus, "Now exactly how do you make the blind see? I mean, what is the biological process?" and once we knew that, it would not be "miraculous" because we would understand it.

So, once we understand how a god does what it is gods do, he would no longer be a god.

All gods are ignorance. Ignorance is real enough, isn't it, holybuckets?

Astreja, I just want to take this opportunity to say that you are the most believable goddess I know of  ;)

Creep! :)
 1. What would be the use of that? I mean - either immortal OR unaffected by time would do the job
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 01:28:04 PM
Quote
Can you prove "positive a-Santa-Clausism" is true?? Santa must exist!! NOT...

Interestingly, you can prove "positive a-Santa-Clausism"
http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/physics.asp (http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/physics.asp)
Argument with the conclusion "If Santa ever did deliver presents, he's dead now"

HA! This is awesome. I'm really glad you posted this article because it demonstrates quite clearly what I was getting at. Here's the rebuttal from the credulous "spin" side.

"Oh no, that article is wrong! Santa and his workers and reindeer are not natural! Silly non-believer, Santa can do whatever he wants because he's supernatural! Didn't you know this? That's why he can fit down every chimney and how he knows who is naughty and who is nice. You a-Santa-Clausists are so blind! Santa is real! I know it. I experienced him and you can't prove me wrong! I know he's real and his magic is true because I have faith."

Notice how your article tries to make points that WE non-believers (those who reject your "Yahweh" deity God thing) are making. But when we state the strong reasons why your God simply is an absurd notion and could not exist, you start ranting things like the above. It's hypocrisy, plain and simple. If you can show good reasons for thinking Santa is not real, then in the same exact fashion we can use those same reasons for showing your God isn't real. You can't have your cake and eat it too. The door swings both ways.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 22, 2013, 01:37:29 PM
So, there is a possibility the IS a God! Yes or no? Again, this is a very simple question.

This depends upon what you mean by the term "God". If you believe in a being that supposedly has logically contradictory traits (such as being all-just but all-merciful, all-good but creates evil and breaks it's own laws, all-powerful but cannot lie, etc), then the answer is almost certainly no. That God is not possible. But if for you the term "nature" and "God" are interchangeable, then the answer is...sure. So it all depends on how you are defining your terms.

As far as I'm concerned, the traditionally accepted definition of the Christian God is simply not possible.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 22, 2013, 02:17:11 PM
"Oh no, that article is wrong! Santa and his workers and reindeer are not natural! Silly non-believer, Santa can do whatever he wants because he's supernatural! Didn't you know this? That's why he can fit down every chimney and how he knows who is naughty and who is nice. You a-Santa-Clausists are so blind! Santa is real! I know it. I experienced him and you can't prove me wrong! I know he's real and his magic is true because I have faith."

Well, I suppose that might be a fall back. It still demonstrated that something doesn't exist, namely a present deliverer that works with the laws of physics, delivering physical presents. That one we absolutely know, and proved, does not exist.

I actually don't think that there is some extra burden of atheists to prove a god doesn't exist. Everyone has the same burden to come up with a theory that works with all the data we have. If you can accommodate all the data you know of without needing a god to explain anything you are either obligated to look at more or justified in not believing in one, even if you don't have any specific arguments against the existence of a god.

It's just that the idea of "you can't prove a negative" is sortof dumb. Otherwise the theist can just say "I don't have to prove that God doesn't not exist because I can't prove a negative."

Even the more refined "You can't prove negative existence claims" is bad. You can prove that Santa, as usually conceived, doesn't exist. I can prove there is no visible pink unicorn in my room. I can prove there is no elephant sitting on my keyboard. I can prove that there is not yet a third post by me in this thread. Or at least I can prove them by the same standard we have for other things.

There may be some things the existence of which cannot be disproved, but it takes an additional argument beyond either of these slogans to show that it CAN'T be done. Incidentally, there are some decent arguments why this might be the case for a classical theistic God, but they do have to be made and defended.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 22, 2013, 02:19:26 PM
You {holybuckets} are seriously proposing an invisible being living in outer space, completely undetectable, no source of energy, who is immortal and unaffected by time, of the trillions of stars all with planets, is genuinely concerned about wearing mixed fibre or women with short hair?

Já, what's up with that hate for short hair?  Sounds more like My ex Whatsisname than an entity capable of putting a hydrogen atom together properly.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 22, 2013, 02:32:20 PM
So, there is a possibility the IS a God! Yes or no? Again, this is a very simple question.

That is actually not as simple a question as it seems. If you accept that God, if there is one, is a necessary being, and you accept modal logic up to S5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_logic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_logic) which most logicians do), then the possibility that God exists entails that God actually exists. This God possibly existing or not existing is tricky business.

Of course you could mean epistemic modality, but then you are just asking if you believe anything incompatible with the existence of God, and of course all atheists do (They believe he actually doesn't exist).

Thus, an atheist sortof shouldn't say that it is possible that God exists. And if asked for reasons, she may say because he actually doesn't exist (and S5 and the nature of the God under discussion entail that it is thereby impossible for God to exist).

Edit::
Oh, just thought of this though: For interesting philosophical reasons, an atheist may say though that there is only a very low but non-zero probability that God exists, even though it is impossible for God to exist. Yay for formal epistemology.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 22, 2013, 02:46:55 PM
Are we talking about gods or cats[1] here?
 1. referring to Schrodinger's Cat
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 22, 2013, 02:58:38 PM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 22, 2013, 03:03:18 PM
Yes, because Christians are making the claim that there is a god despite not having any evidence whatsoever to prove there is one.  If you believe there is a god, you have to prove it.  Until you can prove it, nobody else has any obligation to believe you.
present solid evidence, that the natural world is all there is. As long as you do not have any, nobody else has either obligation to believe you. So far, not ONE strong atheis has been able to present convincing positive atheist arguments, which make a compelling case for strong atheism.
One piece of evidence that the natural world is all there is: people who behave as if there are gods have exactly the same lives as people who behave as if the natural world is all there is (athiests). Belief in gods has zero effect on anything measurable. If believing in god made a difference, that difference should show up somewhere. It doesn't.

Planes don't drop out of the sky based on the religion of the passengers or pilot. Floods, earthquakes and tornadoes happen based on natural world conditions, not on how strongly people practice their faith.

The "miracles" that supposedly happen to god-believers also happen to atheists. Atheists and believers alike recover from cancer, escape dangerous criminals, survive car accidents, come back safely from war, win the lotto, give birth under difficult circumstances, find love, get job promotions, live to be 100.

Religious people like to tell atheists that life without god leads to rampant crime, violence, family breakup, misbehavior of every kind, jails full of evil doers. If this was the case, Japan should be the crime and violence capital of the world, since it is almost completely free of god-belief. In fact, when people actually do research on the effects of religious belief on societies, they find the opposite of what religious people have always told us.

The more heavily a society relies on religious belief, the higher all the bad indicators are--more crime, more poverty, more violence, higher prison populations, more unemployment, more divorce, more inequality, worse pollution.

The places with the least violent crime, safest streets, fewest prisoners, best health care, highest education levels, lowest divorce and teen pregnancy rates, better status for women, etc. are the countries and states with the lowest rates of religious belief and participation. Like Japan, and Scandinavian countries.

Religious people sometimes respond by saying that just because people claim to believe in god does not mean they really practice their faith. People say on the survey that they are Christians or whatever, then they go on looking at child porn, beating up gay people and using meth. Maybe.

But why would the rates of bad behavior be lower among people who say they are not religious? Could it be that people who claim to be atheists are behaving better than people who say they believe in god?

Maybe it just so happens that policies based on rational evaluation of problems and solutions[1]create better environments for people than relying on faith and prayer to solve social problems.... 

So, if there is a supernatural force out there somewhere, it has no effect whatsoever on anything--as far as we can tell. The entire universe functions as if there is no god--as far as we can tell. Therefore, it may as well not exist.
 1. like science-based sex ed and contraception for teens, instead of abstinence programs
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 22, 2013, 03:07:40 PM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview

Really?  CARM presuming to speak for atheists?  Sort of like the the Klan presuming to speak for jews.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 22, 2013, 03:08:09 PM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview

There are atheist worldviews.  But "atheism" in and of itself does not describe a worldview.

There are also theist worldviews.  "Theism" in and of itself does not describe a worldview, either.  If it did, then a Christian and a Hindu would have the same worldview, the "theist" one.  They don't.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on April 22, 2013, 03:10:29 PM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview

It annoys the crap out of me when theists take it upon themselves to "explain" what it means to be an atheist.  The most common phenomenon in this regard is theists insisting that atheism is a claim (which it isn't), but this worldview thing also makes the list.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 22, 2013, 03:12:50 PM
It annoys the crap out of me when theists take it upon themselves to "explain" what it means to be an atheist.  The most common phenomenon in this regard is theists insisting that atheism is a claim (which it isn't), but this worldview thing also makes the list.

yeah.  makes me glad the conversation is done over internet.  I might otherwise be inclined to kick someone in the shins.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 22, 2013, 03:18:07 PM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview

Without bothering first to go check the link you provide, I'm going to counter with this: care to explain, in your own words, how "I don't believe in god(s)" constitutes a WORLD view?

Belief, or lack thereof, addresses a single factor of how one perceives and interacts with the rest of the world, and frankly, it's believers who tend to allow that single factor to guide their decisions and choices (when they choose to apply it, the hypocrites). Most atheists I know - and unlike you, I do know them from real life interactions as opposed to on the internet, which positions me to be far more credible than you on this topic - look for answers from multiple credible sources as opposed to interpreting a book with so many blatant contradictions in it.

Now I'll go see of there's anything worthwhile in your link. Get back to me on my question above so we can have further discussion with a point that makes some sense.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 22, 2013, 03:25:06 PM
And the very first sentence is this: In order to know if atheism is a worldview, we need to first define our terms. 

So, there's a qualifier from the start. Let's see what else this guy has to say....

Oh! Another gem! Here's this: In a recent discussion I had in the CARM chat room (10/21/11), I asked the atheists about their worldiew.  They said that atheism was not a worldview.  I said that it was. 

Ok, I have no clue who Matt Slick might be, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that he is a christian. I also contend that he is taking the typical christian approach of insisting that a believer such as himself is better suited to tell a non-believer what the non-believer believes than the non-believers is suited to speak on their own behalf.

MASSIVE fail, and a waste of a mouse click.

Edited to add: just noticed what CARM actually stands for, and I retract every assumption I made in the paragraph above. I state them as fact instead.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 22, 2013, 03:38:17 PM
I think that was the site where I saw all the face-palm-worthy stuff about gay marriage. Arguments at the 7-year-old kid level of analysis. Basically, "my god says gay people are icky, and they have cooties, so no equal rights for them". For pages and pages. :P
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 22, 2013, 03:39:14 PM

You are seriously proposing an invisible being living in outer space, completely undetectable, no source of energy, who is immortal and unaffected by time[1], of the trillions of stars all with planets, is genuinely concerned about wearing mixed fibre or women with short hair?

 1. What would be the use of that? I mean - either immortal OR unaffected by time would do the job

yes, i do. What better alternative do you have on hand ? please present it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 22, 2013, 03:47:02 PM

One piece of evidence that the natural world is all there is: people who behave as if there are gods have exactly the same lives as people who behave as if the natural world is all there is (athiests). Belief in gods has zero effect on anything measurable. If believing in god made a difference, that difference should show up somewhere. It doesn't.

and how do you know this ?

Quote
Planes don't drop out of the sky based on the religion of the passengers or pilot. Floods, earthquakes and tornadoes happen based on natural world conditions, not on how strongly people practice their faith.

without earth quakes, volcanoes etc. there would be no life.... its all finely tuned to permit life on earth. how comes ?

Quote
The "miracles" that supposedly happen to god-believers also happen to atheists. Atheists and believers alike recover from cancer, escape dangerous criminals, survive car accidents, come back safely from war, win the lotto, give birth under difficult circumstances, find love, get job promotions, live to be 100.

atheists dont pray to God, and do not have answers of prayers. that is a BIG difference.

Quote
Religious people like to tell atheists that life without god leads to rampant crime, violence, family breakup, misbehavior of every kind, jails full of evil doers. If this was the case, Japan should be the crime and violence capital of the world, since it is almost completely free of god-belief.

you are quit wrong. Have you been in japan ? i have been there. japanese are well religious people. Their religion happens just to be different than ours.

Quote
In fact, when people actually do research on the effects of religious belief on societies, they find the opposite of what religious people have always told us.

and how should this be a evidence that God does not exist ?

Quote
The more heavily a society relies on religious belief, the higher all the bad indicators are--more crime, more poverty, more violence, higher prison populations, more unemployment, more divorce, more inequality, worse pollution.

how do you know this ?

Quote
The places with the least violent crime, safest streets, fewest prisoners, best health care, highest education levels, lowest divorce and teen pregnancy rates, better status for women, etc. are the countries and states with the lowest rates of religious belief and participation. Like Japan, and Scandinavian countries.

even if lets say that would be the case. that is still not evidence that God does not exist.

Quote
Religious people sometimes respond by saying that just because people claim to believe in god does not mean they really practice their faith. People say on the survey that they are Christians or whatever, then they go on looking at child porn, beating up gay people and using meth. Maybe.


again. that doesnt say nothing about if god exists, or not.

Quote
So, if there is a supernatural force out there somewhere, it has no effect whatsoever on anything--as far as we can tell. The entire universe functions as if there is no god--as far as we can tell. Therefore, it may as well not exist.

then you should study nature better. Do you imagine the letters you read now could have chance as origin ? No ? in the same way, the codified information stored in DNA cannot have chance, or physical necessity, as origin.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 22, 2013, 03:50:25 PM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview

It annoys the crap out of me when theists take it upon themselves to "explain" what it means to be an atheist.  The most common phenomenon in this regard is theists insisting that atheism is a claim (which it isn't), but this worldview thing also makes the list.

maibe there should be made a distinction between weak, and strong atheists. Strong atheists indeed claim, that most probably there is no God. So they need provide evidence for their claim.

have fun :

http://www.atheism-analyzed.net/
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 22, 2013, 03:59:24 PM
maibe there should be made a distinction between weak, and strong atheists. ...

There is a distinction between weak and strong atheists.  So far you've been behaving as if the distinction didn't exist.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 22, 2013, 04:13:57 PM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview

It annoys the crap out of me when theists take it upon themselves to "explain" what it means to be an atheist.  The most common phenomenon in this regard is theists insisting that atheism is a claim (which it isn't), but this worldview thing also makes the list.

maibe there should be made a distinction between weak, and strong atheists. Strong atheists indeed claim, that most probably there is no God. So they need provide evidence for their claim.

have fun :

http://www.atheism-analyzed.net/

Maybe, just maybe mind you, you would be better served by listening to what actual real live atheists are telling you, rather than denying what we are saying about ourselves in favor of an idiot who just happens to agree with you. It's just a thought, but you ought to consider it a bit before rejecting it out of hand.

Why do you keep defaulting back to a non-atheist to find out what an atheist believes, when you have so many of us right here at the other end of your keyboard? And what makes you think that we all share the same opinions about everything, other than your apparent love of simplistic answers? The only explanation you're demonstrating so far is that you freak right the hell out as soon as you encounter an opinion that contradicts your own, and respond by deflecting all over the place.

Do yourself a favor and get this one firmly set in your head - arguments posed by other believers about what an atheist believes are not going to be compelling to an actual atheist who is perfectly capable of speaking on their own behalf. It's painfully clear why if you would bother to think about that for just 2 quick seconds.

We are not a collective, we don't have rules, and we argue amongst ourselves all the time. We are individuals who happen to agree that we disbelieve god claims. That we sometimes do have other things in common is a side effect of that, not a requirement. You'd probably be quite surprised that you have stuff in common with a lot of us as well. Do you like sports? Do you own a car? Have any pets? How 'bout kids? A job? A family? Do you watch tv or movies? Do you listen to music? Have any hobbies?

Just for fun, chew on this one - atheism is not a religion.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 22, 2013, 04:18:49 PM
Thanks for the detailed reply, skepticofatheism.

I never said that there was no god. I said that, looking at the natural world and the everyday world as we humans experience it, there is no sign of god that can be distinguished from there being no god at all. If "belief in god" and "no belief in god" produce exactly the same results (no difference in the lives of believers and unbelievers) than we can only assume that the god-belief had no effect. A god who has no effect might was well not exist.

There are lots of studies of social conditions around the world. Higher levels of professed religious belief are correlated with lower living standards and more social problems.

This holds for regions of the US as well. The states with the worse crime, poverty, teen pregnancy, family breakups, etc are in the Bible Belt. The highest living standards are in the less religious northern and western states. (I can get the links, or maybe someone else has them handy.)
 
The earth is not at all "finely-tuned" for people, or any other life forms. Humans can only live in a tiny portion of the earth, and only with a lot of constant adjustment. Life is pretty damn precarious--that's probably why ancient people had to invent supernatural beings to call on for help.

Atheists do not pray to any gods, and have as much success in life as people who do pray to gods. What does that suggest about praying to gods?

As for Japan, that is one example of a place with very little organized religion and almost no Christianity. There is Shintoism and Buddhism, but not very much formal god-belief. People in Japan are following the law and behaving peacefully due to social reasons, not fear of hell. Or are you saying that any old god-belief is the same as any other?

Lastly, to say that the natural world functions as if there is no god does not mean that there is no order. The universe is not based on random chance, or there would be no way to use science to understand things. Science is based on being able to understand and predict phenomena based on gathering data.

For example, if you drop something it will be drawn toward the earth by gravity. If a god can do anything, like make dropped objects sometimes fall, sometimes float, sometimes turn into dragons, based on the correct prayers, that is random, because absolutely anything could happen-- the data would not matter. And there is no way I would ever get onto a plane, because it would only fly if the right prayers were said!

As far as we have been able to tell, there are some things that never happen. Cars don't suddenly turn into dragons, no matter how much you pray. Chopped off legs do not grow back on humans, no matter how much you pray. If human legs sometimes grew back and sometimes did not, based on prayer, that would be pretty random.

Science is the opposite of random chance--science defines the current limits of the possible. God is the lord of random--with god, all things are possible. Right?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: shnozzola on April 22, 2013, 04:49:57 PM
Yeah, Please speak up. Start , presenting a consistent world view based on positive atheism.

skepticofatheism,

   Let me explain my beliefs to you.  I am not certain of anything.  Looking at christianity and being a christian most of my life, I feel there is great wisdom attributed to Jesus.  But there is also great wisdom in many religions and secular philosophies.  At this point I have whittled the idea of god so small to make it fit the universe as it is, that said "god" does not exist.  Therefore said "heaven and hell" do not exist.  These things start to make a lot more sense if you can begin to think critically.  Try it, it's not evil, and, if you were correct, and the god you believe in created the entire universe, he probably would cut your questioning some slack, yes?

   But that really is not the point.  The point is how these beliefs make each of us view society and act upon our views. I have no problem with your beliefs as long as you respect the beliefs of others, since it doesn't involve much thinking to see how mankind arrives at our varied beliefs.  Most of us get there as children from the beliefs taught to us.  Sadly, most people don't question anything more, and fight tooth and nail throughout life defending our beliefs and cursing another's.

   My hope is that a theist here doesn't so much become defensive and angry, but realizes the world is grey, not black and white, and our fellow man's shoes are important enough to stand in, and then maybe Jesus' words mean something - lose yourself (in another man's shoes) and follow me.  Taking care of each other is infinitely more important than religion.

Positive atheism, negative atheism, positive Christianity, negative Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, on and on.............  I mean, come on, we have got to get past this hatred of the unknown.

There skepticofatheism, I spoke up.  I gave it my best shot.  Please don't kill me because my beliefs are different than yours.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: ParkingPlaces on April 22, 2013, 05:18:39 PM
skepticofatheism

Sorry I'm late to the game. I'd like to be sure I have this right.

Historically people have said that there is a god. Currently people say there is a god. In both cases, the claim is made without solid evidence. That is, this god fella hasn't shown up and proved his or her own existence.

And yet I, as an atheist, am tasked with proving that this oft-claimed, poorly described, variously talented, occasionally omnipotent, multi-interpreted and ineptly/selectively worshipped deity is false? Do i have that correct?

And after you clarify that, could you do me a favor. Tell me what religions would look like if they were all false.

My position (not a worldview, it doesn't dictate any part of my existence except what I do on Sunday morning and when hanging around on this site) is that there is no reason to think there is a god. I would like to put my certainty about the non-existence of a christian god at 100%, but most of the atheists on this site won't let me do that. They insist that I have to leave the guy a little wiggle room. So I tone it down and say that I am 99.999999999% sure there is no god, based mostly on the fact that he doesn't exist.

I can't prove he doesn't exist. And he can't prove that he does. I know it sounds like a tie, but I have a computer and he doesn't. I can communicate to many my POV. He can't. I win.

That you are speaking for a god (whichever version you may have worldviewed yourself to) doesn't give him any validity if he doesn't exist. And if the only proof that he does is people who claim that he exists, then there is no proof at all.

I have walls. He knows how to write on them. I have eyes, he knows how to show me his hindquarters. I have two sons. He knows how to tell me to sacrifice them. I don't have a boat. He knows how to drown me. I look back a lot. He knows how to turn me into a pillar of salt. I've seen whales. He knows how to have me swallowed.

But noooooooo. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Instead, I'm supposed to have faith. Exactly the same thing I would have to have to believe in a real fake god. Coincidence? I don't think so.

You can yell and scream all day long that I have no way to prove that there is no god, but you have no way to prove that there is one either. You're picking your evidence, I'm picking mine. There can be no winner.

Were there actually a god, there could be.



Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 22, 2013, 05:25:36 PM
I think if you ask, 'strong' atheists will admit that they can't be certain that there is no god.  But their claim is based on the same premise as 'weak' atheism - that a god should have noticeable effects on the universe, and we observe no such effects.  They're just more forceful about it.

Like it or not, it's up to theists to provide evidence to show that their particular god exists.  If they - you - don't, then the obvious next question is, "well, why should I believe?"  And to that question, the theist who can't demonstrate that his god even exists has no answer, because all of the things that provide incentives to believe have no meaning if the god doesn't exist to provide them.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 22, 2013, 05:48:50 PM

I do not believe there is a single member of this forum who does not believe, somewhere in a part of their heart and soul, that God exists. Including you.



I want to try and explain this a bit more. My primary reason for holding this view remains the passage from Romans:

"since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

I believe the bible is God's message to humanity. All of it. The good bits, the difficult bits, the really strange bits. My reasons for believing this are beside the point, and I have discussed it before many times anyway. Clearly, we disagree on this. But I seek only, for now, to better explain my statement above.

Those verses are part of Paul's letter to the believers in Rome, in which he tells of God's wrath against humanity. So when he says 'them', he is not speaking of a select group of people at a certain time (unlike other passages). The context is pretty clear. He's referring to all of humanity. God has made it clear to him that the human heart is aware of God.

Now, I don't know if every human heart has a sense of God in exactly the same way, or at the same time, whether its constant or whether its fleeting. But I believe that somewhere along the line the human heart speaks clearly to its owner. Maybe its when you saw something beautiful in nature, and just for a second your heart was filled with God. Then, quick as a flash, you tell yourself 'no, no. that's just my silly, unreliable emotions, a perfectly natural human reaction to seeing something lovely. It wasn't really God.'

Or maybe its when you hear of some awful injustice or suffering, and before you know it your heart is filled with pleas to...who? 'No, no...no one in particular. Get a grip. Stupid heart. Shutup.I'm smarter than that' But because you're not smarter than your own heart, that plea turns to anger ( a 'hypothetical' anger, mind you ) that any God could allow the suffering at all.

What I've seen on the forum here over the past 14 months belies its oft stated purpose - (to educate theists that their belief in God is irrational, and that theists having an influence on society is bad news). Certainly, whenever a new theist emails in or joins the forum, there is an initial flood of posts explaining why belief in God is irrational. From where I sit, it has a real sense of 'going through the motions'.

But the real action almost always kicks in when discussions turn to what God says, what He has done, what He will do. The emotions displayed in many of the posts seem far too real for me to believe that they're generated only by the idea of God. I know that some of the emotion and anger is generated by hurtful and stupid things Christians sometimes do and say. But you do a much better job of convincing me that you believe God is an evil SOB or impotent or MIA, than you do convincing me that you don't even believe He exists.

There's probably a lot more I could say on this, but time is against me. I hope this at least better explains why I hold my belief about your belief, even if you continue to find it an arrogant and disrespectful belief. I don't disrespect the vast majority of posters here. Many I genuinely like, as much as thats possible on a forum. I like to think I have a reasonable understanding of the lives many of you lead, as much as they've been shared. I pay attention.



Now I have a question for you.  Please take your time with this, and don't rush to answer it.  How would it affect you if it turned out that you were wrong about what we believe?

I've thought about this, and can only conclude that my faith in God's nature would probably be weakened. It's a really hard thing for me to answer, because there has just been no obvious, honest answer I can give. I don't think it would cause me to stop believeing God existed, because my belief in God is not tied to whether anyone esle beieves. But He says everyone does, so if that was wrong....I just don't know. Clear as mud?

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 22, 2013, 05:58:39 PM
Does it seem at all nutty to anyone here that the most powerful being in all of everything can't show any sign of being real? In what other area of normal life (and theoretical physics is not exactly normal life) can something that acts as though it is not there be presumed to exist?

I have a billion dollars. You can't see it, but it's there, working away in my bank account drawing interest. In ten years I promise to draw out all that money and buy everyone here lavish gifts. So, in advance, I would like everyone here to thank me for the gifts on one day each week, for the next ten years.

And be nice to others.
And refuse to eat certain foods.
And cut off the tip of a sensitive body part.

Because, deep in a secret place inside of everyone, you know that I really have that billion dollars, don't you? Admit it, you want those gifts.

How many people would take me up on that offer, even knowing that I actually do exist? &)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 22, 2013, 06:08:44 PM
With much respect mm, you still seem to be missing something here. It's not like this forum is filled with non-believers who sought to reject God in the first place - based on my own familiarity with the stories of the posters here (gained the same way as yours), many of them fought quite hard to hold on to those beliefs, not reject them. Lack of evidence of a god was the end of the journey, not the beginning.

I can absolutely relate to the scene you painted in your post. I felt that when I believed, and continue to feel that to this day. I can say in utter honesty that I don't examine that feeling when it happens, I appreciate the moment and just enjoy it. I certainly don't stop to talk myself out of thanking god for it, as I don't think of god when it happens in the first place. You seem to think we spend our time (in our normal daily lives, not here, obviously) looking for ways to reject god at every opportunity. That's simply not the case.

I really think you don't quite believe us because it's simply inconceivable to you due to your own beliefs in god. I'm not saying that the support you offered isn't supportive of your beliefs, but I strongly suspect that you own beliefs are the basis of your position first. Anything else is not the foundation, but the walls. And I admit that I could be mistaken about that, but it remains a possibility in my mind.

Thank you for elaborating.

Edited: because I can spell, but not type apparently
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 22, 2013, 06:32:36 PM
Magicmiles, you have deliberately chosen to agree with Paul's opinion.  That's your responsibility.  It's not the Bible's.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 22, 2013, 07:00:48 PM
skepticofatheism

Sorry I'm late to the game. I'd like to be sure I have this right.

Historically people have said that there is a god. Currently people say there is a god. In both cases, the claim is made without solid evidence.

thats a baseless assertion, made by atheists like a mantra. there has never been more evidence for Gods existence in history than today.


Quote
And yet I, as an atheist, am tasked with proving that this oft-claimed, poorly described, variously talented, occasionally omnipotent, multi-interpreted and ineptly/selectively worshipped deity is false? Do i have that correct?

no. just present convincing arguments that philosophical naturalism is true. Make positive arguments for strong atheism.

Quote
My position (not a worldview, it doesn't dictate any part of my existence except what I do on Sunday morning and when hanging around on this site) is that there is no reason to think there is a god.

that means, you believe, your thinking is a result of dead rocks producing life by chance, and this life becoming conscious trough evolution? what amazing faith you have.....

http://www.icr.org/article/einsteins-gulf-can-evolution-cross-it/

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 22, 2013, 07:26:38 PM
I've thought about this, and can only conclude that my faith in God's nature would probably be weakened. It's a really hard thing for me to answer, because there has just been no obvious, honest answer I can give. I don't think it would cause me to stop believing God existed, because my belief in God is not tied to whether anyone else believes. But He says everyone does, so if that was wrong....I just don't know. Clear as mud?

No, that's fine, MM.  Just wanted you to run it through your mind a bit so that I'd have an idea where you were coming from with the "everyone believes" assertion.  This might be the kind of thing where there is no single definitive answer, and just accepting the ambiguity of the what-if might be enough.  (FWIW, when I run into things like this I'll accept something as hypothetically possible, but currently insoluble and not directly relevant to where I'm at, and put it on the back burner till something changes.)

Thanks for taking time with the question.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 22, 2013, 07:30:58 PM
what amazing faith you have.....

And now we see the real problem, at long last. We don't rely on faith - that's a believer position, not a skeptical one. You really should try to limit your responses to what is actually said, not what you keep trying to infer from it, because you keep making the wrong inferences.

Considering the name you chose, you should be rather embarrassed that I had to point that out to you.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: ParkingPlaces on April 22, 2013, 07:35:48 PM
skepticofatheism

Sorry I'm late to the game. I'd like to be sure I have this right.

Historically people have said that there is a god. Currently people say there is a god. In both cases, the claim is made without solid evidence.

thats a baseless assertion, made by atheists like a mantra. there has never been more evidence for Gods existence in history than today.

Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.


Quote
Quote
And yet I, as an atheist, am tasked with proving that this oft-claimed, poorly described, variously talented, occasionally omnipotent, multi-interpreted and ineptly/selectively worshipped deity is false? Do i have that correct?

no. just present convincing arguments that philosophical naturalism is true. Make positive arguments for strong atheism.

Cute, but you want proof? What are you standards? Can my proofs of the non-existence of god be as whimpy as the religious proofs that he does exist? Or are you going to hold me to an actual standard and ask for things like facts and figures and photographs. Something you can't do. I just want to be sure that I'll get to play with a fair deck.

And of course I can't prove there is no god because the religious never supply enough info about their deity to refute it. Any effort on my part to point out inconsistencies, shortcomings or flaws will probably be parried by a dodge, a redefinition, an excuse, a harrumph. But not with information, which the religious are sorely short of. If you don't count the fairy tales.

Quote
Quote
My position (not a worldview, it doesn't dictate any part of my existence except what I do on Sunday morning and when hanging around on this site) is that there is no reason to think there is a god.

that means, you believe, your thinking is a result of dead rocks producing life by chance, and this life becoming conscious trough evolution? what amazing faith you have.....

http://www.icr.org/article/einsteins-gulf-can-evolution-cross-it/

No, it isn't a matter of belief. It is a matter of accepting that our current level of scientific knowledge is complete enough to make the creation of the universe, the existence of matter and my existence plausible.

What makes your god plausible? That he is a god, so he doesn't need an explanation? That he's god, so he has always been?

Here is the big problem. Either there is a god or there isn't. We don't know. Neither one of us. You can claim you are sure there is, I can claim that I'm sure there isn't. Neither of us have any say in the matter. Either such supernatural agents exist or they don't.

If you are comfortable that there is a god, that is fine. I am in no position to tell you that you are wrong or complain in any other way about your beliefs, under normal circumstances. But you'll notice that you came her to hassle us. I didn't fly down to Brazil. So if you are going to waltz in here and make your various religious claims, you need to provide us with more than just your opinion. You need to provide us with more than the standard religious fare that insists that god is big on faith and that's why he doesn't make himself known. Because that sounds exactly like an excuse. And if the best the religious can do is make that and similar excuses about the fact that there are no (unless you can correct that, as I requested earlier in this post) proofs that there is a god.



Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 22, 2013, 08:17:50 PM
thats a baseless assertion, made by atheists like a mantra. there has never been more evidence for Gods existence in history than today.
Funny how this so-called 'evidence' of yours is wholly in the realm of testimonials.  Meaning we have to take your word for it that you got everything right and didn't mess up somewhere.  You'll have to excuse me for not considering that reliable evidence.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
no. just present convincing arguments that philosophical naturalism is true. Make positive arguments for strong atheism.
The real question is, why do we need to posit the existence of a deity in order to explain why the universe works as it does?

Quote from: skepticofatheism
that means, you believe, your thinking is a result of dead rocks producing life by chance, and this life becoming conscious trough evolution? what amazing faith you have.....
Ah, argument from incredulity.  No wonder you think a deity is necessary.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
http://www.icr.org/article/einsteins-gulf-can-evolution-cross-it/
Ah, another argument that abstractions are their own reality and thus have to be held within a mind to keep existing, aka TAG.  What the creationists who make this argument fail to understand is that abstractions don't exist independently.  There is no "abstract realm" which material objects have to cross over.  Abstractions are simply mental shorthand that we do in order to get a grip on reality.  For example, language, which the article makes a big deal about as if it's something amazingly special, is simply a way for us describe things and communicate those descriptions to others.  That's all there is to it.  The words we use didn't float around in some invisible ethereal world before we started using them.

To put it another way, Einstein's Gulf doesn't actually exist, any more than this "world of abstractions" has its own independent existence.  Abstractions are nothing more than ways for us to get a mental handle on things that exist, and thus there is no 'gulf' between reality and abstractions.  Abstractions exist within reality.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 22, 2013, 09:03:22 PM
yes, i do. What better alternative do you have on hand ? please present it.

40 invisible men and women in space...blahblahblah.  And a couple of pets.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 22, 2013, 09:40:02 PM
Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.

i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 22, 2013, 10:53:30 PM
40 invisible men and women in space...blahblahblah.  And a couple of pets.

Except for the "invisible" part, that sounds like the backstory for one of My NaNoWriMo novels.  ;D

Heck, it's probably the backstory for a lot of novels.  Paging Joseph Campbell...
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 22, 2013, 10:55:54 PM
"In other words, even if it *is* real I don't care, because it has no perceivable effect on My reality."

I hate to disagree with you, but if "it" [God] is real, He will have a profound effect on Your reality.

Tell your imaginary friend to get on with the business of smiting Me, then.  I'm almost out of whisky. 8)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: ParkingPlaces on April 23, 2013, 02:13:32 AM
Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.

i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

John writes Mary's name in the sand but she can't see it. She died of genetically transmitted breast cancer at the age of 16. Isn't god wonderful!

Lets see. DNA codes for Cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, albinism, multitudinous cancers, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, hemophilia, various anemia's, deafness of many kinds, hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, cleft lip, dwarfism, some neuropathies, congenital heart disease, dementia, emphysema, blindness of various sorts, Huntington's disease, immunodeficiencies, infertility, microcephaly, prion disease, thyroid diseases and literally hundreds of other health problems.

Should we, like you know, send your god a thank-you letter for this?

At least 25% of all pregnancies are spontaneously aborted by the body, many before anyone knows that there is a pregnancy. Are you proud of that track record? And those impregnations that make it to birth all too often suffer one or more of the many hundreds of of diseases and conditions caused by bad genes. Does this sound like the work of a perfect being? I don't think so.

Such health problems make all the sense in the world when viewed through the eyes of science. There is no reason for genetic material to be passed on whole and complete and healthy every single time. There is no reason to expect that genes will codes properly each time through the procreation process, and there is no reason to think that genetic diseases won't actually happen. Since they do, all the time.

About half the women in my fathers side of the family end up with Parkinson's disease by the time they are 60-65. The males don't, or at least haven't yet. Victims in my family include some very religious people, so I don't think it is god striking down the bad ones. I'm a male and I'm fine. What sort of god would not beat me to a frickin' pulp for being an atheist since the early 1960's?

I know that you're astounded by the fantastic world of DNA, which is indeed incredible. But you are also incredulous and you feel a need to explain how such a thing could happen. Within your very limited framework. And you have an unwillingness to consider anything besides what you really really really want to be true. So you choose astonishment over science.

That's fine. Just don't call it proof. It wouldn't hold up in court. Nor would any other claims you might make.

Your faith doesn't transfer to my real world. Stop insisting that it should. Our standards are different.

Well, not really. I have some. You don't. But you know what I mean.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 23, 2013, 02:50:06 AM
If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there.

Indeed I don't, because I have a priori knowledge that there are humans in existence, and that the alphabet exists, and what those words mean.  It is therefore a reasonable assumption that the words appeared there by human hand rather than by the accidental actions of wind and rain.

That is where the analogy fails to work: your god has NOT written plain and clear English words into the rock.  It has taken great pains to ensure that everything it does can be completely explained by natural processes without the need for the intervention of a deity.  Your god wrote "  .    -     ~" on the rock, at best.

Your analogy about DNA (or indeed ANY part of "creation") also fails to address the most impiortant point.  What would anything look like that was NOT created?  What standard are you judging against?

Where are the words in the sand that were NOT written by humans, that you use as your baseline to say "these were written by humans, these were made by the wind"?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 05:28:01 AM
Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.

i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

John writes Mary's name in the sand but she can't see it. She died of genetically transmitted breast cancer at the age of 16. Isn't god wonderful!

Lets see. DNA codes for Cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, albinism, multitudinous cancers, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, hemophilia, various anemia's, deafness of many kinds, hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, cleft lip, dwarfism, some neuropathies, congenital heart disease, dementia, emphysema, blindness of various sorts, Huntington's disease, immunodeficiencies, infertility, microcephaly, prion disease, thyroid diseases and literally hundreds of other health problems.

Should we, like you know, send your god a thank-you letter for this?

At least 25% of all pregnancies are spontaneously aborted by the body, many before anyone knows that there is a pregnancy. Are you proud of that track record? And those impregnations that make it to birth all too often suffer one or more of the many hundreds of of diseases and conditions caused by bad genes. Does this sound like the work of a perfect being? I don't think so.

Such health problems make all the sense in the world when viewed through the eyes of science. There is no reason for genetic material to be passed on whole and complete and healthy every single time. There is no reason to expect that genes will codes properly each time through the procreation process, and there is no reason to think that genetic diseases won't actually happen. Since they do, all the time.

About half the women in my fathers side of the family end up with Parkinson's disease by the time they are 60-65. The males don't, or at least haven't yet. Victims in my family include some very religious people, so I don't think it is god striking down the bad ones. I'm a male and I'm fine. What sort of god would not beat me to a frickin' pulp for being an atheist since the early 1960's?

that is not evidence that the information stored in DNA has not a designer as origin.

Quote
I know that you're astounded by the fantastic world of DNA, which is indeed incredible. But you are also incredulous and you feel a need to explain how such a thing could happen. Within your very limited framework. And you have an unwillingness to consider anything besides what you really really really want to be true. So you choose astonishment over science.

I am totally open to consider a different hypotheses than God. If you are able to show me one, just ONE example of codified information, that does not come from a mind, you topped my proof.

Quote
That's fine. Just don't call it proof. It wouldn't hold up in court. Nor would any other claims you might make.

baseless assertion. It does not need to hold up in court. It will stand , and hold up, as long as you are unable to provide me with one example of codified information, as stored in dna, that does not come from a mind.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 05:31:17 AM
What would anything look like that was NOT created?  What standard are you judging against?


very simple. It would NEVER be codified information, since we know only conscious minds can create it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 23, 2013, 07:51:26 AM
i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.
This is such a bad argument that I'm not even sure where to start.

First off, why are you so sure that chance can't have created DNA?  This sounds an awful lot like an argument from incredulity - because it sounds unbelievable to you, it must not be true.

Second, the human mind is good at detecting patterns, even patterns that don't actually exist.  This is why we see meaningful shapes in clouds, for example.  Indeed, we're a little too good at it - to the point where if we see something that appears to have meaning, it's easy to not even consider alternate explanations for it and just conclude, "this was done by someone".

Third, while it's certainly possible that an intelligent being could have created DNA, you're putting way too much stock in the idea of it being codified information.  DNA is nothing more than a sequence of bases that signal for various amino acids.  It isn't "codified information" in the sense that you use, like, say, binary code[1].  But DNA doesn't do that.  It isn't organized in a way that has independent meaning, or is even particularly efficient, the way binary code is.  It's simply strung together in the way you'd expect from something that developed independently.

itsliekwritnagsenenecwituotpuctnuaitonorspelgninoenlognsrtign[2]

Not only that, but the 'words' aren't even necessarily in the right order.  And it only has four letters, which is pretty well useless for conveying actual information.  The only reason we can use binary code for anything is because we already have higher-level languages which give the extremely simple binary additional framework.  That itself suggests a way to verify whether it is actually codified information - find evidence of the higher-level language that would turn DNA from a meaningless string of nonsense to something that we can actually read and get meaning from.

Better get cracking if you want to prove that.  And if you're not willing to do the work, then don't expect anyone else to believe you.
 1. Which, while it's just two 'letters', 0 and 1, is organized in such a way that it creates meaningful information, as we'd expect from something created by intelligent beings.  And even then, we have to use more complicated programming languages in order to actually do anything with binary code.
 2. It's like writing a sentence without punctuation or spelling in one long string.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on April 23, 2013, 08:24:25 AM
Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

Ipse dixit.  I've talked to you about this already  here (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24696.msg550998.html#msg550998).  Just because you said it does not make it true.  You need to show your work or cite legitimate sources.  
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Add Homonym on April 23, 2013, 09:12:34 AM

I am totally open to consider a different hypotheses than God. If you are able to show me one, just ONE example of codified information, that does not come from a mind, you topped my proof.


DNA is an example of codified information, that does not come from a mind.

If I thought of another one, you would claim that this also came from the same mind? Obviously examples are quite rare, as we still haven't verified life on other planets, owing to the distance. Would you be claiming that all life on other planets was also proof of your God, or just this one? I don't see God saving people on other planets, because he only had one begotten son (unless you count Satan.)

BTW, are you claiming that God helps life along at all points, or would you be willing to concede that life could have kept going, and evolving without God watching? That is, do you think your God is fantastic enough to create a self evolving system, or is he a bit of a dullard, who created a form of life that needs his constant supervision?


Re: "evidence". You said that there is more evidence for "God" now, than ever. Can you define what "evidence" is? We find in science that there is plenty of evidence of a scientific paradigm, and as Creationists (and assorted fringe loonies) rightly point out, scientific opinion can turn on a dime, because the evidence wasn't really what we thought it was. Evidence is prone to interpretation.

For example, this bit of cheese, next to me, is evidence that the moon is made from cheese. You just have to put on the correct hat, to see it as such.

We notice, notoriously, that evidence for God can be interpreted as also evidence against God.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: ParkingPlaces on April 23, 2013, 09:52:58 AM
baseless assertion. It does not need to hold up in court. It will stand , and hold up, as long as you are unable to provide me with one example of codified information, as stored in dna, that does not come from a mind.

The problem here is that there is nothing I can say that you won't claim comes from a mind. You like it best when there is only one mystery (where did god come from?) that you get to explain away via one final excuse and poof, everything seems clear to you.

You are  assuming that chaos and disorganization are the only natural states, and that only a god could form anything even slightly organized. Based only on the "facts" you have in your mind. Because of that, none of us are able to have a conversation with you. Because you think that everything you've made up is absolutely true, and that it should be obvious to all of us. That your thoughts are synonymous with the dictionary definition of the word "fact". Hence we have no way of telling you otherwise.

Your entire reality is in your head and requires no external validation. The rest of us want to be sure that our thoughts don't color every aspect of reality. Hence the lack of an actual conversation here. Our words are static to you.

Actually, our words are apparently transmitted at a radio frequency you have no antenna for.  Sadly, that means you can't even read this. Hence you are just pretending when you respond.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 23, 2013, 10:09:09 AM
What would anything look like that was NOT created?  What standard are you judging against?

very simple. It would NEVER be codified information, since we know only conscious minds can create it.

Can you define "codified information" please?

What is your opinion on the thought experiment that suggests that a vast number of monkeys and typewriters could, given time, produce a book? 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 23, 2013, 10:18:20 AM
The problem here (well, one of the many problems here) is the use of the terms "random" and "chance" as if they mean something that could never happen.

Random means anything in the realm of possibility could happen with equal frequency. Chance means you pick one of the random possibilities. Once you pick one of the possibilities, it is reality, no longer "random chance". So, something can be very unlikey, but still happen. So when a religious person like skepticofatheism says "I just can't believe that x could happen by random chance" they are saying:

Nobody can ever win the lottery.
Nobody can ever be in a plane crash and a train crash in one lifetime.
Nobody can ever get cancer three different times and recover each time.
Nobody can ever have triplets.

Etc.

Because these things are very unlikely does not mean they can never happen, and they happen by "random chance". Some things can never happen (severed human limbs growing back) for reasons that we understand. Other things happen very rarely.

Life appears to be one of the unlikely random chance-y things. Some chemicals got mixed in the right way at the right times. Each snowflake is different, but they don't need anybody to "organize" them to do that beautiful crystal thang.
We are alive on earth because we have won the universal lottery. That's it. ;)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Add Homonym on April 23, 2013, 10:26:11 AM
Actually, our words are apparently transmitted at a radio frequency you have no antenna for.  Sadly, that means you can't even read this. Hence you are just pretending when you respond.

Never mind that; he hasn't even worked out what an atheist is, yet.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 23, 2013, 10:33:45 AM
Well, I suppose that might be a fall back. It still demonstrated that something doesn't exist, namely a present deliverer that works with the laws of physics, delivering physical presents. That one we absolutely know, and proved, does not exist.

You "suppose" it's a fallback? Huh? How dishonest. I just completely refuted your claim. If you can make the argument about Santa Claus, we can make it about your God. Please acknowledge the point and let's move on.

I actually don't think that there is some extra burden of atheists to prove a god doesn't exist. Everyone has the same burden to come up with a theory that works with all the data we have. If you can accommodate all the data you know of without needing a god to explain anything you are either obligated to look at more or justified in not believing in one, even if you don't have any specific arguments against the existence of a god.

There is at least one problem with the statement above. It is NOT the case that, "Everyone has the same burden to come up with a theory that works with all the data we have." No actually, we do NOT have to provide a "theory that works with all the data." This statement is based in the religious assumption that we MUST choose a conclusion. FALSE! We do not have to choose (contrary to the absurd notion in the bible) a theory. We can simply be honest and admit that we do not know. And if one admits that they do not know, then they are someone who does not have knowledge of a God (agnostic). At that point we would ask them why they have chosen to believe without good reason.

It's just that the idea of "you can't prove a negative" is sortof dumb. Otherwise the theist can just say "I don't have to prove that God doesn't not exist because I can't prove a negative."

This is called the Fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof (Argumentum Ignorantium). Two negatives (in this context) are equivalent to a positive! And this is actually complete and utter intellectual dishonesty because you're trying to play word games in order to open the door for burden shifting. Think about the Santa Claus example for a few minutes and you might realize why this arguments fails miserably.

Even the more refined "You can't prove negative existence claims" is bad. You can prove that Santa, as usually conceived, doesn't exist. I can prove there is no visible pink unicorn in my room. I can prove there is no elephant sitting on my keyboard. I can prove that there is not yet a third post by me in this thread. Or at least I can prove them by the same standard we have for other things.

So many fallacies, so little time. For one, I haven't made this claim. So you are committing the fallacy of a Straw Man argument. Second, it is universal negative claims that cannot be proved. Did you not know this? As I demonstrated in my last post to you, one cannot prove there is no Santa Claus for this very reason. We simply have no good reason for thinking there is a Santa Claus (just like we have no good reason for thinking there is a "Yahweh" deity). So we ought to, at the very least, withhold judgment and withstand the temptation toward credulity.

There may be some things the existence of which cannot be disproved, but it takes an additional argument beyond either of these slogans to show that it CAN'T be done. Incidentally, there are some decent arguments why this might be the case for a classical theistic God, but they do have to be made and defended.

Again, this argument hints at the fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof. We atheists (just like we a-Santa-Clausists) are not the ones claiming Yahweh, Santa Claus, faires, unicorns, or leprechauns etc exist. If you want to assert that Yahweh (or some other deity) exists, then be prepared to defend that assertion (just like you would need to defend an actual assertion of belief in Santa Claus).
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Mrjason on April 23, 2013, 10:54:57 AM
....
So, something can be very unlikey, but still happen...

Like the wind blowing sand into the shape of a sand castle

Prof Cox on entropy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HLdBb8xH1Y (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HLdBb8xH1Y)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Add Homonym on April 23, 2013, 10:57:36 AM
one cannot prove there is no Santa Claus for this very reason. We simply have no good reason for thinking there is a Santa Claus

Can you prove there is no tiger in your bedroom?

I would say that tigers are rather large, and given the volume of a tiger, if I inspect all spaces that could contain a tiger, and there is no tiger in those spaces, then logically, there cannot be a tiger in my room.

In the case of Santa, with enough surveillance, Santa could be ruled out. However, there could be room for invisible quantum Santas, that exist on the Planck scale, that could not ordinarily be found using conventional surveillance equipment.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 23, 2013, 11:00:35 AM
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview (http://carm.org/atheism-worldview)

Carm? Really?

Matt Slick stole his "worldview" ideas from the late Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen - who in turn took the idea from Cornelius Van Til. All 3 of these characters were, and are, sadly mistaken. Why? Because they based their assertion about atheism upon the fallacy of equivocation. They falsely assumed a definition of atheism which is NOT (at all) what we hold. Is A-Zeusism a worldview? How about A-Pantheism?

For the billionth time, ATHEISM IS THE LACK OF BELIEF IN A GOD. That is all. Therefore, atheism is NOT a worldview. Atheists, no doubt, have views of the world but many of us differ greatly in those views. If you had studied Bahnsen you would have realized that he later changed his position on this in order to avoid the fallacy. But still that didn't help.

Your CARM article from Slick states, "Likewise, atheism  is a worldview because it deals with the same issues.  It says that God  does not exist1 (http://carm.org/atheism-worldview#footnote1_phhd0fd), that we determine our own  purpose, that we evolved, that we develop our own morals, etc."

Eeeyyyy!

1. Atheism does NOT say "God does not exist" (straw man fallacy)
2. Atheism does NOT say "we determine our purpose". It deals with the question of god(s) and and that is all (straw man fallacy)
3. Atheism does NOT say "we evolved". Science says that and many Christians accept the evidence (straw man fallacy again)
4. Atheism does NOT say "we develop our own morals". It doesn't deal with morals at all but only the question of god(s).

So, Slick's assertion about atheism is 100% false. Atheism deals ONLY with the question of god(s) and nothing else. We hold that there is insufficient evidence to warrant belief and that theism has not met it's burden of proof. So you are sadly mistaken.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 23, 2013, 11:10:04 AM
one cannot prove there is no Santa Claus for this very reason. We simply have no good reason for thinking there is a Santa Claus

Can you prove there is no tiger in your bedroom?

I would say that tigers are rather large, and given the volume of a tiger, if I inspect all spaces that could contain a tiger, and there is no tiger in those spaces, then logically, there cannot be a tiger in my room.

In the case of Santa, with enough surveillance, Santa could be ruled out. However, there could be room for invisible quantum Santas, that exist on the Planck scale, that could not ordinarily be found using conventional surveillance equipment.

In my previous post to Mango I described a scenario in which a person attempts to defend Santa Claus (like theists do with God) with the common childhood belief that Santa Claus holds supernatural characteristics. So we are not just talking about proving a negative. We are talking about proving a universal negative. We could search every area of our current galaxy and Santa could be outside it. We could search everywhere in our logical universe and Santa could be in another dimension, another universe, or somewhere we haven't checked (undetectable), just like Christians think God is undetectable from our inquiry ("No man can see God and live") etc. Thus, his assertion is just plain false and we can use the same arguments to attack Santa that we do Yahweh. They are in the same category.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 23, 2013, 11:21:14 AM
very simple. It would NEVER be codified information, since we know only conscious minds can create it.

Your assertions are assuming what a conscious mind is, what information is, and that your position on these subjects is the correct one. Have you studied the philosophy of information or the philosophy of mind? Have you presented a thesis on these subjects? You do know there are many different positions on this, don't you? I actually have a degree in these subjects and studied them quite in depth. If you'd like to debate them I'd be glad to.

In short, as far as I'm concerned the terms "information" and "consciousness" are merely words that we use to describe abstractions  (i.e. - guanine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanine), adenine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenine), thymine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thymine), and cytosine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytosine) exhibit chemical reactions that WE call "information") but that is a metaphor. As for consciousness, let's start here. All of the evidence we have demonstrates that the mind is wholly connected to, and is a property of, the physical brain (i.e. - that they are indistinguishable from each other). What makes you think there is some "spiritual" thing - if you do think that?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 23, 2013, 12:39:17 PM
that is not evidence that the information stored in DNA has not a designer as origin.

Then where is this alleged designer?  There is no trace of it anywhere in the universe.

Quote
I am totally open to consider a different hypotheses than God.

Quite frankly, I don't believe you.  I, Myself, think that your mind is shut tight as a bear trap submerged in a bucket of 5-minute epoxy.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 23, 2013, 02:08:41 PM
Median,
I think there is a more cheritable way to understand what I was writing. I usually don't like slashing posts into quote bits, but I don't really know what else to do here.

You "suppose" it's a fallback? Huh? How dishonest. I just completely refuted your claim. If you can make the argument about Santa Claus, we can make it about your God. Please acknowledge the point and let's move on.
My claim was 'you can prove "positive a-Santa-Clausism"'
That really depends on the tenants of Santa-Clausism. I always thought that Santa-Clausism was committed to some physical constraints. I didn't know you meant "totally and utterly magical Santa-Clausism." I actually all along had in mind that there are some things that are by definition unprovable to not exist, I just didn't think Santa fit the bill.
The best examples are so called "Epiphenomenalons" - particles more useless than which cannot be conceived. They exist and are located spatiotemporally, but do not engage in any causal interactions at all. It is at least possible that they exist, but short of parsimony we have nothing to rule them out. I was under the impression Santa was a little more tangible.

It is NOT the case that, "Everyone has the same burden to come up with a theory that works with all the data we have." No actually, we do NOT have to provide a "theory that works with all the data." This statement is based in the religious assumption that we MUST choose a conclusion. FALSE!
I don't know why you think this is a religiously motivated claim. I agree that we could run around like universal skeptics and just not believe anything, but that's just not practically possible. Also, I do think there are some constraints on rationality. If you get a letter from your bank saying your account is overdrawn, I would say you are rationally obligated to form a belief about the state of your finances. You are not entitled to just withhold judgment.
Otherwise, you get the odd results that you can look at all the evidence from fossils, geology, etc. but still say "You know what, I'm gonna withhold judgment on the age of the universe." At some point it becomes irrational to withhold judgment. But, this constrained to rationally accommodate evidence you gather is not anything particularly religious. I actually meant this as a defense that atheists may be in their epistemic rights to not have any particular arguments against a God. Notice I said "same burden." If you can rationally accommodate data by withholding judgment, then you are fulfilling the constraint. I just reject the notion that you are justified to not form a belief in the face of any evidence whatsoever. It would indeed be too much to demand that for any snippet of information we get we immediately have to postulate a theory of how this came to be.

This is called the Fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof (Argumentum Ignorantium). Two negatives (in this context) are equivalent to a positive!
That's not what I did. I was making a point about propositional logic. I gave an explanation of what "You cannot prove a negative" would mean for propositional logic. And that is "For any proposition p, you cannot prove ~p." And that is utter nonsense as you point out, for you can stick a negation sign in front of any proposition. There is nothing logically "deep" about a proposition including a negation. Propositions are not "negative." It's not a thing in logic, and hence the utterance is just ill informed. That is ALL I said. I was trying to hone in on what true thing in the neighborhood we can actually say while throwing out the silly things on the way. That is standard philosophical procedure. You actually ended up with what I was going for when you explained that what you really mean is "You cannot prove a universal negative." More on that in the end.
So many fallacies, so little time. For one, I haven't made this claim. So you are committing the fallacy of a Straw Man argument.
Again, I was trying to point out what not to mean when saying things about proving negatives.

Again, this argument hints at the fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof.
In order for there to be a fallacy of shifting the burden of proof, there must be a principle which things require proof. This principle needs to be stated and perhaps defended, and it needs to be shown why it applies to the Christian God. None of these I take are particularly hard, but my post was about ways NOT to state the principle. This wasn't supposed to be some bait and switch trick post, just clarification.

But...
Now that you HAVE given your principle, I can take a shot at it:
it is universal negative claims that cannot be proved
Again, I will lay out what this could mean, and show which of the options don't work by giving counterexamples to the various formulations.
First, it could mean that we cannot prove propositions with a universal quantifier and a negation. Such as
"For all x, there is no x such that Fx"  (?x ~Fx)
That's not true though. We can prove there is no uranium sphere as large as the universe. We can do this a) because it isn't here right now and b) because uranium spheres above a certain diameter just start nuclear reactions, so you couldn't possibly lump that much uranium together.
Maybe you meant "There does not exist anything that is F" (~?x Fx)
That is logically equivalent to the other statement though, so it fails for the same reason.

Well, it looks like you mean something different when you say "universal" and "negative"? Or maybe you have some implicit restriction on the properties F that we can do this with such that it rules out uranium spheres the size of the universe. If there are restrictions on the kinds of things, then you need to explicate them and say why it applies to God.

Other examples of things I would consider universal negatives we can prove:
"There is nothing that is a third arm of mango"
"There is nothing that is a 5000 foot tall human"
"There is nothing that is an invisible US president"

By the way, by prove here I mean the kind of standard we have for proving "I have hands," even if I can't prove that "I'm not a brain in a vat" (Again, nothing deep about the negation in the second phrase. I could have said "my brain is in my body," and given the context that would be about the same, I was just trying to bring the standard of "prove" below general skepticism)

Now, it seems right to say that we can't prove:
"There isn't a magical Santa Clause that manipulates everyone's memories to think they buy present, transfers money to businesses from people, moves products off shelves/factories to living rooms and steals wrapping paper. (Or changes everyone's memory about what products they made, stocked, sold, etc.). Also, he does this by bodily flying trough the earth while going down chimnies and flying on reindeer, and magically compresses large amounts of matter into medium sized burlap bags, only to decompress them within nanoseconds inside our living rooms. Oh, and he's a realist about the nice/naughty distinction, though he often gets it colossally wrong (All the rich jerk kids still get the most presents)."
We can't prove that thing doesn't exist, though that seems more because of skepticism in general rather than something deep about "proving negatives"
Also, I still contend that the thing I just described isn't "Santa" - "Santa" gets the naughty-nice distinction right, and the magical thing we can't disprove doesn't.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Samothec on April 23, 2013, 02:21:17 PM
Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

None of us ever said that chance creates codified information. That's a lie propagated by believers. While chance plays a small part in nature, natural selection is not based on chance. Given the right conditions amino acids form on their own. Life is based on amino acids. Currently we are trying to find the correct circumstances where amino acids will naturally bond and form life. Once life forms, it will develop further or stagnate. On Earth it did not stagnate. If life does not stagnate then it will develop a mechanism by which it can propagate – that may include a mechanism for codifying existing information and passing it on to the next generation.


I noticed that myself and a few others answered you with regards to your anecdote. You did not reply to any of us. I might have missed other posts but I did see these two in addition to my own with these questions:
Jaimehlers #237 "Why do you think lawyers cross-examine someone testifying on the stand?"
Me #238 "Was it to have them meet so the pastor could try to convert him?" & "Was the employee working for you back in 2002?"
Seppuku #243 (No direct question.)
Does no reply to us (even as a group) mean you withdraw your anecdote as "evidence"? Or maybe our statements and questions caused you to remember something that made you realize the pastor was playing your employee? Or you can't respond without lying since you and the pastor planned it?

Also, I answered your points (fine tuning, abiogenesis, DNA, homochirality, "irreducible complexity", beards) although I doubt to your satisfaction. With no reply I can only guess that you have no valid argument against what I said.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 06:00:49 PM
None of us ever said that chance creates codified information. That's a lie propagated by believers. While chance plays a small part in nature, natural selection is not based on chance.

Natural selection did not play a key role before life existed.

http://www.detectingdesign.com/abiogenesis.html

Quote
After all, what selective advantage would be gained for non-thinking atoms and molecules to form a living thing? They really gain nothing from this process so why would a mindless non-directed Nature select to bring life into existence? Natural selection really isn't a valid force at this point in time since there really is no conceivable advantage for mindless molecules to interact as parts of a living thing verses parts of an amorphous rock or a collection of sludge. Even if a lot of fully formed proteins and strings of fully formed DNA molecules were to come together at the same time, what are the odds that all the hundreds and thousands of uniquely specified proteins needed to decode both the DNA and mRNA, (not to mention the needed ATP molecules and the host of other unlisted "parts"), would all simultaneously fuse together in such a highly functional way? Not only has this phenomenon never been reproduced by any scientist in any laboratory on earth, but a reasonable mechanism by which such a phenomenon might even occur has never been proposed - outside of intelligent design that is.

Quote
Given the right conditions amino acids form on their own. Life is based on amino acids. Currently we are trying to find the correct circumstances where amino acids will naturally bond and form life. Once life forms, it will develop further or stagnate. On Earth it did not stagnate. If life does not stagnate then it will develop a mechanism by which it can propagate – that may include a mechanism for codifying existing information and passing it on to the next generation.

that existing information had to be generated, how ?

Quote
Or you can't respond without lying since you and the pastor planned it?

I am not lying. I presenced the event. I usually stop answering , when someone starts to acuse me to lie.

Quote
Also, I answered your points (fine tuning, abiogenesis, DNA, homochirality, "irreducible complexity", beards) although I doubt to your satisfaction. With no reply I can only guess that you have no valid argument against what I said.

sorry, i think just examine one issue after the other is better, than all together.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 06:02:32 PM

Then where is this alleged designer?  There is no trace of it anywhere in the universe.


can you show me where your thoughts  are physically  ?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 06:11:31 PM
In short, as far as I'm concerned the terms "information" and "consciousness" are merely words that we use to describe abstractions  (i.e. - guanine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanine), adenine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenine), thymine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thymine), and cytosine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytosine) exhibit chemical reactions that WE call "information") but that is a metaphor.

you should tell that dawkins :

Richard Dawkins at his book The Blind Watchmaker:

"Every single one of more than a trillion cells in the body contains about a thousand times as much precisely-coded digital information as my entire computer.

http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/dna-atheists/dna-code/

Quote
Information theory terms and ideas applied to DNA are not metaphorical, but in fact quite literal in every way. In other words, the information theory argument for design is not based on analogy at all. It is direct application of mathematics to DNA, which by definition is a code.

Quote
As for consciousness, let's start here. All of the evidence we have demonstrates that the mind is wholly connected to, and is a property of, the physical brain (i.e. - that they are indistinguishable from each other). What makes you think there is some "spiritual" thing - if you do think that?

scientific evidence.

http://www.victorzammit.com/evidence/Outofbodyfull.htm

Quote
A most highly credible scientist, Dr Robert Crookall, analyzed over seven hundred reports of OBEs from all over the world. He was surprised that they were all consistent. (Crookall 1970).
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 06:13:51 PM
we can use the same arguments to attack Santa that we do Yahweh. They are in the same category.

No they are not. There is no evidence Santa exists. But there are plenty of reasons to deduce a powerful, eternal creator as the best explanation for our existence.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 06:17:52 PM
ATHEISM IS THE LACK OF BELIEF IN A GOD.

weak atheism is. correct. Strong atheism however holds a positive position, namely that God most probably does not exist. By a close examination, it becomes very fast clear here, that strong atheism is the position hold by most  atheism forum participants, even if they deny this.



 
Quote
That is all. Therefore, atheism is NOT a worldview. Atheists, no doubt, have views of the world but many of us differ greatly in those views. If you had studied Bahnsen you would have realized that he later changed his position on this in order to avoid the fallacy. But still that didn't help.

Xtians do have a world view, even if they differe from each other. Same with ( strong ) atheists.  Weak atheists do not debate in forums, because the issue of God is irrelevant for them.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 06:23:40 PM
Life appears to be one of the unlikely random chance-y things.

Please present evidence to back up your claim. Otherwise its not more than just wishful thinking.

Quote
Some chemicals got mixed in the right way at the right times.

Could you imagine, that some letters also, mixed up the right way, and the right time, could  get to the right place to form by chance Shakespeares Hamlet ?


Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 23, 2013, 08:16:19 PM
Could you imagine, that some letters also, mixed up the right way, and the right time, could  get to the right place to form by chance Shakespeares Hamlet ?
No, although with infinity all things are possible. However, Shakespeare's Hamlet started its life as scratchings on a cave wall, evolved into an alphabet, turned into stories, and, eventually became a play. Of course, this all took thousands of years. These things just don't get poofed into existence by some invisible pixie, you know.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 23, 2013, 08:23:46 PM
By a close examination, it becomes very fast clear here, that strong atheism is the position hold by most  atheism forum participants, even if they deny this.

(Springy G reaches for the Clue-By-Four™...)

*BAM BAM BAM SMASH THWACK CLONK*

How dare you accuse us of lying about what we do or do not believe!

Just for that, SoA, I've taken the liberty of planting a subliminal message in your brain that will cause you to commit the unforgivable sin in your sleep, thereby forfeiting for all time any hope of getting into your imaginary friend's Nice Place.  (You'll know that it worked when you wake up in the middle of a night in a cold sweat.  ;D)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 23, 2013, 08:28:43 PM
No, although with infinity all things are possible.

there was no infinite time the dna code to arise by chance.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 23, 2013, 10:40:49 PM
that existing information had to be generated, how ?
Not by chance, that's for sure.  Chemicals don't combine randomly with other chemicals.  Their interactions are governed by electromagnetic bonds.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
I am not lying. I presenced the event. I usually stop answering , when someone starts to acuse me to lie.
That's your problem, not his.  And to be perfectly honest, we don't know the first thing about you.  Not one thing except what you've told us, which we aren't really in a position to verify.  And you're starting out by telling us something that's, frankly, very hard to swallow.  Yes, you offered to provide additional testimony to corroborate, but that isn't useful.  An extraordinary event requires extraordinary evidence.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 24, 2013, 02:17:31 AM
Natural selection did not play a key role before life existed.

http://www.detectingdesign.com/abiogenesis.html

Quote
After all, what selective advantage would be gained for non-thinking atoms and molecules to form a living thing?

I think this is the problem.  You are so set on their HAVING to be a conscious intelligence behind it all, that you can't see how selection doesn't apply just to "life".

Imagine waaaaaay back, there are molecules type A, and molecules type B.  Those molecules sometimes combine (as AA, AB, or BB), and sometimes they don't.  Extrenal conditions mean that single A or B molecules are more likely to be destroyed by the environment.  So gradually, the single molecules disappear, and the combined molecules keep going. 

The selective advantage of anything is only "is this thing going to live longer/reproduce better than the other things".  There's no direction, no thought behind it.

Sometimes the problem is in the way people descibe things.  The statement "molecules combined to live longer" implies that those molecules were somehow deciding to combine in order to gain an advantage.  They don't.  The correct statement should be "the molecules that combined lived longer". 

It often gets worse when you get on to less basal forms - sentences like "antelopes evolved longer legs to escape from predators" implies the antelopes going to running practice, and shunning antelopes with longer legs.  The correct sentence would be "antelopes began to have longer legs as the shorter-legged antelopes were eaten.  Longer legged antelopes thus became the norm in the population".

So the "advantage" for non-thinking molecules to combine, is that combined molecules survive more often than single molecules.  No thought, no decision, no choice.  They combine, or not, without direction - and the ones that don't die, the ones that do survive.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 24, 2013, 06:27:58 AM

That's your problem, not his.  And to be perfectly honest, we don't know the first thing about you.  Not one thing except what you've told us, which we aren't really in a position to verify.  And you're starting out by telling us something that's, frankly, very hard to swallow.  Yes, you offered to provide additional testimony to corroborate, but that isn't useful.  An extraordinary event requires extraordinary evidence.

If you pressupposition is, that testimonies are not credible, than the challenge per se is senseless.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on April 24, 2013, 07:39:34 AM
No, although with infinity all things are possible.

there was no infinite time the dna code to arise by chance.

I think you did not concentrate on what I actually said. The first part referred to the random arising of Hamlet, whereas the second part told you how Hamlet came to be written and, being as it was written in the early 17th century, obviously did not require an infinite amount of time.

Now that I have explain how the evolution of language and the written language developed such that Hamlet was written, can you see how, for example, an eye developed through evolution?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on April 24, 2013, 08:43:51 AM
If you pressupposition is, that testimonies are not credible, than the challenge per se is senseless.
They're not credible enough by themselves, not even if you stack a whole lot of them together.  Not in law, not in science, not in any other field of human endeavor; there needs to be solid, verifiable evidence to go along with testimonies.  Why should religion be given a pass and allowed to rely just on testimonials?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 24, 2013, 09:17:34 AM
Now that I have explain how the evolution of language and the written language developed such that Hamlet was written, can you see how, for example, an eye developed through evolution?

Neither can a eye, nor a cell develope through evolution. Both are irreducibly complex.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 24, 2013, 09:19:48 AM
If you pressupposition is, that testimonies are not credible, than the challenge per se is senseless.
They're not credible enough by themselves, not even if you stack a whole lot of them together.  Not in law, not in science, not in any other field of human endeavor; there needs to be solid, verifiable evidence to go along with testimonies.  Why should religion be given a pass and allowed to rely just on testimonials?

because miracles can hardly be scientifically verified. Testimonies are however permitted in court. Why should they not permitted to relate a miracle ? There are literally millions of miracles testified all over the world, and through all ages. Its hardly justifiable to assert these people where all deluded.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Add Homonym on April 24, 2013, 09:35:38 AM
No, although with infinity all things are possible.

there was no infinite time the dna code to arise by chance.

Has this thread really devolved into a creationist thread?  *slaps fivehead*    *slaps sixhead*

How could that happen?

I mean, I suppose of the Bible contained a manual on how God created DNA, and explained how he pushed life into existence, creating a universe that sculptued amino acids, then maybe Christians/Jews would have some claim on creation.

But, the Jew Bible only mentions creation, in passing, and gives no insights into how it really occurred, and hence people remained thinking that the Earth was flat, held up above an abyss, that there is water above the sun, and that rainbows did not exist, prior to Noah.

Quote
there was no infinite time the dna code to arise by chance.

How do you know that there was no infinite time? Are you reading this out of the same fucking book that says that the fucking sun was created 3 days after sunlight?

You have no claim on creation, any more than Hindus, Buddhists, Shintos, Zoroastrians, Eripighunters, Zapotecs, Taoists, Mulsims, and Baked Bean Worshippers.

All these people had to wait for real scientists to come along, and actually look out the window and dig holes in the ground, because religion has contributed NOTHING ever useful to the physical sciences. (Unless you count the breeding of striped goats, using sticks across water troughs.) There, I will have to concede that Judiasm was thousands of years ahead of its time.

TL;DR

STFU
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 24, 2013, 11:11:25 AM
No they are not. There is no evidence Santa exists. But there are plenty of reasons to deduce a powerful, eternal creator as the best explanation for our existence.

So what evidence do you have that Santa Claus does not exist?  Given your lines of questioning earlier, I'd be very interested to see what constitute evidence for the non-existence of something.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 24, 2013, 11:44:20 AM
I'd be very interested to see what constitute evidence for the non-existence of something.
That's really easy: Evidence inconsistent with the existence of the thing.

The argument from naughty is a good argument against Santa's existence. All the rich naughty kids still get tons of presents. That is inconsistent with the naughty/nice doctrine, a central tenant of Santaclausism. If Santa exists, then he doesn't give out presents according to the naughty nice distinction.

This is just like a good argument from evil can provide evidence against the existence of God.

tL:Dr
Use Bayes Theorem!!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 24, 2013, 12:52:18 PM
Continuing on the theme of inconsistent evidence, I'm going to pick on one of My favourites -- So-called "miracle healings."

Despite the huge numbers of believers on the planet, there is a dearth of divine healing.  The very, very few cases that pop up tend to fit into these categories:

This is why the WWGHA? question is so important -- Prayer might help encourage someone through a bad psychological patch, or act as a morale-lifting adjunct during conventional medical treatment, but you can't pray your way out of a missing limb.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: skepticofatheism on April 24, 2013, 01:10:58 PM

 people remained thinking that the Earth was flat, held up above an abyss, that there is water above the sun, and that rainbows did not exist, prior to Noah.


People never beleaved that based on what the bible says.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on April 24, 2013, 01:50:11 PM
That's really easy: Evidence inconsistent with the existence of the thing.

The argument from naughty is a good argument against Santa's existence. All the rich naughty kids still get tons of presents. That is inconsistent with the naughty/nice doctrine, a central tenant of Santaclausism. If Santa exists, then he doesn't give out presents according to the naughty nice distinction.

That one's simple to explain; Santa is not giving the naughty kids presents; their parents are.  You see, Santa doesn't stop parents from buying presents for their kids.  He still gives lumps of coals to the naughtys, though.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on April 24, 2013, 03:14:36 PM
How about this, skepticofatheism: why should we believe in your particular invisible, magical, all-knowing, all-powerful, yet strangely absent and undetectable being? Every religion--Islam, Hinduism, Scientology-- has testimonials, miracles, sacred texts and followers.

Do you believe the testimonials and miracles of Islam? (If not, why not?)

Do you think the Hindu gods exist, too? (If not, what is your proof that they do not exist?)

Is your god performing these same miracles and so forth for Scientologists? (If so, how come they don't believe in your god?)

Is everyone except your faith made up of liars? (Why would they lie instead of accepting the obvious truth of your religion?)

It seems to me that you have to come up with increasingly complicated, convoluted and contradictory explanations for the existence (and persistence) of all these other fake gods and religions. Or you have to conclude that maybe none of them are real, including your own.

I think we are beating our heads against a wall, trying to explain that the theory of evolution is probably true. Anyone who has watch a CSI show, eaten Fritos corn chips or gotten a flu shot has "proven" the TOE.  The theory of gravitation and the germ theory of disease are also probably true, for the same reasons. Each theory works in the lab and in hundreds of everyday applications and has not ever been falsified.[1] 

We are also up against a wall trying to explain why we don't believe in invisible, magical, all-knowing, all-powerful, yet strangely absent and undetectable beings. Especially the idea that such beings interact in some way with human beings and affect how we live. It seems so obvious to us atheists that such beings have no apparent effect on anything, and do not appear to exist in any place other than the imagination of believers.

I sometimes feel like I am standing out in the sun, trying to explain that the light is coming from that big yellow ball in the sky. And everyone around me is denying that the sun is there, saying that daylight comes from the beating of the wings of millions of invisible blue fairies.

And I guess religious people feel the same way about us.  :-\
 1. The objections to the TOE are in the same category as denying the theory of gravitation because airplanes fly, or denying germ theory because people who wash their hands before they eat still sometimes get sick.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Ambassador Pony on April 24, 2013, 05:12:01 PM
skepticofatheism can't reply currently, as he is sorting out the ER thread he left two years ago as his last incarnation (abdi702 (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?action=profile;u=3896)).
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 24, 2013, 05:55:51 PM

you should tell that dawkins :

Richard Dawkins at his book The Blind Watchmaker:

"Every single one of more than a trillion cells in the body contains about a thousand times as much precisely-coded digital information as my entire computer.

http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/dna-atheists/dna-code/ (http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/dna-atheists/dna-code/)

Why would you quote Dawkins - as if somehow I agree with everything he has to say (or worse as if I even sited him)?? Could you get anymore irrational? But secondly, have you actually asked Mr. Dawkins what he means by "information"? I highly doubt that he thinks information is some "thing" (as your fallacious article attempts to promote). Are you promoting Platonic type metaphysics here? Your article is question begging. We know about HUMAN design (and none other). And since the very argument you are trying to make is, that since WE design stuff, that therefore there must be a "WHO" which designed US, you are now caught in a vicious circle. How do you know that it MUST be the case that our information is a "thing", or that our perception of "information" had to come from some "other" person (a disembodied mind)? If "bangs need bangers", then does lightening need a "lighteninger"?? This assertion regrading information (relating it to computers) is question begging as well. What makes you think information is a "thing", rather than a causal relation between things (such as in computers with transistors) - especially when all of our experience displays that information from computers are products of physical things and that "minds" are products of physical substrates.

In short, the article you posted is fallacious because it arbitrarily defines terms in a fashion that is neither agreed upon nor demonstrated as being correct. Indeed, the jury is still out as to the ontological nature of information. It is also question begging, again, because it sites no sources. Notice how the author sites no sources (just bald assertions) for premises #2 and #5. This is hack work at best and you are practicing credulity for accepting it uncritically.


scientific evidence.

http://www.victorzammit.com/evidence/Outofbodyfull.htm (http://www.victorzammit.com/evidence/Outofbodyfull.htm)

Quote
A most highly credible scientist, Dr Robert Crookall, analyzed over seven hundred reports of OBEs from all over the world. He was surprised that they were all consistent. (Crookall 1970).

Have you reviewed the criticisms of this argument? The OBE arguments are a stretch of the imagination at best. Since you feel it's OK to just post links (which presumably you expect me to read), instead of presenting your argument here (aka - taking the intellectually lazy man's approach) I now feel justified in doing the same. So, here ya go:

http://www.infidels.org/kiosk/article396.html (http://www.infidels.org/kiosk/article396.html)
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/HNDEs.html (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/HNDEs.html)
http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-204_162-522488.html (http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-204_162-522488.html)


Please see Occam's Razor. Your interpretation of these alleged "out of body" experiences is not the simplest one. It is the least likely and most imaginative (and even IF Crookall was "surprised at the results" doesn't mean your argument is in any way proven). Do you really think that's all it takes? All you've done is push the goal post back one step further (attempting to explain a mystery by another mystery). And so it has no explanatory power.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 24, 2013, 06:02:24 PM
I'd be very interested to see what constitute evidence for the non-existence of something.
That's really easy: Evidence inconsistent with the existence of the thing.

The argument from naughty is a good argument against Santa's existence. All the rich naughty kids still get tons of presents. That is inconsistent with the naughty/nice doctrine, a central tenant of Santaclausism. If Santa exists, then he doesn't give out presents according to the naughty nice distinction.

This is just like a good argument from evil can provide evidence against the existence of God.

tL:Dr
Use Bayes Theorem!!

So then you admit that the God of the bible is imaginary just like Santa Claus?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 24, 2013, 06:08:32 PM

If you pressupposition is, that testimonies are not credible, than the challenge per se is senseless.

Do you believe every personal "testimony" you hear? Or just the ones that support your theology?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 24, 2013, 06:27:20 PM

weak atheism is. correct. Strong atheism however holds a positive position, namely that God most probably does not exist. By a close examination, it becomes very fast clear here, that strong atheism is the position hold by most  atheism forum participants, even if they deny this.

No actually, it is by your close ASSUMPTION that you make this judgment! These terms (strong/weak atheism) are YOUR labels, not ours. How would you like us to start labeling you? Would that take the discussion any further? You have made the grievous error of thinking that many of us hold a position that we do not hold (i.e. - "There is no God"), while making a bald faced accusation (based in your Romans 1 assumption) that we are lying about what we think.

I think I can speak for many of us here when I say...HOW FUCKING DARE YOU! 

Would it take the conversation any further if we played your same game and accused YOU of being a secret atheist? "We know that deep down you don't believe this shit." For a person who professes to follow 'Jesus' you certainly don't show it here.


Xtians do have a world view, even if they differe from each other. Same with ( strong ) atheists.  Weak atheists do not debate in forums, because the issue of God is irrelevant for them.

BULLSHIT! Are you going to attempt the fallacy of No True Scotsman now?? How irrational are you willing to go? You obviously have diluted yourself into believing that we hold positions that we do not hold (and this is of course convenient for you given your assumption about the bible). So to set the record straight, NO, you are dead wrong. Many non-believers here are interested in this topic (whether you choose to accept that our not) and that includes people who simply lack belief in a deity but remain open to the idea. [NEWSFLASH! You still have the burden of proof whether you like it or not!] These misguided categorizations you keep attempting to slap on us are no different from your presuppositions regarding the bible. But assuming your position in advance is irrational. As this OP asks, you need to DEMONSTRATE YOUR DEITY - not just make empty accusations. 

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 24, 2013, 07:06:29 PM
So then you admit that the God of the bible is imaginary just like Santa Claus?

So then you admit that you can prove a universal negative?

I didn't come here to defend theism, I came here because I'm procrastinating and I'm trying to have fun, and my idea of fun, among other things, is nit-picking blanket statements. And someone said "You can't prove a negative" -  and that was just too juicy of a target.

p.s.: Also note that your statement doesn't follow from what I said. If you think it does, please provide the argument.

p.p.s: It's also fun to see the really terrible apologists squirm. And I'm trying to see how many posts I can make it before someone seriously insults me, in good sport of course  8)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 24, 2013, 07:15:49 PM
And I'm trying to see how many posts I can make it before someone seriously insults me, in good sport of course  8)

Soc......you're depriving a village of it's idiot....cer
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 24, 2013, 07:20:35 PM
Am I allowed to join in picking on the theists, too? Here goes:
By a close examination, it becomes very fast clear here, that strong atheism is the position hold by most  atheism forum participants, even if they deny this.
You are making a psychological claim about anonymous people on the internet you've maybe "known" for a week. If reading a few posts is enough evidence for you to conclude what someone else REALLY thinks, even though they deny it, you may want to re-check your threshold for good evidence.

Weak atheists do not debate in forums, because the issue of God is irrelevant for them.
That is quite obviously false. You could be a weak atheist and yet deeply concerned about what you consider deep injustices done in the world in the name of religion. Since you lack belief in God you must also lack the belief that any of these religions are correct, so you could be quite upset about these social forces in the world and be very passionate about stopping them. I bet you a ton of weak atheists were all over the internet calling for the Pope to be arrested as "the head of a world-wide ring of pedophiles."
And again, you are making psychological claims about people that you apparently don't believe to have encountered on the internet. And I very highly doubt that you know that many weak atheists in real life to know whether or not they would post on a forum.

And by the way, after having lurked all over the place, the strong/weak atheist distinction is usually only made by Christian apologists and very seldom by atheists themselves. I don't know why we keep teaching that distinction to people when, whenever you bring it up, you get laughed at.

Making the weak/strong atheist distinction is kind of like trying to be a missionary to Africa and landing in Johannesburg in a grass skirt. It's both ineffective and offensive.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 24, 2013, 07:21:30 PM
Quote
Soc......you're depriving a village of it's idiot....cer

Soccer?
Village idiot?
I have seldom been more confused by a post quoting me.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 24, 2013, 07:25:16 PM
You asked to be seriously insulted, in good sport. Soccer is a good sport, and the insult is contained within soccer.

I'm still laughing at my own comic genius, but I understand if no one else does.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 24, 2013, 09:03:12 PM
^^^Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I got it immediately and giggled.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: magicmiles on April 24, 2013, 09:06:47 PM
There's no shame in conceding that theists can be intentionally amusing,

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 24, 2013, 09:11:09 PM
Oh, it's not the theism, it's that I already know I have a weird sense of humor. Apparently you do too. Not a bad thing.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 24, 2013, 11:33:26 PM
Wow, I get it now. I do like me a good pun, I just really wasn't ready for that one. Good job!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Jag on April 24, 2013, 11:54:11 PM
Keep an eye on him, he's quite funny when you catch on to what to watch for. He's sneaky that way  ;)

It helps to have an odd sense of humor yourself too.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 25, 2013, 02:22:11 AM
Members should note that skepticofatheism is currently confined to the ER - you should not expect him to respond to any posts made in this thread until his account is restored to full access.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 25, 2013, 10:38:59 AM
So then you admit that the God of the bible is imaginary just like Santa Claus?

So then you admit that you can prove a universal negative?

I didn't come here to defend theism, I came here because I'm procrastinating and I'm trying to have fun, and my idea of fun, among other things, is nit-picking blanket statements. And someone said "You can't prove a negative" -  and that was just too juicy of a target.

p.s.: Also note that your statement doesn't follow from what I said. If you think it does, please provide the argument.

p.p.s: It's also fun to see the really terrible apologists squirm. And I'm trying to see how many posts I can make it before someone seriously insults me, in good sport of course  8)

Your statements regarding Santa Claus certainly made it sound as if you were attempting to prove a universal negative - especially when you alluded to the argument from the problem of evil, paralleling it to your "good argument against Santa Claus." If your argument against Santa Claus if successful, then is the argument from evil against Yahweh successful then? We can use very similar arguments (in structure, function, and form) to argue against this Yahweh/Jesus=God thing. Anyone can spin/rationalize arguments against Santa Claus (by immediately appealing to supernatural attributes that would make Santa non-falsifiable, non-verifiable, etc), and my argument is that theists do this very thing when it comes to their Santa/Yahweh belief.

Whoever claimed here that one can prove a universal negative, it wasn't me. And although I'd be interested to know who claimed it, that assertion is really aside from the OP. If you believe in the Yahweh deity please tell us why and demonstrate this deity. That is the challenge of this OP for theists.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 25, 2013, 11:16:17 AM
My point was this:
"You can't prove a universal negative" is false. If you claim its true, then you're wrong. I don't see any good way to accept the principle, so you shouldn't on those grounds argue that the burden of proof is on the theist alone.

I do agree that theists have the greater burden of proof, but not because "You can't prove a universal negative."

In fact, the whole point of WWGHA is to give an argument that God doesn't exist, and to give an argument just is the same thing as offering proof.

So here is a constructive dilemma for you:
1. Either you think that WWGHA provides a good argument against the existence of God or your don't.
2. If you think it provides a good argument, then you are making an argument to establish (=trying to prove) a 'universal negative' (God doesn't exist)
3. If you don't think it provides a good argument, then you shouldn't endorse it or, I don't know, not be on THIS forum for atheism.
Therefore,
4. Either you have to acknowledge that you are trying to prove a universal negative, or you should not endorse the WWGHA argument/leave the forum.

About burden of proof: I don't think there is a straightforward way to establish who has a burden of proof, but I think it has to go along something like prior probability or obviousness.
If we are both in a room and I see a table and then claim that there is a table in the room and you disagree, I don't have the burden of proof, you do. The nonexistence of clearly perceived everyday objects has the greater burden of proof. It could be that you know that there is in fact just a table hologram and not a real table, but that is for you to prove. The burden is not on me to prove that every table I see is in fact not a hologram.
This also very nicely shows that the "negative" criterion really doesn't work. One has to prove "not a table," the other "not a hologram." But because of the entailment relation of "table -> not hologram" and "hologram -> not table." Both COULD be proven.

Now, I know that some apologists try to establish that intuiting God is just as "obvious" as seeing a table, and if that was the case, then the atheist would in fact have the burden of proof. However, as it stands God doesn't just sit around my living room like a table, so it isn't as "obvious" that he exists from that, which is why the theist has to say something in the favor of His existence. But this has nothing to do with being a "positive" or a "negative" claim.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 25, 2013, 11:43:47 AM
Sorry, forgot to include this, but it's a pretty different note, so I'll do a separate post.

I think the deductive argument from naughty presents is valid and sound, so it firmly disproves the existence of Santa.
I do not think that the deductive argument from evil is sound, and that is in fact the consensus in the phil. religion philosophical literature.
I do think that some of the probabilistic arguments from evil have some force to be reckoned with. But even if I admit that a probabilistic argument succeeds, then this only lowers the probability of God's existence, it does not firmly establish his nonexistence like a deductive argument would. Given enough of those arguments and not enough arguments in favor, you could make the probability of God's existence so low that it would fall under what I would call "disproven." Hence, you can, in principle, and if the arguments against succeed and the arguments in favor fail or don't add enough probability, prove that God does not exist.

I don't think that on balance the probabilistic arguments against win out, but I don't have time or capacities to go through all them. I know that if I started, I wouldn't finish the thread, so I won't even try, at least not now.
But that answer should suffice to show why I can say that the argument from evil succeeds to some extent without being committed to the non-existence of God.

Or, again
Tl:Dr
I'm a Beyesian evidentialist
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: ParkingPlaces on April 25, 2013, 12:53:23 PM
mango

I'm sure that you and others enjoy philosophical arguments and big words and such, but I didn't give atheism that much thought when I concluded that there is no god. I was in the sixth grade, and being taught about Greek myths, and how interesting, yet false they were. Then I was going to church on  Sunday mornings and being told the same sorts of stories and being told how wonderful and true they were. And I'm no dummy.

To me, that was far simpler than the heady stuff. People long ago claimed that there was a god. He was said to do great and wonderful things, and everyone (in that region and in that group) was told he loved them. And sinning was taboo, but inevitable, but hey, if you know the password, no biggie. But that was long ago, and he hasn't done anything to cause believers to put out an amended version of the bible, updated with the latest and greatest. Hence it appears to me, at every level, to be a story. One that applied to peoples lives thousands of years ago, and still applies to some lives now, but in all cases it has been, and remains, a myth.

Being as the religious can do nothing but claim they "know" him or otherwise sense his reality while the rest of us stand around saying WTF every time such claims are made, I have no reason to think otherwise.

By the way, if you and I are in a room where you claim you see a table and I don't, I merely need to walk right through the thing you see to prove it isn't there, or bump into it to prove to myself that I am wrong. Most of us are blessed with multiple sensory input devices and claims outside of the realm of god are generally much easier to deal with. Maybe not string theory, but nobody is telling me how to act or shooting at me because we disagree about that one.

A non-existent god can't co anything, but believers are adept at moving goal posts and otherwise changing the evidential requirements every time one of their "proofs" falls apart or at least appears ineffective. And the variety of excuses that christians (in this case) have come up with in part explains why there are thousands and thousands of different denominations.

Truth doesn't need that many varieties.

I don't need to know there is not a god. I only need to know that claims of such a being are so flawed that I don't have to give them any weight.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on April 25, 2013, 01:54:51 PM
Sorry, forgot to include this, but it's a pretty different note, so I'll do a separate post.

I think the deductive argument from naughty presents is valid and sound, so it firmly disproves the existence of Santa.
I do not think that the deductive argument from evil is sound, and that is in fact the consensus in the phil. religion philosophical literature.
I do think that some of the probabilistic arguments from evil have some force to be reckoned with. But even if I admit that a probabilistic argument succeeds, then this only lowers the probability of God's existence, it does not firmly establish his nonexistence like a deductive argument would. Given enough of those arguments and not enough arguments in favor, you could make the probability of God's existence so low that it would fall under what I would call "disproven." Hence, you can, in principle, and if the arguments against succeed and the arguments in favor fail or don't add enough probability, prove that God does not exist.

I don't think that on balance the probabilistic arguments against win out, but I don't have time or capacities to go through all them. I know that if I started, I wouldn't finish the thread, so I won't even try, at least not now.
But that answer should suffice to show why I can say that the argument from evil succeeds to some extent without being committed to the non-existence of God.

Or, again
Tl:Dr
I'm a Beyesian evidentialist


I will deal with the Santa Claus thing first. So, as I mentioned before (in apologist like fashion), Santa Claus houses supernatural powers according to those who believe (just ask any child who believes and he will tell you that Santa can do magical things). The idea that this Santa refutation argument is valid/sound is false - especially when the argument attacks a Santa Claus that is NOT the one most kids believe in. The case and point here is that anyone can makeup any mythical, magical, creature they want to and then move the goal post (or equivocate on terms) when their alleged "thing" argument is about to be refuted (which is precisely what apologists so often do). We show that a God with contradictory attributes (i.e. - Yahweh) couldn't exist, and the apologist rationalizes away the charge (just like it can be done with Santa Claus - moving the goal post). We show that the bible flatly contradicts itself, on numerous fronts, and the religionist spins the text to say what he/she wants it to say in order to resist the contradiction (which can also be done with Santa Claus).

So again, your article doesn't disprove Santa Claus. All it does is assume a Santa Claus "I Timmy" don't believe in. Straw man! And this is very much like what apologists do. We refute a specific definition of God and then you guys move the post and say, "Oh, I don't believe in that God. I believe in this one over here" [ad infinitum]. Personally, I think this is because there simply is no coherent definition of the term "God" (and that the term simply doesn't refer to anything) but that may be for another debate. For now, if one is to raise a probablistic argument against Santa Claus (and be successful), I maintain that the same criticisms, of type, can be raised (and be successful) against "Yahweh".

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Dante on April 25, 2013, 01:58:36 PM

As I was driving into work in the dark this morning, noticing the beautiful near-full moon beginning it's descent behind the glorious mountains, I giggled to myself a little. I tried to imagine a god, a god that is omnimax, watching over every thing and every body, and is every where all at once. A god that placed the moon, raised the mountains, created humans, and did all the other things that believers claim it does. A god that cares. And I giggled some more, in an empathetic sort of way, and shook my head. I feel sorry for believers. I feel sorry for anyone who ever believed, wondering what they've missed out on while they were participating in the god delusion.

Like PP, I've never been a believer, or at least dropped at such a young age that I don't recall. God belief is such nonsense. It's not intuitive, no matter what theists claim. It's limiting. It's false. It's just so obviously a work of fiction, I cannot fathom how anyone with half a brain can believe the sky daddy from hell really exists.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 26, 2013, 05:18:08 AM
My point was this:
"You can't prove a universal negative" is false. If you claim its true, then you're wrong. I don't see any good way to accept the principle, so you shouldn't on those grounds argue that the burden of proof is on the theist alone.

I do agree that theists have the greater burden of proof, but not because "You can't prove a universal negative."

In fact, the whole point of WWGHA is to give an argument that God doesn't exist, and to give an argument just is the same thing as offering proof.

WWGHA offers a specific proof that a specific god does not exist - the god described in detail in the Bible.   I wouldn't regard disproving that god - or, rather, Yahweh - as being anything to do with a universal negative.

As I've always said, could there be a god?  Wibbly-wobbly-woo-woo magical something?  <shrugs>  Maybe, who knows?  I ceertainly can't prove the universal negative that there is no god (note the small g) or gods out there somewhere.  How can I?  I haven't the faintest idea what you mean by the term, since what a "god" is changes from person to person.  Its so unspecific, it meets what I would regard as being the universal negative.

Is there a Yahweh?  No.  Definitely not.  I'm confident that I can prove there is not a Yahweh, given that what you regard as Yahweh is consistent with what the Bible describes him to be, and given that we agree on some fairly fundamental rules of the universe.

Similarly - and so sorry - I'm afraid you are still wrong about the table.  Just because a table is a common thing, does NOT mean that one exists just because you say one exists in a particular location.  99.999% of the time, if someone says "I have a table, a chair, a car....I went for a walk, had a cheese sandwich, saw a bird in a tree", we do NOT demand proof because - as you rightly suggest - the sheer commonality of the experience described makes it quite reasonable to take it as truth without further comment.

But if the two of us are in a room, and you say "there is a table there" and I do NOT see a table.....ah, then the burden of proof IS on you to prove there is a table there.  Because we have moved out of the realm of reasonable claims, and into the realm where you are making a claim that IS unreasonable - namely, that there exists in this room a solid presence that I am unable to detect.

The "hologram" thing is a red herring, in this instance.  Because I would not be denying that you SEE a table (which was the claim you were making in your example), I would be correcting you on the nature of what you saw.  We would not be disagreeing that we both see something in the room that looks like a table - THAT, is NOT what we disagree on.  We disagree on the nature of what we see, actually is - which is far more accurate analogy to what the believer claims - although the believer, in this case, is the person claiming there is a hologram.  That what we perceive as a natural and commonplace effect has something dramatically unusual behind it.

So if you say "I see a table", and I say "what table?  I see nothing", then the onus IS on you to prove you see something that I can not.
And if we both say "I see a table", and you then claim "but not a real table, it is a hologram!", then the onus is, again, on you to prove that what you say is true.

The example you gave - you say "I see a table" and I say "I do not" (because I know it is a hologram) is deply flawed, because I WOULD be seeing a table, and would not be denying that I see a table.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 28, 2013, 12:04:08 AM
Thank you for that, Anfauglir.
There is actually a lot of interesting and pretty weighty philosophical stuff in your reply, so I'll try to tackle it one at a time.

1. Universal Negatives
I wouldn't regard disproving that Yahweh as being anything to do with a universal negative.
...
I certainly can't prove the universal negative that there is no god.

I still don't know what role the word "universal" is playing here. Maybe you mean that you can't prove a vague negative. In other words, you say that you can prove that a god with more specifically defined attributes doesn't exist, but you can't prove that a very vaguely defined thing doesn't exist.

I have yet to hear a good definition of a universal negative. I fully agree that there are some things you can't prove not to exist. I can't prove there are no epiphenomenalons. But this isn't because they are part of some magical category that demand the proof of a universal negative, but because of their specific features. I can give you a reason why I can't prove they don't exist. So again, what is the definition of a universal negative (not examples, definition), and what is the reason these cannot be proved? I don't buy it, so you'll have to give me an argument.

2. Existence, Reference, and Perception

But if the two of us are in a room, and you say "there is a table there" and I do NOT see a table.....ah, then the burden of proof IS on you to prove there is a table there.  Because we have moved out of the realm of reasonable claims, and into the realm where you are making a claim that IS unreasonable - namely, that there exists in this room a solid presence that I am unable to detect.
Not so fast. We haven't said whether or not there actually is a table. Suppose we walk into a room, you see a table and point out that it goes quite lovely with the carpet and I say "There is no table in this room." You see a table and are quite baffled at my denial of its existence. You wouldn't believe me, and you would require some proof for me to show that the thing you see doesn't exist. You wouldn't say "But of course, how unreasonable of me to make this table claim, here, let me proceed to give you evidence." You would just say "You're nuts, obviously there is a table in the room. I don't believe you if you try to tell me you don't see it." Actually, you would probably think it is more likely that I am lying to you, or maybe that I am hallucinating or that something is wrong with me, and you would feel no obligation to prove to me that there is a table there. Tables are the kind of things that are there when you see them, so when you see a table and I deny that it's there, you'll think something is wrong with me.
Bottom line: If you see or don't see a table, you will demand anyone that disagrees with you to prove to you that they are right. It doesn't matter if you see a table and they say there isn't one, or if you don't see a table and they say there is one. In either case someone disagreeing with your perception of everyday objects, you will demand them to prove their claim.

The "hologram" thing is a red herring, in this instance.  Because I would not be denying that you SEE a table (which was the claim you were making in your example), I would be correcting you on the nature of what you saw.
First a quibble: In the hologram case, I would be denying that you see a table. I would not dispute that you have a table-like sense experience, but that was not under discussion. Atheists don't deny that people have 'religious' experiences, they deny that people are experiencing god. They are trying to correct them on the nature of what they experience.

Even if we both walk into the room, you say "I see a table," I say "I see nothing," I am not really denying that you have a table-like sense experience. You might be for all I know, but I don't presume to tell you what experiences you are having. I'm talking about an object in the room, or the lack thereof.

So if you say "I see a table", and I say "what table?  I see nothing", then the onus IS on you to prove you see something that I can not.
I already noted above that I don't think that's right. But let me tease out that even if the "proving a positive existence claim" has some burden, it can't be very strong. Suppose you and I walk into a room and start talking about the table we both see, and median comes in and says "What are you guys talking about, there is no table in this room?" We would certainly demand of him to show that the table isn't there. So a 2 to 1 majority on existence vs. nonexistence for everyday objects shifts the burden already.
Now suppose median is joined by Dante who also says "Yeah, I don't see a table here guys."
Now what? 2 for table, 2 against. Who has the burden of proof? I would say the burden is pretty much equal at this point. You would have to be committed that the two of us have to prove to them that the table is there if the nonexistence claim has preference.
Or suppose you are watching the inaugural address in Washington. Everyone is watching the president, but then one person says "Hey, I don't see a president up there. Someone prove he's really up there speaking." She'd get some chuckles, but no one would take her seriously.
So even if there is some presumption in favor of denying that something exist, that can easily be outweighed by other considerations.

I think that's enough for now, this post is too long already.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 28, 2013, 12:44:20 AM
I still don't know what role the word "universal" is playing here. Maybe you mean that you can't prove a vague negative. In other words, you say that you can prove that a god with more specifically defined attributes doesn't exist, but you can't prove that a very vaguely defined thing doesn't exist.

I have yet to hear a good definition of a universal negative. I fully agree that there are some things you can't prove not to exist. I can't prove there are no epiphenomenalons. But this isn't because they are part of some magical category that demand the proof of a universal negative, but because of their specific features. I can give you a reason why I can't prove they don't exist. So again, what is the definition of a universal negative (not examples, definition), and what is the reason these cannot be proved? I don't buy it, so you'll have to give me an argument.

As I understand it, which is different from how Anfauglir has descrbed it, "universal" has more to do with location than with specificity.  If the definition of a thing includes no location, then disproving its existence in general requires us to make a universal statement:  Not only is it absent here, but it's absent everywhere.  And we can't examine "everywhere" in order to determine that.

Once a location is specified as part of the definition of a thing, one isn't claiming a universal negative by saying it doesn't exist.  For example, "no binary star system exists within 1 AU of Earth" is not a universal claim, and is confirmed - or refuted - by examining the space within 1 AU of Earth.  However, the claim "no binary star system exists", without specifying a location, is a universal negative.  It can be disproven (and has been), but even if we'd never found binary star systems, it would never be able to be proven.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 28, 2013, 01:06:25 AM
Thanks Azdgari,
That specifies it better. I still think it is, as a general principle, false.
For example, we can prove that there are no round square objects anywhere in the universe.
Too cheap?
We can prove there are no 20 mile spheres of pure Uranium. Physics tells us they would explode before they got that big.

How about non-located things?
Philosophers go on arguing about numbers, properties, sets, facts, events, and whether those exist, often making arguments that they do not exist (anywhere).

So it isn't true that in general it is impossible to prove that something is not anywhere at all. There have to be further restrictions.

I think this is good progress though.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on April 28, 2013, 01:28:40 AM
Suppose we walk into a room, you see a table and point out that it goes quite lovely with the carpet and I say "There is no table in this room." You see a table and are quite baffled at my denial of its existence. You wouldn't believe me, and you would require some proof for me to show that the thing you see doesn't exist. You wouldn't say "But of course, how unreasonable of me to make this table claim, here, let me proceed to give you evidence." You would just say "You're nuts, obviously there is a table in the room. I don't believe you if you try to tell me you don't see it." Actually, you would probably think it is more likely that I am lying to you, or maybe that I am hallucinating or that something is wrong with me, and you would feel no obligation to prove to me that there is a table there. Tables are the kind of things that are there when you see them, so when you see a table and I deny that it's there, you'll think something is wrong with me.

Heh.  Nice try.  Go back and replace the word "table" with "unicorn" - would the same conclusion hold?  Almost cetainly not, because Unicorns are NOT the kind of things that are there when you see them.

Your point (assuming we're not treating seriously the argument to popularity) seems to be that if a person believes something thinks something exists, then they are under no obligation to prove to anyone else that what they think exists actually does.

<shrug> Fair enough.  If you want a table there, I have no issue with that.  But - and here's the rub - I will not be putting my cup down on that "table" until you have proved to meit is there.  I will not buy a tablecloth.  I will not walk around the space where it is supposed to be.  I will not tell my kids there is a table there.  I will not support laws that require people to be taught about that table in schools.  I will do none of these things, until you have proved to me that this table that I cannot see or feel or touch actually exists.

That's where the burden of proof comes in - when you require (or even request) that I change my behaviour based on the table that I do not experience.  While we all remain in our own minds, we can believe whatever we want with no issues.  But when one of us tries to add something to the universe, the burden immediately devolves on them to show why it should be accepted.

As to the argument to popularity.....cool.  Trends in the UK are towards atheism - in around ten years the non-believers will outnumber the believers, so at that point we can close all the churches, yes?  But more to the point, pick any god and religion you like: believers in THAT will be outnumbered by those who do NOT believe it, so - like the lone dissenter at the presedential address - perhaps we should all be ignoring those who claim something the majority of us think is false.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 28, 2013, 11:02:34 AM
Thanks Azdgari,

Glad I could help.

That specifies it better. I still think it is, as a general principle, false.

For example, we can prove that there are no round square objects anywhere in the universe.
Too cheap?

Actually, we can't say this.  In the right shape of space-time, something we might consider to be a round square is possible.  But if you mean by the strict definition, part of the definiton of that object is that it does not exist.  It's built-in, by human decree.  So yeah, too cheap.

We can prove there are no 20 mile spheres of pure Uranium. Physics tells us they would explode before they got that big.

Can we prove that the laws of physics as we observe them apply equally everywhere?  No.  It's a reasonable inference that they do, but it is not proven as a matter of formal logic.  And that's what we're talking about.

How about non-located things?
Philosophers go on arguing about numbers, properties, sets, facts, events, and whether those exist, often making arguments that they do not exist (anywhere).

"Exist" is a category error when applied to such things.  Events happen to things that exist; they do not exist as entities in themselves.  Facts are descriptions of what exists.  Properties are...well, properties of things that exist (or that don't).  Numbers are a way of describing things, not entities in and of themselves; their existence (or lack thereof) is as subjective as anything else I've listed.  Same with sets.

See, the only way you get away from the principle I outlined is when you apply it to nouns to which "existence" and "nonexistence" are category errors.  Kind of proves my point.

So it isn't true that in general it is impossible to prove that something is not anywhere at all. There have to be further restrictions.

I think this is good progress though.

As long as the subject in question is a "something", it applies.  As you've said, when we're not talking about a "something", of course it doesn't apply.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 28, 2013, 02:42:50 PM
Your point (assuming we're not treating seriously the argument to popularity) seems to be that if a person believes something thinks something exists, then they are under no obligation to prove to anyone else that what they think exists actually does.

No, that position is much stronger than what I endorsed. I was only making the claim that in some circumstances the burden of proof lies with the person making the non-existence claim. I did not endorse that the burden of proof is equal in all situations or that there is never a burden to prove an existence claim.

You bring up Unicorns, and that plays right into what I think is the better requirement. Again, I'm a Bayesian when it comes to evidence and burden of proof. That means, the person making the stranger claim has the burden of proof, or in other words, the claim that has the lower prior probability. I am only claiming that this is not ALWAYS the non-existence claim.

Of all the things that influence who has a burden of proof, the "making an existence claim" is either giving no or very little weight to who has it. Other things are much more important.

The reason I am arguing this is because I don't think theists have the burden of proof because they are making an existence claim. They have a greater burden, but not for that reason. So bringing up unicorns doesn't really help point out the difference between existence/not existence claims.

For example, what about conspiracy theories? If I say there wasn't a moon landing, or there was no 9/11 attack, or there is no president, I have the burden of proof because I am making improbable claims.


Now to Azdgari:
Can we prove that the laws of physics as we observe them apply equally everywhere?  No.  It's a reasonable inference that they do, but it is not proven as a matter of formal logic.  And that's what we're talking about.
You just raised the standard way too high. By that standard not a single scientific claim counts as proven because science proceeds by abduction (or induction), not deduction. Just because we measure gravity every time we measure for it does not, by deductive logic, prove that it ever holds anywhere or anytime we haven't measured. If you throw out induction you should be a skeptic about pretty much everything besides your own existence and theorems in math derivable from axioms.

Do you have some alternate way that you can say that physics works in your backyard but not on the other end of the universe? Both are inductive claims, so just denying induction isn't going to get you what you want.

"Exist" is a category error when applied to such things.  Events happen to things that exist; they do not exist as entities in themselves.  Facts are descriptions of what exists.  Properties are...well, properties of things that exist (or that don't).  Numbers are a way of describing things, not entities in and of themselves; their existence (or lack thereof) is as subjective as anything else I've listed.  Same with sets.
You don't just get to say that, you have to make an argument. you can be a nominalist about so called abstract objects, but you better be ready to have a good argument.
When I say "exist," I mean what Quine meant by it. That is, "To exist is to be the value of a bound variable." As he would say:
Quote
Quine's slogan, "To be is to be the value of a variable," means that we only commit ourselves to an ontology by claims that say things like "There is something (bound variable) that is ..."
For example, "There is something that is a prime number greater than a million" commits us to believing that such numbers are entities. And "There is some property (or characteristic) that red houses and red cars have in common" commits us to believing that properties (or characteristics) are entities.

If you have a better definition of existence then W.V. Quine, go ahead.
Armed with this and the Quine-Putnam Indispensibility argument you get the following:
1. Quine's Dictum: To be is to be the value of a variable
2. Naturalism: We should believe in the entities of our best scientific theories
3. Indispensibility: Our best scientific theories quantify over numbers (e.g. there is gravitational constant that is ...)
Therefore,
4. Platonism: Numbers exist.

There are philosophers (well, there is one) who try to do "Science without numbers" [Hartry Field], but it's not looking good. And unless you can do that, 3. is true, I'm sure you want to endorse 2., and I bet you'd be hard pressed coming up with something better then 1.
So, sorry, numbers exist.

So it isn't true that in general it is impossible to prove that something is not anywhere at all. There have to be further restrictions.
As long as the subject in question is a "something", it applies.  As you've said, when we're not talking about a "something", of course it doesn't apply.

Ok, first, I'm running out of vocabulary. I thought "something" was the most generic term I could possibly use that covers, aehm, (entities, principles, things??). I guess I will introduce the term "schmings" to mean even that which isn't a "thing," but also "things." You say "subject," but that just doesn't seem like the right word.

The only way I can read your last statement is by translating it thus then:
As long as a schming is a thing, it is impossible to prove that it does not exist (somewhere). Only for schmings that are not things can we prove that they do not exist.

But combining this with your statement about exist, you seem to further say "No schmings that are not things exist." I still don't know your definition of "thing" v.s. "not thing schming." Also, I don't know if you mean the same by "is" as by "exist." I don't know how you can say "3 is a prime" if you don't mean something different.

Please explain to me:
What are, to you "things," and what are not? How do you differentiate?
What does it take for "schmings" to exist? (And also, what does it take for "things" to exist?) How are your criteria for existence satisfied?

Anyways, hopefully still making progress.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on April 28, 2013, 03:06:58 PM
You just raised the standard way too high. By that standard not a single scientific claim counts as proven because science proceeds by abduction (or induction), not deduction. Just because we measure gravity every time we measure for it does not, by deductive logic, prove that it ever holds anywhere or anytime we haven't measured. If you throw out induction you should be a skeptic about pretty much everything besides your own existence and theorems in math derivable from axioms.

"Prove" is the wrong term to use.  It is impossible to prove something inductively, though it is totally possible to demonstrate something inductively.  Believers often call for non-believers to prove that there is no god, anywhere.  If they wanted evidence that there is no god, anywhere, then that would be another matter altogether.  But they don't.[1]  Instead, they ask for proof.  Their standard is as high as the standard I just used, and to which you just objected.  I'd never invoke that standard of "proof" in normal circumstances.

Do you have some alternate way that you can say that physics works in your backyard but not on the other end of the universe? Both are inductive claims, so just denying induction isn't going to get you what you want.

What do you mean by "denying induction"?  If you mean referring to the fact that induction is not formally, logically conclusive, then sorry, I am going to do that anyway.  See above regarding the standard of proof being asked for by believers.

<existence stuff>

I don't think we need to really address the status of stuff other than physical objects, with regard to "existing".[2]  By all means include them, and I'll agree that if we do so, then it is possible to prove universal negatives in those contexts.  I would then say that the inability to prove a universal negative doesn't apply to everything that might be the subject of a universal negative.  Would you agree that in some cases of universal negatives, though, it is impossible to prove them?  If so, then the question just becomes "what's different about those cases?"  Right?
 1. At least, not in my experience; I've never observed this.
 2. I'd gladly discuss it with you in another thread.  Probably learn some things from you.  Maybe the other way around, too.  But it'll take us on a huge tangent if we did it here.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Hierophant on April 28, 2013, 04:16:11 PM
Numbers cannot be located? Well, obviously; numbers are supernatural entities created by our Lord God (http://www.icr.org/article/7098/). End of story, atheism is defeated, everything is back to good ol' religion, so what's on RAW?  :D
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on April 28, 2013, 08:54:19 PM
Here's an interesting piece from an article that says you can prove a universal negative:

With those principles in line, we must ask then, does the proposition “God exists”, or “God does exist” qualify as an unfalsifiable statement? At this point at least, we know the skeptic is not rationally permitted to suggest that he “cant prove a universal negative.” He must provide a negative reason, or a counter-factual to the given proposition. If he cannot do so, then he has no reason to call himself an “Atheist”.

Source: http://philosophicaugustine.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/is-the-maxim-you-cant-prove-a-universal-negative-true/
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Hierophant on April 29, 2013, 06:35:49 AM
Atheism is not the proposal of a universal negative. Materialism is.

The simple proof of materialism is that, even if a supernatural entity did exist, it would be impossible for humans to rationally come to that conclusion because it is logically impossible for us to eliminate all naturalistic possibilities. But "supernatural" means just that- the denial of the natural (the denial of matter, the denial of causality, the denial of parts, etc). Therefore it is logically unsound for us to believe in the existence of any supernatural entity.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on April 29, 2013, 10:17:59 AM
At this point at least, we know the skeptic is not rationally permitted to suggest that he “cant prove a universal negative.” He must provide a negative reason, or a counter-factual to the given proposition. If he cannot do so, then he has no reason to call himself an “Atheist”.

Rationality is only part of the picture, Holybuckets.  I, for one, cannot prove that your particular god does not exist; however, I think that it's such a patently ridiculous and primitive implementation of "the divine" that I believe it to be utterly fictional and simply don't feel a need to investigate any further.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: mango on April 29, 2013, 11:09:18 AM
I'll reply to the other things as soon as I have time, but come on holybuckets. You just posted a link to an argument that I had already made on my own two or three posts ago. If you can't contribute new content, at least read the other comments.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on May 04, 2013, 11:09:17 PM
Here's an interesting piece from an article that says you can prove a universal negative:

With those principles in line, we must ask then, does the proposition “God exists”, or “God does exist” qualify as an unfalsifiable statement? At this point at least, we know the skeptic is not rationally permitted to suggest that he “cant prove a universal negative.” He must provide a negative reason, or a counter-factual to the given proposition. If he cannot do so, then he has no reason to call himself an “Atheist”.

Source: http://philosophicaugustine.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/is-the-maxim-you-cant-prove-a-universal-negative-true/ (http://philosophicaugustine.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/is-the-maxim-you-cant-prove-a-universal-negative-true/)

The conclusion here that, "he has no reason to call himself an 'Atheist'" is grossly mistaken because it commits an equivocation in terms. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in any God/deity. It is NOT a positive statement, rather it is the result of the rejection of claims that have not met their burden of proof.

As to the question of whether or not one can "prove a universe negative" - two points. 1) The article makes absolutely no attempt to define the term "universal". It merely assumes a specific definition of said term, and 2) the assertion is a red herring to the OP. Please demonstrate your deity or admit you can't.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on May 05, 2013, 12:04:32 AM
Mango,
Your posts are big red herrings, and according to one of your previous postings (where you admitted that you didn't come here to meet the challenge of the OP) it seems you are just one big TROLL. Are you just here to be a dick - going off onto tangents about who has the burden of proof, universals, Beye's Theorem, etc etc? None of these things have to do with the OP!

Honestly, what it seems to me is that you really can't demonstrate the alleged deity you claim to believe in, and that's why you skirted the OP from the very start. In another thread I'd be glad to discuss Beye's Theorem (and how it demonstrates Yahweh almost certainly does not exist), who has the burden of proof etc, etc - but really, I don't care about those things in this OP! I want you to demonstrate your deity or admit you can't. And if you admit that you can't demonstrate your deity then I'd like you to tell us why you believe in this non-demonstrable "thing". How do you define this "thing" and what good reason(s) do you have for thinking this thing is real?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Samothec on May 07, 2013, 01:24:43 AM
Here's an interesting piece from an article that says you can prove a universal negative:
Source: http://philosophicaugustine.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/is-the-maxim-you-cant-prove-a-universal-negative-true/
Except the author of that article fails. I added the bolding below.

Quote from:  Is the Maxim ‘You Can’t Prove a Universal Negative’ True?
An important thing to remember in the rules and inferences of logic is the following:
Quote
A proposition is a statement, utterance, or sentence that asserts a given state of affairs. In other words, propositions can assert affirmative statements “X functions with Y” or negative statements “X does not function with Y”. Both propositions assert something.
 
Furthermore, if a proposition is to be true, it must also be capable of being false (Wittgenstein). If a statement cannot be falsified, then we have no reason to consider the proposition. That is not to say that it is ultimately false, but we have no reason to consider it as such.
With those principles in line, we must ask then, does the proposition “God exists”, or “God does exist” qualify as an unfalsifiable statement? At this point at least, we know the skeptic is not rationally permitted to suggest that he “cant prove a universal negative.” He must provide a negative reason, or a counter-factual to the given proposition. If he cannot do so, then he has no reason to call himself an “Atheist”.

The bold portion points out the author's failure. He uses the quotes he made to refute the universal negative issue. But that skips a step even though he refers to it: showing (as per the bold) that either the position "God exits" or its negative “God does exist” are falsifiable/unfalsifiable. IIRC I have never seen a "God exits" claim that was falsifiable so there is no reason to consider such a statement - and no reason to propose the negative much less prove it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: kin hell on May 09, 2013, 08:38:31 AM
Atheists are hypocrites.
You can use all of the "rules of reason" or whatever you guys use in your chat rooms or whatever.  Here is the bottom line:
NOBODY on this earth has seen God.

First of all, I challenge anyone to dispute me on that!

Secondly, Christians believe that there IS a God.

Are you with me so far? I can type slower if you do not understand.

Thirdly, Atheists do NOT believe in God.  Oh, I know some will say it's not that they don't believe or not believe, but a God has not been proven.

It is hypocritical to say they a person is wrong because they believe in God but cannot prove it, and say that there is no God because they cannot prove it.

Once again, I know you are going to apply your law of "reason"... but you are only stroking yourself.  You may buy the argument- and more power to you.

Same with evolution. There is NO PROOF humans came from fish or some ape looking thing.  NO PROOF. Do you hear me? There is no proof that man evolved from ANYTHING. NO PROOF.  There is MORE proof that Jesus resurrected from the dead than there is for evolution.

Atheists think they have it figured out, but offer NO PROOF!

that so sounds like a tantrum
hands on hips
foot stamping
little white flecks of spittle flying

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: riley2112 on May 09, 2013, 02:06:05 PM
Here is a tantrum, with little flecks of spittle flying.. My name is Riley ,, I came to this forum about a year ago. I felt like the people here had no idea about faith, belief or religion. However I did learn some things. After awhile I left the forum, like most believer do. Well now I have come back , and I still believe that there is a creator out there. However, as for religion and I mean all of it ,, I have a little different view on it that I did last time. I am going to let you read something that made me stop and think, I could not have said it any better than this, I did not write this, but it is what I now think almost word for word.

Quote
Yes, it's quite obvious that mankind in general have always superstitiously believed that they must appease the Gods. This is true of just about every religion that exists. Even the Egyptians felt a need to appease their gods as well, as did the Greeks.

Why should a God who does not desire sacrifices cater to people's superstitious beliefs and fears?

Don't you think an all-wise supreme being would indeed be wise enough to realize that the reason people superstitiously believe that they need to appease the Gods is precisely because they believe that the Gods are angry with them?

Why would a real God continue to support such superstitious if they aren't true? And to even go out of his way to make rules about precisely how they are supposed to go about doing this?

You so-called "resolutions" of these contradictions do not constitute resolutions to me. All they amount to are extremely desperate attempts to try to keep alive an ideal that some particular ancient myths have something to do with "God".

But why bother? Can you even answer me that?

Why is it so important to you to support that the Bible is the "Word of God" at all cost?

Have you even ever wanted to understand it without contradictions? I don’t believe so.


Oh absolutely! That was my hope, dream, and expectation when I had originally set out to study the Bible.

I was erroneously taught that the Bible has answers to every question. I naively believed that as a "matter of faith" if only because my very own mother told me it was true.

But what I discovered is that just the opposite is true. The Bible does not have any answers to anything. And the proof of this is in the religion itself.

Just stand back and look at the religion. The original Jews do not even agree with each other on what these ancient stories are trying to say. Clearly Jesus didn't agree with the orthodox Pharisees of his day either. And the Pharisees themselves were not the only views on Judaism even at that time.

Moreover, why would the Jew have rejected Jesus if the Bible was truly clear about this? The Jews never accepted the rumors that Jesus was the promised messiah, and they have extremely good evidence for this.

The messiah was supposed to bring a time of peace among all nations. He was also supposed to be handed the throne of the King of David by God himself.

Jesus never became King and he most certainly didn't bring peace among nations. In fact Christianity (i.d. the rumors of Jesus) historically became the fodder for wars, crusades, and all manner of horrific acts against pagans and non-Christians. Later it even became an excuse to burn people at the stake as "witches".

Where's the "Peace to all nations"?

I agree with the Jews. Jesus could not possibly have been the promised messiah that the Christians claim.

These stories cannot be made to make sense .

I've tried extremely hard. I've bent over backwards to the point of absurdity trying to make these stories work. It's simply not possible.

 I became wiser and finally asked myself, "Why?"

Why am I trying so hard to make these stories work? It was my original hope that I could actually understanding them because they made sense. Then I could hopefully teach others what these stories truly have to say and why they are wrong in their misunderstanding and wrongful interpretations. But what I found was that this is utterly impossible to do. Trying to come up with a sane teachable version of these stories that I could actually convincingly teach to anyone is impossible. Absolutely impossible.

At the very best I can do like the Christians do and pretend to have some outrageous excuses for everything that truly don't make any sense. But why bother with that facade? What's the point to it?

Wouldn't you rather know the truth?

The truth is that these stories cannot be made consistent by anyone. And this is precisely why there are so many different sects and denominations of this religion. No two people are willing to make up or accept the same excuses for these absurdly contradiction fables.

And let's go back to the question of "Why?"

Why bother? Any excuses I could possibly come up with for these stores are going to be extremely lame and unconvincing in general. And to be perfectly honest I cannot even come up with any excuses that would even convince myself.

These fables cannot possibly be true.

And what does the overall story claim?

Well this is something almost everyone can agree on (although there are even people who can't agree on the big picture).

The overall story proclaims that mankind has "fallen from grace" from God and we are in dire need of repentance and need to reconciled with God.

This is the underlying premise of the whole Biblical Picture. As a personal note I personally don't feel that I'm at odds with any God. So this is already going against my own personal innate feelings.

This God tries to get humans to worship, obey, and love him the whole way through these stories failing miserably at every turn of the page of the book.

If you stand back and look at it this God never does a truly wise or intelligent thing the whole way through. It's all done via violence and threats of more violence. Basically saying, "Love and Obey me or be damned!".

IMHO, this is not an intelligent tactic for even mortal parents to employ. The idea that a supposedly all-wise God would employ such low-mentality tactics is absurd at best, and quite disturbing at worst.

So what is Jesus offering to "save" us from? An angry wrathful God who will damn us if we refuse to love, honor and obey him, when all the while he behaves like a totally immature ignoramus?

What's to love?

How can you love a God who's doing nothing other than threatening to harm you if you fail to love him and not even giving you any reason to love him?

And this is all based on the idea that you have already knowingly and willfully rebelled against him and have rejected him and have chosen evil over good?

That's utter nonsense. I know for a fact that none of this is true of me. I haven't chosen evil over good simply because I've recognized the Bible is utterly absurd.

To simply not believe in Jesus cannot be grounds for damnation. Not believing in Jesus or the Bible in general, does not constitute an act of evil, nor does it constituent choosing evil over good.
Yet for Christianity to fly this MUST BE TRUE.

At least as it's preached by the Christians and by many authors of the New Testament. (i.e. Mark, John, Paul), and even places in the Old Testament that claim that anyone who doesn't believe in this religion is an immoral sinner who is incapable of doing good.

Those are all false. They are all lies. Disbelieve in the Abraham God of the Hebrews cannot possibly be grounds for damnation or having chosen evil over good.

So in the BIG PICTURE this religion has clearly shot itself in its own foot. It's trying to demand that if you don't believe in this religion God will hate you and rightfully so because if you refuse to cower down to this religion this religion itself will brand you as a heathen sinner deserving of damnation. 

IMHO, the Hebrew Bible is nothing more than a truly underhanded brainwashing tactic created by the Hebrews in an attempt to elevate their religion above all other religions. This is what these ancient cultures always tried to do. They were constantly trying to lay claim to having the only true religion. Even the Greeks had Zeus as "The God of Gods". The Hebrews aren't any different.

The bottom line for me is simple.

Am I "rejecting my Creator" by not believing in Hebrew religious brainwashing tactics designed to create religious bigotry that puts their religion above all other religions?

No, absolutely not. That is absurd.

Their myths are riddled with absurdities, self-contradictions, and totally unreasonable ultimatums. (like either accept Christ as your savior or be damned).

What kind of a genuinely righteous creator would have created such a negative scheme as this?

It's an 'ungodly' collection of fables, IMHO.

There is no reason to even support it. And there are actually far better reasons for renouncing it as being utterly absurd.

To be perfectly honest, as much as I can appreciate, and personally enjoy, the dream of a spiritual or mystical essence to reality, in terms of human society I would vote for atheism over any of the Abrahamic religions as being a far more sane philosophy to live by.

The Abrahamic religions are founded entirely on the principle that mankind is rebelling against the creator, and that the creator has all manner of commands and directives that he wants mankind to abide by (many of which I do not even see as being sane, much less moral).

Why support ancient fables that proclaim that we are all rebelling against our creator? That's absurd. And it's a highly negative stance to take.

Moreover, even if you accept the "religion" then you are stuck with a lifetime of having to either support all the nonsense in these fables or being branded a "False Believer" because you refuse to swallow and obey specific biblical passages verbatim.

Do I believe that women should be treated as second-class citizens? No I don't.

Yet the Bible demands that they must be, and clearly you can see this in the Catholic Church where women are still not permitted to hold any position of importance or authority.

Islam has the same male-chauvinistic problems. And they all come from these fables.

Sure, there are "Progressive Protestants" who refuse to accept the Bible verbatim.

But what are they doing other than rejecting the Bible whilst still pretending to believe in it. What sense does that even make?

Why continue to cling to a Biblical picture of God if you're going to reject a lot of what the Bible even has to say?

I'm not about to go down that road. That road is truly absurd. Rejecting a dogma whilst pretending to accept it is the epitome of trying to cling to something that you truly don't even believe in.

I'm not going to become a "pretentious Christian". If they Bible can't be trusted verbatim, then let's MOVE ON. Why pretend that we can believe in just parts of it and reject other parts?

That's nonsense, IMHO.(Divine Insight, Apr 23, 2013)

Thank you all for putting up with me the last time I was here...


edit: added quote tag at top
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on May 09, 2013, 03:23:33 PM
Welcome back, riley. I remember you.

One question: since you understand that attempts to explain real world things through religion are lacking, what leads you to think that there is a "creator out there"?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: riley2112 on May 09, 2013, 03:33:17 PM
That is a very good question. I just don't have an answer yet.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Iamrational on May 09, 2013, 04:29:50 PM
Riley you are a great example. You are humble enough to say I don't know. I am very impressed. Good luck on your continued journey. Awesome!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 09, 2013, 04:31:15 PM
Riley you are a great example. You are humble enough to say I don't know. I am very impressed. Good luck on your continued journey. Awesome!

Seconded! Religious people somehow always know the answers to the really hard questions whilst no one else does.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 09, 2013, 04:33:28 PM
I remember you too, riley.  I'm glad to see you didn't stop thinking after you left.

My take on ancient fables and stories is that they were ways for people to try to make sense of a world that almost seemed to have a split personality.  At times, it was generous and forgiving; at other times, vicious and violent.  Some cultures explained this by having a pantheon of gods, some of whom were good, and some of whom were bad.  Others had reincarnation, so that as you lived life after life, you would gradually lift yourself higher and higher in the scheme of things, until you no longer had to come back.  Judaism had a single god who rewarded the faithful and punished the sinners, so if you were punished, it must have been your fault.  Christianity and Islam had this single god who rewarded and punished, but they explained evil by creating a devil-figure who was responsible for various bad things (except the ones that it wasn't responsible for).  Astrology replaced gods with stars, but it was the same basic premise - we didn't have control, it was all out of our hands, and it was being done to us by things that meant us either good or ill.

It took a long time for people start realizing that the universe is simply indifferent to us.  Whatever happens, happens (aside from the things we ourselves cause).  Life came about as a response to this indifference - when good things happen, life thrives, when bad things happen, it adapts or dies.  As far as we go, there's either things that we do to ourselves (or at least exert influence on), or things that just happen because of probabilities that had nothing to do with us at all.  Things that we can control, and things that we can't.

In short, religion is a way for us to take a situation where we don't have control and make-believe that we do (by importuning the things that seem to have control).  But there's another, better way to do it.  We figure out a way to control things ourselves.  That's why science came about, I think, and that's why it's inherently superior to religion - because as we learn how to control things better, there's less things we have to worry about not having control over, and the less likely that we'll have to believe in gods who do the controlling for us.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: riley2112 on May 09, 2013, 05:00:17 PM
we learn as we gain knowledge. It sometimes takes longer for some. I guess I was the some.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on May 09, 2013, 05:55:06 PM
Riley,
I was very impressed by your post and I'd like to congratulate you on your honesty here. What you depicted sounds strikingly similar to my de-conversion from Christianity (from theism to deism and then atheism). Simply put, I just couldn't buy it anymore. I couldn't keep giving the irrational arguments a pass and I certainly couldn't keep ignoring them. Please know that you have (at least in part) a support system here (should you feel that you need it). The fact that we are communicating through this forum does not make us any less human, any less compassionate, or any less interested in the well being of conscious creatures.

With that said, my hat is off to you. You seem to have taken the first big step out of credulity and toward open-mindedness. If we can be of any assistance in this process please don't hesitate to ask. We will do what we can to help.

----
Now, to those theistic apologists who are still here...please demonstrate your deity or admit you can't!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: kin hell on May 09, 2013, 08:48:22 PM
Riley

....an awesome display of persistence of rationality  ....thank you very very much for taking the time and sharing your thoughts in such detail.

I suspect that what you are left with (regarding your creator) is the very strong "feeling" (no disrespect implied) that there is (must be) more to this life, universe etc than random chance.

As an atheist with a strong creative side I regularly experience epiphanies which, given a different mindset, I would have to read as spiritual.
Awareness and overwhelming awe at the scale, beauty and complexity of this life, and regular epiphany-type-moments of feeling fully as "part of it all" would easily tip me into belief, if I wasn't also aware that such belief it is just not needed. A creator is just not necessary.

That some seem to need/want/create a god without any need for any evidence of such whatsoever, leaves me with the understanding that those believers have applied a god filter to exactly the same world view experiences and "epiphanies" I've described above.

The god filter they employ is described and empowered by feelings, nothing else (there can be nothing else as there is absolutely no real evidence to support such a filter).

In everything else, they would require demonstrable evidence, yet in the key question in their lives they choose to delegate authority to their feelings and so add an extra and unnecessary filter between them and the direct accurate experience of being alive in this universe. (I fully acknowledge that the "accurate" experience is as prone to individual misread as anything).

From that use of the god filter, from that willingness to credit unsubstantiated feeling with so much core interpretation of "everything", comes the chaos of religion and the insanities of magical thinking.

You have my total respect for your journey

Happy trails.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: JeffPT on May 09, 2013, 10:30:27 PM
Welcome back riley. I remember going a few rounds with you back in the day. 

Harboring a belief in 'some sort of a creator' is a step in the right direction, but you're not at the end of that path yet.  Keep going.

I agree with the others.  It was a good post. 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: PaulGL on May 20, 2013, 03:13:54 PM

There are two, and only two, explanations for the means whereby life now exists on this planet.
First, there is the explanation that life on earth was divinely created.
Since, obviously, there is no way that the above explanation of the origin of life can be subjected to any scientific analysis, it would be profitless to discuss its merits (at this point).
The other means I am referring to is, of course, the theory of evolution. By evolution, I mean the process or processes whereby life as we now know it has come about from an originally inorganic universe through purely mechanistic actions in conformity with the laws of the physical universe. Keeping these parameters in mind, let us now see what relevant conclusions may be derived:...

Given the vastness of the universe and the consequent profusion of life, what must the ultimate consummation of the process of evolution be?
It is my contention that the inevitable and ultimate result of evolution is this: that somewhere, sooner or later, an entity would be evolved through either natural or artificial means which would no longer be subject to time.

What are the implications of such a conclusion?

Such an entity would in all practicality be:

1.   Omnipotent and
2.   Omniscient and
3.   Omnipresent.

Such an entity would, by definition, be God.
By no means am I intending to speculate about the origin of God.
Such speculation is vain at best and blasphemous at worst. My intention is to show that no matter what method that you employ to explain the existence of life; the inevitable implication is the existence and reality of God.

Chapter Seven.  Past History: The World System                              p.145
...
            {   II.     The Religious System
A.   The Source of Religion <Hint: NOT God>
B.   The World’s Religions
C.   The Jewish Religion
D.   Christianity, the Religion   }


FROM: amessageforthehumanrace
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: PaulGL on May 20, 2013, 03:15:33 PM
CHAPTER THREE


THE LOGIC OF IT ALL


       I will do all my pleasure: ... I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.  (Isaiah 46:10?11)


I.   Divine Purpose

Granted the existence and reality of God, let us consider the following extremely relevant question: What would an omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent being, knowing, having, and being capable of anything and everything, possibly want? The only possible thing that such a being would want would be an entity, perfectly complementary to Him, that was His of its own choice, and not out of necessity.


II.   THE NECESSITY FOR A SECONDARY WILL

Obviously, if there existed only one will (God’s) in the universe, there would be no possible way for such a divine purpose to be realized, as all actions would necessarily be in response to that divine will. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to the attainment of such a divine purpose that there exist in addition to divine will a secondary, opposing will.


III.   FREE WILL

It should be equally apparent that, in order for such a complementary entity to choose to belong to God, it must have an independent, free will.

FROM: amessageforthehumanrace
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 20, 2013, 03:30:20 PM
Actually, evolution explains the diversity of life, not the existence of life.  It also has no purpose in the sense you mean.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: nogodsforme on May 20, 2013, 03:34:26 PM
Hello PaulGL;

nogodsforme here.  :D

1) Evolution says nothing about how life began on earth. Evolution is about how living organisms diversify, ie change in adaptation to environmental conditions.
 
2) Argumentation, no matter how logical, cannot produce a god if no god actually exists. No argument is good enough to create a god. If so, there would be lots of gods around, one for each good argument.

3) Even if your argument was sound, and you could somehow demonstrate that there was some being who created the universe, you would still have to show how you know anything about that being.

4) Once you have shown how you know about the being, you have to show that the being is something that communicates or affects human beings in some way.

5) If the being communicates or affects human beings, it is part of the natural world and as such, can be detected, measured and evaluated using the scientific method. The same method that has established evolution as fact.

Good luck.
Your resident black dreadlocked atheist commie mommy
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jdawg70 on May 20, 2013, 05:11:08 PM
There are two, and only two, explanations for the means whereby life now exists on this planet.
I take issue with this.  I can come up with more than two explanations:
1) A sufficiently powerful wizard could accomplish the trick.  This wizard, not being god, is unfortunately limited in scope and could not, for example, grant immortality.  Don't worry about speculating on the origins of this wizard.  Such speculation is vein at best, and at worst he may get upset with you and destroy you with a fireball.
2) The mechanistic behavior of particles led to the emergent phenomenon of self-replication.
3) A highly advanced alien race came to Earth and planted the seeds of life.  Don't worry about speculating on the origins of these aliens.  Such speculation is vein at best, and at worst they may use their superior technology to obfuscate your speculations.
4) There is no life on this planet.  What you perceive as 'life' is merely an illusion constructed in your head.  You are the only sentience, and all other sentience is simply a manifestation of your own will trying to deal with eternal loneliness.  Don't worry about speculating on where you life or where you came from.  Such speculation is vein at best, and at worst will cause you to go insane and breakdown your entire reality.

Bam.  More than two.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: xyzzy on May 20, 2013, 05:30:15 PM
Paul, you seem to be starting from your conclusion and working backwards in an attempt to come up with some kind of justification for your belief. It's not a good plan.

You're a somewhat mistaken about evolution but that's already been addressed. As for only two options for how life started, well another is alien seeding. I'm not saying that that's what happened but you seem to be creating a false dichotomy to serve as a springboard for your predetermined conclusion.

As for something evolving to be outside of time? Really? Other than wishful thinking, how did you come to that conclusion? How is that even possible given any of the current theories of time?

But let's say you are correct. The first thing is that an entire species would have that attribute. It's not going to be your god and your god alone so, no, it doesn't explain your god in isolation. This is not the argument you are looking for.

Also, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscience as attributes of "not being subject to time?". Again, how does one lead to the other, and how does that work in a species that all have those attributes?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on May 20, 2013, 07:41:28 PM
actually jdizzle,

There is more options. I tend to agree with the magical frog theory, although some claim it is a toad. The magical frog created the universe, which is really just a large piece of flypaper, and the planets, stars and such are simply dust particles on the flypaper.  Of course his mortal enemy Baxter the fly wants to destroy the flypaper and thus our universe, but he dare not cross this nameless magical frog (or toad)...

as per the prerequisite. Asking about the frog is an exercise in futility and would cause one's mental fabric to rip, so we may as well forget about that.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jdawg70 on May 21, 2013, 08:22:42 AM
actually jdizzle,

There is more options. I tend to agree with the magical frog theory, although some claim it is a toad. The magical frog created the universe, which is really just a large piece of flypaper, and the planets, stars and such are simply dust particles on the flypaper.  Of course his mortal enemy Baxter the fly wants to destroy the flypaper and thus our universe, but he dare not cross this nameless magical frog (or toad)...

as per the prerequisite. Asking about the frog is an exercise in futility and would cause one's mental fabric to rip, so we may as well forget about that.
Frog?  I thought it was a rat and his four turtle buddies.  Fo shizzle.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on May 21, 2013, 11:07:18 AM

There are two, and only two, explanations for the means whereby life now exists on this planet.

NOPE! This is the classical fallacy of a False Dichotomy. So we can just ignore the rest of the post because these are not the only two options. However, even if they were we have ample and overwhelming evidence for evolution (and no we're NOT talking about abiogenesis yet - which is a different subject altogether). We do not, however, have any evidence for some supernatural deity that supposedly created it all, and 'sustains' it. And making some assertion regarding another 'higher evolved' being that has the characteristics of what you are attributing to a deity is just wishful thinking (i.e. - starting with your conclusion and trying to work backwards). How credulous!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 21, 2013, 11:18:08 AM
Just for the interest, what does it mean to say that 'god sustains the universe'? From what science we have done it appears that the universe is self sustaining and does not need and help from any sort of being.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Tonus on May 21, 2013, 12:06:26 PM
My intention is to show that no matter what method that you employ to explain the existence of life; the inevitable implication is the existence and reality of God.

Unless it's, you know... the scientific method.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: neopagan on May 21, 2013, 01:00:07 PM
Riley,

Fantastic post - welcome back aboard.  I fought the same battle recently and here I am...

This part of your post really spoke volumes to a former xian like myself:

So what is Jesus offering to "save" us from? An angry wrathful God who will damn us if we refuse to love, honor and obey him, when all the while he behaves like a totally immature ignoramus?

What's to love?

How can you love a God who's doing nothing other than threatening to harm you if you fail to love him and not even giving you any reason to love him?
 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: riley2112 on May 21, 2013, 02:17:53 PM
What I find interesting is the fact that somehow, I feel betrayed. I guess I will get over it. It just kinda pisses me off.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: neopagan on May 21, 2013, 02:32:00 PM
What I find interesting is the fact that somehow, I feel betrayed. I guess I will get over it. It just kinda pisses me off.

Betrayed is a good word for it... I don't even think it's entirely "intentional" batrayal on the part of the current band of xian leaders (for the most part).

I still sit in church every week with my family (as the pretender), and I'm sure the pastors are sincere - they just never bothered to question the party line, or they have shelved those doubts so far back in their brain it no longer matters (or the happy trappings of xiandom outweigh the alternative).

However, if at any point the church had addressed the "big questions" and contadictions, it would have been a huge step.  For now, the alleged "contradications" are internal debates like mode of baptism... NEVER did I get something meaty like - prove the existence of your deity outside the given holy book.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: riley2112 on May 21, 2013, 03:31:36 PM
I still go to church with my wife, however I find myself going less and less. I still find myself talking to God, or maybe it is just talking to myself. I am finding it hard to completely let go. I guess all things take time. Somehow it makes me feel  more alone. I guess it is going to take some getting use to. My wife still gives that 10%.lol
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on May 22, 2013, 07:10:29 AM
try renting this, or look it up on the internet.  It might be on youtube:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20713.0.html

it might help.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: The Gawd on May 22, 2013, 07:34:47 AM
@riley

If it may ease your tensions there is a growing # of clergy who are non believers, some out some not out to the public but out to the clergy project. Look it up.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on May 24, 2013, 12:26:31 PM
I still go to church with my wife, however I find myself going less and less. I still find myself talking to God, or maybe it is just talking to myself. I am finding it hard to completely let go. I guess all things take time. Somehow it makes me feel  more alone. I guess it is going to take some getting use to. My wife still gives that 10%.lol

Riley,
It took me 5 years (of much depression and anguish) to completely let go of the God concept and embrace reality as it is. But I can assure you, that it is incredibly freeing and beautiful. You discover that life (every moment) is infinitely valuable and precious. Every relationship, every experience, and every waking breath becomes "alive" and meaningful. No more petitioning of the empty sky. No more focusing on a non-existent "heaven" while putting down this life as "a speck", and certainly no more "sinning then repenting" while feeling guilty. Responsibility is all ours! We are free to enjoy this magnificent existence and all of the fruit it has to offer.

My appreciation for life increased 1000+% when I gave up the irrational arguments for God and embraced life as it is - as wonderful, beautiful, glorious, and magnificent as we make it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 09:33:38 AM
Riley2112,

Why would you seek help from an atheist? First of all, it appalls me that these people would attempt to pull you away from your faith. Just because they don't have any faith doesn't mean  they have to try to drag you away form God. Secondly, they cannot be trusted.
Polls show that people don't trust atheists.

"Atheists are one of the most disliked groups in America. Only 45 percent of Americans say they would vote for a qualified atheist presidential candidate, and atheists are rated as the least desirable group for a potential son-in-law or daughter-in-law to belong to. Will Gervais at the University of British Columbia recently published a set of studies looking at why atheists are so disliked. His conclusion: It comes down to trust." http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-atheists-we-distrust

Please do not trust these people. They argue in ignorance, admittedly they have no evidence or proof to back up what they believe. And for that matter they cannot even figure out what they believe. Being a Christian is simple. You believe in the Risen Christ. You do not have to have all the answers like the atheists want to make you believe that you do. Remember, they don't have any answers.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on May 25, 2013, 09:50:46 AM
Riley2112,

Why would you seek help from an atheist? First of all, it appalls me that these people would attempt to pull you away from your faith. Just because they don't have any faith doesn't mean  they have to try to drag you away form God. Secondly, they cannot be trusted.

What did Jesus say about judging people?

Likewise, I'm pretty sure he said something about showering them with love...



Quote
Polls show that people don't trust atheists.

"Atheists are one of the most disliked groups in America. Only 45 percent of Americans say they would vote for a qualified atheist presidential candidate, and atheists are rated as the least desirable group for a potential son-in-law or daughter-in-law to belong to. Will Gervais at the University of British Columbia recently published a set of studies looking at why atheists are so disliked. His conclusion: It comes down to trust." http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-atheists-we-distrust

Appeal to majority.  How other treats you has nothing to do with if you're trustworthy or not.


Quote
Please do not trust these people. They argue in ignorance, admittedly they have no evidence or proof to back up what they believe. And for that matter they cannot even figure out what they believe.


Again, Jesus said not to be judgemental.


Quote
Being a Christian is simple. You believe in the Risen Christ. You do not have to have all the answers like the atheists want to make you believe that you do. Remember, they don't have any answers.

Again.  Judgemental.  Atheists do not say they "have all the answers".  It's only theists that makes that claim.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 10:02:00 AM
This is one of the things I have against atheists. The hypocrisy; I am "judging" and you can say whatever you want.
I give polls and published studies/articles to back up my claims, you can't back up anything- all you do is ask ignorant questions like; "why doesn't God heal amputees?"
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 25, 2013, 11:17:54 AM
HB,

Polls show that atheists cannot be trusted is not the same thing as atheist can't be trusted! Indeed lumping people into a group and assuming they are all the same is just plain bad. It is like me saying that, for example, 'all Catholics priests are kiddy-fiddlers' Of course that isn't true and its the same with atheists. Just because someone doesn't believe in the right god does not mean they cannot be trusted. Would you have trusted George Washington for example (clue he was a deist).

If atheists don't support your favoured god, HB, why not show the evidence that he is alive today and active in the world. That would be much more use that telling atheists you don't trust them. I suspect you are more concerned that looked at in the cold light of day, religious faith does not stand up.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: JesseWSellers on May 25, 2013, 11:53:29 AM
Well, I am brand new to this forum. I am still working on my 3 initial responses so I can post my profile. But  I did happen to notice that someone has written, "Jesus said don't be judgmental."  This is a case of a text without a context being a pretext.  Jesus never said that we are not to be judgmental. The context of His statement--i.e., "judge not lest you be judged"--is that we will be judged by the same standard by which we judge others.  Basically, we are not to "judge" unless we are willing to be "judged."  (I will reserve a discussion of the meaning of the word judge for a future post.)  I am saddened, during my first few moments of active membership on this forum, to see someone attempt to shut someone else down by using a reference out of context.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 12:16:00 PM
HB,
If atheists don't support your favoured god, HB, why not show the evidence that he is alive today and active in the world. That would be much more use that telling atheists you don't trust them. I suspect you are more concerned that looked at in the cold light of day, religious faith does not stand up.
Again hypocrisy. Wheels is asking me to show evidence that Jesus is alive today, yet makes the claim "religious faith doers not stand up." Why are you asking me to show evidence, when you fail to? Do you see the hypocrisy?
Besides, my original message was intended for a brother that you are ignorantly attempting to turn away from God.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 25, 2013, 01:03:17 PM
Again hypocrisy. Wheels is asking me to show evidence that Jesus is alive today, yet makes the claim "religious faith doers not stand up." Why are you asking me to show evidence, when you fail to? Do you see the hypocrisy?
Besides, my original message was intended for a brother that you are ignorantly attempting to turn away from God.
You have this whole 'hypocrisy' schtick going on right now, holybuckets, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's just a convenient way to try yet again to get the goat of various atheists on this forum.  Seems to me that you're more interested in trying to provoke a reaction from atheists than anything.  And considering that you've consistently failed to provide the slightest shred of real evidence for your beliefs, you certainly have no room to talk about hypocrisy.

By the way, religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination any more than psychic powers do.  Let's take prayer, for example.  To the best of my knowledge, every time prayer has been investigated to see if it has a noticeable effect on the real world, it never does.  It's always either subjective effects inside a person's mind, or else it ends up being "regression to the mean" (such as when people pray for someone to be healed), or something that's statistically insignificant and thus better attributed to random chance.

The usual excuse to justify this lack of results is something like "God works in mysterious ways".  The problem with this excuse is that if prayers were being answered at all, it would make a statistical difference - injured people who were prayed for would be noticeably more likely to recover, for example, or people caught in a disaster who prayed for deliverance would be more likely to survive than those who didn't.

But it's never been shown to happen.  And that leads to the conclusion that prayer doesn't actually do anything (except for subjective effects, which could easily come from within the person's own mind).  And since prayer is probably the cornerstone of religious faith, it is reasonable to conclude that it wouldn't stand up to scrutiny either.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 01:28:27 PM
you've consistently failed to provide the slightest shred of real evidence for your beliefs,
This is where you and your other friends who argue in ignorance are wrong.
First is your continuous distortion of what is posted. The problem is not providing real evidence, the problem is you continue to play your own god and discount them.
My original post was to ask Riley2112 not to listen or trust you people. Your post helps prove my point.
Second, JesseWSellers post proves my point as well. I do not know if Sellers is a Christian or atheist, but he did point out Aaron's false post in defining "judging".
I again plead for Jesse not to listen to these "false prophets" ... they have no idea what they are talking about.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Aaron123 on May 25, 2013, 03:37:13 PM
This is one of the things I have against atheists. The hypocrisy; I am "judging" and you can say whatever you want.
I give polls and published studies/articles to back up my claims, you can't back up anything- all you do is ask ignorant questions like; "why doesn't God heal amputees?"

You made the statement that atheists are untrustworthy, that they are "ignorant", and that they want you to "think they have all the answers".

Those are all judgemental, unfair, and untrue statements.  You're trying to tell someone else how atheists act and think, but you don't know how they do think and act.  Many atheists are honest people, most of us are not "ignorant" about god or christainly, or whatever you meant by "argue in ignorance".  No atheists proclaims to "have all the answers".  That is why I brought up the Jesus quote.  The plank is very much firmly embedded in your eye.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 25, 2013, 04:00:40 PM
This is where you and your other friends who argue in ignorance are wrong.
Which you've also consistently failed to prove.

Quote from: holybuckets
First is your continuous distortion of what is posted. The problem is not providing real evidence, the problem is you continue to play your own god and discount them.
This is a lie, holybuckets.  I have not "played god", nor has any other poster to my knowledge.  The reason I keep discounting your evidence is because it comes solely from the Bible and is thus not reliable proof for the central claims of Christianity.  Your unwillingness to accept this does not make it false.

Quote from: holybuckets
My original post was to ask Riley2112 not to listen or trust you people. Your post helps prove my point.
Actually, I would invite riley2112 to read your other threads and our responses and judge for himself whether we're worth listening to.  Seems to me that if you're right, then him reading other posts I and others have made will strengthen your point.  But that doesn't seem to be what you want.  Instead, you seem to want him to stop reading what we write, to not listen to what we say, and so on.  Indeed, you pointed to a poll that claimed that people didn't trust atheists as part of your argument, which proves nothing at all.  Polls are nothing more than the subjective opinions of people, many of whom may not have sufficient information on the subject at hand to draw a reasoned conclusion.

Quote from: holybuckets
Second, JesseWSellers post proves my point as well. I do not know if Sellers is a Christian or atheist, but he did point out Aaron's false post in defining "judging".
Actually, Aaron123 has a point.  The "judge not lest ye be judged" statement in the Bible is something that can be taken several ways - as can most of the Bible - and Aaron took it the simplest way, as an injunction against judging others.

Quote from: holybuckets
I again plead for Jesse not to listen to these "false prophets" ... they have no idea what they are talking about.
Seems to me that you're having more than a little trouble knowing what you're talking about.  The dangerous part is that you think you do.



JesseWSellers:  These are the kinds of topics that holybuckets has been making for the past several weeks on this forum (in reverse order, because I'm doing a post history search):

May 23, Gay-related immune deficiency (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24962.0.html), in which he started with the premise that homosexuals caused the spread of AIDS.  In reply #31 (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24962.msg556027.html#msg556027), he claimed (no joke, sadly) that "many atheists are homosexual - all are in denial", tried to pin responsibility for aids on gay people, and claimed that atheists had no moral code and had created a 'god' to fit around their own lifestyle.

May 17, Don't expect an atheist president anytime soon (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24917.0.html), where he employed a similar tactic to the one he used here (using a poll to infer his own conclusions about atheists, rather than pointing to actual facts).  His actual reason for making it was because he wanted to show that the atheist argument was hypocritical because they kept using arguments from the Bible to critique Christian belief.  According to reply 8 (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24917.msg554795.html#msg554795), his whole point for making the topic was to "play the game" - if atheists could do it, so could he.  His arguments got quite a bit worse from there; I'll highlight one of the ones from reply 231 (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24917.msg555712.html#msg555712), near the end of the thread (when he abandoned his own thread because he was losing the argument) to illustrate this.

Quote
This is why I call atheists hypocrites. Tell me (and be honest) if I am wrong.
I post: There is a God
You will post: show me your proof

I will say because of Jesus
You will post: that proves nothing.

I will say: He claimed to be God
You will say: Where is your proof

I will say: It says so in the Bible
You will laugh and say: That means nothing

I will say: But He has eye witnesses
You will say: Prove it

Then I will post: OK prove that it is wrong
You will post: "the problem in this thread is your approach has been:
jesus resurrected because the bible!  Prove I'm wrong!!"
I critiqued (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24917.msg555892.html#msg555892) this post of his a short time later and demonstrated, using his own words, that he was basing claims on claims, and when pressed for evidence, pointed to 'eyewitness'[1] reports of the resurrection in the Bible.  So instead of finding more reliable evidence to prove himself right, he basically went on the offensive and demanded that we prove him wrong - and that's where his 'hypocrite' argument comes from, because we pointed out that there's no point in trying to prove a claim wrong until it had been proven right.

May 17, Why do atheists refer to the Laws of Moses, or the Torah Law, to prove Ch(ristianity wrong?) (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24911.msg554514.html#msg554514) - note, his topic was too long and got cut off by the forum software, but that's what I believe the rest of the title was.  One particular thing that caught my eye was that one poster said that Christianity was invented long after Jesus's death, and holybuckets took this as a claim and asked him to provide evidence.  Another poster asked him to clarify when he (holybuckets) thought Christianity started, and he never did actually answer it - it was always "this guy has to support his own claim".

May 12, Holocaust (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24890.msg554004.html#msg554004), where holybuckets asked what proof there was that the Holocaust even happened, and pointed to books written by General Eisenhower, Prime Minister Churchill, and General de Gaulle which did not mention Nazi gas chambers (or other evidence of the Holocaust) as evidence that it didn't happen.  It got worse later on.  Needless to say, many people, myself included, took offense at that, and found him lots of evidence to show that it had happened.

By now, it's starting to become very clear that holybuckets is not interested in actually discussing these topics.  Instead, he's playing 'gotcha!', pouncing on any statement by anyone which he can construe as a claim, and then demanding 'evidence' for it.  All so he can 'prove' his statement that atheists are hypocrites.  It's more than a little tiresome to keep reading the same kinds of posts, with the same arguments, no matter how many times we criticize and refute them.
 1. not written by actual eyewitnesses, if there ever were any
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 25, 2013, 04:16:39 PM
HB,
If atheists don't support your favoured god, HB, why not show the evidence that he is alive today and active in the world. That would be much more use that telling atheists you don't trust them. I suspect you are more concerned that looked at in the cold light of day, religious faith does not stand up.
Again hypocrisy. Wheels is asking me to show evidence that Jesus is alive today, yet makes the claim "religious faith doers not stand up." Why are you asking me to show evidence, when you fail to? Do you see the hypocrisy?
Besides, my original message was intended for a brother that you are ignorantly attempting to turn away from God.

Buckets,
1. Please read what this word "[wiki]hypocrisy[/wiki]" actually means. It does not apply to what I posted.

2. Ever since you came on this board it seems to have been your avowed intent to avoid ever having to back up your own claims. Every time you are asked for evidence in support of your beliefs you have some lame excuse why you can't actually do it. Usually you blame someone else but it is getting down to you having to justify yourself.

I have asked you in various posts to show us what evidence there is for your religion aside from the bible. You claim that Jesus in alive, presumably today. How do you know this - have you spoken to him and got a reply? Now, let's have some real answers instead of avoiding the matter in hand. I'm sure I am not the only one who is tired of your antics.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: JeffPT on May 25, 2013, 04:59:44 PM
My original post was to ask Riley2112 not to listen or trust you people.

Riley should decide for himself who is to be trusted, shouldn't he?   
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 07:54:51 PM
"religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination"

This has to be the definition of ignorance.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jdawg70 on May 25, 2013, 08:29:00 PM
"religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination"

This has to be the definition of ignorance.
My irony meter just exploded.

I am starting to think that holybuckets is an Alicebot made out of banality.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on May 25, 2013, 08:39:11 PM
"religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination"

This has to be the definition of ignorance.

Ridiculous.  Plenty of believers say exactly the same thing (although not typically for the same reasons).
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: screwtape on May 25, 2013, 08:45:21 PM
"religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination"

This has to be the definition of ignorance.

How so?  please explain.


Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 08:55:22 PM
"religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination"

This has to be the definition of ignorance.

How so?  please explain.
How can "faith" stand up to "scientific" investigation? Can you explain this one to me please?
Faith is something that cannot be proven scientifically. Hence the word faith.

"Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It is also belief that is not based on proof.[1]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith

Yet you atheists demand "scientific" proof. Can you see how ignorant your argument is?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on May 25, 2013, 09:22:18 PM
So you quoted a statement with which you agree, and called it the definition of ignorance...?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 10:01:34 PM
So you quoted a statement with which you agree, and called it the definition of ignorance...?
Please allow me to put the post in context for you, since you obviously failed to read before you spoke. Which, by the way, is a sign of ignorance.
The posted criticized me for not being able to prove my religious faith with scientific evidence. I responded that this was ignorant, since one cannot prove religious faith with scientific evidence.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on May 25, 2013, 10:08:14 PM
That's not what you actually said.  It makes sense, but it's not what you actually said.

You should pay more attention to what you actually say.  Because when you don't, what you actually say may end up sounding really, really stupid.  This is one such case.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 10:15:30 PM
That's not what you actually said.  It makes sense, but it's not what you actually said.

You should pay more attention to what you actually say.  Because when you don't, what you actually say may end up sounding really, really stupid.  This is one such case.
First of all, I see the little games you play. Admit it (which you won't) that conceptually you cannot dispute this. You know you cannot dispute this, so you have to throw a pipe bomb in the conversation to hopefully throw it off course.

Let me post this again, so you will understand the context.

How can "faith" stand up to "scientific" investigation? Can you explain this one to me please?
Faith is something that cannot be proven scientifically. Hence the word faith.

"Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It is also belief that is not based on proof.[1]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith

Yet you atheists demand "scientific" proof. Can you see how ignorant your argument is?

Once again Azdgari,  "religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination". The person who posted this thought that he/she was being so smart as to come up with this brilliant claim. No duh!

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on May 25, 2013, 10:20:33 PM
I just figured you'd included enough context in the quote so that your post said what you meant.

As written, it didn't.

That's not my fault.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: JeffPT on May 25, 2013, 10:28:29 PM
Why didn't you just say, 'yes, that's correct, I have no proof' then?  It's not ignorant to restate a fact you both agree on. 

Do you truly believe that religious faith is a respectable reason to believe in any version of a God or gods?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 10:31:45 PM
I just figured you'd included enough context in the quote so that your post said what you meant.

As written, it didn't.

That's not my fault.
Thank you, I give you credit for that... even though you half fessed-up, it's better than most. Thanks, and in the future, I will try to provide a more clearer background.


Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 10:49:30 PM
Why didn't you just say, 'yes, that's correct, I have no proof' then?  It's not ignorant to restate a fact you both agree on. 

Do you truly believe that religious faith is a respectable reason to believe in any version of a God or gods?
I have to be honest, I first started to type a real scathing post to this response, but I think I will deal with you, on this one, gently.

First, so we both agree that religious faith cannot be examined scientifically even though you keep insisting.
Second, you ask if religious faith is a respectable reason to believe in God? 
Jeff, faith is the reason you believe or do not believe in God. You cannot see God. God is not a tangible object that dangles on your rear view mirror. So, in terms of it being a "respectable" reason, it is the "only" reason. If you don't believe in God, then don't believe in God. It is as simple as that. But to ask someone to show scientific evidence for an intangible and philosophical object is asinine.
I can see it now, everyone is going to ask the same pseudo-intellectual questions, so go ahead. But my answer will always be the same. You cannot prove/disprove religious faith using a scientific examination.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 25, 2013, 11:16:03 PM
First of all, I see the little games you play. Admit it (which you won't) that conceptually you cannot dispute this. You know you cannot dispute this, so you have to throw a pipe bomb in the conversation to hopefully throw it off course.
Actually, I do dispute it.  You're using the dictionary definition of faith - based on semantics and language - to try to claim that people shouldn't even try to investigate religious faith via science (at least as far as I can tell).  And that's complete and total BS.

Faith is making a decision to trust someone or something based on insufficient evidence.  For example, if I say that I have faith in someone, it means I'm not sure that they can follow through, but I'm trusting that they can.  If I knew they could follow through, I wouldn't say I had faith in them, I'd say I knew they could do it.  Nonetheless, the fact that we sometimes have to make decisions based on insufficient knowledge, or even no knowledge at all, doesn't justify not even making the effort to attain more knowledge so as to be able to make a better decision.

Quote from: holybuckets
Let me post this again, so you will understand the context.

How can "faith" stand up to "scientific" investigation? Can you explain this one to me please?
Faith is something that cannot be proven scientifically. Hence the word faith.

"Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It is also belief that is not based on proof.[1]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith
The way you probably mean that saying is that there's no point in even trying to investigate religious faith scientifically.  In effect, all that means is that you're not even willing to try - even though it would validate your whole religious system if you could - meaning you're more interested in maintaining your belief rather than in determining what's actually true.  There's a saying regarding this:  "He fears his fate too much, and his desserts are small, he who will not put it to the touch --- to win or lose it all."  It's from [wiki]The General series[/wiki] by S.M. Sterling.

Quote from: holybuckets
Yet you atheists demand "scientific" proof. Can you see how ignorant your argument is?
It isn't ignorant at all.  In fact, the reasoning is fairly simple.  If religious faith is impossible to prove or disprove using scientific methodology (the best methodology we have to determine if something is false or not), then what business does anyone have trying to teach it as The Truth? I know you believe it is, but as you just got done saying, you don't have sufficient evidence to base that conclusion on, thus why you have to take it as faith, and why every believer has had to take it on faith for thousands of years.  Why should anyone take your belief seriously, as if it were more real than, well, reality?  Why should anyone believe anything you have to say about your faith, if you can never prove it?

Quote from: holybuckets
Once again Azdgari,  "religious faith doesn't stand up to scientific examination". The person who posted this thought that he/she was being so smart as to come up with this brilliant claim. No duh!
As opposed to you painting yourself into a corner by trying to mock it?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: JeffPT on May 25, 2013, 11:49:14 PM
Why didn't you just say, 'yes, that's correct, I have no proof' then?  It's not ignorant to restate a fact you both agree on. 

Do you truly believe that religious faith is a respectable reason to believe in any version of a God or gods?
I have to be honest, I first started to type a real scathing post to this response, but I think I will deal with you, on this one, gently.

First, so we both agree that religious faith cannot be examined scientifically even though you keep insisting.
Second, you ask if religious faith is a respectable reason to believe in God? 
Jeff, faith is the reason you believe or do not believe in God. You cannot see God. God is not a tangible object that dangles on your rear view mirror. So, in terms of it being a "respectable" reason, it is the "only" reason. If you don't believe in God, then don't believe in God. It is as simple as that. But to ask someone to show scientific evidence for an intangible and philosophical object is asinine.
I can see it now, everyone is going to ask the same pseudo-intellectual questions, so go ahead. But my answer will always be the same. You cannot prove/disprove religious faith using a scientific examination.

Lol thanks for sparing me your wrath. I was terrified there for a minute.   &)

I'm not insisting anything. I just happen to think a scientific approach to knowledge claims (especially ones that seem ridiculous) is the best one.  In fact, I believe your religion has done a good job of side-stepping that problem by making faith virtuous, which is a great place to hide when there's nothing of substance to a belief. Keep in mind that a God that doesn't exist would also present with no scientific evidence, and anyone with half a brain can say, 'gotta have faith'.

What other intangible, philosophical objects do you believe in?

Faith, as a reason for belief in any sort of entity, is utterly stupid. Imagine I said faith was the reason I believed there was a dragon in my garage, and I told you either you believe in the Dragon or you don't, and that faith was the only reason to believe it.  Seriously, what would you think of me for saying that?  Do you think that is respectable?  You said that faith is the only reason for belief in God, but that doesn't mean it's respectable. I'd like an answer to that. Do you think it's respectable?

I still don't see why, when someone said that religion doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny, you didn't just say, 'yeah, that's true'true. Maybe that bothers you some. It should.

BTW, feel free to be scathing if you want.  I'll move past it and look to the content. You're spittle riddled reaction might even make me laugh a little.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 11:53:52 PM
I always get a kick out of those who break down your post and feel the need to comment on every paragraph.  It seems so authoritative, or should I say you think you are so authoritative by intellectually disputing each and every point.
But your arguments are hilarious.
Here's one: "You're using the dictionary definition of faith - based on semantics and language ...And that's complete and total BS."

Ok, we take a word, look it up in the dictionary, use it in it's correct context... and the answer is....."That's complete and total BS."

Again, my original post was in hopes that a person would not accept the atheist ignorant, illogical, and unethical arguments. Please read this thread and you will find your "evidence".
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 25, 2013, 11:57:04 PM

"I  still don't see why, when someone said that religion doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny..."
I still don't see why I still don't see why I still don't see why I still don't see why I still don't see why I still don't see why I still don't see why I still don't see why....

And you probably never will my friend.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on May 26, 2013, 12:10:42 AM
I don't see why people have to masturbate in public parks in order to get tax breaks.

This is probably for the same reason.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 26, 2013, 12:16:22 AM
I always get a kick out of those who break down your post and feel the need to comment on every paragraph.  It seems so authoritative, or should I say you think you are so authoritative by intellectually disputing each and every point.
And it's even more funny when someone attempts to deride me for posting that way.  To put it simply for you, if your argument can't hold up to being dissected, it wasn't that good of an argument to begin with.  Let me give you a clue - I don't post that way to seem authoritative, I post that way because it exposes the weaknesses in a bad argument, and allows me to elaborate on each one separately.

Quote from: holybuckets
But your arguments are hilarious.
So?

Quote from: holybuckets
Here's one: "You're using the dictionary definition of faith - based on semantics and language ...And that's complete and total BS."

Ok, we take a word, look it up in the dictionary, use it in it's correct context... and the answer is....."That's complete and total BS."
Try again, holybuckets.  That was awful even for you.

BTW, here's the part of my post you tried to exclude:  " to try to claim that people shouldn't even try to investigate religious faith via science (at least as far as I can tell)."  I was criticizing your attempt to use semantics and language to claim that people shouldn't even try to investigate religious faith via science - and that's what I called "complete and total BS".

What, did you seriously think I'd overlook your attempt to strip my statement of the relevant context and give you a bye on it?

Quote from: holybuckets
Again, my original post was in hopes that a person would not accept the atheist ignorant, illogical, and unethical arguments. Please read this thread and you will find your "evidence".
Well, taking a look at what you just tried to pull on me...

Ignorant?  Yes.  Manipulating a person's statement to try to make them look bad when they only just posted it and it is thus fresh in their minds is pretty demonstratively ignorant.

Illogical?  Yes.  You just tried to dismiss my whole post by pretending that the quote you manipulated was representative of it.  Doesn't work, and it certainly isn't logical.

Unethical?  Yes.  You just got caught doing something which is highly unethical in an argument - you took my words way out of context so you could then dismiss the rest of my argument.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 26, 2013, 12:36:19 AM
Faith, as a reason for belief in any sort of entity, is utterly stupid... You said that faith is the only reason for belief in God, but that doesn't mean it's respectable. I'd like an answer to that. Do you think it's respectable?

And for some of us, "Just have faith" just isn't a viable option.  I don't seem to have the neurological wiring to sustain faith in the total absence of evidence, which is why I've been unable to wholeheartedly participate in any theistic community for an entire lifetime.  "Help thou my unbelief" and "Fake it till you make it" have been consistently unhelpful because they deny legitimate feelings and substitute make-believe faith.

So what else can I do but continue to hold out for the only thing that satisfies emotionally and intellectually -- Actual evidence?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on May 26, 2013, 04:39:07 AM
Again, my original post was in hopes that a person would not accept the atheist ignorant, illogical, and unethical arguments. Please read this thread and you will find your "evidence".
All I found was an unsupported statement by you to the effect that faith is not susceptible to scientific examination. Of course, to you, that would be very convenient. Unfortunately for you, faith is susceptible to scientific examination.

Faith is something that goes on inside your head - the same place your god, or anyone else's god, is - in the head, namely the brain. So we look at the brain.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/brain-religion1.htm

That site is by no means the final word, there's plenty more evidence (real evidence, not bald statements) to be found - why not go and look for some?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on May 26, 2013, 01:16:19 PM
First, so we both agree that religious faith cannot be examined scientifically even though you keep insisting.
Second, you ask if religious faith is a respectable reason to believe in God? 
Jeff, faith is the reason you believe or do not believe in God. You cannot see God. God is not a tangible object that dangles on your rear view mirror. So, in terms of it being a "respectable" reason, it is the "only" reason. If you don't believe in God, then don't believe in God. It is as simple as that. But to ask someone to show scientific evidence for an intangible and philosophical object is asinine.

So you agree then that there is no way of proving a god - but didn't we just have a whole thread of you offering proof?  I don't understand - if the ONLY reason to believe is "faith", then why have you  been insisting that your religion has evidence behind it?  Doesn't evidence negate faith.....the "only" reason to believe?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 01:32:31 PM
So you agree then that there is no way of proving a god - but didn't we just have a whole thread of you offering proof?  I don't understand - if the ONLY reason to believe is "faith", then why have you  been insisting that your religion has evidence behind it?  Doesn't evidence negate faith.....the "only" reason to believe?
[/quote]
Once again you disappoint me Anfauglir,
I never said there is "no way" of proving a god, as you claim. I did say, and cited the fact that religious faith could not be proven scientifically. So, your statement is incorrect.
So, as far as faith goes, it is true that you come to God by faith, any Christian would agree to that. God wants to be loved and worshiped, not something proven  or disprove in a petri dish. But is scientific evidence the only proof?
Is scientific evidence the only proof that we use in our court systems? In our Debates? Let's see, what are some other areas to show that God could or could not exist?  I will give you the floor....
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on May 26, 2013, 01:51:17 PM
So you agree then that there is no way of proving a god - but didn't we just have a whole thread of you offering proof?  I don't understand - if the ONLY reason to believe is "faith", then why have you  been insisting that your religion has evidence behind it?  Doesn't evidence negate faith.....the "only" reason to believe?
Once again you disappoint me Anfauglir,
I never said there is "no way" of proving a god, as you claim. I did say, and cited the fact that religious faith could not be proven scientifically. So, your statement is incorrect.
So, as far as faith goes, it is true that you come to God by faith, any Christian would agree to that. God wants to be loved and worshiped, not something proven  or disprove in a petri dish. But is scientific evidence the only proof?
Is scientific evidence the only proof that we use in our court systems? In our Debates? Let's see, what are some other areas to show that God could or could not exist?  I will give you the floor....

Sorry, but you said to Jeff that religious faith is the ONLY reason to believe in god.  If that is the case, why should anyone care about evidence at all? 

I really don't understand what you are saying.  Why would someone who has faith be interested in ANY kind of proof?  Struggling to understand the point you are making, sorry.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 02:47:42 PM

[/quote]
Sorry, but you said to Jeff that religious faith is the ONLY reason to believe in god.  If that is the case, why should anyone care about evidence at all? 
I really don't understand what you are saying.  Why would someone who has faith be interested in ANY kind of proof?  Struggling to understand the point you are making, sorry.
[/quote]
That's OK, I try not to write a lot because I hate it when someone posts an extravagantly long post that takes a long time to read.
Let me give you this Bible verse: Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

That being said, you come to Jesus by faith, not by proof. But, it is not blind faith. Romans 10:17 says "faith comes form hearing the message."

So so answer your question, yes, there are several "proofs", although you would deny them all. But that is your belief or faith. You do not accept. I do...

Back to the discussion, Are we in agreement that God cannot be proven nor disproved by scientific methods? What are some areas God may be proven or disproved? Are there any?

I hope this revised versionshelps

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 26, 2013, 03:14:20 PM
Holybuckets

1. Please learn to quote properly - its quite hard to work through your posts.

2. As far as scientific proof of your god, can you answer one simple question first? Is you god active in the world i.e answering prayer by putting words into people's minds, actively healing people etc?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 26, 2013, 03:23:51 PM
So so answer your question, yes, there are several "proofs", although you would deny them all. But that is your belief or faith. You do not accept. I do...
The reason I (and probably most others) don't accept your 'proofs' is because they don't actually prove anything.  When examined, they're found lacking, in most cases severely.  For example, the Bible is anything but a reliable source for information on your god, considering it was written by humans who had a vested interest in trying to create evidence to support their own beliefs in the face of nonbelievers.

Quote from: holybuckets
Back to the discussion, Are we in agreement that God cannot be proven nor disproved by scientific methods?
Disagree.  Anything that exists can be observed and examined scientifically.  Therefore, if your god exists, scientific methodology could at least determine that much.  Thus, the claim that your god cannot be proven or disproved by scientific methodology is a strong indication that it probably doesn't exist outside of your imagination.

Quote from: holybuckets
What are some areas God may be proven or disproved? Are there any?
If you actually know of any of these areas, why not just tell us?  If you don't know (and continuing with this coy act will strongly suggest that you don't), then Anfauglir's point stands - that you know of no way to actually prove your god's existence, thus you can only accept that he exists by faith.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 03:54:48 PM
Holybuckets

1. Please learn to quote properly - its quite hard to work through your posts.

2. As far as scientific proof of your god, can you answer one simple question first? Is you god active in the world i.e answering prayer by putting words into people's minds, actively healing people etc?

I revised my post....
1. I apologize for the post not being easy to read.
2. You are asking what are called a pseudo-questions.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 26, 2013, 04:00:08 PM
Thanks.

I am am asking a factual question - do you think your god acts in the world today?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 04:00:50 PM
Jaime,
For me to answer your questions, I would have to start form scratch. Please follow Anfauglir's posts- I believe they will answer some of the questions you are asking.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 04:28:54 PM
Thanks.

I am am asking a factual question - do you think your god acts in the world today?
Wheels, your are arguing in fallacy. First of all, you are not asking a "factual question", you are asking for an "opinion".
Secondly, it is impossible for anyone to know what God is thinking or doing. This line of questioning is invalid.
I am not going round and round with you on "God did this"... "well why didn't He do this?".... blah blah blah

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: neopagan on May 26, 2013, 05:16:55 PM
holyb... you were talking about god?  I thought you meant Mithra.  My bad... :angel:

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 26, 2013, 06:02:38 PM
Jaime,
For me to answer your questions, I would have to start form scratch. Please follow Anfauglir's posts- I believe they will answer some of the questions you are asking.
I've been following Anfauglir's posts, but I don't really agree with him on some points, thus why I'm going at it a different direction.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 07:14:09 PM
Jaime,
For me to answer your questions, I would have to start form scratch. Please follow Anfauglir's posts- I believe they will answer some of the questions you are asking.
I've been following Anfauglir's posts, but I don't really agree with him on some points, thus why I'm going at it a different direction.
This is what I am saying, atheists have no scientific proof that God does or does not exist. Christians have no "scientific" proof that God does or does not exist.
I do get a kick out of the games you atheists play. You trap some poor and unsuspecting Christian into bearing his testimony that "God created the world and we are His loving children", then fry him to prove it with scientific details. The fact is that he cant and neither can you. Which makes this whole argument an ignorant argument.
You and I cannot prove God using scientific methods because we do not have the methods, or the availability to evidence that would lead to a conclusion one way or another. We simply don't know.
But is that the only evidence available? Let's say we were involved in a murder trial where there was no DNA or any other type of forensic evidence. How would the lawyers argue the case. Would they conclude that if scientific evidence did not exist that the defendant is automatically innocent? Or guilty?
So my question is, what type of evidence would you accept for proving the existence or non-existence of God?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on May 26, 2013, 07:35:24 PM
Yes, holybuckets, Wheels5894 is asking you for your opinion on something.

There is nothing wrong with doing this.  It helps to avoid misunderstanding.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 07:38:25 PM
Thanks for the clarification.
Yes absolutely I think God acts in the world today. This is my opinion.
Azdgari, I answered the question, but I refuse to play any of your little atheist set up games. Do you understand me?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on May 26, 2013, 07:44:19 PM
I understand that you wish to avoid honest self-evaluation.  Thanks for answering the question the 3rd time it was asked, though.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 07:49:15 PM
I understand that you wish to avoid honest self-evaluation.  Thanks for answering the question the 3rd time it was asked, though.
You never answered mine. Do you understand me that I will not get into your little atheist 2nd grade my dad is bigger than your dad games?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 26, 2013, 08:27:00 PM
Still waiting Azdgari,
Do you understand that I am not going to get into a second grade atheist discussion answering questions like: "can God make a rock so big He can't lift it?" "If there's a God.... how come......"
Just so you know.
PS This is the 3rd time I have asked this question. Do you understand this?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on May 26, 2013, 08:47:58 PM
My answer, which I gave in an elaborate manner, was "yes".  Learn to read.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 26, 2013, 11:47:14 PM
I'm afraid I don't agree with you, holybuckets.  And if you had bothered to read my earlier posts in this thread, rather than trying to blow them off by saying, "Go read Anfauglir's, that'll answer your questions", you might understand why that is.

Anything in the universe (including something that is only temporarily in it) will necessarily leave evidence of its existence behind.  That includes your god, since he would have to enter the universe somehow in order to do anything within it.  Even if he could do so remotely (say, by being able to manipulate things inside the universe without entering), he would still leave some evidence of it having happened, and that evidence could be detected and examined by scientific methodology.  And even if it was something beyond our current ability to detect, it would still leave a footprint that we could eventually discover (just as we can use the residues of radioactive decay to date things that are thousands, millions, or even billions of years old).

The fact that we've never once detected anything like this is telling.  It leads to one of four inescapable conclusions.  First, that your god doesn't exist and therefore never has done anything that could be detected in the first place; second, that your god exists but has never done anything that could be detected; third, that your god exists and has done things that could be detected, but has done so in such a way as to hide that fact from us; and fourth, that your god exists and has done things that could be detected, and we simply do not possess the ability to detect them at this point in time.

I think we can safely rule out the third option, because of the fact that your god has supposedly revealed himself to humans in the past.  Therefore, there is no reason to conclude that he would start hiding his presence for no reason.  Similarly, option 1 and 2 are essentially the same thing - a god that exists but does nothing is fundamentally no different from a god which doesn't exist, from a human perspective (not to mention that your religion claims your god has revealed himself to humans in the past).  So, either your god doesn't exist, or he exists and has done things that we can't currently detect through science.

However, there's an additional point to consider.  Your god has apparently done nothing that is distinguishable from random chance since humans developed the ability to actually search for scientific evidence of his actions.  While that isn't proof, it does beg the question of why.  The usual Christian apologetics (such as "God wants people to have faith" and so on) are hardly satisfactory explanations for that.

That being said, it's true that one cannot demonstrate the non-existence of your god using scientific methodology.  But it would be possible to demonstrate the existence of your god through that same methodology.



What kind of evidence would I accept?  Scientific evidence, because it would prove the existence of your god beyond a reasonable doubt.  If you have some other kind that you could present that meets a similar standard, feel free to propose it here, but don't expect me to play "guess the kind of evidence" with you.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 27, 2013, 02:39:19 AM
Great, jaimehlers, we are getting somewhere!

The thing is, Holybuckets, that the fact there is now no factual evidence of the existence or non-existence of a god does not mean that we could not actually come up with something. Now like all science, we would not be able to declare that there is no god because that isn't possible but we could get to the stage of finding that if there is a god it is a very inactive one - one that does not actually interact with the world at all. The problem for you, then, would be that if that was the case, it could not be the god you think acts in the world.

Now at any point in which it is proposed that the immaterial god interacts with the material world we ought to be able to detect something going on - whether we are looking at the insides of a brain in a scanner or examining some other material in the world.These are places where we might expect to see something. An alternative way is to look for the outcomes of certain actions. Many Christians believe god answers prayers - well it is in the gospels! Thus we could have a trial in which some patients are prayed for and some are not. Clearly we ought to see the prayed for group do ,much better than the not prayed for group.

Of course, someone has doen such a trail and whilst I couldn't find the actual report for lack of time, here is the NBC report  (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12082681/ns/health-heart_health/t/power-prayer-flunks-unusual-test/)of what happened. As you will see, Holybuckets, on a large trial prayer made no difference at all. That would count against the existence of a god such as Christians claim. It doesn't disprove the idea of a god but it certainly suggests that such an entity is not to be found around the sick and ill.

These are ideas, although a trial of prayer has been done, which show, that at least in principle, it would be possible to indicate if a gods is working in the world today. To date this seems not to be the case.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 04:07:52 AM
Thanks for the posts. Needless to say, we are still deadlocked at no evidence when analyzing God scientifically. 

Jaime,  I agree, I am just saying that at this time, scientific proof is unavailable to both sides. DNA supports a creator in the fact that everyone and everything is unique.  But I am sure you don't see it that way. The problem is you would reject any evidence.

 Wheels, the prayer thing doesn't hold water. Look at the ridiculous claim that the title of this web site makes, i hate to be the bearer of bad news to someone whose arm just got cut off, but it's not growing back. 

Jaime, you said "Anything in the universe (including something that is only temporarily in it) will necessarily leave evidence of its existence behind.  That includes your god, since he would have to enter the universe somehow in order to do anything within it."

God did leave at least one thing behind that proves His existence. This is Jesus Christ. Since both sides have agreed to the fact that we have no scientific means or measures available to test, then proof has to come from other areas. Two areas that I am proposing are historically and scholarly.

Aside from Jaime, are we in agreement to continue?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 27, 2013, 04:35:19 AM
No, Holybuckets, I am not. I have proposed a way we might detect the action of deity and I have also mentioned that the abscence of activity of a deity means the end of the Christian god.

Moreover, the prayer experiment, conducted under funding from the Templeton Foundation is actually very significant. It cover a lot of people and the fact was that those who knew they were prayed for actually did worse that the others, prayed for or not prayed for. This, at least, is a demonstration that prayer for the sick in ineffective. Given the promises made by Jesus about granting requests, and praying for someone with heart problems is certainly a good cause, the experiment seems to show that the promise was in vain and that, actually, it is broken though many people have probably already found that out.  This sort of experiment cannot just be ignored.

So I think there are ways to ascertain if there is activity of a god, that the prayer experiment shows that there was none in the case of prayer and that, so far, evidence for a god is lacking. Looking back into the history of the religion, reading the bible and such merely tells us what some people who never met Jesus thought. It tells us nothing about the present day and whether there is a god in the here and now that cares and acts on our behalf. Remember, the Christian god promised to act in the world in response to prayer and if it could be shown that it does not, then the god of the Christians is not what they believe - the god ends up being like the deist god and is pointless to worship or follow.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 27, 2013, 09:50:43 AM
Holybuckets

If you want to talk about historical matter related to Jesus, you might want to read this (http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm) beforehand as I shall use it as a source - at least for books and authors.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 10:46:59 AM
Jaime,  I agree, I am just saying that at this time, scientific proof is unavailable to both sides. DNA supports a creator in the fact that everyone and everything is unique.  But I am sure you don't see it that way. The problem is you would reject any evidence.
I know some people believe that, but it doesn't make it true.  You have to be able to show - not just claim - why this is the case, and why your explanation works better than the existing, accepted sciences (biology/evolution).  A strong point against DNA supporting creation is the fact that there are only four base pairs (letters), as opposed to dozens.  Look at the language we're typing in, for example.  We have no less than 26 individual 'letters' that we use for representing language; DNA has four.  Our 'code' for this language, English, has far more potential variety than DNA code does simply because it has far more 'letters' to work with.

Because DNA has so few total base pairs, you end up with a lot of base pair sequences which end up coding for the same amino acid.  Indeed, because of the few base pairs, DNA ultimately ends up being extremely repetitive - the sort of repetitiveness you would be much more likely to find in something that developed naturally through pressures from the environment than in something designed by intelligence.  I've done computer programming in the past, and I know how much easier it is to work with a regular programming language than with something like binary (which has two 'letters').  It's true that computers do in fact still use binary in their transistors, but we use higher-level languages for the operating systems of computers nowadays - and those higher-level languages are evident within the hard drives of those computers.  The thing is, DNA has no such higher-level language (at least not that we've ever found - in deed, we've never even found the slightest hint that there ever was one).

The point is, the total lack of scientific evidence argues against a 'creator', and not just in DNA.  I suspect that the main reason you think DNA requires a 'creator' is because you think any code would have to have one.  But simple codes like DNA don't have to have been 'created'.  They could simply have developed naturally over time, becoming steadily more complex as they developed due to the pressures of natural selection (things like environmental stimuli, competition, and reproduction).  It's a lot more believable than something like a god making every living thing...working through a code with only four letters in it.

Quote from: holybuckets
God did leave at least one thing behind that proves His existence. This is Jesus Christ. Since both sides have agreed to the fact that we have no scientific means or measures available to test, then proof has to come from other areas. Two areas that I am proposing are historically and scholarly.
I definitely do not agree with your statement that "we have no scientific measures available to test".  If Jesus actually existed, he had DNA, which we could test and trace.  There's carbon-dating, and other scientific means that could be used to check on claims made in the Bible.  Indeed, we have used such methods on ancient scrolls to confirm their authenticity.

There's some serious problems with claiming historical evidence in favor of the existence of Jesus Christ (let alone his supposed divinity).  For one, according to the Gospels, most of the disciples knew where Jesus's tomb was, as did Joseph of Aramathea, as did the Romans (because they had guards there).  Yet with all of these people who knew the tomb's physical location, some of whom would have taken the opportunity to write it down or at least pass it on to others...we don't have a single record of its actual location.  Not one.

Are we seriously supposed to believe that all of the people who knew the location of the "empty tomb" simply forgot to tell anyone else or write it down for posterity's sake?  Because that's the only way that the tomb's location would have been lost, that or a deliberate and intentional effort to hide or destroy that information.  That, or there never was such a tomb to begin with.  And that's just one of the issues with your historical evidence.

Do you see the problem with claiming historical evidence now, when that historical evidence has holes large enough to drive a truck through?  Never mind the things which the Gospels claim happened that there are no records of ever actually happening, anywhere else - when there certainly should be records of it.

As for scholarly evidence, this is even more threadbare.  Yes, some scholars reference Christians, Christianity, and so on, but very few actually reference Jesus Christ.  The ones that do are either much later - meaning, nobody actually took down any scholarly records during or immediately after the period of his life - or have been altered, such as Josephus's Antiquities (notably, nobody so much as mentions the two passages where he 'talks' about Jesus until hundreds of years after the fact; indeed, during the time of a man known to espouse pious frauds, lying in the name of his religion).  Do you see the problem with trying to claim scholarly evidence now?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 10:54:10 AM
Holybuckets

If you want to talk about historical matter related to Jesus, you might want to read this (http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm) beforehand as I shall use it as a source - at least for books and authors.
Thanks for the heads up. I feel we need some ground rules and that is why I am asking you what sources are acceptable. For example, you gave me a website authored by someone named Jim Walker.  I will still ask permission to use mine, mainly because you will only discount it anyway.
I would like to use as my sources, The Bible, scholarly authors and historians with advanced degrees in the field who have dedicated their lives to the subject, and primary witness evidence.
I am sure you agree that the testimony and evidence given should be weighed on credibility and reliability.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 10:57:11 AM
Thanks Jaime,
I was going to use DNA as well for the proof of God. DNA is unique in every aspect, as God's creation is.
But that being said, DNA still is far from scientific proof that God does not exist.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 11:05:45 AM
I know you were talking to wheels, but here's my two cents.

I would like to use as my sources, The Bible,
Provided you can authenticate the events in the Bible which you are talking about with outside, unrelated sources, there should be no problems with it.  Think of it this way, holybuckets - when someone writes a report or paper, they can use Wikipedia as a source, but they have to use other sources too, because Wikipedia is not always reliable.

Quote from: holybuckets
scholarly authors and historians with advanced degrees in the field who have dedicated their lives to the subject,
There never has been any problem with this.  However, understand that when you use such sources, their credentials are checked, and even an expert can be affected by bias.

Note, this is one of the reasons scientists invite their critics to investigate their findings and provide all of their information to those critics, because it is so easy for a person to get caught up in their own bias.

Quote from: holybuckets
and primary witness evidence.
Sure, provided you can show that these primary witnesses ever actually lived, and that they were actually witnesses to the events you discuss.

Quote from: holybuckets
I am sure you agree that the testimony and evidence given should be weighed on credibility and reliability.
That seems reasonable.  Just bear in mind that someone who devoutly believes in something has to work harder to show that they are credible and reliable - because of that bias problem I mentioned.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 27, 2013, 11:09:58 AM
Holybuckets

If you want to talk about historical matter related to Jesus, you might want to read this (http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm) beforehand as I shall use it as a source - at least for books and authors.
Thanks for the heads up. I feel we need some ground rules and that is why I am asking you what sources are acceptable. For example, you gave me a website authored by someone named Jim Walker.  I will still ask permission to use mine, mainly because you will only discount it anyway.
I would like to use as my sources, The Bible, scholarly authors and historians with advanced degrees in the field who have dedicated their lives to the subject, and primary witness evidence.
I am sure you agree that the testimony and evidence given should be weighed on credibility and reliability.

Well the website I mentioned is only an odd one I came across today. I know nothing about the author but it covers the ground quite well and has some good references at the end.

The bible is the subject of our enquiry, not the evidence of something else. The principle, if not the only, evidence there is comes from the bible so we need to understand if this is a book that stands up as historically reliable or not. It is all very well to accept it in faith but when we come to an historical enquiry, the bible is the first thing we have to deal with.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 11:14:40 AM
I was going to use DNA as well for the proof of God. DNA is unique in every aspect, as God's creation is.
DNA is not "unique in every aspect".  Didn't you pay attention to what I just wrote?  The base pairs of DNA are anything but unique.  Indeed, with only four base pairs, there are trillions upon trillions upon trillions upon trillions of exact copies of each base pair.

Furthermore, the fact that most organisms share a lot of DNA (and share more DNA based on how closely-related they are) also argues against the "DNA is unique" argument.  For crying out loud, we share nearly half of our DNA (that is to say, exactly - you could splice the shared DNA from a bacterial cell into a human cell and it would presumably work just as well) with single-celled organisms.  How is that 'unique'?  For that matter, 99% of human DNA is exactly shared with every other human who has ever lived.  The only differences between me and you, DNA-wise, is a tiny, tiny fraction of a percent of our total DNA?  How is that 'unique'?

Quote from: holybuckets
But that being said, DNA still is far from scientific proof that God does not exist.
You can't have this both ways, holybuckets.  You can't say, on the one hand, "DNA is proof of the existence of God", and on the other, "DNA doesn't prove that God doesn't exist".  That's contradictory, to say the least.

If you advance the claim that DNA helps prove the existence of your god, and someone can satisfactorily show that it does not, then DNA in fact helps disprove the existence of your god.  Because you made a claim that could be shown to be wrong, yet are trying to claim that it can't show you to be wrong.  Trying to pretend otherwise is called "moving the goalposts" and it damages your own credibility every single time you do it.  Do you understand?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 11:18:38 AM
Guys,
You opinions are very good, however, they are worthless in a debate. You can claim the Bible is wrong all you want, but all I have to do to defeat your opinion is bring in a qualified witness to dispute you.
This is how debate works. Opinions are acceptable in certain arenas, but carry the least weight of any kind of evidence. Historical, scholarly, and primary evidence trumps all. I will tell you in advance, here is where your little unsubstantiated myth theory will fall flat in its face. Mainly because it is your opinion and backed by very few scholars.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 11:19:49 AM
Jaime,
Enough with the DNA- it does not prove that God does not exist. Deal with it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 27, 2013, 11:21:08 AM
Guys,
You opinions are very good, however, they are worthless in a debate. You can claim the Bible is wrong all you want, but all I have to do to defeat your opinion is bring in a qualified witness to dispute you.
This is how debate works. Opinions are acceptable in certain arenas, but carry the least weight of any kind of evidence. Historical, scholarly, and primary evidence trumps all. I will tell you in advance, here is where your little unsubstantiated myth theory will fall flat in its face. Mainly because it is your opinion and backed by very few scholars.

Wrong, I have made no claim about the bible apart from the fact that it has to be shown the be historically accurate before it can be used to prove anything else. Where's the problem with that?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 11:25:52 AM
Guys,
You opinions are very good, however, they are worthless in a debate. You can claim the Bible is wrong all you want, but all I have to do to defeat your opinion is bring in a qualified witness to dispute you.
This is how debate works. Opinions are acceptable in certain arenas, but carry the least weight of any kind of evidence. Historical, scholarly, and primary evidence trumps all. I will tell you in advance, here is where your little unsubstantiated myth theory will fall flat in its face. Mainly because it is your opinion and backed by very few scholars.

Wrong, I have made no claim about the bible apart from the fact that it has to be shown the be historically accurate before it can be used to prove anything else. Where's the problem with that?
Good thanks, then I will take that as a yes on the Bible. More specifically, I will be using 1 Corinthians, you may wish to look it up. It has been verified authentic by scholars across the board.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 11:53:02 AM
Enough with the DNA- it does not prove that God does not exist. Deal with it.
First off, you still haven't acknowledged that it does not prove that your god exists.  Until you do, I have every reason to keep after you about it.

Second, as I said, if you make a claim that something helps prove your god's existence, and I (or someone else) can show that it does not, then it in fact helps to disprove your god's existence.  You can't have it both ways - you can't claim that something helps your claim if it's true, but doesn't hurt your claim if it's false.  Attempting to dodge, or move the goalposts, is fundamentally dishonest of you, and it damages your credibility every time you try to.

You opinions are very good, however, they are worthless in a debate. You can claim the Bible is wrong all you want, but all I have to do to defeat your opinion is bring in a qualified witness to dispute you.
Incorrect.  First off, you have to actually have a qualified witness.  In the case of the Bible, you do not - the Gospels do not qualify because you cannot verify who wrote them or whether the writers ever had anything to do with the 'witnesses'.  Second, you have to show that your qualified witness is telling the truth and competent to testify.  This is questionable in the case of the Gospels, because we can definitely prove that the Bible has been changed and modified tremendously since it was first put to paper - and who knows how much it was changed before that?

Quote from: holybuckets
This is how debate works. Opinions are acceptable in certain arenas, but carry the least weight of any kind of evidence.
Honestly, holybuckets, I am seriously starting to wonder whether you really even understand how a debate works.

Quote from: holybuckets
Historical, scholarly, and primary evidence trumps all.
First, you have to introduce that evidence, then you have to show that it's valid, then you have to explain any discrepancies, and even then, you can never really be sure that you have it completely right.  That someone else won't find some evidence that undercuts your conclusions.

Quote from: holybuckets
I will tell you in advance, here is where your little unsubstantiated myth theory will fall flat in its face. Mainly because it is your opinion and backed by very few scholars.
How many of those scholars were Christians, and thus biased in favor of the explanation that supports their belief system?  How many of them even tried to present it in a totally impartial manner?  How many of them presented their findings to people who had every reason to poke holes in their explanations, the way scientists do with scientific theories?

My guess is very few, if any - and that those few were much less certain that they had it right than you, who has done no real research, who is clearly biased in favor of your belief system, and who discounts anything that could possibly disprove your beliefs by saying, "that doesn't prove that God doesn't exist".  You dodge questions, you move the goalposts, you present things in a disingenuous and deceptive manner, and you run away from topics where you're losing your argument; you clearly approach this from the idea of proving that you're right, and never once assume that you could even possibly be wrong.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 11:55:45 AM
Good thanks, then I will take that as a yes on the Bible. More specifically, I will be using 1 Corinthians, you may wish to look it up. It has been verified authentic by scholars across the board.
The fact that it's authentic in no way proves that it's true, let alone a historical account in the sense that you mean.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 12:02:02 PM
Enough with the DNA- it does not prove that God does not exist. Deal with it.
First off, you still haven't acknowledged that it does not prove that your god exists.  Until you do, I have every reason to keep after you about it.
I can give you 100 of these:

"At that moment, when the DNA/RNA system became understood, the debate between Evolutionists and Creationists should have come to a screeching halt",  I.L. Cohen, Researcher and Mathematician; Member NY Academy of Sciences; Officer of the Archaeological Inst. of America; "Darwin Was Wrong - A Study in Probabilities"; New Research Publications, 1984, p. 4

So this must prove God exists, right?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 12:02:51 PM
Good thanks, then I will take that as a yes on the Bible. More specifically, I will be using 1 Corinthians, you may wish to look it up. It has been verified authentic by scholars across the board.
The fact that it's authentic in no way proves that it's true, let alone a historical account in the sense that you mean.
Thanks for you opinion. I will use historical, scholarly, and primary evidence for my debate.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jetson on May 27, 2013, 12:09:35 PM
Good thanks, then I will take that as a yes on the Bible. More specifically, I will be using 1 Corinthians, you may wish to look it up. It has been verified authentic by scholars across the board.
The fact that it's authentic in no way proves that it's true, let alone a historical account in the sense that you mean.
Thanks for you opinion. I will use historical, scholarly, and primary evidence for my debate.

I really wish you would.  did you know that the Bible itself is none of those things?  It is nothing more than words on paper, just like any other book.  What evidence do you have that ANYTHING in the Bible is accurate?  Please, do share.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 12:15:36 PM

I really wish you would.  did you know that the Bible itself is none of those things?  It is nothing more than words on paper, just like any other book.  What evidence do you have that ANYTHING in the Bible is accurate?  Please, do share.
I would be more than happy to. First I would like to establish some ground rules, because as you know, these threads turn into cluster (you know whats) in a hurry.
As I have stated, I will debate with historical evidence, scholarly evidence, and primary sources. Do you have a problem with that Mr Jetson?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 27, 2013, 12:35:42 PM
I was going to use DNA as well for the proof of God.

Jolly good.  Kindly redirect your DNA worship to Gwen Adenathya Cytosine-Smith, Goddess of Nucleotides.  ;D

(Wot, you think the hissy-fit deity described in the Bible is smart enough to construct organic molecules?  I. Think. Not.)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 12:54:59 PM
I can give you 100 of these:
I'm sure you can.  You could also give me a closed bag with a hundred coin-shaped objects in it and tell me that they're valuable, but upon examining them, I find pennies (nearly worthless) or wooden nickels (completely worthless).  Sources like this do not show you to be interested in an honest debate on this subject, only that you want to validate your existing belief system.

Quote from: holybuckets
"At that moment, when the DNA/RNA system became understood, the debate between Evolutionists and Creationists should have come to a screeching halt",  I.L. Cohen, Researcher and Mathematician; Member NY Academy of Sciences; Officer of the Archaeological Inst. of America; "Darwin Was Wrong - A Study in Probabilities"; New Research Publications, 1984, p. 4
First off, I cannot find this man's academic credentials, except on creationist websites (such as the one I suspect you pulled it from).  The fact that this limited information about him only appears on creationist websites is highly suspect.

Second, he's described as a mathematician.  Meaning, he is anything but an expert on biology or evolution.  Even Amazon has no actual information on this man.  http://www.amazon.com/I.-L.-Cohen/e/B001KMQ7R2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 (http://www.amazon.com/I.-L.-Cohen/e/B001KMQ7R2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0)

Third, that citation comes from a book published in the mass market, rather than a peer-reviewed publication.  Anyone can write anything they want in a mass market book, without being held to any standard of evidence.  That's why science uses peer review, since it means other people with experience in that field have the opportunity to investigate the findings and check them.

Fourth, his only other works that I could find were called The Secret of Stonehenge, and Urim and Thumim: The Secret of God.  These are not books that would likely be published by a reputable scientist or mathematician, especially not when they constitute two thirds of the man's total published works.

Quote from: holybuckets
So this must prove God exists, right?
Not even slightly.  A random citation from an unknown person who's only credentials appear on a creationist website?  Who's written a grand total of three books and no published papers in peer-reviewed science journals?  Two of which were pure theology, and the third was also primarily theological in nature?

It's like you're playing Breakout, using your credibility as the bricks, holybuckets.  Sources like these don't support your argument - they demolish it.

EDIT--By the way, his statement that the debate between creationists and 'evolutionists' (meaning scientists) should have come to a screeching halt when the DNA/RNA system was understood?  That's a dead giveaway that he doesn't really know what he's talking about, especially given that virtually all biologists - the people who do understand their field, unlike 'mathematicians' like this Cohen, assuming he actually is a mathematician - still accept that DNA evolved.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 01:02:23 PM
Jaime,
You are spending a lot of time and we are both saying the same thing.
Neither side can provide scientific evidence that God exists, or does not exist. The score is 0-0.
We must look at other avenues in which evidence is available to prove/disprove that God exists.
I am sorry, this is my last post to you on this subject. It is not fair to me to go round and round and round and round and end up in the same place.
Thanks
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on May 27, 2013, 01:03:31 PM
I will be using 1 Corinthians. It has been verified authentic by scholars across the board.
"All bowling balls are made of marshmallow."

That is an authentic statement by me.

Unfortunately, authenticity of authorship does not equate to authenticity of fact.

Do you wish to try again?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on May 27, 2013, 01:09:32 PM
Neither side can provide scientific evidence that God exists, or does not exist.
400,000 years of no evidence, and more specifically ~6000 years of people trying to prove God exists and failing, seem pretty conclusive to me.

Want more? How likely is the story of creation or the flood? Think about them - they are false. The creation myths (Gen 1 & 2) were the first time that this god, Yahweh, was introduce to the world, which already had a populace that had other gods. If the introduction is wrong, it is all built on sand, isn't it.

There are no gods of any type or shade.

I will chalk up Atheists 1 - believers in gods 0

What proof of no god would satisfy you?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 01:19:38 PM
You are spending a lot of time and we are both saying the same thing.
No, we aren't saying the same thing.  You're just trying to equivocate what I'm saying with what you're saying so you can keep from having to explain why there is no scientific evidence for your god.

Quote from: holybuckets
Neither side can provide scientific evidence that God exists, or does not exist. The score is 0-0.
That is most certainly not true.  Once upon a time, everything that people didn't understand was attributed to 'god'.  Then we started discovering how things actually worked, and since then, more and more of those things have been attributed to natural forces or things that actually exist in the natural world.  Everything from the sun and lightning, down to diseases and drugs, and lots of stuff in between.  Those were all believed to be the actions of supernatural entities (gods and demons) once upon a time, and we have subsequently shown that they were anything but supernatural.

So, the score is not 0-0.  There is a lot of evidence that weakens the case for your god even existing, whereas there is tons of evidence showing that things don't need a supernatural 'causer'.

Quote from: holybuckets
We must look at other avenues in which evidence is available to prove/disprove that God exists.
This is nothing but a convenient way for you to try to get out of answering my points, and I think everyone who reads our exchanges will be able to recognize that fact.

Quote from: holybuckets
I am sorry, this is my last post to you on this subject. It is not fair to me to go round and round and round and round and end up in the same place.
And who do you think is responsible for that, holybuckets?  The reason we're going around and around is because you refuse to acknowledge even the slightest possibility that your religious beliefs might be wrong.  If I were shown to be wrong about this, I would admit it and move on.  I certainly wouldn't play this game that you seem intent on of trying to maintain beliefs at any cost.

But so be it.  I can't force you to respond.  However, I can keep critiquing your posts and showing why they don't work, and I can keep pointing out the flaws in your arguments, logic, and 'evidence'.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 01:20:54 PM
I will be using 1 Corinthians. It has been verified authentic by scholars across the board.
"All bowling balls are made of marshmallow."

That is an authentic statement by me.

Unfortunately, authenticity of authorship does not equate to authenticity of fact.

Do you wish to try again?
this is your opinion
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jdawg70 on May 27, 2013, 01:22:40 PM
Jaime,
You are spending a lot of time and we are both saying the same thing.
Neither side can provide scientific evidence that God exists, or does not exist. The score is 0-0.
We must look at other avenues in which evidence is available to prove/disprove that God exists.
I am sorry, this is my last post to you on this subject. It is not fair to me to go round and round and round and round and end up in the same place.
Thanks
Shall we look at other avenues in which evidence is available to prove/disprove that Galactus exists?  How about the universal aether?  Leprechauns?  Unicorns?  The fountain of youth?  How about turtles that go all the way down?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 01:25:07 PM
Once again we are at the crossroads and you atheists are squirming like worms.
I would like to debate using historical evidence, scholarly evidence and primary evidence.
You bring up Osiris, Bat Boy, the Time Cube, marshmallows and bowling balls.... again, is this the best you got?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: shnozzola on May 27, 2013, 01:38:37 PM
.....
Neither side can provide scientific evidence that God exists, or does not exist. The score is 0-0.
We must look at other avenues in which evidence is available to prove/disprove that God exists.
...... fair to me to go round and round and round and round and end up in the same place.
Thanks

This is the crux of the problem.  You are correct Holybuckets.  Now, considering the numbers of Christians vs the number of atheists, and how each side treats the other (and what is fair to each), perhaps you can see why a web site like this is important, both for the safety of people who believe differently, and for the logic in your underlined statement above, yes?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 01:55:42 PM
.....
Neither side can provide scientific evidence that God exists, or does not exist. The score is 0-0.
We must look at other avenues in which evidence is available to prove/disprove that God exists.
...... fair to me to go round and round and round and round and end up in the same place.
Thanks

This is the crux of the problem.  You are correct Holybuckets.  Now, considering the numbers of Christians vs the number of atheists, and how each side treats the other (and what is fair to each), perhaps you can see why a web site like this is important, both for the safety of people who believe differently, and for the logic in your underlined statement above, yes?
Wow, a clear thinker in the group. Thanks-
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: bertatberts on May 27, 2013, 02:00:26 PM
Holybuckets, are you asking for prove of non-existence?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 02:04:48 PM
Actually, we're still waiting for you to present your sources.  You know, those historical, scholarly, and primary witness accounts that you keep talking about.

You've said you were going to introduce stuff from 1 Corinthians, since it's been verified as Paul's authentic writings...and you have yet to do so.  Or to really present any verifiable historical, scholarly, and primary witness accounts.

Perhaps you should get to that.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 27, 2013, 02:09:11 PM
Unfortunately, authenticity of authorship does not equate to authenticity of fact.

QFT.

We're not in a position to exhume Paul of Tarsus, jump-start the corpse and connect him to a polygraph machine to see if he was telling the truth about anything he wrote.  As things stand right now, I'm not even sure he fell off that horse on the road to Damascus, let alone anything else he wrote about.  I'm certainly not going to take him at his word about "Jesus," an entity he allegely only met in a vision.

And that's the closest we're likely to get to that elusive "primary evidence" insofar as the Bible is concerned.  Without credible physical evidence from a reputable source, Biblegod might as well be Bat Boy and the Bible might as well be TimeCube.

Quite frankly, I could produce more physical evidence for Ghostbusters -- A photograph of Myself in New York City, and a wine bottle signed by Dan Aykroyd -- But even that wouldn't cause the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to magically poof into existence.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on May 27, 2013, 02:24:06 PM
.....
Neither side can provide scientific evidence that God exists, or does not exist. The score is 0-0.
We must look at other avenues in which evidence is available to prove/disprove that God exists.
...... fair to me to go round and round and round and round and end up in the same place.
Thanks

This is the crux of the problem.  You are correct Holybuckets.  Now, considering the numbers of Christians vs the number of atheists, and how each side treats the other (and what is fair to each), perhaps you can see why a web site like this is important, both for the safety of people who believe differently, and for the logic in your underlined statement above, yes?
Wow, a clear thinker in the group. Thanks-
With all due respect to yourself and schnozzola, the point is that God is not and never has been scientific.

Next, I doubt that you know what "scientific" means in this respect.

Next, a proposition, "There is a god, I know because I worship him" is not set aside with "science". It is set aside with logic and on the balance of probabilities as the test.

All gods fail the "balance of probabilities" test, thus there are no gods, in the same way that Russell's Teapot does not exist as an invisible teapot orbiting the earth or in the same way that the Spaghetti Monster does not exist.

This is sufficient proof to discard any idea that there are gods.

Personally, I am disappointed with Schnozzola in that he seems to have attempted to make a compromise; a compromise that is both wrong and unnecessary. Holybuckets has merely remain in a position without giving evidence of any sort and in a state of complete intransigence.

The human response it to try and engage him on his own ground (false as it may be) and enter into agreement of sorts, when that agreement is entirely without justification.

That he has moved someone towards his position "Absolute proof is required" and has now leapt upon this by praising Schnozzola is transparent hypocrisy and deception. It is also erroneous - that level of proof is not required.

As I have explained, there is no need whatsoever to provide absolute, incontrovertible proof that there are no gods (a) it is not required of someone who simply maintains that the additional information is wrong ("there are gods") (b) The balance of probabilities is quite sufficient to dismiss these sky-fairies of any flavour.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Graybeard on May 27, 2013, 02:38:17 PM
I will be using 1 Corinthians. It has been verified authentic by scholars across the board.
"All bowling balls are made of marshmallow."

That is an authentic statement by me.

Unfortunately, authenticity of authorship does not equate to authenticity of fact.

Do you wish to try again?
this is your opinion

Don't tell me, you believe in marshmallow bowling balls and defy anyone to prove that you haven't got some.

It is not simply my opinion, it is incontrovertible save to someone who is determined to be blind. You mark yourself out as obtuse and a denier of the obvious.

"Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?" (Mark 8:18) Hear the words of your mythical prophet, holybuckets
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: shnozzola on May 27, 2013, 02:52:26 PM
Personally, I am disappointed with Schnozzola in that he seems to have attempted to make a compromise; a compromise that is both wrong and unnecessary. Holybuckets has merely remain in a position without giving evidence of any sort and in a state of complete intransigence.

   I thought the word "scientific" might be a stumbling block.  Sometimes when we engage theists, I feel like we may be missing an opportunity to nudge the non compromisers with an olive branch - you know - step by step, into the camp of logic, or at least the camp of questioning, but I may have entered into a series of back and forths that I was not following.   Point taken, GB.   I remember even Velkyn one time admitted that god could be hiding under a rock at Alpha Centauri.    &)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 02:52:49 PM
Holybuckets, are you asking for prove of non-existence?
Not at all,
I am claiming that we cannot prove not disprove God by scientific methods. Because we do not have the measures of the capability to do that, we must look at other areas for proof.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 27, 2013, 03:39:36 PM
Once again we are at the crossroads and you atheists are squirming like worms.
I would like to debate using historical evidence, scholarly evidence and primary evidence.
You bring up Osiris, Bat Boy, the Time Cube, marshmallows and bowling balls.... again, is this the best you got?

Look, HB, you have been on this site for a while but you have not really produced anything that argues for your god but a few bits of creationist sites. Come along now, give us your best shot of contemporary eye witness evidence and we will discuss it.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: DVZ3 on May 27, 2013, 04:06:55 PM
You know what's ironic is I've been to many Christian websites and have found no discussion... I mean zero whatsoever of anything intellectually being discussed like it does here. I find this very frightening regardless of an existence of a god.

It's always god did this and that.  The sun rises, praise god! I was sick, took some medicine and now am cured only after a few days - praise god! I was diagnosed with cancer and was told I only had a few months to live - now I'm cured of cancer - praise god!

Notice how all the effort of human scientific knowledge was totally discredited and superseded by supernatural powers!? Its all very weird and based on emotion than logic - this I understand completely.

I wish Christians would at least own up that ignorance is encouraged to believe where here all we ask is for people to be held to intellectual responsibility. It was easy before the days of Google to blatantly  lie to people for your cause. You still can today but the difference is that more people are starting to read and search the Internet for information than promote intellectual laziness and proclaim to read nothing but the bible.

Having said that I choose a website and nonbeliefs such as what is encouraged here because it forces us to use intellect and the rules of science rather than the powers of the supernatural to explain our universe.

If people still need to cling to an old emotionally charged story of why we are here so be it. But the problem is there is no evidence for such profound claims. None whatsoever.

Just to emphasize... I don't have kids but if I did I would raise them to think and be intellectually responsible. If that still led them to the Christian god then so be it. But I highly doubt this as that is the point. Christians have and maintain no intellectual responsibility for anything.  God told me to <insert George W Bush here>

Happy memorial day..!  Excuse the errors as this was from a mobile device.

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Ambassador Pony on May 27, 2013, 04:29:35 PM
Once again we are at the crossroads and you atheists are squirming like worms.
I would like to debate using historical evidence, scholarly evidence and primary evidence.
You bring up Osiris, Bat Boy, the Time Cube, marshmallows and bowling balls.... again, is this the best you got?

You forgot "I.L. Cohen". The mysterious academic with no research papers published. The "member" of the NY academy of sciences and "Officer" of the Archaeological Institute of America, who, remarkably, has gone un-recorded on their websites. 

It's laughable that that was your first line. 

Have you ever been to a University?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: DVZ3 on May 27, 2013, 04:44:04 PM

HB, if you think the majority of Christians are driven by 'scholars' and 'informed' knowledge then you are very mistaken. The majority of Christians I know have no education passed high school. I have a cousin who is going to a Christian college and is into music. He wants a life in god and music and is now looking for work. I don't have heart to tell him that going to a Christian college is like putting you worked for Taco Bell when applying for NASA. He's a good kid and I feel very sorry for him that he won't find the same opportunities without succumbing to some lie that only encourages what he thinks to be true.

HB, do you work? What is your profession?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: DVZ3 on May 27, 2013, 05:02:06 PM

And whether or not scholars are right about a story that happened in the past does not make the supernatural any more real.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 05:06:17 PM
Once again we are at the crossroads and you atheists are squirming like worms.
I would like to debate using historical evidence, scholarly evidence and primary evidence.
You bring up Osiris, Bat Boy, the Time Cube, marshmallows and bowling balls.... again, is this the best you got?

You forgot "I.L. Cohen". The mysterious academic with no research papers published. The "member" of the NY academy of sciences and "Officer" of the Archaeological Institute of America, who, remarkably, has gone un-recorded on their websites. 

Very good point, so in our debate, shall we exclude scholarly evidence from authors with no published papers in scholarly journals? Is that fair enough?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 05:08:59 PM

And whether or not scholars are right about a story that happened in the past does not make the supernatural any more real.
DVZ3... thanks for your opinion. Can you please read the past posts? This may bring you up to speed.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: bertatberts on May 27, 2013, 05:36:45 PM
Holybuckets, are you asking for prove of non-existence?
Not at all,
I am claiming that we cannot prove not disprove God by scientific methods. Because we do not have the measures of the capability to do that, we must look at other areas for proof.
Then you have no logical reason to believe that such a being exist. I can't disprove that leprechauns exist, does that mean I should believe in them? The time for belief is when there is evidence for such belief, else you are open to any and all imaginary claims.
It always irritates me when theists use this argument (I.E. you can't prove god doesn't exist) because it doesn't help their position whatsoever, in fact it is a statement of profound ignorance or blind faith.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Ambassador Pony on May 27, 2013, 05:41:51 PM

Very good point, so in our debate, shall we exclude scholarly evidence from authors with no published papers in scholarly journals? Is that fair enough?

I am not debating you. And, for the same reasons I do not engage in debate with toddlers.

I was just highlighting the impotency of one of your first "expert" citations for the passive reader.

I'll take your lack of response as a "no". You've never been to a university.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 06:05:01 PM
I would like to begin to give you my evidence on this debate. I hope the responses you can give are well thought out, honest, and backed by credible sources, as I hope you can see by my effort.
I want to start off by setting the landscape of what it was like in 1st century Jerusalem. The populous was almost all Jewish, and Jews who followed strict Jewish discipline and Jewish culture.
Religious wise, the teaching was done primarily through the Rabbi, who would recite the Old Testament to those who listened, largely because there were no books in the general population and virtually the entire population did not know how to read or write.
I am keeping this short because I do not like long posts that take me forever to read. If you desire further evaluation, feel free to instigate an internet search, or read some of the references provided.
 Facts about 1st Century Jerusalem
1.  Jerusalem was primarily Jewish in the 1st half of the 1st century [1]
2. The population of Jerusalem was 97% illiterate.
"Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the total literacy rate in the Land of Israel at that time (of Jews only, of course), was probably less than 3%." [2]
3. Education was transmitted orally [3]
"Greco-Roman higher education, especially rhetoric and philosophical teaching, took place orally, without the assistance of texts of the necessity to fit arguments in writing. Loveday Alexander has shown that the rabbis did not stand alone in their "skepticism for the written word", but can be seen as representatives of a general opposition to the usage of the written word in certain contexts within Graeco-Roman society at large." Alexander refers to Galen (2nd. c. C.E.), who wrote:
    "There may well be truth in saying current among most craftsmen, that reading out of a book is not the same thing as, or even comparable to, learning from the living voice" (Hezser, 2001. p. 99).
Sources
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Palestine
2.  Meir Bar-Ilan, Meir. (1997)  Illiteracy in the Land of Israel in the first centuries c.e. Retrieved from: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/illitera.html
3. Hezser, C. (2001). Jewish Literacy in Roman Palestine (No. 81). Paul Mohr Verlag.
 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Quesi on May 27, 2013, 06:36:59 PM
I am not debating you. And, for the same reasons I do not engage in debate with toddlers.


Indeed.  Have you seen the viral video in which a grown man plays the role of a 2 year old, reenacting a real conversation with a 2 year old? 

http://youtu.be/zdtD19tXX30
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 09:25:24 PM
I think it's reasonable to say that most Hebrews were illiterate.  However, the fact that their stories were carried down through an oral tradition is a point against their accuracy; human memory is malleable and every time a memory is accessed, it is altered by the brain.  The further you get from the original accounts (passed down through oral tradition), the less accurate they become.  It isn't quite as bad as a telephone game, because the people doing it were trained in mnemonic retention, but nonetheless, it still happened.  Perhaps it would be better to say these oral traditions evolved as they were passed on, but either way, they changed over time.  One of the problems is that most of these illiterate Hebrews (including the nascent Christians) were almost certainly not trained in oral mnemonics, yet they assuredly passed on the stories as well, leading to a situation where the stories would have changed much more rapidly.

As [wiki]Jan Vansina[/wiki] says in the preface of Oral Tradition: A Study in Historical Methodology (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zKbGbwzpCHsC&oi=fnd&pg=PR10&dq=scholarly+reports+oral+tradition&ots=-VVtCQmIIH&sig=f0Do-1Aok1UAGvYueymLO5nBpUA#v=onepage&q&f=false), "scholars should not merely observe their interlocutors in other cultures but also carefully listen to what they have to say, particularly about their memories of the past" and "the historical rules of evidence, which are universally valid in so far as they are an application of logic, can and must be applied to oral traditions if one wants to test the historical validity of their rendering of the past".[1]
 1. Note that although this is from a book, Vansina has in fact published articles in scholarly journals.  Furthermore, per the Wikipedia article on him, he is one of the most prominent Africanist scholars and has published widely.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 09:31:35 PM
I think it's reasonable to say that most Hebrews were illiterate.  However, the fact that their stories were carried down through an oral tradition is a point against their accuracy; human memory is malleable and every time a memory is accessed, it is altered by the brain.  The further you get from the original accounts (passed down through oral tradition), the less accurate they become.  It isn't quite as bad as a telephone game, because the people doing it were trained in mnemonic retention, but nonetheless, it still happened.  Perhaps it would be better to say these oral traditions evolved as they were passed on, but either way, they changed over time.  One of the problems is that most of these illiterate Hebrews (including the nascent Christians) were almost certainly not trained in oral mnemonics, yet they assuredly passed on the stories as well, leading to a situation where the stories would have changed much more rapidly.

As [wiki]Jan Vansina[/wiki] says in the preface of Oral Tradition: A Study in Historical Methodology (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zKbGbwzpCHsC&oi=fnd&pg=PR10&dq=scholarly+reports+oral+tradition&ots=-VVtCQmIIH&sig=f0Do-1Aok1UAGvYueymLO5nBpUA#v=onepage&q&f=false), "scholars should not merely observe their interlocutors in other cultures but also carefully listen to what they have to say, particularly about their memories of the past" and "the historical rules of evidence, which are universally valid in so far as they are an application of logic, can and must be applied to oral traditions if one wants to test the historical validity of their rendering of the past".[1]
 1. Note that although this is from a book, Vansina has in fact published articles in scholarly journals.  Furthermore, per the Wikipedia article on him, he is one of the most prominent Africanist scholars and has published widely.
Jan Vansina studied people in Central Africa. Do you have any scholarly rebuttal to the specific people we are talking about in the1st century Jerusalem?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 09:41:48 PM
Jan Vansina studied people in Central Africa. Do you have any scholarly rebuttal to the specific people we are talking about in the1st century Jerusalem?
Irrelevant.  Jan Vansina has studied oral traditions in Africa, which as you have stated, were also prevalent in 1st century Jerusalem.  You cannot arbitrarily exclude him because his field of study is contemporary oral traditions rather than historical ones.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 09:43:13 PM
Jan Vansina studied people in Central Africa. Do you have any scholarly rebuttal to the specific people we are talking about in the1st century Jerusalem?
Irrelevant.  Jan Vansina has studied oral traditions in Africa, which as you have stated, were also prevalent in 1st century Jerusalem.  You cannot arbitrarily exclude him because his field of study is contemporary oral traditions rather than historical ones.
Is this your opinion or fact? Can you cite references please?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: JeffPT on May 27, 2013, 10:00:02 PM
Jan Vansina studied people in Central Africa. Do you have any scholarly rebuttal to the specific people we are talking about in the1st century Jerusalem?
Are you seriously trying to say that the people of contemporary Central Africa are capable of making mistakes in passing on their oral traditions, but the Jews of first century Jerusalem were not? 

Unless you can cite evidence that shows that the early Jews were infallible when it came to memory, then we can easily deduce that they were human, and thus capable of making mistakes.  In other words, it's a far, FAR greater leap to think that every single early Jew that ever spoke to someone else about their religion was absolutely perfect, than it is to think that (like the rest of humanity since the beginning of oral traditions) they made mistakes. 

Humans make mistakes in oral traditions... Jaimehlers gave you evidence to back this up.  Do you have any evidence that proves that first century Jews were infallible in passing on oral traditions? 

Also, is this entire line even relevant to the evidence you're going to provide?   
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 10:03:29 PM
Is this your opinion or fact? Can you cite references please?
Unless you can actually show that his expertise on contemporary oral traditions would not apply to historical oral traditions, you cannot arbitrarily exclude him.

In other words, cease this nitpicking and get to your actual evidence.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 27, 2013, 10:10:08 PM
One of the problems is that most of these illiterate Hebrews (including the nascent Christians) were almost certainly not trained in oral mnemonics, yet they assuredly passed on the stories as well, leading to a situation where the stories would have changed much more rapidly.

I'm not versed in linguistic or anthropological analysis, but would it be reasonable to assume that rival factions would probably pass down increasingly divergent versions of the original stories?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 10:15:51 PM
Is this your opinion or fact? Can you cite references please?
Unless you can actually show that his expertise on contemporary oral traditions would not apply to historical oral traditions, you cannot arbitrarily exclude him.

In other words, cease this nitpicking and get to your actual evidence.
I beg to differ, but there is a big difference in Central Africa in the 1970's and first century Jerusalem. There is a big difference between hearing a story and repeating it, and the discipline student went through learning Judaism.

The Four Jobs of a Disciple

    1. Once one entered into a discipleship…the first task was to memorize their teacher's words.  The oral transmission process was the only method practiced among the ages. The great rabbis and Torah scholars did not write scrolls or compose books for their students to read and study. Instead, they taught orally and their disciples studied by memorizing their words. Through constant repetition, disciples memorized their teacher's words verbatim and were able to repeat them to subsequent generations.

    2. To learn their teacher's traditions and interpretations. It was a disciple's job to learn the tradition of how his teacher kept the commands of God and interpreted the Scriptures. Every detail about the teacher was important to the disciple. The disciple needed to learn how the teacher washed his hands, how he kept the Sabbath, how he fasted, how he prayed, how he gave charity, how he affixed a mezuzah, how he said the blessings over food, etc. Furthermore, the way the teacher interpreted passages of scriptures, the meanings he drew out, the midrashim he told, the parables and stories he used to elucidate with, the way he explained a verse or understood a concept, each of these was of utmost importance to the disciple. Details of this sort were not just trivia. To a disciple, these were like gems and pearls meant to be gathered and treasured.

    3. To imitate their teacher's actions. It was the job of a disciple to be like his teacher. A disciple's highest calling was to be a reflection of his teacher. His goal was to one day be just like his Master. A disciple studied to learn to act and to speak and to respond the same why his Master would act and speak and respond. A disciple studied to do the things his Master did.

    4. To raise up disciples. It was the job of a disciple, when finally trained, to raise up his own disciples. He was to create a new generation of students and to transmit to them the memorized words of his Master, the traditions and the interpretations of his Master, the actions and behaviors of his Master. The goal was to pass the teaching and the torch of discipleship from generation to generation. So each disciple became the teacher, the rabbi, the master, and the father to a new generation of disciples.
http://www.rabbiyeshua.com/rabbiyeshua/2001/discipleshiptoyeshua.html

You see, Jaime, this is a little bit more than just hearing something and repeating it. This is what the people did in the day- they listened and learned.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 27, 2013, 10:22:13 PM
You see, Jaime, this is a little bit more than just hearing something and repeating it. This is what the people did in the day- they listened and learned.

That, however, has nothing to do with evidence for gods in any meaningful sense.  A carefully preserved and handed-down story about a make-believe being is still just a story about a make-believe being.

So do you have any evidence that is up to our standards, or are you just going to fill the thread with anecdotes and accounts of ancient cultural practices?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 10:25:44 PM
You see, Jaime, this is a little bit more than just hearing something and repeating it. This is what the people did in the day- they listened and learned.

That, however, has nothing to do with evidence for gods in any meaningful sense.  A carefully preserved and handed-down story about a make-believe being is still just a story about a make-believe being.

So do you have any evidence that is up to our standards, or are you just going to fill the thread with anecdotes and accounts of ancient cultural practices?
First things first. I appreciate your patience and any rebuttal you may have.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 10:26:05 PM
I'm not versed in linguistic or anthropological analysis, but would it be reasonable to assume that rival factions would probably pass down increasingly divergent versions of the original stories?
Indeed, that's what happened with early Christianity.  According to [wiki]Bart Ehrman[/wiki], author of Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, there were at least four competing versions of Jesus; the Orthodox one which the Catholic church ultimately ended up using, a Jesus who was wholly human and never divine, a Jesus who was human and then became divine after dying, and a Jesus who was never human in the first place (you can see this version in the Gospel of John).
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 10:33:00 PM
I beg to differ, but there is a big difference in Central Africa in the 1970's and first century Jerusalem. There is a big difference between hearing a story and repeating it, and the discipline student went through learning Judaism.
What?  You think that contemporary Africans who rely on oral traditions don't have students who they train very carefully in order to make sure they could fulfill the role?  You think that they didn't make sure their students were disciplined and trained carefully?  Sure seems that way to me.

Quote from: holybuckets
You see, Jaime, this is a little bit more than just hearing something and repeating it. This is what the people did in the day- they listened and learned.
I don't believe this.  Did you really just try to claim that 1st century Hebrew students listened and learned, while contemporary Africans just hear and repeat?  No, that isn't going to fly.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 10:34:51 PM
I beg to differ, but there is a big difference in Central Africa in the 1970's and first century Jerusalem. There is a big difference between hearing a story and repeating it, and the discipline student went through learning Judaism.
What?  You think that the people who passed down oral traditions didn't have students who they trained very carefully in order to make sure they could fulfill the role?  You think that only the 1st century Hebrews ensured that their students were disciplined and trained carefully?  Sure seems that way to me.

Quote from: holybuckets
You see, Jaime, this is a little bit more than just hearing something and repeating it. This is what the people did in the day- they listened and learned.
I don't believe this.  Did you really just try to claim that 1st century Hebrew students listened and learned, while contemporary Africans just hear and repeat?  No, that isn't going to fly.
Jaime, did you read my post refuting yours. Can you please give something more than your opinion. Thanks
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 10:52:27 PM
Jaime, did you read my post refuting yours. Can you please give something more than your opinion. Thanks
That's the thing.  Your post didn't refute mine.  Your post referred to a statement (http://www.rabbiyeshua.com/rabbi2.html) by a Rabbi Stan Farr, apparently the contemporary leader of this Messianic Jewish sect, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota (notably, where his synagogue is located as well).  Note that he has no scholarly credentials listed anywhere on his website except on his Contact (http://www.rabbiyeshua.com/contact.html) page, where he states that he has spent 20 years teaching a "Hebraic First Century understanding of Scriptures".

In short, you attempted to use this man's opinion of 1st century discipleship to claim that it was substantively different than other oral traditions.  Not only that, but it in no way actually establishes a difference between 1st century Hebrew oral traditions and contemporary African oral traditions.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 27, 2013, 10:53:48 PM
Jaime, did you read my post refuting yours. Can you please give something more than your opinion. Thanks

Why should he?  Why should any of us bother giving you anything, HB?  All  you're going to do is dismiss the most carefully researched and written response as "opinion," and try to dump the burden of proof on the negative side.

Personally, Holybuckets, I am of the opinion that you came here for the sole purpose of angering and baiting people who do not believe as you do.  I don't think you ever had any intention of seriously examining evidence that disagrees with your current POV.  You're using your precious gospel as a bludgeon, secure in your belief that *you* have a free ticket to heaven and can do whatever the fuck you want in the meantime, including spouting mass quantities of hatred masquerading as discussion questions.

(Springy G tears HB's page out of the Book of Life and runs it through Her crosscut shredder) I think Matthew 7:23 is particularly apt in this context.   >:(

Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 11:11:29 PM
Jaime, did you read my post refuting yours. Can you please give something more than your opinion. Thanks

Why should he?  Why should any of us bother giving you anything, HB?  All  you're going to do is dismiss the most carefully researched and written response as "opinion," and try to dump the burden of proof on the negative side.

Personally, Holybuckets, I am of the opinion that you came here for the sole purpose of angering and baiting people who do not believe as you do.  I don't think you ever had any intention of seriously examining evidence that disagrees with your current POV.  You're using your precious gospel as a bludgeon, secure in your belief that *you* have a free ticket to heaven and can do whatever the fuck you want in the meantime, including spouting mass quantities of hatred masquerading as discussion questions.

(Springy G tears HB's page out of the Book of Life and runs it through Her crosscut shredder) I think Matthew 7:23 is particularly apt in this context.   >:(
I appreciate your opinion, however, I think you can see that I have provided some very credible information in this discussion. Again, feel free to give your rebuttal, granted, I wish it contained a logical refute with scholarly citations.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 27, 2013, 11:29:20 PM
I appreciate your opinion, however, I think you can see that I have provided some very credible information in this discussion.

No; I didn't see you post anything even remotely credible.  (Springy G empties the shredder, and Holybuckets' eternal salvation, into one of Her cats' litter boxes)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 27, 2013, 11:47:43 PM
I appreciate your opinion, however, I think you can see that I have provided some very credible information in this discussion.

No; I didn't see you post anything even remotely credible.  (Springy G empties the shredder, and Holybuckets' eternal salvation, into one of Her cats' litter boxes)
Can you please then dispute my findings with your credible sources, instead of your opinion, and give a little more scholarly response than Springy G and her cat box. I have to admit, that is up their with the Time Cube, Bat boy, and Osiris.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 27, 2013, 11:54:09 PM
As opposed to Rabbi Stan Farr, "expert" on 1st century Christian Scripture, who doesn't even seem to have a single scholarly paper to his name?  Oh, didn't you say something along the lines that you would only use people who had actually published in scholarly journals?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 28, 2013, 12:04:35 AM
As opposed to Rabbi Stan Farr, "expert" on 1st century Christian Scripture, who doesn't even seem to have a single scholarly paper to his name?  Oh, didn't you say something along the lines that you would only use people who had actually published in scholarly journals?
He is a Rabbi, who writes on what it takes to be a Rabbi.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 28, 2013, 12:21:11 AM
Can you please then dispute my findings with your credible sources, instead of your opinion...

There are no findings to dispute.  None of your sources are up to our standards; hence, no action on our part is required.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 28, 2013, 12:24:20 AM
He is a Rabbi, who writes on what it takes to be a Rabbi.
Irrelevant.  You agreed to use sources that had published in scholarly journals.  That means you lied, since here you are, using someone who's never published a single scholarly paper of any sort.

Why should anyone bother to try to have a discussion (never mind a debate) with you?  You've been verbally abusive to virtually everyone here, you constantly try to dismiss anything that someone presents unless it's 'scholarly' or 'historical' (and even then, you'll use any excuse you think you can get away with to dismiss it anyway), you routinely act as if the evidence you present is foolproof (dismissing any rebuttal of it, often without even bothering to answer the rebuttal), you've basically told people that you won't respond to them if they press you too hard on things you don't want to talk about, and now you've been caught lying.  And that's just scratching the surface

You complain about the way atheists supposedly treat you, but you act worse than that.  It's not nice to accuse someone of hypocrisy, but in your case, the shoe certainly fits.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: kin hell on May 28, 2013, 12:41:16 AM


Why should anyone bother to try to have a discussion (never mind a debate) with you?  You've been verbally abusive to virtually everyone here, you constantly try to dismiss anything that someone presents unless it's 'scholarly' or 'historical' (and even then, you'll use any excuse you think you can get away with to dismiss it anyway), you routinely act as if the evidence you present is foolproof (dismissing any rebuttal of it, often without even bothering to answer the rebuttal), you've basically told people that you won't respond to them if they press you too hard on things you don't want to talk about, and now you've been caught lying.  And that's just scratching the surface

You complain about the way atheists supposedly treat you, but you act worse than that.  It's not nice to accuse someone of hypocrisy, but in your case, the shoe certainly fits.

self proclaimed troll behaves like a troll, I'm not surprised you are exasperated jaime
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Seppuku on May 28, 2013, 02:31:36 AM
Either holybuckets is extremely ignorant (perhaps selectively so) or just a successful troll. Either way, there's no way you're going to make progress, because his idea of evidence, whether he genuinely believes it or not, is simply words on a page, his evidence is merely made up of claims.

So, I guess the way to counter it is to make our own claims. So, I know everything holybuckets is saying is false because Thor told me and I know the true gods are the Norse ones. Fuck it, I cannot be arsed being an atheist, personally knowing Thor and Odin really doesn't help my stance as an atheist, it's like not believe the chair you're sat on doesn't exist.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on May 28, 2013, 02:57:19 AM
Back to the discussion, Are we in agreement that God cannot be proven nor disproved by scientific methods? What are some areas God may be proven or disproved? Are there any?

That question is impossible to answer without knowing what this "god" is that you speak of.  Wheels asked:

do you think your god acts in the world today?

...which was on the right lines, but doesn't actually advance us.  The question I would have asked would be "please define your god as you understand it, and how it interacts with the world today".

Until you have answered that, it is impossible for me to answer your question.  I think the answer is that "if there is a god, it can be proved by scientific method" (which, incidentally, does NOT just mean scientific equipment), but without knowing exactly what your god is , I can't say for sure.

For the moment then, I will say "yes - I think god CAN be proved or disproved using scientific methodology".  And the first step towards doing that is to define the god that we are testing for - as I believe you know full well.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 28, 2013, 04:42:14 AM
Thanks for your comments. It seems that there were no objections to most of the points I made.
So, we are in agreement, and I would like to put into evidence the following facts on 1st Century Jerusalem:
1.  Jerusalem was primarily Jewish in the 1st half of the 1st century. The people lived by the Jewish religion and Jewish customs.
2. The population of Jerusalem was 97% illiterate. The vast majority did not know how to read or write.
There was some objection to the third point I was trying to make
3. Education was transmitted orally
I do not feel anyone denied that, however there was discussion to the reliability of oral transmission and the fact the message could be changed over a period of time.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: holybuckets on May 28, 2013, 06:05:30 AM
The next material I would like to present as evidence is the fact that there were not a lot of books written in the 1st century, much less survive. The century produced some major events; however there were very few historians to write on the subject.
My question is: how many books were written about those events, specifically the one’s that took place within the Roman Empire? Here are three events, two of which I would like to focus on now.
1. 30 AD. Resurrection of Jesus. I am going to defer, and write more on this later.
2. 64 AD. Great Fire of Rome
The Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires this world has ever seen. Rome was arguably the richest, largest, and most powerful city in the world at the time. The city caught fire in 64 AD and reports say that the fire burned for about 6 days. [1]
3. 70 AD. The Destruction of the Jewish Temple
This took place during the Roman-Jewish War. The Romans attacked the city of Jerusalem, wiped out the Temple, killed over 1 million Jews, and sold almost 100,000 as slaves. The Jews lost their homeland, their population, their temple, and everything they had. [2]
The question: How many books were written on the subjects?
1. Tacitus is the only contemporary author to write on the Great Fire of Rome, whose works survived. In his work “The Annals”, Tacitus devotes one paragraph to the subject.
According to Tacitus, ten of the fourteen districts of Rome burned; three districts were completely destroyed and the other seven suffered serious damage. [3]
 The only other contemporaneous historian to mention the fire was Pliny the Elder, who wrote about it in passing. [4]
Incidentally, Tacitus wrote the Annals, which referenced the fire in 116 AD, or 52 years after the event.
2. Josephus is the only contemporary historian to mention the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
The point is that there were not a lot of books written in the 1st century. The great fire of Rome sees one author, Tacitus, devote one paragraph to it. Josephus is the only author to write on the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD.
[1] http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_Rome
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%2870%29
[3] Tacitus, P. C., & Woodman, A. J. (2006). Tacitus, Annals. R. H. Martin (Ed.). Cambridge University Press.
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_of_Rome
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 28, 2013, 08:00:22 AM
So, I know everything holybuckets is saying is false because Thor told me and I know the true gods are the Norse ones. Fuck it, I cannot be arsed being an atheist, personally knowing Thor and Odin really doesn't help my stance as an atheist, it's like not believe the chair you're sat on doesn't exist.

;D  My little Brother and Dad say "Hei!"  And may the chair be a cozy one near the banquet table at Valhalla.  (I'll be in the woodwinds section of the pit orchestra, in between Valkyrie runs to collect various brave mortals.)
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 28, 2013, 08:14:59 AM
We ought , perhaps, note that whilst there may have been a lot of oral education, the texts of the OT were basically already close to becoming canon. The Septuagint (LXX), a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, was completed around 200BCE and formed the basis of Jerome's translation into Latin, the Vulgate. Equally, the Dead Sea Scrolls contained lots of scrolls of biblical books in the version found in the LXX as well as in the Hebrew Bible. (jeremiah is much longer in the LXX for example). 
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on May 28, 2013, 09:15:40 AM
The thought occurs to me.....

Even assuming for one moment that the designated few were word-perfect in their passing on of the Word, that does not for one moment assume that everyone was.  Unless there was absolutely NO discussion of "The Word" outside of the Temple, it would have been the case that Priest would speak to the congregation....who would then, perhaps, go home and tell their children the stories - and with NO training, perhaps errors would creep in there?

And what happens, then, when one of those children grows up and - unlike their father - learns to write, and sets down the version of the Word that THEY heard?  And possibly, once written, that version starts to carry with it a lot more weight than the spoken version that the elders say is true.....after all, words on paper do not change, do they?  And, once written, why bother to learn them?

So I can easily see how even a perfect oral tradition could be superceded by imperfect written versions - which would also explain why we have multiple gospels with subtle (and not so subtle) differences.  A perfect oral tradtion should surely mean that we would have only one gospel?  Unless we accept that the four gospels are, indeed, 100% accurate reflections of a perfect oral tradition that began from a false understanding in the first place.....which is hardly a preferable option for anyone championing the oral tradition in the first place.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on May 28, 2013, 10:25:59 AM
The Septuagint (LXX), a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, was completed around 200BCE...

...and therefore would be available to the Gospel writers so that they could plagiarize, uh, "harmonize" the Jesus story and make it line up with OT messianic prophesies.

And of course, if the LXX was a translation of the Tanakh 200 years BCE, it stands to reason that there were written versions of the Tanakh at 200 BCE that it was based upon.  So much for the myth of the rabbinical students learning orally -- Those Hebrew scriptures were written for someone to read.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on May 28, 2013, 10:46:13 AM
The Septuagint (LXX), a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, was completed around 200BCE...

...and therefore would be available to the Gospel writers so that they could plagiarize, uh, "harmonize" the Jesus story and make it line up with OT messianic prophesies.

And of course, if the LXX was a translation of the Tanakh 200 years BCE, it stands to reason that there were written versions of the Tanakh at 200 BCE that it was based upon.  So much for the myth of the rabbinical students learning orally -- Those Hebrew scriptures were written for someone to read.

Exactly and, because there is a translation error in the LXX which Matthew copies, we know that Matthew used the LXX when writing this gospel. Matthew gets the word 'virgin' from the Isaiah quote where the Hebrew bible has only 'young woman'. So we know that not only Matthew was using the Greek version (he probably didn't read Hebrew) but that the whole virgin birth thing is based on a mistranslation!
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on May 28, 2013, 11:39:14 AM
So you quoted a statement with which you agree, and called it the definition of ignorance...?
Please allow me to put the post in context for you, since you obviously failed to read before you spoke. Which, by the way, is a sign of ignorance.
The posted criticized me for not being able to prove my religious faith with scientific evidence. I responded that this was ignorant, since one cannot prove religious faith with scientific evidence.

Your religion makes testable claims (such as that all who believe in Christ will be able to do miracles). Do you believe your God has any dealings in the real world? Does he interact in the real world in any way? If so, then it's testable!

Faith is not a pathway to truth. It is simply believing without evidence (credulity dressed up). Anybody can "just have faith" in anything (for terrible reasons). You've started with your conclusion (and are now trying to defend your desperate assumption) and that is backwards.

How can "faith" stand up to "scientific" investigation? Can you explain this one to me please?
Faith is something that cannot be proven scientifically. Hence the word faith.

This is a category error (first off). It isn't "faith" that we are disproving (per se). It is the testable claims of your false religion (which are irrational and absurd). Secondly, I reject your definition of faith. Faith is believing something when you do not have sufficient evidence to do so. US: "How do you know God created us?" YOU: "Oh, I don't know, I just have faith."

Faith is just gullibility in a mask. That is all.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on May 28, 2013, 11:48:01 AM
Holybuckets won't be able to see or write any further posts in this topic until he gets back from the ER.  This is probably just as well.  It's clear from his latest post that he intends to keep going the way he's been going - in essence, to argue using the narrowest definitions he can in order to 'prove' that the Bible is accurate and thus usable as a primary source (rather than a book of mythology), and to deflect anything that doesn't fit his own particular biases.  Maybe he'll be better about it once he gets out of the ER, though I'm not holding out too many hopes for that.

To satisfy my own curiosity, I looked at the [wiki]historical reliability of the Gospels[/wiki] wiki page.  Contrary to holybuckets's assertions, the scholarly consensus appears to be that the Gospels (and Acts, which is in many ways a continuation of the Gospels) are a mix of historical and mythological information.  That means you can't rely on anything that's written in them without examining them very closely - and even then, some of them have serious problems (such as that Mark messed up quite a bit on geography).

In short, even if there was a historical Jesus, it is unlikely that the miracles (including the resurrection) were genuine.  Especially given that Paul never wrote of any actual miracles (except in the past tense), but instead things that probably happened due to natural causes or human intervention - or else things that he thought would happen in the future (and clearly didn't).  In short, it's much more likely that most of the mythological parts in the Bible were cribbed from other sources (which certainly explains the similarities between the Gospels and other myths).

It is entirely possible that there was a Jesus (more likely Yeshua or Joshua), but he was probably a would-be reformer of Judaism who stepped on the toes of the religious authorities too many times, so they had him killed (and, given that he was probably pretty minor, explains why there were no records of him).  Then, the surviving apostles, out of their minds with grief, believed they saw their teacher alive again - and thus Christianity was born.  Though, I can't really say whether this version happened or not.  The actual events have been buried under so much mythology and tradition that it's impossible to really unravel things now.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: naemhni on May 28, 2013, 11:56:13 AM
Holybuckets has been confined to the Emergency Room and therefore cannot (yet) post replies in this thread.  Those wishing to assist him with his "difficulties" in posting should head to the ER to engage him there, should he choose to do so.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: riley2112 on June 18, 2013, 04:47:58 PM
Riley2112,

Why would you seek help from an atheist? First of all, it appalls me that these people would attempt to pull you away from your faith. Just because they don't have any faith doesn't mean  they have to try to drag you away form God. Secondly, they cannot be trusted.
Polls show that people don't trust atheists.

"Atheists are one of the most disliked groups in America. Only 45 percent of Americans say they would vote for a qualified atheist presidential candidate, and atheists are rated as the least desirable group for a potential son-in-law or daughter-in-law to belong to. Will Gervais at the University of British Columbia recently published a set of studies looking at why atheists are so disliked. His conclusion: It comes down to trust." http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-atheists-we-distrust

Please do not trust these people. They argue in ignorance, admittedly they have no evidence or proof to back up what they believe. And for that matter they cannot even figure out what they believe. Being a Christian is simple. You believe in the Risen Christ. You do not have to have all the answers like the atheists want to make you believe that you do. Remember, they don't have any answers.
Sorry ,, I don't sign on here very much,, However from time to time I like to check things out. You asked why I would seek help from an atheist. I didn't. The first time I came to this site I , like most Christians who come to this site, came to show the lost Atheist the error of their ways. Well you can now see how that worked out. However unlike many Christians ( or so called Christians) that visits this site. I came with an open mind. At first I found the people here rude and closed minded. Mostly because they would not believe the way I felt they should. I asked them questions that they answered. They ask me questions that I tried to answer, but most of my answers ended with "because the Bible says so". In other words, no answer at all. As for Atheist not being trusted or liked. I know many people that I like and after found out that they were Atheist. So, are you saying that I should not like someone because they are Atheist, or black , or are from a different country? Are you saying that I should not like someone because they are different than me, believe different than I do. That makes them a bad person?? You also said that they have no evidence or proof to back up what they believe. What evidence or proof do you have. Now please understand that something inside of me believes in a Creator. But blind faith in anything is foolish. After leaving this site I started trying to answer some of the questions that those bad Atheist asked me. What I found scared me, made me sad and pissed me off. The biggest problem I have is with the bible. Do you really believe the Bible word for word? I mean really?? All these people have done to me is to make me think. And someone that truly thinks is a danger to all religions. And they should be. Religion scares me. Because of religion this world is still at war. I am still searching for the Creator. But when and if I find a God I want the true God. And if I don't find him, How true can he be. Maybe it is time you start thinking. Are you believing in a god just because others are? Kinda like you don't trust or like Atheists because polls tell you not to. I guess my question to you is. Would you believe in God if the polls told you he was not real?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: lux et veritas on July 04, 2013, 09:15:20 AM
Christians are never commanded to do miracles. Only God  can perform miracles. I suggest that you review the text.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: One Above All on July 04, 2013, 09:18:22 AM
Christians are never commanded to do miracles.

Probably true. I wouldn't know, since I don't know the entire Bible by heart.

Only God  can perform miracles.

Not true.
Quote from: Mark 16:18
they will pick up snakeswith their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands onsick people, and they will get well."
Source: http://biblehub.com/mark/16-18.htm
Cue context excuse.

I suggest that you review the text.

I say the same thing to you.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: lux et veritas on July 04, 2013, 12:16:48 PM
Mark 16:18 is an observation, "they will handle deadly snakes , lay hands on the sick and they will recover .
Christians are not commanded to handle the snakes or heal the sick.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on July 04, 2013, 12:31:58 PM
Mark 16:18 is an observation, "they will handle deadly snakes , lay hands on the sick and they will recover .
Christians are not commanded to handle the snakes or heal the sick.

Then what on earth is the point of said "observation"?  How would you like it if I wrote a book that said "The followers of the Springy Goddess can heal broken computers by shaking their fists at them, and make fine chocolate materialize out of thin air" but then used the excuse "...but they're much too busy to actually do it"?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on July 04, 2013, 12:43:52 PM
used the excuse "...but they're much too busy to actually do it"?
Or the excuse, "...but they're not commanded to do it".
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: lux et veritas on July 04, 2013, 12:57:54 PM
 :The point of the observation is that the miracles were the evidence that God showed his approval of the Christians by performing miracles on their behalf. You will find no evidence that God ever commanded a man to perform a miracle because  it is impossible for men to perform miracles .
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Astreja on July 04, 2013, 02:23:33 PM
Or the excuse, "...but they're not commanded to do it".

People have to be commanded to summon chocolate and to magically fix computers?  Dear, sweet Uncle Loki -- I'd have to command them to *stop* doing it!   ;D

Although I understand perfectly a reticence to cuddle cobras or scarf down a jar of some noxious substance, I have no clue why True Christians™ haven't emptied every hospital bed in the planet by now.  Even if they confined their hands-on healing just to their own loved ones, it would drastically reduce the number of ailing people.

I'm sure that somewhere on this little blue planet there are plenty of sincere believers who know Mark 16:18.  Why is it that they cannot heal by laying on of hands?  Are they lacking divine approval?  Were they born into the wrong time period?  Why isn't it working for them?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on July 04, 2013, 02:39:29 PM
Gonna have to side with Lux here, that the verse doesn't imply humans to be the ones enacting the miracle.  It's more like, "if humans do X, God will do Y" rather than "if humans do X, then that will result in the humans also doing Y".
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: One Above All on July 04, 2013, 02:46:16 PM
Mark 16:18 is an observation, "they will handle deadly snakes , lay hands on the sick and they will recover .
Christians are not commanded to handle the snakes or heal the sick.

Did you even read my post? I was responding to your claim that "Only God (sic) can perform miracles", which is utterly untrue, as per the Bible. I never said that christians were commanded to perform miracles; I actually (somewhat) agreed with you on that point.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: wheels5894 on July 04, 2013, 02:58:33 PM
Gonna have to side with Lux here, that the verse doesn't imply humans to be the ones enacting the miracle.  It's more like, "if humans do X, God will do Y" rather than "if humans do X, then that will result in the humans also doing Y".

I'm sure you are right but we still have the problem that people lay hands on the sick, with prayer, and the sick person still dies. Is going refusing to help out if his followers do the right things r is he just not there?
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Azdgari on July 04, 2013, 04:29:09 PM
My point was limited to just that little issue.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: Anfauglir on July 05, 2013, 04:23:39 AM
:The point of the observation is that the miracles were the evidence that God showed his approval of the Christians by performing miracles on their behalf. You will find no evidence that God ever commanded a man to perform a miracle because  it is impossible for men to perform miracles .

So what you are saying is that thee are NO Christians around today that your god approves of, and this is why we do not seem him doing those miracles through them - is that correct?

Matthew's observation was quite clear that "they will handle deadly snakes , lay hands on the sick and they will recover".  You say that is because your god approved of them, and did the miracles through them.  Therefore, if we do not see "Christians" handling snakes and healing the sick with laying on of hands, presumably god does not approve of them.

Question: can YOU heal the sick with laying on of hands?  If not, are you agreeing that your god does not approve of you?  That must be a terrible realisation to have.
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: jaimehlers on July 05, 2013, 05:54:32 AM
:The point of the observation is that the miracles were the evidence that God showed his approval of the Christians by performing miracles on their behalf. You will find no evidence that God ever commanded a man to perform a miracle because  it is impossible for men to perform miracles .
Funny how no Christians get this 'approval' from God nowadays, isn't it?  If they ever did in the first place, which I doubt.  This 'evidence' is apocryphal, which is being generous.

But leaving aside the issue of whether God commanded them to do it or not - it was certainly taken as a command by Christians, given the prevalence of faith healing and speaking in tongues - I think you're leaving out Mark 16:17, which I'll quote here: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;".  Both of which are things that Christians do (whether or not they actually cast out demons and speak in real tongues is another story).  And indeed, Christians also handle snakes and lay hands on the sick.  Yet, Christians who handle poisonous snakes and are bitten suffer the side effects of being poisoned.  The sick who Christians purport to treat don't magically recover, either.  And that lends a lot of doubt to the idea that they cast out demons or speak in tongues (as opposed to faked exorcism ceremonies and faked speaking in tongues).
Title: Re: A Challenge to Christians
Post by: median on July 12, 2013, 12:35:09 PM
Mark 16:18 is an observation, "they will handle deadly snakes , lay hands on the sick and they will recover .
Christians are not commanded to handle the snakes or heal the sick.

No sir, you are quite wrong. On the contrary, the passage is a notification to those who are claiming to be followers. He's saying (allegedly) that if you are his follower those signs (and more) will follow you - and this is taken into context with other passages where he (Jesus) tells his disciples that "all things are possible to him who believes" (speaking of the miraculous).

If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, and those things aren't happening, then either 1) you aren't a true follower or 2) the religion is a lie.