Month 2: Week 8, Day 2 – My 51st blog post!

Hi all, if you’ve just stumbled upon this, as I’ve mentioned previously, I’m writing blog posts about the journey to being a small business owner/operator in the educational space.

I am now able to do relief teaching work in Department of Education (WA) schools with a ‘screening number’ being granted yesterday afternoon (delayed due to Covid-19 related issues). I have applied to all the local schools via a service and app called Relief Staff Maestro and hope to hear back soon.

I have also been maintaining my dialogue with the Atheist: Peter, who on Facebook operates a page called Reality not Fantasy, a copy of recent email exchanges is attached below.

It remains my intent as alluded to in these discussions, to facilitate a call in to Matt Dillahunty’s Atheist Experience chat show and to eventually write a book on Christian Apologetics. I sincerely request prayers to be inspired to respond eloquently and convincingly and trust to God’s will to be done.

His next reply – (see Month 2 – Week 7, Day 6 for the prior thread)

Hi Dane,
Thanks for your replies though you did skip over the important ones I asked in the beginning of my email. They are important as they let me know how far your belief goes in regards to the fairytale book. & make no mistake – the bible satisfies the definition of a fairytale book whether you like it or agree with it or not. It contains fantasy creatures that don’t exist, magic, giants, talking animals & unbelievable stories. 

Here is my question again:

Do you believe everything in the bible is true? 
If you don’t believe everything in the book is true then how do you determine what is true & what isn’t? 
Since there are so many ridiculous stories including talking snakes, donkeys & shrubbery, making the entire universe from nothing, making a human from dirt, a man living in a giant fish for 4 days, fantasy animals that don’t exist, zombies, 600 year old man building a giant boat to hold every type of animal on Earth (my favourite ridiculous story) the list goes on… then why would other stories in that fairytale book be true? If you don’t believe god created the earth 6000 years ago according to your book (and hopefully none of the other ridiculous stories), then why would you believe the other stories relating to god/jesus etc & how did you determine they are true? Just because you want them to be true?This is the problem when you cherry pick the bible.Before I assume, do you believe any of the absurd stories I mentioned are true? If so which ones? Surely not Noah? Be honest. 
You also skipped over my other question:

I’m also interested to know how you determined your god is real & why you think your god is the real one? Are you interested in believing things you know to be true or are you happy to just have faith in something no matter how ridiculous even though that is not the path to truth? We both know that faith is the excuse you need when you don’t have good evidence. Faith=gullibility. It is not something to be proud of at all. 
As to Eric the penguin. Yes it is an amusing idea & not one that I thought you would take seriously or try to defend it. You failed miserably though. & yes it is just something I am repeating that I got from somewhere else. I just wondered if you’d come across it before.
“I state that it (Eric) would exist within the universe,” & ” I make the claim that only God exists outside the universe”. Why are you claiming that? These are both things that you do not know & can’t possibly know. If God can exist outside of the universe then Eric can too. To make it clearer then I will claim that Eric lives outside the universe then your reasoning will fall apart. You see how this claiming thing works? 
The problem you have throughout all your replies is making baseless claims for which you have no evidence for then thinking you have somehow won the argument because you made something up. You cannot make claims like that without backing them up. If you claim god exists outside of the universe then how did you determine that? This is just something else you have made up to suit yourself. You will never win arguments with statements like that.
I’d love you to try to call through to Matt’s call in show. His logic would completely dismantle your arguments. It would be a good learning experience for you too. 

I will leave replying about my 10 reasons for another time until you have answered my previous questions. Some of your replies to my reasons had nothing to do with the point at all. You seem to go off on a totally different tack instead of addressing what I said. You also keep making the mistake of claiming things about god that you cannot possibly know which makes your rebuttals worthless. Just because god is an ‘idea’ that people have it IS NOT proof that god exists. 

For now though I will just comment on this remark of yours: ” If you have not EVER prayed, it would be a great tragedy, it would mean you had never been at all able to recognise your existence as a gift, ever.”. I find that really condescending, arrogant & offensive. What right do you have to tell me how or what I think? What right do you have to tell me that I don’t recognise my existence as a gift just because I haven’t prayed to an invisible magic man that has never been proven to exist? That praying somehow makes you a better person because it makes you appreciate your life & Atheists can’t? I don’t need any god to recognise that my existence is an amazing gift. I value the time I have on Earth because it is the only one we get. I don’t have the delusional idea that when I die I will end up in some magical fantasy place that once again has never been proven to exist.

“It’s a strange myth that Atheists have nothing to live for. It’s the opposite. We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for.” Rick Gervais. 

& just to clear it up. Noah’s Ark is not my favourite story that I enjoy. It is my favourite ridiculous story because there are so many things wrong with it. I certainly hope you don’t bring up your children to believe such nonsense actually happened. Please don’t tell me you believe it. It simply isn’t possible to be intelligent & believe Noah’s Ark story is real. 

Regards,
Peter

Hi Peter,
I appreciate that you have replied once again and I am very impressed that you do so and continue to engage with me in dialogue respectfully and calmly outlining your views which I do respect and understand are deeply held and felt to be relevant for living life well. I will address the specific queries you still have in my next reply but for now I first want to address the emotional appeal to the value of prayer. Life can’t be a ‘gift’ in a specific definitive way if God is not real as a gift requires a giver who is distinct from a receiver in the generally agreed upon definition. Fundamentally, the best a true atheist, as opposed to an agnostic can do is state that for themselves they act as though life were a gift and act as though there were value to life by choosing to determine this as such for themselves. Unfortunately I agree with Armin and not you on that point. One of his chapters addresses that the uncomfortable truth is better than a comforting lie. In context of prayer I am humbly communicating gratitude for the gift of my existence to the creator of such existence as I experience, if this is true prayer’s definition and you do not believe in the creator God, then you can’t genuinely have allowed yourself that experience of being grateful for God’s gift of life which you are the beneficiary of. It is a very uncomfortable claim and I ask you to consider it baldly, what are you if genuinely atheist grateful for? The gift of a reality to exist within? Who cares about us if God isn’t real? Does it matter if there is nothing else to come and nothing beyond this world and existing now? I argue that the inherent logic of an atheist being grateful is flawed. It may be that language lets you down here, perhaps more fairly as I have heard from nihilistic/existentialist young men at school over the years, you believe that you can make your own meaning and in that you are grateful to yourself for the opportunity to live a life that you are happy about where you respect yourself and are proud of your own achievements whilst here. The tragedy of a life like Carl Sagan’s or Christopher Hitchens’ is such that now they are gone, they cease to exist and are irrelevant and meaningless if they were right. I find it curious for example that they believed in their moral authority to teach others and leave their thoughts behind, why do they care to? As an example, if Christians claimed falsely that Christopher Hitchens had a deathbed conversion which he was vehemently opposed to and recorded himself saying before he died, what does it matter to him if he was right? He’s dead and has ceased to exist in that case and nothing subsequently matters to him.
I hope you think about this sort of stuff as for myself this is the fundamental reason I believe in God, I choose to reject acting as though my existence is meaningless. If it is meaningless it doesn’t matter what I do, if it is meaningful then I have hope of a good eternity to come. This is the nature of reality it either is what I claim or it is what you claim at an ultimate and fundamental level. We are debating the merits of one another’s views with limited information. I acknowledge that, and I hope you do as well. Can I ask do you have confidence in your own views? Could you estimate the degree of confidence you have in the statement: I know there is no creator deity.
To finish up, no offence was meant when I made my comments in last message so I hope that helps to clarify my position for you on that point. I will endeavour to respond to the rest later today or tomorrow at the latest.

Sincerely with best wishes,
Dane (Honestdadvice)

Hi Dane,

Thanks for getting back to me. A gift doesn’t have to be given by someone. Life itself is a gift. The gift is being born into this world. That is what I mean. 
You’re taking it too literally. What you don’t realise is that if you are wrong about god (which I believe 100% that you are) then your life is not a gift from god either. That is only your belief. Once again you are stating things that you do not know & claiming them to be true. If there is no god then he didn’t give anyone the gift of life. 

“what are you if genuinely atheist grateful for?” 

I will assume you are asking what I am generally grateful for. Are you serious? Once again you have the arrogant opinion that believers are the only ones who can appreciate life because god did it. it’s getting tiring. There is so much to appreciate. It’s a rather silly question. Art, music, literature, the magnificence of nature, science, technology, family, love, friendship, being alive! None of these things require a god. 
You don’t need religion to supply meaning & purpose to your life, because life itself is perfectly capable of supplying meaning & purpose. You just need to appreciate how precious this short life actually is. 

In answer to your question: “….do you have confidence in your own views? “
I have 100% confidence in my views that no gods exist. I also have 100% confidence that there are no fairies at the bottom of my garden. Believing in god is no different. There is exactly the same amount of evidence for both. When you are extremely confident that these things don’t exist then for all intents & purposes I can say they don’t exist. Do you believe fairies exist? If not then why not? Do you believe other gods are real? Once you understand why you don’t believe other gods are real then you might understand why I don’t believe in yours. 

“Could you estimate the degree of confidence you have in the statement: I know there is no creator deity” 

Not believing any gods exist is not the same as saying I know there is no creator. I never say I know there is no god. I don’t believe there is for all the reasons I gave but that is different to saying I know there is none. I will happily change my mind if someone ever provided evidence of a god but nobody ever has. God can’t even prove he is real even though it should be very easy to do so as I have said before. What you call ‘proof’ is not proof. It’s only your opinion. Things existing is not proof of a god. You don’t seem to understand that point. There is no verifiable proof of any gods man has created. If there was or had been then we would all be believers. But sadly people get indoctrinated at an early age to believe in fairytales. It’s sad that so many people are lied to. Perhaps in another few hundred years religions will be a thing of the past. 

I’ll leave you with a quote from Penn Jillette you may or may not have come across before. Surely you have heard of him. From Penn & Teller the Las Vegas magicians. 

“There is no god, and that’s the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

I’ll await your next email. Thanks.

Peter

Hi again Peter,
Ok here goes in response to all above:
Lets work from the assumption that if you choose, you can dispute my use of language using the same tools available to me via internet access, I am transparently using Merriam-Webster dictionary and Encyclopaedia Britannica links here to buttress my own claims as they are generally seen as more suitable in Tertiary level scholarship (unlike Wikipedia for example). As for example: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fairy-tale
I dispute the assertion that the ENTIRE Bible is a fairy tale. The Bible is not a single ‘happy story’ with a good ending for all protagonists, nor was it originally intended to be fictional literature primarily targeted at children as an audience. It is a complex and diverse cultural artefact of the Hebrew Jews of approximately 2500 – 2000 years prior, living in what is now today called Modern Israel, and written by literate scribes, ‘prophets’ and ‘priests’ primarily in an attempt to collect and preserve pre-existent oral testimony/stories from at least a further 1000 years prior. Subsequent anonymous authorship varies in details requisite for self-identification thus I can say with a greater degree of confidence that Saul/Paul of Tarsus wrote the Letter to the Romans, than I can that he wrote the letter to Hebrews which some Christians attribute to him, though NOT Catholics like myself. See here for more: https://www.britannica.com/list/st-pauls-contributions-to-the-new-testament
You seem very interested in whether or not I believe in fairies. I actually don’t have a genuine faith in fairies existing, nonetheless I acknowledge, as should you, that it is not possible to prove that fairies do not exist, anymore than it’s possible to prove that God does not exist. It might be very challenging to prove to a doubter that God exists (as it should be regarding ‘standards of proof’ acceptable for the veracity of a claim “fairies are real”) but it’s not impossible to do so if proof = evidence that satisfies previously held doubts. I remain open to the possibility that things exist which I do not know in personal first-hand experience. Perhaps demons exist and masqueraded as ‘fairies’ or the ‘fae’ in the entire human historical experience and either via oral or literary tradition the event/s have survived to the present era as the stories we have and many (including myself) believe are fictional (defined as not true).
In general the Bible stories that relate to Jesus are the most trustworthy, they are the least far back in time from our present day and they are often consistent between diverse probable authorship (though both temporally and geographically limited). I am also inclined to believe the veracity of texts which do not contain supernatural elements over and above those that do at face value, but specifically to satisfy your query honestly, I genuinely believe (on faith in the veracity of the Gospel accounts) that Jesus turned water to wine, commanded demons to leave host humans, cured specific people of blindness, muteness, deafness, paralysis, bleeding hemorrhages, either actual death or it’s appearance (in the case of the mother-in-law of Simon/Peter and Jairus’ daughter) and definitive death (in the case of Lazarus), multiplied bread and fishes for 1000’s+ at least once, walked on water, calmed a storm, became supernaturally white/pure/godly to a few observers on a mountainside, fasted for a supernaturally long duration (40 days), was crucified whilst taking upon Himself all human sin’s consequences in personal experience of the pain/suffering of it all, as well as resurrected and walked through walls/doors into secure rooms before floating up behind (to human observers) clouds, before entering heaven (which is not a place that is ‘up’ but is ‘outside’ the physical universe as we understand it today. To me it matters not a whit whether or not a man named Jonah was eaten by a whale for 3 days and survived it to preach conversion and repentance to Ninevites. What matters (to me) is that there is a historical artefact, which still exists which includes a fascinating (again to me) insight into the general ways that God is believed to operate by people of a long ago era. I share the view with many Catholics that ‘The Truth’ is an objectively specific thing, a deifiable (of the nature of God) reality made manifest in Jesus and also that ‘truth’ (small ‘t’) is something subjective in the sense that it has layers of relative meaning. It is true for example that I believe that ‘Noah’ could have built a boat and saved his family from a flood in the region where he lived, alongside for example livestock, thus the claim that the bible is truly the word of God being transmitted to modern man via stories is possible. I do not believe literally that Noah saved all the ancestors of all the animals that currently exist on the one ark. In that particular tale which was referenced in the Catholic Church’s cycle of biblical readings yesterday funnily enough, some possible truths claimed by Catholics and believed by me are as follows (not an exclusive list) – #1 Noah is quite possibly the name or a translation of the name of a real man who lived in a real time and place, if he existed, then it is very probable that he was an ancestor of modern Hebrews/Jews including my own ethnic heritage (I’m Ashkenazi Jewish on my father’s father’s side), this is important because they were in a specific place, the Mediterranean’s eastern side commonly known as the ‘fertile crescent’ where Asia, Africa and Europe intersect, this allowed for maximum spread of the story over the following interval of time, by relatively mobile overland but poor/technologically limited seafarers (a very significant interval of 1000’s of years minimum). Noah was claimed by the biblical story to be an upright, righteous man before God who was inspired to build an ark/boat of wood which was very large as he was given enough time (it’s not an article of faith that he was a supernaturally long-lived individual, though it is not impossible). Recalling that, as he (Noah) was pre-warned he built the ark out of wood in faith/expectation that what God had said would happen, would, it then did and he was vindicated. In the interval it is likely he was ridiculed by others around him in his society, he ignored them and continued/persevered and thus he and his descendants survive while those who were around him and in the story are accused of very probable moral wickedness, irreverence and lack of faith in God, perished. Another important aspect of the tale is that he preserved certain specific animals in specific numbers and these numbers are significant to the ancient Jewish religious people who wrote the tale down. They believed certain animals clean, while others were claimed to be unclean and reflected this in the tale – this may or may not be literally ‘how it happened’ but it’s certainly true that Jews 2500 years ago, though that numbers of animals were significant. There is a claim made that God promised to never again wash away ‘all’ human life with a flood, yet this is a logical inconsistency with the later claim in the Bible that eventually all human lives will be ‘ended’ with a final judgement, and also that of scientific observations which lead one to believe that a very probable end point for this universe is a heat death with maximum entropy achieved by every single atom in existence. The ‘flood’ is thus seen by most Catholics including myself as metaphorical for a destructive event whereby all HUMAN life is extinguished by God, thus a ‘true’ interpretation is that God was revealing that mankind has an immortal/eternal soul and life of some kind will exist beyond this reality’s end.
We also need to examine the definition of literal to have any productive further conversation: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literal
If you can accept the above definition, then I LITERALLY believe Jesus was raised from the dead after 2 nights on the 3rd day’s early morning and ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father right now. You ask how can I believe some things but not others. The simplest explanation for this is that some things are more probably true than others. Also I have the capacity for faith about things I’ve been told but do not know from personal first-hand experience and I choose to apply that capacity in this regard as well as all the specific Jesus ‘miracles’ noted previously, I’m not shy or reserved about any of it, doubt me and the truth of the stories if you want, I respect that being your free choice. 
Next, let’s look at the fundamental ‘beginning of the bible’ stories. I believe that ALL human beings alive today have a single biological ancestral lineage to specifically two (2) people, a man and a woman, of sexual reproductive age who via the mechanism of sexual reproduction had at minimum 1 male child who then at minimum reproduced 1 male child and so on. This is ‘true’ from the perspective of evolutionary science and genetics (but might have happened as much as 150,000+ years ago, and also is recorded in the Bible. I also believe that as the Bible states it, in the beginning (about 14 ish billion earth revolutions around the sun ago) God was and nothing else was and God said let there be light and so it was (thus energy existed due to God’s willing it into being). Other than those specific things other articles of faith I also believe to be true (non-exhaustive list once again) include that male humans must precede female humans due to the nature of sexual reproduction itself, basically it comes down to the idea that the male genetically is a mutant and that evolution is a fuzzy line/blurry between what is one species (Species A for example) and what is an evolutionary descendant (Species B for example) thus at an arbitrarily defined point, a female of species A must be pregnant and give birth to a mutant which is Species B, not species A and is male of species B specifically because it must then reproduce with its own mother or another female of species A in order to pass on the mutant Y sex chromosome that defines species B from that point onwards. In actuality, this process is gradual and at many points is probably very unclear who is which species, the concept of species being a simplification of reality to some degree. I also think it is true that a specific female human sinned for the first ever time, by rejecting God or believing the devil/Satan angel over God and rebelling or doing something that specifically was forewarned not to be done. Then the male involved in this first family context also did it and the suitable punishment for this behaviour/decision was death for these humans and their descendants down to us who will experience a bodily death. It is my personal belief that Adam and Eve were literally the parent humans (names irrelevant but possibly those) from whom all living humans can trace an unbroken lineage, who sinned by disobedience to God freely chosen, though inspired by an evil spirit in the guise of something non-threatening to the humans involved. A snake is possibly the form taken but it’s not a literal ‘talking snake’ in that regard. I also literally believe it to be true that ‘in the beginning’ nothing was and God existed alone despite the ‘nothingness’. As a relationship between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit of the Triune Godhead from which energy next sprang/was sent out, and eventually that energy coalesced into the material universe with fundamental laws of physics including space and time where we reside. 
You claim faith=gullibility which you state “is not something to be proud of” thus we should examine the definitions of said terms:
Faith – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith
Gullibility – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gullibility#other-words
As I’m sure is unsurprising to you, I don’t accept your assertion that faith and gullibility are equivalent, however much you would like to believe it. I am indeed proud of my faith, it’s one of the defining characteristics of my personality and informs how I live my life, who I believe I am, what I choose to value and who I choose to spend time with amongst other things. Fundamentally it is not easy to ‘dupe’ or ‘cheat’ me in all areas (or even in just some) simply because I have faith in a specific claim. It does not mean I have no way/s of interrogating the veracity of that claim. Your own personal standard for belief is simply different from my own.
You ask me how I determine that God is real and also make a statement which I admit to being confused by regarding belief in reality following:
“Are you interested in believing things you know to be true or are you happy to just have faith in something no matter how ridiculous even though that is not the path to truth?”
In response to the above as I see it: I think it of fundamental importance to believe in what is real. I have faith that what I believe about the origin of the universe in The Uncreated creator is real, I don’t care a whit if others including you don’t believe it or consider it ridiculous or demand proof before you will believe, that is your concern, not mine. I can only say that I believe the path to truth lies in living life as though there is truth, I live my life by the faith that it is true that God is real, God made me, God expects certain behaviours and I strive to abide by those restrictions.
You seem fond of the term delusion – it’s used by Dawkins as well of course so I don’t begrudge you using it, but I believe you to be deluded that something can be a ‘gift’ by definition, again see here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gift
I take the sense #2: “something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation”  to be significant to our discussion. Life can’t be a gift if not given. It is by definition, not given if there’s no creator to give it. It’s being taken/experienced ‘for granted’ if there is no creator. I make the forceful assertion though depersonalised once more, that if one has never prayed, then one has never been grateful for the gift of life and a creator God giving it to them, that such a person is logically incapable of doing so as a gift requires a transfer between one person and another.
You believe being grateful equivalent to being appreciative of the value of something. They are not the same. I don’t dispute with respect, the genuine earnestness of your appreciation for the many good things experientially possible due to human agency. I too love much from classical music, literature, art and also human relationships. Nonetheless, my point remains that if one appreciates something for it having inherent value, that is not the same as gratitude which requires the belief that it wouldn’t exist without its creator, thus you are appreciative TO the creator FOR it. Now I do not dispute that many things you named that are made by humans, e.g. art, or science (a human invention of the ‘mind’) but not for example, nature or the reality we call ‘gravity’ which is just an arbitrary word, but a fundamental reality is identified by that word nonetheless. This is my point: nature requires a creator in order to be impressive, otherwise it has no meaning and was not ‘made’. If it was not intentionally made, it can’t be appreciated as a gift. You might well appreciate it for its evident utility, you might appreciate its complexity, you might appreciate or be awed by its massiveness, but you can’t be grateful for something that wasn’t made. If it was made, it has a creator.
To finish up if I’m being honest, by the definition that an atheist is certain there is no god/creator, while an agnostic is someone who believes it impossible to know if there is a god or creator and thus has no belief, by your own words I was unsurprised by your position: 
“Not believing any gods exist is not the same as saying I know there is no creator. I never say I know there is no god. I don’t believe there is for all the reasons I gave but that is different to saying I know there is none. I will happily change my mind if someone ever provided evidence of a god but nobody ever has. God can’t even prove he is real even though it should be very easy to do so as I have said before. What you call ‘proof’ is not proof. It’s only your opinion. Things existing is not proof of a god.”
So to that point, you claim it’s only my opinion that God exists, I deny this, claiming its actually true and not merely my opinion, respectfully we may have reached an impasse here in terms of productively moving forwards in conversation. You’re of course ‘allowed’ to be either atheist or agnostic but I think by the definition I give above, you’re not atheist but are agnostic. I on the other hand am a gnostic theist see here: https://www.britannica.com/topic/gnosticism
I believe it possible to trust/believe that we (people alive today) have knowledge which has been revealed by the creator and will be retained in the human experience indefinitely. This is another aspect of the Bible which I believe true, that the faith in Jesus as messiah/saviour of humanity will outlast all competitors and be irrefutably proven true to all humans at the end point of human life (collectively) in a final judgement which is inevitable and unavoidable. I dispute the Penn assertion you provided, which I have actually heard before, though I freely admit didn’t realise had any connection to Penn and Teller who I’ve heard of via my Mum only. I’ve heard it characterised as if all records/knowledge were destroyed, humans would rediscover science as it’s based on fundamentally true laws whereas religions would be reinvented distinctly different from what existed before as they are fundamentally inventions/creations of humanity with no fundamental basis in reality. I simply dispute this claim as unprovable, it is a rhetorical device which is meaningless as you’re so fond of saying of much of what I have previously written. Basically, if all knowledge was lost, then we would have nothing to compare against. It also discounts the possibility that Christian claims of divine revelation are true entirely.
Kind regards,
Dane (Honestdadvice)
Honestdadvice.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/Honestdadvice

Oh I forgot to mention, I’m keen to call the Atheist experience chat show and agree it would be informative both personally and also for my forthcoming book of Christian apologetics, thanks for the idea – I’ll give credit to you and Armin and possibly Matt too for any respectful dialogue we mutually engage in and for material/ideas in the public domain which I might refer to, you may or may not be aware of my blog posts (I have a very humble audience thus far and no personally identifiable information has been divulged by me) but I wanted you to be aware of what I’m doing/intending. See Month 2 – Week 7, Day 6 for the entry  
Kind regards,
Honest
Honestdadvice.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/Honestdadvice

Hi Dane,
My oh my… what a word salad. Do you think it is possible one day you might be able to answer yes or no questions with a yes or no instead of a 1000 word paragraph & answer questions briefly without going off on a tangent?  it is quite annoying, frustrating & time consuming having to plough through all of your output. Please please please keep it simple & brief.
First of all you need to understand what Atheist means because you clearly don’t. “the definition that an atheist is certain there is no god/creator,” is absolutely wrong. You are so pedantic with other things (especially gift) yet you don’t even know the correct definition of Atheist. From your dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist
Definition of atheist: a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any godsNowhere does it say anywhere that an Atheist is certain there is no god. You clearly made that up. As I explained, not believing any gods exist IS NOT the same as being certain there is no god, though as I also explained I am as certain no gods exist as I am that fairies don’t exist. You don’t get to give your own definitions to words. On an Atheist scale of 1 to 10 I am a solid 11. I am definitely not agnostic. Once again check the definition in your dictionary. Clearly that is not what I am. 

Next:

“I dispute the assertion that the ENTIRE Bible is a fairy tale”  This is something you made up again. Nowhere did I assert that the ENTIRE bible is a fairytale. Please stop changing what I say into something else. What I said is that the bible is a fairtytale book because of its contents. You can dispute that all you like but it is a fact. & what is troubling is that you appear to believe a lot of the nonsense in it is true. 

“You seem very interested in whether or not I believe in fairies.” I don’t know how you arrived at that conclusion since I only asked you once to make a point which obviously was wasted on you. I am not VERY INTERESTED at all. 

Also I asked you a clear question which you have skipped over once again. I don’t know why you find it so difficult to answer. Perhaps I should limit my questions to 1 or 2 per email. 

Here it is again for the 3rd time. 

If you don’t believe everything in the book is true then how do you determine what is true & what isn’t? 

” you ask how can I believe some things but not others. The simplest explanation for this is that some things are more probably true than others. “. That is hilarious. You have no way of knowing which things are ‘more probably true’. Once again it is purely a desperate need to believe & you are cherry picking the things that you think could be true & disregarding the others as not literal without any method of determining what is true. Since there is no way of knowing if they are true other than using common sense which you seem to be lacking when it comes to the bible, then what process do you use to determine what is true or not? 

“I also believe that as the Bible states it, in the beginning (about 14 ish billion earth revolutions around the sun ago) God was and nothing else was and God said let there be light and so it was “
How did you arrive at that time period when according to the bible your magic man created the entire universe about 6000 years ago? It certainly doesn’t say that time period in the bible. On one hand you agree the universe is billions of years old but then you claim the bible is true. It seems you want to combine reality with fairytales to help them make more sense. Please explain.
“It is my personal belief that Adam and Eve were literally the parent humans (names irrelevant but possibly those) from whom all living humans can trace an unbroken lineage…

Please please stop making things up. Where the hell did you get that from? Please provide evidence of this unbroken lineage. it doesn’t exist because there were no such beings poofed into existence by a magic man such as Adam & Eve. It simply didn’t happen. If that is your belief then you are indeed delusional. Sorry. You need to stop making these assertions & treating your beliefs as factual. You’re making yourself look very foolish. If you ever do call The Atheist Experience, Matt will wipe the floor with you. If you’re really thinking of making the call I warn you now that you need to have better arguments & don’t make these silly assertions because he will ask you to prove what you claim & you of course won’t be able to. 
” I also literally believe it to be true that ‘in the beginning’ nothing was and God existed alone despite the ‘nothingness’. ” 

So you’re saying god existed alone for billions of years doing nothing in the dark then one day he decided to make the universe with billions upon billions of unliveable planets & stars but then he made Earth & after 3 days made the sun & turned the lights on. (One has to ask how 3 days passed when there was no sun). After making the entire universe from nothing he proceeded to make a human from dirt. Then as an afterthought he decided he needed company so instead of making a woman from nothing or dirt he used Adam’s rib, although he had already given Adam reproductive organs in the first place. Later a talking snake convinced them to eat an apple. I think somewhere in the story the all knowing god didn’t know where the snake was or some such garbage. Sounds legit.
& this is what you believe & we’re the ones with a problem for not believing this absolute nonsense. Seriously please take a look at yourself.  

” I don’t accept your assertion that faith and gullibility are equivalent ” 

If you believe in things with no proof as per your dictionary definition then you are indeed gullible. Case closed. 

” God is real, God made me, God expects certain behaviours and I strive to abide by those restrictions.” How do you know? Once again these are just claims with no evidence. You are making things up again. Not once have you provided any evidence for any of your baseless claims. If you claim god is real then please show me proof. You know you can’t so stop claiming these things as fact. God is imaginary & only exists in your mind.. 

& again:
” nature requires a creator in order to be impressive, otherwise it has no meaning and was not ‘made’ ” 

Please stop making these silly claims. You simply do have have any evidence. How do you arrive at that conclusion? Once again it is only what you desperately want to believe. You can’t just say stuff & act like it is a fact. Also there’s the problem of who created the creator since everything must have a creator. You will most likely answer god has always existed & doesn’t need a creator which of course you can’t possibly know. 

It seems you conveniently didn’t answer my question I asked above:

I’m also interested to know how you determined your god is real & why you think your god is the real one? 

Please think about & answer this question. I don’t want a 1000 word story about the history of the bible or how humans reproduced. Just answer the question briefly. If you don’t know the answer or you find the question difficult then perhaps you need to look at why you believe what you do. 

Dane, if you cannot or will not answer the questions I ask in a succinct way without going off on tangents about unrelated subjects then I don’t think there is any point continuing our discussion. I would however like you to answer the unanswered questions & I asked & I hope you take note of my objections to some of the things you say. It may help you in the future. 

Please let me know if or when you call The Atheist Experience. I will be keen to watch that episode. Just be a bit more prepared as I said. 

Remember, whenever something bad happens god either made it happen, could have stopped it if he wanted,  Or he’s useless or doesn’t exist. Exceptions? 
Regards,
Peter

Hi Peter,
Ok let’s get this as succinctly done as possible now – I note what you’ve said and requested:Q1. If you don’t believe everything in the book (the Bible) how do you determine what’s true and what isn’t?A: I believe everything written in the books/writings that make up the library that is the Holy Bible, were inspired by the activity of God’s spirit to help humanity grow and develop towards knowledge of the nature of God as a relationship of love which they desire us (humans) to freely choose to interact with. I determine what is true and what isn’t with a concept called scholarship, which basically boils down to listening to and reading what others say, considering their points of view and then determining both individually and in community discussions with others, what I will accept and what I will reject based upon reasoning. Some things are discounted, other things are not. I acknowledge humbly that I might be wrong about some aspects but I am confident (say 11/10) that I generally understand the purpose, meaning, intent of most passages in the Bible or any other ‘text’ including spoken word, whenever I try to do so (I don’t keep it all in my working memory – rather I keep the skills of research and critical thinking accessible and sharply honed to be able to use when required).
Q2. …[H]ow [did] you [determine] that your god is real & why you think your god is the real one? A: I determined that the God I believe in was real through the same process of critical thinking, reflection and analysis that I mentioned above. If it is unclear to you how I determined that God is real then once more I reiterate the logical argument that you also mentioned – God is the word/language used to describe (encapsulate the concept of) the uncreated original eternal being/s, you make the claim that a creator requires a creator which leads to infinite regression – I dispute that assertion (and it is a claim/assertion, for which you have no proof either, it is simply an idea you believe). You erroneously believe that the bible actually claims the universe is 6000ish years old, whereas the truth is more complex. The fundamentalist Christian sometimes reading the Bible incorrectly makes factually wrong claims of age of the world based on ages and lengths of life of people referred to in the text of several books in the Old and New Testaments, as well as patterns of descent listed. But the Bible itself is silent on the topic – it makes no firm claim about the true age of the world or the universe. It is thus not in conflict for me to believe that astronomical observations of for example cosmic background radiation as well as ‘red shift’ (a kind of doppler effect) of stars at further distances from observation, imply a vast age to the universe which I assert is accurate (most likely give or take a few hundred million years).
I appreciate your concern regarding preparation for a video chat show call – I wasn’t saying I intended to rush immediately to a call (probably a week or so to prepare is wise) but I generally find that there is only so much you can do to prepare for the contest of wits/intellect, like physical combat too, it is a skill honed by practical usage.
Just one last thing, do you dispute that all humans are cousins (genetically related and capable of interbreeding stable offspring)? If so, then would you agree that everyone is born of parents and that logically if we are all one species, at some point in the past, the distinct parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc. are not distinct people – there is overlap or double up where we ‘share’ ancestors. Again logically, my argument is that everyone shares one original set of parents, the names of these people are lost to time, so why not refer to them as Adam and Eve?
Kind regards,
Dane
Honestdadvice.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/Honestdadvice

That’s all for now.

Published by Honestdadvice

Public profile of Ehrlich Educational

14 thoughts on “Month 2: Week 8, Day 2 – My 51st blog post!

  1. So, I’m assuming the owner of the blog is “dane” and that dane is a Christian.

    “I believe everything written in the books/writings that make up the library that is the Holy Bible, were inspired by the activity of God’s spirit to help humanity grow and develop towards knowledge of the nature of God as a relationship of love which they desire us (humans) to freely choose to interact with. I determine what is true and what isn’t with a concept called scholarship, which basically boils down to listening to and reading what others say, considering their points of view and then determining both individually and in community discussions with others, what I will accept and what I will reject based upon reasoning. ”

    Every other Christian, and indeed most other theists, make the same claims as I’ve quoted above. You all come to different and often contradictory conclusions and insist that your version is the truth, when none of you have any more evidence than the next: none.

    That Christians cannot agree on what their truth is, nor show it is the truth indicates you’ve all made up your own religions in your image. Creationists, with their inability to convince each other of their baseless claims are wonderful examples of this.

    “f so, then would you agree that everyone is born of parents and that logically if we are all one species, at some point in the past, the distinct parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc. are not distinct people – there is overlap or double up where we ‘share’ ancestors. Again logically, my argument is that everyone shares one original set of parents, the names of these people are lost to time, so why not refer to them as Adam and Eve?”

    Your argument that we share “one original set of ancestors” demonstrates an ignorance on how populations grow. We have no reason to think that there were somehow only two homo sapiens around to give rise to the entire population of the earth. We are a blend of various members of the family Homo.

    “God is the word/language used to describe (encapsulate the concept of) the uncreated original eternal being/s, you make the claim that a creator requires a creator which leads to infinite regression – I dispute that assertion (and it is a claim/assertion, for which you have no proof either, it is simply an idea you believe). ”

    no evidence of these supposed eternal beings. You only assume that they are necessary and thus exist, a very common tactic for theists, especially Christians. We have no evidence that such beings are necessary. The laws of physics themselves can be just as “eternal” and all-pervasive. No need for a “creator” at all, outside of the universe or whatever else silliness that theists invent to have a job for their god.

    So no need to care if there is an “infinite regression” or not.

    As for making claims/assertions that one has no evidence for, that is all a theist has. Christians cannot agree what parts of the bible they want to claim as literal, as metaphor and to just ignore since parts can be very inconvenient. That we have no evidence for the bits you want to claim as literal, there is no reason to think any of it true. No worldwide 28,000 foot deep flood, no 600,000+ wandering around an area half the size of Pennsylvania for 4 decades with no one noticing, no fabulous palaces and temples, no magical language change, no virgin birth, no miracles, no resurrection, no day with the sky darkening, a major earthquake and the dead walking around the streets of Roman-occupied Jerusalem on a Passover.

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    1. Hi there, yes the owner of this account is Dane and I am not just a Christian but a Roman Catholic and a qualified Religious Education and Science High-School teacher of 8+ years now. I love that someone has engaged with my posts and I am truly grateful you took the time to write a comment, I am completely open to disagreements and dialogue as I hope is genuinely evident. I am happy to discuss your points in more depth if you are interested. For now, I am a Science teacher too as I stated above so lets begin with the whole Adam/Eve debate. No credible scientist would claim ‘mitochondrial eve’ and ‘y-chromosomal adam’ are partners who reproduced with one another, nor do I. However, the dates claimed for them are further forward temporally (closer to our own point in time) than what I am proposing. I am also aware that the pattern of descent of species from at least H. heidelbergenesis/rhodesiensis approx 400,000 years ago is reasonable (see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4920294/) no evidence exists for a fossil claimed to be our common ancestor, and genetic information remains inconclusive on this point, though I have heard that a pool of approximately 1000 partners may have been the proto-human to human transitional point in a single origin location in central Africa, which I prefer to alternative theories of multiple distinct lineages of geographically distinct groups being interbred over time. As the Bible (or more accurately the book known as Genesis) is a source text which makes claims, to which there is not definitive evidentiary basis to ignore it entirely, it remains possible that one parental set from central Africa, is the ancestors of ALL living/surviving humans today. Feel free to rebut but please do so in the spirit of academic discussion by citing sources and reasoning.

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      1. Hi dane,

        I’m a former Christian, Presbyterian type, and a BS in geology. I’m also a big nerd for just about any science and try to keep up to date about new things (phys.org is a great place for that). Do you have a degree in any of the sciences? Do you teach in a public school or a religious one?

        You are correct that no biologist would claim that mitochondrial Eve and the “y chromosome” adam were a couple. However, Christians try this to make their myths seem less ridiculous. That no fossil exists for a common ancestor doesn’t mean much since we can use genetics now. Fossils only form in very lucky instances.

        I can understand why you prefer single location “out of Africa” approach since it fits better with your myth. However, that is only trying to make science match myth to make it more palatable. We have no evidence that any of Genesis is valid or reflects reality. It is a set of myths by ignorant humans from a couple of millennia ago that Christians now face having to shoehorn science into. This is not a valid scientific process, having an assumption and then trying to make the science fit it. It is no surprise that religion always trails behind science. Creationists have found themselves changing their positions per science, it’s never the other way around.

        We have many myths about the creation of the universe and man. With your apparent argument, they should *all* be considered “possible” since yours is just like them, a baseless set of claims with no evidence to support them. They all could be considered metaphors as you have tried to do with yours.

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      2. Thank you for your continuing contributions to discussion. I agree that attempting to fit science to mythology (and have no doubt – I agree the Adam/Eve story in the Holy Bible is a myth, it’s just that I don’t discount the validity of myths as instructive in moral life and possibly containing fundamentally true assertions about reality) – possibly, not certainly, not comprehensively, I am not dogmatically ignoring science. However, where science is either silent or inconclusive, it (biblical narratives/myths) form a part of how I determine the possible makeup of past reality, reality that remains inaccessible to us temporally as we are limited human beings (limited in both time and space). As I understand it, you use the term creationist to describe a fundamentalist Christian who asserts sola scriptura and that the Bible is the inerrant dictated word of God, please confirm. I am by that definition, certainly not a creationist, nor do I purely subscribe to Intelligent design (ID) theory. However, philosophically, as a theist and a Catholic, I acknowledge that I believe God created life, fostered its continued development over a billion+ years via evolutionary mechanisms and is responsible for humanity. I actually BELIEVE – (as in there’s not certainty there but it’s a theory) that God interfered or ‘nudged’ evolutionary precursors of modern humans somehow, either in multiple places or one. Approx. 30,000 years ago to begin being artistic/creative – I believe at some stage we didn’t have souls/spirituality, then we ‘suddenly’ did and that’s when there is reliable evidence of cave paintings, oral traditions roughly begin to be claimed, societies become more organised and tool oriented, we bury the dead with increasingly sophisticated ritual behaviours and subsequently civilisations and written language begin. In short, I am less fussed about how as I am about why, I think God intended to have a ‘natural’ precursor with minimal interference that was sufficiently distinct, to then have the addition of a soul make it ‘human’ and ‘free’. If you have any interest in Human efforts towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) I liken it to that process of iterative reproduction to progressively separate the ‘mind’ of the AI from the ‘creators’ (us, not God in that context), which of course is still in early stages, but the theory seems sound to me. I also don’t mind sharing I hold only a Bachelors degree in Education with half a Masters level degree in Religious Education, Post-grad (I took a break 2 years ago and haven’t gone back). I swapped Uni and degree in my undergrad days and have a little over half a Biological Science/Chemistry degree from 2006 – 2009 at Murdoch University in W.A, Australia but my qualifications are from the University of Notre Dame, Australia’s Fremantle Campus (2012 grad). I have no employment history with a research lab or in medicine, just classroom science lab supervision and management of students from 12 y/o’s to 18 y/o’s. I have a strong interest in Physics, Chemistry and Evolution as well as the current efforts to ‘prove’ abiogenesis is possible under laboratory conditions. Though personally, I think Humans might never be able to reproduce a bacteria cell with it’s own D.N.A. or equivalent ‘from scratch’ that is from inorganic material with no biological material precursors. I make several of those points in my first video on YouTube as ‘Honestdadvice’ if you would like to check it out.

        Kind regards,

        Dane (Honestdadvice)

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      3. Science is not “inconclusive” that magic doesn’t work. We know it hasn’t worked in the past, isn’t working now and is very little probability that it will suddenly work in the future. If you do want to claim miracles have happened, I ask for evidence.

        With your argument, then any myth can be put in place of yours and be just as valid when “science is either silent or inconclusive”. So, how do we tell whose myth is the right one, if any? And yes, myths are useful in moral education, and some might just have some truths in them. However, we have seen no myth that claims gods or magic being shown to be true, “fundamentally” or not.

        You seem to be clinging to some faint hope that somewhere under some rock, you’ll find evidence for your beliefs. Humans are indeed limited in time and space, but your god is supposedly not and should be quite easy to find.

        I use the term of “creationist” for anyone who tries to claim some god created reality. They can be young-earth creationists, old-earth creationists, theistic evolutionists, etc, since they *all* make baseless claims about some magical being. You are a creationist since you assume a deity is involved.

        You believe in at least some aspects of “intelligent design” a term used by Christians and other theists to try to hide their god when it comes to trying to push their religion into schools. A belief is not a theory, and I know that many people use the term theory causally, but as a science teacher, you should not be doing so. You believe what is commonly known as theistic evolution. Many Christians have ended up here since they find they can’t deny all of the evidence we have that evolutionary theory accurately describes reality.

        There is no evidence to support your claims about “suddenly” getting a “soul” at all, Dane. There is no evidence for a soul. What we do have evidence for is that the brain became more complex and that consciousness seems to be an emergent property of that. Currently, the oldest yet found cave painting is approximately 64,000 years old and the oldest found animal painting is approximately 43,000 years old. No god needed. We already know that Neanderthals cared for their injured and making jewelry, so they seem to be quite like us.

        You have invented your own *why* since you need to find a job for your god and you also find you must accept what science shows. Your why is no more based in evidence than the why of your fellow creationists.

        AI development is very interesting. Trying to compare it to magic is rather silly since this god, being omnipotent and all, doesn’t need what humans need. Or does it and it’s not what the bible claims at all? You don’t have a theory. You have a hypothesis at best. Now you need to show evidence to support that hypothesis.

        I thought as much for your education. You seem to be operating from a level of willful ignorance to cling to your religion, as demonstrated by your claim about humans and souls, and their development earlier.

        Many Christians want to believe that we humans may never figure out how life started or create some ourselves. Even if we don’t, there is still no need or evidence for a god at all or your version of the Christian god in particular.

        I’ll take a look at your video.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hi again Clubschadenfreude,
        BTW – I don’t expect you to reveal your first name, it’s your choice, but I am curious, are you of Germanic heritage or perhaps you just like the Avenue Q musical (which I’ve seen in NYC on Broadway) where the phrase is defined as “happiness at the misfortune of others” and stated to be German? On to your points, you claim I have invented my position, it would be more correct to state that I have received inchoate and at times imprecise conceptual frameworks then made a ‘schema’ for them cognitively, that works for me. Many who are non-religious seem to conclude erroneously that those who are religious are wilfully ignorant, to my perspective, denial of the reality of God is a choice made by the will, to be ignorant – defined as deciding to not seek out explanatory framework for existence, that remains everyone’s free choice and I’m not criticising you so much as pointing out something you perhaps haven’t considered before. I completely agree there is no direct evidence in a scientifically valid sense which I can cite which I am aware of, that ‘should’ convince you. The entire idea of science though, is that hypotheses should be falsifiable and in that sense, it’s true that philosophical inquiry of God does not fit the mould and there is no way I’m aware of to allow anyone to prove God exists (in the scientific sense). I use a less prescriptive definition of proof in religious discussions – which should be self-evident to an intelligent person like yourself I am confident, that proof is equal to that which convinces someone of the correctness/accuracy of something which is actually correct. I also appreciate the atheistic argument that all religion’s myths are equally valid or invalid being proposed for consideration, you perhaps labour under the misapprehension that I disbelieve all other religions in all ways and think mine is the only correct one in all ways in which conflict is possible. This is incorrect, it would be true to say that I believe Jesus is the way to salvation, it would be untrue to say I believed no one but believing Catholics can be saved. If unclear, in this context I mean be forgiven personal moral infractions/sin and enter heaven to be with/in the presence of God for eternity at some point, in perfect peace and harmony with God and all others present there. When it comes to ‘creation myths’ including the negative (that there is no creator) they are all equally valid and invalid in terms of their possibility of convincing someone to accept them. It is a free choice, made in limits which preclude certainty. You might make the claim it’s simply meaningless then and we should act like it doesn’t matter, and I would agree with you except that some, not all, atheists then ignore moral frameworks of behaviour, and some religious persons limit the personal autonomy of others for their own ends, so it’s clearly not a ‘live and let live’ kind of situation. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers but I love discussing the questions and considering possible solutions. One final point for now, you stated that the brain has an emergent property of ‘self-awareness’/consciousness (and perhaps creativity etc). I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility of a spiritual component of the human – a soul, you again discount my belief, that’s fine, but just because you can claim that there is no proof, doesn’t actually convince me there isn’t a soul. A question for you now – can you define what you mean by magic? I assume you don’t mean a trick (as in the case of magicians sleight of hand).

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      5. My first name is Andrea. I go by Vel. I do have German in my ancestry but don’t speak it except for a few words my father taught me he learned when he was stationed over there. I’ve known the term schadenfreude for a very very long time (I’m in my mid 50s).

        I don’t go with a full happiness at the misfortune of others, but at the misfortune of those who brought misfortune upon themselves by their willful ignorance or hate.

        Your attempt to make a definition using large words ends up no more than what I said “you’ve invented your position.” I’ve been a vocabulary fiend since well, forever it seems since I started reading at 3 and had to learn how to define words I read. It really broadens one mind if one reads the dictionary and World Book, admitted not the best encyclopedia.

        In my experience, most, if not all theists are willfully ignorant at least in some aspect of their knowledge. Many have no idea what other religions say, and they use the same apologetics out of that ignorance, not realizing that what they think works for them works for most religions.

        I’ve looked at many “exploratory frameworks” aka religions for what they claim about existence. Spreading false harmful information is not a “free choice” to be allowed and not countered. Now, if theists were so intent on spreading their nonsense, I’d have no problem with it. You could believe whatever you want with no push back from me. But I’ve seen too many people hurt by religion. I’m lucky, I’ve not been. I just came to the conclusion that there are no gods on my own.

        One can falsify the hypothesis that your god exists in the scientific sense. If the bible is correct, then we should find evidence for the events it supposedly caused. We do not. What we do have is evidence entirely different things happened. So we have both absence of evidence and evidence of absence.

        there is no atheist argument that all myths are equally valid aka true. They are equally invalid since they all have no evidence for them. They are equally untrue.

        Considering what I know about Catholicism, it was claimed that there was no way to salvation except through Catholicism. This was so believed that Catholics murdered other theists over the idea. Then the declaration was weakened, and it is now claimed that some religions have some of the right answers but still not all of them. Christians have contradictions in their claims how one is saved. What do you think is needed to be saved? I grew up Calvinist/Presbyterian, so I know that there are quite a few differences. I also can point out that, though you personally might not agree with this, Christians, Catholics included, try to convert other Christians. I got to see this done by my own church. It seems that no one is sure that the other ways are how to get saved.

        Christians don’t even agree on what their god considers sin or what morals it wants. So, again, I do not see that Christians are all one big agreeable family. You all have different ideas of what “perfect peace and harmony with God” is.

        You try to misuse the word myth to try to pretend the lack of believe is equivalent of a belief. Many Christians try that to pretend that everyone is like them. Validity has nothing to do with the chance something will convince an individual. We can indeed be certain of things, but again, many Christians like to veer into solipsism to give their god a rock to hide under.

        Again, claims of “moral frameworks of behavior” are not something only religions have nor do theists agree on what is moral. We do have some morals that are common since they do help civilization continue. These are not from your god or any god as far as any evidence can show. Religions, and their people, are built on supposedly “divine” commands that require them to limit the personal autonomy for their own ends.

        I certainly know that there is no “live and let live” in Christianity thanks to what it says about what to do with non-Christians. Revelation is quite the murder fest.

        You end with a baseless claim that there is some “possibility” of magic being involved in humans e.g. “spiritual component”. People have been looking for the “soul” for thousands of years. If this soul can interact with the physical in electricity and chemistry, then it would be able to be sensed by instruments that have those attributes. It’s never been found. Does that mean it never will? No, there is some possibility. However, there is also some possibility that there is a complete tea set in orbit around Neptune. Neither are very high.

        I know that nothing can convince you that there isn’t a soul. You must believe in one to keep your religion intact. Magic: an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source (merriam-webster.com)

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      6. Thanks again Vel for your continued comments, I searched for your blog and it looks fascinating. I just want to say that I recognise your genuinely held views and I can see that you have a good degree of rationality in that you do not make lots of baseless assertions and leave open the possibility that others views are not wrong. I really want to address the nature of other religions compared to Catholic Christianity. Many atheists and Christians alike have a very superficial understanding of other religions but I have read and listened to YouTube videos widely on at least: Indigenous Australian beliefs, Christianity of most broadly popular kinds and the two major kinds of muslim: Sunni and Shite, I also am interested in Buddhism, Confuscianism, Shintoism and Hinduism of the East but acknowledge that I too have more superficial understanding of these. What I have taught children in Schools and believe is that there is objective and subjective reality, what is and what is perceived to be by an observer distinct from the reality in a meaningful way. My claim that God is is either right or wrong and I acknowledge that possibility. However, I ask you to consider what the alternative to God you advocate actually means subjectively for people living their lives. How do we derive morals? Is it simply because we are told them by others? Whether religiously motivated or not? Or is it a combination of that and ‘access’ to a deeper spiritual reality? All the religions agree there is something deeper than subjective experience alone, something real that underlies the material universe and gives it significance, I agree that religions have stories which cannot all be reconciled as true and it is intellectually honest for theists to admit they might be wrong and there may be no god, however to gauge the level of your belief, do you claim certainty that there is no Christian god/s i.e. The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit too, alone or do you go further and say all human religions are wrong and none of their gods are real but one somehow might be discovered eventually, or as far as you can logically go on this continuum do you believe there is no God or God’s and nothing but an eternal materialistic reality with rules and structure purely by impersonal, unconscious forces with no directing impulse or creative mind behind it? I acknowledge that all are possible but I claim that all are a type of belief as humans are fundamentally limited creatures, for example you claim that aspects of biblical accounts have been proven impossible, let’s agree that people who are motivated can test if there is some special property to take advantage of or perhaps a technique or method to use that might allow walking on water which could be used on the sea of Galilee in Israel, with our present level of scientific understanding in the modern world, does that preclude the possibility of Jesus having walked on water as described in the gospel accounts? Does the observation that people normally sink in water but the Bible claims that in a specific time and place a divine person did so and made a human (Simon) do so too, mean that science proves that it didn’t happen? That seems to me to be a case where science is silent and there is an inability to test the claim using only materialistic scientific methodology. What do you think?

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      7. Many people do have a very shallow understanding of religions. Most Christians, in my experience, have not tried to read the bible. My own parents are in that number. I gave them a very nice bible, a NRSV, in large print that would lay flat for the reading, and they have yet to read it. They depend on their atheist daughter to tell them what is in it. I personally have a NRSV and a KJV, and I use biblegateway.com since it has a great keyword search function on it and many different translations.
        I’ve read the bible, the qu’ran, the Book of Mormon, and parts of the other various holy books. I’ve also read about the various eastern religions. I rather like Zoroasterianism.
        We have no evidence of “subjective” reality. We do have evidence of a subjective interpretation of it, but that is not the same as reality changing depending on the observer. A ladle of molten steel will burn your hand off if you are foolish enough to put it in the metal, no matter the “positive” thinking or other woo nonsense that has been claimed.
        You seem to be using the argument “but if it makes people happy, what harm is Christianity” and the argument from morality. Christianity has the problem that Christians do not agree on what morality their god wants, nor that their version is approved by some god. You all have the same evidence: none.
        Having read the bible, we have a god that has no problem in killing children for the actions of their parents e.g. David’s son, among many other horrible things. My question for you is: is it *ever* okay to kill a child for the actions of others? If it is not, then your morality is no more than might equals right, you are okay with your god doing something you would be horrified at if a human does it. Objective morality is when a action is right or wrong, no matter who does it.
        Morals come from what works to support civilization. No “access to a deeper spiritual reality” needed.
        All religions do not agree. They may agree in an invisible bit of nonsense, but the details vary wildly. There is no reason to assume that this supernatural nonsense is true; humans just are imaginative and make up things. No god needed again.
        I do indeed claim certainty that the Christian god and all other gods claimed by humans are complete nonsense. There is no evidence for them, only stories. Theists use the same apologetics for their gods. The claim “creation is evidence for my god” is repeated across the board. None of you have any evidence that your claim is right and that the other theists are wrong. I, as an atheist, have plenty of evidence that there are no gods since entirely different events happened when you want to claim your god was mucking about on earth.
        Even Christians don’t agree on the trinity, so again I’m not impressed by baseless claims. There of course could be something discovered that may be defined as a god. At this point, no evidence of that and that is with humans desperately looking for millennia. Look at probability, and the lack of a coherent definition of a “god”, I feel that I’m quite safe in being sure that no god exists aka a being that can affect reality with powers unable to be explained by known methods of causation. Add to this the nonsense of omnipotence and omniscience and we have no evidence for such a being at all.
        All we have evidence for is this: “eternal materialistic reality with rules and structure purely by impersonal, unconscious forces with no directing impulse or creative mind behind it” And we don’t’ know about the eternal part at all, but physics says this reality will end in a cold dark space. What we think we can see from physics is that this emptiness can have energy/matter reappear again. Rather than a multiverse, though that is a possibility, we may have a reality that is a set of nesting dolls.
        If you want to claim your god is some intelligence behind reality, then why is it so damn incompetent? What is the point of a finite universe when supposedly this god can create magical heaven and hell? Why was it so stupid to put the trachea next to the esophagus and cause thousands of miserable deaths a year?
        Now, some Christians will try to blame the screw ups in the universe to the “fall”, but there are some problems with that. Theist claims of “fine tuning” fail then because we have no idea what the “real” universe was like. We also have the problem with this schizophrenic god promising that children will be held accountable for their parents/ancestors actions and also promising they won’t. The “fall” is shows that this god was lying when it claims that people will only be held accountable for their own actions. Or the bible is lying and this god is something entirely different.
        We are indeed limited mortal creatures. There is still no evidence for any god like yours as described in the bible. You seem to be placing your hope that your god is hiding under some rock on Zeta Reticuli V. But that’s not how your god is described at all.
        There is no evidence that walking on water is possible. Thus the possibility of that is very low. You have made the extraordinary claim. Do support it with evidence. Just hoping it is so isn’t evidence.
        With no evidence, the walking on water claims are no more believable than the moon being split by Mohammed. Could it happen with magic? Sure, since magic can do anything in the imagination. The problem you have is that we should have evidence of how this magic interacts with physical objects. If Christians can do miracle as good and better than JC as claimed in the bible, then walking on water should be no problem for you. Healing people should be no problem for you.
        But in this world where people dare question claims and aren’t as likely to be killed for doing so, unlike during the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc, miracles can’t be shown to work, no matter what the bible has promised. It’s quite the same with my Wicca friends, who can’t get their spells to work either when someone who questions is around.
        Science isn’t silent at all. If you can’t show that the moon can be split or that humans can walk on water, there is no reason to believe you. The scientific method is observation/positing an idea, experimentation/more documentable observation to support or disprove the claim, if the observation cannot be replicated then the hypothesis must be discarded and a new one offered that is supported by evidence.
        Many Christians complain that miracles can’t be replicated. That is not what the bible promises.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Hi again Vel,
        I’ve got a vested interest in addressing your concerns wherever they pop up, however as you’ve invited it. I’m keen to engage in an email style conversation if you would like? I am going to email your velkyn@comcast.net address instead 🙂

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      9. that’s fine. I do write my responses up and then cut and paste them in so I can do it either place.

        Here’s what I’ve written. I’ll also shoot it to you as an email.

        Always fun to be on others sides of the planet. I’ve love to visit Australia, but I don’t if I can take the 23 hour flight to get there. Maybe when they get suborbital point to point passenger flights 

        I’m a nerd in almost all ways. Science fiction and sword and sorcery fantasy are my favorites and I’m a tabletop RPG player. I’ve also gone to many conventions and have done cosplay. My husband even let me dress him up. The only think I really don’t’ do is computer gaming but with the VR devices, I may try that too.

        Where is the evidence you have that belief changes reality? We do have some indication that observation influences quantum events but in the macroscale, no matter how much someone wishes something, it doesn’t’ come true. You seem to hold out hope that something somewhere can change reality with a thought with no evidence other than “well, it might happen”. This seems to be a common thing with theists, insisting that the teapot really could be in orbit.

        It is also common for theists to huddle close to solipsism in order to find a gap for their god with the claims that we can’t know anything but ourselves and that must mean this god exists. Again, yep, humans are frail, and sometimes the brain goes on the fritz, but we have the scientific method to help with this and again, no god is to be found. I have no problem at all pointing out that you, like all theists, rely on gaps of human knowledge to try to claim that your god is hiding in them. What we don’t’ know “yet” is often used as a reason why belief should be held in some god.

        Like all Christians you must be dogmatic about some parts of it. Catholicism is based on dogma, “a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church”. I am also, if not a genuine expert, I am far beyond the average layperson. I do know what all of these words you have given mean: exegesis, hermeneutics and Christology. Exegesis, the interpretation of texts. Christians come up with many versions of what they want to claim a text “really” means. Hermeneutics: methods of interpretation. Christians also have many of those. Christology, the interpretation of what JC is about. When I was losing my faith, I looked into all of these for answers. What I found is that there is no one divine message, there are a lot of humans who want to claim that their version is the only truth, with no evidence. I do like Catholicism and think that its smart to not be sola scriptura, but it isn’t any more coherent than Presbyterianism. When I was in my teens, I went to Spain as a school trip and we were there over Holy Week. That was quite an eye opener for my little Calvinist self.  I even saw a bullfight on Easter Sunday where the bull got some revenge on the matador.

        No, I hate links when someone takes the lazy way out and won’t explain what on the links is important or how they understand it. I do know what confirmation is. My best friend in high school was Catholic so she taught me a lot of things about it.

        All sects of Christianity have a “community” where some people claim to know more than others and that their interpretations are the only right ones. I’ve looked at all sorts of versions of Christianity and their magic decoder rings that they claim tell them the “truth”. If I am to believe the bible, then all baptized believers in Christ should be able to heal people. It is very obvious that you can’t, so either the bible is making false claims or Christians aren’t getting something right.

        I don’t go it alone at all. I have my husband, family, friends, experts in various fields, etc. No god needed. When I was a Christian, I certainly wasn’t alone, but that didn’t make the religion any more true.
        Every theist has faith, and most claim that they came to the faith by “reason”. Many make the exact claim as you do, that this god is somewhere out side of the universe and beyond time, etc. However, we don’t get that from the bible, and the “meta” God was invented afterward. Per the supposed book that tells about this god, it stands on things, has to wait for events to happen, likes meat smoke, and is awfully dependent on humans. This god supposedly affects the material world.

        Many Christians go for the more vague god since it is not so hard to excuse for its behavior. Peter Tillich came up with the “ground of being” or some such vague term to support this meta god and make it harder to show that it doesn’t exist. Karen Armstrong, a one time Roman Catholic nun, has made it more mainstream. It is indeed possible to show that this god has a rock bottom possibility of existence since we don’t find that physical evidence of its actions. Unless you want to claim that this god has done nothing in the material plane?

        I would believe in a god if it can show itself to be and not need humans who claim to know what it wants, etc. I might not worship it since all gods worshipped by humans are just humans writ large and just as petty and vicious as any human. We have the god of the bible proving itself in exactly the restrictions I have given in to the characters in the bible. It is only now that this god is a no-show and theists must invent reasons why. If Thomas warrants a personal interview, and this god wants everyone to come to it, then why is the reason I don’t get one? JC gave Thomas a pretty gentle chiding for wanting evidence. Now Christians often tell me that how dare I ask for evidence and that this god just wants faith that it exists.

        If it’s too arrogant to show itself, then exactly why should I care to worship it? There is nothing restricting to asking for evidence when that evidence has supposedly been given with no problem.

        “If God is beyond you, superior to you, and you are a creature, do you feel justified in expecting them to behave as you require?”

        Yep, I certainly do since per your religion, your god made me the way I am. If it made an honest atheist that wants evidence, and then refuses to provide that evidence to me. Hmmm, seems that this god is rather childish.

        Do define what you consider “respectful”. I’ve had very many Christians make this demand, and it always ends up that they think “respectful” only means I won’t contest their claims.

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      10. Thanks for agreeing to define what you think magic means – it is helpful to have agreed upon language to convey our meaning. To me, magic is not equivalent to the activity of gods or at least they’re different types of the same thing if the activity of gods is considered to be magical by you. For example, divine magic then would be superior to lesser forms of extraordinary power or influence. As in the case of Moses and the rod turned serpent eating the rods/serpents of Pharaoh’s court magicians in the Exodus account. Or again, where Jesus is shown commanding things of reality in terms of healings etc, and they invariably occurred immediately, no excuses or failures, just exactly what was requested, immediately. Now I will grant you that I might be wrong in believing that the Gospel accounts have reliability or trustworthiness, but what is clear (at least to me), is that to discount these claims, you have to take something else that is contrary as more reliable or trustworthy – what is that for you?

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      11. Your bible claims that prayers will be answered quickly and with what is asked for. So, if JC is shown commanding reality, why does that no longer happen?

        one does not have to come up with a better explanation to know that a failed one has done just that, failed.

        Physics works without fail. Do show where a Christian can do what the bible promises.

        Like

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