I'm new to debating Atheism vs Christianity. What should I have said?

So, I'm a little inexperienced in Atheist vs Christian debate, and my buddy and I had the following FB convo (I didn't really know what points to bring up). What should I have said? What would you have said?




My Buddy Writes this: -- Conservative, Christian, Believes that the bible is the literal word of God, Has moral convictions, Does not believe in evolution, Believes in a literal Heaven and Hell, and despite what many with such titles have shown understands that to be these things means that I need to love you as much as I love myself. I will never tell you that you are going to hell, but wants to be with you in heav...en. Will not tell you that you are a sinner but will freely confess to being one. Will not judge you on who you are but is not ashamed to tell you who I am. Will not hold against you having a different set of beliefs in hope that you will do the same for me. Will pray for you even if you do not believe in it. And will be your friend even if you no longer want to be mine. And will love you even if you hate me.

I respond with this: --Liberal, Atheist. Personally believes in reason and fact over myth, legend, and faith. Also has absolute respect for everyone else's beliefs and feels that what or whom and individual worships is that individuals business and no one elses. Hates to see lawmakers force their religious beliefs on those who don't share the same faith. Also feels he is a better person for having been friends with *buddy* all those years ago, and again now.

He writes: --- you do realize that using the literary method that Christianity is the most provable religion on the planet right? And that that is backed up with archeological, geological, and Social historical proofs. I have to disagree when anyone calls my religion a myth or legend as it is not and is just as provable as the fact that George Washington was our first president. You can not prove history scientifically as we cannot recreate people and events in a petri dish but by using the literary method we can prove history through writings and proofs of people and events. But thank you for being the opposing force as steel sharpens steel :D

I respond with -- Regarding Christianity being provable, you apparently know some things that I do not. I was not aware that Noah collecting two of every animal and putting them onto a boat was proven to have been done. Where did they find the Ark, anyway? I also was not aware that the ten commandments have been found, or that scientific proof had been found that Jesus not only raised someone else from the dead (Lazarus), but rose from the dead himself. Furthermore, I hadn't read anything about concrete evidence of a middle eastern shrub being endowed with the gift of intelligence and speech, coupled with spontaneous combustion centuries ago. I've also not heard about concrete evidence finally being found about the walls of the ancient city of Jericho being brought down by the sound of trumpets. These are all things that I, in my meager understanding of, and infrequent notifications of scientific discovery, do not know about, so props to you, if you've heard about these things being proven. Maybe you could post the links to the websites you got this proof from?

He says -- your arguments are smug and shallow. And as typical for atheists they come with an edge of reproach to them. I know you well enough to know that you have had more than your fair share of bad experiences with "organized religion". But hopefully you have not had those bad experiences from me. And while I am always up for a friendly argument I will not abide with ill-mannered verbosity. (now that I have used all my big words I can continue )

Again you are looking for scientific proofs of some very specific events. But your arguments over look akums razor. For instance science tells us that there was a global flood (they have found sea shells on top of the himalayas) and that it was not millions of years ago and the animals we have alive today (including us) would not have survived such a flood. But despite that scientific evidence you are asking me for a boat abandoned mountain top some 4,000+ years ago. now that would be a miracle of natural survivability.

You ask about lazurus being raised from the dead but again are overlooking the historical literary proof. It would be akin to me asking you to prove that Abraham Lincoln studied by candlelight or approved the emancipation proclimation. But because of proven literary sources we accept it as truth. But the proof of Jesus is more provable than Abraham Lincoln. But people still blindly disregard him as myth.

The city of Jericho has been found and it was destroyed rapidly. (just a note it was their voices according to the Bible that brought the walls down not the trumpets)

As for the burning bush. You are asking for scientific proof of a miraculous event. how can a baby fall out of a high rise and walk away unbruised. there are so many recorded evidences of miraculous events but you question one that was witnessed by but one person and yet discredit the source.

I have done a lot of searching and it takes more belief to believe that there is no God than to accept his excistence. I know that my own experiences would sound like fantasy and myth to those that have not personally shared in such things

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First of all, seashells on top of a mountain do not a global flood make. Your friend admits and knows that nothing in the bible is provable. Also I question this baby falling from a high rise and walking away unscathed. Is there evidence of that? Sure, unexplained things happen all the time. The difference between an atheist and a believer, is the atheist will freely admit he does not have the answers, while the believer will immediately say god is the answer. Believers need to know, not knowing makes them feel scared and unsafe. I've no idea why. BTW, I don't think you were smug at all in your responses. He was smug for calling you smug. :P You will probably never get your friend to question his faith or his bible. All you can really do is explain why you don't believe and leave it at that. Whether Jesus existed or not, whether Jericho was found or not--doesn't prove there is a god. Seashells? Ridiculous. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC364.html

Fantastic response, Eric. Thank you for that insight. Wish I'd had you on the phone when I was trying to come up with answers to his post, lol!

Couple of things:

  • The bible has NO second source ... NONE.  No corroboration, no verification ANYWHERE.  If he wants to assert otherwise, have him cite specific references (of which there are none!).  There is PLENTY of stuff written AFTERWARD which derives from biblical sources ... and the first liar doesn't have a chance.
  • Noah's flood - not enough water in the whole of the planet to sustain a worldwide flood, and arguments about subsurface water somehow being expelled to cause it are ridiculous and unfounded.
  • Exodus - never happened.  No corroboration in Egyptian records, nor any archeological evidence to support the Hebrews enslavement by Pharaoh (or anyone else).
  • No contemporaneous accounts of the Galilean carpenter.  First writings in the NT were the Pauline letters, 20 years after, which say damned little about specific events.  First gospel written roughly in 70 C.E., four decades after those putative events happened, and very likely suffering from the "telephone effect," never mind errors in transcription and translation.

As to god in general, the believers are the ones making the outrageous claim, so theirs is the responsibility for substantiating that claim, not ours.  And based on the Null Hypothesis, absence of evidence IS evidence of absence, unless and until they can prove to the contrary.

Hope this helps.

BTW, it's "Occam" or "Ockham" as it comes to the razor.

Hi, I am afraid your friend has fallen into the same trap as the majority of bible believers in that he apparently gets all of his "science" from reading other Christian books on this subject. The proofs in these are typically based on poor reasoning,fallacious argruments, and just plain, really bad science. Researchers on the subject generally agree that there was no such global flood, and there is extensive discussion on what evidence there would be for such an event should it have happened, and of which there is apparently none.Your friend simply refuses to read such things and the reason is obvious.There is absolute evidence that modern man has existed for at least 200,000 years, and we have found tools indicating we go back twice that time, yet the bible says we came on the scene a mere 6,000 years ago.Ask your friend to explain that.His statement about it taking more faith to be a none-believer than a believer is the subject of a popular Christian book (I forget the author) which is also filled with really bad scientific arguments, and which he has apparently also read.To assume that seashells on a mountaintop are proofs of a flood and not proof of tectonic plate movement simply shows his ignorance on the subject, as well as his unwillingness to investigate these matters beyond the pseudoscience of Christian writings. Please ask your friend to challenge his beliefs by reading more mainstream science writings-I suspect he will refuse to, and there the two of you be- right where you started. "There is none so blind as he who will not see"-indeed. Good luck.

maybe you could ask him to explain the archeological, geological, and Social historical proofs of the taking snake.  I don't know why theist try to prove biblical or whatever on scientific evidence, its faith!.   I believe that the Holy book of Lord of the Rings is more believe, at least we know the creator and has a better sense of a moral compass

Your first mistake was, IMO, debating the bible with him before having him prove that there is a God. If he wants to assert that the Bible is the word of God, he must first demonstrate that there is a God. Only after that is done, can you then move on to determining which God (if any among the extant religions on earth) he is.

There are also other points too. Even if he were to demonstrate, without a doubt, that Earth and/or life were specially created, that would not be indicative of a divine creator. Most theists don't understand this, that even if Evolution, the Big Bang, etc. were proven to be false (and they won't be), this does not mean a God did it. To assume so is unfounded. In lieu of Evolution, we do not have creation, it isn't even an option as it is not independently supported by evidence.

Also tell him he needs to read more science, and less apologetics.

If you find yourself losing your patience and/or realizing that it is futile to argue against dogma, simply reflect on the words of the great poet, Schiller: "Against ignorance, even the angels fight in vain."  My argument would be the one from evil espoused by J. M. Mackie, the Australian philosopher, who pointed out the impossibility of evil existing if all is determined by a good omnipotent God.




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