You can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into to begin with.

I’ve been having a rather long online debate with an old friend who has become a fundamentalist Christian.

The debate started because he posted this on his Facebook page:

“Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences.” Johnny Mac Attack

I felt the need to point out that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with scientists if he didn’t understand the true motivation of scientists and continued to misrepresent them. I attempted in earnest to explain to him the scientific method and the merits of that approach to understanding the world.

After much discussion about evolution and his repeated attempts to move outside of the theory of evolution into abiogenesis and cosmology and other areas of scientific inquiry where his God of the gaps approach could gain a foothold, I decided to take a different approach. 

Having once been a person of faith (a born again youth minister in training who fully submitted to God in prayer), I decided to explain why I rejected the Bible first, and later the idea of God altogether. His response (a typical response from fundies) is what leads me to believe that we cannot reason people out of faith.  

I said: “One of the biggest reasons I rejected faith and the Bible in favor of science and reason is that whenever I ask questions about things that I don't understand about God or the Bible I am told that I must first believe it (as if I didn't already believe), then I will understand it. But when I ask a scientist about something I don't understand, she will be able to actually show me the physical evidence and the math. She will show in great detail exactly how she came to a certain conclusion and then she will give all of her information to other scientists so that they can verify it for themselves. Soon, either the theory is shown to be wrong and rejected, or it is supported by even more evidence that is openly available for all to see - believe it or not.”

His reply was: “The God revealed in the Holy Bible is perfect in every way. His laws and decrees are perfect. His grace and love are perfect. His plan for salvation is perfect. Christ spoke in parables specifically so people like you wouldn't understand what he's talking about. God is shaming your self-obsession and sinful preoccupation with your intellect. Those who accept Christ like little children will indeed receive wisdom, which is imparted to the mature. Those who think they can judge God and scrutinize his ways will have their supposed intellect shamed before all of creation. He's pleased by the foolishness of what is preached. He chose the foolish things to shame the wise.”

Wow! Right?
 
So here is how I left it:
“If God's goal is to surround himself with fools, then you are right, that is a perfect plan. I am not judging God's words, I am judging yours. To presume to speak for God is blasphemous. If God exists, he can talk to me himself instead of sending lackeys. If you are right that I will understand God's will when I submit to him as a child - been there, done that. The only wisdom I gained from it was to use reason and logic and reject the words of those who have foolish sounding claims and no supporting evidence. Finally, when I do what you say is required for salvation and understanding, why does it not happen? That is what we scientists call a failed experiment, thus falsifying the hypothesis.”

His final appeal to unreason:
 
“You've never done what is required for salvation or Biblical understanding. What is required for salvation is to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have clearly not repented and you clearly do not believe. The guarantee of a man's faith is the Holy Spirit.”

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You know... your friend is right.

Deep down I know the power of His Holy Word, and His perfect love for me. But because I am a wreched sinner I jumped at the chance to buy into Big Science's evolution scheme. Satan's temptations are powerful. I know it's wrong, but it's so easy to tell myself that we're really all just animals. Then I can have sex with different partners outside of marriage, masturbate freely, spend my time I sundays how I please and keep that 10% of my income in my own pocket. It's a selfish, narrowminded world view but once it has consumed you it is so hard to break free. Humans have a sinful nature so it's easy to become addicted to sin. But now that I have finally been able to fully turn to the One True God and his only Son on earth Jesus Christ, my heart has been opened. I now see the whole glory of His creation the way it was meant to be seen. I finally understand what it is like to be involved in this great spiritual journey with Jesus Christ our Lord.



hahaha, Am I doing it right?
LOL
Great post.

10% of my income in my own pocket
Sinner!
10% !
Obviously you are not a christian. I pay 20% of my income and I think the lord will look with more favour on my sacifice of my first born!

LOL
Wow. Is it really that hard for believers to use their mental faculties? More proof why I'm fearful of religion because it's such an insidious mind poison, and most people under it just jabber back the same gibberish over and over again.

How can people be this idiotic and still be functioning?

You owe me a cup of coffee!!!! I literally spit my coffee when I read your post. The House quote was classic. I will call it even since I will be in a good mood all morning now. (^_^)
Haha! I have never watched House. Maybe I should. I love atheist references on TV. Bones, Firefly - all great stuff!
I find it interesting that he flatly states that God is deliberately trying to keep people from recognizing his existence, but... he loves you and wants you to believe in him. The level of cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.
"Those who think they can judge The Flying Spaghetti Monster and scrutinize his ways will have their supposed intellect shamed before all of creation."

There that sounds better.
“Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences.” Johnny Mac Attack

"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does." (Jean-Paul Sartre)

I always liked that quote because it shows that we are ultimately accountable for our actions. Danger lies when you project your responsibilities unto others (Milgram Experiment shows that normal, moral people are capable of delivering jolts of electricity that would have killed others because an instructor assumes responsibility for the dangers of the experiment).

There is no god; there is only fellow men to judge our deeds. And if you think that a crime you perpetrated is so wrong because there is a god judging you, and not because of all humanity you might have hurt in the process, you have one damn screwed-up sense of morality...
If God is deliberately trying to keep us in the dark, then doesn't that violate the free will that nearly all Christians say we have?

I always hear, "God doesn't want a bunch of puppets," but isn't that exactly what this person is saying we are if God manipulates us that way?

Good post BTW.
Yes, I think you are exactly right. Apparently, this version of God wants unthinking, mindless drones as followers. Makes you wonder about an all powerful being who is concerned with being criticized or questioned.
Great analogy, PJ!
Yeah you are right Allen! There is no reasoning with the religious! It's crazy how the conversations go. I think it's because of their unwillingness to step into the other person's world, to see someone else's point of view that makes the conversation unproductive.

I've been reviewing some material by Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the famous "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." He talks about the need to be understood. He says that in order for us to be TRULY empathetic, we must be willing to step into another person's world, to see their point of view, but that in order to do so, we must be SECURE IN OURSELVES so that we don't lose ourselves in the process. Perhaps that unwillingness to step into the world of reason comes from a place of insecurity within the religious person. "What if I'm asked a hard question and I can't answer it?" What if I'm given some evidence that makes me doubt or lose my faith?" These were the types of questions I'd asked myself when challenged to read unbiased material that spoke about the bible and the Christian faith.

Although believers sing "On Christ the SOLID ROCK I stand", they know that defending the faith can prove to be quite unnerving in the face of hard core, undeniable evidence. So, many people just choose to IGNORE the evidence, to make light of it, to misrepresent science and those who are scientifically literate as the "wise" but "perishing" described in I Corinthians: 18-25 (I'm appealing to the former youth minister in you...lol). As verse 25 says "the foolishness of God is wiser than men", so the believer perceives the things of "God" to be beyond human logic and reasoning, which is why many of them refuse to be engages in reasoning.

I think they feel just as frustrated as we do. But, their reason for frustration is because they've been brainwashed to believe that they are speaking of "spiritual things" which cannot be understood by the "natural man" (I Corinthians 2:14), which is why your friend ended with "you clearly do not believe." It's like....well duh! lol. But they're brainwashed, so there's no reasoning with them and likewise, they feel they can't "reason"
with us unless we're willing to open our eyes and turn from "darkness" to "light". It's really sad! They completely close themselves off from the world of critical thought when it comes to their religious beliefs.

I think the best thing we can do is to LEAD them to the road of free thought. We can’t expect to just take them there; they have to be willing to get there on their own. Otherwise, they’ll always be on the defensive. They are taught to “FIGHT the good fight of faith”- I Timothy 6:12 and to “BE READY to give an answer to those who question the hope that is in you”- I Peter 3:15, lol…which is why they come ready and rehearsed with the same old jargon every freaking time. They’re always on the defensive!

I think one of the most effective ways of trying to influence them to do so is by continuing to ask them questions, to get them to think for themselves, outside of their religious framework by asking HARD questions and questions that touch upon their humanity (Like, Is genocide right under any circumstances? If no, why was it okay for God to enjoin the Israelites to kill the Amalekites? How would you feel if you were an Amalekite and an Israelite told you they were commanded by God to kill you?) Regardless, it will not be an easy task , but I think the questions will be like offering a “towel” for them to “dry off” and begin to undo some of the brainwashing that’s been done. Many of them have been in the “tub” for way too long!

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