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?
Without him being specific on which particular bit of scientific knowledge somehow proved Xianity I'd probably scratch my head and say, "what in particular and how?"
You might be interested to know there is a whole sub-branch of Xianity (not nearly as Gomer Pyle-ish as the usual sort of creationist) who claim that the bible is literally 100% true BUT manage to interpret it in such a way as to conform to what science tells us about the age of the earth and the universe and even the progression we see in the fossil record. One of their most prominent exponents has a PhD in astronomy so that's just about the only way he could possibly be Xian and take any of the bible seriously. One thing they (or at least this astronomer) is adamant about is that there is no life elsewhere (though if microbes are found they could probably accommodate that).
Yeah, I have come across that particular sub-branch. That's exactly my issue. I can't get people like my friend to understand how ridiculous their train of thought on the subject is. It makes it impossible to argue with him. Well, they do say you can't argue with insanity. Which makes it all the more infuriating.
When I asked him what the evidence was he just kept twisting words and changing the subject, and eventually another friend there (also Christian) changed the topic entirely and basically said "Because you're an atheist I don't respect you at all as a person and I shouldn't even be friends with you". Charming. Figure that one out.
It sounds like your friend is in a different "bucket" than the one I was highlighting, as he is willing to dismiss (rather than creatively interpret) parts of the bible.
I do hope someday you can have a sane conversation. By the sound of it he's ducking and evading so much he's going to have a mental crisis at some point; the dissonance must be getting to him.
One can only hope. I suppose I should pity him really. It's such a shame. He's a really good guy besides all of this. I just wish I could understand what's happening in his head for him to be able to deflect any reasonable thought so easily and not even question anything.
Here's an idea that might work for you Natasha - he's already told you what he doesn't believe (the OT fantasies) - remind him of that, then ask what he DOES believe. Whatever he says, copy and paste his comments into a text program and bring them to us, maybe we will have ways of refuting his arguments that possibly you haven't thought of.
Good idea. If I see him any time soon I will definitely do that, thanks!
We'll become your honorary Brain Trust - a collection of brains, linked by computer to yours, how could you fail? We've got this, Girl! Go! Annihilate!
The Atheitrix = a computer linked brain conjoining of atheist mindsets. I like it.
Natasha, I have to get to bed so I will just post something I wrote to someone else about this the other day here on TA:
"When I was a Christian the reason why I saw things the way that I did was because of the overpowering social narrative found present of the community of faith of which I was a part. There were many lies and urban legends, ect, that helped to convince me of the validity of the bible and inspiration ect.
I think understanding these narratives helps me distinguish community reasoning from personal reasoning when interacting with these people. The problem with community reasoning is that logical people don't always think to question it. Even in the atheist community this happens. But if the individual is personally logical when they step outside of the community narrative, there is a chance that you can get through to them about why particular social narratives are false assumptions. The power of social influence on belief is strong enough to really play a factor here."
But the other problem is that your friend is likely engaging in Confirmation Bias and Belief Perseverance. Both are just part of frequent human thinking. Many atheists hold the misguided belief that it is just social systems like religion that make people irrational. But people outside of religion engage in this type of thinking.
I try to make that argument with theists and they flat out reject it.
I know. I often encounter that as well. The war we should be waging is against irrationality.
Irrationality is pervasive and enters into almost every facet of our culture.
It is very frustrating when traditions trump truth...