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: 154

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks. That's a great resource.

I had a bunch of possible explanations that I could have thrown at her for the disappearance of the body, but I didn't want to take the affirmative. I want to keep them on the affirmative side, so that I don't have to offer any evidence or proof. If it comes to that, I can dig for examples, but I'd like to keep it going in the direction of "you haven't proven your case."
every time their membership rolls swindle

Freudian slip! :-P
I noticed that too. Funny 'lapsis keyboardii'.
I just ran right over that one. It really wasn't relevant to the whole "prove God" thing, so I'm letting it go. She's a YEC, so that's a talk for another day. If she pushes it, I've got the TalkOrigins site on standby.
Oh, just read this bit. Never mind my first post down there, then.
THEORY of evolution

Oh good lord. One of these trolls. *sigh*

You left out a response to that, by the way. A quick blurb about how a scientific theory is a hypothesis that's supported by a preponderance (although you may want to use a simpler word here) of evidence may help.

I remember some theist on The Atheist Experience, a few years back. He was arguing that there are theories (for which he displayed the same uneducated disdain) and then there are laws. Then he asked which is greater, a theory or a law, as if they were two concepts in a linear progression, rather than two different concepts. You should already know which one he thinks is 'greater', since he probably then wanted to take that usage of the word law and say that it similarly applies to God's laws, not that they let him get that far with his nonsense.

I like the example of the Law of Gravity and the Theory of Gravitation. Neither is 'greater', but the Law of Gravity is very basic and imprecise. The Theory of Gravitation has been formulated with the application of huge amounts of modern scientific study. The Law of Gravity works well enough as a shortcut, but it's ultimately inaccurate.
Add to that, and I'm taking this from TalkOrigins, "atomic theory, the germ theory of disease, and the theory of limits (on which calculus is based). " As they say, all of these are theories, equal to the theory of evolution.

One of the points I like to make, is that the Theory of Evolution is kind of a misnomer. It should be called the Theory of Natural Selection. Evolution is a set of observable facts. The Theory of Natural Selection is one theory that has been proposed to explain these facts. There have been others, and there are even new ones coming out as we speak. However, only Natural Selection explains with a high degree of certainty all of the facts of evolution.
Good point. I guess that would make Evolution a law, huh?
Well, technically (which is the only way to be in science) a law is something that applies universally, like the Laws of Thermodynamics, the Newtonian Laws of Motion or the Laws of Conservation (of mass, of energy). Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is even considered a law. Evolution does not apply universally, as it specifically deals with living things. While various evolutionary theories have been extended to other systems (such as Social Darwinism and memetics) it is not and has never been intended to extend beyond living organisms.
Ah, true. I was thinking that it could apply to all living things, even those on other planets, which would qualify for the universal part, but I guess that 'living things' requirement excludes it, yeah. Meh.
In other words, a preponderance of facts does not make a law.
You use logical, sensible, rational arguements. They don't get accepted by believers, in the first instance, anyway. But keep on trying. Perhaps one day the logical penny will drop. Good luck


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