I'm currently having a discussion with a friend of a friends about bringing Bibles back into schools so our kids can be more moral. I've pasted the conversation and I'm just wondering what your thoughts where on how I've responded. I tried to make my response simple and quick because I don't find long responses compelling to read.
Yes, after studying religion and the Bible for the better part of the last 10 years, reading apologetics, and watching debates my mind is pretty much made up on the matter, but I'm open to new arguments on the matter.
I would prefer public secular schools such as ours have copies of the Bible, so when I denigrate the scripture for it's utter profound and obvious stupidity, it pays to have it freely available to students to investigate and understand that I am not telling lies. Reinforcing my teaching and thus adding extra shielding against their being indoctrinated into Christianity. Yes, the Bible is a good weapon against Christianity if approached the right way. I think this is why Richard Dawkins supports their introduction. The bible can become the bane of Christianity, due to the absurd stupidity it contains if exposed correctly.
Tell him he is wrong about you, and judged you unfairly, in accordance with his own holy book's admonishment against judging others. Certainly you're not close-minded, you are open to any evidence he can provide his position is true.
Should he actually provide such evidence, then you would be required by reason to alter, abolish, modify, or amend your own position. But if there were actual evidence for his faith, then it would be science, not faith, and no belief without proof would be needed.
Belief without proof is not a virtue, it is gullibility. I have a bridge in New York to sell to anyone who has faith in me. Low price, good water view.
The anecdotal story of a police officer giving a homeless man shoes is specious.
I am an atheist and have bought new clothes and toys for the homeless, thus that particular moral idea (charity) does not proceed from the Bible.
I was also homeless and no Christian ever bought me anything I am aware of, certainly did not crow about it in the press, in violation of Jesus's own commands about humility.
"God gives us free will" is nonsensical.
A) if he gave it to us, it is not free.
B) if the penalty for unbelief is hellfire and damnation, it is coerced, not free.
C) if pearly-bliss is not simply given to all, it is not free (it has a payment).
D) if one believes for fear of punishment, one is hedging his bet (against ten thousand other gods he is atheistic about) in favour of one, he is not being faithful.
E) Your mind is not closed, his is. He believes without proof one religious interpretation of Christianity over thousands, does not adequately defend his faith (only denigrates you with an ad hominem attack - you are close-minded), and only believes one religion over tens of thousands of religions without any ever proved or any reason his is correct other than his holy book (and the others have holy books too).
You only ask for evidence. 1 Peter 3:15 requires him to provide the reason for his belief, not you for your unbelief. He is not following the demand of the New Testament, and if he is not following the dictates of his own faith, why should you?
There is also this. Many different studies have indicated that the religious are generally found on the left side of this curve. Some non-religious also are, but the vast majority are found on the right-hand side. As intelligence is supposedly God-given, why do you suppose that is? God rewards the least intelligent? If he is only looking for the intellectually-challenged for his army in Armageddon, Satan will get the best generals.
(On the chart, a member of Mensa is in the yellow, 132, a member of Intertel is in the purple, 148, a member of ISPE or Triple Nine is off the chart, 164). The chart shows the distribution of people and their relative ability to solve complex problems (IQ). God is not a complex problem: he can be demonstrated to exist, or he can't. 1 Peter 3:15 puts the onus of demonstration on your friend, not you. If he cannot follow the Great Commission, he is not a Christian.
Maybe the reason I'm an atheist is my IQ score of 145, though I don't think so, because I was a believer for a short time, though I ran a series of tests that the Pentecostal Christian group failed badly on, so I left, never to return.
I believe that if even highly intelligent individuals fall into the superstitious traps that religious indoctrination practices, they too may become stolid theists.
Such as a highly intelligent man I knew that became a priest and 30+ years later, realized he was wrong. He retired and died an atheist.
Statistics are deceptive, they rarely give an honest picture.
Thanks again for the replies. Some very good points and the 1 Peter 3:15 verse is especially useful. This individual ended up deleting all his replies and disappeared from the conversation, it's a miracle....;)
And that is ofttimes the response one will get in such an argument.
The rules of debate have built-in a sort of humility, that is, if your position is shown to be false or lacking, you must acknowledge that fact.
In the case of your friend's debate, and his subsequent deletion of his replies, it shows he is not capable (at this time anyway) to even submit, "Gee, I don't know. I will go read my Bible, ask other Christians, &c. and get back with you." I don't know is always an acceptable answer in science, heck, it is what drives scientific enquiry, the quest for an answer to "I don't know."
"I don't know" is anathema to religious faith. Faith must be certain, cannot question, or it is false faith. Yet 1 Peter 3:15 is quite clear. He must be able to give reason for the joy of his faith. The deletion of his posts shows he has none (neither reason, nor apparently joy). At least for the moment his faith is shaken, and he cannot adequately answer why.
Faith challenged ofttimes becomes faith frustrated.
Frustrated enough times by enough people, where he constantly has to withdraw from conversation, and he will either a) think himself a martyr for his faith, which puts him at odds with 1 Peter 3:15, or b) eventually cause him to think about what he is saying.
At the very least, he will put forth more reasoned apologetics. He should thank you for bringing up these questions, as they are legitimate questions to his faith he is commanded by the NT to answer.
One can hope the seed of doubt is planted, and he will evaluate his position more sceptically, but I doubt it.
One can also hope if he is not open to alternative views to his own, he will quit bringing them up, as proselytisation works best against the defenceless.