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Archive for April, 2012

Atheist Mockery of Religion

Atheist Mockery of Religion

Any theist who engages with the wider population of atheists on the Internet and especially on social media sites will soon be struck by the amount of mockery leveled against religion and specifically Christianity. In Western democracies with freedom of speech that is, of course, their prerogative and fundamental right but that doesn’t mean that it should not be exposed for all to see and especially when that mockery is a replacement or a mask for a lack of ability to rationally engage in ongoing debate on theism vs atheism.

The temptation is of course to respond with just as much mockery as is given out but that would be a mistake, lowering the standard of rational debate to the level of those unable to engage in it. The appropriate response is therefore to just let people see the complete, total, disrespect those atheists who frequently engage in this mockery have for other peoples beliefs and worldviews. So that is what we will do here, to let as many people as visit this page see atheists without the mask of niceness they pretend to have over theists. If the posting of this mockery serves no other purpose than to strengthen the resolves of theists to oppose the false worldview of atheism at every turn then it has indeed, served a useful one.

#1 This was posted on Twitter with the accompanying remark, ‘Sing along’.

Regardless of the truth or falsity of Christianity to mock the crucifixion – a most horrible manner of death – of another human being in a point in history hardly represents anything admirable in the mocker and one would but hope that all atheists who also subscribe to secular humanism would be just as appalled at this as those to whom that crucifixion has life-changing meaning.

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Bible Reading for Children to Age of Eighteen is Child Abuse

“If you let your children read the bible before they are 18, you should be arrested for child”.

I think this comment speaks for itself and doubt that many atheists would support it. It’s simply a ridiculous statement intended to cause maximum offence .  The Bible like any work that records ancient history does contain sometimes shocking details but we ought to no more protect young adults from this than any other retelling of history. Added to that is the fact that unlike some of that other ancient history the Bible is widely recognised for it’s admirable, moral and beautiful poetic accounts.

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What can one say about this cheap wordplay with no substance behind it and involving the many people suffering and dying from AIDS to the cause of mocking religion. It pretty much speaks for itself that any rational, freethinking, tolerant and informed individual would find some satisfaction or pleasure from posting such a photo on a public forum.

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The Importance of Clear Definition of Terms

The Importance of a Clear Definition of Terms

It is often the case than in arguments the participants are talking past each other due to using the same word in different ways. The more I look at quickfire ‘discussions’ such as that on Twitter, the more I see the need for clear definitions of terms to avoid this cross talking and misunderstanding. When the participants are clear and hopefully agreed on how key terms are being used then at least the debate isn’t just confusion over terms but can be conducted with that clarity.

Atheism – the most commonly used definition by atheists online for atheism seems to be ‘lack of, or without belief in god(s)’. However, that definition is incomplete insofar as representing all of atheism as there are those who would define atheism as the assertion that no god(s) exist. These two definitions have commonly become known as weak/strong or negative/positive atheism. The difference between these terms primarily lies with the burden of proof. For the weak/negative atheist who is not making a claim to knowledge about god(s) there doesn’t seem to be a burden of proof attached to their atheism but with the latter, since it is making a claim to knowledge about god(s), there most certainly is a burden of proof. I find it good practice to let the atheist define their own atheism rather than try to impose a definition upon them and then go forward with the discussion on their definition.

Note: the above are not my definitions of atheism but represent the most common definitions of atheism as it exists on the Internet and in dictionaries:

http://atheism.about.com/od/definitionofatheism/a/definition.htm

“The broader, and more common, understanding of atheism among atheists is quite simply “not believing in any gods.”

“There also exists a narrower sort of atheism, sometimes called “strong” or “explicit” atheism. With this type, the atheist explicitly denies the existence of any gods — making a strong claim which will deserve support at some point”.

http://www.strongatheism.net/intro/what_is_strong_atheism/

“Strong-atheism is usually labeled as a subset of atheism, although they pertain to different mental attitudes.

Atheism is composed of the prefix a (not-) and theism (belief in gods), and means lack of belief in gods. It is a negative position.

Strong-atheism, also called positive atheism, is the proposition that we should not suspend judgments about the non-existence of God or gods. It is a positive position”.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism

atheism: 1. the doctrine of belief that there is no god 2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

2a. a disbelief in the existence of a deity 2b. the doctrine that there is no deity

I personally prefer the definitions offered by Professor Theodore Drange as put forward in the following article: Atheism, Theism and Non-cognitivism http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/definition.html

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Christian – this doesn’t at first glance seem to be a word upon which there ought to be any equivocation but I find in discussions it is very much so. Atheists wax long and weary about survey this and statistics that where Christians are shown to be less moral than atheists and the prison populations are more represented by Christians than atheists etc. This is usually the result of confusing a proper meaningful definition of the word for a non-meaningful definition:

Minimalist meaningful definition: Christian – a follower of the life (beliefs) and applicable teachings (actions) of the Jesus of the New Testament.

Meaningless definition: Christian – Anyone who declares themselves to be a Christian.

The latter is an absurd definition of the word Christian leading to situations where regardless of a  persons beliefs about the Jesus of the New Testament or their actions in light of the teachings of the Jesus of the New Testament a person IS a Christian merely on self-declaration. On that definition we can have atheist Christians, Jesus mythicist Christians, devil-worshipping Christians and totally immorally living Christians. Anyone is a Christian so long as they declare themselves to be so and even if their entire belief system and way of living is in complete contradiction to the founder of Christianity.  Such a definition ought to be rejected by all sane, rational individuals and a minimalist definition such as the one I propose above adopted and used in discussions.

The reason it is important to have such a definition, apart from getting behind many of the surveys/stats frequently put forward, is to pre-empt another atheist charge and that is of the No True Scotsman Fallacy. Unless the word Christian is defined and agreed *before* discussion begins (e.g. was Hitler a Christian) then as soon as the Christian tries to demonstrate that X was not a Christian this fallacy will be leveled in their direction. However, that is not the case when both parties are working with an agreed definition because you then have a criteria upon which some sort of assessment can be made on any individual as to whether they meet that agreed definition and can be rightly and properly called a Christian. Where a definition cannot be agreed then no progress can be make in the discussion because both people are operating on different definitions of a key term.

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Faith – it’s very important to distinguish between what I call, ‘blind faith’ which is ‘belief in the absence of, or contrary to the evidence’, or as Mark Twain is said to have described it, ‘believing something you know ain’t true’, and faith proper which is ‘confident trust in a person, thing, or idea’. I regard the former as without any value at all as it can be used to justify belief in anything at all and is impervious to both reason and evidence. However, the latter I regard as having much value and indeed is the kind of faith held by most Christians. I say this because it is apparent to me that most Christians believe there is at least some sort of reason/evidence for what they believe and it is that ‘some sort of evidence’ that engenders their faith (proper). In fact, I can think of not a single thing in which I have confident trust that I do not consider based on some sort of reason/evidence. On this useful definition of faith that actually reflects Christian beliefs (except for fideists) the attempted divorce between faith and reason/evidence is broken.

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Jesus – In the context of the question of the historical Jesus it is important to distinguish between the proposition that a man (Jesus of Nazareth) existed who is the subject of the New Testament and other extra-biblical documents and the proposition that the Jesus Christ of the New Testament (with miraculous birth, powers, etc) exists. The historical question deals with the former and not the latter which requires further evidence and arguments.

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Nothing – It seems strange to suggest that there could be equivocation on the word ‘nothing’ but in recent days that has been brought out clearly by the statements of physicist Lawrence Krauss who makes exactly that equivocation positing to answer the philosophical question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’  by claiming that from nothing science not only says we can get something but it’s expected that wherever we have nothing we will get something! (my paraphrase) See his book A Universe from Nothing. Philosophically speak ‘nothing’ is equivalent to non-being, not anything but when Krauss uses nothing he actually means empty space that is a ‘a bubbling, boiling brew of virtual particles’. On his definition the philosophical question remains unanswered.

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Brief Responses to Stupid Statements from Twitter Atheists

Brief Responses to Stupid Statements from Twitter Atheists

Twitter is a great place for social interaction and even some limited debate on the age old subject of theism vs atheism. However, it is limited to 140 characters per tweet so this page is to give brief responses to some of the stupid statements that are made on Twitter by various atheists.

“If you are created in your god’s image, why does your god have a chest with nipples on it?”

(This tweet confuses the incarnation of God the Son for how God exists in his essential nature and in which we are said to be in his image). 

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“Did you know that every argument you can make for your god can be used for any other god too?”

(Counter-example 1: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof of the existence of God – How could a Jew or Muslim use that argument for god for their god?)

(Counter-example 2: The universe is proof of the existence of a non-interventionist god -How could this argument for a god be used for any interventionist god?)

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“Was William Lane Craig right to defend genocide and child murder. Yes or NO?” 

(This question is a good example of the fallacy of complex question and the proper response to it is to bring out the hidden question within it that has been answered affirmatively, i.e. Is it the case that William Lane Craig has defended genocide and child murder?). William Lane Craig has addressed this question at least once that I know of and the answer is in the negative – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP9CwDTRoOE (beginning at 1:45:40)

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“How can God be perfect? Everything He ever makes…dies”. ~George Carlin

(This statement not only makes a non sequitur leap from God being perfect to nothing dying but also demonstrates a very poor understanding of Christian theology in which life is eternal and possibly even also the universe when there will be a ‘new heavens and a new earth’. The Christian message is that death is defeated by Jesus Christ, that it has no sting and that everlasting life is what God provides).

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“When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”—Sir Stephen H. Roberts

(This statement is fundamentally flawed as the reason Christian theists dismiss all other possible gods is because the God they believe exists informs them that he is the one true and living God hence the others false – made of wood, stones, worshiping the creature rather than the creator etc. This is a very different reason as to why atheists dismiss god(s) and indeed, if it was the same as that of the Christian theist then they wouldn’t be atheists at all because they’ d have belief in the one true and living God

To overcome the objection that the Bible teaches the existence of other gods as real, one can simply concede that arguendo and then point out that even on that the reason is still different, i.e. based upon God’s command to not worship them or have dealings with them (dismiss them) and not on the same reason as the atheist – some supposed lack of evidence for their existence). 

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“What has your God done for you that you couldn’t have done for yourself”? 

(This question is really silly, not realising that on the Christian worldview, without the existence of God as Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, there would be no people to do anything for anyone, never mind for oneself’. Although the response is given from the Christian worldview, any theist, who views God as that Creator and Sustainer of the universe could give the same response). 

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“The Brilliant Logic of Christianity”

pic.twitter.com/WVEWX4ex

(This is an excellent example of the misconceived view some atheists have on Christianity. It is, to any informed Christian reading it laughable, if not so seriously misguided. On the Christian worldview: 

God did not create man and woman with original sin nor, on every Christian theology,  did God ever necessarily have that in ‘mind’. 

God did not impregnate a woman with himself – this confuses and conflates the distinct persons involved in the Christian doctrine of the trinity. 

God did not kill himself as a sacrifice to himself – this also confuses and conflates the distinct persons involved in the Christian doctrine of the trinity. 

The sacrifice of Jesus was not, on every Christian theology, intended to save us from a fate God had already condemned us to but rather to save us from a situation created by man via the exercise of freewill. 

Note: In a Calvinist theology it might be said that God did have original sin in mind and did save the elect from a fate created by God). 

If atheists are going to make a serious attempt to use mockery of Christian doctrine to undermine it then it would be an fine example of brilliant atheist logic if they first understood and then fairly represented said doctrine). 

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Which is it, is man one of God`s blunders or is God one of man`s? – Friedrich Nietzsche 

(This quote allegedly from Nietzche is a fine example of a stupid tweet because it most obviously commits either the logical fallacy of false dichotomy or of complex question or both!.

On the fallacy of false dichotomy the quote attempts to present us with an either/or situation when there are in fact other possibilities to the two presented:

a) Is man one of God’s blunders

or

b) is God one of man’s blunders

but

c) Man is as God intended and for the glory of God

On the fallacy of complex question it’s obvious that within the question is a hidden question that has been affirmatively answered

Q: Is man or God a blunder A: Yes. 

The proper response of this, is to question that loaded point and to request it be established, not simply discretely assumed. 

So A1 ‘Sorry, I don’t grant what your question assumes, i.e. that man or God is a blunder. So you need to establish that to my satisfaction first before your question has legitimacy’. 

Two fallacies in one quotation… not very clever. 

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“Sorry proof and god do not go in the same sentence! You have never seen god & have no proof of him/her/it”

(The stupidity of this statement is rather amusing.. the guy writes a sentence containing the words ‘proof’ and ‘god’ in the same sentence but saying that ‘proof and god do not go in the same sentence!  Doh!)

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“George W Bush said God told him to invade Iraq for the Weapons Of Mass Destruction. There wasn’t any. God lied. OOPS!”

The stupidity of this statement that has been re-tweeted by many persons on Twitter is rather obvious. It doesn’t follow that because Bush (allegedly) said God told him to invade Iraq for Weapons of Mass Destruction that God did in fact tell Bush to invade Iraq. Bush, could for example be using God for his own ends, or could be mistaken that it was God that lead him to that conviction.  This, not to mention the irony of an atheist, concluding that a God they lack belief in, or deny exists, ‘lied’!. The main point is though that the post displays non sequitur reasoning.

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“Let’s be clear: if you are anti-abortion AND anti-contraception, you are not pro-life. You are anti-sex”.

This is another fine example of non sequitur reasoning. It reduces itself to a bare assertion that exhibits reasoning that simply does not follow. Why can’t a person be anti-abortion and anti-contraceptive and pro-sex? The author makes no attempt to explain, nor elaborate and when questioned upon it chose not to respond. Until they, or another atheist explains the reasoning by which the statement logically and necessarily follows it can be dismissed as a fallacious assertion.

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“It doesn’t matter what verse of the Bible you quote, the fact remains God is pretend, so Jesus was lying”! 

This is a very good example of both the arrogance of many atheists, their habit of making claims to positive knowledge that they cannot substantiate as they are obliged to upon request and their even more frequent habit of displaying their ignorance of logic (the science of correct reasoning.

The positive claim that this poster could not substantiate is of course when they assert, ‘the fact remains God is pretend..’ but even if we were to grant this arguendo would it logically and necessarily from that fact that ‘Jesus was lying’? The answer of course if no, it doesn’t logically and necessarily follow. It is a non sequitur as shown easily by considering other possibilities like Jesus was deluded or simply mistaken in his views. If either was true then he was not lying and the non sequitur is plain to see. Three statements made:

1. It doesnt’ matter what verse of the Bible you quote.

2. The fact remains God is pretend.

3.  So Jesus was lying

and not a single statement of the three justified, substantiated or true.

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