Just wanted to get a feel for how I'm doing here. This is a series of responses to a Facebook post by my sister-in-law, my other sister-in-law, me and some random friend of theirs.

Terri L :
was wondering the other day what it would take to convince unbelievers that there is a God. Will they believe when the rapture takes place? What will they think when millions of people just disappear from the Earth? I just keep praying for them, that God will open their eyes to His existence.

Me: It depends on how and why they arrived at their unbelief. For me, it's a complete lack of evidence or evidence to the contrary, combined with contradictory scriptures and a bunch of illogical assumptions on the part of religious dogma. If I could see just one piece of evidence for a god or gods, then I'd be open to some kind of belief. Unfortunately for you, and fortunately for me, no theist has ever presented me with anything approaching evidence. There is, however, a lot of circular reasoning and blind faith, neither of which is fulfilling to me.

If millions of people suddenly disappeared from Earth, I'd first look to see if there was any rational explanation. Most likely there would not be, and so I'd have to look to the irrational for answers. However, this has never happened before, and even though Christians have been waiting for over two thousand years, it hasn't happened yet. Every generation thinks it will, but Jesus is still a no-show.

Me: I like to ask theists if they believe in Thor, or Kokopeli, or Zeus, or Anansi or Horus. Probably not, and the same reasons why you don't believe in Horus or Thor is the reason I don't believe in YHWH, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, Shakti or Xenu.

Tambra T.: What happened to the body?

Me: What body?

Tambra T: The buried one that disappeared despite heavy guarding by people who didn't want to give His followers the chance to say He was resurrected?

Tambra T: FYI circular reasoning and blind faith are not fulfilling to me either. There sure is a lot of that out there. I do not subscribe to that.

Janet D: in one of my classes, there were 3 people who said they don't believe in God. when asked how come they don't believe in God, he said, how could he believe in something that he doesn't see. Romans 1 and Psalm 19 would have been good if it was okay to share some scripture.

Terri L: Tim: You should read the Bible and see if you can disprove God. I think you'd be surprised at what you find. And I find it interesting that people will have enough "blind faith" or faith to believe in the THEORY of evolution, and yet they can't or won't believe in God, even though if you look around at that world there is plenty of evidence that Someone had to make it. You love to go out at night and look at the stars. Do you really believe that the constellations just formed that way naturally? That the shapes that are so beautiful just happened to come about? Just wondering.

Me: Terri, I don't have to disprove your god. That's not my job. As a believer, it's your job to prove to me that your god exists. You're the one making the assertion. I'm just rejecting your assertion. The idea that atheists have some responsi...bility for proving that any god or gods exist is ludicrous. How could I possibly find evidence of the lack of existence for something? If I told you there was a ceramic teapot floating in orbit between Mars and Jupiter, amongst the litter of the asteroid belt, would it be your responsibility to prove me wrong? Hardly. It would be my responsibility to prove that the teapot did exist, by giving you evidence. Otherwise, you'd be well within reason to reject my assertion.

Constellations are merely shapes that we've associated with certain arrangements of stars. In most cases, the actual distance between those stars may be quite great, and their shape changes over millennia. In fact, for many of those constellations, they don't even really look like what they've been associated with. This is why different civilizations throughout time have associated differing objects and people with those asterisms.

I see nothing in nature that suggests a creator. In fact, when I look around I see a universe that looks precisely as it should look if there was no creator.

In any case, my beliefs are not at issue here. It's my rejection of your assertion that there is a god, and that your particular God is that god, and that he had a child via a virgin who died and came back to life. You haven't made that case.

Me: Tambra, like Terri, you seem to be asking me to make the case for your religion for you. When I say I don't believe in your God, it's a weak argument to come back with a missing piece of key evidence. It's akin to the people who say that th...e lack of evidence for a second shooter on the Grassy Knoll is proof that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a lone gunman.

But I'll play along. Anyone who watches enough CourtTV could tell you that bodies disappear all the time. The fact that we haven't found Jimmy Hoffa isn't proof that he was resurrected. There are probably hundreds of explanations for a missing body that don't have anything to do with the supernatural, beginning with the possibility that there never was a body to begin with.

The question, really, is why do YOU believe the accounts of a series of theo-political treatises written decades after the supposed event? After all, your scriptures say that you're supposed to be prepared to offer "reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).

Like Terri, you have failed to realize that the burden of proof is not on the disbeliever, but on the believer.

Me: Janet: Telling someone who doesn't believe in your god to read the Bible is like telling someone who doesn't believe in Scientology to read "Dianetics" or telling someone who doesn't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet to read the Book of Mo...rmon or Pearl of Great Price. For that matter, it's like telling someone who doesn't believe in mermaids to read Hans Christian Anderson. Before you can ask me to read your Bible as proof of the Christian God, you have to prove to me that the Hebrew scriptures are based on factual events, and not a series of myths and fables compiled by semi-nomadic Bronze Age animal herders. Then you have to prove that the Christian scriptures are the actual account of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, and not theological propaganda. Thousands of greater minds than ours have failed to make that case, thus the modern field of Christian Apologetics. Two thousand years of argument have failed to even establish, beyond a doubt, that Jesus was one, real historical figure. That's even taking into account that history, as a soft science, has such low threshold for "evidence."

So, what do you think? How did I do?

Views: 442

Replies to This Discussion

Finally got a response about the constellations:

Terri L.: You know what Tim, I have never thought that the constellations looked like what they are suppose to look like. I can remember numerous times looking up and trying to see a flying horse, or the twins, or the fish, and never quite have had the imagination to see them like others do. To me things like [a] Hubble picture and the many others like it show that God exists and that He made them. In my mind it takes a lot more faith to believe that they just happened from nothing, than to believe that there is a God. The orderliness of the Universe and the fact that our planet sits at just the right angle and spins at the exact speed it needs to spin at, these things point to a ordered Universe, which the next logical step to me would be that Someone made it for it to be so precise. Just my thoughts. This is a really neat website, they have a lot of Hubble pics.

Me: There's very little order in the Universe. In fact, just stating that there's order in the Universe belies a poor understanding of our Universe. The Universe is a dangerous place, where things swing constantly and quickly between chaos and order and back again. In fact, if there's any overriding motion in the Universe, it isn't toward order or chaos. It's toward nothingness: a lack of heat, a lack of motion, a lack of light, a lack of existence.

It's a common fallacy to say that there's something special about the Earth because it sits at just the right angle and at just the right distance from the Sun. The fact is if we didn't live in this "Goldilocks Zone" we wouldn't be asking the question of whether we're special or not. It's called "begging the question."

The language of the Universe isn't Hebrew, or English, or French, or Latin. The language of the Universe is mathematics, and in math, subtracting one from zero equals negative one. The more we learn about our Universe, the more we find that for each positive force or particle, there is a corresponding negative force or particle. Add all these positives and negatives together, and you get zero: zero motion, zero heat, zero light, zero existence. It takes no faith whatsoever. Just reason. It's true, as Martin Luther said, "Reason is a whore. The greatest enemy faith ever had."

Your First Cause argument also fails in that you're supposing that because the Universe is ordered and consistent and real, that Someone made it. Well, if that's true, then Someone made God. You can't claim that the Universe could not have come from nothing while still claiming that your God has always existed, and had no cause. We have to assume some pre-God created your God, and some pre-pre-God created that God. You see how quickly the argument becomes an exercise in absurdity.

It is a really neat website though, and I love the Hubble pics. The reason the constellations don't look like what they represent is that the Greeks and the early Arabs believed that their gods lived in the heavens. Following from that presupposition, they had to force order on the chaos of the skies in order to make reality fit their beliefs. That is the way of religion, to make assumptions and then try to bend reality to fit those assumptions. Reality isn't very flexible, though. You see that when you look up at the sky and fail to see the flying horse, the whale, the fish, etc. Where you fail to make the next step, is when you look up and try to bend the night sky to fit your assumptions and preconceived notions about God.

Even if we could establish somehow that the Universe needed a first cause, the burden would still be on Christians to prove that their God exists and is that first cause. Thousands of religions all around the world, and throughout history, have had creator gods, so any of them could be the Creator. In fact, if we established that there was a Creator, a First Cause, then one possible explanation might be that the Creator of the Universe is no longer around. Nothing about the First Cause argument presupposes that a Creator must remain present after the moment of creation. For some modern Deists, the Creator is this type of First Cause, setting things in motion and then letting them run down like a clock.
You are still owning the debate, not that I expect that will mean it will shake her belief one iota, founded as it is either on good reasons, sound arguments or any actual evidence.
To me things like [a] Hubble picture and the many others like it show that God exists and that He made them. In my mind it takes a lot more faith to believe that they just happened from nothing, than to believe that there is a God.

Wha ... how ... gah ... meh.

How can someone really think this way? How do big, burning balls of gas prove God? I mean, I've heard it from believers dozens of times, but it still shocks me each new time I hear it ... and realize how serious they are about it.

The orderliness of the Universe and the fact that our planet sits at just the right angle and spins at the exact speed it needs to spin at, these things point to a ordered Universe ...

And what the @#$% does that even mean?

Just the right angle? If the Earth was at a greater angle, we'd just have a narrower band of habitable land. If it was at a lesser angle, we'd just have a habitable band in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere. The planet would still support life just fine.

If it rotated slower, we would have longer days. If it rotated faster, we'd have shorter days. Organic life would adjust its biorhythms to compensate. That's what life DOES.

It seems to me that she's heard the argument about the fine tuning of the electromagnetic, gravitational, weak, and strong forces and the universal constant ... only she doesn't have enough education in physics to understand it or remember it, and she's winging it.
The universe is fine-tuned for us to realize that we are here, that's all.
Thanks. I decided not to get into the whole evolution vs. creationism debate, because it was completely irrelevant to the question of whether God exists or not. It was a red herring that I decided not to follow.
One thing I find interesting is how easy it is for some Christians to believe fantastic events, but not totally believable events. I took a class on African history. My teacher was Ethiopian. My instructor taught as a fact that the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon were the biological parents of the Ethiopian line of kings that ended in Haile Selassie. And that the Queen of Sheba was quite beautiful.

There was one white boy grad student who wrote his term paper on the subject claiming he totally disproved the relationship between Solomon and Sheba and the assertion she was beautiful.

Of all the stories in the bible, this one is one of the most believable. There's nothing miraculous about men having relations with beautiful women, beautiful women having children or the existence of beautiful women from Africa. I imagine you could just set it in stone that there continue to be beautiful Ethiopian women who have relationships with men and children.

There are also tales of these events in both Jewish and Ethiopian culture. But this guy is not the first nor the last person to state while world wide floods, talking flaming bushes, the dead coming back to life and water magically turning into wine are all believable - but a king having relations with a beautiful woman that produced children is not.

Of course, we all know what this stems from. To be fair, I have met many Christians, Jews and Ethiopians who believe this story is true.

It's just interesting to me that many Christians deny the truth of totally believable stories like this one, but wholeheartedly accept the strange and miraculous like women being turned into pillars of salt.

One thing is certain, the existence of grad students who, in spite of all common sense, write term papers insulting the culture and cherished beliefs of their professors.
Well, it's a matter of dogma. The acceptance of religious dogma and the acceptance of racist dogma can stem from a similar personality trait.
Yes, it is very interesting how people who are fully capable of believing a person could live unharmed in the stomach of a giant fish for three days, but can't believe any of the disciples were black.
Wow, i just had the same thing on this other website i will post my response, not trying to hijack your thread, but since it's similar no sense in making a new thread:

Let me know if i did good as whole, and with my grammar.

And i think it's funny you said true followers? what are we following? How do you create something to just test them? We're born clueless, why not just create us in his so call kingdom? So God created us, didn't show us any evidence of him existing, then he childishly thought "hey lets fuck with them, have them guess". Don't you think that sounds a little childish? So this all powerful God created the Universe, and care about human emotions (sounds like a nosey drama queen too). Seems like God have human characteristics, because humans made him up.

That's what you believe, he didn't give us free will, we was born into free will. If God is omnipotent, then God know everything, so by that fact God knew he would create us, he knew what is my outcome, he knew the outcome of the world, so in that sense he like create things, and making us guess on life, or be tormented. And if he didn't, then he isn't all powerful. What was the purpose of the moon, stars, and other phenomena? That's is like me building a house, then building other houses next to it you can't live in, or never visit, and get nothing from it(why make something that have no correlation to help our existence). And if what you say is true then your gnostic theist, which means you know for a fact there's a God, and if that's the case how can you prove it? Please don't say you just feel it, or you had dreams, i had dreams vampires was after me, doesn't mean they exist. Tell me one thing God did for you that couldn't have happened out of chance, people say oh god gave me a good job, he did this and that i call BS, the human race prevailed through times, if it wasn't for science and technology we'd die at the age of 34 (Medicine), we wouldn't have all the things you love in life. And FYI God derived from religion, so if you don't believe in religion, what's your sense to believe in God? Another thing, Fact: When the sun dies it will grow and consume the first 5 planets then turn into a white darf, Fact: The Milky Way Galaxy is going to merge with the Andromeda Galaxy in the distant future, i guess that was apart of your God plans too.

Kimberly L:
11 hours ago
Well I am spiritual not religous I do not follow any type of religion and I follow God's word. If it was so easy to believe then there wouldn't be faith. I wouldn't make something so easy to believe to see who my true followers are it would be off the wall crazy stuff. Those that believe in the off the wall crazy stuff made the choice to do so and will be rewarded in the end. God gave us free will to see what we choose and that in the interim shows who is true and not.

Myke Sorrel BBM: 3249F16E:
a day ago
Well, that's the thing, people have always felt an empty void, and used religion fallacy to fill it in. Before the bible, there where Gods to explain rain, snow, and other sort of phenomenas in the world. In that day in age science debunked those fallacies, now what's left over? What created the universe and what happens when we die. That's why Christianity and Hinduism etc never died, is because we still don't know what happens, not going to call you deluded, but most Christians are, if God always existed, why couldn't things about the Universe always existed? There are so many errors in the Bible, especially claiming the earth is only 10,000 years old and so forth, i mean to me stories like Noahs Ark is hilarious, to know one man traveled to Antarctica, Africa etc gathering all these animals on a big ass ship, i mean come on. And i think it's funny that people think the big bang is so wrong, yet believe a giant man in the sky poofed into existence, and did the same to us? Which sounds more bogus?
Kimberly L:

a day ago
Well I am a firm believer in God and it is so amazing to me how someone does not believe in him. I have been through so many things in my life and I feel that without God's grace I would not have made to where I am today. I just never met (kinda met lol) someone who is not a believer. Regardless I know He loves you. Hope you have a great day!! :)

Myke Sorrel BBM: 3249F16E:
a day ago
What's so intriguing about it?

Kimberly L:
a day ago

Myke Sorrel BBM: 3249F16E:
a day ago
Through reasoning, and through really reading the bible. Just observation, conclusions when viewing the world from a certain stand-point, and just logic.

Kimberly L:
a day ago
What made you an atheist? was it something you experienced or just how you have felt since you were little? no disrespect or anything just curious...
I think you've done a fantastic job! I wish could be as eloquent and level-headed as you when debating.
Thanks, Jennifer. I try.

Myke: It's interesting that when their arguments for their god fail, they seem to have a script wherein they fall back on asking what "made you an atheist" as if they can just uncover the one event that cinched it for us, and then undo the damage. I have news for them. It wasn't damage that made me an atheist, unless it was the damage that religions do and the damage their arguments fail to withstand in the face of reason.
Well, most people aren't good an conceptualizing anything outside of their own experience. Christians become Christian in a bright flash of realization that God loves them, and they accept Christ as their personal savior ... or at least that's how their pastors tell them it works, and when you repeat a lie often enough, it's indistinguishable from the truth.

What's funny is that the path to religion is probably about the same as the path to atheism. They're both a gradual, years long layering on of ideas, whether childhood indoctrination of religion or more mature layering on of ideas about the falsehood of the childhood indoctrination. We're just honest about ours, where they tell a pretty little story about accepting Christ and being saved.

It just makes it a pain in the ass, when you try to discuss it rationally with them, and they believe the made-up story ... and of course then try to project that on to your experiences.




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