A friend and I were sharing in a fun little joke on Facebook, our exchange went as

Him : "I believe in unicorns and faeries because no one can disprove them."

Me : "The classic "Burden of Proof shift". I'm proud, son.

Him : "The saved me, guided me to the light and set my astray life on the proper path to salvation."

Then, out of nowhere we have a Catholic theology student come in and say, "There's a lot of misconceptions when it comes to religion...and I think this is where Christianity suffers a blow. However, Catholicism is much closer to agnosticism than one is led to believe, and most statements atheists make about God (save for denying His existence) Catholics would agree with (or at least those that know their religion). Secondly, there are flaws to the "burden of proof", but you wouldn't understand that discussion since you reject Spiritual reasoning."

Having argued with this person in the past and being familiar with all of his "No, you're wrong. Why don't you study Theology like I did, kid" responses, (and knowing he was still upset about how I ended our first and only debate, "It's fine that you chose to spend your entire college career learning how to tell people they're stupid for not believing what you do, but some of chose fields that advance humanity, like me and microbiology. Have fun keeping people in the bronze age.") I didn't bother replying to his cry for a debate. However, that didn't stop my friend from replying with ;

"Catholicism is nowhere near Agnosticism. Certainly not with any Catholic I've ever met. The good Catholic prays to Mary ten times to one every time he says a Rosary. Who is preeminent: Mary or God the Father? He believes that Mary can hear his prayer and at the same time hear the prayer of another Catholic a thousand miles away. If that is true, then Mary is omnipresent. He believes that Mary can discern the intent/needbehind the repetitious prayer he recites. If that is true, then Mary is omniscient. He further believes that Mary has power to answer prayer as well as perform supernatural miracles. If this is true, then Mary is omnipotent. Now then, Mary is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresentjust like the primary god of Christianity. Mary then, according to Roman Catholic teaching, is a god. And then there's intercessory prayer to saints, whom number in the 10,000s depending on the tradition one's particularchurch follows. The same process applies there as with my bit on Mary above. 
The Vatican itself conducted an informal survey among the Italians living in Rome, to see who they pray to in times of crisis. Jesus/Yahweh/Holy Spirit was number 6 on that list. 
And the burden of proof isn't a flawed concept at all. The one who makes the claim should be able to provide proof to back up their claim. If I made the claim that there is a panda living underneath the surface of Pluto handing out free ice cream, you would be correct to demand that I provide proof for my claim. Likewise, if someone says "There is a god" or "There is no god" then they should be able to provide evidence to support their claim. 
I myself take the position that currently available evidence, scientific, historical or philosophical shows that the chances of the god hypothesis being true are virtually nonexistent."

And the little guy is all too eager to reply with ; 

"1. Omnipresent through communion with the Father 
2. You don't understand the Rosary, it is very similar to the beads in Buddhism, repetition increases focus. If there is intent within the prayer words themselves, then it is the intent that the words are describing. 
3. Miracles don't necessarily have to be supernatural (in the sense that they can never be explained by science)...so your a victim of belief in a very bland misconception (similar to the "straw men" that Bill Maher is intent on interviewing in his movie "Religulous") 
4. Mary is not a god, but a being sharing in communion with God. Another misconception you have of Catholicism 
5. The burden of proof is flawed, but based on your actual knowledge of Catholicism and limited worldview, I seriously doubt you'd be able to understand why. If I made the claim that "modern empirical science is the only method by which to find truth", then you would have to back that claim up as well...not to mention, the very claim that the empirical sciences is the only source of truth is a philosophical claim, meaning it is a claim outside the realm of science (such as some believe God is). But I can go on and on with this. Next... 
6. Atheists claim that the statement "There is no god" needs no proof...this must be the case, otherwise the "burden of proof" argument is useless. So it sounds as if you don't understand atheism either. 
7. In dealing with your last comment, and the overall picture...Catholicism IS similar to deistic agnosticism. It is doctrine that God is "mystery" above all else (save for perhaps love)- or unknowable until that which is to be known reveals itself. 
8. Finally, I will digress because it is quite obvious you have little to no idea what you are talking about when it comes to Catholicism (and probably religion in general). Almost every claim you've made about it has no professional, credible backing to it. Not to mention there are flaws in your very argument. I suggest RESEARCHING some things kid. The "Catholics you have met" are people, not the religion itself. The religion itself is what we were discussing. Also, there are around 1 billion Catholics in the world...the very small number that you have met in comparison to this number would still not suffice as substantial evidence for any of your claims about it...nor even the claims (or "findings") about Catholics in Rome."

After reading his responses 3 times now (I don't know why I put myself through these things) I can't find a single real response. Nothing. All he says, with every point, is "I'm right, you're wrong, shut-up."

The point of this extremely lengthy blog is ; I'm buying a beer/other drink of choice for anyone who has the time and patience to put up with debating these misguided individuals, because I certainly don't.

Views: 469

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on May 2, 2012 at 4:21pm

As a former Catholic, I can tell you he's probably failing his theology classes, because he doesn't know much about church doctrine if he really thinks that Catholicism is anywhere CLOSE to agnostic deism. Somehow he did manage to get points 1 and 4 right, or close enough at least, but 2 of 8 isn't good for his future. My only reply would be: I can't talk to anyone who is so willingly self-delusional. If you want to talk to to me about anything religious, first forget what you already know, then start relearning everything about the world by scientific inquiry. If God still fits into your picture somehow, then consider talking to me again. Until then, stay out of my Facebook conversations.

Comment by Lorraine on May 2, 2012 at 4:31pm

There's a panda under the surface of Pluto handing out free ice cream?! Where do I sign up for that?! :)

But seriously, I've often started to have similar debates only to decide that it's really not worth the effort after a while. You might as well go straight to bashing your head against a brick wall and cut out the middle man!

Or, we could just all sit round and enjoy that beer you promised whilst having an intelligent discussion... 

Comment by Mabel on May 2, 2012 at 5:31pm

Then, out of nowhere we have a Catholic theology student come in and say, "There's a lot of misconceptions when it comes to religion...and I think this is where Christianity suffers a blow. However, Catholicism is much closer to agnosticism than one is led to believe, and most statements atheists make about God (save for denying His existence) Catholics would agree with (or at least those that know their religion). Secondly, there are flaws to the "burden of proof", but you wouldn't understand that discussion since you reject Spiritual reasoning."

@ Frank - Spiritual reasoning? Ha! That's a good one.

Comment by Frank Arnason on May 2, 2012 at 6:08pm

@Shay - Unfortunately that's one of two default positions Catholics seem to have, 'attack mode' and 'victim mode'. And disgustingly enough they do both better than any other sect of Christianity.

@Sagacious Hawk - I'm not at all surprised to hear that. And though your suggested reply is both elegant and sagacious, he's the "No you.." type of person. 

@Lorraine - Beer, gin, absinthe, sacramental wine, It'll be a lovely party.

@Mabel - I might just have to make a lengthy blog entry of all the various crazy things he's claimed like that. It might be a pretty entertaining read, once you get through all the misogyny and hate and overt racism he likes to employ.  

My favorite response to Catholics who are very stubborn about their claims to the Church being this good and holy and pure thing is to bring up the  Posthumous trial of Pope Formosus. Once in a while, however, I come across one who thinks that was a justified action..

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on May 2, 2012 at 6:16pm

Thanks, Frank. I try to live up to the name.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on May 2, 2012 at 6:33pm

I like to quote Thomas Paine when I meet exponents of Theology. He sums it up correctly.

The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion


Comment by matt.clerke on May 2, 2012 at 7:13pm

reject Spiritual reasoning.

Ooh, a new type of reasoning other than logic... He is right that most atheists don't understand, I would love it see it explained some time!

Point number 4 is interesting... I had always wondered why they pray to Mary. I still think they could cut out the middle (wo)man and just go direct to God.

Reg, that sounds almost as good as a dictionary definition (although I have no doubt theology student might disagree).

Anyway, after much thought, I would like you to ask your theology student "friend" about this spiritual reasoning. How does it work? how does it come to accurate and/or correct conclusions? If he can explain this in a way which I can repeat and it ACTUALLY WORKS, I will use it to convince myself of Christianity. (not likely to happen).

Comment by Frank Arnason on May 2, 2012 at 7:43pm

I've asked him multiple times to explain it, but his answer is always just "You'd never get it, you need god to get it."

Comment by Tom Holm on May 2, 2012 at 8:48pm

your not gonna get any real proof or responses worth anything when dealing with caths or xtians. its like you said ''im right, your wrong so stfu.'' all they do is make excuses and push the questions they cant answer to the side and start spitting out bible verses that has nothing to do with the conversation.

Comment by Leslie Ann on May 2, 2012 at 9:05pm

I'm very curious about this spiritual reasoning...

You should just put a comment that says, "pics or it didn't happen" and leave it at that. No matter what you say he's going to keep baying like a donkey till he can't hear anything and believe he is always right. Damn bastard.


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