Michael Battalio


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Serious Conversations (part 6)

A bit of a disclaimer, this is the sixth in series of serious blog posts about religion and philosophy. If you have ever chatted with me about philosophy and religion and very much disagree, be prepared for that to continue.
These are my responses (Edited, of course, to offend as few people as possible; although offense is inevitable with me.) from a conversation I am having with an atheist friend of mine about the meaning of life, consciousness, physics, the kitchen sink, religion and a couple of moral issues thrown in to boot. This entry is about the origin of God and Science.

My friend and I have taken up several other topics, but we are currently revisiting religion. I will post our conversations on family, art, and a comment on what we want to do with our lives further on in the series.
I began the conversation:
The older I get, and the more stuff I learn about, the harder and harder it is to believe in a religion.  Being a child and believing in a religion is easy because children can be convinced of everything.  Which, from a atheist’s perspective, is why religions force parents to teach their children about faith at an early age (It could also be why in the Catholic Church you must agree to raise your children Catholic if you want to be married in the Catholic Church.) because they are so impressionable, and it’s easy to convince them to believe.  The older I get the more I realize that if I hadn’t been raised in a religion, I probably wouldn’t be religious.  This is a scary thought.  Religion could be the second Christmas myth, and unlike Santa Claus, when we get old enough no one tells us that Jesus is just a made up story for the sake of the holiday, which is quite possible.  The question becomes, where did religion come from?  If it’s just something that we conscript children into, who conscripted the first generation?  Could Jesus be a real person?  What about Moses, Mohammad, Buddha? How unlikely is a God who created all of us?  What about a Son who died for us?  (Notice I still capitalize the names.  I still haven’t given up on religion completely.)  If God didn’t create the universe, where did it come from?  Perhaps the answer is in front of us; perhaps we will never know.

To sum up my friend’s reply: Humans, being curious and having a desire to understand all that they see, came up with way to explain all the phenomena around them. God was attributed as the doer of the unexplainable. If there was not an obvious explanation it must be God. And humans wishing to control whatever they can to better their condition created religion via ceremonies, rites, sacrifices, worship, to influence of that entity with controlled the unexplainable.
She continued: Just like religion, science was conceived to explain what was confusing. Science was just another method to make order of the chaos. And like religion, science has changed over the ages.  The science we know today is not like the science of the ancient Greeks. What we consider science today is based on the, well, scientific method: developing a hypothesis and testing to see if that hypothesis is correct. Before the scientific revolution, science was not this. Scientists used Aristotelian logic to try to derive truths about the world without much experiment, most of which turned out wrong.  
Science and religion did not really become separate things until around the 1800s or so, and they didn't come into direct conflict until much later, when people began questioning one from the other’s point of view. My point is that religion and science are sort of different ways of addressing the same questions (explaining the things we don't understand).  But you can't really judge one of them by the other one's rules and standards.

Well, where does this leave me?  At best I can believe with the part of me that still has faith.  (Faith being believing in something which by definition you have no proof of.)  And calling myself agnostic with the scientific part of me.  I’m not saying that science and religion contradict each other.  As my friend said, they were created as different methods of explaining the same world. And today, many religions embrace science. I’m saying that science doesn’t need religion, and that religion can adapt itself to whatever science proves.  There will never be a way to prove religion wrong.  Religion will always redefine itself.  But the question is, do I still have faith?

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

The question you pose, do you still have faith? Well, I can answer that one for you. If you really know that God exists what would be the need for faith? Seems like you're a little insecure on the concept. Faith that saves is obtained by the righteous provision of God.
2 Peter 1--
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ"

We cannot call out Abba Father and mean it without the intercession of the Holy Spirit. There are many Christians leaning on their own faith that do not personally have a relationship with God. They grasp onto their faith (which is really a demonstration of their will) with such zeal that they never ask God to reveal Himself. Sin is not our problem...it is only a symptom. Holding onto our own weak faith is our problem. Have you really asked God to reveal Himself to you? I mean, REALLY ASK!!! Put Him to the test. He enjoys it when we put His word back in His face! Speak His word to Him, and He will reveal Himself to you. He is fully obligated to do this.

It's time you made a decision, mbat!
Are you afraid of becoming an atheist?
Are you afraid of becoming a faith-filled believer?

What are you afraid of?
It's pointless discussing the remainder of your life whether or not you will or won't believe something you do or do not believe exists!

Thank God for His faith given to men by our Lord Jesus Christ. When my faith fails me, He sustains me.
He will sustain you too, if you'll let go and surrender yourself to Him.

Ted said...

Anonymous, I feel the need to address something you wrote in your post. When you say, "...do you still have faith? Well, I can answer that one for you", you are wrong. (Also, your answer was a question) How can you pretend to know whether a stranger has faith? Your post has its merits, especially that you are so devoted to your faith. The fact of the matter is that each of us must come to terms with what we were taught as children, and each in our own way. Your answer accurately sums up the very questions mBat is trying to answer for himself, and therefore is not an answer at all.

For my part, I still adhere to the teachings of the church in which I was raised. I do not agree with all its teachings; I do not know if I even believe in the same god, but it is what I know, and where I feel at home. I have, for the most part, left behind the spiritualism of my youth. Religious zealotry has no place in my life right now.

I choose not to narrowly define the god I believe in. Starting in high school, I began thinking that perhaps God was not all my parents and priests and teachers told me He was. Perhaps the God of the Bible, the God who punishes and rewards, is a figment. I won't trouble this thread with details of my personal beliefs, but that's the gist.

Whether anyone else thinks what I believe in is "right" or "wrong" is irrelevant. What is relevant is that I am comfortable with myself in what I believe. And that I don't kill people, because that could cause problems.

Anonymous said...

Actually Mr. Ted, I beg to differ. There is distinct substance to what I said. You must have missed it due to your narcissistic generalizations and your own personal agenda. I will repeat myself...if you know God exists, if you've seen Him with your own eyes, there is no need for faith. Having faith is a decision you or mbat must make. The decision is whether or not to believe in and surrender to this divine entity known as Jesus Christ. If you read the Bible, you would understand this because Jesus Christ Himself stated that you have the decision to make. He will not force you to accept His forgiveness and to embrace Him as the Savior of the world. I appreciate your positive comments about my post, nevertheless, there are some points I must address. By the way, you don't flatter me, and you don't know all the solutions to the universe. Upon first observation of this post, you very distinctly come across this way. Mbat will never actually come to an answer. Unless God Himself comes and appears to mbat, he will never know if there is a divine existence. But searching will surely turn up with absolutely nothing. We as Christians do not search for God; He is always here. Omnipresence is a distinct feature of the Lord. Nor should we debate whether or not God exists for the remainder of our lives. He does not desire this for us. It's either Yes, He exists; or No, he does not exist. It's either Yes, I trust Him for my salvation; or no thanks, I reject His teachings. It's relatively simple. What I don't understand are people as yourself who try to make God into this individual who is absolutely not what the holy Scripture teaches. And you say that I narrowly define God. Please! You are the one who narrowly defines God--to fit your own personal belief system. Mr. Ted, God doesn't work this way. Just by traveling to church each Sunday and doing a couple of good deeds in your life doesn't make you a good individual. Making a show at a church service means nothing to the Lord Himself. "Playing church" is so hypocritical. Until you come to the point of realization that accepting the Lord takes a courageous step of faith, you will never find God, and you will never find any peace or happiness. I don't believe you are comfortable with what you believe. You are telling the biggest lie on earth, and you know it. And, just to add, there is only one God, the God Jehovah, the Lord whom I serve. And He has a name that is above every name. Why don't you give Him a try, and stop trying to know all the answers to life's mysteries. Faith is the answer, Mr. Ted.

Anonymous said...

And by the way Mr. Ted, are you agnostic or atheist? If you're an atheist, why do you go to church? There's no point to your life anyway, right?
What a completely miserable life you must have if you are an atheist! Lonely, boring, always questioning, persistent argument, pessimistic, narcissistic, psychotic, obsessive-compulsive. Wow! An atheist's existence must be really exciting and fun!!!

Lindsey said...

Anonymous, I'm an ex-Christian, and swapping Christianity for "vague spirituality" was the best choice I could have possibly made for myself. I was miserable within an organized religion, and it was only after I got out and constructed a new set of beliefs for myself that I began to feel at peace with my life and with the universe. It's certainly not a move I'd recommend for everyone, and I'm glad that you find purpose within your religious beliefs. It saddens me, though, that you seem unwilling to allow others the freedom to find their own versions of purpose.

And come on now, your accusations of Ted are just silly. I hang out with him pretty often, and I can assure you that he has read the Bible, gets a lot out of his church experience, and is not lonely, boring, persistently argumentative, pessimistic, narcissistic, psychotic, or obsessive-compulsive (I should know - I work in the mental health field).

I've read the Bible, too, and one of my favorite verses has always been 1 Corinthians 16:14: "Let all that you do be done in love." Name-calling hardly seems loving, and I doubt that it's going to do much to persuade your audience.

Lindsey said...

P.S. Battalio, have you read 'Why Christianity Must Change or Die' by John Shelby Spong? It's written by a former Episcopal bishop, and it addresses some of the issues you brought up in your post. It was one of the books I read when I first began exploring my beliefs in depth, and it gave me a lot of food for thought. One of the things I appreciated about it is that it rejects theism but not spirituality, and it proposes a new "version" of Christianity that seems to inhabit a nice middle ground between traditional Christianity and less traditional belief systems. Here's the back cover copy:

"An important and respected voice for liberal American Christianity for the past twenty years, Bishop John Shelby Spong integrates his often controversial stands on the Bible, Jesus, theism, and morality into an intelligible creed and speaks to today's thinking Christian. In this compelling and heartfelt book, he sounds a rousing call for a Christianity based on critical thought rather than blind faith, on love rather than judgment, and that focuses on life more than religion."

I have it and would be happy to lend it to you via mail if you think you might be interested in reading it.

Anonymous said...

Lindsey, oh my goodness--now we have two total nuts on this blog, and if you include several others, we have a lot of "mixed nuts". An Ex-Christian? So you swap Christianity for spirituality. What total fruitcakes you people are these days. So you believe anything, right? As long as it fits into your mold of what you want. First, I would disagree that Christians do not necessarily have to attend church to actually be Christians. I really do not prefer organized religion either, but I am still a Christian, believing in the teachings of the Savior, Jesus Christ. "Vague Spirituality"--what an ignorant concept. That's really the same as "I can define my own religion, and I can do exactly what I want, when I want to do it". I do not force anyone to believe what I believe, neither does Christ, but talking to people like you, I must "stir up the kettle" and make you feel a bit uncomfortable. Neither am I trying to persuade my audience. From the blogs you have read, everyone continues to argue against Christianity. No one seems to have made any decision to do actually anything. Being a "vague" spiritual person means that actually beliefs can alter at any time. There has been no decision made. And, I've actually read Spong. He promotes liberal spiritual thinking, which is not what the traditional Church teaches.

Ted said...

Anonymous, I cannot take offense at what you say. You simply do not understand.

My first paragraph was directed at you, while the latter three were directed at mBat. So far, all of the people (with names) who have recently posted on this blog are close friends with the author, and we love him and have his best interests at heart. Your insensitive, inflammatory, ad hominem arguments do little to persuade your readers that you are a rational person.

As I said in my previous post, it does not matter what others think about my personal beliefs. Not that I don't care, just that it doesn't matter. Also, I do not pretend to "know all the solutions to the universe," nor did I imply that. Your exaggerations only show that you have nothing helpful or new to say.

That compliment was sincere, and no attempt at flattery, I assure you.

You have said that you do not narrowly define God. You have also talked about the traditional teachings of the church. These are in opposition. If you believe in traditional church teachings, it is difficult to believe in a god that spans all faiths.

For me, it was a matter of first believing in the teaching that God is Love. This has become clearer and clearer to me over the years. Then comes the question, "Why would a being that is the embodiment of pure, unconditional love sentence any of his creations to eternal torment?" I choose not to hunt because it pains me to see another creature suffer. How much more deeply must God feel it when his children suffer? If the teachings of traditional Christianity hold true, then God has sentenced billions of people to eternal separation from Love, and I cannot bring myself to believe that.

If you choose to post again, I ask you to take into account that the people to whom you speak have all had many years of education, religious and otherwise. mBat and I both attended Christian schools, and have heard and know by heart every Bible-based argument. I have doubts that this will have any effect on someone so fervent, but I try out of love for you and for my friends.

mbat said...

I think it is time I rejoined the fray.
Firstly, Ted, I'd love to hear the details of your personal beliefs, although this probably isn't the forum for it.
Lindsey, I will look into that book. That sounds very interesting; it might be worth me just buying it.
Anonymous, I think we all have a dose of narcissism. Who are you to say with certainity that my search will turn up nothing? We may be narcissistic atheists or agnostics or even just vaguely spiritual, but you are a narcissistic Christian. It's one thing to say because of your faith that you firmly believe that Christianity is the correct choice, but don't turn that into continual mockery of what I'm trying to do. I may very well conclude that Christianity is correct.
Anonymous, you can quote the Bible all you want, but I'm just going to have to disagree with you on some things. Doing good acts and trying to believe by spending time going to church makes someone a good individual in the eyes of Christianity. I would even argue that an atheist who is a virtuous person can still be a good individual to God. Assuming God exists, that person would be misguided, but not evil. (If God doesn't exist, that person would just be virtuous, which is a good thing in and of itself.)
And if you aren't trying to persuade, why are you trying to stir up the pot? You've already said you don't feel pity for us. Does calling us names make you feel stronger in your faith? If this is the case, my search has turned up one very important piece of information: I do not believe in whatever denomination you believe in. I'm just trying to figure out why you keep posting.
Lastly, whether or not you agree with anyone else here, your last post directed toward Ted was simply uncalled for. You can disagree with myself and others and even call me names, but I must insist you don't do likewise to other guests. If you want to call people names, make your own blog. You may be stirring the pot, but you're also being very unkind, and as I have said before I'm pretty sure that that isn't what Christianity is about. But I know you're going to keep calling us names anyway, even though it is against what Christianity teaches, so go ahead.

Anonymous said...

Stirred you all up again, didn't I? Knew I would. Simply because you all think you're right. Wow, we're very impressed that you Mr. Ted, have had a religious educational experience, and that all the rest of you had as well. But you may be a spiraling in the air here with your spiritual mumbo-jumbo! Just because you've had education in a religion doesn't mean anything. And by the way, I have as well.

To die without belief in God is to die without fear of judgment and without hope of resurrection. To die without God is to die utterly alone. To die without even the expectation of a religious funeral of any form is to die in the stark admission of unbelief. The secular view of life and death of many scholars in history represented an entire generation of European intellectuals and political figures. Deeply committed to atheism, agnosticism, existentialism, or Marxism, these intellectuals simply left no place for God in their worldview. They died without fear of God and without faith in God.

So death forces the most significant questions of life. To consider death -- particularly one's own death -- is to face the question of God, the question of life after death. But the decision must be made before we approach death. The decision to live for God is presently at hand. Vague spiritualism is ignorance combined with “well I really don’t know what I believe so I’ll just come up with my own belief system”. What a bunch of ignorant crap! And, sorry that’s the only word here!

Something has changed in American culture. What for years was a little-regarded belief system—atheism—has now gained a large, and increasing, national hearing through the writings of “new atheists” such as Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens. Totally misinformed and totally ignorant...I've read all four of these authors. There is a widespread belief that reason and faith are incompatible and opposed to each other. Faith is viewed as subjective, emotional, a crutch for those who find the real world too hard. Though many of the world’s finest minds hold this view, the Bible teaches that it is the ignorant person who says there is no God.

The defense of the faith is not a luxury or an intellectual vanity. It is a task appointed by God. I should be able to give a reason for the hope that is in me as I bear witness before the world. I'm tired of the atheists who promote their agendas. I'm tired of know-it-alls who think they have it all together. I'm tired of not defending my faith. And if you disagree with this, then who cares? Our majority is tired of spiritual vagueness. It's time to make some decisions. Choose whom you will serve this day! Think about it while you mislead hundreds of others!

Lindsey said...

Anonymous, I think you might need counseling.

mbat said...

To clarify, what you are practicing, anonymous, is not defense of your own faith; it's religious intolerance . No where have I called Christianity wrong. I've just called you wrong.

Ted said...

Once again, you misinterpret what I write to force your own agenda of intolerance. I'm beginning to think that you believe what you are doing here is actual debate.

Any half-competent debater knows that beginning an argument with name-calling and sarcasm instantly obliterates any good points you might make later. I'll point you to the wikipedia entry for Ad hominem and urge you to reconsider your writing style.

My comment about my religious education was written merely to let you know that we have already heard everything you have said and will say. That having been said, I enjoy how you could not come up with anything to say about the rest of my previous post. It's hard to argue with someone whose faith and beliefs are rooted in Love, isn't it?

Your plan of attack has consistently been to change the subject, to touch lightly on a wide variety of subjects, discount them on moral high ground, and move on, all the while insulting those around you. Is this how you have learned to argue with "non-believers"?

I'm curious...If it's not too much to ask, and since we're all sharing here, what brand of Christianity do you claim to subscribe to?

Lindsey said...

And just to clarify on my end, Anonymous: suggesting that you might need counseling wasn't meant to be insulting. (I've had counseling myself.) I just get the feeling that you're pretty lonely. I didn't make the suggestion because I think your religion is "crazy" - I don't have any problems with your religious beliefs -- but your interpersonal skills need work.

Anonymous said...

Lindsey, seems as if you are the only one with any sense here. Thanks for your sensitivity, even though I still don't agree with your vague spirituality. Ted and mbat, you will never change. Why can't you ever come to any decision on what you believe? Your lives must be completely dreary and routine. How miserable that must be!

mbat said...

I think it's kind of obvious why I haven't come to a decision. I'm 23. You show me any 23 year old who is sure about who they are, and I will show you a deluded 23 year old. I also think this is why you feel smug every you "stir us up again." I get the feeling you're a bit older, so not only do you have your faith to prove you right, but also "wisdom" to prove us young-folk wrong.
By the way we also get that you think we're miserable, dreary, lonely people. Actually, though, I'm not. I'm quite happy. This, however, is why I find it so hard to have a discussion with you. I pose a topic of discussion, and you resort to name calling and personal attacks. I want to know if you really think you're practicing defense of your faith, because from my view, you're not. You're being aggressive, dismissive, and intolerant. You ignore the obvious arguments and instead attack because you have run out of arguments. And we're going in circles. I propose we just both just make one general post and repost that same comment each time the other posts. That will save me a lot of time because I'm trying to respond to the same set of statements said a hundred different ways.

Anonymous said...

There are several 23 yr. olds who seem to be much more sound in their beliefs than you, so I would disagree. I can converse differently, but I will only converse in a different manner only if you can tell me five positive points about my posts. Please let me know. I will do likewise for your posts if you will do this for me.

Ted said...

Anonymous, what you don't get is that I have come to a decision about my faith. My decision is to practice love as much as possible and to see where God takes me. Just because my decision isn't the one you would choose for me doesn't mean it's wrong. It may be wrong for you, and I believe that it is, but it is where I feel I need to be. Why can't you accept this?

In fact, I think my life is the exact opposite of dreary and routine. I think this is partly due to the fact that I have a wonderful woman to share my life with, and partly due to the fact that I am not sure about what I believe. It gives me something to think about. How dreary and routine your life must be, knowing everything all the time. That simply sounds like an awful existence to me.

I, for one, would reject your "offer" of civility. If you need someone to make you feel better about yourself in order to behave like a human being, you have deeper problems than can be addressed in this forum.

Nice job on not addressing my post again, by the way (:

mbat said...

At first, I was so curious about how you would act I started thinking about five good things about your posts. I have decided against that though. You shouldn't be demanding a bribe to speak intelligently. You should do it of your own accord. I don't need five reasons why I sound like an intelligent person, because I know am one. Neither should you.
I also considered something while sitting in Mass today. What if you are an agent of the devil trying to turn me away from God? Pose as a Christian, yet be a very unpleasant person and act how I would never want to behave. It's the perfect strategy because it's working really well. Every time I converse with you I get a worse and worse taste in my mouth for religion. You are having the exact opposite effect you are going for. You want me to become just like you, but you are in fact turning me further and further away from your point of view. You're right when you say you aren't trying to persuade.

Anonymous said...

Mbat, I am not persuading you from trying to be a Christian. And I would never try to be a devil in disguise. I just have a very different way of responding. In fact, that is the opposite effect I am going for; however, you have not figured out my primary goal--trying to have you come away from yourself. Ted, there's really no hope for you, in my opinion, at this point. It seems as if you've settled in on your belief. It's very sad that you have chosen your own way, but if you decide to live your life your way, you possess free will. On the contrary, I believe there is hope for mbat, but it will run out soon. Christ will not keep knocking on the door of someone's heart until he totally surrenders to Him. Although mbat, I am impressed that you seem to be very intelligent. Ted, I'm not so sure of. I still would ask you mbat to point out five positive assets of the Christian life to me.

Anonymous said...

I may have been too harsh on Ted and Lindsey; although I will not back down on my personal beliefs, I ask you to do the same as Mbat. Can you give me five positive assets about my posts or about living the Christian life...You, especially, mbat! You have no idea where I'm going with this, but if you ride along, you may become more optimistic as we progress...

Ted said...

#1: "I would never try to be a devil in disguise" is just what a devil in disguise would say, and if you were in fact a tool of the devil, I am sure he would not let you in on it.

#2: The fact that you have given up hope for me appalls me, and strikes me as the least Christian thing you could possibly do. The fact that you think this might bother me is even worse. I have little enough opinion of your version of Christianity, your version of humanity, that your opinion is rendered null.

#3: How my intelligence has factored into this is beyond my ken, but you have yet again failed to address the points I have made. Does "ad hominem" ring a bell?

#4: No one is asking you to back down from your personal beliefs. We all (sincerely) respect your beliefs and your right to them, why can you not open your mind enough to do the same for us?

I know what I believe is not conventional or traditional, but I also know that I have been led to these beliefs by God, or Allah, or Vishnu, or who/whatever is out there. Just because what you believe is right for you does not mean it is right for all people, even if you believe that. I wish that you could see faith as I see it, because it is beautiful and calming and all-encompassing. In a word, it is LOVE.

With all my being, I wish that you would stop concerning yourself with the hows and whys of religion, and focus on the what, the purpose that we all strive our entire lives to understand. Then you can see that the journey itself IS the purpose. If we come to a point where we stop, where we no longer question the faith we had yesterday, why go on living? Do not search for an end, but strive to understand the means as you are experiencing it.

I don't know if this will make sense to you, if you will ignore it, or if you will pick it apart for its blasphemy. It doesn't matter. The very act of writing this has helped me reaffirm my life and my path. I truly felt the Spirit writing through me, and I am full of calm and peace.

My hope for you, Anonymous, is that it will help you understand me.

My hope for you, mBat, is that maybe something in it will speak to you, or at least we can find some time to talk elsewhere.

Peace.

Lindsey said...

Anonymous, I've been pondering your posts, and it seems that you have one of five possible motives:

1) You are seeking attention in a childish manner. (The attention you've received thus far has been negative, but I'd say you're succeeding.)

2) You are trying to persuade Battalio (and anyone else willing to listen) to embrace your brand of faith. Social psychology studies show that asking a person to argue for an opposing view in his or her own words can result in cognitive dissonance and eventual adoption of the opposing view. I suppose your repeated requests for "five positive things about your posts" could be an effort to use this psychological trick, and your professed motive to "help Battalio come away from himself" demonstrates persuasive intent.
You've stated, however, that you are "not trying to persuade your audience." At any rate, if persuasion is your motive, you should certainly realize by now that insults produce the opposite effect. Questioning Ted's intelligence in your recent posts was a silly and unwarranted move.

3) You are trying to defend your faith because you believe it is "a task appointed by God." Honestly, what's the point? Do you think so little of your God that your faith needs verbal defense? Shouldn't an exemplary life be defense enough? Besides, if your religious beliefs are correct and mine are incorrect, then God will fling me into the flames of Hell when I die. No effort necessary on your part. (Please don't quote Bible verses at me if defense is indeed your motive. I've read the Bible myself, and I'm more interested in your reasoning.) But let's set all this aside for a moment and remember that NO ONE IN THIS CONVERSATION HAS ATTACKED YOUR FAITH. We are all genuinely pleased that you find fulfillment within your chosen religion. We object, however, to your unwillingness to allow others to find fulfillment for themselves, and to your general lack of tact.

4) You are trying to persuade yourself of your own beliefs. Despite a distinct lack of receptivity among your audience, you continue to post. Self-persuasion seems highly plausible.

5) You are indeed an agent of Satan, trying to steer Battalio from the Path of Righteousness. Hey, I don't believe in Satan, but Battalio raised this as a possibility, so it seemed to warrant inclusion. I will say that you've certainly reminded me of some of the reasons I left organized religion.

I had considered posting five positive things about your writing, but after an evaluation of your possible motives, I don't think it would be worth the trouble. You're not planning to take your posts anywhere that would interest me.

If I don't post again, I hope life goes well for you. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

Both Ted and Lindsey, you seem to have reached some conclusion. I applaud you. As for mbat, we don't really know what he believes, as the hundreds of posts tell us.

To Ted and Lindsey, I really could care less whether or not you think I'm an agent of evil. I know what I believe, and I am trying to persuade you to surrender to Christ--not to your own "brand" of religion. If you believe, Ted, this is the work of an agent of evil, then you have jelly brains. This is not scriptural. Ted, you are apparently arrogant and much more full of yourself than mbat. Too bad this isn't Ted's blog. At least mbat has some logical points. Even though I disagree with his leaning toward agnosticism, I can sense struggle inside himself with what he believes; therefore, it is my moral obligation to persuade him to surrender himself and to cease the reasoning to try to find God. Do you think an agent of satan would try to persuade an agnostic to believe in Christ? Please, Ted, have you been displaced into the twilight zone? Your illogical nonsense is what some refer to as a logical disconnection of the self. In other words, you slowly are breaking away or rebelling from what you know is the truth. And you know the truth; you just won't admit it. I don't believe mbat is on the same path. He is in fact on the path to discovery, and I pray he finds the truth. The truth; Jesus referred to it, Ted; read about it Ted; it's in scripture. And you say, why not question the faith? Why would you question it if you are a believer? What provides you the authority to question God anyway? Perhaps it is to advance your own brand of religion. I'm sorry if you are offended, Ted. Well, I'm really not. A new right is now the central focus of legal, procedural, and cultural concern in many areas--a supposed right not to be offended. The cultural momentum behind this purported "right" is growing fast, and the logic of this movement has taken hold in many universities, legal circles, and interest groups. The notion of offendedness is highly emotive in character. In other words, those who now claim to be offended are generally speaking of an emotional state that has resulted from some real or perceived insult to their belief system or from contact with someone else's belief system. In this sense, being offended does not necessarily involve any real harm but points instead to the fact that the mere mention of the truth of the Gospel sparks something in people like you, Ted. I haven't insulted what you believe. I am persuading you to surrender to the version of Christianity to which I adhere. Not my brand of Christianity. But what the Holy Scripture teaches. And sure, I don't present the Gospel as lovingly as Jesus, but there is no time to argue with people who live to argue. I can come at you lovingly, but if you continue to argue, I begin with the hard truth, and that's what you can't take. And from this, you shutter. Americans are vacating progressive pews and flocking to churches that offer more traditional versions of Christianity. Most people go to church to get something they cannot get elsewhere. This consuming public--people who already believe, or who are attempting to believe, who want their children to believe--go to church to learn about the mysterious truth on which the Christian religion is built. They want the good news, Ted, not the minister's political views or intellectual coaching. The latter creates sprawling vacancies in the pews. Indeed, those empty pews can be considered the earthly reward for abandoning heaven, traditionally understood. Churches hoping to energize members by the use of faddish programs and slick motivational messages should think again. The real believers of God are not slumbering for lack of public relations and programming, Ted. They want truth!

As for you Lindsey, I won't let you loose here just yet. I would repeat the same to you as I did Ted. You have additionally subscribed to your own brand of "feel good" religion. You say you don't subscribe to a religion, but you do--your own version. Conversely, your brand of religion is not the truth nor does it align with the Holy Scriptures. I'm willing to argue this point if you can find any scriptures that will openly advocate what you believe. Or do you even believe in the Holy Scriptures? I actually just thought of that, hmmm.

Mbat, if you're confused, which I don't think you are, you seem logically intelligent enough to discourse through intelligent conversation. I can only relate to you the reality of Scripture. Jesus Christ Himself tells us that a relationship with Him will secure our divine appointment with Him and a glorious eternity to a place of peace and contentment. But reasoning out God won't cut it. You must choose truth or choose secularism/humanism, aka liberal nonsense. You have free will, you are keenly aware of this. As human beings, we cannot possibly understand ourselves by merely observing ourselves and our fellow humans. We are not autonomous creatures and our worth is not rooted in our own existence, or in any skill or quality we may possess or develop.
Instead, we find our worth in the knowledge that we are made in the image of God, and we find our health only in knowing Him and honoring Him. Of course, this is made possible only through the redemptive work of Christ, who willingly assumed human flesh and went to the cross as a demonstration of humility, not vainglorious self-esteem.

Anonymous said...

Another thing Ted, do you believe in an eternal separation from God for those who reject Christ? And you say the Spirit is speaking through you? What Spirit are you talking about? If you subscribe to your own brand of religion, then do you have a name for your Spirit entity? In my faith, the Holy Spirit speaks through us. But, scripture teaches that in order to possess the Holy Spirit, one must accept Jesus Christ as the true offerer of salvation, accepting freely His redemptive power to free us from damnation. You are extremely vague! Fill me in! Fill us all in!

Ted said...

I really don't know what you're reading into my posts on this blog, because I am none of the things you describe. If, however, it makes you feel like a stronger, more faithful Christian to call me names, who am I to stop you?

The answer to your question of whether I think an agent of satan would try to persuade someone to believe in Christ is yes, I do. I think it's pretty safe to say that satan is a crafty fellow. After all, he led Eve toward what he convinced her was good and right. It was, if you remember, not actually right. Also, remember that it was mBat who brought up the idea that you might be an agent of evil, not Lindsey or me.

If I remember correctly, and I do, Jesus calls Peter 'Satan' in Matthew 16:23. Here's a refresher: "But He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.'"

Peter, if you remember, had just told Jesus that he would not let him die. This is a natural reaction from a friend, but Jesus scolded him for his care and worry. Jesus' survival was better for his humanity (and for Peter, because who wants to lose a friend?), but Jesus' death was necessary to show his divinity.

You want mBat to choose the path you have chosen because you know in your heart that it is the right thing, just as Peter knew in his heart that Jesus should not die. Still, Peter was wrong. His humanity prevented him from seeing the path that God had laid out for Jesus. It was unconventional, yes, but it was what God required. Peter wasn't actually Satan, but his words were an evil influence on the mind of Jesus. If your words are an evil influence on mBat, then you surely are an agent of Satan.

You again misquote me. Maybe you're not reading what I post closely enough. I think I'll put all my questions in bold in case you just want to skip over the jelly-brained, logically disconnected parts.

Do you believe that religion and faith are the same thing?

Do you believe faith and God are the same thing?

If you answered 'yes' to the first one, then there's your first problem. You have been so deluded your entire life that you believe faith and religion are one and the same. Lindsey, for example, does not subscribe to a religion. She does, however, have a faith, a spirituality, that suits her. We can have a more in-depth discussion of faith vs. religion if you feel we need to.

If you answered 'yes' to the second question, there are much deeper problems at work. You said, "Why would you question [faith] if you are a believer? What provides you the authority to question God anyway?" This leads me to believe that you are confusing faith and God. This is not correct. Questioning what I believe and how I practice that belief is an integral part of my spiritual life. Questioning what I believe IN is not. There's a difference, though it is subtle.

Can you see the difference?

I thought it was clear that when I said the Spirit, I meant the Spirit of God, call it the Holy Spirit, call it what you will. Believe it or not, I am a Christian. I do not believe or practice as you do, but I am (hard to believe, isn't it?). Anyway, I have a hard time believing that the Holy Spirit has anything to do with you, considering the way you interact with others.

I do hope that you can find a way to have civilized discussion. We, or at least I, value your opinions, just not your method of delivery.

Are you still hanging around, mBat? I'd like to know your perspective on what's been going on lately. The last thing I want is for this to turn (any more than it already has) into a theological bloodbath between me and our friend Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Ted, you have just confirmed your arrogance to me and to the world. Hypermodern America has become a collectivity of "spiritualities" even as the contours of American culture become increasingly secularized. How is this possible? The emergence of spirituality as an alternative to historic Christianity is itself a product of secularism--offering universal "meaning" without doctrine, truth, or specific content. This, Ted, is what you seek to promote to us, and I will vehemently oppose it in the name of Jesus Christ.

To address your points:
1. Satan is crafty, yes, I do agree. But Satan cannot convince a non-believer to convert to Christianity. In fact, he does exactly the opposite. So your point has absolutely no validity here. I would assume that a person with your intelligence would understand this. For you to say I am an agent of evil shows your complete ignorance. I am actually the one who does not subscribe to my own "brand" of religion as you. I subscribe to the truth of the holy scriptures. And if you don't like this, then well, in my opinion, your "religion" is wrong. And by the way, your reference to St. Peter in scripture does not correlate to anything here. I assume you just threw that in to make us think you possess some coherence or are intelligent.

2. To respond to your bold questions, religion and faith are not similar, and they never have been. I possess faith. I do not possess religion. My faith requires me to attend services frequently, but my religion does not eternally secure my soul. God and faith are not the same either. Why are you even asking this, by the way? This is a blatantly ignorant question.

3. To address, your last point, if you are a Christian, why do you subscribe to your own belief system? Don't you follow the holy scriptures to lead the progression of your life? Actually, I follow the Holy Spirit and the holy scriptures as a Christian. If you have been confirmed or have accepted Christ as the Savior of the world, then you follow Him. You don't follow your self. So, to respond to you, you haven't totally surrendered to the Lord Himself. So you "play" religion. You attend church. You act the part, but deep inside, your personal relationship with Christ is not there. There is a hole in your heart that only He can fill. Just as I told mbat, until you surrender completely to Him, you will never find Him. Why do I have to repeat this constantly? Why can't you ever get it? You, Ted, are on a road to nowhere. Your form of contemporary thinking is a form of secular humanism based on the rejection of God and the worship of the self. This newly-packaged positive-thinking spirituality is made for the empty souls of our postmodern age. Your brand of thinking promises meaning without truth, acceptance without judgment, and fulfillment without self-denial. Oh, I can believe "anything I want". This is not scriptural, Ted. And you know this.

So to sum up,
In truth, the vagueness of your statements undermines any claim to make a serious intellectual argument. But I have to give you credit because you have made me think. Call me hardheaded, but I just don't see reaching out to people who identify themselves as being "spiritual". We have a choice, and the choice is in black and white. It's the truth. You have a free will to accept it or not. Liberal thinkers will have to make their own decisions, and they are certainly not going to look to me for spiritual advice. Nevertheless, I have more respect for a clear-headed secularist than for someone who espouses this kind of mind-numbing relativism. If spirituality simply means a "susceptibility to ideals," does it even matter what those ideals are? (Lindsey, are you reading this? I hope so!) In reality, it isn't really such a mystery after all. Spirituality is all that is left when truth claims are removed. Spirituality represents little more than an effort to claim higher "values" without the demands of truth, revelation, and obedience. Of all people, Christians should be the first to see this for what it is--an effort to replace the Christian faith with an empty "spiritual" shell. And Ted, since you claim to be a Christian, I don't see why you don't see this!...Biblical Christianity is profoundly spiritual--but Christian spirituality is an expression of Christian truth, not its substitute. And this, my friend, is the truth...

Anonymous said...

Mbat, I feel the need to address you again as well...

Sadly, evangelicals are now debating the central doctrine of Christian theism. The question is whether evangelicals will affirm and worship the sovereign and purposeful God of the Bible, or shift their allegiance to the limited God of the modern mega-shift. Belief in God's absolute knowledge has united theologians in the evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions. Denials of divine omniscience have been limited to heretical movements. Even where Calvinists and Arminians have differed on the relationship between the divine will and foreknowledge, they have stood united in affirming God's absolute, comprehensive, and unconditional knowledge of the future. The greatest moral question hanging over America's increasingly secular culture is this: Can we be good without God? You, mbat, have speculated about this question on many occasions in your posts. Secularization is now pressed to the limits by ideological secularists bent on removing all vestiges of the Judeo-Christian heritage from the nation's culture. They will not stop until every aspect of Christian morality is supplanted by the new morality of the postmodern philosophers--a morality with no absolutes, and without God. According to the new American secular orthodoxy, no reference to God or faith--no matter how vague or distant--is allowable in public conversation, much less in governmental policy making. The end result is a total collapse of moral conversation. All that is left is moral nonsense with endless debates going nowhere in particular, except away from Christianity.

The point I'm trying to make here mbat, is for the importance of Christianity in our lives today--as well as the importance of your accepting the gift Christ has provided for us freely through His suffering on Calvary. But can Americans be good without God? Can we even entertain the fiction that citizens can create a totally secular morality? Nonsense. There is no secular morality of any substance. If God is dead, everything is permissible. There is no reason for right or for you to help the old lady down the street who dropped her grocery bags. Welcome to post-Christian America. All the rules are off--it's everyone for himself. Write your own rules, find your own way, just be sure to leave God out of it. St. Paul wrote to the church at Rome, warning that
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God has been made plain to them"--Romans 1:18. God is not mocked, and He will not be mocked. He will also not stand and wait for people to make decisions whether or not to serve Him.

In essence, mbat, never has the world stood in such need of the Christian counter-revolution. Living out Jesus' teachings, we must show the world how to live a different way--a way for which the only explanation is the unconditional lordship of Jesus Christ. We're not perfect, though, and sometimes we can be very hard-headed and blunt. But the Christian life is worth living. It is a life of endless opportunity, positive thinking, and the filtering out of energy vampires (those who suck the very positiveness and kindness out of your being). Think about accepting this life. Don't adhere to your own brand of religion.

Ted said...

Anonymous, your continued insults toward me are having no effect on me, I assure you. What they are doing is showing that "true Biblical Christians" such as yourself have no sense of decency. You say that there is no moral compass without belief in a God, but NEVER have I encountered someone who goes to such extravagant lengths to insult people. And this from someone who claims to be a Christian.

You completely misunderstood my Biblical reference if you thought it had no bearing. Anyone else reading this blog would think differently. My point was not that Satan would try to lead someone to Christianity. That is extremely narrow-minded and self-serving. My point was that your Christian extremism, the way you carry yourself, the way you treat others, is SURE to drive people away from what you believe.

I do not like you. You are, from what I can see, an awful person. Not an awful Christian, not an awful evangelist, not an awful believer, but an awful person. Rather than show love toward your fellow man (I point you to Mark 12:28-31, especially 31), you degrade him, try to make him feel worthless, exalting yourself over others as more righteous. How is this Biblical? Please, if you can tell me that, you win.

Your claim that there can be no morality without God is utterly false. Just completely, totally wrong.

If one of us is arrogant, sir, it is you. I have written about nothing but love, which, according to Jesus, is the highest goal. You have written about nothing but strident, ignorant, lemming-like following of the dogmas taught to you by your parents and your pastor. Sounds a lot like Pharisaic hypocrisy to me.

I wonder if you will ever see the harm you are doing to your cause, your faith, and your God.

Anonymous said...

Your points are pointless, as usual, Ted. First, I did not misunderstand your reference to scripture. It just didn't make any sense and did not correlate into any part of your argument. In addition, I could really care less if my arguments are or are not having an effect on you, and I certainly don't care if you like me or not. I'm just here to tell you the truth. Not my brand of truth. The truth of Scripture. And you are wrong again. I tell you for at least the third time already, what is the point in being good if you don't believe in a higher power? If you can answer this question logically, I'm up for the discussion. I'll certainly let you know what I believe regarding this question. Can you though? If you exude sound logic, let us know. Arguing for the sake of arguing...Is this your life's mission? Once again, you can't take the truth. Let's see if you can logically discuss the question with me, and I am quite intelligent enough to discuss it with you I can guarantee you this...

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, where are Lindsey, Wesley and mbat? Must have hard-hit a nerve somewhere? Or did I make you question something? HMMMM...

Wesley said...

You have not heard from me because I see how badly you are losing this argument even without my intervention - my friends are not in danger of being converted to your hateful beliefs. I only interject now to confirm that you have not offered any new evidence that has made me reconsider my viewpoint. I also offer the following in order to lower the workload of my friends.

1. The reason nothing you have said makes me reconsider my beliefs is that my beliefs are based on reason. Unless you offer some new evidence of which I am unaware (which you haven't done), I will not reconsider them. To remind you and all other readers, you are not a reasonable person; you have already admitted in a thread on a previous post that faith (which is the opposite of reason) is your only tool in argument. Despite being offered compelling and plausible theories for the natural existence of the universe and the world around you that do not involve supernatural beings, you have already stated that you instead believe in the laughably unlikely spontaneous existence of a super-being capable of simultaneously controlling and monitoring every atom in the universe. If you have since rebuilt your delusions of being reasonable, please go and reread the previous thread in which you admitted that you were not.

2. Since you don't seem to understand why you are being repeatedly accused of being an agent of your Satan, I will explain. In your worldview, Satan would try to sway people from faith in your God. Regardless of the intentions you claim to have, that is the effect you are having on mbat with your abrasive nature, ad hominem tactics, and lack of reason in your posts. You are being accused of being a particularly crafty agent of your Satan who claims to be trying to convert mbat, but actually intends to force him away from your God with your methods.

3. Another frequent misunderstanding in your posts is that there is no morality without belief in a higher power. This belief has been studied from philosophical, social, psychological, and biological angles and has been found to be incorrect in all cases. Let me enlighten you.

Philosophical
The arguments from this angle are too numerous to enumerate and I cannot expect you to gain a background in philosophy overnight. But if you have some free time, I point you in the direction of Plato, Locke, Kant, Hobbes, and Nietzsche. Arguments for morality without god from philosophy are so well-established, in fact, that they are covered in almost all theological seminaries.

Social
The most atheist countries in the world are Sweden, Denmark, and Norway (each with >70% of the population being Atheist). The percentage of the population of these countries that are in prison are, respectively, 0.075%, 0.070%, and 0.065%. The three most Christian countries in the world are the United States, Brazil, and Mexico. The percentage of population of these countries that are in prison are, respectively, 0.714%, 0.183%, and 0.182%. Apparently, being a so-called "Christian nation" gives us 10x more people in prison as compared to an "Atheist nation." Furthermore, atheists/agnostics are vastly under-represented in prisons worldwide, with some studies putting the percentage of atheists in world prisons as low as 0.05% (they comprise 10%-20% of the population). If atheists/agnostics are so amoral, why aren't more of them in prison?

Psychological
Jean Piaget conducted experiments with children playing the game of marbles. His experiments show that even before children learn religion, they understand fairness and want to be accepted by their peers. In short, before children know about belief in a higher power, they will play by the rules of marbles and show remorse if they cheat. Kohlberg's stages of moral development reinforce this idea. Another conclusion of Kohlberg's work is that even in the absence of fairness-reinforcement from peers, children can learn morality from stories. While this might come in the form of Bible stories, it could just as easily be Aesop's fables or fairy tales.

Biological
Altruism and morality are valuable evolutionary behaviors that have, due to their value, been propagated among all higher lifeforms (including humans). The mechanism of this propagation is that humans and animals are more likely to sacrifice for another when that other is of similar genetic makeup (a child, sibling, or parent). Consequently, even if a child dies while saving its brothers and sisters, the moral tendency is passed on. Furthermore, one who has served others and lived is more likely to receive aid when in need (and more likely to live and pass on its genes). Examples of morality in animals are common. Vampire bats, who must drink blood every night to survive, will feed their peers who did not find prey and are in danger of starving. Primates understand fairness - the entire group will refuse to cooperate when different members are given unequal rewards for the same task. In the insect world it's even more common, with entire castes of ants, bees, and termites gladly fighting to the death to preserve the workers, queen, and eggs. None of these animals believe in a higher power, yet they show moral behavior.

4. You continually criticize Lindsey and Ted for choosing the beliefs by which they live. I happen to not agree with either of them, but they have at least shown the intellecutal capacity and responsibility to decide what they believe; you have shown neither. Your beliefs were decided long ago by the first of your ancestors tricked into abandoning reason for supernatural explanation. Since then, your beliefs have been passed down generation by generation through childhood indoctrination. This is one of the many horrific aspects of religion and one clear example of the superiority of atheism. Every atheist shows the responsibility to live by the beliefs he or she crafts. To paraphrase Dan Barker, atheists choose not to be second-class citizens of this universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind.

Anonymous said...

Oh, such crap, Wesley. Let me begin by affirming that you are now the most arrogant person in this entire blog system. Actually, you have beaten Ted for the prize. Congratulations! You will be awarded a gold Easter bunny. Oh, I'm sorry, you don't believe in Easter. We'll just award you a gold atheist bunny.

To argue your nonsense:
If I were losing this argument, why would you bother posting with me anyway? If you won, then what's the bother? Your trying to convert mbat and Ted and Lindsey to atheism is despicable, and I denounce it in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. People as yourself are comparable to leeches. You also are comparable to energy vampires, who suck living hope out of beings you encounter. If I have anything to do with this, your comments spread light on nothing. Nothing! Nothing! I understand your kind. You're the typical college instructor who has nothing else to do but mouth off your agenda to people who are being convicted by the Holy Spirit.

So on with the argument, which you will not win...
"laughably unlikely spontaneous existence of a super-being capable of simultaneously controlling and monitoring every atom in the universe"--you really thought you could spear me with this one from your Jell-O brains. Once again, I am not an agent of evil, as some of you wish to characterize me as. And I will not argue this point again. I will argue point number three, no morality without a higher power. You atheists are vehemently opposed to the Christian agenda, so tell me this...why would you desire to be moral? Is it because of the law? Are you afraid of something?

Secularists start with a basic commitment to a naturalistic universe. Humans are thus an evolved species who must find some way to organize themselves into meaningful units, limit their behavior, direct their energies, and pass the world on to the next generation. Marriage and the family unit were developed by human social evolution over time, and are therefore negotiable. Morality is a product of human experience, and will thus change over time. Human beings are autonomous individuals who have a right to define themselves and determine their own destiny. Limitations on individual freedom must be very few, and authorities are necessary evils that must always be questioned. Christians, on the other hand, are committed to a supernatural worldview, which starts with the purposeful creation of the universe by God. Human beings are a special creation of God, made in His own image, and are granted important privileges, responsibilities, and gifts which are to be used to God's glory. Morality is determined by the divine Lawgiver, who has addressed His human creatures with His Word and command. God created institutions such as marriage for example for our good, and the institutions are not negotiable or to be subjected to human social engineering. Human beings are granted rare freedoms by God, but among these is no freedom to determine our own destiny or existence. We are limited in the exercise of our freedoms by God's intention and command. God, the ultimate authority, has also instituted human authorities for our common good. Morality is not merely a human product, but the revelation of God. Truth never changes, and morality is not relative. Morality is not correlated with the non-believer. (And if you can argue this one, I'd like to see it...) Evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins stated in an interview: “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question." The interviewer wrote, regarding the Hitler comment, "I was stupefied. He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."
In addition, there is the historical matter of deceit being used in a major way to propagate atheism from the time of Charles Darwin onward plus the issue of of atheistic ideology of communism being involved in the greatest mass murder of mankind in world history. Atheists and agnostics in America were more likely (and this is research-based, Mr. Wesley), than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior, and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality. Given the many diseases associated with homosexuality, the Bible prohibition against homosexuality is quite arguably one of the many examples where the Bible exhibited knowledge that was ahead of its time. British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said that "Outside human desires there is no moral standard." Ayer believed that moral commands did not result from any objective standard above man. Instead, Ayer stated that moral commands merely express one's subjective feelings. When one says that murder is wrong, one is merely saying that he or she feels that murder is wrong. Jean-Paul Sartre, a French existentialist, believed that there is no objective meaning to life. Therefore, according to Sartre, man must create his own values. But if he doesn't, then who's to say he should? I've read J.P. Sartre, and he is no role-model for sure, Wesley.

Why should believers welcome atheism? Why not? We should be glad that there are people, even the devil's disciples, who take religion seriously enough to attack it, especially in these days when God seems to appear only in quarrels over holiday displays, during political campaigns or on the self-help shelves of Barnes & Noble. And I suspect God argue for His cause too, if he thought ads on the sides of buses or atheist thoughts for the day were as worthy of his time as helping people find meaning in their lives and peace in their souls.
Sweet-talking liberal theology easily can talk you into affirming that some abomination (divorce, abortion, euthanasia, adultery, gay marriage) is, actually, included within the broad reach of Christian love. And the Roman Catholic church actually maintains its statements on these issues. And, Ted, you are so "loving". Your Christianity may include this, but mine doesn't. This doesn't mean I despise people who engage in these acts, I don't condone the sin. In your world, Ted, and Mr. Wesley, and Lindsey, it would be positively un-Christian to think ill of that "abomination." You should be ashamed you ever thought it was wrong. Are you a bigot or something?--this is the question I will get asked. No, we're just angry that Christianity has been so inclusive to accept sin. Sin that has sneaked into the church.

In conclusion, I was not tricked into my belief system. I CHOSE IT, Mr. Jell-O brains Wesley! And I do mean you are Jell-O brains, perhaps lemon flavor! Lemon jello you can actually see through. I'm sure we can see through your brain as well. Choosing faith is different from being tricked into it. In a universe with God as traditionally defined, how is humanity meaningfully different from common animals? One of the core tenets of Christianity, especially the fundamentalist variety, is that God is morally perfect and that humans, by contrast, are not merely imperfect but so imperfect as to be morally worthless, such that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"--Is. 64:6-- in God's sight. If our moral condition compared to God is so abysmal, then even assuming that we are morally different than simple animals, such a difference must surely fade to insignificance when compared against the moral perfection of God. What value could we have then other than that which God arbitrarily assigned to us? And even this would not truly be our own, nor should the assignment of such value be a source of comfort of hope, as God might change his mind at any time. Let me remind you Wesley, that according to traditional Christian doctrine, all morality proceeds from God's will and the Bible. God is considered the supreme authority on the nature of that will, so any appeal to a moral standard beyond God's will or the Bible by a traditional Christian is tantamount to blasphemy.

It is true that the theory of evolution teaches that totally natural processes can explain the universe. However, there are good reasons for rejecting atheistic evolution and for believing in the Biblical doctrine of creation.
For example, astronomical observations indicate that the universe has not always existed but came into being apparently out of nothing. These observations match the teachings of the Bible that also indicate that God created the universe out of nothing. In addition, the fossil record which many evolutionists site as the strongest evidence for their theory is, in fact, one of its greatest weaknesses. While many extinct species can be seen in the fossil record, even evolutionists admit that there is little evidence of intermediately life forms. The fossil record has not supported the theory of evolution by providing evidence of gradual changes from one species to another. On the contrary, new species appear suddenly and fully formed in the fossil record. Far from disproving the existence of God, scientific discoveries have made belief in the existence of God more plausible.
The more science learns about the complexity and sophistication of creation the harder it is to believe that it all happened by chance. For example, science has discovered that one strand of DNA can carry the same amount of information as a volume of an encyclopedia. No one coming upon an encyclopedia volume in a forest would assume that random forces and elements had produced it by chance. Such a conclusion would be rejected as totally implausible.

Yet, the atheists, like you Wesley, offer the same kind of implausible conclusion when they are confronted with the amount of information contained in one DNA molecule. Belief in the existence of God requires faith, but recent scientific discoveries have revealed that theism does not require as much faith as atheism.

The existence of God has not been disproved. Philosophy, psychology, and science have been unable to prove that there is no God. While it takes faith to believe in God, this faith is reasonable and logical.

Anonymous said...

And you still think you're so smart, Wesley, don't you?

Ted said...

Anonymous, why are you here, involved in this discussion? At first it seemed that you were trying to get mBat to see your way of thinking and embrace it. This is respectable, and completely reasonable for someone like you.

Lately, however, you have become increasingly embroiled in minutiae, and have resorted to third-grade name-calling (Jello-O brains? really?). You have become laughable. In fact, the reason we keep you along is because we think it's so funny. Because of the way you have acted here, we will NEVER come to your way of thinking, EVER.

For your reference, Wesley is doing the exact same thing you are doing, only better. His well-reasoned, educated arguments do so much more for his cause than your lemon jello extremism does for yours. Also, your little quips about having touched a nerve are the funniest. The reason people may not post for a few days is because we have actual LIVES and FRIENDS.

Your continued rejection of our efforts to explain why you come across as an agent of evil shows just how ignorant and arrogant you are. If anyone actually listened to you, you would most certainly be a stumbling block (look back at Matthew 16:23, please), and therefore, an agent of evil.

No one will stop you from contributing to this blog, unless mBat deems it necessary, of course. If you choose to keep at your foolish, pointless arguments, be aware that we are galvanized toward you. In closing, I offer you the following: We are rubber, and you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off of us and sticks to you.

Wesley said...

You are incorrect that "even evolutionists admit that there is little evidence of intermediately [sic] life forms." I'm an evolutionist, and I do not admit this. In fact, a 1990s survey of the British Royal Society of Science found that only 3.3 percent believed in God. In America, only 7 percent of the American National Academy of Sciences believe in God. In both studies, the most often reason cited was that natural theories completely explain the physical world, and God is unnecessary. Your assertion that evolutionists admit that there is little evidence of "intermediately" life forms is inaccurate. Furthermore, if you do not believe in evolution, you are showing a tremendous capacity to ignore data and reason - you are either stupid or misinformed.

Also, your analogy concerning an encyclopedia in the forest being attributed to chance is not applicable. Atheists are not saying that one day, by chance, the exact right combination of elements conglomerated in the exact right proportion to create human DNA. What they are saying is that proteins and amino acids formed from natural processes (which they have been observed in the lab to do), which, in turn, randomly coallated into self-replicating strands (which scientists are coming close to being able to reproduce). At that point, evolution took over and gradually formed DNA as we know it today by the inherent optimization of this process.

However, even if I were saying that a human had popped into existence fully formed, that would STILL require less faith to believe than God. To reiterate your own argument:

1. DNA is too complex to have just popped into existence by random chance.
2. Therefore, God must have created it.
3. But wait, God is a super-duper-omnipotent-invisible-omniscient dude. That is WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY more complex than a prebiotic protein strand. So God couldn't have just popped into existence either.
4. Nevermind, I'm going back to believing the random DNA change thing from step 1.

After step 3, we're forced to choose between one unlikely scenario (the spontaneous random creation of prebiotic life) or one INFINITELY MORE UNLIKELY SCENARIO (the spontaneous random creation of an omnipotent God). It takes far more faith to swallow this second whale of an explanation than it does the first; you are incorrect that atheism requires more faith.

Furthermore, I don't know why you're arguing this point again - you've already lost this argument in the previous thread. Please reread it if you've forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Ted, you are laughable as well. Actually, I really don't care if you ever come to my side anyway. Do you think I lose any sleep over this? Yeah, right, like you really have a life! What a boring one yours must be, "trying" to be consistently intelligent, yet, "screwed" up totally. You may have some friends, but I can bet they're just like you--people who argue for the simple sake of argument. So I assume I can call you "linguini" brains now! Come to think of it now, do you even have a brain? And your last quote, oh my, so funny! You threw that one in there for your friends to see, didn't you? Well, I have an additional quote for you...
"It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid."
-George Bernard Shaw
I found this one for you, Ted. What do you think?

For you Wesley, you still make no logical points. Actually, I'm not the one who has lost the arguments. I think you should re-read and ponder over the following:

I've read some of Dr. Michael Denton's works, and he is a popular molecular biologist. From what I read, he concluded: "Alongside the level of ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even our most advanced [twentieth century technology appears] clumsy. . . . It would be an illusion to think that what we are aware of at present is any more than a fraction of the full extent of biological design. In practically every field of fundamental biological research ever-increasing levels of design and complexity are being revealed at an ever-accelerating rate."

Even the world-renowned crusader for Darwinism and atheism, Richard Dawkins, whom I have read also, states that
"We have seen that living things are too improbable and too beautifully “designed” to have come into existence by chance."
Since you all are such Dawkins experts, how do you respond?

In science, Wesley, we can now therefore deduce that the huge amount of information in living things must originally have come from an intelligence, which had to have been far superior to ours, as scientists are revealing every day. But then, some will say that such a source would have to be caused by something with even greater information/intelligence.
However, if they reason like this, one could ask where this greater information/intelligence came from? And then where did that one come from . one could extrapolate to infinity, forever, unless. Unless there was a source of infinite intelligence, beyond our finite understanding. But isn't this what the Bible indicates when we read, "In the beginning God"? The God of the Bible is an infinite being not bound by limitations of time, space, knowledge, or anything else. Many people, including many important and well-respected scientists, just don't want there to be anything beyond nature. They don't want a supernatural being to affect nature, no matter how brief or constructive the interaction may have been. In other words, they bring an a prior philosophical commitment to their science that restricts what kinds of explanations they will accept about the physical world. Sometimes this leads to rather odd behavior.
ODD BEHAVIOR--this will explain Ted! Because, man, he is odd! Don't we all agree?

The crux of the matter is this: If one accepts there is a God who created us, then that God also owns us. He thus has a right to set the rules by which we must live. In the Bible, He has revealed to us that we are in rebellion against our Creator. Because of this rebellion called sin, our physical bodies are sentenced to death—but we will live on, either with God, or without Him in a place of judgment.

But the good news is that our Creator provided, through the cross of Jesus Christ, a means of deliverance for our sin of rebellion, so that those who come to Him in faith, in repentance for their sin, can receive the forgiveness of a Holy God and spend forever with their Lord.

Thus, even the most ardent atheist concedes that design is all around us. To a Christian, the design we see all around us is totally consistent with the Bible's explanation that God created all.
The Christian faith is not a blind faith; it is a logically defensible faith. This is why the Bible makes it clear that anyone who does not believe in God is without excuse:

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" Romans 1:20.

Ted said...

Actually, I put that last line in there as a test, because it seems to be the only way I can get you to actually read what I write. Let me tell you brother, you passed with flying colors.

You still didn't answer my straight question of why you are here.

I guess you don't see that comparing people's brains to food is childish, and not a useful tool for argument. Hm.

You didn't use quotations correctly in your post.

So you care if mBat comes over, but not me? Interesting. Reaching for the seemingly low-hanging apples, are we?

I'd like to refer you to something you said earlier. To quote, "And, Ted, you are so 'loving'. Your Christianity may include this, but mine doesn't." Now, I hope I don't have to point you to the numerous Bible verses concerning love. Aw heck, I'll jot down a few anyway.

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Colossians 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

[And my personal favorite]
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

To me, this means that you are not a Christian at all. You claim to worship a God who IS love, yet love is not included in your faith? Remember, these are your words, not mine. I can also conclude from comparing these verses to your behavior that you are a child, since you have not put away childish things (jello/linguini brains, per exemplum).

There are now two options: You were wrong, or you are not a Christian. Your own Bible has made this abundantly clear.

Which is it?

Anonymous said...

Believe me, I read everything you write, and I have to take a pill to get through it. You are so very intelligent, Ted. Congratulations. And congratulations for quoting scripture. I'm impressed. I will let you know again that you have nothing to argue. Your points are pointless. How can I argue with something that you've grasped from the air? Since you have your own "brand of religion", from where do you reference your opinions or beliefs? If you could let me in on that, oh, that would be fantastic!

Wesley said...

Michael Denton is the author of the book "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" and it is from that book that your quote is taken. Michael Denton is not the average biologist (as indicated by your using him as an example of the typical biologist viewpoint). He is credited by some as starting the intelligent design movement. Furthermore, if you knew anything about one of the founders of your intelligent design movement, you would know that he has since recanted his objections to the theory of evolution. He has, in fact, written a second book entitled "Nature's Destiny" which says that the problems he saw with evolutionary theory have since been explained. He has also renounced his affiliation with that prominent intelligent design group, the Discovery Institute.

Michael Denton's views are not representative of the majority of evolutionary biologists, or even educated people in general. This is shown by the studies I previously posted. You still have not responded to these studies, which indicate that over 90% of the finest scientific minds in the world actually do believe in evolution and don't believe in a god. This is in direct opposition to your claim that "even evolutionists admit that there is little evidence of intermediately [sic] life forms."

Neither does your quote from Richard Dawkins support your claim that "even the most ardent atheist concedes that design is all around us," since this is an obvious misquote. Did you notice that "design" is in quotations? Let me give you his full quote: "We have seen that living things are too improbable and too beautifully 'designed' to have come into existence by chance. How, then, did they come into existence? The answer, Darwin's answer, is by gradual, step- by-step transformations from simple beginnings, from primordial entities sufficiently simple to have come into existence by chance. Each successive change in the gradual evolutionary process..."

Also, let me quote your "reasoning" from the final paragraphs of your above post to comic effect. I take the first and last sentences, and omit the rest. This quotation of yours is so good, that I'm going to have to submit it to Fundies Say the Darndest Things.

"The crux of the matter is this: If one accepts there is a God who created us ... [several paragraphs of reasoning omitted] ... the Christian faith is not a blind faith; it is a logically defensible faith. This is why the Bible makes it clear that anyone who does not believe in God is without excuse" - Anonymous

Ted said...

So you do not deny that you are not a Christian? Interesting...

Then let it be known that Anonymous is in fact not a Christian, as has been proven by the book on which he has based all of his previous arguments. By virtue of this fact, I hereby pronounce all words typed by Anonymous, henceforth and forthwith, to be null and void.

And if my points are so pointless, as you say, why can you not formulate a reasonable defense against them? Ignoring the truth just because you don't like it doesn't make it go away.

P.S. - My beliefs are rooted in Christianity. I believe that I am a true Christian and you are the fraud. Perhaps I should be trying to convert you...HMMMMMM...

Anonymous said...

Ha, Ted. Still your antics are hilarious. You can argue til the cows come home, and you're still not right. You enjoy arguing, I'm beginning to see now. You probably have done this your entire life; and it's probably why no one really cares for your company. Ever wondered why? Doesn't take a psychiatrist to figure this out. And, Yes, Ted, I can say with authority, that I am a Christian. And I'm proud to be one. Take a look at yourself, Mr. Ted.

As for you Wesley, nowhere in my research has stated that Denton has recanted anything regarding his views of evolution. And just because he dis-affiliates with a certain group does not mean he has recanted his judgments. Michael Denton's views may not be representative of the majority of evolutionary biologists, but for educated people, you have no proof to back this up. And the studies you previously posted, a believer could logically argue with you the invalidity of these studies. In fact, we have to know who actually performed them. Have you ever thought of this?

The study you say that puts over 90% of the finest scientific minds in the world actually believing in evolution and don't believe in a god is very difficult to swallow. You must have pulled this one out of the air.

Let's discuss Dawkins for a moment, if you will...In his own twist, Dawkins argues that belief in God is simply a by-product of some other evolutionary mechanism. He suggests that one possible source of belief in God(understood in purely physicalist and natural terms) is the need for the brains of children to accept on faith the teachings of their elders. Thus, he argues that evolution may have "psychologically primed" the human brain for some form of belief in God. Nevertheless, whatever function this may have served the process of evolution in the past, Dawkins now believes that it has become a dangerous liability. He even allows that "we can retain a sentimental loyalty to the cultural and literary traditions" of organized religion, "and even participate in religious rituals such as marriages and funerals." Nevertheless, all this must be done without buying into the supernatural beliefs that historically went along with those traditions." Further on in his book he says that "We can give up belief in God while not losing touch with a treasured heritage." All this raises more questions than Dawkins answers. If belief in God is so intellectually ridiculous, Mr. Wesley, why would anyone want to retain the traditions associated with these beliefs? Why does Dawkins acknowledge that all this amounts to "a treasured heritage?" It must be because, in the end, even Richard Dawkins is not as much of an atheist as he believes himself to be!!!!! If Dawkins is so certain that theism is dead, why would he devote so much of his time and energy to opposing it? A man who is genuinely certain that Christianity is passing away would feel no need to write a 400-page book in order to urge its passing. This, Mr. Wesley (and mbat), is why Dawkins is ridiculously ignorant!

The evolutionary worldview of Darwinism, based in purely materialistic and naturalistic explanations of all phenomena, leaves no room for transcendent meaning, human dignity, morality, or hope. Most evolutionary change in the features of organisms, moreover, is almost certainly the result of natural selection. But we must also remember that, like all scientific truths, the truth of evolution is provisional: it could conceivably be overturned by future investigations. It is possible (but unlikely!) that we could find human fossils co-existing with dinosaurs, or fossils of birds living alongside those of the earliest invertebrates 600 million years ago. Either observation would sink neo-Darwinism for good and your agenda, Wesley.

The house of evolution is crumbling down. Its various theorists are increasingly at war with each other over the basic question of how evolution is supposed to work, and its materialistic and naturalistic foundation is becoming increasingly clear. The evolutionists tenaciously hold to their theory on the basis of faith and as an axiom of their worldview.
In other words, you have no idea what your theories are and how they work!

So again, I refute the very heart of atheism and all nonsense in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I denounce it in its entirety.

Have you read any of Lee Strobel's books? You should. There's plenty of evidence arguing what you believe as complete nonsense. Try a book by Jonathan Wells as well, or Hoyle (very good). Famed researcher Sir Fred Hoyle is in agreement with Creationists also. He has reportedly said that supposing the first cell originated by chance is like believing
"a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein."
The notion that the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on the earth is evidently nonsense of a high order. Many, if not most, origin-of-life researchers now agree with Hoyle that life could not have originated by chance or by any known natural processes. Many evolutionists are now searching for some theoretical force within matter which might push matter toward the assembly of greater complexity. Most creationists believe this is doomed to failure, since it contradicts the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. You arguing atheists! Sounds like Ted again. Oh, he claims to be a Christian, I forgot! I would swear he was an atheist! LOL!

During all recorded human history, there has never been a substantiated case of a living thing being produced from anything other than another living thing.

As of today, evolutionism has not produced a scientifically credible explanation for the origin of such immense complexities as DNA, the human brain, and many other complex elements of the cosmos.

It is highly premature for materialists to claim that all living things evolved into existence, when science has yet to discover how even one protein molecule could actually have come into existence by natural processes.

There is no scientific proof that life did (or ever could) evolve into existence from non-living matter. Further, there is substantial evidence that spontaneous generation is impossible. Only DNA is known to produce DNA. Wesley, come on. You should know this! No chemical interaction of molecules has even come close to producing this ultra-complex code which is so essential to all known life.

So I close today and wait for new arguments. Ted, have you argued anything interesting over the past few posts? DON'T THINK SO! Wesley has. I appreciate your comments, Wesley; you seem to be sincere in your beliefs, and I am enjoying the ride...

Wesley said...

1. If your "research" has not indicated that Denton has recanted, then you have demonstrated a new level of ineptitude. In 2002, Denton wrote a book entitled "Nature's Destiny" in which he clearly states that he now believes in evolution. He goes further and says that, though he still thinks that God exists - he doesn't think that God interferes with the physical world. In short, Denton is now a deist. Please read the following introduction to his most recent book:

"[I]t is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science--that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes. This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called 'special creationist school.' According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving God's direct intervention in the course of nature, each of which involved the suspension of natural law. Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world--that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies."

2. This article cites the results of two surveys - one on the American National Academy of Sciences and one on the Royal Science Society in the UK. In the US, only 7% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences believed in God. In the UK, only 3.3% believed in God. In both cases, this indicates that greater than 90% of these minds (some of the greatest in the world), do not believe in God.

Since you seem to be having trouble believing the point that the smarter and more educated you are the more likely you are to be an atheist, I now provide a plethora of evidence.

[1] "Scientists and Religion in America", Scientific America, September 1999
Summary: Though 90% of the general population of the U.S. has a distinct belief in a personal god and a life after death, only 40% of scientists on the B.S. level favor this belief, and only 10% of those who are considered 'eminent' scientists believe in a personal god or in an afterlife.

[2] "Leading Scientists Still Reject God", Nature, 394(6691):313, 23 July 1998
Summary: This is the study conducted on the National Academy of Sciences - it showed that of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, 72% are atheists, 21% are agnostic, and only 7% believe in a God.

[3] "The intelligence–religiosity nexus: A representative study of white adolescent Americans", Nyborg, Helmuth (2008-03)
Summary: Even when accounting for all other factors (age, income, income of parents, and education), the average atheist IQ is 6 points higher than the average believer IQ. With the sample sizes of this study, this is very statistically significant.

[4] "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations", Lynn, Richard, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg (2008-06)
Summary: Nations with higher percentages of atheists consistently have higher national average IQs.

[5] "Literal, Antiliteral, and Mythological Religious Orientations", Poythress, Norman (1975), Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 14 (3): 271
Summary: Religious students do poorer on the SAT.

Again, I reiterate (with the support of the above studies, which are unchallenged in the research world) that of the finest scientific minds in the world, only a maximum of 10% believe in God..

3. I have read all of Lee Strobel's books. I have read all of Jonathan Wells' books as well. I have not read all of Hoyle's books, because he is a very prolific writer, but I have read some. For the record, Hoyle was a supporter of biological evolution - it was chemical evolution that he opposed. What religious people tend to forget is that the vast majority of atheists (>70%) were born to religious families. They grew up in religious households, and it was not until later in life that they became atheists.

I am one such atheist. As difficult as it is to imagine, I was once as close-minded and faithful as you. My point is this: I did not wake up one day and decide to become atheist. I got there by reading and studying and questioning. That is why I continually have a superior answer to every argument you can come up with: I have heard it all before in my own head. I can almost guarantee that for every book you have read regarding religion, I have read two.

4. I am familiar with Hoyle's passage that you quoted. First, he was wrong about the complexity because he did not have access to the modern scientific knowledge that we now hold. Second, you are wrong that "no chemical interaction of molecules has even come close to producing [life]." Here are some modern research efforts which are very close to producing life from inorganic elements:

Link #1
Link #2
Link #3
Link #4

Also, your assertion that "many, if not most, origin-of-life researchers now agree with Hoyle that life could not have originated by chance or by any known natural processes" is incorrect. In fact, the researchers that believe as you say are in the very very very small minority. Please see this recent article which indicates that the vast majority of researchers expect to see life created from inorganic elements in the next 3-10 years.

Anonymous said...

How do you explain NDE, or the near-death experience?
I'll comment later on your latest post...

Ted said...

Anonymous, do you know me? You really remind me of a few people, and it seems as though that would be the only way you might conceivably think that people don't enjoy my company, or that I live a lonely existence.

Do you talk to people face to face like this? If this is the way your brain works, trying to make people feel worthless all the time, I have an incredibly hard time believing that there is anyone left who will talk to you.

Unlike Wesley, I am not trying to argue point for point with you. I think you're confusing us. Wesley is the atheist, Ted (that's me) is the believer who thinks that you are doing Christianity a huge disservice with your presence here.

You will challenge Wesley point for point on his academic arguments. Why will you not respond similarly to me? Simply telling me that "my points are pointless" as you have so many, many times does nothing. Your refusal to discuss with me can only lead me to believe that you are a coward. I am making valid points that make you uncomfortable, and rather than addressing them, you sidestep and attack me personally instead. Once again, please look up "ad hominem" and realize that this is not the way to have a discussion.

Anonymous said...

You have an interesting take on crap, Wesley. "As difficult as it is to imagine, I was once as close-minded and faithful as you. My point is this: I did not wake up one day and decide to become atheist. I got there by reading and studying and questioning. That is why I continually have a superior answer to every argument you can come up with: I have heard it all before in my own head. I can almost guarantee that for every book you have read regarding religion, I have read two"--This is from someone who is supposedly intelligent?????????????? You're telling me you would like to be the next Madelyn Murray O'Hair?--you have such ideals and aspirations. You've really gone over the top this time, and I must confess, you're still a "pea brain"! Actually, I wouldn't be arguing or even speaking to you if I were as close-minded as you have suggested. So I denounce your motives and agenda in the name of the Christ once again...

I looked over your articles, and none of them convince me. The only part that convinces me was that they were written by liberal-minded radical atheists or agnostics who promote free-minded liberal agendas. If you can provide for me an article that is completely unbiased, feel free! And the article you stated that students are less intelligent if they have religion. You must have searched all evening for this one. It's completely invalid from a researcher's point of view, and
I can refute it now.
1. New SAT data shows that students in private and religious schools performed at a higher level than students who do not come from schools who emphasize religion. Averages of 510 on the math SAT and 501 on the verbal SAT compare with religious-school students' averages of 523 for math and 529 for verbal. Students at independent schools averaged 566 on the math test and 547 on the verbal.
2. Studies have also suggested that students who have been taught religion in school more likely are to score higher on the ACT or SAT than students who have no religious upbringing.

So we can argue this all evening if you want! I have hundreds of other studies if you would like for me to elaborate on them!
And you also elaborate on Denton, whom I might add is a deist, I agree. But we're not arguing the point of evolution. We're arguing the point of whether or not he is in actuality an atheist--and he is not. And Denton has actually stated that God may have had a hand in the physical world. On the contrary, he is not entirely sure of his statements, and he has stated this (don't you know this already?); This means that his statements can never be proved entirely correct. This means you are wrong once again, Wesley.

My assertion that "many, if not most, origin-of-life researchers now agree with Hoyle that life could not have originated by chance or by any known natural processes" IS correct. In reality, there are numbers of origin of life researchers continually increasing even as we speak. But, radical thinkers won't ever let you in on this little secret! So shhhh!!!

It's interesting to me that most of the atheists I've spoken with seem to believe there is something inherently foolish in one believing in and worshipping God and believing in the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ when many of earth's foremost scholars share these very beliefs. Sir Isaac Newton was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian. He's the founder of Classical Physics and Infinitesimal Calculus. His "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica" published in 1687, is said to be the greatest single work in the history of science. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries and is the basis for all modern engineering. He's the one who said, "Atheism is senseless!" Consider this Wesley: the theist believes in the real existence of everything that the atheist believes in: matter, energy, space, time. The theist believes that the physical world really exists, just as the atheist does. And the theist believes that the scientific description of nature is fundamentally correct, as far as it goes. But the atheist refuses to expand his mental universe by also believing in the transcendent things that the theist believes in: God, souls, angels and demons, for example. The atheist restricts himself to a sort of tunnel vision. And this, Wesley, is where atheism becomes vulnerable. The atheist does not disbelieve in God because he has neutrally examined all the evidence, and drawn the proper conclusion that there is no God. On the contrary, the atheist radically misconstrues the plentiful evidence for God, and he does this because of his false worldview, which tells him that only the physical really exists. Before he has examined the evidence, the atheist thinks he knows that nothing non-physical actually exists, and this assumption governs how he responds to the evidence. Of course you can't see the non-physical; it's invisible. Imagine a man, blind from birth, who is skeptical of the existence of color even though he frequently hears other people talking about it. Just as it would be foolish for the blind man to conclude that color does not exist simply because he is unable to detect it with his senses, it is foolish for the atheist to dismiss God because he cannot detect God with his senses. I believe in God because that's what the evidence shows. But before you try to debunk evidence, we have to ask, what are your criteria for deciding whether a God exists, and how do you know that these criteria are correct? Until you can have confidence that you have the correct criteria, it is useless to begin investigating God's existence. How do you know that a super-naturalistic explanation, involving a God who intervenes from time to time, cannot be the correct explanation? Wouldn't one have to be, for all intents and purposes, omniscient in order to know that God could not have been involved?

Some say (Ted, here's something you can chew on) that God cannot be both omnipotent and all-loving, because evil does occur. After all, says the atheist, if God were all-loving, He would want to eliminate all evil, and if He were all-powerful, then He would be able to do so. And since evil persists, then God must be either not all-powerful, or else not all-loving. But once again, this argument only proves that a God who eliminates all evil does not exist. Some other sort of God, one who for some reason allows evil, may very well exist. So who's to say God doesn't exist at all???
Of course, just believing a God exists is not enough; you also need to know about, and have faith in, the correct God.

When it comes down to it, there are no scientific arguments for evolution. Evolutionists use a specific language--it's called the language of speculation. Evolution is not mere science, but is religion dressed as science. Evolution, and the naturalism that lies behind it, is a full-blown worldview, and in reality, is a religious system that stands in direct opposition to Christianity. The true conflict, the conflict between evolution and creationism, is a conflict of truth and error, a conflict of God and man. Creationism embraces God as the Creator and sustainer of the world; evolutionism rejects God replaces Him with time, chance and opportunity. The debate between creationism and evolutionism is by no means senseless, for it is a defense of the truth and a defense of the One who is Truth.

The Bible takes God’s existence as a given. It never attempts to prove the existence of God, and this for a very good reason. When we logically prove a particular thing, we show that it must be true because it follows logically from something authoritative. But there is nothing more authoritative than God and His Word. God knows absolutely everything. So it makes sense to base our worldview on what God has written in His Word. Some people claim that it is unscientific to start from God’s Word. But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. A belief in God is actually foundational to logical thought and scientific inquiry. We can therefore conclude that the huge amount of information in living things must originally have come from an intelligence, which had to have been far superior to ours. But then, some will say that such a source would have to be caused by something with even greater information/intelligence. However, if these people reason this way, one could ask where even this greater information or intelligence came from. And then where did that one come from? One could extrapolate to infinity, unless there was a source of infinite intelligence, beyond our finite understanding. But isn’t this what the Bible indicates when we read, "In the beginning God ..."? The God of the Bible is not bound by limitations of time, space, or anything else. Even Richard Dawkins has recognized this.

I would like to hear your comments on Near Death Experiences. How can you explain this phenomena logically and refute those who have sincerely been altered through this occurrence?

As for you Ted, no, I don't know you (and I really would never want to), but I can read you like a book...I know many people like you, and you are very similar to them. You were born on this earth to argue. That is your purpose. Your other purpose is to decrease those around you with your intelligence. Now you can take this however you decide. Perhaps, you can sleep on this and digress after it soaks in to your brain.

mbat said...

I really wish I had a lot of time, because there have been a lot of things said I wish to comment on, but at the moment I don't have a lot of time. I would like to ask anonymous one question though. Because you say evolution replaces God with "time, chance and opportunity", do you also deny quantum mechanics?

Hopefully within the next week or so I will be able to jump back in. Just know I'm enjoying the debate.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are mbat. I've studied quantum physics a small bit, but what I looked at, I would have to say that most creationists don’t deny the ongoing operational science that is studied in labs. This is subject to repeatable scientific scrutiny. Creationists broadly (in any group there are some "outliers") accept all of modern physics, relativity and quantum mechanics and what preceded them in classical physics. This is all testable experimental science. Creationists are a diverse lot. Biblical creationists accept the straightforward reading of the Bible as real history. Others muddy the waters because they reinterpret the biblical texts to make them consistent with their modern old-age-of-the-earth view. They accept the long geological ages for the planet and solar system but reject the notion of biological evolution. The ID (intelligent design) movement adherents do not specify who or what is the Intelligent Designer, and in this instance I agree with some scientists, they should be more up front about what they believe. Most, but not all, are Christians, and most are long age believers, so it is not valid to lump them all together as some generic creationists. Some ID advocates even believe in evolution along with ID.

But, mbat, really the whole debate is not about the age of the earth or the universe. It is about whether one accepts the truth and veracity of Holy Scripture and thus accepts history as it occurred and is reliably documented in the Bible, or whether one believes that 21st century man is able to determine truth himself apart from documented history and divine revelation.

The battle is not over the science (in the most part) but is really a spiritual warfare being waged for the minds and souls of men and women. And even though the agents of this battle sometimes represent themselves as scientists, there are really darker principalities that are waging this war against God (Ephesians 6:12).
--"Be sober-minded; be vigilant. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour"-- 1 Peter 5:8.

If I lack clarity, please let me know. I can explain further if necessary.

Wesley said...

1. You say "I have hundreds of other studies if you would like for me to elaborate on them!" regarding alleged studies you have concerning the intellectual superiority of religious people. Yes - I would like for you to elaborate on them. In fact, please post every one of the hundreds that you have. If you do have such studies, that would qualify as new evidence that I did not previously have and would make me reconsider some of my beliefs.

Please make sure that every one of your posted studies is from a peer-reviewed scientific journal or conference (as my references were). Otherwise, I will be forced to consider them inaccurate propaganda. In truth, I hope to see these hundreds of articles. As ever, I long for wisdom, and proving me wrong with solid statistical data from reputable sources would be a great service to me.

2. You said in your last post concerning Denton: "We're not arguing on the point of evolution. We're arguing on the point of whether or not he is in actuality an atheist." You are changing your story. In the post before that, you said "nowhere in my research has stated that Denton has recanted anything regarding his views of evolution." In my last post, I was pointing out that you were in error and that, if you were competent, your research would have included Denton recanting his criticism of evolution. I have never ever said that Denton was an atheist.

3. Please post a study from a reputable source that indicates that, as you say, majority of origin of life researchers do not believe in the theory of evolution. Again, I would truly enjoy being proven wrong on this one.

4. Near death experiences are hallucinations caused by oxygen starvation to the brain. People experience the exact same sort of hallucinations while drowning or asphyxiating. Furthermore, when ketamine (the chemical which is released in the brain during oxygen starvation) is injected into the body, hallucinations of the same sort as near death experiences are produced. I'm no expert on divine visions (I've never had one), but I don't think that you're supposed to be able to recreate them with drugs. The vast majority of the scientific community agrees that near death experiences are hallucinations. Please peruse the following literature:

[1] Buzzi, Giorgio. "Correspondence: Near-Death Experiences." Lancet. Vol. 359, Issue 9323 (June 15, 2002): 2116-2117.

[2] Britton, Willoughby B. and Richard R. Bootzin. "Near-Death Experiences and the Temporal Lobe." Psychological Science. Vol. 15, No. 4 (April 2004): 254-258.

[3] Blackmore, Susan:Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences (1993). London, Grafton.

P.S.
So far, your "rebuttals" have always consisted of simply stating "nuh uh - you're wrong." To avoid wasting my time, I will no longer respond to any rebuttals that do not include links to data from reputable sources.

Furthermore, I am beginning to suspect that you are an atheist who is writing a book and who is pretending to be an incompetent fundie in order to trick me into doing all of your research for you.

Anonymous said...

I’ve actually included several studies based on the performances of students who complement religion into their classes and lives versus those who do not incorporate religion into their classes or life routines. These are only a few of many that I could list, but I would not desire to use the space to include others. If these are not sufficient, please let me know. And, by the way, Mr. Wesley, you’re not the only one with any research background. You’re talking to me as if I were a complete idiot. I’m not sure about you though, because you might still be one.

1. A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Attending Religious Schools and Religiosity on Black and Hispanic Academic Achievement Education and Urban Society, November 1, 2002; 35(1): 27 - 49.
The results indicate that religious schooling and religious commitment each have a positive effect on academic achievement and school-related behavior. In the case of religious schooling, the effect sizes that emerged for religious schooling tended to be larger for older children. The effect sizes for religious schooling were evenlarger for school-related behavior thanthey were for academic achievement. The significance of these results is discussed.

2. William H. Jeynes, "Why Religious Schools Positively Impact the Academic Achievement of Children", International Journal of Education and Religion 3, no.1 (2003): 16-32.
The results of this study support the belief that religious schools do differ favorably from non-religious schools on a number of measures that would seem to support an environment of high academic achievement. The results indicate that the factors that researchers point to as possibly explaining the advantages of attending a religious school explain part of, but not all of, the academic advantage of attending a religious school.

3. Charles W. Ward, "Explanatory Styles among Undergraduate Students in a Christian and a State-Supported Institution of Higher Education. Part 2: A Comparative Analysis", Christian Higher Education 2, no. 4 (2003): 353-364.
A significant, positive difference was found to exist between the explanatory styles of students at the two schools. Students in Christian courses of study tended toward explanations for negative events that were external, unstable, and specific. The University of North Texas students tended toward explanations for negative events that were internal, stable, and global.

4. William H. Jeynes, "The Learning Habits of Twelfth Graders Attending Religious and Non-Religious Schools", International Journal of Education and Religion 4, no. 2 (2003): 145-167.
The results indicate that religious school students outperform non-religious school students in five of the nine categories. More importantly, the two categories in which religious school students outperform their non-religious counterparts the most, diligence and taking harder courses; were the two categories most strongly related to performing well on achievement tests. The possible reasons for these differences are discussed. Differences between Catholic and non-Catholic religious school students were also examined.

5. Leslie J. Francis, "Independent Christian Schools and Pupil Values: An Empirical Investigation Among 13-15-Year-Old Boys", British Journal of Religious Education 27, no. 2 (March 2005): 127-141.
Nineteen independent Christian schools participated in the teenage religion and values survey, contributing to the overall database of nearly 34,000 Year 9 and Year 10 pupils. The present analysis demonstrates that 13-15-year-old boys educated within independent Christian schools display a distinctively different values profile, in comparison with pupils educated in state maintained non-denominational schools, where no religion is taught. This research also suggests that teenagers who have been reared in religious and stable households tend to outperform those who have not been reared in this type environment.

Some people are fully credentialed scientists, and we are quite as familiar with the scientific and biblical evidences as they are. Indeed, there are now thousands of scientists who believe in recent six-day creation. There are also organizations of scientists who are young-earth creationists in many different countries, as well as in many states in this country.

My assertion that "many, if not most, origin-of-life researchers now agree with Hoyle that life could not have originated by chance or by any known natural processes" IS correct. In reality, there are numbers of origin of life researchers continually increasing even as we speak. And I maintain this previous statement. ***I never said to you that there are more scientists who believe in evolution, sir. I said they were increasing, and I have proof of this. SO!!! WHY DON’T YOU GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT, WESLEY!

In all honesty, we don’t need a Gallup poll to tell us that a vast majority of scientists accept evolution in this day and age, and it comes as no surprise to those who are on the other side of the glass looking in from the young earth creationist standpoint. How many current creation scientists were at one time indoctrinated into the very same religious ideology that most Darwinian scientists are engulfed in presently? Probably most of them. Often, claims that scientists reject evolution or support creationism are exaggerated or fraudulent. Many scientists doubt some aspects of evolution, especially recent hypotheses about it. All good scientists are skeptical about evolution (and everything else) and open to the possibility, however remote, that serious challenges to it may appear. Creationists frequently seize such expressions of healthy skepticism to imply that evolution is highly questionable. They fail to understand that the fact that evolution has withstood many years of such questioning really means it is about as certain as facts can get. “Creation” is a bit of an equivocal term. It can by used to mean the creation of the universe by God in a very general sense, or it can used to denote the specific belief held by biblical young-earth Creationists that God created the universe over a period of just six 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago. Depending upon which meaning of the term you have in mind, the answer to the above question varies.

"Old-Earth Creationism", Institute for Creation Research, March 20, 2009.

Founders of science that include creationists include (Wesley, READ PLEASE): DaVinci, Kepler, Bacon, Pascal, Boyle, Galileo, Hooke, Harvey, Brahe, Copernicus, Newton, Linnaeus, Faraday, Dalton, Samuel Morse, Mendel, Pasteur, Thompson, and Lord Kelvin. Little is ever said in public schools about their creationist or Biblical views. Perhaps this is just another part of the smoke screen and censorship.

With liberal media as it currently is, it would be surprising to find even the smallest semblance of sympathy for creation in the media. As a result, the creation movement and arguments are almost always misrepresented and distorted, often viciously, in newspaper and magazine articles and in radio and television coverage. Ironically, an August 2001 Zogby Poll shows overwhelming public support, 81 percent, for the position that "When public broadcasting networks discuss Darwin's theory of evolution, they should present the scientific evidence for it, but also the scientific evidence against it." Only 10 percent support presenting "only the scientific evidence that supports" Darwin's theory. Creationists are VERY active in original research, much more so in the last decade than ever before. Several organizations exist to facilitate this work, such as the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis (formerly the Creation Science Foundation), the Creation Research Society, the Bible Science Association, and Reasons to Believe to name a few.

As a result of the tremendous advances in the study of genetics, molecular biology, and the acknowledgement that the fossil record does not provide any support for the theory of evolution, an INCREASING NUMBER of scientists have either publicly rejected evolution or have expressed very serious reservations about Darwin’s theory and are therefore turning to creationism as a possible foundation for earth structure. **Grant R. Jeffrey (2003), Creation, Toronto: Frontier Research Publications, p.168

"Nevertheless, evolutionists, having largely become disenchanted with the fossil record as a witness for evolution because of the ubiquitous gaps where there should be transitions, recently have been promoting DNA and other genetic evidence as proof of evolution; therefore more scientists are promoting the possiblity for an intelligent design."
**Henry Morris (2001) "The Scientific Case Against Evolution: A Summary, Part II", Impact, 331

If you mean “creation” in the general sense of the term, a recent survey of American scientists found that about 40% believe in a personal God. Belief in God usually accompanies belief in creation. Thus, in the absence of a specific study on how many scientists believe in creation, it is safe to say that about 40% of American scientists believe in some form of creation, whether it be theistic evolution, progressive creation, the gap theory, or young-earth creationism.

If you mean “creation” in the biblical young-earth Creationist sense of the term, hundreds of scientists openly profess to believe in a recent creation. The Creation Research Society alone claims over 700 Ph.D. scientists.

Today, there are numerous organizations of scientists who support the assumption that there are increasing numbers of scientists now who believe in creationism.
Examples: Answers in Genesis; Creation Research, Science Education Foundation; Institute for Creation Research; The Creation SuperLibrary and others. Some publish peer-reviewed journals, such as the Creation Research Society's CRS Journal and the Journal of Creation by Creation Ministries International.

So, in the United States, 7 percent of eminent scientists believe in God, while 40 percent of less eminent scientists believe in God. In Britain, the survey indicated that just under 5 percent of eminent scientists believe in God. A lesser proportion would believe in creation.

A study in Britain, undertaken by R. Elisabeth Cornwell and Michael Stirrat, involved sending a questionnaire to all 1,074 Fellows of the Royal Society who possessed an email address, offering several propositions and asking the scientists to rank their beliefs on that point from 1 to 7. About 23percent responded and preliminary results indicate that, of these, 3.3 percent agreed strongly (chose 7) and 78.8 percent disagreed strongly (chose 1) that a personal god exists. A total of 12 Fellows chose 6 or 7 to indicate that they were believers, while 213 Fellows chose 1 or 2 to indicate that they were nonbelievers.


NDE discussion:

You should also check your facts about near-death experiences. (Why did I even bring up this topic???)

German psychiatrist Dr. Michael Schroeter, in his extensive review of all published near-death research states there is no reason to believe that NDEs are the result of psychiatric pathology or brain dysfunction. Dr. Melvin Morse has also completed research in this area.

**Schröter-Kunhardt, M.(1993). A Review of Near-Death Experiences. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Weinsberg, Germany.

In summary,
I could really care less if you respond to any rebuttals or not; however, you are certainly not the only person on the earth who can complete descriptive and valid research; so why don't you lower your head and point your nose eye level with others who can refute your nonsensical garbage. And, I refuse to accept your notion that I am an atheist.

I would never want to be like you or the atheist fanatics with whom you associate!!!

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, you've confirmed what I have always assumed atheists are. Extremely arrogant and narcissistic! So tell me why you would even desire to be kind or genuinely loving to someone? If you turn to dirt when you die-and everything ceases, why would you even want to bother with kindness? How do you explain all these spiritual giants in the world like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson? Have you read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson? I'm sure your atheists beliefs would be somewhat challenged as a result of your reading this. But I'm not quite sure, however. I'm sure they've just completely falsified their experiences in their books and lives. What's the general purpose of your boring life? These are questions to which I would enjoy reading a response...

Anonymous said...

Just for clarity...

WORD MISTAKE MADE IN POST 50...should have said "creationism" instead of "evolution" in the following paragraph...

And I maintain this previous statement. ***I never said to you that there are more scientists who believe in CREATIONISM, sir. I said they were increasing, and I have proof of this. SO!!! WHY DON’T YOU GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT, WESLEY!

Wesley said...

I have not been talking to you like you are a complete idiot - I've merely cited the many shortcomings of your arguments and methods. I'm genuinely sorry that these constructive criticisms have combined with your insecurities about your intelligence to offend you. Offense is not and has never been my goal.

I'm pleased that, despite being obviously hurt and angry, your last post is more productive than your previous ones. I found the 5 studies that you posted very interesting. I also applaud your concern with taking up space on Battalio's blog by not providing the alleged remainder of your studies. Please email me the rest of the "hundreds" at j.wesley.rec@gmail.com. Maybe the remainder of your studies will provide the evidence I need to align with some of your views.

Unfortunately, the studies you chose to post from the "hundreds" have a number of shortcomings that force me to dismiss their claimed results. But as I have said, please email me the rest of the studies. One of them may have the rigor I need to persuade me. The shortcomings of the ones you chose to post are:

1. Only 2 of the 5 studies you posted claim a statistically significant positive impact on academic performance correlating with religious schooling. Your [3] and [5] are related to values and styles, not quantitative measurements of academic performance. Your [4] makes no claim of statistical significance (of course they don't - religious students just barely scraped by with 5/9 majority of categories). I think you may have included these three irrelevant studies accidentally when selecting from among your "hundreds."

2. The only of your studies that uses a reasonable sample diversity and size is [5] - this is one of the ones that makes no claim to academic performance.

3. I asked for studies from reputable sources. All of the articles you cited are from religious journals; not academic ones. All of these journals are authored and reviewed exclusively by religious scholars. This bias means that the articles are not exhaustively reviewed for accuracy and veracity before publishing. None of the 5 studies are from journals of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, or sociology. Maybe some of the other "hundreds" are (if they are in the list that you send me, I will be glad to repost the convincing ones here).

4. Of the studies you posted, only 1 of them accounted for the differences in public vs. private school which are unrelated to religion. Religious schools must be private schools by the laws of our country. This, of course, means that they have smaller class sizes, better paid teachers, and better facilities. Furthermore, they are able to implement more strict discipline policies than public schools. The stricter discipline policies likely account for the behavior difference in the students, which leads me to my next point.

5. Of the 2 studies that do claim a statistically significant impact on academic performance, both readily attribute the improved performance to behavior improvements. As I've already stated, the students in private schools are consistently better behaved due to stricter discipline policies (regardless of whether or not it is a religious or non-religious school). Even if you don't buy that the discipline policies of the school are responsible for the behavior improvement, of course a gullible child will behave better if you tell them if they don't they're going to be tortured in hell for all eternity. This means that even if these studies are valid (which they aren't for the reasons I'm enumerating), the students only did better because they behaved better - not because of some natural intellectual advantage to believing in supernatural gods.

Since you focused in on only one of the many studies I presented (the one regarding religious students), I will assume you agree with all of my others which show that as I.Q. and education increase, religious belief decreases.

The list of religious scientists you posted is as irrelevant as it is accurate. In the past (especially in the period that most of these scientists lived), there were many people who claimed to be religious (despite their true leanings) because they did not have the freedom of expression that we enjoy today. For example, one of the scientists on your list (Galileo) was tried for heresy by the inquisition, forced to recant his heliocentric views, and spent the last few years of his life under house arrest. Another's (Kepler) mother was executed as a witch due to her relationship with Kepler and his controversial theories of planetary motion.

Your laundry list of links to creationist propaganda articles is not reputable - it's not even peer reviewed. Furthermore, even if I believed your very proud proclaimation that the "Creation Research Society alone claims over 700 Ph.D. scientists," that is a laughably small amount. The 2000 U.S. census puts the number of PhDs in the U.S. at 1.75 million, which means the Creation Research Society contains less than 1/20 of a percent of the PhDs in the country.

You ask "why would [I] even desire to be kind or genuinely loving to someone?" and "why would [I] even bother with kindness?" The answer to both of these questions is that I choose to live my life that way; end of story. I'm not loving and kind because I'm afraid I'll be tortured for eternity otherwise. I'm loving and kind because that's how I choose to be. Atheists have the freedom to choose what values they live their life by - those are two of the ones I've chosen.

You ask "what's the purpose of [my] boring life?" This is a leading question and an attack on my character, because most would say that my life is not boring. I have a wife I love, family that I love to spend time with, many close friends (including Battalio, Lindsey, and Ted), a career I love, plenty of money, a nice house, an education I'm proud of, and have done a great deal of exciting traveling. Aside from protesting that my life is not boring, I answer the important part of your question. I choose my own purposes; they are not assigned to me by an imaginary friend (as yours are). They are myriad, but include loving my friends and family, helping humanity, admiring beauty, advocating truth, recognizing reason, and enjoying myself in the process.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Wesley, I refuse your claims that I am insecure, hurt or angry. I am a type that does not lose sleep over what you say to me. Since you continue to mouth off your atheist agenda, you must be the one who is trying to promote your claims which are non-sensical and not based on valid research. You should take a strong look at yourself. Any psychiatrist would concur that most people who disagree with others frequently have insecurity problems anyway. This would confirm why your beliefs are in question.

I have already informed you that I desire to remain anonymous. I do not wish to e-mail you, but I can send you other research via blog. There must be an underlying reason why you desire me to e-mail you. This would only suggest that you would want to give my personal information to your friends.

I refuse to believe you have read each of these articles extensively, which I have—extensively. And your claims that the articles that I have provided are lacking are idiotic. However, I am happy to see that one of the articles may persuade you, but I doubt it will since you are a vehement atheist. Actually, your claim that my studies are irrelevant has no validity or authority. Diversity among these articles was and still is my goal. And I will maintain that these articles are as relevant and statistically sound as yours. I will argue that articles 3 and 5 are related to values, so you are not entirely correct in your assumption.

Another one of your agendas as an atheist is to argue that I have no reputable sources, but I beg to differ your course of argument. You should understand this by now, Mr. Wesley. I will state once again, Creationists are VERY active in original research, much more so in the last decade than ever before. Several organizations exist to facilitate this work, such as the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis (formerly the Creation Science Foundation), the Creation Research Society, the Bible Science Association, and Reasons to Believe to name a few. And these are completely reputable scientific journals. So what is your point again? You have no point. You simply want to argue. Don’t you think creationist researchers receive this type of backlash frequently? Don’t you think we can research as well as you? You should take a few courses on how to argue well. Creationists do publish in journals and even have built a reputation in the anti-atheism movement. A more accurate claim is "Creationists are prevented from publishing articles with open creationist conclusions." There is no doubt in my mind that some creationists do have as their highest priorities politics and religious evangelism, but for the most part creationists are open minded and their goal is to search for the truth and this truth gives us the revelation of young earth creationism.

Also, the founders of modern science were all creationists. For example, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, and Louis Pasteur. Many atheists like you Wesley argue that if a paper is published in a creationists' journal, it is pseudo-science. This is completely bogus. The main objection they use, to pin creationism as being pseudo-science, is that God, or the supernatural, created life and natural laws to sustain it cannot be observed or tested, therefore it is not science. This is equally just as unobservable, and untestable (i.e., pseudo-science) an assumption as evolutionism, which assumes that completely natural mechanisms, such as abiogenesis, created life, and natural laws to sustain it. HELLO!
Creationists do get published in reputable peer-reviewed science journals when they do real science. Here are some examples, Mr. Wesley, for the record; There are many more out there as well:
Steven A. Austin, Gordon W. Franz, and Eric G. Frost, "Amos's Earthquake: An Extraordinary Middle East Seismic Event of 750 B.C." (International Geology Review 42: 657, 2000)

Leonard Brand on the Flood deposition interpretation of Coconino Sandstone (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 28: 25-38, 1979; Geology 19: 1201-1204, 1991; Journal of Paleontology 70: 1004-1011, 1996)

Jan Peckzis on mass estimates of dinosaurs (Journal of Theoretical Biology 132: 509-510, 1988; Journal of Paleontology 63: 947-950, 1989; Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 14: 520-533, 1995)

Harold G. Coffin on deposition environments of fossil trees (Journal of Paleontology 50: 539-543, 1976; Geology 11: 298-299, 1983)

Robert Gentry on polonium haloes (American Journal of Physics, Proceedings 33: 878A, 1965; Science 184: 62-64, 1974; Science 194: 315-318, 1976)

Grant Lambert on DNA error rates (Journal of Theoretical Biology 107: 387-403, 1984)

In addition, many creationists have published science articles not related to creationism. Scientists themselves are prevented from publishing in peer-reviewed journals when their science is not up to par. The peer-review process prevents lots of substandard work from being published, even from noncreationists such as myself. (The process, of course, is imperfect and produces a substantial borderline area, so some fairly good articles get rejected and some fairly poor ones get accepted. On the whole, however, it keeps quality up.) Creationists face no obstacles that mainstream scientists do not face themselves. Our position on the origin of the universe, of earth, of life, and of the human race is the only "version" that can be accepted under a common-sense reading of the Bible, or using the historical-grammatical exegesis of scripture. Furthermore, it explains all the scientific data as well as the fact that the scientific revolution and modern science as we practice it through the scientific method was created and developed by biblical creationists for the most part. You will often hear that contemporary evolutionary theory is supported by overwhelming evidence. But much of this evidence is unimpressive unless you’re already convinced that naturalistic evolution must be true.

In fact, there is systematic evidence against contemporary evolution theory. Researchers in such fields as paleontology, embryology, microbiology, biochemistry and genetics have uncovered systematic evidence that is deeply at odds with naturalistic evolution.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in further study, check out books referenced at the end of this section.

Additionally, if you have the technical background, it would pay to examine some of the original sources cited in these books. When you study the scientific literature, you’ll find that there is a huge disconnect between that literature and the popularized "science" that you’ll read in the press and basic biology texts.

For well-researched summaries of the evidence against naturalistic evolution, see the following resources:
BOOKS
Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Jonathan Wells
Evolution: A Theory in Crisis Michael Denton
Darwin on Trial Phillip Johnson
I’ve actually read Denton’s and Johnson’s book, looked at Wells’ book briefly…

And what is your point on the list of scientists who have agreed with creationist theory? You fail to have one. Just because they were tried for heresy or slept around doesn’t mean they didn’t support creationism. Your points are frequently ridiculous.

In previous times, we didn't have to "teach" creationism in school.
Until the man made atheist agenda came along,there was never any one debating it. Then came the atheists. Now comes the wrath of God. Coincidence? I think not.

Point 4 in your blog makes completely no sense at all. Stricter discipline does not always account for better behavior. Research has stated that moral values (which includes stricter discipline and religious-based education) increase student performance. Have you ever read any of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s books? Her plethora of research is outstanding in this area; you should check it out.

An attack on your character? Ha! You are very funny! You have no character. You have no morals. You are an atheist! Why have them? You’ve never provided me a direct answer to this question, and you never can! My friend is not imaginary, Mr. Wesley, and you are probably more ill-bred than we can ever imagine. My faith is in God; something you do not have. Your life is boring and dull. Mine is not. I have power over adversity; you do not. His wisdom works through me; you rely on your own brand of crap to argue with anyone who will argue with you. I can understand your type of character. Anyone who would acquaint themselves with complete morons like Ted or Lindsey would have to be a complete idiot! If Jesus Christ does exist, you’re really screwed!

So I adhere to my faith; I renounce you and your work in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as always.

Anonymous said...

I can once again address you mbat; you have the choice to decide for yourself; freewill is provided for you by Christ Jesus Himself. Nevertheless, you can believe non-truth and simply reject Jesus Christ in the name of the Saints and those who were martyrs for the gospel. You may also believe in the truth that has set many people free. Freedom from argument, freedom from loneliness, freedom from depression, freedom from sin. I feel sincerely as if we're competing for your soul, and that is not my goal here. My goal is to tell you the truth of the Savior in the gospels, and I will even if I have to dishearten or anger vehement atheists as Wesley.

**From a spiritual perspective, those who die still live; they simply no longer materialize physically. It's like they're only broadcasting on cable now, and our human sets still only pick up network. But they continue to broadcast, for in God there is no end of run.--from Marianne Williamson

Wesley said...

I am not attempting to get your email address so that I can give out your personal information. I am only interested in the many "hundreds" of studies you have - one of which may convince me that I am incorrect. Please use an anonymous remailer to send me the "hundreds." You can find such a thing here. It takes your email and sends it to me without you ever revealing anything about yourself. I look forward to the "hundreds" of studies you will email me.

Your list of journal articles from reputable sources has nothing to do with education and religion, so until I receive the rest of the "hundreds" of studies I will assume you concede that point. Of course, if the rest of your "hundreds" are also from unreliable sources, I cannot believe them no matter how much you insist that religious people are unfairly barred from publication in respectable journals. It may be very true that scientific journals have an unfair bias against religious people - I don't know. But it doesn't change the fact that I can only make intelligent decisions if I am assured of the veracity of the work (an assumption that I cannot make of material published in a publication with a clear agenda in opposition to truth - religion).

As for those reputable articles that you did post, they are irrelevant. I have never claimed that there don't exist creationists who also publish valuable scientific research (though they are in the very vast minority, which is true according to the many sources I cited above, which you have still yet to address). And sure - creationists get published in respectable journals - when they do real science. I have also not disagreed with the assertions in these articles. I have never said that earthquakes did not happen in the past, or that floods never happened in the past, or that DNA error rates are not high without editing enzymes. None of these things support creationism. How do you go from the evidence that there was a flood or an earthquake in ancient history to the conclusion tha there exists an omnipotent God? In fact, only one of your studies has anything to do with a weakness in evolution; that is the one concerning DNA error rates. Even then, it doesn't even cite a weakness in evolution, but a weakness in the creation of prebiotic life. This scientist is still saying we could all have evolved from single-celled organisms, provided those organisms had editing enzymes. This doesn't mean the theory of evolution is wrong - just one little part of it needs a better explanation. You would be making a similar error if you saw a plane flying and immediately assumed that the theory of universal gravitation is wrong.

And even if you had mountains of evidence against evolution (which you don't), it still wouldn't make you right. When will creationists learn that evidence against evolution is not evidence in support of creationism? This is a logical error known as a false dichotomy. You cannot make the jump from evolution being wrong to there being an omnipotent God that rules the universe with an iron fist and glowing red omniscient eyes.

My point on the list of scientists was this:
1. I claimed that the vast majority of the best scientific minds were atheists.
2. You claimed that list of scientists as being creationists in opposition of my claim that the best minds are atheist.
3. I pointed out that almost all of the scientists in your list lived in times and locations where it would have been unsafe and incredibly contraversial to espouse an atheist viewpoint. I even gave examples from your list of scientists who had been harmed by the contraversy surrounding their achievements.
4. This calls into question your "evidence" that the great scientific minds you listed were creationists and religious people. Nobody really knows their beliefs - at that time, it would have been stupid not to profess to be a devout Christian (unless, of course, you wanted to be burned at the stake).

Regarding your claim that "In previous times, we didn't have to 'teach' creationism in school. Until the man made atheist agenda came along,there was never any one debating it.". I've told you before in a previous post, and I'll tell you again. Although it is unclear when mankind invented religion, it is clear from the earliest recorded history that atheism has existed alongside religion (and before Christianity). Please read up on Diagoras of Melos, early Buddhism, Jainism, and Epicurus. All of these examples are from centuries before Christianity was in its infancy. Furthermore, every animal on this planet (the same animals that we evolved from) is literally an atheist - they don't believe in God. This is a trivial case of atheism predating theism.

The only interesting part of your further attacks on my character (and, indeed, assertion that I have no character) is your concept of belief through threat of punishment. You said "If Jesus Christ does exist, you’re really screwed!" That's incredibly interesting, and makes me pose the following question for you. Why not convert to Islam? Their version of hell, Jahannam, is arguably worse than the Christian hell (If Muhammad was a prophet, you're really screwed!). Why not convert to Norse mythology? The Viking version of hell, Niflheim, also seems on par or worse than the Christian hell (If Odin is real, you're really screwed!). In fact, you claim that you aren't an atheist, but you've already said that you're a Christian; which means there are many many gods in which you don't believe(here's a list).

As for your concern for Battalio's soul, you've already had a profound effect on him (in my favor). Did you not read his posts in which he said you were being just as effective at driving him from religion as he thought Satan would be?

Anonymous said...

You're such a complete moron with your own agenda, Wesley. I'll respond to your post a little later this evening.

Ted said...

Anonymous, it's interesting how anyone with an argument that opposed yours is a "moron" or a "jelly-brain" or a "linguini-brain" (my personal favorite) or something else derogatory. You, sir or madam, also have your own agenda, and are also arguably a moron!

I find it incredibly interesting that you persist in your ad hominem attacks. You also spend a whole lot of time telling us how good your life is compared to ours. You may want to reconsider Lindsey's earlier suggestion that you get some counseling. It's not really healthy to require that much positive reinforcement from oneself.

Whatever you may think, I do not argue for the sake of arguing. In my mind, I made valid points, whether you deigned to think so or not. Since I do not believe you have been making valid points, I might well say that you are arguing simply for the sake of arguing.

Why will you not respond to our repeated denunciations of your attacks on our character? Anonymity sure is nice, isn't it? You can say whatever you want and have no real retribution.

You do realize that your license to comment on this blog extends only so far as mBat allows, right? He has complete power over you.

Anonymous said...

So why send you these hundreds of studies? You still will refute every single one of them piece by piece, Wesley, because you have singled out your agenda for the world to see. What you do not understand is that I am not interested in your agenda, neither is the majority of the United States. You atheists comprise only a minuscule amount of the entire population of the country. Why would we have to cater to you anyway? The sooner you realize that "new atheism" is not the response to society's ills, the more rapidly your life will take a 180.

I've provided you with reputable studies, just as you have for me. You won't accept mine simply because you possess an agenda. I don't believe that is fair play here. Actually, I'll provide a little background of myself (but being very limited and brief). When I was working on my Master of science degree in Physics with a minor in Philosophy, (I attended school in the western portion of the midwest-and my undergraduate degree is chemical engineering and I have also completed post Master's work in chemical engineering as well), I questioned my faith and everything as well, as did Mbat. Being reared in a particularly non-religious household, I accepted faith on my own in my early life in high school. Although my parents sent me to a religious school, I possessed no faith. They actually believed that a religious-based education would "set me straight" since I was a bit of a "hell on wheels" in high school. Religious school assisted me I must say but did nothing for me as an individual person who possessed a free will. A friend of mine in college invited me to a church service, and over time, I truly saw Jesus Christ as human flesh, who lived as I lived, who was tempted as I was; and this completely altered the agnostic viewpoints that I sternly grasped. Simply receiving the body and blood of our Lord Jesus each week set the tone of how my life would or would not progress for the week. I accepted the faith and surrendered my being to Him completely; no one forced me to accept it. I can now work with scientists and some of the most intelligent minds in the world each day and say that I am content. I don't travel home each day and come home to my family wondering if God exists or not. He shows up in my life; the Holy Spirit assists me. I don't really understand what tomorrow holds, but I do know the One who cleansed me must hold tomorrow in His hands. So I do understand where you're coming from mbat, even though you might not believe it. I don't know you mbat, but you seem to be a very intelligent person who sincerely desires to live a good life and help others. I wish I could inform you that living a good life is enough, but unfortunately it is not. Nevertheless, you have a free will as I did when I was studying to be an engineer. You must make a decision, and time will not cease and wait for you forever.

So enough about me and on with other matters at hand! Wesley, your quote "It may be very true that scientific journals have an unfair bias against religious people - I don't know. But it doesn't change the fact that I can only make intelligent decisions if I am assured of the veracity of the work (an assumption that I cannot make of material published in a publication with a clear agenda in opposition to truth - religion)". Excuse me Wesley, you're implying that creationists cannot make intelligent decisions? We cannot make clear, logical arguments? I think you are hanging by a thread in this argument, which has no validity.

In your third paragraph, you consistently contradict yourself. The articles I have provided are not irrelevant. Perhaps they are irrelevant to you, but by real scientists, they would certainly have to be examined and scrutinized. And are you a real scientist? What are your qualifications anyway? I let you in on a little of my background, let's hear a little of yours...

"When will creationists learn that evidence against evolution is not evidence in support of creationism?" --Once again I never stated nor implied that evidence against evolution was in support of creationism. I know several colleagues of mine who refuse to believe all of evolution theory, and they are not religious nor ever have been. But many of us do support creationism and we believe in a higher being.

A majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism since have had the worldview of atheism, Wesley. The continued use of deceitfulness has continued by modern evolutionists. In recent times, evolutionists have tried to convince the public of the supposed validity of the evolutionary position by frequently using the term "overwhelming evidence" or similar terms in relation to the alleged existence of evidence that supports their position. Let me go back to Dawkins for example. He claimed in an interview with journalist Bill Moyers that there is "massive evidence" for the theory of evolution. However, scientific literature certainly contains material which illustrates the deceitfulness of stating there is "overwhelming evidence" to support the evolutionary position which is a commonly cited aspect of Western world atheism. For example, scientist Simon Conway Morris stated the following (and please read this mbat AND Wesley):

"When discussing organic evolution the only point of agreement seems to be: "It happened." Thereafter, there is little consensus, which at first sight must seem rather odd. -(Simon Conway Morris, palaeontologist, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, "Evolution: Bringing Molecules into the Fold," Cell, Vol. 100, pp.1-11, January 7, 2000.

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati states the following in relation to the diluted definition of the word "evolution":

"Many evolutionary propagandists are guilty of the deceitful practice of equivocation, that is, switching the meaning of a single word (evolution) part way through an argument. A common tactic, bait-and-switch, is simply to produce examples of change over time, call this evolution, then imply that the theory of evolution is thereby proven or even essential, and creation disproved.

Also consider this Wesley, going back to our last discussion. There is evidence to suggest that the evolutionary position is gradually losing public support in the United States. The REPUTABLE science journal Science (and I had to include this for you Mr. Wesley), reported the following in 2006:

"The percentage of people in the country who accept the idea of evolution has declined from 45 in 1985 to 40 in 2005. Meanwhile the fraction of Americans unsure about evolution has soared from 7 per cent in 1985 to 21 per cent in 2005. In January 2006, the BBC reported the following in respect to Britain: "Just under half of Britons accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life, according to an opinion poll.
Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design should be taught in school science lessons.

According to Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg, atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide. Given that the evolutionary position is a often cited component of the ideology of atheism in the Western world, the gradual loss of public support of the evolutionary position is one of the many factors which are eroding the ideology of atheism. Oxford scholar Alister McGrath cites a number of additional factors in regards to the decline of atheism as an intellectual position.

Dr. McGrath stated that atheism is in trouble. Its future seems increasingly to lie in the private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once regarded as its natural habitat.

Take a look at this too Wesley (YOU TOO TED!) and this could also play into reason for Ted's lack of knowledge AND arrogance as well...
Some leading scientists argue that a troubled/non-existent relationship with a father may influence one towards holding the position of atheism. Dr. Paul Vitz wrote a book entitled Faith of the Fatherless (which I have read at least a dozen times) in which he points out that after studying the lives of more than a dozen leading atheists he found that a large majority of them had a father who was present but weak, or absent. Dr. Vitz also examined the lives of prominent theists who were contemporaneous to their atheist counterparts and from the same culture and in every instance these prominent theists had a good relationship with his father. Dr. Vitz has also stated other common factors he observed in the leading atheists he profiled: they were all intelligent and arrogant (my assumptions about you, Ted, may be correct after all).

Vitz is an ex-atheist who believes that atheism stems from a deliberate choice to ignore the reality of God's existence (or in other words, REBELLION!) Dr. Vitz also has stated that he had superficial reasons for becoming an atheist such as the desire to be accepted by his Stanford professors who were united in disbelief regarding God. His book is worth the read Wesley! Have you read it?

The infinite reference point for distinguishing good from evil can only be found in the person of God, for God alone can exhaust the definition of "absolutely good." If God does not exist, then there are no moral absolutes by which one has the right to judge something (or someone) as being evil. I will once again stand on my statements, Wesley, and repeat this once more. More specifically, if God does not exist, there is no ultimate basis to judge the crimes of Hitler. Seen in this light, the reality of evil actually requires the existence of God, rather than disproving it. Why disprove it? There is no reason to.

Mbat, did you know that Richard Dawkins has shamefully lost several debates on atheism, including one with a Jewish rabbi, Mr. Shmuley Boteach? Dawkins attacked the rabbi on his website and denied that he and the rabbi had ever debated. The rabbi's office quickly posted the full footage of a two hour debate which took place on October 23, 1996, a debate which Dawkins actually lost after a vote taken by the students as to which side, science or religion, caused more students to change their minds. In his article on the subject responding to his attack the rabbi was extremely respectful of Dr. Dawkins and was therefore shocked to receive a letter in return in which he accused the rabbi of speaking like Hitler. Had the noted scientist lost his mind? Hitler? Is Dawkins a complete idiot? I think so...In a vote at the end of the debate as to how many students had changed their minds after hearing the arguments, Dawkin's side was defeated and religion prevailed, which might account for his selective memory.

Now we have to deal with new atheists, such as yourself, Wesley. The new atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrine believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it's evil. Is this what you believe, Wesley? I'm confused.

Atheists are making a concerted effort to win the youth of America and the world as well. Hundreds of websites and blogs on the Internet seek to convince and convert adolescents, endeavoring to remove any residue of theism from their minds and hearts by packaging atheism as the choice of a new generation. While you think your kids are innocently surfing the Web, secular progressives are intentionally preying on their innocence and naivete. We as believers in God, should reject all atheism agenda and propaganda in the name of Jesus Christ, as I reject your work as well, Wesley.

Now to you Ted, I really could care less for your attacks, but they certainly don't bother me. I think you should reconsider your beliefs and embrace agnosticism. I believe that's what you desire to embrace anyway. If you call yourself a Christian, how in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ could you side with the agenda of an atheist? Beats me! I am confused at your logic and if and even if you have ANY brains. It is not possible for a man to be an atheist, in the commonly accepted sense, in his innermost conviction. No amount of reasoning will erase from the human heart the God-given conviction that there is a Supreme Being; those who theoretically deny God's existence replace Him with something else eventually. So your siding with Wesley only shows your ignorance as well. And have you provided us anything else beside your opinions? Give us something to think about, Ted!

Wesley said...

Imagine my surprise: you won't be providing me the hundreds of studies from reputable sources. As it is, the few you have posted from unreputable sources do not convince me. And before you begin crying that your sources are reputable, I acknowledge that we are at a standoff. You cannot provide information from non-creationist journals, and I refuse to accept as reputable journals which are run, edited, and reviewed by creationists (who, as we both agree, represent a minority in the scientific community). A reputable peer-reviewed journal has contributions and reviewers that represent the varied views of the scientific community in proportions which are dictated by their respective adherents. Sources which cater exclusively to the views of a minority clearly have a conflict of interest with the pursuit of truth.

My background is irrelevant, but I present it so you won't whine. My undergraduate degree is in Electrical and Computer Engineering. My master's degree is in Computer Engineering. I have worked in and taught at numerous labs, groups, institutes, and research centers. I currently work for one of the world's largest semiconductor design and manufacturing companies on next-generation microprocessors. I am also pursing my Ph.D. part-time in Electrical Engineering at one of the top-10 schools in my field - anticipated graduation date is May 2010.

Because you did not provide a citation, I was unable to find the article in Science you referred to regarding the waning belief in evolution in the U.S. and U.K. (only allusions to it on the personal websites of religious fundamentalists). But let's assume I accept that it exists. First, I don't dispute this and it's irrelevant. We were not talking about the common population (which your data seems to be about), we were talking about the educated and intelligent. And you still have not provided any proof that creationism is gaining popularity among scientists. Second, I would like to know the context of this data. I'm almost certain that this statistic was cited as a bad thing and evidence of the growing power of creationist propaganda.

I laughed out loud when you said "According to Munich theologian Wolfhart Panneberg, atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide." Surely not even you are so naive as to accept conclusions on global demographics simply on the word of an obviously biased person without any data at all to back this up? If you'd like to be taken seriously, you must provide links to data showing this alleged decline - not uncited quotations of someone who believes this.

Your assertions concerning my father are incorrect, and your attempts at playing armchair psychiatrist for someone you do not know are genuinely comical.

Your continued belief that morality stems from God is incorrect as I have explained before. Please see my point #3 in one of my comments above in which I debunk this from philosophical, social, psychological, and biological angles.

You keep talking about Dawkins like the atheist version of Christ. Neither I nor Battalio find him particularly insightful, and the character of the people who belief in something has no effect on its truth. I could easily point to any number of stupid, obnoxious, or delusional Christians - but from your point of view, that wouldn't make Christianity wrong. Do you see how your argument here is irrelevant?

You seem to be getting confused by all the knowledge I am imparting. This is evidenced by the fact that you have, on several occasions, taken up an argument that you have already lost and I have had to point you back to that point in the discussion so you could re-read. Also, in the face of actual reason and citations to real information, you tend to fall back to bluster and insult (e.g. "jelly brains," "Jell-O brains," "linguini brains," "pea brain," "moron," etc.). Furthermore, you are increasingly bringing up irrelevant information.

Let's simplify the argument. Can you please read this short fictional and hypothetical story, which attempts to make you see your religion from an atheist's point of view. Since we have already determined that the burden of proof for God is on the theist (if you dispute this, please re-read our last encounter and my explanation of Russell's celestial teapot), can you please explain how the believer espousing the existence of God is different from the couple in the story espousing Hank's doctrine?

Anonymous said...

You think you're very intelligent, don't you Wesley...I suggest you do a little more reading before you judge my personal research based on your own research assumptions (which by the way has no validity whatsover in the academic world).

I suggest that you read the following texts, if you have not already (I've read most of them):

Norman Geisler, (2004), I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Alister McGrath, (2004), The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World

Ravi Zacharias, (1994, 2004), A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism (AWESOME READING!)

Ravi Zacharias, (1994, 1996), Can Man Live Without God? (MY PERSONAL FAVORITE)--His research will debunk your entire agenda, Wesley!
And actually, he's probably much more intelligent than you are!

Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, (1982) Understanding Secular Religions

R. Albert Mohler Jr., (2008), Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists

Dimitry Pospielovsky, (August, 1988), Soviet Studies on the Church and the Believer's Response to Atheism: A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice and the Believers

I consider the atheist's desire to generalize about religion and continue to argue his cause to be a case of intellectual cowardice. So, I'm talking about you Wesley! The intellectual coward is one who chooses simplicity over complexity and difficulty. The militant atheist chooses to uphold a worldview of crudity: atheist good, believer bad. He has to believe this; it is his claim to the moral high ground. Christopher Hitchens sounds like a man who is desperate for a big cause, for an agenda that will give him one last chance of some high significance, a last stab at prophet status. By seeking his grand purpose in atheism he exhibits the sort of intellectual timidity he claims to despise.

There are some points I would like to make to you dealing with reason for the existence of God from a physics and/or scientific standpoint:

1. The second law of thermodynamics states that the amount of energy in a system that is available to do work is decreasing. Entropy increases as available energy decreases. In other words, the purely natural tendency of things is to move toward chaos, not order, and available energy necessary for work is lost (mostly as heat) in this process. Eventually, the universe will run down and all life and motion will cease. This is the natural tendency of all things. Batteries run down, machines break, buildings crumble, roads decay, living things die, etc. Left to the natural state, all things would eventually cease to function.
The universe is not infinitely old because it has not "run down."
If the universe were infinitely old, it would have reached a state where all usable energy was gone.
But, we are not in this state; therefore, the universe is not infinitely old and must have had a beginning. The Bible teaches that God is uncaused, is not part of the universe, created the universe, and is incredibly powerful. God's existence (in Christianity) is not an event, but a state.
Psalm 90:2 says that God is God without a beginning.
This means that God is uncaused.

2. Science is not an entity. Science is what scientists do. It is the scientists who change and none of them are without bias or their own presuppositions by which they judge theories and interpret information. Even in science, which you mentioned above, examination of evidence is the norm. I have done that with what you have presented and shown you that you have not made your case.
At best, all you have is theories about why some theistic arguments don't hold water, but theories don't make fact. Therefore, you have not demonstrated within reason, that atheism is true.

3. Wesley, since atheism is your position, it is logical that you would conclude that it better supports the evidence. As a Christian, I believe the evidence supports the existence of God -- even though I have not presented the evidence you deem necessary for my case. Our opinions matter little. It is the evidence that needs to be examined as well as the method's and presuppositions used in examining that evidence. But your evidence for atheism consists of nothing more than attempted explanations negating theistic evidences.

4. Nevertheless, I cannot escape my bias in believing in the Christian God any more than you can escape your bias in denying Him, sir. But, I believe that the closer we are to objectivity, the closer we are to the truth and I have never been afraid to look at the facts. Your "facts" have not proven anything. You have not demonstrated that atheism is true, and you never will, Wesley.

5. You know that I defend the Christian faith and I have never hid my bias in this matter. But, that does not mean that I cannot look at evidence with some objectivity, nor does it mean I automatically reject atheistic points or positions. I examine them and I consistently find them to be insufficient. Quite simply, your defense of your position is sufficient only for you, but not me. You have constructed an intellectual barrier to God and His existence. He will let you have what you want and you will not be able to see Him. This is what the Bible says and I believe it.

6. In all your so-called research, you did not provide sufficient reason to justify the validity of atheism. You have a strong presupposition that will not permit you to objectively examine theistic evidences. You have made several logic errors and errors in recounting what I have said and not said. Is atheism possible? Perhaps it is. But, you have you proven your case? No. So I do not believe your case, and I denounce it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

--------------
Please respond to this Wesley:

Which of the following do you adhere to, if any?
You don't know if God exists, or
You "lack belief" in God, or
You don't believe in a God(s), or
You believe that He does not exist?

These are some additional points I would like you to think about:

1. Belief in something does not make it real. Certainly people can believe something without any rational reason and even contrary to evidence, but I have never heard of anyone believing anything without any reason at all. For you to state that belief can use physical evidence and logic to support it is good.

2. Also, I would hold the position that there is no such thing as a purely objective observer (other than God). There is, however, proposed evidence by theists for God's existence. Whether or not you would accept the evidence would depend on your presuppositions, your prejudices, the evidence itself, and what would constitute sufficient evidence for God's existence.

3. Your statement that evidence for the existence of God or gods is sorely lacking is an opinion as it is my opinion that evidence for God is plentiful. Opinions don't make something true anymore than simply believing in something makes it true. An opinion, after all, is a belief, isn't it Wesley? Mbat, are you reading this? You should consider it...

4. If you say there isn't any evidence for God then you are claiming to know that in all places and time there is no evidence for God. That is hardly a logical position to hold.
If you say that there isn't sufficient evidence for God then I might pursue some of the evidence you've rejected to see why you have rejected it. Is it possible that your lack of objectivity is clouding your ability to rightly analyze evidential arguments?

5. So far, Mr. Wesley, you have only attempted to demonstrate that mere belief is not sufficient evidence to prove God exists and that the evidence for God is "sorely lacking." you have not offered anything that substantiates the validity of atheism. To demonstrate that atheism is true, I propose that you would need to either:

--Provide a logical proof why God does not exist, or
--Disprove, within reason, all theistic evidences for God that are presented to you.
Since you are trying to disprove evidence for God, I ask you what would constitute sufficient evidence for God's existence?

Hey, Wesley, I'm open to hearing what you have to say!!!

Anonymous said...

And I'll read that last article you suggested (forgot to tell you this)

Anonymous said...

And here are a few interesting quotes from those who refused to believe atheism was true:

"An atheist is a man who believes himself an accident." — Francis Thompson

"To be an atheist requires an indefinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny." - Joseph Addison, The Spectator, Mar. 8, 1711

"Atheism is a crutch for those who cannot bear the reality of God." - Tom Stoppard (My favorite)

"An atheist’s most embarrassing moment is when he feels profoundly thankful for something, but can’t think of anyone to thank for it." -Dr. Mary Anne Vincent

"The atheists are for the most part imprudent and misguided scholars who reason badly who, not being able to understand the Creation, the origin of evil, and other difficulties, have recourse to the hypothesis the eternity of things and of inevitability." - Voltaire

"Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the Earth at the right distance from the Sun to receive proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance." - Sir Isaac Newton

"I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily. Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors." - Sir Isaac Newton

"Those who are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of God...Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of a toleration. As for other practical opinions, though not absolutely free from all error, yet if they do not tend to establish domination over others, or civil impunity to the church in which they are taught, there can be no reason why they should not be tolerated." - John Locke

"I gave in, and admitted that God was God." - ex-atheist C.S. Lewis

Wesley said...

Your last two posts can be summed up as follows: You do not think that I have presented sufficient evidence for atheism.

That is irrelevant. Atheism is the default viewpoint. The burden of proof for supernatural gods is on the believer (as I've said before and you've agreed with before in a previous post). You are trying to shift the burden of proof to me (e.g. "you have not offered anything that substantiates the validity of atheism"). Since you're getting confused, I'll repeat the argument here.

Religions make outrageous and unnecessary claims that require at least some evidence that they're more than the fantasies of the goatherders of 2 millenia ago. Try to grasp the following (very famous) analogy (to quote Bertrand Russell).

"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense."

The point is that the burden of proof for outrageous and unnecessary ideas lies with the believer. Also, to extend the analogy, imagine that I began scheduling weekly services to worship my celestial teapot. Further imagine that I began to start wars, bomb abortion clinics, burn scientists, hunt witches, and sacrifice humans all in the name of my teapot. Don't you think that these acts merit a little bit of evidence?

In response to your question about which of those beliefs I subscribe to, I answer the following. I subscribe to the belief that supernatural gods do not exist, just as I subscribe to the belief that celestial teapots do not exist. Until such time as evidence is found for either of these things, I subscribe to this default viewpoint - that they do not exist.

Anonymous said...

Umm, excuse me Wesley, what's wrong with shifting the burden of proof to you--since you seem to know everything anyway? Have you died yet? Do you know what's on the other side? I don't think you do...

So to respond to your silly argument here...

You say religion makes unnecessary and outrageous claims. Well, atheism does as well. HELLO! WESLEY!

Here are some points I would like to make to you again (and Mbat, I hope you read these as well). They are very important for Christians and atheists to understand:

1. So Wesley, you don't see any convincing evidence for the existence of God. That does not mean there is no God.
Since you cannot know all evidence, it is possible that evidence exists that proves God's existence, or at least supports His existence. Therefore, it is possible that God exists. If it is possible, then faith has its place. Wesley, if it is possible that God exists, then you should be an agnostic (an agnostic holds that God may exist but no proof can be had for His existence.)

2. If you have not decided what evidence would be sufficient and 100% reasonable, then you cannot state there is no evidence for what I believe. If you have decided what evidence is sufficient, what is it? Does Christianity fit within that criteria? If not, why not?

3. If God exists, the laws of logic would be a product of his nature since he is absolute, transcendent, and truth (logical absolutes are conceptual, absolute, and transcendent which reflect a logical, absolute, and transcendent mind). He did not create the laws of logic, Wesley!!! We simply recognize them because God exists. Therefore, God cannot violate those laws because He would violate His own nature -- which He cannot do. Are you OBJECTIVELY examining evidence that is presented? I think not, Wesley.

4. Granted, objectivity is difficult for all people, but are you being as objective as you can?
But, do you have a presupposition that God does not exist or that the miraculous cannot occur?
If so, then you cannot objectively examine the evidence. Therefore, the presuppositions you hold regarding the miraculous may prevent you from recognizing evidence for God's existence.
If so, then God becomes unknowable to you, and you have forced yourself into an atheistic/agnostic position.

5. Wesley, you assert that there is no proof God exists. The only problem is that you cannot logically make that claim.
In order to state there is no proof for God's existence, you (an atheist), would have to know ALL alleged proofs that exist in order to then state that there is no proof for God's existence. But, since you cannot ever know all things, you, Wesley, cannot logically state there is no proof for God's existence.

6. At best, you can only state that of all the alleged proofs you have seen thus far, none have worked. You (AND I HOPE MBAT IS READING THIS TOO) could even say that you believe there are no proofs for God's existence. But then, this means there is the possibility that there is a proof or proofs out there, and that you simply have not yet encountered one.

7. Nevertheless, if there were a proof that truly did prove God's existence, would you, Wesley, be able to accept it, given that your presuppositions are in opposition to the existence of God? In other words, given that the atheist has a presuppositional base that there is no God, in order for him to accept a proof for God's existence, he would have to change his presuppositional base. This is not easy to do, and would involve a major paradigm shift in the belief structure of the atheist. Therefore, an atheist is presuppositionally hostile to any proofs for God's existence, and is less likely to be objective about such attempted proofs.

And, by the way, Wesley, you are the twelfth person with whom I have debated atheism over the past few years. I know your questions, and I have my logical ammunition ready for your arguments and agenda.

Please respond to these points; I am interested in hearing what you have to say. Also, I'm interested to see what you're thinking, mbat...

mbat said...

I assure all of you I am reading with great interest. Again, when I have time, of which I have little, I will answer. The last few weeks have been very busy. I don't know how any of you have the time to write this much.

Anonymous said...

Totally understand, mbat. I'm busy as well, but seems as if my life ceases when it comes to debating with a vehement atheist like Wesley. Look forward to hearing your comments.

Wesley said...

You say "[it] seems as if [your] life ceases when it comes to debating with a vehement atheist like [me]." I'm flattered that you find my viewpoint so threatening that it consumes your every waking thought, though I can't say I feel the same way about you. These posts take very little of my time; since I have heard and responded to almost everything you have to say before, I have the counter-arguments and references ready. I just copy-and-paste from previous posts and emails I have written, and tailor a little bit to fit into the context of the discussion.

I'm also flattered that you're so convinced that I "seem to know everything" that you're willing to ignore reason and put the burden of proof for the nonexistence of supernatural beings on me. However, this is not in keeping with reality. The burden of proof is on you (which you don't seem to deny). Flattery will not change that.

1. You say that "if it is possible that God exists, then [I] should be an agnostic." This is a very common criticism - the response is this: every atheist is infinitesimally agnostic. It is possible that your omnipotent and omniscient God exists, but it is infinitesimally possible. Rather, it is infinitely unlikely. For instance, it is possible that tomorrow gravity will completely stop working. If someone asked you to prove that gravity would not stop working tomorrow, you could not do it. It is possible that we will wake up tomorrow and find that the Earth has spun off at a tangent and we're all floating up to the ceilings of our houses. But if you ask most intelligent people if they believe that will happen, they will tell you that they do not believe it will happen (and this disbelief is reasonable). The point is this: there is some point at which an unlikelihood becomes an impossibility. If you are familiar with the mathematical concept of a limit from calculus (which you should be, if the background you provided is true), then you should understand this.

2. You ask what type of evidence I would require to believe in God. The truth is, it would take a tremendous mountain of evidence. The reason is this: the God of your beliefs is more complex than any physical law in the universe (or any we could imagine). Any evidence you could provide could almost certainly be explained by far more likely theories which do not involve the personification of some supernatural being with intentions. For instance, if one day (let's say March 31st) every atheist in some city (for your sake, Huntsville) were to burst into flames, that would not be sufficient proof of your God. There are any number of far more likely explanations (one of which would be that this was a well-orchestrated attack on atheists), but in the broadest sense: it is more likely that there is a fundamental law of the universe (like gravity) that on March 31st, 2009 all atheists in that particular region of space burst into flames.

This Theory of Universal Atheist Combustion on March 31st in Huntsville on Planet Earth, however unlikely it is, it is more likely than the existence of the God of your beliefs. Why? Because it is an infinitely simpler explanation than one that involves an omnipotent being that simultaneously monitors and controls every atom in the universe and gets enraged when gay people get married. The proposal of this omnipotent God theory is a SEVERE over-reaction. It's as if Rutherford, when conducting the gold-foil experiment, had jumped to the conclusion that there was some invisible man inside the plum-pudding atom who intercepted alpha particles and fired them back at the originator.

3. Nevertheless, and despite the almost certain reasons that dictate that your God does not exist, I keep an open mind. I don't arrogantly claim to have all the evidence. It is possible (however infinitely unlikely) that God exists. And this is the reason that I have always maintained that if you give me evidence of a supernatural god, I will believe in him/her. Please see the followings quotes from my previous posts:

"Presented with sufficient evidence, I am willing to believe anything."

"you have not offered any new evidence that has made me reconsider my viewpoint"

"Unless you offer some new evidence of which I am unaware, I will not reconsider [my views]"

4. The rest of your post questions my objectivity and claims that I would not change my views, even if presented with sufficient evidence. This is another instance of you repeating yourself - you have already lost this argument. Nevertheless, I reiterate my comments here. I have already proven my willingness to change my beliefs when I became atheist - I was raised Christian, but stopped believing because of the reasons above. It is you who refuse to change your beliefs in light of all evidence. All scientific data from reputable sources points to evolution as truth - yet you refuse to believe. You also continue to follow the religion in which you were raised (Christianity). So while we have proof that I am willing to change my beliefs to be consistent with reason, we have no such proof for you (and in fact have significant evidence in the opposite direction). If either of us is unwilling to change, it is you.

P.S. Anonymous - I consistently respond to your "points"; please respond to this one of mine. You agree that the burden of proof for your God is on you, but you have not provided the proof for this viewpoint. Why are you not agnostic? Do you have proof of God that you haven't shared yet? If so, would you please provide it?

P.P.S. I'm thrilled that I've elevated the level of discussion. You've gone from someone who calls people "linguini-brain" to someone who cites studies (admittedly from unreputable sources) and makes attempts at a crude sort of reason. You've even brought down your number of exclaimation marks and capital letters per post by 75%. I'm proud of the transformation you've made (I like to think I've had something to do with it) and that you're having to think this much about your faith. I think I may make an atheist of you yet!

Anonymous said...

I don't think so, "linguini brains"! LOL!
You'll never convert me to atheism through your ignorant tactics! You're just like all the rest of them; now you're scared, and you can't reason your way out of the total "theory of proof"...

I'll respond to your posts later this evening...

Ted said...

Bravo, Anonymous. I was worried that you might be having actual adult discussions, but you have restored my confidence in the continuance of your sophomoric behavior.

I really don't think that you can out-argue Wesley. He's one of the most intelligent people I know, and he really has been doing this for years.

Quick question, Anonymous. When did proof of God's existence ever enter into the practice of faith? I thought that that was the point of faith. The only "evidence" I have ever found of the existence of a supreme being is personal experience, something that I would never attempt to impose on someone else as the reason why they should believe as I do.

Wesley has already told you that you could never produce enough proof to make him believe in your God. I completely agree, since the belief in a god is something one must come to on his or her own. Those who believe can support and listen and advise, but no one, not you or anyone else on earth, can make someone believe.

In your own experience, was it your friend who took you to church who made you believe, or was it the experience? Why do you persist in trying to make others believe as you do? You should be providing loving support and helpful guidance rather than hateful arguments and degrading remarks.

What do you believe your purpose is here?

Anonymous said...

Once again, you're here, Ted. We welcome you back. You're the original "linguini brains". I'll have to respond to your post later as well. Very busy with work today. Sorry...

Anonymous said...

First, allow me to respond to you, Wesley:

1. I could really care less if you think I am up all night trying to come up with rebuttal. If I were, however, what is it any concern of yours anyway? I thought you were an atheist. Time, space and feelings don't really matter to you-or they shouldn't.

2. I will once again disagree that since you said you have more evidence than me (which you don't), logically the burden of proof should be handed to you. Why can't you prove your case? Though you may not accept biblical evidence as support for God's existence, it does not negate the fact that the Bible is evidence. Whether or not the atheist wants to accept it is another matter.

3. Since you maintain that God unlikely exists, then haven't you made your mind up already? You say you have an open mind! Yeah, right! That's as true as Ted being a true Christian! You and he are both contradictions to your own lives and statements. To a Christian, there are experiences that science and logic cannot explain. The atheist needs to recognize we have experiences that are life changing. **No mere psychological set of theories can explain the changes in our lives** (REPEAT THIS TODAY, WESLEY, SO IT CAN TRAVEL THROUGH YOUR BRAIN!) So you have absolutely no right to mock Christians. Can science nail down all that exists in mind, body, and soul? No. Can it quantify the beauty of a sunset or the love of a man and a woman? Science and logic have served us well, but they are not the ultimate truth to all things.
Of course, that does not mean we ignore science. In fact, we use it in our proofs for God. But to limit the playing field to your set of rules is a very improper way to start, Wesley. It is mostly an attempt to initiate control and keep command of the conversation by setting the ground rules according to your criteria.

4. This is the most common of all mistakes I've encountered with atheists: I've been told by atheists that if I were truly intelligent I'd abandon my anachronistic thinking. These comments do nothing to further discussion. Sometimes atheists will construct an argument against Christianity that does not even reflect a true Christian position. For example, one atheist stated that the Trinity was illogical because three gods could not be one God. I had to correct him and show him that the Trinity is the doctrine in which there is only one God in three persons, not three gods.

5. The nature of God, that He exists outside of time and space yet is able to influence our world, does not fall under the same category as knowing prime numbers (like a mathematician). Again, the atheist has made a mistake of not recognizing that knowing the existence of a being who exists beyond space and time is not the same thing as knowing numbers that you can write on a piece of paper.

6. Wesley, when you say you "believe" there is no God, or you "know" there is no God, you cannot logically and authoritatively demonstrate that what you "believe" or "know" is objectively true. Of course, this precludes any attempted atheist logical proofs that God does not exist. You simply have not come up with one yet. If you had, you would be using it everywhere!

7. You will say, Wesley, "What logical proof do I have that negates or proves God's existence?" Some atheists have defined atheism in their own terms. You, Wesley, have the right to do that, but you must understand there are atheists who simply "lack belief" in God's existence. To say that lack of belief is justified by the absence of objective evidence is really a subjective statement, Wesley! Evidence is interpreted based upon a person's presuppositions. If an atheist presupposes that God does not exist (as you seem to be doing), then no matter what evidence is presented, his presuppositions will not allow him to be objective. In other words, he subjects the objective evidence to his subjective desires. Furthermore, you do not have the authority to state that there is no objective evidence for the existence of God, since you do not know all possible evidences. Now, Wesley, please try to argue what you just read in point 7. I don't believe you can.

8. Much more could be said in this discussion, but what I find most amusing is the lengths atheists who "lack belief in God" will go through to behave as though they believe there is no God. They openly attempt to refute logical arguments for God's existence, and openly seek to undermine any theistic evidences. Yet, their actions and their proclamations do not mesh. Atheism is an unfortunate denial of God's existence. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them," (Rom. 1:18-19). The judgment that God speaks of in the following verses is His giving them over to the depravity of their own minds so they will believe what they want. If God does exist, you are in trouble, Wesley.

9. Also, you must realize that Christianity, by definition, says that all other systems are false. It is not that it is "superior" the way you apparently try and connect it with arrogance. It is simply that it is true and saying so doesn't mean we are superior or arrogant in attitude. It is superior because it is true. Jesus, who claimed to be God in flesh (John 8:24,58; 10:30-33; Exod. 3:14, cf, John 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:6,8), said that He was the only way to God the Father (John 14:6; Matt. 11:27). We Christians believe Him.
Furthermore, Christianity teaches a Trinitarian God which all other religious systems do not (contra modalism, tritheism, etc). Christianity teaches salvation by grace through faith alone, which all other religious systems do not. Though there are similarities in other systems, Christianity is unique in its scope, evidence, soteriology, and theology. Christianity is the historical revelation and manifestation of Jesus who claimed to be God, walked on water, healed people, rose from the dead, etc. This occurred in history. For me to say it is true and to believe it is true over all other systems does not make me arrogant anymore than you, an atheist, who believes that your atheism is true, and therefore superior, over all religious systems.

10. I have come to the realization that you will not support Christianity even if there were mounting evidence simply because you enjoy arguing for the simple sake of arguing. You can't stand the fact of being proven wrong. You say you can accept my views if I show you the evidence, but in reality, you will never agree with anyone who disproves your bully-agenda. And that's YOUR problem, not mine. That's a self-esteem problem, sir. You might need to see a therapist for this one. Although you are probably wasting your money. Your therapist would need a therapist to talk to you. And as for Ted, the therapist would need to take a valium to get through his line of conversation...Oh, Wesley, I'm glad you like my exclamation points and capital letters. I did it just for you. I'm trying to impress you. :)

Ted, as for you,
Here are some points I would like for you to consider:

1. I'm not trying to out-argue Wesley or anyone. And I have a lot of friends who could rip Wesley's statements apart much better than me, so what's your point?

2. Talking with you is like listening to an "easy listening CD" over and over again. Have you tried to back up ANY of what you say?

3. Siding with an atheist, Ted, is VERY bold of you--since you claim that Christ is your Savior. You ask--When did proof of God's existence ever enter into the practice of faith? I thought that that was the point of faith. The only "evidence" I have ever found of the existence of a supreme being is personal experience, something that I will not attempt to impose on someone else as the reason why they should believe as I do, but I can try to though.---
I will once again state that I have always maintained faith is the guiding force in my life. Wesley is the one who must have evidence to breathe. My purpose is to convert atheists to Christianity, but not to do it YOUR way. We already know that loving tactics will never convince vehement atheists like Wesley, that's why we must come at them strong, denouncing everything they argue in the name of the Lord. Wouldn't your question be better stated as what does religion have to offer or what does belief in God have to offer? God, the Christian God, offers us salvation, love, forgiveness, eternity in His presence, a renewed heart, and much more.

4. I for one maintain no attitude of superiority over non-believers and I do not believe I am superior to them at all. I am simply saved by God's grace and want the same for them. By the way, your last statement reflects an evidence of subjective experience on your part. This may come back to haunt you in any debate later.

5. Ted, if you are going to debate me, you should debate the issue of the Christian God that I believe since I would side with you in stating that all the "other gods" are not true and non-existent. Well, only if you are a Christian as you claim to be! I constantly refute the false teachings of other belief systems, and I refuse to believe you are a sincere Christian.

6. As far as people not knowing which religion is right goes, that is the point of Christian evangelism so that they WILL know, Ted! Since you are in error about this, it again does not help Wesley's case.

7. Please make some more well-informed posts. I'm begging you, Ted!

Questions for you Wesley (please respond in your time):
I. Why don't you continue to try and demonstrate how atheism is true? Why are you scared to do this?

II. Who created God?

III. Since you are an atheist, do you believe in the merits of hypnosis or psychotherapy? Why bother if you are an atheist?

Wesley said...

1. You say that "[you] thought [I was] an atheist. Time, space and feelings don't really matter to [me]-or they shouldn't." This is comically nonsensical. Most of the time I can at least figure out what you were trying to say... but this?

2. You are again trying to weasel out of the fact that the burden of proof is on you by saying that "since [I] said [I] have more evidence than [you]... the burden of proof should be handed to [me]." This is not the way it works. I have presented a logical argument (regarding a celestial teapot) that the burden of proof is on you. You are incapable of logically refuting it, but you are attempting to shift the burden of proof anyway. This is the second time you have tried this (see "what's wrong with shifting the burden of proof to [me]--since [I] seem to know everything anyway?") - it worked no better then.

3. There is a difference in having made up your mind with good reason and having made it up without reason. I have made up my mind that God does not exist (for many reasons enumerated in the previous posts, but mostly due to the one presented in my last post on infinite unliklihood). But nevertheless, I keep an open mind. I readily admit that I will change my beliefs if better evidence and reasoning comes along.

Do you make this same admission? I haven't heard yet, but I think that you do not. In fact, I think that your position is that you will continue to believe in God no matter how much evidence against him you are given. Please answer the following hypothetical question: If I were to give you indisputable evidence that God does not exist, would you accept it and renounce your belief in God? I do not have such evidence, but if the answer to that question is "No," then it is you who has already made up his mind and is unaccepting of other explanations.

Your assertion that "[science can't explain] the beauty of a sunset or the love of a man or a woman," makes no sense. Science can explain these things. There is nothing divine about either beauty or love. Beauty is a learned social construct (which originates from tribal values concerning the selection of sexual partners, food, or prey). If you don't believe me that beauty is a social construct, take the example (which you provided) of a sunset. While we might think a red sunset was beautiful, in some African societies it is a bad omen and not at all associated with beauty. Other examples of society determing the perception of beauty are women binding their feet to keep them small in some Asian cultures, women stretching their necks with metal bands in some African tribes, and the considered beauty of pale-skinned people in Europe in Elizabethan times (whereas now westerners mostly prefer their partners to be tan).

Love is also a social construct, though it is more heavily influenced by biology. It was an evolutionary advantage to have two parents to look after a child (as is the case with a monogamous couple). Many animals are also monogamous (parrots, beavers, otters, jackals, foxes, some bats, etc.) - further proof that love has biological roots and does not require belief in God.

4. Your point concerning atheists constructing arguments against Christianity that do not reflect Christian positions is irrelevant - I am not making such errors. All of my arguments are sound and are not based on misunderstandings of Christianity. If you disagree, please point out where I am in error.

5. DING DING DING!!! There it is! You say "the atheist has made a mistake of not recognizing that knowing the existence of a being who exists beyond space and time is not the same thing as knowing numbers that you can write on a piece of paper." This is the one I always love to hear, because it means that the theist is giving up. You're realizing you can't win an argument based on reason, so now you're falling back to, "Well, I know God doesn't make sense, but that's because God doesn't have to make sense. He's beyond our understanding, so he's immune to reason - he doesn't have to follow the laws of the universe was we know them." My answer to this is that if there were a God who made himself logically impossible to us, I'm sure he won't be surprised when people do not believe he exists.

6. I don't have to prove that God doesn't exist. As we've established, the burden of proof is on you.

7. As I have said, I do not presuppose that God does not exist. It is you who are presupposing that God does exist.

8. You say "If God does exist, [I am] in trouble." Again, you're getting confused and repeating yourself. I have already responded to this (pathetic) argument, but I respond again here. Your concept of belief through threat of punishment is very interesting. Why do you not convert to Islam? Their version of hell, Jahannam, is arguably worse than the Christian hell (If Muhammad was a prophet, you are in trouble, Anonymous). Why do you not convert to Norse mythology? The Viking version of hell, Niflheim, also seems on par or worse than the Christian hell (If Odin is real, you are in trouble, Anonymous).

9. It's interesting that you believe that the miracles of Jesus literally happened. From a liklihood standpoint you believe in one of the least likely explanations of these events. If events even remotely corresponding to the "miracles" even happened (which is a serious stretch, considering the repeated translations and recopyings of the Bible over the course of millenia by men with their own myriad agendas and the innumerable contradictions in this book), ask yourself: Which is more likely? Is it more likely that a supernatural force actually bent the laws of the universe to impress a moral code upon some goatherders that only applies to society on a single planet among the trillions? Or is it more likely that the accounts are false, either because the original witnesses were mistaken or tricked (because of their limited understanding of the physical world) or because the text was mistranslated or deliberately falsified at some point in the innumerable recopyings?

There is plenty of verifiable evidence in history of people falsifying data to suit their needs (one possible explanation of Christ's miracles). There is no verifiable evidence in history of divine intervention violating the laws of the universe.

10. You say I "can't stand the fact of being proven wrong." You are incorrect. I love being proven wrong. Because every time I am proven wrong, I learn something and, in the future, save myself the embarassment of propagating misinformation and looking like an idiot. Proving me wrong is one of the greatest services someone could offer me.

In response to the questions at the end of your post
I. Why don't you continue to try and demonstrate how atheism is true? Why are you scared to do this? I have already done a wonderful job of demonstrating how atheism is true (as evidenced by your capitulation). But aside from that, I don't pursue it as vigorously as possible because (as we have established) - the burden of proof is on you. It is not my job to convince you that your imaginary pink unicorn friend does not exist. It is your job to convince me that he does.

II. Who created God? Man.

III. Since you are an atheist, do you believe in the merits of hypnosis or psychotherapy? Why bother if you are an atheist? What could the efficacy of these treatments possibly have to do with my atheism? Are you getting atheism confused with scientology? In answer to your question, I am unfamiliar with the scientific merit of these treatments. Since this is not research I have done before, and I have no previous writings to copy-paste from, (and I cannot fathom the purpose of your inquiry), I will not respond either way. I, too, am busy and I am not interested in writing a post if I cannot do so in under 20 minutes (it would take me far longer than that to do this research).

If I were inclined to do the research, I would begin by asking my wife (who is a cognitive scientist) and Lindsey (whom you know from earlier on this blog and who is a clinical psychologist and counselor) for their opinions and some introductory reading material.

Anonymous said...

I'm not impressed, Wesley. Neither is my Catholic friend is reading this along with me now. Actually, I'll list a few questions my friend would like to ask you as well later this evening. Many of your numerous arguments are still invalid, and I will have to respond to them this evening.

P.S. I've dealt with your kind before at least a dozen times, and I already know your forms of attack; and before you crown yourself king, don't think for a moment that I am conceding in this argument.

Ted said...

I don't know why you keep telling me to be more informed. I have never argued from an objective, research-based standpoint. I'm simply confused.

Growing up in a Christian Catholic home, I was taught (by my parents, my teachers, and my priests) that love was central to the faith. You have claimed outright that this is not true (see "Ted, you are so 'loving'. Your Christianity may include this, but mine doesn't."). Because of this, I really cannot take what you say as anything other than the words of a non-Christian.

Perhaps I am siding with an atheist, but as you can see, I have never agreed with his views on faith. Also, it would seem to me that Wesley, who has chosen to live a life with kindness and love and genuine care for others, is far closer to God than you are.

From what insane person or book do you "know that loving tactics will never convince vehement atheists"? Do you think they do anything but laugh hysterically when you denounce them? If an atheist is ever going to convert/return to faith in God, it will be because God Himself has called them, not because you tell them they are stupid. How can you not see the error in this?

I realize that I'm being foolish in arguing with you, since you are, of course, completely correct. I only wish I could possess the depth of faith to believe in God with such hatred and ignorance in my heart. You really are a role model for the entire Christian community. I imagine mBat hasn't been posting because he has been on his knees, begging for forgiveness from your God. Oh wait...one of the last things he said was that you could be an agent of Satan...oh well! You win some, you lose some, eh?

OK, I'm sorry about that last bit, but I had to get my sarcasm out somewhere. The bottom line is that I just don't understand you.

Anonymous said...

Okay Ted, I'll try to be a bit kinder here:

1. You must believe that I am NOT an agent of evil and that I sincerely have your and mbat's interests at heart. What Wesley is spewing to you is generations-old agenda-based argumentative tactic which, if you are a Christian, you will refute, in the name of Christ. I never have been "kind" when arguing with vehement atheists as Wesley. I agree we are called to be loving when we present Christ's teachings, however, we must be bold when our faith is attacked. I don't believe he is closer to God than I am; He doesn't even believe in God, so how could he be? I don't believe he is a kind person either, considering his history of posts. However, if I can spark a doubt in your mind or mbat's mind about embracing his ignorant agenda, then I have accomplished my task at hand.

2. I actually see my error in trying to convince Wesley, and you are completely correct. I agree that he will have to answer for himself and that he must decide for his own life what he will choose to believe. But I will try my best to convince him, nevertheless.

3. I don't believe I am hateful and ignorant, as some of you believe, however. Nor do I believe you are Ted. You just really came at me the wrong way. And I responded vigorously and even hatefully from time to time. If I offended you, please accept my apology.

4. You now speak with reason and boldness, Ted, and for that I am appreciative, and above all, Jesus Christ is exalted and the glory belongs to Him forever.

Anonymous said...

I will respond to Wesley later this evening...

Thanks,

P.S. Ted, I would refrain from saying "your God" anymore...It's not MY God or YOUR God, it's OUR God. That includes all believers who have accepted His promise. Thanks.

Ted said...

I appreciate your olive branch, Anonymous, but you can't get off that easily. Why the change of heart? The disdain you held for me as recently as yesterday has appeared to dissolve completely. What gives? Did something I said get to you?

I make the difference between my God and yours because if the deity you worship espouses your beliefs and supports your methods of evangelism, they are not the same.

I have been where you are, spiritually. I have used street-corner evangelism tactics. I have tried to actively lead people to The Word. I have seen these methods work, on very rare occasions. More often then not, though, I see these tactics fail completely, often accomplishing the exact opposite of their intent. Please bear with me while I tell you a story:

When I was in college, there was a preacher who came to campus. He stood on the sidewalks and on the quad holding his Bible, shouting scripture over the heads of everyone near him. His friends carried signs that described the imminent wrath of God on perverts, homosexuals, smokers, drinkers, and non-believers. He would pick people at random out of the crowd, saying things like, "God sees you when you masturbate!" and "You are a fornicator and you will burn in hell!" People attended him by the hundreds, but most were there to insult him and laugh at him. I talked to him once, and he was as sincere as they come. He truly believed that he was doing the work of God. In reality, all he was passing on to his listeners was his hate. Out of the thousands of people who heard him over the years, I can think of only three I ever saw actually compliment him. Would you say that gaining a handful of supporters is worth turning thousands of people, perhaps once and for all, away from God?

The point is that tradition does not always give us the answers. You have been taught that severity with non-believers is the way to convert them, but how often has this worked? If it has, then I will readily admit to the error in my thinking. If not, I hope you will consider altering your methods.

Jesus' example shows us that we must reach out to people on their level, not on our own. When he recruited simple fisherman to be his followers, he did not say "come follow me and I will make you saints, writers, preachers, and a pope," he said "fishers of men," something they could understand until it was time for them to learn more. He could comprehend all the mysteries of Heaven, but he spoke in simple parables, because that was what the people needed. This was not like anything they had heard before from their rabbis, but it worked. It continues to work because Jesus related his message in all humility, and that is the example his followers should embrace.

I truly hope the civility you showed in your last post will continue.

Wesley said...

An aside: You say that "[you] don't believe [I am] a kind person either, considering [my] history of posts." What history of posts is this that makes you think me not kind? For the life of me, the only thing I can find that I have done that you might consider unkind is disagree with you.

You have consistently insulted me and my friends, saying things like:

"Anyone who would acquaint themselves with complete morons like Ted or Lindsey would have to be a complete idiot!"

"You're such a complete moron with your own agenda, Wesley."

"you have jelly brains"

"your Jell-O brains"

"Mr. Jell-O brains Wesley!"

"And I do mean you are Jell-O brains, perhaps lemon flavor! Lemon jello you can actually see through. I'm sure we can see through your brain as well."

"There's no point to your life anyway, right?"

"What a completely miserable life you must have if you are an atheist! Lonely, boring, always questioning, persistent argument, pessimistic, narcissistic, psychotic, obsessive-compulsive."

"now we have two total nuts on this blog, and if you include several others, we have a lot of 'mixed nuts'."

"you have just confirmed your arrogance to me and to the world"

"I assume you just threw that in to make us think you possess some coherence or are intelligent"

"Yeah, right, like you really have a life! What a boring one yours must be, "trying" to be consistently intelligent, yet, "screwed" up totally. You may have some friends, but I can bet they're just like you--people who argue for the simple sake of argument."

"do you even have a brain?"

"You were born on this earth to argue. That is your purpose. Your other purpose is to decrease those around you with your intelligence."

"lower your head and point your nose eye level with others who can refute your nonsensical garbage"

"I would never want to be like you or the atheist fanatics with whom you associate!!!"

"Extremely arrogant and narcissistic!"

"What's the general purpose of your boring life?"

"you would want to give my personal information to your friends"

"You have no character. You have no morals. You are an atheist! Why have them?"

"you are probably more ill-bred than we can ever imagine"

"Your life is boring and dull. Mine is not. I have power over adversity; you do not."

"you rely on your own brand of crap to argue with anyone who will argue with you"

"I thought you were an atheist. Time, space and feelings don't really matter to you-or they shouldn't."
- I'm still very confused by this one

"You can't stand the fact of being proven wrong"

"You might need to see a therapist for this one."

"And as for Ted, the therapist would need to take a valium to get through his line of conversation."

"you guys sound like intense liberals who really have no intelligence, just intelligent stupidity!!!"

"What a bunch of idiotic people you all are"

"It's so funny listening to a bunch of narcissistic morons disagree on stupid issues that are not even significant."


While you have done this, I have consistently ignored your attacks (even when you compared me to the unibomber). The only response to your attacks I ever made was to cite how I was ignoring it with phrases such as:

"Aside from your further attacks on my character..."

"The only interesting part of your further attacks on my character..."


Even when you asserted that my life was boring, I responded kindly (not with a retaliatory attack on you), saying:

"This is a leading question and an attack on my character, because most would say that my life is not boring. I have a wife I love, family that I love to spend time with, many close friends (including Battalio, Lindsey, and Ted), a career I love, plenty of money, a nice house, an education I'm proud of, and have done a great deal of exciting traveling."

In fact, while you loudly proclaim how Christlike you are, it is me who is turning the other cheek!

I understand that you would very much like to believe that you are a better person than me, because it would help your case that religion is good. However, judging by the only measure we have of one another (the posts on this blog), I have to conclude (along with Ted and Battalio, who have both accused you of being as evil as Satan), that I am the kinder person.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ted, for your comments. I understand your concern that we must advance our cause through humility which Jesus taught us to do. However, I do not believe this is the case through which Wesley can be reached. In fact, have you reached Wesley yet through your kind and loving tactics? And I sincerely respect this way. I just believe Jesus Himself is going to have to appear to Wesley to convince him to be a believer in Christ. I may be completely in error. I enjoyed reading your story, and I've encountered several people similar to that on the streets where I live. I see your points and take them to heart.

As for you Wesley, I will have to deal with you differently. I still must deal with the previous post you wrote and the recent one you just sent (which included nothing more than a defense tactic), which has been used by atheists to defend themselves for years. The last person with whom I debated (who is still a vehement atheist) used this tactic, and oh my gosh, you're using it too! How would I have known?

Wesley, my points to you from the previous post:

1. Time, space and feelings don't really matter to you--I think you should really chew on this. You know what I am talking about; but there is a layer of stupidity clouding your brain as we speak...Think about it, Wesley. You're intelligent.

2. The sad fact with you is that you WILL NEVER CHANGE WHAT YOU BELIEVE! Accept it! I repeat over and over again, if Jesus Himself appeared to you, you still would question if He were authentically real. If I transmitted thousands of articles to you stating that God has been seen by humans(which I can't), you still would question the overall validity of these articles. This is why the burden of proof is now yours. It's time you proved to us that what you say is true. And don't try to switch back now; I understand your underlying psychological tactics; remember I've debated your kind before.

3. To respond to your question--"Please answer the following hypothetical question: If I were to give you indisputable evidence that God does not exist, would you accept it and renounce your belief in God?" My answer is no. I believe God exists because the Holy Spirit lives through me (something you cannot fathom). I know He is real. I do not require evidence to prove He is real in my life. But see, you atheists can't understand this. The reason you can't understand this is because you've never had a conversion experience. And guess what, you never will because you have decided to reject the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and for this, we Christians believe you will spend eternity separated from love and peace and from a God who loves you.

4. You are wrong. There is no love anywhere in the agenda of atheism. If something exists in atheism it would be confusion as well as stress; I don't believe these are rooted in love, Wesley. You can't logically tell me with a straight face that atheism exhibits love. Tell me one time Madelyn Murray O'Hair exhibited love when she was executing her nonsense on television, ensuring that God or prayer would not be allowed in schools of America. This moment defined the course of America to what it has become currently, and now, her soul is existing in an eternal punishment; and believe me, her soul regrets her actions. Wesley, you subscribe to what you think feels right...How do you know what you feel is right? Haven't your feelings ever turned out to be wrong? Are you are saying that what you feel determines truth? If so, then you are putting yourself in the place of God, and looking to yourself for what you "feel" is right. If religion is whatever you feel is right, then that could lead to chaos. What if some people had a religion where they felt stealing was acceptable? And what about lying and cheating? Would you trust someone who believed in a religion that felt it was all right to steal, lie, and cheat?

5. And, Wesley, if you really believe that loving others will secure your soul, you need to come back to earth for a bit...God did not make himself logically impossible to us. In fact, He made it very clear for us. But your works will not advance you even slightly. Even if you could do far better than you are doing now, you still can't do well enough, because you don't please God by being good (Gal. 2:21), but by accepting Jesus Christ through faith (John 1:12). Sincerity is not the way to heaven. What if you are sincerely wrong? (Remember John 14:6 says salvation is through Jesus, not sincerity.) If you are relying on your sincerity, then you are saying because you are sincere, you are therefore good enough, on your own, to be with God. Don't you see that to appeal to your sincerity is to appeal to your own goodness which is ultimately an appeal to pride. This is because you are appealing to something that is in you and not God, for your reason to go to heaven? I am sorry, sincerity is not enough. You must have faith, in Jesus. Whether or not you feel you are bad or good is not the real issue. The Bible says that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). If all have sinned, good or bad, then all will suffer the judgment of God. This includes you, me, Ted, mbat, etc. God does not require someone to be pretty good; He requires that he not sin at all. But He knows that you cannot be sinless. That is why He gave His Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not die but have everlasting life (John 3:16). The Bible says that our good works are filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). It isn't saying that we might not try to be good. It is saying that whatever good we do, it is not good enough. It also says that there is none who does good (Rom. 3:12). The standard God seeks is complete perfection. We cannot please God on our own. That is why Jesus died on behalf of sinners. If you want to be good enough, then you must let God see you through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That is the only goodness that counts to God.

6. It's quite interesting that you compare forms of hell; I don't believe I would want to visit ANY form of hell. How ignorant you are for doing this. I'm laughing at you now.

7. And actually, you're not the first atheist that has ever denied the miracles of Jesus as literal occurrences. What you have done now is very bold and common with the new atheist agenda. And in the name of Christ, I denounce it as I speak. Because of what He did; Jesus forgave sins (Luke 5:20). He rose from the dead (Luke 24; John 2:19-21), raised others from the dead (John 11:43-44), and He walked on water (John 6:19). No one on earth has ever done the things Jesus did. There is no way around it- Jesus is special; about that, there can be no doubt. Certainly, I have no proof that Jesus did these things; I can't show you a scientific article stating He performed any supernatural feats. I have faith. You don't have faith. And to Him belongs glory and praise forever. How do you account for the writers of the New Testament teaching about truth, love, honesty, giving, etc. all based on lies? Why would they suffer hardships like beatings, starvation, shipwreck, imprisonments, and finally horrid executions for nothing but lies? What you are saying doesn't make sense, and raises more questions than it answers. The only logical explanation is that the fulfilled prophecies really did happen. Jesus actually rose from the dead. He performed miracles, and He forgave sins. Please note that many cult members will die for their faith as well. But they die for something they believe in, not for something they have actually seen. Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses all die for their faith. But the New Testament believers died for what they saw and believed, not for what they believed only. That is a big difference. The New Testament writers died claiming that they had seen the risen Lord. The cult members die for what they believe, and we know that believing doesn't make it true.

8. And if you think for a minute that I believe that you enjoy being proven wrong, then I will spin my head all the way around! Like Linda Blair in the Exorcist! What a complete dumbo you are for thinking I would believe this. It's too funny to even write now, because I'm laughing so much. My Roman Catholic friend also said the same thing...and he's sitting by me now as I write this.

9. And as for your last post, I would repeat everything again at least 10 times to you. If you can't stand someone opposing your bullyish, nonsensical agenda, at least please don't whine about it. This completely would confirm that your self-esteem is low. Your self-esteem is probably low because you are an atheist. Try the God route. He provides self-esteem that you can't provide. Perhaps your wife who is a cognitive scientist can let you in on a thing or two about what may cause a decrease in self-esteem.

10. One more point to you Wesley, you imply to us that there is absolutely no evidence of any supernatural intervention in the universe. Really? How do you know that? Have you examined all evidence in all places? I think not. Since you have not examined all evidences and cannot examine all of them, you cannot logically claim that there is "absolutely no evidence of any supernatural intervention" in the universe. It simply is not logical for you to claim this. Therefore, you are being subjective which is, in this case, nothing more than your opinion.

A few more points for you to think about Wesley:

1. The Big Bang, for example is essentially the claim that the universe came into existence spontaneously in the distant past. I assume that you acknowledge the Big Bang. If I am wrong, please let me know, Wesley, (and mbat, I have no idea of what your take on this). Nevertheless, how would you explain the cause of this sudden initial "bang"? You cannot and no one can. Does any scientist know the physical properties of existence before the universe began? No. Can something bring itself into existence if it does not already exist? No. The universe began and it had a cause. How did it begin and why? No explanations can be offered with any evidence to explain the conditions before the Big Bang. Yet, people, scientists and atheists included, merely accept that an unknown, unexplainable cause brought the universe into existence. Isn't this faith? Hey, Wesley, where is the proof? Are you saying you have FAITH?

2. And, Wesley, you tell me you aren't required to give me proof? YES, you are required to interpret any evidence in harmony with your naturalist, non-God system of thought. for the sake of argument, if we were to assume the Big Bang theory, why isn't it an evidence for supernatural intervention since it is an unexplainable event that defies known naturalistic principles? By the way, if you assume that the universe is infinitely old, that would be an interesting side topic for us to tackle at another time.

My friend would like to enter in for his points (he is a chem engineer as well and is Roman Catholic and has a master's in chem engineering) and is much more well-versed in physics than I:

Here he is:
1. Wesley, I've been reading all your posts with my friend's too, and, by saying that there is no physical evidence to support God's existence is an illogical as well as an ignorant claim. First of all, you do not know all physical evidence. Second, you cannot know all physical evidence. Therefore, you cannot logically defend your claim that there is no physical evidence for God, Wesley.

2. I propose that you simply summarize your arguments why you believe there is no God. Let the peripherals drop and focus on what you think are the definitive evidences for atheism. My friend, anonymous, begs you to do this, and I do as well...Actually, he is right when he says the burden of proof is all yours, Wesley. That's all I have to say at this point.

Wesley said...

1. I do not know what you meant by saying "time, space, and feelings don't really matter to [me]."

2-3. I have responded to this before, but I reiterate my response here. I have already shown my ability to change by becoming atheist (I used to be Christian). It is you who is unwilling to change, even in the face of insurmountable evidence. You even admit it! I asked you if, given overwhelming evidence against your case, you would change your position; you answered no!

Whether or not I am willing to change has nothing to do with where burden of proof actually lies (it lies on you). Please see my explanation at the end of this post for (repeated) reasons why the burden of proof is on you.

4. I never said that love was a doctrine of atheism. I said that love was easily explained by biological and evolutionary factors (which it is, and which you don't seem to deny). I also implied in my last post that love and kindness are a part of my personal values - they are. If you doubt this, please refer to the posts of my friends which describe me as loving and kind - they know me much better than you and are in a better position to judge this.

5. I do not believe that loving others will secure my soul. I never said that I did. I do not believe in souls, gods, angels, faeries, unicorns, leprechauns, or devils (this is not an exhaustive list).

6. The comparison of punishments for nonbelief was to invalidate your argument of "If there is a God, you're screwed!" by showing you that, if that argument were valid, you should convert to Islam (which has a much worse punishment for nonbelief than Christianity).

7. You say yourself regarding the "miracles" of Jesus, "Certainly, I have no proof that Jesus did these things." That is correct. You have no proof. The interesting thing is that, in the absence of proof, you choose one of the most unlikely explanations - that Jesus is magic. The most likely explanation is that the miracles (as they are described in the Bible) never happened and were entirely fabricated by the Church to deify Jesus for political motives. There is much precedent for this: the Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest known Bible from around the 4th century) is very different from the Bible that religious people physically assault homosexuals with today. It it absent many passages which the Archbishop of Canterbury has said are "essential for Christian belief," including references to Jesus as the son of God, references to the Resurrection, and references to Jesus ascending into heaven. Where did these extra bits come from in the intervening years? They were added (whether purposefully or through the actions of over-zealous translators) by the Church.

In your point #7, you also attempt to say that because some parts about the Bible are good ("truth, love, honesty, giving, etc."), then the whole thing (And the miracles of Jesus) must be true. This is obviously incorrect. Adding in some good parts does not make the entire text true.

8. Ok - irrelevant.

9. Your point #9 consists of baseless assertions about my character and some comical playing of armchair psychiatrist from you - irrelevant.

10. I have not said that there is no evidence in the universe for the existence of God (you'll notice in your quote of me, you had to add the "in the universe" part). In fact, I have implied the exact opposite when I said that "if you give me evidence of a supernatural god, I will believe in him/her."

What I have said (and maybe this is where you're getting confused) is that "it would take a tremendous mountain of evidence" to convince me, because "any evidence you could provide could almost certainly be explained by far more likely theories."

Regarding the Big Bang:

1-2. There is a difference in admitting that we currently have no explanation for pre-Big-Bang conditions (which is what I and majority of the scientific community do) and positively asserting that the Big Bang was caused by an invisible man who hates homosexuals (which is what your FAITH says). One of these methods admits ignorance - the other tries to fill ignorance with imagination and baseless assertion.

Regarding your friend's points:
1. See point #10 above.

2. Excellent idea. I have presented pieces of this argument many times, but it is good to get the entire thing in its entirety all at once.

----------------
Wesley's Quick Case for Atheism
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1. The burden of proof is on the theist.
To quote Bertrand Russell:

"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense."

The point is that the burden of proof for outrageous and unnecessary ideas lies with the believer. Also, to extend the analogy, imagine that I began scheduling weekly services to worship my celestial teapot. Further imagine that I began to start wars, bomb abortion clinics, burn scientists, hunt witches, and sacrifice humans all in the name of my teapot. Don't you think that these acts merit a little bit of evidence?

2. We are all already atheists for a great number of religions. If you claim that the burden of proof is on the atheist, then to justify your beliefs you must disprove all other religions which are in opposition to yours.
Here is a list of gods about which I am an atheist and gods about which you are an atheist. If you claim that the burden of proof is on the atheist (an atheist is what you are from the point of view of other religions), then you must provide this proof against other religions (since many other religions believe things that are logically opposite to Christianity - such as multiple gods, reincarnation, etc.).

An equivalent argument is as follows: I (hypothetically) believe that there is a Magical Invisible Pink Unicorn (MIPU) that grants me wishes after I die. The MIPU is the only god - there are no others, and the MIPU does not go by any other names. If you maintain that the burden of proof is on the atheist (that's you, in this case), then please disprove the MIPU.

3. At this point in the argument, if you cannot provide definitive proof of your God (or, alternatively, argue that the burden of proof is on the atheist and disprove all religions in opposition to Christianity, including the MIPU), then reason dictates that you should be an atheist.

Anonymous said...

I have read your last post; I will respond this evening. This last post is "classic atheist talk", and I have heard most of it before...I will respond later this evening. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ted, I also have some points about some comments that you made in some of your previous posts...one, for example, why could a loving God send someone to eternal punishment?

I would like to address you on this later this evening as well from my standpoint.

Thanks.

Ted said...

Ah, we come to it at last! I was hoping you'd ask me that.

The answer: He wouldn't.

That's not the point. Is that what you've been taught? That God sends people to hell? In the traditional sense, I've been taught that people send themselves to hell. That sin is a wall that we build between ourselves and God, not the other way around.

Personally, I do not believe in hell. The closest reasonable analogue I can come up with is simple separation from God, caused by the wall that is built by sin. Considering that the goal is union with God in the afterlife, separation from God is likely to be the worst punishment. That said, I have a hard time believing even that, considering the infinite forgiveness that would have to be possessed by a being of pure love.

Okay, that's done. Now to your question of "have you reached Wesley yet through your kind and loving tactics?" The answer is that I am not TRYING to reach Wesley. I don't try to reach anyone. I try to live my life as well as I can, and all I can hope for is that God speaks to others through me. I make myself available to listen and, if necessary, to talk. If my experience can be of help to others, I'm willing to share it. Otherwise I just live my life.

You must stop trying to convert people through what you say. It does not work and you are only hurting your cause. Can't you see that yet? Has this just turned into a fight you feel you cannot lose at the risk of your religion?

Because I know Wesley, I can say with confidence that he actually does like being proven wrong, for all the reasons he has stated. He is least of all a liar.

While I appreciate that you are reading this with a friend, why do you feel the need to continue to reference him specifically as a Roman Catholic? Is this at his request? It's especially odd since you have never provided us with your denomination (that I can remember) Either way I am curious as to why this should be important to us.

I agree with Wesley in that your "Time, space and feelings don't really matter to you" comment makes absolutely no sense. It blows my mind that you think that belief in God precludes feelings...that's complete nonsense. Also, I think that Wesley's previous post should have been an eye-opener for you. You have been incredibly crude and mean-spirited to us from your first post on this blog until very recently. Your apology to me appears to have been issued only after I revealed that I am Catholic. Your insults to my friends still stand, apparently because you believe them unworthy of simple human kindness. Frankly, you scare me a little.

Anonymous said...

Ted, I'll respond later this evening more in depth, but I don't understand. I have apologized to you specifically; I assume you don't accept this apology. This is what I am assuming. I don't understand you either. Fill me in...

Ted said...

I accept your apology to me. However, you have only apologized to me. Offenses against my friends are offenses against me.

What if I said that everyone you associated with was a moron, that their lives were little more than a farce, and that they probably had abusive parents? Would you be offended? Yes? But I didn't say anything about you! How could you possibly be offended?

See my point?

Anonymous said...

Wesley, I'll summarize my points to you this evening:

1. No, I will not accept that God does not exist; I am not as bold as you. Actually two people, my friend and I believe the burden of proof should finally be handed to you. I actually asked him so I wouldn't be the one who thought I was looking crazy here; he informed me that it was completely logical to place it on you. But I won't keep arguing this. You won't accept it, so what is the bother. This is another atheist tactic, and I've heard it all before. It's your way of sneaking out of the argument; And I won't explain the time and space thing; you tell me you have an engineering degree and can't figure this one out; please, Wesley. The only statement I can make to you is "Welcome to normal IQ world" (this has no reference to me however).

2. Comments 4 and 5 are completely ignorant comments; But not really ignorant I suppose if it's coming from an atheist. You never said love is a doctrine of atheism. I definitely wouldn't want to subscribe to atheism, sir. If love is not part of the doctrine, then what would you care if I did not present my case with love and kindness? You are right, love doesn't secure the soul in heaven. But since you don't possess a soul, why would you even respond to this one anyway (laughing).

3. Comment 7--Since you are such a Biblical scholar, I deem it necessary that you call the pope and ask him for a position at the Vatican. Well, since you're so well-versed in church history, that is. And to say that I believe Jesus is magic is nonsense. And you sir, I will denounce in the name of Jesus Christ, once again, for your comments degrading His name. Wow, you're pretty bold, Wesley. Christians believe Jesus did exist and that He is at the right hand of the Father. Christianity does have absolutes (there is a God; God is a Trinity; Salvation by grace through faith, Jesus' physical resurrection, lying is a sin, adultery is a sin, etc.) But it is also designed that it can adapt to society without the essentials being changed (Rom. 14:1-12). If the essentials changed, then it wouldn't be Christianity any more. You are now repeating yourself with your stupidity once again. Here is the point. Logical absolutes exist. They are, by nature, conceptual absolutes. Conceptual absolutes exist in the mind. They do not reside in matter. These logical absolutes cannot be quantified or tested in a lab. Yet, they exist, Wesley. In fact, scientists USE these logical absolutes as a basis for verifying their science. The problem for the atheist is accounting for their existence. Since the logical absolutes are conceptual, they transcend all people at all time and are absolute in all circumstances... since they are absolute. Conceptual absolutes cannot be accounted for in an atheistic worldview. But they can be accounted for in a theistic one. Jesus Christ with an absolute mind, has conceived of the logical absolutes. They are a reflection of His mind. At least I can offer an explanation for their existence where the atheist cannot. If there are not logical absolutes, then you have no logical basis for your statements about whether or not Jesus existed. It would then be purely subjective and meaningless to believe Jesus did not perform miracles. Show me your evidence that this never happened; All your evidence is based on mere probability, deeming it invalid! Finally, it would be basically illogical to state that miracles cannot occur. This is because in order to logically state that miracles cannot occur, a person must either know all things in the universe so that he can rightfully state miracles cannot occur, or he must have some logical proof why miracles cannot occur, or possess a sufficiently sophisticated knowledgebase to conclude the miraculous cannot occur, etc. Furthermore, it is not enough to state that there is no evidence for the miraculous since a person's experiential base is limited. It may very well be that miracles have occurred and this person is simply not aware of it.

4. And why do your constant references to homosexuality come up in this discussion? Implying that I hate homosexuals and that my God hates homosexuals is completely ignorant. This shows your stupidity once again. Christianity, like all most major religions, agree that the act of homosexuality does not align with the natural fulfillment of God's purpose and plan for our lives. Yes, there are some Bible beaters who call homosexuals "fags", "queers", etc., but my religion teaches that the sin is what needs to be addressed. And we don't believe in this type of degradation. The Roman Catholic church has stated that "homosexuality is not a sin"; BUT "the act of performing sexual acts of an unnatural nature are not in the complete will of God" and are definitely categorized as a sin. So those with same-sex tendencies should remain celibate. Hello, Wesley, we don't hate homosexuals! In fact, I have many very close friends who are openly gay. I don't judge them. But, I don't agree with their lifestyles-and they know this. It doesn't mean I hate them. When will you liberal bullies recognize this? One day, perhaps, when you get brains!!! Actually, I also don't agree with a male having sexual intercourse with a female before marriage (another topic totally).

5. Now we've totally dwindled off topic; let's get back to our main topic at hand. Your last part, Wesley's Quick Case for Atheism? Do you have a patent on this yet? Is this a book of yours? LOL!!!I wonder if it's sold 1 copy yet? When you sell over 100, please let me know...Completely ignorant again, Wesley, and let me tell you why...here are some final points I would like to make:

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1. It could be said that the gospel accounts were simply altered to make it look like Jesus was performing miracles which never happened. This is a possibility, Wesley, but it is not very probable. Briefly, the eyewitnesses of Jesus' miracles were still around when the gospels were written and could have easily refuted such claims. Yet, we have no record of any such refutations. The disciples died for what they believed. Remember, this is not simply dying for a principle(s) or philosophy like Buddhism. They died for their belief in the risen Lord Jesus who claimed to be God and performed miracles in front of their very eyes. This is far different than believing in something that wasn't tangible or was merely a belief for the sake of believing and being good!!! Therefore, I will not address the idea that the disciples were deceivers in their attempt to recount Christ's work. For example, I am not sure how it would be possible to fake the healing of leprosy and disease. The people of the time knew what the disease was and what it looked like. People's fingers and hands would fall off from leprosy. How it would be possible to restore hands and feet and fingers and have it all be a trick would be an amazing thing to do. I cannot think of any way to fake such a thing especially since so many of the lepers were known by the people around them and cures would have been obvious. It is possible that the disciples lied about Jesus' miracles, death and ascension, but then we are still stuck with explaining why they would lie, why they would continue in the lie, why they would preach and teach honesty and truth based upon a lie, why they would suffer persecution for a lie, and why they would die in horrible ways for a lie. It just doesn't make sense.

2. Okay Wesley, chew on this...though there are other religions that have prophecies in them, none are 100% accurate as is the Bible and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds. The Old Testament was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Yet, the Old Testament prophesied many things about Jesus. This is undoubtedly evidence of divine influence upon the Bible.

3. Fulfillment of prophecy can have different explanations. Some state that the New Testament was written and altered to make it look like Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (but there is no evidence of that). Others state that the prophecies are so vague that they don't count (but many of the prophecies are not vague at all). Of course, it is possible that God inspired the writers and Jesus, who is God in flesh, fulfilled these prophecies as a further demonstration of the validity of Christianity.

4. Why should anyone trust in Christianity over Islam, Buddhism, or anything else? It is because there are absolute truths, because only in Christianity is there accurate fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness documents (gospels) so we can trust what was originally written. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions -- all based on the person of Jesus. If follows that if it is all true about what Jesus said and did, then all other religions are false because Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It could not be that Jesus is the only way and truth and other religions also be the truth.

Wesley, either Jesus is true and all other religions are false or other religions are true and Jesus is false. There are no other options. I choose to follow the risen Lord Jesus myself...

Now for you Ted, with whom I'm becoming very confused at the moment. You stated in one of your previous posts that you don't believe in hell and why could a loving God send people there? Well, I have your answer...

--The idea of a loving God sending people to hell for eternity is not easy to accept. Why would God, who is full of mercy and grace, send people to a place of torment for ever and ever for not trusting in Jesus even though they are nice people, or never heard of Jesus, or were sincerely trying to find God? Is that fair? Is that right?

--When people ask these questions, they are appealing to what they perceive as fairness. They are looking at the issue from their human perspective, and this is not the correct way to address the issue, Ted.

--The Bible tells us that God is love. "And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him," (1 John 4:16). God cares about us and seeks our well being and security. His thoughts about us are infinite and His love is too. This is why God does not desire that anyone go to hell, but that all come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).

--The Bible tells us that God is righteous. "God is a righteous judge," (Psalm 7:9). His righteousness is part of His character just as are mercy and love. Righteousness deals with justice and justice deals with the Law. This means that God will always do that which is right and He does so according to the righteous Law that He has set forth. God cannot do anything wrong. God must do that which is right, otherwise He would not be righteous.

--Because God is infinite, when we sin, we are offending an infinite God. This is incredibly significant. The reason sin is so bad is not so much because of the one committing the sin, but because of the One who is offended. In other words, sin is so incredibly bad because it takes on a horrible quality by the very fact of who it is against: an infinitely pure, holy, and righteous God.

--And the finale of this, Ted, Jesus spoke of Hell in the gospels. If you are a Christian as you have claimed to be, don't you believe what Jesus said in the Gospels about Hell? Actually, Christ Himself reference Hell more than He did Heaven in the Gospels. Finally, for those who still maintain that we can please God by our efforts, we must ask how many good works must he perform in order to undo an offense against an infinitely holy God? Is there a standard by which we can judge which sin requires how many goods works to cancel out? There is none. Therefore, he is left in a predicament. Since God must punish the sinner for offending Him (breaking His holy and righteous law), and our works cannot undo the offense against God, then how are we going to escape so great a righteous judgment?

In conclusion, Ted, I think you just desire to argue. I can understand this, as you are similar to many people I know who are like this. But you certainly can't just have your opinions on issues like Hell. You need to explain more fully why God wouldn't send a person there (which I believe He would and He will). Do you believe Hitler went to Heaven? What about mothers who put their innocent children in garbage bags to suffocate to death? Do you believe God will just overlook this with His love? I don't think so. And, Ted, you can side with Wesley all you like. It really doesn't bother me in the least. I extended peace to you, but you seem as if you won't accept it 100%. And since Wesley's beliefs are not based on a doctrine of love, why would he require an apology from me?

mbat said...

Anonymous, could you pick out a couple of passages where Jesus speaks about Hell?

Also, I am curious as well as to what you mean by the "time, space, and feelings don't really matter" comment.

Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back mbat,

Responding to your question:

1. There are over 162 references in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) which warn of Hell.

2. Over 70 of these references are attributed to Jesus.

3. According to the gospels, Jesus spoke more on Hell than on any other subject. However, many skeptics and religious liberals suggest that the frequency with which Hell appears in individual gospels may reflect the beliefs of their authors or of the authors' faith group more than that of Jesus. Atheists would do this.

4. The word Hell in the Christian Scriptures appears frequently in:

Mark (3 references)
Matthew (12 references)
Luke (3 references)
Acts (2 references)
Revelation (4 references)

Jesus Himself spoke of a literal Hell in these scriptures:

1. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

2. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:40-42)

3. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:43, 44)
--------------------
And Ted, one more thing...
If you are a Christian, what denomination or religion are you? If you are Roman Catholic or Methodist or any other mainstream denomination, wouldn't you adhere to the Apostle's Creed, which states that Hell does exist. The Apostles' Creed: "...Jesus Christ...died, and was buried, He descended into Hell. The third day, he rose again from the dead."
So as a practicing Christian, I don't understand why you wouldn't believe in Hell!!! Can you please fill us in???

Does anyone else have any comments as to Ted's outlandish claims that Hell does not exist?

Anonymous said...

Mbat said:

Also, I am curious as well as to what you mean by the "time, space, and feelings don't really matter" comment.

My comment:

It would be interesting to get a demographic on atheists and what their true feelings are, but I dare to suggest that most atheists are feeling comfortable with the idea of material life being sufficient as the means to achieving all their innermost needs and desires, feeling no need for anything deeper than the basic human functions and goals - work, sex, money, lifestyle, power, peer recognition, etc. Driven by this energy to extract from the material life what they feel will give them the most satisfaction, they likely wouldn't feel any need (or have the time) to explore any possible spiritual side to their existence. This is why time, space, or feelings would seem to have no place in their lives. How many comfortable atheists have felt the need, for example, to learn about the glories of God and testimonies from believers. If they have no soul, then what's the use in having ANY feelings at all. There would be no point. Because feelings really wouldn't matter, now would they? That's just one example. There's a lot out there to explore in the way of the supernatural. But atheists just don't manage to find the time....until something happens in their lives, or until their list of things they thought would provide genuine lasting satisfaction gets shorter and shorter as they get older and wiser. But if an atheist were to be diagnosed with terminal cancer, then this would be the time to watch him or her. They would be forced to think about a greater spiritual purpose in my opinion. But now, as long as they are without problems or plaguing events in their lives, why bother?

Anonymous said...

To Ted again:

Sorry Ted, upon re-reading one of your previous posts, you do say you are Roman Catholic. I am assuming this is true. But the last post about Hell is still relevant here. My apologies. And I am not becoming kinder simply because you are Catholic. What a crazy statment! I have numerous Roman Catholic friends, Episcopal friends, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran friends...all of whom would disregard the atheism agenda along with me. I am trying to be more open-minded and less harsh with you simply because you seem to be coming from a standpoint of peace and genuineness. And I respect your honesty and genuineness. That's all.

Ted said...

As far as the transcription of the Bible is concerned, I'll point you to Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman (ISBN 0060859512). It's a well-written and interesting look into the fallibility of the Bible scribes.

My beliefs on Hell are not easy for most people to swallow, and I get that. It's not something I fully understand myself. However, I have never said that my beliefs or my views of Christianity aligned with any specific denomination. I said that I was raised Catholic, and while I still practice Catholicism, I do not claim to subscribe fully to its teachings. I, like Battalio, am still engaged in finding out just what I believe. I am convinced that this will carry on as long as I am alive, and I see this as a good thing.

You keep telling me that I "just desire to argue." I'm not sure why you keep telling me this. I don't think I was born with an insatiable desire to contradict people I talk to. I enjoy having discussions (political, theological, technical, nonsensical, etc.), partly because I like hearing others' points of view and partly because it helps me understand just what it is that I believe and how I think.

"And since Wesley's beliefs are not based on a doctrine of love, why would he require an apology from me?" This bothers me. You make a few assumptions here. First, you assume that Wesley follows a "doctrine." Then you assume that because Wesley's "doctrine," which I assume you think is atheism, does not have love as a basis, that Wesley himself is incapable of love.

Atheism is not an organized religion like Christianity. There maybe groups of atheists who think alike, but there is no "doctrine of atheism," except that they do not have belief in the supernatural. A person cannot be considered "not an atheist" if he or she does not act like the other atheists. Therefore, your argument is dumb.

Furthermore, how can you say that a person does not deserve an apology? Do you always ask someone if they believe in Jesus before you apologize for something? If so, please take some video of this and upload it to youtube for everyone's enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

To Ted:

1. Ted, I have read Misquoting Jesus, and I was not impressed. After reading Ehrman's book and noticing the way he misrepresents numbers, I began to wonder how many questionable texts he actually presents in his book as being problematic. I find it tragic, however, that in seeking to recover the original wording of the New Testament, Ehrman desperately wants to recover something that will ultimately disprove his own point. Holy Scripture is divine, not human, Ted, in its origin. This is my point, Ted, and I haven't read any more of his books. It's a complete waste of my time. This is a scripture that I would emphasize to you, Ted:

*All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)


2. If you practice Catholicism but do not follow its teachings fully, why are you Catholic? Wouldn't that be grounds for hypocrisy? I'm seeing it clearly now that it might be. That would be like a man sleeping around on his wife, but he attends Mass regularly. He practices Catholicism in its routines but doesn't adhere to what the Church teaches. I don't understand this Ted; perhaps you can provide me with a little clearer explanation.

3. Wesley himself stated that atheism does not adhere to a doctrination of love. As I explained to mbat last post (please re-read this), I suggested that most atheists are narcissistic and not out for the good of man; they are only out to push their bullyish agendas. If obstacles present themselves, they will do everything in their power to inhibit any new ideas from dissipating their agendas.

4. Don't you think I know that atheism is not an organized religion? Who do you think you're talking to? My argument is not dumb in this context. Perhaps your interpretation of what was relayed to him is dumb.

5. As for Wesley, he doesn't require an apology simply because he is an atheist. Why would he require one? Atheists do not live their lives based on feelings or the supernatural; they require reason. So reason should inform you that an apology would be useless in this context. I don't understand your reasoning here either. Please fill me in more clearly. Or perhaps you don't understand my reasoning. I'll try to explain more fully later.

6. Ted, I have a few questions to which I would like you to respond in-depth so I can figure you out...Question marks are popping up in my head when you enter my brain...

Questions for Ted:
1. If God is all knowing and knows our future, then how is that free will?
2. How are we affected by sin?
3. What is the relationship between faith and works?
4. Explain your version of a "separation from God" as you suggested in an earlier post.
5. What are demons?

Look forward to your comments, Ted.
----------------
Wesley, I also have some questions for you to respond to if you have the time...I'm still very confused regarding some of your postings...

Questions for Wesley...
1. Is there life after death? And if you conclude that there is not, how can you vehemently deny it?
2. Why is there evil and suffering in the world, and are evil people ever punished for their acts (on this earth or beyond)?
3. Do you believe in any demonic forces? How do you explain the Catholic rite of exorcism through an atheistic viewpoint?
4. When were the gospels written and by whom? And if you will, explain the minds of the disciples from the viewpoint of an atheist.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you also, Wesley.

**There is an underlying reason why I'm asking these specific questions. They will allow me to know a little bit more about the specificity of your claims...

Ted said...

1. You can't quote the Bible as proof that the Bible is infallible. That's what we call a logical fallacy.

2. That is a ridiculous analogy. The Catholic Church does not require its members to adhere completely to all of its tenets. This is why people who don't pray the Rosary are not ostracized by the Church.

I said that I was raised Catholic and that I attend Mass. You assume that this makes me Catholic, which is not a valid assumption. I claim Catholicism because it is what I grew up with and I share most of my beliefs with it. Note: Most does not mean All.

3. Atheism does not "adhere to a doctrination of love" because atheism does not adhere to a doctrine. Please re-read my last post.

"If obstacles present themselves, they will do everything in their power to inhibit any new ideas from dissipating their agendas." Aren't you doing the same thing?

4. Whatever.

5. From my last post: "Do you always ask someone if they believe in Jesus before you apologize for something? If so, please take some video of this and upload it to youtube for everyone's enjoyment." I understand your reasoning fully, and it's wrong. Interpersonal relationships are not (this is a fact) dependent upon belief in the supernatural. Monkeys have relationships. Monkeys have feelings. Animals don't believe in Jesus, so why do they have feelings? Could it be biological? Hmm...

My argument is this: Since animals have feelings (observe a dog when his owner comes home sometime), and humans are animals, humans have feelings. Therefore Wesley has feelings, whether he believes in a god or not. Your arguments suggest that an apology is required only when the person has feelings, therefore Wesley requires an apology.

OK...I'll bite.

6.1. If God is all knowing and knows our future, then how is that free will? Knowing and influencing are two completely different things
6.2. How are we affected by sin? I already talked about this
6.3. What is the relationship between faith and works? James 2:14-26
6.4. Explain your version of a "separation from God" as you suggested in an earlier post. Step by step now...If God is all that is good, and being in God's presence is the ultimate goal, then separation from God is the ultimate punishment. Is that so hard for you to understand?
6.5. What are demons? A human construct used as an excuse for evil in this world.

Anonymous said...

Ted, some interesting comments. Wish I could respond now, but too much to do at work. I will respond to you this evening, and I have several more questions to ask you, as well as some specific situations to present to you (I was thinking about them last night after I posted).

Anonymous said...

Ted, I'll respond to your comments now.

1. Misquoting Jesus was one of the most misleading texts a Christian can read. Bart Erhman claims that the New Testament has been altered by scribes and religious leaders to reflect their own brand of religious belief. However, in Misquoting Jesus, it simply shows Ted, that he grossly exaggerates New Testament textual differences and fails to cite textual critics who disagree with his undocumented claims about possible changes. Contrary to Erhman's assertions, it is clear that the New Testament canon was already accepted by the Church by the early second century, and textual comparison shows that no major doctrinal statements were changed or added after that time. So his book is very confusing and sometimes not factual or even believable.

2. If you take sacraments in the Catholic Church, then you have agreed to follow the rules and tenets of the Catholic Church; therefore, if you are not subscribing to the rules of the Catholic Church, you should NOT be Catholic. What don't you get about this? Why don't you join your own brand of religion church; perhaps scientology or something else? I'm really beginning to believe you are agnostic, Ted. I've argued with your type many, many, many times before, and the result usually comes out agnostic every time.

3. Atheism is an agenda. Christianity is a religion. And I knew you wouldn't respond to number 4 because you can't logically argue with what I said.

4. You have no basis and do not understand what I mean by atheists possessing no real human feelings. It's too deep for you to understand, I would believe, at this point, because you do not know where I am coming from with this question. So I'll leave it at that.

5. I understand separation from God fully; perhaps you don't. And your being rude won't get you very far with me, Ted. I can "bite" back as well with forceful venom and prove you either stupid or wrong most of the time. Your response to Hell is very far-fetched. Please explain to me what Hell is!!! Just by saying that it is a separation from God is not enough. Please explain the verses I sent Mbat in the last post. What about Jesus' description of Hell as a literal place of punishment? You make Hell sound like a place that is not all that bad...Or am I missing something here?

6. Demons--I figured you would respond this way; this is why I asked you this question. And now I can understand your logic on this subject now. So you believe demons were constructed by humans, am I right? Since Jesus also talked about demonic possession and demons in the New Testament, you still maintain that they are humanly constructed? By definition, no one knows what lies outside his/her tiny circle of knowledge. To claim to know there are no demons is to claim to have exhaustively searched every part of every universe and dimension with an infallibly accurate method of detecting every non-physical entity that could possibly exist. No sane person claims such knowledge. Regardless of whether it is true, the claim that the God who knows everything has chosen to reveal through Jesus the spiritual truth about the spirit world (including demons) is not nearly as crazy as claiming to know for certain that evil spirits do not exist.

7. Ted, I am astounded by people like you who suppose their Creator is some impersonal force. Computers might out-perform us in certain tasks, but we rightly consider ourselves superior to computers because we can think and feel. If, despite his power, God were impersonal, we would be a higher life-form than our Creator. That’s ridiculous. God is superior to us, not by being unthinking or emotionless or unfeeling but by not being enslaved by his passions. He always acts rationally and wisely, while at the same time having passions so pure, intense and extensive as to make ours look like cardboard imitations. God is not someone who we construct to fit our mold of what we feel is right. Truth binds us and requires us to surrender regardless of how we feel. It will eventually win out. I'm trying to get you to come away from how you feel God should be or what you feel God is in your own little world. God is so above all this garbage you spew.
If the God who influences us for good is personal, should we expect that which influences us for evil to be impersonal?

Ted said...

Ah, Anonymous, how predictable you are. I'm getting really bored with you though, and I don't think I want to play anymore. Thanks for the lively discussion though.

Anyone else for some meaningful conversation?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ted...Not as bored as I am with your ignorant lines of conversation. Why don't you become agnostic? I think that's what you really are. If you can't defend your own faith, then, sir, that's really sad...

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, Ted, you failed to defend your last post. The Misquoting Jesus book--how can you explain it when the book is not completely factual? I suppose it's just another way of your arguing, which you said you didn't do...I would disagree. You know, Ted, I've seen your kind many times before, and I've figured you out already. There was a reason for those questions I posed in an earlier post. The only way you can come out of what you are in is if you surrender totally to the Lord Himself. When you rely upon your own nonsensical intelligence to figure out our Lord, you have made a serious mistake. I am willing to converse in an intelligent manner about anything, but when you consistently AND frequently defend a vehement atheist, what do you expect from me? Do you expect me to "sugar coat" conversation to make you feel good? I really don't think so...You are a textbook person. You are so easy to figure out...Your comments are welcome...

 
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