CHRISTIAN POWNAGE 101

Rich_Rodriguez's picture

I want to tell you a story of a recent debate I had. The debate was with a local fundamentalist Christian pastor. Before the debate, I learned a thing or two about the approach this pastor usually takes. I learned that he never really intended to have a real debate with me and was going to rely heavily on an appeal to ignorance and faith. He intended to ridicule me while I gave serious concise arguments by simply parrying them with faith. So, in light of this new evidence I presented the following introduction to the debate.

(Opening statement)

Rich: “I have FAITH that Christianity is completely and unequivocally false!!” --- I have just completely destroyed your religion and I am sorry but understand it was bound to happen. What will you do now that I have completely dismantled any argument you could possibly use in defense of your religion? Well I hope it all works out for you and thank you for coming.” (Gathers notes and proceeds to leave the building).

*An odd rustling of chairs and whispers permeates through the church. The congregation (now in shock) struggles frantically to come to grips with what has just transpired. About half way down the aisle I hear the pastor’s voice as he speaks very angrily into the mic*

Pastor:” WHERE ARE YOU GOING!” ; “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

(Still with my back towards the angry pastor)

Rich: “The debate is over; I have just proved your religion false”.

Pastor: “Simply stating that you have faith my religion is false proves absolutely nothing!”

(I stop in my tracks, turn and now armed with a mischievous grin from ear to ear say:

Rich: “Well sir, now that we have established that faith proves absolutely nothing---let’s have a debate.”

(I then proceeded to kick the living shit out of every one of his arguments with a real sense of pity for the old bastard. He really never recovered from the first 30 seconds of the debate.)

Other variants:

This technique comes in handy if you think you will have a subject that is easily baited into a trap like this. If you get no response, you can try several variants on this same theme. It’s important to give the audience enough time to process your statement of faith. It is also important that the message be communicated as loudly and clearly as possible (within reason that is). If you get no response try returning to the podium and saying something like this:

Now how many of you think I have completely dismantled your religion with that statement of faith? Did I sway you in the least? Really look into your heart or hearts and tell me what it is telling you?

(This is mumbo jumbo Xian talk, obviously the heart does not speak but they don’t know that).

Are your views any different now that they were 30 seconds ago? No, they are not are they? - Simply stating that I have faith your religion is false proved absolutely nothing. So as you have just seen, with your own feelings and emotions bearing witness - just how unpersuasive and meaningless an appeal to faith really is. Simply declaring faith proves absolutely nothing! So now that we have exposed this most illogical fallacy, let’s have a debate without faith.

Vastet's picture

An interesting tactic.

An interesting tactic. Almost seems unfair, but then they ask for it don't they.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Topher's picture

Absolute genius!

Absolute genius!

Iruka Naminori's picture

Holy shit, Rich! Ball-size:

Holy shit, Rich!

Ball-size: how do they compare to Stephen Colbert's? Smiling 

Evolved Morality's picture

very well done

learning how to kill the faith card xtians pull was always baffling i will have to try a varian of that 

 

simply marvalous

GM

Evolved Morality

So what is the actual argument?

Did I miss the actual body of your argument, or is that in another blog?  And isn't it an "illogical" (faith-based, if you will) leap to assume that reason is supreme?  Don't you first have to adhere to a philosophy (ie, that there truth exists, and that it can be known) before any conclusion can be reached?  Isn't faith the foundation to any conclusion we can come to? 

Well...

I have FAITH that Christianity is completely and unequivocally true...

did you miss it?

That's kinda the point here, your faith cancels out with the faith of someone you would be debating Christianity with, and faith itself proves absolutely nothing, as such it can't be used as an argument.

Did you actually read the article, or just decide someone wasn't falling into the same flock of sheep as you, and you needed to defend yourself?

   .... faith , no faith

   

.... faith , no faith , ever consider neither ? Wink

[[ edit, was just using solphism, xlint OP .... That's going in my tool box,  thanks ..... 

Evolved Morality's picture

lol did you even read it

 

 did you even read it

 

FAITH as related to the this situation

(1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof

 

faith is not proof so claiming you have faith does not make it true

Evolved Morality

I understood the idea...

I understand the 'tactic' here as far as 'baiting the trap' according to Rich...

Basically - I wouldn't have taken the bait...

ibelieve-- I

ibelieve-- I understand--now--that you do "get it," and did read the first post by Rich.  I hope you understand that *your* first post gave the appearance that you didn't get it, and maybe, just maybe hadn't read Rich's first post.  The tactic was indeed "baiting the trap," with the additional irony of turning the tables on someone who basically had baited a trap for Rich.  Speaking of...

 

Rich--

GREAT work, man! I wish I could have been there!  I hope you don't mind if I remember this for future reference.

 

Conor

_____________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

?????????

Why are you guys wasting you lives trying to convert Christians to atheist beliefs? Why not leave them alone? Let them believe what they want, don't you want them to leave you alone? And by the way, you cant prove the existence of God, or any other higher being so stop trying, and try to find solace in something.

thingy's picture

We're not, we're just trying

We're not, we're just trying to get them to think rationally.  Anyway, they don't leave us alone, so why should we leave them alone?  Of course, that last sentence makes a lot of sense.  Can't prove something that doesn't exist.

Organised religion is the ultimate form of blasphemy.
Censored and blacked out for internet access in ANZ!
AU: http://nocleanfeed.com/ | NZ: http://nzblackout.org/

simpleminds-- Correct me if

simpleminds--

Correct me if I'm wrong, here...but you see no problem with Christians trying to convert atheists to Christianity, am I right?   I see no problem with trying to convert Christians to rationality and atheism.  After all, do Christians leave other people alone?  I've been on military bases, reading quietly, when Evangelicals invited themselves over to try to persuade me to join their church.  When I tried to tell them that I was just quietly studying, they didn't take the hint.  When I made my desire to be left alone explicit, they got offended.

Conor

P.S.: "...you can't prove the existence of God." is *our* line.  You probably meant to write "disprove."

_______________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

I don't think it's really a

I don't think it's really a philosophy to think there is an answer to a question, it's just common sense. This blog isn't an argument in a debate, it's the other part of debating, refuting the other's argument. It prove how frivilous "faith-based" arguments actually are.

Subdi Visions's picture

Excellent post. Thank

Excellent post.

Thank you. 

Well...

Quote:
Can't prove something that doesn't exist.

First, let me begin by saying that I am an agnostic. I wanted to get that out of the way before beginning.

While you can't prove that God exists, neither can you disprove that he exists. This is the thing about religion, it can neither be proven nor disproven.

Math, on the other hand, can be proven. If something is taught in math, whether in first grade, or in graduate school, it is true.

Science, on the third hand, cannot be proven until all available knowledge in the universe is obtained. It can be proven right now but that doesn't mean it will still be proven tomorrow. This is why many physicists say that there are no true laws in science, only really good theories. For all the proof that you may have today, somebody may discover something tomorrow that takes your theory and places it in the same dust bin as a geocentric universe theory.

And yes, I am an engineer. Hence my love of math, general disdain of religion, and healthy poking fun of science.

I'm pretty sure the RRS

I'm pretty sure the RRS isn't singling out Christians, they want to put an end to ALL faiths.

 As for why, Richard Dawkins gives plenty of good reasons (the indoctrination of children, for one), as do Kelly's blogs. Ever think about a world without faith? It would look something like this:

http://www.guardianchronicle.com/images/the%20world%20trade%20center.jpg

Magus's picture

Ogma wrote: Quote: Can't

Ogma wrote:

Quote:
Can't prove something that doesn't exist.

First, let me begin by saying that I am an agnostic. I wanted to get that out of the way before beginning. While you can't prove that God exists, neither can you disprove that he exists. This is the thing about religion, it can neither be proven nor disproven. Math, on the other hand, can be proven. If something is taught in math, whether in first grade, or in graduate school, it is true. Science, on the third hand, cannot be proven until all available knowledge in the universe is obtained. It can be proven right now but that doesn't mean it will still be proven tomorrow. This is why many physicists say that there are no true laws in science, only really good theories. For all the proof that you may have today, somebody may discover something tomorrow that takes your theory and places it in the same dust bin as a geocentric universe theory. And yes, I am an engineer. Hence my love of math, general disdain of religion, and healthy poking fun of science.

 Do you have any believes that are not "proved" right now?

I suggest reading Am I Agnostic or Atheist?

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.

Faith does not fear reason

Conor,
I don't see an issue with a person of any faith (existence/non-existence of a god/gods) having the desire to discuss their beliefs with others. The problem comes when people are either forcing their views on others or are only interested in winning a debate, especially through the use of satire. True communication demands mutual desire to interchange ideas.
Though they probably never realized it, the "Evangelicals" who invaded your table probably did more harm than good in working toward their supposed goal. It seems to me that they see it as a numbers game; eventually someone will bite. But they fail to recognize the immeasurable value of each soul that endures collateral damage due to their tactics. Likewise, the author of this article probably did more harm than good in trying to convert Christians in his debate. But, giving the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he returned to the table with humility rather than ridicule and his reasoning was well-received rather than heard as a slew of insults.
But the main reason for my reply is because of your signature where you argue that faith should fear reason. First, your rebuttal to the Pope's quote shows your lack of understanding of the Catholic position. Second, in light of this article's point that atheists are quite faithful, I'm surprised you'd admit that your faith should fear reason. I suspect you weren't considering yourself a "faithful" atheist when you wrote it though. But it brings up a good topic. Does all faith contradict reason? I suspect the author would proclaim that his faith is the only faith that doesn't.
Well, I just got to this site and I still need to browse around a bit... but, as a closing thought, if a single true faith exists, then it seems objective reasoning should lead us toward that faith. Anyway, I have yet to see reason contradict my faith and therefore agree with the Pope; that "[the only true] faith does not fear reason."
- Kory

,`,`,  faith, beliefs and

,`,`, 

faith, beliefs and opinions are of little use to anyone.

who is the most influential personality to ever exist?  jesus christ. 

it is a fact that noone has proven god's existence or absence yet, unless there's something i missed.

therefore, in truth, atheists are agnostics.

the idea that we can choose what we believe is a threat to public health and safety.

let the truth be known.

demand the use of lie detection as a prerequisite for public service officials.

also make deliberate HIV transmission and child molestation crimes punishable with death.

end the AIDS epidemic.

 

Why do people participate in bug parties?

Many psychologists theorize that participation in bug parties is actually an anxiety disorder where the non-infected individuals fear getting HIV so greatly that they would rather contract it and free themselves of the anxiety of living in fear. These parties are also seen as a sort of club for those living with HIV. Infecting a HIV negative and willing participant initiates them into their world. Some people also engage in unprotected anal sex (or barebacking) as the fear for AIDS dangerously dwindles.

"The Gift" from filmmaker Louise Hogarth is a documentary about gay men who purposely contract HIV. According to Rolling Stone, one character in the film admits "I was relieved. I didn't have to worry. Do I need to be careful -- not any more." Yet another willing 21-year-old regrets his choice. "I've made a terrible mistake and there's no fixing that. There is no benefit in this and that's what needs to be said."

`,`,`

Kory wrote: I don't see an

Kory wrote:

I don't see an issue with a person of any faith (existence/non-existence of a god/gods) having the desire to discuss their beliefs with others. The problem comes when people are either forcing their views on others or are only interested in winning a debate, especially through the use of satire.

 

My $0.02:  I wholeheartedly agree. 

 

Kory wrote:

Likewise, the author of this article probably did more harm than good in trying to convert Christians in his debate.

 

My $0.02: Here, I disagree.  What Rich did was arrange for a public debate, (...which is perfectly legitimate...) research his opponent (...for which, I know of no reason for an objection...) and turn the tables on said opponent in said debate.  My point was that if conversion is a legitimate goal for Christians, then deconversion is a legitimate goal for atheists.  Please note that, so far as I know, nobody was forced to come to the debate, and nobody was forced to debate him unwillingly.  Rich harassed...absolutely nobody.  The situation that I was talking about was not even comparable to the debate Rich described.  And if he got someone to do some serious thinking...Rich may well have done them a favor.

 

Kory wrote:

But the main reason for my reply is because of your signature where you argue that faith should fear reason. First, your rebuttal to the Pope's quote shows your lack of understanding of the Catholic position.

 

My $0.02: Here, I wonder whether *you* understand *me.*  In the first place, I gave no "argument."  I did indeed make a smart aside, but I don't see that as being the same thing.  Second, my "understanding" of the Pope's position is that, in the considered opinion of His Holiness, reason, properly employed, provides no obstacle to faith.  What part of this, if any needs correction, and why?

 

Kory wrote:

Second, in light of this article's point that atheists are quite faithful, I'm surprised you'd admit that your faith should fear reason.

 

My $0.02:  Kory...honestly...what on earth are you talking about?  Atheists don't have faith; that's a huge part of what makes us atheists.  And I nowhere said anything about *my* faith; the remark was about the faith of those who believe in God.  (I suppose you could be referring to the faith I *used* *to* *have* in Catholic Christianity, but then I wouldn't be able to make sense out of your reply.)

 

Kory wrote:

Does all faith contradict reason? I suspect the author would proclaim that his faith is the only faith that doesn't.

My $0.02: I would say that faith does indeed contradict reason.  And I understand that Pius, were he here, would disagree.  At one time, I would have been happy to believe in God and the Catholic Church with the understanding that reason and evidence should not expressly contradict the Catholic faith.  But I studied the Catholic religion for a while, and I could not avoid noticing that the Bible was a mess, the Tradition was a mess, and Magisterial teaching was a mess.  Worse, when I looked outside of Catholicism, an all-too familiar pattern emerged: Eastern Orthodox Tradition is a mess, the history of Protestantism, including Anglicanism, is a mess, the Book of Mormon is a mess, the teaching of the line of prophets in Salt Lake City is a mess, the Koran is a mess.  It doesn't take a genius to see that there is something fundamentally wrong with all of this.  Atheism, in my opinion, provides a beautifully simple explanation of *all* of these messes.  Simply put: no "true faith" exists; all of them are wrong, because God is a figment, and not a reality.

 

Lastly, Kory wrote:

as a closing thought, if a single true faith exists, then it seems objective reasoning should lead us toward that faith.

 

My $0.02: Yes.  Precisely.  And that is what led me here.

 

Conor

______________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

   ....just had to say

   ....just had to say "thank you", Conor, that was so buddha cool ! Laughing  , me is chanting "buddha buddha buddha"  .... those xains need some buddha real real bad ..... NO I am not a buddhist, I drink tons of beer .... my new plan is too get fundy buddhists drunk .... that would be Real Progress ....

!

 

I think we mostly agree...

Conor (paraphrased):
What Rich did was arrange for a public debate ... research his opponent ... and turn the tables.

I agree and neither do I see any issue in this type of approach.

Conor:
My point was that if conversion is a legitimate goal for Christians, then deconversion is a legitimate goal for atheists...

I absolutely agree. My point was simply that for it to be effective, there needs to be dialog. Not preaching, nor satirical attacks. Only then can conversions (or "deconversions") occur. I presume we both see communication as an opportunity for (de)conversion.

Conor:
The situation that I was talking about was not even comparable to the debate Rich described. And if he got someone to do some serious thinking...

I would agree that Rich did not force his opinion on others. If that were the only faux pas of evangelizing (for or against Atheism) then I'd say that you are correct; it would not compare to your incident. But, to reiterate my original post, I suspect (though admitted there was not enough information to conclude) that he was so proud of what (somehow) flustered his opponent, that he may have come across as derisive to the audience. If this was the case, Rich's situation could be comparable to yours, though perhaps only in its final effectiveness. I thought (and still think) we could agree on that. At any rate, I wasn't trying to sound oppositional and I apologize if I came across that way. I just wanted to promote effective dialog. And, as I stated, my reply was made primarily for an entirely different reason...

Conor:
... I wonder whether *you* understand *me.* In the first place, I gave no "argument." I did indeed make a smart aside, but I don't see that as being the same thing.

Gee whiz, I wasn't intending to imply that I could fully understand you. All I said was that "you argue that faith should fear reason" (emphasis added), which you clearly do. I don't want to get into a semantical debate, but to argue is to present a position... does not your "smart aside" express an oppositional view to that of the Pope's? But please understand that, though I disagree with you, I was not trying to accuse you of being unreasonably argumentative or something. My use of the word was simply for its literal meaning, and not for any characteristic flaws it may improperly imply.

Conor:
Second, my "understanding" of the Pope's position is that, in the considered opinion of His Holiness, reason, properly employed, provides no obstacle to faith. What part of this, if any needs correction, and why?

I stand corrected; you do understand the Pope's statement. But then, I am even more confused by your response to it. Surely you'd agree that, properly employed, reason provides no obstacle to your Atheistic faith. Your signature should then say that you disagree with the Pope's reasoning. I'm sure you can come up with a clever quip to make it derisive if you tried, but, rather, I'm going to challenge you to draft something that will encourage Catholics to hit the books. But, anyway, I suspect you can see where I'm coming from in thinking the Pope's statement by itself should not need to be negated.

I should also mention that your response to this article is why I suspected that you had a "lack of understanding of the Catholic position". A well-versed Catholic would not be phased by the tactic outlined in this article because we do not believe faith proves God's existence. I was not aware that any protestant faiths taught such a thing. It would then seem that loss of faith would make God... what... disappear!? [I believe] God exists whether or not we have faith in Him and, therefore, with or without proof. So I don't understand the minister's folly... unless he was offended and derailed by Rich's atypical behavior for a standard, civil debate. But, frankly, I never liked standard debate and would applaud Rich's tactics as a great strategy IF he returned to the podium with humility and expressed that his actions were only to make a point. ... though still I guess I don't understand his point... So, I guess, with humility AND a good point the actions could have been well received by the audience; which, of course, is the whole purpose of public debate in the first place.

Conor:
...Atheists don't have faith...

Rich says, "I have FAITH that Christianity is completely and unequivocally false!!" (emphasis NOT added) and goes on to explain it is his faith that disproves the fundamentalist's position. I've met a variety of adherents, but honestly, Atheists are among the most faithful I have met. Anyway, I must apologize again; I didn't mean for my statement (that you were replying to) to be offensive. Of course, I know your signature wasn't written in context of this article... I just thought I'd point out that it doesn't work in context of the article. Perhaps I shouldn't have, as it probably just came across as a cheap jab. I'm sorry.

Conor (paraphrased):
[Everything except atheism is a mess.]

Please forgive my condensed version of all of your truly good points. I mostly agree with the messes you referenced. Indeed, humanity can take something good (even perfect) and make it look messy. Though, in all the messiness, I didn't see specific evidence of how Catholicism contradicts reason. As for the "messy" bible; yes, translation lends itself to error, but, thus far I've found, it's nothing that cannot be resolved through research. But I don't see how Magisterial teaching or Tradition are a mess. Though, there is a great deal of mess with how some fail to properly practice what is taught.

Conor:
Simply put: no "true faith" exists; all of them are wrong, because God is a figment, and not a reality.

If you are stating this as fact without any ability to prove it, then it is with faith. That's what faith is. I'm not trying to convert you by saying, "prove a god doesn't exist." That'd be ridiculous. But, whether you are stating with certainty that a Flying Spaghetti Monster either does or does not exist, you (by definition) are stating such with faith. As an aside, I hope we all have faith that there is no FSM, but I'm probably just inviting a response from someone who has no desire to dialog.

Conor (with bits of my statements inserted for context):
My $0.02: Yes. Precisely. And [that objective reasoning should lead us toward (the true) faith] is what led me here.

So basically, as I understand it, you researched Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism, and a number of other -ism's with the filter of reasoning and it led you here. I respect that you took time to do some research; many people don't even bother. As stated in my closing, I believe objective reasoning leads toward truth. Unfortunately, flawless use of objective reasoning is impossible for any human. Occasionally, we all make mistakes. Anyway, maybe Atheism is just your current -ism of choice. Perhaps an opportunity to explore some of the seemingly unreasonable things of another faith (along with a little heavenly grace ;-}) will lead you back toward Catholic-ism... (meant to be read with tongue-in-cheek) ;-} (... but seriously)

- Kory

  "Faithful Atheist", umm,

  "Faithful Atheist", umm, is that really an oxymoron? .... dang solphism, twisted words and confussion. Yell    Dictionary:  Babel  http://www.answers.com/topic/babel-1

more Proof , that "god of abe" hates us ! Surprised  ah shucks, the serpent was right .... bad bad god of abe. Cry

cyberdaemon's picture

I would like to see how

I would like to see how these chistians debate and try to disprove the positions of Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
   "I have a faith that pasta god is real , Look it says right here in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! read it! Its full of evidence!  now disprove me!"

How about this , next time you debate you do it this way.Infiltrate a one person into the middle of the public and as soon as pastor who opposes you earns an applause to hes "fact" that god is real , that sphatetti monster fanatic runs out of the public , places a Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on your table and screams  "i knew pastor was right , the god is rea! Look!Look , i got even hes picture here (shows large picture of "you know who&quotEye-wink ! I prays the lodr and hes wonderful Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Everyone , have faith in him!" 

Little green warrior

cyberdaemon's picture

Or maybe you should just

Or maybe you should just call someone out of the public , because he has important "evidence" and reason why hes belief in Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is more real than the christians faith in theyr religion ? And even more , he can point out to that "holy" book and read out alot of "evidence" Laughing out loud Make them debate the damn Flying Spaghetti Monster at least for a few moments . dudes!

Little green warrior

daretoknow's picture

Faith requires a positive

Kory,

Faith requires a positive position. By your definition then, you have faith that things you have never heard of, nor could ever possibly imagine, do not exist. For instance, you have had faith your entire life that purple pixies do not roam persia.

We as atheists just dont believe your proposition that a God exists. That is it, nothing more. There is absolutely no positive assertion there.

Thats cute.

  yeah cyberdaemon ,

  yeah cyberdaemon , laughing is my defense, because it's SO scary  Cry 

Disproving the Flying Spaghetti Monster is easy actually

cyberdaemon wrote:
I would like to see how these chistians debate and try to disprove the positions of Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
   "I have a faith that pasta god is real , Look it says right here in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! read it! Its full of evidence!  now disprove me!"
 

Based only on his name and his images actually disproving the "mythology" of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is quite easy.  The Flying Spaghetti Monster supposedly created the universe according to the intentionally rediculous "religion" designed to mock theism in general.  The problem, however, is that this leads us naturally to a contradiction.  Spaghetti is man made.  Now either the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe and thus created man, or man created spaghetti which became the Flying Spaghetti Monster through some complex process allowing it to defy physics, biology and all known laws of common sense.  You can't even appeaal to the supernatural to defend the concept.  Because the concept of spaghetti is entirely man made, thus it didn't exist before man existed.  And actually long after.  Same with the concept of flying, which doesn't exist in space, only within a gravitational field.  The Flying Spaghetti Monster would not have though of himself as a "Flying" Spaghetti Monster.  Just a Spaghetti Monster, except that it would have had no concept of "Spaghetti", or "Monster" so it would be an interesting and conveniently formed entity and then we would spontaneously develop a dish that just happened to be identical to it.  That would be quite the coincidence.  One could argue that the Flying Spaghetti Monster inspired the dish, but why would the Flying Spaghetti Monster need to exist in a material form edible to humans?  Plus, in this case, the complete lack of historical sources referencing the creation of the dish as having any relation to the existence of a conveniently edible flying deity, is sufficient as proof that, at the very least, the dish was independantly concieved of by some humans long after our "creation".

A "realistic" god concept, however, (and this includes the christian god) is not so vulnerable to these same objections.  And the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an argument I object to solely on the basis of it's status as an informal logical fallacy.  It is an Appeal to Ridicule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_ridicule), I don't like to use logical fallacies as arguments in any form of debate.  Formal or Informal, mostly because I don't like them used on me, but also because such arguments are only convincing to people who are weak minded and irrational.  I'd like to see more rational people, thus I avoid arguments that should only convince irrational people, such as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This is false

daretoknow wrote:
Faith requires a positive position. By your definition then, you have faith that things you have never heard of, nor could ever possibly imagine, do not exist. For instance, you have had faith your entire life that purple pixies do not roam persia.

Faith is only defined as trust, basically, or a coice to believe something.  It doesn't require anything but a concept to have faith in.  Also any position can be a "positive position".  Theists hold to the "positive position" that a god exists.  One could define as a "positive position" as a belief in a given position being true.  This is rather pointless, though, because one could state any position that they want to believe in such a way as to assert their position's truth.  For instance the strong atheist's positive position would be that "god does not exist" or that "no gods actually exist".  This is a positive position, because the person stating that position believes that it is true.  All positions in any debate can be interpreted as "positive positions" if the person taking that position asserts the position as though it were true.  Alsothe assertion that no gods exist is a faith based positive position because there is no unequivocal objective verifiable evidence that directly supports that position.  Anyone who holds to strong atheism does so on faith.

 A side observation, when a person says they have "faith in god" I wonder how many people are aware that they are actually saying that they have faith in themselves?  As it turns out, they can't know that god exists, basic epistemology, if they knew that god exists they wouldn't have to rely on faith which amounts only to an unproven trust in the reliability of something.  Thus a person who asserts their "faith in god" is only asserting their faith in their own belief in god, and their trust in their own inability to be wrong about the existence of god.  It amounts to an implicit assumption of perfection.  Esspecially in light of the fact that they never honestly consider the possibility of error.  They give lip service to it, but rarely, if ever, do any actually honestly question it.  And from what I've observed, most that do never go back.

Kory: I realize that this

Kory:

I realize that this post is *not* going to be an adequate answer to all of your statements.  There are quite a number of issues involved, and I want to do better with them here than I did in another series of posts with Totus Tuus.  So, my replies (note carefully my usage of the plural,) will necessarily be piecemeal, and here I will deal only with one issue you raised.

 

Kory wrote:

Rich says, "I have FAITH that Christianity is completely and unequivocally false!!" (emphasis NOT added) and goes on to explain it is his faith that disproves the fundamentalist's position. I've met a variety of adherents, but honestly, Atheists are among the most faithful I have met.

 

My reply is twofold:

 

1. It seems that you did not read Rich's original post very carefully, or give it due consideration.  His whole point was that this claim of "faith" being a disproof of the position of one's opponent was what his opponent used as an ordinary tactic to shut down a discussion before it even got started.  The only reason Rich used this same tactic was essentially to give himself a fairer hearing from what was, essentially, a hostile audience.  He also wished to establish the idea that faith neither proves, nor disproves, anything.  He did this successfully, and I think that congratulations are in order for him.  What Rich was *not* doing was seriously trying to claim that his "atheist faith" proved anything.  Please re-read the OP...and do so slowly and carefully.

 

2. As for atheists being "faithful,"...be careful here...you are committing an equivocation.  You are transiting from "faith" (i.e., religious belief in the existence of God,) to "faithful" (i.e., steadfast, reliable.)  As you can see from these definitions, these are categorically *not* the same thing.  And atheists most certianly do *not* have religious belief in the existence of God!  (For that matter, we also do not have religious belief in the nonexistence of God.  We merely understand that "belief," if that is the word to be used, is properly reserved for concepts which have evidence in their favor--and this rules out the existence of God.)

 

Conor

________________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

Sapient's picture

simpleminds wrote: Why are

simpleminds wrote:
Why are you guys wasting you lives trying to convert Christians to atheist beliefs?

 I believe the Pastor challenged him.  Had he refused he would've been a wuss, now that he didn't you ask him why he's trying to convert others.  He's in a lose-lose with you until you decide to address his arguments and not his style. 

 

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.

daretoknow's picture

DeathMunkyGod wrote: Faith

DeathMunkyGod wrote:
Faith is only defined as trust, basically, or a coice to believe something. It doesn't require anything but a concept to have faith in.

 

you seem to conflate faith and belief here. faith is a belief based on no evidence as defined by most dictionaries.

 

DeathMunkyGod wrote:
Also any position can be a "positive position". Theists hold to the "positive position" that a god exists. One could define as a "positive position" as a belief in a given position being true. This is rather pointless, though, because one could state any position that they want to believe in such a way as to assert their position's truth. For instance the strong atheist's positive position would be that "god does not exist" or that "no gods actually exist". This is a positive position, because the person stating that position believes that it is true. All positions in any debate can be interpreted as "positive positions" if the person taking that position asserts the position as though it were true. Alsothe assertion that no gods exist is a faith based positive position because there is no unequivocal objective verifiable evidence that directly supports that position. Anyone who holds to strong atheism does so on faith.

 

I suppose that you could possitively assert an innately negative position, but I dont see how that applies to my post. I never said that I know that no god or gods exist, so whats your point? You seem to have laid out a verbose symantics argument that points out the obvious, at least to me, although I could have missed the point.

 

DeathMunkyGod wrote:
A side observation, when a person says they have "faith in god" I wonder how many people are aware that they are actually saying that they have faith in themselves? As it turns out, they can't know that god exists, basic epistemology, if they knew that god exists they wouldn't have to rely on faith which amounts only to an unproven trust in the reliability of something. Thus a person who asserts their "faith in god" is only asserting their faith in their own belief in god, and their trust in their own inability to be wrong about the existence of god. It amounts to an implicit assumption of perfection. Esspecially in light of the fact that they never honestly consider the possibility of error. They give lip service to it, but rarely, if ever, do any actually honestly question it. And from what I've observed, most that do never go back.

 

This though is a genuinely interesting point. I'll have to think about that one a bit before giving my .02 dollars.

Thats cute.

Kory wrote: I mostly agree

Kory wrote:

I mostly agree with the messes you referenced. Indeed, humanity can take something good (even perfect) and make it look messy. Though, in all the messiness, I didn't see specific evidence of how Catholicism contradicts reason. As for the "messy" bible; yes, translation lends itself to error, but, thus far I've found, it's nothing that cannot be resolved through research.

 

My $0.02: My statement about the Bible being a mess goes far beyond translation issues.  Yes, there are minor translation issues, but those need not detain us.  The Bible has much bigger problems, evident in any remotely competent translation.  You might search through "Recent posts" for a thread started by Rook Hawkins called "A Small Compliation Of Contradictions."  (I found it on page 10, so some searching might need to be done.)  I might be able to believe that this or that translation might eliminate a few such contradictions here and there, but by and large, those contradictions should stand, as *problems,* mind you, in most any translation that you care to pick up.  Don't feel like looking?  That's okay; merely type "Skeptic's Annotated Bible" into the search engine of your choice.  The SAB website should have everything that you could conceive of in looking for problems in the Bible.  BTW, please read the material in either place carefully; it is true that some of these contradictions involve, say, the number of troops killed in a given battle, but there are actual theological issues involved, as well.  I suspect that those theological issues will interest you more so than the others.  Not only that, but you will find in either location places where the Bible contradicts science.

 

Once you have absorbed as much as you can, stop and think: the Bible, even by the most traditional Roman Catholic standards, is said to be inspired by God.  God, in turn, is said to be omniscient (i.e., knowing everything,) and omnipotent (i.e., capable of doing everything.)  Now, with this being the case, these assorted errors and contradictions should not be there at all.  God, if he exists, is not ignorant (being omniscient kind of rules that out,) and he should surely have been capable of "inspiring" the "human authors" of Scripture to state things in a manner that was correct, even if that only meant avoiding an error, without saying what the correct understanding was.  So these errors should not even exist in the first place.  How could such a thing be excused?  You cannot claim that God did not know, for example, that bats are not birds, that trees are indeed plants, or that insects have six legs, nor four.  Neither can you really claim that God was incapable of inspiring his human authors to avoid these problems with careful wording.  For example, the issue of bats could simply have been split into another sentence which need have said nothing more than "Bats also are an abomination." ...or some such.  Avoiding these problems should have been child's play for an omnipotent, omniscient being.

*These* sorts of things--and more could be cited--constitute the "mess" in the Bible that I referred to.  Translational issues are the least of the problems where the Bible is concerned.

 

Conor

P. S.: I haven't forgotten the other issues.  I'll do my best to get around to them, and to do them justice.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

john allan tate iii

john allan tate iii wrote:

,`,`, 

faith, beliefs and opinions are of little use to anyone.

Having read your post, I'd agree with that momentarily.

john allan tate iii wrote:
who is the most influential personality to ever exist?  jesus christ. 

it is a fact that noone has proven god's existence or absence yet, unless there's something i missed.

So he's the most influential person not shown to exist?

john allan tate iii wrote:
therefore, in truth, atheists are agnostics.

Other way around. You either believe or you don't, and you decide based on the same evidence: none. Faith makes a virtue of ignoring the question of evidence, so if you're not a believer based on nothing, you're just not a believer at all.

john allan tate iii wrote:
[whole lotta nothin']

Adrianne says "Hi." Wait, is a restraining order considered a greeting?

Faith requires a positive position?

daretoknow,

I think I see where you're coming from, but you're taking me out of context. I actually explicitly defined faith at the beginning of the paragraph you are responding to. The examples I use later in the paragraph utilized that definition, even if poorly so...

Here's the definition I gave and then, so you don't have to rely on me, dictionary.com's version below it:
- "If you are stating [something/anything] as fact without any ability to prove it, then it is with faith."
- 2. belief that is not based on proof.

But, still, I disagree that a positive position is required to yield faith. While, naturally, I don't have an active faith in my disbelief of something that I'm still unaware of (such as purple pixies), if that thing is brought to my attention and I come to a conclusion (that they don't exist) without proof to back up my conclusion, then I have made a statement of faith. If I'm so inclined, I may even act on my belief and create a website (like RRS's) to convince others of my belief (evangelization). Bottom line - the idea of god(s) is, unarguably, something Atheists are aware of, and their active denial of god(s) is positively a position of faith.

Finally... I really didn't expect to get hung up on the idea that Atheists are "faithful" (3rd post on the topic now). I guess the word does have a stigma from the context of Atheism, as can be seen by dictionary.com clearly not shying away from relating "faith" to Christianity in 3 of its 9 definitions for the primary entry. But please accept my apology if I have been offensive and understand I'm not trying insult your intelligence by bluring the lines in an attempt to make you think you're Christian. Eye-wink heh... was it working!? Eye-wink

- Kory

DeathMunkyGod - 2 for 2

DeathMunkyGod,

Amen! heh... in the non-religious context of course...

I didn't reply to the FSM posts because I read, enjoyed, and mostly agreed with your reply. And I probably wouldn't have made the "Faith requires a positive position" reply had I come to page 2 and read your reply first. You apply reason very well and it is evident that you are not motivated by anger. Perhaps it is too soon to conclude, but I suspect you are very much like many atheist friends I have. They and I generally tend to agree to disagree, but fun and, more importantly, civil conversations arise from time to time.

However, I did want to comment on the "I have faith in God" phrase.

DMG: "they are actually saying that they have faith in themselves"

I don't think their intended meaning is "I believe that I'm correct about what I believe in." "Faith", used here, is "trust", as in, "rely on" and not "without proof, I believe in the existence of...". It might be said with the implication, "I submit myself to God." ... I see what you're saying and agree that there would be an issue if someone were saying "Without proof, I believe in the existence of an entity for which there is no proof".

- Kory

Thank you for your reply

Thank you for your reply, Conor. I appreciate your willingness to discuss this with me and I think we're close to an accord. I just need to more carefully explain my position on a couple points:

Conor: "1. It seems that you did not read Rich's original post very carefully..."

I did... many times. I fully understood (and agree with) his point that faith neither proves nor disproves anything. But, though we both agree he is correct on this point, he would have no argument against his opponent unless he acknowledged that he had faith. Anyway, as I expressed in a previous post:
"... we do not believe faith proves God's existence. I was not aware that any protestant faiths taught such a thing."
Neither did I ever suspect Rich was claiming his Atheistic faith proves anything.

In regards to my statement, "[he] goes on to explain it is his faith that disproves the fundamentalist's position" ... While I wasn't intending to say that it is (directly) Rich's faith that disproves anything, in this case it seems it does, because 1) he has faith (the main point and reason I wrote the sentence), 2) the minister cannot disprove his faith, and 3) therefore the minister's position that faith proves something is void. Therefore, oddly, it is through admitting his faith that he disproved a faith that claims faith proves something. I didn't write it all out as such because I was really just trying to get across that Rich acknowledged his faith... (at the time you were denying Atheists have faith at all).

Finally to this point, I'll reiterate again that I would think congratulations are in order if 1) the recognition of faith's inability to prove anything had relevance, and 2) he returned to the podium with humility and respect so as to appeal to the audience. As I have stated, both of these may have been met, but insufficient evidence is available. If the minister's belief system is dependent upon faith serving as proof, and he was respectful, I'll congratulate him with you. But, I'm not familiar with a faith that claims the former, and the tone of his article suggests the later was not the case.

Conor: "2. As for atheists being "faithful,"...be careful here"

I'm glad you brought this up! I brought it up myself in the first response I made this evening. I'm not trying to blur the lines. And it would be silly of me to try to wrap this up by spitting out some foolishness like, "ha, see you're all Christians!" My original intent was simply to show that Atheists can agree with the pope that "Faith does not fear reason." They would simply disagree on how to properly apply reason. But we've already discussed this.

- Kory

messes

Conor (condensed): "My statement about the Bible being a mess goes far beyond translation issues. ... Skeptic's Annotated Bible... it is true that some of these contradictions involve, say, the number of troops killed in a given battle, but there are actual theological issues involved, as well."

I have visited and posted explanations on the Skeptic's Annotated Bible. ... hey!?!?!... do they no longer allow people to post explanations!? Interesting... perhaps it was hurting their agenda. At any rate, it seems people often expect a manuscript multiple times larger than what the bible currently is so that it can be used to teach science and history. But, naturally, this is not its purpose. That a bat is not a bird or the other way around is irrelevant for imparting what is necessary. If, at the time, the Jews thought bats were birds, then being strictly accurate to facts that wouldn't emerge for a millennium would distort the book's purpose... and what a mixed up place the world would be if the Jews became famous for their bat stew! Good thing He got that one right (by allowing it to be wrong)! Eye-wink Anyway, honestly I'm not familiar with all the issues you are loosely referencing... I'm just throwing out some possible explanations that are likely off... But I have yet to see a "contradiction" that didn't have some explanation. I mean heck, you actually think all the people that dedicate their lives to transcribing and studying and teaching the bible just overlooked all the "conflicts"? Anyway, If you're interested in tackling specific issues one by one, I suppose we could go over a few... but realize I've only got so many hours in my day to burn here and I don't expect explaining the whole bible is going to convert anyone anyway, because surely we're going to disagree in preference for either what I call scandal or you call delusion.

- Kory

Kory wrote:I have visited

Kory wrote:I have visited and posted explanations on the Skeptic's Annotated Bible. ... hey!?!?!... do they no longer allow people to post explanations!?

 

My $0.02: I have no idea what the status on posting of explanations on SAB is.  I use the site strictly as a resource; I hadn't even checked to see if posting was possible.  As for whether their "agenda" was endangered...that's certainly possible, for all I know; human beings have done far worse things in history with far less reason.  But to offer SAB the only defense I can give them: this is not the only possiblity.  Perhaps they only wanted to stop receiving 10,000 e-mails on the same two verses, with the same explanation given for each verse.  Maybe instead of logical discussion, they received threats.  I have no idea what actually did or did not happen; I merely wish to point out that your "agenda" remark seems to jump the gun, and assume things which may--or may not--be true.

 

Kory wrote:

it seems people often expect a manuscript multiple times larger than what the bible currently is so that it can be used to teach science and history. But, naturally, this is not its purpose.

 

My $0.02: I am happy to grant that the Bible is not a textbook on science.  However, that does not relieve the Bible of serious problems in this area, because:

 

1. Many (though admittedly not *all*) of the Bible's believers do indeed use it as a textbook.  Thus, demonstrating that the Bible cannot fulfill such a function stands as a disproof, at the very leas, of the hermeneutics, and by implication, the theology of these groups.

 

2. Where Catholics are concerned, modern Catholics may not be in the first category, but by their own principles, they should be.  After all, the teaching of any given Pope, once given becomes a part of the Catholic Tradition.  Yes, we must carefully note that not everything a Pope says is considered infallible (...I don't think we need to go into that digression, do you?...) but even so, such teaching cannot simply be disregarded.  Pope Leo XIII stated that "it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred." (Providentissimus Deus 20).  That part about "[admitting] that the sacred writer has erred" is the important part.  If then, the sacred writer has *not* erred, then it follows that there are *no* errors, not even errors of fact, within the Bible.  Thus, the demonstration of *any* error within its pages disproves the inspiration of the Bible--which is one-third of the way toward disproving the Catholic religion!

 

In that spirit, I propose that you consider the following:

Gen 1:11 ("Plants yielding seed" are distinguished from "fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed.&quotEye-wink

 

Lev 11:6 ("And the hare, which chews the cud,..."  Sorry, but the Bible is simply wrong here; hares do *not* chew the cud.)

 

Lev 11:13-19 (Here, we have a list of "birds" which are "abominations" and not to be eaten; included in their number, as the very last entry, is the bat.)

 

Lev 11:20 (This verse discusses "winged insects that go upon all fours....&quotEye-wink  Uh...insects have *six* legs.

 

Like I said in an earlier post, the main point is that none of these errors should be there at all if the Bible is inspired by Catholic and/or Fundamentalist standards.  Note additionally, that these errors would be easy for you or I to fix; what excuse can God have?  Lastly, the Bible is *not* saved by claiming that any of this is the understanding of Israelite tribesmen.  The whole reason that the Bible is treated as an authority in a way that, say, the collected works of Shakespeare are not is precisely that "inspiration."  Consider the teaching of the following Popes:

 

Pope Pius X: Lamentabili Sani: Condemns the following notion: "Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error;"

Pope Benedict XV: Spiritus Paraclitus: "...the divine inspiration extends to all parts of Scripture without distinction, and that no error could occur in the inspired text;"

 

It simply does no good to attribute "truth" in the Bible to God, and "error" in the Bible to man.  These Popes certainly believed that *every* word of Scripture was free from *all* error.  Thus, per their own principles, even if Catholics are not actually Fundamentalists...they should be.

 

Conor

_____________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

 

 

Conor weakens his point with

Conor weakens his point with the following statement:

Simply put: no "true faith" exists; all of them are wrong, because God is a figment, and not a reality.

Why? Because Conor is declaring absolutely, as though this statement were fact. He has adhered to a universal negative. That of all things we know, and all the things we don't know about this universe, Conor knows that 'God', no matter what that might be, cannot exist ("...a figment, and not a reality"). I am uncertain what to take away from this. That both arguments are, if nothing else, equal? I often wonder what atheists believe I have given up because of my faith. I certainly had some idea of what I was going to lose if I accepted the Christian faith before I did it, but my impression changed the minute I did it. Do atheists I believe I have given up the ability to reason? Simply because reason takes me to a different conclusion than theirs? Isn't it still reason? Have I given up the choice of sex, drugs and rock and roll? Nope. I still have free will. Won't doing these things make me a backslider? A hypocrite? No. They might make me a jackass, but then, I've been able to live with that for 50 years. (And I certainly partake in the former and the latter as often as possible). Can I explain what I have gained? Maybe, but why? My impression is you'd rather argue about the 'faith' point of view than understand it, or, than simply let it be, and our debates are not important. Whats important to this conversation is, what I think about this should not matter to you. What you think about it certainly isn't important to me, even if you are a "God-fearing-man-of-the-cloth". Besides, God worked in my life for me, not for you or anyone else. I am not a Christian to impress you, my Mom, or even my friends at the church I don't attend. I am simply attempting to make friends with the God I know exists. There are no Conor's, no Rich's, no reasoning that will shake this from me. I do it alone. For me, and for my God.

In case I'm not being clear, I am not looking for a debate. I would simply say "You win!", when in fact I can never possibly believe that. So please don't mistake "You win!" with "You're right." I simply wanted to say what I felt compelled to say, and you generously provided me with a platform with which to do this.

Oh wait... before I go, please note that even the presenters of the Flying Spaghetti Monster immediately responded with the point that evolution could be the answer to 'how' but not the answer to 'why', for which the character was promptly placed in a dunce hat. This, I'm sure you understand, was poking fun at the purveyor of the Flying Spaghetti Monkey theory. That even a child knows better than to buy into that lame-ass argument. So, before you put me on retard alert, and ask how I might debate the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster, let me just say that I believe in an energy in the universe that is the source of love and true wisdom. I personally name this energy 'God'. And I pursue a relationship of sorts with God through my faith.

I am confident in my personal beliefs.

err... where!?

DOH ... I nixed my reply half way through it! So, Conor, you get the regurgitated version:

Conor: "I merely wish to point out that your "agenda" remark seems to jump the gun"

Sorry... It was another tongue-in-cheek comment, but I forgot to put my "Eye-wink". I suspect the SAB had good reason (there are plenty of possibilities).

Conor: "1. Many (though admittedly not *all*) of the Bible's believers do indeed use it as a textbook. Thus, demonstrating that the Bible cannot fulfill such a function stands as a disproof, at the very leas, of the hermeneutics, and by implication, the theology of these groups."

Hehehe... I absolutely agree. There are too many protestant groups to keep track of, but I suspect you're right that not all of them do this. Catholics absolutely do not (unless they don't understand their faith's position on the issue).

Conor: "the teaching of any given Pope, once given becomes a part of the Catholic Tradition"

... depends on how the teaching is given. Encyclicals, for example, are not infallible, but are excellent instruments for teaching the faithful. And, to be clear that Sacred Tradition isn't invented, I'd probably word it, "the clarification..., once given ex cathedra, becomes Sacred Tradition (from it's previous status of common opinion)."

Conor: "Pope Leo XIII stated that "it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred." (Providentissimus Deus 20)."

I agree. So let's take a look at your Bible references in search of error:

Conor: "Gen 1:11 ("Plants yielding seed" are distinguished from "fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed.")"

dictionary.com makes the same distinction in its definition of plant:
"2. an herb or other small vegetable growth, in contrast with a tree or a shrub."

Conor: "Lev 11:6 ("And the hare, which chews the cud,..." Sorry, but the Bible is simply wrong here; hares do *not* chew the cud.)"

I'm not an expert on the topic of "chewing the cud" so I looked it up and this is the first article I came across:
http://www.comereason.org/bibl_cntr/con055.asp
If you're like me and don't want to read the whole thing, the last few paragraphs sum it up well enough. Bottom line, consider Leviticus's audience and that scientific classification changes all the time. The bible is not a textbook and is not updated as such.

Conor: "Lev 11:13-19 (Here, we have a list of "birds" which are "abominations" and not to be eaten; included in their number, as the very last entry, is the bat.)"

Another issue of classification. It's neat that they listed the bat last though... It suggests that they recognized the obvious differences from other flying creatures. Let me know if this answer isn't sufficient and maybe we can explore, I dunno, planetary classification (which I understand changed in recent history) and use our creativity to come up with a parallel. Aside from scientific classification, typical usage of words change over the years as well. I might describe the Bible as timeless in its intended message, but certainly not in its word choice.

Conor: "Lev 11:20 (This verse discusses "winged insects that go upon all fours...." Uh...insects have *six* legs."

Gee whiz... the bigger question then should be, how did the Hebrews respond to this? It seems quite clear that they didn't revolt, nor did the religion die out because the leaders were talking nonsense. But, as I read the passage you referenced, it occurred to me they distinguished the four legs from the two jointed legs used for leaping. It seems silly to me (and you) since I (we) have been taught since preschool that all six appendages are legs of equal status. Perhaps the classification 3500 years ago relied on the observed use of the appendages. On a side note, why do we call millipedes, millipedes? I wouldn't mind that becoming history, but I hope books don't get burned in a few millennia because it's obvious to our successors that the bugs don't have 1000 legs.

Conor: "these errors would be easy for you or I to fix; what excuse can God have?"

I'm certain the Christians who protected the bible over the years saw none of these as errors. But, what impresses me is that more challenging things than these have intentionally not been "fixed". Consider how the bible was painstakingly transcribed... and in a time when most people couldn't read their native language, let alone Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. But, the Church, maintained what was written despite various cultural changes and even though it would have been easy to slip a change under the rug to cover for the apparent mistakes of the man upstairs. The point is, they knew they weren't mistakes and kept them in regardless of modern views. And, in some cases, what was once criticized, science later found to be true. I hope you agree that science has not reached (or even can reach) it's peak. It's reasonable to expect future discoveries that will confirm other less-than-popular portions of the bible.

Conor: "The whole reason that the Bible is treated as an authority in a way that, say, the collected works of Shakespeare are not is precisely that "inspiration.""

? Shakespeare's works are not authoritative because they are art. The pieta isn't authoritative either, but perhaps it's inspired... though not on the same level as the Bible... maybe I'm missing your meaning.

Conor: "Thus, per their own principles, even if Catholics are not actually Fundamentalists...they should be."

Whoa... not so fast there... Eye-wink Did I say something bad about your mamma!? Hehehe... Catholic's have always been against the fundamentalist movement. Not only do we reject the bible as a historical textbook (as we've agreed), we also reject sola scriptura and go well beyond "the basics" to include so much more that gives us a very rich faith, far different from that of the fundamentalists. I thought this distinction was well recognized by non Catholics, as even you recognized in your claim that finding error in the bible is "one-third of the way toward disproving the Catholic religion!" By your measurement, Catholicism is hardly fundamental. Eye-wink Unless you can find that elusive "bible alone" verse that seems to be hiding somewhere. But don't bother; the fundamentalists have failed on that one since they began.

- Kory

A poster wrote the

A poster wrote the following:

 

Conor weakens his point with the following statement:

Simply put: no "true faith" exists; all of them are wrong, because God is a figment, and not a reality.

Why? Because Conor is declaring absolutely, as though this statement were fact. He has adhered to a universal negative. That of all things we know, and all the things we don't know about this universe, Conor knows that 'God', no matter what that might be, cannot exist ("...a figment, and not a reality&quotEye-wink.

 

<<<...sigh...>>> One of these days, I'm going to learn to be a little more cautious in my posting.  I deserved this.  I did state this too absolutely.  Thank you for the correction.  Worse: I should have known better.  I have been at this site long enough to know that the issue is whether or not there is evidence in favor of God's existence.  It is true that the nonexistence of God cannot strictly be proven, any more than his existence can.  However, that does *not* mean that the two positions are equal.  The more rational process is to await evidence in favor of a position.  (That is why our court system operates on the principle that a man is considered innocent until such time as he is *proven* guilty.  The existence of giant octopi and giant squid were considered tales...until living specimens were encountered.  Bigfoot is *still* considered a tale: because of inadequate evidence.)

 

I stand by the following:

1. I did indeed research several religions (though, admittedly, not all of them, which would probably be impossible for one human lifetime, even if the discussion were confined to living religions.)

 

2. In all religions that I did research, there were extraordinary claims made (infallibility, prophecy, an absolutely reliable Bible, etc.)

 

3. When these claims were looked at using the rules established for understanding them that were made by the religion in question, those religions that I did investigate failed, by their own standards, every time.

 

4. The omniscient, omnipotent Creator of the universe ought to be able to do better than this shoddy record!

 

5. I held, and still hold, no hope that any uninvestigated/inadequately investigated religion will fare any better.  Think about it: God, if he existed, *should* be able to: inspire an errorless Bible, preserve the accuracy of that Bible adequately, insure that his "official representatives on earth" adequately protect his doctrine from corruption, and / or give prophecies that advance, say, human morality, rather than simply blessing whatever prejudice happens to be current.  He should be able to do all of this without ever taking away free will.  Yet this appears not to have happened.  This phenomenon--God not doing what "his representatives" say he does as a matter of course, with humanity's salvation in the balance--requires an explanation.

 

6. Atheism gives a marvelously simple explanation of this phenomenon.  These religions are making extraordinary claims; these claims do *not* have the evidence in their favor, and do have good evidence arrayed against them; and these problematic claims are, or at least appear to be, all that humanity has in the way of an understanding of God in himself, or of his will, or of his character.  In short, even if God did exist, and did, say, want all of us to attend Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation, we wouldn't have any reason to believe this.  And it is right to withhold such belief until evidence in favor of this idea is in.

 

Conor

_______________________________________________________________________________________

"Faith does not fear reason."--Pope Pius XII

"But it should!"--Me

   Shit, have I been

   Shit, have I been wrong all along ? I am not GOD ? , Yicks, I'm in big trouble !   Cry 

Me sweating bullets, gonna get nailed to a cross, oh NO .... not again ....

"FAITH" ,  you bet ya .... damn words, go googlin Faith, Belief, Hope, .... silly shit said the buddha.

Does GOD hope?, umm ??? Ever heard of Yes and No .... Was that invented ? .... sheezzz

umm, who cares and why ?  Why have you forsaken me, .... sorry that's the way evolution works, Damn it god, you is such a tease .... no pain no gain. 

yeah WTF !     

Hi Conor, My impression is

Hi Conor,

My impression is that you look at this question as a question of reason. This point of view strikes me the same way Carl Sagan's point of view on extra-terrestial life visiting earth struck me; that as much as he would like to believe in this, he could not believe in it because there is no proof. However, this question of God is not the same. I would first say, that the impression I have been left with is, proof is in the faith of the believer. Therefore, I, nor anyone else, can ever prove the existence of God to anyone else. I could sit down and tell you how my life spun into control sometime after beginning to practice this faith the way I understood it, but you would have to suspend your disbelief. (I cannot suspend my belief. Once you know, you know. Besides, I spent 41 years there. No thanks.) It would also have to be meaningful to you, and I have strong doubts as to how meaningful any of our experiences, especially in regards to spirituality, are to anyone else.

As for your argument that a God should be able to do this or that implies that you have a knowledge of how God thinks. Now that would really be impressive, but I doubt that is the case. Remember, he left all of his communication between men in the hands of men. At first blush, (actually, even at the next to last blush) this seems like an enormous mistake, but I now find it to be beautiful, perfect. It prompts me to respond to your last sentence here, where you say "And it is right to withhold such belief until evidence in favor of this idea is in." This is faith. It works without proof on a universal level. As a matter of fact, it only works on an internal, individual basis.

Your comments got me to thinking about a lot of folks I admire, who may have said something about God n the past. I started thinking about Einstein's comment in his arguments with Neils Bohr concerning Quantum Mechanics. He said "I, at any rate, am convinced that He [God] does not throw dice." I never really gave it a lot of thought beyond that it was cool that Einstein believed in God. But now I think he was wrong. I'm certain that God does throw dice. Or rather did throw dice. He leaves almost every single event since the first toss open to possibility. I think the more we bend our attention toward God, the more He bends his attention toward us. And therein lies the possibility of change, or truth, or beauty, or whatever it is you're looking for.

BTW - Thank you for your response. It was gracious. I work with physicists all day long, and some these guys can get quite wound up over the smallest hint of this conversation. Your's was thoughtful, which is quite a change for me. As a matter of fact, I almost never discuss this with anyone, since it is a personal belief. I wanted to say that your approach to this question doesn;t 'feel' as aggravated as Rich Rodriguez's. Don't ever forget to keep your mind open. Really, this is the only way we learn.

Shoot, I'm running on, but I wanted to address this as well... I think I saw from the person that runs this site, that Rational Responders gets a lot of hate from different religious groups. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Whether or not most of us believers have represented God in a reasonable fashion is questionable. There are some who simply pick the parts they like and become a billboard for those beliefs. Handing over the responsibility of thinking for themselves over to some laarger group of nincompoops, bless their hearts. Don't ever let anyone's representation of God convince you He isn't there. I'm not a debater, and I'm not a hater. Well.. sometimes I beez hatin', but not today. I'm working on it.

daretoknow wrote: you seem

daretoknow wrote:
you seem to conflate faith and belief here. faith is a belief based on no evidence as defined by most dictionaries.

Actually if you read carefully I don't do anything of the sort.  Faith is used to justify beliefs and faith can justify any belief.  It doesn't necessarily have to, if you have a more valid justification that is capable of filtering out a true belief from a false belief then by all means use that instead, but faith can justify true as well as false beliefs, if you aren't aware of the proof of something but you believe it anyway, you accept it on faith, basically trusting that the proof is out there.  Feel free to explain what in what I said suggests that I consider faith to be equal to belief.

daretoknow wrote:
I suppose that you could possitively assert an innately negative position, but I dont see how that applies to my post. I never said that I know that no god or gods exist, so whats your point? You seem to have laid out a verbose symantics argument that points out the obvious, at least to me, although I could have missed the point.

Your position is that there are such a thing as not positive positions, that's the excuse I see a lot of people use to shift the burden of proof.  "Atheism is a negative claim so I don't have to prove there is no god".  That's false, you only are excused from proving there is no god is you never claimed that there is no god.  If someone is to claim that there is no god they have just stated a positive position, they made an assertion that they propose is true.  Thus they are now subject to the burden of proof.  You can't object to a theist asking you to prove there is no god by saying that atheism is not a positive position either.  You just respond by saying, if it's true, that you never claimed that there is no god so you don't have to prove something you never claimed and probably don't believe.

Kory wrote: However, I did

Kory wrote:

However, I did want to comment on the "I have faith in God" phrase.

DMG: "they are actually saying that they have faith in themselves"

I don't think their intended meaning is "I believe that I'm correct about what I believe in." "Faith", used here, is "trust", as in, "rely on" and not "without proof, I believe in the existence of...". It might be said with the implication, "I submit myself to God." ... I see what you're saying and agree that there would be an issue if someone were saying "Without proof, I believe in the existence of an entity for which there is no proof".

Correct, however it requires an implicit assumption of their own correctness, which is never justified with any unequivocal, objective and externally verifiable evidence.  This isn't to say that they are wrong.  But it does mean it is valid for one to question its accuracy.

aiia's picture

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Shit, have I been wrong all along ? I am not GOD ? , Yicks, I'm in big trouble ! Cry

Me sweating bullets, gonna get nailed to a cross, oh NO .... not again ....

"FAITH" , you bet ya .... damn words, go googlin Faith, Belief, Hope, .... silly shit said the buddha.

Does GOD hope?, umm ??? Ever heard of Yes and No .... Was that invented ? .... sheezzz

umm, who cares and why ? Why have you forsaken me, .... sorry that's the way evolution works, Damn it god, you is such a tease .... no pain no gain.

yeah WTF !

It's true, you are not god.

Sorry Charlie

 

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.

Bamaginian's picture

Athiest's vs. Agnostics

-Bamaginian