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)
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
“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..
” 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?
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?
That’s all for now.