Just wanted to get a feel for how I'm doing here. This is a series of responses to a Facebook post by my sister-in-law, my other sister-in-law, me and some random friend of theirs.



Terri L :
was wondering the other day what it would take to convince unbelievers that there is a God. Will they believe when the rapture takes place? What will they think when millions of people just disappear from the Earth? I just keep praying for them, that God will open their eyes to His existence.

Me: It depends on how and why they arrived at their unbelief. For me, it's a complete lack of evidence or evidence to the contrary, combined with contradictory scriptures and a bunch of illogical assumptions on the part of religious dogma. If I could see just one piece of evidence for a god or gods, then I'd be open to some kind of belief. Unfortunately for you, and fortunately for me, no theist has ever presented me with anything approaching evidence. There is, however, a lot of circular reasoning and blind faith, neither of which is fulfilling to me.

If millions of people suddenly disappeared from Earth, I'd first look to see if there was any rational explanation. Most likely there would not be, and so I'd have to look to the irrational for answers. However, this has never happened before, and even though Christians have been waiting for over two thousand years, it hasn't happened yet. Every generation thinks it will, but Jesus is still a no-show.

Me: I like to ask theists if they believe in Thor, or Kokopeli, or Zeus, or Anansi or Horus. Probably not, and the same reasons why you don't believe in Horus or Thor is the reason I don't believe in YHWH, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, Shakti or Xenu.

Tambra T.: What happened to the body?

Me: What body?

Tambra T: The buried one that disappeared despite heavy guarding by people who didn't want to give His followers the chance to say He was resurrected?

Tambra T: FYI circular reasoning and blind faith are not fulfilling to me either. There sure is a lot of that out there. I do not subscribe to that.

Janet D: in one of my classes, there were 3 people who said they don't believe in God. when asked how come they don't believe in God, he said, how could he believe in something that he doesn't see. Romans 1 and Psalm 19 would have been good if it was okay to share some scripture.

Terri L: Tim: You should read the Bible and see if you can disprove God. I think you'd be surprised at what you find. And I find it interesting that people will have enough "blind faith" or faith to believe in the THEORY of evolution, and yet they can't or won't believe in God, even though if you look around at that world there is plenty of evidence that Someone had to make it. You love to go out at night and look at the stars. Do you really believe that the constellations just formed that way naturally? That the shapes that are so beautiful just happened to come about? Just wondering.

Me: Terri, I don't have to disprove your god. That's not my job. As a believer, it's your job to prove to me that your god exists. You're the one making the assertion. I'm just rejecting your assertion. The idea that atheists have some responsi...bility for proving that any god or gods exist is ludicrous. How could I possibly find evidence of the lack of existence for something? If I told you there was a ceramic teapot floating in orbit between Mars and Jupiter, amongst the litter of the asteroid belt, would it be your responsibility to prove me wrong? Hardly. It would be my responsibility to prove that the teapot did exist, by giving you evidence. Otherwise, you'd be well within reason to reject my assertion.

Constellations are merely shapes that we've associated with certain arrangements of stars. In most cases, the actual distance between those stars may be quite great, and their shape changes over millennia. In fact, for many of those constellations, they don't even really look like what they've been associated with. This is why different civilizations throughout time have associated differing objects and people with those asterisms.

I see nothing in nature that suggests a creator. In fact, when I look around I see a universe that looks precisely as it should look if there was no creator.

In any case, my beliefs are not at issue here. It's my rejection of your assertion that there is a god, and that your particular God is that god, and that he had a child via a virgin who died and came back to life. You haven't made that case.

Me: Tambra, like Terri, you seem to be asking me to make the case for your religion for you. When I say I don't believe in your God, it's a weak argument to come back with a missing piece of key evidence. It's akin to the people who say that th...e lack of evidence for a second shooter on the Grassy Knoll is proof that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a lone gunman.

But I'll play along. Anyone who watches enough CourtTV could tell you that bodies disappear all the time. The fact that we haven't found Jimmy Hoffa isn't proof that he was resurrected. There are probably hundreds of explanations for a missing body that don't have anything to do with the supernatural, beginning with the possibility that there never was a body to begin with.

The question, really, is why do YOU believe the accounts of a series of theo-political treatises written decades after the supposed event? After all, your scriptures say that you're supposed to be prepared to offer "reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).

Like Terri, you have failed to realize that the burden of proof is not on the disbeliever, but on the believer.

Me: Janet: Telling someone who doesn't believe in your god to read the Bible is like telling someone who doesn't believe in Scientology to read "Dianetics" or telling someone who doesn't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet to read the Book of Mo...rmon or Pearl of Great Price. For that matter, it's like telling someone who doesn't believe in mermaids to read Hans Christian Anderson. Before you can ask me to read your Bible as proof of the Christian God, you have to prove to me that the Hebrew scriptures are based on factual events, and not a series of myths and fables compiled by semi-nomadic Bronze Age animal herders. Then you have to prove that the Christian scriptures are the actual account of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, and not theological propaganda. Thousands of greater minds than ours have failed to make that case, thus the modern field of Christian Apologetics. Two thousand years of argument have failed to even establish, beyond a doubt, that Jesus was one, real historical figure. That's even taking into account that history, as a soft science, has such low threshold for "evidence."


So, what do you think? How did I do?

Tags: Apologetics, Jesus, Russell's Teapot, faith, proof

Views: 145

Replies to This Discussion

I know. 'This guy died, and now he loves you!' Man, that's just creepy. A Jewish itinerant preacher zombie loves me.

Please don't!
My response:

Gina, the "big smile" seems nice, but it's a little patronizing. If you read my words — truly read my words and comprehended their meaning — you would have realized that telling me that Jesus died for my sins and loves me are just pleasant-sounding clichés. If I don't believe in a god or gods, then ipso facto I don't believe in sins against any supposed gods. If you want me to KNOW that Jesus died for me, you need to give me proof. If not, then we're at an impasse because you're asking me to accept what you say on faith — blind faith.

Terri asked a simple question: how is it that people can not believe in her god and what would it take for people to believe. I assumed that she wanted an honest answer, and that the question wasn't rhetorical. Therefore, I answered that question, simply and reasonably, because I have some personal experience with the topic.
She came back with this:

Gina K:
‎(since you don't know me, I will add that I mean this is the nicest, non-patronizing way. Said with a soft tone)

I did not mean to be patronizing. Please forgive.
But if you had read my words, truly read my words. You would know that it does not matter how many big words or paragraphs you write. It does not change the fact the Jesus died for your sins. AND he loves you.

In fact, it doesn't matter what any of us say. It doesn't change that fact!

You say we need to convince you. I rather think that would be like trying to feed someone who has his mouth shut tightly.

We cannot decide for you! You have to decide for yourself!
So, the ball is in your court!

That, simply is my answer.....

My response:

Gina: What I'm saying is that I've already decided, based on the scant "evidence" that I can not believe in any gods. Until some new evidence arises, that's my decision. To use your metaphor, I'm not convinced that what you're trying to feed me is even food, and I'm not willing to swallow it until you can prove it will actually provide me with sustenance. I don't go around eating things that don't count as food, and may even be poison. That's no way to live.
Gina K: So your saying you don't watch TV? ha ha ha ha

Me: Funny, Gina. :)

I actually used "sustenance" rather than "nutrition" for that reason. I can sustain myself on candy, but in the long run it's not very healthy. In the short run, it can be pleasurable, and in the short run, I will indulge mys...elf with irrational thoughts, the metaphorical equivalent of watching reality TV or eating candy. For the long run, I stick to things that are more nutritious.
I know. I tried hard not to use too many big words, but I guess I couldn't restrain my vocabulary.

I looked back, and I did use some big words: contradictory, illogical, assumptions, unfortunately, assertion, responsibility, ludicrous, constellations, asterisms, supernatural, theo-political, propaganda, apologetics.
Those may be long words Big Blue, but they're not particularly obscure or difficult words, with the exception of asterisms and apologetics. In fact, I had to look up asterisms, but it's the shortest one on the list. Thanks for the new word, BTW. I was wondering if it was a synonym for footnotes.

And NoSacred, that is exactly the problem with faith. The faithful use faith to establish "facts" in their minds which become incredibly hard to dislodge. The popular bumper sticker sums it up nicely: "God said it. I believe it. That settles it." As though this is some kind of proof. People who operate on faith either don't understand the rules of logic or they reject them outright. Faith is the opposite of reason.
To tell the truth, I was using an "off label" definition of asterism. Technically, it's just an arrangement of stars within or separate from a constellation. They can even be stars from multiple constellations. I took a chance that they didn't know what an asterism was, so that I didn't have to use constellation more than once in the same thought. I had a rabid, fire-breathing English teacher who had a pet peeve against using the same word over and over, and we burned through a lot of thesauri to find different words for the same thing.

Note:
there still isn't another word for horse.
I'm with Jason, these are not particularly difficult words. (for the most part) In the last few decades Christianity has taken great pride in its willful ignorance. It is something I find insulting, especially to their children. Gina would really hate listening to my 7 year old talk since we let him read books and all.
Hope I haven't gotten out of bounds by posting this. I think it's within the description of the group. Let me know if it's out of place.
I wish there was a way I could just link to the OP, but my sister-in-law has all kinds of privacy settings on her Facebook (which I completely endorse) and you couldn't get to it anyway.
Uhh, this an argument with a bunch of theists. How could it be out of bounds? Either way, it's too much fun for anyone to object.
Yeah, everyone seems to be getting a kick out of it. I just didn't know if a discussion with my two sisters-in-law fit the description of the group.

I shall carry on!

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