A friend of mine is a pretty die-hard Christian (shock horror, both of his parents are missionaries/vicars) and he often posts little sayings of some kind or another on Facebook, which I usually ignore. However, today he posted something that really irritated me for some reason:
"The more I look at science, the more in awe of God I become."
And just to make that worse, one of his Christian friends commented "Boom" as if he had made some kind of infallible argument. Somehow, I feel as though nothing I say will make any difference because they must be incredibly deluded already to believe that God just "invented" science. Basically, this is the guy who thinks he's a "modern and intelligent" Christian by saying that things like Noah's Ark are "just stories and aren't meant to be taken seriously by Christians". But if that is true, then why take ANY of the Bible seriously and where does he draw the line between stories and (what he believes is) the truth?
In the past I asked him and his friend where the evidence was. He claimed science (yes, seriously) helped prove Christianity and that Christianity was about "opening yourself" to it and believing, and then you "feel God" or whatever. How do you argue with someone like that??
What do you all say to religious people (not necessarily just Christians) who claim that science is just an invention of God? Is there a specific way to argue with someone who twists everything to awkwardly suit modern day thinking?
I don't believe he does have much of a grasp on science, which only makes his view worse in that sense. So he probably isn't really aware of how much science argues against the existence of God. Even if he came across it, he would probably twist it in some ridiculous way to fit his beliefs.
You make many good points, but having brought them all up with him before, he just twists everything. He didn't mention which scientific concepts he was in awe of. Honestly I couldn't be bothered to start up a debate that late at night.
And that's just the thing, it IS cherry-picking reality! Spot on! (I actually did a post on here before about religious people who cherry-pick). And I'm sure if I asked him whether the children suffering in Africa and elsewhere evoked the same awe, I'm sure he would say that that was the fault of humans, and not the God he believes creates everything else.
Does he understand what evidence is and how it justifies belief? You could try this one. Tell him you are telekinetic and can move things with your mind. No doubt he will disbelieve this and demand evidence. And yet he probably believes corpses can walk and virgins can conceive based on bronze age scribblings. You could point out that he was reasonable enough to ask for evidence of your telekinesis claim and yet he doesn't apply the same standard of evidence to the religious scribbles - because they are purely based on faith.
What leaves me in awe about the children in Africa, or for that matter all over the world, is that organized religions can certainly seem to afford is gigantic places of worship, record profits, massive payrolls, no taxation and free product advertizement on our currency, yet they cannot muster the compassion necessary to protect these children. I am willing to bet that I donate more assistance to these children than the common believer does. Why? Because I am a realist and I'm not waiting for some guy in the sky to do the right thing for these children he so dearly loves that he gave his only begotten son . . . etc.
RonV - RE: "does this person actually understand science?"
If you want a chuckle, check Karl's suggested Christian videos above. In the third and last video, a man who professes to be a scientist, explains how he studies cosmology - he said he begins with the premise that god created the universe, then looks for evidence to support it.
A true scientist might begin with a similar premise, but then look for all of the evidence he/she can, to DISprove it, and if none is found, accept - provisionally - that the premise is true.
When you debate a Theist it is important to keep the discussion on the concept of Faith and the nature of the belief. I only try to challenge the assertions made about their god. I am not out to de-convert them. However if you end up arguing about Science or have to start correcting their “biblical science” you will get nowhere fast. I know we rightly consider religious belief as a delusion but the person who thinks that his faith is proven by scientific advancement is suffering from a greater delusion. It is cognitive dissonance and doublethink combined. So my advice is – and it has taken me time to figure it out – is not to bother debating science as if it is part of faith. It is not that you cannot win the debate it is just that a reasoned debate cannot be held in the first place. I recall hearing myself trying to debunk a claim that the nitrogen cycle was not first discovered in the bible and thinking WTF am I doing here? If a person thinks the bible is also a science book then just don’t go there.
True that Bro. The moment the science does not match the belief it simply requires a further defining of the "original truth" to adapt it so it becomes part of god's plan. There is no point in going there.
i think just posting this diagram as reply to "in awe of god" statement would speak volumes
Unfortunately, I too have come across deluded Theists who claim that their faith is 'untouchable' when scrutinised.
I have found that the more we understand about the world through scientific discovery, the more sophisticated the Theist argument has to become to attempt to overcome this.
Science in no way has proven the claims made by Theists, we know this. Can they name one scientist (real scientist with real credentials and a peer reviewed scientific journal) who has proven any of the events of the Bible to be true? The short answer is 'no'. The Big Bang, a spherical Earth, evolution + natural selection, a planet which is 4.54 billion years old etc. are scientific discoveries which conflict with the Bible (supposedly inspired by the word of God).
It all comes down to one issue, if the Bible (or any holy book for that matter) is not a magic book then Christianity, in this case, evaporates. Sam Harris explains in his book, End Of Faith, that 'In the eyes of faith, you can make magical prescience out of any text' and I think that is what your friend/s are doing. They are interpreting the words of the Bible to 'back-up' what they want it to say. Anyone can do this, and Theists have been doing this since the beginning of Christianity to hide their books shortcomings.
Science cannot disprove the existence of a God any more than Theists can prove it, but the burden of proof is on the claimant. How can science prove/disprove the existence of something for which there is no physical evidence (can't see it, hear it, feel it [physically], smell it, or taste it)?
Very good points.
However, in my experience it is rare that arguing the sensible points with extreme theists is a lot like trying to teach a 2 year old algebra. They simply do not have the capacity to absorb the simple logic of it all. It is usually not their fault tho, they have suffered nearly impenetrable mental programming that was reinforced at nearly every holiday that matters to kids, then by the time they became adults the ability to think out of the religious box is all but impossible. Most of them are quite at peace in their belief that the sky god will reward them in the afterlife, and really, who are we to take that from them? Their ignorance is their bliss. We should be so lucky in this regard. No, I say if they have proven themselves incapable of logic we should walk away.
tell them to start watching the science channel. tell him to really get down to the nitty gritty and reseach how christianity started. christians are just christians because they dont do any research. if you really research it, he will see otherwise. here's a link to my facebook group, it has some links on it, maybe one of them can be of some help to you. feel free to join if you want. https://www.facebook.com/tiffany.willoughby.75/info#!/groups/219319...