Am I Omniscient Enough to Know There Isn't a God?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett recently asked me this question:
How much knowledge of the natural universe do you have? What is the percentage? Give me an estimate. I would like to know.
The import of such a question is reflected in the title to this post. Some believers think, perhaps Harvey does too, that in order for me to claim a god doesn't exist I need to know all things. Really? This is so laughable I hardly know where to start, but here we go...

Do I need to have omniscience before I can claim the following things?

1) That there are no unicorns, elves, trolls, or hobbits.
2) That there is no Santa Claus or Easter bunny.
3) That there is no Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, Juno, Janus, Hermes, Aphrodite, Baal, Asherah, Molech, Ra, Hathor, Osirus, Seth, Horus, Thor, or one of the 2,500 deities of the world? Logic alone tells me they cannot all exist! Atheism Blog informs us that at least 500 of these deities are dead. Based on this J.L. Schellenberg argues that the odds are always going to favor the conclusion that your view is wrong in this situation. There are just too many other gods out there that undermine the probability that you’ve got the right one.

While I merely mentioned a few things that directly relate to whether I can claim to know the Christian God exists, there are a host of other things I can claim to know without also claiming omniscience. This includes everything I claim to know, as in E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G, since Harvey likes to use capital letters to emphasize things. Even though I do not have omniscience I can still claim to know everything that I claim to know, all of it. And trust me on this, there are degrees of assuredness to the things I claim to know, so when I say I know George Washington was the first President of the United States my assuredness of that fact in the past is always going to be less than my claim that when I drop a book it will fall because of gravity. So along with any knowledge claim there is an implicit assuredness factor that is left unstated. But I could state them for you if you want me too, with some further reflection. This means there is always a probability factor involved in all knowledge claims, and I also have a good grasp of those claims of mine that have a higher level of assuredness to them than other things I claim to know that I am less sure about.

So when it comes to my denial that the Christian God of the Bible exists I am about as sure of this as I am that George Washington was our first president, since whether or not this God exists is also a historical conclusion regarding the claims that such a God revealed himself in the past--the ancient superstitious past, mind you.

So in answer to Harvey’s question I know enough to know I don't know that much about the universe, kinda like Socrates who said that the wise person is the one who claims not to know much at all.

But, what I do know tells me there is no creator God, no Holy Spirit, no Trinity, no fall into sin in the Garden of Eden, no universal flood, no Exodus or Canaanite conquest, no prophecy about Jesus that specifically points to him as the Messiah, no virgin birth, no incarnation, no atonement, no resurrection, no ascension into the sky, no future coming of the Son of Man, no great white throne judgment, no Satan, no heaven above nor hell below, and no inspired writings from God.

I could be wrong about these things though, as Harvey will be quick to say since I've just admitted I don't know much about the universe. Yes, I could be wrong. I admit this. I could be wrong about George Washington too. But I consider what I do know to virtually eliminate that possibility. You cannot drive a truckload of silly hypotheses and ignorant conjectures based upon non-veridical religious experiences through that small hole of a possibility.

Now I have a question to ask you Harvey. How much do YOU know about the universe (and I’ll throw in the history of theology, the history of the Bible, the history of the church, apologetics, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy)? ;-) My claim is you don’t know what I do.

79 comments:

Jesse said...

If the God in question is immaterial, then you do know enough to know that there is no such being because you are aware that "mind" is an emergent property of complex arrangements of matter.

This "physicalism" is the most powerful refutation of an immaterial deity and its attendent spirits because it is supported by such a wealth of evidence in the form of the discoveries of modern neuroscience.

Dan Gilbert said...

Nicely said, John. The claim of absolute knowledge is usually claimed by the theists, not by the atheists. Isn't that ironic? ;-)

Joe Staub said...

John, the macro and micro universe is vast and we still know precious little about them. The body of knowledge that we have is comparitively incredible compared with a few centuries ago, but we are still learning more and more on a daily basis. Is there any reason to think that we have enough knowledge to be certain "enough" to make claims such as, "I know that a god does not exist." I am not convinced by the information that you cite as adequate "enough" to conclude that a god does not exist. It seems arrogant at worst and unwise at least to come to that conclusion. If our knowlege base increases as it has, then in a couple of hundred years our generation will probably be found ignorant, as we now view people who lived in the 16th century.

Tyro said...

It's always curious that so many Christians imagine that someone rejecting an omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent deity composed of spirit who created the universe and its natural laws and guided evolution and breathed the soul of life into humanity, who gave us His son and will welcome our immortal souls into an eternal non-material afterlife are the ones making an absolutist claim.

Why do you suppose that so many say this? Is it a rhetorical attack or is it a genuine mistaken belief?

Joe Staub said...

Tyro, isn't there a third option? That it could be true?

I understand why and how people could be offended by Christianity's claims. I really do! I even toyed with leaving my faith because of the exclusivity and absolutism of Christian claims. But, but, but! What I consider problems and undesirables do not make the claims untrue.

John W. Loftus said...

Tyro I believe they are simply brainwashed by the Christian culture into defending ignorant beliefs.

Joe (who's having a busy day here today) said...If our knowlege base increases as it has, then in a couple of hundred years our generation will probably be found ignorant, as we now view people who lived in the 16th century.

No one, and I mean no one can be rational in proposing that we should not base our conclusions on what we know today because of what we might possibly or remotely find out tomorrow. No one. And while you are correct that the future might bear you out it gives us no reason to believe in today's world based on what we might find in the future. Again, no one but a brainwashed person would dare say this.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

Thanks for the post BUT (nice caps) YOU still haven't answered my question and THINK that your post is the basis of my questions...Nice try but that doesn't address what I asked...Since you ADMIT that you "don't know much" whatever that is...is it 5% 10% or 1% or maybe 49%??? I asked 2 Questions:

1- If that's the case HOW and on what rational basis do you conclude that there is NO God?

2- How do you account for all the knowledge that you don't know? (eg: how is unknown knowledge categorized in your worldview BY YOU not others but you?)

I guess that's 3 questions. I'd like to know siince this seems to be up your alley.

I'm looking.

goprairie said...

one does not need to know the answer to where everything came from or why it came to be the way it is to claim they do not believe in god.
there is reason to believe in science's claims because we have seen enough physical evidence to support that. it's all about observation of evidence and the stories that explain larger workings fitting the evidence we have seen.
if no one had taught you there was a god, you would have no reason to come up with the idea that there was.
if no on taught you there was water, you would come across some and crave drinking some and know of it, tho maybe not by that name.
if no on taught you about gravity, you would still know that things that are not fastened down still tend to stay down. you would know of gravity even if no one taught you.
if no one taught you about easter bunny, when candy showed up in the morning, you'd assume your folks or visiting relatives put it out there to surprise you.
how do you know to believe in god other than that people told you to? if you think there are things in the world that 'prove' god, you still have to look at other explanations and weigh logically and intelligently whether other explanations are more likely than the god explanation.
if you think the feeling of awe you feel at beautiful scenery is some sort of proof of god, maybe you should pretend no one ever told you about god and think of how you could explain that feeling.
you might read up on some brain science and learn about sensory overload and the sensation that we have of where our physical boundaries are and how having that physical boundary feeling tricked by stong emotion can bring on that 'woo' feeling. no god needed. brain chemicals.
i have seen no evidence for god and any evidence others 'witness' to me are things i can explain by some other more likely cause, like brain science, nature, instinct, evolution, and so on.
in fact, every version of god that someone has tried to teach me about that i have thought about ends up having some illogical flaw to it that makes me reject it. no one has come up with a god concept that makes sense to me. many of the contradictions have been discussed here, such as a god that can answer prayers only answering some and not others. unfair picky bastard if that is really what he does and not consistent with any god concept that makes sense. saying your god answers your prayers tells me you have not thought your god concept out well enough or you'd have come to the conclusion that is illogical and inconsistent with your definition of your god. but few people can actually define their god, because errors surface with every definition, so they give up and prop it up with the f word - "faith".
back to my original question:
if not for that you were taught to, why DO you believe in god? have you examined other causes for that 'evidence' and weighed them against the 'god' answer?

John W. Loftus said...

Harvey, what I know leads me to claim God doesn't exist. If there is knowledge outside of that which I know then I cannot base any conclusions on it. I can only conclude about that which I know.

I suppose you think that we may learn in the future some evidence that shows you are correct. But no one would make an argument like that unless he's brainwashed. Let's see, the available evidence leads us to conclusion X, but since we might find evidence in the future for Y we should conclude Y. This is what you're asking me.

Listen, can you not appreciate the fact that if your God wants us to believe he would provide some kind of evidence for us to believe. I see none the leads me to believe. In fact I see mostly disconfirming evidence against your belief. Are you now going to argue that God places these intellectual roadblocks in our way so that we have an excuse not to believe? If so, think about it. He's done an excellent job of it since your particular localized Christianity, of the evangelical inerrancy kind, is not shared by, well, shall we say, nearly 5.9 billion people out of 6 billion. Where then is the evidence for THAT claim? There is no good evidence for the God you worship. I could easily defeat all of your claims.

BTW: Have you gotten and read my book? I think my reasons can be found in it. What are you waiting for? I'll not chide you if you were honest enough to confess that you're scared. But overcome your fears. Seek the truth. If God exists he would want you to be honest about your faith. Test your faith with my book and the Outsider Test for Faith. Take the DC challenge too. I've read most all of the top Christian apologist books. You need to at least read one of the top skeptical books, mine.

Cheers.

Joe Staub said...

"No one, and I mean no one can be rational in proposing that we should not base our conclusions on what we know today because of what we might possibly or remotely find out tomorrow."

What I mean is that I think we really don't have adequate knowledge to make statements of certainty about god's existence or lack of existence. On the basis of information available to us. Not that we should hold out just in case! You are right, that would be silly.

I have noticed that you assume the worst and most stupid interpretation of those who disagree with you. OK, let's just all admit that John is smarter, better, more knowledgeable, and just wiser than believers. We can't think. We are deluded. We are brainwashed and blinded. But atheists and free thinkers are not. They have the truth because they have cleverly managed to strip themselves of superstition and risen above the sub-species of the faithful. Is this your presupposition?

I don't want to get baned from your blog, so please take this as sarcasm.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

Also, you've asked me a question and i will get to it...It's rather EASY for me...but I've also made the following observations about your little dissertation here. Concerning all the gods in history you said something I find interesting:

"Logic alone tells me they cannot all exist!"

You said "they cannot ALL exist" and you're preaching to the choir...I AGREE with that 100%. But, correct me if I'm wrong, your world view DOESN'T quite say that does it? Your worldview says that NONE of them exists, right? more specifically, your world view says that the Christian God IN PARTICULAR can't exist right?

Then you say this also regarding your assuredness to greater or lesser degrees: "my assuredness of that fact in the past is always going to be less than my claim that when I drop a book it will fall because of gravity."

In this statement you contrasted your knowldge of George Washington claiming that you would be more certain about the effects of gravity than his actual historicity.

However, John when you "drop a book" do you always have that certainity it will "fall because of gravity"? Isn't that statement limited to your perception of earthly laws?

What about a book that's dropped in outer space?

I could say more but what say ye of these things?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

goprarie,

"one does not need to know the answer to where everything came from or why it came to be the way it is to claim they do not believe in god."

You obfuscate and avoid the argument by stating "they do not believe in god"

Then based on what you're saying (even though you miss my point) this is a double edged sword isn't it Go???...Answer: THEN WHY is it the imposition of the atheist to claim that Christian MUST know MORE in order to claim that there is a God and that our claim is based on lack of knowledge???

I AWAIT an answer as best as you can answer.

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, thanks for noticing! I appreciate the compliments. ;-)

Harvey, I reject one more god than you do.

And to suggest that gravity doesn't hold in outer space is a non-sequitur from what I was arguing, for if the context was outer space than I know this as well. I know what I know, and I know this about gravity in outer space.

There is gravitational pull in space you know.

Gotta go have fun...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

"I suppose you think that we may learn in the future some evidence that shows you are correct. But no one would make an argument like that unless he's brainwashed.

Now let's see...there's biological evolutionary science that makes this claim EVERYDAY..."What we don't know today science will tell us in the future"...I've seen and read YOU GUYS argue that on this site...So future knowldge only worls one way??? (By the way, that's not even remotely close to my argument here.)

What I want you to address is your LACK of knowldge and how you categorize or rationalize that gaping hole of what you don't know...Just to help you out a little. If you're a mensa member you know less than 10% of all knowldge. (and that's being gracious)

So what does the Metaphysical Naturalist do with knowledge you don't have...Goprarie was ALMOST true to the only rational answer but could not go there because of the serious implications to his unbelief....

Since it seems I've lost you here, I'll come back with more specificity and also answer your question in my next post...But since you like this...let's do this...this is gettin' good.

Later.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

"Harvey, I reject one more god than you do."

Yes you do John. That's a given. My question is on what basis do you reject that "one more god"?

Since you admit that you "don't know much"

HOW IS IS that ALL god knowledge has somehow funneled to you in order for you to make a rational decision...Aren't you basing this on your BELIEF?

The you say: "And to suggest that gravity doesn't hold in outer space is a non-sequitur from what I was arguing, for if the context was outer space than I know this as well. I know what I know, and I know this about gravity in outer space."

John, at what point have I limited our conversation of knowledge to Earth? Was that your PRESUPPOSITIONAL thinking that LIMITED your experience or thoughts to earth? You made an unqualified absolute statement:

"my assuredness of that fact in the past is always going to be less than my claim that when I drop a book it will fall because of gravity."

You were SURE of this when you made the statement but know you've qualified it BECAUSE there are laws that SUPERCEEDE the natural or earthly laws. Is that right? whether there is gravity or NOT is not the question, it's effects are based on your absolute and unqualified statement...

So since you have qualified your statement, do you or do you not admit that there are times and circumstances under which certain laws are either suspended or superceeded just based on what you currently know in the universe?

Ooh, NOW who's in the Hot Seat now? Thanks for undertaking this topic.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

The quagmire is this for ALL of you atheists...

You constantly berade Christians for not having enough knowledge on which to make a claim and even nonsensically call us deluded when we hold certain "beliefs" with the solid evidences that we hold, BUT NOONE OF YOU are in any better position...In fact your position is much worse than any Christian...

You DON'T CONSIDER certain evidences, because those evidences don't support your claims, and further you easily admit that you need not have ALL knowledge or even a great percent of knowledge in order for you NOT to believe...in fact when pressed and responding you do what goprarie did, your "knowledge" is reduced to "belief" isn't it?

In other words the truth or nontruth of Christianity has NOTHING to do with evidence, it has everything to do with "BELIEF" doesn't it???

WHO'S DELUDED NOW???

Answer this for me.

goprairie said...

learn to spell prairie correctly
don't assume you know my gender

when someone says 'there is no god' they most probably mean 'i believe there is not god' just as when they say 'it is tuesday' they truly believe it is tuesday. if someone could show them enough evidence that it is wednesday, they might come to believe they had slept around the clock and missed a day. so when someone says 'there is no god' they mean they believe there is not god based on all they know and have seen so far. to split hairs about that is to try to turn the conversation somewhere else to increase your chances of winning something by obfuscating.

answer my questions first:
1) define your god
2) tell me what evidence there is in this world for your god

Jeff said...

Harvey, you're doing nothing but trying to shift the burden of proof. Even if we were to imagine that on the far side of Pluto is a piece of evidence for the existence of God - and if only we could see that side, we would know it was there - then that still does not help us out. If there is knowledge that we are unaware of, we cannot factor it into an argument. If we, however, were able to send out a probe and see the opposite side of Pluto, and find that evidence, then we could use it and re-evaluate the argument about God.

The problem here, though, is that as the methodology of science has progressed forward, we have seen that an increase in scientific knowledge tends to lead to a decrease in evidence for God. Based on this general trend, we can make a reasonable prediction that further knowledge will not contradict this trend. It's not certain, of course, by any means, but very little in life is. We're talking about probabilities, not possibilities.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Go...whatever,

"learn to spell prairie correctly don't assume you know my gender"

I don't care who or WHAT you are...that has nothing to do with my argument in the least and I can't type so that is what it is...

You said: "when someone says 'there is no god' they most probably mean 'i believe there is not god'

That's right. That's what they mean. However, the atheist worldview is based on what you call methodological naturalism or metaphysical naturalism. There is no accounting for "belief" in your system. So what you said is CONFUSING and doesn't go anywhere.
Your whole Tuesday thing is unconvincing, either it's Tuesday or not, there's no room for an interpretation to either make it Tuesday or Wed.

Are you really evidentially convinced that God does not exist? Since I assume that you probably know as much or less than John who readily admits that he "doesn't know much" (so far as all knowledge is concerned) What is your rationalle for your unbelief?

In other words the problem yet exists and has not been addressed by any of you is how is what you don't know and have no knowledge of rationalized by you as an atheist?

Before you call me deluded you better know the answer to that question.

My answers are simple in response to your questions. As it pertains to life and living the essential elements of my God are defined through scripture but those are ONLY essentials. There are a host of other aspects that help define him, and scripture directs me where to look for those confirmations.

Secondly, I have multiple claims and physical evidences that support those claims and also meet all forms of methodological historical criteria, and all or some of those create a compelling case for my position.

Try to answer my questions next time. Thanks.

stevec said...

I don't have to know what's in your pocket in order to know that it isn't a live African bull elephant.

Christianity makes claims more ridiculous than claiming to have a live African bull elephant in one's pocket.

Yoo said...

Crap, I had discounted as myth the story of the son of the Emperor of Heaven and a bear turned woman giving birth to the first king of the first nation in Korea. I have never given much thought to the dismissal, and discounted it without much of a rationale than that it sounds like a fantastical myth.

But given the strong textual and physical evidence that the nation in question actually existed, maybe I really should believe that a former bear was the mother of a king, not to mention put my life in the hands of the heavenly bureaucracy. I may have to thank Harvey for making me consider converting to Daejonggyo.

Of course, believing in Daejonggyo would be rejecting Christianity ...

Toby said...

John,

Excellent post!

If god existed and wanted to be defended, I do believe that god would/could/SHOULD have picked better representation. Perhaps this is like be assigned a public defender?

Philip R Kreyche said...

"You DON'T CONSIDER certain evidences, because those evidences don't support your claims"

Wrong. I consider all evidences, but I can't help it if I can't agree on some people's conclusions based on that evidence.

I have nothing, ultimately, to gain as an atheist, so I have no reason to discount evidence against my worldview if I honestly think it makes sense.

Philip R Kreyche said...

And Harvey, they've been answering your questions. Don't try to make it look like they're avoiding you, because they honestly have no reason to fear you or your questions.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Jeff and Stevec,

I appreciate your arguments and observations, I would only state that the direction I am going with this is not based on a "EUREKA moment" where there is some great discovery that puts all doubt and doubters to rest or shame. I don't believe that will ever be (on a mass scale)in this existence.

What I am talking about is NOT omniscience as John stated in the title. I am talking about rational approaches to what you don't know.

In these few posts every atheist admits that our knowledge is limited...YET, the claim that is repeated here is that more KNOWLEDGE decreases belief in God...You also suggest that too...

My claim is that NONE of you are in a position to adequately make that claim because even the smartest of us only knows relatively NOTHING so far as universal knowledge is concerned.

Therefore it is either a "belief", "bias" or "presupposition" to think that knowledge satifys the rationale necessary to make a decision either to believe or not believe. in other words that's a SHAM and a pretense. It is however what we expect to find in what the bible describes as a sin nature.(That's off the point)

Let's say, you and I know the same percentage of all universal knowledge. You are an unbeliever and I am a believer (Christian).

If there is a delusion, Would we not be equally deluded in both of our paths? How can you say that I am deluded for my belief when I have evaluated what evidence I have, not discounted anything, and made a decision, while at the same time there are evidences that YOU have thrown out because they do not fit in yout naturalistic world view and as John made the mistake of, in your earthly view?

So please tell me once again:

1- HOW and on what rational basis do you conclude that there is NO God?

2- How do you account for all the knowledge that you don't know? (i'll add, or have)

I'll be a little more plain. Since we all agree that it's not essential to know everythiung in the universe and none of us will ever be able to achieve that how do we account for the knowledge that we don't posess?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Philip,

"Wrong. I consider all evidences, but I can't help it if I can't agree on some people's conclusions based on that evidence."

You're right and we're not talking about "peoples conclusions" we're talking about yours since you addressed me. You can only account for what you believe or don't believe is that right?

What you're saying is that they type of evidence hasn't satisfied you enought to believe? That's a far cry from saying that there is no evidence.

You also said: "I have nothing, ultimately, to gain as an atheist, so I have no reason to discount evidence against my worldview if I honestly think it makes sense."

Now that's where it gets sticky and down right dishonest in most cases. the atheist has everything to lose because his whole world changes IF an "evidence" ever makes sense to him/her.

That doesn't yet address the question. So I'll restate it better this time:

we all agree that our universal knowledge is limited and certainly less than a minute percentage of all knowledge.

Since we make decisions particularly about God without the benefit of all knowledge as we all do, Is your choice to be an unbeliever an act of faith or one of rationality?

Be careful how you answer.

Dave Huntsman said...

Harvey, with all due respect, your receiver doesn't seem to be turned on; you seem angry and argumentative, and insist on lecturing people.

I think you missed the point, for example, when John pointed out that he has no belief in just one more god than you do - out of thousands. He's saying that he doesn't believe in that last god for the exact same reasons the two of you don't believe in the other two thousand gods.

defined through scripture but those are ONLY essentials. ...........Secondly, I have multiple claims and physical evidences that support those claims and also meet all forms of methodological historical criteria, and all or some of those create a compelling case for my position..

No, you don't (and you don't give any). While there is indirect evidence for a historical Jesus on which the later Christ mythologies were based, when those layers were added, what they are, whatever, is pretty clear.

Out of the thousands of gods that humans have claimed existed, none, so far, has been found to exist; and the 'evidence' for them has, one right after another, just evaporated.

Strangely enough, that doesn't automatically prove that no 'higher power' had a role in our creation; but on the other hand, there is zero evidence - so far - of any such power. In contrast to what someone said about people here limiting themselves to Earth in their thinking, I never have; in fact, thinking off-Earth has been my job for 34 years (and counting) in my career at NASA. Lemme give you one science fiction story line I liked.

The Star Trek universe long-ago head on acknowledged that 'there seem to be a lot of humanoids in the galaxy'. (Essentially admitting what we all know, that most of the actors around Los Angeles they had to hire were human. Not all of them; but, most). As it went into the second series, though, they decided to play with that theme, of why so many humanoids on so many different planets. One of Capt. Picard's old archeology professor's shows up; tells Picard that he's made a fantastic discovery, and asks Picard to resign from Star Fleet to go off with him on an adventure to finish it. Picard of course refuses; but when the professor turns up dead, he assumes his old mentor's mission. But first he has to figure out what his great 'discovery' is.

What they find is that the old archeologist had gotten into DNA archeology - and had found out that there was, incredibly, a genetic link between all these different humanoid species that had evolved in totally different solar systems. Not only that - the Chief Engineer, in comparing the DNA from different humanoids, started noticing a pattern; and that the pattern essentially contained a computer program. Not only that, not only was there a program in the DNA, it was in the oldest part of DNA; that which had been in life on earth for hundreds of millions of years.

So they collect DNA from a couple of more planets, complete the program - and it turns out to be a digital video recording, hundreds of billions of years old. From a species - humanoid- who, when they existed in the galaxy, found themselves alone, with no other intelligent life. So they had decided to make the video, break the program into fragments, and seed the fragments of their DNA on planets all throughout the galaxy. The intention was that hopefully descendant humanoid species would eventually evolve on more than one planet; that those species would realize their was a program buried in their core DNA, and that they'd have to cooperate to see what the program was. And all it was a video, from the parent species of all, letting their 'children' know where they had come from; and that the parents had in fact existed.

It's a great story.

We don't know what we don't know yet. But we have to keep pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, keep on exploring, keep on questioning. None of the gods that human minds have made up has been shown to be true. With such a history - continuous god creation, continuous lack of proof, continuous blind belief by those who refuse to apply the same rationality to their gods that they do for everything else in every day life.....I have no reason to believe it will change, based on a couple millenia of experience. Gods that humans make up and believe blindly in spite of evidence (or, lack of evidence), are just that - made up.

But there's always the possibility that the real discoveries, out there, will put all the gods made in our minds in our own images to shame. Reality is not only stranger than we imagine; it is stranger than we can imagine.

Dave

sconnor said...

Harvey Burnett

Bottom line -- all you have is a fallible human concept; nothing but a human construct built from your own idiosyncratic interpretation of scripture and bloated, subjective rationalizations.

There is NO objective evidence for a personal god existing.

If you had objective evidence for the existence of your god you wouldn't need FAITH and you wouldn't have to resort to one over-reaching rationalization after another.

With this being said, I do not claim that god does not exists. There very well could be some sort of ultimate reality (a god for lack of a better word) but from my perspective this ultimate reality has not revealed himself to us and I have yet to see any objective evidence of this god's existence.

In any case, if such a being existed -- THE CREATOR OF THE INFINITE UNIVERSE -- I would suspect our understanding or definition of IT would be wholly inferior. That is why religion and christianity in particular come up so short. There definition; there construct of god mirrors humanity with all it's faults. A god (an ultimate reality) shouldn't have all the faults of humanity; IT should be far above us at least in equaling the magnitude of the universe. If there is a god IT would have to be something that we can't even begin to imagine, let alone giving IT inept attributes.

If god exists, then god knows, exactly, where to find me -- he can tell me, exactly, and concisely, everything he needs me to know, himself -- this way, I can be absolutely certain, what god wants from me, and I don't have to rely on some fallible, deluded "follower of Christ", that makes extraordinary, interpretive claims, he can't substantiate.

--S.

quedula said...

For all human intents and purposes there is no evidence for a supernatural being that has ever had any interest whatsoever in us, or ever will have; will ever make his existence known and whose existence we shall ever prove or disprove.

So its probably not worth worrying about it.

Taolung said...

I quite enjoy this argument from the theists. It's their attempt at trying to convince the atheist that they are really, at most, agnostic - that they can't know enough about the world to make any decision about Gods existence.

So just grant the argument to them, and then the reverse is true - they must be agnostics, too! Their knowledge about the universe isn't any more than ours, so they know as little as we know.

Yet they're the ones making a claim about what is, and at the same time, calling us unreasonable.

Strange.

mpg said...

Taoloung said: "I quite enjoy this argument from the theists. It's their attempt at trying to convince the atheist that they are really, at most, agnostic - that they can't know enough about the world to make any decision about Gods existence."

I absolutely agree. I was going to write this too, but you beat me to it. However, Harvey does have a valid and sound point. If God is immaterial, no knowledge of the world, even absolute knowledge of the material world, will disprove God or give one a basis for disbelief in God. If God is posited as a creator, and he is described as at least superior to us in mind, there is simply no way one can deduce from looking at the outside world that "God does not exist". So I think we atheists are correctly chided by Harvey's arguments. However, just as you say, no evidence from the material world can therefore be truly considered evidence for a creator as a superior mind. And this is were Haryey falls into his own trap for I doubt natural theologians like Swinburne would make the same argument.

But we do have to acknowledge Harvey's basic point.

goprairie said...

if god is immaterial and unable to make himself known to us, how can we know that we are supposed to believe in him and worship him? if god is so vague and distant as to refuse to let his presense be know to us, then worshipping him is irrelevant and pointless. there may as well be no god. the entire worship and church system is built on a book that could not have been written by the people that most christians think wrote it in the time frame that most christians think it was written. yet they base a big portion of their lives on it. i find that . . . odd.

i WILL go as far as to say i do with certainty believe there is no god. i do not need to have an abundance of KNOWLEDGE to know that. I only have to see that the 'knowledge' I HAVE been givin of why i should believe is contradictory and illogical and therefore cannot be true. akin to telling me that a grapefruit falls to the floor in my house but not in one of those houses built on a "mystery spot" where water flows uphill. i can know that mystery spot house is fake because i know gravity behaves a certain way. oh, wait, do you believe in those mystery spots, harvey?

we DON'T ask christians to have MORE knowledge to prove their god, we don't fault them for not having enough knowledge, we just say that the 'knowledge' they DO have is illogical, impossible, unlikely, inconsistent, and therefore, holds no truth for us. once the existing 'knowledge' is of such poor quality, no more new knowledge is of any use. the issue is dead.

harvey still will not define his god so that we can tell him specifically why we do not believe his god is possible. probably because once he starts to list his god's characteristics, he KNOWS there will be conflicting and illogical statements that he cannot support.

goprairie said...

it is not important how much knowledge we have total. we only need to have enough to make the decision at hand. i do not need to know physics or calculus or the history of embroidery stitches to make a landscape design decision. I only need to know the relevant information about site and plants available and goals of the project.
my atheism is based on
1) the illogic of every god 'fact' anyone has ever exposed me to.
2) alternate BETTER explanations for everything that has ever been attributed to 'god'.
let's take one example. we say IF your god is a) good and b) all powerful then there should not be suffering. you then generally say that there has to be bad in the world to contrast the good so that we can experience the good. i bought that for a while. then i learned about brain science. the brain chemicals that make us feel any of the different kinds of good have NOTHING to do with the brain chemicals that make us feel the various kinds of bad. they are not biologically opposite. we do not need sad brain chemicals to feel the effects of happy brain chemicals. we do not need loneliness brain chemicals to feel the happy to be with people brain chemicals. so if god wants us to feel the good stuff, he only had to give us periods where we LACK the good stuff, i.e. boredom. the good stuff contradicts boredom and that is enough. so in this example, the science takes away the reason i ws given of why god allows suffering.

J.L. Hinman said...

But you don't know that there is no Zeus. You are only assuming so because we haven't heard from him in a long time.

The issue of trying to use lack of belief in discorded mythos with belief in God is nothing more than the fallacy of arguing from analogy. Another problem, and more serious, is that you are just assuming that belief is adding a fact to the universe.

You are treating God like these contingencies that you talk about which are within the empirical verifiable realm (regardless of their alleged abilities to hide themselves, which should be considered as part of the hypothetical). Since they are contingent they are empirical and could theoretically be observed. God is off scale because God is not just another thing in the universe, but the basis of their being a universe in the first place.

Neither Zeus nor Unicorns were credited with creating all reality or with being eternal. That's going to make a huge difference.

I'm telling you man, you need out of this funck you are in. You are arguing form standard informal fallacies. that's benighted you John.

Lott's wife, come on man, is that eigth grade sunday school?

J.L. Hinman said...

f the God in question is immaterial, then you do know enough to know that there is no such being because you are aware that "mind" is an emergent property of complex arrangements of matter.

This "physicalism" is the most powerful refutation of an immaterial deity and its attendent spirits because it is supported by such a wealth of evidence in the form of the discoveries of modern neuroscience.

we know no such thing. that is naive and silly. All our observations on that score are limtied to biolgoical organisms. God si the foudntion of relatiy he not an organism and not biolgocial. Sot is stilly to try to argue that way. Its' really just arguing form analogy which is fallacious to begin with.

there is good evidence that consciousness is not reduced to brain function. it's irreducibility means it is a basic property of nature. that means you cant' make the assumptions you are making.

J.L. Hinman said...

Nicely said, John. The claim of absolute knowledge is usually claimed by the theists, not by the atheists. Isn't that ironic? ;-)

but you do have to have absolute knowledge to rule out God. All the arguments so far beg the question and argue from analogy.

J.L. Hinman said...

It seems arrogant at worst and unwise at least to come to that conclusion. If our knowlege base increases as it has, then in a couple of hundred years our generation will probably be found ignorant, as we now view people who lived in the 16th century.


two thumbs up! I don't believe we will ever have enough. think what that statement is up against? You would have to do time travel and be able to traverse all aspects of the mutliverse.

there are good reasons to believe we can never even know what caused the big bang, if anything did "cause" it.

J.L. Hinman said...

It's always curious that so many Christians imagine that someone rejecting an omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent deity composed of spirit who created the universe and its natural laws and guided evolution and breathed the soul of life into humanity, who gave us His son and will welcome our immortal souls into an eternal non-material afterlife are the ones making an absolutist claim.

Why do you suppose that so many say this? Is it a rhetorical attack or is it a genuine mistaken belief?


but it's a calim based upon experince not arrogance. It also prestrns itself as "faith" rather an absolute knowledge.

It's a leap over a chasm and any believer with half a brain admits that.

what half of the atheist brain is claiming absolute knowledge rather than just a lack of belief? I don't think John was trying to say that we make a statement of absolute knowledge, he's saying we don't' need absolute knowledge to decide that leap of faith is not warranted. But he phrased it badly.

J.L. Hinman said...

ps by "we" in that last one I meant "we" as in humanity, not "we" as in atheists since I'm not part of that "we."

John W. Loftus said...

Joe said...Neither Zeus nor Unicorns were credited with creating all reality or with being eternal. That's going to make a huge difference.

Oh I understand the differences. You probably worship the God of Anselm, and if not most Christians do. Such a God is not what we find within the pages of the Bible though. That god Yahweh is just as primitive as these other gods and goddesses. There is no ex nihilo creation in it. This god Yahweh did evil as well as good. He had a body that needed to rest on the 7th day and was found walking in the cool of the day. On and on and on it goes. Yahweh is one of the dead gods of the ancient world too, you see. Such a notion evolved with Christianity into a Trinity who is expressed by Anselm of the being than which nothing greater can be thought. But plenty of people have different conceptions of this greater being than what Anselm depicted and which Christians depict. One such conception is that he is cannot be conceived since he's so great or that he's the ONE and we are all representations of that ONE.

These are all the creations of human beings. That's the common denominator and that's the point. The conceptions are different, but they are all conceptions, human inventions, to explain the mystery of life, dreams and death. But that's all they are or ever will be.

Cheers.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

MPG,

"If God is posited as a creator, and he is described as at least superior to us in mind, there is simply no way one can deduce from looking at the outside world that "God does not exist".

You're on the right track

You said: However, just as you say, no evidence from the material world can therefore be truly considered evidence for a creator as a superior mind.

I haven't quite said that, I said last:

"I would only state that the direction I am going with this is not based on a "EUREKA moment" where there is some great discovery that puts all doubt and doubters to rest or shame.

There are evidences such as the ones I alluded to that are abundant and I WILL NOT get into that as that's only a distraction from the real point.

My point is that people can interpret those things (physical evidences)according to their worldview so there will never be an agreement on any one particular type or source or evidence. But as stated that's really only a tangential part of MY argument although it is a primary part in most discussions such as this.

In fact most ALL of the opposition here are arguing that traditional thread of omniscience/knowledge either proves or will prove or disprove God. With the exception of MPG who has given what seems to be a fair read to my commentary, most of you have either missed or minimized the points I’ve tried to make. I’ll blame that on myself and use this as practice to tighten up my argument.

The current direction is not what I was referring to when I asked John what percentage of all knowledge he has.

My whole arguments is summed up like this:

Man, (Religious and atheist alike), only knows a small percentage of all universal knowledge. That's readily admitted .

The knowledge that man does have shows that there are times when known laws are superceded by other laws some of which were not known until discovery.

Undiscovered laws DID NOT make such laws nonexistent.

All laws do not work the same in all realities. The example given of John dropping a book. Laws work one way on earth and quite another in outerspace. Therefore, there must be qualifiers made to absolute statements based within the realm to which those statements apply.

Given that man has such a small percentage of all universal knowledge (as readily acknowledged)it is NOT irrational to believe that there is knowledge currently unknown to man that supercedes current natural, physical and metaphysical understandings.

Therefore it is an irrational approach to discount what is currently unknown based on the small percentage of what we currently know.

Here’s where it gets sticky:

If we possess only a fraction of universal knowledge, to out of hand reject supernatural knowledge, which is included in universal knowledge, becomes the ultimate DELUSION as we readily admit that our knowledge is limited.

The Christian accounts for unknown universal knowledge on the most rational basis available by imploring the concept of faith rooted in evidentiary findings. Those findings, though debated, have stood and withstood all historical criticisms, and collectively make an overwhelming and solid case for supernatural interventions within this continuum and for the being described as God.

At the heart of the issue is that the atheist uses the SAME rationale of FAITH, not reason, to discount the supernatural and ultimately God.

Therefore the atheist takes the most IRRATIONAL approach to all reality based on the facts that 1- his/her knowledge is readily limited and 2- what evidence that has been set before him/her is either overlooked, minimized or handled in ways that are inconsistent with his/her own developed methods of methodological discovery.

As stated you don't need to know ALL KNOWLEDGE to have a BELIEF...The atheist only applies that standard to his unbelief while criticising the Christian for his belief. That methodology is totally INCONSISTENT AND IRRATIONAL.

Examine me...I can’t wait to see this.

Philip R Kreyche said...

What you're saying is that they type of evidence hasn't satisfied you enought to believe? That's a far cry from saying that there is no evidence.

I did not say there was no evidence. There's evidence for all sorts of things. To some, the similarity in DNA between humans and apes is "evidence" that aliens from Nibiru genetically engineered us. It's also evidence that a God fashioned us both from the same materials. It's also evidence that at one point humans and apes had a common ancestor. Depends on the worldview.

I don't have to deny the existence of "evidence" for Christianity in order to not think that Christianity is worth considering as the correct worldview.

the atheist has everything to lose because his whole world changes IF an "evidence" ever makes sense to him/her.

Wrong again. The atheist stands to go to HEAVEN. FOREVER. Infinite gain, Harvey. I have nothing to lose by losing my atheism/agnosticism and converting to Christianity.

But I find the evidence for Christianity SO unconvincing, that I'm willing to risk it. In light of my possible eternal fate, that means I've made a pretty serious decision and it's not one anyone would make lightly.

Do you honestly think that if I thought there was a possibility Christianity was true, that I would waste a second in converting?

You tell me: in the Christian worldview, what could I possibly have to gain by rejecting Christianity, even though I thought it was true?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Philip,

You said:" I don't have to deny the existence of "evidence" for Christianity in order to not think that Christianity is worth considering as the correct worldview.

Thank you. That's a good point. As most atheists live in DENIAL as to evidence in the first place. So I appreciate and agree with your assessments in general.

When assessing my argument on what the atheist looses at conversion to Christianity you gave one of the most horrible and inconsistent answers that I've ever heard. You said this:

Wrong again. The atheist stands to go to HEAVEN. FOREVER. Infinite gain, Harvey. I have nothing to lose by losing my atheism/agnosticism and converting to Christianity.

That wasn't the bad part. This was:

But I find the evidence for Christianity SO unconvincing, that I'm willing to risk it. In light of my possible eternal fate, that means I've made a pretty serious decision and it's not one anyone would make lightly.

You're willing to RISK IT because the evidence doesn't meet your preset criteria of "convincing"???

In other words your standard for burden of proof is higher than your interpretation of the evidence.

Everyone has a right to set or adjust their own standards, I'm not arguing that, but once again, when one considers all other options and evidences available both within a theistic and nontheistic worldview, there are even less compelling evidence for nontheistic worldviews.

So I suppose the problem is balance. You expect the Evidence for Christianity to overwhelmingly unbalance your equation of set standards, but those standards are subjective and based on YOUR likes and dislikes and ARE NOT scientific or methodological in any manner.

So yes, you're right, you're taking a risk. Like driving without insurance.

Yoo said...

Harvey is continuously missing the point, and I doubt he would get it even if "it's pretty certain that a god does not exist" is rephrased into "Yahweh as a benevolent and all-powerful god, Yaweh as described in the Bible, Nirvana, a god requiring that all Muslim strictures are followed for entrance into heaven, the Celestial Kingdom, extraterrestrial Elohim, etc. are all about equally likely to exist, which is very unlikely".

They all have about the same amount of convincing evidence, that is, the evidence is rather severely lacking. And it's not because of any desire for how I or others wish the world to be: it would be pretty cool to see extraterrestrial aliens or become gods ourselves, but wanting it to be so doesn't make it so.

How could Harvey continue to risk being sucked in the cycle of suffering by continuing to cling to his attachment to a belief in his god?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Yoo,

regarding all religions you said: "They all have about the same amount of convincing evidence, that is, the evidence is rather severely lacking."

This is off the post and I certainly won't go into detail but the "amount" of evidence is not in question neither is it the kicker in any investigation. The QUALITY of evidence is. Biblical evidences far exceed the type and quality of evidence found in any world religion that I'm aware of and in secular history in general.

Just from a historical perspective the evidence for Christianity is not only early it is abundant compared to most other historical events that we now take for granted. So your statement misses the point and isn't factual by any means especially when it comes to evaluation of religions.

You also asked: "How could Harvey continue to risk being sucked in the cycle of suffering by continuing to cling to his attachment to a belief in his god?"

I simply respond by asking, 2 things: 1- does unbelief somehow relieve suffering?

and 2- How can you continue to think that unbelief is rational and methodological based on the facts that:

1- Human knowledge is readily limited (as admitted)

and 2- Evidence set before an atheist is either overlooked, minimized or handled in ways that are inconsistent with his/her own developed methods of methodological discovery.

Once again, if you don't think that atheists implore FAITH in naturalism as a means for dealing with the unknown then you're further gone that I suppose.

That's my position.

Jeff said...

I see a little clearer what you're trying to say, Harvey. But I don't see what your ultimate point is. As people have mentioned, what you're arguing for is at best agnosticism. You say that we (both Christians and non-Christians) have such little knowledge that we can't possibly prove or disprove God. Fine. So by your logic, we should all be agnostics, right? Right.

Of course, then you point to the evidence that you DO have and try to say, "But I do have evidence!" Well, okay, so do we. But your original point is that it isn't enough. So if you adjust your definition of "faith" to something similar like a "leap from premises to conclusion in an inductive argument," then yes, I guess I'd agree with you there. We both must leap from the evidence we have to the conclusion we make. Simple fact of logic. But if you are making a decision based on the evidence you have, it may very well be the case that tomorrow may bring the evidence to refute your position as well. We're in the same boat as far as that goes. Either way, we could be screwed tomorrow.

The only difference that I see is that methodological naturalism works on a pragmatic level. It has brought us exponential increases in knowledge, which leads to a greater lifespan, quality of life, etc. So if we're all forced to be agnostics because we don't have enough evidence either way, it stands to reason that we might as well choose whatever works best for gaining that knowledge.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Jeff,

You raise some excellent points and THANK YOU for at least hearing me out.

You ask me what's the point of this. As I see it, we have two mutually exclusive views and even worldviews. One nontheist and the other theist.

The nontheist claims that my belief is delusion because I exercise "faith" in God even though my knowledge of God and the universe is certainly limited. As I've stated my "faith" is rooted in some evidences that everyone has various interpretations of. That's ok everyone is entitled.

The nontheist even though he/she readily admits their knowledge limitations also, exercises the same type of FAITH or belief (or what have you) in naturalism.

The problem is that the nontheist denies and DOES NOT consider ANY theistic evidence as worthy evidence to conclude supernaturalism under any circumstance. This is the point.

The nontheist violates his own scientific methodology to draw his conclusion simply by discarding theistic evidence as implausible based on his limited knowledge.

So the underlying point I guess I'm making is that the nontheist just can't arbitrarily write off supernaturalism (eg, God), simply because it's more convenient to do so as nontheists obviously exercise FAITH in naturalism to hold to their unbelief.

Unfortunately, no atheist will admit that their unbelief is at LEAST a variation or form of of "faith", but all faith elements are present, and to deny certain evidences is is consistently done is boarderline delusion.

I agree with you in that nobody (at least me) diputes or says that we should scrap methodological naturalism as a means of investigating occurances or circumstances and history. I agree with your observations on that, however we just can't trash the evidences for supernaturalism (God) either and hold that we're being true to real scientific discovery.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Yoo said...

Harvey, the fact that you think the quality of evidence for biblical history far exceeds that of other religions only points to your ignorance of other religions, not that it's actually particular high quality. And you completely missed my point about you not being a Buddhist.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Yoo,

Thanks and I'll be glad to argue that in the appropriate post for that topic, and yes, I do miss some points at times, but hopefully we're good.

Later.

Steven Bently said...

Unfortunately Harvey has fell into the christian trap, he has been told that he is a worthless lowly sinner and is very worthy of an eternal hell, so he thinks since he's perhaps not a great musician or a great typist never turned out with a great title to validate his existence, he decided to be a 'champion' for the bible god, a bastion, for the biblical cause, a soldier for god and the title 'christian' suites his cause. Titles are important to the christian, titles validates them for a purpose in their minds.

For an Atheist, titles have very little meaning, we don't need to be propped up, we don't need to be in the 'chosen few'. We are worthy of ourselves, we don't need an imaginary deity to validate our existence.

Sorry Harvey, but you lose your argument here.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

The most benefocent, most merciful, Steve Bently has spoken....Whooooooossssssshhhh!

Jeff said...

"The problem is that the nontheist denies and DOES NOT consider ANY theistic evidence as worthy evidence to conclude supernaturalism under any circumstance. This is the point."

Well here's where we disagree. And I don't think that there will be any resolving this issue - especially since it's an assumption on your part about my own beliefs. This is one area in which I am certainly more knowledgeable than you. But I see the situation very much like a court case. On the one hand is methodological naturalism, and on the other hand is supernaturalism. Each side may present their case, using evidence and argumentation to build it up. In the end, the judge (you and I and everyone else) must decide where the weight of the evidence lies and which arguments are more reasonable. So it's not that I don't consider the theistic evidence. On the contrary - I've considered it and found it lacking. You can point to "evidence" of alien encounters, but I think we'd both agree that the arguments associated with them are not strong at all. To me, theism is no different. I have no problem looking at the arguments (and I have...I used to spout them off as well), but now I find them lacking in force. I find the case for methodological naturalism and for atheism/agnosticism much more tenable.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Jeff,

I think that's a fair and good answer.

The only dagger (if I had one) that I would use is the observation that the naturalist also uses or applies a form of "faith" (a rose by any other name etc.) to arrive at his conclusions against supernaturalism.

If that's the case, the nontheist is in no position to call the theist (in my case Christian) delusional based on that type of methodology.

Just some thoughts and for those who have been objective in this argument, I appreciate it...even YOU John!!!

Thanks.

Steven Bently said...

The bentrovatos Harvey has been told by his religious peers in spite of any evidence that he has made it out, he's on top, he's a CHRISTIAN to him and christians there can be no greater title to be achieved, so he and self-claiming christians walk around with their chest puffed out and can't wait to tell people that they are a "christian" and look down upon people who do not hold to their silly ancient beliefs.

This paragraph above explains your mental delusion there, Harvey.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

"This paragraph above explains your mental delusion there, Harvey."

Oooh thou great Steven Bently it doth take one to know one...

Curiosis said...

Harvey,

Yes, our knowledge is incomplete. It always will be.

If I believe something without valid evidence, that is faith. Faith is not necessary when there is sufficient evidence.

However, not believing something for which there is no valid evidence is not faith.

For example, if I state that there is an invisible pink unicorn in my garage, I would be doing so from faith. But it requires no faith on your part to discount my belief. You can say I am mistaken because of what you do know: no physical object can be invisible and there are no unicorns.

I discount the supernatural because there is no valid evidence for it.

I discount the existence of god for the same reason.

I don't need faith to counter your faith. I simply need to recognize that your belief is based on faith.

Just because there is much we do not know, doesn't mean that anything could exist. Whatever is out there that we are ignorant of must still exist within the framework of what we know to be true.

You say, "Laws work one way on earth and quite another in outerspace."

That is wrong. The laws work the same but the effects are different. The law of gravity does not change in space.

And this is a major point. We have no valid evidence of a physical law ever being violated. But that is exactly what you would have us accept.

I don't need faith to believe that what has always been true will remain true.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Curiosis,

Thanks for chiming in on this. I think there are a few faulty assumptions in your statements though.

You said:"If I believe something without valid evidence, that is faith."

You don't necessarily have to have valid evidence to believe what you do. I mean it's not normal to hear a statement and to immediately go find "valid" evidence for it. So that's not the way we exercise things even in the natural world. Your local news agency is a prime example you TRUST or have FAITH that what they report is true and accurate. Every now and then we're burned but that's the norm of humanity isn't it? Should I say Madoff?

You also said: "However, not believing something for which there is no valid evidence is not faith."

You use the word "valid" when I think you really mean evidence that satisfies YOU. I mean there are all kinds of evidences which are "valid" to me.

The categories are cosmological, teleological, axiological, ontological, and historical. For me, any one category of evidences is "valid" and point toward who we describe as God. All categories together are overwhelming. So the key word is "valid", and by your definition none of those evidences raise the standard high enough for you. But that's just you. Small claims court has a different burden than criminal court. One looses a case in criminal court though the same evidence is more than enough to recover a small claim or civil judgement. The evidence in both cases are "valid". Just one court has a different burden whereby the conviction remedy or recovery is made. What atheists should say is that the burden or weight of the evidence is not satisfactory to you and lay that out cogently and see how strong or weak each argument is based on methodological means. What the MN'r does is flat out reject all supernatural evidence or testimony off hand. That's unscientific.

Your unicorn analogy is not as compelling because, there is no point that I can identify in which unicorns moved in history and cetainly there has been no multiple attestation to them, nor any other evidentiary findings. What reason would they have to show up in your living room? I mean were they promised to be there somehow?

Whereas all of those circumstances I just named exist at some point regarding God, the bible and Jesus.

I'll conclude with this: "We have no valid evidence of a physical law ever being violated."

We do have ample evidence of physical laws being superceded by other natural and physical laws. I never said they are violated. Under correct conditions any natural or physical law can be superceeded. And there is a difference in 0 gravity and the gravity on earth. We saw that the other day in the space shuttle interview. The female astronaut's hair was standing UP on her head because gravity is 0. On earth that's not the case.

What makes an airplaine or a rocket rise against gravity for example? Natural laws are superceded everyday.

For God to supercede natural laws should not be a problem because inventions of men can do that.

So once again we're back at the starting point: There is more knowledge that neither you nor I have, you take that future discoveries will not uproot naturalism. That is an act of FAITH in naturalism.

It may be a pill for you to think of it that way, but that's what it is.

sconnor said...

Harvey Burnett

Consider the following entities: Thor, Seven Headed Hydra, Griffin, Kali, Phoenix, Unicorn, Satyr, Ra, Minotaur, Ganesha, Mermaid, Banshee, Nymphs, Centaurs, Vishnu, Elves, Pixies, Trolls, Rama, Leprechauns, Odin, Brownies, Athena, Fairies, Shiva, Gnomes, Chupacabra, Lakshmi, Pegasus, Mothman, Apollo, Baal, Genies, Hades, Mithra, Cerberus, Golem, Gremlins, and on and on and on -- including 330,000 Hindu gods alone!

Do you believe that these entities don't exist?

Can they magically grant you wishes? Do you believe in any of those entities, even though the evidence is largely conclusive that they do not exist? If you did believe in them, then you could only believe in them, on faith.

But being a reasonably, educated person do you really go around, living day to day, practicing in a "belief" system, using FAITH, that believes in the non-existence of any of the entities, I mentioned? NO, that's absurd.

You just, simply DO NOT believe in those entities, because you see zero objective evidence of them existing -- you don't have to have faith, that they don't exist. And, in exactly the same way, we simply do not believe in a personal christian god -- It doesn't take belief or faith, there is just no objective evidence. It is unbelief, lack of a belief or NO belief. Get it?

What you are attempting to do (quite feebly, I might add) is trying to level the playing field by asserting we use the same method in acquiring information (FAITH) -- this is patently erroneous.

Faith and reason are mutually exclusive. You either believe in something because of evidence (reason) or you believe in it because of a lack of evidence (faith).

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

you said: "Faith and reason are mutually exclusive."

That's another argument but I don't agree. Christian faith certainly superceds reason in many instances , HOWEVER it is not unreasonable or devoid of reason. So I understand the patent statments that many atheists make but I don't see any validity to them as it pertains to that prticular assumption.

You also said: "You either believe in something because of evidence (reason)"

On the news today, they're talking about the flood in Fargo. I've never been to fargo. I've never been to Fox of CNN news station. How do I believe any of what I hear? Because I have evidence??? Certainly not. I take what they say by FAITH because I TRUST their reporting.

So your assertion in this case (and you do make good assertions from time to time) is unconvincing.

So far as this statement: "or you believe in it because of a lack of evidence (faith)."

I can only respond by repeating what Paul Copan states in "That's Just Your Interpretation" Baker Books 2001 ~ "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,..." pg. 182

Although his coment was specifically dealing with faith, I find that I don't live by faith because there is no evidence. As I said I have plenty. I live by faith because I TRUST him for what I don't already know. Like I said, faith and reason is another post, and as stated the atheist affirms FAITH in their unbelief everyday.

I'd even go further, for the atheist to claim that he doesn't live out a certain FAITH is the most unreasonable assertion because he has nothing to hang his hat on and reason only deals with current knowledge which is admitedly limited.

Faith is the most reasonable proposition. Don't blast me. I appreciate you telling me why I'm wrong though. If you can.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

I'm sorry I said this about Paul Copan

"Although his coment was specifically dealing with faith,"

I meant that his comment WASN'T specifically dealing with the concept of faith.

Jeff said...

There's an equivocation of terms going on here in regard to the word "faith." On the one hand, it's being used in the sense of "belief without evidence" and on the other hand, it's being used as in "believing without 100% proof." As far as my own posts have kept that equivocation going, I apologize. But that needs to be cleared up. I agree that those who use methodological naturalism are "believing without 100% proof" - it's a property of the inductive argument. But I do not agree that MN'ists are "believing without any evidence". The evidence we have is largely in their favour. In the same way, a positive claim may be held to without 100% proof, but it needs some evidence to support it, or else others are justified in denying it. In this sense, theists have "faith" while atheists do not. But it's a difference between a) the two definitions of faith that are being used and b) the negative claim of atheism and the positive claim of methodological naturalism (in as much as it provides a framework for interpreting evidence - I understand it could be framed as a negative "supernatural does not exist" claim).

Maybe I just made things more confusing. Maybe not.

sconnor said...

Harvey Burnett

HOWEVER it is not unreasonable or devoid of reason.

It is, in the specific case in believing in a conscious being who is your one and only christian god.

You must abandon reason and you must offer one bloated rationalization after another to supposedly "prove" the existence of your triune god -- never offering objective evidence.

On the news today, they're talking about the flood in Fargo. I've never been to Fargo. I've never been to Fox of CNN news station. How do I believe any of what I hear? Because I have evidence??? Certainly not. I take what they say by FAITH because I TRUST their reporting.

Bogus analogy.

We know flooding can happen and has happened, There is geological evidence for floods. We can also conduct experiments and repeat them over and over again. Take a trip to your local COSI where kids can build damns with sand and watch how the water gets too high and goes over the damn, eroding the mountain, thereby causing flooding.

Flooding is a FACT in the natural world. Gods raising from the dead, flying to heaven and concerning itself with the day to day activities of humans are NOT fact.

Can we do experiments to prove your christian god exists?

Not only that but the probability of you flying out to Fargo and seeing the flooding first hand is highly probable. Be honest. Furthermore anyone who wanted to go visit the flooding has the same potential in seeing the actual flooding.

Does everyone have the same potential to visit your creator christian god and watch him wield his awesome power -- hmmmmm?

Additionally, we have video of the flooding and the people desperately trying to hold back the waters with sandbags. Not only that but we have several differing sources (NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ETC.) all with there own video evidence. Now you could claim a massive delusional conspiracy, that all these people conspired together to perpetrate a hoax on the American public, but that would be lunacy.

Now do you have video taped evidence from several differing outlets of your one and only christian god -- the creator of the infinite universe? NO you say?

Then FAITH has NOTHING to do with flooding in Fargo because there is massive OBJECTIVE evidence and anybody desiring to visit Fargo can see it for themselves -- we can't take a plane or a car to the invisible fifth dimension you call heaven to visit a supernatural conscious entity -- now can we?

I find that I don't live by faith because there is no evidence.

I'm specifically addressing your belief in the triune christian god. All you have is FAITH that he exists. The evidence you claim is NOT objective. Your evidence only amounts to subjective over-rationalizations and emotions.

Faith is the most reasonable proposition.

In religion, it is taught that faith is a virtue, when in reality it is a brain malfunction, where you abandon ALL critical thinking skills and the voice of reason, where you willingly, choose to ignore and bury logic, steeping yourself in ignorance, so you can believe, in the unbelievable.

The simple fact of the matter is the same unreasonable thinking mechanisms that go into religion are the same stunted thinking mechanisms that perpetuates bigotry, prejudice and ignorance.

Bottom line, religion has gorged itself on ignorance as a supposed legitimate thinking mechanism.

This is the same exact line of non-thinking that allows terrorists to fly planes into buildings. They willingly steep themselves in ignorance and believe that they will gain 72 virgins in heaven because they are doing the will of god.

This is the same line of non-thinking that permits faithful parents to pray over their sick children in lieu of medical treatment allowing their child to die.

This is the same line of non-thinking that preaches women are inferior and can not be priests or pastors.

This is the same line of non-thinking that made it possible to burn supposed witches at the stake.

This is the same line of non-thinking that made it possible to torture unbelievers during the Inquisition.

This is the same line of non-thinking that made it possible for Jehovah Witnesses to let their children suffer and die because god does not allow blood transfusions.

This is the same line of non-thinking that made it possible for thousands to be slaughtered during the crusades.

This is the same line of non-thinking that made it possible for slavery to flourish in the confederate states.

This is the same line of non-thinking that made it possible to discriminate against interracial marriages.

This is the same line of non-thinking that makes it possible for parents to beat their children with a rod.

This is the same line of non-thinking that makes it possible to be bigoted towards gay people.

This is the same line of non-thinking that makes it possible to teach ignorance, in the form of creationism, in the schoolroom.

"I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable" -- Sam Harris

Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.
-- Thomas Jefferson


The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be believed only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance called 'faith.' -- Robert G. Ingersoll

I also noticed you really did not address my main argument.

I say you have FAITH to believe in your particular god because your omnipotent, omniscient omnibenevolent, triune christian creator god has NO OBJECTIVE evidence for his existence.

I also say you wouldn't need faith if you had irrefutable objective evidence for his existence

You say I have faith not to believe in god.

I gave you many examples of entities (Thor, Seven Headed Hydra, Griffin...Golem, Gremlins, and on and on and on -- including 330,000 Hindu gods alone!) which a reasonable person would conclude do not exist.

Do you need FAITH to believe in these entities NOT existing? Do you go throughout your day mustering up FAITH to believe these entities DON'T exist -- or is it simply there is NO objective evidence for their existence?

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

By the way, that (Rakieema)was me, I'm workin on a project with a few others to produce some info for married folk regarding human sexuality and marital issues...see I'm really not that bland...

Later.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

Thanks for the book and I'll answer a few points but the much of your post is off topic.

You said:"You must abandon reason and you must offer one bloated rationalization after another to supposedly "prove" the existence of your triune god -- never offering objective evidence.

(The evidence I offer is objective. Certainly not made up by Christians themselves. I mean this isn’t the place to offer it but there’s plenty of objective evidence that fits as historians, archaeologists etc. acknowledge. So your point is uncompelling.)

Concerning my Fargo analogy you said: "Bogus analogy."

(No my analogy was excellent and to the point of the conversation. We take reporting of events as being factual based on the TRUST that we have for the individuals making the claims. You talk also of multiple sources, Christians have that too. Multiple eyewitness testimony and individuals both favorable to the cause and unfavorable to the cause of Christianity. You cannot accept that evidence but it’s NOT because it doesn’t exist. Just like I can reject a news report, bit it’s NOT because it’s not true. Investigation is not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the act of believing...you are running past that point. I say stop there and look at it. You often believe things without a shred of what would normally be called evidence everyday.)

You said:"Flooding is a FACT in the natural world. Gods raising from the dead, flying to heaven and concerning itself with the day to day activities of humans are NOT fact."

(They are not fact to you because you switch the verification for evidence to fit your view. In fact I'll go one step further, you just flat out deny the evidence even though in the natural realm those sort of things occur. Hospitals save lives and recussitate the dead through natural means everyday. The only reason you reject he Christian claim is because you are like Thomas and because the report was a considerable longer length of time than current natural happenings. eg; a miracle is facilitated which you won't dare hear of.
News reports are fact because you see them and are able to get up and go even if you don’t. Since my claim is historic all we have are testimonies and other evidences as I’ve said. Not to mention personal experience (which you can discount if you want- but I know that no true scientific discovery that does that) Then just because it’s historical doesn’t make it any less tenable or any less factual. Let’s say last year March 27, 2008 you ate breakfast or lunch etc...Can you remember what you ate that day? Provided that you were healthy we can assume that you ate right? Where’s the evidence of it? Do you have a menu or napkin or even the exact utensil from that? Since you probably don’t then I simply say that you didn’t eat that day. Now is that reasonable? Heeeck naw, especially if we know you can eat and those around you tell us that you do regularly eat breakfast. What I’m saying is just because you haven’t personally experienced something DOES NOT make it any less factual. On a greater note supernatural reality is included in the Christian worldview whereas the naturalist does not include it at all. That’s the problem and why we’re talking past each other. My continuum is more expansive than yours. It’s just that simple.)

You said this:"Can we do experiments to prove your christian god exists?"

(You can try, but normal people don’t experiment with God. Although many experiement with supernatural things and get results to a varying degree. There are many occultists that sware by occult methodologies. Astrologists too. But you'll reject all metaphysical realities that aren't natural so that's another can of worms.)

You said:"Then FAITH has NOTHING to do with flooding in Fargo because there is massive OBJECTIVE evidence and anybody desiring to visit Fargo can see it for themselves -- we can't take a plane or a car to the invisible fifth dimension you call heaven to visit a supernatural conscious entity -- now can we?

(Like I said you missed the point. The FAITH is exercised in believing the reports and concluding even before you know it that it’s valid. You exercise that faith in the reporter etc. based on TRUST and evidences you lay out. That’s all.)

This part was particularly funny: "Your evidence only amounts to subjective over-rationalizations and emotions."

(No, in my opinion, the atheist is over emotional in his dogmatic and religious assertions that Christian evidences are “over-rationalizations and emotions”. True discovery and methodology doesn’t assert those type of things just because results aren’t favorable to it. The results aren't favorable to your argument. Tomorrow morning someone will call you and tell you something that you'll exercise FAITH to believe based on your TRUST in them as a person or some other natural circumstance...It's until you see it for yourself you'll exercise FAITH.)

You say:"In religion, it is taught that faith is a virtue, when in reality it is a brain malfunction, where you abandon ALL critical thinking skills and the voice of reason, where you willingly, choose to ignore and bury logic, steeping yourself in ignorance, so you can believe, in the unbelievable."

(Absolutely not. I'm using critical thinking skill to evaluate your misnomers in this piece. What you’re talking about is eccentricism or extremism. That has nothing to do with Biblical Faith or individuals who exercise faith in general. What you’re saying anyone can say of nontheists also, so that doesn’t hold water to just superimpose mental illness on persons of faith.)

You said: "The simple fact of the matter is the same unreasonable thinking mechanisms that go into religion are the same stunted thinking mechanisms that perpetuates bigotry, prejudice and ignorance."

(And you like to soapbox often. All I know is that nontheists commit and continue to commit plenty of bigotry, prejudice and have plenty of ignorance. SOne again you superimpose the condition of humanity on Christianity or religion and that's backwards. BACK TO WHAT WER'RE TALKING ABOUT...The intimidating factor seems to be that you realize that what you call being rational INCLUDES a level of faith. You simply change the name to get rid of any religious implications and stereotypes that you’ve convinced yourself of to define what faith is and does. None of your assertions are accurate regarding this and you become what you accuse Christians of being...DELUSIONAL...by persisting that you don’t exercise faith in naturalism as a hedge or bridge for what you ADMIT that you don’t know. It’s just that simple, but you "religiously" fight to the end.)

Ill conclude on this one, as you asked about mythologies and various gods etc: "Do you need FAITH to believe in these entities NOT existing?"

(Look so far as other deity is concerned I’ll say it like this, they lack all the types of evidences that allow me to conclude the biblical God DOES exist. There’s a long list of things that I won’t list here but everything that Christianity has to confirm it is nonexistent in the deities you list and then some. In fact many of them offer no type of evidence at all to even review...so there's not a comparison.)

I think my point has been made and you disagree...so what, that's not the first time. So what do YOU have to defend?...Is that you FAITH?

Later.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

I forgot to repost this:

Jeff,

I think your observations are right on point.

I'm going to reread it again because you're saying a lot in that but that's what I see also.

The definition of "faith" is normally applied to say that there is NO evidence at all in support, but I can't say that about my religious beliefs. There are evidences, although I'll grant that they are open to interpretation (as ALL evidences would be)but that's not the primary thrust of the posting...But I see where you're coming from.

later.

Gandolf said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said..."So yes, you're right, you're taking a risk. Like driving without insurance."

What type of risk does Harvey take if there is in fact some type of afterlife, but no god/s .

Would Harvey feel quite comfortable meeting all those burnt at the stake in the past for their personal disbelief of god/s etc?

His insurance seems to rest a lot on matters of faith.Just like those who burnt these people and also for instance those who led people to commit suicide http://www.guyana.org/features/jonestown.html

Harvey admits we dont know everything,does he then know for sure that after his death he wont meet some very unhappy folks very pissed off about faith beliefs that had little evidence for proof often being passed on and pushed by those banking on some supposed insurance of faith?.

Will those burnt at the stake for disbelief feel his insurance of faith was worth the cause of their lives being cut short because of faith believers?.

Personally i feel quite comfortable with being a agnostic atheist for now until real evidence is found to warrant me having real good reason for belief in things that have in the past and still do today have such a effect on so many peoples lives.

Harvey`s insurance of faith could just as easy turn out to be a rather nasty policy to have decided to gamble on.

yes/no??

Philip R Kreyche said...

Since I'm not allowed to determine my own standards of evidence required for me to DEDICATE MY LIFE to something, perhaps Harvey will be so kind as to tell me what the "objective" and "scientific" standards are.

And after he tells me, I wonder if he'll be able to explain to me how his standards are any less subjective than my own.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Philip,

I think you ARE allowed to determine your own standards and I think or at least have tried to say that an "evidence" fit for one is not necessarily an "evidence" fit for another. That's what I mean when I say you're entitled to interpret the evidence as you deem fit. That being the case the Christian or theist has the same ability or entitlement. So I'm not talking about taking your ability to think it through or to come up with evidence that you deem objective.

As I see it evidence that we sometimes call "objective" is no more than something based on our subjective world view. Now that's EXACTLY what the atheist thinks about how the christian views Christian evidences. As I have seen atheists set forth cases, the exact same rationale exists within their worldview also.

Define objective? or define subjective? for the sake of this argument that's good question. All I can say is that when we automatically write off whole sets of data based on certain bias then we'll never get where we're going.

Just like this: The fundy young earth question...The fundy, in spit of all archaeological evidence holds to the young Earth scenario...no matter what you say all he/she sees is numbers from Adam allowing no time period for creation other than 144 hours. I agree with you that something is wrong with that picture...when whole blocks of evidence (in this case archaeological evidence) is set aside to come up with a strained and (to you) seemingly delusional conclusion...

In my opinion the strict MN'r does the same with supernatural evidences and in my opinion are in no better situation...They set aside whole blocks of evidences and assume right out of the box that it can't be so...

Now, this whole thing is ONLY important if the object of the inquiry is to get to the truth or to come as close as possible to that truth.

Now, I've argued for a young earth before but no matter how you shake it, to deny certain evidences is no more than wishful thinking and compartmentalizing your own interpretations on history...That's subjective in my opinion because I make the evidence fit my view. Objective, would simply be to take the evidence for what it is in it's context and meaning.

So you raise good points, and I certaintly don't think I have all the answers and I'm not here to "get you atheist boys straight" I'm here to find ways to better communicate what I believe and also expand my knowledge on issues that pertain to my natural and spiritual life too. For me that's not done in environments where everybody agrees with me, it's done where every word I say will be scrutinized...

Thanks.

sconnor said...

Harvey,

The evidence I offer is objective.

Ha; just because you claim it's objective does not make it so.

Every argument you you can offer (prophecy, archaeological and historical) can be offered by believers of Allah -- does that make it true? Is that also objective?

You do know the difference between objective evidence and subjective rationalizations don't you?

There is universal objective evidence for flooding as opposed to subjective beliefs for gods.

No my analogy was excellent and to the point of the conversation.

What a joke. Belief in your invisible, sentient being is NOTHING like flooding.

We take reporting of events as being factual based on the TRUST that we have for the individuals making the claims.

Yes but this TRUST is built from actual living beings that you and I can both see. This TRUST is built from them relaying accurate information that can be verified with objective evidence.

You can not verify the invisible fifth dimension where your invisible christian god supposedly resides. You and I can NOT both see your invisible conscious god.

You talk also of multiple sources, Christians have that too. Multiple eyewitness testimony and individuals both favorable to the cause and unfavorable to the cause of Christianity. You cannot accept that evidence but it’s NOT because it doesn’t exist.

This is not objective evidence. This doesn't even come close to the objective evidence of the flooding occurring in Fargo. What's more I'm not arguing about christianity -- I'm asserting you CAN NOT provide OBJECTIVE evidence for the existence of your invisible personal concious god.

Your supposed eyewitness accounts are a sham. Please provide objective evidence that the events in the old Testament were acquired by eyewitnesses as opposed to people writing fairy tales using the supposed word of god to lend credibility and then merely laying claim of eyewitnesses.

As for the New Testament:

There is no way of verifying if there were eye-witnesses of Jesus' life as opposed to embellished fairy tales written about a fallible human named Jesus or an amalgamation of prophets that became the fictitious character.

During Jesus' ministry, Jesus nor any of his apostles wrote anything down. For thirty years only the stories were told. What should be noted is no one signed or dated the manuscripts and we have no original copies. In all cases we have copies of copies of copies, with thousands of mistakes between them. And of these copies, the authors attributed to the Gospels were just, best guesses by the church. The earliest manuscripts come from Paul and were written between 20 to 40 years after Jesus' death. As you know Paul never knew Jesus and only wrote about what he heard. All the other Gospels came after this and although some claim eyewitness accounts that does not mean they were written by the eyewitnesses.

There is NO way you can provide objective evidence that the invisible sentient being you pray to is also symbiotic with the character of Jesus.

Investigation is not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the act of believing...you are running past that point. I say stop there and look at it. You often believe things without a shred of what would normally be called evidence everyday.)

I don't have to have belief or faith in the report of the flooding in Fargo. The objective evidence is overwhelming.

Additionally, Harvey you are flip-flopping back and forth. Your argument states that you must have faith that the report is true in Fargo then out of the other side of your mouth you assert you have objective evidence for your christian god just like I have objective evidence for the flooding in Fargo.

Gotcha

You can't have it both ways Harvey. Which is it, Faith that flooding is happening in Fargo OR objective evidence?

They are not fact to you because you switch the verification for evidence to fit your view. In fact I'll go one step further, you just flat out deny the evidence even though in the natural realm those sort of things occur. Hospitals save lives and recussitate the dead through natural means everyday.

This is what I mean by over-reaching bloated rationalizations.

I'll tell you what Harvey, when a person who has been dead and buried for three days comes back to life and is verified by the scientific medical field you let me know -- cool?

The only reason you reject he Christian claim is because you are like Thomas and because the report was a considerable longer length of time than current natural happenings. eg; a miracle is facilitated which you won't dare hear of.

Yes and if Jesus came to me today and wielded his awesome power by circumventing the laws of nature, I'd eventually believe just like Thomas. Again, this way, I can be absolutely certain, that god exists and I will know exactly what god wants from me, and I don't have to rely on some fallible, deluded "follower of Christ", that makes extraordinary, interpretive claims, he can't substantiate.

Not to mention personal experience which you can discount if you want- but I know that no true scientific discovery that does that...What I’m saying is just because you haven’t personally experienced something DOES NOT make it any less factual.

Come on -- the devout muslim has personal experiences as well -- does that make it FACTUAL?

I'm getting the impression you really do not know the definition of objective evidences vrs. subjective evidences.

On a greater note supernatural reality is included in the Christian worldview whereas the naturalist does not include it at all. That’s the problem and why we’re talking past each other. My continuum is more expansive than yours. It’s just that simple.)

No -- your defense is nothing but bloated over-reaching rationalizations, that in no way substantiate your extraordinary claims.

The muslim believes in supernaturalism too. You believe an angel came to Mary, but you refuse to believe an angel came to Muhammad to to give the final revelation from god. Please explain how my skepticism is different from yours in this example.

You can try, but normal people don’t experiment with God.

Which means flooding is a FACT and your concept of god is just that -- a concept, nothing but a human construct that you can not verify with tests and you can NOT substantiate with verifiable, testable, repeatable objective evidence like you can with the flooding that is occurring in Fargo.

Although many experiement with supernatural things and get results to a varying degree.

..and you base this information on faith -- I suppose?

There are many occultists that sware by occult methodologies. Astrologists too. But you'll reject all metaphysical realities that aren't natural so that's another can of worms.

Yes, yes, and the next time one of your parishioners gets cancer I'm sure you will look to the stars and let an astrologer interpret them for you or you could send them to a voodoo doctor who can supernaturally extract the disease with his magic-hand.

(Like I said you missed the point. The FAITH is exercised in believing the reports and concluding even before you know it that it’s valid. You exercise that faith in the reporter etc. based on TRUST and evidences you lay out. That’s all.)

No I don't. In fact I was raised to question everything. It is healthy to be skeptical. But when I saw video evidence from several outlets showing the massive flooding in Fargo -- this was objective evidence of the occurrence. Also flooding occurs in reality, there would be no reason to NOT believe in the report of flooding. Now if a reporter started to deliver a story about pink poodles sprouting wings and grating wishes, I would use reason to judge something was up. I wouldn't use FAITH that the reporter was telling the truth.

Furthermore, the TRUST has been built up over time by either being a reliable source of news or not. Your bible is nothing of the sort. You base your biased belief in the spurious bible on assumption, faith and the willingness to believe it is true, while claiming objective evidence when all you really have is over-arching rationalizations.

(No, in my opinion, the atheist is over emotional in his dogmatic and religious assertions that Christian evidences are “over-rationalizations and emotions”.

That's absurd. I'm not making a case -- either way -- that our debating is emotional or not. I'm asserting you and your christian ilk attribute a deity to your feelings, like when you say, "I feel god in my heart", or when you feel exhilarated and you attribute it to the holy spirit. These are subjective and they don't prove a god exists.

Absolutely not. I'm using critical thinking skill to evaluate your misnomers in this piece.

I'm not saying you can't use reason. I'm sure if you were in the market for a car you would choose a reputable dealership or a friend as opposed to sending money, in the mail, for a car you never saw; from a guy you didn't know. That's only being reasonable.

I'm saying in the SPECIFIC case of believing in an invisible god who can be everywhere at once and can bend the laws of nature you must bury logic and abandon reason.

All I know is that nontheists commit and continue to commit plenty of bigotry, prejudice and have plenty of ignorance.

Yes we are in agreement. I realize fallible humans commit all sorts of atrocities (both theists and non-theist), but that was not my argument.

My argument asserts that religion reinforces the unreliable method of acquiring information by using faith.

That's where I supposedly soapboxed when I offered examples. Religion considers FAITH a virtue, but the same method you use to believe in a sentient being that concerns itself with you and works miracles for you if you have faith would not be the same method used in buying a car -- sight unseen -- from an individual you didn't know. Not in a million years would you use FAITH to buy a car, like in the example I provided. My argument is FAITH an unreliable way of obtaining information.

Furthermore, you would not use faith (only) to heal a child from an aggressive childhood disease. It's because faith is a unreliable means of processing information. Your default argument will be you can use faith and seek medical treatment. Fine; but you would never use faith only in lieu of medical treatment because you KNOW faith is unreasonable and unreliable.

Look so far as other deity is concerned I’ll say it like this, they lack all the types of evidences that allow me to conclude the biblical God DOES exist. There’s a long list of things that I won’t list here but everything that Christianity has to confirm it is nonexistent in the deities you list and then some. In fact many of them offer no type of evidence at all to even review...so there's not a comparison.)

That's not my argument. Please try to comprehend what I am saying here. I already concede that the entities I listed do NOT have objective evidence -- that's a given.

I'm asking you if you need FAITH not to believe in those entities?

I lump your triune christian god in that list because objective evidence has not been provided to me to prove it otherwise. You simply settle for the flimsiest of supposed evidences (just like the devout muslim does who believes in the all-mighty allah). You have no objective evidence for an invisible christian god who can be everywhere at the same time and can bend the laws of nature if you have faith and pray real hard.

I claim I do not need faith to believe a god doesn't exist. You seem to think atheists do.

So again, do you need FAITH not to believe in those entities?

I'm still waiting -- please supply video evidence (like the objective evidence from Fargo) of your invisible sentient christian god.

Please, provide testable, verifiable, repeatable objective evidence(just like I can for flooding) of your invisible sentient christian god.

Please by all means show me how anyone has the potential of visiting your invisible sentient christian god in the invisible 5th dimension just like anyone has the potential in visiting the flooded backyards in Fargo.

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

You said:"Every argument you you can offer (prophecy, archaeological and historical) can be offered by believers of Allah -- does that make it true? Is that also objective?"

(Islam can offer the same type of evidence but not offer the same quality evidence. There are many basis for my statement but I will not argue those points here. That would be fruitless. So YOUR point is still uncompelling. Even Mormons can offer or SAY they have certain historical evidence but they don’t pan out. So the question is , do YOU know the difference between objective EVIDENCE and historical CLAIMS? Obviously you want to blur the difference and mesh everything all together and that’s not the way that anybody that knows what they’re talking about does it.)

Regarding Fargo, you said:"There is universal objective evidence for flooding as opposed to subjective beliefs for gods."

(There is evidence that we know exists because we view it in our current time reality. 100 years from now (minus video reports etc.) there will only be archaeological evidence. Will that make it non objective evidence? According to you it will. That’s the basis of your whole extremely too long post)

Regarding reported events you said:"Yes but this TRUST is built from actual living beings that you and I can both see."

(Whaaaalaaaa...That’s FAITH in naturalism...because you see it (NATURAL) you can (TRUST IT)...That’s the WHOLE POINT my friend, that's exactly what I'm saying, but you won't admit that you exercise FAITH in that process. That sounds delusional to me.)

You said:"This TRUST is built from them relaying accurate information that can be verified with objective evidence."

(Now, you kinda turn a corner to suggest that the only reason you would believe the reporter is because his story has been confirmed or objectively verified first. Well, you must not have read about any of the reporters working for major news papers that simply made up stories, won awards and people believed then, theist and nontheist alike. There is no rational being reading this that verifies every news report on the evening news. YOU and I take much information as factual and we have NO IDEA of the basis for the evidence other than the WORD of the reporter simply because we TRUST them. Once again, your pleading for me to concede this point is unconvincing.

You said:"What's more I'm not arguing about christianity -- I'm asserting you CAN NOT provide OBJECTIVE evidence for the existence of your invisible personal concious god."

(Now, you go into a whole objective evidence tyrade claiming that something can’t be considered objective evidence because it can’t be confirmed. Where’s the objective evidence for the “big bang”? And that’s just one generally universal scientifically accepted principle which we cannot duplicate, confirm through video etc. All we see is what we rationalize as the effects and claim it as evidence. That's just one type of unrepeatiable, unviewable scientific principles that humans hold as factual, there are many more. Your argument is UNCOMPELLING in all of these types of motifs.)

Concerning the bible you said:"Your supposed eyewitness accounts are a sham."

(Look we shouldn’t have to argue the whole of Christianity in every debate or topic research. You offer no basis for your arguments, only a assertions and there’s no merit to those assertions. Stick to the subject and the subject is that because both theists or nontheists have limited knowledge both exercise FAITH in establishing their positions. Given that fact, FAITH cannot be the unreasonable proposition that atheists claim and in fact FAITH is the most reasonable proposition because it is something that is exercised to whatever extent everyday in the real world.)

You said:"I don't have to have belief or faith in the report of the flooding in Fargo. The objective evidence is overwhelming"

(Again, here you go...running past the complete point. You must have been a one of the worst types of Evangelical Christians. You don’t care what anyone says. You just take the argument where you want it to go...Back to the argument, YOU exercise FAITH when you first heard of the flooding because you had NO evidence at all on which to make your determination except the reporter or the newspaper citing such events. we've riden that one enough so let’s give another type of example: If your business associate says, that the company received a Billion dollar client, there’s no news report, tv, archaeology, video etc. there may be a client contract but let's just assume that hasn't been signed yet which is not unusual...at the moment there’s only his/her word. If that’s your business associate what do you do? Go on some evidentary campaign and search to prove it? No...you accept it by FAITH that your partner is honest and telling you factual information because you TRUST them. You may find out later that it was wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that under normal circumstances we accept many thing using FAITH. In fact let's look at the car buying experience. we call deposit money "earnest" money. What does that imply? "good faith" (ie;TRUST)that the purchaser is going to go through on the promise that he/she would buy the car. We use those terms everyday in the natural world and they mean exactly what we expect them to mean within Christianity also.)

Regarding your skepticism you said:"No I don't. In fact I was raised to question everything. It is healthy to be skeptical."

(That may be true to an extent but tt can be damaging to be radically skeptical as you seem to be. Case and point: You’re stopped in your vehicle for a violation that you were unaware of that existed in the law. You vehemently argue that the police can’t give you a ticket because you don’t believe that what you are being ticketed for is a violation. You refuse to accept the ticket based on your “healthy skepticism”. You demand that the officer show you “chapter and verse” of the code or you’ll drive away. Guess what? You’re on your way to jail because of “radical skepticism”. When skepticism is warranted it’s healthy. When skepticism is unwarranted it’s a mental illness called paranoia.)

Concerning biblical historical reliability you said: "Furthermore, the TRUST has been built up over time by either being a reliable source of news or not. Your bible is nothing of the sort."

(Man there’s more evidence for reliability of scripture than you can shake a stick at. Over 25,000 and counting archaeological finds (just to name one category) that either confirm statements and descriptions of places and events recorded biblically. In all of that there has not been ONE find that has EVER overturned a biblical narrative or historical fact contained within scripture. As I said, that’s only one type of evidence, not to mention the many other types of historical evidences that historians (both secular and non-secular)generally accept. Once again your assertions are uncompelling to the contrary)

You said:"My argument asserts that religion reinforces the unreliable method of acquiring information by using faith."

(I think that I’ve established that both theists and nontheists alike use FAITH as we acquire information and that faith is placed on the sources from which we gain that info. The Christian is in no less of a position by placing faith in God, than a nontheist is when he/she places faith in naturalism because admittedly all knowledge is limited.)

You said:"My argument is FAITH an unreliable way of obtaining information."

(Faith is only an unreliable method if the source or object of that faith is unreliable. In my view the Christian God is a more than reliable source and the bible has been historically proven to be reliable)

You said:"Fine; but you would never use faith only in lieu of medical treatment because you KNOW faith is unreasonable and unreliable."

(You cross the line from the application on which I’m discussion faith and are now discussing practical or daily faith or how one walks out their belief. What you’re outlining is similar but is different than what I’m talking about. I guess that’s because “FAITH” has been used so extensively used to cover both belief and practice. I’m talking about belief and saying that both theist and nontheist exercises FAITH to establish their belief. This has nothing to do with practice. On another hand also, since knowledge is limited I guess you could say that nontheists walk out a certain sort of faith also, but their hope is in the thought that "all things" will confirm or add to their naturalistic worldview. I think Jeff was making that point earlier.)

Concerning ANE myths you said:"I'm asking you if you need FAITH not to believe in those entities?"

(Initially I exercise faith in my source that they do not exist because my source, the bible, which I trust speaks to that degree. Now, as I have investigated the matter and compared the source, the myth and the information that supports them, I eliminate them confidently because they don’t fit or meet the certain criteria. That’s being methodological. I don't out of hand exclude even though I may have a "belief". I’m actually working on a post regarding this. You may find it interesting, I’ll let you know when I’m finished.)

You said:"I'm still waiting -- please supply video evidence (like the objective evidence from Fargo) of your invisible sentient christian god."

(Supply me video evidence from the dinner you ate last week Tuesday March 17th, or of the breakfast you at this morning. Until then I’m convinced that you didn’t eat, and that reports of your eating is a myth. That’s an absurd rationalization isn’t it? On top of that the only type of evidence is considered as proof –video- That’s what you ask. Notice how my request is much closer to the date of the events and based on one type of evidence it can still be written off. In addition, my walk with Christ is daily and in the current realm of reality. before you go with the ability to "objectivize" thing...I can only asy that there are many generally accepted scientific facts that cannot be measured scientifically. Again that's another topic but it shows the point.)

In all it's been fun Sconnor but I believe my point still stands from my response 3/25. In summary:

As stated you don't need to know ALL KNOWLEDGE to have a BELIEF...The atheist only applies that standard to his unbelief while criticising the Christian for his belief. That methodology is totally INCONSISTENT AND IRRATIONAL.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Gandolf,

"What type of risk does Harvey take if there is in fact some type of afterlife, but no god/s."

I would have to see the details on that one my friend. Afterlife but no God...how would that one work? That doesn't sound like to much of a risk to me especially since I'm not asking you to do anything in this life but help make the world a better one.

You also asked: "Would Harvey feel quite comfortable meeting all those burnt at the stake in the past for their personal disbelief of god/s etc?"

Well since I didn't do that to any of them, why would I be afraid to meet them? That qestion is based on the assumption that the current reality is at the top of the "food chain".

You also asked this and the way you fram it is too funny to me. I tried to picture this in my mind:Harvey admits we dont know everything,does he then know for sure that after his death he wont meet some very unhappy folks very pissed off about faith beliefs that had little evidence for proof often being passed on and pushed by those banking on some supposed insurance of faith?.

Hopefully IF I meet any ticked off folk they won't all jump on me-LOL I mean why should I be the fall guy for all of humanity? I guess I'll TRUST that Jesus got my back on that one. That's called the cosmic war theory.

If there's a war, you're right. But I have not even a mere allusion to anything like that taking shape. Anyway. that was good food for thought.

Thanks.

sconnor said...

Harvey

Islam can offer the same type of evidence...

...BUT.....BUT......BUT......

....but not offer the same quality evidence.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaaa.

I'd love to see the the research conclusions of your extensive five year study, but let's be honest that claim is NOTHING but a subjective opinion. A subjective opinion I can already hear being echoed by zealous devout muslims about the quality of evidence offered by christians. Hahahahahahahahahahaha..........

There is evidence that we know exists because we view it in our current time reality. 100 years from now (minus video reports etc.) there will only be archaeological evidence.

Fallacious argument -- you can't foresee into the future.

Also ridiculous rationalization because you do not have objective evidence for your invisible omni-present deity.

Will that make it non objective evidence? According to you it will. That’s the basis of your whole extremely too long post)

Uh....wrong. You also forgot the potential of seeing the flooding for ourselves as opposed to the zero probability of visiting your invisible omni-present deity.

You also forgot about flooding being a universally recognized FACT of nature as opposed to your supernatural invisible omni-present deity.

Additionally we'll have archival footage and photographs (disregarding your ridiculous argument of future prediction) from several outlets as opposed your to supernatural invisible omni-present deity, ever posing for ANY kind photographic proof.

Whaaaalaaaa...That’s FAITH in naturalism...because you see it (NATURAL) you can (TRUST IT)...

Hilarious. You have a warped the definition of "faith" to mean "trust".

I'm defining FAITH as believing in something that has NO objective evidence. As Mark Twain puts it: Faith is believing what you know ain't so.

I can observe the sun will rise and set. Scientist can conduct scientific experiments and repeat them to see how long it will burn. The sun is a FACT of nature with mountains of objective evidence. the sun's existence is universally accepted. We can trust that it will be there tomorrow not based in faith (simply believing for the sake of believing) but based on trust -- having confidence in something that has already been proven to be reliant. The sun may blow up tomorrow but the probability of that is remote and science can make predictions and render probability statistics to cover that.

I'm SPECIFICALLY addressing your belief in an invisible omni-present deity. A deity you can NOT provide objective evidence for. You don't trust (universal confidence based on reliance) he exists you have FAITH he exists and then you offer up a cornucopia of absurd rationalizations and a smorgasbord of subjective supposed proofs.

Now, you kinda turn a corner to suggest that the only reason you would believe the reporter is because his story has been confirmed or objectively verified first. Well, you must not have read about any of the reporters working for major news papers that simply made up stories, won awards and people believed then

Yep, I'm well aware of these fraudulent reporters and hoaxers -- this is why you should be skeptical and NOT use the unreliable method of FAITH. That is why they teach you in journalism school to confirm your information with several sources -- that's using reason and critical thinking skills. Thanks for making my point!

Once again, your pleading for me to concede this point is unconvincing.

Hardly; you just bolstered my argument thanks for that!

Now, you go into a whole objective evidence tyrade claiming that something can’t be considered objective evidence because it can’t be confirmed. Where’s the objective evidence for the “big bang”? And that’s just one generally universal scientifically accepted principle which we cannot duplicate, confirm through video etc

Careful Harvey, your letting your ignorance hang out. The big bang has mounds of objective evidence.

"The Big Bang is the cosmological model of the initial conditions and subsequent development of the universe supported by the most comprehensive and accurate explanations from current scientific evidence and observation" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

~AND SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS ARE BEING DONE AND REPEATED~

If the distance between galaxy clusters is increasing today, everything must have been closer together in the past. This idea has been considered in detail back in time to extreme densities and temperatures, and large particle accelerators have been built to experiment on and test such conditions, resulting in significant confirmation of the theory, http://lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/ AND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_accelerator#See_also

~AND MORE OBJECTIVE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE~

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/astronomy/bigbang.html

Look we shouldn’t have to argue the whole of Christianity in every debate or topic research.

Agreed. All I want you to do is present OBJECTIVE evidence of your particular invisible omni-present deity. Christianity and your Bible does not present OBJECTIVE evidence for the existence of an invisible omni-present deity.

Stick to the subject and the subject is that because both theists or nontheists have limited knowledge both exercise FAITH in establishing their positions.

No; you are WRONG. You are trying to level the field by associating your feeble method of acquiring information (FAITH) with the non-theist. You are trying to justify your beliefs by claiming we think the same way. You are desperately trying to say, If faith in atheism is justified then theists are also justified in their faith.
That doesn't fly.

In the specific belief in your particular invisible omni-present deity you have faith that he exists.

A non-theist DOES NOT have to have FAITH that an entity DOES NOT exist.

You believe in an invisible omni-present deity because of FAITH. Faith meaning -- believing in something that doesn't have objective evidence or is contrary to the supposed evidences (although you simply settle for the flimsiest of supposed evidences and offer up a plethora of subjective evidences)

The default position of a non-theist is simply unbelief or no belief -- NOT a belief that something doesn't exist. I do NOT have to have FAITH that the almighty allah doesn't exist -- objective evidence has not been presented to me that proves his existence. This is the same default position I hold concerning your particular invisible omni-present deity.

You -- in the same way -- do not see evidence for allah or the other entities I have mentioned.

No matter how you say it ("I've investigated it" or "I used a methodology") bottom line you DID NOT need FAITH not to believe these entities existed.

Which brings us to this peculiar statement: "Initially I exercise faith in my source that they do not exist because my source, the bible, which I trust speaks to that degree".

I think you are using FAITH as TRUST as you convinced yourself you have trust in the bible -- correct?

Correct me if I'm wrong but basically you are saying that you do NOT need FAITH to believe allah or other invisible entities DON'T exist -- right?

A non-theist doesn't have TRUST (confidence based on reliance) or FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence) in the bible.

A non-theist holds to the default position -- simple UNBELIEF because NO objective evidence has been presented to confirm an invisible omni-present deity.

Just like you DON'T need FAITH to believe allah doesn't exist, I don't need FAITH to believe your particular invisible omni-present deity exists.

Just like you discount the qur'an and allah by exclaiming it to be lacking quality evidence is the same line of thinking when a non-theist discounts your bible and your particular invisible omni-present deity.

No OBJECTIVE evidence NO FAITH required.

YOU exercise FAITH when you first heard of the flooding because you had NO evidence at all on which to make your determination except the reporter or the newspaper citing such events

You're WRONG. I simultaneously saw video evidence of the report. Also flooding is a real world natural occurrence. There was NO reason to have FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence).

I concede that I trusted the report (confidence based on reliance) but that's not FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence)

Are you beginning to understand my arguement?

~Billion dollar contract analogy~

Again, if I knew the CEO and had worked for him for a while I would have built up a repertoire and I would trust (confidence based on reliance) him in his actions. This is using reason based in objective evidence of a reliable tract record. If I didn't know him well, I might very well say, sounds good but let's wait until all the contracts are signed before we go celebrating. Furthermore if this was an associate of mine and he wanted me to invest his his business, than you better damn well believe I'm NOT going to use FAITH. I'm going to make sure what I'm getting into and I'm going to let my attorney scrutinize it. This is using reasonable critical thinking skills. So NO Harvey FAITH is not a reliable form of acquiring information. Even if someone used FAITH in your "Billion Dollar Contract Analogy" and the deal was nothing but a hoax, then your "FAITH METHOD" OF ACQUIRING INFORMATION (believing in something that has no evidence) is still wholly unreliable. Please tell me you grasp that?

In fact let's look at the car buying experience. we call deposit money "earnest" money. What does that imply? "good faith" (ie;TRUST)that the purchaser is going to go through on the promise that he/she would buy the car. We use those terms everyday in the natural world and they mean exactly what we expect them to mean within Christianity also.)

I would only accept up front money from someone I trusted (confidence based on reliance) Someone I had a relationship with and/or a contractual agreement -- which are all based in the objective real world. Now if you want to use FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence) and you want to give your "earnest" money to some guy on the street who tells you he'll be back with the merchandise in a minute -- then be my guest. FAITH is an unreliable source for obtaining or processing information.

~Police analogy~

Fallacious argument.

Although I may know I was in the right I also have acquired enough objective evidence to inform me that I can only defend myself to a certain limit, because the officer has the ability to detain me or arrest me. If I believed I was in the right I would fight it with an attorney in a court of law ( which the officer will gladly tell you when he was writing the ticket) using OBJECTIVE evidence for my defense.
By both being skeptical and using reason are the only adequate ways of dealing with the bogus situation you dreamed up.

Man there’s more evidence for reliability of scripture than you can shake a stick at. Over 25,000 and counting archaeological finds (just to name one category) that either confirm statements and descriptions of places and events recorded biblically.

Hey wait I thought you wanted to drop talking about christianity and the bible -- oh well, now that you mention it........

~The archaeological evidence~

Using your stunted logic here, the Qur'an, also describes real people, places and events that can be confirmed with archaeological evidence (The Romans, Al-safa, Al-Marwah -- therefore the Qur'an is the word of Allah and is true.

Additionally, a majority of myths, like the story of Hercules, routinely describe real people and real places and events that can be confirmed with archaeological evidence. (Thebes, Delphi, Troy, Sparta, King Amyntor).

Even if you have a basic knowledge of mythology, you would know, storytellers routinely interject real places, people and events, into their stories -- but it doesn't make it true.

Bottom line using real people, places and events in your mythology doesn't mean the purported supernatural events took place. You know like snakes and donkeys that have command of the human language and have whole conversations with people or invisible Jewish zombies who fly off to heaven to meet his father or himself -- or whatever?!??!??

One thing is for sure, any authentic archaeological evidences you could present in no way confirms that your holy book is the word of god, as opposed to a collection of Jewish fairy tales, authored by bronze-age, superstitious men, who used places people and events and the -- supposed voice of god -- to give it credibility, who only wrote about their own fallible concept of god that incorporated their own agendas, within their own culture and during their own specific time. Additionally this spurious record -- absolutely -- does NOT offer OBJECTIVE evidence to confirm your supernatural invisible omni-present deity.

Once again your assertions are uncompelling to the contrary

Hardly -- considering archaeological evidence for other myths and other holy books exist and the existence of archaeological findings CAN NOT validate talking snakes or people raising from the dead (you know: the three day dead and buried variety) or your invisible omni-present deity.

I think that I’ve established that both theists and non theists alike use FAITH as we acquire information and that faith is placed on the sources from which we gain that info.

Yep and I have argued that using FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence) both theist and non-theist alike is wholly unreliable and can bite you on the arse when you are not looking.

Again, this poignant quote, below, comes to mind. Please take care to digest and comprehend it.

"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck." -- Thomas Jefferson

The Christian is in no less of a position by placing faith in God, than a nontheist is when he/she places faith in naturalism because admittedly all knowledge is limited.)

But just like you have looked at the information and you have come to the conclusion the qur'an is unreliable and allah does not exist -- even if knowledge is limited --I used the same "methodologies" and "investigations" you used to conclude the bible is unreliable and your particular invisible omni-present deity does not exist. Still NO FAITH required.

(Faith is only an unreliable method if the source or object of that faith is unreliable. In my view the Christian God is a more than reliable source and the bible has been historically proven to be reliable)

Which is a subjective view you can NOT substantiate with OBJECTIVE evidence.

Furthermore if it is so reliable how come there are so many perverted interpretations of it? How come there are 34,00 separate christian groups ALL with varying different interpretations/misinterpretations -- all claiming truth? Didn't your god take that into consideration? Didn't your god take into consideration that fallible humans were going to be the ones deciphering the translations and interpreting it in a myriad of differing ways?
How come your all-powerful god didn't take into consideration that his message couldn't possibly get to the masses, because of land barriers, water barriers, time barriers, language barriers, cultural barriers, etc? How come he didn't take into consideration that the majority of his earthly children wouldn't be bible believing christrians? More to the point how come your -- ALL-POWERFUL ALL-KNOWING CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE GOD -- didn't take into consideration that the majority of his earthly children wouldn't be the specific brand of christianity that good ole' Harvey professes? God's plan is not reliable; it's wholly inadequate and morbidly negligent. The number of lost souls, throughout history, is monumentally, mind-blowing. You know if you have FAITH in that sort of absurd thing.

Bottom line, no one can assert with absolute certain objective evidence, Jesus -- the man -- existed; let alone making the claim and prove with objective evidence he was the true, supernatural, resurrected, metaphysical son of god, as opposed to embellished, oral stories, eventually, written over time -- nothing but a piece of fiction, based on a possible, fallible, human, prophet or an amalgamation of several people and several earlier legends and myths.

You cross the line from the application on which I’m discussion faith and are now discussing practical or daily faith or how one walks out their belief. What you’re outlining is similar but is different than what I’m talking about.

Fine, then we agree you would not use FAITH -- only -- in lieu of medical treatment because you know it would be unreasonable and wholly unreliable and you would be morbidly negligent if you were to only pray over someone, allowing them to die which could otherwise be averted with medical intervention. FAITH is unreliable.

Supply me video evidence from the dinner you ate last week Tuesday March 17th, or of the breakfast you at this morning. Until then I’m convinced that you didn’t eat, and that reports of your eating is a myth. That’s an absurd rationalization isn’t it?

Yes; it's a silly rationalization on your part. (BTW I provided the video evidence argument to offer objective evidence for the flood in Fargo. I was just making a point, that event had objective evidence and your invisible omni-present god did not, but please by all means, please present objective evidence for your invisible omni-present god.)

First congratulations your lame argument above also proves allah exists. Second, eating is a biological necessity. We have objective evidence that eating is a natural occurrence. Universally everyone has to eat -- go ahead stop eating for a couple of weeks and see what happens. Thirdly my eating on that specific date is nothing extraordinary. The probability that I ate on that date is extremely high. If I told you I ate a tuna sandwich last week March 17Th you really wouldn't think it was that unusual, but if I told you my tuna sandwich talked to me and granted me wishes then (be honest) you would be skeptical and you would want evidence of such an occurrence or you would be like any normal person and think I was crazy. This is exactly, how I see your purported one and only ultimate truth: an extraordinary claim of an invisible, personal, omni-present deity who lives in the 5Th dimension who takes an interest in you, loves you, will save you and who wields his awesome power (only to the christian faithful who believe like Harvey believes) by circumventing the laws of nature because you can telepathically link to his infinite mind.

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. -- Christopher Hitchens.

So, go ahead, don't believe the highly unusual, most unbelievable and monstrously weird event of me eating on Tuesday March 17TH. (Extreme Sarcasm)

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence -- Carl Sagan.

So -- still waiting for that unprecedented, EXTRAORDINARY OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE for the existence of an invisible omni-present deity, without you doing mental gymnastics, appealing to ridiculous rationalizations and doing back-flips, asserting subjective proofs.

In addition, my walk with Christ is daily and in the current realm of reality.

You can't walk with christ because he is not there, He only resides in your mind.

You can NOT have a personal relationship with Jesus because he is NOT there personally. You have simply fabricated a massive delusion by idiosyncratically interpreting the words of ignorant, primitive, superstitious, story tellers who recounted possible non-supernatural events or tried to explain phenomenon with superstitious supernatural explanations, always embellishing and adding magic, and folklore -- using the supposed voice of god -- to push their own specific biased agendas, which now resides in the limited and irrational imaginations of christians like yourself who use these antiquated stories by shaping and perverting and interpreting (making it mean whatever you want it to mean) to push your own polluted christian agendas.

--S.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

I think you do this because you know how stupid it sounds but you just like to hear yourself. I thought you really had something add to the conversation (Althout i was merely wishing because I ain't seen NOTHING yet) Then I got to this:

"I'm defining FAITH as believing in something that has NO objective evidence. As Mark Twain puts it: Faith is believing what you know ain't so."

IF Mark Twain defines "faith" for you I see why your so backwards...This is the MOST STUPID definition of faith ever in history...TOTALLY laughable, and you seem to go by it.

By the way the definition is the definition of STUPIDITY and if you believe it,...well that speaks for itself...

I'll get back to you, IF there's anything in that book worth gettin' to, but as it appears, THERE'S NOTHING!

Later.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconnor,

I told you I don't have to read far to see just awful assertions and total lack of understanding in your posts...I offer you another as proof:

I can observe the sun will rise and set.

The sun doesn't RISE anywhere and it certainly doesn't SET. The earth rotates around the sun remember?

But this is yet another example of how ridiculously radical your brand of irrational skepticism is. You'll say stuff that you know isn't true but you have no control because you think it blosters your point, but this is the point...The Sun may look like it rises and sets but it doesn't...

Your arguments are what I call blind MN arguments. Useful only in the mind of the one making the argument. Totally useless otherwise.

I think I'll get back on this one because you offer a treasuretrove of misinformation. This will be fun.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sconner,

so far as God evidences you said:"Also ridiculous rationalization because you do not have objective evidence for your invisible omni-present deity."

(Oxygen is invisible and at least everywhere that we can live. Do you have something against things that you can’t see but need in order to live or what?)

You said:"You also forgot about flooding being a universally recognized FACT of nature as opposed to your supernatural invisible omni-present deity."

(The existence of God is a universally recognized FACT within many religious worldviews and the Christian worldview in particular. So what does your opposition prove??? NOTHING. Just an absolute waste of time. I won’t address this sort of thing again, but knock yourself out.)

You said:"Additionally we'll have archival footage and photographs (disregarding your ridiculous argument of future prediction) from several outlets as opposed your to supernatural invisible omni-present deity, ever posing for ANY kind photographic proof."

(Now, in another of the most ridiculous things you've said to date. The proofs you accept are photographs and video???...That has got to be the most funny thing I’ve read on your responses. So according to your argument, no history can be verified prior to 1826???? No, don’t say you’ve got literature. I do too, REMEMBER? But you don’t accept that, so you must be consistent. Get this everyone, the world according to Sconnor...Those reading this radical assertion of his, can confirm that he thinks that historical verification for anything has only existed since 1826...Now THAT’S funny!!!)

What you're really here to argue (even though it has nothing to do with the post)you said:"I'm SPECIFICALLY addressing your belief in an invisible omni-present deity."

(That’s good, when you’ve lost an argument or don’t really have anything to add or BENEFIT anyone reading. Just change the argument to something you think may be more entertaining...OK)

You said:"A deity you can NOT provide objective evidence for. You also said:All I want you to do is present OBJECTIVE evidence of your particular invisible omni-present deity"

(Got plenty of evidence for God. You reject it because you are a radical Metaphysical Naturalist aka antisupernaturalist similar to Hume and Russell etc. who begins with the premise that there is no supernatural IN SPITE OF any and all evidence that could ever be presented to the contrary...Since you like quotes here's one from FORMER ATHEIST C.S. Lewis regarding miracles and the supernatural,

"If you begin by ruling out the supernatural you will perceive no miracles" C.S. Lewis cited in Jodi Berndt "Celebration of Miracles" (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers:1995)pg. 20

Based on my arguments, I can basically confirm and agree with ALL human history. You can only agree with pictures after 1826 as you reject any other evidences other than video and pictures. What’s objective about your position??? Your radical stances??? or makebelieve that you're actually making a point???)

As for your suggestions about the Big Bang Theory ~

(The Big Bang Theory is one of the greatest proofs of Intelligent Design and ultimately God partially because it lends itself to the universe having a beginning. Anything that has a beginning also has a cause. Christians know that cause is God. Still, no pictures or photographs as science currently suggests that this happened slightly BEFORE 1826...ooh wait a minute, the pictures we have are from BEFORE 1826 aren't they??? It's like a time warp...I get it...Eureka!)

You said:"A non-theist DOES NOT have to have FAITH that an entity DOES NOT exist."

(I’ve never said that, I only say the way you acquire information is based on the methods of FAITH that you criticize as you don’t know enough to take as fact what you do no matter what it’s about when you do. You keep hollerin’ trying to make a point otherwise but you saying that’s not how it works means nothin’ to me…the point has already been made. You offer nothing new to refute my arguments. Thanks for trying, I won’t address this point again with you ether. You’ve tried at least 4 times unsuccessfully…broken record now.)

You said:"You -- in the same way -- do not see evidence for allah or the other entities I have mentioned."

(No, I see evidence for Islam. That evidence when weighed out is uncompelling. You don’t weigh it out so you don’t even know what the comparative evidence is. If you do, you certainly don’t present it so I won’t "duck chase" with this issue either because it adds nothing to the convo at hand.)

You said:"I concede that I trusted the report (confidence based on reliance) but that's not FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence)"

(Concession in Isle 666...Cut the cheese and pass the peas!!!...Only this time just ANOTHER NAME for FAITH...Now that’s funny!)

You said:"Are you beginning to understand my arguement?"

(The question is are you beginning to understand what I’ve been saying the whole time???)

You said:"(believing in something that has no evidence) is still wholly unreliable. Please tell me you grasp that?"

(That’s another part of the point...natural observations are wholly unreliable like your Sunrise and set snafu. But God is reliable and has proven himself to be such.)

Back to Islam. You said:"therefore the Qur'an is the word of Allah and is true."

(No, because historical evidences include much more than literary evidence. Then within that there are certain claims that Christianity makes and fulfills that Islam doesn’t. One type of evidence is only a piece to the puzzle. Placing all evidences together along side Christianity makes Islam an uncompelling religion. The historicity of Islam is not in question. The quality of the evidences as compared to Christianity are suspect. Thanks and as we are not arguing Islam I’ll leave that alone from here...knock yourself out in future assertions)

You said: "Even if you have a basic knowledge of mythology, you would know, storytellers routinely interject real places, people and events, into their stories -- but it doesn't make it true."

(But in all of those myths C.A.T. D.I.E.D. and in the end we have nothing more than stories to a more or lesser degree that not even the followers of those beliefs perpetuated. By the way I’ve got an upcoming post to explain what C.A.T. D.I.E.D. means so don’t ask...I don’t tell too early.)

You said: "Bottom line using real people, places and events in your mythology doesn't mean the purported supernatural events took place."

(So in this I think we have another concession...You are conceding that the bible actually has the support of real archaeology and real historical accounts??? To say that there are some “real’ people and places recorded within the story seems like at least a concession of those facts...By gollie...Concession ALERT Isle 666...take a picture and shoot some video, we just made real world history twice in ONE post!!!)

You said: "One thing is for sure, any authentic archaeological evidences you could present in no way confirms that your holy book is the word of god, as opposed to a collection of Jewish fairy tales, authored by bronze-age, superstitious men, who used places people and events and the -- supposed voice of god -- to give it credibility, who only wrote about their own fallible concept of god that incorporated their own agendas, within their own culture and during their own specific time."

(I’d be interested to know, how were these traditions preserved, modified, kept and who was in charge of that sort of thing. In other words instead of making assertions, come up with an apologetic (for your ideas) that addresses all of the data that we currently have including records from hostile sources, and conversions of critics and skeptics, such as yourself, who were certainly hostile by all accounts to Christianity in particular. Then address second and third century evidences that confirm first century happenings etc. in other words rewrite the whole narrative in your story and send it to me in email with your best possible accounting of all the data...my email is Dunamis1@netzero.com.)

You said: "Furthermore if it is so reliable how come there are so many perverted interpretations of it? How come there are 34,00 separate christian groups ALL with varying different interpretations/misinterpretations -- all claiming truth?"

(1- Because men have a sin nature that revolts against truth of scripture, you're a prime example and 2- many of the variations exist NOT because of essential doctrinal changes within Christianity; I can go to South Korea and preach repentance in Jesus and that he died on the cross and the atonement and Christians know exactly what I’m saying. The variations and essential truths are more consistent than radicals such as yourself claim.)

You said: Didn't your god take into consideration that fallible humans were going to be the ones deciphering the translations and interpreting it in a myriad of differing ways?

(In fact HE did. That’s the beauty of human agency and the scripture and HE that hath ears to HEAR.)

You said: Fine, then we agree you would not use FAITH -- only -- in lieu of medical treatment because you know it would be unreasonable and wholly unreliable and you would be morbidly negligent if you were to only pray over someone, allowing them to die which could otherwise be averted with medical intervention. FAITH is unreliable.

(You miss the point so far as the application of faith in practical life. Since the Christian includes God in all aspects, then everything is included in his leading etc. God has provided Dr’s to help take care of me and medical science can’t help without God's intervention. Medical care for the Christian is not unreasonable and walks hand in hand with faith.)

You said: First congratulations your lame argument above also proves allah exists. Second, eating is a biological necessity. We have objective evidence that eating is a natural occurrence.

(But you still haven’t proved YOU ate when and where? What no video? No pictures?...darn! Another failed historically unverifiable situation. Man ohh man!)

You said: "So -- still waiting for that unprecedented, EXTRAORDINARY OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE for the existence of an invisible omni-present deity, without you doing mental gymnastics, appealing to ridiculous rationalizations and doing back-flips, asserting subjective proofs."

(So far as the atheist theme song, there are two things to say. 1st Christianity meets the burden and the evidence is extrordinary as documented by literary historians archaeologists, and millions of individuals personal accountings such as mine. 2nd this cuts both ways. For all the evidence that is presented in support of Christianity you as the critic must provide plausible and extrordinary alternatives that accounts for all the known evidences. YOU DO NOTHING OF THE SORT. So, the claim is not on me to prove to you beyond evidence that you reject, it’s upon you to show what WITHIN REASON accounts for the evidence from both Christian and non Christian sources, archaeology, friends and foe, and all historical evidences much of which is accepted by even critical scholars. Evidences that turned C.S. Lewis from atheism (who made better arguments against Christianity than I’ve seen here or elsewhere) and Anthony Flew from his radical position to deism (as last I heard)

You said: "You can NOT have a personal relationship with Jesus because he is NOT there personally."

(Where is your evidence in support of your assertion that HE is not there for me? Support your claim of what you know of my experience)

You said: "which now resides in the limited and irrational imaginations of christians like yourself who use these antiquated stories by shaping and perverting and interpreting (making it mean whatever you want it to mean) to push your own polluted christian agendas."

(OK...so the Christian agenda of committing to the betterment of society is a bad thing???...Yea right! Check out Pliny The Younger about 112 AD. He was just as puzzled as you...Thanks Sconner, it’s been real and as you’re totally off point, and have nothing to add, I’ll probably just be further entertained by your responses. Later)

sconnor said...

Harvey

I think you do this because you know how stupid it sounds but you just like to hear yourself.

Riiiiiiight, stick with that rationalization. If it is so stupid why address it at all? You already obsessively posted the same post twice and then had to remove the first one.

I'll get back to you, IF there's anything in that book worth gettin' to, but as it appears, THERE'S NOTHING!

~and then~

I think I'll get back on this one because you offer a treasuretrove of misinformation. This will be fun.

Oops! looks like there's something that got you all riled up.

The sun doesn't RISE anywhere and it certainly doesn't SET. The earth rotates around the sun remember?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha hahahahahahaha.

Well, actually, Harvey the illusion of the sun rising and setting is caused by the earth making a 24 hour rotation, relative to the sun -- NOT by rotating around the sun. orbiting around the sun gives us our seasons. Not too good with scientific facts are you Harvey? Do try harder next time.

But this is yet another example of how ridiculously radical your brand of irrational skepticism is. You'll say stuff that you know isn't true but you have no control because you think it blosters your point, but this is the point...The Sun may look like it rises and sets but it doesn't...

Brilliant argument Harvey. You must have racked your brains for hours on this one. Anyone with half a brain would realize saying, "the sun is rising and setting" is an accepted colloquialism. Point is it is an observable natural occurrence that actually exists and we can prove it exists with objective evidence and can be video recorded, just like the flood in Fargo.

Also, an amendment to your "eating in the past argument". Considering everyone eats, which would mean a being would have to exist to eat something that exists, then the potential of video taping me eating is highly probable. I also have to ask myself why would you argue about evidence from the past? Oh I see you have constructed an argument that posits if you don't have video of something from the past then it too would be difficult to prove. But correct me if I wrong, doesn't your invisible omni-present deity exist in the present?

Tell me again Harvey how probable is it to hook up with your invisible omni-present deity in the fifth dimension and do a little video shoot?

ZERO -- because he is a figment of your imagination, he is a concept that only exists in your head, where you have to resort to absurd and bloated rationalizations and subjective meanderings to "prove" he exists.

--S.

sconnor said...

Harvey

Oxygen is invisible and at least everywhere that we can live. Do you have something against things that you can’t see but need in order to live or what?)

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hahahahahahahaha. I can't believe you pulled out this classic yet stunted rationalization.

There are real physical aspects to air. Air is made up from molecules composed from 78% Nitrogen, 20% Oxygen, .93% Argon, .038% Carbon Dioxide and traces of other gases. Elements and molecules have been seen for quite some time now, with the invention of a microscope and electron microscope.

You can also SEE air every time you look at the atmosphere. When the sun reflects off the atmosphere, the light -- using the correct term -- is "scattered" by the molecules in the air. Seeing the blue sky is seeing the air. Also if you have ever seen a mirage on a hot road while you were driving, those almost transparent wavy lines are the updraft of hot air. Empirical objective evidence exists, to the existence of air.

What empirical objective evidence do you have for the existence of your invisible omni-present deity?

(The existence of God is a universally recognized FACT within many religious worldviews and the Christian worldview in particular. So what does your opposition prove??? NOTHING. Just an absolute waste of time. I won’t address this sort of thing again, but knock yourself out.)

WRONG. The BELIEF of a god or gods is a universally recognized FACT. The existence of their gods is NOT FACT -- you see the difference?

Or are you admitting that ALL the other religion god concepts are true?

(Now, in another of the most ridiculous things you've said to date. The proofs you accept are photographs and video???...

NOPE. Never asserted that. You are misrepresenting my argument. I simply posit the flood in Fargo has been videotaped by several sources, which is objective evidence. I asked if you have or if you could get objective evidence like a video of your invisible omni-present deity? This is just merely one example of objective evidence, but by all means please offer other objective evidences for the existence of your invisible omni-present deity -- waiting.

???...That has got to be the most funny thing I’ve read on your responses. So according to your argument, no history can be verified prior to 1826????

Not my argument. I'm asking you to provide objective evidence for the existence of your invisible omni-present deity -- can you do that?

Those reading this radical assertion of his, can confirm that he thinks that historical verification for anything has only existed since 1826...Now THAT’S funny!!!)

Nope; once again you are misrepresenting my argument. I could care less if other people or places were verified. I want you to please provide objective evidence for the existence of your invisible omni-present god. But as of now you can only diverge by offering these bizarre rationalizations and lame pseudo-arguments.

Sconnor said "I'm SPECIFICALLY addressing your belief in an invisible omni-present deity."

(That’s good, when you’ve lost an argument or don’t really have anything to add or BENEFIT anyone reading. Just change the argument to something you think may be more entertaining...OK)

Another deluded rationalization. Posts can take on a life of their own and the topic is free to morph. But in this case, your belief in an invisible omni-present deity is absolutely salient and integral to the post.

(Got plenty of evidence for God. You reject it because you are a radical Metaphysical Naturalist aka antisupernaturalist similar to Hume and Russell etc. who begins with the premise that there is no supernatural IN SPITE OF any and all evidence that could ever be presented to the contrary...Since you like quotes here's one from FORMER ATHEIST C.S. Lewis regarding miracles and the supernatural,

Whoop-D-doo. The belief in the supernatural does not prove your invisible omni-present deity exists.

I got an idea let's pretend the supernatural exists: ghosts, people who can cause fires with their minds, genies that can fly or Harry Potter magically turning frogs into a dogs. Still doesn't provide objective evidence for your invisible omni-present deity -- now does it?

"If you begin by ruling out the supernatural you will perceive no miracles" -- CS Lewis

Pricelessly illogical.

Isn't that like saying if you ruled out fairy dust you will perceive no one flying to Never-Never Land?

Isn’t that like saying if you ruled out wizardry you will perceive no magic?

Wait wait how about.....

Isn’t that like saying if you ruled out shape-shifters you will perceive no man mutating into a werewolf because of the full moon?

Bawwwwhahahahahahaha.

Or is it ONLY your particular brand of supernaturalism that is true?

What’s more, if Jesus came back and supernaturally made a leg sprout into a new leg of an amputee right before my eyes -- what would happen? Because I supposedly didn't believe in supernaturalism would my eyes go all blurry or perhaps I magically forgot it happened? Come on -- what a ridiculous assertion.

Based on my arguments, I can basically confirm and agree with ALL human history. You can only agree with pictures after 1826 as you reject any other evidences other than video and pictures.

WRONG. Again you misrepresent my arguments. I never said I would only accept video or pictures as objective evidence nor am I compelled to research the authenticity of human history.

You claim to know that an invisible omni-present deity exists. All I want you to do is provide empirical objective evidence for the existence of your invisible omni-present deity.

The Big Bang Theory is one of the greatest proofs of Intelligent Design and ultimately God partially because it lends itself to the universe having a beginning. Anything that has a beginning also has a cause.

WRONG. The big bang theory does not posit that something came from nothing -- so NO first cause.

Considering you believe your invisible omni-present deity always existed, then why is it so difficult for you to comprehend that the building blocks of life have always existed -- in one form or another -- and after eons of time they coalesced into the reality we now know?

I also noted you know the big bang took place -- would that be because of the overwhelming objective evidence that is available?

What's more the muslim could use the same "first cause argument" -- therefore allah exists.

"First cause arguments" fails to give objective evidence for your invisible omni-present deity, just like it fails to prove any other religious concept of god.

Sconnor said:"A non-theist DOES NOT have to have FAITH that an entity DOES NOT exist."

(I’ve never said that,

Good then we are in agreement non-theists do NOT use Faith to believe that your god doesn't exist.

I only say the way you acquire information is based on the methods of FAITH that you criticize as you don’t know enough to take as fact what you do no matter what it’s about when you do.

Do you ever read what you post? This is kind of incomprehensible but I'll take a stab at it.

You are saying non-theist use faith to acquire information.

I'm saying non-theists use "faith" with the definition being “trust” (confidence based on reliance)

Some non-theists may even use faith (believing in something that has no evidence) but I have developed an argument that posits this method of acquiring and processing information is highly unreliable and I have given one example after another to support my argument.

You seem to agree that using faith (believing in something that has no evidence) is unreliable by your assertion, "Faith is only an unreliable method if the source or object of that faith is unreliable".

But you see using faith (believing in something that has no evidence) is unreliable from the beginning not because the source or object of that faith was unreliable, but because the method used is unreliable. Using faith (believing in something that has no evidence) does not have the reliability to detect if the source or object of that faith is unreliable and by the time you initiate faith (believing in something that has no evidence) it would be too late.

FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence) is wholly unreliable.

Religion reinforces this inferior method of acquiring and processing information and claims it to be a virtue.

Using reason with advanced critical thinking skills is the most reliable way of obtaining and processing information as in the many examples I have presented.

Would you use faith by giving money to a guy on the street and after he took the money said wait right here and I'll get the merchandise for you right away?

NO; of course NOT. That's because using FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence) is wholly unreliable.

Sconnor said:"You -- in the same way -- do not see evidence for allah or the other entities I have mentioned."

(No, I see evidence for Islam. That evidence when weighed out is uncompelling.

I didn't say Islam. Der; no kidding. There's evidence for all religions existing.

Bottom line the investigative methodologies you use to discount the qur'an and allah are not the same ones you use to weigh the bible and your invisible omni-present deity.

Again, what exactly is the investigative methodology you use to posit an angel visited Mary is true while an angel who gave the final revelation to Muhammad is false.

I suspect the same reason you think the angel story in the qur'an is false is probably fairly close to why I think the angel story in the bible is false.

Sconnor said:"I concede that I trusted the report (confidence based on reliance) but that's not FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence)"

(Concession in Isle 666...Cut the cheese and pass the peas!!!...Only this time just ANOTHER NAME for FAITH...Now that’s funny!)

Nope. Just a clarification. You do see the difference in meaning and application -- right? You do understand using faith (believing in something that has no evidence) is a wholly inferior method of acquiring and processing information?

Notice the difference in meaning and application from Merriam Dictionary.

FAITH:

1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1): fidelity to one's promises (2): sincerity of intentions2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust 3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction ; especially : a system of religious beliefs (the Protestant faith)

(That’s another part of the point...natural observations are wholly unreliable like your Sunrise and set snafu.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hahahahahahahahahahaaha. Now it's twice you put your foot in your mouth. Evidently you did not read my last post or you would have been too embarrassed to call it "my snafu"

You ignorantly interjected that the illusion of the sun setting and rising was because the world revolved AROUND the sun.

Here it is again for your reading enjoyment.

Harvey said, The sun doesn't RISE anywhere and it certainly doesn't SET. The earth rotates around the sun remember?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha hahahahahahaha.

Well, actually, Harvey the illusion of the sun rising and setting is caused by the earth making a 24 hour rotation, relative to the sun -- NOT by rotating around the sun. orbiting around the sun gives us our seasons. Not too good with scientific facts are you Harvey? Do try harder next time.

Harvey said, But this is yet another example of how ridiculously radical your brand of irrational skepticism is. You'll say stuff that you know isn't true but you have no control because you think it blosters your point, but this is the point...The Sun may look like it rises and sets but it doesn't...

Brilliant argument Harvey. You must have racked your brains for hours on this one. Anyone with half a brain would realize saying, "the sun is rising and setting" is an accepted colloquialism. Point is it is an observable natural occurrence that actually exists and we can prove it exists with objective evidence and can be video recorded, just like the flood in Fargo.

natural observations are wholly unreliable

Ha,ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hahahahahaaha.

Yeah, yeah, yeah; you've said this before but you can't substantiate it nor does it prove that using reason and critical thinking skills would be inferior to the completely unreliable faith method (believing in something that has no evidence)

Using reason and critical thinking skills for acquiring and processing information far out weighs the disastrously inferior method of faith (believing in something that has no evidence)

I bet you still look both ways when crossing a busy highway of speeding cars.

That's you relying on observation of the natural world. Go ahead, cross the busy highway being blindfolded and ears plugged and use only FAITH (believing in something that has no evidence). That way you don't have to rely on the supposed unreliability of natural observations.

But God is reliable and has proven himself to be such.)

Unsupported, deluded assertion. You haven't supplied objective evidence for the existence of your invisible omni-present deity.

And I presented an argument -- that you ignored -- showing just how unreliable your god is by using a book to convey his message of salvation that neglects and punishes the majority of his earthly children.

(No, because historical evidences include much more than literary evidence. Then within that there are certain claims that Christianity makes and fulfills that Islam doesn’t. One type of evidence is only a piece to the puzzle.

Doesn't matter. Archaeological evidence is NOT even a part of the puzzle because it only proves a plot of land or a structure existed -- it does NOT in any way confirm the supernatural stories of the bible are true, nor does it provide objective evidence for the existence of you invisible omni-present deity.

Archaeological evidence is completely extraneous and does not support ANY of your (or the bibles') extraordinary claims. You know -- serpents with command of the human language, bread falling from gods bakery shop in heaven, the sun stopping in the middle of the sky for an entire day, virgin births, rising from the dead after being buried for three days and so on and so forth.

(So in this I think we have another concession...You are conceding that the bible actually has the support of real archaeology and real historical accounts??? To say that there are some “real’ people and places recorded within the story seems like at least a concession of those facts

Only to the degree that other myths routinely interject real archaeological and real historical accounts. Again NONE of this proves ANYTHING supernatural happened.

I’d be interested to know, how were these traditions preserved, modified, kept and who was in charge of that sort of thing.

If you don't know the history of how the bible came together and that it is painfully apparent it was a human construct where fallible men collected oral stories told over centuries and piece-mealed it together over time, then you have no business discussing the bible.

Sconnor said: "Furthermore if it is so reliable how come there are so many perverted interpretations of it? How come there are 34,00 separate christian groups ALL with varying different interpretations/misinterpretations -- all claiming truth?"

(1- Because men have a sin nature that revolts against truth of scripture, you're a prime example and…

Oh yes, but you heroically fought past that “sin nature” and became infallible and only you can ascertain the one and only truth with your idiosyncratic interpretation of scripture -- you must be god-like.

Also you still bolster my point. God did not consider the magical “sin nature” that he set into motion preventing people to interpret the bible correctly, at the detriment of his earthly children – thanks again!

2- many of the variations exist NOT because of essential doctrinal changes within Christianity; I can go to South Korea and preach repentance in Jesus and that he died on the cross and the atonement and Christians know exactly what I’m saying. The variations and essential truths are more consistent than radicals such as yourself claim.)

That's a load of bull. The salvation doctrine is vastly different from one christian group to another. Case in point you have your specific lists of what's required to gain salvation to enter heaven.

The catholics have a different doctrinal itinerary.
The mormons have a different doctrinal itinerary.
The JW have a different doctrinal itinerary.
The born again crowd have a different doctrinal itinerary.
Liberal churches have a different doctrinal itinerary.
Unitarians have a different doctrinal itinerary.
Baptists have a different doctrinal itinerary.
Methodists have a different doctrinal itinerary.
Some preach NO hell, some preach good works , some preach NO good works, some preach being good, some preach be baptized as an infant some preach being born-again, some preach faith and good works, some preach only faith, some preach universal salvation and on and on and on.

Not to mention the christian doctrine means NOTHING to non-bible believers from different religions.

Again, god is incompetent at getting his message to EVERYONE equally and unequivocally.

Sconnor said: Didn't your god take into consideration that fallible humans were going to be the ones deciphering the translations and interpreting it in a myriad of differing ways?

(In fact HE did. That’s the beauty of human agency and the scripture and HE that hath ears to HEAR.)

Uh oh, Harvey, you petered out (you must be tired) and FAILED to address my entire argument about why the bible is completely incapable for delivering god's supposed messages.

The rest of my argument you just simply ignored. God DID NOT take into account that a book would be entirely impotent to pass along his sooooo important messages and that his messages would be interpreted or misinterpreted in a myriad of differing ways or discounted altogether. Your god is completely unreliable.

~HERE IS THE REST OF MY ARGUMENT YOU SIMPLY IGNORED~

How come your all-powerful god didn't take into consideration that his message couldn't possibly get to the masses, because of land barriers, water barriers, time barriers, language barriers, cultural barriers, etc? How come he didn't take into consideration that the majority of his earthly children wouldn't be bible believing christrians? More to the point how come your -- ALL-POWERFUL ALL-KNOWING CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE GOD -- didn't take into consideration that the majority of his earthly children wouldn't be the specific brand of christianity that good ole' Harvey professes? God's plan is not reliable; it's wholly inadequate and morbidly negligent. The number of lost souls, throughout history, is monumentally, mind-blowing. You know if you have FAITH in that sort of absurd thing.

Kind of makes you think the whole plan is just a deluded concept propagated by fallible people --huh?

(You miss the point so far as the application of faith in practical life. Since the Christian includes God in all aspects, then everything is included in his leading etc. God has provided Dr’s to help take care of me and medical science can’t help without God's intervention. Medical care for the Christian is not unreasonable and walks hand in hand with faith.)

Riiiiiiight so AGAIN you realize, using ONLY faith to try to heal someone would be negligent and is still a morbidly inferior method of acquiring and processing information.

Additionally, does your invisible omni-present deity bend and shape the laws of nature so that hindu and muslim doctors can help with medical science so they can save lives in their religiously diverse countries and produce modern scientific medical advances? Or because they don't have FAITH in your particular invisible omni-present deity they are on their own -- god just leaves them high and dry? It’s fun watching you paint yourself into the corner.

(But you still haven’t proved YOU ate when and where? What no video? No pictures?...darn! Another failed historically unverifiable situation. Man ohh man!)

Don't have to. Eating is nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not making an extraordinary claim. Eating is a part of the objective reality we live in. Furthermore the potential is extremely high to record me eating food on specific dates.

What's the potential of making a video recording of your invisible omni-present deity -- you know the one you profess exists?

Additionally you can video tape me in the present, you can make predictions and conduct experiments that shows the eating habits of a young adult male.

What’s the potential of a camera crew journeying to the fifth dimension to film your invisible omni-present deity -- right now -- in the present?

Can you offer ANY EMPIRICAL OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE that your particular invisible omni-present deity actually exists --- waiting and waiting and waiting....................

1st Christianity meets the burden and the evidence is extrordinary as documented by literary historians archaeologists, and millions of individuals personal accountings such as mine.

So what. I’m not asking you to prove the religion of Christianity. We know the religion of Christianity exists.

I want you to provide empirical objective evidence for the existence of your invisible omni-present deity.

As of now there is NOT a shred of objective evidence(archeological, literary, or personal experiences) that proves ANYTHING supernatural or proves your particular invisible omni-present deity exists – too bad so sad.

2nd this cuts both ways. For all the evidence that is presented in support of Christianity you as the critic must provide plausible and extrordinary alternatives that accounts for all the known evidences.

SORRY – NO; the burden of proof is upon the one making the extraordinary claim.

If I claimed I had an invisible talking poodle who can predict the future, the onus WOULD NOT be upon you to prove it didn’t exist.

I would be responsible for supplying objective evidence for the existence of such a dog, just like you are responsible for offering objective evidence for your extraordinary claim that an invisible omni-present deity lives in the fifth dimension and he takes an interest in you, loves you, will manipulate the laws of nature for you if you have enough faith and telepathically let him know what you want and he will let you into heaven if you abide by the requiremnets Harvey deems valid.

Sconnor said: "You can NOT have a personal relationship with Jesus because he is NOT there personally."

(Where is your evidence in support of your assertion that HE is not there for me? Support your claim of what you know of my experience)

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hahahahahaahahahahahahaha.

I’ll tell you what Harvey, why don’t you give Jesus a call on the big cosmic phone and make plans with your buddy to do lunch. ALL three of us could get together and have a long conversation.

Oh wait, he only exists in the confines of your mind, nothing but a manufactured delusion where you claim to know what he wants of you and that he intervenes on your behalf, lamely supported by pathetic over-reaching rationalizations, subjective meanderings and feelings you falsely attribute to an invisible entity.

Sconnor said: "which now resides in the limited and irrational imaginations of christians like yourself who use these antiquated stories by shaping and perverting and interpreting (making it mean whatever you want it to mean) to push your own polluted christian agendas."

OK...so the Christian agenda of committing to the betterment of society is a bad thing???

Nope. The Christian agenda that harms society is a bad thing.

Like the Christian agendas that propagates and reinforce gay people are sub-human, an abomination – nothing but bible-based bigotry.

Like the Christian agendas that try to keep gay people from having the same rights as heterosexual married couples

Like the Christian agendas that milk the money out of retired old ladies, depleting them of their life savings.

Like the Christian agendas that allows women to be subservient to their husbands and let’s a man have many wives.

Like the Christian agendas of the past that supported slavery.

Like the Christian agendas of the past that discriminated against black people marrying white people.

Like the Christian agendas that reinforce faith healing as a viable method in lieu of medical intervention allowing children to die.

Like the Christian agendas that preaches it’s perfectly acceptable to beat your child with a rod.

Like the Christian agendas that want to teach massive ignorance in the form of creationism, setting back America's future scientist pool into the dark ages.

Like the Christian agendas in Northern Ireland, Catholics vrs. Protestants in a 30 year old bloodbath

Like the Christian agendas in Kosovo -- Serbian Orthodox Christians committed mass murder against the mostly Muslim Albanians.

Like the Christian agendas that cause the Bosnian genocide -- Serbian Orthodox Christian forces committed genocide against the Bosnian Muslims.

Like the Christian agendas in Uganda -- Christian rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army are conducting a civil war in the north of Uganda. Their goal is a Christian theocracy whose laws are based on the Ten Commandments (you know, the very same ones you claim God is using to get his message across on pre-1900 monuments). They abduct, enslave and/or raped about 2,000 children a year.

And so much more.......

Harvey, name one thing that is good in Christianity that couldn’t be done without Christianity?

Thanks Sconner, it’s been real and as you’re totally off point, and have nothing to add, I’ll probably just be further entertained by your responses.

Not as entertained as I was when you embarrassed yourself by ignorantly exclaiming the illusion of the sun setting and rising is because the earth revolves AROUND the sun.

So in review -- you CAN NOT provide objective evidence that your particular invisible omni-present god exists and you feebly persist in floundering about, offering bloated rationalizations, subjective proofs that other religions can offer and feelings you attribute to your deity.

Faith has two meanings which you try to blur constantly. One meaning "trust" (confidence based on reliance) and faith (believing in something that has no evidence)

You interchange them constantly.

I’ve established Faith (believing in something that has no evidence) is wholly unreliable and disasterous in other situations.

Using reason with advanced critical thinking skills is the only reliable way of obtaining and processing information and should be taught to todays youth.

Religion should stop teaching faith (believing in something that has no evidence) is a virtue and should be taught it is a lousy way of obtaining and processing information.

Faith is nothing more than suspending your disbelief, on purpose, so as to make it fit in your world-view. You deliberately choose to fore go the reasoning powers your mind possesses and feebly fill in the blanks with subjective flim-flam and bloated, stretched-thin rationalizations. Faith is not a virtue, it is not a state of divinity, it is not supernatural; it is a state of CHOICE. You CHOOSE to waive your intellectual faculties and throw reasoning out the door, while convincing yourself by pretending that your supposed proofs are perfectly valid. Faith is something you believe in without positive proof. Which means you don’t need evidence or proof, you don’t need any reasons, at all, to believe -- except for your WILLINGNESS to believe? And just because you believe in something so strongly and with all your heart, does not make it true.

--S.