A Short Rant

People never seem to want to link me to the evidence for their god when I ask for it in blog comments. Politely. When the subject has already been brought up. I’ve never had anyone delete my request before, though.

Earlier, I was browsing through the atheism tag as I often do, and I found a Christian writing a post about atheists, again. I more or less liked the post, actually. So… I really was quite surprised with the reaction I got when I commented. At first I just posted a comment asking him to clarify what he’d said about everyone having faith in something. It had sounded a bit like that thing that some Christians say, when they insist that everyone worships something. Turns out, that is what he meant. So I responded that I disagree and that I don’t really understand why people even insist upon making that particular claim, at which point he doubled down and smugly called it a fact. And I said that calling it a fact doesn’t make it so, at which point he said we were at a stand-off and told me a rather abrupt “Goodbye”. I responded by saying that disagreeing with someone does not have to end a conversation and suggested that we could discuss our reasons for disagreeing, or he could explain to me why this particular claim is important. He responded by deleting my comment.

Someone else’s conversation with him in the comments went more in the direction of evidence. They asked him to show them the evidence, and he gave some vague references, like Lee Strobel, and the other guy said that claims of evidence aren’t evidence, and after a bit more back and forth, he shut that conversation down with another “Goodbye”. I was curious about this evidence, though, so I posted asking if he could link me to the evidence because I would like to see it. But nope. Instead of a link, I got a deleted comment.

It’s really frustrating trying to start a dialogue with someone, only to get it completely shut down. Even if it is about disagreeing with their blanket statement that does not apply to you. And if even if their shutting down the conversation in the face of dissent strongly implies that they are full of shit.

This claim that everyone worships something also particularly irks me. When you counter it by saying you don’t worship anything, they just claim that you are totally worshipping something, you just don’t realize it. Which is nothing but an excuse to ignore contrary evidence. And it twists the meaning of the word ‘worship’. What annoys me the most, however, is how condescending the claim is, to say that you know more about a person’s experiences that they do, even though you’ve never met them. I still don’t even understand why people think this claim is so important, to defend it with such fervor and silencing tactics. If anyone could explain that to me, I’d be grateful.

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29 thoughts on “A Short Rant

  1. The existence of God has been proven by modern science, by the standards of modern science.

    I have presented the proofs to many atheists who then proceed to simply deny the proofs.

    The conclusion is that atheism is really a denial of modern science.

    If you wish, I will present two scientific proofs of the existence of God.

    I stopped presenting more to the atheist because it was simply a waste of time since the atheist response to science is the same has his response to God:

    Denial.

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      • Alex,

        The proofs of God’s existence are in every university-level textbook.

        It is not the job of researchers, professors or textbooks to make the connections for you.

        Such a thing is indoctrination, not learning.

        You sound as if you want to be indoctrinated.

        Sorry, I don’t do that.

        If you wish for me to cite two scientific discoveries that prove the existence God, all you have to do is say so.

        Then go out see for yourself by learning some science.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Of course I don’t want to be indoctrinated. I want to see the evidence for myself, so I can draw conclusions myself.

          I do wish for you to cite two scientific discoveries that prove the existence of God. Preferably with links to reliable sources backing up your assertions.

          “The proofs of God’s existence are in every university-level textbook.”

          I haven’t seen a proof of God’s existence in a university-level textbook. Can you point me to one specific example?

          Liked by 1 person

      • Alex,

        Both astronomers and molecular biologists must use the thinking method called inference in order to prove their discoveries.

        This is because at the scales of super large and super small there is no way to directly see, hear, feel, or taste the structures that exist on those scales.

        In fact, nearly all modern scientific knowledge is based on inference.

        For example, how do we know that galaxies exist outside our own?

        How do we know that planets orbit other stars?

        How do we even know that stars are like our own sun?

        All of this knowledge was gained through inference.

        Since God cannot be seen, heard, felt or tasted, his existence is also understood through inference.

        In my next comment I will define what God means.

        Then I will show that modern scientific discoveries infer the existence of God.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The fine tuning of the universe for life (AKA the argument from teleology), which is an argument based upon several lines of data each interpreted as evidence in favour of God, would be plain and abundantly available evidence. We may even begin to imagine the supposed “Higgs field” in the wealth of finely tuned constants and quantities. In addition, inference to the best explanation would serve as further an interpretation of the big bang cosmology data so to marshal evidence for an eternal God (hence evidence). To the above an unbeliever would ordinarily hope to formula some superior explanation of the data, though that would be totally missing the point that so long as the data can be interpreted into a coherent/viable theistic framework the believer indeed has evidence for God.

        Similarly historical data with regards to the life of Jesus as found in the New Testament (our best attested set of documents of ancient antiquity) would be rightly counted as evidence insofar that the interpretation of certain events (i.e The Resurrection/the empty tomb/prophecy of the destruction of the second Temple) and historically established facts, facts agreed upon by both believers and unbelievers alike, lend themselves towards theistic conclusions affirming God. The argument and as a consequence the resulting evidence would be markedly different from say the traditions of Islam, which developed hundreds of years after Muhammad’s poisoning and were condemned even by compilers like imam Bukhari who claimed that the narration material they received were something like 98% fabricated. Sadly even the materials the unreliable Islamic culture allowed (that 2%) had been fabricated and plagiarized (i.e making Muhammad copy the Lord’s prayer only slightly reworded, in addition to numerous plagiarism of the parables of Jesus). Intentional states of consciousness. Moral apprehension. Likewise the immediate experience of God would be evidence in favour of adopting a believing framework (although merely an internal evidence which would give the believers themselves rational warrant, not necessarily an evidence you would readily grasp).

        The best way by which to understand the above is through quantum physics, because there are several wholly viable interpretations of the data each leading to its own conclusion with regards to how the universe operates (11 I believe), some are deterministic, others aren’t, some are one way, t’other not. They can’t each be right, though they might altogether be wrong, they’re each however as the data stands viable. To write “Evidence!” as if to cry out for it is simply to say the person isn’t using the word evidence properly. The popular saying “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” comes to mind. Science (if that’s a person’s bag) doesn’t say anything, scientists do, from Newton (a believer) to Einstein (a believer in “Spinoza’s God”) to Hawking (an unbeliever). Similarly data doesn’t say anything, rather people say things with regards to the data, with which some side derives evidence. Consider the Psalmist, as they’d write God is clearly discerned by the things they have made (i.e everything), so even acts which are an example of man’s creativity are ultimately a consequence of God’s handiwork. So, and this is simply an unavoidable outcome if indeed God as so described by the Bible is actual, everything, literally everything is evidence for God. So chief running water, the native American who never before heard the name of Jesus, is yet either saved or damned based upon “General Revelation”, as opposed to their denial or affirmation of Christ. Therefore you and I can conclude men (and of course women) are “without excuse” when they reject God for what mistakenly is in their sin addled mind lack of evidence, just as the Psalmist believed.

        With regards to your treatment at the hands (or rather the click of) various people, conflict is discomforting, for which it’s only natural when people encounter you or I or anybody else who doesn’t necessarily agree with their stance on an issue they’d sooner eject themselves from the conversation than continue. Not everyone who finds the Christian evidences so compelling as I sit here thumbing through their freshly delivered copy of Hemant Mehta’s I sold my soul on ebay, rather they’d sooner read or listen to someone or something which didn’t strike as so hostile (whether or not there’s hostility isn’t so important as the person imagining hostility). Most people regardless of their Christianity, Islamism, atheism or anything else simply aren’t confident enough in their views to read from the other side, add to the above modern hysteria which rebrands simple inquiry or to challenge an idea as an all out attack against the fragile person and people have themselves a recipe for our pluralistic culture (i.e a salad bar where every view is equally “valued” by which every view is made valueless). Of course what people misunderstand is that relativism isn’t the foundation of tolerance, love is. Perhaps you could link to the discussion regardless of whether or not your comment remains so that posters may make up their own minds on the situation. Having no idea who is the accused or even how they interact with others makes your issues altogether hazy, as if to say everybody should read the purported O. J Simpson book that never was “If I’d done it”, and then decide upon who was in the wrong without bothering to interview t’other side. 😛

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        • Hello again, OSC.

          I’m delighted you’re taking me up on my book offer. Which book am I reading?

          Since you asked for a link to the original post, here it is: https://frankscottage.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/blind-faith-fairy-tales/ I understand and agree with your points that you can’t really get a good idea of an incident when you only see one side. I considered including the link in my original post, but decided not to since the purpose of my post was to express my annoyance with certain actions, rather than to say that some particular person is awful. In retrospect, taking screenshots and posting them with names obscured would probably have worked well for that.

          The teleological argument is a philosophical argument which uses scientific evidence of complexity in nature as its basis, but it’s not itself scientific evidence. It’s a philosophical argument. Which is not to say that philosophical arguments aren’t important or useful (they are), just that they’re not the same as evidence. So, it feels like false advertising when someone says they have evidence and then gives me a philosophical argument. Also, supposing I grant the teleological argument, how do you get from “some sort of philosophical creator deity exists” to “this specific god exists”? I have never seen a good explanation for this.

          I have actually had a lot better luck with people in face to face conversations, as far as them actually producing something when I ask them about the evidence they claim to have. Whether or not I find the evidence convincing is another issue. On the internet, though, I haven’t generally had such luck. I’ve had experiences like a guy deleting my comment asking for evidence, or SOM showing up and saying they have evidence and then refusing to show it to me because they say I won’t consider it properly, or something (link: https://midoriskies.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/gotcha-questions-and-evidence-for-god/#comment-418). I would be quite happy if this trend did not continue.

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        • ‘Also, supposing I grant the teleological argument, how do you get from “some sort of philosophical creator deity exists” to “this specific god exists”? I have never seen a good explanation for this.’

          Let’s suppose so, supposing you granted the argument (indeed even the evidence upon which the argument is founded), yet bemoaned believing people hadn’t yet spirited you away to their particular God, that would be by far and away the most absurdly silly form of atheism in the history of humankind. Even deism masquerading as atheism so to avoid the unnamed God. The argument and evidence upon which the premises to the argument are properly formed never supposed to bring an unbeliever to some extremely specific depiction of God. So to complain an argument which doesn’t in any way attempt to convince the reader of some specific God hasn’t convinced you of some specific God only means the argument has not done something it wasn’t made to do. The argument means to affirm a very broad concept of divine design, not an answer to the existence of the Christian God (or any specific god concept).

          Richard Dawkins, once the darling of Western atheists everywhere, made a similar error with regards their criticism of big bang cosmology evidence which continues to furnish an argument concluding in God existing:

          ‘Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts.’

          Now, Dawkins in the above was being surprisingly ignorant of just what the argument from cosmology supposed to do. As a consequence they make believe that the argument has achieved absolutely everything it’s proponent desired to achieve (an infinite regress compelled them to do so), with which their material switches gears, since their writing has conceded to the argument (and evidence upon which it’s based) demonstrating the existence of an immaterial, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, spaceless, timeless, powerful (and even personal) Creator God of the universe. The material switches gears in that Dawkins abandons attempting to overturn the argument and proceeds to complain the data as found in cosmology doesn’t point towards an all-loving, creative, omnipotent, omniscient God who also listens to prayers and forgives sinful behaviours. Yourself and Dawkins aren’t going to go beyond “some sort of philosophical creator deity” by way of the universe’s teleology and cosmology because neither one has tried providing anything further. Imagine myself writing triumphantly “Why is Rambo first blood such an awful romance movie, none have been able to provide an answer.” Neither the movie nor supports of the movie could answer my confusing challenge because the challenge itself is so incoherent as to attack an issue nobody raised! Similarly for you to wave away or dismiss the extraordinary evidence for finely tuned constants and quantities in the universe due to the same evidence not also describing God in specifics wouldn’t be valid. So to demand God in their specifics would mean interacting with certain evidences you didn’t interact with before (i.e The historic case for Christ). Although, that being said, an individual could by both the evidence from the beginning of the universe and finely tuned constants have an explanation as to why they reject several brands of pantheism or the Hindu faith (even Buddhism), in addition to every religious worldview which supposed a divine or eternal universe. So, already people have a very certain sort of God.

          ‘The teleological argument is a philosophical argument which uses scientific evidence of complexity in nature as its basis, but it’s not itself scientific evidence. It’s a philosophical argument.’

          Rather it’s the premises of the argument which are coherently, viably and even compellingly grounded in the scientific discoveries and sense data. It’s not either employing evidence or argument, it’s not either or, it’s both and. The argument advances or retreats based upon the reliability of the evidence upon which it’s asserted. To dismiss the argument as not containing evidence is simply to refuse to interact with the premises.

          [1] Finely tuned constants and quantities in the universe.

          [2] Modern big bang cosmology.

          [3] Intentional states of consciousness.

          [4] The moral experience.

          [5] The religio-historical context to the life and ministry of Jesus.

          [6] The immediate experience of God.

          The evidence, of which I’ve only marshalled part (while hopefully leaving a little something for silenceofmind to contribute) isn’t anything other than clear. Valid criticism however isn’t clear to find. The fact that many atheists who read the above feel an uncontrollable compulsion to argue (and fail) against every point in an attempt to banish any scrap of evidence for God shows the community has some serious problems. It’s uncontroversial to write there’s indeed evidence in favour of belief in God, yet modern atheists are (in some quarters) so fanatical and bigoted as to deny absolutely everything with regards to God!

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        • “The argument and evidence upon which the premises to the argument are properly formed never supposed to bring an unbeliever to some extremely specific depiction of God.”

          Ah. Okay.

          “Rather it’s the premises of the argument which are coherently, viably and even compellingly grounded in the scientific discoveries and sense data.”

          This is basically what I was trying to say. The premise is based on scientific evidence, and an argument is made from there.

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        • ‘This is basically what I was trying to say. The premise is based on scientific evidence, and an argument is made from there.’

          Yet if the premises are grounded by scientific data (to substitute the word evidence for the better placed “data”) whatever conclusion the argument came to would be rational, warranted and buttressed by quite possibly an array of evidence. Whether or not said findings stand the test of time of course isn’t guaranteed, similarly further discoveries such as our ever expanding universe could (and have) strengthened evidence in favour of God. “In the beginning” As Genesis says waited many thousands of years for telescopes and suppositions to unseat the idea that our universe was eternal going into the past, nevertheless, a failed theory the eternal universe has become (hence the revival of the Kalam cosmological argument).

          ‘Ah. Okay.’ (OSC: With regards to teleology affirming more general a concept of God).

          Considering the very same evidence convinced the great Antony Flew to abandon their atheism and adopt deism finely tuned constants aren’t easily ignored. Perhaps “The reasonableness of belief in God” should be how atheists approach the faithful, as opposed to faulty claims of “no evidence!” Even Russell when asked how they would justify their life of unbelief to God after having met Him replied “Not enough evidence!” (Which isn’t to say “no evidence at all!”).

          In an earlier dialogue between myself and another unbeliever, one who made the same accusation of no evidence, my argument was formulated like so: ‘There’s an interpretation of the scientific data, one of a great many interpretations, which could serve as a premise in an argument with a conclusion pointing towards a creator God.’ Or even to outline the form again:

          (1) Data doesn’t say anything without first being interpreted.

          (2) Reasonable (not insane), sincere (not deceptive), highly intelligent unbelievers are being convinced by a viable interpretation of the data that a creator God exists (thus marshalling evidence for God).

          (3) Therefore they’re by a viable interpretation of the data able to formula an argument with a conclusion leading towards affirming God.

          (4) Therefore there’s both evidence and argument for God (regardless of what a person chooses to see or not to see).

          Now, which of the above would you consider inaccurate and why? (if any at all). Because to say you are in total agreement with what appears a reasonable set of premises means evidence in favour of God does exist. Surely the gauntlet thrown down by yourself has been emphatically answered. So, the question would be something like “Which way does the evidence point?” My modest goal was to write an individual can reasonably believe the full spectrum of accumulated data points towards affirming theism, and isn’t the above modest indeed? Of course my position isn’t that theism is merely possible, rather that it is probable, even the best explanation of creation. Also, me not being brought up in a Christian household meant in my adulthood I had to (like many men) be convinced by good arguments and evidence so to believe in Christianity. Once again let’s revisit the arguments and premises which remain untouched:

          [1] Finely tuned constants and quantities in the universe:

          (A) The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

          (B) It is not due to physical necessity or chance.

          (C) Therefore, it is due to design.

          [2] Modern big bang cosmology/The argument from contingency (OSC: Originally supposed by Leibniz, methinks).

          (A) Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause (OSC: i.e Everything that begins to exist has a cause).

          (B) The universe began to exist (OSC: Employing modern day scientific data).

          (C) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

          [3] Intentional states of consciousness.

          [4] The moral experience:

          (A) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

          (B) Objective moral values and duties do exist (OSC: Modern unbelievers largely deny premise two, leading to ridiculous behaviours like redefing the moral good in non-moral terms or saying the rape of little children isn’t necessarily wrong).

          (C) Therefore, God exists.

          [5] The religio-historical context to the life and ministry of Jesus.

          [6] The immediate experience of God.

          Again to assert Christianity specifically is so without evidence or rational, as is often claimed, an unbeliever would have to show each argument to not merely be wrong but unviable or incoherent, yet much of the above is logically airtight! Reread the material yourself and ask “How much do I really disagree with in the above?” Because my replies are in no way fridge material or bogged down by controversial premises. They’re firmly in the mainstream.

          With regards to your book challenge hereafter, I’ve toyed with the idea of recommending one of a few books or even none, however I finally settled upon it being better to recommend you something academic, modern and thorough, anything other than that would be me failing to fulfill King Messiah’s great commission. Or as it was explained in the martyrdom of Polycarp: ‘True love desires not only one’s own salvation, but the salvation of all our brothers.’ With which the choice of what to recommend isn’t yet decided in my mind (rare indecisiveness on my part!).

          Considering my reading of “I sold my soul on ebay”, my first reaction to the author is they’re A. With want to appear reasonable (rather than actually being reasonable), and B. Insincere or uncritical concerning their own intentions. There are few things more annoying than a person saying they have no motive or agenda or that they aren’t out to change your mind only to then enter into a speech specifically and carefully designed to change minds. Not possessing the crippling fear of being converted (conversion only means to change, and am I so wonderful as not to want change?) when people say they aren’t trying to change my mind while explicitly trying to change my mind I’m not sure as to whether or not the person speaking is an evil genius or an absolute dummy (to substitute a friendlier word). An example of Mehta’s hazy use of reason would be when they write things like: “At the age of five, I knew very little about religion or God. But I did know one thing: anyone who believed in a faith different from that of my family was wrong.” Upon which humanity is supposed to hold their breath at having heard the sheer intolerance of believing firmly in the things that you believe. To the above of course there is only one answer. An answer the author discovers by age fourteen (because being a teenager is of course where our best, most clear headed reasoning is done 😛 ), they’d decided because believing in any one religion wasn’t proper, even possibly dangerous, they decide to totally reject everything religious and become an atheist! And they honestly believe that’s the less abrasive of their options. Elsewhere on planet reality reasonable people realise believers can say secondary details with regards to much of their opposites beliefs are false, for example my reply to a Hindu who believes in an array of Gods would be to say that’s fantastic, however insofar as the data stands you appear to have more gods than is necessary or probable, however with regards to some greater reality or divine being existing there’s total agreement between the two! Even recently I recall a firm Hindu who often worked alongside me practically light up when I referred to being made in the image of God as “A spark of the divine”, that’s what faith does between reasonable people. If I believed as they do that humans were commonly reincarnated as cows my desire would be to avoid eating slaughtered cattle also (nobody wants to eat grandma), and they too would enjoy varying their diet had they believed the cow merely the cow.

          It’s to the above, our differing propositional knowledge, that thoroughly unreasonable people war and rape and persecute over, Hemant Mehta however “solves” so exciting a plurality of differences (differences reasonable people work out for time) by saying believers are altogether wrong! Wrong through to their core, never mind secondary details. A sugary approach no matter how sweet can’t make Mehta’s ideas palatable though, not to the studied. Although perhaps they’re building up to something more substantial, or are preparing to illuminate views which so far appear shallow. They’re to my worry going to write a sort of poor man’s version of the “one refutes all” argument, wherein they’ll write about how certain Baptist churches have people fainting in the throes of worship (always the same people in my experience), or that Methodists aren’t so staunch, or that speaking in tongues is weird (although they’ll surely choose more sensitive words). In the above they would of course avoid high quality scholarship with regards to The New Testament, which would include avoiding the life and message of Jesus (because that has so little to do with Christianity?), only perhaps opting for the most superficial imagining of a long haired nice guy who wanted little more than for everybody to play nice together. And never the reader mind those uncomfortable claims Jesus made about Himself, or His central message about the in breaking of God’s kingdom in His own person. Here’s hoping they’re able to throw up a few surprises in the meanwhile! My recommendation for yourself is incoming nevertheless. As is always the case I hope my message finds you well.

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        • “Perhaps ‘The reasonableness of belief in God’ should be how atheists approach the faithful, as opposed to faulty claims of ‘no evidence!’ Even Russell when asked how they would justify their life of unbelief to God after having met Him replied ‘Not enough evidence!’ (Which isn’t to say ‘no evidence at all!’).”

          It is not my position that no evidence for the existence of any gods exists. It is that I have not seen convincing evidence for the existence of any gods. I did write a non-exhaustive list of examples of the sort of evidence I would find convincing on this post: https://midoriskies.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/gotcha-questions-and-evidence-for-god/ Would you be willing to provide a similar list of what, if anything, would change your mind about the existence of God?

          To address your arguments:
          [1] & [2] are arguments for the existence of a philosophical creator god. As you have already stated that these arguments are not meant to be used to prove the existence of a specific god, I don’t entirely see how these arguments are particularly relevant?

          [4] “(A) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.”
          Well, yes, quite.
          “(B) Objective moral values and duties do exist (OSC: Modern unbelievers largely deny premise two, leading to ridiculous behaviours like redefing the moral good in non-moral terms or saying the rape of little children isn’t necessarily wrong).”
          That the non-existence of objective morals might imply unpleasant things does not mean that objective morals must therefore exist.

          “[5] The religio-historical context to the life and ministry of Jesus.”
          A contemporary non-Christian historical text would be useful. I am not aware of any that exist, although Josephus and Tacitus’ writings about a century later do seem confirm that Jesus existed and was crucified.

          “[6] The immediate experience of God.”
          If I had such experience, I might actually find that quite convincing.

          As for Mehta’s book, I certainly did not recommend it with the purpose of convincing you that God does not exist. My primary purpose in recommending the book is to provide a better understanding of atheists. The one other person I have recommended it to for this purpose found it quite useful. I appreciate your feedback, however, as I’m never quite sure how such books come across to theists.

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        • ‘As you have already stated that these arguments are not meant to be used to prove the existence of a specific god, I don’t entirely see how these arguments are particularly relevant?’ (OSC: With regards to finely tuned constants and contingency).

          You believe an argument founded upon reliable scientific data which leads towards affirming an uncaused, beginningless, spaceless, timeless, powerful and personal Creator God isn’t relevant because the very same evidence doesn’t in addition suppose specifics like their name being Jesus or their listening to prayer? Reread Dawkins’ criticism of the argument, as they concede rather remarkably to the evidence confirming a “terminator” which possessed numerous properties historically recognized as belonging to God, even going so far as to admit to the terminator being personal (So we’re not writing about an eternal fountain or waterfall, they’re a cause with the ability to choose). The evidence which proves beyond any reasonable doubt both a beginning to the universe (hence a beginner) and intelligently tuned conditions so to give rise to the same universe aren’t required to also affirm John 3:16 so to be relevant. The evidence itself brings you directly to believing in a supernatural designer (AKA God), therefore to claim coming to belief in God is irrelevant in an argument about coming to belief in God isn’t compelling. Once again, both finely tuned constants and contingency with regards to the universe are evidence for God.

          You continued nevertheless: ‘That the non-existence of objective morals might imply unpleasant things does not mean that objective morals must therefore exist.’ (OSC: With regards to moral experience). Let’s juxtapose the above alongside your comment concerning religious experience: ‘If I had such experience, I might actually find that quite convincing.’ Now, your experience of objective moral values and duties, you might be surprised to read, would be tantamount (or analogous) to the experience of God. When you write or even supposed something plain like “Martin Luther King was morally better than Chairman Mao.” You’re in reality postulating a third thing whereby they’re both being judged, neither are the standard itself, rather one (MLK) is being supposed to better conform to the third standard than the second man (Mao). To say an experience of God may be so powerful as to convince you should also entail an experience of objective moral values and duties also possessing that same persuasive value! Meaning you also have an internal evidence in favour of belief in God, perhaps the point doesn’t immediately convince you, yet begin by considering premise two. Would you say any argument could overturn the moral experience which urges a person to protect an infant and not torture them, or is anything more obvious to you personally as the wrongness of murdering a black man merely due to their skin being black? And how do you imagine a person or people who don’t experience any sort of moral inclination? Wouldn’t you rightly say an individual who snatches women in the night without regret was handicapped, certainly so. They’re akin to the colour blind or deaf in that they’re simply incapable or have dulled their moral intuition to the point of inactivity. So, let’s answer it straight, is the rape of a toddler by a sixty year old man objectively wrong, what say you? However to say yes would mean premise A in the three line premise to the argument would be accurate, therefore God exists! Another writer explained like so:

          Neither reason, nor love, nor even terror, seems to have worked to make us “good,” and worse than that, there is no reason why any thing should. Only if ethics were something unspeakable (OSC: i.e grounded in God’s nature) by us could law be unnatural, and therefore unchallengeable. As things stand now, everything is up for grabs. Nevertheless: Napalming babies is bad. Starving the poor is wicked. Buying and selling each other is depraved. . . .There is in the world such a thing as evil. [All together now:] Sez who? God help us.

          OSC: Arthur Allen Leff, writing probably before either you or I were born, used the school bully reply of “Says who?” Who says beating a man into a bloody pulp for desiring another male is immoral? Who says raping and torturing an infant for sexual gratification isn’t okay? Or adultery, murder, thievery, hatred and revenge, your Bible says these things are immoral? Well, you can’t force your religion down my throat! Likewise to say objective morality isn’t actual would mean love, charity, self-sacrifice and kindness aren’t really good. Are you ready to strip slavery of having a moral dimension? How about the murder of transgender people in the middle east by Muslims? The argument isn’t because seemingly immoral things result that objective morality must therefore be actual, rather it’s because the subject (i.e you) can confirm moral values and duties today which allows rational grounds to affirm the objectivity of morality.

          ‘A contemporary non-Christian historical text would be useful. I am not aware of any that exist, although Josephus and Tacitus’ writings about a century later do seem confirm that Jesus existed and was crucified.’

          Now, briefly outlining your own assumptions would read like so: A. Christian sources aren’t reliable (or less reliable than non-Christian sources). B. Contemporary material would be preferable to later material. C. Non-Christian sources confirmed Jesus to have existed and suffered crucifixion. Addressing the material in reverse let’s begin by tackling assumption C, which is not wholly inaccurate, although you’re handling an awfully slim amount of data compared to everything available. Scholarship with regards to the life of Jesus, both believing and unbelieving, have together come to an overwhelming consensus as to the minimal facts surrounding Jesus:

          1. Jesus died by crucifixion

          2. The disciples of Jesus were sincerely convinced that he rose from the dead and appeared to them

          3. Paul (aka Saul of Tarsus), who was a persecutor of the Christians, suddenly changed his beliefs towards Christianity

          4. James (brother of Jesus), who was a sceptic of the Christian faith, suddenly changed his beliefs towards Christianity

          5. The Tomb of Jesus was found empty three days after the crucifixion of Jesus

          Mick Licona and Gary Habermas are simply awesome in their use of the above. Now, my fancy isn’t to write what I believe, not without also explaining why I believe it, that’s where methodology enters into the discussion. Your methods, yours and those of your community, are bad, bad meaning inaccurate, biased and ignorant, they’re immature and undeserving of thinking people. So, why am I writing such things, aren’t I just being a meanie, no, no not really. To dismiss Christian writers merely because they are Christian (as you have tried) isn’t just uncritical, lazy and dishonest, it’s also accusatory and juvenile. Aristotle’s dictum plainly and accurately reads: “The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not assigned by the critic to himself.” You may want to dish out skepticism as you very well please, however high scholarship doesn’t do likewise. Moreover, to attempt to dismiss the primary sources with regards to Jesus’ life in favour of later secondary sources would be beyond reckless. Unbelievers have to learn how to employ the historic method with regards to every document, with which they’ll end up being brought to exactly the sources they’re so quick to dismiss. Below is how historians in part work their craft:

          (1) Historical congruence: S fits in with known historical facts concerning the context in which S is said to have occurred.

          (2) Independent, early attestation: S appears in multiple sources which are near to the time at which S is alleged to have occurred and which depend neither upon each other nor a common source.

          (3) Embarrassment: S is awkward or counter-productive for the persons who serve as the source of information for S.

          (4) Dissimilarity: S is unlike antecedent Jewish thought-forms and/or unlike subsequent Christian thought-forms.

          (5) Semitisms: traces in the narrative of Aramaic or Hebrew linguistic forms.

          (6) Coherence: S is consistent with already established facts about Jesus.

          OSC: H (Historical congruence), I/E (Independent and/or early attestation), E (Embarrassment), D (Dissimilarity) , S (Semitisms) and C (Coherence). The criteria of authenticity would be how people form an accurate opinion with regards to any figure in history past. Due to which you and I can dispense with tribal silliness like rejecting sources based upon the writer’s imagined bias. That’s just an atheist’s fantasy. So, by way of the above method how much can be known concerning Jesus Christ? And would the end result appear anything like the Jesus of Scripture? The results are impressive, because after having applied the criteria to multiple documents, both by believers and otherwise, we find:

          [1] That Jesus lived, and taught in Galilee

          [2] That Jesus’ brother James was martyred

          [3] That Jesus was baptized

          [4] That Jesus lead a ministry

          [5] That after his radical conversion, Paul died for the belief that Jesus had appeared to him

          [6] That Jesus faced intense rejection

          [7] That history testifies to Jesus being a miracle worker

          [8] That Jesus had a mother called Mary

          [9] That the disciples experienced the risen Jesus

          OSC: To clarify the above, when the scholarly consensus agrees upon points nine and ten the unbelieving scholars aren’t committing themselves to the miraculous or the resurrection event, rather they’re conceding to the earliest followers of Jesus having had these life changing experiences in which Jesus appeared as their Lord and God. Yet their explanations as to why or what the mechanism behind their experience was would radically differ to the answer other scholars supposed.

          [10] That Paul had a radical experience of Jesus

          [11] That the resurrection of Jesus was an early, not a later, belief

          OSC: New Testament scholar (and prominent atheist) Gerd Ludemann notes: “the elements in the tradition are to be dated to the first two years after the crucifixion of Jesus…not later than three years…the formation of the appearance traditions mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:3-8 falls into the time between 30 and 33 C.E.” That brings us directly to the crucifixion date, meaning upon that Easter Sunday, as opposed to much later, believers indeed proclaimed the resurrection of Christ. Funnily enough Hemant Mehta in their I sold my soul book references Ludemann as a sort of suppressed figure who Christians try to silence or bully into obscurity, luckily not so badly obscured that learned Christians can’t find their material! Comparing their research to your claim of “a century later” really gives proper perspective, you’re studying the evidence with an eye closed.

          [12] That Jesus thought he could forgive sins

          [13] That Jesus thought of himself more than human

          [14] That Jesus predicted his imminent death

          [15] That Jesus thought his death was important

          [16] That Jesus was crucified

          [17] That Jesus was buried in a tomb

          [18] That Jesus’ tomb was found to be empty

          OSC: The discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb would be rightly considered authentic in that women were the chief discoverers of the empty tomb, which considering the cultural context, a context in which women were considered wholly unreliable witnesses actually damaged the early credibility of the resurrection. So for what reason would believers in Jesus name women are the chief eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus, because that’s how the event actually happened.

          [19] Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus

          [20] The location of Jesus’ burial place was public knowledge

          [21] Jesus was crucified as KING OF THE JEWS

          The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T Wright also does excellent work on the above. Nonetheless, compare the above to your vanishingly meager contribution of “Jesus existed and was crucified”, there’s simply no comparison between the Jesus atheists are prepared to admit to and the actual Jesus as found by the historic method. The historic evidence speaks of Jesus being a man who performed wonder workings (Matthew 15:29-39, Mark 8:1-10), who being baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17) proclaimed Himself the Son of God (Matthew 20:1-16), in addition to being later despised and rejected by their contemporaries (Matthew 26:67). They were then buried in a rich man’s tomb (Matthew 27:57-61), having been crucified as king of the Jews (John 19:19). However, their tomb was later discovered empty by a group of their women followers (John 20), upon which they began to appear to lone individuals, groups, unbelievers and even enemies! (Act 9). There you have the historic portrait of Jesus as believed by studied experts, experts who having studied the evidence in its totality have concluded Jesus, even Jesus as found in the hated Christian sources, is an accurate portrait. To the above array of historical evidence unbelievers can merely throw themselves again upon Hume. “Miracles are impossible!” They say, with which their real objection comes to light, simply an a priory rejection of anything which goes against their naturalism. The data in cosmology, finely tuned constants, moral experience and even historic data are each pointing toward a single answer, yet unbelievers (some unbelievers) are resisting with everything they have. Again remember our exchange with regards to data being interpreted so to marshal evidence one way or another, because it’s in interpreting the best explanation of the above historic data which shall for time yield an explanation featuring the best explanatory power, scope, in addition to being less ad hoc etc etc. It’s the Christian answer which says “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the very best explanation whereby to explain the entirety of the historical source material. Now, considering the already established evidence, whether or not Jesus rose again from the grave has profound importance in the life of everybody. Imagine yourself if say…Carl Sagan returned one day, would that mean absolutely anything with regards to life? Yes, we’d have another season of their Cosmos show. 😛 But besides the obvious shock and initial interest nothing save speculation would result. Carl Sagan would continue being Carl Sagan, an individual who made no radical claims, nor grand proclamations, they’d simply live how that everybody else lives. The same can’t be said about Jesus however, who having predicted their murder, resurrection and made claim to being uniquely God’s Son would cause an untold controversy! If God has raised this Jesus from the dead they have overturned the verdict of Rome and the religious leaders of the Sanhedrin, thus vindicating Jesus’ claims to forgive sin, perfect humanity and rescue you and everybody you love from the jaws of death. Or to write it plain, Jesus loves you.

          [1] Finely tuned constants and quantities in the universe: By way of [1] you’re provided with an intelligent philosophical concept of God who has designed the universe in such a way as to give rise to life.

          [2] Modern big bang cosmology: By way of [2] you’re provided with an uncaused, beginningless, timeless, spaceless, immaterial and personal creator God.

          [3] Intentional states of consciousness: By way of [3] you’re shown to be similar to the uncaused cause of the universe in that you’re possessing volition so to make various decisions (made in their image even).

          [4] The moral experience: By way of [4] (and [1]/[2]) it’s shown the creator God fashioned a universe not merely to give rise to any old creatures, but moral creatures (hence they’re a moral God).

          [5] The religio-historical context to the life and ministry of Jesus: By way of [5]/[4] you’re justified in affirming an uncaused cause who being moral desires truthfulness in their moral creation. Moreover, so to rescue their creation they have brought and vindicated history’s greatest man through whom humanity can find salvation.

          [6] The immediate experience of God: By way of [6]/[4]/[1] you’re justified in believing you’re the result of a God who would risk humiliation to protect your imperfect, sinful life (as mine too is sinful) from their perfect justice. They too being Truth have given you a mind capable of finding Him, a heart able to discern right from wrong, and means by which to reach out and approach them, prayer, to earnestly ask God into your life. In that there’s a door, but no door handle and knocker on God’s side, nor will there ever be, you have to take that first step to get the sort of experience you say you’ll be convinced by.

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        • A total breakdown in the case for God and the refutation of every airtight logical argument and scientifically substantiated discovery affirming a creator God, including a superior explanation or refutation for the various experiences which account for religious and moral faculties. In addition to a single piece of evidence or argument for atheism. Just one. The accumulated case for either side should carry the day, and atheism has nothing….literally nothing my friend.

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        • ‘People never seem to want to link me to the evidence for their god when I ask for it in blog comments. Politely.’

          Insofar as I have gathered linking one another to various places to make our arguments for us shows the people doing the linking often (not always) either haven’t grasped the arguments themselves, or they’re so disinterested in the actual conversation as to “wash their hands” of the entire interaction, as the old saying goes. Of course sharing material with a person when they (the sharer) hasn’t grasped the material could mean they’re sharing an accurate argument or an inaccurate one, they’re simply not capable of saying either way. They like the argument and share it because of how the point concludes, not because they’re able point by point to outline why what they’re sharing is accurate. So, considering I’ve outline for your deliberation arguments, premises and scientific evidence in favour of affirming an eternal God, perhaps you could provide believers reading some evidence atheism is accurate and correct.

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        • Can you give me an example of what “a single piece of evidence or argument for atheism” would look like?

          The reason I ask for links for evidence is that I want to see sources. For questions of science, this would generally involve providing a reference to a peer reviewed research article (preferably, multiple recent peer reviewed articles). For questions of history or recent events, this would involve referencing historical documents or linking to a news article from a reputable source. For philosophical arguments, one need not provide references–as you say, providing the argument in one’s own words shows more understanding, and understanding the argument is crucial to, well, arguing it–but I don’t consider philosophical arguments to be the same as evidence, even if part of the premise is based on scientific evidence (if the entirety of the premise were based solely on scientific evidence, then I would imagine a scientific source could be referenced which provides both the evidence and the argument).

          Of course, this being the internet, I don’t really expect the same rigor in citing sources as would be found in a college research paper, and I do generally settle for less, so long as I can investigate the source myself and perhaps hunt down the relevant research.

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        • I certainly could give you a fallacious argument or wrongly interpreted kernel of data which could serve as an example of how an unsuccessful argument for atheism might appear, likewise with regards to faulty evidence. Several rather reasonable objections as to why the atheist will have to work towards affirming the case for atheism exist however:

          1st Considering my replies to yourself have read: ‘The accumulated case for either side should carry the day, and atheism has nothing….literally nothing my friend.’ there wouldn’t be much sense in imagining failed evidences and argument for an absolutely bankrupt belief.

          2nd For myself to suppose failed arguments and evidences upon your behalf (i.e The euthyphro dilemma, can God create a rock so heavy He cannot lift it, microevolution) would be akin to strawmanning. Meaning there’s no sense in sharing further examples with you which I can already comfortably refute. Although to just be after examples, even failed examples, the aforementioned should suffice.

          3rd Having already outlined an apparently irrefutable defense of deist beliefs and theistic Christianity, to also have to make an argument for t’other side isn’t exactly sensible. You need something to do, Alex. 😛

          Hemant Mehta (hereafter HM) wrote the following with regards to teaching children about folklore, methinks the quotation suitable to our exchange presently: “Some atheists question their children on their beliefs about Santa Claus. Eventually, when the children are unable to cite any evidence that Santa exists, they understand that he is a myth people like to believe even though he is not real.” (page 60 of I soul my soul on ebay).
          So, where is the evidence, argument or viable premises which make atheism compelling? HM described how if anybody had given him any evidence (any evidence at all) they’d have believed in an eternal God, meaning in their mind they’d received zero evidence (otherwise they’d have converted), yet neither you nor they have offered anything even remotely resembling evidence or argument in favour of atheism. Moreover, the complaint is not to say both evidence and argument have failed to materialize since my demand for evidence and argument, rather both successful evidences and arguments have failed to be established since before anybody can remember! Literally nobody anywhere can formula one scrap of information so to affirm their atheism. We two agree insofar that believer have evidence, arguments and valid premises supporting their arguments with which they suppose their core claims. Though my thus far unmet challenge is to say atheism doesn’t have anything of the sort, no evidence, no argument, no valid premises which go to form an unrefuted argument. Instead atheists offer nothing save mocking memes, faulty “logic” which doesn’t endure and their often present contempt of believers and how the believing culture operates. Their contempt however isn’t an argument against God. Why reject one view because of a supposed lack of arguments and evidence in favour of another view which you’re incapable of finding arguments and evidence for? Perhaps because the atheist is making unwarranted assumptions (which they secretly suppose are warranted) about how the world would work if indeed there were an omnipotent creator God. Appears to be the only Santa problem is the one where atheists have as many reasons and evidences to suppose atheism as they do to affirm Santa Claus (that being zero).

          Consider again historicity with regards to the life of Jesus, physical evidence as found in modern cosmology and tuned constants, you’re perhaps unaware of how valid history comes to be recognized (HM certainly fails on the subject). So, simply read their material as found on page 38 of their book, as they’re entering into yet another wave of questions neither they nor any atheists answer:

          HM: Do historical records exist that confirm the religious view? (OSC: Yes.) Does evidence exist in the physical world that corroborate assertions made in the sacred writings of that religion? (OSC: Yes.) What validity do these things have outside the religious world? (OSC: They do by HM’s own beliefs).

          Continuing like so, again reading from page 38: If it’s not possible for Bible teachers to cross-reference biblical explanations with nonbiblical sources (OSC: They certainly can), many teens will reject their faith as they grow older. I sought evidence that would give me reasons to continue believing, and I no longer think it is possible to find such reasons.

          OSC: “No longer possible”? Just rereading our exchange on historicity alone reveals the depths of ignorance HM happily parades in print as if their complaints have gone unanswered, in fact, the man who sold his soul on ebay apparently used the internet for nothing else, as anybody could have easily researched the above! Woe to the unequipped people who have read their book and taken the material at face value.

          Nonetheless, I’m going to have to press you concerning the lack of evidence, argument and valid premises in the case for atheism. Because to say atheism has literally nothing to suppose it accurate would mean myself and Russell’s criticism of the view are valid. The atheist needs an argument, just one argument.

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        • What I am asking for here is an example of the sort of evidence that would make you consider changing your mind about your position. I have given you several examples of the sort of evidence that would make me consider changing my mind. If you don’t give me anything, then I’m going to conclude that there isn’t anything that would change your mind. Though, given how our arguments keep going nowhere, I am already skeptical that there is, in fact, anything that would actually change your mind. And if there is no chance of convincing you of anything, what is the point in continuing?

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        • “And if there is no chance of convincing you of anything, what is the point in continuing?”

          An unyielding or closed minded person (which I’m not, considering I wasn’t always a believer in Jesus) could nevertheless support your own growth, since you’re not merely here to convert people, are you? Moreover, I’m dismayed at having asked again and received no evidence, no argument and no valid reason to suppose atheism. Instead you ask questions I’ve already provided answers to! So, considering the euthyphro dilemma, can God create a stone so heavy He cannot lift it, and micro evolution have each been named as arguments and evidences in failed ventures against God, the small task that’s being asked of you is to provide a logically sound argument against God’s existence. Isn’t the situation rather embarrassing for you? By which I mean to say, you’re writing things like “What would convince you?” while being able to provide nothing, you’re asking for my personal limit with regards to what would convince me atheism is accurate yet you yourself are not offering anything worthy of me changing my mind (literally zero). Imagine you and I at a flea market, a marketplace where we are haggling. My pockets are loaded, they’re overflowing with the popular currency of said marketplace, that being evidence and logical argument, whereas nobody can examine your pockets, although rumour has it they’re empty. “What would it take for you to part with your views?” you ask, “One penny.” I reply jokingly, however, you aren’t producing the penny, nor any coin. Instead you first ask me to describe currency to you, which happily is done, you insist regardless “You wouldn’t REALLY trade with me for a penny, nor even one million pounds! Actually, I’m doubting our entire conversation.” Imagine acting this way while the person knew their pockets empty….you’re asking me what the price of changing my mind is while having absolutely nothing to deserve the change.

          Nonetheless, having already outlined how arguments for atheism read there’s no defense for not providing anything logically valid. Let’s return again to HM’s material, in addition, by the end of my reply I’ll finally recommend you some reading material in relation to your book challenge (how exciting!): “The Wind and Sun decided to settle the matter once and for all.” Beginning upon page 43 (please read along) HM explains how both the Sun and the Wind became involved in an argument over who of the pair were the mightier. Now the Wind (being a blowhard) believed by sheer force they’d be able to best the much wiser Sun, the Sun however used the subtle art of persuasion so to topple the Wind in this their lone contest. Having heard the story myself before even opening HM’s material shows the sort of universal appeal this story of persuasion over power carries, in fact, “persuasion is more effective than coercion” was exactly the message HM highlighted as being important. “Convince me, convince me!” They cry, there’s simply no coercion however. Where’s the marauding gang of believers forcing people into Christianity, they’re certainly not succeeding when you consider HM, he went directly into the den of lambs in the form of Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians etc, and yet they are an unbeliever today. No beheadings, no gun point conversion, not even any angry letters about their antagonistic book. Just break down their thoughts, they’re supposing persuasion to be superior over coercion, yet that’s only possible in a culture which provides people choice, and it’s for choice that the believer is being asked to charm HM or coddle them. Nobody writes “Persuade me, persuade me!” In Muslim nations after apostatizing, instead they say “Save me save me!” since leaving the Islamic faith is punishable by death.

          Was HM being serious? Were they actually saying believers upon their university campus were the Wind, a violent coercive force because they’d handed out leaflets and approached him to share their love of Christ? How embarrassing, people are being raped for their faith, crucified and beheaded all around the world, others are trapped in prison nations where to leave means dodging bullets on the border, and HM is complaining about faith based clubs upon campus…seriously? The absolute worst HM has accused these Christian youths of is saying he’d go to a place he doesn’t believe in (i.e Hell).

          Coercion, even violent force, most certainly isn’t the lesser of two methods, it’s the superior insofar as effectiveness goes, simply to tax and make a certain sort of person into a second class citizen leads to the next generation into seeing the more accepted mode of thought as a much more inviting prospect. The way in which people consider coercion worse is that it’s immoral, yet HM doesn’t even have the nerve to address what their atheism does to the question of morality. Instead to the question of the loss of objective moral values and duties they reply by saying “I’m nice! I don’t steal.” Well, congratulations! Nobody claimed atheists were immoral, rather the claim is in an atheistic universe there is neither moral nor immoral. The distinction in the absence of a transcendent, immovable standard is destroyed.

          So-called blasphemy laws in Muslim nations, laws which protect the 1000+ year of bones of Islam’s pedophile preacher Muhammad keep reasonable people from saying “You know what, a man who married the wife of his own adopted son, prostituted women and raped a nine year of girl isn’t a great example to emulate.” These laws, just like HM’s book, are about silencing voices the author dislikes. Even by your own online thought life Alex, without being overly accusatory, you write in almost flattering terms about Maududi’s material, which in all candour I wouldn’t risk cleaning a messy boot with in the event that some of its poison rubbed off on it. You’re so fortunate to have freedom, freedom safeguarded by an open, historically Christian nation, even God-given freedom, and you spend it agreeing or sympathizing with intellectually bankrupt, passive aggressive, dangerous bullies like Hemant Mehta and Maududi.

          For a third time, as is the biblical fashion, I’m asking you in the comments section, asking politely (just how you claimed to ask believers), where’s the evidence and argument in favour of atheism? I’m setting the bar so low, just one argument! My case stands:

          [1] Finely tuned constants and quantities in the universe.
          [2] Modern big bang cosmology.
          [3] Intentional states of consciousness.
          [4] The moral experience.
          [5] The religio-historical context to the life and ministry of Jesus.
          [6] The immediate experience of God.

          Furthermore, we’re even able to strengthen the case in favour of God. You didn’t believe the material ended so early, right? Because in a debate featuring Christopher Hitchens, their opponent Dr William Lane Craig points to the awesome Anthropic Cosmological Principle by Barrow and Tipler: “So any doubts that I would have about the theory of biological evolution would be not biblical but rather scientific; namely, what it imagines is fantastically improbable. Barrow and Tipler, two physicists, in their book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle list ten steps in the course of human evolution each of which is so improbable that before it would occur the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and incinerated the earth. And they calculate the probability of the evolution of the human genome to be somewhere between four to the negative 180th power to the 110,000th power and four to the negative 360th power to the 110,000th power. So if evolution did occur on this planet, it was literally a miracle and therefore evidence for the existence of God. So, I don’t think this is an argument for atheism. Quite the contrary, it really provides good grounds for thinking that God superintended the process of biological development.”

          Not touched upon in the debate was an in depth explanation of what these changes would be, though to read further, even going into the improbability of blind processes producing within so short a time the exoskeleton to the endoskeleton should astonish people. Regardless of what side of the evolution debate people land, since it would appear the theory of macroevolution neither open to repeated testing nor observable (in addition to certain creatures seemingly being immune to our best efforts to force macro evolutionary changes upon them), to affirm the theory would be a joy to believers everywhere. Moreover the classical “problem of evil” would affirm God, as modern atheists supposes neither objective good nor evil! So, the evidences and arguments simply accumulate.

          [1] Finely tuned constants and quantities in the universe.
          [2] Modern big bang cosmology.
          [3] Intentional states of consciousness.
          [4] The moral experience.
          [5] The religio-historical context to the life and ministry of Jesus.
          [6] The immediate experience of God.
          [7] The argument from evil.
          [8] Evolution via natural selection.

          My messages are saying to you:
          “These points I find really moving, they are convincing. Don’t you feel so too?” And due to having so much evidence, arguments and point by point premises my view is why not allow yourself to be convinced? Christian theism makes your life valuable, meaningful and greater than the sum of your parts, atheism makes you into chemical upon bones, a sack of water. HM and yourself rage against so-called Christian culture, which could be representative of anything, even atheism. Much of the church of England (or COE), so beloved of Richard Dawkins, is in many quarters a congregation of atheists, meaning to be nominally Christian means a person could be anything (a Nazi, Muslim, atheist etc etc). My points aren’t saying you’re messed up and alone (that’s not Biblical), they’re instead saying I’m not right (meaning not morally perfect), you’re just as bad, and that God can make you and me right. Atheism replies to the above by saying:

          Our lives are meaningless.
          Our lives are valueless.
          Our lives are purposeless.

          With which they conclude you and I aren’t morally imperfect, moreover they take exception to the fact of myself even bringing the subject up. Disagree, make every tear a transgender person cried over abuse meaningless, make every man, woman and child into a sack of water who to shoot is no different than popping a water balloon, and do it all based upon no evidence. The case for Christ stands, the argument for atheism never began, and we both murdered Christ, the big difference between you and I is I’m saying I’m sorry.

          Briefly detouring into something I’d wrote several days ago: An exciting portion of your material caught my eye today (it’s the 21st here in London): ‘That’s not the only sort of evidence I would accept, though. Accurate, specific prophecies could serve as strong evidence. If, for example, a god’s follower made an accurate prophesy, citing a specific time and place and making a prediction that is not self-fulfilling, likely to happen, or easily predictable given the right information (e.g. predicting that a stock will crash based on insider information).’

          My initial reaction to the above would be to say “They can’t be serious!” Not because to be convinced by prophecy is unworthy of an individual or uncritical, rather because insofar as prophetic revelations are concerned, Jewish and Christian traditions happen to be so replete with “specific prophecies” which “could serve as strong evidence” just how you have specified! Concerning the Messiah, a figure central to the entire Torah, prophets in no uncertain terms predicted:

          [1] The date upon which the Messiah would be murdered.
          [2] An account of how and by whom the Messiah would be buried.
          [3] Their function as being a priestly king tasked with absolving sin.
          [4] The public reception Messiah would receive and their rejection by His people.
          [5] The Messiah would claim to being a divine human.
          [6] Historically Jewish belief being adopted by non-Jewish believers due to the Messiah’s life.
          [7] Successfully prefiguring the Messiah by name!
          [8] The fulfilling of a New Covenant between God and their people.

          As is my way I haven’t decided upon hazy or uncertain sorts of prophecy, and considering believers imagine so many as 400+ prophecies of Messiah people could go for a sort of shotgun approach to the entire conversation. You and I ought to hold to the detailed however. Would the above be compelling evidence in favour of belief in God?

          Meanwhile in the present, 😛 my recommendation insofar as reading is concerned would be “On Guard for Students: A Thinker’s Guide to the Christian Faith”, by William Lane Craig. Moreover, I do strongly specify the above edition over others. The original, which I own and so enjoyed, was written with believing Christians in mind, whereas the recently released student edition was printed for the more neutral observer (hence the more readable for yourself), in that I imagine you too shall be impartial while reading from one of the most cordial, respectful and highly intelligent believers of recent times. We owe it to ourselves considering how the situation stands thus far, since in the case for Christian theism we’re met by:

          [1] Finely tuned constants and quantities in the universe.
          [2] Modern big bang cosmology.
          [3] Intentional states of consciousness.
          [4] The moral experience.
          [5] The religio-historical context to the life and ministry of Jesus.
          [6] The immediate experience of God.
          [7] The argument from evil.
          [8] Evolution via natural selection.
          [9] Predictive prophecy.

          Whereas in the case for unbelief:

          [1] …

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  2. Hi Alex, sorry to hear how you were treated. It is unfortunate that many times, we as christians want to get nasty, fight and argue rather than listen and reason. Coming from a christian perspective, we feel we are right and want everyone to have what we have. A lot of us cannot handle someone disagreeing with us, and we feel we must prove our point and defend God. We feel we have proof of God in creation, the bible and in many things that we feel only God can do. The thing is, outside of christianity, these things that are proof to us are only beliefs, doctrine and personal interpretation to others. I have said before, I do not believe there is proof that God is there. I know a lot of us christians feel there is proof, but to be able to physically prove God, see him and physically hear him is a matter of faith and belief…without any proof. We need to stop trying to proof anything, love and accept others and treat each other with love and respect. We do not have to agree, but neither should we be mean to each other.

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    • Thanks.

      I am starting to wonder if there is just an unusually high percentage of trolls among Christians who write posts about atheists. Or if it’s just that thing where “normal person” + “internet” = “trollface”. I’ve never run into anything even close to this bad in person. And I know there are reasonable people out there, even within the subset of Christians who write posts tagged with “atheism” on wordpress. You’re an example of that. Maybe I am just having really bad luck lately?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Alex, I appreciate that. I have used the tag ‘atheist’ also, not to cause controversy, but to hopefully let others who are atheist know that not all christians want to force our views on them. Yes, we see things differently and that may never change, but we say our God is a God of love. I want others to know we can respect each other even if we do not agree, and do so without being mean and disrespectful.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I get not wanting to continue an argument when you’re frustrated with the way it’s going, but why delete the comments? Choosing not to respond is fine too, and it allows the dialogue to be visible for other people to see and respond to if they so choose. I think you’re right, this person realized they didn’t have a leg to stand on and wanted to hide that realization from future readers.

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  4. It sounds to me like this individual was unable to delineate the differences between belief and worship. The claim that “everyone believes in something,” I agree with – I think everyone carries a set of beliefs that guide and influence the way they move through and interact with the world. For some those are religious beliefs; for others, moral beliefs; for still others, perhaps just observations about the way the world works that seem consistent enough to be taken as fact. It’s a huge stretch to think that “everyone believes in something” directly equates to “everyone’s religious in some way.”

    Not so with worship. The claim that “everyone worships something” would have to reach down to some pretty hypothetical, philosophical levels before it could seem even close to accurate. For instance, I believe that everyone should make a living wage. That does not mean I worship money. I believe in the power of therapy; I do not worship my therapist. Et cetera.

    In a broad sense, the idea of religion is to believe in something for which there is no proof. For many, unfortunately, this translates to uncritical, unquestioning adherence. That in turn means that any questioning of their beliefs is seen as an attack, a threat. I personally suspect that beliefs are strengthened through questioning. Much like the idea that those who are most homophobic are those who are insecure in their sexuality, I suspect that many who are obstinately fundamentalist about religious beliefs are those who are insecure in their faith.

    I’m terribly sorry that person’s insecurity denied you both the opportunity for further growth and understanding. Don’t take it personally, though.

    (Signed, A Short Rant To Complement Your Short Rant)

    Liked by 2 people

    • “I personally suspect that beliefs are strengthened through questioning.”

      Me too. This is one reason why I don’t hesitate to discuss my beliefs with others (that, and I genuinely enjoy respectful debates about religion and/or philosophy).

      Not all religions involve believing in things without proof, though. I’m a member of a religion that is non-theistic and non-supernaturalist.

      Like

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