Don't Visit DC Unless "You are Prepared for Serious Attacks on Your Faith"

So says Mike over at Ransomed Heart. He also said DC's arguments are presented in such a way "so as to actually shake my faith." But he still believes anyway because he has a relationship with his triune God, something rational argumentation apparently cannot touch.

Really? Come on now believers. Does this not remind you of a little girl who has an imaginary friend and believes her friend exists no matter what we say to her? It's like these Christian believers were raised in a cloistered monastery or something. Have they never ever met people who say the same things about Allah or the Jewish Yahweh, or the Mormon God, the Jehovah's Witnesses God, or Native American spiritual forces, or the Hindu God? Where do these Christian people live who reject arguments in favor of such a relationship? I'm serious. Do they actually have jobs where they must rub shoulders next to other people who say they have a relationship with a different god, one of over 2,500 deities of the world? Atheism Blog informs us that at least 500 of these deities are dead, where we also read:
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.
Now did he just present an argument?

You betcha he did.

17 comments:

TKD said...

So true. I had a believer put it to me this way:

He used intellectual arguments to first achieve his belief in God, then he developed an emotional connection to God, such that even if his intellectual arguments were to fall away now he would continue to believe.

And Christians say that atheists refuse to look at the evidence honestly? Not everyone is like this, but it does seem to be an alarmingly large proportion, at least in my personal experience.

I enjoy your posts, though I don't comment that often, so keep it up!

Eternal Critic said...

I have to say, them advertising you as threatening isn't going to do anything to lower your traffic.

John W. Loftus said...

BTW the 8th person to comment at Ransomed Heart, Grady, is from Kansas City who just now started his account in order to comment. This is KC_James over at Amazon, a.k.a. Andrew here at DC, who is banned from DC. He is the "Dirt Devil" who's mission it is to dish out any dirt he can on me even if it isn't true, and that which is partially true is purposely distorted. He never ever actually deals with my arguments.

They say you know how famous a person is by the number of stalkers he has. Well, I have one. Woooo Hoooo!

Lvka said...

Hi there!

Planting subversive link.

By there!

Anthony said...

Hey John, when I was reading what "Grady" said I was thinking he sounds just like KC_James and then I saw the profile info saying he was from Kansas City and that confirmed it. I didn't know that he was Andrew here at DC. What a dumbass this guy is.

John W. Loftus said...

Anthony I have no doubt he is one and the same person trying to make it look like several people think the same as he does. He's too dumb to hide this fact. God must've "spoken" to him about me. It's his mission to "poison the well" and save souls from my devil inspired arguments.

ahswan said...

What Schellenberg says - without having the benefit of reading it in context - seems only valid if all 2500 claimed deities are equal, which is not the case (I don't think anyone would say this- for one thing, I think it's impossible to prove, and quite easy to disprove).

Eternal Critic said...

Lying for Jesus is a long respected tradition amongst Christians as far as I've been able to find.

Andre said...

Then I would also suggest to this Mike that you don't want to read John's book if you're worried about keeping your relationship with your God. Because if you do, maybe....just maybe, you might start thinking he wasn't the one for you, and decide to breakup.

Scott said...

What Schellenberg says - without having the benefit of reading it in context - seems only valid if all 2500 claimed deities are equal, which is not the case (I don't think anyone would say this- for one thing, I think it's impossible to prove, and quite easy to disprove).

If one bases their belief not on rational argument, but some kind "relationship" with their particular God, how are they not equal?

sconnor said...

But he still believes anyway because he has a relationship with his triune God, something rational argumentation apparently cannot touch.

You can NOT have a personal relationship with God/Jesus because he is NOT there personally.

Telling yourself you are in a “relationship with God” is nothing but a ridiculous metaphor, bordering on psychosis. Christians have deluded themselves into believing that a character, out of a book, is a friend of theirs, personally.

Using the bible and their particular interpretation of scripture, coupled with emotions (I can feel him in my heart) that they erroneously attribute to a supposed deity, they have crafted a massive delusion where they think an invisible god-man takes an interest in them, loves them, helps them and will save them.

This is like a person claiming he has a personal relationship with another god-man – Hercules. This person also makes his extraordinary claim, by obsessively, immersing himself in the writings about Hercules and convinces himself that the emotions of power and divine ecstasy he feels came directly from the POWER OF HERCULES, when in reality he just simply attributed feeling to a supposed higher power. In this illustration this person would be considered insane, which is exactly the way I perceive a devout Christian who extols a "personal relationship" with God/Jesus – a character out of a book.

--S.

Eric said...

Let's not pretend that the 'relationship' or 'experiential' basis for religious belief is somehow obviously ridiculous or that arguments from it are obviously fallacious. Even truly great modern philosophers like Hilary Putnam (ranked #18 on Leiter's recent poll of greatest philosophers of the last 200 years) have been persuaded by it. This is not to say, of course, that it's therefore a good argument; however, when the best of the best thinkers -- especially thinkers like Putnam, who specialize in thinking about thinking -- see some force in an argument, we mere mortals should pause and at least consider the possibility that there's something there instead of mindlessly rattling off the standard, garden variety 'secular web' refutations that we've all heard (and, surely, that people like Putnam have heard) a million times before.

exrelayman said...

Let's not pretend that the emperor is naked. A highly respected tailor assures us he is not.

Russ said...

Eric,

You said,

Let's not pretend that the 'relationship' or 'experiential' basis for religious belief is somehow obviously ridiculous or that arguments from it are obviously fallacious.


If an experience or relationship is to form the basis for believing or accepting then it is paramount for a potential believer to assess and understand experiences and/or relationships as clearly as possible. Professing belief of some claim that is justified using experience while at the same time not understanding that experience is to me indeed a ridiculous act.

Furthermore, building an argument upon poorly understood experiences or relationships is obviously fallacious. Simply making an experience or relationship part of the premise for an argument, does not make that premise true.

In the religious context where those experiences and relationships are most often described using the same vagueries best-suited to complete unknowns -- words and phrases like "mysterious," "God works in mysterious ways," or "we can never understand God's ways" -- there is no reason for anyone to think that those claiming to have had a religious experience are doing anything more than restating words put in their mouths by their religious mentors. Non-believers and believers from other religions experience those same psychological states and emotions, yet they attribute them to other causes.

It's important to realize that religions have seized on every potential human vulnerability -- libido, love, hate, xenophobia, greed, envy, and vengeance spring to mind -- to advance themselves. Clergy were among the first persons to offer explanations of natural phenomena, especially those involving human emotional states and the above named vulnerabilities. Religions were "first to market," so to speak, with their ideas and those ideas were left unchallenged in the west for more than a thousand years. By fiat the church took possession of the deeply human senses of awe, wonder, mystery, puzzlement, and enigma turning them to their own self-interest under the name of "religious experience" or "a personal relationship with God." By doing so they also dismissed from human consciousness for that millenium another deeply human sense: curiosity.

Deist Dan said...

In my christian days I even thought the 'personal relationship' term as silly. My faith was always a 1 way effort. I prayed...I read the bible. I never heard from god and I couldn't find where this personal relationshship stuff was in the bible. I thought the christians who heard from god about things were kinda kooky.

Christians tend to shy away from those that question/challenge/threaten their faith. This can be easily proven by going into a christian chat room and asking about why Moses ordered children to be murdered and taken as sex slaves in Numbers 31. When i did this the other day in the 'reformed theology and no slop' room on paltalk...i was called an idiot and someone asked 'did the bars just let out or something'.

Apparently the notion that somone might be troubled with such a verse was incomprehenible to them.

Maybe that is why christians meet frequently, because they need constant reassurance and affirmation that they are saved, loved, and that they have the truth.

Eric said...

"Professing belief of some claim that is justified using experience while at the same time not understanding that experience is to me indeed a ridiculous act."

Nonsense -- we all do this all the time, especially if by 'understand' you're referring to our ability to translate our experiences into propositions. Furthermore, we all believe a host of propositions to be true based on nothing more than our immediate experience of their referents, yet the nature of this experience is very poorly understood and presents us with some of the most vexing challenges in both science and philosophy (e.g. consciousness, qualia, etc.).

"Furthermore, building an argument upon poorly understood experiences or relationships is obviously fallacious. Simply making an experience or relationship part of the premise for an argument, does not make that premise true."

Arguments built on poorly understood experiences need not be fallacious at all, never mind being obviously fallacious. Here's an example of a perfectly valid argument from a premise that contains a poorly understood experience (n.b., I'm not endorsing this argument; I'm just using an obviously silly -- but valid -- argument to make my point):

(1) If S experiences 'he knows not what,' then god exists.
(2) S experiences 'he knows not what.'
(3) God exists.

This is a perfectly valid modus ponens, even though the first premise appeals to a 'poorly understood experience.' Now, your second objection, i.e. that (1) isn't necessarily or obviously true is more to the point, but the fact that the truth of (1) is in dispute -- or even false! -- in no way leads to the conclusion that the argument is fallacious. By moving away from this confusion, you can better assess such arguments (i.e. focus on where the problem actually is).

"In the religious context where those experiences and relationships are most often described using the same vagueries best-suited to complete unknowns"

Which is precisely what we would expect if people really were experiencing the transcendent; we would also expect them to attempt to understand their experience in terms of the concepts their culture has furnished them with.

"Non-believers and believers from other religions experience those same psychological states and emotions, yet they attribute them to other causes."

You can't assume it's simply a psychological state or an emotion, or you're begging the question.

"It's important to realize that religions have seized on every potential human vulnerability -- libido, love, hate, xenophobia, greed, envy, and vengeance spring to mind -- to advance themselves...."

Your last paragraph isn't relevant to the issue of religious experience. Everything you've written could be true *and* religious experiences could be 'genuine.'

However, I must make it clear that my initial point (in my previous post) wasn't that religious experiences are genuine, or that they're dispositive; rather, I was making the weaker claim that it's not obvious that they're ridiculous, and I was offering the example of truly great thinkers such as Putnam to buttress my point. If you're tempted to claim that this is a fallacious appeal to authority, I'll remind you that only appeals to misplaced authorities are fallacious. (Non-fallacious arguments from authority are generally weak -- relative to other sorts of non-fallacious arguments, that is -- but that's only important with respect to the claim you're making; here, my claim is also weak, so this particular criticism isn't problematic.) Putnam is one of the world's greatest philosophers, which means that he's spent his life thinking about clear thinking. All I'm claiming is that if such a man (and there countless others) does not see that arguments from experience to god are obviously fallacious, we 'average Joes' should not be so quick to dismiss them with the 'rational response squad' quality objections all sorts of 'internet atheists' regularly parrot. (Note, I think it works the other way as well -- if brilliant guys like Parsons and Smith see problems with various theistic arguments, we should take their arguments seriously and not be too quick to dismiss them with 'Rick Warren' quality objections.)

AndreLinoge said...

KC_JAMES obviously doesn't know his scripture; Jesus equated lust with adultery. So if KC has ever lusted...........

Pot, meet kettle.