armed with a degree in theology, over the years i have come up with specific questions to ask of christians.
indeed i even attend "alpha courses" (introductory courses to becoming a christian) and put these questions to the hosts (usually under the guise of "well i'm thinking of becoming a christian but i have some questions...)
confrontation and causing offense gets you nowhere. also being impolite just reinforces their smug assertion that atheists are angry.
the question i have had most success with at putting people on the spot goes like this...
"a priest rapes a choirboy. the choirboy becomes depressed and traumatized, rejects jesus and the church (understandably), turns to drugs, dies young and spends an eternity in hell, unsaved and condemned by god.
the priest repents on his deathbed, embraces christ, is forgiven and spends forever in heaven.
by what measure can we consider this to be justice?"
i'm hoping that this question might one day become a meme, so that anyone who brings up the subject of christianity is immediately reminded of this question and has an answer demanded of them.
i have many other questions like this that cannot be simply swatted away with theology, mystery or dogma.
i'd be happy to share them with anyone who is interested.
thanks for reading, let me know if it has an impact on anyone you ask.
Im not sure how you think that answers the question. Have you ever had a dream that seemed perfectly real while you were in it? You jump in your dreams, and in your coma and completely believe that its real.
In fact...yes...I have hallucinated a few times and I have experienced optical illusions and scewed views of things.
So yeah...anything goes. There is a hidden invisible bearded man in the sky who loves me and wants me to tell him every day how perfect and awesome he is. Of course. We dream and experience illusions and delusions. So of course there are angels around us and wine that turns to blood and talking animals and crying statues. It all makes sense now. My senses arent always reliable. So of course Allah is kind and merciful...not wait...that ones not right...I meant Yaweh...or is it God? One of them at least...is everywhere and listens to all my thoughts and wants me to hate homosexuals and not eat pork. Anything goes! Any book I want to believe is true...is true! YEAY! Harry Potter is real and we can cast magical spells on one another...with our wands. Dont believe me? I cant prove it to you...I only cast spells when no one is looking.
Davis, just in case....we should convert to all religions??
reliability...testability...predictability and coherant logic. Reg's beliefs pass these tests. Your silly childish belief in a sky-god doesnt pass a single one of them.
Reg's beliefs are also tentative. They will change the moment he is given good reason to believe he is in a matrix...or that the force of gravity isn't responsible for his familiarity with the Earth's surface. Your rediculous sky-God beliefs are not tentative. No quantity of new evidence, reasoned logic, impredictability and test-failure will change your deluded mind. Dont compare Reg's reasoned belief with your irrational delusions...they aren't the same and it is a kind of category error.
These are the diffrerences. This is why Reg doesn't believe he is a little indian girl and why you believe a bearded man in the sky controls your life, loves you, reads your thoughts, is invisible and hidden and cares if you believe an ancient book is true or not.
The irony of someone taking the intellectual high ground while failing to grasp the meaning of an argument would be funny if it wasn't so common amongst atheists.
Reliability, testability, predictability and coherent logic mean nothing in a closed system like a coma, the matrix, or any of the other scenarios I mentioned. The point is that in Philosophy there is what are called basic beliefs that every human being holds but are untestable and unprovable, like the nature of reality. There are scientists that actually believe that nothing exists. Though as you are assuming the intellectual high ground, I presume you already know that.
Given that the majority of the people in the world are theists, and they base this on atleast as much as you base your understanding of the nature of reality on, they are on solid ground.
There you go, you got in before me.
The point is that in Philosophy there is what are called basic beliefs that every human being holds but are untestable and unprovable, like the nature of reality.
I would be interested in discussing that point further if you can name some philosophers that say that. Most philosophers I have read will use the word “justifiable” before the word “belief”. What is it that makes a belief justifiable in order to be considered believable by other people?
There are scientists that actually believe that nothing exists.
I would be interested in discussing that point further if you can name some scientists that say that.
Given that the majority of the people in the world are theists, and they base this on at least as much as you base your understanding of the nature of reality on, they are on solid ground.
10 marks to anyone who can “Name that Fallacy”
Trevor – I have posted a discussion here, if you would be so kind……
Very amature mistakes...the kind from a first year philosophy student. Too many fallacies to take seriously. It does not matter if every single human being believed a four headed monster lives in the centre of the Earth. They would still all be wrong. When your book of horrors and barbarity was written...people where hacking each other to death over your loving god...so it seems indeed they were on a good footing accepting this totally resonable world view and stone age guide to living.
Whether we are in a closed system or not...which by the way is a cheap relativist argument...common amongst amature first year philosophy students...we can still observe and benifit greatly from what comes from testability, reliability, predictability and logical reasoning. We could be in an absurd land of floating bubbles, several brains in a vat connected to a super nintendo or a random world of particles and a few constants...empirical observation wouldn't change.
I can admit we might be in a matrix...though I have zero reason to suspect this. I can admit your childish silly superstitious God might exist...but I also have no reason to take this seriously. Be it a closed system, open system, absurd system or any system...with great utility and great benifit to ourselves...we can base our beliefs on empirical observation, critical thinking and reason. I dont need to prove materialism or any ism. Using reason gets us places...abandoning reason leads to the horror and poison of superstitions and rediculous sky god religions. We can invent childish explanations with fictional gods and talking animals and rediculous tales of a god who cares if you eat pork or what clothes a menstruating woman wears. Little good comes to us with this nonsense...being in a closed system or not.
In reality...you base 99% of how you see the world on empirical observation, reliability, testability and predictability. Be this a dream or reality...the computer screen you are looking at is a computer screen...and the clouds in the sky are clouds. The extra 1% for you is based completely on the rediculous childish superstitious tales your family or friends believed in...and have warped all reason and logic and critical thinking to the point that nothing can touch this belief...not matter how absurd and stupid and rediculous it is and no matter the complete lack of evidence, the quantity of totally conflicting claims, logical impossibilities, and how horridly cruel and petty your perfect god in the sky is.
The person who is more clearly stuck in a loop that they cannot get out of is you...and the person who put you in that loop...is the person who has bent reason and logic they normally use into an inescapable loop...and that person is you. You've created your own closed system...an intellectual metaphysical rediculous prison...that you may never get out of. I hope you do.You and I share 99% of the same world view...based on reason and generalisations based on observation. Its you who adds that extra fantasy...your own closed system...not us. I choose not to play that game or add childish fantasies and ancient ignorant stupidity to my life.
If I'm correct then I think Trevor's point is that his core beliefs can't be proved or disproved either way, which is true, so it's a reasonable point.
On the other hand, if you can argue within Trevor's framework and find that that framework is inconsistent, then he might have some work to do.
Its a little more than that Simon. The atheists core beliefs cannot be proved or disproved. The scientism that they love so much has two fatal flaws when it comes to ultimate truth. Firstly it happens within the closed system of the atheists deeply held beliefs, and secondly the (scientific) method itself is incapable of even addressing such questions. You are left with Philosophy and logic, which most atheists seem ill equipped to grapple with. Basic beliefs being a point in question. Like Neo in the Matrix meeting the archetect, the atheist must confront that his constructs of reality are just that.
Simon or Trevor, what is it you think I believe? Not believing what you believe is not a belief system. What beliefs have I and an ex-Muslim in Egypt or an atheist in Hong Kong got in common?
I don't know about that, I'm just saying that Trevor has a point, that ultimately, all this atheist versus religious stuff can never be proved either way.
That said, Trevor, you'd be surprised at the logical inroads that my "natural philosophy" as Dr Bob puts it, makes into religion, and perhaps also surprised, that it supports and validates it.