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.