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Posts tagged ‘God’

Is Atheism a Tenable Position to Hold?

In answering the question asked in the subject of this thread it’s important firstly to define, ‘Atheism’. It’s most common definition seems to be similar to the following:

Atheism – a lack of belief in god(s)

Whilst I’m aware of other (and in my view better definitions of atheism) I want to restrict this thread to atheism as so defined and to give my answer to the question as being in the negative, i.e. it is not a tenable position to hold.

The reasoning behind my answer is as follows:

Whilst ‘a lack of belief in god(s)’ is the commonly given definition of atheism, it’s just as common, if not always the case, that upon being asked the basis of this lack of belief atheists will reply that it is based on the absence of evidence to warrant belief. It is on that basis that I consider atheism to fail for there is no such absence of evidence but many lines of evidence that a god or gods exist. But what are those lines of evidence? I present them as being every rational argument presented that tends to prove a god or gods exist. Such arguments are commonly known, but usually just as commonly dismissed by the very same atheists proclaiming an absence of evidence and are:

1. Cosmological Arguments
2. Teleological Arguments
3. Ontological Arguments
4. Arguments from Objective Morality
5. Arguments from the Bible
6. Arguments from Miracles
7. Arguments from Personal Experience

Now it can be immediately granted that of these arguments some are far from convincing on their own (3, 6 and 7), but as part of a cumulative argument with those following from previously established conclusions they also can be valid (e.g. the argument from the Bible is stronger when based upon the establishment that a god (generic) exists than it would do without such a basis).

Where that leaves us with various presented rational arguments for the existence of god(s), any one of which is true or probably true or, taken together as one cumulative argument were true, would falsify the claim from the atheist of an absence of evidence for god that justifies their lack of belief.

On this it seems to me that the only way an atheist could justifiably hold to this atheism would be to counter each and every argument (line of evidence) that is proposed in those arguments, either individualistically or as a cumulative argument. If that were done then of course the atheist view is justified because lines of evidences presented to them have been countered and shown as false trails to evidence but, in my experience, few atheists have taken on this task, or are prepared to take on this task when the evidence is presented.

On that basis I propose that this atheism is not a tenable position to hold for any atheist presented with those arguments who refuses to consider them or fails to rebut/refute them. 

Comments welcomed

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Atheist YouTube Videos that Fail!

This section of my blog will expose atheist YouTube videos that fail to achieve their purpose – usually the debunking of theism or religion or the holy books of religions. Anyone engaging atheists in frequent debate will sooner or later be presented with some YouTube video or another and that is fine and well when they succeed in their intended purpose. However, when they fail it’s important to note that failure and make it as widely known as possible.

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“Your Moral Guide” by Pat Condell 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC-9uJrotC4

Previously I wrote the following on the, ‘Your Moral Guide’ video by Pat  Condell, posted to this forum.

“Opening Statement from the Your Moral Guide Video

“Religious people often say that atheists have no morals because they have no moral guide. If you believe this let me ask you something…”

I, and I suspect most religious people need go no further than this opening statement because I, and I suspect most religious people do not believe that  atheists have no morals because they have no moral guide.

Although that is in itself sufficient to render the video as without value or application to every religious person who does not hold that atheists have no morals because they have no moral guide I want to go further and demonstrate that not only is the video without value to those who do not  believe atheists have no morals because they have no moral guide but that it  has no value even to those people that Condell claims do hold to that  belief.

Here then is the transcript of his video:

“Religious people often say that atheists have no morals because they have no moral guide. If you believe this let me ask you something. If you’re a Christian chances are that the Bible is your moral guide but is that all the Bible or just some of it? It’s just the good bits isn’t it, the bits you’ve cherry-picked because obviously if you wanted to live in a Leviticus style
society where people are stoned and mutilated for insane and trivial reasons you could simply move to Iran. But how do you decide which at rhe good bits and which are the bad bits in the Bible? What do you use as a moral guide? The Bible? Well, surely not? If so, you would simply accept the bad along with the good which is clearly what the Bible wants you to do, otherwise the bad wouldn’ tbe there in the first place would it?. But no, you don’t do that, you defy the Bible. Youi sift out the bad and discard it for the ignorant, primitive barbarism it is. In short, you edit the Bible to suit your own sensibilities. So where do you get the moral guidance to impose your authority on the word of the Bible? It has to come from a higher source doesn’t it? These things usually do. And it does of course. It comes from you. You are a higher source than the Bible, a much higher source. The criminals who run religion don’t want you to know or to act upon this
because then their influence over you would be zero yet the evidence is clear, you sifted the good from the bad in the Bible without the Bible’s help. You did it against the Bibles will and you did it all on your own because whether you like it or not you have a conscience which means you are capable of distingushing good from evil without the help of Scripture and you have just proven it beyond any shadow of doubt. So in fact the Bible is not your moral guide, you are. It doesn’t provide you with a moral compass – you do and the only faith you need is faith in yourself. Oh, happy day”.

Critique:

It’s important to note from the outset that Condell begins his presentation by referring to what, ‘religious people often say’. He then proceeds from that claim to start to ask such (religious) people a question but in asking  that question he moves right away from religious people to Christians. This is relevant because even if we granted arguendo everything as true which he then goes on to state the conclusion would only be that Christians who view the Bible as their moral guide don’t in fact use the Bible as such a moral guide but rather their own conscience. But even if that were true what of all those other religious people who are not Christians and whose moral guide is not the Bible? What has the video to say to the very people that it began addressing and who are outside of Christianity? Apparently nothing much, and certainly, nothing as presented in this video presentation which is, in fact, a presentation against Christian belief in moral guidance and not religious belief in moral guidance.

Even on that, it wouldn’t encapsulate all of Christianity but only those sections of Christianity which don’t embrace the whole of the Scriptures as morally binding upon them. To those Christians who do, regardless of whether by law, they can enact those moral dictates, the video, again, has nothing to say. What this shows is that the video is actually only relevant to those Christians who do not embrace all of the Bible as their moral guide, something that is a far cry from the all embracing ‘religous people’ it started out with and not even encompassing all Christians.

Condell also says that, ‘If you’re Christian, chances are that the Bible is your moral guide’ but is that a true statement of Christians? I think not. Rather, the moral guide for Christians is the Bible and a conscience enlightend by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and aided by the declarations of the church. If this is the view of Christians as to what their moral guide is then right from the outset Condell has got it badly wrong and what he actually concludes with as the moral guide for Christians – the conscience – is in fact already accepted as such by Christians with the only qualification that such a conscience is enlightened by the indwelling prsence of the Holy Spirit and aided by the declarations of the church. (Indeed, for some that Condell would probably include as part of Christianity, that ‘aided by the church’ becomes far more predominant with the church sustaning it’s members on matters of morality in addition to the Bible, e.g. Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses etc). The lesson for Condell to learn here is not to make assertions based upon what he things ‘the chances are’ but to actually educate himself on Christian thinking and the basis of their morality.

Condell then proceeds from his false assumption that the Bible alone is the moral guide for Christians to ask the following questions:

If you’re a Christian chances are that the Bible is your moral guide but is that all the Bible or just some of it?
It’s just the good bits isn’t it, the bits you’ve cherry-picked because obviously if you wanted to live in a Leviticus style society where people are stoned and mutilated for insane and trivial reasons you could simply move to Iran?
But how do you decide which are the good bits and which are the bad bits in the Bible?
What do you use as a moral guide? The Bible? Well, surely not? If so, you would simply accept the bad along with the good which is clearly what the Bible wants you to do, otherwise the bad wouldn’ tbe there in the first place would it?.

These questions betray Condell’s utter ignorance of Christianity and it’s theology. It is most certainly the case that most Christians do not base their moral values on all of the Bible (as previously noted, some do). However, for those Christians that is not based upon cherry-picking the good bits from the bad bits but is through the very thing Condell denies (‘The Bible? Surely not?’). Based upon the teachings of the NT those Christians regard the law of Moses as having being abrogated by the sacrifice of Jesus, that they are not under the Law but under grace, that the law and the prophets
were until John and etc. On that thinking, it logically follows that they would not seek moral guidance from a source that they do not regard as binding upon them. That is the theology of many Christians and the reasons why they do not seek to apply the Levitical penal laws to adulterers or witches or homosexuals etc. Nothing at all to do with cherry-picking or
sifting the good parts of the Bible from the bad parts of the Bible due to unenlightened conscience, nor of defying the Bible or disgarding it for the ignorant, primitive barbarism that it is but actually understanding and applying the Bible in its context. This being the case, we once again see that Condell simply doesn’t know, understand or care about actual Christian thinking (the people he is addressing) but only putting forward his own uninformed thoughts on that Christian thinking.

What follows from these questions are but assertions based on the wrong thinking of Condell on what the moral basis of Christians is and what the the source by which many Christians determine what moral guidance is intended for them and which is not. On what has been presented it has been shown that Condell’s presentation has no relevance to Christians at all, regardless of whether they believe that atheists have no morals because no moral guide or they do not.
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“The Cold Case Against God by Netwriter”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsbI1tu9xJw

On viewing the short video several questions were raised in my mind pertaining to how strong or weak this case was as it appeared to me that it contained more inaccurate than accurate statements. In light of my concerns I formulated the following questions which have the intent to bring out those inaccurate statements or have them established.

1. The video gives the age of Mary as 13-15. What is the source of that information?
2. The video states as one of the charges, ‘corrupting a minor’. What was the considered age of ‘adulthood’ and legal age of consent at the time of Mary’s alleged conception?
3. The video claims that the suspect is ‘three gods in one and one god with three different parts’. Which Christian creed defines God in this way?
4. The video states that the impregnation took place without consent of the victim. On what information from the sources is that being gleaned and how does it tally up with the words of the alleged victim in Luke 1:38 and why was the alleged victim so overjoyed at what had happened as recorded in Luke 1:46-56? Further, what do we know about the background context of the selection of Mary that is not recorded in the brief accounts of Matt. and Luke (i.e. what prayers or requests had Mary made to God with respect to the Messiah)?
5. The video states that the rape took place when the victim was married. On what textual evidence from the witnesses is this based?
6. The video assumes that this impregnation occurred via a forced act of sexual intercourse to ejaculation on Mary (rape). On what textual basis is this assumption made?
7. The video claims the suspect was the son of the victim resulting in him fathering himself. On what textual basis is this claim made?

I put these questions to the maker of the YouTube video and his response was to the effect that it was but satire. Whether that is true or not I do not know but it does not look as if intended as satire, either from the video itself, or from the hearty defence made of it by the maker in the comments sections.

However, whether satire or not, it warrants response for fear that naive, gullible, uninformed skeptics who view it might be misled into thinking it is trying to present a serious case from the text.

I do not know how prevalent the belief is by non-Christians that Mary was raped. My hope is that it is not held by many but this is an opportunity for anyone of that view to answer the above questions or indeed to present their own case to substantiate the charge.

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“God’s Checklist” by Theoretical Bullshit 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvRPbsXBVBo]

My response was composed and submitted to a small debate forum around the 16th of June 2012 hence might not completely reflect any changes to it since that date. It’s important to note that each checkpoint in the video is a full debate subject in itself, hence the responses given are only to demonstrate that the checklist is a far way off from establishing any single point it attempts to make, that all are very questionable and some are just plainly erroneous. The words of TBS are in bold and my response in italics. As always feedback and comments welcomed.

TBS

To my Christian friends: You believe that your God has orchestrated a divine plan for his creation and that all events which either have taken place, or will take place were foreseen by this God with infallible certainty and taken into consideration with this plan. You believe that this divine plan is motivated heavily by God’s unwavering love for his creation and his desire for us to lead healthy, ethical lives followed by an eternity of happiness alongside him in heaven.

You also believe that your God is perfect and Sovereign and as such you believe that as mere human beings we have no grounds to critique or question this plan, that any flaw or inadequacy we may find in the plan is attributable to our imperfections as sinful, arrogant, rebellious, finite beings. So, that in mind, I want to take a moment to remind you of what this plan essentially is because I think that you rarely afford yourself the opportunity to step back and appreciate it as a whole.

So, without further ado, here it is, God’s perfect plan for creation, the big checklist in the sky.

Take a look:

1. Decide to arrange for something other than yourself to exist – Check

2. Create a being by the name of Lucifer with full knowledge that this being will betray you and ultimately cause an infinite amount of suffering unnecessarily – Check

3. Allow an unfathomably horrific dimension of existence known as hell to emerge created by yourself or perhaps Lucifer and allow that dimension to continue to exist. Do not override or prevent such a thing – it will come into play later – Check

1. It is nonsense to talk of God without the universe [no time-space, matter, change or physicality], ‘deciding’ to do something.

2. Does God know ‘free-will’ decision>? If he does, then how are they ‘free-will decision’. Is it logically possible, even for an omniscient [knowing everything it’s logically possible to know] to know a freewill decision? Where does TBS take this into account? Where does he acknowledge it, interact with it? The answer is nowhere.

2a. On Calvinism not only did God know that what ‘Lucifer’ would do, but he predetermined Lucifer to so act and for his own glory and purpose. Where does TBS take this into account? Where does he acknowledge it, interact it? The answer is again – nowhere!

2b. Note how TBS tries to slip in the word, ‘unnecessarily at the end of P2. How does he know it’s unnecessary? What if God has sufficient reason for so doing?

3.  I address the nature of hell below in my response but will add here that on Calvinism, the response would be, ‘So what? God is Sovereign, who are you to speak against his will’?

4. Create objective unchanging moral prescriptions and base them on whatever your nature happens to be and then label any action or thought contrary to these standards, ‘sin’ – Check.

5. Be true to include in these moral prescriptions edits for social and psychological health such as encouragement to beat one’s children with a rod (Proverbs 23:13-14), permission to buy and sell slaves and will them as property to one’s children for life (Leviticus 25:44-46), requirement that women not be allowed to teach or have authority over men (2 Timothy 9-14), and of course instruction to kill anyone who expresses interest in worshipping other gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-10) – Check

4. and 5. It isn’t clear that any of these mentioned moral prescriptions are examples of objective unchanging moral prescriptions and not God a) working within the cultures of the various ages, b) progressive revelation with the permissive will of God to the absolute will of God nor is it uncontroversially true that his interpretation on the women issue is in context or relevant. The last example is ripped from its context as given to the chosen people and applicable for them as such to worldwide objective application. The intent  is clear from TBS. Misrepresent, and misrepresent and hope that is escapes the attention of those who listen to it without researching, examining or applying critical thinking to what they are told.

 

6. Design a physical universe, planets, animals and vegetation all with the appearance of age. Be sure to include in your creation biological flaws, redundancies and over-complications that appear as if they were the product of blind cumulative processes, perhaps a urinary tract that runs straight through the prostrate gland, or an unnecessary appendix that is prone to inflation or rupturing, or maybe a respiratory and digestive system forced to share the same plumbing. These are just a few working ideas. – Check

6. In what condition would humans exists now if there were no fall? The point of this question is to bring out that TBS is reading our state of being post-fall back into the initial state of humanity pre-fall but on what justification or evidence? None that I can see.

Who says that we appear to be the product of blind cumulative processes? I don’t, because I think the universe displays all the signs of fine-tuning  and we are derived from that universe. Inputting these kind of begging the question statements into God’s Perfect Plan is fallacious, if not  disingenuous.

 

7. Create a garden with a tree in it, bearing fruit that when eaten, provides knowledge of your objective moral standards. Then create two sentient, cognitive beings, without knowledge or awareness of these standards and instruct them not to eat of the tree that would enlighten them. In other words arrange is so that only after they eat from the tree would they be capable of understanding that doing so would be a violation of objective moral standards. – Check

8. Warn these cognitive beings that will undoubtedly die if they eat from this tree but don’t follow through if they do. Endow a reptile with vocal chords, lips or some other means of speaking audibly to your cognitive beings, enabling it to make a convincing case to one of them for eating from the tree. Do not prevent this or intervene. – Check

7. This assumes that Adam and Eve were born with both theoretical and experiential ignorance of good and evil. Given even just what they had observed in God’s care and attention and provision for them that is an unjustified assumption. One interesting hypothesis as per the Schofield Study Bible notes is that they had theoretical but not experiential knowledge of good and evil and it was the latter they gained via the wrong route [disobedience] rather the correct route [obedience]. But as presented by TBS all this is ignored, i.e. that he’s not raising a single issue that hasn’t been thought of before and responded to in many ways.

8. TBS assumes that death was not already present in the A*E situation something most certainly not a given, i.e. consider the tree of life that if eaten from would grant immortality and ask yourself if they were already immortal then why the tree? Glenn Morton has an interesting article, although I’m not sure if still available online on Death Before the Fall.

Aside from that TBS assumes that the death referred to is physical death and not spiritual death and doesn’t seem to be aware that on Morton’s reading of the Hebrew where he claims it literally means, ‘Dying, you will die’ that it did indeed come true, because in that day they began to die and eventually did die. All of this is again ignored or not known by TBS as he continues to misrepresent Christian theology or display his ignorance of it and apologetics.

As for the reptile speaking this  ignores the context of a Christian reading God’s plan would bring to it, i.e. the identity of that serpent as being Satan and further that enabling an animal to speak or appear to speak is not beyond the power an omnipotent being – all that being said without even touching of it being possibly allegorical or figurative language.

 

9. Now at this point make sure your cognitive beings have been equipped for reproducing themselves and multiplying and because one of them has sinned arrange that every single one of their descendents until the end of time will be born with an inherent sinful nature defaulting in a future of everlasting torment. Do not by any means allow each of them to be born with a clean slate and the capacity for living a sin-free life if they so desired, and as you did with your first two prototypes – Check

9. Both Adam and Eve sinned, not just one, albeit Eve was deceived into sinfulness and Adam deliberately and wilfully sinned. That aside with Adam standing as the representative of humanity and his actions necessarily bringing about that inherent condition in their progeny no objection is present. What it amounts to is that TBS would have done things differently so God should also but of course TBS has never been in the position of God hence he doesn’t have the slightest clue as to how he would act in that scenario. Also talk of living a sin-free live if so desired displays ignorance of Calvinism where no such thing is possible. In fact even on naturalistic incompatibility determinism [such as that held by Sam Harris] it isn’t possible. We are what we are and that not of any free choices made.

 

10. Endow these cognitive beings with a ‘soul’ with keeps their thoughts and feelings and other cognitive faculties in existence forever one way or another and then allow the sinfulness of these beings to be incompatible with your presence and let hell be the only other place they can go once they exist the physical world. Do not make any attempt to spare these souls the eternal torment of hell, such as allowing souls to stop existing altogether or creating an additional realm for them to reside besides with you, or in hell. – Check

10. This is just more of what was noted earlier. If I were God this is what I would do hence God ought to have done the same even although I don’t have the first idea about the knowledge of God or his purposes or how to achieve them etc.

 

11. Over time allow these being to populate the earth you have created knowing with infallible certainty of course that after so many generation they will disappoint you enough that you find it necessary to kill all of them in a global flood and start all over from scratch – Check

12. Now, when this happen, again, right on schedule, make an exception for one small family of cognitive being whom you deem righteous. Of course it goes without saying that your powers of omniscience allow you to know, again with infallible certainty, that this family will ultimately disappoint you in the same way as those you drowned rendering the entire endeavour futile but for now it’s best you pretend not to know that. – Check

13. Instruct this small disappointment of a family to populate the entire world all over again by way of incest. Check.

11. I have previously addressed this ‘knowing with infallible certainly, and ‘omniscience’s references in a prior response.

12. TBS assumes a global flood as the case when within Christianity that isn’t an uncontroversial fact. Further, he speaks of starting from scratch but that wasn’t the  case in respect of the condition of the people who survived the flood. IF God had indeed started from scratch then he’d have wiped out all of sinful humanity and started with individuals sin-free.

13. I’m not to sure what the remark about ‘by way of incest’ is supposed to signify and doubt whether TBS would have any qualms whatsoever about incest being a means of the propagation of the species if it was removed from a biblical context and put into a scientific, evolutionarily context. Then he’d just shrug his shoulders and say, ‘Well, it had to be done that way for the species to propagate.

14. Declare that until further notice the only way for these cognitive beings to rectify their sinful nature while on earth is to perform ritual animal sacrifices and other acts of senseless violence. Additionally when certain sins are committed by anyone your cognitive beings demand that the surrounding community kill that being themselves. – Check

15. In the meantime, many epic miracles for all to see and intervene often with your physical creation, stop the sun in the sky, part the Red Sea, turn rivers into blood and women into pillars of salt. Give men superhuman strength, speak to the thousands with a booming voice from heaven, etc, but before these cognitive being become advanced enough in the area of science and communication that they could actually document, share, playback and verify these epic miracles make sure you stop performing them altogether. –Check

16. Decide at some point that the most pressing of your objective moral prescriptions are not as obvious to these cognitive beings as you once thought. Take this opportunity to chisel your top ten moral concerns into two tablets of stone and commission one of your cognitive beings to deliver these tablets to the masses. Note to self. Roughly half of these moral concerns should center around pleasing you praising you and remaining loyal to you. – Check.

14. As far as I can tell ritual sacrifices occurred since the time of Cain and Abel and that presumably by way of some instruction. The error of TBS is to a) not know enough about the Bible and b) to assume that if x isn’t explicitly recorded in the Bible that it can’t be implicitly inferred in the Bible. I’m also not too sure why TBS would object to capital punishment in the Bible being practiced since it’s still ongoing in his own country in many states – the USA.

15. The assumption in this post that God has ceased from the performance of miracles is just that – an assumption. It also ignores that as part of God’s plan these things were deemed necessary before the revelation of Christ and the establishment of the Church but not so afterwards. He also ignores that even with these events occurring it guaranteed no more belief than in their absence, i.e. people still rebelled against God, went worshipping others gods and so on. It also ignores cessationism, which, if the case there would be no expectation of the same situation as existed in the OT or NT Gospels.

16. This just ignores the fact that the context of the giving of the Law was within the chosen people of God – the Israelites – and was designed for their living as a community. It wasn’t a case of deciding that what had gone before wasn’t clear enough as those outside of that community were still held to the standards previously set. Since the ultimate fulfilment, health, ethical living and happiness is derived from loving God in a right relationship and your neighbour as yourself (a summation of the ten statements) it’d be right and proper for God to set ‘rules’ leading to this occurring.

17. After several thousand years impregnate one of these cognitive being so that she gives birth to your son in physical form – who also happens to be you – at the same time. – Check

18. Allow this cognitive being who is your son but also you to grow up and make several revisions to you/your sons original standards of morality. Then arrange for other cognitive beings to torture and kill you/your son. Authorise this sacrifice of yourself to yourself as a means of granting all  other cognitive beings immunity from the consequences of their sinful nature  which you allowed them to born with in the first place. – Check

19. Do not however, make this sacrifice free. Establish that none of these cognitive beings shall be eligible for the benefits of this sacrifice unless they actively believe that it happened. In other words despite the quality of their intentions any cognitive being henceforth who finds themselves unconvinced that these events actually took place is unwittingly designating themselves to the endless sufferings of hell. – Check.

20. That established, be sure to refrain from making it clear and knowable to the rest of the world that these events actually took place. Ensure that no cognitive being born after the 1st Century has the luxury of witnessing your son – who is also you – say or do anything to indicate he was a living God. Again, make sure that all of this occurs before science and technology are available to verify for those who aren’t present. – Check

17-20. This section misrepresents the doctrine of the Trinity in Christian theology – something it’s supposed to be revealing. In that doctrine the person of Jesus Christ is distinct and separate from the Father. They share the same nature but are distinct persons – the Father not being the Son, nor the Son being the Father. This being so the following statements are false as held by Christian theology:


“After several thousand years impregnate one of these cognitive being so that she gives birth to your son in physical form – who also happens to be you – at the same time”.

“Allow this cognitive being who is your son but also you to grow up and make several revisions to you/your sons original standards of morality. Then arrange for other cognitive beings to torture and kill you/your son. Authorise this sacrifice of yourself to yourself as a means of granting all other cognitive beings immunity from the consequences of their sinful nature which you allowed them to born with in the first place”.

“Ensure that no cognitive being born after the 1st Century has the luxury of witnessing your son – who is also you – say or do anything to indicate he was a living God”.

“Arrange so that the only surviving records of these events will be authored anonymously by non-eyewitnesses translated to a language different to you/your son will speak, written no earlier than thirty years after you/your son perform these miracles and makes these claims”.


It’s further questionable whether the suggestion that God impregnated Mary to give birth to Jesus is in line with the Gospel record and Christian theology dependent on whether there is an implication that God had sexual intercourse (impregnated) with Mary  or whether it’s just mean to signify, ’caused to become pregnant’. If the former it’s refuted in my other blog post , ‘Was Mary Raped’.

21. Arrange so that the only surviving records of these events will be authored anonymously by non-eyewitnesses translated to a language different to you/your son will speak, written no earlier than thirty years after you/your son perform these miracles and makes these claims. However, do make  sure these records feature the precept that believing in something without  evidence is morally superior to investigation and verification. – Check.

22. Be sure that after only a few decades the only accounts of these events  in existence are copies of copies of copies which will be verifiably altered  and added to and historically and theologically significant ways from  generation to generation, sect to sect. Do not preserve the original copies of these accounts. Do not protect them from revision. Do not set in place any mechanism from protecting them against them being interpreted in hundreds upon hundreds of ways most of which being heretical and therefore punishable. – Check

21. This is presumptive that a) the Gospels and the NT are all authored anonymously and b) by non-eyewitnesses. Those Gospels also contain the directive to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. The last element there is consistent with rationality, investigation and verification, something TBS either isn’t aware of or chooses not to inform his listeners about.

22. Is but a reiteration of Ehrman’s stance as presented in Misquoting Jesus and has been heavily criticised in peer-review for exaggerating the negative in Textual Criticism if not misrepresenting it. Textual Criticism gives us a strong degree of confidence that we have to all but a negligible degree the original NT in our hands.

23. Do not bother to employ your omniscience in such a way as to discern which of these cognitive beings are truly rebelling and which simply don’t know how to distinguish you from some other versions of god which do not in fact exist but are attributed the same claims to exclusivity. – Check

23. This is purely assumptive and again misrepresentative of Christian theology where that omniscience is employed to the very effect denied by TBS.  Christian theology proper declares that God alone knows the heart, thoughts, minds, intentions, motives and actions of every individual hence why caution ought always to be exercised by anyone – including Christians – in judging others. NO individual will be separated by God unjustly or because of a lack of employment by God of his omniscience. Any who are separated will be so on God’s full knowledge of that person, their heart, thoughts, minds, intentions, motives and actions. THAT applies regardless of where that individual is presently situated, regardless of whether they are atheist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic, or any other title one care to mention. It is a total misrepresentation of Christian theology to assert #23 either done through ignorance of that theology or deliberate putting aside of it for a caricature strawman for inclusion in the video.

24. Do not make it clear to these beings that you’re even here. Allow for your very existence to remain an easily debatable, easily questionable, easily doubtable proposition. Allow for billions and billions of souls to be unthinkably tortured for all eternity, regardless of their character and  integrity, bravery,  responsibility or conduct because they had not correctly assumed that the right set of proposition were true by the time their lives on earth were over. – Check

25. And finally, when all is said and done demand that you be praised for this plan – Check.

24-25 This is another example of a complete misrepresentation of what is stated about God in the Scriptures and Christian theology – the very thing it’ssupposed to be representing [God’s Perfect Plan].

Romans 1:20 is a very well know verse of Scripture and it declares the following:

“20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse”.

THAT is the basis upon which God will pass judgement on people – not on his existence not being clear. Further, it is God alone that knows the heart, mind, thoughts, intentions and actions of people what their true character, integrity, bravery, responsibility and conduct is and not only with respect to others but with respect to God. In sin, the Scriptures declare that all our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before God and that, again is Christian theology when man in is natural state is depraved, at enmity to God, a sinner, in darkness, blindness and rebellion. That is the character of people without God, regardless of their view of themselves or others and it is upon that character that they are condemned by God and saved from that state to salvation. It is the sinful state of man in that condition that brings about the debating, questioning, doubting and not in any deficit in the clear, incontrovertible existence of God. THAT is Christian theology and the context in which God’s plan is to be evaluated and not the gross misrepresentation from TBS.

For further dramatic effect he also assumes hell is a place of unthinkable torture and/or suffering. It needn’t go without saying this is not the only view of hell present in Christian theology. It is most definitely separation from God with full knowledge that God does in fact exist and possibly a temporary experience of being in his presence, albeit for judgement. Beyond that I don’t view it as anything involving torture, endless burning in a  fire or other such figurative expressions.

Statements from Atheists on Morality

This section of my blog will record statements made by atheists on what they view morality to be and what they regard as moral actions or not. Atheists talk a lot about the immorality of Christianity, the harm it does, the Bible and it’s immorality but when you dig deeper into the moral basis of many atheists you find them approving the self-same things they condemn and indeed,  more things than what you’ll find taught in Christianity as ‘moral’. Given that few of them adhere to any objective source of morality what it normally reduces itself to is moral relativism or subjectivism or situational ethics but their words can speak louder than my commentary here.

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Atheist Scientists and the Statements they Make!

This section of my blog will contain statements made by atheist scientists and especially those who are most outspoken on their atheism. Many atheists who consider these individuals some sort of modern day heroes for atheism are unaware of most of what they have actually say and some of the positions they take based on their understanding of or application of science to some of the biggest questions in life which arguably lie outside of the scope of science. It will further record false statements made by these atheist scientists and possibly will go on to provide a transcript with detailed commentary of the debates they have engaged upon and lost badly.

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Richard Dawkins on Infanticide (Excerpted from Peter Singer – The Genius of Darwin: The Uncut Interviews – Richard Dawkins 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti-WcnqUwLM&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU

This is the transcript of the relevant section from the above link which begins at around 23:12  into the video:

Dawkins: “I can think of no moral objection to eating human road kills except for the ones that you mentioned like ‘what would the relatives think about it?’ and ‘would the person themselves have wanted it to happen?’, but I do worry a bit about slippery slopes; possibly a little bit more than you do.

There are barriers that we have set up in our minds and certainly the barrier between Homo sapiens and any other species is an artificial barrier in the sense that its a kind of ‘accident’ that the evolutionary intermediates happen to be extinct. Never the less it exists and natural barriers that are there can be useful for preventing slippery slopes and therefore I think I can see an objection to breaching such a barrier because you are then in a weaker position to stop people going further.

Another example might be suppose you take the argument in favour of abortion up until the baby was one year old,  say two years old. If a baby was one year old and turned out to have some horrible incurable disease that meant it was going to die in agony in later life, what about infanticide? Strictly morally I can see no objection to that at all, I would be in favour of infanticide but I think i would worry about,  I think I would wish at least to give consideration to the person who says ‘where does it end?’ ” 

Singer: Yes, I can see there is a problem with say, young children, partly because we’re bonded to them very closely in a way we’re not really bonded with the fetus or the new-born infant but I think when people make slippery slope arguments in this area you have to appreciate that it does go the other way, that precisely because we do draw this boundary between us and animals we turn a blind eye to all of that animal suffering as you are more or less acknowledging I think. That of course has disastrous consequences for animals…. 

Dawkins:  I agree. 

Singer: … so that’s why I want to reduce  the sharpness of that difference and one of my objections to a religious viewpoint is it does reinforce that boundary, I mean it says only we were made in the image of God and so on. Obviously neither of us share that view but I think that on the one hand perhaps it has given some protection to humans but on the other hand it’s put the whole of these other sentient beings into this state where we can just use them and abuse them for our ends. 

Dawkins: Yes, yes.

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Bad Objections against William Lane Craig’s Arguments!

William Lane Craig (WLC) is best known for his formulation and defence of the Kalaam Cosmological Argument (KCA), even although he is responsible for and present other arguments to the same end, i.e. demonstrating that on the evidence a god exists or the God of Christianity exists. Whilst there is much material available recording the debate on the arguments it’s necessary to record on this section of my blog some of the bad arguments made against them. Further to that it will put on record the many unjustified, unsubstantiated, and purely insulting, ad hominem assertions that atheists – usually ignore of his arguments – throw around as if doing so often enough will make one of them, any of them, true.

A summary lecture containing some of his arguments can and ought to be viewed at:

http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/william-lane-craig-evidence-for-god.html

And his most famed  argument, the KCA can and ought to be viewed  in full as presented by WLC at

The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe – http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth11.html

As always anything recorded as a bad argument is open to challenge and discussion.

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Fallacious Attack on Craig #1 

“Everyone of William Lane Craig’s arguments for gods existence has been refuted or shown to fail scientifically”. 

The fallacious nature of this assertion is obvious from simply noting the fact that not all of Craig’s arguments for the existence of god contain recourse to science in their premises or support of them. The ontological argument, the argument from objective morality, the argument from accepted facts by NT scholars/historians are examples of arguments where science is not appealed to, in any form, in leading from the premises to the conclusion. Since this is the case then what is there in them that could be shown to ‘fail scientifically’? The answer is nothing and if any of the arguments were deductively sound or inductively strong or indeed false then it would be so on some other basis than science.

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Fallacious Objections on Premise One of the KCA #000

Premise One ‘does beg the question…it assumes a beginning’. 

The fallacious nature of this assertion can be seen from the following valid but unsound argument:

P1 Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

P2. Nothing begins to exist.

P3 Therefore nothing has a cause of its existence.

If it were the case that P1 assumed a beginning then it could never go on validly to P2 which states the exact contrary. This demonstrates clearly that no assumption of a beginning is contained within P1 and in a different  argument from the KCA the premise could be part of an argument that since nothing begins to exist therefore nothing has a cause. What invalidates the argument above is the fact that things do begin to exist (come into being).

Premise One – implicitly inserts God into it making the argument circular

This attempted ‘easy’ refutation of Craig’s KCA can be found at: http://freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Circular_argument

It read thus on the KCA:

A noted example of circular argument is one known as “Kalam Cosmological argument”.

Its structure is this:

1. Everything which begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.
The refutation of the Kalam Cosmological argument is actually rather simple:

The first premise “begins to exist” implies that things that do not begin to exist do not need a cause; they’ve always existed.

So, the challenge becomes to name some things that do not conform to this qualification, things that have always existed.

“God” is the most ready response, but is there anything else in the category of things that do not begin to exist? Is there any reason to think that there are?

If not, that is if god is the only thing that never began to exist, then the argument MUST read thus:

1. Everything which is not god has a cause.

2. The universe is not god.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

So, the person attempting to use Kalam to prove the existence of god is implicitly putting god into the premise, thereby rendering the argument hopelessly circular.

The flaw in this argument is wrong thinking that P1 of the KCA only allows for God to be an example of something that did not begin to exist. That is false as it could equally be the universe (and indeed some argue that the universe is such an example of something that did not begin to exist being past eternal).  Since P1 allows for both God and the Universe to be things that do not begin to exist then it is not true that god is implicitly put into premise 1. What is true that with both options being possible the argument continues on to show that one of those possibilities must be excluded based on good scientific and philosophical reasons. Even on that the only conclusion that is then made in the formal part of the KCA is that universe had a cause of its existence. It is then reasoned, again, from more than possible option that the necessary properties this cause must have is what most people call God and that it is therefore rational to believe that God exists. There is no circularity as charged ans the simple refutation is shown to be a failed attempt to refute the KCA based on either a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of it.

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A Record of Religious Persecution and Oppression

This section of my blog will record religious persecution and oppression from both the offending side, i.e. religions persecuting other persons or groups and persons or groups persecuting religions.  It will mainly consists of links to stories and event relevant to that subject but might also contain more detailed articles with commentary.

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1000 Pakistan women and girls honour killing victims (The Telegraph 07/08/12) 

“Almost 1,000 Pakistani women and girls were murdered last year in honour killings, according to a new report by the country’s leading human rights group”

Full article at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9160515/1000-Pakistani-women-and-girls-honour-killing-victims.html

 

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Irrational Quotes from Famous People on Atheism, Theism and Religion

The purpose of this section of my blog is to expose many of the irrational quotes from famous people on the  subjects of atheist, theism and religion (primarily Christianity). Too many times your layperson  atheist cites these quotes as if they have some deep, devastating-to-theism-relevance when in fact they are irrational or shallow. The quotes are generally cited below as posted on twitter without confirmation or analysis of context. The onus is upon the presenter of them to provide any context to what they cite and not upon the hearer to go do their research for them.

“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.” ― Isaac Asimov

This is shallow thinking indeed. The obvious question is to ask of it is what constitutes ‘properly read’ and why ought we to think that Asimov’s reading of the Bible was an example of a proper reading of the Bible? What if his reading wasn’t proper and a proper reading was the opposite of his conclusion. That would then make it the case that, ‘Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for theism ever conceived’? Perhaps Asimov provided in more detail what this proper reading consisted of but if so, the atheists who cite it have never provided that context for examination. As it stands as a quote, it is but a demonstration of shallow thinking of a nice soundbite from Asimov and those who repeat his folly.

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“”If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be – a Christian.” – Mark Twain

Why would Christ, if he were here be a follower of himself? How many religious gurus leaders are followers of themselves? Isn’t the whole idea that they are the person to be followed? Of course if Christ were here now he wouldn’t be a Christian because a Christian is a follower of Christ, he is the object of their following and devotion.

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