Atheists Always Win in Debates

Yep. That’s what I think. We're always winners. Let me explain why I think this.

In the first place, most Christians do not read our books so the only chance most of them have to consider our arguments is during a debate. But once they do hear us debate they are more likely to read our books. At the book signing after my debate with Dinesh, more than fifteen people bought my book for instance. And since they had fifty copies available still others will buy them who didn't make it over to do so. What, do you think they'll just throw them away or something?

Second, it legitimizes us in this Christian dominated part of the world. You do not see debates over racism or the Holocaust because those views are rejected out of hand. To see so many recent debates between Christians and atheists is encouraging, for Christians are forced in this era to come to terms with us and that’s a good thing.

Third, most Christians have never met someone whom they know is an atheist in person. Just watching us debate is an experience in and of itself. While believers listen they are forced into considering why we do not believe, and surely this alone will cause them to reflect on why they do. As they listen they can see quite plainly we have reasons for our non-belief, even if they disagree.

Fourth, because they might become intrigued by our position they may read a book or two or more that further argues our case. Even if we lose a debate this is the case. For if we lose the debate they may ask themselves why any thinking person could accept what we do. And if that happens it may take them on a journey to understand our thought process better. And when they do they'll encounter our reasons in the available literature.

Fifth, I have never watched a debate where the atheist did not offer up for consideration something that a believer had not considered before, even if it's acknowledged he or she lost the debate. We sow seeds of doubt that may cause further reflection. You never know what we may have said that could later cause massive doubt as the believer studies the issue out in the months and years to come.

Sixth, the very fact that the question of God's existence is debatable means it's not obvious that he exists. And this too can be quite unsettling with the believers who are completely assured that their God exists.

So in these ways atheists always win in debates.

90 comments:

Matt K said...

Using this criteria, it is minority positions that "always win."

You could apply the exact same criteria to a debate between a Christian and an Atheist in say, the Czech Republic or some other largely secular society and conclude that Christians would always win.

I think you are right that its important to show Christians/atheists/whoever that there are intelligent, reflective people who hold to very different positions and do so for well-thought out reasons. I think both sides make a huge mistake when they assume that the other exists because they are poor thinkers or intellectually deficient in some other way. I agree that it should give us all pause when we think about our own beliefs.

Mike D said...

Atheists win because they are right.

Al Moritz said...

Atheists win because they are right.

Proof?

Eric J.S. said...

didn’t like all your reasons, but I would agree with slightly less general statements about debate.

1. I do not have to read the books of my opposition necessarily if I have studied the subject or have the rudiments of philosophy in order to think critically of the subject. Also, when the Banana Man gives out a lot of books and reinforces his fellow skeptics/denialists of evolution. However, you have a point that most Christians do have this misconception that God is obvious or something along those lines.

2. FOr your second reason, I do not hope that debates over global warming's reality legitimatize the opposition's arguments. The fact that something is debatable for a culture really depends on what its constituents believe. SO you can have debates on whether or not germs kill people or demons kill people (Christian Scientists and Jehovah's Witnesses have some strange conceptions on illness). You can argue that one value is better than another. One can argue that Mother Theresa was a good person or a bad person, depending how closely one wants to investigate and which sources one uses.

3. If you mean Atheists win by influencing people who know nothing about the debates, then this point is true (I am speaking from experience from telling people about arguments and my atheism sometimes).

4. THis is a similar argument to number three, but focuses on the inner thought processes the debate may activate. I have seen some evangelist arguments like this, but it is an acceptable argument for the goal of influencing people, in my opinion.

5. I not sure how much this matters, but of course it matters. The opponent can bring in new arguments. When an intelligent designer looks at the whole biosphere for strange biological characteristics, evolutionary biologists gain an opportunity to learn about how this phenomena can be explain in evolutionary terms. Some good research has gone into the organisms brought up in debate. SO whether or not it matters that one brings in a new argument matters only on whether it achieves that goal of encouraging more discerning thinking.

6. Just because a lot of people debate about global warming, it does not mean it is not very evident. However, your point is that debate means it is not obvious, and global warming may not be obvious to someone who does not pay attention to weather patterns and good research. Therefore, this is an acceptable point within this, just how much it proves your point is debatable.

I wouldn't discount the religious debater's ability to influence people. There is thousands of years of mass persuasion under their belt. I am sure encouraging critical thought on the subject is a victory (even your opponent will agree with you on that I bet, even though Jesus suggested being uneducated than having to face education of an unbeliever). Well, I hope to someday learn more in order to help with the debunking, as I am only a high school student. And Thanks for what you do. Your debates are worthwhile.

Richard H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Breckmin said...

"I have never watched a debate where the atheist did not offer up for consideration something that a believer had not considered before,"

?

I would say, "you don't get out much" but my point would be the fact that most of what we see is "same old, same old" in these debates.

Unless you are really interested in taking a look at "answers" to your questions and points (often we do NOT see these in debates from Christian apologists, unfortunately), then you will not be being "objective" and truly be seeking answers to your questions.

All I see are answers after answer EVERYWHERE...which are NO WHERE to be found in these debates.

God, however, still works perfectly in the midst of this imperfection.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

I'm starting to feel protective of you, John!

Jonathan said...

Al Moritz said...

Atheists win because they are right.

Proof?



Make God appear, at the UN, in front of cameras, etc

Otherwise you just grasping at straws.

Breckmin said...

"the very fact that the question of God's existence is debatable means it's not obvious that he exists."

Take any event in history..the very fact that it is debatable is irrelevant to whether it is factual or not and took place.

For the record...it is OBVIOUS. It is MORE than obvious that there is a Creator. Debating it doesn't change the reality of the Creator's existence.

There will be no debate when your heart stops beating and they bury you.

Breckmin said...

"Make God appear, at the UN, in front of cameras, etc"

God is Infinite so ALL of Him could never somehow "appear" in front of the UN.

Jesus Christ (the Man God became) will not return until the end of this age.

There IS however someone who will show up with "signs" and wonders...

God's Holy children will NOT follow the one who appears with signs and wonders before the UN and
deceives the world.

Loyalty/LOVE is greater than signs and wonders.

Question everything. It just might lead you to Love.

Jonathan said...

@ Breckmin

There will be no debate when your heart stops beating and they bury you.



Regrettably Breckmin you don't have to wait to your buried, you will find out sooner after your heart stops beating.


No Breckmin, its not so obvious, maybe to you, its seems obvious. But you are going to have to remove them Christians shades you wear and look at the world other than a Christian view, especially your Christian view which I think is quite myopic.

Glock21 said...

Breck... it's not obvious to non-believers. Your endless vacuous statements that it is true because it is true and every other illogical and nonsensical testament to "teh troof!" is not compelling.

Our eyes are open. You're just not putting any evidence before them. Lovey-dovey promises ain't cold hard facts.

Richard H said...

If a theist believes in a God that's indistinguishable from the universe, why not be open about it from the outset?

It's simple enough to say, "The universe exists, and I choose to personify it it as God." I might find this use of language to be silly, but there's little space for disagreement.

This is a "not-even-wrong" sort of theory. Both "God exists" and "God does not exist" describe the same state of nature.

So, why act like there's a factual dispute, when the only difference is about the words we use to describe our common facts.

Eldnar said...

In the first place, most Christians do not read our books so the only chance most of them have to consider our arguments is during a debate.
Really? Do you believe that? What evidence is there for this? Or is it just your opinion? Many of the book reviews I see from atheists books are from Christians.

At the book signing after my debate with Dinesh, more than fifteen people bought my book for instance.
Christians or atheists did you do a survey of each purchaser?

Third, most Christians have never met someone whom they know is an atheist in person.
John, you state opinion as fact more than anyone I've ever heard. It's so funny. Where did you get this information from? Have you actually polled this or seen a poll, or is it just a random guess?

While believers listen they are forced into considering why we do not believe, and surely this alone will cause them to reflect on why they do. As they listen they can see quite plainly we have reasons for our non-belief, even if they disagree.
Finally something I can agree with. Although this favors both sides.

Fifth, I have never watched a debate where the atheist did not offer up for consideration something that a believer had not considered before, even if it's acknowledged he or she lost the debate. We sow seeds of doubt that may cause further reflection. You never know what we may have said that could later cause massive doubt as the believer studies the issue out in the months and years to come.
While possible, I've heard more examples of atheists converting to Christianity or strongly considering Christianity due to debates. This works for both sides, this doesn't favor atheists at all.

Al Moritz said...

Jonathan said...

Make God appear, at the UN, in front of cameras, etc

Otherwise you just grasping at straws.


As unsubstantial as this answer is, I have to admit it is funny.

Al Moritz said...

John, you state opinion as fact more than anyone I've ever heard. It's so funny. Where did you get this information from? Have you actually polled this or seen a poll, or is it just a random guess?

Hehe, How can you be so mean? Just like the random anecdotal examples by Dawkins in The God Delusion, it is 'scientific evidence', didn't you know that?

Jonathan said...

Sure, "make God appear" is funny, but then again so is debate this issue is funner still.

You would think, a the study of science would paramount to any religious person. Instead of promoting a specific religion, belief or practice of a God you would look for the evidence separate from scripture.

Scripture, reason, and then experience.

Or

Experience, reason, and then scripture.


If you wish to believe in God fine, and you search in nature to find clues that is fine too, but when you pollute your findings because they conflict with your man made scripture then it all goes to pot.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Al

I've read your arguments and they offer no evidence of being useful to anyone but you and your superstitions. What useful thing can be built out of your god of the gaps bullshit. Science has provided useful findings your Catholocism colluded to fuck defenseless boys. You are a smug bastard whose beliefs are nothing but wishful thinking.

Breckmin said...

"But you are going to have to remove them Christians shades you wear and look at the world other than a Christian view,"

Impossible since 1986 my friend. I assert that the God of Abraham/Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Fundamental Reality of this universe.


"especially your Christian view which I think is quite myopic."

The problem is that when you do not look at the whole picture from a philosophical viewpoint as it addresses the CLEAR differences between born-again Christainity and all other religions throughout the world. There is a progression which we could look at from foundational assumptions which start from the logical fallacy of explicit atheism and moves toward born-again Christianity based on specific evidences...the problem is that when we get to Orthodox Monotheism (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, born-again Christianity) you will need God's Spirit to open your eyes up to the beauty of His Self-Sacrificing Love and His Grace.

The greatest miracle is the miracle of salvation (spiritual regeneration) in the heart of a person which is God's work. To miss this miracle is indeed myopic... but "seeing" is something you can NEVER credit yourself for...for it is by the grace of God that you even have eyes.

Glock21 said...

Well at least Breck admits it is impossible for him to be anything but closed minded due to his religious beliefs. Admitting it is the first step. All the preaching in the world is really irrelevant after that. (not that you won't continue to do so in futility anyways... it's what you guys do)

Jonathan said...

Breckmin said...

Impossible since 1986 my friend. I assert that the God of Abraham/Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Fundamental Reality of this universe.


Jonathan> That is the problem it is your assertion and nothing more.

Breckmin>
The greatest miracle is the miracle of salvation (spiritual regeneration) in the heart of a person which is God's work. To miss this miracle is indeed myopic... but "seeing" is something you can NEVER credit yourself for...for it is by the grace of God that you even have eyes.

Jonathan>Huh, does this even make any sense? You might as well have said, my brownies are better than yours because I said so.


Or how about this:

I'm going to create man and woman
with original Sin. Then I'm going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born. Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself to save you from the sin I original condemned you to.


The miracle of salvation??

What you are saying is this, You tell me that there is a virus on my computer. The only way to get rid of said virus is to use your product. The problem is you created the virus in the first place.

Christians claim you need salvation because of some strange belief of our fruit eating ancestors.

We all know that we cannot be held accountable for the sins of our fathers, yet Christians seem to dance around this issue using some form of literary yoga that still doesn't make any sense.

Your God creates a Hell for non-believers and you call this love. 75% of the world are not Christians, and in fact the ones that are Christians are not of your denomination. So you defiantly don't know what you are talking about. Have a glass of the magic tragic cool-aid for me too while ya at it.


Sheesh

Tyro said...

Matt K had it right in the first sentence in the first post - the minority position "wins". Done and done.

This is incidentally why debating Creationists is so contentious - they are really, really fringe, at least intellectually, so by merely appearing on stage with them gives them a lot of undeserved credibility.

I do wonder whether this means that only populists like Hitchins should engage in these debates. Scholars should stick to the written word unless they can master a new discipline.

Hendy said...

While believers listen they are forced into considering why we do not believe, and surely this alone will cause them to reflect on why they do.

I challenge this one. I have been questioning my Catholicism for about a month an a half now and have talked to many close friends as well as the individuals in my community who have vastly more philosophical and theological knowledge than I do and I think only one perhaps was even slightly able to truly look at some of my objections from my point of view.

On one hand, this is extremely frustrating as I'm in the midst of a lot of questions and dilemmas about my faith and want others to understand... on the other hand I can't blame them because literally two months ago I would not have listened to myself with an open mind.

Point: don't be so naive as to think that someone can't listen through an entire debate completely blind to the weight of your arguments (or the other sides in the case of a decided atheist listening to the theist) because they have already decided that what they believe is what they believe and that's that.

I brought up some evidence to one of my community's more knowledgeable individuals and he told me, 'you telling me that Jesus isn't real is like you telling me you're not real. I just won't believe it because I've felt him.' While that's great for his convictions, it does nothing for me!

Re. some of the discussion above about interpreting evidence and there being plenty of it, here's a new thought I was thinking through last night and today: for God to be omniscient, he would know exactly what it would take for me to believe. I mean exactly. To put it into an analogy, I think it would be as if I knew exactly the number of times I needed to tell my wife I loved her, what I needed to do for her, how I needed to look at her and talk to her, etc. for her to take it on faith (high enough probability to believe) that I loved her. If I were omniscient with respect to her, I would know these things to the number and type of action that would convince her. To willfully withhold my actions when fully knowing her limits would be literally causing her to not believe in my love. I could not be upset in the least if she did not believe me because I absolutely knew her to the core of her being and what she needed from me to believe my love and I did not provide this environment.

Is this really so different from God? He foreknew that I would be questioning my faith right now, searching up and down for him and left to simply not find any evidence for him -- aside from 'evidence' where you already believe the hypothesis being tested and choose to only see the evidence supporting that hypothesis.

How can I be faulted for this? I'm trying here...

ZDENNY said...

John,

Why do you think Christians were so supportive of freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

Christians love open debate! We are good at it. The arguments for Theism are so strong that a rational person is compelled to believe.

Debates can be a tool by which Christians can speak into your world. It is also a tool by which atheists can speak into the lives of Christians.

Christians who have not had much contact with atheist want to know how we can serve, love and reach you. It is important for them to hear the argument so that they can understand you and help you.

Atheism is really about hate and anger. It seems that every atheist I have ever met has been hurt in some way which lead them over the cliff. I have also found that a ton of them have ADHD for some reason. People with ADHD tend to be more selfish which may explain the non-belief.

In any event, I am glad you debated. I can see that God is using it in your life to humble you. The first step to accepting the love of God is humility.

God Bless..

Jim said...

Hendy,

I'm an ex-Catholic myself.

You're thoughts are all in the right place.

If there really were a Christian God, then yes, He would know exactly what it would take for you to believe in Him.

That's why, to a certain extent, the atheists and the Christians on this site are all talking past each other. The atheists have the conception of "evidence" exactly like you intimated at which is "Whatever evidence I need."

The Christians, on the other hand, want you to accept God based on the level of evidence it took THEM to believe.

If you've just started on this journey of discovery, then fasten your seatbelt. I've been an atheist for about 12 years now. When I first decided I was definitely atheist, I found myself constantly frustrated at the seeming seriousness of the Christian apologetic arguments. But let me tell you, after many years of learning there are answers to every Christian apologetic stance, I finally understood that even if I hear an argument that "sounds" compelling, some philosopher somewhere has a good answer so I needn't get concerned about whether I should question my atheism.

I don't want to sound like I'm dogmatically compelling you to become an "outted" atheist--keep searching, but at this point, to me, all the Christian apologists are snake-oil salesmen. Some of them quite charismatic (and some are quite insipid--especially on websites like this).

To your last question "Can I be faulted for this?"

The atheist answer is absolutely not--but the Christian answer is "You will be!" And they have the ink on paper written by fallible humans, translated by fallible humans, compiled by theocrat politicians, and interpreted by THEM to say so!

Ultimately it will be up to you. Enjoy the journey of figuring out what to believe! I've actually learned alot about philosophy, logic, and psychology during my journey.

Glock21 said...

Hendy... I struggled with doubts and issues that seemed to not make much sense for years. You touched on one of the big ones for me during that time. If there's this all powerful entity out there that knows everything I'm going through, why not lead me back to the flock with things he knows would work?

I got told repeatedly by other believers that I was just refusing to see the things he put there to lead me back, but none of them were compelling to me at all. It was worse than that though since I had been taught from before I could remember in a very hellfire and damnation sect of the Apostolic Church which meant:

1) God knew when he made me that I would come to lose faith.

2) He's going to send me / let me go to hell for it. And knew that when he made me.

3) He basically created me so I could burn for eternity?

Seemed a little harsh when the grand overseer of the universe could have simply steered someone my direction with a decent and compelling argument to head me back onto the path.

It was rough goings for several years struggling with what I had been trained to "know" just not fitting with what made sense to me. I'm a content atheist these days, but I sympathize with the struggle, regardless of whether you return to the religious path or end up down on the skeptical one. Don't let it get you down though. Good luck with your pursuit.

Roy Chang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roy Chang said...

ZDenny:

Jim said...

Zdenny,

Christians love open debate! We are good at it. The arguments for Theism are so strong that a rational person is compelled to believe.

The reason Christians love debates is that they have simpleton feel-good emotional philosophical positions that take too long to debunk in a debate format.

Works of fiction like the Bible can be composed in a matter of weeks/months. How long did it take Joseph Smith to write the "Book of Mormon?"

The scientific disciplines like geology, biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, etc. take years to master. Collectively, they decimate the Bible.

But the problem is it takes time to debunk fictional imagined realities with the true reality as revealed by the only proven effective way of usefully and functionally "knowing" anything--skepticism and the scientific method.

That's why atheists need to have great defendable logical positions, but they need to present them with flair and populist charisma to get through the Christians emotional barrier.

Selling religion is just like selling homeopathy, acai juice, acupuncture, chiropractic, and every other inneffective nostrum out there.

Quacks have been making claims from time immemorial, and they sell because of "testimonials" instead of controlled, double-blinded epidemiological studies. You know--the scientific method. When subjected to the best controlled studies, quack nostrums, JUST LIKE PRAYER, always fail! You can bank on it!

Jonathan said...

Zdenny said...

I have also found that a ton of them have ADHD for some reason. People with ADHD tend to be more selfish which may explain the non-belief.

Zdenny


You know its not nice to lie.


You found a ton of atheists did you weigh them? Maybe being a atheist makes you over weight.

Christians = freedom of religion, no my "" far from the truth. The only reason that Christians sought tolerance between the Christian faiths because Christians were killing each other because of their faiths.

Remember Zdenny those who don't believe in your Christian God goes to hell, no freedom here!

Eldnar said...

Works of fiction like the Bible can be composed in a matter of weeks/months. How long did it take Joseph Smith to write the "Book of Mormon?"
Statements like this always crack me up... Let's see what the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology thinks about the Bible.

"...much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories. These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed."

WOW! That was interesting. Let's see what The National Geographic Society states:
"...archaeologists do indeed find the Bible a valuable reference tool, and have used it many times for geographic relationships, old names, and relative chronologies. On the enclosed list, you will find many articles concerning discoveries verifying events discussed in the Bible (note: more than thirty articles are listed).

You can pick up your jaw from the floor. The scientific community knows it's not fiction. So you now have HARD empirical evidence from the scientific community for the FACTS of the Bible. You said we can bank on the Bible failing... Looks like YOU failed. =)

Jonathan said...

@eldnar

The links please to these articles if you would be so kind.

Eldnar said...

Hi Jonathan,

I'll do you one better. You can write them directly and they'll send your their canned response on their letterhead (that way there's no dispute). You'll have it in your hand within a week.

You don't need anything special, just a quick letter asking for their "official" position on the Bible as a historical reference.

Write to:

The National Museum of Natural History
Department of Anthropology
(Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC 20560)

National Geographic Society (Washington, DC 20036)

Let me ask you this though. What happens when you get these documents in hand? Will you concede the trustworthiness of the Bible based on the hard, empirical, scientific evidence?

Jonathan said...

Eldnar said...

Dear Eldnar

What document did you originally use to copy and paste that section out of? You must have the full document, so why don't you email it to me?

jdquarg@gmail.com

Why wait... when we can settle this tonight. :)

Jonathan said...

Eldnar

Dearest Eldnar...

I found where you got that quote from.

The Bible—‘it’s not historical’
http://www.answersingenesis.org/us/newsletters/0403lead.asp



‘These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed.

You had forgotten this part

This is not to say … that every event as reported in the historical books happened exactly as stated.

Eldnar are you stretching the truth?

Sabio Lantz said...

That John and other bring Atheism out in public and debate is wonderful !
I think in those debates people embrace both sides -- no clear victor. More important than the victory is the freedom and safety to debate in public. We are fortunate and must protect this freedom.

Open ideas keeps our society healthy, almost no matter which direction it sways, Christian OR Atheist.

Hendy said...

@Jim/Glock21: thanks for the support and encouragement. I talked with my brother (a nonbeliever) for about 2 and a half hours today and he made a comment similar to something you alluded to, Jim. He said, 'it sounds like intellectually you've already departed but you're having a tougher time emotionally leaving things behind.' I completely agreed. Mentally, I'm disillusioned from my former faith; the magic is gone. Going to prayer meetings (I have continued to go with my wife) and mass on Sundays is agonizing. All I do is analyze what I hear, listen to the song lyrics and think about them, etc. Anyway, thank you for your support. I will, indeed, trudge on. I'm actually rather enthused about this process as I think it will be the most important endeavor I ever embark upon.

Now, with respect to the Smithsonian and National Geo opinions of the Bible... make sure you get their position on the historical accuracy of the resurrection. Quoting their stances is a smoke screen for the fact that just because the Bible has proven to be archeologically sound with respect to where cities existed, etc. does not mean it has any veracity whatsoever with metaphysical, supernatural, spiritual, moral, etc. claims about who or what is out there (aka, what 'god' is).

This is like saying that because the Greeks thought that Zeus lived on Mt. Olympus and Mt. Olympus is an actual location, Zeus exists. Surely a book documenting a god in the context of history will use locations that existed in history.

While you're on your fact check, why don't you look into these currently studies issues (yes I realize there are wikipedia quotes, check its sources, too):
- Battle of Jericho: currently held belief is that there was no Jericho when Joshua supposedly brought its walls down ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jericho)
- The location of Nazareth is highly debated (http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html)
- Did the flood actually happen? (http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn46/noahsflood.htm)
- Were the Israelites actually enslaved? (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/egyptexodus.htm)
- Genealogies of Jesus -- how many generations between Mary/Joseph and David?
- Where did the pigs run off a cliff and a demoniac become sane? Gaderenes, Geresenes, or Gergesenes?(http://jcsm.org/biblelessons/Gadarenes.htm)

I realize the last link is in support of a plausible explanation of the discrepancies and how they can all work together, but I did find it somewhat amusing to myself that we, 2000 years later, have to come up with reasons to explain why the people supposedly living amidst the very villages, towns, countries, etc. that existed must have meant something else and that all of this is a translation error. If this discrepancy is a 'translation error' then why can't the virgin birth finally be accepted as a false prophesy based on a 'translation error' of Isaiah 7:14 (almah vs. betulah)?

Johnny P said...

@Breckmin

Jeez, what twaddle. where does one start?

"you will need God's Spirit to open your eyes up to the beauty of His Self-Sacrificing Love and His Grace"

is that the same self-sacrificing love that permitted 200,000 Haitians to die, that designed the universe to necessitate plate techtonics for a liveable planet? that designed cancer, ebola and malaria as living creations?

etc etc

your comments are so empty and poorly constructed that it is no wonder your cling to Christianity with whiter knuckles than most.

Al Moritz said...

Science has provided useful findings your Catholocism colluded to fuck defenseless boys. You are a smug bastard whose beliefs are nothing but wishful thinking.

Chuck, your attempts at insult are actually quite funny. But then, you will probably will find me 'smug' for not taking them seriously. Oh well.

Chuck O'Connor said...

So Al you don't deny that the extended collusion around child-rape is pretty good evidence that your superiority claims to a Catholic god are fallacious?

Wow, you are more intellectually honest than I would have presumed by the appeal to authority riddled hypothesis you keep bringing out as an honest scientific explanation of "fine tuning".

LOL. You are a common dim-wit who chases after some sort of cosmic parental authority. You are a silly man Al and I have no respect for you.

Eldnar said...

@Jonathan

Hi Jonathan,

Actually I didn't get it from AIG (If at all possible I don't look at that website, for reasons we can both agree on.) =)

I got the full Smithsonian statement from here:
http://www.grace-n-truth.com/thebible.html

You can get the NatGeo statement from there as well.

However, I want a copy in my hand so I don't have to rely on someone else's truth. I think it makes sense for anyone *honestly* seeking truth to do the same.

However, assuming these statements are true (which I think is a fair assumption giving they provided a specific, verifiable way to check the source).

I think it's AT LEAST reasonable to say that the scientific community does NOT use a book they consider fiction as a guide.

Would you agree?

You also stated:
You had forgotten this part

This is not to say … that every event as reported in the historical books happened exactly as stated.

Eldnar are you stretching the truth?


No, I don't think I'm stretching the truth. I WANT truth, which is why I provided the mailing addresses so you can have a physical copy in hand as well.

They didn't say every event has NOT actually happened. What they are saying is there are some things they can't verify. Which I think is a fair, and balanced assessment from them. It still doesn't take away from the fact that the Bible is one of the most trustworthy historical documents that they rely on, and anyone saying it's a book of fiction, hasn't thoroughly researched or is intentionally being dishonest.

Talk to you soon.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Eldnar,

Are you a fucking idiot? You cite a blog whose purpose is to further biblical doctrinal truth as if that is a source which one could conclude objective.

You are a dip-shit.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Oh and dumbass Eldnar, did you read this in your appeal to authority, "Even Biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history."

Ergo, the writers of the bible omitted things to further their thesis. Lies of omission contribute to fiction as much as lies of commission.

You are a piece of work.

Al Moritz said...

So Al you don't deny that the extended collusion around child-rape is pretty good evidence that your superiority claims to a Catholic god are fallacious?

Huh?

LOL. You are a common dim-wit who chases after some sort of cosmic parental authority. You are a silly man Al and I have no respect for you.


Are you a fucking idiot?

You are a dip-shit.

Oh and dumbass Eldnar


Are you done fuming? Not exactly the behaviour that I would expect from a self-proclaimed 'rationalist'. But o.k., if it makes you feel better it serves its purpose I guess.

Breckmin said...

Jonathan>Huh, does this even make any sense? You might as well have said, my brownies are better than yours because I said so."

But brownies do not die in your place to take away your violations against a Holy Creator, neither do they explain the REAL problem of "evil" (a word with multiple meanings which has to be addressed) in this temporary creation where God is bringing about salvation.


"I'm going to create man and woman
with original Sin. Then I'm going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born. Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself to save you from the sin I original condemned you to."

This summary of yours to make a reductio ad absurdum fails to address what is really going on in the temporary creation and fails as a strawman.
1. God did NOT create us with original sin. He created us in His Conscious Image (imperfect summary)which gives us the ability to CHOOSE so that we can love.
Our fall due to a lack of knowledge is necessary to LEARN about multiple contrasts which are never addressed in the Loftus book.
2. The Holy Spirit of God impregnating Mary in order to give birth to a Savior can not be over-simplified without addressing economic trinity and the logical roles each hypostasis in God's Triune Eternal Manifestation. God's logical and perfect plan to become a Man and dwell amoung us is so that we can experience Him since we CAN NOT experience the Father (Who is infinite/atemporal) in the same way.
3. "I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself to save you from the sin I original condemned you to" fails to present the gospel in its beauty of GIVING of an Innocent Life as well as the LOGIC of God's prior judgment on original sin (and its eternal trangression in the historical record of this temporary creation).
Until you address the complication of a Creator Who creates creators..and until you address the complication of a Creator Who creates beings who are eternal and make absolute choices (decisions based on knowledge/motivation)you are failing to see the necessity of the temporary creation to deal with the REAL problem of evil(sin/disobedience).
God is not going to start with a heaven where He can lose His children. He is going to teach us first and show us how much He loves us so that we will have the knowledge of His Love for us..and we will understand His "grace" which is sine qua non for all of eternity and His sustaining us and protecting us in eteral heaven.

We would never even know what "grace" is if it were not for salvation.

Question everything! It just might lead you to praying for protection.

Breckmin said...

The miracle of salvation??

"What you are saying is this, You tell me that there is a virus on my computer. The only way to get rid of said virus is to use your product. The problem is you created the virus in the first place."

More reductio ad absurdum which fails to address the potential byproduct of choice without knowledge and grace. The virus
on your computer fails because you computer never makes choices as a cognative being. Your computer does NOT have the ability to LOVE and choose to agree with its creator. Nor does it address how
the virus REALLY got their but instead over-simplifies it as though it is somehow created by the person selling a product.
What is it that you have as an imperfect person who violates the Holy Nature of the Living God to somehow "pay" for Him to become a Man and die in your place?

"Your God creates a Hell for non-believers and you call this love."

No. The LOVE is to save us OUT OF the logical eternal separation and specific punishment (which can not be isolated on without addressing connected premises which are multi-faceted). The LOVE is that there even IS a way to salvation (based on how we have transgressed against a Holy Creator).

"75% of the world are not Christians,"

Probably more like 98% or 99% of the world will perish. It is NOT fair. There is nothing "fair" about grace. Fairness is actually an unobservable concept in the universe (where people are born because of other peoples choices and everyone is in completely different circumstances and affected by other people's choices) and therefore an ILLOGICAL concept to appeal to.

There is only justice and grace.

"and in fact the ones that are Christians are not of your denomination."

I personally have no denomination.
I fellowship at any church which holds to the unique Deity of Christ and salvation by grace through faith. I can worship at a Roman Catholic church or a baptist or Anglican or Greek Orthodox.

It is the specific people who are spiritually regenerated that make up the true body of Christ...NOT the denomination.

feralboy12 said...

For a look at the real history, real places, people and events in the Bible, I recommend Asimov's Annotated Bible. He does a nice job showing you the when and where of the Bible stories.
Of course, real people in real places doesn't make hallucinatory visions real. Just because Mary Magdalene existed doesn't mean she wasn't a crazy cat lady.

Jonathan said...

@ Eldnar


Plenty of truth but no facts

All you did was give me the address of National Museum of History and just the zip code of National Geographic. You say I should write to these agencies and ask for a article that hasn't a name, title publican date, authors, etc. You given nothing to work with accept their address which is still nothing.

Do you know you are using the Internet?

If I had a suggestion for you to read a document I would make damn sure that document existed on the Web or I wouldn't cite as a source. You don't have this document you can't cite anything from it until you go threw the work in obtaining it. You need to collect the facts of you argument and expecting me to do your work is being dishonest.



You don't have the original document neither does that website and in fact there isn't any indication of there being a document. Again there isn't a publication title or date. There is a author however which still doesn't mean anything. When you google that section as I have did all lead you to creation websites that pose the same argument but no source document.

Eldnar you do a search on bible historical accuracy (or similar) and you find a ton of information that claims the OT / NT are nothing more than religious texts. They are not historical texts there isn't any dates on any of these works.

I don't know how you can claim with all honesty the bible is more historical accurate than the Greeks and the Egyptians. The Greeks wrote books on historical documentation and grammar as well as the Egyptians. This were two well established regional empires that were major players in Mediterranean basin. The Hebrews were a more than a city state and had not reach any level equal to their larger and mature neighbors.


No linky, no believy

:P

Jonathan said...

Breckmin




Breckmin> 2. The Holy Spirit of God impregnating Mary in order to give birth to a Savior can not be over-simplified without addressing economic trinity and the logical roles each hypostasis in God's Triune Eternal Manifestation. God's logical and perfect plan to become a Man and dwell among us is so that we can experience Him since we CAN NOT experience the Father (Who is infinite/a temporal) in the same way.


Jonathan> Huh? Economic trinity? I don’t think any 1st century Christian would explain the birth of Jesus in such a manor. If no Christian in the 1st century would explain the birth of Jesus as you, you are probable quite wrong in your explanation.

Breckmin>Probably more like 98% or 99% of the world will perish.

Jonathan> Ah, Okay. Off the cuff God has produced a massive “Fail” event. If only 1% actually go to heaven its quite possible God has to take some responsibly that his message isn’t being distributed properly. Another thing were do you get your demographic data of only 1-2 % success rate, other than making it up. I am quite sure God isn’t emailing you the population changes of heaven and hell, so where are you getting your numbers?



Breckmin I personally have no denomination.

Jonathan> Huh? Then Breckmin you are a denomination of one. It’s bad enough to understand existing denominations of Christianity without people basically making up their own. There isn’t any type of methodology for me to gauge the accuracy of what you said. To be quite honest I don’t have a clue of what you just said. Its like this figure of 98% failure rate of all Christians you made up that number. I have to rationalize that you made up the rest of what you said as well.

Believers' Inferences About God's Beliefs Are Uniquely Egocentric
http://tinyurl.com/y86jfhx

Breckmin said...

Jonathan> Huh? Economic trinity? I don’t think any 1st century Christian would explain the birth of Jesus in such a manor. If no Christian in the 1st century would explain the birth of Jesus as you, you are probable quite wrong in your explanation."

First of all, no 1st century Christian would use a medium as expressive as the English which has evolved almost 2,000 years later through human learning.

Second, I specifically used economic trinity rather than ontological trinity because in the 1st century they had not yet made such an ontological clarification.
Economic trinity does not need to define the Holy Spirit as a distinct 'persona,' for instance.

Third, systematic theology that makes clarifications in response to critical thinking does NOT mean it is somehow "probably wrong" just because it explains in more detail what was known to be orthodoxy. The virgin birth and the Incarnation of Deity are both historically orthodox. You don't need Polycarp or Origen...you can start with the gospel of Matthew.
As for my alluding to economic trinity just look at Matthew 28:20.

Breckmin said...

"Off the cuff God has produced a massive “Fail” event."

Unless 1 person going to hell is inevitable...and to God 2 people going to hell is just as horrible as 1 person going to hell..and so on. It doesn't matter whether it is 5 people or 10 people or 50 billion people (since the fact that it has to happen at all is equally unfathomable). Both finite numbers of 1 and 50 billion infinitely approach zero in relationship to eternity/infinity or in relationship to God's Infinite Existence. Why shouldn't God make His Incredible GRACE known IF one person is inevitable?

If everyone is saved then NO ONE is ever saved because there is nothing REAL to be saved from (eternal separation or hell). IF one person is needed to demonstrate the REALITY of the absolute horrible existence of separation from the Holy Creator then "what is the difference for 2?" Please understand that this is a horrible over-simplification of the logic of hell itself. Without addresses "how" one is inevitable we haven't even begun to touch on how eternal separation (hell) is cosmically logical. You must first understand how absolutely Holy the Creator is to be able to begin to understand just how bad "sin" is.


"If only 1% actually go to heaven its quite possible God has to take some responsibly that his message isn’t being distributed properly."

The road to heaven is narrow and few find it. It has nothing to do with fairness. It has everything to do with God's Incredible GRACE.

"Another thing were do you get your demographic data of only 1-2 % success rate, other than making it up."

It has to do with the few number of actual born-again Christians in relation to all other humans who have lived.

"I am quite sure God isn’t emailing you the population changes of heaven and hell, so where are you getting your numbers?"

Jesus DOES give us something to think about in Luke 15:7 as well as the allegories regarding sheep.

Eldnar said...

@ Chuck
Are you a fucking idiot?
You are a dip-shit.
Oh and dumbass Eldnar.

Wow. Such anger... You'd think I said something that you disagreed with. Name calling is not an argument (despite what internet warriors think). You're hurting my feelings... =)

You cite a blog whose purpose is to further biblical doctrinal truth as if that is a source which one could conclude objective.
So if Hitler said 2+2 is 4 would he be wrong because he's a Nazi? Nope. Truth can be found in places we don't agree with. I read atheist material and find truth, I also find truth in Christian sources, what's the problem with that?

Oh and dumbass Eldnar, did you read this in your appeal to authority, "Even Biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history."
I'm not sure what your point is. It still doesn't take away from the fact that they find it reliable enough to use it as a guide.

You are a piece of work.
Wow. Disagree with Chuck and you get cussed out, lol. Why can't you have intelligent disagreement like Jonathan?

Eldnar said...

@Jonathan
All you did was give me the address of National Museum of History and just the zip code of National Geographic. You say I should write to these agencies and ask for a article that hasn't a name, title publican date, authors, etc. You given nothing to work with accept their address which is still nothing.
Well you seem pretty smart, I figured you'd be able to get the rest of the address yourself (I did).

Do you know you are using the Internet?
Yes, and I figured if you REALLY wanted the truth, you could use google well enough to get the parts I didn't have. =) My guess is you won't be writing the Smithsonian nor NatGeo. You don't want to take the risk of actually seeing the documents yourself.

If I had a suggestion for you to read a document I would make damn sure that document existed on the Web or I wouldn't cite as a source. You don't have this document you can't cite anything from it until you go threw the work in obtaining it. You need to collect the facts of you argument and expecting me to do your work is being dishonest.
There are PLENTY of documents and books that don't exist on the web. Does that mean none of them can be quoted from? I never said I had a document. I quoted from others who said they had it, and said I would be writing a letter to obtain a copy myself. Why aren't you doing the same?

You don't have the original document neither does that website and in fact there isn't any indication of there being a document.
Ok, this is stating opinion as fact. How exactly do you know they don't have the document? Did you just make that up? Where's the evidence?

Again there isn't a publication title or date. There is a author however which still doesn't mean anything. When you google that section as I have did all lead you to creation websites that pose the same argument but no source document.
Here's the problem. Even if they scanned and posted the letter, I'd bet you'd say it's a forgery. Nothing will prove it to you unless you acquire the letter yourself, which you seem to have no interest in doing. It's almost like you're running from the possibility of being wrong.

Eldnar you do a search on bible historical accuracy (or similar) and you find a ton of information that claims the OT / NT are nothing more than religious texts. They are not historical texts there isn't any dates on any of these works.
Agreed. There are also tons of websites that say in addition to religious texts, they are historical facts. I'm not sure what the point is, other than "websites disagree with each other".

I don't know how you can claim with all honesty the bible is more historical accurate than the Greeks and the Egyptians.
I didn't. The Smithsonian did.

Jonathan said...

Greetings Eldnar

I hope you are enjoying this lovely Sunday, regardless the weather and were ever you hail from.

Lets go shall we…

It is not my responsibility to find this document since you are making the claim. You need to back your claim up which you haven’t done. You claim the document exists then you should be able to supple the link. I am quite sure it is on their web site in some form.

You can find almost anything Google even if it is just an abstract of the document in a subscription based website. You can find books too under Google books, if you really are inclined to do so.

Expecting me to mail a letter for an article that has no publication date, title or author is a complete waste of time. Considering you have the document. do you have this article, yes or no? In addition I don’t need get information on the bible historical facts or lack therefore off the Smithsonian there is countless sources on the web that are easily verifiable. All you have to do is Google it.

Archeology of the Hebrew Bible
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/dever.html

The Bible—‘it’s not historical’
http://www.answersingenesis.org/us/newsletters/0403lead.asp

Sadly, not only is the Smithsonian one of the greatest evolutionary propaganda machines in the world, but it has, as a part of its foundation today, that the Bible is ‘not an historical document.’ The interesting thing is that it’s the first twelve chapters of Genesis (the history that is foundational to the whole of Christianity) in particular that the Smithsonian regards as not historical.

Ah, duh AIG admits the Smithsonian regards the bible as not an historical document. So your original claim of such a document exits is marked with rampant failure.

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article574768.ece

I don’t want the truth; the truthiness of a subject means little to me. I want the facts which you fail to produce.

You don’t have the document then you can’t use it as evidence. It’s that plain and simple. If you make a claim you need to support it. You need to do your own work don’t expect me to do it for you.

I have looked up George Stuart on the National Geographic web site
http://www.grace-n-truth.com/thebible.html

The only George Stuart is a retired professor on Mayan culture.

Maya Underworld
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0411/feature2/fulltext.html
George Stewart

George E. Stuart
http://www.lib.unc.edu/rbc/Mayaexhibit/stuart.html



Eldnar: I have made an effort to look for data, which is more than I say you have you have done.

Jonathan said...

Breckmin

Separation from God is hell, I think countless billions of people handled this separation quite well. You are quite separated from God at this moment are you not?


You claim I have a overly simplistic view, maybe your right. Then we are not talking about vector calculus are we?
How complicated does Christianity need to be? Do you need a BA, MA or even a Phd? The problem with Christians as yourselves you turn a simple belief system into a complex one.

I can prove vector calculus but you can prove that only 2% of the earth's population is saved? You can't prove it. You can't prove in any empirical sense that we even have a soul or anything emanates out of our body when we die. You can't prove it.

Believers' Inferences About God's Beliefs Are Uniquely Egocentric

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091130151321.htm

You should read this article.


The majority of Christians do believe they are saved. You should debate them not me.

Let me put is simply. I will support your right to practice your faith, will you support my right not to?

Yes or no?

To me this is what matters a person has a right not to practice and to practice a faith.

See you later..


Jonathan

Laurel said...

Eldnar, no reasonably knowledgeable person with even average skill in doing research would reference unverified material as you have done in regard to the alleged Smithsonian letter. You have no business attributing comments to the Smithsonian which you can't back up with legitimate verifiable proof. References to such a letter appearing on multiple true-believer websites is no guarantee whatsoever that such a letter exists. What you've provided by way of contact information strongly suggests the letter is simply a product of the true-believer internet rumor mill.

Jeremy said...

I do agree that atheists tend to mop the floor in debates against Christians. However much of the time a Christian can watch the same debate, and think the Christian won.
----------------------------------
The Atheist Perspective

Eldnar said...

I hope you are enjoying this lovely Sunday, regardless the weather and were ever you hail from.
Thanks for the greetings, but it's Valentine's Day, a VERY expensive day for me... =(

It is not my responsibility to find this document since you are making the claim. You need to back your claim up which you haven’t done. You claim the document exists then you should be able to supple the link. I am quite sure it is on their web site in some form.
Not quite. =) I never claimed the document existed, THE WEBSITES claim it exist. I merely stated the quote exists. Several independent websites support that quote. My claim, that the quote exists, still stands, especially because you've seen it. The problem is YOU are the one saying the quote is not valid. This is YOUR claim. As such YOU need to substantiate that.

You can find almost anything Google even if it is just an abstract of the document in a subscription based website. You can find books too under Google books, if you really are inclined to do so.
There's a ton of stuff not in Google. For example, on my desk, I'm looking at the March 2003 issue of Grappling Magazine. I can't find it, or any of the articles in it on Google. But I assure you, it exists.

Expecting me to mail a letter for an article that has no publication date, title or author is a complete waste of time. Considering you have the document. do you have this article, yes or no?
No. I don't have it. Would you please show me where I *ever* said I had it. I've said repeatedly that I am going to write to try to obtain a copy for myself and have encouraged you to do the same. It's pretty easy to send a letter saying, "I'm researching this topic, I've seen this quote on the internet, is this a genuine quote I can use in my research?"

Ah, duh AIG admits the Smithsonian regards the bible as not an historical document. So your original claim of such a document exits is marked with rampant failure.
Wait, wait wait, are you agreeing with AIG? Do you also believe the world was created 4,000 years ago (serious question)? Or do you just agree with them when it suits your purpose?

I don’t want the truth; the truthiness of a subject means little to me. I want the facts which you fail to produce.
What? You don't want the truth you want facts? Uhhhh facts are truth. I'm totally confused, can you clarify this? If you don't want truth do you only want lies?

You don’t have the document then you can’t use it as evidence. It’s that plain and simple.
Why? Who made you the "Rule Overlord"? I don't have the Constitution, but I can use it as evidence. It's that plain and simple.

If you make a claim you need to support it.
Agreed. You made the claim that the document doesn't exist. Support it. Remember a negative claim is still a claim.

Eldnar: I have made an effort to look for data, which is more than I say you have you have done.
You did a Google search. That's not effort. That level of effort will get you an F on a Jr High research paper. I've prepared letters to two national organizations requesting data. My research efforts are far superior.

Eldnar said...

Hi Laurel,

no reasonably knowledgeable person with even average skill in doing research would reference unverified material as you have done in regard to the alleged Smithsonian letter.
I agree. However, the material has been verified by the author of the letter, the recipient of the letter, and the multiple sources claiming to have seen a similar letter. You have no reason to doubt the letter other than it disagrees with you. If the letter stated, "The Bible is not historical" you wouldn't have a problem now would you?

You have no business attributing comments to the Smithsonian which you can't back up with legitimate verifiable proof.
Using this logic, if my father made a statement, but he is now dead, I can't attribute his quotes to him? Because I don't have legitimate verifiable proof? That's bad logic.

References to such a letter appearing on multiple true-believer websites is no guarantee whatsoever that such a letter exists.
It also not evidence that it doesn't, so I'm not sure what your point is...

What you've provided by way of contact information strongly suggests the letter is simply a product of the true-believer internet rumor mill.
Why don't you write the Smithsonian and find out... Are you afraid it may be legit?

Jonathan said...

Jonathan> Ah, duh AIG admits the Smithsonian regards the bible as not an historical document. So your original claim of such a document exits is marked with rampant failure.

Eldnar> Wait, wait wait, are you agreeing with AIG? Do you also believe the world was created 4,000 years ago (serious question)? Or do you just agree with them when it suits your purpose?


JOnathan> Eldnar you are purposely being obstructive and you know it. Our discussion had nothing to do with the earth being 4000 years ago. Undoubtedly you didn't read the quote from AIG. AIG reported the Smithsonian was a propagandist group for Evolution and Genesis was not historical. If AIG thinks the Smithsonian is a proponent for Evolution and genesis is not historical this imaginary document is very much imaginary.

Read Laurel comment I agree with her.

Thanks for the conversation but its a wash.

Hendy said...

@eldnar: "Using this logic, if my father made a statement, but he is now dead, I can't attribute his quotes to him? Because I don't have legitimate verifiable proof? That's bad logic."

You're fine to attribute the quote to him... just not fine to demand or expect others to believe it!

Also, I have emailed J. Daniel Rogers and Laurie Burgess, chair and co-chair of the Smithsonian Dept. of Anthropology requesting validation of the quote. I have also asked whether, if it is indeed their quote, if any further publications have been released on the matter.

Honestly, I read the quote on AIG and don't think it's that consequential to the stance that the bible is untrue with regard to supernatural claims. I skimmed the AIG 'reprint' and the take-away message from my view as 'the bible can be relied upon for archeological and historical records, but no evidence exists to support the flood' or something to this effect.

Are we surprised? The bible took place in time and history and is bound to contain some facts. This would be like someone reading a historical fiction about World War II and thinking that the fictional protagonist was real due to the reality of the cities fought in, the accurate timeline, etc.

Read my post above; though the bible may have some historical accuracies, it would seem that it gets into trouble, as I just said, with extending its historical accuracy into the supernatural realm. Jericho, Nazareth, the flood... I don't find it surprising that as the bible strays from mundane references into supernatural occurrences the archeological and historical evidence all but vanishes and scholars and experts begin to disagree on where things were, what the evidence suggests, etc.

Hendy said...

Oh... forgot -- I got the email addresses used from this site: http://anthropology.si.edu/anthro_staff.html

I will post back with a response when I get it.

Laurel said...

Laurel wrote:

Eldnar, no reasonably knowledgeable person with even average skill in doing research would reference unverified material as you have done in regard to the alleged Smithsonian letter. You have no business attributing comments to the Smithsonian which you can't back up with legitimate verifiable proof. References to such a letter appearing on multiple true-believer websites is no guarantee whatsoever that such a letter exists. What you've provided by way of contact information strongly suggests the letter is simply a product of the true-believer internet rumor mill.

Eldnar wrote: I agree. However, the material has been verified by the author of the letter, the recipient of the letter, and the multiple sources claiming to have seen a similar letter. You have no reason to doubt the letter other than it disagrees with you. If the letter stated, "The Bible is not historical" you wouldn't have a problem now would you?

What's required for these purposes, Eldnar, is a link to the alleged original letter at the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo sites. Hearsay such as you've provided isn't sufficient. Further, having brought the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo into the discussion, it's up to you to provide the legitimate evidence, not those you're trying to convince.

Laurel wrote: You have no business attributing comments to the Smithsonian which you can't back up with legitimate verifiable proof.

Eldnar wrote: Using this logic, if my father made a statement, but he is now dead, I can't attribute his quotes to him? Because I don't have legitimate verifiable proof? That's bad logic.

The bad logic is yours. This isn't about something your father said or wrote. That's a different matter. This is about you attributing unverified material to the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo based on something you read on the internet on true-believer websites.

Laurel wrote: References to such a letter appearing on multiple true-believer websites is no guarantee whatsoever that such a letter exists.

Eldnar wrote: It also not evidence that it doesn't, so I'm not sure what your point is...

My point is that what you've done is dishonest, although the dishonesty may simply be a matter of you not being familiar with the proper use of appropriated material.

Laurel wrote: What you've provided by way of contact information strongly suggests the letter is simply a product of the true-believer internet rumor mill.

Eldnar wrote: Why don't you write the Smithsonian and find out... Are you afraid it may be legit?

Not at all. You brought the stuff to the table. It's up to you to search for and provide appropriate and operative links to the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo where the information can be found when you post such information. Otherwise, the information is merely hearsay and/or mere rumor.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Al and Eldnar

I am sorry if you think your lies deserve a polite response. They don't. I find the ideologies you defend and the dishonest means by which you defend them evil.

Al, you are a member of the RCC and have devised an intricate argument for fine tuning. Can you do the same concerning the decade long rape collussion amongst Catholic clergy? Was that crime part of God's fine tuning?

Eldnar, what was kept out of the bible to ensure it's themes were preserved? How can you not see that isn't history but fiction? Quote mining is dishonest.

Both of you are dishonest men.

Jonathan said...

Luarel, Chuck, and Hendy.


You would think Eldnar you would have the highest set of standards when offer your view since Christians value honesty. Since the popularity of the topic one could find a ton of stuff regarding this on the web.

I have a paper, which I hadn't seen personally, but I know that it exists, because I had seen clips, from unknown web sites, that support my opinion, but I expect you to prove my claim to yourself.

A honest person would either have the doc then present it or doesn't have the doc and wouldn't present it.

Even when I bring up AIG claims the Smithsonian is propagandist machine for the theory of evolution, Eldnar claims I then believe the world is 6000 years old. Which had nothing to do with the orgianl topic


Eldnar you nothing but a obstructionist.

later

Eldnar said...

@Hendy
I didn't think to email them. Thanks for that, it was a good idea.

You're fine to attribute the quote to him... just not fine to demand or expect others to believe it!
I agree. No one has to believe it, but no one is in a position to say, "It's a lie" either.

@Laurel
What's required for these purposes, Eldnar, is a link to the alleged original letter at the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo sites.
No. That's what YOU require. I've never seen the original Constitution, so I can't quote from it? Once again, bad logic.

References to such a letter appearing on multiple true-believer websites is no guarantee whatsoever that such a letter exists.
You still haven't demonstrated how it guarantees that it DOESN'T exist.

My point is that what you've done is dishonest, although the dishonesty may simply be a matter of you not being familiar with the proper use of appropriated material.
I'm being dishonest by providing a quote from a website? Apparently you don't know how evidence works. Evidence stands until discredited. Saying, "It's a believer's website" is not discrediting it. =)

Not at all. You brought the stuff to the table. It's up to you to search for and provide appropriate and operative links to the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo where the information can be found when you post such information. Otherwise, the information is merely hearsay and/or mere rumor.
Wrong. It doesn't work like that. I don't have to keep running and bringing data like you're an overseer and can say, "Nope, I want it here." or "Nope, I want it at THIS specific url." It's YOUR job to prove it wrong, so far I'm the only one that has provided evidence, if you don't like the quality of the evidence *YOU* have to disprove it.

@Chuck
I am sorry if you think your lies deserve a polite response. They don't. I find the ideologies you defend and the dishonest means by which you defend them evil.
You still haven't shown a single lie. Is quoting a website you disagree with a lie? If so, you're in a world all your own. I'm curious though, what ideology have I stated that I defend? Or are you pulling that out of thin air (aka LYING).

@Jonathan
You would think Eldnar you would have the highest set of standards when offer your view since Christians value honesty. Since the popularity of the topic one could find a ton of stuff regarding this on the web.
Who said I'm a Christian? LOL. From what I've seen so far, Christians do seem to value honesty more than the atheists on this board. All I've seen is name-calling and cursing from the atheists.

I have a paper, which I hadn't seen personally, but I know that it exists, because I had seen clips, from unknown web sites, that support my opinion,
Yup. It's called the U.S. Constitution.

A honest person would either have the doc then present it or doesn't have the doc and wouldn't present it.
You still haven't told me why I couldn't quote from the Constitution because I don't have a copy on my desk.

Even when I bring up AIG claims the Smithsonian is propagandist machine for the theory of evolution, Eldnar claims I then believe the world is 6000 years old. Which had nothing to do with the orgianl topic
Well because you chose a pretty odd source for your appeal to authority. I was illustrating that it's odd that you would appeal to a source your find TOTALLY dishonest. I would NEVER appeal to the Flat Earth Society, even if they did agree with me on one minor point. The point you are appealing to a authority that you find completely dubious, and their claims dishonest. This is your authority?!?! You sir make extremely dubious claims. Remember, YOUR direct quote that you don't care about truth. Very little you say can be trusted.

Al Moritz said...

Chuck,

no, that crime was not part of God's fine-tuning. What the clergy did, the child abuse itself and the collusion to cover it up and simply transfer priests involved to other positions, was a great moral evil. I also very much deplore the manner in which the RCC reacted after the collusion came to light. Not much happened in the way of effective measures or showing true contrition with consequences. For example, the Church should have stripped Cardinal Law of Boston of his position as Cardinal, instead of hiding him in some function in Rome. I believe the whole episode, aside from the suffering that it has caused for the victims, has done incredible, immeasurable harm to the RCC, which should have dealt with things rigorously instead of, basically, going on with business as usual after the court settlements. (Apart from the all-important moral dimension, the handling of the issue by the RCC was one big PR disaster and nightmare.)

Why does God allow such moral evil? While in itself the evil seems incomprehensible and is inexcusable, allowing it is the price we pay for the fact that we humans are truly free -- free to do good, and free to do evil as well. But true freedom also allows for true love *), and true choice to believe and love God.

Yet I will not make any excuses for the immense human weakness and even by scandalous behaviour of Church leaders, right up to the popes, nor will I make any excuses for the suffering and confusion this has resulted in. However, as emotionally challenging as it may seem, the rational attitude here is to make a clear distinction between the message and the transmitters thereof. And I believe that despite all this weakness and evil, which does *not* outweigh the immense good that the Church has done throughout its history, God still leads the Church and makes sure that the faith itself is not corrupted.

***

Interesting that you called me dishonest before even knowing my position on the issue.


*) While I enjoy how our two dogs show us 'love' and affection, it is also quite clear to me that this is based merely on instinct, as opposed to human love, and thus I cannot value it as highly. Enduring human love is not just based on emotions, but is also a conscious act of the will -- it is not just some chemical storm in the brain which, when worn off, calls for divorce from the partner because the emotional 'kick' is not there anymore.

Laurel said...

Laurel wrote:

What's required for these purposes, Eldnar, is a link to the alleged original letter at the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo sites.

Eldnar wrote: No. That's what YOU require. I've never seen the original Constitution, so I can't quote from it? Once again, bad logic.

The bad logic is yours. The Constitution is an historical document that can easily be found, unlike the alleged letter you're referencing.

Laurel wrote: References to such a letter appearing on multiple true-believer websites is no guarantee whatsoever that such a letter exists.

Eldnar wrote: You still haven't demonstrated how it guarantees that it DOESN'T exist.

I haven't claimed, nor guaranteed that it doesn't exist. I've said that claiming that it exists and propagating the idea without verifiable proof that it does, and attributing statements to the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo that you can't confirm, is dishonest.

Laurel wrote: My point is that what you've done is dishonest, although the dishonesty may simply be a matter of you not being familiar with the proper use of appropriated material.

Eldnar wrote: I'm being dishonest by providing a quote from a website? Apparently you don't know how evidence works. Evidence stands until discredited. Saying, "It's a believer's website" is not discrediting it.

"Evidence" would be authentic verification from the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo, not claims made by true believer websites who have a vested interest in having those organizations appear to validate their religious beliefs.

Laurel wrote: Not at all. You brought the stuff to the table. It's up to you to search for and provide appropriate and operative links to the Smithsonian and Nat'l Geo where the information can be found when you post such information. Otherwise, the information is merely hearsay and/or mere rumor.

Eldnar wrote: Wrong. It doesn't work like that. I don't have to keep running and bringing data like you're an overseer and can say, "Nope, I want it here." or "Nope, I want it at THIS specific url." It's YOUR job to prove it wrong, so far I'm the only one that has provided evidence, if you don't like the quality of the evidence *YOU* have to disprove it.

You're apparently accustomed to dealing with people who take a casual attitude toward "evidence." More disciplined people require verifiable evidence from primary sources. Disciplined people check hearsay "evidence" at primary sources as a matter of habit.

Jonathan said...

@Al Moritz

Are we free? Really? This is what confuses me. If we were truly free there would be no need for Adam /Eve, Cain / Able, Flood, tower of Babel, no exodus, no sin, no curse, no rebellion, and no Jesus. There would be no reason to interfere. There would also be no reason for Heaven or Hell.

The problem occurs God interferes in the world and has expectation. If God has exceptions then there isn't any free will. No expectations you have free will, expectations no free will.


Another problem is I get from Christians is this message:

I can choose to love God or go to hell. It doesn't matter that God created hell in the first place. It matters that God is giving me the choice to believe & worship him or go to hell.

Did I loose anyone?

If you could clear this up it would be great.


Thanks

Al Moritz said...

Are we free? Really? This is what confuses me. If we were truly free there would be no need for Adam /Eve, Cain / Able, Flood, tower of Babel, no exodus, no sin, no curse, no rebellion, and no Jesus. There would be no reason to interfere. There would also be no reason for Heaven or Hell.

The problem occurs God interferes in the world and has expectation. If God has expectations then there isn't any free will. No expectations you have free will, expectations no free will.




I don't see the contradiction. I expect that my wife loves me, but she is free to do so.

If God would not make his will clear, we would not know what to do in order to love him. On the other hand, God is not as obviously present in the world as to act as a policeman looking over our shoulder -- you would always do the right thing in the presence of the policeman, and your actions would have no moral merit *). This answers in part the problem of the hiddenness of God. Given that hiddenness, I don't think we have much to complain about not being free.



Another problem is I get from Christians is this message:

I can choose to love God or go to hell. It doesn't matter that God created hell in the first place. It matters that God is giving me the choice to believe & worship him or go to hell.


Love of God is a bit more than just avoidance of punishment, fear of God. That is also why the RCC makes the difference between perfect and imperfect acts of contrition. The former is the willingness not to sin anymore because of true love for God, which includes the desire to genuinely please Him, the latter is the willingness not to sin anymore because of fear of God. While the former is preferable, the latter is sufficient.



*) David Wood explains this: suppose you find a wallet with a considerable amount of money on the street. The right thing to do is to return the wallet to its owner. Good people will do this, others not. Yet what happens if a policeman stands there? Everybody would do the right thing with the wallet, and there would be no merit in doing so.

Hendy said...

@al: I have issues with divine hidden-ness. These reasons are biblical. Jesus did not seem too concerned with being hidden 2000 years ago. Sure, he sought solitude, tried to escape being made king, avoided Jerusalem because it 'was not his time', etc. Other than a few cases, however, it is quite easy to find plenty of passages supporting the idea that Jesus did things exactly so they would believe. He was 'glad' that he was not there when Lazarus died 'so that they would believe'. This sounds like, 'I'm glad he died because I know I'm about to raise him from the dead and you'll then believe me more.' He also plainly states, 'If I do this, even if you don't believe me, believe the works so that you know who sent me.'

Why be bold then and not now? He seems to indicate that we should expect continued miracles and divine intervening, after all 'behold, I am with you always even to the end of the ages' and 'it is better that I go so that I may send you my Holy Spirit who will teach you all things and bring to mind all that I have told you' and 'these signs will accompany those who believe...' etc. Do you disagree that scripture seems to indicate that we should actually 'see' Jesus alive and well in our lives?

If so, do you agree that the ways in which he was alive and well in the 1st century would have been, to witnesses, for the most part unambiguous? That is, do you think those who saw Lazarus walk out of the grave in mummy cloths just shirked it off? If you agree that both 1) we should see him alive and well in our lives as scripture indicates and that 2) this aliveness and wellness should be unambiguous to all... why are we even having this discussion?

The mere fact that Jesus did enough to have to run away to prevent the Jewish people from carrying him off to make him king suggests that he was quite the public figure. Individuals from far off knew him by name well enough to call out for healing when they had never met the guy in their lives. This means word spread relatively fast and far. The two on the road to Emmaus suggest that Jesus would have been considered a shut in for not knowing about the resurrection.

Point? I don't see evidence scripturally that Jesus ever commanded anyone to 'write down all that you have seen and heard so that everyone after will believe even though they didn't get the chance to meet me personally.' Therefore, I would expect that he intended we should believe via 'ask anything in my name and it will be done' and foretelling of followers with faith doing miracles. I see no evidence that he was about to retreat into eternal hiding never to reveal himself convincingly again through the power of the Holy Spirit.

'The father' (aka old testament god) also seemed intensely preoccupied with proving his rightful position as one true god -- he one battles, answered prayer to burn bales of wet hay, protected three children in a furnace, parted the seas, allowed a guy's face to glow after being with him in conversation... every person in the early tribes had the privilege of indirectly experiencing god's presence and existence through these acts.

What in the world founds your basis that he is now hidden? I've said this before, and I'll pose it to you. Answer why this statement is not rational and valid:

Given divine hidden-ness, if I cannot expect god to answer my request for unambiguous and concrete evidence for his existence because of my doubt, why should a believer be able to claim that god intervened or did something for them as a result of their faith?

Jonathan said...

@ Al Mortiz

Thanks for the reply

I don't see the contradiction. I expect that my wife loves me, but she is free to do so.


I think the analogy is incorrect. Your wife didn’t build a torture chamber in your basement if you refused her love. You didn’t have to marry the specific person you called a wife, you could have married someone else, not married and still live together, or never form a relationship at all. You don’t have these options with God you don’t believe, you don’t practice, and you don’t love, then you go to hell. Your wife didn’t create the world, didn’t pass down a book of 600+ commandments, and wasn’t crucified, raised from the dead, and pay a penalty of some sort so you don’t have to.

Love of God is a bit more than just avoidance of punishment, fear of God.

I am not talking about the fear of god or punishment. You’re being punished solely because you don’t believe in the “Christian God” based on nothing less than “not” believing in the “Christian God”.

We also shouldn’t be burdened of the thought of being punished by God I think we are quite capable of doing that ourselves.

Maybe you a RCC rather than a Protestant you have a different take on the subject, regrettable it doesn’t make it any easier for me to understand either system of belief.


Thanks anyway.

shane said...
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shane said...

Eldner, just because the Bible contains real places or people, that in no way proves the miraculous accounts made in the Bible!

So what if real historical places or people are mentioned?....that doean't prove-miracles-resurrections-and acts of God to be true...!

shane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shane said...

To Eldner.

Scotland is a real historical place. William Wallace was a real hisrorical person, with these facts historians would no doubt agree!

But if claims were made that William Wallace defeated the English at Sterling by calling down fire and brimstone from the sky to consume them, i think the historical authenticity of that claim would be in serious trouble!

shane said...

To Hendy.

You make a good point. I have asked alot of christians the same questions. The answer i got the most was (the creation itself is proof of his existence, it even says so in the Bible!)

But my response to that answer is-what does the creation (if it is a creation) actuallt prove?

Any religion can make the same claim to verify the existence of their god.
Also, even if the universe was created, what evidence is there to say that there was only one creator as opposed to a multitued?
What proof is there to show that the supposed creator is eternal-omnipotent-omnipresent-omniscient..etc.

Even if for arguments sake there is or ever was a creator, nothing in the supposed creation can prove these claims!

shane said...

To Al Moritz.

I have a question for you?

You are more or less saying that God hides himself so that we will choose by faith to believe and love Him. And that it is only meritous to do it on faith alone.

But yet, in the Bible, even the disciples themselves did not believe in Jesus resurrection until they saw Him for themselves!

Thomas didn't even believe until he put his finger through Jesus hand!

These men who were with Jesus through out His ministry, seen all the miracles He did and yet they didn't believe without seeing!

So how would God excpect people 2000 years later to believe on faith without seeing anything?

Al Moritz said...

Shane:

It might be argued that God has left evidence (divine revelation, evidence from the natural world)in just the right amount for people who seek Him to find Him, and for people who reject him to do so without being unable to dismiss the evidence.

The evidence is clear enough, but not coercive, and more evidence probably would not be coercive enough either:

"[Jesus] said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'" (Luke 16:31)

On the other hand, God did not make it impossibly hard to find him. For example, those who honestly seek God but have never heard of Jesus Christ can nonetheless be saved, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Ecclesiam_nulla_salus

heading: Roman Catholic interpretation

shane said...

To Al Mortitz.

Thank you for replying.
In regards to your first paragraph, what evidence would that be?

If you read my post to Hendy just above, you will understand where im coming from.

I understand Jesus sentiments here, but they dont hold much promise even for the people in His day whom He was speaking to, nevermind us today 2000 years later!

We are told through out the gospels of the miracles that Jesus performed and were seen by the disciples.
They apparently saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead and a twelve year old girl aswell.
But the gospels say that when the women told them Jesus had risen, they did not believe, they thought the women were telling idle tales!

These were Gods elect!


Also, God did not seem to have an issue being coersive within the Bible when making Himself known!

In regards to your last message, I will look up the website, but as a former christian, i do remember that Paul said those who dont know Christ will be a law unto themselves at the judgment, but i see any evidence that anyone can be saved apart from belief in Christ!






In regards to your last paragraph, I will look up the website,

shane said...

To Al Moritz

Also, you said (those who honestly seek God but have never heard of Jesus can nontheless be saved)

Well....what about the people of Canaan in the Bible, or any religion or faith....? are they not all honestly seeking God?

You christians would say that Muslims, or Hindus, or Mormons..etc..will not be saved because they believe in a false faith.....yet aren't they equally seeking God?

When the Bible says that the people of Canaan were enemies of God for worshiping false gods, weren't they equally seeking God?
According to the scriptures, God never revealed Himself to these people or gave them the ten commandments, so how would they know who the true god was?

YET!!!! according to christians, none of the examples i mentioned will be saved even though they are or were, honestly seeking God!

shane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al Moritz said...

Shane:

To Al Moritz

You christians would say that Muslims, or Hindus, or Mormons..etc..will not be saved because they believe in a false faith.....yet aren't they equally seeking God?


Why don't you read the link first?

shane said...

To Al Moritz.

I checked the link you gave me?
I dont see how it is applying to people of other religions who are seeking God!

It states that not everyone who is saved has to necessarely belong to the church, but it doesn't omit belief in Christ.

As far as i can tell, my question hasn't changed?
Maybe im not seeing your point properly?

shane said...

What im saying here, is that according to the Bible and the christian faith, no one can be saved apart from belief in Christ!

Believing He was the son of God, the messiah, the sacrifice for sins...etc...

How would you say that people can be saved without ever hearing of Christ whether or not they are honestly seeking God?

I am assuming you are christian, my apologies if not!
But this is besides the original posts.

Hendy said...

Letter received from the Smithsonian Anthropology Department!

I received an email today from Ann Kaup, Head of the Anthropology Outreach Office of the Smithsonian Institution today with the full letter referenced in several posts here.

The full letter may be downloaded from my google site HERE.

I will also post what I think is most pertinent. The bit being used on many religious sites says, says the following (first used and cited by Eldnar above: "...much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories. These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed."

The part directly after that in the Smithsonian letter (cleverly omitted from the snippet above) is this: "However, in the stories found in the Book of Genesis, chapters 1‑12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. It was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God‑human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document."


Take away message for me? 1) Archeology probably won't ever prove the Bible one way or another. 2) I think the missing passage from the Smithsonian letter creates a pretty different picture of their stance with regard to the Bible. While verified in some ways archaeologically, the Smithsonian pretty clearly states that the history used in the Bible is specifically tailored to explain theological claims. Anyway, I just wanted to post a follow up to help the heated discussion about the letter.

A screenshot may be found HERE for anyone doubting the validity of the email I received.

shane said...

I guess that about sums it up...lol..still dont see the relevance Eldner was trying to get at with this post anyway?...historical places and people dont prove miracles and ressurections!

Funny though....?....after all the messages back and forth on here, Eldner refused to admit the rest of the info you provided here!
Seems very unchristian and dishonest trying to prove a point that way!

EVERYONE CAN PICK THEIR JAWS UP OFF THE FLOOR NOW!

Jonathan said...

@hendy

Thanks for going threw the trouble and finding out that information! :)

Hendy said...

@ Jonathan: No problem -- I didn't really care much either way, but the disagreements over the letter grew with such intensity that I thought I'd just try to do something about it!

Eldnar said...

Wow. Looks like the document DOES exist. (Everyone who said it didn't apology accepted). =) Looks like the quote was EXACTLY right. Just as I stated.

And just for your own edification... It appears they may soon be changing their position on Noah's flood. =)

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/02/23/shell-crusher-dinosaur-terrorized-sea/?test=faces

Enjoy! =)