I have been debating with myself one specific point which essentially stems from the fallacy that a lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack. (Note that this a purely a thought experiment, not a claim, and that, on balance, the whole set of arguments against theism outweigh one possible philosophical issue which only relates to intellectual decency.)
Essentially, the fact that there is a lack of evidence to support theistic views does not mean that it's evidence of a lack of God. Imagine God to be something similar to our 21st century minds and technology like the continent of America was to 15th century Europe.
(Side note: To avoid potential nitpicking about this specific premise, I know that America was discovered and rediscovered, but the "official" discovery was an accident as the goal of the expedition was to find India. That some in the 15th century Europe might even have been aware that America existed is a bit irrelevant as society as a whole certainly did not believe it was there, and it's the mindset of those who did not believe which is interesting.)
Now, try to enter this mindset and think that God is in a similar situation. Just like the 15th century mindset and technology could not comprehend the continent of America, the mindsets and technology today is not capable of providing the evidence required to detect or understand a divinity.
Therefore, a God may exist (but it doesn't matter).
Edit: The title was erroneous in it's use of the word "for". This is not an argument for theisim, it's an argument not against theism. Thanks to Kasu for this insight.
Argh. Think Atheist ate my second reply.
--Sure there's evidence. We have the writings of the Bible (OT and NT) that show God coming to earth. So he's been here.
The bible is not good evidence for the existence of god for a number of reasons. First, it is a book of stories, some of which have been debunked by time and science. Secondly, the authors claim it was divinely inspired but only evidence to prove that claim is the authors' word that the bible was divinely inspired.
Secondly, the fact that the bible exists is not proof that god exists. Following that line of thinking then the fact that the Qu'ran exists would mean that Allah exists. The fact that the Hindu religious texts exist would be evidence that their pantheon of gods existed and so on...
You are missing my point... I didn't create the idea, so I'm not just saying "God is true because I can't explain this."
you seem to be saying that an argument from ignorance is no long an argument from ignorance as long as you're not the first one to offer the proposition.
if that's what you're saying, it's just false.
it doesn't matter one bit that you're not the first one to make the assertion. the person before you and every person before them were each guilty of committing the fallacy as well.
Sure there's evidence. We have the writings of the Bible (OT and NT) that show God coming to earth.
petitio principii (begging the question). circular reasoning.
"god exists and came to earth because the bible that god inspired says that he exists and came to earth"?
you're assuming true that which you mean to prove by your argument. this is an informal logical fallacy known as petitio principii, or begging the question.
moreover, did you not even read my post or are you actually choosing to totally ignore it?
i pointed out to that the bible isn't a reliable witness to history. in responding to a post in which the fact of this matter are laid out it's particularly perverse to then say that the bible provides evidence that god exists and has come to earth.
Of course we aren't going to "get a picture of God" as evidence.
no one is demanding a picture of god as evidence. just any actual evidence at this point would be great.
Again...the architect. The proof of the architect is in the house. The proof of [The Invisible Pink Unicorn] is in the wonders/beauty of the earth. The human body. The solar system.
we did this already. you're repeating arguments that have been refuted.
A world has to be created because it is inside of time. Things inside of time have a beginning and an end. Always.
even if quantum fluctuations and radioactive decay didn't exist and weren't uncaused events that occur inside time, there'd still be no reason to argue from that things in time always have a cause to the universe ITSELF had a cause. what holds true in the universe, there's no reason to think holds true for the universe itself.
moreover, argument from ignorance. even if one were required, just because we don't have a known cause of the universe doesn't give us warrant to run to "goddidit!"
Yeah, sure, if you are saving your child, thats great. But what about the firefighter or the rescuer saving the complete stranger? (those are the examples I gave. Not a father saving his son.)
again. ignorance of evolution. for the sake of brevity (or as much brevity as possible) i left out reciprocal altruism. "you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours." this is another element of self-sacrifice that evolution instills in us. if i do something for someone they're more likely to do something back in return. and that would be favored by natural selection because when times are good for me, if i help support others, even when they're not kin, then when times are rough for me i can expect support from elsewhere, thereby getting me through the lean times. there's also sexual selection at play. many animals are known to put on overt displays that, at first blush, reduce their overall fitness but, in doing so, they say to the female (usually. some sexual selection is by males) "look at sturdy my genes must be that i can sacrifice like this and still live! you definitely want to mate with me!" peacock feathers are the classic example. overt acts of self-sacrifice may be another. there's also the result the self sacrificial act has of marking you as a cooperator in the minds of others, thereby making it more likely that they'll cooperate with you because self-sacrifice isn't typically the way of a "cheater" (the opposite in the literature of a cooperator) evolution instills in us a drive. it's innate. it's not intelligent. it can misfire. and it's the result of millions of years of evolution in ancestral environments. just because those ancestral environments no longer persist doesn't mean that the drives are no longer active in us.
so when it comes to a firefighter or other rescuer saving a complete stranger (ignoring the fact that this is their JOB so the why is answered quite simply), it's reciprocal altruism, it's overt cooperation display, it's making a statement about the quality of their genes. not consciously of course. evolution doesn't work that way. but the drive is there nonetheless.
What does human animal mean? How is our life worth more than a dogs? What is it?
worth more to who? if you're talking about worth according to you and i then of course a human animal has more worth than a dog. if you're talking about intrinsic value according to the universe then of course we have no more value than a dog. the universe doesn't care about us. why should it? it's arrogance in the extreme to think otherwise.
but just because we might wish it were otherwise because the fact of the matter is too harsh to face doesn't mean that it's any less true or the alternatives less false.
Yes, by saying no one denies the existence of Jesus, I meant that...no one denies the existence of Jesus. I never said no one denies he was divine.
um. that again is just false. plenty of people have examined the evidence and conclude that there isn't a bit of truth to the entire thing, that "Jesus" is an out and out mythical construct.
but let's make clear that when you admit that people deny he was divine, you're not just talking about atheists and agnostics who of course deny that he was divine (in addition, of course, to members of other faiths) you're also talking about the Jesus historians themselves who, when they apply the methodology, don't conclude that he was divine either!
(pretty amazing we are still talking about a failed peasant from 1st century Palestine 2,000 years later and millions would still die for the failed peasant)
um. why is that amazing? the Christian mythology has been important to a lot of people during that time. it's entrenched in Western culture. why would it be amazing that we're still talking about him, whoever he was, even if he was?
and if it is amazing then is it still more amazing that we're still talking about Aristotle who we've been talking about longer? O_o
Actually, you are a little off on your gospels. All were written from 70-90
point to where i said anything about specific dates of authorship such that you could correct me by saying they were written from 70-90?
anyway, you're a little off on your gospels. enough scholars question whether or not John (and Acts too actually) weren't written sometime later, perhaps as late as 110 or 120.
The biggest question with them is whether they were really written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But you are the one denying its true. The burden on proof is on you. "Innocent until proven guilty".
i just explained to you that on the strength of paleographic evidence scholars (except for the nutters) are unanimous that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the books. i even explained to you that the early church fathers didn't even think that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John had written the books.
I have no reason to doubt these authors lied until it is proven otherwise.
first, no one is saying that the authors lied. i didn't say that the authors lied. i said that the books weren't written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and i said that no one thought that they had for 100 years (remember, back then 40 years was an average lifetime!) the books aren't signed "by X" where X=the name of the apostle.
furthermore, the notion that the authors may have been lying rests in a misunderstanding of ancient understanding of what historiography was. they didn't think of biographical writing like we do. they didn't set out to write an explicitly accurate account of someone's life as if they were narrating a documentary of the person's life. there was no expectation on the part of the reader that the text relayed a necessarily accurate account of the person's life. the understanding was that the text merely convey the gist while conveying also the person's philosophy.
so we have the fact that the authors never claimed to be Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and we have the fact that the authors of the books themselves can't be called liars because historiography wasn't understood the same way we do today.
anyway, the question of whether or not the texts are historically reliable has been answered. those that feel that they are in any sense at all have to apply complicated and numerous criteria to tease out the scant historically accurate details from the text and when they do they don't produce a vision of events that accords well at all with orthodox dogma. and then there are those who feel that the text doesn't preserve even a core of historical truth.
9/11 isnt the same thing because the people don't know its a lie.
um. i'm the one that was offering 9/11 as an example of people dying for something we both agree is false despite the fact that they believe in it utterly. i know they don't know it's a lie. the fact is, it's still a lie. and this didn't prevent them from dying for it. you really can't see that?
Its simply what they are raised (i.e. brainwashed) to believe.
it's just dumbfounding that you can actually write these things without even a modicum of self-reflection.
Agreed that martyrdom isn't a measure of truth. However, Paul and the disciples' 180 degree turn around is.
then so it is a measure of truth when, say, a Christian converts to Islam or Hinduism? Islam and Hinduism are made more true as a consequence?
good to know.
at any rate, the reliability of the gospel narratives has been called into question. it's fallacious to ignore this and call them as witnesses owing to their supposed 180 turn around.
and as for Paul. so what? as i already pointed out, "this person converted to another religion, therefore that religion is true" is just.... well, it's silly isn't it?
of course the Bible was written in Greek!
right. of course it was written in a language that the supposed authors- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- couldn't even speak, much less write (as if they could write at all. they were mere uneducated fishermen remember.)
makes perfect sense.
Why would you write in in Aramaic? Just because Jesus spoke Aramaic?
no. because the authors you would have us believe wrote the books only spoke Aramaic. they simply could not write (at all. but...) in a language they did not speak.
Few people understood Aramaic, and they needed the common Gentile folk to be able to read it...thus, Greek.
absolutely horridly false. if the books were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John they were written for the small community of Jesus-followers that had been with him or that joined soon after the resurrection. these followers would have spoken (and if they could read, they would have read...) Aramaic. to write the books in Greek for this community would have been to ensure that they could not know their contents. if they were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, again, they were written by men who could only have written in Aramaic, NOT Greek.
now, the paleographic evidence shows that they were written decades later, hundreds of miles away from Palestine, by educated Greek speaking authors who each wrote for a specific audience.
this was already well after Paul had decided to bring the message of Jesus to the gentiles. after all, Paul didn't have the gospels to refer to such that he would know that the Jewish Jesus was preaching a Jewish message to Jews.
so, yes, the books were written in Greek for a Greek-speaking audience but this is only what we would expect if the authors were NOT Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
For anyone who has actually read the Bible
are you implying that i have not? i've read the bible multiple times straight through and i've read so many passages so many times that i've probably read it several more times as a consequence. but, better, i've actually studied it. i'm aware of it's authorship, the dating of the text, the nature of the books' interdependence, the obvious mythical character, the way the narrative borrows liberally from the Homeric epics and from the Hebrew Bible in order to shore up the case for Jesus as someone that the reader could believe in "look, he's just like Elijah! you know Elijah!"
i'm aware that it's undergone extensive redaction. i'm aware that the text has been changed over and over again by later scribes with an agenda.
what are you aware of?
are you aware, as i already pointed out, that there is no appearance narrative in Mark, our earliest gospel? are you aware that this means that the first and earliest gospel doesn't say that Jesus appeared to anyone and told them to spread the message? are you aware that the the verses saying that people will be able to handle snakes, drink poison, and speak in tongues were added later?
redaction criticism, for instance, has found good reason to think that John 1:1-18 was added later, that it is not original to the text. what does this mean for today's Christians? you would say nothing at all. and yet in these verses is the idea that the "word" of god (Jesus is the reference) existed with god from the beginning and "became flesh".
as NT scholar Bart Ehrman says:
The passage is written in a highly poetic style not found in the rest of the Gospel; moreover, while its central themes are repeated in the rest of the narrative, some of its most important vocabulary is not. Thus, Jesus is portrayed throughout the narrative as the one who came from above, but never is he called the Word elsewhere in the Gospel." (2005: 60)
did you know that the story of the woman taken in adultery isn't original to John, the only place in all the gospels the story appears? that's right John 7:53- 8:12 was added later by scribes.
i could site many more examples but let's get to the question of what would be significant according to you. because, to me, i would think that a Christian who was made aware of these discrepancies would be very troubled. they would be very troubled to learn that the books they believe are so firm, fixed, and pure are a mess of redactions and interpolations by later scribes.
i would think that the Christians who refer to Jesus as "the word" on the basis of the opening lines of John, and the Christians who hold up Jesus forgiveness of the woman taken in adultery as examples of Jesus' forgiveness would be very troubled. but i guess that that's just my intellectually honest mindset of allowing new information to challenge what i believe to be true as opposed to the practice of Christians of rationalizing away new information that threatens their beliefs.
How many women find Jesus? Does it matter? Does it have any significance whatsoever to a Christian life today? No. None of the discrepancies do.
it couldn't have more significance! it goes to the fundamental reliability of the text upon which your dogma is founded! what could be more significant than that the text is a mess of contradictory accounts? what does it say about the more important things when the authors couldn't even agree on how many and which women were at the tomb? if i read what is supposed to be 4 historical accounts and i find that the accounts can't agree on even mundane details i'm sure not going to believe the accounts when they assert all sorts of extraordinary goings on.
and neither should you if you're honestly interested in what is true!
The Bible is not at all unclear on what it takes to be saved.
so you ignored the link i offered i guess. no surprise. i'll pay you the respect of assuming that it was just an oversight and repost it. so here you go.
The Bible is one of the best historical documents from the time
no matter how many times you repeat this it doesn't get more true. and it starts to appear downright dishonest when it's been pointed out to you repeatedly that it's not so. and it's not my opinion that it's not so. it's the opinion of the majority of professional scholars in the field. and their opinion is formed on the basis of the paleographic evidence.
you have faith that the bible is a reliable historical document. that's all.
I have no reason to believe it is false until you provide actual evidence.
"i have no reason to believe it is false until i stop ignoring the actual evidence."
there, fixed it for you.
when it comes down to it, still really wouldn't matter that much.
now there's the first honest and true thing you've said. i know all the evidence in the world wouldn't matter much.
you don't believe on the basis of evidence and so contrary evidence won't make you not believe.
but just admit this from the beginning instead of pretending like you have or care about evidence.
at least that's honest. at least that's the truth.
Nelson has done a much better job than I could ever do in going through the details. I would like, however, to know if you have changed your mind or sought more information on the initial claims you made which I countered. For the sake of intellectual honesty:
1. Do you still think mathematics (or chemistry) claim that life cannot come from non-life?
2. Do you still believe science says the universe was created from "nothing"?
3. Any objection to my interpretation of your Dawkins paraphrasing?
If you do not take my word for it, there is plenty of good information out there on i.e. Youtube. If you like to think ponder the big questions, there are a number of very good deGrasse Tyson material out there dealing with these questions which delves much deeper into the underlying science than I am capable of doing.
Womp womp womp....
Ok, where to begin. First of all, there is no evidence for god. None, zero, zilch, nada, big giant goose egg nothing. If there were evidence for God, faith would be a moot point. You believe (operative word) that certain lack of evidence against a position is evidence for your position. In short, because no one knows that means you are right. This is special pleading, it is a fallacy and I suggest you look them up before you get torn to shreds on these boards.
Second, the fact that science has yet to explain (again, operative words) how certain phenomena have come about that does not mean that there is no scientific explanation sans a divine hand. To quote Tim Minchin, "throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be... not magic." Also, I am willing to bet that a vast majority of what you posit science cannot explain has in fact been explained by science, or at least there are fairly good ideas about how it came about to happen.
Third, there is not a certain burden of proof to be laid on theists, the whole burden of proof rests on theists. As a non-believer in your invisible friend it does not fall on me to prove you are lying, just as it would not fall on you to prove the same of me if I insisted that I could fly.
Fourth, arguments from causality are so weak that I cannot begin to reason how people still rely on them. If you want a good run down of what I would write here for the 10,000th time please refer to the essay by Percy Bysshe Shelley in this e-book here. Not only is PBS one of my favourite English poets his wife wrote Frankenstein (how cool is that?).
Last, is your awful argument about morality. The plurality of objective moral arguments, many of which are contradictory to others, and many exist within societies not exposed to Christianity until much later defuses this argument. Ancient Chinese societies had perfectly ordered and moral societies which operated just fine without YHVH.
The reason that theists do a poor job intellectually defending belief is because warrantless faith in unprovable claims is simply not intellectually defensible. The only way intelligent people have defended faith is the use of what I like to call "pretzel logic" and cognitive dissonance, confounding arguments to the point where contradictions no longer appear as such and disregarding evidence which might undo their weak explanations.
Did the theist poster delete his posts and leave? I think you guys scared him off.
Either that or I have somehow managed to tune out theist arguments so well that I have started to not see their posts at all...
yep. looks that way. typical really.
anyway, you can still recreate his posts from my replies.
Perhaps we were..... maybe it was god. hahaha
He came. Revealed the "truth" to all us heathens then vanished and left no trace of himself.
Given all possibilities, that is obviously the most logical one to jump to.