Quote of the Day, by Jeffrey A. Myers

Faith is a belief in an unknown or unrealized proposition in spite of evidence that the belief is incorrect. Faith is clearly NOT a belief in an unknown or unrealized proposition that is SUPPORTED by the evidence, because if that belief was supported by the evidence, it ipso facto does NOT REQUIRE Faith. [See on Faith]

113 comments:

Les said...

Jeffrey's the man... No offense John. You're a man in your own right, but since we don't get to see much of you in the comments sections I look forward to reading his smackdowns on religiously inclined dogma and general inanities.

Chris said...

It's interesting that 'faith' is sometimes considered to be a noble quality. Yet, making assumptions is often frowned upon (make an ass out of u and me). But yet, assumptions are often based on evidence and faith isn't.

I bring up assumptions because I think many faithful try to equate assumptions with faith. I assume that the ball will drop the 100th time after dropping it 99 times. I don't have faith that it will. I assume.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

Thanks John! And thanks for everything you do!

Cole said...

I see faith as a confident trust in God. He works all things together for good for those that love Him. It's more like a relationship for me. I can trust God in His infinite wisdom and knowledge. It's more lie a confident assurance. Hope.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Cole,

Hope is epistemologically distinct from Faith.

Hope is a desire or preference for a specific unrealized outcome. Hope can be maintained regardless of the evidence because it merely expresses a desire. I hope X wins the Superbowl is logically unrelated to whether X wins the Superbow.

Faith is an actual belief that X is true or that X will occur that is maintained despite evidence to the contrary. I have Faith that X will win the Superbowl expresses the belief that X will win the Superbowl even if (especially) all available evidence indicates that such a result is unlikely.

Cole said...

Jeffrey,

That's one way of looking at it but it's not the only way. If I'm about to fall off a cliff and I'm uncertain that God will catch me then I would say "I hope he does"

If I know that He will catch me then I have a confident assurance that He will. I have hope when I jump. I trust God.

Do you see the difference?

Les said...

You tee'd it up Cole

Go jump off a cliff and say that...

;-)

Ryan Anderson said...

Cole said "I see faith as a confident trust in God. He works all things together for good for those that love Him. "

Then there would be a measurable difference between the life of christians and others.

Statistics don't bear this out.

Tony Hoffman said...

I believe Mark Twain called it, "Believing something that you know ain't true." Seems about right to me.

Ross said...

Don Carson was speaking about this recently. He said that nowhere in the Bible is faith defined in the way that Myers puts it here. I can't remember his exact words, but he put forward another definition. I'll need to listen to the podcast again to remember what he said.

LadyAtheist said...

@ Cole

Christians frequently confuse "trust" and "faith." This is where the "atheists have faith too, but in science" cannard comes from. What nonsense!

You can redefine things all you want, but in the end whatever Christians (and other believers) do is impervious to evidence, logic, and reason.

Trust is a feeling that is usually based on experience, which is a type of evidence. Scientists and rational people trust the scientific method because it really does work. Christians trust their faith because they have flawed systems for determining evidence. The scientific method uncovers and refines the truth over & over, and if something turns out to be false it's thrown out without a second thought. That's trust, not faith.

David B Marshall said...

I am almost ready to define atheists as:

¨People who cling to the 'blind faith' meme in ignorance of all the evidence, in contempt of all the evidence, in the teeth of all the evidence, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to their dying day.¨

Rebutting what is held with such passionate obstinacy is probably an exercise in futility, but for those open to reason, see ¨Faith and Reason¨ at christthetao.com, for what Christians really mean by the word.

John W. Loftus said...

David, which god do you refer to in your definition? You didn't use the word "god" but then what evidence are we blindly ignorant of if we're not ignorant of the evidence for believing in which particular god?

John W. Loftus said...

What I mean is that are you willing to say everyone who does not accept your version of god is blindly ignorant of the evidence leading them to your particular version of god?

That's including a whole hell of a lot of people besides just atheists, for now you also include liberal Christians as blindly ignorant.

Steven Bently said...

@David,

"¨People who cling to the 'blind faith' meme in ignorance of all the evidence, in contempt of all the evidence, in the teeth of all the evidence, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to their dying day."

David, back up what you say with some evidence so we all can get this over with and start believing in imaginary beings.

matt the magnificient said...

"¨People who cling to the 'BELIEF THAT LIGHNING IS NOT GODS SWORD AND CONTROLLED BY HIM ALONE' meme in ignorance of all the evidence, in contempt of all the evidence, in the teeth of all the evidence, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to their dying day."

"¨People who cling to the 'POSEIDON IS NOT MASTER OF THE SEA' meme in ignorance of all the evidence, in contempt of all the evidence, in the teeth of all the evidence, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to their dying day."

"¨People who cling to the 'APOLLO DOES NOT DRIVE THE SUN ACCROSS THE SKY' meme in ignorance of all the evidence, in contempt of all the evidence, in the teeth of all the evidence, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to their dying day."

"¨People who cling to the 'INSERT ANYTHING PEOPLE ONCE BELIEVED AND SCIENCE EVENTUALLY EXPLAINED HERE....' meme in ignorance of all the evidence, in contempt of all the evidence, in the teeth of all the evidence, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to their dying day."

David B Marshall said...

John: There's only one God. But there is actually no mention of that God in my definition. Nor did I say the rest of what you impue to me. So it's a little mysterious what you're getting at, or how it relates to your original post.

David B Marshall said...

Steven: Read the article. It shows that the meaning Myers, Loftus (though he probably knows better), Dawkins, Harris et al ascribe to Christians, is not at all what we usually have meant by ¨faith.¨

matt the magnificient said...

David

please prove that there is only one god. not his existence, but just prove that there is only one please. thanks

matt the magnificient said...

if you are going to point out that the bible says there is only one god, i would point out that the dead sea scrolls, the earliest known jewish copies of ancient Jewish manuscripts, are only dated to 68-70 CE. while the Hindu Rigveda, expounding multiple gods, dates to 1700–1100 BC, and the hindu religion is still in practice today.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Cole

Your example proved my point more poignantly than I did. You have everyday experiential evidence of gravity, of the undeniable, overwhelimg evidence that things fall. If you are standing on a cliff and actually believe that God will catch you, then you are asserting an affirmative belief in a proposition that runs contrary to any and all available evidence, which unequivocably indicates that you will fall.

I also enjoy your example because I happen to be a skydiving enthusiast. I love jumping out of planes. Many people find this crazy, but it is in no way an expression of Faith. I understand the science and technology underlying parachutes and while I recognize that there is a possibility of failure and plunging to my death, all available evidence indicates an overall failure rate of 1/1000000 which represents an acceptable risk. I don't have Faith that the parachute will work - I have a rational belief based on experience and evidence.

Incidentally, what kind of assurances could God possibly give you in order to induce you to jump off a cliff. And if you ever seriously consider doing so, run, do not walk, to a therapist.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ David,

If you want to make a spurious half point and then direct people to an article that allegdly explains it better, you might want to at least provide some hint at where it might be located so we can refute it more fully.

The Snide Atheist said...

Faith is taking the biggest problem with religious belief, and trying to present it as the best component of it.

Victor Reppert said...

Here's C. S. Lewis: I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of evidence is against it. That is not the point at which faith comes in. But supposing a man's reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it. I can tell that man what is going to happen to him in the next few weeks. There will come a moment when there is bad news, or he is in trouble, or is living among a lot of other people who do not believe it, and all at once his emotions will rise up and carry out a sort of blitz on his belief. Or else there will come a moment when he wants a woman, or wants to tell a lie, or feels very pleased with himself, or sees a chance of making a little money in some way that is not perfectly fair; some moment, in fact, at which it would be very convenient if Christianity were not true. And once again his wishes and desires will carry out a blitz. I am not talking of moments at which any real new reasons against Christianity turn up. Those have to be faced and that is a different matter. I am talking about moments where a mere mood rises up against it.

http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2008/05/c-s-lewis-on-faith-from-mere.html

It doesn't look as if Lewis accepts this definition of faith.

Steven Bently said...

David B M.,

Steven: Read the article. It shows that the meaning Myers, Loftus (though he probably knows better), Dawkins, Harris et al ascribe to Christians, is not at all what we usually have meant by ¨faith.¨


You're the one who cited that you had evidence, now you've intentionally changed the subject and back-peddling, now you're being deceptive by omission, the typical fundy response!

Jorge said...

"Faith is a belief in an unknown or unrealized proposition in spite of evidence that the belief is incorrect."

That is not Christian faith. Christian faith is: "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
As such, physical "evidence" for it's being "incorrect" (or "correct), cannot be provided.

danielg said...

That is so simplistic, and spoken like a materialist with a one dimensional view of reality.

Faith is trust in an authority in matters you cannot ascertain, but based on the very real evidence of OTHER facts that you can and have confirmed as delivered by that same authority.

Faith is not trust with a lack of evidence, only a lack of *immediate and direct evidence* - evidence lies in the past performance and character of the authority in whom you trust. And that is real evidence.

exreformed said...

What a glorious day that would be, indeed, if all fundys would jump offf a cliff.

Cole and other fund brains, please take the advise of one of your beloved founders Martin Luther

"Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but-more frequently than not-struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all the emanates from God."
Martin Luther, Table Talk

exreformed said...

Then there would be a measurable difference between the life of christians and others.

Statistics don't bear this out.

Thank you Ryan for pointing this out, I would also add that MY LIFE EXPIERENCE shows no measurable difference. After twelve years of passionately believing faith as Cole describes it from Romans 8:28.

@Jorge
You wrote:
That is not Christian faith. Christian faith is: "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
As such, physical "evidence" for it's being "incorrect" (or "correct), cannot be provided.

My reply:
Is it “the conviction of things not seen, or the evidence of things not seen. I guess it depends on your FAITH in the person that translated this ilk from what ever manuscript was used.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Danielg

Thank you for making my point.

And why was my word verification for this PRICK? :)

matt the magnificient said...

" If I'm about to fall off a cliff and I'm uncertain that God will catch me then I would say "I hope he does"

interesting statement. it poses an interesting question in my mind. if all christians and true believers agreed to climb buildings, bridges and cliffs and jump off at the same time, would god perform a miracle and save them, or not intervene and allow everyone to die, thus destroying the religion itself?

danielg said...

>> Jeffrey: Thank you for making my point.

Well, thank you for making no point at all with that comment.

My comment stands - this superficial and unbiblical view of 'faith is believing with lack of evidence' is a very common anti-theist misunderstanding and ruse in the discussions about faith.

It's why I wrote these:
Faith and Reason – Link Dump
The Atheist’s Caricature of Faith

Chris said...

@danielg

What word would you use to describe the act of believing in a proposition without any kind of evidence whatsoever?

danielg said...

>> EXREFORMED: Then there would be a measurable difference between the life of christians and others. Statistics don't bear this out.

Naturally, it depends on what statistics you are citing. The main study that most atheists' site was flawed in that it looked at those who self-reported as evangelical, rather than those that thought Biblically and had regular church attendance.

With regard to the latter group, see Harvard Professor Robert Putnam's new detailed historical analysis of Christianity in America entitled American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, (Huffpost). You can also hear a facscinating interview with him as he discusses the book at American Grace: A Conversation on Religion in America with Robert Putnam.

One of the the findings that 'surprised him most' was that those who are in spiritual community are measurably NICER than those who are not - that is, nicer than lone atheists or Christians.

And of course, there's always Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, which showed that religious conservatives are more generous with their money and time, even when it comes to giving to secular charities, than non-Christians.

So check your stats, they may be statistics, or damned lies ;)

danielg said...

>> CHRIS: What word would you use to describe the act of believing in a proposition without any kind of evidence whatsoever?

Read the first link I put up, it defines the different kinds of faith. I'm not sure if they have proper names, but you could call them

Blind Faith (based solely on appeal to authority)

Reasonable Faith (based on authority, evidence that the authority is trustworthy, secondary evidence that supports the claim, and the support of experience, reason, and collected wisdom (tradition)).

For this balance, see my series on The Wesleyan Quadrangle

Cole said...

Jeffery,

You are correct that alot of people define faith that way. The Bible doesn't define it that way though. Faith is a confident trust.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

This is one of the ways the Bible defines faith. It is also defined as a belief system as in "The Christian Faith"

It's a confident trust in God and His promises. God is Holy and because He is Holy I have a confident assurance that He will work all things together for good for those that love Him just as He has promised. To live is Christ and to die is gain.

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

danielg wrote


Naturally, it depends on what statistics you are citing. The main study that most atheists' site was flawed in that it looked at those who self-reported as evangelical, rather than those that thought Biblically and had regular church attendance.

My reply
That’s the problem, those that think biblically and have regular church are the most self deluded, and the biggest ass holes.

You wrote
One of the the findings that 'surprised him most' was that those who are in spiritual community are measurably NICER than those who are not - that is, nicer than lone atheists or Christians.

What a pile of rubbish. There are plenty of non religious people and atheists that are very nice people. There are also plenty of them that donate money and volunteer.

You wrote:
Reasonable Faith (based on authority, evidence that the authority is trustworthy, secondary evidence that supports the claim, and the support of experience, reason, and collected wisdom (tradition)).

My reply:
Lol, lol, lol.
So that is your definition of Christian faith?

exreformed said...

@cole
You wrote
You are correct that alot of people define faith that way. The Bible doesn't define it that way though. Faith is a confident trust.

Why would someone have a “confident trust” in someone that continually lies? Which is your so called Christian God. If I borrowed money from you and you trusted that I would pay you back and I didn’t and you knew I spent the money I could have paid you back with on drugs or beer. Would you borrow me the money again? I don’t think a prudent person such as you would

My point: All things work together for good for Christians is the biggest lie in the world. Christians have just as high as a divorce rate as anyone else. What about the Christian I knew that was

molested by her brother?

You can spare me all of the “It’s God’s will for Christians to suffer” and “ being tried in a fire to purify faith garbage”. That is why your fundy faith is so self delusional and unreasonable, because no matter how many times evidence against it is presented you always have a way to squirm out of it.

Cole said...

Ex,

I'm not sure I see how your examples work. God doesn't cause evil but turns it arround for good. He brings beauty out of ashes. His promises aren't always fulfilled in this lifetime. They can be fulfilled 1 second from now or 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 etc. light years from now. But because He is Holy He keeps them.

Victor Reppert said...

It seems to me that the skeptic would be within his rights if he were to argue that in fact, when Christians exercise what they call faith, they are doing so irrationally. But when Lewis says that he isn't asking anyone to believe in Christianity if his best reasoning tells him the weight of the evidence is against it, and then he says this is not where faith comes in, I don't see how you can analyze the conception of faith to show that he doesn't mean what he says. Even if he has reasoned incorrectly to reach his conclusions, the fact is that his concept of faith is one that entails irrationality. And that is what Myers is doing.

Faith is a term that, of course, has a general meaning, but in this context we are talking about a term that arises from Christian faith and practice. And you have to look at how Christians actually use the word in order to know what they are talking about. Here you have a reasonably big fish in Christian thought, Lewis, who has a definition of faith that is not irrationalist. Admittedly Lewis does not speak for all of Christianity, but is his conception heretical??? Or unbiblical? The latter is going to take some exegetical spadework. Good luck.

exreformed said...

@cole

I admit that I am not the most effective at communicating in writing. However, I do believe I made the point pretty clear.

let me clarify

If you, as a human, trusted me as another human with anything. Yet I continually proved to you that I could not be trusted. You would not trust me anymore. Hence, the example of me borrowing money from you and when it comes time to pay you back, I spend the money on something else. So you trust me and do it again with the same results. Will you trust me the third time? Get the point, I trusted God for twelve years of my life, and I found him to be a liar. At least the fundy definition of God.

exreformed said...

@cole
I've heard it and believed it all before(fundy answers like the one you just gave) my man.

How convenient that is. "Well brother, your wife just left you for another man, you lost your job and now you have a bone disease". "But hey brother, God is answering your prayer and he is working everything out for your good". "Oh, and by the way, your prayer might be answered one second from now or never in this life time".

That is the answer you have convinced yourself is true instead of just accepting reality. Your prayers do not get answered. You are talking to something that is imaginary.

danielg said...

>> EXREF: That's the problem, those that think biblically and have regular church are the most self deluded, and the biggest ass holes.

That's a fine opinion you have there, but that has nothing to do with the studies that measured actual generosity.

>> XREF: What a pile of rubbish. There are plenty of non religious people and atheists that are very nice people. There are also plenty of them that donate money and volunteer.

I did not say that was not the case. However, your anecdotal evidence is contradicted by at least two actual sociological studies - you know, reason and science, the stuff you say you subscribe to - that show that religious convervatives who actually practice faith are measurably nicer.

So your claim that the opposite is true needs stats to back it up, and your claim, while you may be convinced, is probably in error, and merely supports (or is supported by) your apparrent bitterness and dislike for God and religion.

>> XREF: Lol, lol, lol. So that is your definition of Christian faith?

It is one way to put it. I'm sorry, did you have an intellectual critique of my off the cuff definition, or merely the cackling of a fool to contribute?

>> COLE: He brings beauty out of ashes.

I'm not sure talking with XREF is worth it - he's obviously trolling, and merely bitterly crying rather than contributing. Obviously hurt by fundy churches, which many don't recover from.

If he doesn't contribute something that requires thought and articulation soon, I'm gonna have to ignore him. I suggest you do the same if he fails to engage maturely. YMMV.

exreformed said...

@danielg
Here is your definition of faith

Reasonable Faith (based on authority, evidence that the authority is trustworthy, secondary evidence that supports the claim, and the support of experience, reason, and collected wisdom (tradition)).

O.K. test your definition against something like
Lev 11:6
And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again, thus rabbits do not chew there own cud.

And please tell us why your definition of faith overcomes a lie in the Bible?

danielg said...

>> XREF: Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again, thus rabbits do not chew there own cud.

Wow, is that the best you got? I see your problem, you hung out with hyper literalist fundies, and you still treat scripture that way.

The fact that the rabbit rechews its food fits into the definition of cud, unless you are using it in a very narrow modern sense, rather than perhaps understanding how the original words in Hebrew might have allowed for that rechewing to be considered 'cud.'

The difference between regurgitated and passed through is probably not material to the original meaning - it was the rechewing of digested food - you know, eating crap.

So, one lie down. And back to my definition of faith. What's your beef with it, excactly?

exreformed said...

So, one lie down. And back to my definition of faith. What's your beef with it, excactly?

yep, that's a big lie down you are such an intellectual tower of thought, just like every other fundy.

once again, you assert faith as
Reasonable Faith (based on authority, evidence that the authority is trustworthy, secondary evidence that supports the claim, and the support of experience, reason, and collected wisdom (tradition)).

My beef with your def of faith is that you claim it is based on authority, evidence, and reason when it is not. The Lev example was just off the top of my head, but you see it does not matter what I say or try to prove. Faith is the opposite of reason and therefore unreasonable.

In the words of Dan Barker
"Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits"

Freethinkers reject faith as a valid tool of knowledge. Faith is the opposite of reason because reason imposes very strict limits on what can be true, and faith has no limits at all. A Great Escape into faith is no retreat to safety. It is nothing less than surrender. [Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith]


You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help? [Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith]

I long for the day when you people are put into camps and made sterile, so you cannot spread your destructive hate and child abuse any longer.

Ana said...

exreformed said:

"I long for the day when you people are put into camps and made sterile, so you cannot spread your destructive hate and child abuse any longer."

Where's Jim from the thread " God and the Burning of Anne Askew". ?

I would have him read exreformed's comment, so he can subsequently suggest to us all that such words don't have a connection to contemporary atheism.

I wonder how the terror that exreformed looks forward to is fundamentally different than what happend to Anne.

Oh yeah! The latter falls under the category of 'Catholic tyrannical abuse', but the former would fall under 'appropriate disciplinary action on the part of free-thinkers'.

YIKES, if you think THAT.

exreformed said...

I never said anything about burning or terror. Let them live amongst each other in peace. You know, kind of like the U.S. did with the Indians. No torturing or killing, just make them sterile so they cannot have any children and let them die out.

Ana said...

exreformed,

There's a term for what you're describing. It's called, "systematic extermination".

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Exreformed

Despicable. Your proposal is appalling, offensive, disgusting.

While the endless evasion, ignorance, godbotting and historical ignorance is annoying your proposal is simply nauseating. Theists have every right to believe what they wish so long as they don't harm others. Your beliefs no more entitle you to harm others than theirs.

danielg said...

>>xref: yep, that's a big lie down you are such an intellectual tower of thought, just like every other fundy.

You see xref, this is the problem - I gave a perfectly logical and simple explanation of how a rabbit's eating of its own pellets could be considered a type of 'eating of the cud,' since it involves re-eating food, and that the narrow word used in translation, 'cud,' might not reflect a broader meaning in the original language.

Not only is that entirely possible, it's hardly a stretch at all. But somehow you think that's fundy logic?

I understand that when people make an argument that is a stretch, they may be just trying to support their view no matter how illogical, but in this case, you'd have to be daft to apply such a descriptor.

Assuming you are not daft, I have to conclude that you are not really in the place for logical discussion, but only angry mockery.

>> XREF: My beef with your def of faith is that you claim it is based on authority, evidence, and reason when it is not. The Lev example was just off the top of my head, but you see it does not matter what I say or try to prove.

The Lev reference has nothing to do with defining faith. You are being illogical.

>>XREF: In the words of Dan Barker
"Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits"

Dan Barker is a loud mouth and not a very good intellectual debater. I call him the atheist Dinesh D'Souza (though I think DD's skills are far superior to Barkers, I use that analogy to explain to atheists how Christians might view D'Souza, since atheists hold him in low regard).

But Barker's bitter view of faith is the same one I described in The Atheist's Caricature of Faith. I don't like blind faith either, but the kind I describe is something entirely different. It's no wonder people who lived under blind faith based only on authority, without consiration for reason, experience, and supporting evidence, revile faith. But not everyone suffered under the extreme fundy faith you now seem to think represents all faith.

>> XREF: Freethinkers reject faith as a valid tool of knowledge. Faith is the opposite of reason because reason imposes very strict limits on what can be true, and faith has no limits at all.

So many mistakes here, imo. First, I agree that 'freethinkers' reject all but reason and empirical evidence in their epistemology - and this is their great weakness - they fail to acknowledge the complimentary roles of intuition, conscience and communion in their epistemic method, even though they use such things in everyday life in decisionmaking. Their disrespect for these more subjective functions of the human begin is complete, and based on their own inability to develop and use them. See my post Part II: The Tripartite Man – Spirit : intuition

>> XREF: I long for the day when you people are put into camps and made sterile, so you cannot spread your destructive hate and child abuse any longer.

More evidence that you are not yet ready for intellectual debate on these issues, but have an obvious and great wound that drives your emotions to overrun your intellect and heart.

It took me 8 years after leaving fundamentalism to find a healthy faith, but for some reason, I did. And my current faith is not some intellectually weak liberalism, just a healthy mature, reasonable faith. But I have not rejected the life of faith (trust), but emraced it with maturity.

That sounds very different from the faith you malign.

exreformed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Breckmin said...

There are so many things to discuss with regards to alleged evidence and accumulative case argument...but let's start with something different.

Worship.

Why?

This is an observation.

I could talk about information (RNA/DNA)coming from Intelligence, I could argue about the nano-factories of living cells and protein synthesis or IF-THEN algorithmic programming in the code which all point to theistic implication in science. This doesn't prove the Christian God but it DOES demonstrate evidence for stage 2 of the accumulative case argument (that being the logic of agnostic theism). I could make a case (which you would reject) for Orthodox Monotheism and work my way toward Christianity as the fullfilment of the covenant that God made with Abraham - but no matter how much evidence (alleged evidence at least) I bring to the table...if there is an agenda to reject it - then there is NO way to ever prove anything to anyone. You may flip this back to evolution (or universal common descent theory but I will expose your faith that templates of information for genes can arise from populations without those genes, etc).

But music is a beautiful thing. If there was a Creator that should be worshipped we would expect people to be worshipping such Creator (Him is somewhat anthropomorphic but I prefer to address God in the masculine recognizing that God is not necessarily a male).

The reality of observation is that one group of believers actually worships a Holy Creator with music in such a way that is specifically joyful and peaceful and DIFFERENT from any other belief structure on the face of the earth.

Here is evidence of such worship:
the end of this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejg7haph29w

or Christmas music... the end of this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZFxG6-WSnI

other videos of worship to Jesus:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2Gk53xV1Ro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmQg-j7WmO8

The fact is I could give millions of these...

This worship is done ALL OVER THE WORLD worshipping Jesus Christ and the Infinite Creator of the universe through music.

If there is a Creator (and there is) then His people would worship Him through music and you don't see this type of joy in worship in any other religion because they have no valid relationship as to worship with such joy.

The Islam reverence is done in fear. They have no God of grace as to forgive them of everything they have ever done.

Question everything.

but when you question...question why only one religion has worship like this!!!

and that is an observation you will never be able to refute.

exreformed said...

@jeff Myers
Endless evasion, I don’t understand, evasion for what; agreeing with you about faith.

I don’t know what Godboting is, you’ll have to clarify. As far as historical ignorance, please provide and example of my historical ignorance. I don’t know allot, but I know my History fairly well.

I’m not talking about harming anyone. Just give them a chance to live on a nice lil colony with modern conveniences, heck they could still go to church. Thy would just not be able to bread.

Besides the whole time they would be watching for some secret rapture in the sky.

I find that talking and reasoning does absolutely nothing with these people. I know, I used to be one for twelve years.

David B Marshall said...

Matt: You're misinformed on several counts. First, what the Rig Veda describes is not what is today called ¨Hinduism.¨ In some ways, Christianity is more like the Vedic religion than is ¨Hinduism.¨

Second, there is in the Rig Vedas often the idea that there is but one God, who is given many names. This is even clearer in the later ¨Hindu¨ scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.

Third, the God of whom there is only one is known by many names, including in the most primitive cultures that probably predate Hinduism.

So the God of whom there is only one, cannot be confined to the Bible.

Though this thread has probably died, and no one will read this! What the heck, John moves pretty fast.

David B Marshall said...

Jeffrey: I didn't make any ¨spurious half-point:¨ unlike you, quite obviously, I know what I'm talking about.

The site is at christthetao.com, under articles, entitled ¨Faith and Reason.¨ Lots of luck refuting it.

David B Marshall said...

Victor: Obviously we agree, as does just about every informed Christian I know, that Jeffrey & Co misrepresent what Christians have almost always meant by faith. C. S. Lewis is one of the thinkers cited in the article I recommened above. You might find it worth reading, given your interests.

GearHedEd said...

@ Breckmin:

People singing songs together is not even close to being evidence that there is an object of worship in reality.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Exreformed

Actually, I was commiserating in that I share your annoyance with the endless evasions, historical ignorance, and imperviousness to evidence presented by theists. I was not referring to you in that portion.

That said I still find your solution to be repugnant. We owe it to ourselves to be better than what has come before - not sink to the same level of societal barbarism that led to these stupid myths in the first place.

And Godbotting is mindlessly repeating Godismis like "God is turns all things to good" as a way to dismiss obvious problems of evil or endlessly reciting bible quotes as if they have substantive or evidentiary value and are proof of the thing asserted.

And for the record, no, I do not believe teaching children Christianity constitutes child abuse. Some of the more virulent strains, probably cross that line at some point, but mainline Christianity lacks the malicious intent necessary.

Breckmin said...

"People singing songs together is not even close to being evidence that there is an object of worship in reality."

You attempt to belittle the subject matter with "people singing songs together" but you fail to address the point.

There are NOT just people singing songs together. This is aggregate worship with SPECIFICS as to love..joy...peace that surpasses understanding...etc.

Bottom line: It refutes the nonsense accusations of personal mysticism because it is millions of people claiming to have a personal RELATIONSHIP with the same Holy Infinite Creator.

And that's not all! These that worship this way...DIFFERENT from all other religions... all bear testimony to the same Savior and claim that God is active in their lives (Faithful, chastisement, little coincedences, etc)

This happens all over the world with ONE exclusive belief structure that just happens to be consistent with the writings of prophets and apostles of thousands of years.

You don't have that personal relationship so how could you know?

If you say, "that's exactly my point" - think about how I'm possibly going to respond...

danielg said...

ON RELATIONSHIPS AND WORSHIP

I'm not sure that the existence of worship proves anything, or that there is a God - it just proves that people can behave as if the relationship in their mind and heart with the invisible God is real. How could you disprove such a thing?

I will say, however, that I love worship, and the joy and peace that accompany it are something that those with no faith can not enjoy - another thing missing from their world view.

In fact, a relationship with God has been very real to me in suggesting and creating perspectives that I would not have, in my opinion, generated on my own.

The fact that many impressions from God turn out to be false (things you thought God told you but as it turns out, did not) does not invalidate the existence of the real thing for this reason: our communication with God is imperfect, or as Paul the Apostle described it "now we see as through a glass darkly, but then, face to face."

Further, there are scriptures that teach that the more we learn to think like God (i.e. think biblically), the better we hear and understand properly what we hear. There is really no empirical way to distinguish what is merely brainwashing and what is really a relationship with God.

So I consider the argument fruitless, except to say that worship is awesome, and if you don't get to interact with God, I'm sorry. But that's not God's fault, though I do understand the frustration in verifying and experiencing the numinous.

danielg said...

>> Godbotting

Thank you for a new term I can use in my evangelism and apologetics training - I hate when people respond to questions with regurgitated scriptures.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: And for the record, no, I do not believe teaching children Christianity constitutes child abuse. Some of the more virulent strains, probably cross that line at some point, but mainline Christianity lacks the malicious intent necessary.

Thank you for this sensible comment. However, more important than intent is what the logical outcome of a worldview might be regardless of intent. For example, if individual Christians are nice, but their ideas taken to logical ends are harmful, we should be willing to attack, or at least expose, their ideology.

This is why, for instance, we should not be passive with Islam, because despite the existence of peaceful Muslims, the ideology is anti-Semitic, mysogenystic, and promotes the use of violent Jihad against unbelievers. This is also why I find atheism dangerous, though perhaps less so - though individual atheists are nice, scaled up to public policy we end up with Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin, arguably ;)

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Danielg

I agree that the vast majority of people are not bad. Frankly I think it is because most Christians don't put a lot of stock in the Bible. They take the parts they like (loving god, heaven, salvation) and ignore the fact that for most of the first half Yaweh is a raging brutal lunatic. And absolutely, the manifest inconsistencies, errors, contradictions, etc., must be called out.

Christianity may be less culturally misogynystic than Islam, but the text certainly isn't. Nor is it much less given to bigotry, xenophopia, homophobia, etc.. And absolutely Islam must be called out just as vociferously. (Though we ARE on Debunking Christianity). I'd be happy to participate in one on Islam as well.

Your contention that Atheism 'scaled up' to public policy leading to Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, is of course specious and utterly fallacious, and in no way bourne out by the reality that highly secular and irreligious societies are actually functioning in HIGHLY moral ways as we speak. I would agree, however, that those whose ideology seeks to harm others for who they are or what they believe must always be confronted.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: I agree that the vast majority of people are not bad. Frankly I think it is because most Christians don't put a lot of stock in the Bible.

I think you are mistaken here. While a lot of so-called Christians pay little attention to the scriptures, many millions do. And yet, we don't see armed bands of Christian terrorists world wide shooting abortion doctors, unbelievers, or apostates.

The fact that we see only a very few abortion doctors murdered or Fred Phelps is obvious - their low numbers show that such interpretations are fringe even among serious bible followers.

By contrast, the reason we see so many Muslim Terrorists worldwide is because such are NOT fringe. These large numbers are more congruent with another explanation - that the Koran in fact DOES teach violent Jihad, anti-semitism, and mysogeny, and those who do NOT follow these dicates, while a majority, exist because their humanity restrains them from such things.

>> JEFFREY: They take the parts they like (loving god, heaven, salvation) and ignore the fact that for most of the first half Yaweh is a raging brutal lunatic.

Well, that is an interesting judgement you make, and granted, living under the Israelite theocracy might have been difficult, though I truly think 'raging brutal lunatic' is wildly inaccurate.

>> JEFFREY:
Christianity may be less culturally misogynystic than Islam, but the text certainly isn't.

Perhaps you could tell me what parts are mysogenistic. Man is the head of the woman? I don't allow a woman to teach a man? Hardly, esp. in context.

>> JEFFREY: Your contention that Atheism 'scaled up' to public policy leading to Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, is of course specious and utterly fallacious,

I don't think so at all. In fact, in other places I've argued that the moral relativism that flows logically from atheism, as well as the need to get rid of harmful supersition, coupled with the fallen nature of man (ultimate power corrupts ultimately) inexorably lead to justifying things like eugenics and murder 'for the sake of society.' I think history proves definitively that atheistic world views only lead to totalitarianism (see )

>> JEFFREY: highly secular and irreligious societies are actually functioning in HIGHLY moral ways as we speak.

No. First of all, can you mention any that did not previously have a strong Protestant background? Those societies are borrowing from their past. Secularism and atheism can't really produce competent societies, even if greats like Seneca existed.

Second, secularism leads to a spiritual vacuum which inevitably gets filled with mysticism, Christianity, or something ugly like Islam.

Third, since the only purely secular experiments we've seen have been totatalitarian, how can you claim such a thing?

Fourth, the only successful 'secular' system I know of in history is the US, and here, it was coupled with foundational principles that stem from God (self-evident truths like man's rights from God) - so though the system was designed to be secular, it was not meant for a secular society, but precisely for a religious one - many of the founders admitted such, and that it could not work otherwise.

danielg said...

BTW, the reference I left out is Why Atheists are inevitably autocrats

exreformed said...

danielg said...
>> Godbotting

Thank you for a new term I can use in my evangelism and apologetics training - I hate when people respond to questions with regurgitated scriptures.

@danilg
Than obviously you don’t , or have not studied “presuppositional apologetics. Hate is a very strong word there youngster, and if you do hate responses that regurgitated scriptures then Coles replies should really annoy you. And if you hate it so bad, then why do you do it?

This is also why I find atheism dangerous, though perhaps less so - though individual atheists are nice, scaled up to public policy we end up with Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin, arguably ;)

Now you are regurgitating the arguments you read from some lame ass fundy apologist, or from Sean Hanity. It sure is not an original thought from you.

See what I am talking about Jeffery?
Danilg considers us to be dangerous, you better hope we get them before they get us.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Danielg

Wholly unconvincing argument.

With regard to point 1, as I have pointed out ad nauseum, it is historically inaccurate, factually challenged, simplistic and flat out wrong to ascribe Stalinist or Maoist purges to Atheism. To do so invites the corollary argument that every theist autocrat who has ever committed an atrocity has done so in the name of religion even when this is manifestly not the case. The genocide of native Americans, aboriginal Australians, the genocides in Zanzibar, Uganda, Nigeria, Guatemala, bangladesh, Burundi, Rwanda, Guinea, Cambodia, East Timor, Argentina, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Ethiopia,Iraqi, Tibetan, DRC, Azerbaijani are not all genocides committed in the name of religion despite the fact that both the leadership and populations of those countries are overtly and expressly religious. Even where religion plays a factor as it did in the vast majority of the African genocides, it is disingenuous and simplistic to simply ascribe this to Christianity.

Clearly you have a problem with Marxism even though the earliest gospels espoused a collectivist ethic very similar to Marxism.

2. This merely repeats the obvious fallacy of 'Fallan Man' which has actually been quite adequately refuted by the entirety of human history. To be sure, the fallen man argument is great for theists in that you get to posit a problem - MAN BAD and the solution - FOLLOW US (Acting as God's agents of course) but is simply not borne out in either the individual or aggregate. It also makes the WLC logical error that objective morality requires some kind of God which is neither logically nor empirically true. Indeed, it fails to recognize that ALL moral codes are ultimately human constructs and that theists have manifestly failed to follow their own throughout history despite its allegedly divine inspiration.

3. Again, you assume that kindness is a Christian virtue. The argument about the lion and the gazelle merely reflects the fact that lions EAT gazelles as a biological imperative. Human beings have no such biological imperative to kill and eat one another. Nor do we possess an inherent biological imperative to kill or be cruel to one another. Indeed, if one analyzes primate societies, communcal kindness is standard operating procedure. And these poor wobegotten chimps don't even have theism to teach them kindness. They do so because due to the biological needs of human and primate offspring, community and social cohesion is biologically hard wired because it fosters and facilitates the propogation of our species.

Also, the most heavily Christian countries are among the most violent, repressive, cruel, backwards, criminal on Earth - so much for leftover kindness.

4. First, this is simply a conclusory statement with no form of evidentiary substantiation whatsoever. Second, this is merley another instance of the eternal Christian persecution complex. Boo hoo, we can't hate on homosexuals. This last point isn't even worth addressing it is so blatantly ridiculous.

GearHedEd said...

Breckmin said,

"Bottom line: It refutes the nonsense accusations of personal mysticism because it is millions of people claiming to have a personal RELATIONSHIP with the same Holy Infinite Creator.

And that's not all! These that worship this way...DIFFERENT from all other religions... all bear testimony to the same Savior and claim that God is active in their lives (Faithful, chastisement, little coincedences, etc)

This happens all over the world with ONE exclusive belief structure that just happens to be consistent with the writings of prophets and apostles of thousands of years."

A billion people saying the same thing doesn't make it TRUE.

Argumentum ad populum, anyone?

exreformed said...

@ Danielg

You actually like Gary DeMar and American Vision. I know someone who went to school with Gary. Of course he is a homeschooler as well. They want to take over the world with there postmill craziness.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: With regard to point 1, as I have pointed out ad nauseum, it is historically inaccurate, factually challenged, simplistic and flat out wrong to ascribe Stalinist or Maoist purges to Atheism. To do so invites the corollary argument that every theist autocrat who has ever committed an atrocity has done so in the name of religion even when this is manifestly not the case.

That is only true if you cannot show a logical chain from the beliefs to the actions. Let me put a couple syllogisms together to summarize my argument.

1. Atheism demands subjective morality
2. Human nature, coupled with subjective morality, leads to justifying cruelty by those in power (ultimate power corrupts ultimately)
3. Therefore, without a restraining force, atheism will lead to cruelty.

I think that, if you look at the justifications of these atheist tyrants, you will see this logic at work. I suspect an examination of the details of history won't happen here, but just like Christianity led inexorably to literacy, human rights, and witch burnings, atheism leads to tyranny and mass murder. History shows that in a clear fashion.

Oh wait, even witch hunts is debatable - see Modern Myths About Christianity - Witch Hunts.

The reason your corrolary does not work is that as a general rule, with exceptions, Christianity (not the enlightenment) has uniquely brought most of the blessings of free society that we value today, including but not limited to:

1. Higher education
2. Hospitals
3. Human rights (the vaunted Greeks and Romans loved slavery)
4. Abolition (no other ideology in history rebutted slavery in the real world)
5. Women's rights
6. Literacy

As evidence, see these posts:
Religion, innovation and economic progress - Part I
Religion, innovation and economic progress - Part II
Part I: How Christianity changed the world by Alvin Schmidt - Introduction
Part II: How Christianity changed the world - Life, Sex, Marriage & Status of Women
What Has Christianity Ever Done for Us?: How It Shaped the Modern World (author is an NPR author, not a Christian per se).
The biblical origins of science
The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success
For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery

GearHedEd said...

Just FYI, daniel:

Religious institutions aren't immune from becoming drunk on power.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: the genocides in Zanzibar, Uganda, Nigeria, Guatemala, bangladesh, Burundi, Rwanda, Guinea, Cambodia, East Timor, Argentina, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Ethiopia,Iraqi, Tibetan, DRC, Azerbaijani are not all genocides committed in the name of religion despite the fact that both the leadership and populations of those countries are overtly and expressly religious.

I'm not familiar with all of these, but if Islam was related to any, I think the link between the Islamic world view and the violence would be easy to piece together, esp. because in Islam there is not separation of church and state, and it clearly espouses physical conqering.

In the cases where the attackers were Christian, I suspect that, though their Christianity may have led them to want to convert their new 'subjects,' the motive behind physical conquering was political and financial, and did not stem from the assumptions or teachings of the faith.

>> JEFFREY: Even where religion plays a factor as it did in the vast majority of the African genocides, it is disingenuous and simplistic to simply ascribe this to Christianity.

Especially since it could more clearly be ascribed to teaching in direct opposition to Christian teaching.

>> JEFFREY: This merely repeats the obvious fallacy of 'Fallan Man' which has actually been quite adequately refuted by the entirety of human history.

No, only in the minds of those who choose an either/or answer to the question "Is man basically good or evil" - man has proved to be both, but I quoted the aphorism "ultimate power corrupts ultimately" to show that even secular wisdom conlcudes that man is universally flawed, and giving him power reveals it. See my post Is Man Basically Good or Evil?.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: It also makes the WLC logical error that objective morality requires some kind of God which is neither logically nor empirically true.

Let's be clear - atheism doesn't disable one from intuitively recognizing objective morality, it merely makes it an intellectual impossibility - if you have no external referent, how can it be objective? While I agree that the argument is not water tight, I think it is very convincing.

What argument can you give from an atheist position to conclude that objective morals exist? The opinion of the collective doesn't count.

>> JEFFREY: Indeed, it fails to recognize that ALL moral codes are ultimately human constructs

Not if they are provided by an independent source. Whether or not you think men inspired by God are independent is arguable, but it is at least theoretically possible and logically consistent.

>> JEFFREY: and that theists have manifestly failed to follow their own throughout history despite its allegedly divine inspiration.

It's not the fault of the inspiration, but men themselves. Fallen, remember? :)

>> JEFFREY: The argument about the lion and the gazelle merely reflects the fact that lions EAT gazelles as a biological imperative. Human beings have no such biological imperative to kill and eat one another. Nor do we possess an inherent biological imperative to kill or be cruel to one another.

Um, not sure what the lion/gazelle argument is, but now you are arguing what here? That we aren't cruel by nature? You don't have kids to you? Maybe watched the news? Chimps kill the children of other chimps. We have a history of wars in humanity. No biological imperative? That's all just environmental, eh?

You may be convinced by that, but there's enough contray evidence to make that a personal opinion.

And by the way, the fact that atheists can recognize and practice virtue means one thing - they DO know that morals exist, and therefore are just as guilty as everyone else for breaking those laws - that's Paul's argument in Romans 2.

It does not mean that atheism logically supports the existence of objective morality - quite the opposite, but to live as if morals were subjective is insane, so they live in conflict with the assumptions of their ideology, imo.

>> JEFFREY: Also, the most heavily Christian countries are among the most violent, repressive, cruel, backwards, criminal on Earth - so much for leftover kindness.

Yeah, real hells compared to China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. The Christian West, what a hell hole. Most atheists say these things with respect to the secular Netherlands and surrounding countries, and cite various studies showing 'higher quality of life.' I claim those studies are flawed for many reasons, and could discuss that later.

See some articles that touch on this:
Learning from the Failing European Welfare States

danielg said...

>> GHE: Religious institutions aren't immune from becoming drunk on power.

I totally agree. But this perhaps only continues to prove my point that man is fatally flawed, and so when given the reigns of power without accountability to God in any intellectual sense, what else will restrain him from evil or encourage good? Mere secular humanism does not cut it, and in fact, undercuts it by making morality a subjective convention with no real argument against selfishness.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Danielg

1. How presumptuous and arrogant to presume that yours is the only path to true universal objective morality or that there even is such a thing. The morality you claim is so universal is simply another human construct. You give it a patina of alleged transcendence but that means absolutely nothing in any objective sense. If you had bothered to read any of the rest of my post you would have seen that I actually believe that there IS objective morality, that it is an inherent part of our biology, that it is shared by other primates due to the fact of our unique physiology and biological history. Evolutionary biology coupled with social normative social convention is more than sufficient. If you fail to see that you simply lack an understanding of philosophy, history and human development. Christian arrogance in this regard knows no bounds - as if no other human beings on Earth have ever known or understood morality.

The idea that human morality is somehow transcendent or Universal beyond our species is ludicrous and ridiculously anthropocentric.

Your first premise is flawed. Atheism demands no such thing. That humans are not in possession of some universal transcendent morality in no way impedes our ability to recognize objective HUMAN morality.

Your second premise stems from a flawed and biased perspective of human nature, follows through a complete non sequiter and leads to a fundamentally flawed and illogical conclusion that is utterly unconnected to your initial assertion.

Your third and conclusory premise does not logically flow through the first two flawed premises and has not in any way been borne out in the empirical world.

Your list of alleged ways in which God has enhanced human well being is a classic case of causal misattribution.

If you wish to hate who we are, loathe your humanity so be it. Just don't ask the rest of us to share in your dismal delusion.

clamat said...

@danielg

1. Atheism demands subjective morality
2. Human nature, coupled with subjective morality, leads to justifying cruelty by those in power (ultimate power corrupts ultimately)
3. Therefore, without a restraining force, atheism will lead to cruelty.


Let’s assume your first premise, though it is hardly undisputed. (For example: Our sense of “morality” may be a natural, evolutionary phenomenon. If so, it is a species trait, and therefore “objective,” in the sense that there may be a “human morality.”)

The use of the squishy term “human nature” in your second premise is both unproductive and unnecessary. We’re talking about human actors, and “human nature” is presumed (and is equally applicable to both atheists and theists).

So rephrased more precisely, the first two premises of your “syllogism” become:

1. Atheism demands subjective morality.
2. Subjective morality leads to those in power justifying cruelty.

Yep, this certainly true. No argument from me.

Of course it is equally true that:

1. Theism demands claims to knowledge of an objective morality.
2. Claims to knowledge of an objective morality lead to justifying cruelty by those in power.

The point being, of course, that those in power justify their cruelty. Hardly a novel notion. But you simply dodge Jeffrey’s point that if it is valid to ascribe the atrocities committed by power-wielding atheists to “Atheism,” it is equally valid to ascribe the atrocities committed by power-wielding Christians to “Christianity.”

More broadly, yet more appropriately: The atrocities committed by theists are attributable to Theism.

Hmmm, I wonder how the aggregate numbers of Atheist vs. Theist atrocities, and the numbers of their victims, shake out?

But this is a side note, and Jeffrey’s main point remains untouched: No cruelties have been committed in the name of or promotion of the “doctrine” of “Atheism.” You simply cannot say the same about Christianity or any other theism.

Not surprisingly, Christopher Hitchens sums up the basic concept well, in a challenge to his audiences (paraphrasing):

Name one good statement made, or one good action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever?

Now, can you think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of religious faith?

As to your historical assertions, I’ll leave the details of their refutation to others, as I simply don’t have the time or energy.

However, I must note, once again, that Christians break their arms patting themselves on the back for abolition, ignoring that the movement would not have been necessary had Christians not fully embraced slavery, justified by resort to Scripture and doctrine, for centuries prior. Same with women’s rights. Same with human rights. Utterly, disgustingly perverse.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: How presumptuous and arrogant to presume that yours is the only path to true universal objective morality or that there even is such a thing. The morality you claim is so universal is simply another human construct.

Where did I say ONLY? I merely said that we can determine morals as objective truths rather than subjective. Your assumption that it is just a human construct can be falsified, I believe.

I think it is cowardly or ignorant to think that, for instance, we can't condemn child molestation as objectively wrong because that would be presumptuous. I realize you don't THINK you are saying that, but what I am pointing out is that things are not immoral by mere convention, but in reality, whether or not someone thinks it is so.

To use another example, the founders of the US said "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights"

They were making a claim to objective morality - were they arrogant? No. But they did recognize the difficulty or impossibility of making a logical argument, so appealed to the self-evident nature of such a concept. They also claimed that such rights don't find their roots in the conventions of man (given by the state), but from God, who is independent of the opinions of man.

Perhaps when I say that objective morals exist, you assume that I mean that everything can be nailed down as either moral or immoral, but this is not the case. There is a gray zone where people are really only beholden to their own consciences, as I've outlined in my exposition of Romans 14 in

>> JEFFREY: I actually believe that there IS objective morality, that it is an inherent part of our biology, that it is shared by other primates due to the fact of our unique physiology and biological history.

I read it, but despite the fact that you believe in objective morality, if you are an atheist, I believe that you now have a logical contradiction, since atheism negates the possibility of morality being anything other than subjective. Of course, we can debate that.

The problem with your primates example is, as I've pointed out, primates also rape and kill. Are those activities now somehow moral, and if not, why not? I'm not sure how morality could be biologically determined, esp. if the only real motive is to perpetuate our 'selfish genes.' And please don't resort to the selective value of altruism - that says nothing about whether or not such things are objectively moral.

>> Evolutionary biology coupled with social normative social convention is more than sufficient.

So, in Rome, slavery was a normative social convention. So was pederasty. Please tell me why those activities were moral or immoral. Based on your definition, I'd have to conclude them to be moral.

>> If you fail to see that you simply lack an understanding of philosophy, history and human development.

I fail to understand your logic because it makes no sense. It has nothing to do with my supposed ignorance of the sciences.

>> The idea that human morality is somehow transcendent or Universal beyond our species is ludicrous and ridiculously anthropocentric.

I'm sorry you think human lives are worth no more than animals'. That is what I read in your accusations.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: That humans are not in possession of some universal transcendent morality in no way impedes our ability to recognize objective HUMAN morality.

Actually, I made it clear that faith is not required to *recognize* objective morality, but rather, theism is required in order to assert that objective morals exist, since it requires an external referent absent from atheism.

>> JEFFREY: Your second premise stems from a flawed and biased perspective of human nature,

So you doubt the voracity of "ultimate power corrupts ultimately"? You disagree that man is both noble and ignoble? I'd say my model matches what we observe pretty well. That's why we have both freedom and a balance of powers it the American social system - it acknowleges both.

However, as you allude, as per the aphorism I quoted, I believe that without the concept of independent objective morality, men will excuse their cruelties as 'best for humanity.' The Darwinian support of eugenics and the univerasl cruelties of the atheist regimes in history prove this point to me.

>> JEFFREY: Your list of alleged ways in which God has enhanced human well being is a classic case of causal misattribution.

How so? I could, for instance, cite studies that show that around the globe, societies in general, with exceptions, settle on very similar moral codes. That could most certainly be evidence of 'the moral law written on men's hearts by the creator.'

Naturally such a thing might not be verifiable, but let me say this - the biblical model is extarordinarily congruent with what we see, and in being so, is a viable model.

One last thing. Your demeaning tone, use of superlatives and sweeping statements do not really make for good arguments.

danielg said...

BTW, the reference I omitted on objective morality and gray areas is Navigating Moral Gray Areas

danielg said...

>> CLAMAT: No cruelties have been committed in the name of or promotion of the doctrine of Atheism.

Just because the banner is not flown does not mean that it was not a foundational principle. I agree that atheism is not a full-orbed world view, but it contributes essential (necessary but not sufficient) ideas that make it far from blameless in the formation of these heinous world views.

I mean, why is state-dicated atheism part of the plan of these tyrants? You see, it's central, not peripheral. For instance, see STalins's Holy War () p. 2 :

A fundamental conceitof the Communists had been their moral certainty that their new faith in 'scientific atheism' would supplant what they believed to be mystical religious 'mythologies'....

Or how bout these?

"Communism begins where atheism begins" (Karl Marx)
"The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion" (Karl Marx)
"Atheism is the natural and inseparable part of Communism." (attributed to Vladimir I. Lenin)
"Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism." (V.I. Lenin)
"‘Marxism is materialism,’ says V. I. Lenin; ‘as such, it is as relentlessly hostile to religion as the materialism of the Encyclopedaists of the eighteenth century or the materialism of Feuerbach.’"

"The World has never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized and tenaciously malevolent as that preached by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin and at the heart of their psychology, HATRED OF GOD is the principle driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot. To achieve its diabolical ends, Communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails a destruction of faith and nationhood. Communists proclaim both of these objectives openly, and just as openly put them into practice." (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)

I realize that I am quote mining, but I am merely trying to support this point that you say I have not touched - that despite the claim that no revolution has gone under the direct banner of atheism, it is more than complicit, nay a 'necessity' as part of the cruelty of the great atheist regimes.

I further claim that it leads logically to such things because of it's demand that morality is subjective.

I realize all of these things are arguable, but I think my case is good despite some people (Jeffrey)'s claims that such accusations are baseless and disproven.

And as an additional aside, I also am an evolutionary doubter, and think that Darwinism, outside of being scientifically unsound, also contributes it's weight to social Darwinism and eugenics, both philosophically and historically. But that's another argument.

danielg said...

>> CLAMAT: The use of the squishy term 'human nature' in your second premise is both unproductive and unnecessary. We?re talking about human actors, and 'human nature' is presumed (and is equally applicable to both atheists and theists).

First, let me say thank you for a serious discussion. I'm excited to find a mind engaged.

Second, though the term 'human nature' is 'squishy', the concept of man's ability to do good and resist evil is important. It was foundational to our system of freedom with a balance of powers. I'm not sure what phrase you could like to use.

I don't mind you trying clarify my syllogism, but thinking more about it, I think I would further modify the second premise.

1. Atheism logically demands subjective morality.
2. Subjective morality removes the one, most powerful restraint on those who want to do evil - the action of conscience and accountability to a higher power, esp. for those in power.
3. Therefore, atheism removes the restraint of conscience and releases the darker, more selfish aspects of mankind, which produce cruelty by those in power.

OK, that was really wordy. Now, when I approach your second syllogism, it is no longer true.

1. Theism demands that there is a higher, objective law and lawgiver to whom we must give account.
2. Objective morality therefore reinforces the conscience, which is a primary restraint to man's dark side.
3. Therefore theism acts as a powerful restraint for evil.

Your second premise I disagree with. Claims to knowledge to not lead to justifying cruelty - in fact, quite the opposite - if no one is above the moral law, then even those with supposed knowledge of it are accountable to it, and can not justify cruelty unless they pervert it.

>> CLAMAT: But you simply dodge Jeffrey?s point that if it is valid to ascribe the atrocities committed by power-wielding atheists to 'Atheism,' it is equally valid to ascribe the atrocities committed by power-wielding Christians to 'Christianity.'

I do not think I am dodging at all. What I am saying is that the subjective morality of atheism clears the way for tyrants, driven by fallen nature, to justify their behaviors, and has in history without exception.

By contrast, the abuses of Christianity, much less heinous in mere numbers of lives lost, can be viewed as performed in contradiction to Christian teaching, not as logical outcomes. I also note that many supposed Christian atrocities, like the Crusades, were either justified or not driven as much by religion as by political and ethnic considerations.

I do not think that you can claim that atheism was merely a passenger on the political trains of the atheist tyrants, but rather, it was a foundational premise that led them to torture and kill the religious.

As to aggregate numbers, I wrote one post on this - see
Atheist Atrocities
Answering the ?crimes? of Christianity
The Real History of the Crusades
Modern Myths About Christianity - Witch Hunts

clamat said...

@danielg

As I was typing this in response to your responses to Jeffrey, your response to my own post came through. I’ll address that shortly. As to your response to Jeffrey:

The Darwinian support of eugenics…

Putting aside the ridiculous assertion that the theory of Darwinian evolution supports eugenics (e.g., the former is based on natural selection, the latter decidedly is not):

Where in the world did this come from? You were talking about the consequences of atheism. How is Darwinian evolution an atheistic theory? Even Rome has endorsed theistic evolution. This is a non-sequitur.

I believe that without the concept of independent objective morality, men will excuse their cruelties as 'best for humanity.'

But, as shown above, and as history has shown countless times, with the concept of independent objective morality, men will excuse their cruelties as “best for humanity.” Unless you are willing to ascribe the atrocities of theists to Theism, it is invalid to ascribe the atrocities of atheists to Atheism. The main point. Which you keep studiously ignoring.

So what exactly is the difference between holding notions of subjective vs. objective morality, again? Oh, right – the difference is that holding a notion of objective morality tends to demand, facilitate, and excuse numerous horrors that holding “subjective” notions of morality does not. Another point you keep pulling an ostrich on.

I could, for instance, cite studies that show that around the globe, societies in general, with exceptions, settle on very similar moral codes. That could most certainly be evidence of 'the moral law written on men's hearts by the creator.'

Ah, so you agree that Christianity is nothing special? This fact alone indicates that people settle on similar moral codes because the sense of morality enjoyed by homo sapiens sapiens is a survival trait selected for by evolution. The pleasant poetry of Genesis is not needed.

clamat said...

@danielg

Just because the banner is not flown does not mean that it was not a foundational principle. I agree that atheism is not a full-orbed world view, but it contributes essential (necessary but not sufficient) ideas that make it far from blameless in the formation of these heinous world views.

You shift the goalposts, and thus muddle things. Saying atheism was a “necessary condition” or a “foundational principle” of certain repressive regimes is decidedly not the same as the conclusion of your original “syllogism,” i.e., “atheism necessarily leads to cruelty.”

To repeat ad nauseum, unless you are willing to attribute the atrocities committed by theists to Theism, it is invalid to attribute the atrocities committed by atheists to Atheism. Without a restraining force (a little First Amendment, anyone?), theism will lead to cruelty, too, and far more so than atheism.

Consider: “Theism is a full-orbed world view, and thus contributes sufficient ideas to justify heinous actions.”

Notice the difference? Even accepting for the moment that atheism is a necessary condition, you acknowledge it is not a sufficient condition. But theism certainly is. “God/Allah/Xenu told me to. God/Allah/Xenu wants me to. It is God/Allah/Xenu’s will. Sounds crazy, and evil, but who am I to question God/Allah/Xenu. Good enough for me, let’s go!”

I am not surprised in the slightest that you doubt the fact of evolution.

danielg said...

>> CLAMAT: To repeat ad nauseum, unless you are willing to attribute the atrocities committed by theists to Theism, it is invalid to attribute the atrocities committed by atheists to Atheism.

And vice versa, if you believe that the two situations are the same, but I don't. To put it plainly, here's why I think that you can blame atheism but not Chrsitianity.

The difference is:

- Christianity teaches against such things, and by adhering to it, you could not arrive at cruelty. So in the cases of "Christian atrocities," we could easily argue that these were exceptions by those who contradicted Christianity. We see also that Chrsitianity has, on the positive side, contributed more good to human society than any other world view, as I've tried to support with copious references and studies.

- Atheism does not teach cruelty, but does not teach against it. It does, however, do much to prepare the grounds for cruelty by removing, rather than enforcing, the need for conscience or appeal to higher laws and accountability - quite plainly from history, we see that it is congruent with the world views of the most wicked tyrants, while contributing nothing positive to either history or humanity.

You might claim that materialism has contributed to the pursuit of empirical science, and perhaps it has, but also, I'd argue, as many have in scholarly and historical books, that Christianity probably set the foudnation for modern science more than any other view. Again, arguable, but still, just heading off a possible atheist claim.

danielg said...

>> CLAMAT:Putting aside the ridiculous assertion that the theory of Darwinian evolution supports eugenics (e.g., the former is based on natural selection, the latter decidedly is not) Where in the world did this come from? You were talking about the consequences of atheism. How is Darwinian evolution an atheistic theory? Even Rome has endorsed theistic evolution. This is a non-sequitur.

First, it was an aside, kind of making a parallel between the noxious outcomes from atheism and that from another false view of reality, Darwinian origins. Sorry I clouded the water.

As to your contentions, modern authors of course, have documented a clear historical relationship between Darwinism and Hitler's eugenics (though eugenics existed before Hitler, it was given scientic validity by Darwinism, which we could now help along for the good of huamanity) - it was also behind the American eugenics movement, and even before that, was used to reverse the gains of negroes during Civil War reconstruction. Darwin's early proponents were also racist, and used it to argue for the superiority of some races, something to which Darwin alluded.

As to Darwinism's affect on religion and faith, not only does it contradict scripture in many ways, it's philosophical and theological implications, which are powerful and real, are often ignored by proponents because they want to try to limit it to biology. Unfortunately, truths do not exist in a vacuum, and certainly an intellectually honest person would want to examine these implications. They certainly have affected society in ways unintended but real.

Rome used to endorse Aristotelian geocentrism too, so it wouldn't be the first time both science and Rome have been incorrect. Additionally, as a Protestant, I find Rome to be incorrect (Biblically speaking) on many things, not the least of which is Salvation by faith - Martin Luther was right about the errors of Rome, and they're not out of the woods in many ways IMO. All that is to say, Rome's approval means nothing to me except that I am not surprised that they have made another wrong stance.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Danielg

1. Christianity most certainly does NOT teach against cruelty. Christianity explicity endorses all manner of appalling practices. It explicitly endorses slavery, genocide, invasion, occupation, warfare, misogyny, homophobia to name a few.

I could cite chapter and verse for each of the above propositions out of your allegedly true book, (and the Quran) but that would constitute quote mining, which I know is only appropriate when you are a Christian (or Muslim) seeking to heap condemnation on disfavored groups so I won't bother.

One can READILY follow the Bible and arrive at all manner of cruelty. As has been done throughout history and as Clamat and I have both pointed out ad nauseum. One can READILY follow the Quran and arrive at equally atrocious outcomes.

Clamat's point is wholly valid and you utterly fail to address it in any substantive way. Appeals to a 'higher law' have done nothing to engender a more moral society. As Clamat pointed out, even by your formulation, appeals to Higher Law can easily generate incredibly twisted outcomes especially when adherents ascribe to the more literalist interpretations of these sacred scrolls. "God/Allah/Xenu told me to. God/Allah/Xenu wants me to. It is God/Allah/Xenu’s will. Sounds crazy, and evil, but who am I to question God/Allah/Xenu. Good enough for me, let’s go!" This mentality has led to infinitely more suffering than denial of God/ Allah/Xenu's existence has ever done.

2. Most if not all Atheists believe that the human moral code is biologically ingrained, a hardwired evolutionary adaptation. Human morality has allowed us to survive as a species because by our very simian nature, we are obligated to form social groups in order to raise young. Certain components of basic human morality, objective moral truths that are applicable to humankind regardless of culture. Many of these traits are in fact shared by our closest biological relatives, mostly due to the fact that primates and humans have equally helpless young and an equal need for social networks. The fact that you doubt the fact of evolution is sad, but does nothing to undermine the fact that due to the kind of beings we are, there are hard wired biological and moral imperatives that govern human social interactions.

I suggest you brush up on Kant and Categorical Imperatives if you wish for a more logical discourse on the topic that does not require belief in evolution. Kant does an excellent job in describing a deontological moral code. The fact that you express a preference for a teleological moral system in no way mandates that any other system is either logically or practically invalid. Neither does your Revelatory preference for Christianity over Islam or one brand of Christianity over another render the other logically or practically valid.

I would respond to your earlier posts, but feel that Clamat already dealt with your objections quite handily.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: 1. Christianity most certainly does NOT teach against cruelty.

Your mistake. Your problem is that you conflate Judaism and Christianity, not understanding where they overlap and where they do not. Let me deconstruct your list to set you straight.

But before I address your list, you do understand that

a. The ceremonial law (sacrifices) and dietary laws were symbolic and no longer binding as far as Christians are concerned.

b. The moral law is shared by Judaism and Christianity, but the prescribed punishments do not apply because
1. We are not under the Mosaic covenants, but the Noahic and New Covenant.
2. You'll note that none of the prescribed punishments of the OT are seen in the NT church
3. Those punishments were meant only for Israel.

c. The warfare of the OT was not prescriptive for spirituality, but merely descriptive of individual situations that Israel found itself in. In the NT, Paul asserts that "our warfare is not against flesh and blood," so you can't really say that Christianity prescribes such things, though it does not condemn the OT warfare, not should it, imo.

d. What you call 'genocide' was a one time action taken upon a wicked people, who, interstingly, were still around in later generations.

e. Only Islam prescribes the OT punishments as universal to mankind, but Christianity denies that explicitly.

As to your list, let me defend against your poorly concieved list:

a. Slavery - while Philemon does not condemn slavery, and while the OT did affirm taking slaves during warfare, the NT does not 'endorse' (your word) slavery.

In fact, it prohibits kidnanpping, so chattle slavery is not permitted, and the type seen in the OT may likely have been indentured servitude.

Also, you must remember that, despite the fact that some defended slavery using the Bible (which is admittedly unclear on the subject, hence your own accusations), Christianity is the ONLY ideology to have conquered slavery in world history - it drove abolition in both Europe and the US, something tha the Greeks, Romans, and secularists just never did.

Proof is in the pudding.

b. Genocide, invasion, occupation, warfare - again, no use of swords in the NT. Your mistake is that you assume that the historical events were (1) genocidal, and (2) endorsed by Christianity. The fact that Christianity has not pursued genocide in history disproves your contention. You want to count American Indians? I can show you examples of Christians defending them against Colonial cruelty, which was more driven by desperation, fear, and greed, not Christian genocide.

c. Misogyny - exaggeration at best, a lie at worst. As I described in Part II: How Christianity changed the world - Life, Sex, Marriage & Status of Women, Christianity has universally lifted the estate of women. Perhaps you'd like to quote scripture and verse to support your claim.

d. Homophobia - [puke]. Whatever. Condemnation of sexual immorality is standard stuff. You call that a sin. You've got it backwards.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: I could cite chapter and verse for each of the above propositions out of your allegedly true book, (and the Quran) but that would constitute quote mining, which I know is only appropriate when you are a Christian (or Muslim) seeking to heap condemnation on disfavored groups so I won't bother.

Please, spare me your dripping low brow sarcasm. I could pull those verses out too, but here's what you are missing, either out of ignorance or malice.

1. In both Christianity and Islam, later scriptures interpret or overrule earlier. In Christianity, that means Jesus and the NT writers re-interpret the OT, and so the dietary and ceremonial laws, as well as the punishments for the moral law, are not in force for Christianity.

And in the OT, they were for Israel, and not considered global. The only capital crime considered global from the OT is when God instructed Noah that a man's life could be taken for murder. This is why I have argued that even child molesters should not be executed from a Christian POV.

2. In Islam, the LATER scriptures talk of murdering unbelievers and such, so that is what is in force in Islam. Further, while Jesus taught love your enemies, Mohammed taught kill them with the sword. So your comparison of the two is really ignorant of the facts, not to mention modern history.

3. I am not trying to avoid the difficult passages of the OT, for neither Christ nor the NT condemn the God-commanded warfare of the OT. But again, they are not prescriptive, had a purpose in that time, and can be defended morally, even if you are aghast at such a claim.

That aside, this string is about atheism, and I stand by my contention that atheism is partially and perhaps primarily responsible for the atrocities of atheist tyrants due to it's logical outcomes. I find that historically and logically consistent, and the only reason I am here defending Christianity is that you want to paint it the same way, but I don't find that Christian ideas inexorably lead that way, but the opposite way.

Atheism has never created much good that I can see, while Christianity's historical merits fill books, and it's foibles are exaggerated by anti-Catholic enlightenment scholars, and pale in compariso to both Christianity's good and atheism's historical murderous outcomes.

danielg said...

>> JEFFREY: One can READILY follow the Bible and arrive at all manner of cruelty. As has been done throughout history and as Clamat and I have both pointed out ad nauseum.

I haven't seen any historical details, only accusations and an overuse of the phrase 'ad naseum' which you have used ad nauseum. I think you must have a weak constitution.

So where did Christianity lead to cruelty? I've spent article debunking the exaggerations and misattributions of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and witch hunts. You got more than that? Just see the numbers killed by your atheist buddies in history, it's shameful. See Atheist Atrocities.

>> JEFFREY: Appeals to a 'higher law' have done nothing to engender a more moral society.

Yeah, 'we hold these truths to be self evident' and all the work of Martin Luther King Jr, what a load of crap.

>> JEFFREY: As Clamat pointed out, even by your formulation, appeals to Higher Law can easily generate incredibly twisted outcomes especially when adherents ascribe to the more literalist interpretations of these sacred scrolls.

Um, examples please? IN theory, yes, in history, not so much, and as I said, the GOOD done by Christianity far outweighs its misapplications in history. The same can not be said for atheism. I assume by sacred scrolls you mean the Bible, not the Koran, which is murderous.

>> JEFFREY: Sounds crazy, and evil, but who am I to question God/Allah/Xenu. Good enough for me, let�s go!"

While crazy people may do that, your understanding of the use of Scripture and experience in Christianity proper may be lacking - this is not how things work, since are to measure all of our 'hearing' agaisnt the scriptures. Sure, you could convince yourself that God told you to eradicate some people, but that is not only contrary to the NT, the actual spirit of God would not lead one to do that.

Hence, abortion doctor murders are almost non-existent, proving that the thing you claim is really an edge case, not a mainstay.

>> JEFFREY: This mentality has led to infinitely more suffering than denial of God/ Allah/Xenu's existence has ever done.

Yeah, um, as long as you forget about Stalin, Mao, etc.

>> JEFFREY: Most if not all Atheists believe that the human moral code is biologically ingrained, a hardwired evolutionary adaptation.

I'm sure I could learn more about this far fetched theory, but on it's face, it seems like a non-sequitur. While, for example, certain actions among chimps may be measured as altruistic, that does not make them objectively moral. I mean, they're not moral just because they perpetuate the species, are they? Otherwise, you could justify killing off the weak.

But if you assume that certain actions are moral, on what basis do you do that? It doens't matter if you think it arose as part of evolution.

>> JEFFREY: The fact that you express a preference for a teleological moral system in no way mandates that any other system is either logically or practically invalid.

I am not the only one explaining that 'deontologtical moral codes' dont' solve the problem of subjectivity in morality, and neither do they solve the problem of atheism removing the external referent needed for objective confirmation of morality.

And high-minded philosophy aside, atheism has shown it's colors in history to me, no matter what gymnastics atheists use to try to convince themselves that there is not God and that's a harmless view.

danielg said...

>> CLAMAT: I am not surprised in the slightest that you doubt the fact of evolution.

I am not surprised that you buy it. I have a biochemistry degree, and have worked through the data myself. I think evolution is interesting but laughably unsupported by empirical evidence, and have written extensively on it. I'm sure you've heard it all, but here's a couple gems from my pen.

Mass Delusion - 10 Reasons Why the Majority of Scientists Believe in Evolution
Evolution�s Impact on Science
Why Do Tempers Flare Regarding Evolution?
13 Misconceptions About Evolution

clamat said...

@danielg

Claims to knowledge do not lead to justifying cruelty.

Can you actually say this with a straight face?

“I know ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,’ therefore I will put this woman to the torch.”

“I know my child will recover from this infection only if Jesus wills it, therefore I will deny her penicillin.”

“I know Allah commands death to infidels, therefore I will fly this plane into this building.”

“I know God condemns homosexuality. America does not condemn homosexuality, therefore I will scream ‘God hates fags’ at the funerals of American servicemen.”

People have and will justified their cruelties, stupidities and bigotries by resort to any number of moralities.

But you concede atheism is not a world view, and doesn’t “teach” anything. Given this, it is difficult to see how you can maintain atheism necessarily leads to certain outcomes.

On the hand, theism and claimed knowledge to objective moralities teach something very specific and unique: How to ignore one’s conscience: “I don’t see how this action can be morally sufficient, but God is commanding it, and who am I to question God, so it must be morally sufficient, so I have no choice but to do it.”

Christianity teaches against such things, and by adhering to it, you could not arrive at cruelty.

And yet, throughout history, countless people who identified themselves as Christian, plenty of whom studied Christian teachings just as extensively and seriously as you, arrived at cruelty. How do you explain this?

In the cases of "Christian atrocities," we could easily argue that these were exceptions by those who contradicted Christianity.

With a variation on the No True Scotsman fallacy. Of course.

I do not see how anything can be accomplished by addressing this common and simple fallacy, or the argument it underpins, any further. I thank you for the civil discussion. Other than a final post-script, I cede the last word to you.

Post-script:

I have a biochemistry degree, and have worked through the data myself. I think evolution is interesting but laughably unsupported by empirical evidence, and have written extensively on it.

You’ve worked through “the data” yourself, eh? I look forward to seeing you in Stockholm.

exreformed said...

@ Danielg
You call me a troll!

All you to is try to ram your stupid articles down our throat. You are constantly linking to some crap that backs up what you say. Like anyone is going to spend three frigin hours reading those links.

Jeffery kicked your ass anyway.

I Can't wait for the camps.

clamat said...

@danielg

At the risk of totally derailing this thread, I have checked out your posts on evolution. Please understand that I simply don’t have time to read everything you’ve posted on the subject, so I'll only engage the first. I'm relatively confident that will be enough.

Mass Delusion – Why the Majority of Scientists Believe in Evolution

An initial matter: You were quick to trot out your undergraduate degree in biochemistry, but it won’t surprise you that I place little stock in it. Your scientific credentials outweigh mine, no doubt, but many people who fully endorse evolution have far more illustrious credentials than you.

Which brings me to your first claim:

Many scientists have never studied biology and don’t understand evolutionary claims

For clarity, I’ll call this “Claim 1.”

What is the basis for Claim 1? Have you taken a comprehensive poll of “scientists” about their knowledge of biology, or investigated their understanding of evolutionary claims? Further, Claim 1 suggests that you understand biology and evolutionary claims better than these unidentified “many scientists.” What is the basis for this unstated claim?

It can’t be your vaunted undergraduate chemistry degree, because in defending Claim 1 you actually dismiss chemistry as affording nothing more than “supporting data” for evolution, and assert that every other discipline must look to biology for “central” knowledge of evolution.

(Aside: Your admission that there’s an awful lot of supporting data for evolution from a myriad of widely-varied disciplines seriously undermines your claim that the evidence supporting evolution is “laughably weak.”)

In any event, I dispute the premise that biology is the only discipline that affords “direct” knowledge of evolution. I’d wager (but, unlike you, won’t claim to know) most practicing biologists would hesitate to say this.

Even if biology enjoys primacy, this simply means you initially asked the wrong question, which should be: Why do the Majority of Biologists Believe in Evolution?

Apparently biologists must be ignorant of biology, too.

Or do you claim that an undergraduate biochemistry degree plus “working through the data” affords you greater knowledge of biology than actual, working biologists? Or are all biologists, like all scientists from all other disciplines, simply engaged in “group think,” too?

In sum, Claim 1 is without any basis. There is no basis for your claim that you have knowledge equivalent, much less superior to that of actual “scientists.” There is no basis for the claim that scientists who support evolution are ignorant of its claims, are “involved in group think,” or cannot analyze data independently. There is no basis for your contention that only biology offers “direct” evidence of evolution. There is no basis for your contention that “many scientists just take the biologists’ word for it.”

Most of the remainder of your Claims fall under the same “bias / indoctrination / group-think / world-view” umbrella. As before, these claims are simply baseless contentions that all scientists who endorse evolution must be incapable of independent thought. (Of course, scientists who question evolution undoubtedly are models of independent thinking!) These aspersions are made without resort to a shred of evidence or meaningful analysis.

They are especially laughable given that the only actual evidence of bias, world-view or indoctrination in your post appears in Claim 10:

The fallen nature of man wants to deny God, and is blinded both by it’s own sinfulness and the spiritually dark forces of this world.

Ah, to conclude a discussion of science with such a lucid example of independent, unbiased, scientific, evidence-based thought.

Best,

clamat

clamat said...

@danielg

I actually missed something quite important regarding your answer to the question why the majority of scientists believe in evolution.

As I noted, the bulk of your answers boil down to “indoctrination, group-think, incapacity to think independently, presuppositions, born into a world-view,” etc.

All of this simply begs the question: Assuming modern scientists simply accept the theory of evolution unthinkingly, as received wisdom, why did the theory of evolution succeed so powerfully, so completely, in the beginning, and to such a degree that it now constitutes “doctrine” or a “worldview”?

And once again, your Claim 10 is the only one that touches on this question. God, sin, etc.

danielg said...

>> XREF: All you to is try to ram your stupid articles down our throat. You are constantly linking to some crap that backs up what you say. Like anyone is going to spend three frigin hours reading those links.

That's called 'providing evidence.' Try it sometime. I decided to link to things I had previously written on the subject rather than copy/paste them here, esp. when they are off topic. I understand that you might not want o read them, it's a lot of stuff.

>> CLAMAT: why did the theory of evolution succeed so powerfully, so completely, in the beginning, and to such a degree that it now constitutes 'doctrine' or a 'worldview'?

That's a good question, and a couple of authors have addressed the historic and sociologic background that made the rapid ascent of Darwinism happen. I haven't read them, but could perhaps guess at the reasons, including:

a. the lack of any other materialist theory of origins

b. the modern/industrial revolution that caused us to look at life more as a machine than a creation (though machines are designed too), and the rise of secularism

c. it's initially strong explanatory power based on morphology (now being reversed by genetic discoveries)

But I'm not sure.

clamat said...

@danielg

Hmmm, I attempted to post several things which do not appear on the board, prior to my "why did evolution catch on" post, to which you've responded. I won't respond in turn until I see the others post, and you've had an opportunity to address those as well.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Clamat, Danielg

I noticed that too. I received it. Your earlier post provided an excellent takedown of the article, though I'm sure it will be insufficient for Danny. It's a shame it didn't go through.

In case you didn't get it Danielg

"@danielg

At the risk of totally derailing this thread, I have checked out your posts on evolution. Please understand that I simply don’t have time to read everything you’ve posted on the subject, so I'll only engage the first. I'm relatively confident that will be enough.

Mass Delusion – Why the Majority of Scientists Believe in Evolution

An initial matter: You were quick to trot out your undergraduate degree in biochemistry, but it won’t surprise you that I place little stock in it. Your scientific credentials outweigh mine, no doubt, but many people who fully endorse evolution have far more illustrious credentials than you.

Which brings me to your first claim:

Many scientists have never studied biology and don’t understand evolutionary claims

For clarity, I’ll call this “Claim 1.”

What is the basis for Claim 1? Have you taken a comprehensive poll of “scientists” about their knowledge of biology, or investigated their understanding of evolutionary claims? Further, Claim 1 suggests that you understand biology and evolutionary claims better than these unidentified “many scientists.” What is the basis for this unstated claim?

It can’t be your vaunted undergraduate chemistry degree, because in defending Claim 1 you actually dismiss chemistry as affording nothing more than “supporting data” for evolution, and assert that every other discipline must look to biology for “central” knowledge of evolution.

(Aside: Your admission that there’s an awful lot of supporting data for evolution from a myriad of widely-varied disciplines seriously undermines your claim that the evidence supporting evolution is “laughably weak.”)

In any event, I dispute the premise that biology is the only discipline that affords “direct” knowledge of evolution. I’d wager (but, unlike you, won’t claim to know) most practicing biologists would hesitate to say this.

Even if biology enjoys primacy, this simply means you initially asked the wrong question, which should be: Why do the Majority of Biologists Believe in Evolution?

Apparently biologists must be ignorant of biology, too.

Or do you claim that an undergraduate biochemistry degree plus “working through the data” affords you greater knowledge of biology than actual, working biologists? Or are all biologists, like all scientists from all other disciplines, simply engaged in “group think,” too?

In sum, Claim 1 is without any basis. There is no basis for your claim that you have knowledge equivalent, much less superior to that of actual “scientists.” There is no basis for the claim that scientists who support evolution are ignorant of its claims, are “involved in group think,” or cannot analyze data independently. There is no basis for your contention that only biology offers “direct” evidence of evolution. There is no basis for your contention that “many scientists just take the biologists’ word for it.”

Most of the remainder of your Claims fall under the same “bias / indoctrination / group-think / world-view” umbrella. As before, these claims are simply baseless contentions that all scientists who endorse evolution must be incapable of independent thought. (Of course, scientists who question evolution undoubtedly are models of independent thinking!) These aspersions are made without resort to a shred of evidence or meaningful analysis.

They are especially laughable given that the only actual evidence of bias, world-view or indoctrination in your post appears in Claim 10:

The fallen nature of man wants to deny God, and is blinded both by it’s own sinfulness and the spiritually dark forces of this world.

Ah, to conclude a discussion of science with such a lucid example of independent, unbiased, scientific, evidence-based thought.

Best,

clamat"

danielg said...

Actually, I saw some last night, including your post about giving me the last word, but now they are gone, along with some of my responses. Time to upgrade from blogger....

clamat said...

@danielg

Hah! Yes, "last word," well...

In my defense, I meant the last word on the relative goodness/badness of theism and atheism thread, not the separate topic of evolution. I think all of my subsequent posts go to that topic.

clamat said...

And thanks, Jeffrey - for both the compliment, and the technical backup!

B.R. said...

I hate to say, but listening to Christians babble about "Objective Morality" makes me laugh. First off, the Bible supports immorality and atrocities that even Stalin would have trouble matching. This source of "objective morality" that Christians adhere to okays polygamy, slavery, beating your slaves to death, genocide and mass murder.
But ask any modern Christian(excluding Fundamentalists) if these actions are okay, and he/she will automatically no. If God is completely perfect and holy as Christians claim, then why would he ordain this barbarism? Why would he tolerate such evil, even for a moment? The very existence of the O.T. and all the xenophobic/homophobic totalitarianism within disproves the notion of a "loving, perfect, benevolent, living God".
And Christians are actually ignorant enough of their own holy book to claim that Mosaic Law no longer applies to Christians. Really? Let's see what the Jewish Cosmic Zombie has to say about this.

"(17)Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (18)For assuredly, I say to you, til Heaven and Earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (19)Whoever therefore breaks the least of these commandments(uh-oh; watch out, danielg), and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of Heaven; but does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven(looks like Crusaders, Inquisitors, and Witch Hunters are going to heaven, doesn't it?). (20)For I say to you, unless righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of Heaven."

-Matthew 5, verses 17 to 20.


Christianity is one of the most worthless, moronic cults on the face of the earth. Christian Morality is ever-changing, and a more subjective morality simply can't be found. So go on, Christians; tell us all about your objective morality(that, upon close examination, has absolutely nothing "moral" about it).

Peace out.

Gandolf said...

Ana said...
exreformed,

There's a term for what you're describing. It's called, "systematic extermination"."


While i know i dont agree with what Exreformed said .So happens ive walked a mile or two myself in the same type of moccasins Exreformed experienced wearing ,and so i at least have some understanding of the painful blisters faiths can form on some peoples feet after feeling forced into having to be wearing them to feel like being acepted.

@ Ana i see is so quick to point out what Exreformed mentions as being "systematic extermination" .Yet i see Ana is very slow to admit maybe the nastiness of faith that Exreformed was forced to need to deal with, was maybe actually very little different.

People like Ana are quick to judge people like Exreformed ,yet very gutlessly slow at understanding that if a dog gets kicked enough times over, soon enough it will simply turn into a pitbull ! ready to rip somebodies throat out in return for abuse its been FORCED to experience.Its this type of utter ignorance that people like Ana slip into slumber with, that actually allows these abusive faiths the rights to continue onwards.

When so many utter idiots like Ana do so very little about dogs getting the shit continually kicked out of them ,what do these foolish idiots expect other than angry pitbulls to be evolving ?.

These faith twits who often get involved in doing absolutely nothing "active" about remeding such ongoing problems, are obviously so caught up in such faith of expectations of miracles happening , it becomes obvious parts of their brains shut down and seems they almost expect the bloody impossible might suddenly happen.

Many of these people are obviously very well educated ,yet still become rather extremely thick ! for lack of being able to think at all outside the square.If they dont have somebody to teach em , they aint ever able to actually put 2 and 2 together on their own steam.

Gandolf said...

Jeffrey A. Myers said...
"@ Exreformed

Despicable. Your proposal is appalling, offensive, disgusting.

While the endless evasion, ignorance, godbotting and historical ignorance is annoying your proposal is simply nauseating. Theists have every right to believe what they wish so long as they don't harm others. Your beliefs no more entitle you to harm others than theirs."


@Jeffery ,while i do understand and do even agree with much of what you have suggested .Sadly it seems to me you miss the point that indeed its quite obvious, present laws of freedom of faith "do indeed" still allow for faith to very often be " very harmful" to far to many people .

What you are suggesting is like saying even though twin towers in New York might get demolished and blown to peices by nasty aspects of the terrorists of life.This doesnt "entitle" the USA to try and seek some sort of final closure to the problem, even with use of some force if need be, if they honestly feel they finally really see little other hope of any other option working in obtaining some closure to the problem they face.

Look humans are human ,its simply a fact ! we are not clones of this Jesus charactor.Life just doesnt "always" work with use of this turning the other cheek bullshit.If it did we wouldnt even need any prisons or even be forced to sometimes need to displine our children.

I suggest it seems maybe? you also have some sort of faith in expecting miracles to possibly happen also.Lets at least try and get a little real here, we need to realize and accept, sometimes fire needs to feel some fire also, before its ever going to be able to be dealt with properly.

And for far to long now far too many folks have just been pussy-footing around ,with regards to dealing honestly with the abuse of faiths issues.Sadly its a fact of life we cant always rely on pissing around forever with endless "niceties" and endless talkies when the problem at hand actually demands some real (("action")) thats actually been long overdue.

Think about such matters as reform of slavery and racism etc .Sadly it took the onset of some "angry action" before more folks that were peacefully a slumbering ! finally decided it best that they awoke out of their little cozyholes ! and decided it best they finally got their shit together to find some sort of real remedy.

Gandolf said...

Jeffrey A. Myers said..." And for the record, no, I do not believe teaching children Christianity constitutes child abuse. Some of the more virulent strains, probably cross that line at some point, but mainline Christianity lacks the malicious intent necessary."

So you feel to constitute child abuse it must first include malicious intent ? .Really Jeff ??

So you are saying for instance, should a father wish to have sex with his young children ,just as long as its not done with any "malicious intent" , but is instead argued it is done with just wishing to have "close cotact" and "make love" to them .

It dont happen to constitute child abuse , because it didnt include the "malicious intent" to cause harm ??.

Sorry Jeff , "personally" i just cant see how to agree with you.

I dont care whether church folk "maliciously intend" to harm their children or not .Harm of little children is harm in my book , and its still "specially" stinks like hell ! when its the "little children" that are on the receiving end being bullied by "adult" faith freaks wishing to threaten and frighten children into submission to their faith, with use of frightening suggestions of eternal damnation in some place they call hell , a place called hell that aint even been proved to actually honestly exist yet !.

Maybe it would be fair if it was "proved" thing there was actually honestly some real danger these children needed to be made aware of , such as children being made aware of the very grave danger thats been proved to actually honestly exist, for little children playing on roads etc.Thats fair enough.

But to suggest abuse always needs to contain "malicious intent". To my thinking you then might as well also say all the actions of gangs are just fine sweet and dandy as !, just so long as these gang members didnt really actually mean to have this "malicious intent" to actually frighten and cause harm to any people.

And then torrists would be fine and dandy too , just so long as it was all about honesty of their chosen "faith beliefs" , and not really simply just about any "malicious intent" to specially choose to cause harm to somebody.

Why the hell do you think all these abusive nasty people have gotten the "right" to exist in this planet of ours in the first place Jeff.

Ill tell you why i think it is , i think its because of all this general pussy-footing around that some people get into continually promoting.

Time we cut the crap harm is harm intended of unintended .

If we have different judgement of folks depending on whether it was about "malicious intent" or not ,then sure thats fair enough .

But please, lets atleast start to try to get away from this old ancient barbaric "outdated" idea of continually making "excuses" and "loop-holes" for peoples "rights" to personally choose to be harmful to others around them.

You suggest its fine and dandy for certain folks rights to cause harm ,and then seem so keen to quickly jump on some extremely "hurt and harmed" people , such as our good friend Exreformed , and then you wish to also call this as being justice ??.

This so called "justice" stinks like hell !! , in my opinion.It really truly sucks big time ! Jeff

exreformed said...

Gandolf

Hey friend, haven't seen you around for a while. As always, your reply's really make me think, and I appreciate your intuition about human behavior. I actually found the solution of breeding them out of the genome from another poster here at D.C. I liked it so much I am going to post his comments again.

Yes, my friend, what those ass holes did to me turned me into a pit bull. As a mater of fact I have been dealing with it by sharing every little detail with my therapist. My therapist told me the statistics of what people do in my situation. 95% of the time they commit suicide. He showed me the studies, and said that based on what those jerk ass fundamentalist did to my brain, I should have killed myself, but I did not, there fore I am a survivor.

exreformed said...

@Anna

"Systematic extermination", I just looked that up and I find your little comment to be very offensive. I never advocating gassing people to death or torture. It's simple, put them on reservations and do not let them have anymore children. I'll bet you have all kinds of "Christian" reasons justifying what the U.S. did to Native Americans, it's not different in my eyes.

exreformed said...

Just for the record I got the idea from Cipher here is what he posted on D.C. and I totally agree with him.

Ed, I generally agree with you, but I have to disagree with you here. I can never understand why anyone finds people like Breckmin amusing. I don't; I find them appalling. I've said this here before - conservative Christians are the worst people in the world. They are the worst people who have ever lived. They have no problem with the idea of the eternal torture of billions of their human siblings - very often, even their own children. Many of them are Calvinists, and believe that God created them expressly for that purpose - and, again, the have absolutely no problem with this. None. The bottom line is that as long as they're saved, that's all that matters. They are the most selfish, self-centered people in all of human history.

I say it all the time; the mounting evidence continues to identify it as a neurological disorder. They're a genetic dead end. Quarantine them, along with their Islamic fundamentalist counterparts, and breed them out of the genome. It's our only hope. Tragically, of course, this will never happen. We haven't got but a few years left - and, as we go under, the last Christian, on his deathbed, will curse those whom he knows to be the real culprits responsible for humanity's demise - the liberals, the atheists and the gays.

@Jeffery
Hey, cipher is from Greshem, OR, you should get together for coffee

Gandolf said...

@ Exreformed

Well friend, as ive already explained, having myself walked a few miles in much the same kind of moccasins you were once also forced into wearing.Im not so ignorant of how these types of moccasins can cause some people so very many blisters, that sadly sometimes tend to festor their feet and try their best to tear their whole world apart.And i do believe that thats some of the mighty fine wisdom! of the first nation folks of that mighty fine country widely known as the U.S.A.

And you know maybe walking in some other peoples moccasins now and then, might even help us better understand many other folk too .Even Muslims in countries where life can already be very tough without the presense of some folks who sadly choose to try and make life seem more harsh than it already is , which ends up causing more trouble for us all.A dogs life aint really seeming like its really got much real promiss of any real worth ,when it sometimes seems like there are those who would maybe seem keen on making a dogs life even more unbearable to live than it already be .

And no this doesnt mean i think of our muslim brothers and sisters as being dogs.I think of them as being humans also, human who just like you my friend Exreformed, can also feel so much pain and hardship and sometimes feel like being pushed toward acting out of their honest human charactor, like pitbulls through the presense of certain overuling situations that sadly happen to exist around them too.

Which is why we need to at least try to understand certian overbearing situations of folks like our friend Cole too.

But hey even if maybe its actually little consolation to the extreme hurt and harm you experienced, you do know right? that yes indeed ! your therapist is as wise as those wise folks who were first nation folk.Its so true you should atleast try to find some pride in the fact that you are a survivor ! , and lived to tell the tale, and lived to try and be of assistence to try and bring about some change some day ,so that hopefully given time when the modern chieftian powers that be today finally decide to decide enough of this faith suffering is enough ...They will decide to change matters a little and finally agree! to do something of better actual action to help bring about some more hope for the many other average folk like you and i, that at present it seems must sadly need to be forcing us tribal folk of this world to be needing to even experience such arrogant faithful nastiness that exists all around us.

You know you do need to be sure to stick around dont you Exreformed ,for to be sure they never ever get the chance to simply turn a blind eye and deaf ear and forget about it all with "ease".These modern day "chiefs" in power in governments,they really do need their cozy feathers ruffled a little, into someday admitting on agreeing on the REAL NEED of actually taking some "honest" action someday instead of endless offering of talk.

Because today so many are still controlled by the thoughtless uncaring "faith powers" around us ,and their bullshit Gods of supposed love and kindness is utter crap and still spoken about with the utter worthlessness of such forked-tongue

I havent been around so much lately Exreformed, because understand sadly sometimes i too still do need to deal with some close family member matters, that are also spoken with worthless faithful forked-tongue too.Sadly this cancer is malignant worldwide problem my friend ,so dont ever let yourself slip into feeling maybe you is to alone in this.There is many of us blood brothers worldwide fighting the very same issues, even if people like Ana cant seem to open their educated eyes wide enough to even start to see and fully understand.It just goes to show that fancy schools or faith circle still dont nessarily always make for some people ending up being so very smart or wise.The school of hard-knocks taught people like you! something that any ammount of money and faith just cannot ever teach.

Kia Kaha !! my good friend

Breckmin said...

"A billion people saying the same thing doesn't make it TRUE."

They are NOT just saying the same thing. They are engaging in worship of a Holy Creator and worshipping Him through praise songs in such a way that is unique.

This is an "observation" throughout the world...NOT an argument.

"Argumentum ad populum, anyone?"

Not a formal argument... but a billion people saying they have a personal relationship with the Existence or Creator/God Who made them - and this type of worship doesn't happen to Mohammad, Buddha or anyone else (note: Jews singing songs to the God of Abraham or Muslims fearful reverence is STILL the God of Abraham) is an OBSERVATION that can not be denied.

Question everything.

Breckmin said...

millions of gospel songs written to One Infinite Creator and One Lord Jesus Christ!

NOT to a FSM made of pasta

NOT to an invisible dragon in your garage

NOT to a tea pot in outer space

NOT to a pink unicorn

NOT to Zeus or any other finite god

NOT to a goblin or any other finite existence we create in literature

One Man (Son of Man) Who died for the sins of the world and One INFINITE CREATOR!

Question everything!

B.R. said...

Millions of people worshiping the same god proves nothing, Breckmin. If Christians are so unified, then why is there over 38,000 sects and denominations? Also, it's funny how Muslims are going to hell for not believing in Jesus, yet their worship of Allah somehow magically counts as devotion to jeebus. And by the way, Buddha explicitly told his followers he was not a god, and almost no one worships him as per his instructions, so it's pretty obvious why he doesn't get worship since he was above it.
Imbecile.

As for your second comment, you're basically using ad populem, and your entire comment is so jam-packed with Epic Fail that I'm somewhat surprised that every cell in your brain didn't burn itself out when you posted it.
Moron.
There has been millions of gods worshiped in the history of Man, and countless songs and poems have been written to them(including Zeus, Apollo, Hermes, etc.). And no, the god of the bible is not"unlimited"; examine your own theology, genius.
And BTW, only a full-blown retard would try to quantify the existence of a deity by gauging the devotion that said deity receives.
"Hey, them fellers are cuttin' off their penises in worship of the Swamp God; tharfore, tha Swamp God must be real!!"
What kind of logic is that? Sheesh.