Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christian apologists are pathetic!

Every once in a while I have a discussion with a theist about beliefs and why I personally do not believe in God. First off using the Bible as a tool to make your case is outright ignorant and useless because I don't consider the Bible to be inspired by its alleged god. In fact, I see the Bible as a record of the ancients Hebrews myths and many superstitions. I take a lot of what the Bible says with a grain of salt and find it incredible and unconvincing. The Bible is a work that was written, collected, edited, and produced enitirely by man and its god is a creation of man himself.

Taking collegiate level courses in apologetics is in my view a waste of time and effort and doesn't change the fact that the Bible is self contradictory and full of fantastical tales that belong in the realm of myths and not reality. Many biblical scholars that have taken the time to put in the work and effort it takes to become experts in the field have actually become agnostic or atheist as a result of their studies. Bart Ehrman is considered to be one of the worlds leading experts in New Testament studies and he is an agnostic. Former Christian apologist and student of William Lane Craig John Loftus is also an atheist as a result of his studies. Roman historian and scholar Richard Carrier also is an atheist who found the biblical arguments for God to be unconvincing.

I find it astounding that theists no matter how learned they may appear don't seem to get it that the evidence for the existence of god particularly the Christian deity is not just lacking it isn't there. Some of the rationalizations that apologists use are outright ridiculous and illogical. They are plagued by confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance which does not allow them to see past the inconsistencies of their faith and beliefs. In their pathetic efforts to defend the faith they violate every single principle of reason and cling to a myriad of logical fallacies.

Christianity as I have said before is a house divided. Every time you have a discussion with a theist you have to find out what branch or sect of Christianity they belong to in order to try and understand what it is that they actually believe. It's incredible that since the rise of Christianity there are around 35-40,000 sects worldwide! They all interpret certain aspects of the scriptures differently and cannot agree on certain things such as the nature of Christ, the doctrine of the trinity, etc. I'm not agnostic about the matter of the biblical gods existence because I have come to the belief that he like the title of my blog suggest is just another myth. If evidence does present itself then I'm all ears but to date there is not empirical or objective evidence for his existence thus no reason for me to wonder if he does exist.

Finally, I find the biblical deity as he is presented in the O.T. to be a tyrant and a morally bankrupt monster. He is painted in the most unflattering light in that he is said to have drowned the entire world in a global flood. Murdered an Egyptian Pharoah and his entire army who couldn't repent because the text states that God hardened his heart so he could prove himself and demonstrate his power to the Hebrews. I think that many of the laws as they are stated in Leviticus appalling. Even if he did exist this is not a deity that I would worship. I find worship itself to be disgusting and self degrading. Hitler, Mao, Papa Doc, Vlad the impaler, and God have a lot in common. They are all blood thirsty animals who deserved to be put down for their cruelty towards their fellow man.

34 comments:

  1. Forget theology, how can you say that God is a myth? Think about it rationally. We live in a contingent universe, ie. it could have not existed. However, it does exist, and therefore requires an explanation. Everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist (scientific consensus on this is virtually 100% and there are many philosophical and scientific reasons for it), and therefore the universe must have a cause.

    So far, we have got as far as the big bang. The big bang itself requires an explanation. This explanation must be a 'terminating cause', ie. it is something which itself does not require an explanation, otherwise we face the problem of an infinite regress of causes.

    Do you see where I'm going? Matter does not come about ex nihilo, ie. the Big Bang did not come from nothing. The ultimate cause of the universe must be a necessary being, in order to make sense of the universe as a contingent entity. A necessary being is something that has always been there and contains within itself its own explanation. . Surely that necessary being is God of some sort? What else could explain the beginning of the universe adequately?

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    1. Wow! You are definitely in the wrong place for this. The so called logical argument you are presenting here is what is referred to in philosophy as the Kalam Cosmological Argument. You must be a William L. Craig fan or something.

      The first problem with this argument is that it is based entirely on a logical fallacy known as circular reasoning. You start your argument with your conclusion without providing evidence of that conclusion. Your argument basically in laymans terms is "God did it." This to me is a huge problem because theists like to deal in absolutes which they at no time can prove. If we were to agree that "God did it" than my next question would be which god did it since man has created thousands of gods since the beginning of our history.

      Next your conclusion that god did it begs the question: Where did god come from? Stating that he is an uncaused cause or a first cause of everything and thus eternal contradicts the first statement that everything that begins to exist has a cause. Once again you are begging a series of questions which cannot be known and in and of themselves are quite unfalsifiable.

      I hate philosophical arguments particularly when they are applied in defense of theism (apologetics). This argument you have presented has been refuted quite thoroughly by several competent philosophers so I wont waste my time on this. If you are interested in seeing a good refutation for this argument and want to engage with someone on the matter then I recommend you see a four part video refutation of this by Counter Apologist on youtube. Here's the link to the first part: http://youtu.be/p_mz_YebHms

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  2. You have misinterpreted what I have said. To put it simply, if you remove a terminating cause that does not itself require a cause, then you are left with an infinite regress of causes: B caused A, C caused B, D caused C etc infinitely. That is not an explanation. How can it be disputed that if the universe has a beginning, there must be an ultimate cause to it, it cannot have caused itself.

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  3. I know what an infinite regress is but you state that this is impossible therefore God did it! That is all you are really saying. I am asking you which god did it and how can you know this? Next I would like to know what is the nature of this god and how is it possible that he/she/or it is not subject to having a cause or even an explainable reason as to how he came into being. God did it answers nothing.

    I have no problem with a being that created the universe and all things in it (deistic view). My problem is with the Judaism, Christianity, and Islam claiming that this deity is personal and has to be the one they choose to worship and know through so called divine revelation.

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  4. I'm not just saying 'God did it'. I'm saying that there has to be a terminating cause to explain the universe, because the universe is contingent and could have not existed. You don't have to call the terminating cause 'God' but it has to be something which it itself does not require a prior cause! And I'm glad you are happy with deism! I never delved into theology. I'm not 'religious' in that sense. But I do believe that there is some sort of necessary being, that's the only adequate explanation.

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    1. I'm glad to see we agree on something but why does it have to be a being at all? It could be some force like energy or some other form of it that we have not yet discovered. It's hard to imagine time before the Big Bang since time as we know it may be very different or not exist at all in a prior state. I am comfortable stating simply that I don't yet know but I think it is an illogical leap of faith to jump to a god conclusion when the existence of such a being cannot be quantified nor falsified.

      Jumping to the god conclusion leads to a departure from logic to that of the esoteric and supernatural. Again something we cannot prove to exist nor have anything in the known universe to use as a reference to compare it to.

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    2. Apologies for my late reply to your post.

      I have to say, your counter to what I have asserted is very weak. A 'force like energy' is contingent, and therefore needs a cause. It is impossible for matter to come into existence ex nihilo; a cause is required.

      Indeed, time did not exist before the ultimate beginning, and therefore something caused time to begin; it did not start on its own.

      It is not an illogical step to conclude that a transcendent cause is the best explanation for the entirety of existence. In fact, it is a logical step. If you disagree, then propose how contingent matter could come about on its own. We are not saying WHAT this transcendent cause is, call it what you like, but 'God' in some form is what most people would call it.

      Your last paragraph doesn't seem to be much of an argument if you read what I have written.

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    3. "It is not an illogical step to conclude that a transcendent cause is the best explanation for the entirety of existence."

      It's even more logical to state that we just don't know at this time. Jumping to the god conclusion makes no sense and begs the question regarding the origins of this god or prime mover, uncaused cause or whatever you choose to call it.

      As I stated once in another post I wrote I said that if I were to believe in a creator I would believe in the manner of a deist. A creator who set things in motion, established the laws of science and nature, and left it all to its own devices. A being or force that would not require complete submission and obedience.

      I don't believe in so called divine revelations as they have been presented to us in the so called sacred texts of the world. I don't believe that "faith" is a reliable means of obtaining information and facts. But for now I'm comfortable with the "I don't know" answer. Whatever this god is I don't think it is any of the ones man has created for himself such as Yahweh, Allah, and the other thousands that we find throughout both modern and ancient cultures.

      Jumping to the god conclusion without any evidence whatsoever demands an explanation of what this god is and evidence of its existence. Otherwise, you are no closer to the so called truth than all of our learning and scientific knowledge to date.

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    4. If a theist holds to the principle that "everything that begins to exist has a cause" then they must accept determinism, because if our thoughts and actions begin to exist, they must have causes. And those causes must have causes, and you get a chain of causes going back to the big bang, which is determinism. If they disagree, then they will have to admit the principle is wrong. It's a theistic dilemma.

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  5. And the Big Bang requires an ultimate cause (non contingent) if the universe is not infinite (scientific consensus says it's not).
    There is no dilemma!
    A non-contingent cause does not require a cause because by definition it is uncaused. The only uncaused cause I can think of is God. You have just raised your own dilemma! Explain a finite universe with an infinite regress of causes! You can't!

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    1. "A non-contingent cause does not require a cause because by definition it is uncaused. The only uncaused cause I can think of is God."

      It's much more simpler to state the obvious; when it comes to the origin of the universe, we simply do not know what caused it. Positiing a being who is as you say "non-contingent" is nothing more than making baseless and illogical assumptions. In fact, it is a very well known fallacy known as special pleading.

      http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/special-pleading.html

      In fact, such special pleading leads to begging the question as to the origins and nature of this so called god of yours. Just because we cant yet explain it does not make it logical to resort to ridiculous assumptions based on ancient myths and superstitions. It's funny how you state that nothing can come from nothing yet when you make this type of argument for the existence of God that is exactly what you are saying. That God always was and has no beginning is stating that there never was nothing but that there always was God. Yet again begging a myriad of questions as to the nature and origin of this god.

      If you want to stay in line with logical reasoning then the simplest answer at this time regarding the origins of the Big Bang and the universe etc. is we don't know. Anything else without supporting evidence is nothing more that; baseless assumptions.

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  6. Please think about this carefully.

    A universe with an origin requires an explanation. Everything in the universe, and the universe itself is contingent. Every contingent cause is caused by something. The universe (as a contingent entity) needs an ultimate cause that is not itself contingent, because the universe has an origin! Otherwise B caused A, C caused B, D caused C and so on infinitely! Therefore, the ultimate cause (it would have to be non-contingent) of the universe has to be a necessary being. A necessary being is something that must exist for everything else to exist, because it is the ultimate cause. That necessary being would not have an origin because otherwise it would need a cause and therefore it would not be the ultimate cause would it? Either you deny that the universe has an origin, or you accept the logic of the argument. Therefore, this argument is NOT special pleading is it?

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    1. Actually your argument is special pleading because it assumes that a so called non-contingent entity exists. There is no evidence for the existence of such a being nor is its existence falsifiable due to its unknown origin and nature. There is nothing to compare it to because nothing in the known world like this so called prime mover/uncaused cause/non-contingent being has been discovered.

      Your argument hangs on the premise that for everything that begins to exist there must be a cause that led to its existence. You are guilty of special pleading because it is necessary to invent a non-contingent being without evidence. From a scientific perspective your so called non-contingent being does not even qualify as a theory. In the end your so called argument is an argument from ignorance as well as a god of the gaps theory.

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    2. The argument that I am postulating is not scientific anyway, so it cannot be refuted scientifically. It is a philosophical argument, and so far, you have not refuted it philosophically either.

      Before you say that a philosophical argument is stupid, it is philosophers that have contributed a huge amount to this debate on both sides of the argument.

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  7. Harry Howard I forgot to ask you which god are you referring to here? The Judaeo-Christian deity or some deistic god? Either way your argument can be stated as such: everything that begins to exist must have a first cause, an infinite regress of causes is impossible, God is a non-contingent uncaused cause therefore God did it. This is a classic example as I said earlier of an argument from ignorance.

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    1. I am referring to neither. I am simply putting forth an argument that states that a transcendent cause of the universe is the most likely and logical based on the finite nature of the universe.

      You did not summarise my argument very well either. Firstly, you seem to agree with the majority of it but then you say that I jump to 'God did it." Do you agree that something non-contingent created this universe that has a beginning? If you don't, then surely you think the universe is infinite. If you don't then you must think that this contingent universe brought itself into existence? Is that logical and rational? I don't think so.

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    2. Harry, cause and effect have only been demonstrated to work in this universe. Can you demonstrate that cause and effect (which require time and force and matter) exist outside of this universe? No, as you can't even reach the "edge" of this universe,... Logic doesn't apply outside this universe.

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  8. It is quite acceptable in any scientific inquiry to say "I don't know" when the answer to something isn't known, and in the case of the beginning of the universe, will probably never be known. Just because something is not known does not mean a supreme being did something which caused the universe to come into existence. Throughout human history, there were many things we didn't understand, and we said 'God' or someone omniscient caused this to happen. As our species has accumulated knowledge, we now have little we view as 'God did it' to account for gaps on our knowledge. I want to know how Harry Howard feels about supreme beings not being needed in our everyday lives in order to explain them?

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  9. Actually Harry Howard, how do you account for 'god' did it, when throughout history, we have found reasons and causes for most things which used to be attributed to higher beings? It's perfectly acceptable in science to say "I don't know" when confronted with things like the origins of the universe or life itself. How do you account for your god not doing anything to contribute to my ability to answer you on this computer? There is nothing you can show me here and now (not an indeterminate time in the far distant past) which would prove the existence of a god in a flawed book like the bible.

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  10. It is not about the fact that we do not know, of course we do not know. I agree. However, saying that the universe has an ultimate beginning brings a number of implications with it which must be considered.

    The most important one is that whatever caused the universe to exist, it must have been something that was, so to speak, the first cause. If it wasn't, then this thing would itself need a cause and hence it wouldn't be the first cause.

    I have asked the cosmologist Brian Cox whether he can think of something contingent that could be a first cause. He said he couldn't, for obvious reasons. It is impossible.

    Let me make it clear, I am not making any inferences about theology. I am not a Christian or a follower of any other religion. I am just saying that it is logical that a universe with a beginning cannot have brought itself into existence, it needs a creator. I will not say anything on the desires, nature or power of this being, other than to say that there is a strong indication that it is there.

    So far, this main point that I have repeated several times has not been addressed in any replies to what I have written. Instead, people keep saying that I am jumping to a 'God of the gaps' argument. I am absolutely not. Any person can see the logic of the argument, it is irrefutable if you accept the finite nature of the universe.

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    1. We don't know is the most logical answer to the origin of the universe no matter how you spin it. God did it is not. The origins of the universe can have come about by some unknown and yet undiscovered natural force not requiring the invention of some non-contingent infinite being. Whether you like to admit it or not you are making a god of the gaps argument.

      "I have asked the cosmologist Brian Cox whether he can think of something contingent that could be a first cause. He said he couldn't, for obvious reasons. It is impossible. "

      That's because we don't know! But the fact that we don't know what caused the beginning of the universe to come into existence doesn't automatically mean god did it. There is a lot of research into what we call nothingness. Does a state of nothing actually exist? You should read 'A Universe From Nothing' by Lawrence Krauss and Nothing:Insights from the new scientists into the amazing world of nothing.

      "Before you say that a philosophical argument is stupid, it is philosophers that have contributed a huge amount to this debate on both sides of the argument. "

      I have expressed before that I don't think that philosophy is the appropriate means of discovering truths when it comes to religion and religious beliefs and philosophy is not science. Anything is possible in the mind and philosophy is nothing more than exercises of the mind that for the most part are not part of the scientific method.

      In the mind the invention of a non-contingent being is perfectly logical from that perspective, but it is not science in that it can't be verified through experimentation and observation. There is nothing logical about believiing something that was invented in the mind. God did it answers nothing and philosophy like religion have no place in scienitfic enquiry. That is my opinion on the matter.

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    2. 'I am just saying that it is logical that a universe with a beginning cannot have brought itself into existence, it needs a creator.'

      Saying this is the same as god did it, you're just calling it non-contingent being, which started the whole process of making the universe. And Chatpilot says there is no proof of such an entity, and the universe came into existence by accident says I. There is no reason to believe I'm not correct either.

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    3. Firstly, it is NOT a god of the gaps argument. It is a basic example of deductive reasoning. You seem to agree with the first two premises (1. everything that begins to exist has a cause, 2. the universe began to exist). What you cannot agree with for ideological reasons is the third premise 3. The cause of the universe HAS to be non-contingent.

      Secondly, you have massively misinterpreted what philosophy is. You keep referring to 'religion and religious beliefs' we are not talking about religion. That is THEOLOGY. Philosophy is "is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language." It tries to answer questions which science has difficulty answering. The intellectual greats of humanity were philosophers, and many of them were also scientists. Aquinas, Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Russell... the list goes on and on. Some of them believed in God, others did not.

      "There is nothing logical about believing something invented in the mind". I have never read such an incoherent statement. By your logic, we had better not trust any human endeavour, including scientific ones, because they started in the mind then? Your statement also puts forth one of the main arguments AGAINST radical materialists such as Richard Dawkins; he BELIEVES that all that exists is what we can see and observe, there is nothing more.

      "Philosophy and religion have no place in scientific enquiry." The question of our existence is not an inquiry that is limited to science. Because the question involves concepts such as time, space and causality, it is a question that is not empirical and therefore cannot be studied and observed. Therefore, we have to make use of philosophy to try to deal with these questions. That is MY opinion on the matter.

      As we seem to go around in circles, I won't keep repeating myself.

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    4. "As we seem to go around in circles, I won't keep repeating myself. "

      Thank goodness! You finally get the idea that you and I will never agree on this matter. Also, I don't need to be told the difference between apologetics, theology, or philosophy I am well aware what those differences are.

      "There is nothing logical about believing something invented in the mind".

      If this statement is incoherent then in your view I guess it is logical to believe in trolls, dragons, leprechauns, unicorns and fairies without evidence because all of these things were inventions of the mind. Of course there are some great ideas that have come from the mind of man and led to some great scientific discoveries but not all ideas are great.

      As expected you completely ignored everything I said about research into the nature of nothing as we know it. Like I said often your non-contingent being is a god of the gaps theory. Why is it so hard for you to just say like any rational person would that we just don't know? That third premise of yours is nothing more than an illogical leap from scientific fact to an unprovable assumption. Till we have those answers I don't know is the answer.



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    5. I did indeed not answer on the nature of nothing, but I did intend to. I will do now. Kraus's book was criticised later for the version of "nothing" that he was referring to.

      He was referring to a "quantum vacuum instead of a "philosopher’s or theologian’s idealized 'nothing'" (i.e. instead of having the meaning "not anything")"

      Bringing up the quantum vacuum simply pushes the question one step back to: "what created the laws necessary for a quantum vacuum?" Again, contingency is the stumbling block, it cannot have created itself.

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  11. Harry, another thing I wanted to point out is that apologetics is not true philosophy. It is the equivalent of what psuedoscience is to actual science. Apologetics is the abuse of philosophy and utilizes every logical fallacy in order to validate a theistic response to actual logical reasoning.

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    1. You seem to have got your wires crossed once again. Apologetics is not philosophy anyway!!!!!!! It is theology.

      In fact the definition is: Apologetics is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.

      Stop mixing philosophy with religion and theology.

      As for whether you are an agnostic, deist (of various forms) or atheist, that is a different question which philosophy is grounded in. Don't try and separate philosophy into one part being the stupid god part and the other the correct atheist part.

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    2. "Don't try and separate philosophy into one part being the stupid god part and the other the correct atheist part. "

      Wow, this is bad! The question of origins in my opinion is not a religious question at all. The search for truth on the matter is entirely a scientific endeavor. Arm chair philosophy will never resolve this question. Like I said there could be an unknown force that we have yet to discover that could account for the origin of the universe. This is more probable than some super being that exists outside of space and time as we know it and is unfalsifiable by all means of logical inquiry.

      " Don't try and separate philosophy into one part being the stupid god part and the other the correct atheist part. "

      It's not about atheism or theism it's about scientific facts and when it comes to the origins of the universe we just don't know.



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  12. @Harry Howard, thanks for your prompt response regarding the matter of nothing. I will try to explain why I have a problem with the idea of a non-contingent being. What you are asking me to believe is that this being (god) somehow exists outside of space and time before the existence of the universe itself. That this being consciously (correct me if I'm wrong) "created" the universe and everything in it. But this just brings up more problems.

    To my understanding conciousness itself is a product of the mind which resides in our bodies and controls all of our bodily functions. It is with our minds that we make decisions, think, ponder, etc. Our minds like our bodies are physical things that exist. Now for a being to do all of these things without a physical body and mind is in my view absurd.

    This is why I keep saying it is better and more likely to think that a "natural" yet unknown and undiscovered force could have started it all randomly. What would a being be doing outside of space and time before the creation of the universe especially if he did not being to exist but just was, is, and always will be? I would lean toward deism if I had to but the idea of a conscious, eternally, non-contingent being existing is in my view irrational and absurd. It's not about theism or atheism for me. It's about what can be known and to date this being does not exist outside of the mind and imagination of man.

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  13. Correctioin: " What would a being be doing outside of space and time before the creation of the universe, especially if he did not begin to exist but just was, is, and always will be?"

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  14. While causes and explanations might be required for certain things in the universe this doesn't apply to the universe itself. And the big bang is evi not evidence that the universe "begun to exist" the big bang is only considered the start of the observable universe the universe could be eternal

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    1. Great point cee-kas! Harry Howard's argument is nothing more than the kalam cosmological argument as it is presented by William Lane Craig. It's conclusion does not follow the premises he has presented and takes a mess of logical fallacies to try to pull it off. When dealing with unknowns you can't just state God did it. That is circular reasoning and the evidence for God is nonexistent to begin with.

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    2. Even if their was a big bang..question still remains. How did life begin? Ah yes..primordial soup. Only problem with that is...we can send a man to the moon, create a computer that does billions of calculations per second. But what's the one thing man has not accomplished with his great mind...oh ya..created life out of nothing. But we are suppose to believe...as well as the big bang theory..again...well it just happened. Man has never...ever..anywhere..in the history of man been able to create life..where their was no life...BAM!

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    3. "Even if their was a big bang..question still remains. How did life begin? "

      The rational answer to this question is that although there are various theories on the matter currently being studied by scientists at the moment; the exact process is simply unknown. But that does not mean that "God did it" or that we resort to inventing creative beings born out of our imaginations due to our current inability to understand something.

      If "God did it" then this only begs the questions as to which god did it, where did this being come from, etc. Did your god just pop into existence out of nothing as well? To state that he was the beginning of all things is a circular argument that is not backed by objective nor empirical evidence.

      Based on the fact that the human body is a mixture of chemical reactions and electrical impulses leads to the logical conclusion that we are in fact the result of some chemical mixture in the distant past.

      I'm sorry steve beck but the god of the gaps argument is a logical fallacy which does not fly as evidence of anything. First prove objectively and empirically that this god exists, and maybe then you could begin to make a case for his being the source of all of creation.

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