For Humans Tell Me So

It took me a long time to realize this, but the only source I have to go on for what is or isn’t the word of God is the word of humans. And different humans say different words are the words of God. Hell, different humans can’t even agree on what god or gods exist, and even among people who agree that a specific god exists, they still disagree about what that god says. So when somebody utters phrases such as “Don’t take my word for it, it’s in the Bible”, it sounds ridiculous to me, because they are still asking me to take their word (or the word of other humans) for it that those words are actually the words of God.

This is a realization I first came to when reading Abul A’la Maududi’s “Towards Understanding Islam”. At the time, I had been looking for a book that explained Islam from a Muslim point of view. This book certainly did that. It also contained a lot of arguments that Islam is right. Some of these arguments appealed to emotion (e.g. unbelievers are misguided fools), or had other flaws, but the book is well written. I disagreed with the thesis, but it wasn’t necessarily easy to point out flaws in the arguments.

One of my most deeply held values is that I should be willing to consider that I might be wrong, and that I should not dismiss evidence or arguments just because I don’t like the conclusions. In fact, if I’m feeling that unpleasant sensation of cognitive dissonance, that I don’t like what this person is saying but can’t quite pinpoint why they must be wrong, that is when I should be paying especially close attention, and not just dismiss their ideas because I don’t like them.

I’m not perfect at following this ideal, of course, but I think I did pretty well with Maududi’s book. It was not an easy read at all. I frequently had to stop and think, and I took a number of breaks from reading, because investigating those cognitive dissonance feelings (or even just having them at all) can be pretty exhausting. Eventually, however, I realized. The only assurance I have that God said, or thought, or did as Maududi said… was that Maududi and some other Muslims said so.

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to Islam. I’ve been told countless times that I should believe the Bible because it is the word of God. It isn’t God who told me I should believe the Bible because it is his word (though, if that had happened, I wouldn’t be doubting his existence in the first place). It’s humans who told me this.

The Bible itself was even written by humans (and translated, and transcribed, and preserved, and put together as a single collection of works, with humans choosing which works to include or omit). Christians have told me that the Bible is divinely inspired, that God guided the writers’ hands, or something. Again, I only have the word of humans that this collection of human writings is divinely inspired. Some people claim that the Bible is inerrant and perfect, and they know it was written by God because of how perfect it is. I’m really not seeing it. To me, it reads like a collection of works written by humans at various different points in history.

And given that so many humans disagree so thoroughly with each other about what God says, even within the same religion (by focusing on different statements as being important, and interpreting them in different ways, with no way to just go ask God to say which interpretation is better), I really don’t see why I should accept any of it without proof that God actually said what some people say he said. And it always does come down to what some humans say God said (barring God deigning to speak to me in person, or give some sign about which words are his).

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “For Humans Tell Me So

  1. Religion isn’t always about facts. It’s based on faith, so it’s funny how some religious people try to establish their religion as “logical and factual” when it really isn’t. Religion can never be proven, so the choice is yours to follow it or not. I’m sure you already know my views on that though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. You’re not even the only person who reads my blog who sees it that way, and a number of people I know offline share the same viewpoint. I disagree, but I am happy that people with this viewpoint usually don’t try to force their religion on me.

      I don’t see religious belief as a choice because I did not experience my religious beliefs or lack thereof as a choice. There is some level of choice involved in shaping your beliefs (choosing to listen to or ignore people who disagree with you, for example), but you can’t just suddenly decide to change your beliefs the way you might decide to change your clothes, or your name.

      But, of course, not everyone has the same experiences as me. If someone experienced their beliefs as a choice, I’m not going to try to tell them they’re wrong. They know more about their own experiences than I do. I might ask for more details or question exactly what they mean by choice in that context, though.

      It would be funny how people try to claim their unprovable beliefs as fact if they didn’t keep trying to make them into law or force them onto others :S Maybe I’m a bit cynical and jaded, but I’m really tired of dealing with people who try to shove their religion down my throat.

      Like

      • I meant that you personally have the choice to have a religion or not. I agree that many people do not have the choice. They are born into a family of heavily religious people and since they don’t see the other side, it’s kind of like that religion is their only choice. I didn’t mean to disagree with you, I’m just saying that religion is faith based, not logical or factual.

        I agree with everything you said. It is hard for religion to be a choice. I’m lucky that my parents were not heavily religious, so I had the choice to choose.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Maritza – I have asked a christianist friend of mine about this — because he claims he has the “truth,” and he speaks of it using that term — the truth. He has specifically said to me that since he has THE truth, that means that all other religions can’t be the truth, because the truth is singular. I’m sure you’ve heard all this before, but I was kind of surprised with his rigidity on the matter. My folks are Catholics and they’re willing to give people wiggle room that, for instance, their truth might not be the same truth as someone else’s.

      So I asked my friend, “how do you know it’s the truth?” It wasn’t a simple matter of citing the KJV, it was that he “had proven it to [myself].” We had a conversation about this, and the only way I would find that this was the truth would be to take the road he took, and do “research” and read the KJV and I would eventually be able to prove it to myself as well.

      Why does the truth need to be proven in that way? I just didn’t get it.

      As for the post itself – this is so powerful, and I never really thought of it this way, so thank you for this – “It took me a long time to realize this, but the only source I have to go on for what is or isn’t the word of God is the word of humans.”

      So simple, so obvious, but I missed it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Simple, maybe. Obvious, no. Or, well, it seems like it ought to be obvious after you see it, but before, when you’ve spent your entire life being told what God said, with powerful social pressure not to question it? Not so obvious, then. I didn’t even start reading stuff about other religions until I’d become an atheist, and it took me facing a pretty heavy challenge from someone from a religion I wasn’t raised with to even begin to see it.

        I’m glad you found the post powerful. It was certainly a powerful revelation for me at the time. Still is, really. Gives me a good way to stand up to people telling me I should do this or that because God said so, or because I’ll be tortured forever if I don’t.

        Like

    • Maritza, in your comment you’re misusing “faith” as it relates to religious belief, furthermore, by your message reading “It’s based on faith”, due to which you immediately conclude: “so it’s funny how some religious people try to establish their religion as “logical and factual” when it really isn’t.” it’s shown you imagine faith as the opposite of (or being at odds with) reason and evidence. Yet, you do know what the actual opposite of reason is, right? It’s irrationality. In addition, the opposite of faith would be distrust (not logic or reason). So, your above message is factually in error (and plainly misleading). Of course people continue to use the very same definition of faith to mean trust today, for example, you have faith a meal served to you by family, friends or acquaintances hasn’t been tainted through rat poison, now, you have no mathematical proof the food isn’t poisoned, you have rationally grounded faith it’s not. Faith isn’t blind as you appear to think, rather faith to mean trust properly grounded in what you have seen, heard and generally experienced can and often is both factual and rational! Wouldn’t you agree? Faith isn’t an irrational blind belief (that’s a crude invented caricature), it’s trust properly formed by way of experience. I hope this message finds you well.

      Like

      • Firstly, Old School Contemporary, I hope you know that I am not coming from a place of malice. I am simply stating what I have observed from personal experience, and yes, I am biased, but so are you, and so is Midori Skies, and so is everybody who lives on this planet. However, there is a difference between being biased and stating something that has a logical reason behind it. Many people, including religious people, at least agree with me that religion does not have any facts. Also, there are multiple definitions of faith. I’d just like to point that out. There is a difference between having faith in your best friend and having faith in a mystical unicorn. I said this, and I will say it again. Religion is not based on facts. Religion came from philosophy. Religion was created in an attempt to explain the unexplained, hence no facts. I appreciate your comment, but I stand by what I said. I didn’t mean to start a whole debate, so don’t get hurt if I don’t respond again. I wish you the best.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “I am simply stating what I have observed from personal experience, and yes, I am biased, but so are you, and so is Midori Skies, and so is everybody who lives on this planet.”

          A teacher writing to me out of the United Kingdom recently misused “bias”, as I believe you too have, since you’re not writing to say Alex, yourself or I are universally biased, rather you’re meaning to say we’re biased on the subject of interpreting faith. But to write the above means you’ve only disqualified your own opinion! Neither me nor Alex need say we’re compromised by bias on the subject of how to interpret faith as it relates to certain religions (nor could you accuse either me or they of bias without first knowing our background knowledge). So for you to write the above means you’ve only thrown doubt upon yourself. Neither me nor Alex need say we’re compromised by bias on the subject of how to interpret faith as it relates to certain religions (they might). Rather, to pinpoint bias means merely to search the thing out as an inclination in somebody else. It’s behavior, and due to being behavior whether or not an actual term or viewpoint is being compromised by bias would rest entirely upon an individual subject’s background knowledge. Possessing sufficient background knowledge and insisting upon a course of action contrary to said background knowledge would then mean they’re being compromised by something other than the relevant knowledge. Meaning to accuse people of bias would only be appropriate given their warrant (or the lack thereof) to believe as they do. Rational warrant would be the deciding factor. Take for example an ancient thinker who by observing the apparent motion of the sun and planets comes to the conclusion that the planet upon which they reside is stationary. They’re mistaken, though nobody would say they’d had an unjustified bias in favor of concluding how they had.

          When you flippantly accuse others (the entire world even) of being biased you’re saying they have made their choice without taking into account the available body of relevant facts, moreover you’re saying in substitute of the relevant facts available the accused has substituted something irrelevant from which they’ve drawn their opinion (how could you know that?).

          “There is a difference between having faith in your best friend and having faith in a mystical unicorn.”

          Now, your category error shouldn’t be made into a believer’s problem, right? Just because in your mind you have classed God (so it would appear) as a “mystical unicorn”, or mistakenly believe they are somehow analogous, that’s your mistake (not their problem). The inference from apparent lack of evidence for God to atheism is fallacious. “I see none” therefore “there is none” is clearly faulty. Alex does this too with the Bertrand Russell teapot example, about which I’m going to explain. Faith, bias and now unicorns, you’re aware of the properties which go to make up “a unicorn”, right? Unicorns as Rich Deem writes would reflect electromagnetic radiation (i.e., light). Therefore had someone said to me “I have faith in unicorns”, my reply could only be “Faith grounded in?” Because they have nothing to build their faith upon and plenty of evidence against. Perhaps to save your criticism critics of belief in God could claim the unicorn is invisible: “Is it possible to determine whether or not invisible unicorns exist somewhere in the universe? Technically, it would be very unlikely that any organism would be invisible. The only reasonable chemical basis for living organisms in this universe is carbon-based life. This would ensure that unicorns would “always” be visible.”

          You rightly expect to find an elephant in your room when someone says they’re in there, you don’t however expect instant confirmation if the same person says there’s a flea or fly in the room. So to say “I can’t see the elephant, thus neither the elephant nor the fly is here!” isn’t in any way accurate.

          “I said this, and I will say it again. Religion is not based on facts. Religion came from philosophy.”

          The late Christopher Hitchens wrote otherwise, saying instead religion pre-dated philosophy: “Religion is part of human make-up. It’s also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at healthcare, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy.” Religion even began before agriculture based upon our most recent findings. So, you can write of philosophy being originally drawn from religion, but not religion from from philosophy. Also, as for you writing “I have said this” (you have), and “I will say it again” (you probably shall), that simply means for however many times you have written it you will be mistaken that many times. Writing an error one time or one million times wouldn’t make the error more or less wrong.

          “Religion was created in an attempt to explain the unexplained, hence no facts.”

          You’re mistaken (or at least making faulty assumptions) in two ways. Firstly, you’re assuming religion in its entirety or inception is an invention of humanity, you have offered nothing to show this claim isn’t yet another product of your rampant bias. 😛 Secondly, to assume Religion with a capital R has to it some unified reason for being created is absurd, rather religion would have as many reasons for being either revealed or created as the God or human inventor had desire/creativity.

          In concluding: Honestly I’ve little doubt you’re generally a kindly and caring person, meaning when you write you’re not malicious I totally agree, you’re just ignorant. You want to write about how religious people are irrational and behave in “funny” ways, yet to my criticism you reply by misunderstanding basic logic, pop history and the idea that you’ll take your ball and go home because someone has pointed out you’re wrong. At least for most modern ignorants (i.e. racists) they plainly say to a minority of people they hate the black/Hispanic or Irishmen on account of their perceived superiority, you however hide your feelings of superiority behind pop history, pseudoscience, psychobabble and whatever other sturdy structure of rhetoric can hold the weight of your own hubris.

          You’re not loving when you caricature, mischaracterize and belittle the beliefs of others. You have done all three. I look forward to your reply. 🙂

          Like

        • Hello again OSC.

          Maritza has it right. Everyone has bias. It’s part of being human. Having bias doesn’t automatically make a person wrong, though.

          Also, I find your argument disingenuous in the way you switch back and forth between one meaning of a word and another. Faith can mean trust, or it can mean belief without conclusive evidence. So no, you can’t just assign one word as the opposite of faith, because it has more than one meaning!

          You misunderstood Maritza’s point if you think she was calling your god a unicorn. She clearly stated that she was trying to illustrate different meanings of the word “faith”. When a person has faith in a friend, then faith is being used to denote trust. When a person has faith in unicorns, then faith is being used to denote belief.

          In any case, I have had more than one Christian tell me straight out that they have no proof of their god’s existence. It then follows that their faith in their god is of the “belief without proof” type, though they might also have faith in the sense of trust. If your faith is not of the “belief without proof” sort, then please, show me the conclusive evidence you have for your god, that I might learn and have the option of dedicating myself to your god.

          Liked by 1 person

        • ‘Maritza has it right. Everyone has bias. It’s part of being human. Having bias doesn’t automatically make a person wrong, though.’

          Would you mind interacting with anything (anything at all) I actually wrote on the subject of bias as an inclination with regards to a particular subject? Because the question is whether or not a person is biased (i.e not taking into account relevant data and deciding based upon irrelevant data) with regards to a certain subject, not some sort of blanket claim to everyone experiencing a bias.

          ‘Also, I find your argument disingenuous in the way you switch back and forth between one meaning of a word and another. Faith can mean trust, or it can mean belief without conclusive evidence. . . .So no, you can’t just assign one word as the opposite of faith, because it has more than one meaning!’

          Whose meaning would be the pertinent question, Alex. Maritza wrote: ‘Religion isn’t always about facts. It’s based on faith, so it’s funny how some religious people try to establish their religion as “logical and factual” when it really isn’t.’ So, Maritza is choosing to belittle a specially selected group of believers who do write faith to mean trust! Writing “logical and factual” means of course that that particular section of the believing population claim to trust based upon reasonable pre-conditions and evidences, hence their faith in God (oops capital letter 😛 ) is indeed a trust based belief. Maritza first applies her use of faith (blind belief), then continued to belittle a believing group who aren’t using her definition. Imagine a reply of mine that read like so: “Asexuality means being sexually attracted to toddlers, so it’s really funny when Alex Black says they aren’t into little kids.” You’d first reply “That’s not how I use the word asexuality! Why are you bashing me with a definition I don’t even use?” To which I (AKA Maritza) replies: “Well, I know some people who do use the word that way.” It’s irrelevant if others use the word in that sense because I’m using the slur to undermine you (who clearly doesn’t use it that way).

          ‘You misunderstood Maritza’s point if you think she was calling your god a unicorn. . . She clearly stated that she was trying to illustrate different meanings of the word “faith”.’

          To illustrate a difference in meaning would mean isolating said difference. So, let’s do that. According to Maritza (and very probably yourself) Religion is based upon their definition of faith (belief without proof/evidence), that’s claim one, having faith in a friend is unlike the faith one has in their religion/God (claim two), but why is one sort of belief justified and the other not, because supposedly the unjustified faith is akin to believing in something absurd or clearly untrue (i.e. unicorns!) So, is the claim “belief in religion is akin to belief in unicorns” being made, or perhaps it’s that they’re saying “belief in God is not unlike believing in unicorns”. Well, clearly since your original post is in relation to Christianity, Judaism and even Islam the challenge is “To believe in God is akin to belief in unicorns”, because each of these belief systems largely consider their religion a set of facts and duties as dedicated to humanity by God wherein They reveal various truths about who They are. Rather than having faith in the religion the sorts of believers which are fair game for attack have faith in the God (i.e the source their religion) who is revealed by way of Their revelation to humankind. So, an earlier poster most certainly went so far as to compare God to a unicorn, not to say they were one (a consequence being belief in God is painted to be as credible as belief in unicorns). Hence my need to correct their clear error. Therefore when the poster wrote: “There is a difference between having faith in your best friend and having faith in a mystical unicorn.” They were again insulting the beliefs (even the intelligence) of billions upon billions of people.

          ‘In any case, I have had more than one Christian tell me straight out that they have no proof of their god’s existence. It then follows that their faith in their god is of the “belief without proof” type, though they might also have faith in the sense of trust.’

          The above would be mathematical proof, Alex. There are an array of things you’re reasonable to believe without having “proof” as so defined in the mathematical sense of the word. You “know” or are reasonable to conclude Maritza is a real person when they could be a bot, you’re reasonable to conclude the existence of other minds besides your own, the reality of the external world and a dynamic concept of how time operates. All of these are beliefs without proof, they’re both beliefs without “proof” and justified beliefs backed by rational warrant. In fact, even belief (trust) in logic, the applicability of maths and science are predicated on a wealth of unprovable assumptions, assumptions we are incapable of proving without reasoning in a circle (which is again no proof).

          As for your very pointed challenge to produce some proof or evidence for the things in which I believe I could point you to your own copy of Frank Turek’s I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist, since if I remember right you did explain you’d been given a copy (correct?) Of course to explain to you myself these various arguments would only be helpful if you really wanted and were open to hearing and having your mind changed on the subject. You wanted a change in your life before, right, a transition, and if somebody offered you said transition without you first desiring the thing you’d find the offer rather unattractive. Wouldn’t you agree? If you would like to worship my God (as if to joke and write they were mine, rather than we His) would mean to allow Them into your life. It’s about volition. By even agreeing to explain to you this or that God would mean I agree to you being a person with an intellectual issue with belief in God, that rather than simply an emotional one. So you can tell me yourself, if God as defined in the Judeo-Christian tradition was shown to you to be true on a level involving arguments and evidence, would you then put your trust into the mix and worship them, perhaps even change various behaviours of yours? Or would you throw yourself into an echo chamber of sorts, avoiding people who disagree and writing “gee whiz, great reply!” to people who backed up your own faulty assertions?

          Like

        • OSC, you keep claiming that we are being insulting to you, yet you are being more insulting than anyone else here! You are also making a great many unwarranted assumptions about our meanings and motivations.

          Do you suppose that I talk about your god using such phrases as “your god” to be deliberately insulting and disrespectful? Far from it! I use such phrases to indicate that I do not share in your beliefs and to highlight the importance of being clear which god we are talking about. There is more than one god believed in by humans! Using the word ‘god’ as a name conveniently ignores this point.

          You assume that I am not open to having my mind changed, but it seems to me that you are the one refusing to change your mind. You will not even acknowledge the importance of differentiating between when we use the word ‘faith’ to mean ‘trust’, and when we use it to mean ‘belief without proof’, and you keep insisting that our examples used to show the difference are insulting! Has it not occurred to you that, in showing difference in meaning, one might use more extreme examples in order to avoid any ambiguity? Of course there is a difference between believing in a god or gods and believing in unicorns! The belief in one is normal (proof or not), while the belief in the other is so unusual as to be ridiculed.

          Frankly, I’m getting sick of the way you keep taking a word or statement or idea of mine, and taking it to a ridiculous extreme. When I say ‘proof’, I most certainly do not mean it in the mathematical sense! I mean it in the everyday sense of “I believe in gravity because I can clearly observe its effects” or “We think Mr. Green killed Mr. Body because traces of blood matching Mr. Green’s were found at the scene”. Neither of these things is proven beyond all doubt. For example, if Mr. Green were found to have a twin, that would throw doubt on the conclusion that he is the murderer. But (in the absence of a twin) it is proven to a reasonable standard of evidence. When I say I want evidence of God (oops accidentally capitalized that–oh wait, any word used in the manner of a name gets a capital), I mean I want reasonable evidence. I want something that shows that the existence of a deity is the most likely explanation for what we observe. If I come across as cynical when I ask for this, well, it’s because I am. When I ask people for this, they tend to do one of three things: tell me they have evidence but never show it to me, tell me straight out that they can’t prove their god’s existence and I just need to have faith, or offer me ‘proof’ on a level that would be vastly insufficient to convince them of something they don’t believe in (e.g. aliens, magic, Zeus). For example, they might tell me about a ‘miracle’ in which someone recovered to a greater extent than expected from an illness they were receiving good medical care for, or that someone they prayed for experienced spontaneous remission of a condition that is known to have rare spontaneous remissions. Someone spontaneously regrowing a limb during a faith healing, however, would be highly convincing, as long as there was sufficient evidence to rule out fraud (regardless of whether or not real miracles occur, people do try to fake miracles, for various reasons, which makes this caveat necessary).

          I don’t have a copy of Turek’s book, nor have I ever read it. It was suggested as part of a “you read this book, I’ll read a book of your choice” offer, but the other person didn’t follow through. I am open to making a similar deal with you. Suggest to me the one book that you think makes the best case against atheism and/or for Christianity, and I’ll read it (and blog about it), if you read a book of my choice.

          But honestly I’m starting to doubt your sincerity. Your comparison with asexuality is not only not valid (absolutely no one uses asexuality to mean that! whereas many people use faith the way we do), but is also incredibly insulting and offensive. Asexuals already have enough problems getting people to acknowledge our existence without being compared to pedophiles for absolutely no reason! Asexuality has nothing whatsoever in common in common with pedophilia, and this comparison is on an entirely different level than, for fucks sake, using a random thing that most people think isn’t real to illustrate that ‘faith’ can be used to mean ‘belief without proof’. I suppose you think you’re trying to make me feel the way you feel, but all you’re accomplishing is getting me to see you as close-minded and unwilling to consider others’ point of view.

          If you go for the book deal, I will go out and get the book and start reading it, just to show my sincerity. And if you likewise take steps to show your sincerity, then I will continue reading it. But if you don’t give me some indication real soon here that you are actually willing to consider my viewpoint, that you are willing to debate sincerely and fairly, then I’m done with this conversation. Said indication need not involve going for the book deal. Just do something other than twisting my words and insulting me and other commenters on my blog.

          Liked by 1 person

        • ‘Frankly, I’m getting sick of the way you keep taking a word or statement or idea of mine, and taking it to a ridiculous extreme. When I say ‘proof’, I most certainly do not mean it in the mathematical sense!’

          You really have to read the reply carefully Alex, honestly to write about clarifying ambiguity only to so badly misunderstand a point isn’t the best way by which to spring clean your assumptions. Let’s walk through the above step by step:

          (1) You wrote: ‘In any case, I have had more than one Christian tell me straight out that they have no proof of their god’s existence. It then follows that their faith in their god is of the “belief without proof” type, though they might also have faith in the sense of trust.’ (OSC: So, certain believers you have come into contact with use “proof” in the above fashion).

          (2) Due to which I replied: ‘The above would be mathematical proof, Alex. There are an array of things you’re reasonable to believe without having “proof” as so defined in the mathematical sense of the word.’ (OSC: My reply, defining furthermore how believing people would use the word “proof” given the context).

          You’re surely aware by now my explanation with regards to how “proof” was being used didn’t have anything to do with how you defined proof (you’re irrelevant insofar as the above point is concerned), therefore when your wrote “When I say ‘proof’, I most certainly do not mean it in the mathematical sense!” you were just flailing in the dark, attacking an accusation nobody actually made against you. Puts your many accusations in perspective wouldn’t you agree? For when you write things like: ‘OSC, you keep claiming that we are being insulting to you, yet you are being more insulting than anyone else here!’ yet also are inclined to read a technical argument as an attack against you, your reaction only goes to show you’re not capable of judging when someone is actually attacking you in print (since when nobody is attacking you you have delusions they are).

          ‘You will not even acknowledge the importance of differentiating between when we use the word ‘faith’ to mean ‘trust’, and when we use it to mean ‘belief without proof’, and you keep insisting that our examples used to show the difference are insulting!’

          Again you have to read the replies, Alex:

          (1) Maritza began by writing: ‘Religion isn’t always about facts. It’s based on faith, so it’s funny how some religious people try to establish their religion as “logical and factual” when it really isn’t. Religion can never be proven, so the choice is yours to follow it or not.’ (OSC Undermining the views of “logical and factual” believers after having used her own definition of faith in place of their definition).

          (2) Due to which my reply read: ‘So, Maritza is choosing to belittle a specially selected group of believers who do write faith to mean trust! Writing “logical and factual” means of course that that particular section of the believing population claim to trust based upon reasonable pre-conditions and evidences, hence their faith in God (oops capital letter 😛 ) is indeed a trust based belief. Maritza first applies her use of faith (blind belief), then continued to belittle a believing group who aren’t using her definition. Imagine a reply of mine that read like so: “Asexuality means being sexually attracted to toddlers, so it’s really funny when Alex Black says they aren’t into little kids.” You’d first reply “That’s not how I use the word asexuality! Why are you bashing me with a definition I don’t even use?” To which I (AKA Maritza) replies: “Well, I know some people who do use the word that way.” It’s irrelevant if others use the word in that sense because I’m using the slur to undermine you (who clearly doesn’t use it that way).’

          (3) With which my reply clarified their use of the word even further: ‘To illustrate a difference in meaning would mean isolating said difference. So, let’s do that. According to Maritza (and very probably yourself) Religion is based upon their definition of faith (belief without proof/evidence), that’s claim one, having faith in a friend is unlike the faith one has in their religion/God (claim two), but why is one sort of belief justified and the other not, because supposedly the unjustified faith is akin to believing in something absurd or clearly untrue (i.e. unicorns!) So, is the claim “belief in religion is akin to belief in unicorns” being made, or perhaps it’s that they’re saying “belief in God is not unlike believing in unicorns”. Well, clearly since your original post is in relation to Christianity, Judaism and even Islam the challenge is “To believe in God is akin to belief in unicorns”, because each of these belief systems largely consider their religion a set of facts and duties as dedicated to humanity by God wherein They reveal various truths about who They are. Rather than having faith in the religion the sorts of believers which are fair game for attack have faith in the God (i.e the source of their religion) who is revealed by way of Their revelation to humankind. So, an earlier poster most certainly went so far as to compare God to a unicorn, not to say they were one (a consequence being belief in God is painted to be as credible as belief in unicorns).’

          Now, to “acknowledge the importance of differentiating” is simply what the above has done (and does thoroughly so). After having read the above you replied: ‘Of course there is a difference between believing in a god or gods and believing in unicorns! The belief in one is normal (proof or not), while the belief in the other is so unusual as to be ridiculed.’ I’ve actually shown you in what way belief in the two differs, you didn’t interact with the material however.

          (1) ‘You rightly expect to find an elephant in your room when someone says they’re in there, you don’t however expect instant confirmation if the same person says there’s a flea or fly in the room. So to say “I can’t see the elephant, thus neither the elephant nor the fly is here!” isn’t in any way accurate.’

          (2) ‘Now, your category error shouldn’t be made into a believer’s problem, right? Just because in your mind you have classed God (so it would appear) as a “mystical unicorn”, or mistakenly believe they are somehow analogous, that’s your mistake (not their problem). The inference from apparent lack of evidence for God to atheism is fallacious. “I see none” therefore “there is none” is clearly faulty.’

          Much like your use of the No True fallacy (which is universally recognized as a fallacy) you also don’t realize an inference from apparent lack of evidence for God to atheism is also fallacious (hence a difference that need be addressed). It’s fair to say you don’t understand simply due to the fact you’re continuing to refuse to interact with the material one way or another. Nevertheless, another reply of yours read: ‘If I come across as cynical when I ask for this, well, it’s because I am.’ You’re disagreeing (or avoiding) really uncontroversial points, even avoiding things you can get a handle upon (the arguments) in favour of things you’re clearly incapable of grasping (my character). In print it’s clearly hard to grapple with a person’s character, there’s a lack of tone, gestures and many good natured things which may make a reader more comfortable. You continued: ‘But honestly I’m starting to doubt your sincerity. Your comparison with asexuality is not only not valid (absolutely no one uses asexuality to mean that! whereas many people use faith the way we do),’

          A cynic doubts somebody’s sincerity?! Stop the presses. 😛 To be a cynic is not to be a sceptic, perhaps you knew that, perhaps you didn’t, because when you write: ‘I mean I want reasonable evidence. I want something that shows that the existence of a deity is the most likely explanation for what we observe. If I come across as cynical when I ask for this, well, it’s because I am.’ Now, wanting reasonable evidence is the mark of a sceptic, not a cynic, cynics are more like universal killjoys who believe everybody is a slave to self interest. So to say you doubt me is funnily enough an autobiographical statement about how easily you (a cynic) view people as being this, that or whatever.
          With regards to my comparison between how a person could use or misuse a word like asexuality hereafter: You believe a point of logic is invalid because nobody uses the word like that (AKA its not happening in the culture), you do understand logic doesn’t work that way, right? A person could give you a logically valid example without ever entering into what’s going on in the culture (it’s applicable regardless).

          In answer to your book challenge, you’ll perhaps be disappointed to read I’ve probably read more material on atheism than yourself (Dawkins, Hitchens and the majority of popular authors included). And considering much of their material is simply to restate David Hume or Russell or even internet blogs (in the case of Dawkins’ horrendous God Delusion) I’m imaging whatever material you added into the mix would be less than moving. Although I’d happily hear who you’d recommend, as they’re I’m sure someone I’d enjoy interacting with. The fact that writers for atheism appear to not make their case means either their readers are not receptive, or that they’re simply not making a compelling case. Similarly if a person you’re speaking with isn’t unconvincing. However, considering how you persist in avoiding conversations or threatening to remove yourself because you wrongly imagine you’re under attack, it appears to be the problem isn’t in the defender of the faith. In fact, to claim or try to attach yourself onto the blind belief definition of faith as the prime definition of faith (as Maritza did by applying it to “logical and factual” believers) is so dogmatic and obstinate as to be marvelled at.

          Once again, you may extract yourself from the conversation any time you wish, you’ve already done so in two conversations of ours earlier when you felt discomfort or accumulated too many fallacious ideas. When my replies actually interact with your ideas the entire thing collapses, that’s not to say it’s me doing anything, rather the ideas are just so plainly faulty that they’re already been in disrepair for hundreds of years. You refuse to define who is and isn’t Christian, wrongly define atheism and attach yourself to a non-Biblical, inaccurate definition of faith so that you and like minded posters can bash believers you dislike with a definition they don’t hold to! Just extraordinary. About feelings hereafter, your favorite topic, 😛 it’s not that any individual (least of all myself) is under attack, even in earlier messages the attack is against a certain type of believer in a very general way, not an attack on any one person, rather to insult a human face wouldn’t be done by either Maritza or yourself. Rather if I write anything about bashing or vilifying it’s due to how surprised I am that your small community, a community of gentle souls who are so easily offended, are so quick to write in a broad brush and offensive way! It’s something else to read you yourself write things like you’re part of an ignored or unfairly malign community only to then ignore and unfairly malign a community. But with regards to me no, no I’m not at all offended, just rub some dirt on it and it’ll be fine. 😛 Concerning God and reasons to believe in God, because you’ve written: “I mean I want reasonable evidence. I want something that shows that the existence of a deity is the most likely explanation for what we observe.” Considering your wording (wording I’m rather pleased with) I’m adding:

          “God is the best explanation why anything at all exists.
          God is the best explanation of the origin of the universe.
          God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world.
          God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.
          God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness.”

          A brief warning, using a “God of the gaps” criticism of the above isn’t viable.

          Like

        • Actually, I was going to suggest Hemant Mehta’s “I Sold My Soul on Ebay”. It’s basically an account of an atheist who was raised Jain going to various Christian churches. The “soul selling” is a humorous take on how he auctioned off the ability for someone to send him to a church of their choice.

          Like

  2. A good article, and a lot of truth. Some I don’t like to hear, but it is true. And as Maritza said, it is based on faith, not facts that can be proven. And so true on the choice topic, we are free to make our own choices yet as she said, some people grow up in families where they really aren’t given a choice. I choose to follow Christ, yet I know there is no way to prove what I believe. I also believe the bible was inspired by God, but not a perfect, infallible book. You can inspire me to write a book, but it will still be my take on things. Humans have had to much to do with the bible we know today for it to be infallible. My belief, as you already know, is the bible leads us to Christ and he is the infallible Word. Yet, that is my belief and there is no way to prove it. I’m a lot like you in the fact I would love for God to speak audibly and personally to me too. Even though he doesn’t, I still choose to believe and follow him, loving and accepting others as they are, being kind and respectful to everyone, looking past the labels we put on people and seeing human beings who want acceptance, love and happiness in life.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s