If I have a focus when it comes to debunking Christianity it is with control beliefs. Control beliefs are those beliefs that control how we view the evidence, and so my critique is generally philosophical and epistemological in nature. I'm interested in how we know what we know. How we view that which we know is the difference that makes all of the difference.
How we each look at the evidence is controlled by certain beliefs of ours. Since this is so, I want to know how to justify those control beliefs themselves. For me it's all about seeing things differently. It's not about more and more knowledge. It's about viewing what we know in a different light. I must share how I see things on a host of topics before I hit pay dirt where theists will consider how I see everything differently. And when that critical juncture happens, if it happens at all, they'll see how I see things, and maybe it'll make some sense. For them it will take place all at once, or not at all. It's basically an all or nothing happening.
How do we decide which approach, which bias, and which set of control beliefs are preferrable when looking at Christianity? That’s the biggest question of them all! Why? Because the set of control beliefs we start with when looking at the Bible is usually the same set we will come away with.
I think I have better reasons for starting with my control beliefs, presuppositions and biases. Let me briefly explain, once again. These are the reasons why I start with my skeptical control beliefs.
One) Sociological. I believe that the control beliefs a person adopts are the ones he or she picks up based on when and where he or she was born. Since that is overwhelmingly the case, I am right to be skeptical whenever I examine any religious set of beliefs, including Christianity.
Two) Philosophical. Miracles are by definition very improbable based upon natural law. In fact, the less probable a miracle is,then the more of a miracle it is. I have never seen a miracle, even when I was a Christian. Because of this I don’t think one happened in the past. Besides, a believer in the Christian miracles has a double burden of proof. For he must show that miracles are very unlikely, and at the very same time show that they are likely. What confirms that they are unlikely, discomfirms that they are likely, and vice versa. As a result there isn't any reasonable way to show that a miracle occurred at all, even if one did. That's right. Even if one actually did occur! So an additional problem becomes why God didn't know this, or why he doesn't do miracles for us to see today, especially if he desires that we believe in him?
Three) Biblical. When I look at the Bible itself, I see things in it that are barbaric and superstitious to me living in today's world. These things are obvious to me. So it's more likely to me that Biblical people were superstitious than that the stupendous miracles took place as recorded in the Bible. Furthermore, the God of the Bible seems barbaric to me, and such a God is not worthy of any worship even if he did exist. That's right, even if he did exist. The fact that Christians refuse to see this doesn't change anything, for it's also obvious, according to Sam Harris, that they "choose what is good in the Good Book." They "cherry-pick" the good out of the Bible, rather than dealing with what it actually says about their God.
Four) Historical. Christianity is an historical religion which says there are certain things that actually happened in history. I should believe that these things happened in history in order to be acceptable to God (like the incarnation and the resurrection). But if God chose to reveal himself in history, he chose a poor medium to do so. This is especially true when that history is a history or miracles. There are many historians who don't think we can be sure about much in the historical past. History is always subject to revision upon further evidence and findings. Historians must also be skeptical, because they have found many forgeries and frauds in the past.
Five) Scientific. Science has taught us to assume a natural explanation for every event based upon methodological naturalism. We who live in the modern world operate on this assumption ourselves everyday. This assumption is the foundation of modernity. We now know how babies are made and how to prevent them; we know why it rains; why nations win and lose wars; why trees fall; why most people get sick and how to cure most of them, etc. In previous centuries people either praised God for the good things that happened to them, or they wondered why he was angry when bad things happened. If they lost a war, there was sin in the camp. If someone got sick, it was because of sin in his or her life, and so on. Now we have scientific explanations for these things, and we all benefit from those who assumed there was a natural cause to everything we experience. The problem is that Christians believe in the claims of some ancient superstitious text as a fact, when they don’t do that with any other claim in today’s world. Christians themselves assume a natural explanation when they hear a noise in the night. They assume a natural explanation for a stillborn baby, or a train wreck, or an illness. If Christians were placed back in time with the same modern mindset they have today, they themselves would ask for evidence if someone claimed that an axe head floated, or a donkey talked. But because it’s in the Bible they adopt it unquestionably, and I find that to be holding to a double standard. Why do they operate on a double standard like this? Ancient people didn't even have a firm conception of natural law. For all they knew anything could happen in nature when acted upon by God, gods or goddesses. Ancient people just didn't have the required scientific understanding of natural laws we do today for them to question a miraculous story when they heard one. Scientifically literate people today are simply not that gullible to believe any such story. All of us ask whether an unusual event can be explained naturalistically, unlike them.
Six) Philosophical (again). The problem of evil. When we compare the world we see with all of its intense suffering, and we ask ourselves what kind of world we should expect to find if there is a good, omnipotent God, there is a huge disconnect. This is not the world we would expect if this God exists. Even though Christians attempt to explain intense suffering in this world, it is still not the world anyone should expect, if this God created it.
I call our modern ways of thinking the Achilles' heel of Christianity.
So, I have several really good reasons for starting out being skeptical when I examine the Christian evidences for belief. They are Sociological, Philosophical, Biblical, Historical and Scientific. I just don't see how Christians can refute any of these reasons for starting with a skeptical attitude, since they are all practically undeniable (and even obvious) to modern educated scientifically literate people. How much more is this so when these reasons are all taken together as a whole. So it is no surprise that I look at Christianity with the presumption of skepticism. And it is no surprise that I reject it.