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It Takes More Than False Facts To Rattle Christianity’s Confidence

Posted on Jun 22, 2014 by Tom Gilson

A few weeks ago Harry H. McCall posted this challenge on John Loftus’s blog:

Explanations for Luke Breuer and David Marshall (or Any Christian Apologist) to Answer:

A. Apart from myth and superstition, please name at least one scientific discovery the Bible has given humanity.

B. Please explain how theology is a valid approach to logic, especially in making the world a better place.

C. Based on medieval monasteries, please explain why books in these libraries were organized by monks based on truth and knowledge of the time and why in our scientific age, this order is totally reversed: 1. The Bible 2. Theology 3. Philosophy 4. Medicine Is now: 1. Medicine 2. Philosophy 3. Theology 4. The Bible

D. Please explain how any theology that justifies “C” above can ever be taken seriously.

E. Please explain why human knowledge is condemned in Genesis 3 with humanity eternally punished, yet the very same knowledge (gained by eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge) now must be used by Christian apologists to defend the very God who has cursed humanity forever.

F. Please explain how the Bible is any different from the mythological world of other false religions or why the Bible can’t objectively face itself in the historical religious mirror without denying reality.

G. Please explain why the Bible (The Word of God), which reveals absolute truth must be constantly defended especially in societies (such as the United States and modern Europe) that have freedom from religion.

H. Please explain why God, outside of the Bible, is seen functioning only though subjective interpretations and why the words faith, theology, or God are NOT found in Black’s Law Dictionary and why such words so vital to theology and doctrine as constantly argued by apologist would never hold up in a modern court of law.

I. Please explain why no other field of objective inquiry is fixed on unproven dogma for 2,000 plus years, especially dogmatic religious faith that continually fails to provide advancement in stopping human suffering.

J. Please explained why a self professed ancient work known to Christianity as the Old Testament claiming to record at least 4,000 years of world history directed by God vanishes into thin air before 200 BCE.

K. Please explain why, apart from the New Testament’s Gospels, a Historical Jesus fails to have left any mark in Roman Palestine apart from the dubious comment of Josephus.

L. Please tell us, apart from theology, how you KNOW the Bible is objectively true.

M. Based on the above answers, please explain why any future apologetic objections should be taken with little more than a grain of salt.

Easy.

A. Please explain why the lack of any scientific discovery counts against the validity of any field other than science.

B. Theology is not an approach to logic, and no one said it was. Christianity, however, has made the world a better place in thousands of ways. Want evidence? See how wide a radius you need to travel from your home before you find a hospital with a religion-related term in its name. Turn on the radio to a classical station and see how long you listen before you hear something by Bach or any of the other strong theists. I could go on, but there are more questions to answer.

C. The reason the order is reversed is because people like you are not convinced the Bible is true. (Is that so hard?)

D. If you think C is hard to justify, then you provide evidence that the people reversing the order were not fully rational.

E. What’s to explain? Human knowledge was not condemned in Genesis 3.

F. I’ve covered this more than once before. I could give you more links if you read those and return to ask for them. (The second half of F. is rhetorically equivalent to, “Please explain why I’m quite sure the Bible is wrong,” and I’d be glad to let you supply your own answer.)

G. Some people think the Bible is wrong.

H. It’s seen operating through subjective interpretations because that’s what interpretations are. Now, are you telling us you’re taking a postmodernist, post-constructionist stance here, that “subjective” means “hey, it’s only true for you”? Or are you telling us that “subjective” means “not true at all”? Good luck with that. As for Black’s Law Dictionary, it doesn’t include “Big Bang” or “galaxy” (except for the Samsung version), either. It’s about legal terms.

I. Please explain how you could have missed 2,000 years of history during which Christians have ameliorated, cared for, and often stopped human suffering.

J. Please explain what on earth you mean by that! (If you’re wondering where the manuscripts went, I’m told that rabbinic tradition on copying manuscripts was so unbelievably meticulous that every copy was judged legitimately to be equivalent to the original, except on better, newer parchment or papyrus and with newer ink, and thus more trustworthy; so the originals were respectfully destroyed.)

K. Please explain how you could be so blind as to think that Jesus left no mark in history.

L. Please tell me how I’m supposed to answer a theological question apart from theology. Could you tell me apart from science how you know the speed of light?

M. Based on your objections A through L, your question in M is more than a little bit ironic.

Conclusion:

Please explain where you got all your many false facts from, and why you or your host John Loftus think think they pose any problem to Christianity.

66 Responses to “ It Takes More Than False Facts To Rattle Christianity’s Confidence ”

  1. BillT says:

    Excellent Tom. I couldn’t have done better myself. No really, I couldn’t have.

  2. John Moore says:

    Maybe just say “Falsehoods” in the headline instead of the possibly confusing “False Facts.” Snarky atheists might jump on that and make fun of you like that Stephen Colbert guy, which wouldn’t be conducive to the discussion.

  3. Rob says:

    Now that the new atheist dust has settled, all we are left with is tired old shallow boring “there is no God and I hate him” arguments. And these guys think they have the intellectual high ground.

    That said, it is time for Christians to rise up and re-take the intellectual high ground. Let’s encourage each other to pick up the baton left by the numerous Christian founders and intellectual giants of modern science. I finished my science PhD at around 40 years old and would encourage many others to do likewise.

  4. Tom Gilson says:

    John Moore, if snarky atheists did that I would accuse them of a poor sense of humor and ignore any further complaints.

  5. Patrick Reynolds says:

    A few weeks ago Harry H. McCall posted this challenge on John Loftus’s blog:

    According to the website the date Harry H. McCall posted his questions was on 06/20/2014 which is only 2 days, not several weeks, before you posted this response to it.

  6. Tom Gilson says:

    Thanks for pointing that out. I read it wrong.

  7. Patrick Reynolds says:

    Rob, #3, I have read many of the atheists books out there as well as visited their websites but I have yet to find any atheist who said There is no God and I hate Him. Perhaps you can cite an example or two for me.

    When you say That said, it is time for Christians to rise up and re-take the intellectual high ground. which Christians are you talking about here? Egyptian Coptic? Greek Orthodox? Baptists? Appalachian snake handlers? Mormons? Seventh Day Adventists? Jehovah’s Witnesses? British Anglican? Catholics? Methodists? Lutherans? Liberal-leaning evolution supporters or Conservative evolution-deniers? Charismatics? Pentecostals? Christ Apostolic Church?

  8. SteveK says:

    Patrick
    Here’s a quote that contains everything you were looking for. My summarizing comments are in brackets

    Dawkins said: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably [there exists an argument] the most unpleasant character in all fiction [that God doesn't actually exist]: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully [and I really hate this fictional character]“

  9. Patrick Reynolds says:

    Tom, I couldn’t help but notice how you avoided answering many of the questions on the list or gave answers to questions that were not being asked.

    Question A. This was not answered even though many conservative evangelicals (think Ken Hamm) think the bible is scientifically accurate.

    Question B. I’m sure if I go to numerous Muslim countries I can find Muslim hospitals with an Islamic religious-related term in its name. If I listen to their radio stations I’m sure I’ll hear Islamic-related music by devout Muslims.

    Question I. Christianity has also caused much of the suffering in the world. They advocated for slavery. Many missionaries killed, or had killed, many Native Americans who refused to convert to Christianity. Many Christians are against vaccines as they cite religious reasons for not using them. Many are also against any form of birth control to prevent pregnancies and to stop the spread of STD’s. Many Christians cite religion as the reason for not vaccinating their children against the HPV virus, for example.

    Question K. There are no records by anyone who lived at the time of Jesus recording his life or any of the many miracles that supposedly happened during his life. After his crucifixion, for example, thousands of dead people rose and walked through the streets but no one thought this was noteworthy enough to record. Not the Romans nor the Jews nor those Christians outside of the bible. K can be rephrased as why didn’t anyone at that time, friend or foe or neutral, record his life?

    Question L. I assume from your answer that there is no reason to believe that the bible is any more objectively true that the Koran as both of those are theological questions for their respective followers.

  10. Tom Gilson says:

    Patrick, the point of my answer (not a non-answer) to question A was that question A had nothing to do with the validity of Christianity. Ken Ham’s views on Genesis do not determine the validity of of Christianity, either. The “scientific accuracy” of the Bible is not of the sort that involves predictions such as were asked for in Question A.

    You said I didn’t answer Question B. I did.

    I answered Question I, too. As for the damage done by Christian missionaries, I’d be very, very surprised if you could show documentation. I’d eat my computer if you could show that Christianity hasn’t had a net positive impact on the world throughout history.

    I answered Question K. You’re just wrong about no one who lived at Jesus’ time recording his life events. Amazing. The Matthew event is your idea of an argument from silence, right? You know how much stock we’re supposed to put in that, too, right?

    I answered Question L by showing that it was a stupid question. Your interpretation of what I said demonstrates that you didn’t understand my answer.

  11. Tom Gilson says:

    Just for fun, you could try answering my answer to Questions A and L. I noticed you didn’t do that yourself.

  12. Kyle says:

    SteveK, Dawkins wrote that now-infamous passage because he thought it would get a laugh at public readings, not because he hates God.

    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5_0Fx_RICI

  13. SteveK says:

    Kyle,
    I don’t know what Dawkins’ intentions were, but if his words were supposed to be laughed at, then I suppose he’s getting that response from many people.

  14. Patrick Reynolds says:

    Steve, I hope you aren’t trying to tell me that, by adding your own words to a quote, you expect me to believe that Dawkins said something that he didn’t actually say.

    Apparently you don’t actually have a quote from an atheist saying that he both doesn’t believe in God and hates him at the same type. You should be ashamed of lying about atheists like that. Imagine how offended you would be if I attributed false statements to you.

  15. Rob says:

    Patrick, IIRC the “there is no God and I hate him” quotation was a summary statement made by a Christian apologist following his debate with Chris Hitchens. Sorry but I forget who said it.

    ***

    Tom, you need a decent WordPress theme that has threaded comments. Linear comments are confusing and old-school :-)

  16. SteveK says:

    Patrick,

    Imagine how offended you would be if I attributed false statements to you.

    I’ve been corrected (see #13 and 14) and am now laughing at the quote.

  17. Rob says:

    Patrick, nice rhetoric:

    “which Christians are you talking about here? Egyptian Coptic? Greek Orthodox? Baptists?…”

    but what is your point?

    Fact: Some of those on your list do not even claim to be Christians.

    Fact: Many “Christians” are Christian in name only.

    Fact: he reality that many will claim to be Christians but are not was discussed by Jesus 2,000 years ago — and he made it plain that there are sheep and goats, wolves in sheep clothing, wheat and tares. My sheep hear my voice…..

    But still, my question is “so what”? Are you claiming that everyone has to agree upon something before it can be true? I know lots of atheists and they are certainly NOT in agreement about many things. I guess atheism must not be true then…? Diito for science, politics, all religions… in fact I cannot think of anything important that everyone agrees on other than that the English football team and tea bags both spent about the same amount of time in the cup.

  18. Tom Gilson says:

    Rob, I could turn on threaded comments in a half-second, but the last time I tried it they were met with a chorus of protests. The top complaint was that they mess up comment numbering, which people use to refer to previous comments, including comments on other threads.

    I hate Disqus. It won’t load properly for me on any website, in any browser.

    I’m sorry you don’t think this is a decent theme. I like it well enough.

  19. Billy Squibs says:

    @ Rob # 15

    I stand to be corrected but I believe it was Doug Wilson. Perhaps in the documentary he did with Hitchens.

  20. Billy Squibs says:

    Humm… my edit didn’t save.

    I basically said in response to Rob in comment #15 it was my understanding that Wilson used it as a way of describing a certain mindset that he had encountered. (Perhaps in the documentary he did with Hitchens.) It seems to me to be a concise way of describing the anger and bitterness that some atheists express when they talk about God. Asking for a direct quote therefore misses the point.

  21. Patrick Reynolds says:

    Let’s keep in mind, shall we, that no one forced you to answer these questions. You are the one that copied the questions from Loftus’s blog and then did everything but answer them. You chose to deflect which is what many apologists seem to do when challenged. You are not going to use me to get away from answering the above questions. I have been in too many conversations with theists who would rather divert the conversation away from the original topic than answer questions they originally described as ‘easy’.

  22. SteveK says:

    I’m confident people can read what Tom wrote and decide if what Patrick said is true, or not.

  23. Tom Gilson says:

    Patrick, to point out that a question is based on false premises is not a deflection. To point out that a question is irrelevant to its own putative topic is not a deflection. To point out that a question is unanswerable because it implies a self-contradiction in its very asking is not a deflection.

    None of those are diversions, either.

    To point out that you’ve missed all this is quite similar to what I as an apologist did in True Reason.

    Now, what you’ve done here has been really quite lacking in substance. I presented an answer to each question, showing briefly what’s wrong with each one. You challenged my answer to some of them. I responded to that answer. You name-called that response; that is, you labeled it “deflection” or “diversion.”

    You could have engaged with my response, but you didn’t.

    Let me offer you another description for what you’ve done. It’s labeling without substance, yes. It’s also name-calling without argument or explanation.

    That’s a pretty good description of deflection.

    Consider yourself the pot shouting “black, black.”

    (Whether there’s any kettle around is open to dispute.)

  24. Stan says:

    For a detailed answer to the questions, see here:

    atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com, 6.24.14

  25. Sizzle says:

    “I have yet to find any atheist
    who said There is no God and I hate Him .
    Perhaps you can cite an example or two for
    me.”

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    You were saying?

  26. The ‘questions’ and your excellent answers just prove what Paul said centuries ago: Faith is a stumbling block to the learned.

    These screeds on the part of non-believers would convey the intensity of their emotion a bit better if they would have the courtesy to shout, “Checkmate!” at the conclusion.

    Us poor Christians are simply assuming they want a discussion…

    Michael R. Shannon
    Author of: Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)
    Available at: http://tinyurl.com/nv3v3rc

  27. Whoops. I think I just posted the same comment three times. My apologies.

  28. Tom Gilson says:

    Stan, I like your detailed answers. Thanks.

  29. Harry McCall says:

    I love how you play softball here and screen your comments. We don’t need to at DC. Truth needs no protection!

    Oh, as for point “K”, put this on your apologetic agenda:
    We Know From Hard Evidence Dinosaurs Existed 66 Million Years Ago Yet We Have No Objective Evidence Jesus Existed Just 2 Thousands Years Ago

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2014/04/what-we-know-from-hard-evidence.html is a case in point!

  30. Tom Gilson says:

    Harry, I love how you have trouble reading: “I don’t use CAPTCHA. In place of that, if this is your first comment here it will stay in a moderation queue until I check to make sure it isn’t spam.”

    I guarantee you that Debunking Christianity uses some method of spam protection. Most blogs use two. This is one of my two.

    I don’t screen comments, except as noted in the discussion guidelines. You have no evidence that I screen comments for purposes of “protection,” as you implied here. Do you make it your habit to make evidence-free assertions?

    I do maintain a certain standard of courtesy. That’s not hiding disagreement: there’s plenty of that here. It’s a personal choice not to run a discussion forum that descends into rudeness.

    As for my point K, I’ll respond to your bald, unsupported assertion with my own: We have plenty, plenty, plenty such evidence, so much so that in the community of serious scholarship there is no one who agrees with the Jesus Mythers.

    Actually, I’ll support that assertion after all: Read Eddy and Boyd on The Jesus Legend.

  31. Billy Squibs says:

    I think Harry offers us a good good example of someone who begins by thinking the worst of someone.

  32. Hi Tom,

    “I’d eat my computer if you could show that Christianity hasn’t had a net positive impact on the world throughout history.”

    I’m interested to know how you might quantify that? Are you referring entirely to the actions of Christians? Because how would you know that the good and bad decisions wouldn’t have been made either way? It’s like your response to Question B which suggests Bach wouldn’t have composed if he didn’t believe in the Christian God or that there wouldn’t be hospitals, or at least as many of them. How can you suggest that? How can the credit/blame be given to Christianity as opposed to the people (who are Christian) that are doing the works in question?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  33. Tom Gilson says:

    Shane, I was asking him to show it. He made an absolutely unsupportable claim.

    Nevertheless, I suggest you read Vishal Mangalwadi’s The Book That Made Your World. You’ll find ample support for the claim. Try almost anything by Rodney Stark, including The Rise of Christianity, written when he was a complete agnostic. Read David Bentley Hart. Explore where hospitals and universities were founded, and what their founders gave as the reasons. Explore the reasons the early scientists did their research. Examine who led the way, years and years ago, in the international humanitarian movement. Ask McCall for his evidence for damage done by missionaries, then read Matthew Parris. Find out the roots of modern liberal democracy. Ask someone who knows, what brought about the freedom of women in China, the ending of Suttee in India, the cessation of brutal forced abortions and female child abandonment in the ancient world. See who’s proportionately doing more for the homeless and the poor in America. See who’s sending more money overseas for humanitarian aid.

    Shall I go on? I could, you know. McCall? Where’s his evidence?

    How can the credit/blame be given to Christianity as opposed to the people (who are Christian) that are doing the works in question?

    As opposed to? What does that mean? I am a Christian and I do what I do because of my belief in Christ. The same is true for many if not most followers of Christ.

  34. Tom Gilson says:

    BTW, please read Mangalwadi. I mean, if you want to know, you’ll get a lot more from him than you will by asking questions here.

    Do you want to know? Did you mean what you wrote when you said, “Sincerely”?

  35. Hi Tom,

    “As opposed to? What does that mean? I am a Christian and I do what I do because of my belief in Christ. The same is true for many if not most followers of Christ.”

    Well this is an old trail we’ve walked down, but the suggestion you make is that you only do good works because you are a Christian/you would not do good works if you weren’t a Christian. As a former Christian, I know that is not the case. If you became an atheist tomorrow your morals would not change from what they are today.

    But your post answers my question. You quantify it on the actions of the people. You believe that without Christianity the people who did good would not have done so, and the people that did bad would have done worse. You think the world would be a darker more miserable place today without Christianity. It just seems like an unsupportable claim. I will check out that book. Thanks for the tip.

    Shane

  36. scblhrm says:

    ….says Shane from his Christianized conscience……..we can track that effect backwards through time…..

  37. scblhrm says:

    Tom,

    It’s more than just who and what paradigm shapes man’s conscience – the Christianized and so on, but it is also the Skeptic’s odd use of the word “better” and “darker”, all wholly embedded within a peculiarly Christianized conscience. Had the Skeptic been born 2000 years ago in Rome or Asia and so on all his definitions would be different. The Skeptic must always borrow – is always in debt, while the Semantics of Immutable Love housed within God’s (Ultimate Actuality’s) innate relationality and love – Trinity and Protoevangelium and so on – are found in the opening pages of Genesis, steaming forward into coherent vectors of Wholeness and of Fragmentation, Etc. – Never borrowing, never in debt. All of the Skeptic’s definitions are leaking and dripping with the Christianized paradigm found embedded in the God Who is Immutable Love, lest all his (the Skeptic’s) regressions end in the Indifferent.

  38. scblhrm says:

    Tom,

    I’ll repost as it stated “undefined” in the sender box? Sorry for the mess.

    With a brief edit as well:

    It’s more than just who and what paradigm shapes man’s conscience – the Christianized and so on housing a singular and unique 5000+ year engine within Mankind’s trajectory of late, but it is also the Skeptic’s odd use of the word “better” and “darker”, all wholly embedded within a peculiarly Christianized conscience. Had the Skeptic been born 2000 years ago in Rome or Asia and so on all his definitions would be different. The Skeptic must always borrow – is always in debt, while the Semantics of Immutable Love housed within God’s (Ultimate Actuality’s) innate relationality and love – Trinity and Protoevangelium and so on – are all found in the opening pages of Genesis, steaming forward into coherent vectors of Wholeness and of Fragmentation, Etc. – Never borrowing. Never in debt. All of the Skeptic’s definitions are leaking and dripping with the Christianized paradigm found embedded in the God Who is Immutable Love, lest all his (the Skeptic’s) regressions converge within Indifference.

  39. BillT says:

    “The Skeptic must always borrow – is always in debt,….All of the Skeptic’s definitions are leaking and dripping with the Christianized paradigm found embedded in (the) God…”

    This is what Shane completely misses. He thinks his basic beliefs are just that. Basic human beliefs. He is so imbued by the Christian paradigm and Christian ethical and moral thought he thinks that this is just the way people are. You would think it would be easy enough to get a better perspective on this just by looking at what the Islamic paradigm and its ethical and moral thought has brought. A world where women are treated like property, where girls have their genitals mutilated, where honor killings are legal, where the religion itself encourages terrorism and murder, that has developed virtually no scientific or technological advancements and where democracy is a foreign concept. It’s pretty easy to see that the difference between the two worlds and the driving force for that difference.

  40. SteveK says:

    Shane,

    …but the suggestion you make is that you only do good works because you are a Christian/you would not do good works if you weren’t a Christian.

    More accurately stated, God’s presence in the life of a Christian is the reason a Christian does good works. God is present in the life of the atheist too, but in a different way. That difference makes a difference.

    As a former Christian, I know that is not the case.

    As a person who understands what classical Christianity teaches, I know you’re wrong about what classical Christianity teaches.

    If you became an atheist tomorrow your morals would not change from what they are today.

    By definition, his morals would change – and not for the better. It is not morally good to reject God. That one change proves you are wrong.

    This is classical Christianity 101, Shane. You don’t have to accept it as true, but you cannot change centuries of clear teaching.

  41. Doug says:

    @Shane,

    You think the world would be a darker more miserable place today without Christianity. It just seems like an unsupportable claim.

    Bro’, do you even history?

  42. Sunny Day says:

    I notice that it’s still not corrected. Christians must use a different definition for words than the rest of us.

    “According to the website the date Harry H. McCall posted his questions was on 06/20/2014 which is only 2 days, not several weeks, before you posted this response to it.”

  43. Tom Gilson says:

    I acknowledged the error clearly and publicly.

    It was not a substantive mistake, so I did not feel the need to make a correction in the body of the blog post. But I didn’t hide from it, and I didn’t run from it.

    Thank you for your most charitable and gracious comment anyway.

  44. jwds says:

    Tom, as usual you show great patience in dealing with stuff that makes me just want to cuss. Honestly, that list is so full of nonsense that it makes a good primer on logical fallacies. Begging the question, complex question, red herring, begging the question again, red herring again, begging the question again, pretended precision…

    Why are the defenders of reason so bad at logic?

  45. jwds says:

    Okay, I couldn’t resist.

    A. Begging the question: is science the only way to knowledge? Or, if the answer isn’t assumed to be “yes,” then it’s just a red herring. Oh, and it could be the fallacy of “not knowing history of science.” Many historians of science, even unbelieving ones, recognize that the epistemological foundations of the scientific program were explicitly based on Judaeo-Christian views of God, man, and the universe.

    B. Complex question: are we supposed to answer about logic and validity, or about helping the human race?

    C. Pretended precision. Please give any evidence at all that this was a practice in medieval monasteries. And bad generalization: first, based on no examples, but second it is sweeping anyway, since there was no monolithic rule for organizing monastic libraries.

    D. Whatever.

    E. Fallacy of presumptive definition. What Gen. 3 is talking about is specific to its context.

    F. Congratulations! You have successfully committed the fallacy of begging the question four times in the same sentence!

    G. Red herring or begging the question.

    H. Red herring.

    I. Complex question. Are we supposed to address the issue of dogmatism, or the issue of human suffering? And, of course, begging the question twice: is the dogma unproven? Has Christianity harmed the human race?

    J. Fallacy of not knowing what you’re talking about.

    K. Begging the question. Oh, and selectively excluding evidence.

    L. Ooooh! You can capitalize the word “know”! Now I’m stumped.

    M. I’ll start taking your challenges seriously when they stop failing the quiz I would give after two weeks of logic class.

  46. Tom Gilson says:

    JWDS @44, “Why are the defenders of reason so bad at logic?”

    Good question. I can’t answer that, but I do have some thoughts about it (as you know).

  47. Aaron says:

    A. Apart from myth and superstition, please name at least one scientific discovery the Bible has given humanity.

    The Universe began to exist!!!

  48. Sophia Reed says:

    I agree that Christians need to become more intellectual about their religion so we can start to prove people wrong. In reality, the Bible does hold several historical truths that can actually be proven through scientific evidence. Often times, it is those who are against God that really do not know what they are talking about. They often get parts of the Bible and try to misrepresent the Christian faith, making it seem like there is no foundation to what we believe, when their actually is.

  49. Rob says:

    Aaron wrote: Apart from myth and superstition, please name at least one scientific discovery the Bible has given humanity.

    Reply: Okay, these are not all scientific but hey…..

    1. The Bible gave the scientists of the middle ages an epistemic basis for nature’s regularity as opposed to the idea of Greek gods playing with the laws of nature, or the Eastern idea that nature is an illusion or the atheist reality that life is ultimately meaningless.

    2. The Bible gives us a moral basis for doing science with honesty. Given that objective morality does not exist outside of God’s existence, there is no reason that atheists should do science honestly other than their personal preference. In other words if an atheist wanted to lie about his scientific results then there would be no basis for saying that he actually did wrong.

    (NOTE TO DEAF ATHEISTS — I am NOT saying that all atheists are immoral!!!!!!!!! If you think I am saying that then you can join the hordes of other atheists who need to engage with the moral argument.)

    3. The Bible gives us an objective purpose for doing science (and an objective meaning for life) rather than a socially constructed (atheistic) belief that life actually has meaning and purpose. Yes, for atheists life ultimately has no purpose and meaning.

    4. The Bible tells us how life began — science has no idea and almost certainly will never have any idea about how life began. To believe otherwise is to fool yourself with unscientific fairytales and speculation. Read some modern biology and you will see the task is damn near impossible.

    5. The Bible tells us that life came from life; science says the opposite. It is looking like the Bible was right (see #4 above).

    6. The Bible tells us we are special; atheism tells us we are highly evolved pond scum. Thus we have worth versus non-worth, or worth versus socially constructed or physiochemically driven illusions of worth.

    7. The Bible focuses on the Earth out of the whole universe; science (e.g. Sagan) say we are nothing special. Read the Privileged Planet or various other recent books that argue that we are in a VERY special place in the universe.

    I could go on but that will do for now.

  50. G. Rodrigues says:

    To point out the would-be scientific discoveries that the Bible gave to humanity is just to play the Devil’s game. The right tit-for-tat question is: what great scientific discoveries has Atheism blessed humanity with? The Gulag? Cultural Revolution?

  51. Billy Squibs says:

    Pttf! Shows what you know, Rodrigues. Atheism isn’t a religion. It’s simply lacking the belief in God(s). Atheists don’t have a holy book, a pope or prescribed doctrines to live by. If you meet 100 atheist you might get 100 different answers on a given topic. If you meet 100 Christians the bigots will probably all think the same on homosexuality and the like. (Though I’ve come to the conclusion that they don’t have a choice what with all the brainwashing and determinsm going on.) This shows an inherent weakness in Christianity – group think – which means it’s false. Moreover, when Christians can’t agree on something it shows that it’s false.

    How many planes has the lack of belief in God(s) or something flown into buildings?” I’ll tell you! None. Atheism was totally incidental to the Gulags. Soviet Communism had a lot in common with religion. Just look how Stalin was practically deified. For good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    Besides, we all know that Science is synonymous with atheism. That’s why 93% of the top scientists and 75% of philosophers are atheists. I don’t include philosophers of religion because they are most likely Christian (or theists) and therefore biased. Besides, Boghossian has tweeted that these guys shouldn’t be allowed at the kids table so we can safely ignore them.

    (Damn, parody is fun)

    As an aside, I don’t see why we should grant that science is the yardstick to measure the Bible against.

  52. Rob says:

    Billy, with due respect your thinking is pathetic.

    1. For First Amendment Purposes, Is Atheism a Religion?

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/07/for_first_amend1087481.html

    2. Your definition of atheism is false (or rather the neo atheist’s redefinition of atheism which is false).

    3. Atheists DO have doctrines to live by and they are continually trying to force the rest of us to accept them. You mention homosexuality — this is one of the liberal atheist’s doctrines that we are all supposed to believe in.

    4. Christians reject homosexuality as a group because the Bible teaches that. You wrote: “This shows an inherent weakness in Christianity – group think – which means it’s false.” So I guess you would agree that if we all agreed that atheism was true — group think — then atheism would be false.

    5. Atheism has killed millions of people and many millions more than religion ever did. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, the list goes on. Stop being a cry baby and own up to the implications of your own worldview. Your worldview teaches that life is ultimately meaningless and that we are accountable to nobody other than ourselves. Even your comments here are only chemical reactions going on inside your skin. How then can Hitler be accused of doing wrong? He cannot according to your worldview and if you disagree you are obviously very shallow in your thinking. I will post a nice piece of atheist writing in another comment below to back up my point.

    6. You science comment is vacuous. Do you have a science PhD? I do. Just saying.

  53. Rob says:

    Here is the post Billy….. this is available online and can be easily sourced.

    [To] all my Atheist friends.

    Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.

    We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it. All human achievement and plans for the future are the result of some ancient, evolved brain and accompanying chemical reactions that once served a survival purpose. Ex: I’ll marry and nurture children because my genes demand reproduction, I’ll create because creativity served a survival advantage to my ancient ape ancestors, I’ll build cities and laws because this allowed my ape grandfather time and peace to reproduce and protect his genes. My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.

    We deride the Theists for having created myths and holy books. We imagine ourselves superior. But we too imagine there are reasons to obey laws, be polite, protect the weak etc. Rubbish. We are nurturing a new religion, one where we imagine that such conventions have any basis in reality. Have they allowed life to exist? Absolutely. But who cares? Outside of my greedy little gene’s need to reproduce, there is nothing in my world that stops me from killing you and reproducing with your wife. Only the fear that I might be incarcerated and thus be deprived of the opportunity to do the same with the next guy’s wife stops me. Some of my Atheist friends have fooled themselves into acting like the general population. They live in suburban homes, drive Toyota Camrys, attend school plays. But underneath they know the truth. They are a bag of DNA whose only purpose is to make more of themselves. So be nice if you want. Be involved, have polite conversations, be a model citizen. Just be aware that while technically an Atheist, you are an inferior one. You’re just a little bit less evolved, that’s all. When you are ready to join me, let me know, I’ll be reproducing with your wife.

    I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may. At least that’s what my genes are telling me to say.

  54. BillT says:

    Rob,

    I know this isn’t your regular haunt so you may have miised the “(Damn, parody is fun)” at the end of Billy’s post. If you didn’t think of it as a .

  55. Billy Squibs says:

    I will add that there exist some misgivings about the provenance of Rob’s quote. Jim Warner Wallace (I believe it was posted on his site first) has since distanced himself a little from the comment after initially making a great deal of it.

    Still, I actually think that the quote – whether true or trick – does convey some beliefs sincerely held by folks out there. (Or perhaps it conveys (somewhat badly) the outworking of an unflinchingly naturalistic worldview.) Indeed, it was only in the last couple of days that a Judge in Australia came under heavy criticism (and I suppose he also received support) for claiming that incest is OK as long as it is practised between consensual adults using protection*. In my conversation with atheists I’ve known some of them to be of the same mind. The sexual morays of society are changing and what what was once wrong has becom right. Are the dire slippery slope warnings that traditional marriage folks were making already coming true?

    *Shane Fletcher was as example of an atheist who had no moral qualms with homosexuality (sex is just sex, right?) and yet he was aware that he couldn’t bring himself to apply the same logic to incest.

  56. Wilfred says:

    I don’t know who wrote Rob’s quote, but it reads like a hoax by William Lane Craig. Either it’s a parody of atheism, or the genuinely held beliefs of an atheist who hasn’t thought further than his jeans. ( :-) See what I did there?)

    For a slightly more well-considered take on the implications of not believing in gods, checkout out this interview of David Smalley, a prominent and hopefully more representative athiest, by John Marriott, a Christian PhD student, for his dissertation.

    Of course, I don’t need to mention on this site that atheism is neither a religion nor the lack of religion. Buddhism is a religion, and it is also atheist. An atheist, by definition, is simply someone who does not believe in any gods.

    Whichever sector of the population we are discussing, we should probably narrow down how we identify them. Check whether we want to include people like the Dalai Lama and Karen Armstrong (who considers herself Catholic but holds that “the literal existence of God is irrellevant”) before continuing.

    If we just want to rail against “The Stupid Atheists”, well, that’s on par with arguing against Ken Ham’s flavour of Christianity. It’s better to take “The Steelman” approach. Find your opponents’ strongest arguments, not their weakest, and debate those.

  57. Tom Gilson says:

    Excuse me, Wilfred, but I’m not aware of any previously written hoaxes by WLC to compare this one to. Is there one?

    An atheist, not by definition but certainly by inductive observation, seems to be someone who uses the most minimal definition of “atheist” possible. It’s so much easier to defend that way, isn’t it?

    I don’t believe in railing against atheists in general as if they were all stupid atheists. I do think that certain very prominent atheists deserve to have their irrationality brought to light.

    If you want to see an example of looking for their strongest arguments, please check out True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism.

  58. Tom Gilson says:

    Also, Wilfred, this probably isn’t readily apparent in everyone’s comments, but I try to make it explicit fairly often. When I speak of atheists, I am usually speaking of philosophical naturalist-atheists. I’m well aware there are other atheists out there, but they don’t tend to come up in conversation here. If and when I speak of other atheists I say so. Not everyone here articulates that distinction very frequently.

  59. Wilfred says:

    Hi Tom,

    No, I’m not aware of any hoaxes written by WLC. What I was trying to get at is that WLC, and I’m sure many other people, seem to believe atheists to be nihilists and amoral.

    I have not found that to be the case. As David Smalley says in that interview I linked to above better than I can I’m sure, atheists hold that the morality, meaning and purpose that theists believe are determined by God, were actually created by humans all along.

    (Some theists will agree that although we can do our best to figure out what God really wants us to do and not to do, the fact that we don’t all agree on some of the finer details indicates that it isn’t totally obvious. So while objective (in a Platonic sense) morality may exist, our own morality would be our best estimation of that unknown ideal.)

    But atheists don’t think that human-created morality, meaning and purpose are bad. Rather, that it’s liberating to be able to determine meaning and purpose for your own life, and to base your morality on compassion, even (or especially) if your compassion means not denying homosexuals the right to marry their life partners.

    Smalley also reiterates that life without a belief in one or more deities does not mean that there is no right and wrong. He is a consequentialist, so the consequences of one’s actions determine whether they are ethical or not.

    He puts it a lot better than I can. I recommend the interview; I think it might resolve quite a few misconceptions, and huff, puff, and blow away some straw men.

  60. BillT says:

    What I was trying to get at is that WLC, and I’m sure many other people, seem to believe atheists to be nihilists and amoral.

    This isn’t true either but what is true is that atheism leads to nihilism and that atheists can’t account for objective morality (not that they are amoral).

    But atheists don’t think that human-created morality, meaning and purpose are bad. Rather, that it’s liberating to be able to determine meaning and purpose for your own life…

    Unless, of course, your “meaning and purpose” come from tourturing children for yor own pleasure. Then, since atheists can’t explan why tourturing children for yor own pleasure is wrong, it’s not nearly so liberating (at least not for the children).

  61. Tom Gilson says:

    No, I’m not aware of any hoaxes written by WLC. What I was trying to get at is that WLC, and I’m sure many other people, seem to believe atheists to be nihilists and amoral.

    Source, please?

    This is a false statement. WLC believes, as do I, that atheism logically entails amorality. That’s another topic for another day. What matters now is that neither he nor I has ever even for a moment suggested that atheists are amoral. In fact, Craig’s Moral Argument absolutely and completely relies on atheists’ objective morality!

    If for some reason you’ve ever heard Craig saying he thinks atheists are nihilistic and amoral, then what you’ve heard has been something he didn’t say. If you’ve rejected something you heard there, there’s a very good chance you rejected something he didn’t say. I suggest you listen or read it again.

  62. scblhrm says:

    Wilfred,

    You’re in better company than me, but, if I may interject one thought:

    No one is amoral because no one can be amoral. Where Atheism finds necessary stasis, Theism – well – Christianity finds necessary motion. And that is the state of affairs on the grounds that Ultimate Actuality is not amoral but instead – at the end of ad infinitum where our Moral First Cause is found – is necessarily relational within the Triune God. It is impossible for the paradigm of God – of Immutable Love – to declare of any Person or of Personhood a condition of stasis or a condition of the amoral for the end of all inquiry regarding all that is the Self just is the Hard Stop there at the end of ad infinitum within Trinity, that is to say, within relationality / love. In an uncomfortably peculiar but unavoidable set of nuances we find no moral/love void of what we taste as the I/Self, just as, we find no moral/love void of what we taste as the You/Other, just as, we find no moral/love void of what we taste as the singular Us/We. In Moral/Love’s metaphysical regressions we just cannot escape this odd and perplexing yet manifest whole: Moral/Love just ends up being triune at bottom even as Moral/Love just ends up being singular at bottom. [Theists/Christians: Don't panic. We do not speak here of the Whole that is God, but of His Love, which – given Christianity – is the same as saying we speak of love period. In the metaphysical regressions of the Christian God we discover the odd fact that He is love, and the Trinity extricates necessity’s topography where nothing else can. Divine simplicity – for those of us who may hold to it – need not fear this paragraph.] In all possible worlds we find the One True God at the end of every conceivable sentence – therefore – any notion that Christianity’s paradigm somehow finds any person “amoral” or “static”, somehow void of motion within the arena we are speaking of, is based upon some non-god god model.

  63. Wilfred says:

    You are right, Tom, my mistake, WLC did not say that atheISTs are amoral, but that atheISM logically entails amorality.

    And of course it would, if by “morality” you mean one of the implications of a benevolent deity who takes an interest in human affairs.

    But not all definitions of morality are the logical consequence of a benevolent deity. e.g. Consequentialism.

    scblhrm, wow! What you wrote looks like English, except for the Latin parts, but I’m afraid if I told you I understood one sentence, I’d be exaggerating. :-D

  64. scblhrm says:

    Wilfred,

    Consequentialism is merely non-theistic and self-focused (man-centered) and therefor suffers all the fatal ends of atheism. It has the same substrates, and yields, as all other vectors which end in atheism’s I.D. (Indifference/Determinism). Man is not amoral. He can’t be. Therefore he will ever search for such – but his (Man’s) means and ends will always begin and end in Self, and unfortunately for any contingent being – for Man – the “self in privation” brings us to a “deficiency of being” (was that Thomas Aquinas?) and leaves us with Man in his fragmentation, or, if it helps, with a deficiency of what amounts to merely a third of love’s “whole”, as alluded to earlier, in Latin. :)

  65. Billy Squibs says:

    No, I’m not aware of any hoaxes written by WLC. What I was trying to get at is that WLC, and I’m sure many other people, seem to believe atheists to be nihilists and amoral.

    Can you find me a quote by WLC where he states that atheists are amoral?

  66. Melissa says:

    Wilfred,

    And of course it would, if by “morality” you mean one of the implications of a benevolent deity who takes an interest in human affairs.

    Actually the problem is that if you mean morality in the sense of a universally applicable right and wrong rather than just personal preferences then atheism entails amorality. i.e. you cannot make a intellectually justifiable judgement that anything I do is right or wrong.

    Clarification: That is not quite true. You may argue that some action of mine is wrong according to some value that I hold, you may not argue that some action is wrong according to some value that you think I should hold.

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