I Have No Fear of God's Judgment for Debunking Christianity.

I just received an email from a minister-in-training who said this:
In the end, you must understand that if you are wrong, you may want to think about what kind of God you are going to face. I do not buy into the fact that we are just matter floating around by chance with electrical impluses controlling all of our actions. I do not think you do either deep down, otherwise you would not even be writing this blog. You would not feel the desire to prove you are right unless something inside of you was scared in realizing the enormity of the fallout this sort of worldview decision causes. You need others to come along with you in your break away; the same thing you make fun of Christians for doing in evangelism. You are afraid to be alone. Humans were not created by God to be alone. This is what fuels your meaningless movement; the fear of being separated from God alone or from living this life alone as an outcast. In the end, if you are right, all is meaningless. No matter how you strive for meaning, it does not matter---your worldview will not allow man to have a spirit or any eternal destiny. You may live under the motto that you only live once, but I say to you that every man dies forever if he is not reconciled to God. That is the reason death feels like such a cheat to humans, because it is; when you look at the biblical account, we were never supposed to die. We were created finite, but immortal. The Fall changed things, and we know in our being that death is an enemy and is not a natural part of living.
I think the first sentence above should be considered seriously by us all...all of us! I must. My conclusion is that the claims of Christianity are so miserably weak that I have no fear in debunking it...none. That's a pretty powerful statement don't you think? That's what I've concluded. It tells you what I think about the strength of the case for Christianity; that it has no strength at all to me. That's what I'm saying. That's what all of us here at DC think. It's not just that we think it's probably untrue. We're willing to stake our future on what we conclude. We're willing to risk God's judgment when we die on what we think. Is this not like the witness of the Christians who eagerly met martyrdom for Jesus? They were deluded, unlike us. We can argue why we're not deluded on so many different levels it may surprize you. Surely this does not prove our case, just as those early Christian martyrs don't prove their case. But we stand as former believers who say with this much force that Christianity is a delusion.

Then the writer went on to compare Christianity to atheism as if those are the only two alternatives. There is liberal Christianity, existential Christianity, Deism, Pantheism, panentheism, secular Christianity, Liberation Theology, agnosticism, and so forth, to compare Christianity to. I have repeatedly said I might be able to accept a God, a deistic god, a philosopher's god, but since that kind of god is no different than none at all, I choose atheism. The alternatives are not between accepting evangelical Christianity and atheism. There are a whole host of intermediary positions to hold to.

34 comments:

Charlie said...

"but since that kind of god is no different than none at all"

John, this is just repeated rhetoric. Metaphysically, there is clearly a huge difference between a world with a God and a world in which no god exists. Logically, the cardinality of such worlds would be unequal. So on this level your statement is flatly wrong.

Even on a practical level, such a God would be responsible in some way for our existence, which would have enormous implications for the nature of persons, the nature of God himself, the nature of the cosmos, the debate on origins, and a host of ontological commitments. It would also encourage us to raise deeper questions rather than dismissing it all away with a doctrinaire acceptance of atheism.

Harry McCall said...

Christians are like Disney’s “Dumbo the Flying Elephant” in that they think they need a feather (God) to really live life. We secular atheists know we can fly better and higher without the crutch of religion.

One of my next posts will consider the Doctrine of Eternal Life in Christianity as present in the Bible…a confused and contradictory promise.

Charlie said...

Harry,

Agnostics, skeptics, and critical thinkers in general know that they can fly higher and better without crutches like dogmatic atheism and organized religion -- both of which are a hindrance to intellectual progress.

Mark Plus said...

Charlie writes:

"Metaphysically, there is clearly a huge difference between a world with a God and a world in which no god exists."

Theists assume that their god created the universe for their convenience. What if it turns out that a god created human life without the expected "benefits package": No meaning, no purpose, no afterlife and no basis for ultimate hope?

Harry McCall said...

Charlie, you appear to be the very type of person Professor John Collins is talking about in the title to my last post. You have a god almost totally detached from the Bible (you never quote where your created god comes from). You have some floating dynamic god who changes his theological and philosophical nature to accommodate your theology.

Since Christians are commanded by Hebrews 10:25 (Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.) Tell me, which denomination are you a member of?

Just why can’t you quote the Bible to back up any of you philosophy? Are you even Bible literate?

uzza said...

Lot of projecting in that email. 'Somebody is afraid'—mostly of being alone, evidently. Some of us need someone else to tell us that our lives mean something: others grow up.

Chris said...

The young minister should read John Beversluis's book on C.S. Lewis. The minister seems to suffer from some of the same kind of fallacious reasoning Beversluis nails Lewis for. For example, the either Christian theism is true or everything is meaningless false dichotomy.

Gandolf said...

John W. Loftus."I have repeatedly said I might be able to accept a God, a deistic god, a philosopher's god, but since that kind of god is no different than none at all, I choose atheism. The alternatives are not between accepting evangelical Christianity and atheism. There are a whole host of intermediary positions to hold to."

Not quite sure if i properly understand your thoughts.

Anyway maybe i feel the same way or maybe im thinking differnt.

But i could accept a God or even Gods if i was shown a personal experience of their very existence.I would believe and honor their commandments if i heard their words right from out of their mouths.

But i have yet to experience the above .And i see no good reason to believe in other human beings gods that i personally believe have been invented by themselves being man made according to their own personal human thoughts.

So for now for those reasons i believe in no god/s and so im classed as an atheist.

Im not afraid .Should there be a god that would wish to hold me responsible for this and in revenge send me to some place called hell.

So be it .

After all which god and following belief system would he have had me decide to choose .If there is in fact but one god yet so many belief systems ,surely should i choose the wrong one then i must then be ignorant.

I choose not to be ignorant and follow any man made belief that holds no real evidence of any real god .Mine is not the choice by default that i cannot explain everything in this world and all around us, so therefore believe there then must be a god.

No surely should i do that i might in fact lead others in my ignorance.It is with such ignorance its possible i might cause harm.

Surely any god that might be and has not yet personally revealed himself to me.Would rather im ignorant of his existence, than me leading others in mine personal ignorance of beliefs.

I put not my faith in the faith of another mans thoughts.

Mark Plus said...

chris writes:

"For example, the either Christian theism is true or everything is meaningless false dichotomy."

Again, a god doesn't necessarily solve this problem. Consider the following propositions:

(1) A god created human life.

(2) A god created human life with the standard "benefits package" of meaning, purpose, an afterlife and a basis for ultimate hope.

For reasons of parsimony we have to prefer (1) because it makes a simpler claim.

mathyoo said...

and an even simpler claim is that the universe exists without any gods. Adding any type of god to the equation necessarily makes it more complex.

Mark Plus said...

mathyoo writes:

"and an even simpler claim is that the universe exists without any gods. Adding any type of god to the equation necessarily makes it more complex."

I phrase it as: "Reality doesn't work in the way theists claim." No theist ever came close to attributing to his god the sorts of weirdness discovered by modern physics and astronomy. How many physicists claim that studying the bible, apologetics and theology prepared them for passing their physics exams, for example?

Jacob said...

"...You would not feel the desire to prove you are right unless something inside of you was scared in realizing the enormity of the fallout this sort of worldview decision causes..."

This really doesn't make any sense. If you paraphrase it, it would read; "You feel the need to prove yourself right because, deep down, you know that you're wrong."

I think it's unfortunate that this theist thinks that proving oneself right is motivated only by the fear of the consequences of being wrong (or alone). He fails to acknowledge the many genuine grievances against theistic worldviews by reducing criticism of Christianity to an atheist's desire to allay their fears of Hell.

Andre the lay dude said...

Along with the many skeptical arguments that has been posed, the idea of a God who is most merciful, loving, and just, falls flat, I think, when one considers just that. If God is going to judge me when it's all said and done, with this concept, I'm able to think that since I also believe in mercy, love and fairness, then this God should do whatever he feels is best with my existence or non-existence. And guess what, I accept it and agree with it. You can't beat that. Let's suppose that there really was this place we call hell, where he keeps us alive in everlasting fire just so that we can feel the burning sensation, all because I didn't become the man he wanted me to be, I will still be able to think, "you know what, this god is truly mighty and merciful, I truly did not deserve to go to heaven!" "I deserve the hottest fire you can create Lord! Thine will be done unto me Lord!" I don't know about you Christians but, something tells me (maybe the evil spirit) that if there is a god, it's not going to be who you expected either.

The Minister's claim about not wanting to be alone and that deep down it's fear why we try to prove ourselves right is, on a 1 to 5 truth scale, a 1 (depending on one's interpretation). No one really wants to be alone, period. In fact, atheists can turn around and say this explains why most people believe in some sort of god, simply because most people do believe. A psychological affect if powerful enough, can control what you believe, to the point you think you're right when you're actually wrong.

People have always been asking me, why do I read skeptical books, why do I say bad things about Jesus, why would I talk about these things that can take away their faiths, if I'm convinced there is no God? I've asked myself also, and I came up with one answer, which is that I'm trying to "reverse the curse". It is very difficult to do, for some people like me who is a thinker, and especially when it was ingrained in you from childhood.

But one thing about someone like me who thinks about the who, what, when, and why we're here, and being told it's a God, who doesn't tell you so, well, it makes you (me) think. You can even say I thought so much, I realized that the god I was taught, cannot exist. And maybe us non-believers are a little pissed about that. Anyways, speaking for myself here, there was nothing I thought about more than God. I felt my church was the true church and wanted to bring people to that truth. Why, because I thought people were misinterpreting the bible and I thought it a good deed to help those people. After all we all need some correction sometimes don't we? To make a long story short, I still think it a good deed to help those I can, who are open minded, and are searching for what we can know to be truth, and what we cannot. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to become a paster, to preach the truth as I knew it. With my new world view, it's still in me to want to elevate truth. Isn't that what we all want?

Apart from that, religion and God is just like leaving a relationship you may have been in for years, and were in love. It's hard to forget it and sometimes you feel like going back. It's natural to feel that way, but it doesn't mean you should ignore what you now know, just to try and make it work.

uzzas said...

If you paraphrase it, it would read; “I am scared, and you people that aren't scared scare me.”

Wolter said...

I'm quite surprised at how narrow a viewpoint you are taking on this.

Let me remind you that Christianity holds no special position as "The Truth". There's also Judaism, Islam, Bahai, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Shinto, and many many more, all claiming to be the One True Way.

If you want to entertain the concept of a Christian god condemning you forever, you must also consider the wrath of the other gods whom you have spurned by making a choice between them (or for none of them).

Mark Plus said...

Wolter said:

"If you want to entertain the concept of a Christian god condemning you forever, you must also consider the wrath of the other gods whom you have spurned by making a choice between them (or for none of them)."

Which god's version of hell will give my life meaning and purpose? I wouldn't want to go to the hell created by the god that leaves the universe devoid of those qualities.

Evan said...

Richard Carrier addressed this point very well here.

John W. Loftus said...

Evan, Carrier's P8 needs to be properly exegeted for his argument to go through.

Evan said...

Yes, John. I suppose that if you assume that Jesus speaks only about interpersonal relationships and not that between the deity and the created, it's not necessarily a perfect premise.

However, I would think that the Christian would not wish God to hew to a lower standard than that which he admonishes his created to adhere to.

Wolter said...

Evan, such an assumption would be false. Jesus never said anything about interpersonal relationships vs deity and created. That's just a bunch of evangelical claptrap.

The biblical quote we have about Jesus simply has him saying that you can only reach Yahweh through him.

tigg13 said...

I like to call this type of argument "spiritual profiling". He's basically projecting a negative stereotype and expecting you to admit to it.

AdamH said...

Well Mr. Loftus, I think you said it best when you said in your post "Surely this does not prove our case."

I agree, it surely doesn't.

You would need to do much more, rather than simply conclude, as you did in your book (and rather weakly) that its all chance.

You would need to demonstrate that all existence, life, and mind itself are the product of mindless forces.

This has never been demonstrated, and I am certain can not be. Just as certain as you claim to be about your assertions.

And you need to demonstrate this because you make the absolute claim in your book that "there is no God", you don't simply rely on the "lack of belief" dodge.

So, I am waiting for that demonstration.

I think it will be a long wait. In fact, you might say, an eternal one!

Daniel said...

Good points, John!

Philip said...

AdamH,

If you're so "certain," then why should John demonstrate it?How is he to know whether you'd be willing to actually consider his evidence, as you already seem to be 100% sure that he's wrong?

Chris said...

AdamH,

In order to show that there is no god(s) you don't have to explain all that other stuff (mind, etc.). All you have to show is that the proposed conceptions of god are improbable and/or impossible.

You're presupposing that atheism must be based on naturalism or materialism (which you state very crudely in a form that I suspect many materialists would not accept as an accurate characterization of their view). But, this is not the case. One can be an atheist and still believe that mathematical entities are not made up of matter and exist independently of human minds. Arguments for atheism need not hang their hats on materialism. There is no logical or philosophical reason to saddle atheists with materialism. Doing so might give the theist a sense of superiority in their own views because they think they can point out problems with materialism but it's a false sense of security if they're trying to defeat atheism.

Chris said...

Oops. That should just be "improbable or impossible".

Gandolf said...

Adamh seems to go for the conclusion by default theory.

We cant prove that their is no god/s so then we must then come to the conclusion that there then must be.

Then goes on to say:You would need to demonstrate that all existence, life, and mind itself are the product of mindless forces.

He`s calling us all mindless ! folks,doesnt allow that we might be able to learn through things such as trial and error or achievement and success.

Where i live deer used to be slaughtered with ease by the use of the noise helicopters by chasing them out of the bush .

By the odd one only getting slightly wounded and succeeding in running back to the bush they have evolved and passed on the knowledge to their offspring .Now it so much harder to shoot them this way as they now stay and hide in the bush.

But i guess according to Adams theory being that life on earth is all just mindless ,we should take the default theory and be thinking what a wonderful god/s there must be that spoke to these deer and told them to hide not run.

I personally think i wont.I think for now until i see some real evidence to suggest otherwise i will figure that its all about the mind and learning. And figure that though we dont know everything we will learn more and more as time goes by .

Aquaria said...

Adamh seems to go for the conclusion by default theory.

We cant prove that their is no god/s so then we must then come to the conclusion that there then must be.


I was just arguing a similar point with a theist the other day.

The argument is rubbish. Let's play a simple substitution game to show why:

We can't prove that there is no Santa, so that means there is a Santa!

We can't prove that there is no Isis, so that means there is an Isis!

We can't prove that there aren't pink unicorns, so that means there are pink unicorns!

We can't prove there aren't pots of gold at the end of rainbows, so there are pots of gold at the end of rainbows!

I doubt many theists believe any of these assertions, and would correctly deem them obviously, patently absurd. They'd rightfully ask for evidence to establish existence for Santa, pink unicorns, Isis, and pots of gold lurking near rainbows, and until then, bugger off with the nonsense.

Yet those same theists keep trotting out this tired, lame argument to justify belief in their own deity. And then they're puzzled when we laugh at them for saying that since we can't prove X deity doesn't exist, it does.

I wish this tiresome little tactic would disappear from the theist playbook forever, but I doubt it will.

oli said...

I agree with the crazy preacher guy from the original post!

Or at least, with this part
"death is an enemy"
The rest is bunk.

Why is death an enemy for christians? Surely without death they never get to chum it up with Jesus and God (do we need an and, aren't they the same guy?) in heaven. Does that mean that gods original plan was for humans never to get to heaven? If so aren't we better off now?

But anyway, death is an enemy. I agree. Its one of the many reasons i class myself as a transhumanist. But despite that, i know exactly where the protest and resistance will come from once we start working on age retardant therapies that dramatically extend life. They'll come from the religious right. Evangelicals such as the good preacher here will be the first to stand up and say "three score and ten, three score and ten!".

If death is an enemy, then logically we should aim to defeat it.

Gandolf said...

Aquaria said...
"I doubt many theists believe any of these assertions, and would correctly deem them obviously, patently absurd. They'd rightfully ask for evidence to establish existence for Santa, pink unicorns, Isis, and pots of gold lurking near rainbows, and until then, bugger off with the nonsense."

Yes it seems quite logical to be quite within your rights to ask the one thats so absurdly sure of there being santa ,pink unicorns etc ,to be the one to first! provide some good evidence of proof .

Yet Christians so often seem to think non believers should have just as much pressure put on them to prove there being no god/s .

Maybe its because they know they are giving you a hopeless task.They have no good evidence available to suggest there are any god/s !, so its highly unlikely if not almost impossible that a unbeliever will ever find evidence to totally prove they dont exist .

Its their little stalemate game they play !, when finding themselves with no real answers.

How can we ever prove something that is nothing ? .We have so much evidence to suggest that its most likely no ! pink unicorns exist , yet its never ever going to quite be total evidence of indisputable fact .

There may very well still be those that believe in pink unicorns for many years yet to come .

john said...

No fear of God's judgment eh? That's not what you'll be saying after you die...

I hope you get saved.

tigg13 said...

Oh my goodness...John knows what's going to happen to us after we die!

How did you come upon this knowledge John?

Have you been dead?

When and where did you die? How long were you dead for?

Were you able to get any audio or video footage of your death experience? How about an 8x10 glossy of you and jesus mugging for the camera in front of the pearly gates?

And what is there to be afraid of anyway? Is it normal to fear someone who is supposed to love you?

The only thing that I fear about death is the dying part. (I'm allergic to pain.) And the only thing that worries me is how my loved ones will cope without me.

To trouble one's self any further over something this inevitable is a pointless waste.

Logossfera said...

Socrates, the man who died for his convictions impressed Thomas Aquinas so much that he used the word "saint" for Socrates. From this perspective and if the idiot that wrote the email is right aren't all atheists "saints". And more than this, unlike Socrates, we're not sacrificing a few years of our lives but an eternity that we "chose" to spend in pain?

Either Aquinas was wrong for using the word saint for Socrates or we, atheists, are saints too. Have you spoted the false dilema, christians? There are more options including: you are wrong.

zilch said...

logossfera: According to Dante, Socrates, along with a bunch of other "virtuous" pagans, didn't score Heaven, not having been baptized, but was quartered in the First Circle of Hell, or Limbo. There the great ancients discussed ethics and philosophy eternally.

But unless you, and I, score as high as Socrates and Plato, I'm afraid the last thing we will read is the sign over the gate saying "lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate".

That is, if Dante is right. Perhaps he's wrong.