October 20, 2009

This is Why I Blog About Christianity, part 845

Posted in Atheism, Atheism and Morality tagged , , at 1:19 pm by Andrew

I frequently get this sort of question on this site and in my email: “Why do you spend so much time talking about something you don’t believe in? Why can’t you just live and let live?”

I usually answer this in two ways. First, I very much do believe in “live and let live.” When a Christian tells me that she just believes, that there’s a personal feeling or experience or history or whatever, I accept that. I’m not out to convert Christians to unbelievers; I’m out here to answer apologetics. By and large, my criticism kicks in only when your mindset shifts from “Hey, I believe in Christianity, but it’s cool if you’re an atheist” to “I believe in Christianity and so should you.”

But there is a second reason, and it’s powerfully illustrated by the latest missive from Bill Donohue. To be sure: Donohue is low-hanging fruit (probably in the same genus as our old friends Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort). But this bigoted moron is given space in the New York Times to peddle his unadulterated hate speech — that tells me that we atheists still have a ways to go before things are right with the world.

Donohue tells us:

Today’s radicals are intellectually spent: they want to annihilate American culture, having absolutely nothing to put in its place. In that regard, these moral anarchists are an even bigger menace than the Marxists who came before them.

If societal destruction is the goal, then it makes no sense to waste time by attacking the political or economic structure: the key to any society is its culture, and the heart of any culture is religion. In this society, that means Christianity, the big prize being Catholicism. Which explains why secular saboteurs are waging war against it.

So apparently this blog and thousands of others like it are all frauds; we’re all part of the Vast Conspiracy to Destroy American Culture. It isn’t that we don’t believe in an invisible man who lives in the sky; it’s that we know that the secret shortcut to destroying American Culture is to give polite, logical arguments against the religion that ~70% of its inhabitants profess (and perhaps 20% believe quite fervently).

Welcome to the Conspiracy, my brothers and sisters!

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29 Comments »

  1. Interested said,

    Andrew, love you blog, thought I’d just leave a little note here to let you know. I have a blog that approaches christianity from an admittedly atheist bias, but I attempt to use christianity to debunk itself. Check it out if you ever get a chance- explaingod.blogspot.com

  2. Interested said,

    My URI was wrong.. :P should proof read before clicking submit

  3. Cameron said,

    This is so silly. It blows my mind that the name of your blog is “evaluating Christianity” when you don’t even evaluate Christianity. Bless your heart, but this latest thread is clear proof of that. First of all, a Christian should be a Christ-follower, and Christ’s commands and ways are given in Scripture. Thus, a Christian should heed the command to preach the full gospel to all people. Scripture doesn’t teach that WE convert people but that God uses his message through us hypocrites (really everyone’s a hypocrite) to illuminate his truth in the mind and heart of a Christ-hostile zombie in order to regenerate their soul to love him. So if you want Christians to not share the gospel, then you’re saying you don’t want them to believe that Scripture is God’s word. But if they did that they wouldn’t be Christians. So you’re inadvertently just saying “I don’t want there to be Christians”.

    Second, Christians don’t believe in “an invisible man in the sky”. We believe in an invisible, eternal, personal, all-good, triune being. That is our starting point for all of reality and that happens to be called God, The Lord Jesus Christ, aka Yahweh. In John 1:1 Jesus is the eternal, triune, logos who creates every finite thing and holds everything together within his own being. So an invisible man in the sky wouldn’t be the logos, or Christ, b/c it would exist in time and space. Christ is outside of time and upholds the space of this universe within his own being.

    It blows my mind that atheists who pride themselves of being so “rational” still have some of the greatest misconceptions. This profound inconsistency all the more makes me believe in Christ and his word!

    • Tyler said,

      Oh the fallacies!!!!!

      One must appreciate the special pleading and arguments from ignorance for real comedic value.

      • Cameron said,

        Such as?

        • samphire said,

          There are no arguments by you on this page concerning supernaturalism. You have simply stated that “… Christians don’t believe in “an invisible man in the sky”. We believe in an invisible, eternal, personal, all-good, triune being. That is our starting point for all of reality and that happens to be called God, The Lord Jesus Christ, aka Yahweh.” which is a view of reality you’d have a hard job stubbing your toe on.

          Yahweh was no more than a Middle Eastern bronze age tribal god, one of thousands down the ages who were believed to control the weather, health, fertility etc. It’s time to grow up and move on. If there is something beyond naturalism then it is for you to produce the evidence. But you cannot even demonstrate outside of the theological tracts of the NT that your Jesus was an historical figure. Better men than you have been engaged for nearly 2,000 years in this task without success.

        • Cameron said,

          The person I was replying to (not you) made the comment that I made fallacies. There were no logical fallacies in my response. It’s not special pleading to simply point out what Christians “actually” believe. Even non-Christian scholars like Crossan and Ehrman believe Jesus historically existed. Nice assertion.

        • samphire said,

          “Even non-Christian scholars like Crossan and Ehrman believe Jesus historically existed”

          Erhman believes that on the balace of probabilities and on very little and uncertain evidence an historical Jesus of Nazareth may have existed.

          However, Erhman certainly does not believe that Jesus was Yahweh or Jesus Christ or that he “is the eternal, triune, logos who creates every finite thing and holds everything together within his own being.” At one time he was a believer but having spent a lifetime in studying the evidence he no longer finds such beliefs historically supportable.

          But why should I accept what Crossan or Erhman believe or is the Appeal to Authority fallacy the one fallacy you find acceptable?

        • Cameron said,

          And again, you haven’t proven naturalism, you’ve only asserted it as well. Nice try. :D

        • Cameron said,

          “Erhman believes that on the balace of probabilities and on very little and uncertain evidence an historical Jesus of Nazareth may have existed.”

          Did you even know who he was until I mentioned him? He adamantly believes that there was a historical Jesus. If you doubt that then you’re more liberal then liberal scholars whom believe he did. Nice try.

        • samphire said,

          “Did you even know who he was until I mentioned him?”

          Errr — yes. I have a number of his books but I did not buy his last one having followed the criticism of the work (Richard Carrier et al) on the net and deciding it was a lazy piece of writing which wasn’t worth the money.

          Erhman admits that “Jesus of Nazareth” is mentioned nowhere outside of the New Testament until well into the 2nd century. Imagine that. Yaweh comes down to earth as a man and the rest of the world never even noticed.

          How different would the world be if Jesus had decided to take off for heaven from the Temple in front of a large crowd and the assembled Sanhedrin. But he didn’t. Instead, he went up to the top of a hill with a small handful of his mates and disappeared into a cloud.

          And you believe it.

          Note that the only gospeller to mention this great event was Luke who described it in just one sentence. Then we have to wait another 100 years or so until the writer of Acts decides to put a little more flesh on the bare bones by adding a few more verses containing details which none of the gospellers bothered to mention and one particular “fact” which conflicts directly with Luke’s report. And NT scholars say that the person who wrote Luke also wrote Acts. What to believe?

        • Cameron said,

          Christianity was not followed or believed because of the ascension, but because of Jesus fulfilling the OT, and his resurrection. Just because the NT is a “religious” text does not preclude it from being a contemporaneous source. Now you’re changing the topic. I challenged your doubt of Jesus’ historical existence. I believe you have conceded.

        • samphire said,

          “Christianity was not followed or believed because of the ascension, but because of Jesus fulfilling the OT, and his resurrection.”

          Which requires him to be sitting at the right hand of God. Of course, he no more fulfilled OT “prophecy” than he fulfilled his own reported predictions.

          “Just because the NT is a “religious” text does not preclude it from being a contemporaneous source.”

          Which few NT scholars today would admit.

          “Now you’re changing the topic. I challenged your doubt of Jesus’ historical existence. I believe you have conceded”.

          I have done no such thing. My original comment concerned the physical point in space when Jesus changed from a natural body to a supernatural one. You dodged the point.

          And of course Christianity depends as much on the ascension as the resurrection for, once resurrected, Jesus’ body had to be disposed of. Had the gospel story ended with the resurrection then, having defeated death, without the ascension he would still be wandering the earth today. As christianity has no answer to this conundrum it ignores the point – just as you have done.

          Just as the gospellers invented Joseph of Arimathea to provide a tomb for Jesus to resurrect out of (you couldn’t have him rise from the criminal pit the other two men had been thrown into because after 3 days you couldn’t tell them apart) so Jesus had to disappear after a few hours (or was it 40 days – Luke changes his story) by ascending up to heaven via a conveniently placed cloud thus getting rid of those embarrassing bones.

          However, if the gospels are just theological treatises rather than historical records then the problem of having to dispose of a real body disappears into thin air – just like that cloud.

          By failing to confront the problem it is you who has conceded. Paul understood the difficulty even if you don’t appear to.

        • Cameron said,

          “Which requires him to be sitting at the right hand of God. Of course, he no more fulfilled OT “prophecy” than he fulfilled his own reported predictions.”

          Prove it.

          “Which few NT scholars today would admit.”

          Ehrman admits it. You’ve conceded that part. Prove this assertion. So by this logic, they used to admit it? Yet, after now having more manuscript evidence than any other time prior, they thus believe it less? What are you talking about?

          “I have done no such thing. My original comment concerned the physical point in space when Jesus changed from a natural body to a supernatural one. You dodged the point.”

          You’ve still ignored my point on the “supernatural”. You’ve dodged that point x2 now.

          “And of course Christianity depends as much on the ascension as the resurrection for, once resurrected, Jesus’ body had to be disposed of.”

          They didn’t believe it was disposed of because they believed he resurrected.

          “Had the gospel story ended with the resurrection then, having defeated death, without the ascension he would still be wandering the earth today. As christianity has no answer to this conundrum it ignores the point – just as you have done.”

          Umm, no. My point was that Christ’s follower’s faith was solidified by the resurrection, not the ascension. Today’s date is based on the resurrection, not the ascension. The resurrection isn’t predicated on whether or not he ascended, but whether or not he resurrected.

          “Just as the gospellers invented Joseph of Arimathea to provide a tomb for Jesus to resurrect out of (you couldn’t have him rise from the criminal pit the other two men had been thrown into because after 3 days you couldn’t tell them apart) so Jesus had to disappear after a few hours (or was it 40 days – Luke changes his story) by ascending up to heaven via a conveniently placed cloud thus getting rid of those embarrassing bones.”

          Which verses in Luke and Acts are contradictory to you?

          “However, if the gospels are just theological treatises rather than historical records then the problem of having to dispose of a real body disappears into thin air – just like that cloud.”

          They are both.

          “By failing to confront the problem it is you who has conceded. Paul understood the difficulty even if you don’t appear to.”

          Such as…

        • Samphire said,

          Perhaps it would be simpler if you were to suggest one of JC’s predictions which came historically true.

          We have no contemporaneous NT manuscripts – what are you talking about?

          “You’ve still ignored my point on the “supernatural”. You’ve dodged that point x2 now.”

          No, I have not. I told you that as the person proposing supernaturalism it is for you to prove and not for me to prove the converse. I do not know whether or not supernaturalism is true but I doubt it to be as I have no evidence for it.

          “They didn’t believe it was disposed of because they believed he resurrected.”

          It still had to be disposed of either by ascension or otherwise because the physical body is not around any more. I assume that you confirm belief in the ascension as set out in the NT.

          “My point was that Christ’s follower’s faith was solidified by the resurrection, not the ascension. ”

          My original question invited you to describe what happened as Jesus’ physical body ascended into the sky and passed into the supernatural. A simple question which you seem to want to avoid answering. The resurrection, per se, is not relevant to my question.

          “Today’s date is based on the resurrection, not the ascension.”

          What’s the date got to do with it? The dating system didn’t change until after 525 AD and was based upon a nominal date of the year of birth – not 30 or some years later.

          “The resurrection isn’t predicated on whether or not he ascended, but whether or not he resurrected.”

          Who said it was?

          “Which verses in Luke and Acts are contradictory to you?”

          I don’t think Luke 24 and Acts 1:3 are compatible with each other, do you?

          “They are both.”

          There really was a census, a Bethlehem stationary star (while the rest of the universe moved along at 15 degrees an hour, a slaughter of the innocents, a flight into Egypt etc., etc? Just because a few towns, cities and historical characters are mentioned does not turn the NT into a history book any more than Barnaby Rudge is a true history of the Gordon riots.

          “Such as…”

          You could start with 1 Corinthians 15.

        • Cameron said,

          The NT is a contmporaneous source. Why wouldn’t it be? Just because it’s also a religious text?

          Also, which verses in Luke 24 contradict Acts 1:3? Can you be specific and I’ll look into it. And which specific verses in 1 Cor 15 are you talking about?

    • samphire53J said,

      So when Jesus equipped with a real body ascended up to heaven in real time he changed from a physical body to a spiritual being and became outside of time.

      Any idea of the altitude (in feet, metres or miles above Mean Sea Level, I don’t mind which) this remarkable change happened?

      • Cameron said,

        I’ll tell you if you prove something to me first. Prove “naturalism”.

        • samphire said,

          So, for you, the ascension was nothing special?

        • Cameron said,

          Everything is special.

        • samphire said,

          Including Muhammad’s Nigh Journey?

        • Cameron said,

          Everything that’s true.

  4. samphire said,

    As in “Night Journey”

  5. samphire said,

    And what’s true is what you believe to be true no matter what the evidence – or lack of it.

  6. Cameron said,

    ditto… that’s why I asked you to prove “naturalism”.

  7. samphire said,

    I “prove” as in “test” naturalism every time I walk across a busy road. It works for me.

    I don’t know how one goes about testing supernaturalism. 30,000 christian sects claim to have done so but but each one comes up with a different answer. Do let me know when they arrive at a consensus.

  8. Cameron said,

    What? How does walking across the street prove naturalism? You can’t preclude the “super natural” until you know what “nature” is ultimately comprised of. What you currently think of as “super natural” may one day be considered “natural” as well. I see so many make that assertive leap that you just made.

    • Samphire said,

      Because reality exists. Our senses detect it and allow us to make predictions of how it will pan out which can be tested after the event.

      When I cross the road I use my physical senses to tell me what is around me and how I can avoid danger. No-one, even supernaturalists, shut their eyes, send up a prayer and trust to providence to get them across. At least, not the sane ones.

      On the other hand, the supernatural cannot be tested – by definition. It is purely subjective and non-predictive. Which is why so many religions predict different outcomes.

      • Cameron said,

        You’re talking to yourself, which so many naturalists do. You haven’t demonstrated how you go from sensory perception to proving naturalism, you’ve just asserted it. And you’ve utterly missed my argument about the “supernatural”.


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