Answering Atheists Vol. II

“The reason you are having so little success convincing atheists is probably because you have a very low standard for what you consider evidence.”

The reason you’re having so little success being convinced is that you have an artificially high, rigged standard of evidence for God, ensuring you needn’t worry about being convinced. You’re asking for direct physical evidence for a non-physical reality. Even if God appeared to you personally it would not be enough, since you could always appeal to delusion. Perhaps you had a hallucination or dream. Anyone can talk themselves out of anything they don’t wish to believe.

“Either a person is convinced or they aren’t. It’s not a matter of choice. If an argument is logically sound and valid, then I have no choice but to accept it.”

It is definitely a matter of choice. People can refuse to accept sound argumentation all day long if it doesn’t fit their worldview and they aren’t willing to reconsider it.  You’re in denial. I think the only reason you’re engaging in all this is to give yourself some artificial reinforcement- so you can say you’ve ‘had it out’ with theists and not been convinced.

“Again you are arguing backwards from your religious assertions. Before you claim that God does X or Y, give me a reason to believe he even exists. You claim that God exists necessarily but contradict yourself by claiming that you cannot prove it.”

Saying God exists necessarily can mean different things in different contexts. It could refer to the ontological argument, which I do not ever attempt to use; or it could refer to the design argument, which I most certainly use. But in my case, at least, it doesn’t refer to the idea that we can prove with 100% certainty that God exists from a human standpoint. No one has that level of certainty in life for almost any belief they hold. You’ve created a double standard. My aim is only to show that the theistic worldview is more plausibly true than false, and I’ve done that.

“You claim that God has property X. I ask you, “How do you know that?” You appeal to the Bible. I ask you, “How do you know the Bible is true?” Because God wrote it? Don’t you see how hopelessly circular your position is?”

At no time have I said “The Bible is true because God wrote it, and we know God exists because the Bible is true.” That would certainly be easy to refute, so perhaps that’s why you’d prefer me to have said that. We believe the Bible is true because of both internal evidence and external evidence giving strong reason to accept its truth. I have gone through quite a bit of it with you, and you’ve chosen to ignore it. Now you’re resorting to intentional mischaracterization of my arguments.

“Your delusions are harming you and those around you. By providing you with enough information, eventually your delusions about the afterlife will shatter under the pressure of cognitive dissonance and you’ll end up being a more productive member of society.”

What utter rubbish! Down through the ages, the vast majority of the most productive members of society in the West have not only been theists, but Christian theists. Clearly being a Christian is no obstruction to being a productive member of society. But what’s more, considering your view, why should anyone bother trying to be a “productive member of society”? Who cares? All of our “production” will be reduced to space dust in a few million years whether we like it or not. At that time it will be unknowable whether those things ever even existed in the first place. On your view I don’t have free will, so it’s not up to me or you (both illusory concepts themselves) what either of us do or believe. It’s up to the Universe. So if you don’t like what I do or say, please take it up with The Universe- your only god.

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18 thoughts on “Answering Atheists Vol. II”

  1. “Even if God appeared to you personally it would not be enough, since you could always appeal to delusion.” — If God appeared to me personally, and I subsequently appealed to delusion, then you would have grounds to make that claim. Otherwise, you are attributing motives to me without any basis whatsoever.

    “You’re in denial. ” – Again, more pop psychology. We are not off to a very good start.

    “But in my case, at least, it doesn’t refer to the idea that we can prove with 100% certainty that God exists from a human standpoint.” – No one is asking for 100% certainty. Proof is for a closed set of axioms, such as mathematics or geometry. Argumentation is so much word salad. What we are asking for is one piece of observational data, one calling card from this deity.

    “We believe the Bible is true because of both internal evidence and external evidence giving strong reason to accept its truth.” – There is strong internal evidence to accept the truth of the Book of Mormon as well. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon assert they are truth. This kind of evidence must be rejected as circular. There is little external evidence to accept the truth of both works, and what little there is only supports portions, such as the identity of rulers who sacked this or that city.

    “Down through the ages, the vast majority of the most productive members of society in the West have not only been theists, but Christian theists.” — You have resorted to the fallacy of argumentum ad populum and argumentum ad antiquitam. Fifty million Elvis fans can still be wrong.

    1. You don’t know what “internal evidence” is. There is no good internal evidence for the book of Mormon because it is not in any way unique- actually it’s a rip off of the Bible, and it contradicts later Mormon writings. The Bible’s internal evidence includes the fact that it maintains a coherent and progressive message with a definite start and finish despite being authored by many, many different people over thousands of years. It also manages to predict the future with perfect accuracy. No other book can make any of those statements.

      If you look at the context, at no point have I used any of those fallacies you named. All I did was refute a very bone-headed and ridiculous attack with facts.

      1. I don’t find the Bible’s message that God punishes transgressors down to the third and fourth generation coherent when the same bible says that a son will not die for the sins of the father. Jesus says keep the commandments to have eternal life, Paul says those who rely on the law are fallen from grace. And as for prognostication, the Bible predicted that the city of Tyre would never be rebuilt after it was sacked, which is news to the chamber of commerce of Sidon, Lebanon.

      2. Sure, you can rip alleged Bible contradictions from various antichristian websites all day long. But what I guarantee you have not spent any sincere time doing is researching the available material written by Christian scholars which answer the claims and resolve the supposed contradictions. That’s because you’re just looking for a weapon to hit Christians with when you quote the Bible- you’re not actually seeking the truth. I’m not falling into the rabbit hole of answering every supposed contradiction on the internet about the Bible.

        Re: Tyre
        http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/12/07/ezekiel-261-14-a-proof-text-for-inerrancy-or-fallibility-of-the-old-testament.aspx#Article

  2. “Even if God appeared to you personally it would not be enough”

    It’d totally be enough for me, provided I could rule out things like delusion, but if it’s an actual god I don’t see that as a problem.

    What I understand, however, is that while a personal experience would be sufficient evidence for me, it wouldn’t and shouldn’t be sufficient evidence for anyone else. That is, MY personal experience shouldn’t convince YOU.

    1. Well, you can say that if you’d like, but that doesn’t change the fact that God is not under any obligation to make a direct appearance personally to you. He is God, and you are not. What He has done is give you more than enough evidence to make a well-reasoned decision to have faith in Him.

      If you have a personal experience, that on its own doesn’t prove very much. But if you claim to have a personal experience, and then prove you are absolutely sincere in your belief in that experience by being willing to die a martyr’s death rather than recant- then we have extremely good evidence that you didn’t make your story up and lie about it. This is exactly what the apostles of Jesus Christ did. Thus we know they were not lying to a very high degree of probability.

      1. “Well, you can say that if you’d like, but that doesn’t change the fact that God is not under any obligation to make a direct appearance personally to you.”

        I didn’t claim there was any obligation. But it seems to me the easiest way to get my belief. And if my belief is important, then it seems like a relatively simple thing for an omnipotent being to do.

        “What He has done is give you more than enough evidence to make a well-reasoned decision to have faith in Him.”

        That’s your claim. I don’t see the evidence to back it up. Nor do I see any evidence that ‘faith’ is a good thing to have in anything.

        ” then we have extremely good evidence that you didn’t make your story up and lie about it. ”

        Who ever made claims that people were lying?

        I don’t think the 9-11 hijackers were lying about their belief either. But ‘not lying’ doesn’t mean what you are saying is 100% factual and accurate.

      2. Simple? Yes, of course. Is it the best course of action? Apparently not, or God would be doing it.

        You’re having faith in countless things now as you type that. Everyone has faith. Some just put it in things where it doesn’t really belong.

        Plenty of people try to claim the authors of the Bible were lying or creating mythology. The problem with that claim is this: men do not die for what they know to be a hoax. Sure, people die willingly for all sorts of claims. But not people in a position to know for a fact whether those claims are true (like the apostles were)… unless of course they are true. If the apostles weren’t lying, then that means they genuinely believed they saw the risen Christ and ate fish with Him. That’s very difficult to explain away. Impossible, actually.

      3. “You’re having faith in countless things now as you type that. Everyone has faith. Some just put it in things where it doesn’t really belong.”

        No, I actually don’t. Unless we disagree on the definition of the word ‘faith’, I have ‘faith’ in absolutely nothing, as I understand the word defined by the religious.

        “But not people in a position to know for a fact whether those claims are true (like the apostles were)… unless of course they are true.”

        You jumped to the completely wrong conclusion.

        People will not die for facts unless they believe something is true. Belief doesn’t mean it is true. Just that they think it is true.

        This is, of course, assuming anyone was killed specifically for beliefs, or were even given the option of recanting before being killed.

        “If the apostles weren’t lying, then that means they genuinely believed they saw the risen Christ and ate fish with Him. That’s very difficult to explain away.”

        It’s easy to explain away, but one not need to do it, because it hasn’t been proven. A story that SAYS these apostles had this experience is not the same as the apostles saying it. It’s like saying “my friend Barry was abducted by aliens, he told me and completely believed it, and would even die for that belief if he had to.” That’s great…can I talk to Barry? Can I read something that has been confirmed without a doubt to have been written by Barry?

        Also…you think it’s impossible to explain away a bunch of people being wrong? And the only possible answer, assuming the written account is anywhere close to being true, is that a guy rose from the dead? Really? There’s no other way it could be possibly any other thing?

        Yeah…sorry…but that’s just silly.

      4. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

        (1 Corinthians 1:22-25 ESV)

        Ancient history works like this: it is assumed to be a reliable account unless there is some overriding reason to say it isn’t. Your antisupernaturalistic bias doesn’t count as a valid reason; if God exists, and there’s great evidence for that, then it’s not impossible or even improbable that He would raise His son from the dead. These men are verified by the accounts of history to have died for their claims that it really happened. That’s fact. You can’t whitewash over history and pretend the martyrdom of the apostles didn’t really happen. So clearly they were preaching something that got them killed, and they didn’t recant from it. We have the accurate record of what they taught.

      5. “Your antisupernaturalistic bias doesn’t count as a valid reason”

        Sorry, but the fact that there has never been sufficient evidence to confirm any supernatural event has ever happened, there is no bias. Unless you’re complaining about a bias towards evidence.

        “You can’t whitewash over history and pretend the martyrdom of the apostles didn’t really happen. ”

        Pretend? No. Ask for specific details? Yes please.

        ” So clearly they were preaching something that got them killed, and they didn’t recant from it.”

        As an example: if someone is preaching something and is then killed by a sniper…at what point was there an opportunity to recant?

      6. The evidence I present on my website goes to show that not only have supernatural events occurred- but we can’t explain the existence of anything at all without them. God exists. Considering that fact, it’s not at all surprising that Jesus, His Son, rose from the dead.

        No one killed the apostles with a sniper rifle. The Romans would not execute someone for being a Christian unless they specifically refused to renounce Christ and worship Caesar.

        http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/christianproblem.htm

        http://thedevineevidence.com/jesus_history.html

        Martyrdom:
        http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/martyrdom.html

      7. “What He has done is give you more than enough evidence to make a well-reasoned decision to have faith in Him.”

        The only evidence we have is a self-attesting scripture, and the testimony of various believers of their emotion of belief in the claims of that scripture. This fails the minimum requirement for a “well-reasoned” decision. And faith, in any event, is said by that scripture to be the gift of God, not of ourselves, lest we boast of our ability to reason.

      8. That’s simply not accurate. We have many, many independant lines of evidence for One God, and then in addition we have strong lines of evidence for the reliability of the scriptures. Sticking your head in the sand does not make you a “free-thinker”.

        Faith is a gift of God, but it’s something we can pray for. We are not helpless. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

  3. With many many articles of evidence for a God, and for a reliable scripture, I am hopeful you will choose the best one and make it available for examination, which is precisely the opposite of the head-in-the-sand approach.

    1. That’s the aim of my website. Where my website doesn’t provide all the answers, I provide links to other resources that do.

  4. “Ancient history works like this: it is assumed to be a reliable account unless there is some overriding reason to say it isn’t.” – You may very well make that assumption, but I do not. After all, they say the word “assume” makes an ass out of u and me. At all times and places, history is written with an agenda, for those who would repeat history must control the teaching of it.

    1. If all historians had the same unwarranted disbelief in historical documents as you are displaying, we would have to throw out pretty much all of history. It’s a double standard. Any good historian knows that almost all history was written with an agenda. That doesn’t mean it’s all false. The agenda of the apostles’ history is simply this: to save your soul! So read the Bible and have faith in God!

      All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

      (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 ESV)

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