Over the next several days or so, I should begin posting a variety of arguments for the existence of God. The purpose of this thread is to give context to those arguments so that people have a bird's eye view of them when they are presented and evaluated.
I don't care if you become a Christian or not, nor do I care if you end up becoming any other kind of theist. Rather, my goal on this forum is to persuade you of the following proposition.
"It is not unreasonable to be a Christian theist."
Obviously, this core proposition should be distinguished from the proposition that Christian theism is unreasonable - i.e., crazy, stupid, insane, dishonest, and so on.
My core proposition should also be distinguished from the proposition that Christian theism is true, because something can be false yet reasonable for people to believe. This seems to happen a lot in science. For example, for a long time there could be reasonable disagreement between cosmologists regarding whether the Big Bang theory or the Steady State theory was true. I think atheism and theism are like that: There are a lot of arguments that go both ways, and someone can arrive at either conclusion without broaching rationality (of course, it is also possible to arrive at either conclusion irrationally).
Having said all of that, I'd like to ask whether anyone will agree to my core proposition without argument. I know that some atheists believe that Christianity can be reasonable, so the question is just how many such atheists post on this site.
Christians believe in original sin, condemnation and hell.
I don't believe any of that. I think people are who they are based on genetics and environment (and other things I can't think of now).
I think the belief in original sin and the belief that people are evil and need to be saved is totally unreasonable. That is why Christians who talk to me about their faith exhaust me. I certainly don't tell them my view on things because I am a hairstylist. I hear the craziest religious saturated stories in my chair ( I live in the deep south-Birmingham, Alabama). Sometimes it amuses me but mostly it makes me feel angry and sad.
I say all this to state that I think Christians and Christianity are totally unreasonable and destructive because of their core belief in original sin, evil, and hell.
So yes, it is unreasonable to believe in Christianity or any other religion that believes in an afterlife unless you believe in magic which is unreasonable on its face.
@ David - I do not think it has to be magic if it turns out there is some sort of after life. I am an atheist and I doubt very much there is an after life. Even if there was, there will be no god there.
What I disagree with is when religion or anybody for that matter, says absolutely there is an after life. There simply is no way to prove this at this time. Religion does not have anything to do with whether there is an after life or not.
William, or whatever your name is. I have read through most of the comments, granted not all, and it does seem most people are not interested in hearing your argument. This is probably because most of us, are argued with on a daily basis. There is a reason we sot shelter on this site and it is because most of this stuff, if we ask advice on it or try to discuss it, are quickly attacked by theist and therefore someone invading our safe haven with even more debate is unwelcome.
However, I personally used to be a devout christian and I tried for years to prove Gods existence. I also tried to work around the Bible by becoming an evolutionist theist as you said you are. As I had to tear parts of the Bible out based on evidence and rationalize certain things that would still allow God to exist, I eventually found myself as an atheist. I doubt there is an idea or way of looking at it that I didn't think of or hear of during my search to have something to hold on to that would mean God could exist that you may have thought of. However, I am personally open to the idea simply because I love to hear ideas and consider them, which is why I became an atheist from a devout christian to begin with.
If you have an argument that could show me that I may still go to heaven and live forever in paradise one day if i believe in God, I would love to hear it. It would be awesome to be in paradise for eternity, however it is highly unlikely.
Just be sure to approach it as a scientific argument and dont try to intentionally convert anyone. Keep in mind this is our safe haven. If one of us were to go to an active christian site and try to debate with those people, it would be a dick move. The same goes for you. By you showing that is all you are here to do all you will be doing is solidifying our standpoint that a lot of christians are bad people and have no respect for others views.
Also if you are just here to try to change our ideas and you are set in your own, dont waste your time. I will have an open mind to your discussion and come to the same conclusion you have if you have a great argument, but only if you agree to listen to my responses and agree to have an open mind and come to my conclusion if it is more sound.
That said, I am anticipating hearing what you have to say, and if you decide to not post it here, message me and I would be happy to discuss it with you privately.
William. I found a blog by Richard Carrier via our weekly Sunday School(<--click me) blog by Nelson. It answers the alleged 20 questions that atheists can't answer. Several of the questions asked/answered are the ones you listed in your original post. I think it's worth it for you to read it and then get back to us with your thoughts. Whether or not the questions are answered to your satisfaction may not be the point, but that there are answers to these apparent "unanswerable" questions that scientists and atheists both accept. These are reasonable answers that are backed by experiments, research, etc... theism seems only to be clutching at ideas long debunked.
Here is the blog: 20 Questions. <--click me
Hi William – The problem for us is that they are old arguments. We have all collectively dealt with them on this site before or individually offsite. Every so often a Theist joins this site and offers this same list or a variation of it and with the same apparent enthusiasm. Once they realise that we are not being persuaded by these arguments they tend to continue for as day or so and then disappear. You may find them compelling arguments and it is probably true that many members of this site did at one time too.
However we have given them serious thought over time and we have not dismissed them out of hand. We have done so because there are stronger arguments generally supported by peer reviewed evidence to warrant us considering them redundant. We have moved so far ahead of those arguments that they appear almost naïve. I am not being frivolous here. If you could see it from our point of view you would be comparing arguments from the middle ages with where modern cosmology and science is now at. Of course you need to be an Atheist to see this.
This leads me to question why you posted in the first place. I don’t think it was to win over some Atheists to your viewpoint so maybe you are a Theology student (the study of nothing as Thomas Paine quipped) or just wish to strengthen the arguments for future use. However as you use words like “probably does exist” when referencing your god it may be that you are here because you have doubts about it. It is just faith based after all. We are here to help you challenge those doubts.
Maybe rather than challenge us you should study them careful yourself. You seem intelligent enough so don’t waste it. We have no “Atheist Agenda” here. You are the one who can come out a winner. Now is your chance to free yourself from the slavery of Christian apologetics. You are the person who stands to benefit from critically stepping through each of them with the intention of demolishing them. If they stand up to interrogation then they may warrant the status of being reasonable pointers to Christian theism. We will help you as best we can if you want to post individual ones on each argument and show you the errors with them. We have nothing to gain from doing this but you have the chance to come out a winner and become a Freethinker. You owe it to yourself. Good Luck William.
Reg, in case you haven't been following closely, William has indicated that he had been atheist, and had gone back to religion - the possibility certainly exists that he isn't all that sure.
Well we were all born atheist. So all christians were once atheist and became christians. Probably not what he means, but still.
Not quite. Saying that we are atheists at birth implies that all atheists are ignorant, because that is what babies are. At birth, we all have zero knowledge of anything, which is ignorance. Atheism isn't' a lack of knowledge of the divine; its a rejection of claims of divinity. One can only be an atheist after being told about someone's god or gods. Without theological contrivances, there would be no atheism.
Babies aren't atheists. They are just ignorant.
True. However, he may not mean atheist how you mean atheist. For, as you and I probably know, it took a lot to become set as an atheist. When I became "saved" as a christian, I viewed how I was before being saved as being an atheist. That viewpoint is probably more agnosticism or even, like you said, ignorance. However, being a born again christian you often look at the time before you were born again as an atheist even though that definition of atheist is vastly different from our definition of atheist. I wont speak for him, but that ignorance of theology may be the type of atheist he claims he was. I have been in his shoes and saying the same thing about how I used to be an atheist and converted to Christianity when I was a Christian.
Exactly. Atheism is an actively held position, not a default.
tell us your arguments. If people aren't interested, then they can choose to look at something else. We're not going to cry if someone disagrees with us.
If atheists will only talk to other atheists, then what's the point? We're just going to disappear up our own arses, and everyone will forget about us. There's a big world out there.