My Top Ten List of Christian Delusions

There are so many delusions to mention that it's hard to choose just ten, and it's hard to rank them since they're all equally delusions. But in keeping with David Letterman's series of top ten lists here they are for your enjoyment:

10) That Ex-Christians like me were never Christians even though we believed and trusted in God for salvation. So let me get this straight, okay? God supposedly promised that if we believe we'll be saved and yet he never kept his promise--that he never saved us even though we believed!? Such logic as this is the logic of a delusion.

9) That Christianity has more credibility to it than Scientology, Mormonism, Islam, Orthodox Judaism or Haitian Voodoo. The only reason Christians think their faith has more epistemic warrant is because they are more familiar with it.

8) That there was a person who was 100% God and 100% man with nothing left over who walked the earth even thought the Bible itself tells us ancient people believed demigods walked the earth. Just look at Acts 14:11-12: "When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, 'The gods have come down to us in human form!' And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes..." And, Acts 28:5-6: "Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god."

7) That a demigod or God-Man atoned for the sins of the world even though there is no reasonable way to understand how his death brings us forgiveness. Ken Pulliam has written the most extensive online material about this irrational doctrine with 88 posts so far.

6) That even though the Apostle Paul was the only NT author to claim he saw the risen Jesus, Paul said he merely saw a vision of Jesus on the Damascus Road rather than Jesus himself. Yep, just see Acts 26:9: "So then, King Agrippa, I (Paul) was not disobedient to the vision (i.e. ὀπτασίᾳ) from heaven." That's called evidence? I hardly think so at all. This kind of evidence would support the claims of Joseph Smith, Mohammad, Jim Jones and almost every other religious leader.

5) That the highest created being, known as Satan or the Devil, led an angelic rebellion against an omnipotent omniscient omnibenelovent omnipresent God, and expected to win--which makes Satan out to be pure evil and dumber than a box of rocks.

4) That there was a first human pair (Adam & Eve) who so grievously sinned against God when tested that all of the rest of us are being punished for it (including animals), even though no one but the first human pair deserved to be punished. If it's argued that all of us deserve to be punished because we all would have sinned, then the test was a sham. For only if some of us would not have sinned can the test be considered a fair one. But if some of us would not have sinned under the same initial conditions then there are people who are being punished for something they never would have done.

3) That although there is no cogent theodicy that can explain why there is such ubiquitous and massive human and animal suffering if a perfectly good omnipotent God exists, God is perfectly good and omnipotent anyway.

2) Let me quote someone named SilverBullet who wrote: “...the lord doesn't work in mysterious ways, but in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence. It seems to me that there is nothing in the Christian scriptures, no sentence, paragraph, or idea, that couldn't be anything more than the product of the humans alive at the time that the apparently divinely inspired scriptures and ideas were "revealed".

1) That when it comes to verifiable matters of historical fact (like the Exodus, the extent of the reign of David, Luke's reported world-wide census, etc) the Biblical stories are disconfirmed by evidence to the contrary as fairy tales, but when it comes to supernatural claims of miracles that cannot be verified like a virgin birth and resurrection from the grave, the Bible reports historical facts.

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Some of these were chosen from my list of 30 items I called a Reality Check: What Must Be the Case if Christianity is True?

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41 comments:

Lvka said...

Concerning #8 on the list, see here.

Hendy said...

This post reminded me of something from de-conversion.com: the real reasons people leave the faith.

Oh, and here are the really real reasons (for real).

John W. Loftus said...

Hendy, that's some good stuff there!

3g.nursing said...

Since I see dearest L is back with us, I'll repost my comment from last thread. Concerning "equal time".

"I have a slightly different proposition.
Will our orthodox Christian troll Lv, who thinks the so called holy fire is "the longest running miracle", allow some roman catholics, who think that's a fraud, to come to his church and debate the matter?"

3g.nursing said...

Shhhh. Don't spill the beans.
Let the demented one keep doing it. More fun this way.

mindyourmind said...

Sincere thanks go to :

1. John for a great post - this is why I come here.

2. Hendy for the link.

3. Lvka for the laffs.

Marcus McElhaney said...

Who considers this stuff moving? Where is the "A" material? They are easily refuted.

http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com/2010/07/debunking-christianity-reality-check.html

http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com/2010/07/debunking-christianity-reality-check_07.html

Ignerant Phool said...

If I had a top ten list of christian delusions, I think I would have to find a way to add: That they think they have refuted our arguments against theirs. See Marcus and Lvka for reference.

3g.nursing said...

I hope both Marcus and Lvka are proud of their fellow christian, DM.

Mark Plus said...

It seems to me that there is nothing in the Christian scriptures, no sentence, paragraph, or idea, that couldn't be anything more than the product of the humans alive at the time

And not particularly intelligent humans at that. Any literate but intellectually mediocre person back then could have written a gospel, also known as Jesus fan fiction, and attributed its authorship to some character in the early christian tradition; but nobody could have written a mathematical treatise and gotten away with attributing it to, say, Archimedes, unless he also displayed mathematical talent of the highest order.

Which raises the question of why a god didn't choose Archimedes-level people to communicate the gospel as an internal check against gospels by frauds and impostors.

Lvka said...

It's not a clash of arguments, it's ultimately a clash between belief and reality, or between theory and praxis/facts:

Regardless of the amount of posts and comments on this blog, the light will still descend each year at Christ's tomb for Easter, and the Jordan will still turn its course around each year for the Day of Christ's batism: it's really that simple. Nothing fantastic and out of the ordinary. They will continue for centuries after our deaths, just as they went on for centuries before our births: nothing new under the sun; just another day in paradise.

And no, I don't consider DM's activity as something to be proud of.

3g.nursing said...

"Regardless of the amount of posts and comments on this blog, the light will still descend each year at Christ's tomb for Easter".
Quite so. As long as it makes money.
And the Roman Catholics will continue to see
it as a fraud.
But hey, you happen to belong to the only "right" religion in the world: eastern orthdox christianity. Lucky you, eh?
Screw every one else.

Daniel Araujo said...

I'm a bit confused regarding your sixth item.

What do you make of Matt 28:17, Mark 16:14, Luke 24:33-36, John 20:19? In the Matthew, Mark, and John passages, it's implied that Matthew, Mark, and John were among those who saw Jesus. And although Luke obviously wasn't at the scene he describes, it does serve as a 4th witness to similar accounts in the other gospels.

To say that Paul was the only apostle claim to have seen the risen Jesus, and then to take it as some sort of evidence against Christianity seems a bit odd to me. I think it's a stretch on your part.

Thoughts?

Jon Hanson said...

Daniel,
Paul is the only one we can know said he saw Christ, none of the Gospels were written by eye witnesses. So all you mention is hearsay.

GearHedEd said...

Printed in my copy of the NIV Bible, between Mark 16:8 and Mark 16:9 is a statement:

"The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20."

Which means that those verses were added later. And Mark is accepted by most scholars as the earliest gospel.

GearHedEd said...

And Luke 1:1-4 says up front that he's NOT an eyewitness.

Daniel Araujo said...

Jon,
I'm assuming, then, that you discount the traditional authorship claims of the NT. And in order to do so, you'd have to depend on scholarship which maintains that the gospels were written pretty late. Is that a fair assessment? Also, from what I've heard (more hearsay evidence, I'm afraid) scholars who maintain a late date for the gospels are becoming increasingly considered fringe thinkers. Have you heard anything about that?

GearHedEd, sure, but even without Mark's passage, you still have Matthew's and John's. Also, I admitted up front that Luke wasn't an eyewitness account, although perhaps I could have done so more clearly. My point was simply that if you have two friends who see an event, and then you speak to a third and forth person who says, "hey, so and so told me that this thing happened," it doesn't diminish the reliability of your friends' claims. If anything, it reinforces them (assuming, that the hearsayers heard from persons other than your friends).

At any rate, I think this is progressing down from a question into a rather meaningless debate (entirely my fault). So I'm going to shut up.

Peace.

trae norsworthy said...

That Ex-Christians like me were never Christians even though we believed and trusted in God for salvation
i started responding to this idea on the very first post of my blog dedicated to your book wiba. why would you perpetuate an idea i've already responded to? it prevents progress on the issue.

http://thegdebate.blogspot.com/2010/07/l-11.html

That Christianity has more credibility to it than Scientology, Mormonism, Islam, Orthodox Judaism or Haitian Voodoo.
This is obfuscation for the purposes of avoiding the most basic discussion; nontheism vs theism

The only reason Christians think their faith has more epistemic warrant is because they are more familiar with it.
There might be some weak minded people who buy this but, most smart people are going to know this is an oversimplification and that there are some brilliant Christians who are more familiar with those religions than some of the adherents of those religions

That even though the Apostle Paul was the only NT author to claim he saw the risen Jesus, Paul said he merely saw a vision of Jesus
Now just explain why paul became possibly the most effective, influential Christian of all time

no one but the first human pair deserved to be punished.
Yeah, right.

only if some of us would not have sinned can the test be considered a fair one. But if some of us would not have sinned under the same initial conditions then there are people who are being punished for something they never would have done.
It doesn’t matter that everyone would have failed. every person in the world gets a fair shot with their own freewill. That’s all that counts.

“...the lord doesn't work in mysterious ways, but in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.
Not exactly

http://thegdebate.blogspot.com/2010/08/l-31.html

when it comes to verifiable matters of historical fact the Biblical stories are disconfirmed by evidence to the contrary as fairy tales
This is patently false, elephant hurling. There are plenty of scholars and scientists in various disciplines who do not agree with this blanket assertion

but when it comes to supernatural claims of miracles that cannot be verified like a virgin birth and resurrection from the grave, the Bible reports historical facts.
The only real question on this issue is why you don’t believe it

trae norsworthy said...

That they think they have refuted our arguments against theirs.
when you have some free time, pop over to my blog and set me straight since i'm not important enough to get a response from loftus even though he's the one who issued the "debunking christianity challenge" that i'm responding to.

Lvka said...

Quite so. As long as it makes money.


Funny: I don't see you saying the same thing about modern medicine, advances in science & technology, or other professional branches. -- Why is that?

(I mean, unless you happen to think that doctors, scientists, or engineers work for free.. or that priests are somehow able to live without any food or water..)

trae norsworthy said...

And not particularly intelligent humans at that.
There was a cross section; some smart, some simple. testifying about the accounts doesn’t require only smart people.

Any literate but intellectually mediocre person back then could have written a gospel and attributed its authorship to some character in the early christian tradition
The forest that you’re glossing over in favor of the trees is why anyone would take such a fabricated account seriously.

nobody could have written a mathematical treatise and gotten away with attributing it to, say, Archimedes, unless he also displayed mathematical talent of the highest order.
You’re conflating a scientific issue with an evidential issue

Which raises the question of why a god didn't choose Archimedes-level people to communicate the gospel as an internal check against gospels by frauds and impostors.
It doesn’t take a genius to testify that someone was dead and was later alive again. what you haven’t shown is that the accounts are false.

3g.nursing said...

Ehhh...Lvka, I am glad we see eye to eye. Doctors, engineers, etc do not work for free. Neither do
the people who put up the annual "holy fire" show. In other words, the show, like any other on TV, will stop if there are no more viewers and no more advertisers.
But you didn't tell me. Will I go to hell for thinking the holy fire is a fraud? If so, how about the hundreds of millions of roman Catholics, who essentially concur?

Jim said...

Trae,

The forest that you’re glossing over in favor of the trees is why anyone would take such a fabricated account seriously.

Why do Mormons take the fabricated story from Joseph Smith seriously?

Why to Muslims take the fabricated story from Mohammed seriously?

Why do Christians take the fabricated story from Paul seriously?

et al.

They're just the right stories for the right people at the right time. Parents spread the lies to the children. Some of the children grow into positions of prestige and power and have better ability to spread the lies even faster and further.

It's just a meme.

Simple psychology.

Ignerant Phool said...

Trae said,

"when you have some free time, pop over to my blog and set me straight since i'm not important enough to get a response from loftus even though he's the one who issued the "debunking christianity challenge" that i'm responding to."

Well Trae, you're just lucky I don't have the time. Somehow though, even if I did have the time I doubt you would recognize your delusions. But please feel free to refute any of my occasional/rare comments here at DC. This way we both might save some time.

trae norsworthy said...

Why do Mormons take the fabricated story from Joseph Smith seriously?
no mormon is claiming a resurrection or biblical level miracles.

Why to Muslims take the fabricated story from Mohammed seriously?
many, many muslims are not islamic by free choice. because of that, islam is not reasonably admissable

Why do Christians take the fabricated story from Paul seriously?
there were many people who were followers of Christ who never heard of paul at first

Some of the children grow into positions of prestige and power and have better ability to spread the lies even faster and further.
you might not be aware of this but christianity was growing well before the time of constantine despite persecution and a lack of "prestige and power"

It's just a meme.
dennett has been taken to task on this idea by allister mcgrath. claiming it's a meme does nothing to address the historicity of the accounts. second, if it's a meme, is there a meme about that meme?

trae norsworthy said...

Well Trae, you're just lucky I don't have the time.
loftus has plenty of sychophants who should be able to fill in for him. so far, not a peep

i should issue a "loftus challenge". if you follow this blog, how can you be sure that you're not being deluded by loftus until you examine alternative viewpoints from his?

Somehow though, even if I did have the time I doubt you would recognize your delusions.
how do you know that it's not you that's deluded?

Eric J.S. said...

@trae norsworthy

I will answer your challenge.
1. I live in Texas, and have gone to various denomination of protestantism weekly for 19 years. At no time did I ever believe what they told me because it felt more like a myth because of its poetic structures and emotional content.
2. I chose to be an atheist before I read the Christian Delusion. Much of what John Loftus posts has not altered my understanding of Christianity because the criticism is specific in nature (belief A or B).
3. I don't really learn about Christianity from this website because the website asks questions and points out problems with Christian dogma. I learned from my years in church, from my studies in philosphy, and from books specific about Christian beliefs or the Bible (i.e. Bart Ehrman's books).
4. How can criticisms about Christianity delude an atheist? Atheist viewers don't have to analyze Christian beliefs John Loftus brings up in the same way a non-Muslim does not have to analyze the Quran.
5. Atheist may respond to the hilarity/terribleness of the belief or add something to the criticism, but burden of proof is the the believer. So atheists face the challenges to their world view throughout life, whether they be from family members, the nearness of death, or crises. There is a great deal think about when it comes to verifying truth, and that is why one must not be too rash in accepting any belief (which atheism is the lack of a belief in God).
6. I am sure John Loftus has given a few examples of how one could give sufficient evidence for the existence of a deity (a specific one would be hard obstacle to hurdle). AN example being, arms being regrown on amputees who prayed, and perhaps some words from the deity tatoo'd on.

Eric J.S. said...

Sorry for misspeaking in my above comment, please understand what I intended to say.

Corrections:
"I chose to be an atheist before I read the Christian Delusion."-->
"I became an atheist before reading John Loftus's posts."

"I don't really learn about Christianity from this website because the website asks questions and points out problems with Christian dogma."--> by this meant that Christianity is more than its contradictions and fairytaleness, so one should study Christian from a more wholistic way, like in a history class or Bible recession course.

Silver Bullet said...

Flattered. Thanks for the reference.

-SB

trae norsworthy said...

At no time did I ever believe what they told me because it felt more like a myth because of its poetic structures and emotional content.
being poetic or emotional doesn't equal false. moreover, what would it take for you to believe?

arms being regrown on amputees who prayed, and perhaps some words from the deity tatoo'd on.
http://thegdebate.blogspot.com/2010/08/l-35.html

I learned from my years in church, from my studies in philosphy, and from books specific about Christian beliefs or the Bible (i.e. Bart Ehrman's books).
but why do you choose one set of opinions over another?

How can criticisms about Christianity delude an atheist?
i didn't say that. sorry about the confusion. i meant that atheists are deluded by thinking that naturalism is all there is

burden of proof is the the believer.
since atheists are "believers", then they bear the burden of proof for their belief. since they can't substantiate that there is no God, they've got quite a mountain to climb

clamat said...

traenorsworthy said:

since atheists are "believers", then they bear the burden of proof for their belief. since they can't substantiate that there is no God, they've got quite a mountain to climb

clamat says:

Jiminy Christmas. I suppose we have to do this until it sticks…

Since a-Bigfootists are “believers,” then they bear the burden of proof for their belief. Since they can’t substantiate there is no Bigfoot, they’ve got quite a mountain to climb.

trae norsworthy said...

Since a-Bigfootists are "believers,” then they bear the burden of proof for their belief. Since they can’t substantiate there is no Bigfoot, they’ve got quite a mountain to climb.
first, you're conflating something natural (bigfoot) with something supernatural (God). the two should be kept distinct. evidence for bigfoot would be physical whereas evidence for God would be more metaphysical and philosophical. second, your statement is logically correct. people who deny the existence of bigfoot technically can't refute the notion that it is possible that bigfoot exists. the most they could say is that there doesn't appear to be evidence for bigfoot. bigfoot agnositicism so to speak.

trae norsworthy said...

speaking of reasons for belief

http://thegdebate.blogspot.com/2010/08/l-38.html

clamat said...

@traenorsworthy

Your acknowledgement that, supposed category mistake aside, my logic is sound, makes me think I may have misinterpreted where you are coming from on issues of theistic (as opposed to Bigfootist) belief: You are an agnostic, then?

clamat said...

@trae norsworthy

I assume the radio silence means you are trying to figure a way out of the corner you’ve painted yourself into. I’ll just use this interlude to clean up the trim…

You argued that by comparing God to Bigfoot, I’m comparing supernatural evidence apples to natural evidence oranges. Wrong. To repeat ad nauseum: Believers think their supernatural god regularly operates in the natural world. If so, there should be natural evidence of this, evidence that can be tested scientifically. There is none. By asserting god is not subject to natural, scientific proof, instead of *actually offering some*, you have effectively conceded that there is none.

(But *now* you’ll proffer the Holy Fire or some such, and I’ll insist this “miracle” must be subjected to scientific testing, and you’ll insist god cannot be tested scientifically, i.e. by resort to natural evidence, and around and around and around and around we’ll go…)

Your words, modified slightly:

“Since a[unicorn]ists are ‘believers,’ then they bear the burden of proof for their belief. Since they can’t substantiate there [are] no [unicorns], they’ve got quite a mountain to climb.”

So your position, trae, is those who claim “there are no unicorns” bear a heavy burden of proof? If I came to you and said “I rode in on my pet unicorn” would your response be a wide-eyed “well, I can’t disprove it…do they go real fast?” How many peaks in Range Supernatural must we scale before we are justified to shout “show me the evidence or stop spouting such silliness!”?

But, of course, all of this is not where you have gotten yourself into the most trouble. Your words again:

“People who deny the existence of [Xenu] technically can’t refute the notion that it is possible [Xenu] exists. The most they could say is there doesn’t appear to be evidence for [Xenu]. [Xenu] agnosticism, so to speak.”

Or Allah agnosticism, so to speak. Or Zeus agnosticism. Or [insert whatever-deity-anybody-has-ever-endorsed-including-the-thousands-you-have-never-even-heard-of-and-including-the-thousands-of-variations-on-Jehova, here] agnosticism.

In sum, your logical position *should* be that an *inability to disprove* any particular god demands agnosticism, period. I’d modify that somewhat, but basically I can dig it.

But you also are and desperately want to remain a Christian, and of a very particular stripe. Hmmm…how to reconcile the logical imperative of agnosticism with a gnawing psychological desire for a personal Savior in Jesus Christ?

Let the backpedaling, equivocation, cherry-picking, and pretzel logic commence!

trae norsworthy said...

clamat

I assume the radio silence means you are trying to figure a way out of the corner you’ve painted yourself into.
Sorry for the belated response. I’ve been on vacation.

Believers think their supernatural god regularly operates in the natural world. If so, there should be natural evidence of this, evidence that can be tested scientifically.
I’ve commented on that issue here.

http://thegdebate.blogspot.com/2010/08/l-38.html

By asserting god is not subject to natural, scientific proof, instead of *actually offering some*, you have effectively conceded that there is none.
even if God worked as a primary cause, there would only be scientific evidence of the natural effect, not the supernatural cause. this is the problem nontheists typically overlook. This is not a complicated concept. It’s reflected in nature in that we can’t capture gravity in a test tube and measure it. we can only measure it’s effect.

So your position, trae, is those who claim “there are no unicorns” bear a heavy burden of proof?
If they want to convince someone of what they claim, then they can present their case. “Heavy” is subjective and “burden of proof” really doesn’t apply.

If I came to you and said “I rode in on my pet unicorn” would your response be a wide-eyed “well, I can’t disprove it…do they go real fast?”
Probably not. And the reason why is because i don't have a relationship with a unicorn for us to have a common frame of reference. God, on the other hand, reveals Himself to people and those who acknowledge it have something in common. Still, i could ask if there were any witnesses to your unicorn story. With christianity, Jesus could be produced on demand. Not so with unicorns. What about the effect of unicorns? The effect of God's presence and Jesus' ministry are evident.

How many peaks in Range Supernatural must we scale before we are justified to shout “show me the evidence or stop spouting such silliness!”?
this is a great example of nontheist fallacy – one would have to scale every possible peak in order to justify the statement that God doesn’t exist. Every single one. nontheists are not able to scale even one, much less all of them. yet, they continue to assert something they can’t possibly know. in the meantime, God is revealing Himself and nontheists are missing it because their heads are so clouded with technicalities and banal issues.

In sum, your logical position *should* be that an *inability to disprove* any particular god demands agnosticism, period. I’d modify that somewhat, but basically I can dig it.
there are other dynamics as well. If we know that God exists, then whatever conflicts with that obviously doesn't exist.

clamat said...

@trae norsworthy

Thanks very much for the response. I hope you had a good vacation.

Because these threads always get fragmented, I’m going to break this down into pretty discrete chunks. This doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t address your additional points. But as an initial matter…

You’re either forgetting your own words, or being terribly shifty. I started with your proposition that, quote, “because atheists are ‘believers’ they bear the burden of proof for their belief…since they can’t [prove the negative], they’ve got quite a mountain to climb.” My phrasing is more prosaic, but the contention is yours: People who don’t believe in god bear a “heavy burden of proof.”

You initially objected that, in disputing your contention, I invalidly compared the supernatural (god) to the natural (Bigfoot). To eliminate this purported mistake, I switched to unicorns: People who don’t believe in unicorns bear a heavy burden of proof.

But now you quibble with the phrase “heavy burden of proof,” and state that “heavy” is subjective and “burden of proof ‘doesn’t really apply.’ ” Umm, what changed? And if “heavy” can be dismissed as subjective, why isn’t “quite a mountain to climb” similarly vulnerable?

I engaged a central issue in the theist/atheist debate that you touched on in your previous post, namely, the respective burdens of proof. If you’ve changed your position, and now assert the burden of proof is irrelevant (i.e., “doesn’t really apply”), I’ll simply dispute the assertion and we can conclude the exchange.

clamat said...

@trae norsworthy

Going forward, this may help clarify my position and generally inform our discussion.

You seem to ascribe a certain certitude to what atheists claim to know. This is unwarranted, and somewhat disingenuous. I don’t know a single atheist who declares to “know” there is no god in the same way as many believers declare to know that there is.

My working worldview: Having carefully considered the matter, I find no compelling empirical or philosophical evidence for a god. In the absence of such evidence, it is reasonable to assume no god exists, and I will proceed to live my life accordingly.

Put another way, and in keeping with the discussion to this point: I know perfectly well I can’t actually prove there is no Bigfoot, but you’ll nevertheless forgive me when I resort to shorthand and declare “there is no Bigfoot.”

trae norsworthy said...

clamat

since they can’t [prove the negative]
it’s not proving a negative (that God does not exist). It’s proving the assertion that naturalism is all there is, that there is nothing supernatural

the contention is yours: People who don’t believe in god bear a “heavy burden of proof.”
I never used the word heavy. I said that a believer bears a burden of proof for their beliefs – if they are going to convince someone of their belief. Any person is free to believe what they want with any level of corroboration. Nontheists usually hide behind the artificial protocol that only one side bears a burden of proof which isn’t the case in these matters. Burden of proof rests equally on anyone who is trying to convince someone else of something. As far as the qualification, it’s correct. Since nontheists can’t substantiate their claim that naturalism is all there is, they indeed do have a formidable task.

I switched to unicorns
I worked on that issue here:

http://thegdebate.blogspot.com/2010/08/l-31.html

assert the burden of proof is irrelevant (i.e., “doesn’t really apply”)
what I mean is that it doesn’t apply in the way people usually think it does. This is not a court of law. People try to shoehorn these discussions into the constrictions placed on legal proceedings.

You seem to ascribe a certain certitude to what atheists claim to know. This is unwarranted, and somewhat disingenuous. I don’t know a single atheist who declares to “know” there is no god in the same way as many believers declare to know that there is.
Then you and I have a vastly different definition of what atheism qua nontheism is; the assertion that there is nothing supernatural, that naturalism is all there is, there is no “god”. Hence a-theism

Having carefully considered the matter, I find no compelling empirical or philosophical evidence for a god. In the absence of such evidence, it is reasonable to assume no god exists
Speaking of unwarranted belief, this is a quintessential example. It is not reasonable to be a nontheist in the absence of “evidence”. First, absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence. Second, I have repeated like a broken record that no person can substantiate such a belief which suggests that agnosticism is as far from theism as a person should go.

I will proceed to live my life accordingly.
actually, a case can be made that this is not possible and indeed, francis schaeffer has done just that in “the God who is there”.

I know perfectly well I can’t actually prove there is no Bigfoot, but you’ll nevertheless forgive me when I resort to shorthand and declare “there is no Bigfoot.”
An important distinction needs to be made here. bigfoot is not mythical like the IPU (although unicorns were originally thought to be real creatures probably because of two dimensional reliefs). If bigfoot were real, it would leave some sort of physical evidence (of the primary cause kind). It would be able to be produced on demand as Jesus was able to be produced on demand. Therefore, bigfoot isn’t analogous to something like God and even if it were discovered, it would be nothing more than a novelty. The IPU on the other hand is what I addressed in the post I referenced.

Thanks for the civil discussion. I wish I could get people like yourself to post at my blog. I feel like we could have interesting dialogue.

clamat said...

@trae norsworthy (part 1 of 2)

You’re welcome, trae, and thanks to you, too. I mock sometimes, but I try not to get too personal about things. Apologies in advance if anything I write comes across that way. As to your blog, well, I wish you luck, but there are a lot of blogs out there, and only so much time

On a related note, these will be my last posts on this thread. The discussion has been interesting, but time is limited, and I think we’ve gone just about as far we can: Like you, I’m frustrated that I can repeat over and over what appears so obvious, to no avail. I cede the final word to you.

OK then…

You continue to play shifty word games. So now we’re talking about “naturalism,” not “atheism”? The two decidedly are not equivalent: There are atheists who believe in all sorts of crazy supernatural things.

Similarly, from you: “I never used the word ‘heavy’.” No, you said “quite a mountain to climb.” Again, semantic games. “Heavy” is simpler and clearer. You continue to change the topic and object to plain language, and these tactics emphasize the weakness of your substantive arguments.

Your strict reading of the term “atheist” does not adequately describe my worldview. Nor does “agnostic.” (Perhaps I should try to inject “clamat-ist” into the vernacular.) I hoped that by providing a personal definition we could shift the discussion from a monolithic “they” (a word of which you are disturbingly fond) to those “atheists” who describe themselves as I do.

Alas, apparently not. Worse, you deny it is even possible for me to live my life in the way I claim to. Pardon me, but how very arrogant of you.

I can play the same semantic games with you. Define “God.” Define “Christian.” Whatever definitions you give, I can find literally millions of people who believe in God or themselves Christians who vehemently dispute them. Which of y’all should I be listening to, and why?

Whatever. Burden of proof:

I honestly don’t know how you can’t see this, but I’ll break it down:

You said: “It’s proving the assertion that naturalism is all there is, that there is nothing supernatural.”

In other words: “It’s proving…that there is nothing supernatural.”

In other words: “It’s proving…that there is no [x].”

In other words: “Prove that there is no [x].”

How exactly is this not asking that atheists/naturalists prove the negative?

clamat said...

@trae norsworthy (part 2 of 2)

Even assuming atheism and naturalism are equivalent, the atheist/naturalist begins from an unassailable position: Solipsistic wankery aside, it is unquestioned there are natural things.

Indeed, this is a titanic understatement: By all appearances, the totality of our experiences are of natural things. Hop out of bed, shower, eat, drive, work, sleep, think, reproduce, die. Repeat to the nth generation.

Further, all of the causes (primary and secondary) of these natural things appear to be natural, too. I see because my brain processes nerve impulses generated when my retina is hit by photons produced by a filament electrified when my finger flips the switch with power generated at a hydroelectric plant the water for which came from rain, which came from a cycle of evaporation, condensation, precipitation. Repeat to the nth generation.

And then the supernaturalist/theist comes along to claim things are not as they appear. There is another thing, intrinsically different from nature. What’s more, this “supernatural” thing actually is more important than the natural things which by all appearances inform every moment of our lives.

The atheist/naturalist replies, “Really? Show me.” Your reply: “Well, you can’t prove there is nothing supernatural, so your denial of God is unreasonable.”

Many people believe in ESP, ghosts, unicorns, leprechauns, fairies, and angels. I don’t, because they don’t comport with my daily experience and there is no compelling evidence for any of them. Sometimes absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence. There Is No Bigfoot.

There is no Xenu. There is no Zeus. There is no Jehovah. None of your “evidence” comes close to showing otherwise. Seriously, 2000 years ago “Jesus was able to be produced on demand?” That’s really good enough evidence for you? People used to be able to produce hobbits on demand, but they hide from the big folk now.

Produce Jesus. Now. Now that would be evidence. Until then, God is just another Bigfoot.

Best,

clamat