“The 10 Reasons Christianity is Wrong” Continuing Discussion

This post is for continued discussion of Trevor’s article, “The 10 Reasons Why Christianity is Wrong.”

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58 Responses to “The 10 Reasons Christianity is Wrong” Continuing Discussion

  1. HaLEY says:

    okay im a christian and i believe in god.. no matter what you have to say i still believe in god.. because i have seenand seen the things he does. ..(i dont care what you think thats the truth) no one has the right to judge you.. because one day soon you will have to stand before god and aswer for it.. because he is the only judge.. i hope you really think about things..
    god bless you
    Haley

  2. Andrew says:

    “i still believe in god.. because i have seenand seen the things he does. ..”

    You’ve seen God and seen the things God does? I find that very, very funny, and hard to believe seeing as God does NOT exist. Show me proof please.

  3. josh says:

    seriously man, im a christian myself and ive experienced God, i dont care what you think of us but leave an anser for this! how was the first ever thing made, chemicals or or whatever. there must be something, and did you ever think god made evolution and THE BIG BANG

  4. Haley says:

    i havent seen god but i have seen the miracles he has done. and Josh is right how do you answer the questions. how where you created (if you actually think you are brached off of monkey are you an idiot seriously).. i think yall should go to church and maybe that will you find some answer.
    god bless

  5. simon says:

    i completely and utterly agree with you Trevor you couldent have put it in better words, thanks for the information

  6. ed says:

    you talk about different numbers of generations but if you actually read the bible yo’ull see the two family lines are for jesuses two parents (though jesus wasnit actually josephs biological son)

  7. matt says:

    god damn it i hate christians, they ALWAYS change the new understanding of things into things god has done. like the big bang and evolution (mentioned above) thats the most logical way we got here now you loony ass christians are taking it for yourself and saying god is responsible. he’s not ok, god is nothing more then a thought, god is nothing more then an idea, god is nothing more then the word you just read.

    if you believe in the big bang and evolution thats what you believe in.

    but heres what you believe in,
    god has always been here, he pointed out his finger and the universe was created, then he made the world and us. end of story you either accept that and believe it or you don’t, you can’t go around changing anything else in the bible so why the fuck can you change the most important part (how we got here)?

    then he decided that for some reason we need this MASSIVE universe that is growing every single second just to house 1 planet of life….which even though he has complete control over he still makes us fight and kill each other…and he gave us shit like aids and cancer just for the hell of it.

  8. Sam says:

    I have one question to the Christians and really anyone else on this board. Who is the greater enemy to the fiber of the Christian faith, Islam and the Muslims who America has decided to wage its covert “war of terror” on, or the atheist and agnostics who seem to take every liberty possible to trash Jesus, Christianity and all its followers???

  9. fuzzy says:

    Thanks for the the relatively short but comprehensive examination of Christianity’s problems. I would love to hear more.

  10. fuzzy says:

    I do, however, wonder why human beings had the sadistic and/or masochistic desire to invent Christianity in the first place–after all, it teaches that human beings are naturally evil and repugnant and that, in order to “join the club” one must sacrifice their intellect and some of their natural, human instincts. I think it is also natural to want to start a sect/religion because it corroborates and glorifies the egos of those who invented it and who happen to participate in it. Everybody wants everyone else to look up to them…to join their club, everyone feels their interpretation is superior to somone else’s interpretation. It is far more difficult to consider the views of others and the possibility that one might be wrong.
    Although I was raised in the Protestant, Evangelical, Sola Scriptura form of Christian teaching, I am currently revising my beliefs. I think for truth/rationality to be achieved, one must continually be open to higher forms of reasoning…to the possibility of their own erroneous, illogical thinking. Christian teachings, I have found, seem to demonize curiosity–something that humans cannot help–if Christianity is so obviously true, why is there such fear that logic, science and dedicated study could pull one away from it? These endeavors should lead one closer to the truth, not farther from it.

  11. Sean Cox says:

    People on this site talk about how God cannot be real because of evolution and the “Big Bang Theory.” There is something like a 1 out of 1 billion chances that a planet can sustain life. I happens that ours is one of them. It is bout a 1 out of 1 billion cnahce that chromosomes and genes arrange themselves to evolve and develop into ne forms. And people say that God could not have created all things because of this. But i say, the creation is not that far as abstract of a thought than a 1 out of a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 chance of life forming on its own.

  12. Aaron Powell says:

    Sean,

    First, you’re just making those numbers up. You, nor anyone else, can say what the chances are of any of these things happening.

    But more to the point, let’s say the chances are minimal at best. How stars are there in the whole of the universe? How many planets? More than we can conceive of. So it stands to reason that, no matter how small the chances of anything happening on any particularly planet, out of all the available planets, it’s probably happened on at least one of them.

  13. tony c says:

    the chance of life evolving from the primordial soup is 1^100,000,000,000. scientifically, and mathmatically, it is considered impossible. for something to be considered possible, i must be 1^50. SO…what else could have made life?

  14. Gary says:

    The definition of Atheism… The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense.

  15. Sean Cox says:

    I did not want to throw my opinion out here because i know people will try to pick it apart by asking for facts and reason. That is my preface for what I am about to say.

    God does exist. If you believe in Him then you CAN see Him in everything. I was forced t “believe in God” when I was a chil;d by my parents and i hated going to church. Then I walked on a bike path in a woods and saw how amazing the world can be. I was fortunate to have this revelation because I was seriously about to loose my faith.

    I have experienced a miracle, too. I lost three or four tiny bolts and screws and i knew i lost it in the two mile strech of bikepath and gravel paths. The replacement parts are hard to get a hold of and i desperately needed to find the pieces. Praying seemed like the only option I had. I later found the peices in gravel and all the pieces were within five feet of eachother.

    I know that someone is goin to get on here and try to destroy my faith. But nothing can break my faith after those two experiences.

  16. jonto says:

    sam –

    its tempting to say the greater enemy is self. But in fact we can’t be an enemy to the fiber of Christianity; perhaps we can to it, but not of it- Christianity is a done deal. At least the essence is- Jesus death has won the war against sin & evil, we are just fighting the battle.

    What got me to your point was actually the original comment regarding Jesus genealogy differences from Matthew’s Gospel to Luke’s Gospel account’s.

    Thank you for raising that one Trevor.

    It is good for those (including myself) who believe the Christian message to seek the truth – afterall thats what we are encouraged to do as Christians.

    Levitical law seems one possible answer – through some quick reading from secular scholars – Mary the Mother of Jesus appears to have had no brothers – in order to preserve the family line the father of a daughter who was going to be married would adopt the husband as a son into the family aswell. Thus Heli or Eli could well have been Marys father – who adopted Joseph.

    Luke it must be understood wrote in relation to telling the Gospel to the gentiles and therefore going down the line of a ladies family tree would have been more acceptable than it would have been to Matthew’s Jewish readers.

    Of course the lineage to David is stronger coming from Mary, of whom gave birth to Jesus – thus fulfills the prophesies of the OT prophets

  17. jonto says:

    PS I may not have the right to do so – but can apologise if any comments have been made from “Christians” in this forum which have been offensive.

    Please remember guys we are called to be vessels for the Gospel not destroyers of.

  18. jonto says:

    I apologise again …ooops

    first comment should read Jesus death & resurrection has won the war against sin and evil. The fact that He rose on the third day does make a difference:-)

  19. jonto says:

    thats another thing tradition got wrong, celebrating Easter on Friday and Sunday, the whole 3 day deal. But look into it and you’ll see from Scripture that it really does work out, Sabbath or Special Sabbath.

    Just starting you on a research path… if your interested then you can do some work on it yourself.

    Quick point not to preach but regarding judgement (God’s of us) that should not be the reason we surrender our lives to Him …. we should do that out of love for Him not fear of what He will do to us if we don’t…. Obviously we shall be judged, if you believe that line (which I do) but perhaps we as Christians would be more effective if we loved more and argued agressively less/ or not at all

  20. Art Thomas says:

    Hi everyone,

    I just spent about the last hour or so pouring over the original artical and most of the discussion that followed, and I found it all really intriguing.

    The original article was well thought-out and intellectual. The author really put a lot of work into developing his argument, and I’ve got to give him credit for that. But unfortunately, it appears to me that he made the very same mistake that he accuses Christians of making: choosing a belief and then disregarding all evidence to the contrary.

    Personally, I’m not a historian or theologian, but I still base my own faith on facts that have been proven over and over again. And what history exists, I am willing to accept as reliable even if there are some questionable aspects among the accounts.

    There are also differing accounts of things that happened as recently as the Revolutionary War, but we still agree that it happened and that the colonists won! Why? Because of what exists in the present. No one will ever be able to settle a 100% accurate account of the whole war, but we can still observe the present-day effects of it.

    Christianity is the same way. We could argue the events and chronology of 2000 years ago until we’re all blue in the face, but none of us will win because none of us can prove something so distant. Truth be told, I’ve read a whole lot of books that intellectually, historically, scientifically, and anthropologically prove the case for the Bible’s historicity and authenticity; so this isn’t a cop-out. I know the evidence exists even if I can’t personally do it justice. I just prefer to look at the present-day evidence to prove the reality of God and His Holy Spirit.

    For one thing, there’s the ratio of new Christian converts to present-day martyrs. It is estimated that some 25,000 Christians are murdered every month worldwide for refusing to deny their faith. It is also estimated by many reliable sources that in the country of China alone, 25,000 people come to faith in Jesus Christ EVERY DAY! The worldwide statistics are actually 25,000 every 4 hours!

    All over the world (I believe in 52 different nations) Christianity is either illegal or heavily persecuted. Christians face severe torture, family disownment, hate crimes, imprisonment, confiscation/vandalism/destruction of property, and even death; and yet more and more people continue to become present-day followers of Christ. And these are the countries where Christianity is spreading the most and bonified miracles are happening most frequently.

    People in these nations know the risks associated with being Christians, and yet they continue to meet in secret gatherings and would rather die than deny their faith. Why? Because it’s real and they know it.

    In America, we’re largely ignorant to these statistics. The problem is that we have “freedom of religion,” which I’ve found is merely the “freedom to be religious.” In other words, most of the “Christians” in America are not Christians at all–they’re just people with a lot of beliefs based on dogma and tradition. Unfortunately, they do not have a present-day relationship with the God they profess. I think this is apparent given all the insulting comments littering this discussion made by people claiming to be Christians. Such people are not representatives of Christ and do not know Him.

    And that brings me to my second point. I believe the biggest detriment to the Christian side of this discussion is that true Christianity (as Jesus demonstrated it) is severely misrepresented in the world today. People like to rally around the ideology of the Bible, but they don’t apply its teachings to their personal lives. As a result, the most common example of a “Christian” is sadly someone who does not represent Christ at all. As a side note, I’ve found that this tends to be the most common trigger that drives many people to investigate atheism. So if you’re a Christian, take a look at your life and see if Christ is living through you. 1 John says that anyone who claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus did. And Jesus Himself taught us to prove by our actions that we have really repented from sin and turned to God.

    Thus, the second present-day evidence is a transformed life. Such people are hard to come by, but they’re out there (I’m one of them). There’s not enough room to tell the whole story here, but I was personally set free from an addiction to pornography and lust that plagued me for years. And not only that, but I’ve gone from extreme outbursts of anger (and even nervous breakdowns) to being a peacemaker. I’m not perfect, but I can honestly and humbly say that Jesus Christ lives through me supernaturally, and He can live through you just as easily.

    The last present-day evidence I’ll mention are the countless miracles that happen every day worldwide. I’ve personally been miraculously healed of more “incurable” problems than I deserve: a heart murmer, scars on my face from 2nd degree burns, chronic sinusitis, Attention Deficit Disorder, a degenerative tooth disease, tendonitis, and even a broken back to name a few. And I’ve seen many miracles too (I’m not talking about coincidences; I’m talking about things like thunderstorms parting in two at the command of a Christian in the name of Jesus).

    I could go on, but I think I should start winding things up.

    In short, I’ve come to find that atheism is a matter of beliefs, but Christianity is not. That may sound surprising to you, but consider the logic:

    To be an atheist, you must believe that there is a non-spiritual explanation for everything. There is no way to prove this because there are so many “unexplained” things happening through Christians all over the world (including Christians raising the dead in more than 50 countries over the last 25 years alone).

    To be a Christian, you start with a belief; but if you pursue it, that belief becomes solid knowledge.

    I don’t mean to sound condescending or judgmental, but atheism is like the old-world belief that the world is flat. Then came Christopher Columbus who BELIEVED the world was round. But he didn’t stop at belief–he pursued it and wound up discovering a whole new world than was expected. At that moment, belief became fact. He saw it. He walked on it. He ran the dirt through his fingers. He saw the natives.

    Then he went back to the old world and had to explain and show evidence of what he came to experience. Those who heard the news had a choice to either believe it or call it heressy. For anyone in the old world, their understanding of the Americas was sharply relegated to the realm of belief. But anyone who tested their beliefs and traveled accross the Atlantic discovered the same reality.

    Christianity is the same. You can believe me or not. You can accept the present-day evidence or deny it. You can accept the biblical accounts or deny them. But it all remains in the realm of belief until you encounter it.

    That’s why I say atheism is strictly a matter of belief–there’s nothing to encounter. Christianity, however, has a God who is to be experienced and encountered on a moment-by-moment basis. Whether you believe in Him or not is actually irrelevant. God doesn’t care if you believe in Him. He cares if you know Him.

    Are you willing to test the belief?

    I hope this doesn’t come off like a cheap way to promote my own web site, but I have so much more I could say that’s already been written there. So for the sake of shortening this post and still sharing everything, I’d like to direct you to http://www.SupernaturalTruth.com for more information on real Christianity and present-day miracles.

    Good discussion everyone!

  21. Jason Rennie says:

    “10. It is Absurd: This may seem like I am re-stating what this list sets out to show. However, this is misleading. When someone comes to us with an extravagant claim the most common reason we may discount the claim is because, to put it curtly, we find it absurd.”

    This is actually a pretty weak observation. It is little more than your subjective impression based on your own preconceptions of what is normal. Plus it is not a reason, it is little better than an assertion.

    “In other words, common sense tells us that when someone claims the absurd almost anything is more likely to be the case”

    Perhaps it is a starting point, but if it is a final reason for skepticism you are seriously failing in your epistemic duty and are just being intellectually lazy.

    “Men do not miraculously heal the sick, raise the dead, cure the blind, and rise from the grave.”

    I see you are appealing to David Hume’s argument against miracles. I’m sorry to burst your bubble on this score, but that argument is known to be fallacious (Committing the fallacy of “Begging the Question” in case that isn’t obvious). Do you normally include logical fallacies in your “Top 10” list of “reasons” ?

    “The claims of Christianity are prima facie absurd.”

    No more absurd than things you would believe without question.

    “The burden of proof is on them.”

    Up to a point this is true, but your extreme and irrational skepticism is not a problem that can be dealt with by evidence or reason, because it is prima facie irrational.

  22. Jason Rennie says:

    “5. Evil: The tried and true returns. If you are a Christian you are probably rolling your eyes because you’ve heard it time and again.”

    Actually the only reason your text caused me to roll my eyes was because of your apparent obliviousness to the good answers in this area and a further example of your intellectual vacuity.

    “If you believe in the traditional Christian conception of God you must believe that, ultimately, everything is His fault.”

    That doesn’t quite follow, but ultimately I have no problem with the idea of a Sovereign God who is capable of redeeming evil.

    But the real problem for your entire argument is that you seem unaware of the serious difficulties you have in making the case in this fashion. By trying to make a case for the problem of evil on evidential grounds as you do, you commit yourself to the idea that evil is something real that you can recognize in the world. Of course you as some variety of Naturalist (Inferred from the statements you have made coupled with your obliviousness and general tone of smug superiority) have no grounds for being able to recognize something as evil in the world. It does not and cannot be made sense of in the way you require to make the argument. Serious atheist intellectuals like Kai Nielsen and others have recognized this.

    Your evidential argument from evil requires that you be able to recognize evil as such, but seeing as evil is acknowledged generally as a deviation from the way things ought to be you need to ground this notion of “the way things ought to be”. However for the Naturalist, there can never be “the way things ought to be” beyond some mere subjective preference on your part, which is hardly something you can expect other people to recognize as authoritative.

    So I don’t think this is much of a point really.

  23. Jason Rennie says:

    “4. The Bible is Not Consistent: Many, if not most, Christians would say that the Bible is inerrant. Well, they are wrong. ”

    Perhaps we have a new winner for weakest claim offered ?

    You act like the observation that the genealogies don’t like up as would be immediately expected is a serious problem that nobody has ever noticed for 2000 years till you came along. I’d say surely you can’t be this conceited but you do mention it and seem to think it is a serious problem.

    No comment by you on various ways of approaching such an anomaly just a simple minded declaration that it proves the Bible is not inerrant. Not to mention that I suspect you don’t even understand what the term normally means. Have you even read the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy ?

    It is this sort of simple minded drivel that most frustrates me about the writings of atheists such as yourself. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you are clearly unable to do even the most basic research into the different ideas surrounding such texts ?

  24. DARKLORD says:

    Great article Trev, but don’t sell yourself short; you mention that none of your points alone can discredit christianity. You’re being too modest. Point number 10: “It is absurd”, is alone enough to clinch it for me.
    Having being raised on a diet of christianity since birth I grew to realise that it (and all religion) is the most patently ridiculous and negative thing I’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing.
    If this terribly unpleasant Yahweh character has indeed created me then he has made my brain in such a way that I find it utterly impossible to believe the outrageous claims of shoddily written man-made religious text. So if I spend an eternity burning, suffering, and having my sphincter stretched by demonic phalluses in hell, it’s Yahwehs fault. Oh, but that’s right, I forgot – he loves me …

  25. DARKLORD says:

    Josh, you say you’ve experienced God? That’s a pretty tall claim. Do you have any evidence that what you experienced was ‘God’? And by God I assume you’re talking about Yahweh. Occams razor would lead me to suspect your experience was a product of your brain. Perhaps a similar experience to what I too enounter while say, listening to music or contemplating findings from the Hubble telescope or while having sex, or watching a sunset etc etc. How about the Muslim who swears he has experienced Allah, or the Hindu who has experienced Shiva? Oh, of course they were all wrong and you are right eh?
    I find it arrogant that you would claim to have experienced God when alot of us have only ever experienced his absence, even after genuinely seeking him. What makes you Gods pet?
    And what makes you think the universe had to have a cause? How do you, with your finite, grey cranial matter, assume the universe hasn’t always existed or that our concept of causation is flawed when it comes to such matters? Even if we adopt your causation theory then your god too, must have had a cause. There’s no escaping that. The claim that ‘god’ doesn’t require a cause simply doesn’t wash going by that reasoning.
    Even if some God did create the universe, you automatically assume it was your beloved biblical Yahweh because you can’t see it any other way. It may have been some other entity not covered by any religion. What I’m saying is that god and religion, or in your case, god and christianity are two different things (though probably not in your mind). Trevors article is about why christianity is wrong, not about what god is or how the universe got here.

  26. Natas says:

    Jason,
    I’ve read all the so called best theodicies concerning the problem of evil and found them all weak at best and similar in effect to trying to extinguish a forest fire by pissing on it. If I’m oblivious to the ‘good answers in this area’ then perhaps you can direct me to a convincing example. I don’t even think it’s possible to argue against the problem of evil if we’re talking about an all loving god unless you can convince me that 2 + 2 can possibly equal 5.
    The fact remains that the problem of evil is still a devastating argument against the claim of a benevolent god. Which raises the further question of how anyone can read the bible and actually think that the deity contained within is all loving?! Yahweh is arguably the most grotesque invention in all literature and makes Satan or Hitler look like a good guy. In which case only then would I concede that the evil and intense suffering we see in the world is consistent with the hideous god of the bible.

  27. Jeremy says:

    xtianity is only taken seriously by deluded folks who are so up themselves that they are in denial of evolution, and/or are too weak and afraid to accept the overwhelmingly likely possibility that death truly is the end.
    you can all put an end to centuries of debate ‘coz it really is simple as that.
    my atheism has made me the happiest i’ve ever been in my life. i have no devil to get behind thee, and no imaginary, dictator, monster god watching my every move and promising to send me to hell if i don’t believe while telling me in the same breath that he loves me.
    im not a sinner and i don’t believe in any objective good or evil. i try to be good to those around me and i don’t need an old religious book to tell me to do that.
    life is so much sweeter now i realise that this is all there is and i’d better make the most of it. maybe there’s a god but it definitely aint jeebuz. if ever there is evidence for ‘him’ then i’ll believe but not until then.
    the universe is amazing and i feel priveliged to be a part of it all and i soak up every moment unlike almost all my religious friends who sit around watching tv just killing time before ‘heaven’.
    i can hear you xtians saying “yeah but the amazing universe is evidence of god”. well if that’s the case then ‘god’ will hopefully forgive me for not buying into that unfounded assumption. the amazing universe is not evidence for god. i could just as easily say that it’s evidence for the flying spaghetti monster. an amazing universe is evidence of an amazing universe and it seems uneconomical and unwarranted to say anything more until more evidence is in.
    i really feel sorry for all you xtian apologists who spend so much time straining and twisting and bending over backwards all for nothing. all coz you believe a dead jew is gonna crack through the sky one day to take you to ‘heaven’ in a little row boat.
    i agree with you darklord – point number 10 is alone enough for me too – christianity is absurd prima facie.
    i asked my catholic friend why she believes and she said coz she thinks “it may be dangerous not too”. to put it simply, she believes out of fear like. that couldn’t be more pathetic, weak and i feel sad for her. i’m so glad i don’t have to worry my way through life like that.

    peace to all.

  28. Jason Rennie says:

    “I’ve read all the so called best theodicies concerning the problem of evil and found them all weak at best and similar in effect to trying to extinguish a forest fire by pissing on it.”

    I’m sure you found that. The rest of your post indicates the shallowness of your thinking on the topic.

    “I don’t even think it’s possible to argue against the problem of evil if we’re talking about an all loving god unless you can convince me that 2 + 2 can possibly equal 5.”

    A naturalist can’t even make sense of the problem of evil in an evidential nature without abandoning their worldview as you do. And it has long been conceded by philosophers that the old logical version of the argument doesn’t have legs.

    “The fact remains that the problem of evil is still a devastating argument against the claim of a benevolent god.”

    I don’t think so. You are probably laboring under a collection of false assumptions about God’s aims.

    “Which raises the further question of how anyone can read the bible and actually think that the deity contained within is all loving?! ”

    You read it in context and understand it instead of approaching it like it was a newspaper written to you personally yesterday. Some actual background knowledge of the text generally makes for a more productive reading experience. But that takes time and study and effort so many intellectually lazy types skimp on the hard work and go in for simplistic drivel instead.

    “Yahweh is arguably the most grotesque invention in all literature and makes Satan or Hitler look like a good guy.”

    Well I think it is obvious which camp you fall into.

  29. Jason Rennie says:

    Jeremy,

    It is with some humour that I read your post. I wonder if you appreciate the irony of what you said.

    At the outset you claim that your atheism makes you happy and free and you blather on about how good that is, then make some passing reference to “evidnece”, but I doubt you would even know what too look for.

    Yet you chastise your friend for actually believing because of the possibility that is it true and she is actually in mortal peril.

    Your kidding right ? You are the one who cares nothing for truth, instead seeking your own pleasure, while your friend is interested in truth over her own self-seeking ends.

    Well at least you are honest, if intellectually vacuous.

    Truth matters more to some people than it apparently does to you. She might be wrong but wrong or right, she cares about what is true and responding appropriately, you clearly don’t care what is true and seek simply to pursue your own ends. So be it, but there is great irony in the sort of pseudo-intellectual posing you go in for while criticizing such truth seeking behavior.

  30. Jeremy says:

    Jason, i was expecting a response like this from you, going by all your other posts.
    i’m so glad my post provided you with some humour as obviously alot of other peoples posts have as well, since you love to tell everybody how laughable they are and let everyone know they’re nowhere near as smart as you sitting behind your computer with your dictionary trying to make pretty sentences which amount to nothing but straw men so transparent that a bat could see through them, while actually providing no argument yourself. by the way, did you put the quote marks around “evidnece” to show everyone that i didn’t spell it right? because i did. and while we’re on evidence, it seems truly lame of you to say that i made a “passing reference” about it. did you expect me to go into a long winded definition of “evidence”? i could just as easily say you made passing references to ‘truth’ or ‘irony’ or ‘pleasure’ or bla bla bla….. it’s a ridiculous observation on your behalf which only comes across as a useless, negative remark.
    me? a psuedo-intellectual? wow, thanks! i’m flattered someone would call me any kind of intellectual at all since i’d never claim to be a smart guy (yahweh decided not to bless me with a great brain you see). i guess you’re a true intellectual eh? remember, nobody likes a wanker. perhaps you need to get laid more. you sound a little frustrated if you know what i mean.
    “truth seeking behaviour”? HA! perhaps it is you who are kidding! i reiterate that my friends reasoning seems weak to me as it amounts to nothing more than the pathetic pascals wager, which obviously you seem to advocate.
    so am i kidding? nope. pascals wager is a sign of weak mindedness and was blown out of the water years ago. even weaker than an “intellectually vacuos” fool like me.
    and i apologise for being happy as an atheist and enjoying life. i’ll try to be more miserable and oppress myself as a hopeless sinner a bit more often if it will make you happy. and if seeking pleasure is wrong (which it seems to be according to you) then i don’t wanna’ be right.
    according to you, truth is not important to me. point out what it is in my post that makes you say that? is it because the bible is laughable to me? and define truth while you’re at it or i might just accuse you of making some “passing reference” to it.
    you say that criticizing my friends behaviour illustrates some kind of irony? ha ha, show me how, because your ranting failed to do so. i see no irony there. and no i don’t think she thinks that way because she is seeking truth. i know her better than you and i see it all the time – she lives in fear of an imaginary monster. truth seeking? nope – fear, plain and simple. so i stick by what i say. she laughs at scientific evidence without even studying it. you call that truth seeking behaviour?
    it makes as much sense to say she fears yahweh (and i’m starting to suspect you might too, though i could be mistaken) as to say she fears the invisible pink unicorn.
    as for “blathering on” about being happy as an atheist – explain how i was “blathering” rather than resorting to ad-hominems which i admit you’re skilled at.
    i’m starting to suspect that you just may be religious. well, perhaps you can consider the possibility that one day you just might be maggot food like the rest of us. i have no problem with that, but the weaker among us obviously do. if it turns out i’m wrong and burn in hell, then the kind of ‘god’ who would punish me for thinking skeptically with the flawed grey matter i possess is not the kind of deity that deserves my respect to begin with.
    sure, respond telling me how stupid i am but i still say i agree with trevor and since this post is about why christianity is wrong, i think you need to stop attacking posters who don’t happen to share your view and start providing us with evidence for ressurections, miraculous conceptions, talking donkeys and the likes, instead of posting vacuos, (yes, perhaps it’s you being vacuos and pseudo-intellectual) attacks.

    peace.

  31. Natas says:

    “I’m sure you found that. The rest of your post indicates the shallowness of your thinking on the topic.”
    Is that so Jason? Perhaps instead of taking the easy road of making a negative remark, you could actually point out the “shallowness” of my thinking on that topic. I “found that” because like I said, I find the counter-arguments to be weak at best. And you have failed to give me an example of a good one, preffering instead to just attack me.

    “And it has long been conceded by philosophers that the old logical version of the argument doesn’t have legs.”
    I beg to differ. I suspect he majority of philosophers who think that are just theistic apologists. You make it sound as if the argument from evil is no longer valid when in reality it still keeps any christian with a pulse awake at night. At least, I know it bothers and embarasses all my christian friends when I bring it up and they start to give me the lame old, long discredited “free will” excuses that they parrot from their priest or sunday school teacher.

    “I don’t think so. You are probably laboring under a collection of false assumptions about God’s aims.”
    I’m glad you put the word “probably” in there because you are incorrect. No laboring going on here. I don’t believe in ‘god’ or ‘gods claims’. My parents, my sunday school teacher, preacher, and christianity in general has always claimed that Yahweh is all loving, all powerful, all knowing etc. Which presents big philosophical problems for christianity – hence the inescapable problem of evil (among many other problems).

    “You read it in context and understand it instead of approaching it like it was a newspaper written to you personally yesterday. Some actual background knowledge of the text generally makes for a more productive reading experience. But that takes time and study and effort so many intellectually lazy types skimp on the hard work and go in for simplistic drivel instead.”
    What a lame copout. Are you suggesting the bible needs a disclaimer or companion books to explain how I should interperet it? Perhaps a bible college course?
    Do you think that the god of the universe would create a book so ambiguos that I might accidently misinterpret it resulting in an eternity in hell? Ridicuous. Again, that would represent a grossly unjust deity unworthy of my respect and gives me reason to dismiss the bible and all faith based religious texts altogether. And what of the “intellectually lazy” or genuinely mentally challenged who read the bible and quite innocently and honestly declare it to be absurd? Is Yahweh to condemn them to hell too? How loving of him.
    Perhaps YOU are misinterpreting the Koran or the Upanishads as well.

    “Well I think it is obvious which camp you fall into.”
    What’s that supposed to mean? You would have done better to at least attempt a rebuttal to my comment but instead you could only give a smart aleck reply. I don’t blame you though; after reading the bible, noone could argue against that point. Yahweh is indeed a complete asshole.

  32. Natas says:

    Woops, I meant ‘preferring’ not ‘preffering’. Same goes for any other grammatical errors I’ve probably made. I don’t use spell checkers etc but who cares…

  33. Jason Rennie says:

    “Is that so Jason? Perhaps instead of taking the easy road of making a negative remark, you could actually point out the “shallowness” of my thinking on that topic.”

    Yes it is so. And i’m happy too do that.

    “I “found that” because like I said, I find the counter-arguments to be weak at best. And you have failed to give me an example of a good one, preffering instead to just attack me.”

    It doesn’t help that you seem unaware that the problem of evil comes in a number of different forms, so lets start there.

    There is the classic formulation of the problem of evil, called The Logical Problem of Evil, usually formulated something like,

    (1) God is omnipotent (that is, all-powerful).
    (2) God is perfectly good.
    (3) Evil exists.
    (4) Therefore an omnipotent good God does not exist.

    This argument is generally concede by philosophers to be invalid because it relies on hidden premises as Alvin Plantinga showed in his book “God, Freedom and Evil”. J.L. Mackie was the last philosopher to really push for the validity of the logical argument. But modern atheist philosophers generally concede that Plantinga was right and instead work with an argument based on the amount of evil in the world because an argument based solely on the existence of evil is known not to be able to be constructed that has premises that are all valid.
    An atheist like William Rowe, concede this difficulty and uses the evidential version of the argument instead.

    Now I don’t buy the evidental argument either, a really insightful paper by philosopher Peter Van Inwagen (Interview I did with him on the topic at http://thesciphishow.com/?p=95) called “The Magnitude, Duration and Distribution of Evil: A Theodicy” shows the problems with the evidental argument.

    But the evidental argument still has some legs, although as I noted above it creates some serious headaches for the naturalist because it requires the ability to recognise evil in the world as some objective reality, which is incompatible with a Naturalist worldview. I’m not bothered by the evidential argument because i’ve taken the time to think about it and think it really lacks legs in light of who God is and what he has done for us. Christianity is unique in some of the resources it has for dealing with the problem of evil.

    Finally there is the emotional problem of evil, but that is not an argument from evil at all, but just a natural response to its presence. If you want to go with that fine, but it is by its nature irrational.

    “I beg to differ.”

    Ok. I await your citation from a recent paper by a philosopher defending the specifically logical version of the problem.

    “I suspect he majority of philosophers who think that are just theistic apologists.”

    No I can tell the difference I assure you.

    “You make it sound as if the argument from evil is no longer valid”

    The logical version is known not to be. The evidental version might still have legs, that is an open question, and the emotional version will always be with us, but it is not an argument. Which one are you claiming is valid ?

    “At least, I know it bothers and embarasses all my christian friends when I bring it up and they start to give me the lame old, long discredited “free will” excuses that they parrot from their priest or sunday school teacher.”

    The free will defence to the specifically logical problem of evil is not discredited at all, but a more than sufficent rebutting defeater to the logical argument from evil. Please explain were Plantinga went wrong.

    “My parents, my sunday school teacher, preacher, and christianity in general has always claimed that Yahweh is all loving, all powerful, all knowing etc. Which presents big philosophical problems for christianity – hence the inescapable problem of evil (among many other problems).”

    They are correct, but you seem to be labouring under the mistaken impression that God’s plan is for people to be happy in this world. This is clearly false if you have ever actually read the bible.

    “What a lame copout.”

    Not really. I know exactly the sorts of things you have in mind when you start to talk about “How barbaric YHWH is!!”. If you lack the context to fill in the background i’m sure some actions look like this. But the problem is not the actions or the history, but your ignorance of surrounding information.

    “Are you suggesting the bible needs a disclaimer or companion books to explain how I should interperet it?”

    In many instances and in some parts yes of course it does. It is an ancient series of documents (especially the OT) written to a radically different culture to ours who had different perspectives and lived in remarkably different conditions. If you are going to advance arguments based on God’s “barbarity” then it is incumbent on you to have taken the time to do the proper background research to understand the circumstances properly. It is just intellectual laziness to have done otherwise.

    “Do you think that the god of the universe would create a book so ambiguos that I might accidently misinterpret it resulting in an eternity in hell?”

    It is not ambiguious at all, but all documents exist in a historic context that you ignore at your own peril. And besides, I don’t think there is anything accidental about your misunderstanding at all.

    “And what of the “intellectually lazy” or genuinely mentally challenged who read the bible and quite innocently and honestly declare it to be absurd?”

    I’ve yet to meet the person who “honestly” delclares the text to be absurd. Normally they have decided this ahead of time and then cherry pick examples to make their case, then refuse to consider the question any further. That is intellectual laziness on their part.

    “Perhaps YOU are misinterpreting the Koran or the Upanishads as well.”

    Perhaps I am. But I have made my bet and will live with the consequences. At least I don’t whine about how unfair it is.

    “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    That you are intellectually lazy.

    “You would have done better to at least attempt a rebuttal to my comment”

    It isn’t possible to do that, your comment offered no substance. Saying “well god is a barbaric $%&^*#$” is not an argument it is an assertion. It is rebutted by saying, “No sorry you are mistaken you don’t know what you are talking about”. If you wish to cite relevant argumentation and reasons for the claim then there would be something to rebut.

    “I don’t blame you though; after reading the bible, noone could argue against that point. Yahweh is indeed a complete asshole.”

    Again, a vague assertion. Assertions are not arguments. If you have gotten this from the text I would contend you are wrong, but without an actual reasoned argument backed up with evidence, there is nothing to go on. But seeing as you are probably like most people making these sorts of assertions I leave you with the following links to consider. They are quite long, but very detailed and quite informative.

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/gutripper.html

    You could take the intellectually lazy route and dismiss it, or take the time to learn something. The choice is yours. I can always be reached at editor@sciphijournal.com or thesciphishow@gmail.com if you have questions.

  34. Jason Rennie says:

    “did you expect me to go into a long winded definition of “evidence”?”

    No, but you had already made a long series of comments extolling the way atheism made you happy and free, while the comment about evidence you made was tacked on as an after thought. If you had led with this then I would not have commented as I did.

    “according to you, truth is not important to me. point out what it is in my post that makes you say that? ”

    You make this claim implicity when you say things like “my atheism has made me the happiest i’ve ever been in my life. i have nNietzsche o devil to get behind thee, and no imaginary, dictator, monster god watching my every move and promising to send me to hell if i don’t believe while telling me in the same breath that he loves me.”

    “well, perhaps you can consider the possibility that one day you just might be maggot food like the rest of us.”

    I have considered this. I used to believe it,I don’t think the evidence in favour of the truth of Naturalism is particularly strong and the problems get worse for it all the time.

    “if it turns out i’m wrong and burn in hell, then the kind of ‘god’ who would punish me for thinking skeptically with the flawed grey matter i possess is not the kind of deity that deserves my respect to begin with.”

    Interesting claim. Though it does require the assumption that your skepticism is rational. Yet you seem to extol the irrational virtues of atheism quite higly, the freedom to do as you wish without consequence. Now I see you haven’t gotten to the flip side of that coin yet, but no doubt you will discover it in time.

    Take the time to read some serious atheist philosophers like Camus, Sartre, Nietzsche or Schopenhauer. They understood well the double edged sword that is atheism and what it means. Nietzsche’s madman especially. Although Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus shows he understood it well too.

  35. Sarah says:

    Where does this Jason Rennie guy get off?!
    His arguments are self contradictory and all but devoid of substance, his sentences poorly constructed, his punctuation and spelling lacking AND THEN he has the nerve to tell others how intellectually inferior they are?!!!
    Yeah, like, well done Jason. You are my hero.
    You probably get up each morning to quickly check this page because you’re so worried about someone saying something that opposes you. Get a life.

    PS: Coming from a female, you sound like a total loser.

    PPS: Darklord, why haven’t you responded to Jasons nonsense yet? He’s making this too easy for you!

  36. Jason Rennie says:

    “Where does this Jason Rennie guy get off?!”

    You’d deny my right to free expression ? I can understand why you’d want to, but thankfully nobody like you runs the place.

    “His arguments are self contradictory and all but devoid of substance,”

    This would have been more cutting if you had actually included examples.

    “his punctuation and spelling lacking”

    Excuse me for spelling properly in my native Australian English instead of american english.

    “AND THEN he has the nerve to tell others how intellectually inferior they are?!!!”

    The term I used was intellectually lazy not inferior, there is a distinction. When an argument is advanced that shows a lack of knowledge of 20 year old texts on the subject, showing the argument is faulty, that speaks to someone speaking on a topic they have not researched very carefully. That is being intellectually lazy, pure and simple.

    “Yeah, like, well done Jason. You are my hero.”

    Thanks.

    “You probably get up each morning to quickly check this page because you’re so worried about someone saying something that opposes you. Get a life.”

    Not at all. I thought the argument made by Trevor was weak and offered some comments on it. Should I be censored ? I guess you’d like that. Though i’m not sure why you seem so afraid of ideas that differ from your own.

    “PS: Coming from a female, you sound like a total loser.”

    To be honest, coming from you, that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I notice you link over to talk origins, did you listen to the set of interviews I did in Darwin or Design by any chance ?

    “PPS: Darklord, why haven’t you responded to Jasons nonsense yet? He’s making this too easy for you!”

    I suspect he is doing his epistemic duty and getting caught up with the relevant reading material. If so, good for him.

  37. Jason Rennie says:

    BTW sarah, if the argument I used are “self contradictory and all but devoid of substance” why don’t you simply show were I am mistaken ?

    Why do you need to run and hide behind Darklord, if what I have written is “nonsense” that is “easy” to refute ?

    Either you can show why it is “self contradictory” and full of “nonsense” (go ahead) or else you are blowing smoke. Which is it ? My guess is that you are blowing smoke, but you are welcome to prove me wrong.

  38. Ryan J says:

    I may be a Christian, and I will accept and agree that I don’t fully understand the posts that some of you agnostics/athiests have put down, I thought it’s worth just mentioning what I think.

    For the past few months I’ve been questioning everything that exists, or what we think exists to the point where I couldn’t enjoy myself because I saw no reason for everything we did, and right now I am fairly confused with everything that is imagineable and what my imagination can accomplish.

    When I saw the beauty of our world around us I just had to believe in a reason for existance, because I kept thinking, if there was no life, what would there be? And similar questions to that effect, I even question christianity at times (why no dinosuars in the bible??)

    I probably don’t even make sense right now but it’d be happy to atleast try and answer some of the questions that the athiests fire at me, even if I may not be the smartest person or have the most vocabulary to back up whatever points I have.

    I’ve started to life my life well I’d like to think and try to show appreciattion to whoever and whatever comes down my path, again I don’t know if any of this makes sense.

    I will admit that it’s impossible to prove if there is or isn’t a god, but I’d like to believe there is, I don’t believe 100% of the bible but it is in incredible gift that we have and can lead even non-christians to live good lifes and look at the world differently, and how to treat people the way you’d like to be treated.

    Although I will try to answer any questions!

  39. Ann Marie says:

    Jason,
    As a fellow Christian I am deeply disturbed by your poor attitude and comments in a public arena. Speaking to people in this way won’t help bring anyone over to the light. The whole “intellectualy lazy” thing is becoming quite tired now and seems to be backfiring on you anyway. Sarah mentioned about you telling people how intellectualy inferior they are (she was correct) and you come back with a lame argument of pure semantics. You’re not doing our faith any favours here.
    I am also shocked almost beyond belief that you would suggest that people need more than the bible to correctly interpret the bible!!! My friend, all anyone needs is the bible!!!!!! Obviously you haven’t yet been touched by the Holy Spirit and I will pray for you. By the way she was right about your spelling mistakes “native Australian” (whatever that means) or not. Re-read your posts. Though I doubt you’d post an apology to Sarah as you seem incapable/unwilling of conceding defeat and must post back a tawdry reply no matter what anyone else posts. No wonder our faith is recieving a bad rap these days when it’s people like you out there as it’s defenders. These people are obviously searching and we need to treat them with compassion, not look down on them and continue to argue in the negative as you do constantly.
    I’m praying for you.

    Ann Marie.

  40. blackstar says:

    Jason you are a first class tosser. It’s easy to see who the ‘inetllectualy lazy’ one is here.
    Yeah go on reply. You can’t help it can you HHAAA HHA HHHAA.

    Trevor Burns, your 10 points are brilliant, well written and are a brass knuckles punch in the face to the nonsensical religion we call “Christianity”.
    Well done.

  41. Sarah says:

    “”Where does this Jason Rennie guy get off?!”
    You’d deny my right to free expression ? I can understand why you’d want to, but thankfully nobody like you runs the place.”

    STRAW MAN ALERT! Typical of Jason to create a strawman out of a simple point. How “intellectually vacuos”.

    “”his punctuation and spelling lacking”
    Excuse me for spelling properly in my native Australian English instead of american english.””

    Oh the irony. Now you’ve really stepped in it. You just helped me prove my point. Take a close look at your sentence. Spot the error yet? Who’s the fool now Jason? ***Bangs fist on desk laughing***

    “”You probably get up each morning to quickly check this page because you’re so worried about someone saying something that opposes you. Get a life.”
    Not at all. I thought the argument made by Trevor was weak and offered some comments on it. Should I be censored ? I guess you’d like that. Though i’m not sure why you seem so afraid of ideas that differ from your own.””

    STRAW MAN ALERT! You are the king of the strawman Jason, and once again, check your punctuation you “intellectualy lazy” fool. You just keep getting more entertaining. ***Falls off chair laughing***
    It’s fine to make mistakes in spelling and punctuation but when you then accuse others of “intellectual laziness” it makes YOU look the fool.

  42. Jason Rennie says:

    “As a fellow Christian I am deeply disturbed by your poor attitude and comments in a public arena. Speaking to people in this way won’t help bring anyone over to the light.”

    Letting poor argument go without challenge will do no good either.

    “Sarah mentioned about you telling people how intellectualy inferior they are (she was correct) and you come back with a lame argument of pure semantics.”

    There is no semantics involved they are different ideas. To call some one intellectually inferior is to suggest they are not as smart as you. I never claimed anything like that at all. Feel free to quote me.

    By comparison the term intellectual lazy is used to refer to people who may be quite bright but have not done the appropriate mental legwork required to construct an argument. There is a significant difference here even if you fail to see it.

    “I am also shocked almost beyond belief that you would suggest that people need more than the bible to correctly interpret the bible!!! My friend, all anyone needs is the bible!!!!!!”

    This is true to understand the Gospel and a persons need for salvation through Christ. This is not true for understanding the surrounding cultural conditions of the writers at the time they wrote and for properly understanding more obscure parts of the text. There are lots of social background information in the new and old testament that is taken for granted by the writers and puts a different flavour onto various parables and passages. The essential understanding of the Gospel is clear in the text, but much of the text assumes as background things that are foreign to an individualist western mind set. If someone is going to make an argument about what the biblical text means, especially in order to attack it, I hardly think it is unreasonable to expect them to have at least a passing familiarity with the historical background.

    “Obviously you haven’t yet been touched by the Holy Spirit and I will pray for you.”

    If you honestly believe that then I would ask you _not_ to pray for me.

    “No wonder our faith is recieving a bad rap these days when it’s people like you out there as it’s defenders.”

    Feel free to step up to the plate if I am doing such a horrible job.

    “These people are obviously searching”

    Actually they are not, you are mistaken on this score. The original article author is not interested in looking closely at whether christianity is true or not, he has dismissed it out the outset. The is not the mind of someone seeking answers, that is the mind of a dogmatist.

  43. Jason Rennie says:

    “Oh the irony. Now you’ve really stepped in it. You just helped me prove my point. Take a close look at your sentence. Spot the error yet? Who’s the fool now Jason? ***Bangs fist on desk laughing***”

    My spelling is a bit all over the place. So be it. It doesn’t really worry me. Your lack of substance by way of reply, seeking simply to attack spelling and punctuation is commonly known as an Ad Hominem attack. I’m not really worried by such “attacks to the man” because if you were able to pick apart the substance of what I wrote you would do that instead.

    “STRAW MAN ALERT!”

    I’m not sure you know what a strawman is the way you use it. I’m not misrepresenting your argument (you didn’t make one after all) in an effort to make something easier to push over. I will leave that work to Trevor. I’m offering a hypothesis about your motives.

    “You are the king of the strawman Jason”

    Before I could reasonably accused of commiting the fallacy of burning a strawman against you, you would first have to make an argument. You’ve not done so (calling instead on Darklord to come to the defence), so it isn’t possible that I would be commiting the fallacy of burning a strawman.

    “and once again, check your punctuation you “intellectualy lazy” fool. ”

    I’d much prefer it if you just over looked whatever flaws you see in my writing style and instead engaged with the actual arguments by showing how they are “self-contradictory” or “devoid of content”. Instead you pick on my grammar and spelling. I guess if that is all you have to offer so be it. I was hoping for more.

    “It’s fine to make mistakes in spelling and punctuation but when you then accuse others of “intellectual laziness” it makes YOU look the fool.”

    I’m not suggesting that anybody is stupid. But there is a lot of good answers to questions that have been thrown out, and frankly, it concerns me that people are clearly unaware of these things, while pretending the arguments offered against christianity are actually worth a bucket of warm spit. It is interesting and engaging to chat with intelligent people that are familiar with the best arguments from either side. Heck, I chatted atheism and theism this morning with author Mike Resnick for an hour and it was fascinating. I’ve talked with all sorts of interesting people on both sides of the atheism/chrsitianity question, I don’t fear strong well thought out arguments I welcome them. The problem is the sort of weak and fallacious stuff that passes for arguments is disappointing.

  44. Jason Rennie says:

    “Jason you are a first class tosser. It’s easy to see who the ‘inetllectualy lazy’ one is here.Yeah go on reply. You can’t help it can you HHAAA HHA HHHAA.”

    Could you please take the time to engage with the points I made. If they are “so awful” that they are easily shown to be wrong, you should take the opportunity to have a field day at my expense.

  45. Jason Rennie says:

    Hi Trevor, I’m not sure this works as well as you want it too.

    “Whether or not this is true, this claim has little to do with Christianity.”

    Not so fast there. An argument from a first cause is relevant because it establishes some (But not all) attributes of a creator. It is not intended to do any more than that, but it does nicely limit the range of beings that can fill the category of “creator”

    “Christianity claims that God not only created the world but also takes an active part in its management, in our moral choices, and in our fates. In other words; He cares.”

    True enough on the face of it. Though you need to be careful not to assume that christianity is identical to some of the mixture of pagan ideas that Thomas Aquinas introduced from the philosopher Aristotle in his Summa Theologicae.

    “First of all, according to centuries old Christian dogma, God is immutable. In other words He is a static, non-changing “being” that cannot create new beliefs, make inferences, or adjust desires. ”

    See you want to be a little bit careful making a stand on this idea. This conception of immutability that you are putting forward finds its roots in Aquinas’ idea of Divine Simplicity. But you could reject Thomas’ idea and still have a throughly biblical christianity. So you might not want to try to build some sort of knock down argument on a non-essential point.

    “Secondly the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent “being” having desires borders on the nonsensical. If all things are known / all that ever was, is, or will be / what would be the point of desiring anything?”

    Well it depends. Are you familar with the concept of Middle Knowledge as put forward by someone like Molina ? Clearly God makes decisions about various things, yet nowhere does this compromise his omnipotence (and if structured rightly, omniscience is a sub category of omnipotence, so I wont differentiate the two).

    “However, they also claim that he knows whether we will do so or not. So, what is the point of Him wanting anything? A God as essence is palatable. A God as being is not only ridiculous but likely impossible.”

    This objection is problematic in my opinion. There are long standing distinctions between the moral and sovereign will of God. God’s sovereign will cannot be frustrated but his moral will can and is by free willing humans as a matter of course. Such frustrations happen by God’s permission in effect. This simply, and I would contend biblically, deals with the dichotomy you present. Also, lest I be accused of “offering excuses”, this distinction brought out like that goes back at least as far as Augustine of Hippo who lived in the 4th Century.

  46. Jason Rennie says:

    “For most of Christian history the problems caused by other religions were not pressing, if they were considered at all.”

    What about the first several centuries prior to (and even for at least a hundred years after) The Council of Nicea ? Christianity was surrounded by a variety of different pagan religions.

    “In the enclosed world of medieval times / when most people would never travel more than 10 miles from their place of birth / people of non-Christian faiths seemed almost phantasms.”

    This likewise seems to be a bit erroneous to claim. Even after Nicea, Christians were well aware of various flavours of paganism around them. If they were isolated like you claim, how do you account for the regular efforts made to send missionaries out like St Patrick or St Boniface to name two notables ? Plus, the Jews had always been part of European culture during this time, why don’t they count ? Plus with the coming of Islam in the centuries after their prophets death, this idea seems to be a bit shakey. Feel free to correct me, but the church has always been aware of the unbelievers around them and parts of the church have always been making efforts to evangelise them (Look at the actions of Franciss of Assisi when he talked to the Sultan Melek-el-Kamel during the fifth crusade in Egypt).

    “But it also should force Christians (and other faiths) to make a few realizations: first, that faiths are conveyed primarily genealogically / from parents to children / as opposed to through dialectical, later-life conversion.”

    I always find this such a strange claim. It is invariably false when tested as a hypothesis among those around you. Even people raised in “christian families” usually come to some point of conversion later in life.

    And besides it is a fallacious argument anyway. How somebody comes by a belief has no bearing on its truth or falsity. Those are seperate questions. You are commiting the Genetic Fallacy in making this point.

    “This is not because Christianity is right or wrong, but because faiths carry their own momentum that is not derived from the truth or falsity of the beliefs.”

    This would count against all beliefs including your presumed atheism/agnosticism.

    “Secondly, that people of other faiths can live saintly lives of intense moral rectitude that rivals any Christian saint.”

    So you are claiming that someone can do good actions and not be a christian ? Well of course they can. This isn’t really a significant point though, a deep natural law tradition exists in both christianity and judaism that would lead us to expect this sort of thing. Though i’d be interested in seeing a list of examples of the sort of folks you have in mind.

    “And third, that people are exceptionally good at perpetuating, believing in, and dying for faiths that are manifestly false (as Christians believe).”

    This is not the argument that is made though. This is a textbook example of a strawman argument. Christians don’t (or at the very least are seriously mistaken for claiming that) claim that just because someone is willing to die for a belief that provides evidence of its truth or falsity. You are probably thinking of the observation that many of the earliest believers (those with access to certian knowledge one way or the other) were willing to die for their belief. But noting that people will mistakenly die for something they believe is true is not the argument being made there. The argument being made is that people are willing to die for something that you need to claim they would be knowingly perpetuating as a falsehood. You can try to make that argument if you wish.

    “In fact, often the claims of Christianity are hopelessly derivative. Healing and resurrecting god-men have been the objects of stories for millennia”

    This is actually false. I’m familiar with the sorts of stories you are referring too. In practice there are 3 distinct errors being made by people arguing like that, but it does require looking at the specific claims being compared. The errors are typically one of.

    1. Claiming a similarity were the original believers would not have seen one at all, normally by the abuse of language. The text book example being the “baptism” in bulls blood in mithraism and the baptism in the blood of the lamb in christianity. The rituals have nothing in common at all, but people call it a similarity. Either they are ignorant or are telling lies.

    2. Claiming a trivial similarity and pretending it is significant. A common example of this is noting that christians have a “holy meal” like communion, and some other pagan source also has one. The correct response to this is, “and so what ?”. Meal times are communal activities in all cultures and most (if not all) religious traditions have these sorts of things because it is a staple human activity. To pretend that this demonstates some sort of borrowing is just insulting to the intelligence of the people being addressed. Still such “revelations” seem to still crop up from people.

    3. Confusing deliberate and well known borrowing with some sort of elaborate conspiracy. Pointing to the celebration of Christs birthday on December 25 is a classic example of this. That date was choosen to provide christians something to do other than Saturnalia celebrations. It is akin to churches running Harvest Festivals to give the kids somewhere to go on Halloween and something to do. Whatever you think of the practice, it is hardly a real example of copying in the way required to make the argument stick.

    It is unfortunate that you are perpetuating ideas that are known to be faulty Trevor, it weakens your case.

  47. DARKLORD says:

    Jason, so I’m off doing my epistemic duty eh? Nope. Unlike you I’ve had better things to do the last few days like surf, play in my band and other natural activities that I’m sure you would deem hedonistic or immoral. Obviously you haven’t had much to do except hang around here and not make friends. I see that even your fellow cult members are upset with you now.
    You said you were going to give me a GOOD argument of refutation of the argument from evil and instead you sent me a link to the ‘gutripper’ page which I read long ago (what a waste of time that was). Is that really the best you could come up with? I told you 2+2 does not = 5.
    Like you said it’s a long article and I have better things to do (as I just mentioned) than go through piece by piece and expose it’s flaws and contradictions. So I challenge you to do a little thinking for yourself and point out succinctly what it is you find convincing about it then I can reply to you and tell you why you are wrong. Is it perhaps the part about the talking snake that impresses you?

    “”Is that so Jason? Perhaps instead of taking the easy road of making a negative remark, you could actually point out the “shallowness” of my thinking on that topic”

    Yes it is so. And i’m happy too do that.””

    Oh, how typically Christian of you to take joy in pointing out the flaws of others.

    “It doesn’t help that you seem unaware that the problem of evil comes in a number of different forms, so lets start there.”

    Here’s news for you Jason. It matters not how many “forms” (what a copout) of ‘the argument from evil’ exist and I’ll tell you why;
    You apologists can pull your dicks philosophizing forever and waffle on about types of arguments of evil (evidental ((sic)), emotional, whatever), and you seem to imply that we all, with our finite grey cranial matter, must, as you do, strain and contort in trivial philosophical manoeuvres to work a way out of the powerful ‘argument from evil’ to ensure a place in your imaginary ‘heaven’. This is demonstrably absurd; What about the majority of people of average intelligence (not to mention the mentally challenged and children) who see the argument ‘as is’ as strong enough to be overwhelmingly convincing. They then make the innocent ‘mistake’ of dismissing the bible and are consequently condemned to untold suffering, burning and torture in your imaginary ‘hell’ forever, by your ‘all loving’ Yahweh monster. All because they made the perfectly excusable, innocent ‘mistake’ of using the flawed intellect that, according to you, the Yahweh monster bestowed upon them with to begin with, to their best ability. This is madness. Christian apologists constantly seem to overlook this. Like Trevor Burns said “The tried and tested returns”. I can see that you are so insecure about your cults beliefs that you need to man this post and give empty replys to everything anyone says just so you can sleep at night. I also see that you are so emotionally attached to your cult because it gives you false comfort in the face of inevitable death, that you must resort to bending over backwards in the arena of philosophy in a futile attempt to validate your belief in your beloved dead jew man-god, but as I just explained after all your philosophizing and chin stroking you are back to square one Jason.

    “Ok. I await your citation from a recent paper by a philosopher defending the specifically logical version of the problem.”

    There is no need as I just explained above so your constant references to philosophy are redundant.
    I am versed in the philosophy of those you named except Plantinga but I get the impression he is a religious apologist and any attempt at forwarding an argument positing the existence of ‘god’ which isn’t backed by evidence can only ever be reificatory piffle at best and should be taken with a grain of salt as should all philosophy, even if it is an entertaining, interesting indulgence (which I think it is). Remember this board is about “Why Christianity Is Wrong”. Your time would be better spent getting off your back foot and coughing up evidence for ressurections, virgin births and the like. This, you cannot do. However, if you are the first person ever to offer such proof then James Randi is offering you a whole lot of money to do so and there’s probably even a Nobel Prize in it for you. So what are you waiting for?
    By the way, why must you suggest that I go and read all these philosophy books? Is not your precious man-made bible sufficient to make your point? Are you embarassed by it’s historical errors, contradictions, absurdities, failed prophecies and the fact that it smacks of archaic flawed human authorship? Ask me to point these biblical absurdities out. I dare you.

    “Finally there is the emotional problem of evil, but that is not an argument from evil at all, but just a natural response to its presence. If you want to go with that fine, but it is by its nature irrational.”

    Oh wait, but of course, claims of ressurections, virgin births and talking donkeys are rational right? You can’t have it both ways Jason.
    Anyway you cold hearted piece of pious shit, try telling what you just said to my friend who, after witnessing the human devistation in Africa while doing humanitarian work and having children die in his arms, completely lost faith in the idea of an all loving deity after being a staunch member of the Christian cult all his life. Oh, but don’t tell me, now he will surely burn in your imaginary ‘hell’ right? You Christians are repugnant.

    “They are correct, but you seem to be labouring under the mistaken impression that God’s plan is for people to be happy in this world. This is clearly false if you have ever actually read the bible.”

    You just don’t get it do you. Which part of “I don’t believe in Yahweh” do you not understand? I don’t believe in the Yahweh monster so I am not labouring under anything except your asinine dribble. Your statement is redundant. Furthermore, it is YOU who is labouring under the impression that the bible is anything more than a bronze age fabrication full of twaddle, let alone a divinely inspired work.

    “Not really. I know exactly the sorts of things you have in mind when you start to talk about “How barbaric YHWH is!!”. If you lack the context to fill in the background i’m sure some actions look like this. But the problem is not the actions or the history, but your ignorance of surrounding information.”

    You are arguing my point for me again. Another lame copout. You just said it yourself; “i’m (sic) sure some actions look like this”. My friend, ALOT of actions by the Yahweh monster not only “look like this” but are plainly presented as attempted historical fact. You are the one claiming the bible is not ambiguos therefore we take it as we read it. Even a cursory glance at the bible exposes the Yahweh monster as a brutal, selective, tribal god of war who only cares about jews – fuck everyone else. Squirm and wriggle all you like but it’s a fact. Even a child can see this. A more detailed reading exposes even worse rubbish.

    “In many instances and in some parts yes of course it does.”

    So you admit it? Perhaps then you can explain why every Christian, every preacher has always claimed the opposite. You’re out on your own on this one. Not to mention it doesn’t look good for Christianity when one of their own cult members says that more than the bible is needed to understand the bible. Obviously you think that more than a thousand pages of dross is not enough to get the message across.

    “It is an ancient series of documents (especially the OT) written to a radically different culture to ours who had different perspectives and lived in remarkably different conditions.”

    So what?! Isn’t ‘God’ supposed to have written it? Thank you. That says it all. An ancient series of documents. Written by wine swilling, sunbaked, tent dwelling, scientifically unenlightened Middle Eastern towelhead ‘prophets’. Why couldn’t a supposedly all powerful deity write something to be universal across the ages? Why would he choose to be selective, writing only in an archaic style and furthermore, only directed at jews? Why so many mistranslations? Why did we have a comitte of towelheads to decide which of ‘Gods’ word be included or excluded? Why are some of ‘his’ supposed creations such as Shakespeare, far more elegant authors? It’s a big problem for modern Christianity that young people find the bible hard to accept because it is written in such a way which not only exposes it archaic style but also it’s obvious and embarassing ‘human intervention’.

    “If you are going to advance arguments based on God’s “barbarity” then it is incumbent on you to have taken the time to do the proper background research to understand the circumstances properly. It is just intellectual laziness to have done otherwise.”

    It’s clear you’re on the back foot here. Another lame copout. Again you are suggesting “background research” other than the bible. First you need to prove that the bible is true and then prove what this ‘extra research’ is and why it is needed. Remember Jason, you are the one arguing for the veracity of the bible. The burden of proof is on you. All one of normal mental capacity needs to do is pick up the bible, read it and then try to deny that Yahweh is a beast of consistent reprehensible behaviour. For you to defend ‘him’ makes you not far off from being an immoral accomplice, as well as a fool since Yahweh is a fictional creature to begin with. But whatever helps you sleep at night and helps you to overcome your fear of Yahweh and the inevitable fact that you will one day die.

    “It is not ambiguious at all, but all documents exist in a historic context that you ignore at your own peril.”

    Ignore at my own peril? Why, because I might burn in the imaginary place that exists in your mind called ‘hell’? Produce empirical evidence for ‘hell’, or at least a good argument in support of it’s probability and I might take you seriously. You sad, scared little man.

    “And besides, I don’t think there is anything accidental about your misunderstanding at all.”

    That’s an oxymoron, moron.

    “I’ve yet to meet the person who “honestly” delclares the text to be absurd”

    This is such asinine pig feed that it barely deserves a response but watching you squirm is fun so;
    It’s becoming plainly obvious that you don’t get out much. You honestly think there’s noone on this planet who “honestly” declares the bible absurd? There are millions, even billions and you know it. Even if you’ve never “met” them. Wanker.

    “Normally they have decided this ahead of time and then cherry pick examples to make their case, then refuse to consider the question any further.”

    Surely you jest. “Normally”? Nope. That’s a lame copout as well as a gross over generalization. Even just speaking for myself, as a child I found myself trying my hardest to believe because of the fear instilled in me by my parents, sunday school teacher and evil old men from the church, but by the age of five I was doubting and by the age of nine my youthful skpeticism showed me the bible was a joke. I fondly remember my church elders getting frustrated at me for asking questions. “Don’t question, just believe” they would rant redfaced. Remember Jason, the onus is not on us to prove that donkeys talked (or snakes too for that matter), or in virgin births, miracles, ressurections, demons, angels, water to wine, an earth only a few thousand years old and a plethora of extrordinary supernatural claims. The burden of proof is with YOU my friend, to prove such things. Unfortunately for you, you will always fail to do so.

    “Perhaps I am. But I have made my bet and will live with the consequences. At least I don’t whine about how unfair it is.”

    Aha! There’s the clincher right there – “bet” and it’s nothing more. The ‘consequences’? Living your whole life, most likely the only one you get, in a jew man-god dream, worshipping an evil, fictional Yahweh monster and denying hard science that overwhelmingly contradicts the demonstrably trifle beliefs of your cult. You ramble on about philosophy and lack of “evidence for naturalism”. Baa humbug! Since when did evidence matter to you? You believe in talking donkeys for fucksake! You also believe, in the ressurection. You have no evidence of that either. None, zilch, zero. Yet you’ve fallen for that hook line and sinker.

    “Saying “well god is a barbaric $%&^*#$” is not an argument it is an assertion. It is rebutted by saying, “No sorry you are mistaken you don’t know what you are talking about”.

    Incorrect. Read your bible. The Yahweh monster is a cruel unjust man made figure used to control the tribes of towelheads of that time using fear as it’s prime motivator. All politicians and religions know that fear is the most powerful tool of control. I can’t believe you are so immoral that you would defend the evil behaviour of the Yahweh monster.

    “If you wish to cite relevant argumentation and reasons for the claim then there would be something to rebut.”

    Easy. Read the bible.

    “Again, a vague assertion.”

    Nope, once again, read the bible then try to condone the Yahweh monsters evil behaviour. I reiterate, the burden of proof is on YOU, not me, because I don’t believe. It is YOU who needs to explain to me how behaviour by the Yahweh monster, which any moral being would find repulsive, is acceptable. I eagerly await your futile attempt at this. It should prove entertaining. Once you’ve done that you need to prove to me that the Yahweh monster is real. If you can’t do this (and you can’t) then don’t bother replying with your usual “intellectually vacuos” dross.

    “You could take the intellectually lazy route and dismiss it, or take the time to learn something.”

    Oh please, shut up again with the “intellectually lazy” thing. It’s getting lame real fast and your phrase book is running dry. And as another poster has pointed out, it has backfired on you.
    Now to the point; I dismiss the bible not because I’m intellectualy lazy – I dismiss it for the same reasons you dismiss Islam, Shiva, Thor, Odin, Buddah, Zeus, Ra and every other one of the thousands of man made gods throughout human history. Once you understand why you reject all other gods, you will finally understand why I reject yours too. Maybe then you can man-up, grow some hair on your puny ball bags and admit that the Yahweh monster is a figment of your imagination.

  48. DARKLORD says:

    “”But it also should force Christians (and other faiths) to make a few realizations: first, that faiths are conveyed primarily genealogically / from parents to children / as opposed to through dialectical, later-life conversion.”

    I always find this such a strange claim. It is invariably false when tested as a hypothesis among those around you. Even people raised in “christian families” usually come to some point of conversion later in life.””

    No Jason, you have been owned on that point. Trevor is right. You find it a strange claim because you’re emotionally attached to your cult and so you have been blinded by religious and emotional bias while ditching your common sense overboard. Wriggle and squirm all you like, but Trevors point is a sociological and geographical fact.
    And before you come back with your usual horseshit of “Perhaps you can provide me with evidence” for something that is already self evident, take a look around you. If you had been born in the Middle East you would most likely be Muslim. If you’d lived in say, Denmark, five centuries before your supposed jew man-god was born, then you would have most likely worshipped Thor instead. You simply need an imaginary self imposed diety in your life in order for that life to have meaning. Any alternative is not acceptable to you.

    You talk about hypothetical testing – how duplicitious of you – perhaps you’d have the balls to apply that same level of skepticism to your claims of talking donkeys? I doubt it.

    By the way, I look forward to you producing evidence for a ressurection.

  49. DARKLORD says:

    I must say Ann Marie, as a non-believer, I admire your stance when you say to Jason, a fellow Christian, that “the bible is all you need”. Of course Jason has to do what he does best; change the subject to create another diversion concerning “cultural differences” or some tripe which has nothing to do with your point, because he is unable to accept that anyone else but his pious self can offer an opinion without him having to have the last word. A sure sign of insecurity (and most likely male-overcompensation for a miniscule penis).
    I can see him hanging out here refreshing his page every five minutes to offer yet more tawdry replys to everyone because everyone else is wrong but him.

  50. Jason Rennie says:

    “Jason, so I’m off doing my epistemic duty eh? Nope.”

    I guess it was a vain hope as it turns out. Oh well.

    “I’m sure you would deem hedonistic or immoral.”

    I don’t know why you would say that, you’ve never met me and I spent several years playing a band. While ago now, don’t have the time for it anymore.

    “Is that really the best you could come up with?”

    No which was why I linked it at the end. I pointed earlier to the paper by Van Inwagen and Plantingas demolition of the logical form of the argument.

    “Is it perhaps the part about the talking snake that impresses you?”

    For someone who was touted as big and scary, you really are a bit of a light weight. I was hoping for more.

    “Oh, how typically Christian of you to take joy in pointing out the flaws of others.”

    Umm … I was asked to explain the argument to someone. But hey, I guess if this is the best you can do.

    “Here’s news for you Jason. It matters not how many “forms””

    Actually it is critical because the different forms seeks to show different things. Though it doesn’t fill me with confidence that you dismiss these important distinctions that are essential to critical and careful thinking about the issue. Maybe that is were I am going wrong ?

    “What about the majority of people of average intelligence (not to mention the mentally challenged and children) who see the argument ‘as is’ as strong enough to be overwhelmingly convincing.”

    Typically they haven’t thought carefully about it.

    “They then make the innocent ‘mistake’ of dismissing the bible and are consequently condemned to untold suffering, burning and torture in your imaginary ‘hell’ forever, by your ‘all loving’ Yahweh monster.”

    Oh grow up. I’m sure this penis waving impresses all the girls around here but I see through it.

    “All because they made the perfectly excusable, innocent ‘mistake’ of using the flawed intellect that, according to you, the Yahweh monster bestowed upon them with to begin with, to their best ability. This is madness.”

    This is a strawman. It assumes facts not in evidence.

    “I can see that you are so insecure about your cults beliefs that you need to man this post and give empty replys to everything anyone says just so you can sleep at night.”

    Not really. It sends me an email when someone responds and I write an answer as I have time. I’m not insecure and frankly your sort of “challenge” increases my confidence in the truth of christianity because if this is the best you have to offer.

    “There is no need as I just explained above so your constant references to philosophy are redundant.”

    Well if careful critical thinking is redundant then sure. I think such things are valuable and important, clearly you don’t, so be it.

    “I am versed in the philosophy of those you named except Plantinga”

    Can’t say i’m surprised that you are not read up on one of the most famous philosophers in the world.

    “Remember this board is about “Why Christianity Is Wrong”. Your time would be better spent getting off your back foot and coughing up evidence for ressurections, virgin births and the like.”

    Why, it isn’t like you are interested in careful thinking, you said as much above.

    “So what are you waiting for?”

    I don’t think you actually understand the criteria of Randi’s challenge.

    “By the way, why must you suggest that I go and read all these philosophy books?”

    Because you might learn something ?

    “Are you embarassed by it’s historical errors, contradictions, absurdities, failed prophecies and the fact that it smacks of archaic flawed human authorship?”

    Given that everytime i’m “confronted” with such things they problem is with the person making the claims lack of understanding i’m not generally bothered at all no.

    “Ask me to point these biblical absurdities out. I dare you.”

    Why would I waste my time, you admit to not caring about careful thinking and important distinctions, and no doubt you think it is reasonable to treat the text like a newspaper that was written yesterday. You are welcome to point to any problems you like that would be problems based on the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.

    “Oh wait, but of course, claims of ressurections, virgin births and talking donkeys are rational right? You can’t have it both ways Jason.”

    I’m really disappointed in your read comprehension Darklord, I had such hopes from the way Sarah talked you up (perhaps that was my first mistake ?). The emotional argument from evil is not a rational argument based on premises but an emotional reaction to the problem of suffering. It is irrational for this reason.

    “You just don’t get it do you. Which part of “I don’t believe in Yahweh” do you not understand?”

    What I don’t understand is that you seem to fail to comprehend that to make the argument you want to make you need to assume at the outset the truth of at least a reasonable number of aspects of the christian worldview. I know, it is that careful thinking and disctinction thing that you don’t seem to like, but you see it is actually important.

    “Furthermore, it is YOU who is labouring under the impression that the bible is anything more than a bronze age fabrication full of twaddle, let alone a divinely inspired work.”

    Try reading people up to date people on the topic not using sources from last century.

    “You are arguing my point for me again. Another lame copout.”

    I’m a bit concerned that you think examining an argument is a “lame copout”.

    “You are the one claiming the bible is not ambiguos therefore we take it as we read it.”

    It isn’t ambiguious, but you need to read it in context and read it as a whole. Cherry picking bits and ignoring the wider context is just stupid.

    “Perhaps then you can explain why every Christian, every preacher has always claimed the opposite.”

    Every christian, every preacher ? I don’t know a single christian personally that would say that you can ignore background information for a detailed understanding of the text. Which was my claim.

    “You’re out on your own on this one.”

    Not even slightly.

    “So what?!”

    So everything. Documents are written to people at particular times. See this is were background and understanding are useful for properly understanding the text.

    “Why couldn’t a supposedly all powerful deity write something to be universal across the ages?”

    He did for the essential message. But I doubt you’ve thought carefully enough about what doing as you demand would actually entail. But I know, careful thinking is required so you wont be interested.

    “It’s clear you’re on the back foot here.”

    Not even a little. It is clearer you don’t even realise you are out of your depth on this point. But thats ok, that is the typical reaction to people in your circumstance.

    “First you need to prove that the bible is true and then prove what this ‘extra research’ is and why it is needed.”

    Umm … your argument requires your understanding of this at the outset. It is assumed background knowledge, or else your argument is so much urinating into the wind.

    “All one of normal mental capacity needs to do is pick up the bible, read it and then try to deny that Yahweh is a beast of consistent reprehensible behaviour.”

    You can do that if you like, but it is a pretty childish approach. I’m sure it works to make you feel smart, but I was interested in talking to someone who made an effort to understand the text properly.

    “Ignore at my own peril? Why, because I might burn in the imaginary place that exists in your mind called ‘hell’?”

    No, because you will look foolish in front of your peers if yo ignore the context of the document. Or perhaps you will not, but I think that says more about you and your peers than the importance of context.

    “You sad, scared little man.”

    You keep throwing barbs in like that. I’m not sure why. What drives you to be so commited to the idea that I must be afraid and “scared to face reality” like you do ? It seems like you have some need to reassure yourself. I’ve read many of the worthwhile atheists and I don’t find their arguments very compelling. That is why I abandoned atheism long ago.

    “That’s an oxymoron, moron.”

    Not at all. It is possible to be willfully ignorant. Your dismissal of careful thinking is a typical case of such behavior. And what is with the name calling ? Its ok, it doens’t bother me, if it makes you feel comfortable i’ll just continue to ignore it.

    “It’s becoming plainly obvious that you don’t get out much. You honestly think there’s noone on this planet who “honestly” declares the bible absurd? There are millions, even billions and you know it. Even if you’ve never “met” them. Wanker.”

    Again, name calling. I think you have a real insecurity issue here. You don’t honestly declare it absurd, you admit to not caring to think carefully enough about it. But abandoning your epistemic duty like that is not honest.

    “Surely you jest.”

    Not at all. You are a text book case of such behavior. You don’t care about careful thinking and thrash around cluelessly as a result.

    “Even just speaking for myself, as a child I found myself trying my hardest to believe because of the fear instilled in me by my parents, sunday school teacher and evil old men from the church”

    Really, I was raised to think carefully about things. You know you can still get past this blind unthinking rejection of careful thinking that you have.

    “The burden of proof is with YOU my friend, to prove such things. Unfortunately for you, you will always fail to do so.”

    Well since I was discussing the problem of evil, of course I wasn’t considering the rest. It is called remaining on topic.

    “Aha! There’s the clincher right there – “bet” and it’s nothing more. ”

    How are you doing anything differently ? You have made a decision and chosen a course of action. That is called “placing a wager” Darklord.

    “Since when did evidence matter to you? You believe in talking donkeys for fucksake! You also believe, in the ressurection. You have no evidence of that either. None, zilch, zero. Yet you’ve fallen for that hook line and sinker.”

    Actually I think the evidence for it is quite strong, but it requires careful thinking to appreciate it properly, something you don’t think it is important/

    “Incorrect. Read your bible.”

    I have. It is perfectly correct to answer an assertion with another assertion. That is rhetoric 101.

    “Easy. Read the bible.”

    See this is a vague assertion. Take one specific case if you insist. Although if you don’t care about careful thinking I don’t really see the point.

    “Oh please, shut up again with the “intellectually lazy” thing. ”

    Stop doing it and I will. I call a spade a spade.

    “Once you understand why you reject all other gods, you will finally understand why I reject yours too.”

    I doubt that somehow. Your rejection of all gods would seem to not be based in anything rational so it would be difficult to understand it.

    “Maybe then you can man-up, grow some hair on your puny ball bags and admit that the Yahweh monster is a figment of your imagination.”

    You remind me of a young atheist I used to know. Must have been 15 at the time, spouted off like you do now. I grew up though and learned to think carefully about things again.

  51. Jason Rennie says:

    “You find it a strange claim because you’re emotionally attached to your cult and so you have been blinded by religious and emotional bias while ditching your common sense overboard. Wriggle and squirm all you like, but Trevors point is a sociological and geographical fact.”

    Except it is at best a fairly vague generalisation. As I said, i’ve met many christians over the years and next to none of them fit the stereotype you want to put forward. Even those raised as christians have come to a point of decision. And besides, there are lots of people that convert from one faith to another everyday. And besides the entire argument is built on a known logical fallacy. I’m not overly bothered to be “owned” by an argument that is known to be fallacious.

    “You simply need an imaginary self imposed diety in your life in order for that life to have meaning. Any alternative is not acceptable to you.”

    Given you don’t know me, i’m not sure how you could know this.

    “You talk about hypothetical testing – how duplicitious of you – perhaps you’d have the balls to apply that same level of skepticism to your claims of talking donkeys? I doubt it.”

    Alright if you like. What reason do you have for thinking the event didn’t happen ? Now it can’t be for the old Humean argument against miracles, that is known to be fallacious. So what have you got ? Some reason beyond, “It doesn’t fit my experience”. Lots of things don’t fit your experience that you would still think are true.

    “By the way, I look forward to you producing evidence for a ressurection.”

    It is the only plausible explanation that accounts for all of the events surrounding some event that happened in 33AD that led to, the founding of the church, the story itself, the writing of the gospel, and other events at the time. That is the argument in a nut shell. But it requires careful examination of the alternatives to see how they stack up, so I doubt it would be of interest to you.

  52. Jason Rennie says:

    Sarah, i’m sorry to say I found Darklord pretty disappointing.

    Is this really the best that can be come up with ? Endless Ad Hom attacks with little actual substance to them ?

    If you ever wish to talk further I can be reached at thesciphishow@gmail.com. You would probably do well not to emulate Darklords rejection of careful thinking. It really is important to consider things carefully.

  53. Jason Rennie says:

    “Who is the greater enemy to the fiber of the Christian faith, Islam and the Muslims who America has decided to wage its covert “war of terror” on, or the atheist and agnostics who seem to take every liberty possible to trash Jesus, Christianity and all its followers???”

    Hi Sam,

    That is a really interesting question. All things considered I suspect Islam is the greater threat, it has a long history of not playing well with others. Atheism on the other hand appears to be a dying intellectual movement that is finding it harder and harder to keep up. 50 – 100 years ago it was a force to be reckoned with, but it is just degenerating more and more into shrill screeching from people that ought to know better.

  54. Natas says:

    Darklord your post was excellent and you owned Jason on that one and your points were strong as strong as Trevors. Dont even worry about Jason. His reply was weak and he only answered because he feels he had to. You owned him outright and he’s offered no answers to your strong points. Well done. Did you notice he only kept saying ‘your not thinking hard enough’ but wasnt able to answer any of your points?
    Hes actually trying to say that youre not reading the bible carefully enough if you think God is doing bad behaviour which anyone can see is true that god is doing horrible things all the time. Its wiped out the idea in my mind of a loving god. How weak of him to say ‘you dont think enough’ without trying to explain like you asked him to do why he finds such evil behaviour acceptable. All he does is say to everything ‘you havent thought about it enough’ which like you said is a copout. When I read the bible about God committing such horrific atrocities it seems plain to me what that means. As if ‘thinking about it more’ will justify such immoral deeds. Ive never realised how silly the idea of a talking snake is until you mentioned it that way. Christianity has pushed that story on us so long that we got used to it. Until you mentioned it too I never realised to that god was only interested in looking after the jews and wanted to destroy everyone else. This doesnt fit with what Christians try to tell us today. It should be embarassing to them. Christianity seems even more silly to me now if thats possible.
    You and Trevor should collaborate on a continuing list of points 11 – 20.

  55. Andrew says:

    First of all, Trevor, I enjoyed the article. I actually stumbled upon it while I was searching for Aristothanes so I could find out what century he lived in, as it relates to an ongoing argument I have with a fundamentalist Christian. Though I can hardly count myself as a Christian anymore, I am at a Christian affiliated school, and part of the required classes are biblical studies, only we didn’t study bible verses and such, we studied the history of the bible. Over the course of the class, I found more reasons to be skeptical about the background that I was raised in, and learned, in a biblical studies class of all places, about many of the arguments you put forward. The arguments about early Christians expecting Jesus to return soon, and everything you put in arguments 1,2, and 4 plus more were things that were either mentioned, or that I discovered in this class about Christianity. Another interesting argument (I don’t know if this has been covered or not in earlier posts) relates to the formation of the bible. If you asked Christians where the bible came from and when it was written, many or most will usually have a reference to “from God” in their answer. What most people don’t realize is that what we today call the New Testament wasn’t “set in stone” until the Council of Trent in 1546, where the 27 books of the canon were determined to be the official canon. The earliest known time that anybody even postulated our current collection of books for the new testament was Athanasius in his 367 Easter letter, over 300 years after Jesus’ death, and there was still not a definitive list of the books deemed canonical…

  56. I’ve taken a sabbatical from responding to these questions over the course of Xmas break. Reading back over them, some are estimable and some are simple bullshit.

    Jason Rennie is a particularly interesting character. His attacks on my, and others, smugness seem to be a primary arrow in his quiver. Such volleys do not penetrate except on he who looses the arrow.

    His attack on the problem of evil is interesting if somewhat misleading. First of all, he is right; I don’t believe there is a problem of evil because I don’t believe in evil in any metaphysically palpable way. I am not saying there is a problem of evil, I am saying that, for Christians, evil is a problem.

    This is an example of “arguing within the system.” In other words, the evidence of evil is a problem within your system. The system must either incorporate the evidence into its fold or the system must be abandoned.

    A simple point, Jason, but one that you missed.

    More later.

    Trevor

  57. Jason Rennie says:

    “His attack on the problem of evil is interesting if somewhat misleading.”

    Not at all. Your attack was misguided because it failed to address the substantial body of work that shows the form you are trying to deploy (The Logical Argument from Evil) is not a sound argument. As I mentioned the evidential argument from Evil requires that you be able to determine that evil exists. That is a serious problem if you deny that existence of such things. How can you measure something you claim cannot exist ?

    The logical version does not have this problem as you note, but the evidential version does.

    Why should anybody take seriously a claim from you like, “This act of evil is so heinous that is cannot possibly be compatible with the existence of a supposedly loving God”.

    It will work while you try to claim _all_ evil is a problem, but if that is the version of the argument from evil you wish to deploy can you at least reformulate the argument so that it is actually a sound logical argument. The classic for is not.

    “This is an example of “arguing within the system.” In other words, the evidence of evil is a problem within your system. The system must either incorporate the evidence into its fold or the system must be abandoned.”

    Of course I understand this. While you advance the logical argument from evil this is the case. This is obviously not the case for the evidential version of the argument from evil though because that requires that you be able to recognize evil in the world and make determinations of the level of “evilness” present in an act, to judge some acts as worse than others. This you claim you cannot do. But if you cannot do this, then you cannot present an argument that requires you to do something that you claim is impossible.

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