This From the Closet Atheist

According to the Closet Atheist who writes here:
I'll tell you, I would come closer to believing in 'god' if
1) Everyone that read the bible got the same message.
2) If you could take any 2 people from any part of the world, asked them about 'god' and got the SAME answer.
3) You could physicaly prove 'god' existed.
Are these "demands" unreasonable, or not, and why?

23 comments:

Chris said...

John,
So much for jumping out of airplanes and wearing suspenders.

Of course your requirements for belief in God are reasonable. I too wonder why he chose to reveal himself in this way. But alas, we are asked to have faith and in that faith we are rewarded. Faith itself is the reward of those seeking Godly wisdom. Worldly wisdom gets you no closer to the mind of God, in fact it pushes you further away.

(1 Corinthians 1:19-21) says " 19 For it is written: “I will make the wisdom of the wise [men] perish, and the intelligence of the intellectual [men] I will shove aside.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where the scribe? Where the debater of this system of things? Did not God make the wisdom of the world foolish? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not get to know God, God saw good through the foolishness of what is preached to save those believing."

Regards,
Chris

Jason said...

If you enjoy foolishness so much, then why do you bother to engage in discussion, in rational dialogue? Do you realize that logic is a necessary prerequisite for language? If the wisdom of the world is foolishness, then logic is foolishness, and so too therefore is language. Yet you are here using language to tell us of the folly of our reason. Thus you are in the process of committing a logical error through a combination of your actions and words.

You may once again resort to your Biblical disclaimer that superficially unloads the burden of logic from your position and grant the tension, even gladly. However, this makes discussion with you pointless. I only say this to you because, since you use language and logic to some extent, it seems likely that you simply do not realize the implications of your position. If you take a moment to reflect upon the implications then perhaps you will come to reject this disclaimer clause inserted into your religious text of choice, or perhaps you will make yourself consistent and become a hermit, awaiting the coming of your lord in silence since you cannot reliably communicate your lord's message to anyone on account of the fact that your communication is rooted in worldly wisdom, which is foolishness in the eyes of your lord.

While you're sitting in quiet contemplation you might consider the fact that all that you know about your lord comes from a book which contains written language. You only know that John 1:1 says that in the beginning there was the Word because it is written so and because the law of non-contradiction guarantees that it does not say otherwise. However, the law of non-contradiction is worldly wisdom. Thus, it may in fact be the case that in the beginning there was not the word. You cannot know for sure. Hence the absurdity of any belief-set that contains a clause that relieves itself from the rules of logic.

Hellbound Alleee said...

Well, if I had a scam to sell, I'd want people to reject intelligence and worldly wisdom for sure. I'd tell them that if they just buy my product, they'd be rewarded for their faith.

But my product can be tried before my sucker dies. I'd have to make myself almost as scarce as, well, God.

exbeliever said...

Do you realize that logic is a necessary prerequisite for language?

Or, perhaps language is a necessary prerequisite for logic.

Chris said...

Come on guys. You like having Christians to kick around. Me being here makes things interesting. Can you imagine sitting here just talking to each other? That party don't rock!

As for your attempt at logic:

"Do you realize that logic is a necessary prerequisite for language? If the wisdom of the world is foolishness, then logic is foolishness, and so too therefore is language."

Wanna try again? If you were strapped into a car built like this, we'd have to call in a Medivac chopper.

Rusty Cuyler said...

Regardless of the chicken and egg that is logic and language, it doesn't lessen the disingenuous nature of what Jason referred to as "the disclaimer." I imagine that somewhere in the Qu'ran (and most probably, every other religious text) there is a similar dictum to value faith above the wisdom of the world, etc. So how is it that the Bible's message should receive precedence above that or any other religious document, if we're throwing out logic and knowledge and wisdom, or any other qualification as to the veracity of some random claim of belief?

What's more, should we not question Paul's own potential bias for making such a sweeping and convenient remark? Doesn't his own authority rest on a revelatory event that cannot be verified by anyone else except by faith that what Paul claims to have occurred on the road to Damascus really did occur?

Furthermore, aren't there indications in the Pauline epistles themselves that Paul differed with contemporary Christians (like those led by James in Jerusalem) on certain matters of doctrine? Why, then, should we accept Paul's point of view on certain matters without question, especially in this regard? How would a believer know to ferret out the "truth" of two differing views on the same subject?

Finally-- shouldn't a believer have an obligation to reject "the disclaimer"-- if for no other reason than out of respect for intellectual honesty? I don't see how anyone who is capable of reasoning and is not already predisposed toward belief would accept "the disclaimer" as a valid point in an argument. It's the absolute worst kind of sophistry.

John W. Loftus said...

Jason & Rusty, good stuff! See here, here, and here.

Closet Atheist said...

Logic and langauge, you cannot have one without the other.
The question at hand is if my requests for proof are unreasonable.
My personal feelings are that they are not.
It is the theists that are making the claim that I WILL go to hell if I do believe what THEY believe. Depending on who you ask you will get different grounds for damnation. You get differing opinions from believers in the same denomination.
So who is right? Who has interpreted the bible correctly? If the bible is the divine word of god, how is it that you get so many differing opinions? Shouldnt a divine work of god be able to convey the SAME message regardless of who reads it? How is it that you can read the bible and justify just about any action as moral? Slavery, rape, murder, stealing. The bible has examples of all of these that are justified in the name of god. god said it was OK so they did it.
So I ask...
Who knows the true interpretation of the word of god and HOW can you prove its true?

Chris said...

"Doesn't his own authority rest on a revelatory event that cannot be verified by anyone else except by faith that what Paul claims to have occurred on the road to Damascus really did occur? "

Rusty-How does one account for Paul's complete change of heart? He was prior to that a persecuter of Christians.

_____________________________

I don't want to make too much of this scripture. What it says to me is not that we shouldn't pursue worldly wisdom, but rather than in order to know God's will and purpose we should incline our hearts and minds to him. If you want to know about anything and get to the true meaning of it, you have to study it and in the case of the bible, sound it down in to your heart, where this information properly resides. If you pursue it philosophically, sceptically, and logically you will likely miss the substance of what is being conveyed.

John Bolitho said...

1) Everyone who reads the Bible DOES get the same messages from God. The problem is people think that it is appropriate to read into what the verses say and withdraw thier own meanings. Sorry folks the Bible was written for you not TO YOU. The messages are good as set in stone. I hope that these people don't read all their mail wwith this interpretive attitude.
2) Just because thier is many false beliefs about God doesn't mean their is no God. The nature of ones existence doesn't rely on counting heads. People can't agree on lots of things. That doesn't mean there is not a correct answer. If everyone believed there was no God it would not make it so.
3) I suspect that if PHYSICAL proof (in the way you are asking)was possible we would all be Christians wouldn't we. I believe there is plenty of proof, the same kind of proof a lawyer uses to get a murder conviction. Proof is evidences. Evidences of God fill this world. With enough evidence we are convinced enough to let someone die in the electric chair even though we were not there to witness thier crime. Lawyers use evidence in combination with logic. The evidences for God out weigh the evidences for any murder trial to date. That kind of evidence is physical proof enough for me.

Closet Atheist said...

Hello John,
1) Everyone who reads the Bible DOES get the same messages from God. The problem is people think that it is appropriate to read into what the verses say and withdraw thier own meanings. Sorry folks the Bible was written for you not TO YOU. The messages are good as set in stone. I hope that these people don't read all their mail wwith this interpretive attitude.

Then the bible should be taken literally? You couldnt get thru the first chapter if that were the case. The lends itself to be interpreted as there are many 'contradictions' present in it.

2) Just because thier is many false beliefs about God doesn't mean their is no God. The nature of ones existence doesn't rely on counting heads. People can't agree on lots of things. That doesn't mean there is not a correct answer. If everyone believed there was no God it would not make it so.
Who can tell me what the true beliefs are? What I ask is not if there is a god or not. It is what is your opinion on what is RIGHT ( according to god )?
I have several theist friends that all have differing opinions. One thinks the earth is only 6000 years old and noah and the ark is true. The other thinks that the earth is far older than that and the naoh tale is true except that he thinks that the earth was not completely floaded. The other thinks that everyone has there own right to believe in whatever they want regarding religion and does not judge. One feels its their obligation to convert anyone that doesnt not believe in the god he believes in. Everyone of these people feel in heart that THEY are right. They all read from the very same bible, king james version. So who is right?

3) I suspect that if PHYSICAL proof (in the way you are asking)was possible we would all be Christians wouldn't we. I believe there is plenty of proof, the same kind of proof a lawyer uses to get a murder conviction. Proof is evidences. Evidences of God fill this world. With enough evidence we are convinced enough to let someone die in the electric chair even though we were not there to witness thier crime. Lawyers use evidence in combination with logic. The evidences for God out weigh the evidences for any murder trial to date. That kind of evidence is physical proof enough for me.

I think that you equate evidence in the court of law with SCIENTIFIC evidence. Nothing can be farther from the truth. In the court of law a guilty man is free from guilt based on reasonable doubt. A man can also be wrongly sent prison on a myriad of other reasons that have nothing to do with evidence. When its all said and done 'evidence' plays only a small part in our court system.
In science a fact must pass rigorous testing and discusion. Science is not based on consensus to prove something as true or false. All it takes is ONE person with a valid fact or piece evidence. And what happens then? The idea, theory or fact is put thru the same rigorous testing and is held as true until it is proven otherwise. The very basis of science is to prove itself wrong. Can the same be said about your religion? Are you willling to put your belief under the same 'microscope' that scientists use?

Joe E. Holman said...

John Bolitho said...

"Everyone who reads the Bible DOES get the same messages from God."


Really? They get the same messages? Could've fooled me! You sure wouldn't know it. There's not one issue yet that religionists have been found to agree on, not one! I don't know how you can say this with a straight face.


John Bolitho said;

"The problem is people think that it is appropriate to read into what the verses say and withdraw thier own meanings."


This says nothing, my friend, and misses the whole point of our objections -- every convicted religionist says they are reading out what the bible really says, and that others (those who are wrong according to them) are reading into it. Now, it's back to the same old endless dispute of who's right and who's not, and the point we are making is, the universality of god and his message should be a thing that manifestly is, not some unresolveable academic dispute that only raises more questions than answers.

(JH)

Chris said...

JH-

"There's not one issue yet that religionists have been found to agree on, not one! I don't know how you can say this with a straight face."

While I agree that there is much disagreement within Christianity over particulars, there are some basic unifying principles that your comment seems to ignore. For instance, all Christians believe that Christ came as the lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. His death and resurrection redeemed mankind to God. I have not found a Christian yet, of any stripe who would disagree with that statement.
Regards,
Chris

John W. Loftus said...

Chris, how can you be so knowledgeable as to comment on almost every post here made by people with different perspectives and intellectual strengths? I'll tell you how...you can't. Choose your battles. I'm tired of you thinking your have the intellectual capacity to offer an intelligent comment about everything we say. You remind me of a bad karoake singer who doesn't know that he's no good.

Just answer me this one question: Who speaks for Christianity? That's right name him or her or them. There are so many people claiming to speak for Christianity that they basically cancel themselves out. Of course, you think you do. Go figure.

And as far as the original questions go, they are sincere questions by a questioner, so why can't they be valid ones? This is what it'll take for the Closet Atheist to believe, and I take him to be sincere, so why can't God do what is asked here if God wants him to avoid hell and be in heaven? Does God not care?

Chris said...

I've enjoyed my time here, John. All the best. I hope you find what you are looking for.

John Bolitho said...

1) The bible should be taken Literally, accept when its own context calls for apacolyptic or metaphorical readings. If I say it is raining cats and dogs here... I hope you understand that I am not being literal. And you would know I wasn't. HOW? Logic tells you I am using a common metaphor. 2000 year old metaphors might not be your fortay... so it is understandlable that that would lead to mis-Interpritations. That does not mean the Bible has multiple messages depending on the person recieving it. It was letters written to... OTHER PEOPLE. NOT YOU. You might read my mail... you might misinterpret what it says but that doesn't mean I don't know the true meaning of my mail even though you may be in error. I have total confidence that the recipients of the letters of the bible knew the true message that was being relayed. One message. Lots of bad interpritations.
2) Closet athiest asked what my OPINION of what is right under God? If all we are talking about it opinions... I personally think that Peanut Butter Ice Cream is the Best. You can disagree. But I am still right. Why because you have merely asked what my Subjective truth is. There are lots of Subjective truths. You error when you are confusing the subjective with the objective. All Opinions are equally valid. Thats why you get many different OPINIONS of what the Bible says. All Objective truths are not equally valid. There is but one truth in that sense. I could also give my opinion maybe I would be right maybe your friends are right...or maybe neither of us are right... could be option C none of us have thought of. That doesn't mean the truth is not out there. Regardless the Bible teaches but one idea. Just because we can not agree does not show fault in the Bible only fault in the reader.
3) What SCIENCE taught you that only SCIENCE could produce imperical knowledge?

God gave me a brain to think with. If Christianity made no sense, I simply would not be a Christian. In my opionion you have more to fear of the 'microscope' than I. Under it the world becomes more complex and less likely a product of chance. Facts back up the Christian worldview more and more everyday.

Drunken Tune said...

”God gave me a brain to think with.”

Pardon my saying so, John, but your god must have made a grave error in the formation of your brain.

In order to save scrolling time, I've decided to distill your three short rants into three statements that are at least bearable and readable:

[1] "The bible should be taken Literally, accept [sic] when its own context calls for apacolyptic [sic] or metaphorical readings," which means that the bible is literal, except for the parts that aren't. When it's apocalyptic, then it's not literal, because I say so. I’ve gleaned the power to know what they meant 2000 years ago, somehow, some way. When it advocates slavery, both the cutting and refraining of cutting of hair, and killing the infidel, then it's clear as a bell. I get to say what's metaphorical and what's not.

Do you see why any sane individual would be confused, not to mention taken aback by your use of illogic? How do you know that you are correct? By your own admission, there's one message, but plenty of poor interpretations.

What sets your belief apart from others? How are we supposed to believe that you're right when you've merely attacked others for being "wrong"?

Furthermore, how are we to know that the bible is to be taken literally? We have your word, but then again, you’re like all of us. The only people who know by your own admission, are “the recipients of the letters of the bible.”

[2] All opinions are equal. Or something like that. The bible's right. Or something like that.

You say that the bible has no contradictions and has a clear message, that it teaches "one idea"; I say it does have contradictions and is vague, to say the least, on just about everything but dietary and legal laws. So our opinions are equal? Yet, what makes you correct? Your faith? I’ve got the bible itself in my hand, and am ready to throw passage after passage at you that back up my claims. You've said an absolute. If anyone can find even one thing that contradicts your absolute, then your statement is not true. Luckly for me, I've got a bookfull.

[3] "What SCIENCE taught you that only SCIENCE could produce imperical [sic] knowledge?"

First off, science is only a description of a set of processes to observe the world around us. Your statement is a non sequitor. Science produces observations that closely match with reality. It’s a definition. An action, if you will, that many people conduct throughout our lives. You might as well say "What TOOTHBRUSH told you that only TOOTHBRUSH can brush your teeth?" or “What PRAYER taught you that only PRAYER can produce any results?” I can always throw your sticks back at you, especially when you lob them so softly, and with such dull ends.

What bible taught you that only your bible could produce morals? Truth? Love? Does it make any more sense when this bizarre statement is directed at you? Go and clap with one hand, for all I care.

”It was letters written to... OTHER PEOPLE. NOT YOU.”
Oh, and before I forget, the bible wasn’t written for you either, John.

John Bolitho said...

1) Fallible am I. I never said I knew what every metaphor was. Only claimed that It should be taken at face value when the context implies it. YOu created the strawman that said otherwise. Where did I go wrong? I made a few claims that the letters of the bible are roughly 2000 years old and were written to other people. I also said I am sure that those other people understood what they meant. Not necassarilly me. The original comment was that everyone should get the same message from it. That was your fallacy not mine. The letter don't belong to us. Of course we dont always fully understand them. One message many false interpritations from people the letters didn't address.

And yes I do believe that the BIBLE's original manuscripts are free from error. Your interpritations may not be though.

2) Our opinions are Equally valid. Our Truths are not. If I said... I think you will die if you jump off a -thousand foot bridge on to concrete. Thats my opinion. You can disagree. You have a right to your opinion. The truth behind our opinions is another thing entirely. One of us would be right. I would tell you to JUMP. Truths are not equally valid. If you treat religion like Ice cream than everyones OPINION of religion is equally valid. If you treat it like medicine (as I do) then there is a big difference between insulin and rocky road. One cures (Objectively) the other one just tast good. (Subjectively.) Be wary of confusing the two as you have done over and over again.

3)So your definition of Science isn't factual it is only the currently held opinions of a time that define a fact. Science tells you about reality. I would say the same definition could be given to christianity. God created the things scientist study so it would only seam obvious that science points to a creator. The more we learn the more complex the world becomes. Less likely products of chance we become. More likely a Creator is needed.

A certainly level of attacking hatred is evident in Drunken Tunes reply. I certainly hope to those who are listening that my loving intentions show through despite others anger.

Friend said...

To the original post: So you're saying that if you could get everyone to believe in the same thing from reading the bible, then you'd believe? How does that make sense. The Gospel is either true, or it isn't. And, it is pretty juvenile to think that the gospel's truthfulness is DEPENDANT upon what everyone think about it. So, *if* people started becoming confused about what the sun is made up of, or exactly where it is, or why it looks the way it does, you'd stop believeing there was a sun? Hmm...

Closet Atheist said...

If you reread the comment, I said 'I'd come closer to believing in god/a god if everyone got the same message'. I am not basing my entire theological ideology on that point.
If someone were to prove to me that the bible, as written, were true, I would be faced with the following problem. I must now 'worship' an entity that allows suffering even though it has the power to stop it. Kills people to prove a point to others. Condones slavery, rape, murder, incest and a myriad of other acts of cruelty. Will send a person to hell for an eternity for something as trivial as not believing in it ('god') even thought it has not provided sufficient evidence to convince the mind, which it ('god') itself created , of that person yet will grant a free pass to heaven to a person as 'evil', as say hilter, provided before they die they accept the lord as there savior.
Is that the entity that I should worship?

Drunken Tune said...

"Only claimed that It should be taken at face value when the context implies it. YOu created the straw man that said otherwise. Where did I go wrong?"

You said that the bible should be taken literally, except for "apacolyptic [sic] or metaphorical readings," yet you also said that only the original writers and readers of the bible understood what it meant. Agreed?

How can you know that the apocalyptic writings are literal? You're making a judgment call. You then say that the bible is to be taken literally, implying that the authors meant it to be taken so. Yet, as you've said, "the recipients of the letters of the bible knew the true message." For all we know, these stories were fables, or were bathroom reading material. And this is according to you. I made no straw man, John. You're throwing insults at me because you cannot see that you are contradicting yourself. Here. Let's make it simple. According to you:

[1] All of the bible is literal.

[2] Only the original readers and writers understood what the true message was.

[3] John knows that parts of the bible are not to be taken literally, such as apacolyptic writing. Because, well, John says so.

How can you know that the bible is to be taken literally when you do not know what the original writers and readers of the bible meant? I’ve been saying this for too long. If you don’t understand this, then please explain where you miss the boat.

-------

We're not talking about jumping off a bridge. We're talking about the bible. We both agree that you'd explode if you put a piece of lit dynamite in your mouth, just as we both agree that I'd break my legs jumping off a bridge. You're making an absurd argument.

"Be wary of confusing the two as you have done over and over again."

I only asked you to prove your absolute statement, that the bible has no contradictions and has a clear message. I asked what makes you correct. I then told you that I would be willing to give you passages from your bible that contradict each other and do not have a clear message. This is not subjective. This is the warning that I will be refuting your claim. After all, you believe that "the BIBLE's original manuscripts are free from error."

How did I confuse subjectivity and objectivity? Could you point me to some words I said? It would certainly help.

-------

"What SCIENCE taught you that only SCIENCE could produce imperical [sic] knowledge?"

Again, you didn’t answer me. I’ll say it clearer, so that you may understand. Science produces facts of the universe. We observe the universe. We conduct experiments, test hypotheses', make predictions on how the universe will act. We learn from this, and it is called knowledge.

"So your definition of Science isn't factual it is only the currently held opinions of a time that define a fact."

I don't know where to start. First of all, it would be great next time for you to have a sentence devoted to one idea, not two/three. I'm trying to understand what you've said, which could be:

1. "Your definition of science isn't real. Science is only opinion."

2. "Your definition of science shows that science is only opinion."

3. "Your definition of science isn't real. It is only the currently held opinions of a time that define a fact." [Which I’ll discount because it makes less sense than your other possible statements.]

Well, in any of the three possible cases, you're wrong. If I interpreted it incorrectly, please explain what you meant. It seems that you’re just as cohesive as the bible. I've defined science to you: "Science is only a description of a set of processes to observe the world around us... Science produces observations that closely match with reality. It’s a definition." If today's science is only opinion [possible question one], then there has to be real science out there that fits its definition. If my definition of science [possible question two] shows that science is only opinion, then I'm at a loss.

" Science tells you about reality. I would say the same definition could be given to christianity."

So, according to the bible, what's pi?
Did the sun really stop in the sky?
Why did no other historical writer spend an inordinate amount of time writing on the risen dead?

"A certainly level of attacking hatred is evident in Drunken Tunes reply. I certainly hope to those who are listening that my loving intentions show through despite others anger."

I'm terribly sorry if you've felt some of my attacking hatred. I'll bring out my docile pity from now on. I've only pointed out contradictions you've said and asked a few leading questions. I do not see loving intentions in what you say, only a logical mind trying to make sense of illogic. Back up your claims with proof next time. I mean you no disrespect, only what you say. You're better than your god. You're more moral than your god. You're intelligent, and you're wasting your time, trying to understand your god and your bible, but it just doesn't make sense.

Eolian said...

Why the dissention in non belief.
If there is no God, then why make an elaborate a case regarding something that for the athiest does not exist.
If there is no God why the rage against something that isn't real?

Drunken Tune said...

”Why the dissention in non belief.
If there is no God, then why make an elaborate a case regarding something that for the athiest [sic] does not exist.
If there is no God why the rage against something that isn't real?”


Imagine you live in a faraway land. It's pretty similar to your home town, but some things are different. People are friendly, kind, decent folk, yet every now and then they start talking about the Super Squid. Every Wednesday they go off to Super Squid pep rallies. On the television are men selling things in the name of Super Squid. Whenever something good happens people say “Thank you Super Squid!”

Imagine that you don’t bother with this. “What people think is their own business,” you say. But you’re interested in learning what Super Squid is.

You ask your neighbor. He says, "He's awesome! He choses what we should do, say and think. But no one is allowed to see him. He’s super-powerful and super-old. He hides in the tallest tree in the forest and his tentacles reach all our hearts." You go out, cut down the tallest tree in the forest. You bring it to the center of the town. No one is fazed. In fact, this strengthens their faith. They claim that this is proof that Super Squid exists.

You shake your head and walk away. What you said seemed so logical. Two weeks later, one Super Squid pep rally goes and and slaughters another Super Squid pep rally. You ask your neighbor, who was a member of the rally, why they had killed hundreds of people.

"Super Squid told us to. They have the wrong faith. They’re evil."

Imagine that it gets worse every day. People blow up each other in the name of Super Squid. Others rationalize any action with the invocation “Super Squid must love this!” There's Super Squid earrings and t-shirts and TV shows. It’s like you’re surrounded by a city of lunatics!

Now, imagine that one of Super Squid’s followers asks you why you hate Super Squid.