Atheists: George Carlin’s Ironic Punchline

One of my favorite comedians is the late George Carlin.  I got hooked on him in my teen years because I thought his humor pointing out the obvious and then making fun of the obvious was keen.  In his early years, he poked fun at religion the way he poked fun at other things.  An avowed Atheist, his comedy became increasingly hostile toward God and religion as time passed and he aged.  He had one quip which I thought was funny and insightful.  Roughly it was, “You ever notice how people who say they don’t care what other people think are always trying really hard to convince other people that they don’t care what other people think?”

I have noticed this same thing with Atheists.  They like to profess — for the most part — that their view is one of disinterest or a non-belief of some sort (See: I Don’t Not Believe It!).   For people who profess to hold no belief they seem to spend an awful lot of: hours blogging, money advertizing on billboards, energy writing and pitching books, and effort scrubbing holy water off of streets.

Comments

  1. As you always point out, I’m not the subject of this post.
    I am interested in the question of whether or not God exists. That’s part of why I blog about it, argue with you about it, and choose to act on my beleifs surrounding it.
    There are other, more important reasons, and those are the ones that motivate many of the “disinterested” atheists. Religion carries with it various opinions that are in direct opposition to the values I hold. My blogging about religion is as much to counter those social extensions of religion as it is about faith itself.
    For some atheists, they are interested in finding reason in religious belief, for others like myself it is exploring the catharsis of our reason for leaving.
    For many more still, it is important to them to boldly claim something that is considered in poor taste, so that as more people realize they know a genuinely good person who just so happens to be an atheist, we can battle the idea that saying you are an atheist is in poor taste.
    Oh, and community. That is probably the biggest part.

    • George, all one has to do is paruse the “atheism” tag on WordPress, or visit Planetatheism.com to see a severe lack “important reasons” being blogged about. It’s mockery, intellectual braggery, condescention, and a host of other vacuous discussion from self-appointed elitist snobs.

      I have yet to find more Atheists than I can count on one hand who are interested in finding reason for religious belief through discussion, and you alone take up 25% of them.

      I think the majority of Atheists do endeavor to feel as though they are doing a noble service by voicing their view, but that seems to be a self-delusion. By that I mean that there is no nobility in the way they attempt to proselytize. Make no mistake, Atheist bloggers and authors are attempting to convert.

  2. @John
    I’m sure you would count me on the list of those atheists that you find impossible to talk to.

    Let me share a little insight with you.

    I do have a genuine interest in finding out the reasons you believe what you believe, but I feel it may be difficult for you not to perceive any challenge to your beliefs as a personal attack.

    I have nothing against you personally as I respect you as an individual, John, but that doesn’t mean I have to respect your beliefs. I hold your beliefs in the same regard that I hold the beliefs of any other person with a faith-based assertion. What you regard as evidence for your belief is seldom different to me than evidence presented by other believers for their faith.

    To put things in perspective, consider living in a country where Scientology was believed and followed by the majority of the population. Scientologists were busy trying to inject their beliefs into laws and educational curricula. You might have a ‘to each their own’ attitude towards those people of faith in general, but where do you draw the line? Wouldn’t you like to speak out and propose the idea that some critical examination of that faith needs to happen? After all, they might be wrong, right?

    What I have come to realize is that people attach their identity to their faith and in doing so, make it difficult to question and analyze. Religion is rooted in emotion, brings people comfort and makes them feel like a part of a community of like-minded individuals. I understand how you may feel the need to demonize anyone who asks you to examine and defend your beliefs. You may think that these atheists are trying to convert you into believing no god exists, but I think they are just mocking the foundation of the beliefs you hold to be true and in doing so, allow you to realize the possibility that you might be wrong as well.

  3. Michael says:

    “Make no mistake, Atheist bloggers and authors are attempting to convert.”

    Im not converting. Im not even trying to deconvert. My blog is a place for other atheists to come around and visit and discuss ideas, and a place for me to place ideas. Im an antitheist, Im a lot more cruel to this disease we call religion.

  4. I’m not sure how non-belief or unbelief can be so quickly tied into apathy. I want to know. God would be a massive factor in my own philosophy.
    However, I am not convinced there is a God. But unlike John’s assertion, I am not trying to convert. If a person says they believe on faith I tend not to push them on reasons.
    I always ask people why they believe. The problem is that I get bad answers. And I write about the bad answers.
    I also stick up for atheists who have obscure and strange accusations made against them: moral relativism, no basis for morality, not thinking about it, just rebelling against God, borrowing from a theistic world view. That is what my blog is about.
    And I challenge anyone (including John Barron) to present the good reason for belief.

    • Allallt

      It’s impossible for me or any other theist to provide you with what you would consider a good belief. If you have spent any time on line, it’s not difficult to find bloggers, philosophers, or theologians who make cogent arguments for theism. However, a “good” reason is wholly subjective. That’s the problem. When you, the atheist, are the judge, jury, and prosecutor, you can dismiss any argument you like, then claim nothing “good” has been offered. It’s a losing game when you make the rules for what constitutes a “good” reason.

      Check these out, I have written on this problem in the past:

      http://truthinreligionandpolitics.com/2011/03/31/impossibility-of-miracles/
      http://truthinreligionandpolitics.com/2011/01/19/what-if/
      http://truthinreligionandpolitics.com/2011/01/17/not-a-shred-of-evidence/
      http://truthinreligionandpolitics.com/2010/11/20/prove-it/
      http://truthinreligionandpolitics.com/2010/09/26/never-quite-enough/

      • I was tempted for a moment to go through the posts you linked and leave my response, but I don’t quite have the spare time to spread my ideas out over that kind of space.

        I cannot deny that the Bible is evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. But it’s not good evidence, and it’s evidence in the same way Harry Potter is evidence for Hogwarts and wizzards.

        As for questions like why did the disciples believe, we can asks Jews why they don’t believe, we can ask Muslims why they believe equally supportable–and less supernatural–claims about Mohammed. We can ask why anyone believed Harold Camping.

        We can also ask how reliable the gospels are.

        We can talk about the difference between evidence and good evidence. We can talk about the people that blog old and debunked reasoning (like the cosmological argument, which my blog takes particular issue with).

        You can read my blog–allalltor.wordpress.com–if you have an interest in the specifics of my position, or you can ask me for posts relating particularly to these things. But my point is that it isn’t a simple case of atheists and sceptics turning down all ideas; it’s a case of atheists existing because good ideas haven’t made it to us. At least, that is the case for me.

        The challenge still stands.

        • @allallt

          I didn’t post the links go have you spread out your thoughts. I posted them so you could know my position on the issue. I will check out what you have written tonight when I’m settled in.

  5. @ Allallt

    Read Psalm 19. No one is going to make you believe in God or in the Bible. Inquisitions are blasphemous. If someone were to make you then it wouldn’t be faith my friend. In this life a person must come to God through his/her freewill to be pleasing to Him (Hebrews 11:6). You can disagree if you like, but as I’m sure you will agree, what we would like to be ture and what is truth won’t be the same thing for everyone when all is said and done because it can’t.

    @ John

    Good point and spot on. I’m having a discussion with several different atheists right now about what the Bible teaches concerning a certain topic that they did a post on. Like you say, it’s really odd because they’re so adamant about defending and telling me and other people about a “doctrine” from a Book that they don’t even believe in (as the vast majority of topics on their blog does). And they think they’re so cute when they mention Jesus by spelling his name jebus.

  6. Michael says:

    Lol, With someone who doesnt know better? I have read that page you sited buddy. Not only this, I raise you This:
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40634/atheism
    “Generally atheism is a denial of God or of the gods, and if religion is defined in terms of belief in spiritual beings, then atheism is the rejection of all religious belief.”

    From Stanford “the denial of the existence of God” IS disbelief IS a lack of belief. Not a word game.

    Wikipedia “Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities”

    So try to play your word games, I know what the hell Im talking about. Ive been arguing with apologists for some time about this definition and have linked to the very Stanford page, thank you very much. You can try to play with semantics all you like, but it wont work with me.

  7. @Eugene
    I don’t know why I can’t reply directly to your comment, but here’s the question:
    did Job and Abraham have faith?
    They spoke directly to God, and are celebrated as being faithful. On your account that’s a contradiction.

  8. Michael says:

    “Denial isn’t a lack! Listen, before I get really condescending we should end this here. And for your own knowledge Wikipedia and Reddit are not credible sources.”

    Seriously? If you click on the superscipt 1 next to the definition of atheism, it takes you to the bottom of the page, the sources. In the sources, you will see a resource you didnt refute as being unreliable, which is funny, Britannica. Yes, the definition is from there. Please do decide to check the sources next time. Wikipedia is not what it used to be.

    Disbelief is a lack of belief, and I am going to show you this using. Watch what I am going to do, and you could have done the same without being ignorant:

    disbelief – a rejection of belief
    In the Thesaurus section of http://www.thefreedictionary.com/disbelief
    In the same section under the same definition, if you take a gander at the related word, atheism:

    Atheism: a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods

    And By another dictionary, the Webster:
    Atheism:a disbelief in the existence of deity
    Disbelief:the act of disbelieving : mental rejection of something as untrue
    Synonym: Unbelief: incredulity or skepticism especially in matters of religious faith
    Synonym: NONbelief:

    Non (Prefix):
    1
    : not : other than : reverse of : absence of
    2
    : of little or no consequence : unimportant : worthless
    3
    : lacking the usual especially positive characteristics of the thing specified

    Atheism is a lack of belief. It is bad I had to go through all this crap to get back to the definition, but there you go.

    • So where do we go from here? You and I both lack belief and therefore neither of us have a burden of proof. Uh oh.

    • And you go ahead and use “the free dictionary”, I’ll take Stanford and history. Most dictionaries do not use philosophical definitions, they offer general usage. But we should probably ignore that.

      • Michael says:

        I referenced back to Stanford, but you ignored this obviously. Ill be done with you, as you can obviously ignore what you dont agree with, as every other Christian. As per your other question, the burden of proof lies with you. Unless you would like to prove every other god in history doesnt exist?

        • You’re doing awesome at ignoring. I gave you my links as to why your definition is wrong but you have ignored them. You seem to be really good at hurling accusations but not so good at formulating your own ideas as we saw your copy and paste then distance yourself from postings on your blog.

          So I have laid out my position in those posts, you can address them or ignore them, but you can’t say with any credibility that I have not made my argument.

  9. Michael says:

    I have read the Links, most definitely the Stanford one, who wouldnt if they are an atheist? It is in my favorites.

    One of your links is a bit dishonest and tells you that you dont know much about atheism. There is no other way I can argue this with you. You can go in circles all you would like to, but with your line of thinking, you might as well disprove the existence of everyother god.

    Thats what your essentially saying here. I would love to elaborate, but Im sure someone else will.

  10. brokenplaylist says:

    John, what Michael is doing is not ignoring you, as you are doing to him, but counter arguing, I shall tell you the difference in case it is not clear. When you state a definition of Atheism Michael is providing counter evidence, and even blowing your source out of the water by using it against you with a methodical deconstruction. What you do on the other hand is ignore his source claiming it as irrelevant or “not credible”. To simply state his source is not credible without any citation is ignoring the argument, to deconstruct the argument and counter it is proper debating. Learn the difference if you are going to debate please.

    • Let me explain something for you broken. But before I do, thank you for commenting.

      I provided him with links go MY posts as to why I think he us using a misleading definition. What he has written in response to those links was to address only the Stanford link, which I am really not invested in. He has yet to answer any of my arguments I made in the other posts. He is making the claim, and you seem to agree, that he has addressed them. He has not. He has diverted attention from my posts and deflected the attention away from the fact that he has not rebutted my arguments.

      • Well I think the thing is that you have fallen into a common misconception. And that is that you think all atheism is equal. This is a big mistake but also a common one so do not be offended by my thinking this if you haven’t, there are two types of atheists, those who claim to know, and those who doubt. The first group are the atheists most commonly referred to in debates like this, and indeed this argument applies to them. They say they know no gods exist and this is a claim of knowledge and so could be asked for evidence. This also means it requires the same ammount of belief as any religion. The second type of atheists is the one that says “I will not believe until you show me evidence”. These ones are the ones that you can only prepare for, by preparing your most convincing arguments. They tend to know that it impossible to disprove something existing 100% but they do know it is possible to prove something exists, and so they ask for that proof from you.

        Another thing about this kind of atheist is that when you point to your holy book they ask well is there anything else? Because there are other holy books that say the same thing about a different god. So the burden of proof does not lie with this second type of atheist but rather you as the one who claims the existence of a god. But don’t worry, these atheists request the same level of proof from every other religion not just your own.

        • How satisfied would either of you be if I said I was the kind of theist who bears no burden and has nothing to prove.

          Like I said in a recent post, when dealing with intellectually dishonest atheists (like Michael) I will also adopt the lack of belief tack. So here on in understand I have no argument to defend since I merely lack belief. Yes, I lack belief in the nonexistence of God. So we are in the same epistemological boat. The only question is: now where do we go?

      • Well at that point you cannot convince me, so I would walk away, your arguments after that point are all word play and in you have no actual evidence, you are not going to convince me and so we are simply wasting our time. But we both know that you do not “lack belief in non existence” you believe the existence (which is what you are saying when you use proper English and cancel out the negatives) of one god out of many. So one point may be why do you not “lack belief in the non-existence” of Zeus, or Osiris, or Brahma or… and so on until you name every god in the history of mankind. You see when you are trying to debate with an atheist (a type 2 atheist anyway) you are not really debating against atheism, you are trying to show your religion isn’t like the others and actually makes more sense than any other. Do you see now that it is important you evidence your one belief, where as an atheist would have to justify his disbelief in not only your god, but every other one in the world? If you cannot provide such compelling evidence your religion no more convincing than any other belief and so are not likely to win over any atheist. Understand?

  11. Michael says:

    John, Your argument is retarded, no offence. The negatives cancel out. So, yes, you carry the burden of proof. Nice try with the semantics.

  12. No, I doubt the existence of your god, this means should evidence come up proving me wrong my stance can change, but you on the other hand believe in the “non existence” of every god but your own in the same way type 1 atheists (if you can still remember my definitions from my second comment) claim they know all gods do not exist. I could say you are 99% type 1 atheist and could ask you to disprove the Aztec god Ometeotl. Could you do that? Or is that unreasonable?

    But I do not say “your god does not exist!” I say “could you show me your god exists?” and you are doing a very good job of ignoring the fact I have said this to you multiple times. And have not once tried to show me your god exists. In fact all you have done is linguistic gymnastics to try and get around answering that question, because (I suspect) you cannot prove your god’s existence in a way that cannot be used to prove any other gods’ existence.

    • There is a very simple method to determine where you stand: God exists. True, False, I don’t know or withhold judgement. Choose an answer. The first is theist, the second is atheist, the third is agnostic.

      I don’t care where you stand. I just ask that you be honest with your position. Rather than playing the lack of belief word games, and holding non-positions, just quit playing games.

      If you believe God does not exist have the honesty to say so instead of hiding behind some noble quest for the truth.

    • And as for arguing for my position, I have done so on this blog in the past. I’m not going to copy and paste entire posts every time some atheist comes in and demands I do all the work as though I’m the only one who holds a view. I posted links to Michael’s particular complaints and his only response was “they’re retarded”. Now you guys can claim I haven’t made my case all you want, but before you level that claim, read through some posts and actually rebut the specific arguments I make rather than offering some perpetual demand for proof.

  13. Michael says:

    You are very ignorant of what you are trying to say. We can only tell you so many times.

    Maybe you havnt heard the arguing with a Christian is like playing chess with a pigeon analogy. This is exactly what this conversation is equating to. You have equated to circular reasoning and a lack of logic. You dont have a good command for the English language if you choose to use lack of belief in the nonexistence in a god. That is simply retarded. That is a double negative, and a claim which means you bear a burden of evidence.

    Maybe you should read the short excerpt “Dragon in my Garage” by Carl Sagan in the Demon Haunted World. You can find it online. There is no other way to get it through to you. I can be very derogatory and condescending, but I have tried to keep my cool here with you in light of your ignorance.

    I have been honest in my position. I have an absence of belief in a god or gods. Ive been skeptical, there is no evidence of your position for a god or gods. You playing with semantics trying to confuse either one of us doesnt help your argument. If you dont understand how someone can have an absence of something, Im sorry for your lack of understanding.

    • OK mike, how bout I eliminates the double negative. I lack belief in a godless universe.

      But I am also beginning to lack belief in your ability to have an actual discussion. By resorting so quickly to name calling and childish tactics you are admitting that you have found yourself in a losing position. Man up and admit you have a dog in this fight.

  14. Your first argument demands that you believe the Christian “God” so are Muslims atheist? what about Buddhists? No other religions believe in God, they believe in a god, you see how important wording can be? You are determined to see your religion as the only one out there and that is how you keep your view, if you acknowledged every other religion as equally valid you would suspend your belief of gods like I have and say, I shall wait for one that has compelling evidence. When I play the “word games” you accuse me of, I am trying to distance myself from people who say there is no god, because that is a fact no one can state. When you ask me to disprove god you ask me to change my beliefs so I fit your preconceived idea of my beliefs, rather than my own beliefs. In your blog post “I Don’t Not Believe It!” your future teenage daughter has car trouble and you say you either believe it or not, but is it so bad to wait and listen to her story and if it does not convince you to ask for other evidence than the story, like to see the car? That is not the same as not believing if you ask with an open mind no? And in “Win By Default” and “A Burden The Hand”
    you say there are only 3 stances, I argue there are 5:
    1. Knowing that p is true
    2. Believing that P is true but willing to review your stance
    3. Undecided or indifferent
    4. Believing that P is false but willing to review your stance
    5. Knowing that p is false
    Now the scope is widened and you get to see how firmly someone is for or against and whether it is possible to change their minds. Now I know you will instantly dismiss this stance as me trying to make things so that I can justify my “misunderstanding” of the burden of proof. But the burden of proof is only asked of those who claim either 1 or 5, no one is required to justify why their opinion can change or why they are undecided, but everyone in the middle can ask 1 and 5 how they know, in the hopes of becoming either a 1 or a 5. I like many atheists am a 4 for every god in the world, and so I comb theists arguments from every religion and try to change my stance to at least a 2. The fact is I want to be convinced, it’s just no one has been convincing. As for ‘Only until relatively recently has it become common for Atheists to re-define their position as being “the lack of belief in a God”'(Who Did You Say You Were Again?) this is outright wrong, what Brian was talking about in that comment thread was literally the Latin root of the word atheist. “A” meaning not and “theist” meaning believer in gods. So technically you are an atheist to 99% of the worlds theologies as you do not believe their god. As for “The Impossibility Of Miracles” that says science rules out miracles before it even starts, this is wrong, science is all about understanding, and every time it has applied itself to miracles it has found some form of mechanism behind them that is explained in the natural world. The problem is science cannot investigate biblical miracles due to them not being replicable, or observable. If a man was to perform a miracle scientists would study how he did it and should they be unable to repeat or explain it given knowing every variable, something which religious texts do not give, then it could truly be called a miracle, the sad truth is every event we see now can be explained by the natural laws. And in “Not A Shred Of Evidence” you commit a common logical fallacy, and that is the “appeal to the people” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum an argument which is not necessarily true because, remember, everyone used to believe the world was flat and the sun went around the earth.

    Have I done enough reading now? Because in none of these posts do you give a direct argument as to why I should believe in your specific god.

    • Broken

      #’s 1&2 are affirmations, 4&5 are denials, and 3 is withholding. You are differentiating degrees, which isn’t an unimportant distinction, but they still fit the framework. You should note that my posting these links were in response to Michael’s assertions, not proofs of my brand of theism.

      Science does in fact rule out miracles, it measures the physical world and rules out divine intervention from the get go. Unless you are going to tell me that a scientific investigation of a phenomenon has as a possibility a miracle of God.

      And the point of “Not a Shred..” was not an argument ad populum. The point of the commentary was atheists failure to differentiate between evedince for a proposition or claim with the strength and interpretation of that evidence, not that because most scholars affirm certain facts.

      • Why is it unimportant to take degrees into account when dealing with beliefs? That is like saying the priest and the once a year church goer are the same. And while they may have been responses to Michael you stated that you were tired of reiterating your points when i spoke of your evidence for your god. And in “Not A Shred” you say, ” But how could it be that so many people believe God and miracles exist when there isn’t a shred of evidence for either?” this is an argument ad populum. That’s like me saying “how could it be that so many Germans believed the Nazis were good when they are said to be so evil?” (because they were initially voted into power with something like a 90% majority). And sceptics often dismiss the accounts of the bible because they were written at least 30 years, more likely 70, after Jesus’s supposed death, and also were not written by eye witnesses like the apostles because the apostles were fishermen and farmers and shepherds, and at that time only the highest level scholars could read and write. Also historians and record keepers of the time made no reference to any radicals at the time when Jesus was supposedly born and definitely made no reference to anyone being resurrected at the time, and they loved supernatural things like that and took meticulous notes as to almost every event in the Roman empire. So that is why that “evidence” is ignored, because it is contradicted by all of the history around it! And are you seriously suggesting that physicists and chemists and biologists just take the things they learn on good faith? When the primary part of the scientific method is “here is my theory, here is my evidence, now find something that doesn’t match this that you can show me that isn’t a one off fluke” there is no room for keeping things because the scholars like them. If you can give me one scientific theory where there is a serious body of peer reviewed evidence refuting it then I will eat every word about science and scholars I just said.

  15. Michael says:

    “By resorting so quickly to name calling and childish tactics you are admitting that you have found yourself in a losing position. Man up and admit you have a dog in this fight.”

    Ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awareness. Stating that your are ignorant is not name calling, it is an observation. Im not losing, I have provided evidence and counter claims, you have been backed into a wall and started running in circles. So please, Attack the argument I put forth.

    Your misunderstanding of my statements doesnt constitute name calling from me, just a lack of understanding on your part. I do hope you can understand what I am doing in these sentences here. Again, if you lack the understanding put forth in my sentences, I am sorry.

  16. John, why do you repeatedly ignore my statement that you not only lack belief in a godless universe but also in a universe run by any non christian god? It is a valid point you are yet to address, or is it that you see other religions as irrelevant?

  17. Michael says:

    Here is my statement, and I am quoting for you:

    ” You dont have a good command for the English language if you choose to use lack of belief in the nonexistence in a god. That is simply retarded.” Here we shall see that I am saying the statement is retarded. Did I say that YOU were retarded? No, I stated the idea held within that sentence is retarded. If I wanted to call you names, I would simply say it straight forward and not work around it.

    Retarded: Less advanced, esp. mentally, than is usual for one’s age.

    It fits quite well in context for the sentence before it. I could have said willfully ignorant, but you would have QQ’ed over that too.

    • I love that the Atheists who commented on this thread proved my point for me. Especially through the fervent argumentation over definitions. You belie your entire claim by investing so much energy in your bickering back and forth.

      • Michael says:

        We arent bickering with eachother, we are fighting you. Dont know where you got that idea, but ok. I see you have that pigeon strut down great.

  18. @ Allallt

    Sorry, but I didn’t know you responded to me until I decided to read the “34 skipped comments” that I couldn’t see from my comments page.

    You said, “I don’t know why I can’t reply directly to your comment, but here’s the question:
    did Job and Abraham have faith? They spoke directly to God, and are celebrated as being faithful. On your account that’s a contradiction.”

    I don’t see how that’s a contradiction honestly. Maybe you can clarify.

    Job and Abraham weren’t considered any less faithful than someone who had never talked directly to/with God. They are considered faithful because 1) Abraham obeyed God’s voice (Genesis 26:5 & Hebrews 11:7-11 ) and 2) Job maintained his faithfulness to God through his trial (Job 2:9-10; 13:15).

    A vital part of faith is trusting God and His word and that’s why I said that someone can’t make you believe/have faith. It has to be a personal choice that you make.

    As far as people not being able to talk directly to God today but still being counted faithful I would say, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

    It’s very much akin to what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:8-9, “whom [speaking of Jesus] having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

    This fulfilled what Jesus prayed when He said, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,” (John 17:20).

    If that doesn’t answer your question, then help me understand better what you’re seeing as a contradiction. Thanks for the reply.

  19. Well – this just seems to be more of the same for you, John

    It’s a shame that most of this post has been a rather hostile discourse over definitions.

    My discussions with you seem tame by comparison, but your modus operandi never appears to waver. It seems you prefer to stay on the offensive without ever feeling the need to defend your position.

    Like I tried to say in my earlier post, but apparently you missed it, we non-believers do spend so much time and energy trying to expose religious beliefs for what they are – just beliefs, not facts. As soon as you present some facts to support your beliefs, that’s when we’ll start having a serious conversation.

  20. Well I cant talk for the others but i debate just for the joy of debating, This argument could be about anything as long as our oppinions differ. I can tell you, you are boring to debate with, you avoid facts and defending points too much.

    • This particular post doesnt lend itself to any debate without bringing the discussion way off topic. I hate that. Feel free to paruse the posts listed under the tabs at the top of the screen and choose a subject. I’ll debate the merits of my posts on them. Or you could go up to the discussion tab and just pose some questions there. That’s what it’s there for.

      I have no problem debating my positions, I’m just going to do so in the proper places.

  21. If I may a suggestion, John –

    Please add to your website an area on the right which shows the latest comments.

    That way it would help to find which discussions are taking place. Cheers

  22. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” (Acts 17:30-32)

    I can almost hear all the atheists standing around laughing and saying that Paul guy wouldn’t get anywhere in the world preaching that resurrection stuff and also saying, “After all, we’ve never heard about this Jesus guy or anything else he’s talking about and we’re in the intellectual captial of the world!”

    I wonder if they put up as much of an effort to go around trying to disprove something while at the same time saying they couldn’t care less about it??? At least that’s what I get told when I mention scripture to the vast majority of atheists – yet they still say “show me your proof, show me your proof.” The majority will never believe because they choose not too.

  23. Eugene,

    Yes, you can probably hear the atheists laughing…. that’s because we don’t much stock in that book you quote every five minutes. It means about the same as someone quoting the Qur’an. It appears that you are just another guy who confuses belief with fact.

  24. Ow, you got me there. No wonder John is “having such a hard time” debating you guys – you’re so witty and original!

  25. Warning! Warning! T-minus 3 minutes till the next scripture quote! :)

  26. Michael says:

    Hard time? Lol. Im using definitions. If one doesnt like them and tries to twist words and play with semantics, than yes, we are going to call this person out and run circles around them. There would be no hard time if he would be honest here.

  27. Michael says:

    Scripture huh? Kewl, I got a couple first!!

    Leviticus 19:27 You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shall you mar the corners of your beard.

    Hope you dont shave, and in case you thought God changed his mind:
    Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
    He never changes. This is one of many verses where he says he does not change. So why dont you all have long beards? You are going directly against the word of your god. I mean, unless you dont think the bible is the word of god?

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2019&version=KJV
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Malachi%203:6&version=KJV

    • You are equivocating God’s character with his commands to a specific people. The law has been fulfilled, but even if it hadn’t, the the command for how to wear hair was specific for Jews. But I don’t expect you to know any theology.

      • Michael says:

        Maybe you havnt heard the news lately. I know Christian Theology.

        John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?

        • Michael, read my post “laying down the law”. I’m sure you have convinced yourself that you are a theologian because you have a link bookmarked with gotcha verses, but I’m not buying it.

          @z

          There are plenty of legitimate verses you could bring up which might be worthy of the point he was trying to make, but ot Mosaic law isn’t one of them.

          • Michael says:

            You mean in the actual physical bible? Sounds like someone doesnt read the bible. I am not a theologian, but Ill argue against nonsense when I see it, and I see it right here when you say otherwise.

            You can deny it all you want, and yes, I have quite a few verses I could bring up, not that you would listen, because you simply care not to listen.

            • Hello Mr Pot, my name is Mr Kettle.

              • Michael says:

                Im open, you provide no evidence. The bible is not evidence sir. Unless you would like to believe the Iliad is proof for Zeus, the Qur’an being proof for another version of Yahweh( Your God), the Torah, etc… The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim.

  28. @Michael

    I wouldn’t bother trying to use any scripture yourself. When you do, you will be accused of not interpreting it correctly or simply taking it out of context.

    It’s easy to see how Christians and non-Christians end up talking right past each other.

    @ Eugene

    What I do find interesting though, is the common tactic of attacking the source within an argument, except when it comes to anything they hold sacred. Non-believers hold nothing sacred. Everything is scrutinized and examined. When we explore the validity of the bible we see all kinds of errors, which are casually dismissed or rationalized away by the adherent, that show that the work cannot be admitted as reliable or credible. It’s ok if you want to believe in talking donkeys, the ark story, someone living in a whale or resurrecting from the dead – just don’t expect the rest of us to believe you or take you seriously.

    One major difference between you and I, Eugene, is that I’m willing to admit that I could be wrong.

    So, as John often states, “Where do we go from here?”

  29. @ Michael

    To answer your accusation (which is in the disguise of a question) would be child’s play! I like how you gave the link…like I don’t have a Bible :)

    I would tell you I’m going to follow Matthew 7:6 but I’m afraid you’d start crying :'( and calling me a judgmental Christian or worse; and I don’t really feel like playing a game with you that can’t be “won.” YES! I said it couldn’t be won, but not because I’m afraid to talk about the Bible with you. It’s because your spiritual heart, mind, eyes and ears are so stubborn you’d never listen to reason or logic no matter how I answered your veiled assumption.

    You proved what I’m saying by answering your own question, Michael; why should I waste my time giving you one? You might know how to use 10 dollar words to sell your 10 cent idea with John, but you’re not ready to talk about the Bible in a serious way. Now you can go back to doing what John talks about in his original post – fighting so passionately against something that you supposedly have no passion about because it “doesn’t exist.”

  30. @ z

    Non-believers hold nothing sacred. Everything is scrutinized and examined.

    I guess the same is true when it comes to the magically delicious, but never observed big bang theory too? The more you guys say you don’t care the more you end up caring!

    One major difference between you and I, Eugene, is that I’m willing to admit that I could be wrong.

    Are you willing to admit that you could be wrong about the existence of God? If not, then your statement has just fallen on it’s face – so have a nice day :)

  31. @ Michael

    The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim.

    You claim there is no God, correct? Prove it! Back up your own words.

  32. @ Eugene

    Yes, I am willing and ready to admit I could be wrong about the existence of god. Are you?

    As for any discussion regarding the big bang theory, it carries with it no dogma and scientists in that field are ready to listen to your alternative theories. You’ll have to have something more substantive than crediting your deity.

    @ John

    You’re just proving my point about biblical interpretation and application. Please stop trying to parse out scripture to your liking. The bible in its entirety is either inerrant or it isn’t.

    @ all theists

    It’s amazing what lengths you will go through to avoid the burden of proof. Because of your narrow definition of the word “atheist”, let’s just say for the sake of argument that all non-believers here are simply agnostic and await any defense of the assertion that your god exists. Your insistence that the assertion of “no god” is tiresome and not getting us anywhere…

    • @z

      The differences between old and new testament theology is not an issue of inerrancy. This is yet another example of you not knowing about that which you criticize. The first being how you thought different denominations were different religions.

      And its not that theists are trying to avoid the burden of proof, we are trying to get you go realize you have one as well. You don’t get to just play skeptic without offering reasons for your rejections.

  33. Eugene Adkins the big bang theory is based on the observable red shift and the constant drom pn entropy of the universe track it back and it all originated from one point, hence the bib bang thoery. And we do not say there is no god, we ask you for evidence of your god

  34. @ John

    Here’s a simple yes or no question for you. Is the bible inerrant?

    As for the burden of proof, people who do not believe an assertion do not bear any burden of proving it wrong. The burden lies with the person asserting it to be true. Period.

    • I don’t have any confidence that you know the definition of inerancy, so I’d like you to look it up first from a theological website, post the definition here, then I can answer.

      But you affirm God does not exist, sooo…..

  35. Stop saying he is affirming something he isn’t. He is questioning your assertion saying “can you prove it?”, not saying “I can prove it worng” stop squirming around avoiding the question and answer it, can you prove the existance of your god? and if so, how?

    • He affirms God does not exist. I have offered reasons why I think the bible is reliable, that God exists, among other answers to demands you are making. Just check the Christianity and Atheism tabs. I’m not going to copy and paste full posts in a comment section.

  36. Why you think so yes, but can you provide infallable proof?

  37. That’s why it’s futile to have a conversation with you, John.

    You can’t answer a simple yes or no question and can’t understand that you’re the one making an assertion that must be defended.

    • Z I know you want terms left undefined in order to give you wiggle room to change things as we go, but I want to know what I’m answering yes or no to.

      Broken

      Of course its what I think, read “prove it!” Under the atheism tab to see why that request is likely to be impossible for me to answer to your satisfaction

  38. Definition: inerrant – not liable to error.
    Yes or no – Is the bible without error?

    Please let it be known that from this point forward, for the purposes of this blog and the definitions as set forth by John Barron Jr. on his website, ZQTX is an agnostic. I am not making any claim or assertion to the non-existence of a god.

    Now, please make a case for me to accept your assertion that the Christian god, or any god for that matter, exists. You wanted an idea for a new post – there it is.

  39. @ z

    My answer is, “no.” Nice to know your answer though, but I was asking Michael since he’s all about carrying the burden of proof when it comes to people making claims.

    @ broken

    You said, “And we do not say there is no god, we ask you for evidence of your god

    If your statement is representing all atheists when you say “we” then that’s an out right lie my friend. Don’t avoid the question and point being made. For proof look at how Z changed his stance from being an “atheist” to magically becoming an “agnostic” just to try to prove some point that doesn’t really exist.

    Some here say, “Show me your proof that God exists” so I give proof (existence itself within the beyond complicated theme of life and the existence of an unchanging word; and if you doubt the unchanging word statement then familiarize your self with the Dead Sea Scrolls) but you say I don’t like that proof.

    I say, “Show me proof that God doesn’t exist” and some say, “Well, the burden doesn’t rest on me; it rests on you” or some say, “Prove it? Oh no. Well, I’m not an atheist anymore; I’m an agnostic all of a sudden” or some even say, “Well, atheists don’t really not believe in God we just don’t believe in God.”

    How in the world can someone say that they believe God doesn’t exist but at the same time say they have no beliefs to defend/prove??? The more you guys talk the more you prove John’s original post to be true!

  40. @ z

    Sorry about the beginning of my reply. I remember where I asked you now. The last question I was thinking about was the burden of proof with Michael. At least I said thanks the first time around :)

  41. Michael says:

    Eugene,

    Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. I am skeptical of your position. I have an absence of belief in your god. Yes, you have the burden of proof. This term is a broader term, there are, as stated before, 2 types of atheism. Im not going to go through the long process of defining again for you.

    If you think those skeptical or have a disbelief of outrageous claims should be the ones to prove it wrong, then you have quite a bit of work ahead of you.

  42. Eugene, can I ask you to disprove every god in the world other than the christian god? if not then don’t ask me to disprove yours! It is impossible to say 100% that something does not exist, especially something intangible, so it is like there are a million hypotheses, would it be easier to ask you to disprove every hypotheses but yours, or to ask you to prove your own? Either way there is kind of a burden of proof on you, because if you say you don’t need to prove your god and we need to disprove it instead, then you need to disprove every other god (I suggest you start alphabetically and see how it goes). The way to define a (type 2) Atheist is someone who does not put forward a creation myth hypotheses, but who simply asks others to show their hypothesis is correct. Why should someone who asks for evidence be made to show counter evidence? And the reason we do not take your very old book that has been (relatively) consistent, is that there are other gods, some with even older and more consistent books, why should we take your book over theirs?

  43. @ Michael & Broken

    Atheists who aren’t atheists? Wow, it’s denominational atheism! What’ll they think of next :)

  44. @ Broken

    You said, “Eugene, can I ask you to disprove every god in the world other than the christian god? if not then don’t ask me to disprove yours!

    According to your logic I don’t have to disprove every god because I have a non-belief in them.

    So maybe I’m a theist who’s an a-poly-theist! Or is it a poly-atheist…or would that be you? Wow, you guys are broadening my horizons. If up consider that up is down and right is left :)

  45. Michael says:

    Eugene,

    According to you mis-logic, you would actually. At first, it seems you though atheism would need to prove the non-existence of god, and now you think otherwise. Maybe you should state your position on atheism.

    And yes, one can be a poly-atheist, since one would have a lack of belief in multiple gods. But, if you are a Christian, you would be violating a ten commandment( You know, the ones from the OT of the 600 some)…

  46. I guess I should start calling atheism the “theory of atheism” then, huh?

    ( You know, the ones from the OT of the 600 some)

    To be honest, I have not the faintest idea what you’re talking about.

  47. Michael says:

    The ten commandments, you know, thou thalt not kill, etc..? Those are 10 of many.

  48. I get it now. You’re talking about the Mitzvot. That’s a different topic than what’s being talked about here.

  49. Michael says:

    Gotcha, Was just saying there, didnt mean to bring it up, it was a side point that got off subject. But the fact that you said poly theist and you being a Christian is a supposed no go….

  50. Marshall Art says:

    Really late to this party. Just a comment or two.

    First, I used to like Carlin. Had a bit or two memorized from listening to them so often. But as can happen, I had the unfortunate experience of listening to him being interviewed and found his personal beliefs to be laughably shallow and self-serving, which is true for most “non-believers”. Since then, he didn’t seem o be as funny. This is common, but not always true, as I still find Ellen DeGeneres funny (when she’s trying to be funny and not political).

    If an atheist is not one who believes God doesn’t exist, what is the proper word for such a person? I know it isn’t “agnostic”, as I was under the impression an agnostic just hasn’t really decided the issue for himself. Perhaps most of the atheists here are really agnostics.

    “As for the burden of proof, people who do not believe an assertion do not bear any burden of proving it wrong. The burden lies with the person asserting it to be true.”

    Not necessarily. There must be reasons as to why atheists do not believe. Thus, they have equal burden in trying to explain why the arguments of the believer are not worthy of adopting. The above quote suggests intellectual laziness.

  51. @ Marshall

    The main disagreement here is about the definition of ‘atheist’. Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.

    As for my previous quote regarding the burden of proof, it still stands.

    That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.
    It’s not lazy – you’re just trying to shift the burden of proof. If you make a claim, back it up.

    • So then Z, when the atheist asserts there is no god without offering evidence I am justified in dismissing his claim without reason. Good to know.

  52. Based on your narrow definition of ‘atheist’, I suppose that would be understandable, but remember that the assertion you think you hear is not making a supernatural claim.

    If you actually watched the video, you may relate to the part around 7 minutes in.

  53. Marshall Art says:

    @z.

    That was a cute little cartoon. But it makes some assumptions that, while being true for some who are not more than the average joe on the street, they do not work for true apologists, such as William Lane Craig, who argue from more than just “because the Bible says so”.

    Evidence for either position can only go so far due the fact that, for one thing, we are here, in the year 2012, and not within a generation of the earth’s creation. The data that exists for the origin of all things is data that is also used by the better apologists in tandem with other data that is more specific to God’s existence.

    The problem is not one of evidence and proofs, but whether or not the atheist will accept the evidence presented as being valid. Short of being able to walk up to you and introduce you to God Himself, the believer will always be at a disadvantage if the atheist refuses to give validity to any of the proofs that can be offered. And while alternative explanations are possible for the proofs offered and how they are used to support the existence of God, there are no lengths the average atheist will go to dismiss the point made, regardless of how weak the alternative is that he uses as a counterpoint.

    So, our burden is not so much one of proof, or at least not the biggest burden we bear in such debates. That would be the unwillingness to consider that which hasn’t really been refuted with a solid counter argument. A case in point is the dismissal of the recorded aspects of Christ’s resurrection. Namely, that so many people were witness to both His death on the cross, His burial and then to His walking around as if no harm had come to Him (before ascending into Heaven). Weak arguments of mass hypnosis, or it was a different guy, or He had only fainted (yeah…right) and many other equally cheap alternatives (not to mention that the whole story was made up) have been offered up to counter the evidence of the Biblical record, much of it supported by outside sources in one way or another.

    At the same time, “scientific” explanations for the origin of all things (often used to counter arguments to defend God’s existence) lack the very solid and verifiable evidence demanded of believers. There is no way to prove a “natural” origin. Nothing we have proves such a thing, but atheists have no trouble running with it.

  54. @ Marshall

    Are you simply saying “Here is my evidence, but you’re just not accepting it?”

    What evidence are you actually presenting here?

    Are you saying the resurrection is true because many people apparently witnessed it? I could say the same for UFOs and Bigfoot as well. You may not seem to understand that hearsay does not support your claim, even if someone wrote it down some time later.

    Are you proposing an “unnatural” origin? Again, I think you do not quite understand the argument from ignorance. Please review the video again. I think it does a good job explaining the process of inquiry.

    After that, make your claim and present something to support it.

  55. Michael says:

    Im not sure why people turn to eye witness as a form of evidence, ever….

    http://agora.stanford.edu/sjls/Issue%20One/fisher&tversky.htm

    It really is unreliable.

  56. @ Michael

    Let’s hope you never find yourself in a position where you need someone’s eye witness account to prove your innocence.

  57. Marshall Art says:

    Not at all. I’m not making any claims about my beliefs at all. I was merely bringing to light the difficulties experienced by those who present valid and fact based arguments in support for God’s existence and the reaction from the average atheist to those arguments. This is what I thought was the point of this post, not a time to present evidence at all. In speaking of the resurrection, I used it as an example of how weakly it is dismissed. Your narrator used an argument that suggested that any alternative explanation justifies dismissing that which the believer brings forth. My point was that this technique is brought to an incredibly lame level, as if any alternative possibility, no matter how ridiculous, must be given the same level of validity. You do it as well with your UFO and Bigfoot comparison, as if they are equal only because others say they saw either. But never is the sightings of Jesus recorded in Scripture used as a sole piece of evidence, but one of many that must lead to a conclusion. The goofy alternative possibilities are intended to avoid the best conclusion to which ALL the evidence points.

    It’s not that the process of inquiry is falsely or incorrectly explained in your video. It’s that the assumptions made by the narrator concerning the lengths or limits of proving by the believers is cut way short by him. Very few apologists rely on the types of argumentation that this guy pretends is the long and short of the case for God’s existence. He himself dismisses just how much is available and how a good apologist, such as a William Lane Craig, is able to deal with the objections of the atheist and his alternative possibilities.

    To give a taste, I offer this debate. I haven’t watched it myself, yet, but have seen several of Craig’s debates and he always seems to respond to objections, far more than his debate opponents do. The site from which I purloined this video carries many of Craig’s debates as well as those of other apologists.

    Like Craig, there are many, including proponents of intelligent design, who indeed use data available to all to make their arguments. They rarely fail to address objections (when allowed to) and do so without the types of lame-assed examples the narrator of your video does to pretend that there are no good arguments for belief in God’s existence. What it really comes down to is that atheists, regardless of how the term is defined, are unwilling to believe, do all they can to prevent their having to believe, going to any lengths they feel necessary and will NOT believe without a personal meeting with God Himself before they die.

  58. Marshall Art says:

    My last was to Z, but it also handles Michael’s objection.

  59. Michael says:

    Eugene,
    I carry other forms of evidence when needed, I dont rely on a form of evidence that can be shaky at best. If I have no other forms of evidence, then I dont have a case to defend and hope the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I am guilty (At least in the US, dont know the laws in other Countries).

    Marshall,
    You should watch debates with other atheists as well. He just tries to make it seem as though we try to deny your god, like there arent 10,000 other gods out there or anything. You have the same amount of evidence they do. I mean, unless you have been holding punches or something?

    Im not preventing my belief in anything. If anything, you are. I shouldnt have to prove your god wrong, its the other way around. Again, this principle can be applied in reverse in your position. You can start disproving the existence of the 10,000 other gods in history, plus the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, A Colony of aliens at the core of Jupiter controlling the universe, etc…

    The idea for us to bear the burden of proof is ridiculous, and you shifting the burden of proof is a fallacy.

    • Michael

      You have said more than once that: “You can start disproving the existence of the 10,000 other gods in history, plus the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, A Colony of aliens at the core of Jupiter controlling the universe, etc”

      If this is true, that the evidence for Christianity is on par with all the others, can you point me to the evidential claims for truth for these religious alternatives? In other words, Christians use several points to argue for the validity for their religion. So what are claims for truth that these others offer, and where can I find them please? Or was this just empty rhetoric.

  60. @ Michael

    You can start disproving the existence of the 10,000 other gods in history, plus the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, A Colony of aliens at the core of Jupiter controlling the universe, etc…

    Why don’t you follow your own logic? If he doesn’t believe in these things, then according to your logic he doesn’t have to prove that they don’t exist.

    You prove nothing when you try to make a point that goes contrary to what you believe while using it to ignore his valid points about atheism that’s not atheistic becuase it’s only a “I think so, but I don’t know so” atheism.

  61. Michael says:

    Eugene,
    You missed the entire point. Let me make it clear for you. If you want to shift the burden of proof, then you can disprove those gods. Better? I have been with logic the whole time, but it doesnt seem like you have been following along well.

    Maybe you should re-read my comment.

  62. Not too long ago I watched a public debate between Blair Scott (an avid atheistic debator of theists and Director of Communication for the American Atheists, Inc.) and Kyle Butt (part of the staff with ApologeticsPress.org) where Blair Scott actually took the affirmative of saying, “I know God doesn’t exist.”

    Of course, he failed miserably and readily admitted early that he couldn’t prove it but that he still “believed” that God does not exist. Towards the end of the debate he actually admitted that God could exist; something of which he admittedly denied in the beginning.

    The thing that sticks out in my memory is how Mr. Scott did exactly what John talked about in his original post – he put a huge amount of energy into trying to prove that something/someone doesn’t exist while supposedly not caring.

  63. @ Michael

    You missed the entire point. Let me make it clear for you. If you want to shift the burden of proof, then you can disprove those gods. Better?

    Let me get this straight then, you say if I believe that God exists, then the burden of proof is on me? But if I say that no other gods exist then the burden of proof is on me?

    Either way the burden of proof is all on me no matter what position I take – huh??? While you sit back and say you don’t have to prove anything in the positive or the negative as long as you don’t say you believe in anything?

    But in that case, that makes you an agnostic, but you say you’re not an agnostic so we’re only left with you being an atheist – but still yet you say you don’t know for sure that God doesn’t exist because then you’d have a belief that you would have to defend?

    Am I getting this circle straightened out or what?!

  64. Michael says:

    John,
    WHAT?!? Are you stupid? Yes, Ad Hominem, I just used one. Rightfully deserved on your part for willfully being stupid. Yes, the LACK OF EVIDENCE is on par with the other ones. I dont think Im going to reply further with here. You theists are not willing to have a logical conversation. I think Im going to go back to the Christian Apologetic’s group and argue with them, at least they understand logic. Peace.

  65. @ Michael

    At least, for my personal understanding, please answer one more question for me. I don’t believe (I guess the burden of proof is on me) you’ve ever said why you don’t believe in God – so why is it?

  66. Michael says:

    Eugene,
    Sure. I have the lack of belief in all gods. There is no evidence. The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim that a god exists, the theist. If you are trying to shift the burden of proof to the atheist, this is a fallacy, which is the point I was trying to make. No hard feelings towards you Eugene, John was being retarded. From your blog, I understand you are a Preacher? This would put the burden of proof on you to prove that your god does in fact exist. If I am wrong about your beliefs, let me know via my blog, or here, Ill come back to read, but wont reply again probably because Ill be blocked by John.

  67. @ Marshall

    You have an interesting position by feeling that you have nothing to defend. You do. You believe in the existence of a god, and when you say there are difficulties experienced by those who present “valid and fact based arguments”, I would like to hear what you feel those facts are. That’s the point of the video.

    You point to the resurrection story, yet there is no evidence that it actually occurred – just hearsay. Why would you insist on special pleading to accept the validity of the resurrection? It’s a claim, and it must be treated just like any other claim. That’s the point.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but all of Craig’s arguments have been successfully refuted. There’s no need to pretend – there really are no good arguments for the belief in your god. If you have one, please present it.

    Intelligent design – nice tangent, by the way – is supported by what data, exactly?

    Your statement regarding the “atheist’s unwillingness to believe” just shows the weakness of your argument. Just because YOU believe it, doesn’t mean it’s true because you’re willing to believe it.

  68. No hard feelings towards you Eugene,

    I don’t know Michael. You used one of my quotes on your site and then proceeded to use some rather personal, hateful and foul language. But I’ll take your word for it. I know anger can cause people to say things they don’t really mean. I don’t think John will block you…at least not yet :) But I don’t want to speak for John.

    Besides the point though, I understand clearly what you’re saying about the burden of proof being on me when it comes to providing evidence. So what would you consider evidence from me as a preacher for the existence of God?

  69. Well… hard one, but I think anything physical (either an object or act) that cannot be explained or worked out through by the natural laws of science or occur by random chance. Is that a reasonable enough expectation?

    What, may I ask, (if anything) would you take as evidence for there being no god?

    • I would accept a philosophically sound argument showing the impossibility of a god, or archaeological evidence that showed direct refutation of biblical events, for example.

      Mere speculation that the biblical accounts may be false don’t cut it for me.

  70. Sorry : be explained or worked out by the natural laws of science

    Added an unnecessary word in there.

  71. Interesting proposal, John, but I would suspect you would simply shrug off any philosophy showing the impossibility of a god by saying it’s just not a sound argument.

    As for archaeological evidence, what would it take? Do you not already marginalize any findings with regards to the earth’s age being far greater than the bible stories have you believe?

    As for your last statement, mere speculation that the biblical accounts may be true don’t cut it for the scientific community.

    • That’s where you’re wrong, Z, I wouldn’t merely shrug it off, I’d certainly scrutinize it for flaws, but wouldn’t shrug it off. In fact I have heard one argument which I think might pose quite a difficulty for theists.

      But no, archeological evidence has not shaken the biblical view of the earth’s age since the bible has made no declaration of its age. Perhaps you should read my post about the age of the earth. And on a side note, it would be geology and not Archaeology which would determine the age of the earth.

  72. Fair enough, but I think any archeological find that would dispute long-held beliefs would be hotly contested and denounced just the same by those whose religion it might expose to be lacking.

    I would applaud your use of such scrutiny. That’s what always leads me back to asking people why they believe the things they do. It seems they don’t employ the same scrutiny to their own beliefs.

    Would you like to share the argument you think that theists might have difficulty with?

    • Z

      Believe me, I want to tell you what it is, but I gave my word to the atheist who I discussed it with that I wouldn’t discuss it or write about it until he has cleaned it up. I have been chomping at the bit to go over it and do a post but I can’t do it in good conscience.

      The guy is loosely affiliated with the Reasonable Doubts podcast. Justin Schriber, or something similar to it. I follow him on twitter if you want to send him a message and talk to him about it, I’m sure he would.

      But when we were discussing it, I liked it as an argument, and will be quite a challenge when it is polished.

  73. John, any passages (or perhaps like some christians the full old testament) you want to distance yourself from before we go into the whole historical inacuracies in the bible? I don’t want to waste time and research only to find you see that part as a metaphor.

  74. @ broken

    I’m going to assume that you’re comment/question was to me. If not, let me know.

    As far as evidence for me in not believing in God? Well, I guess I would first start off by saying death with no succeeding presence of God – not being smart, just being honest.

    Second, I suppose, would be the lack of a book like the Bible which contains both the Old Testament and New that fit each other like a glove. As has been referred to by someone’s earlier statement which was meant to be a weakness, the Bible was written by very few men who held any sort of “classical” training yet the book contains what it contains from beginning to end; things like the shadows and types of the Christ that Jesus fulfilled. Things that M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t come up with if he a hundred life times to try.

    As far as your answer goes, so a resurrected person would count, but you would have to meet that person instead of taking someone else’s rational, justifiable and scrutinized word for it.

    If so, I would say that no one in the Bible ever encouraged anyone to do anything other than that when it came to Jesus and God’s word. “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11</strong)

    It goes along with the verses I quoted a while back…"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” (Acts 17:30-32)

    For a long, long time now, people have either taken the resurrection of Jesus seriously or they have laughed at it. A person has the free will to choose which they will do.

  75. Yes Eugene the question was primarily addressed to you.

    So your methods for disproving god are either impossible or too late? As there already is a bible, and after death is a little late to go changing your beliefs if there being nothing after it is correct. I do see that second argument as rather stupid, as you would never have been a christian if there had been no bible. And as far as the whole new testament old testament goes the Torah is the first half of the bible completely out of sync with the second; the Qur’an is a parallel version that in most places does not match at all; the various translations of the bible give entirely new meanings; and the “Old Testament and New that fit each other like a glove” …

    there’s all the inconsistencies that I need to doubt them “fitting like a glove”.

    As I have personally known a couple of resurrected (one was dead for almost 14 minutes) people in my life the limits of a resurrection would have to be beyond the impossible for me to believe in some sort of unnatural intervention. Such as a talking head, or some other unexplainable event, well documented by contemporaries of the time so not just taking a word for it, but measurements and reason and sincere attempts to disprove such things as trickery, something the bible you ask me to look at has not stood up to as you can see in the above image.

    And you argue Jesus was an actual man… but no one of his time wrote about him, in fact it was a minimum of 30 years (the very shortest) before people started to get their shit together and START writing down the story, and none of those authors were his apostles! If Jesus had really stated Saint Peter as the head of the church and it all started there, why is there no 2000 year old bible? The oldest we can find is from over 300 years after the supposed events! And we have found very many Roman journals and religious texts from that time, and before. So please, tell me again why I should take your religion any more serious than any other one?

  76. Is there anything you can give as to the nature of such an argument? My best wishes to your friend by the way. Sounds like he may have some problems with his life. Whether you have a god or not life can suck if things start going the wrong way.

  77. @ broken

    You can’t talk about Christianity without name calling can you? You can’t have a normal conversion w/o getting personal. It really reveals how much venom you have in your heart and how closed your mind is! Yeah, I know that’s a personal too. Personal characteristics that you have revealed about yourself through out the post. If you want to go through life acting like a jerk but wonder why people treat you like a jerk – that’s on you. Maybe you don’t believe in jerks either, so the burden of proof is still on me.

    If Jesus had really stated Saint Peter as the head of the church and it all started there, why is there no 2000 year old bible?

    And you wonder why you have such a hard time understanding the Bible when you consider statements such as this as truthful. Quit relying on Catholics and start studying for yourself for a change .

    And He [Jesus – not Peter] is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18)

    So how simple your ignorance really is? And you wonder why “theists” get tired of talking to you. We’re talking about the Bible and you mention the Qur’an? A book that completely denies everything that the Bible teaches about Jesus! What does that have to do with the conversation?

    People have always doubted and mocked the resurrection – that’s nothing new. I just told you that you have the free will to believe or not to believe in the resurrection. If I’m wrong then nothing will happen, but if you’re wrong…well, I can understand why you’re so passionate about arguing against something you don’t even “believe” in.

    If God can keep the Old Testament intact and uncompromised (again see the Dead Sea Scrolls) then I see no reason why He can’t do the same with the New Testatment no matter how childish and woefully ignorant some people’s accusations of “contradictions” really are.

  78. I assume you were talking about me referring to your second condition as stupid, I am sorry if I have offended, but what I meant was it seems illogical, as your condition for not being a christian was the bible not existing, when the bible existing is the only reason there are christians. ( not meant offensively just if the same stories had been passed around and translated by word of mouth the stories of the bible would be in an even worse state, if even told at all)

    And I am sorry, I misjudged your sect of christianity but it does show if there is disagreement within your own religion then you must show how your interpretation is correct. I mean how can I trust your interpretation when what you disregard as a small law that no longer has relevance may be the very thing that sends me to hell?

    I am ignorant? True the Qur’an denies Jesus, but the point was the Qur’an is Abrahamic, and so should answer to the same god as the bible and so should have similar messages. Sorry if that got lost though how bad I am with words.

    A fear of hell is not what keeps me arguing, 90% of the time it’s just to see where the argument goes. How can I fear something that I do not think exists? That is like saying do you fear being reincarnated as a Preta unable to ever fulfil your desires? In fact the exact reverse can be said for you and it sounds just as condescending and is probably as factually incorrect, “If I’m wrong you go to heaven, but if you’re wrong…well, I can understand why you’re so passionate about arguing against something you don’t even “believe” in. ” see?

    Now to address these contradictions, In the new testament who found the tomb of Jesus open and was Jesus present there? One woman and yes (John 20)? Two and no but there was one angel (Matthew 28)? Three and no but there was one angel(Mark 16)? Or as many as 5-6 and no but there were two angels (Luke 24) When Jesus died what happened? Cause one account (Matthew 27:52) says the prophets rose from their graves and went to the town weeping, something no other gospel says, and also no historian at the time says, and a mass screaming zombie uprising would definitely have been noted at the time. But yeah your right such things like the events surrounding your head of church’s claim to fame, and an unaccounted for mass resurrection are just childish and woefully ignorant. (That last sentence was pretty mocking so you can definitely take that into your being a jerk burden of proof)

  79. Marshall Art says:

    I’ve been trying to read all the comments and still haven’t gotten to all of them. But I saw this one from early on and wanted to address it:

    “I cannot deny that the Bible is evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. But it’s not good evidence, and it’s evidence in the same way Harry Potter is evidence for Hogwarts and
    wizzards.”

    Actually, this is not true, but it is a typical argument from some atheists. The Harry Potter series does not make any attempt to present itself as anything but fiction. Thus, it is evidence of nothing. The Bible is put forth as historical (for the most part) and it’s stories of God and His interaction with His Chosen People are meant to be regarded as such. The Gospels are records of the events of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, known as the Christ. The Bible is the initial source, or the starting point, for anyone’s search for truth about the existence of God, as opposed to just any god.

    @Michael

    “You should watch debates with other atheists as well. He just tries to make it seem as though we try to deny your god, like there arent 10,000 other gods out there or
    anything. You have the same amount of evidence they do.”

    The link I offered I offered as a “taste” of what an apologist encounters when debating an atheist. This particular debate, though I haven’t watched it, was listed as a debate about the existence of the God of the Bible, so it makes no sense to say that it did not address other gods, though I don’t know for sure that the subject didn’t come up. It often does. And indeed, I’ve watched enough debates to know that it does, between Craig and a host of opponents, one time against three at once, and between other apologists and atheists. Thus far I’ve seen the same types of tactics. As to the there being equal amounts of evidence for those allegedly 10,000 other gods as there is for the God of the Bible, that is laughably untrue. Feel free to pick one and offer anything of substance regarding evidence for its existence.

    @Z

    “You have an interesting position by feeling that you have nothing to defend.”

    I don’t think I said anything like this. My point was that this wasn’t the venue for such a discussion as the point of the post was not to provide such evidence. You might want to read the post again so as not to stray too far from the topic.

    “You point to the resurrection story, yet there is no evidence that it actually occurred – just hearsay.”

    No, I point to the resurrection story as a piece of the overall body of evidence presented to support the existence of God. As a stand alone story, it is only a story. But it isn’t as if just a few people were passing this story about. Paul speaks of over 500 (and in those days, such numbers often only referred to the numbers of adult men present, so you could easily double or triple that number) with the invitation to go and ask any of those people still alive at the time. Then, an atheist would have to give some reason why any of them would lie about the situation, especially in light of the persecutions of believers by both Jews and Romans at the time. More importantly is the reactions I’ve listed by the average atheist to the presentation of this event by the believers and the weakness of their alternative offerings for why the story exists or the motivations of those in Scripture relating the story. These reactions suggest something other than a real search for truth.

    “Sorry to burst your bubble, but all of Craig’s arguments have been successfully refuted.”

    By whom, exactly? To date, none of the debates I’ve witnessed suggest that Craig has lost any of them, even if I concede there one or two may have been a draw. More common is how they sidestep the issues to attack the faith rather than the Reason for the faith. Indeed, your statement suggests what I have seen as common among the average atheist, that they are willing to claim victory because they refused to be convinced of the quality of the apologist’s argument. Again, nothing short of an introduction to God Himself will suffice for some.

    “Intelligent design – nice tangent, by the way – is supported by what data, exactly?”

    Here again, you help to make my point. It wasn’t a tangent as another example of what happens when such arguments are presented to those who claim no belief. It isn’t necessary for me to go through the data that supports the notion of ID at this time, but in general, the data is the same used by scientists with other beliefs. ID only shows why that same data points to an intelligent designer of some kind.

    Finally (for now),

    “Your statement regarding the “atheist’s unwillingness to believe” just shows the weakness of your argument.”

    Hardly. It is a statement of fact based on my observations of how the average atheist responds to presented evidence. As John said, using the phrase “good evidence” is subjective and raises the bar to impossible heights and does so with purpose to avoid having to believe. Any evidence presented is too often dismissed as evidence not good enough, and that’s conceding that some evidence isn’t good enough by itself. But to the average atheist, there doesn’t even exist any good evidence, because the atheist doesn’t want to believe due to what it means to him to have to concede a new paradigm.

    and…

    “Just because YOU believe it, doesn’t mean it’s true because you’re willing to believe it.”

    And this is an argument never made by any Christian with whom I’ve ever given any time. “Willingness” played little part in my coming to belief, though I admit I liked the idea of the Christian God. In fact, I’d say I’m far more willing now than ever, having reviewed the wealth of evidence I’ve seen since I’ve come to accept Christ as my Savior. More to the point, I’ve never met an atheist who claimed to want to believe but just couldn’t for whatever reason. All of the atheists I’ve met personally either refuse to believe or would rather not think about it so that they don’t have to change the way they live their lives.

    And that’s a good question: Which of the atheists here want to believe?

    Just because YOU believe it, doesn’t mean it’s true because you’re willing to believe it.”

  80. Marshall Art says:

    @broken

    “And you argue Jesus was an actual man… but no one of his time wrote about him, in fact it was a minimum of 30 years (the very shortest) before people started to get
    their shit together and START writing down the story, and none of those authors were his apostles! If Jesus had really stated Saint Peter as the head of the church and it all started there, why is there no 2000 year old bible? The oldest we can find is from over 300 years after the supposed events! And we have found very many Roman journals and religious texts from that time, and before. So please, tell me again why I should take your religion any more serious than any other one?”

    By “no one of his time”, do you suggest that one must have a biographer traveling by one’s side in order to have existed? Paul wrote about Christ much sooner than thirty years after the fact (I’ve seen some scholars suggest within two years of His death). But more importantly, that 30 years that you offer is far closer to the events than is true for almost any other ancient historical figure. And the Bible was only assembled about 300 years after the fact, but all the books within it were already around for some time. Indeed, most of the the New Testament materials (if not all) come from within a generation of the events to which they testify.

    But it isn’t simply the age of the text that gives it validity, or how near the time of the occurring of the events the text was recorded. What matters is whether or not there is any reason or evidence to believe what the text says about its supernatural aspects. Your statement suggests that it is not the evidence that is lacking, but like the average atheist, an unwillingness to recognize the distinctions between one religion and another in order to determine whether one, namely the Christian religion, has any validity. Rather, it seems like you are all too willing to assume there is no distinction between them, but to treat them all the same without acknowledging the evidence for any.

  81. I would like to know what happens after death, I would love the comfort that someone watches and protects and loves every person and guides their actions to be just and moral, I would be elated if I knew I had a direct line to the most powerful being in the world. But I do not. I know nothing about the afterlife other than everything that makes me physically, dies. I hate that no two people have the same morals and no guides so conflicts, crime, violence and wars break out, and I wish I knew the joy of being connected to any power at all rather than a mite on a speck of dust in the infinite void of space. So yes I would rather believe I had a heaven, or another life based on how good I was in this one, but I don’t, and I look at all the evil and suffering in this world and see that it doesn’t believe in a saviour either. Depressing? Yeah, but damn, it makes the good parts shine so much brighter.

  82. @ broken

    I will get to your alleged “contradictions” but please answer one thing for me first for clarification – what are calling a contradiction? To say/ask it clearer (if needed) I want to know what justifies the label of something being a contradiction according to the way that you’re using it.

    One other thing. You said, “Cause one account (Matthew 27:52) says the prophets rose from their graves and went to the town weeping,

    Would you please tell me what translation you’re getting your information from and please quote that verse with the particular translation because I have yet to see anything like what you referred to in any translation that I’ve read. Thank you.

    P.S. – the Qur’an does not answer to the same God – “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:10-13)

    Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)

    Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Hence, they will answer to the same God as all will, but their source of inspiration does not from God because they regard Jesus as “a prophet” and not THE prophet contrary to Jesus’ own teachings (John 14:6). Off topic from John’s post, I know, but it relates to your comment.

  83. And I will treat all religions as equal, Until one shows more reason to be trusted than the others.

    The bible was earliest recorded by a man who was never there but heard everything second hand by the way, if you are suggesting Paul(someone who was converted after the resurrection and so saw none of the miracles Jesus performed apart from appearing to him) as the first writer. You are also talking about a politician, and a son of a politician, if there’s anyone’s word that you shouldn’t just take on its merit its a politician, am I right?

    Jokes aside the man really cant be said not to be a reliable source, he was a man obsessed with prophesies and added in parts that other writers missed out that actually belonged to a much older myth from Egypt, that would be that of Osiris.

    Now in any case, if I was to start writing a novel now about the events of someone I heard about and met once during 2010 and not finish and get it published widely in my lifetime. And then have others add parts as they pleased. And then have it later translated into Greek. And then edited to make it better for the then all powerful catholic church, multiple times. And then translate it into English, in multiple versions, all while going through more administrative measures to make sure it doesn’t piss off the local king and his warlords. After all that could you really trust the stories I heard about some guy I met once in my life two years before I even started writing, even if it didn’t sound eerily like that other story you heard about from the next country over?

    So you say do we need biographers following us around of we don’t exist no, but just look at Mother Teresa and Gandhi when people with a good religious message, miracles, and seemingly unending kindness come along, they get well covered by literature, become iconised in art of the day, (not Roman catholic art but actual art of Jesus from during his life is non existent) would be written about in real time rather in long reminiscences as seen in the bible, and would show up in historians records for being in said contemporary art and literature. The few mentions of Christ in contemporary literature have come under heavy fire as being forgeries from the catholic church which held such records for numerous centuries.

    As for what counts as a contradiction, any difference between two stories a lawyer would jump on in court and use to say such testimonies show enough difference to show reasonable doubt? Seems a good definition to me. As for the traslation,

    “52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” new king james version.

    “52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” new international verson.

    Give me another version and I’ll give you a translation. You mustn’t have looked very hard to not be able to find it.

  84. *You say “biographer traveling by one’s side in order to have existed?” no but

    sorry, went all werid at the start of paragraph 2, I suck with words sometimes, let me know if you ever need me to reiterate some points, I wont be offended or think you stupid, I know I’m terrible at english.

  85. * 4th paragraph, damn!

  86. @ broken

    You said, “Cause one account (Matthew 27:52) says the prophets rose from their graves and went to the town weeping,

    Now, look at those translations (thank you doing so) that you quoted. How in the world did get what you said?

    Not being smart, honestly, but would you consider what you just said in comparison to what Matthew 27:52 really says a contradiciton?

  87. The only part that was differant was the weeping, some translations read prophets others saints others holy men, the weeping I have no idea where that came from it had been a while since I looked at that passage, but the fact that they were not crying does not take away from the fact it says there was a mass resurrection that is mentioned nowhere else. So yes it is a contradiction, but one that is pale in comparrison to the contradiction I was trying to point out.

  88. @ broken

    Prove to me that a translation uses “prophet” in Matthew 27:52 (saint and holy people mean the same thing – neither of which have to be a prophet) because I do not believe you will find one, or at least one that sticks with the Greek; but honestly I don’t believe you can find one that says what you said. So in reality you contradicted the verse 2x.

    Do you see how easy it is for someone to assume that there’s contradiction when they create the contradiction in their head?

    Let’s look at your statement in context, “When Jesus died what happened? Cause one account (Matthew 27:52) says the prophets rose from their graves and went to the town weeping, something no other gospel says,

    Ignoring the fact the quote you gave is wrong (let’s stick with your implied point) do you mean to tell me that you believe that when someone suppliments previous information that has been given that they are automatically contradicting the said previous information??? I don’t believe you understand at all what a contradiction truly is.

    A contradiction is something that attempts to both be and not be. Aristotle wisely said that a contradiction is: “That the same thing should at the same time both be and not be for the same person and in the same respect is impossible.” For example, a door can be shut and a door can be open – but the said door cannot be open and shut at the same time.

    Lets say you and a friend went to hear a popular atheist talk one afternoon. While talking to others about the atheist’s lecture you mention that the atheist talked about evolution and the origin of life. At the same time your friend is talking to someone else about the same lecture, but he is talking about how the speaker was showing that atheists can have morals without having God as his/her standard?

    Now, broken, would you and your friend be contradicting eachother?

    Please keep in mind that a “difference” is not a “contradiction.” Such is the simple, simple solution to so many “alleged contradictions” of the Bible. Lord willing, I will come back and look at the other references that you gave and give you a reply. Thanks for your time.

  89. Now, broken, would you and your friend be contradicting eachother*

    Let me finish that thought just for clarity’s sake – *if the speaker talked about both of the said topics?

  90. No but my friend and I would be contradicting each other if we wrote out our supposed “full” accounts of the speech and each contained only the things you spoke of without the other’s part, no? The number of women at the tomb of Jesus example I used was a much better contradiction that clearly showed there were serious faults but you so kindly ignored and went for the one I used with no counter example. But if you want to argue that version then lets go. You know the weirdest thing about this passage? Matthew was writing this in Greek, and do you know what that means? He was writing it way after any of the events were supposed to have happened, because the bible was translated into Greek and then revised in the 2nd to 3rd century the first editions and early chapters were written in Hebrew, that means at least 200 years later some guy came along and said “Oh yeah, and everyone got up from the dead!” you’d have thought if it hadn’t been mentioned yet the other gospels may have added it in, no? Well I could focus on the time the cloth in the temple ripped in this passage compared to the others, but I think mass resurrection is enough because not a single writer at the time mentioned anything about it. But I guess none of that strikes you as odd at all does it?

  91. Marshall Art says:

    broken,

    Your questions have been addressed ad nauseum by many good apologists without a reasonable counterpoint by atheist opponents. This is not the place to even address those concerns, as it is off topic. Perhaps John might do a post on the reliability of the Gospels at some point and in doing so take up your challenge.

    But, in a general sense, it is helpful to remember that four writers independently writing about ANY subject is likely to have insignificant versions of the same events about which they write. There’s nothing suspicious about that.

    As to stories not mentioned at all by any other outside source, that too does not diminish the greater truths being presented by the four Gospel writers. The resurrection of the saints is a story curious to most apologists, but by atheists, it is used as a point of contention that suggests the entirety of Scripture should be dismissed. That’s pretty weak.

  92. Marshall, you know, I am rather sick of that useless “argument” that is repeatedly used. Just because a statement has been made before, does not mean it is useless for you to say it again (relevant xkcd: http://xkcd.com/1053/ ). If I have not heard it why not tell me? Or you could link me to such an argument where the points are addressed. But I doubt you can, or will, because this seems to have become a knee jerk reaction for any remotely difficult argument used in most debates (not just in this debate, and not just by your side). The reason this annoys me so much is that just like the above comic states you really shouldn’t assume “everyone” knows as roughly ten thousand people hear about it for the first time every day!

  93. broken,

    You said, “The number of women at the tomb of Jesus example I used was a much better contradiction that clearly showed there were serious faults but you so kindly ignored and went for the one I used with no counter example.

    If you would go back and read my reply you will find that I said I would come back to the women at the tomb. Some people have to sleep. :)

    In your last comment, you said, “No but my friend and I would be contradicting each other if we wrote out our supposed “full” accounts of the speech and each contained only the things you spoke of without the other’s part, no?

    The more we talk the more I can see why you think the Bible contradicts itself. None of the writers of the gospels claim to be exhuastive on their topic. They do claim to be telling the truth though.

    For example, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.“(John 20:30-31) and “This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” (John 21:24-25)

    Each writer had their own distinct personality that focused on particular details that fit the point they were trying to make. Not one time in any of the Gospels do any of the writers say “only such and such” visited the tomb. They were not exclusionary with their words. I read a really good example to show what’s being done one time that said, “If you have 10 one dollar bills in your pocket and someone asks you if you have a dollar in your pocket that you would say yes. If someone asks you if you have 5 dollars in your pocket you would say yes. If someone asks you if you have 10 dollars in your pocket you would say yes.” At no time were you telling a lie. The same is true with the accounts of the women.

    The reason a person talks to multiple witnesses is to get the “whole” story. Not because any one person is telling a lie, but because when you’re looking for the “whole” you take all of the collective information and put it together. Such is the simple way to look at the “contradictions” you have pointed out concerning the women at the tomb.

    Remember, differences are not contradictions (see previous reply for the true definition of a contradiction).

  94. Marshall, go back and read John 20 and then read Luke 24 how can those both be true when they are describing the same event? One says Mary went alone and saw Jesus himself, the other said she went with at least 4 others and saw two angels. How can you possibly say that these are not contradictory, look at it from the point of view of a lawyer, if 2 people described a resurrection and they couldn’t agree on who was there, or if they say that person or just an empty tomb, wouldn’t you say these testimonies do not collaborate and none say they themselves were there. So it is safe to say neither of the “witnesses” were ever there and so are not reliable as they are reliant on word of mouth. Especially if all of the witnesses happen to be writing their testimonies well over two years after the incident and some writers, like Matthew, wrote their accounts when they were born at least 150 years after the incidents occurred. How can you expect me to agree with you and say these are reliable testimonies? If these were for anything other than Jesus you would be doubting all of them. You have total confirmation bias for all things related to proving the bible right.

  95. Especially if all of the witnesses happen to be writing their testimonies well over two years after the incident and some writers, like Matthew, wrote their accounts when they were born at least 150 years after the incidents occurred.

    You do realize that Matthew was an apostle, right?

  96. Yes, but it was easier to say “Matthew” than to say “unnamed later author claiming to be Matthew while writing in a language Matthew would never have spoken”.

    • Greek was the language of commerce, much lime English is today. There isn’t any reason to believe Matthew or the others weren’t bi, or even trilingual.

  97. Greek was the language of universities and government, those who were uneducated and grew up around Nazareth and Bethlehem much like the disciples did would almost never be exposed to Greek, this helped sustain the class divide that most countries relied on in those times.

    You are literally talking about 5 fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James John, and Philip), a toll worker (Matthew), a Jewish script student (Bartholomew/Nathanael), a political protester against Romans (Simon), some form of book keeper, good with money (Judas, though an actual job is never stated) and the rest don’t really seem to have any jobs listed before apostle, so they were not likely highly educated and it is doubtful any of these men spoke anything but Hebrew.

    As for Paul, the kind of 13th apostle, was a tent maker. These jobs were not high education level jobs and so it is unlikely for the time that most of these guys were even literate, never mind bi or tri lingual.

  98. Marshall Art says:

    broken,

    Maybe you didn’t get the part where I said that the topic of this post does not concern providing answers to such questions. I’m not avoiding them except for the fact that this tangent would take us very far astray of the topic of the post. There are tons of better apologists that can provide very detailed explanations of why your “gotcha” attempt is unsound. Seek them out.

  99. And why is it bad in a debate to go where the argument leads you? Just because it is not strictly relevant does not mean you cannot go down there. If you were to now bring up discussions on where atheists get their morals I would not say “oh no this is too far from the original topic!” I would simply answer you. Please stop throwing up smoke screens to mask the fact you refuse to answer me.

    I do not mean to be saying “gotcha” I am simply saying there are factual errors, if you think I am trying to catch you out it is only because you deny those errors so it becomes me having to catch you out and getting you to admit said errors exist. You do not link to the arguments you say will show me my error which is what you would do if you truly wanted me to find them.

    But that is irrelevant as I truly doubt you know any people who can argue a book they claim is inerrant, flat out contradicts itself in places. And if they say the bible is not inerrant, how do you tell what is right and what is wrong within it? If you admit some parts are wrong who is to say what parts are and what parts aren’t?

  100. Marshall Art says:

    “And why is it bad in a debate to go where the argument leads you? Just because it is not strictly relevant does not mean you cannot go down there.”

    At my blog, it is not such an issue to go on tangents, provided at least some of the original points of the post are addressed. I will always bring it back to the topic if it gets to far for even my “liberal” tastes.

    But this is John’s blog and that’s how I understand that he prefers it to be: as on point as possible. Thus, unless and until HE feels the tangential questions are worth exploring, I prefer to bow to his wishes and keep in on point.

    As to your badgering, I will say these few things…

    If the versions of the stories to which your refer were told exactly alike, what would you say then? For many atheists, it would be proof of one writer plagiarizing the other or two or more getting together to make sure their fictitious stories match. The atheist will always have some objection regardless of whether the stories are told perfectly or not. In modern criminal investigations, the police get more suspicious the closer the alibis match than if there are differences in the stories that basically are saying the same things, highlighting the important points of the story.

    As to apologists, you can click on my name (or if I’m on John’s blogroll—I don’t even know if I am) and check out my blogroll. Go to “Right Ones” and click on either the first or the last blog under that heading. There are others between them with links to great apologists, and Wintery Knight has posted tons of debates on video, audio and others in transcript. John might have some sources he likes as well.

    • I think it would be fine in this case to let the discussion flow. Marshall is absolutely right, I hate it when the comment section doesn’t reflect in any way the original post (see my comment policy) . But in this case lest Marshall, who is very capable of answering these objections, be accused of evasion, I’m going to allow the discussion to go where it does.

  101. Marshall Art says:

    Great…..What was the question?

  102. Hmnn…a LOT of blather, so folk must care. If non-believers care, it must then be about demonstrable reality and generally ends at government since that’s the locus of the power to alter lives and events. Believers deprive government of much of that power by reserving it to a Creator standing above merely human government. Neither being able to prove their case (in my opinion) there can be accomodation but no reconciliation…

    And since the power of government is a perennial battleground, we’ll always have folk trying to convert others or somehow, mandate their view. Athiests now like to use courts for that. Fortunately, threre are as many flavors of non-believers as of believers, so there are reasonable folk on both sides to permit the accomodation needed for a (reasonably) just society at least much of the time.

    But I don’t know anything; this is just my contribution to the blather…

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