Question for Atheists…

I am under no illusion that the majority of Atheists believe that religious adherents are at least a little crazy.  They believe in — as George Carlin put it — an invisable man in the sky.  Some Atheists even refer to God as the invisable sky daddy.  Christians believe a man named Jesus came back to life after being killed by the Roman government… if he even existed of course.  That’s after he turned water into wine and walked on water.  They believe a donkey spoke, and so did a flaming bush.  Needless to say, adherents from various stripes believe what — to unbelievers — seems to be outrageous and unbelievable.

My question to Atheists is this: If you had to narrow it down to one (or two at most) thing, what is the most dubious, implausable, preposterious thing about theism?  In other words, finish this sentence: I can’t believe those religious people actually believe _______ is true, that’s ridiculous!

IMPORTANT: Why?

Comments

  1. Nothing specifically. It is the whole of being mentally subjugated generally to an otherwise dubious power structure or supposed being without anything but biased information, which is idolized as proof or evidence. This is faith. I mean the christian standard for evidence of an omnipotent being would logically allow for a belief or faith in any other god or gods or events. What is the difference between your faith and the Hindu god system? They have their ancient texts which are of course much older than the Bible. They have faithful adherents. They are enslaved to doctrine and dogma. From the outside they all look the same. Followers can use any amount and any type of self deluded and biases to lambast another belief system. But if the same criteria are used to legitimately examine one’s own brand of faith, how do you think you arrive at such an absolutist premise in the end? It is manufactured from your experience, culture, upbringing etc.

    • I wasn’t raised in a religious home. In fact my father, who raised me, is an atheist. Living in New England I’m not exactly inundated with religion, its pretty secular here.

    • R. Nash,

      You’re right about religion. And many people believe in a creator because x, y, z book says it’s true, and that’s enough for them.

      But what of the belief in (or at least not a rejection of the possibility of) a creator based on a lack of evidence to the contrary?

      I left religion at a young age because of the reasons you cite: “Who’s to say we’re not wrong?”, “What evidence exists?”, “Other people have other texts”.

      Then I thought about the atheist view of life on earth. All life accidentally came to be from a random chemical reaction and coincidentally evolved into a system of oxygen breathers on one side and CO2 breathers on the other. And only one species of oxygen breathers became intelligent enough to even consider our beginnings at all.

      Creation stories are simple, but they’re only seemingly too simplistic when you start with the notion that it’s fantasy.

      I guess I’m asking if you think that what you believe to be a lack of evidence necessarily means that it didn’t happen.

      Also, consider this: What natural evidence would change your mind? Forget the bible stories of the supernatural. If there was a creator, how would science prove it?

      • 2 Cents, in answering your first question regarding abiogenesis, I will just say that the bio-electrical/chemical circumstances (abiogenesis) that eventually resulted in the flora and fauna we know today, are not considered accidental or purposeful by the folks who make it their living to know such things, we just now have a mind that could, based on our experiential leanings, consider such a thing accidental/coincidental. Life on this planet, in as much as the evidence suggests, just is. And with any luck, before I die, we will be on our way to discovering other planets that have the same traits as ours, making our little “accident” infinitely less unique or miraculous.

        And in answering your second question, specific to creation as being dismissed from the outset because arrogant atheists might consider it fantastical, we are again faced with the question of what is “not” included. Since there is no proof/evidence, much less any standard to distinguish the validity or my favorite, the “truth”, of any creation story, we must rely on our senses. It can and should be approached both deductively and inductively. And without bias. That means that every creation story in history has the same valid merits and is of course “believed” by its adherents. What makes the creation story in christianity any more “right” or truthful than the Iroquois creation story?

        What natural evidence you ask? Well for starters, we could just have Jesus or any other worshipped model for perfection/morality/omnipotence etc. do the same things that are purported in the Bible in front of educated, literate groups of non believers. Instead of in front of small, believing, illiterate, backwater desperates, who could be easily duped because they were so under the impression that if they did not believe there would be dire consequences for them and their families. My mind is open to having anyone walk on water, part the seas, awake from the dead etc. Most especially the turning water into wine thing! I think if these so called “miracles” were today happening in front of rational non believers, religion wouldn’t be losing 2 congregants for every one who joins. But when the burnt toast Mother Mary shows up in some Mexican Catholic woman’s toaster, I have to ask, “Why toast”? Why Mary? And how did this benefit humanity? To what end? Parting the Red Sea had some benefits. Mary’s face on a piece of Wonder bread….And the events which are often classified by christians and their congregations as being miracles or miraculous or being the actual hand of god are always ludicrous. It is a way for zealots to explain away their non understanding of biology, statistics, physics etc. I mean to say that the guy who survives a plane wreck is a miracle is non sensical. While 274 passengers burned to death at the same hand of god who chose to save one? Let the apologetics begin….

  2. I will finish the sentence: I can’t believe those religious people actually believe God is true, that’s ridiculous!

  3. This guy is really good! Didn’t know if you ever heard of him or not.

    • Lyn, I thin Ravi has a unique ability to communicate in a compelling way. He’s one of my favorites

      • Yes..very good! Believe it or not, I was just reprimanded by a fellow blogger who goes by “Thoughts of an old man”, His Servant, for having these videos on my website. He tried to say that this guy does not claim Jesus. So I posted a video where he is talking about Jesus for the guy in his comments area..the guy still wanted to argue! LOL I don’t know what he’s talking about..this guy is good! Thanks so much! Glad you liked him!

  4. John Barron,
    We have no evidence of a god. We have stories, myths, and legends, but no facts. I think humanity needs to abandon this “god” idea and embrace reality.

  5. Every time I say we have no evidence for god, I get the same question. I have no examples of what I would consider evidence of god’s existence. Why would I need examples? Why would I need to create a set of conditions under which I would abandon reality and embrace fantasy?

    You asked “What do you think we should see that we don’t?” The answer: Nothing – we should see nothing because there is no god to see.

    • Raju

      What you’ve just done is admit you have closed your mind and formed your conclusion and aren’t open to hearing anything which might change it. You admit that you don’t even know what you’d want, you just know there isn’t any. Talk about jumping to conclusions. You’ve rigged the game, to you nothing can even possibly count as evidence, and because you don’t see any (because you said nothing counts) you say God doesn’t exist. Man, I’ve never seen anyone admit in public that they’re so unreasonable and dishonest about their view. Kudos.

      • John,

        I am very honest about my view. Having realized that God does not exist, I am open to reasonable and rational explanations about our world.

        Just as you feel that I have closed my mind, I could reach the same conclusion about those who believe in God. Do you feel that you have closed your mind to reality, and that your belief in God prevents you from seeing the world from a scientific perspective?

        • Raju

          You said you’ve decided God doesn’t exist. You said that is because no evidence exists. You’ve also said that the reason no evidence exists is because you have decided no evidence can exist because God doesn’t exist. You offer a tautology.

          Me on the other hand, can be swayed. I don’t NEED to believe God exists, I believe it because I have been convinced he does. I haven’t always believed this, not until my mid 20s. I am open to argumentation. You have admitted you are not. No reasonable discussion of any substance can be had with someone who has said the things you did. But thanks for reading.

  6. conservative2cents

    “But what of the belief in (or at least not a rejection of the possibility of) a creator based on a lack of evidence to the contrary?”

    I don’t see how the lack of evidence to the contrary could be a base to belief in something.
    Moreover. How is the evidence to the contrary? Saying that there is a lack of evidence when it hasn’t even defined is misleading.

    “I guess I’m asking if you think that what you believe to be a lack of evidence necessarily means that it didn’t happen.”

    I’m sure not, nor does it mean that it did happened.

    “What natural evidence would change your mind?”

    It could be asked the same for non-atheists. What natural evidence would change your mind?
    I presume that for many atheists the answer is: none, since they are expecting supernatural evidence. Besides I haven’t seen any statement about how would it be a natural evidence to their contrary.

    “If there was a creator, how would science prove it?”

    I think that no way. Science cannot prove or disprove the idea of a supernatural creator. That is out of its scope.

  7. John,

    Sorry, John. But that isn’t a tautology. That is circular reasoning.

  8. I really couldn’t narrow it down to one or two. Really when I deconverted and let my wife and the pastor know that I was no longer a believer. I sent them kind of like a manifesto of my top six reasons am I no longer a Christian.

    1. Bible Difficulties
    2. Historical discrepancies in early christian history
    3. Unanswered prayer
    4. The character of (a biblical) God
    5. Moralty and atrocites in the bible
    6. Science.

    There were other things on top of this, but these were my top six and presented a cumulative case argument. And also included a bonus section in my manifesto on the issues of faith.

    Really there is no one thing, but there are many problems with the existence of god, and even if we are able to refute one, then we are still left with 1000 unanswered questions.

  9. OK, I’ll have a go…

    “…. I can’t believe those religious people actually believe THAT THAT WHICH DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE DEFINITION OF ‘TRUE’ is true, that’s ridiculous!….”

    Religious faith and religious belief are, by definition, a matter of FAITH and BELIEF, and not TRUTH. That is why we talk about ‘believing in God’ or ‘having faith in God’ (or some variation of this).

    In a strict philosophical sense (and for that matter legal and scientific sense too) in order for something to be declared TRUE it must be provable by way of reason and/ or evidence.

    If I say “I BELIEVE it is true that I have discovered an instant cure for cancer” no proof is required because I am not claiming it IS true that I’ve discovered a cure for cancer, I’m merely claiming that I BELIEVE it’s true that I have.

    We are all free to BELIEVE whatever we like. “I believe it’s true that I am beautiful and charming”, or “I believe it’s true that I’m a wonderful singer”, or “….a safe driver”, or “….an expert lover” (…and so on). These are all examples of beliefs.

    As a belief my statement is fine as it is. But suppose I were to say “It’s true that I’ve discovered an instant cure for cancer” or phrased slightly differently “I have discovered an instant cure for cancer, and that is the truth!”. Now I am making an entirely different claim. I am not just claiming to hold a BELIEF, I am claiming the existence of a TRUTH and this means I must now back up my claim with evidence and reason for it to be a valid claim.

    And so we can see that evidence and/ or reason (logical consistency etc) are what are required to elevate a belief to the status of a truth. If I produce a pen that is evidence of a pen. My ownership of that pen is now proved to be true. 2+2=4 is also not a believe as it can be proven to be true (in this case, logically consistent with base ten mathematics).

    As for my cure for cancer, a good starting point in terms of EVIDENCE might be a sample of 10 cancer sufferers who took my medicine and were all instantly cured of cancer. An example of REASON might be me giving a scientifically plausible explanation as to how my cure actually works.

    And so returning to religion, we are obviously dealing with claims of belief and faith and NOT claims of truth. Religious people can only claim it is true that they *believe* in their god(s). They cannot make a claim that their god(s) exists IN TRUTH. In order to make that claim valid they would have to do what the rest of us have to do and present compelling evidence and reason, and to date nobody has been able to do this.

    Faced with this problem religious people have for centuries resorted NOT to reason and evidence (they have none, after all) but instead extreme violence, persecution, torture, fear, threats, brainwashing, and bribery to ‘convince’ or ‘persuade’ others to accept their superstitious BELIEFS are actually unassailable TRUTHS.

    Apart from the gross immorality of using coercion and violence, such tactics have the added effect of undermining people’s ability to think rationally and critically.

    To explain….. it’s fine to celebrate beliefs and ‘culture’ as long as everyone is aware they are (in the absence of actual evidence and reason) merely beliefs, stories, rituals, costumes, superstitions, multi layered allegories, moral frameworks etc. But unfortunately this is NOT how most young people are taught about religion. They are instead told that the religious beliefs common to their geographical location are the literal TRUTH. Allow me to explain why this is so damaging…

    When playing games children can often ‘believe’ they are firemen or pop stars and it is fine to go along with this play acting. But imagine telling them over and over and over and over and over and over again that they REALLY ARE firemen or pop stars and that this is THE TRUTH. Imagine how confusing that would be for them and how damaging that would be to their still-developing sense of logic and reason. This is, sadly, what a religious upbringing does to children. It muddles up concepts of ‘belief’ (imagination) with ‘truth’ (reality) until they are unable to properly separate the two.

    Fundamentally this is an issue about abuse of language (definitions). If a population can be convinced/ persuaded that the existence of a ‘god’ is TRUE without a shred of empirical evidence or reason then this creates a society based on a fundamental fallacy… the dysfunction of logic and reason caused by the abuse of language and a subversion of important definitions and concepts.

    The scientific equivalent would be persuading a population (using fear, violence, brainwashing, persecution, peer pressure etc) that the force of gravity was something else, or that colliding objects do NOT exert an equal and opposite force on each other, or that a metre was slightly shorter than it actually is. The results in terms of technology and engineering would be catastrophic. Bridges would be collapsing, planes crashing, wheels falling off all over the place!

    Muddling up belief/ faith with truth/ empirical evidence and reason is just as dangerous to a society as muddling up basic scientific concepts and laws of the physical universe.

    And me advocating for religious people to stop abusing language and definitions and stop ramming the resulting mess into the minds of the young (often damaging their mental capacity for life as a result) is no more an attack on religion as it would be an attack on science if I asked science teachers to stop muddling up basic scientific terms and laws of the physical universe.

  10. I can’t believe those religious people actually believe – animals are reincarnated as other animals depending on their Karma – is true, that’s ridiculous!
    Because: it’s unsupported by any evidence – there is simply no reason to think it’s true.

    Don’t you agree?
    The way a Christian and an Atheist see Hinduism (with incredulity) is the same way a Hindu and an Atheist see Christianity (also with incredulity).

    I mean, your opening sentence could describe the way Christians see Hindus with their odd beliefs.

    • Odd does not equal false. You also seem to be working from a frame of reference that all religious claims have an equal quality and quantity of evidence in support, which is untrue also.

  11. I reject the implication that Jesus’ existence is a debatable point. It’s plainly not. It’s no more debatable than the existence of the battle of Basra. To establish something as historical fact, historians look for at least two independent sources. Guess what? There are nearly 10 independent sources that attest to Jesus’ existence.

    It’s yet another asinine attack on Christianity. It’s a faith that is constantly held to a higher standard than any other because it still finds itself in the majority in the United States. Christianity is in a forever war, fighting for its own survival.

    People that hate Christianity are so consumed by their hate that they subjugate any and all sense of moral character they ever had. Liberal social positions are nothing but a referendum on religion. These people support the slaughter of babies just to spite religion. They also normalize every sexual perversion under the sun. It’s apparently normal to cut off your penis and don mamma’s underwear…These people are disgusting. They are morally bankrupt, undesirable, and unworthy of our time.

    • As usual Rah, you brought nothing to the dialogue except the dogmatic victim card. Your not even discussing the post. Who said Jesus didn’t exist? If he did, which I believe to be true, please “prove” using the same methodologies we use to prove everything else in our reality, to show that miracles were done by him.

  12. The Bible itself is not a source. The Bible wasn’t put together until long after the crucifixion.The gospels and letters, however, floated around independent of one another. They are the sources.

    The Gospel of John, Mark, Luke, Matthew, and First Corinthians were written totally independent of the others. So each one is a valid historical source. This isn’t what I say; this is what every credible historian under the sun says.

    But if you don’t accept the gospels, then accept, at least, Josephus, a Jewish historian, and Tacitus, a Roman historian, both of whom wrote about Jesus. Then read the Talmud. Why would the Jews write a story that could only destroy Judaism if it wasn’t true? (See: Sanhedrin 43a)

    To reject the historicity of Jesus to give up any common sense one ever had.

  13. M. Rodriguez,

    1. Bible Difficulties

    Such as? You don’t have to believe in biblical inerrancy to believe in God.

    2. Historical discrepancies in early christian history

    Such as?

    3. Unanswered prayer

    This is not a reason to reject the existence of God. This is silly. Anyone who has children knows that you can’t always give them everything they ask for…

    4. The character of (a biblical) God

    Examples?

    5. Moralty and atrocites in the bible

    Examples? Of course, I have a pretty good idea the things you’re thinking of, but I want specific examples so that I can respond to them better.

    6. Science.

    Science…what? Science hasn’t disproved the idea of God. Science can’t even get itself straight. It’s theories change every few years.

  14. @TerranceRAH

    1. ur right, you don’t have to believe in inerrancy, to believe in God. But the God I believed in was very specific. It was the Christian God of the Bible. And according to the bible, his word is perfect. Now I know there are many christians who don’t believe in inerrancy, but then we have two problems….Without the bible, how do you know which God you are worshipping? How do you know what is true, because without the bible everything is relative?

    2. here is one example…there are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus

    3. This is not a reason to reject the existence of God. This is silly. Anyone who has children knows that you can’t always give them everything they ask for… As this one reason by itself does not make reject the existence of God, but it is silly cause whenever I mention all six points to people, They are all ready to jump up with an answer as to why God does not answer prayers and ignoring all the other points I make.

    And really it was an interaction with children at Sunday School, that made me realize this point. Because when I was doing a lesson, I asked them, do they know why God does not always answer prayer…And these kids were between the ages of 7-9. And before I could finish the question, they all shot there hands and starting rambling off the same 6-7 reasons we always here of why God does not answer prayers.

    And the worst thing out of that expierence, was the look of disappointment on their face, because you can tell this was a sore spot for some of them emotionally.

    4. There are just so many, I’ll take the classic example…God is omnipresence, but couldn’t find eve in the garden. Omnipotent….can god make a rock so big, that even he can’t life?

    5. god killing people….And killing alot of people

    6. Science can’t even get itself straight. It’s theories change every few years. really this part is just that, answering the misconceptions of science from the christian perspective and what really are the theory of evolution, what is a theory? and transitional fossils?

    Do remember when I sent this out to my pastor and the elder at that time…Its a total of about 27 pages of material, and far more detailed than this. Some of it is available on my blog. IF you would like a copy of the full thing, let me know and I would be more than happy to send it to you.

  15. M Rod,

    Rather than have any of search out these points on your blog, perhaps you could put up your list again with the appropriate link to that which fleshes out your positions. That would save us time and allow you to give the explanation that best does the job. You wouldn’t have to do it all at once if it’s time consuming even for you, one or two at a time would suffice, but you at least have some idea of where to look. Just a suggestion I hope you’ll appreciate.

  16. R. Nash.

    You’re an ignorant little twit that apparently doesn’t read so well.

    From John’s post:

    Christians believe a man named Jesus came back to life after being killed by the Roman government… if he even existed of course.

    I was addressing that tidbit.

    If he did, which I believe to be true, please “prove” using the same methodologies we use to prove everything else in our reality, to show that miracles were done by him.

    I only addressed the absurd insinuation that Jesus Christ never existed. The historical standards for stating that as fact have been met – and exceeded.

    To believe Jesus Christ is exactly who He said He was takes faith. I didn’t speak to that, but there are plenty of logical reasons to believe He is God.

    But you have no interest in discussion, R. Nash. You only seem interested in asserting your distaste for Christianity much like a five-year-old asserts his distaste for brocoli.

    • Is it your christianity that makes you so angry and judgmental? Does your god sit behind a keyboard name calling? Shouldn’t your humility be turning your other cheek? All of your arrogant rage is going to give you a heart attack or stroke.

      You went on ad nauseum about the existence of Jesus and not a single poster was refuting the premise. Not one single, relevant objective, authored sceptic/atheist/non-theist doubts the existence of Jesus. That is a fringe on the fringe. It is just one more news bite that fundamentalists can bite onto so that they can perpetuate their own victim card at every whim. Oh whoas me the persecution of christians blah, blah, blah. I have never even met a serious non theist who doubted the existence of your precious Jesus. But that didn’t keep you from going off on an inane tangent and having an irrelevant fit.

      Simmer down and take your meds….or pray for us non believers to find the light.

  17. M. Rodriguez,

    1. ur right, you don’t have to believe in inerrancy, to believe in God. But the God I believed in was very specific. It was the Christian God of the Bible. And according to the bible, his word is perfect. Now I know there are many christians who don’t believe in inerrancy, but then we have two problems….Without the bible, how do you know which God you are worshipping? How do you know what is true, because without the bible everything is relative?

    You can believe in the Christian God of the Bible without believing that the authors and translators were perfect human beings that made no errors. As for the rest, it takes faith – which is required anyway, regardless if the Bible is free of error or not.

    Personally, I believe the Bible is free of major errors.

    2. here is one example…there are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus

    Jesus Christ was crucified sometime between 30-36 AD/CE. Most Bible scholars agree that Paul wrote Corinthians sometime between 48AD and 60AD. Everything in Corinthians backs up the other gospel accounts. He even told the Corinthians that many eyewitnesses were still alive that could confirm the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 3-7).

    Fragments of Mark’s gospel were found and dated as early as 50AD, and some estimates put it at 40AD.

    It’s almost impossible to get an exact date, but conveniently you’re choosing the arbitrary dates put forth by liberal and secular scholars. Everyone has his or her own agenda, which is something you ought keep in mind before rejecting Christianity on something so flimsy.

    3. As this one reason by itself does not make reject the existence of God, but it is silly cause whenever I mention all six points to people, They are all ready to jump up with an answer as to why God does not answer prayers and ignoring all the other points I make.

    And you’ll notice that I’m not ignoring the other “points” you make. I’m addressing them individually.

    4. There are just so many, I’ll take the classic example…God is omnipresence, but couldn’t find eve in the garden. Omnipotent….can god make a rock so big, that even he can’t life?

    What are you talking about? God never said He couldn’t find Eve. It was a rhetorical question, a literary device used to present a larger point.

    Seriously, you reject God based on this nonsense?

    5. god killing people….And killing alot of people

    Were the reasons justified? Who are you to decide? And everyone dies.

    6. really this part is just that, answering the misconceptions of science from the christian perspective and what really are the theory of evolution, what is a theory? and transitional fossils?

    Instead of letting the evidence lead them, scientists lead the evidence in the direction they want to go. Are you familiar with the multiverse theory?

    Do remember when I sent this out to my pastor and the elder at that time…Its a total of about 27 pages of material, and far more detailed than this. Some of it is available on my blog. IF you would like a copy of the full thing, let me know and I would be more than happy to send it to you.

    No, I don’t care to read it. But I do say that if you’re going to argue something, then argue it. If you’re going to make a statement, then support it.

  18. Is it your christianity that makes you so angry and judgmental? Does your god sit behind a keyboard name calling? Shouldn’t your humility be turning your other cheek? All of your arrogant rage is going to give you a heart attack or stroke.

    Yet more blather from the ignoble R. Nash, putting forth yet more psychobabble foolishness. I am a sinner, I confess. But in a rage…over you? I got 99 problems but R. Nash certainly ain’t one.

    You went on ad nauseum about the existence of Jesus and not a single poster was refuting the premise.

    That’s not what you said. You said,

    Your not even discussing the post. Who said Jesus didn’t exist?

    And I informed you that John alluded to the possibility that the historicity of Jesus was in dispute. You have a difficult time following along, don’t you?

    And I do believe, R. Nash, that our friend M. Rodriguez may be doubting the existence of Jesus Christ. He said:

    2. here is one example…there are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus

    Because M. Rodriguez is, I think, purposely vague, it’s hard to know precisely his motives. But this does sound like the historicity of Jesus may be in dispute by some posters.

    Either way, I was addressing John’s post. But I’m sure John appreciates your attempts to keep the discussion on point.

  19. R. Nash,

    You say that a supernatural being would need to show you what they are said to have done in order for you to believe. I’m not asking you to tell me how you might come to believe in Jesus. I’m asking what would make you believe that there was a creator.

    Atheists say they rely solely on scientific evidence. Physical evidence. So, can you imagine a piece of physical evidence that would persuade you?

    • As I stated in my previous post, I would enjoy the chance, open mindedly, to witness the same celebrated miracles in the Bible. Show me a man walking on water, the Red Sea parting, arising from the dead after extended torture and death etc.

      There is high probability that I am going to sit back and seriously think about my position.

      • I think you don’t understand the question. I understand that you find the bible’s accounts to be as ridiculous as any other religious text. That’s fine. But you don’t believe that life was created, or for that matter, that the universe was created. If a man showed you the things you’re asking to see, you may dismiss them as parlor tricks. And why not? David Blaine does things that shock and amaze his audiences. Obviously, they’re some sort of tricks. You wouldn’t follow him if he claimed to be God, I think.

        I just wonder, when you wonder about the formation of the universe, why you wouldn’t substitute “created” for “formed”, just for the purpose of investigation. Why do you not want to consider the possibility that everything was put in place on purpose, rather than just a pointless big bang?

        It’s one thing to say you’ve seen no evidence of a creator. Isn’t it possible that you haven’t found any evidence because you’re not looking?

        Isn’t it possible that if you stumble onto the evidence, you wouldn’t recognize it because you just don’t want it to exist?

        Doesn’t science require that you have an open mind to all possible explanations?

        These are honest questions. You seem like an ok guy. You seem like how I once was: an ok guy who had doubts about claims based mostly on second-hand accounts from a book.

        I’m offering these questions to try to help you see whether your disbelief is truly based on the evidence, or that you just don’t want there to be any. If it’s the former, fine. But if it’s the latter, you need to know that there is a sort of self-imposed blindness in play.

        What do you think?

        • I guess I am a bit vexed. If my examples of a single being walking on water, awaking from the dead with no wounds or parting the Red Sea etc. are not good examples, that can be measured both by the senses and physically/scientifically, that would indeed cause me to do more than pause, what would be good examples? David Blaine can’t part the Red Sea etc. There are no mass followings of any magicians any more. Although they do have an interesting past within the various religious ranks.

          As for the creation of the universe, I think we are again up against the differences in philosophy and approach. Where as the Big Bang to the devout is “pointless” or just accidental, like the formation of life or humans etc, it is, in my reality, just one of a billion different outcomes. I have wondered about the formation of the universe from all relevant points of view, including the Inuits perspective on creation. That is to include my Methodist and later my Born Agin takes on the creation of the universe. This is where I run into problems within the ranks of blindly devoted atheists. There are many who have not investigated the formation of the universe or the Abrahamic belief systems etc because they either dismiss it out of hand or they are simply science worshippers, or at least share that mindset.

          The real scientific method as given to us by the Greeks (Thales, Plato, Aristotle) would have you exploring/investigating all religions before settling on the one you have now. Or possibly graduating from the supernatural altogether.

          Considering that there are literally tens of thousands of christians sects/denominations this would be a lifetimes work. That is to say that if you are Melkite Catholic how do you really know that this is the right one? What if one of the other 54 Catholic sects was actually the more right or truthful denomination? Or more confusing yet, what if you were a Melkite Catholic and we were being honest in our approach shouldn’t you be considering at least to a minor extent, exploring with an open mind, Oriental Orthodoxy faiths, perhaps the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. I mean they did after all denounce the Council of Chalcedon. This may seem irrelevant if you are “comfortable” with your current belief system and its rightness and absoluteness. But what if we graduate further away from the Pope and the aforementioned Council? What if now, to be sure that you have thoroughly and honestly investigated your options, you begin looking into the Protestant sects both pre and post reformation? Or if taken in context and with an eye towards intellectual honesty, wouldn’t you have to investigate non christian, non abrahamic faiths, like Adavasi Hinduism? This at least for me brings to the forefront of the dialogue the cultural endogamy that has driven western religious beliefs. That is to say there are 2 very prominent reasons that you don’t think that the Earth/Cosmos was created by a very large salmon that jumped so high it touched the Sun. You have A) never been exposed to that story in more than a trivial way if at all, and B) the social, Cultural, Familial and religious endogamy in which you were born and raised.

          This may seem like a long winded example but I ask it quite often to followers of any particular belief system and the ones who seriously consider it begin to get that deer in the headlight look. Their eyes gloss over. You are a christian with a particular belief in the creation of the universe that tows the line of the community and culture and country in which you live.

          And you speak to the “evidence” and my potential to miss it due to my omission bias. Of course that is a possibility….for all of us. We are all biased? Some of us are aware of our biases and have a good time exploring what they are and how they got there. Which makes for some interesting turn of events. But none, as of yet, which have me devoting my life to a being that would have me mentally, physically and emotionally subjugated in this life and the next. One in which I am brought from the womb into sin as a neonate. One in which from the moment of conception I am either going to accept my almighty saviour as a repenting sinner, or go straight to hell to be torturously burned for eternity. What a horrible plan.

          This really boils down to how we use and view Occams Razor and other similar models like Somonoff’s inductive inference or the predictive empirical models.

          I hope this answers some of your questions.

  20. R. Nash,

    I hope you do. I used to be an atheist, too. Just ask John. There was a time I used to spout my atheist rants on this very blog.

  21. When you mention the different sects of Christianity, you’re mentioning something totally unrelated to the larger story: that God created the universe, our world, and everything in it.

    The various sects quibble over trivialities, I think. As a Lutheran, I can’t stand to hear people bashing Catholics for this or that. To me, it’s all trivial nonsense that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not God exists and He’s responsible for everything we see.

  22. TerranceRAH is right. I’m not talking about religion or any sect. Forget religion.

    The questions I’m asking are only about whether or not the universe and life were created by some very powerful and intelligent (by our standards) being.

    I’m starting to think that R. Nash’s aversion to religion is clouding his ability to see my questions for what they are. Is it fear? If he thinks that there might be even evidence of creation, that he must believe one of the religions? I promise that’s not where I’m going with it.

    • This is your first question: “I’m asking what would make you believe that there was a creator”. I answered this question twice. Your assertions and assumptions aside, I believe you to be the one who is simply dissatisfied with my answer. If you showed me those miracles under any kind of scrutiny that I could or might bring, I would be on my way to considering a conversion. If this being could do those things then why not also create the universe to? If there was a dimension of purely supernatural happenings and out of the blue I and many others were introduced don’t you think at least some of us would be considering our earlier position?

      I would be content to consider believing in your god if he took me off on a trip and showed me how he built the universe, showed in detail the plethora of supernatural, yet tangible evidence. Do you take someone’s word that the sky is blue? Or do you investigate it? If I told you that the FSM was the real true god and then asked you why you thought he wasn’t what evidence would satisfy you that he created the universe?

      To say that my questions to you in reverse regarding your belief system are irrelevant, or part of my misunderstanding of your question or due to my aversions to your particular bent of beliefs or, laughably fear, which is always the last ditch effort on the part of believers to non-believers when it comes to their perceived stubbornness, is wholly inaccurate.

      Why not engage the answers and subsequent questions I posed above? I know your not scared….

      • R. Nash, Your answers seem to assume that I am saying that Jesus created the universe. I’m not playing any tricks on you. I’m not asking you to prove (or consider) that the guy who supposedly walked on water was the guy who created the universe. Forget creation stories and stories about miracle workers. You’re going off track when you bring them up.

        Atheists say they rely on scientific evidence. Very well. The one thing we all agree on, whether from a text’s account or observable scientific evidence, is that there was a beginning to our physical universe.

        Are you hoping that it was by chance and that there was no creator, or would you like to know either way? Have you considered what physical evidence (other than a guy showing you how it’s done) might be helpful in proving creation, or are just not looking at all?

        The very existence of a thing in its current state would be evidence. A rock, for example. I find a rock in my back yard. Was it created by a human? Maybe. Certainly, a man can get the stuff of rocks and devise a way to make one. But, the fact that rocks are plentiful, and not worth much, might lead us to conclude that it was probably made in the usual way. By the nature of the universe.

        But, an airplane. It has an obvious purpose. It’s a machine. It’s much more complex than a rock. We would never assume that it came to be by chance. It was obviously created by inteligent beings.

        Why can’t life, in all its complex wonder, have been created? Why can’t the big bang have been caused on purpose? Why is it so out in left field to think they might have been? And why won’t some atheists even entertain the thought?

        • Abiogenesis, in so much as I am able to comprehend the chemistry and physics of it, is the better of the two explanations being offered. Also read Krauss’ work on the creation of the universe. I am of the mind that this is still and again a better explanation than 7 days of “creating” from an omnipotent/omniscient being. You seem to be questioning my honesty in approaching the “big” question(s). I wonder how and why you feel you are in a position to do as much.

          It was an interesting and somewhat slow process moving from the premise of a creator, and all of it’s affiliated stories to the realizable reality, in as much as I can know it through my senses and the scientific method. This perpetual need for christians to lump all atheists in together and question their integrity and honesty is, well unchristian.

          • It may very well be unchristian. But then what do you care? Wouldn’t that departure be a good thing? Besides, why shouldn’t we question each other’s motives? We question the motives of those who deny the holocaust. Some question the motives of global warming deniers. Right?

            And there you go again with the comparison of your beliefs in chance to that of a particular religion. Seven day creation? Is that the only option? Why do you keep comparing the two? Is it not possible that the Christian view is wrong, and that the truth of creation more closely resembles your beliefs of how it happened (big bang, primordial ooze, and such)?

            And why must a god be supernatural to create what we know? Nature, as we know it, could not create an airplane. A couple of guys’ “supernatural” knowledge made that possible.

            “But, human intelligence is natural” (it occurs in nature), you might say. Great! Then a natural intelligent being could concievably have created the machine that is life on earth. Right?

            Why can’t that be a possibility?

  23. @TerranceRAH

    U are right I am being purposefully vague.

    In past expierences, whenever I become too detailed in comments/rebuttals on christian blogs, my comments and links have a habit of disappearing. I have never had that problem with this blog, but I rather not test it.

    Secondly, I was just trying to answer the post question of If you had to narrow it down to one (or two at most) thing, what is the most dubious, implausable, preposterious thing about theism? So I was really just trying to answer the question is the most simplistic way.

    and lastly it would IMPOSSIBLE for me to put up a full and complete explanation on my six reasons why I am no longer a Christian. It would be way too lengthy with way too many links for me to put up that complete of answer. So what I did was put up the pdf link/attachement. And this is same one I sent the elders and pastors and the church and even my own wife when I told them I was no longer a Christian.

    http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/why-i-am-no-longer-a-christian/

    • M

      You don’t have to worry about censorship here. I’m not worried about your comments deconverting people, or embarrassing me. I just ask that you don’t use profanity, which it doesn’t seem like you do anyway.

      I do not censor because someone holds opposing views. Now if your tone becomes mocking or disrespectful I’m not likely to respond, but I don’t delete them. I write these posts to provoke discussion and interaction, it seems about counter intuitive to delete comments.

      • like I said before i’ve never had that problem with your blog, But JB you have already earned my respect in my eyes. because even in disagreement you are very respectful and have shown you are not afraid to tactical the harder questions. like you did with a previous comment I left.

        really I’ve slowed down on visiting many christian blogs for that very reason, in fact one guy send me an email, that I should stop commenting on his blog, since then to keep my comments a lil more brief. and as friendly as possible.

  24. oh and to set the record straight I am more inclined to believe that Jesus did exist than not.

  25. Me and R. Nash actually do have something in common. I, too, would like to go back in time and see Jesus perform all these miracles, et cetera…But not really to assure myself that He is God, because I already believe that without question. I would just enjoy seeing things from the perspective of early Christians. I find the mere prospect absolutely fascinating
    .

  26. R.Nash,

    The problem is not so much a question of integrity and honesty, as it is the ironic nature of the situation. There is no proof of anything on the “science” side that does not in the end require the same level of faith that theists have for their positions. Ambiogenesis might be a better explanation to you, but it doesn’t include anything that seems to qualify under you own standards of “proof”. Our faith in God is not based merely on stories, but in all that has been discovered through a couple of centuries of study. That which is used to support our belief in God and/or Jesus is far more extensive and scrutinized than any for any other figure of ancient history. The implications of John’s post are that atheists demand far more from the theists for their beliefs than to the atheists for their own. Put another way, atheists are far more willing to buy into any “explanation” for a non-theistic origin regardless of its quality, than they are to buy into ANY explanation for a theistic origin.

    • Occam’s razor and it’s deductive affiliates does a wonderful job of debunking your “proof” or qualities of “evidence”. Have you read Krauss’ work?

      Put another way, do you feel that tomorrow the sky will be blue? Or could I convince you that it will be red through the same types of evidence that are found throughout your faith. Countless relevant events have been forcefully explained and mandated as belief throughout christianity’s history only to be debunked soon thereafter….by this same scientific method. What makes your creation story more likely and true and any more right than any other creation story. No one seems to be honestly willing to address this question. Why? 4 sects of Hinduism go back further than your christianity. How can you legitimately say that your “faith” in a creation story is more right or truthful? Where is your proof?

      Further what is “any explanation”? The Big Bang is not just any theory. It appears to have the backing of the majority of the scientific community. Across many fields related and otherwise. Your generalization falls well short because you would dismiss every other creation story historically and currently.Yes? Unless you are talking about theories regarding the origins of the universe beyond Feynmans or Krauss’ work. I can’t speak to any fringe/minority atheist views on the subject. I would be surprised if you could.

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  1. […] manifesto in further detail.  Putting them up in sections and series.  However on the blog Sifting Reality, the Blogger JB asked a question to atheist,: “If you had to narrow it down to one (or two at […]

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