Reality, Myth, Truth and Lies

REALITY exists, whatever we believe. And sometimes, reality is not always what we think is probable, or likely
Atheists claim that faith in the existence of God is pure illusion. But that in itself is a faith claim.
However, the real illusion is to imagine that the complex nature of our planet could be created by chance, in a few billion years.
The illusion is that human nature is all determined by the environment or genetics, with no choice how a person acts or lives.
It’s a self-reinforcing delusion. that will continue to be believed in the face of contrary evidence.

Many atheists claim the Christ story is a myth conncoted over centuries by unspecified conspiracists for some unspecified reasons.
But for Christianity to have a long-term grip on history and on the hearts of hundreds of millions of people, more than just a myth needs to be involved.
Atheism denies that a God who is very real, alive, and personal, manifested a real, physical, tangible presence within actual history.
Theologian John Haught believes many of the “new atheists” are plainly ignorant about religion in general and Christianity in particular. They are under an illusion.
Asked what he would say to atheists who demand evidence or proof of the existence of a transcendent reality, Haught said:
“The hidden assumption behind such a statement is often that faith is belief without evidence. Therefore, since there’s no scientific evidence for the divine, we should not believe in God.
“But that statement itself — that evidence is necessary — holds a further hidden premise that all evidence worth examining has to be scientific evidence. And beneath that assumption, there’s the deeper worldview — it’s a kind of dogma — that science is the only reliable way to truth. But that itself is a faith statement.
“It’s a deep faith commitment because there’s no way you can set up a series of scientific experiments to prove that science is the only reliable guide to truth. It’s a creed.”.
The traditions of religion and philosophy have always maintained that the most important dimensions of reality are going to be least accessible to scientific control. To believe otherwise is an illusion.
As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: Few people have the imagination for reality. ~

Advertisements

96 thoughts on “Reality, Myth, Truth and Lies

  1. Fun story, I was curious about Christianity. Upon reading the Bible and learning about the faith from within church and through continuing self-study, it has become clear that believing that the Bible is God’s Word comes with many conceptual troubles. On the other hand, there are a lot of really great concepts presented as well.

    I find it hard to believe that the complex nature of our planet could have been created with intention. Happening naturally, the mechanisms of evolution allow life to fill in any gaps that occur due to changes in habitability.

    Also, I don’t believe the conspiracy theories about the Bible carry that much weight – it comes across to me that for the most part, the intentions were that of finding and sharing understanding within the context that developed. I really question the Gospel of John though for making Jesus the focal point, when elsewhere Jesus is pointing to God the Father and even talks of people coming to him not getting to heaven. That’s a big red flag.

    Genesis focusing on everything revolving around the Earth, and how heavily defended that thought was when the truth about the solar system was figured out is another big red flag for Christianity. Surely if the Bible is God’s word, God would have known better about how the universe functions.

    Science isn’t the way to truth, it’s the way to test truth. Many Christians tend to not understand this, and put higher value in holding on to their current religious interpretation than to expand their imagination’s ability to work within a framework of understanding.

    Like

    • “Science isn’t the way to truth, it’s the way to test truth.”
      Yes, but for many scientific laws discovered, a scientific higher law can show exceptions.

      Like

      • Hey Strewth,

        I’m having a bit of trouble following you on this one. Can you expand on the idea a little further or provide some examples ?

        thanks

        Like

      • One very early law had us believing that water is affected by gravity, and that still holds good. But heat it, it turns to steam and easily rises, defying gravity.

        Two plus two = four, but my friends with knowledge of higher maths tell me that is not always so.

        I’m not really conversant with physics, but you might find this interesting. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120329-can-the-laws-of-physics-change

        From a Christian point of view there is the law of “As you give so also will you receive,” which can be over-ruled by the higher law of Grace.

        Like

      • Hi Strewth,

        You’ve lost me a bit.

        I thought steam rose because it was less dense than the surrounding air. Are you saying it is actually anti-gravity at work? I can’t really follow your maths example can you expand on that at all?

        I really can’t see how the BBC article is helping your earlier statements either.

        Like

      • Bubba, the fact that water becomes steam and defies gravity doesn’t disprove the gravity law, but realisation about other circumstances such as you pointed out can affect it and form an extension to it, that is probably not the best example.I wish I could think of an example that better illustrates the karma and grace principle.

        No I can’t elaborate on higher maths. I do know that the square root of 4 is 2, but doesn’t have to be. It can be -2. Or so I am told.!

        Like

  2. THE PROBLEM OF EVIL—a bigger problem for atheists
    By David Robertson

    Professor Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author, says that evil does not exist.

    Lots of people, when asked why they do not believe in God, will say something like, “Because there is so much evil in the world”. It wasn’t the case for me.

    One of the reasons I became a Christian was studying the horrors of the Holocaust. I visited Auschwitz for the first time last year. It was so upsetting. If there is no God, then to me, this world is hell. What is often used as a reason to not believe in God can be used as a reason to believe.

    I think that all of us have a sense of evil and a sense of good – I don’t think that morality is relative. The modern mantra of “It’s true for you but not for me” is false. There really is such a thing as good and evil. To me this truth actually leads to God, rather than away from God.

    So here’s the problem of evil in a nutshell. We say that God is omnipotent – that He is all-powerful, so He could destroy evil right now. We say that God is good, so He would want to destroy evil. So then atheists will argue, that because evil exists, a good omnipotent God cannot exist. Otherwise, He would stop evil.

    It’s a simple argument and for some it is devastating, but there are lots of contradictions within this argument, especially when compared to the attitude of many atheists today.

    Atheists such as Richard Dawkins claim that evil does not actually exist. In his book, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes: “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces as genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

    So for this kind of atheist thinking, there is no evil. There is no purpose. Nothing, but blind, pitiless indifference. Sometimes I ask God why such terrible things happen in the world. I get upset. But I would be in the pit of despair if I thought that the universe had no purpose, no good and no evil, and it all happened for no reason at all.

    If you are a philosophical naturalist, you believe that the material world is all that there is, then you have a real problem with existence of evil because you have to believe:

    1) There is no creation, and no Creator.

    2) There is no life after death. No one to answer to. You are a blob of carbon floating from one meaningless existence to another.

    3) There is no ultimate foundation for morality. It’s just something that happens, and has evolved.

    4) There is no ultimate meaning in life. We’re going on from one meaningless existence to another.

    5) There is no human free will. It means I’m programmed to do certain things. It means I can’t be held accountable. It means when you stand in front of a judge for raping a woman, you say, “I can’t help it, it was my genes”. It takes away human responsibility. Part of being human is being responsible. We have an element, at least, of free will.

    The problem with the atheist view of evil, is that logically it doesn’t make sense. Either you agree that it exists, or you don’t. If it does exist, then on what metaphysical basis does it exist? It can’t just “be” in a world that is just atoms and molecules.

    I love CS Lewis’ view. As he made his journey from atheism to theism, Lewis realised that the problem of evil presented more of a problem for atheism than it did for theism. In Mere Christianity he writes:

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust…?

    “Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies.

    “Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple.”

    It’s true. Atheism is way too simple. If you say you don’t believe in God because the world is unjust and that there is evil in the world – but you then say there is no such thing as evil, you’re contradicting yourself.

    The New Atheist motto “There is no God and I hate HIm” doesn’t make any sense at all.

    CHALLENGE, the good news paper—September 2014

    Like

    • “The New Atheist motto “There is no God and I hate HIm” doesn’t make any sense at all.”

      You’re right it doesn’t make sense – probably because a Christian made it up 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

      • I’ve heard this sort of thing said by atheists. It also conveys itself in the subtext and the attitude of some atheists on this blog. There’s no reasoning behind it.
        But I think the god atheists hate is not the God I believe in.

        Like

      • “There is no God and I hate Him” I don’t know how you can hate something you don’t think exists (apart from the kind of hatred you might feel for a character in fiction). I haven’t met an atheist, or read a comment by an atheist that would make that motto applicable.

        Like

      • “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”—Richard Dawkins

        Like

      • You have to wonder why Dawkins spewed out such a rant about the God he claims he doesn’t believe in.

        Dawkins said in.the God Delusion that on a 7 point scale of being sure that God does not exists: “I count myself in category 6, but leaning towards 7.”

        He’s not sure. Are you Stu?

        Like

      • “You have to wonder why Dawkins spewed out such a rant about the God he claims he doesn’t believe in.” Because the Old Testament (Leviticus for example) expresses some views that are abhorrent. Some people accept those abhorrent views based on what they accept as biblical authority. I don’t accept any dogma with homophobic criterion, for example.

        “He’s not sure. Are you Stu?” No, as I’ve explained before. Are you sure the deists you’ve quoted recently are wrong? Why are you sure devotees of Shiva are wrong?

        Like

      • Right. So you are saying the Bible you don’t follow or even have read in full quotes something about the God you claim to not believe in. And that upsets you because you believe in gay rights. And you’re not sure about God either way. OK that’s a starting point I guess. So what do you believe in Stu? Love perhaps? Where did that come from? Just a mishmash of neurons?

        Like

      • @Bryan re:”even have read in full” it’s possible I skipped over a begat here and there, I suppose.

        “And that upsets you because you believe in gay rights.” The only time it “upsets” me Bryan, is when people use it to justify their own prejudice or to discriminate against homosexual people.

        “And you’re not sure about God either way.” That’s your conclusion. This is what Ive actually said: “I don’t believe in god because no one has be able to demonstrate why it is a necessary concept to understanding the nature of reality or the human condition. There is also no scientifically or verifiable evidence pointing to the existence of any deity in any religion present or past.”

        “So what do you believe in Stu? Love perhaps? Where did that come from? Just a mishmash of neurons?” This is an appeal to emotion. Why pick love? Where did jealousy come from?

        Like

      • “Atheism finds almost impossible to explain.” That’s because atheism is the absence of belief in gods, not the science or a philosophy of human emotion or consciousness. “If we are merely evolutionary advanced animals, is love anything more than instinct and hormones?” Far too simplistic on your part Bryan, but most certainly it is true that our emotions are chemically based and the result of the natural evolutionary process. If you’ve any doubts that our consciousness is chemically based, there’s a place where (at a cost) you can do self administered experiments to test the reality yourself. It’s called “the pub”.

        Like

      • “Atheists claim that faith in the existence of God is pure illusion. ”

        Really we do? I can’t remember ever making that claim or statement. Seems a bit of a straw man from ol Andy G.

        Like

      • “So love is just bouncing chemicals?” Even if it is, it doesn’t make less real does it? “Do you tell your wife/lover that?” Not in so many words Bryan! 🙂

        Like

      • Hey Bry,

        Dunno about you but when I tell my wife I love her she’s never once asked me if thats merely due to evolutionary urges or due to a divine creator.

        Never the once.

        And if you have ever had a wife and kids you’d understand that there are some huge evolutionary advantages to love.

        Like

      • “So love is just bouncing chemicals”

        So what if it is ? I gotta say that as a parent I can certainly see how there would be an evolutionary advantage to love. Considering how much time and effort goes into raising kids.

        Does it matter what the source is ? No offence but surely this is the ego running rampant again.

        If love is a byproduct of evolutionary biology then why would that offend you ? Why would that be a concern in the slightest ?

        Unless of course your ego demands more. That for you love must be divinely inspired from God, because your so special that that’s the only possible explanation.

        Much like the examples you’ve given us of Sartre and Lewis in an earlier conversation or the example of Lewis on this topic. Ego seems very compatible with Christianity.

        Like

    • @Andy G – love your work btw “Atheists claim that faith in the existence of God is pure illusion.” No “they” don’t. There’s heaps of evidence on this blog alone that people have faith in the existence of god. They have names even. Thing is, they have no verifiable evidence to support their claims.

      Like

      • Richard Dawkins clarified his position a bit on a recent episode of the Unbelievable? podcast in the midst of his conversation with a rabbi and a Christian:

        JUSTIN BRIERLEY (host): “The God of the Old Testament,” you said, “is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”…. Do you still stand by that description of the God of the Old Testament?

        RICHARD DAWKINS: Yes, I do….

        RABBI JOSH LEVY: There is also a deeply, deeply ethical God, who 3,000 years ago is saying to the Israelites, “You have to care about the vulnerable in your society. You have to do your business honestly. You have to look after your workers. You have to care about the immigrant who comes into your society.” So to only describe the God of the Old Testament in that way, I think, is actually just simplistic and doesn’t help us to really engage with the Old Testament as a whole.

        RICHARD DAWKINS: Yeah, I accept that, of course. It was a passage that was semi-tongue-in-cheek actually, because, well, when I do public readings of my books, I do it with my wife, and we usually try to get a laugh from the audience early on in our performance because it sort of lightens up the atmosphere. And that passage, we always used when doing The God Delusion readings right at the beginning, because it does get the audience roaring with laughter…. So it was a sort of humorous passage, and I do accept that if you look through either the Old Testament or the New Testament, you can certainly find passages of wisdom, passages that one would ethically approve of tucked in amongst the others that one wouldn’t ethically approve of….

        CHRIS SINKINSON: The problem, though, I think…is that, Richard, you are very good with rhetoric. You have a very powerful mastery of the English language, and that rhetoric can be very bullying sometimes. And…in terms of the passage, it’s clearly a very slanted view of how to read the text of the Old Testament. Most of us would take the clearer passages to interpret the harder passages. We would be talking about Leviticus 19—“love your neighbor as yourself”—before we’re looking at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. So, we would have an approach to Scripture that would weight things in such a way that that description of God just does not sound like the God who I believe in, or the God who I worship. So the rhetoric, I think, can generate a lot more heat than it does light.

        RICHARD DAWKINS: That’s probably fair, yes.

        Like

      • “So you are saying that faith in the existence of God is not pure illusion.” I was obviously too subtle in this case (Andy G). I was making a separate point, that faith in gods exists in reality. To be very clear: there is lots of evidence that people believe in gods and supernatural constructs.

        The exchange between Dawkins and the religious leaders is interesting, I wouldn’t mind the whole transcript or video. I accept that most Christians don’t accept a cherry picked version of the OT God and am grateful for it. I just don’t understand how someone can just ignore the uglier bits of OT (and NT) theology. There doesn’t seem to be much wriggle room for interpretation of the punishments for sin in Leviticus for example.

        Like

      • Dawkins reasoning can be simplified like this:
        1.God, as portrayed in The Old Testament, is nasty and mean.
        2.I don’t like a God like that.
        3.Therefore, God does not exist.

        Put in this way, Dawkins argument is seen for what it is, a “non sequitur,” where the conclusion does not follow from the premises. In other words, Dawkins makes claims that have nothing to do with what he is trying to prove. Again, this is obvious question begging.

        But that is not all. Dawkins’ opening statement is a classic “straw man” argument. That is, like a man made only from straw, Dawkins description of God is easily knocked down. He even admits this is the case a few paragraphs later when he writes, “It is unfair to attack such an easy target.”

        But the problem here is that Dawkins is aiming at the wrong target. Christian theologians have never described God the way Dawkins imagines. And Dawkins does not attempt to defend his description. He simply makes an assertion that God’s character is the way he says. He never deals with what Christians actually believe about the nature and attributes of God.
        http://www.summit.org/resources/truth-and-consequences/dawkins-delusional-arguments-against-god/

        Like

      • @ The problem with what you’ve written is you’ve falsely set up some reasoning of your own and applied it to Dawkins, thereby creating a strawman of your very own.

        Like

      • Hey Stu,

        I’d argue that Christians have a very cherry picked view of God. They highlight the good and down play or ignore the bad.

        Like

      • “I accept that most Christians don’t accept a cherry picked version of the OT God and am grateful for it. I just don’t understand how someone can just ignore the uglier bits of OT (and NT) theology.” (Stu)

        Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Then he proceeded to cherry pick the O.T.

        That is why he could portray God as a loving father, rather than the split personality of Jehovah – who to my way of thinking was more the psyche of the Israelites, with all their good and bad characteristics.

        Like

  3. I strongly suspect that my wallet was stolen a few days ago. I say that because even if I had absent-mindedly placed it on the counter of the shop I had last used my credit card at, or dropped it on the floor instead of in my handbag, my contact number was plainly attached to the wallet and all an honest person had to do was make a local phone call. The loss of a substantial amount of cash and my credit card, driver’s licence and other membership cards didn’t upset me nearly as much as the fact that there are dishonest people in this world. Still, if the finder of such a windfall needs the cash more than I do, then good luck to him/her! As for the suspect thief in Woollies, well then….I am hoping that you were desperate to do what you did.

    So, is this an example of Richard Dawkins claim that evil does not exist and that “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces as genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” ? I think not.

    As it so happened, the day after I felt to listen to a sermon from a preacher I had long ago lost interest in. Her message was to not let anything or anyone, especially a brother or sister-in-Christ take our faith away, making prayer nearly impossible. “Shame on us” she said, if we allowed that to happen because our faith to God is more precious than gold. She goes on to say that one of the highest privileges known to man is the privilege to hear the voice of God and obey, and I surely believe that. She said word-for-word something that the Lord had said to me 20 years ago and I knew that God had used the loss of my wallet as an object lesson tied in with her message. So, I repeat what Nita Johnson said, DON’T LET ANYTHING OR ANYONE STEAL OUR FAITH! It is so precious. Why? Because He lives and Jesus Christ is the reason for our hope…..

    A Living Hope
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,…(1 Peter 1:3).

    Like

  4. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: Few people have the imagination for reality. ~
    “O”
    The planet has been in existence for about 4,000,000,000 years and in that time
    ONLY a Few people have the imagination for reality. ~ one being of course
    “Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ”
    Yes :- sarcasm

    Like

  5. “True atheists would not hate God. But many self-professed atheists apparently do hate God. Christopher Hitchens was one who recognized this in himself and said he was actually a misotheist (God-hater) not an atheist. Richard Dawkins also seems to be a God-hater.

    So, is Richard Dawkins an atheist? He seems more like a God-hater than a genuine atheist. That’s why my colleague, Jonathan Sarfati, invented the word ‘misotheist’ (hater of God), which he has applied to Professor Dawkins and other fanatical opponents of the God of the Bible.

    George Orwell identified this sort of ‘atheist’ in the character of Bozo, in Down and Out in Paris and London : ‘He was an embittered atheist (the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him)’. Interestingly, in The God Delusion, Dawkins carries on about what he doesn’t like about the God he doesn’t believe in.

    Dawkins likened himself to ‘the Devil’s Chaplain’, the title of a compilation of his essays. However, the Devil does not disbelieve in God; he knows only too well that God is real (cf. James 2:19). The Bible indentifies him as ‘a liar and the father of lies’ (John 8:44); so what of ‘the Devil’s chaplain’? Perhaps Dawkins did not think very carefully about this biblical allusion!

    If Dawkins really believed what atheists supposedly believe, he should just put his feet up with a bottle of scotch and just enjoy himself as he waits for his death and his consumption by worms so he can fertilize the grass. Getting his blood pressure up over people believing in God all seems rather futile, if atheism is true. But perhaps it isn’t? Ah, there’s the rub.”

    by Don Batten, Creation Ministries

    Like

      • Don’t know Stu. I’ve spent ages trying to look it up but can’t find any proof of that statement. This is the article where Don Batten insists, no less than six times, (in the ‘Comments’ section) that the above statement is true:

        http://creation.com/atheist-god-hate

        Also, “But I think there is a parallel here with Hitchens’ later embrace of a flailing, uneven variety of atheism (or, as he always insisted, miso-theism, God-hatred rather than just God-denial).”

        http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/12/20/3394402.htm

        Like

      • Monica, if you can’t find it, then he probably didn’t say it and you should be suspicious of motives for making it up.

        Like

      • I haven’t jumped to a conclusion. It’s evident by my use of the word “probably”. When is it ever a bad idea to get your facts right before posting something?

        Like

      • Could ‘Letters to a Young Contrarian’ be the source?

        “Antitheism—opposition to theism:

        The Oxford English Dictionary defines antitheist as “One opposed to belief in the existence of a god”. The earliest citation given for this meaning dates from 1833.[1] An antitheist may oppose belief in the existence of any god or gods, and not merely one in particular.

        Antitheism has been adopted as a label by those who regard theism as dangerous or destructive. Christopher Hitchens offers an example of this approach in Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001), in which he writes: “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.”[2]

        ***Opposition to God is frequently referred to as dystheism (which means “belief in a deity that is not benevolent”) or misotheism (strictly speaking, this means “hatred of God”).”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitheism#cite_note-2

        Like

      • “Could ‘Letters to a Young Contrarian’ be the source?” No. Batten asserts that Hitchens described himself as a “misotheist”. Nothing you’ve quoted confirms he said that.

        Like

      • “But Hitchens was a misotheist. ” This is the question I actually asked: “where and when exactly did Hitch describe himself as not being an atheist, and calling himself a “misotheist”? Based on what has been provided in this thread so far, the answers are “nowhere ” and “never”.

        Like

      • I believe Hitchens was correct in saying “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist”. This implies being anti a belief in God.

        I also see that others have called him a misotheist, and if he ever did so himself I feel it could only be a hatred of what has been portrayed in the Bible as God – a mythical figure in his belief. Surely it is possible to hate a concept, without believing it real.

        Does it really matter?

        Like

    • “Oh, you mean like “every second post is about atheists”?” No, not like that at all. I wasn’t being literal as I explained before. I’ll try not be so colloquial or subtle in the future.

      Like

      • “Honestly, I’d rather discuss more important things.” You control the topics on your own blog, the power is all yours.

        Like

      • “True. And sometimes things need to be said.” That’s why I make comments on this blog when the topic is on atheism. As I’ve said before, when the topic is about people sharing positive aspects of their faith or seeking fellowship, I feel no need to comment. But when people falsely assert things about what atheists “believe”, attribute words to atheists without evidence, misrepresent positions via logical fallacies, or try to justify bigotry and impose will on others based on their interpretation on what their god wants, as you say, things need to be said.

        Like

      • “when atheists misrepresent their position.” The problem is Bryan, that in many instances you base your interpretation of a position on your personal feelings, not evidence. When you accuse me of misrepresenting my own position, you are essentially accusing me of lying. In effect, you are “bearing false witness”.

        Like

      • I love it when you quote the Bible Stu. The real problem is that I feel you and some others misrepresent what atheism is to avoid having to defend your position. But as usual, this conversation will go around in circles. And as I say, there are moreimportant things to think and talk about.

        Like

      • One of the best marks of being a FOOLISH atheist is this, “You prefer to reject the Bible to be full of contradictions yet you have no problem in accepting books by militant atheists that are full of contradictions to facts to be true.” How true. And you accuse Christians of bearing false witness. To be honest, atheists buy the theory of evolution as if it’s true because it’s the “only alternative” for them compared to the Word of God without realizing that Charles Darwin was NOT an atheist and that some of the best “Darwin’s disciples” included theists. .
        .http://fundamentalbaptistchristian.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/thou-shalt-not-bear-false-witness.html

        Like

      • “I feel you and some others misrepresent what atheism is to avoid having to defend your position.” Except thats not true. I’ve been entirely up front with you and others about what my position is, I’ve answered questions directly and honestly and outlined why I don’t believe in god(s) and I have no motive or reason to lie about it. The problem is, you want me to have another position which is to assert that there is no god and then defend that position. In trying to wriggle around this, you try everything from ignoring evidence (ignoring common definitions of atheism), ad hominems, misrepresentations in the form of strawmen and trying to shift the burden of truth, all based on what you “feel” or “believe”.

        Like

      • @ Kim “accepting books by militant atheists that are full of contradictions” Do you apply the term “militant” to religious people who defend their views? What contradictions are you referring to?
        I’ve chosen to use the term “bearing false witness” to put things in perspective for believers. It clearly isn’t working. Atheism and evolution are separate concepts Kim. Plenty of Christians understand this and accept the scientific evidence for evolution by natural selection.

        Like

      • “No, it’s a matter of fact Stu.” Facts can be backed up with evidence. You’ve only made assertions. “You’re fence sitting.” Not knowing something is “fence sitting” is it Bryan? There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know” and asking for evidence. Or is it a case of “you’re with me or against me”?

        Like

      • What facts Bryan? How do differentiate between a fact and an assertion? “You either believe God is real or not”. So you’re saying there are positions that can be held on a balance of probability?

        Like

      • “So you’re saying there (cannot be*) positions that can be held on a balance of probability” Apologies, correction annotated with asterisk.

        Like

      • Is agnosticism fence sitting? Is it fence sitting to acknowledge the possibility of being wrong? To acknowledge we are not omniscient?

        Like

  6. Dr. Steven Novella:
    “When someone looks at me and earnestly says, “I know what I saw,” I am fond of replying, “No you don’t.” You have a distorted and constructed memory of a distorted and constructed perception, both of which are subservient to whatever narrative your brain is operating under.”

    Like

  7. bryanpattersonfaithworks
    on September 6, 2014 at 22:44 said:
    Honestly, I’d rather discuss more important things.

    Lucky your not Pinocchio .
    Unfortunate you have like many strong religious you can not grasp those who don,t have your dis ire for eternity

    Like

  8. Seriously Stu,

    “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist”

    What’s the difference between the label antitheist and misotheist ? Many Christian apologists don’t seem to think that there is a difference, and neither do I.

    The New Atheism

    The following article is an excerpt from The New Atheism and the Erosion of Freedom

    “Militancy is the difference between what was historically known as “atheism” and the modern movement of “antitheism.” The atheists of the old school took a rather relaxed, passive attitude toward God and the Bible. They felt that if people were foolish enough to believe in religion, that was their problem. These atheists did not feel the need to read through the Bible, desperately seeking contradictions or errors. They did not sit up night after night feverishly trying to formulate attacks against religion. They simply ignored religion.

    Hating a Nonexistent God

    The situation abruptly changed after Hegel (1770-1831). Atheists became anti-theists as they were now actively “against” God, seeking to wage war on God and on those who believed in Him. Thus the pure atheism of nonbelief gave way to a crusade of anti-theism. No longer did they simply not believe in God. They now hated God and wished to destroy all faith, love and obedience directed to Him.

    Hegel and those who followed him, such as Feuerbach, Neitszche, Marx, etc., believed that God had to be pushed aside in order for man to be free to be his own god. The only way for man to ascend the throne of divinity was for God to step down. It was not simply that God did not exist; God must not and ought not exist.1

    Thus modern atheists deny God’s existence because they actually hate God. They hate Him because this God demands they serve Him and fulfill the destiny He has decreed for them. This God gives man a revealed law which dictates what is right and wrong. God thus robs man of the freedom of being and choosing whatever he wants. God is viewed as the enemy that must be destroyed in order for man to reach his full potential. Instead of God being the measure of all things, man must be the measure of all things.

    The only way atheists can strike a blow directly against God is to deny His existence.”

    Like

    • Philip Bell responds:

      “You say Chris Hitchens “didn’t hate god any more than he hated any other character he considered to be fictional”. With respect, this opinion fails to fit the facts. Consider the following:

      “He was a virtuoso hater and his hatreds were redeemed, when they had to be, by the sheer relish with which they were expressed,” wrote Michael Ignatieff upon his death.

      Source: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/12/20/father-raymond-j-de-souza-christopher-hitchens-lived-in-service-of-plain-hatred/

      Certainly, those whom society labels Christians (i.e. who took their stand as believers in God) were often the victims of his “hate speech” and the above article gives clear examples that few would be prepared to defend. In keeping with this, we note that hatred towards God has always manifested itself most especially in hatred for Christians, as Christ Himself warned—John 15:18–20 and 23–25.”

      http://creation.com/chris-hitchens-dies

      Like

      • “What’s the difference between the label antitheist and misotheist?” I’m glad you recognise you are choosing to label people Monica. You have been using the term misotheist as “hating god”. Think about what Hitchens actually said when he referred to antitheism: “I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.” Hating god and saying religious belief is harmful is not the same thing. Try quoting people correctly rather than using the cut and paste to quote second hand smears.

        Like

      • Okay,
        here’s my take on this long-drawn out discussion.

        Somehow some of the comments here are missing the meaning of the words that are used. Neither Theism or Theist means or is to be translated precisely as god or The God. Theism directly refers to the state or practice or tradition of believing in and worshipping a god or gods. A Theist is a person who practices any such Theism. So if we need to talk directly about a god within a related terminology, then perhaps we would do better to revive and use the appropriate Greek word Theos for such a divinity.

        So this has to mean that an A-theist is strictly speaking a person who lives his life without practising or concerning himself about Theism.

        An Anti-theist is by the same token a person who is specifically opposed to any practice of Theism, – and would deplore any belief in a deity on principle.

        If you have a person who is Anti-theos however, then he would be totally and directly opposed to any god that might exist, and would hate or reject him/her.

        And finally, an A-theos person would be naturally one who lives without taking a god into his consideration, and may look with curiosity or incomprehension on those who practice any sort of Theism.

        Cheers, Rian.

        Like

      • “Have you read the book Stu?” No. Does he mention that he’s a misotheist in it? What page does he first use the term?

        Like

      • “Perhaps read what he says in his book Stu.” Perhaps I will in my own good time Bryan. Perhaps, when I do, I will never read him referring to himself as a misotheist.

        Like

      • “I must say I admired Chris Hitchen’s writing and his courage for saying what he believed. I regret his passing.” Me too. I’ve read some of his other stuff, and watched his debates. I admired the way he faced death.

        Like

  9. “The hidden assumption behind such a statement is often that faith is belief without evidence. Therefore, since there’s no scientific evidence for the divine, we should not believe in God.”

    Rian recently said the same thing:

    But it still strikes me that there doesnt appear to be any single bit of evidence you can produce that will prove that any single human being on this earth past or present, has actually been ‘saved’. (whatever that may truly mean.) And that has to apply to both Christian and Buddhist varieties of salvation. And, I would go on to point out that this applies regardless of whether or not Jesus was resurrected from the dead. (sept 2)

    What these two statements ignore are the conditions upon which the evidence that is sought, are founded.

    In the matter of Christianity and salvation, resurrection provides the proof of salvation that he seeks. But according to the Bible, the conflict between good and evil, God and Satan is not yet over. The second condition that gives concrete evidence of someone having been saved will be the two resurrections (one of the saved) one of the eternally condemned (called the second resurrection). These are ushered in at and after the second coming of Jesus.

    Since none of these particular resurrections have occurred yet, then it is useless and illogical to look for concrete proof of being saved. Since the Second coming of Jesus has not occurred, then it is useless to look for the evidence that Rian looks for.

    At best we can be assured of being saved by faith. By faith in the promises of God.

    I would say that evidence in this case is not only non existent but the quest for it foolish and illogical.

    Like

    • Well davinci,
      I’d say that you have just demonstrated the point I was making, – that there is simply not a foggiest bit of evidence that salvation has happened, or will happen. It is a matter purely of faith and/or belief.

      That faith in the ‘promises of God’ is decidedly weak too, since those ‘promises’ are just quotes in a book at this point, and cant be demonstrated by any evidence. It is obviously just very convenient to be able to say that the conditions have not yet been fulfilled. You can get away with any belief that way. Exactly what I was saying about an hypothetical Second Coming of Jesus, the other week.

      Let me state that I have no objection to anyone claiming to ‘believe’ something. I myself have firm convictions in certain spiritual matters, but I cannot demonstrate any real evidence for them either; and I would only ever argue for their logic or commonsense, but not for their guaranteed truth. I am perfectly well prepared to have any of my opinions or beliefs overturned or improved upon, whether in this life or in any future one.

      Rian

      Like

      • Rian,
        If you do a scientific experiment of any kind, you will find that it’s success in meeting the expected outcomes is dependent on the experiment fulfilling certain existing conditions.

        It is the same with salvation.

        You see no evidence for salvation, because you have not met the conditions involved in achieving results. You don’t even begin to believe that there are conditions involved in achieving results.

        You are like a scientist that fulfils the conditions for determining the number 9.82m/s2 whilst sitting in a gym and pumping iron. Or expecting to grow muscles not by fulfilling the conditions thereof, but rather sitting in a laboratory and doing the experiment to determine the gravitational value of 9.82m/s2.

        The atheist faces a similar problem with respect to the existence of God. The Bible constantly tells us that since Adam fell, people have been afraid of seeing God face to face; hence His only alternative was to speak to us indirectly (by His Son, through nature, through prophets, etc). Not only that but the Bible is clear that as sinners we would be destroyed if we saw God face to face in this present condition (there’s that word again).

        This does not stop fools like R. Dawkins and Bertrand Russel posing this question:
        “Sir why did you take such pains to hide yourself?” when presuming what they would say if they were speaking face to face with God.

        Like

      • Now, davinci,
        So my problem is that I don’t see evidence for salvation because I have not met the conditions required. Well, one has to assume that you personally HAVE met the necessary conditions and have seen such evidence. That right?

        Okay, and I notice that individuals galore from all sorts of religious persuasions and Christian denominations have claimed similar evidence. And we have examples of this on Bryan’s blog, don’t we? So therefore, it can be taken as read that ANYONE, like yourself, who CLAIMS to have such evidence, actually has been ‘saved’. I’ve known loads of Catholics, some Mormons, innumerable Methodists and Presbyterians and Lutherans etc, all claiming this knowledge (and thereby the essential evidence) of the reality of their own salvation.

        But but but .. some months back, you stated that you happen to be a Seventh Day Baptist. Now that means that you are numbered among a relatively small group of Christians with a particular axe to grind, doesn’t it? And some few years back, I had dropped into my letterbox, a pamphlet from someone representing a similar fringe Christian organization or church which maintained long and loud that the Fourth Commandment has never been rescinded; and that any individual who believed that the one Holy Day of the week had been transferred from Seventh to the First day of the week, was completely misled and therefore remained unsaved.

        Is this your personal view as well? If so, then the overwhelming majority of our community on Bryan’s blog, – regardless of their convictions (or the evidence they claim to have), remains unsaved. N’est ce pas?

        And this means that one’s conviction that he is saved isn’t actually worth a cracker. You still can miss out if you hold the wrong viewpoints or believe in the wrong doctrines. Why is your evidence so much better than everyone else’s? So please explain to me just what sort of evidence gives you or anyone 100% proof of their own salvation.

        Over to you, Rian.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s