Tag Archives: dawkins

Poor arguments to make with theists

circle-slash.jpgThis is a companion piece to Poor arguments to make with atheists.  I deliberately used theists instead of Christians to keep things simple, though I did use some Christian examples below.  I accumulated these from various atheist web sites or comments made here.

I enjoy questions with people who are willing to have a charitable dialogue.  I don’t waste time with people who come by with poorly reasoned sound bites they picked up from their Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris trinity or the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites.   My hope is that people will reflect on at least one of these and realize how they’ve been repeating things without thinking about them carefully. And if they were misinformed on these simple things, then where else have their instructors misled them?

It is also written to encourage believers when they hear these things in the secular world — and in some churches!  We live in the world that the one true God created, so there will always be reasonable explanations to the nothing-made-everything fantasy sound bites of atheism.

1.  There are lots of denominations within Christianity and lots of religions with differing truth claims.  There must be a solid majority with complete agreement for God to be real, so this is evidence that there is no God.

And where did they arrive at this piece of spiritual truth?   But if the truth is determined by a majority vote, then there must be a God.  There are far more religious people than atheists.  But the truth is the truth no matter how few agree, and a lie is a lie no matter how many agree. And if the majority rules with respect to truth claims then atheism is false, because most people believe there is a God.

Christianity claims to be the narrow road.  Jesus didn’t expect a majority to follow him.  And the Bible addresses many false teachings and warns of others to come.
Also, as one atheist noted when trying to rally people to do “raiding parties” on theist sites, “Atheists as we all know from bitter arguments on this site, embrace a pretty broad range of views.”  So by their logic they must have a false worldview, right?
2. Why is it that religious people resort to imaginary answers (faith) built on the circular reasoning that the bible provides those answers? Does god exist? Yes, because the bible says so. D’uh!.

That is an actual quote.  I got this a lot from the Dawkins’ blog “raiding party.”  I call this the fallacy-within-a-fallacy argument.  They make a straw man argument about us making a circular argument.

I never made that claim about the Bible other than noting that the Bible does claim 3,000 times to speak for God and that it is a sort of necessary condition to be considered the word of God.  We have lots of reasons to believe it is the word of God, but we don’t need circular reasoning for it.

He also uses a non-Biblical definition of faith.  We have faith in something, and it isn’t a “blind faith” or a faith in spite of the evidence.

3. Arguing from incredulity: You just have a made-up invisible friend in the sky, etc., etc.  Do you probably believe in santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

This charming ad hominem attack works both ways.  I submit that A is far more incredible to believe than B, and could have expanded on A for days.

A. The universe was created from nothing without a cause and organized itself into the spectacular level of complexity we see today, including life being created from non-life, and it evolved to create the “fictions” of morality and consciousness.

B. The universe was created by an eternally existent God.

We have lots of evidence for the existence of God: Cosmological (”first cause”), teleological (design), morality, logic, the physical resurrection of Jesus, etc.  If atheists don’t find that compelling, then so be it. I’m on the Great Commission, not the paid commission. But to insist that we have no evidence is uncharitable in the extreme and makes reasoned dialogue virtually impossible.

4. Arguments from ridicule (also see #3).  You can sprinkle in some ridicule to make an argument more entertaining, but using it as your primary argument is weak and fallacious.  Having visited quite a few atheist websites this seems to be their main line of reasoning.

5. As a Christian, you deny all gods but one. As an atheist, I deny all gods. We’re practically the same.

This is a cute but horribly illogical argument.  Saying there is no God isn’t a little different than saying there is one God, it is the opposite.  That’s like saying, “You deny all other women as your wives except one, so you’re practically the same as a single person.”

6. You don’t have empirical evidence for ____ (God, the resurrection, etc.).

To quote Bubba: “Can one prove that only empirical evidence is trustworthy? Better yet, can one prove this by using only empirical evidence?”

The answers, of course, are no and no.

The argument is a “heads we win, tails you lose” trick.  They say that you can only consider natural causes for the creation of the universe, and since they have nothing to test then there could not have been any supernatural cause, right?

And we do have lots of evidence for the resurrection.  Lots more evidence for God’s existence and for Christianity here and here.

7. Parents shouldn’t be allowed to indoctrinate / brainwash their children with religious beliefs.

The brainwashing must not be working, because so many people leave the church.  And why isn’t it brainwashing when the schools do it with evolution and their sickening strategies to take away the innocence of young children?  These freaks are telling 5 year old children that they can pick their gender!  That’s child abuse.

I find it interesting that with such low church attendance, general Biblical illiteracy and the monopoly that materialism has in public education that most people still don’t buy the macro-evolution lie.  No wonder evolutionists are so frustrated!

Some parents may go overboard with the fear of Hell thing.  But parents have rights, and more importantly, strong warnings are only inappropriate if the consequence in question is not true.

8. The Bible teaches _____ [fill in hopelessly (and deliberately?) wrong interpretation].

Please learn more about the Bible and the faith you are trying to criticize.  Straw-man arguments are unproductive.  This is perhaps the most common error I come across.  It seems like a week rarely goes by without someone using the “shrimp/shellfish argument,” which is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address five serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument.

9. Christians disagree on what the Bible teaches (or Muslims disagree on the Koran, etc.) so there can’t be one right answer.

Just because a book is capable of being misunderstood doesn’t mean it is incapable of being understood.  Disagreements in science don’t mean everyone must be wrong.

If you have actually studied the Bible you’ll note that it addresses many false teachings and warns that there will always be false teachers.  So the concept that people disagree on what the Bible says isn’t exactly newsworthy.  It is Biblical, in fact.

10. Why do religious people keep quoting bits out of a book written long ago by stone aged (or bronze aged) and ignorant men?

The men who wrote the Bible were quite intelligent.  The Apostle Paul, for example, was well educated, articulate and a clear thinker.  Go read the book of Romans and see what I mean.

The age of the book is completely irrelevant, of course.  If God wrote it the message would be timeless.  And of course, if it were written last week they’d complain that it was too late.

The complaint that our responses are old is also invalid.  The objections are old as well.  The funny thing is that over the last 2,000 years brilliant theists have wrestled with the same questions the New Atheists have, except with more clarity and thoughtfulness.

11. Why do religious people not understand the scientific and philosophical arguments against the existence of god which clearly refute its existence?

This commenter didn’t share any of those arguments or refer to any sources, so it is difficult to answer even if the objection didn’t have a flawed premise (it is basically a “have you stopped beating your wife” type of question that anyone on any side of an issues could use).  Many of us know and understand the arguments and how to respond to them.

12. I can’t understand or conceive of why God would set things up this way, so He must not exist.

We call this “creating God in your own image.”  See the 2nd Commandment.  The atheists making claims like that paraphrase are actually making ironic theological statements, because they claim to know what God should “really” be like.

If you create your own universe with working DNA and such, you can make your own rules.  But whether you like it or not you play by God’s rules in this universe and you’ll have to give an account for your life.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  If you suppress the truth in unrighteousness you will experience God’s wrath for eternity.  You will be judged by God for all your sins, including your darkest, most shameful secret thoughts and deeds.  And the standard won’t be some other sinner like me, it will be the perfect righteousness of Jesus.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

13. Some people who call themselves Christians do and/or say stupid things, so Christianity is false.

That doesn’t disprove Christianity any more than atheists doing and saying stupid things proves that there is a God.

In fact, Christians saying and doing stupid things probably bothers us more than it does atheists.  Believe it or not, we have some common ground there.

14. Religion poisons everything!  What about the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.?!

That is unproductive hyperbole.  Religion has done many great things – helping the poor, advancing education for the masses, helping women, building hospitals and schools, great art, etc.

You don’t judge an ideology based on the actions of those who violate its tenets.  Click the link above for more.

The Salem Witch trials killed 18 people.  The Inquisition killed about 2,000.  That is 2,018 too many, to be sure, but keep in mind two things: The perpetrators did the opposite of what Jesus commanded and 2,018 murders was a slow afternoon for atheists like Stalin and Mao.

Here’s a quote from a guy trying to rally atheists to their cause by raiding theist blogs like this one – to rescue the world from this religious poison, I suppose.  Messiah complex, anyone?

In a very real (but perhaps overly dramatic sense) the fate of the planet is at stake.

Uh, yes, “perhaps.”  But if atheism is true then who cares if the planet dies?  You must use empirical evidence to prove why it would be a bad thing :-).

I have noted that these critics focus almost exclusively on Christianity.  When you point this out to them they squirm and say it is the one they are most familiar with.  But with the growth of radical Islam and the perversions of the caste system in India you’d think they’d spread their evangelical atheism out a bit.

15. Religion gets in the way of scientific progress.

That is simply untrue.  The Galileo story that people usually refer to has many mythical elements.  And how many people can cite an example besides Galileo?  And who knows, maybe Einstein’s presupposition of a static universe caused his error with the cosmological constant.  After all, an expanding universe certainly gives more support to a theist model than a static one.

Darwinistic philosophy caused errors like assuming that “Junk DNA” was really junk.

16. You don’t use reason and we do.

That is just patently false.  Atheists just don’t like the reasons.  Christianity in particular encourages and applauds the use of reason.  Countless great thinkers and scientists were Bible-believing Christians.  Darwinistic philosophy can’t even account for reason, because macro-evolution would select for survivability, not truth.

17. But the Bible condones slavery!  It is ironic that this is one of the most common excerpts from the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound bites. Why? Because on atheism there is no grounding to say that slavery is wrong. Survival of the fittest rules, baby. So for starters, they shouldn’t be so judgmental about what their worldview couldn’t rightly judge.

Also, this doesn’t sound like condoning to me: Exodus 21:16 Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.

Please read that again, then realize that the critics of God use the logical fallacy of equivocation to make their point — that is, they assume that all forms of slavery are the same.

Oh, and don’t forget to praise the Christians who ended slavery.

And don’t forget to fight the Muslim and other slavery that goes on today and please stop using p*rn, which is directly tied to sex slavery. That is, if you really care about slavery.

More background on the Bible and slavery here, or just search on the Bible and slavery.  There are lots of thorough articles for those with sincere interest in the topic.

18. But the God of the Bible committed genocide!  First, if you create a universe from scratch you are welcome to deal with any of your creatures who rebel against your authority as you see fit.  He is sovereign over life and death for everyone and makes no apology for it.

But the clearing out of the Promised Land involved a one-time cleansing of a group of people who had committed the atrocities listed in Leviticus 18 for over 400 years.  If you want to judge God, a more logical question would be why He waited so long!

And that was it.  No wars of conquest.  No hints in the New Testament that Christianity should use any coercion to get people to believe.

19.  If it aligned with facts and logic, it would not be religion. It would be science. Logical fallacy: Category error. Science deals with the material. Religion deals with the immaterial and the material. Both use facts and logic.

—–

Closing thoughts: As frequent commenter Edgar has pointed out so well, even if every religion is completely false and atheism is true, then naturalism is to blame.  So it is irrational to get mad at religion or religious people.  We’re just doing what our genes tell us to.

And, of course, you would have absolutely nothing to be proud about.  You haven’t accomplished anything and haven’t generated any brilliant or meaningful ideas.  You are just a bag of chemicals that thinks you have.  Congratulations!  You have no reason for bitterness or grandstanding.

All fun aside, those who can stay away from time-wasting arguments and who want to engage in an actual dialogue are welcome.

I hope that atheists reconsider their views.  Eternity is a mighty long time.  The true God of the universe delights to show forgiveness and mercy, but you must come to him on his terms: Repenting and trusting in Jesus.

You can’t dictate the terms and conditions to parents, bosses, teachers, police, or even a McDonald’s cashier, so don’t be foolish and think you can do that with God. The rich young ruler walked away sadly when he didn’t like God’s terms and conditions but Jesus didn’t chase after him to negotiate.

“But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

You probably saw this article about the “Christian” rapper who left Christianity after 20 years as a professing Christian.  Here’s a sample via: Christian Rapper Renounces Christianity, Citing ‘Human Errors of the Bible,’ ‘Brutal Nature of Its God’ — and There’s More

A famed Christian rapper in the U.K. is making headlines after announcing that he has “turned away” from Christianity, with the performer unleashing the “negatives” that he claims to have found within the faith.“I need not explain myself to anyone but I feel the need to make a quick statement,” rapper Jahaziel wrote in a Dec. 22 Facebook post. “A short while ago I turned away from 20 years as a professing Christian.”He continued, “I had a good job with a church organization, a house provided by the church, a large social circle of likeminded people, a career in gospel music, a worldwide fan base, a respected reputation [and] status within Christian and non-Christian circles.”I need not explain myself to anyone but I feel the need to make a quick statement. A short while ago I turned away from…Posted by Jahaziel on Tuesday, December 22, 2015Despite losing many or all of these things, Jahaziel said that he still has his integrity, and explained why he’s leaving his faith behind. While he said that he learned some “great principles” from Christianity and the Bible, he believes that these sentiments aren’t “exclusive to any religion.”“I have met many sincere Christians, both church goers and church leaders, and although I have not seen every one of the 40,000 Christian denominations currently in existence I think I have seen enough to personally make a general conclusion regarding Christianity in the broadest sense,” Jahaziel said.He then went on to share some of the “negatives” that he claims to have observed about the faith, including: “its controlling dictatorship, its historic blood trail, its plagiarized bible stories characters and concepts, the many human errors of the bible and its contradictions, the brutal nature of its God, it’s involvement in the slave trade, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch hunts, it’s second class view of women, it’s masculinization of God, it’s emasculation of men, its financial corruption.”Apparently leaving christianity means I was never TRULY a christian… Only those who know me, know that’s utter bullshit.— Jahaziel (@jahazielmusic) January 4, 2016

It would be easy to pick on this confused guy who has obviously read too much of the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites and not enough of the Bible.  He spent 20 years in church and as a professional “Christian” and never came across this crystal-clear passage?

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Indeed.  Yes, I’m sure he went through the motions, but that is where much of the fault lies: With the churches, family, friends and followers who let these celebrity Christians and Christian celebrities get away without solid preaching, discipleship and accountability.

If you preach real sermons then goats like this will either convert or run away.  But if you do world-friendly “Christian” Left “sermons” then the sheep will starve and the goats will stay.  Same thing for discipleship and accountability.  The goats have no interest in that.

And most churches are too gutless to exercise any church discipline.  They find it easier to coddle the goats and even let the wolves stay.  I have only seen church discipline done at one church, and it was amazingly effective.  Surprising what happens when you actually obey Jesus, eh?  Instead of taking Matthew 18:20 out of context they actually followed the entire passage.

And did anyone even share Romans 10:9 with him?

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

He should have realized a long time ago that he hadn’t confessed that or really believed it.  Because none of his explanations talked about why he no longer believed Jesus rose from the dead.

Of course, that doesn’t mean people can’t have doubts.  Just pray to God to strengthen your faith as this guy did:

Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

If you aren’t a Christian today, you never were one.  Once really saved, always really saved.  But there is Good News!  You can become one if you repent and believe.

Also see Once lost, always lost? about the Hebrews 6 verse that some use to argue against eternal security.

Yeah, evolution just happened to create your 37.2 trillion cells

The human body is endlessly fascinating.  Jesus created such spectacularly intricate designs in us!  Did you know there are 37.2 Trillion Cells in Your Body?  The evolutionists believe on blind faith* that the universe came from nothing**, that life came from non-life and that we just evolved to what we see today.

Their life (death) passage:

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

—–

*Atheist scientist Richard Lewontin’s quote is a classic example of Darwinist question-begging — that is, assuming what they claim to be proving:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

 

**Here is a list of scientists who claimed something came from nothing.

Responses to common atheist objections

I thought I’d share this thread from a recent commenter on the How many translations did your Bible go through? post.

Thanks for returning to comment. You seem unwilling to carefully study the arguments for and against your position, and you continually offer logical fallacies as arguments. The primary way you do this is by misstating your opponent’s views and then attacking that position. But that doesn’t prove anything.

You just said that the evil committed in the name of Christianity, was violating its basic tenets. Well, the same goes for atheism. Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin were just insane people, simple as that. They have nothing to do with atheism.

What grounding do you have to claim they were insane or that they did anything wrong? In a Darwinian worldview they were obviously the most fit for a time.

Also, there are a lot of atheists who haven’t killed anyone.

That’s not much of an accomplishment, but I’m glad to hear that.

The people you mention are violating atheists basic tenets as well. I’m an atheist, and I haven’t killed anyone. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are atheists, and they haven’t killed anyone. There are a lot of atheists in the world, and we’re just as moral as you are.

But atheism has no core tenets other than insisting that there is no God. We agree that murder is wrong, but your worldview can’t explain why.

This is a quote by Richard Dawkins.

“Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though (Richard Dawkins)”.

Dawkins commits fallacies similar to yours. First, the reward for being good is legitimate because it is innately tied to the act. There is a reason that students who study hard are rewarded with better grades, why employees who perform well are rewarded with promotions and raises, etc. There is nothing wrong with avoiding sin so as to avoid punishment. What could be more logical than that?

Dawkins’ argument, even if true, wouldn’t disprove God.

Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. Dawkins states that if you can only be moral because God’s watching you, that’s pretty sad.

Atheists love making the false argument that Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. There have been nearly 3,000 posts on this blog plus tens of thousands of comments. Please find where Christians have made that claim. You’ll be looking a long time. What you will find is that we say that without God you can’t logically ground morality. It isn’t that you can’t be moral if Darwinian evolution is true, it is that there would be no such thing.

Jesus did not rise from the dead. Your “evidence” aka, Bible is false and is full of contradictions.

We have much more evidence than the Bible, though of course that is part of the evidence. You have already demonstrated that you’ve never studied the Bible seriously. You are just repeating atheist sound bites. There are answers to all your alleged contradiction claims (though I doubt you could name 3 supposed contradictions without having to search for them).

Most scholars believe that the gospels are written between 70-100 A.D. That’s plenty of time to get facts wrong.

There are many good reasons to believe that the Gospels — at least the first three — were written before that. Please see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/when-was-the-new-testament-written/ — that is, if you are truly interested in facts and logic.

And it is fallacious to say that just because things could be wrong that they must be wrong.

Also, how come there isn’t one contemporary eyewitness for Jesus Christ? Everyone claims that there are several eyewitness, yet all of the writings are after Jesus died. Isn’t that a little odd?

I don’t follow . . . if nearly 1/3 of the Gospel texts address the last week of his life and if the entire religion is based on him dying for our sins and rising again, and if the Bible records that his earthly ministry was the last three years of his life, and if the Bible records that his followers didn’t realize He’d die and rise from the dead, then exactly why would you expect the writings to occur before He died and rose again?

Atheism does have really good arguments, but you’re too blinded by your faith to see it.

I could say the same about you regarding Christianity, only I’d have the truth of the Bible to back me up: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

But you have nothing in atheism to back up your statement. If your worldview is true, then random chemical reactions are solely responsible for my conversion from atheism to my belief in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Why be so mad at your own worldview if it is the “obvious” cause for Christianity?

It’s funny how you say that I’m the one who’s been conditioned to repeat soundbites. Christians are told from birth not to question the dogma of their religion. Even questioning their religion is considered a sin.

Once again you show that you haven’t read the book. Please note these two teachings then reconsider your statements:

Acts 17:11 (ESV) 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

Christians are specifically told to use good discernment in testing truth claims.

No, I haven’t come up with excuses to avoid the Bible. I have looked at the evidence and drawn my conclusion that the Christian God is no different than any other myth. The truth is that we don’t know what created the universe. It may have been a “God”, or something else. The point is we don’t know.

We can use logic and facts to demonstrate that it came into being at a point in time, and it is obvious that whatever created it had to be more powerful and significant than what was created.

It’s pretty sad how Christians preach about love of their God. If their love doesn’t work then they preach about eternal damnation.

That is another one of your made-up claims. We preach the entire truth of God. We do love him, and for good reasons. He is a God of love, but will also punish sin as any just judge would. And we love our neighbors, so we tell them the truth about Jesus: He died on a cross for the sins of all who would repent and believe in him. If you want to pay for your own sins for eternity, that is your option.

That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. Why aren’t you afraid of Zeus, Allah, or any other Gods that have been worshiped throughout history?

Because I have good reasons to believe that those are false.

It’s because you have been brought up from birth to believe in a certain God. If you haven’t been brought up, you’ve been indoctrinated in some form.

Then you are an atheist because of where you were born, right? You know nothing of the Bible. I’m a Christian because God made me spiritually alive and turned me to him through his Word. He does that all over the world every day. People convert from all sorts of belief systems to Christianity.

Just because you believe in Christianity, it doesn’t make it right.

I agree with you. That is another made-up argument on your part.

Christianity is based on geography, and nothing else.

No, it is based on trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and in repenting of sins. Really, read the book. Eternity is a mighty long time to regret spouting atheist sound bites in rebellion against your creator.

An honest but still inconsistent atheist

Even when atheists try to be candid and concede many of our points, they still have trouble being consistent with their worldview.  Via An atheist explains the real consequences of adopting an atheistic worldview.

Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.

We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it. All human achievement and plans for the future are the result of some ancient, evolved brain and accompanying chemical reactions that once served a survival purpose. Ex: I’ll marry and nurture children because my genes demand reproduction, I’ll create because creativity served a survival advantage to my ancient ape ancestors, I’ll build cities and laws because this allowed my ape grandfather time and peace to reproduce and protect his genes. My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.

I’m glad he was candid about his core beliefs. That is useful in exposing atheism. But even when they are trying to be honest they are still inconsistent:

So be nice if you want. Be involved, have polite conversations, be a model citizen. Just be aware that while technically an Atheist, you are an inferior one.

But he just got through saying there is no standard and glibly states he is just obeying his DNA. How can he say someone else’s atheism is inferior?

You’re just a little bit less evolved, that’s all.

Again, there’s that standard implying that more evolution is better than less.

I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may.

Again, why be more truthful if there is no merit in it? And why persuade anyone to do anything if we are all just obeying our DNA anyway?

Here’s why: Because their worldview is foolish rebellion.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits.  All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 3

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the third question:

How do you deal with questions around homosexuality? This is a tricky subject because this is a high school audience and sexuality has to be taught respectfully and with sensitivities to the teens and young ladies in the classroom.

This is a huge and contentious issue, and one that Satan is using to keep people from the faith and to divide entire denominations.  Many people use the homosexual issue as an excuse not to even consider Christianity.  That may tempt some people to gloss over the topic or misstate what the Bible says.

Yes, we should be sensitive with it, but when you consider about how aggressively the world pressures us with its false views I think we should be more bold in equipping young people about the details.

Make no apologies about what the Bible really says, because it couldn’t be more clear.  Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people** (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).planned
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

Then there is the question of love.  If you really love people you won’t affirm behavior that is spiritually, emotionally and physically destructive.

But do you have to convert people to your views on homosexuality before sharing the Gospel with them?  No.  Of course you shouldn’t water down the truth, but what you really want to do is share the Gospel and let God do his work on their hearts.  As I noted in this post, you don’t have to fix someone’s sins before telling them the truth about Jesus.  The point is to let Jesus do that!  We should approach all people with humility, because we all have temptations that we’ve given into.

It is easy to quickly affirm what the Bible says (“Yes, homosexual behavior is a sin”) but then shift to the Gospel (“But even if it wasn’t a sin you would still be a sinner in need of a Savior . . .”).

Don’t be shy about pointing out the lies of the LGBTQ movement.  People aren’t “born that way,” and even if they were that wouldn’t justify acting on the behavior.  Quoting the Bible doesn’t make LGBTQ people commit suicide any more than saying “don’t get drunk” makes alcoholics kill themselves.  “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron and those unions can never produce children or ever provide a mother and a father to a child, so the government has no good reasons to get involved in those relationships.

Make no mistake: The LGBTQ lobby wants to silence Christians.  Lots of us may end up in jail before this is over.  It may not be long until you won’t be employable if you don’t affirm the lie that the behavior isn’t sinful.

Here are some links that go into more detail.  This is a crucial issue so I encourage people to read them.  Feel free to use the PowerPoint slides if you like (I prepared them for a series of Sunday School lessons).

Problems with pro-gay theology  

Responding to Pro-Gay Theology  

Responding to same-sex marriage arguments

PowerPoint slides: Refuting pro-gay theology

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.

If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

** The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 2

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the second question:

If God is morally good, all loving and kind, why did he command the stoning of people, or the annihilation of entire peoples (man, women, children, babies, etc)? Why does God allow evil at all?

This is a great opportunity to ask clarifying questions.  Typically, it will highlight that the skeptics know very little about the issues they are questioning.  They are often just repeating sound bites they have heard from Richard Dawkins and the like.

I encourage you to never dodge this topic!  At a minimum you have an opportunity to share this truth: God used the most evil act in history to bring about the greatest good in history.  Jesus was the perfect man (far beyond our comprehension) but was betrayed, given an unjust trial, brutally beaten and then nailed to a cross like a piece of meat until He died.  That was the most evil act in human history.  Yet it brought about the greatest good: The salvation of countless sinners who could never be reconciled to God on their own.  So never underestimate God’s ability to appropriately punish and redeem evil. (Hat tip to John Piper)

Then you can ask questions like this:

  • Who was stoned, and why?  Do you understand the context of how the Jews were set apart as special people and were to be a witness to the world?
  • Who was annihilated?  (No “entire peoples” were annihilated, and there was no genocide, though the inhabitants of the Promised Land were supposed to have been completely eliminated in a one-time cleansing.)
  • Why did God command the land to be cleared out?  (The skeptic probably doesn’t know that God had given them 400 years to repent, yet they continued to offer child sacrifices and more.)
  • If God were to eliminate every bit of evil from the universe at midnight tonight, where would you be at 12:01?  Remember, you would be judged based on his standards.  You don’t get to compare your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits.
  • Do you want God to completely remove your ability to disobey him?  That would make a great prayer!
  • Do you think you are in a position to sit in judgment of God?  If there is a God, would we be in a position to dictate the terms and conditions to him?
  • Would a loving and kind God let sins like child sacrifice go unpunished?  (Young children were literally placed on burning hot statues to be killed.)

Those kinds of questions can provide opportunities to point to what the Bible really says, and can put God’s actions in perspective.  One of our biggest problems is always looking at things from our viewpoint, and forgetting that ultimately it is all about God and his glory — and rightfully so!

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.

If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 1

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I get the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the first question:

What do I say to an atheist friend when he says he can be good without God?

This is a classic question.  Remember that we know the truth about atheists: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

So you can approach the conversation with the confidence that deep down they know the truth.  They can’t go three sentences without making moral claims that assume an objective morality  — that is, that some things are always wrong — e.g., torturing babies for fun.  Side note: Sometimes atheists will rationalize that some things are acceptable for perpetuating the species (rape, abortion, etc.), but you can eliminate those arguments by adding “for fun” to the deed in question. Everyone knows those are wrong — or if they don’t, you should probably leave the room for your own safety!

One of the techniques from the Tactics book is to ask questions such as, “What do you mean by that?”  So in this case you could ask the person what he means by “good.”  That puts the burden on him to define the terms, and he is likely to tip his hand by pointing to some universal moral truths.  After all, if there is no God, then the universe came from nothing, life came from non-life and it evolved to everything we see today.  Therefore, there is no ultimate meaning or accountability in life.  If you steal from or kill your neighbor that wouldn’t be immoral.  Why should you care if he thinks it is immoral?  He just evolved to think that way, but you obviously would have evolved differently.  Sound bites about “human flourishing” or the like just assume that human flourishing is a moral good.  But they have to prove that, and simply coming up with a new phrase assumes what they should be proving.

You could tell him that technically he could do some good thing without God, but he would have no grounding to say the act was truly good.  If Darwinian evolution was true, then real morality is a fiction invented by these random chemical reactions in our brains.  He may think something is “good” but there would be no logical grounding for it.

You can also point out that the existence of evil is proof of God’s existence, not the opposite.  Remind them that all sins against an eternal and holy God will be judged perfectly and that they can pay the penalty for their sins themselves for eternity or they can trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf.

You can also remind them of how they won’t be judged based on how their best traits compare to their neighbor’s worst traits.  Every one of their thoughts, words and deeds will be judged on the standard of Jesus — Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.  If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Summary: Can people be good without God?  Technically,  they can do some good things but they can’t explain how they would qualify as truly good in a godless universe.  And in a more meaningful sense, they aren’t good at all.  They need Jesus.

Romans 3:9 For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Poor arguments to make with theists

circle-slash.jpgThis is a companion piece to Poor arguments to make with atheists.  I deliberately used theists instead of Christians to keep things simple, though I did use some Christian examples below.  I accumulated these from various atheist web sites or comments made here.

I enjoy questions with people who are willing to have a charitable dialogue.  I don’t waste time with people who come by with poorly reasoned sound bites they picked up from their Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris trinity or the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites.  My hope is that people will reflect on at least one of these and realize how they’ve been repeating things without thinking about them carefully. And if they were misinformed on these simple things, then where else have their instructors misled them?

It is also written to encourage believers when they hear these things in the secular world — and in some churches!  We live in the world that the one true God created, so there will always be reasonable explanations to the nothing-made-everything fantasy sound bites of atheism.

1.  There are lots of denominations within Christianity and lots of religions with differing truth claims.  There must be a solid majority with complete agreement for God to be real, so this is evidence that there is no God.

And where did they arrive at this piece of spiritual truth?   But if the truth is determined by a majority vote, then there must be a God.  There are far more religious people than atheists.  But the truth is the truth no matter how few agree, and a lie is a lie no matter how many agree. And if the majority rules with respect to truth claims then atheism is false, because most people believe there is a God.

Christianity claims to be the narrow road.  Jesus didn’t expect a majority to follow him.  And the Bible addresses many false teachings and warns of others to come.
Also, as one atheist noted when trying to rally people to do “raiding parties” on theist sites, “Atheists as we all know from bitter arguments on this site, embrace a pretty broad range of views.”  So by their logic they must have a false worldview, right?
2. Why is it that religious people resort to imaginary answers (faith) built on the circular reasoning that the bible provides those answers? Does god exist? Yes, because the bible says so. D’uh!.

That is an actual quote.  I got this a lot from the Dawkins’ blog “raiding party.”  I call this the fallacy-within-a-fallacy argument.  They make a straw man argument about us making a circular argument.

I never made that claim about the Bible other than noting that the Bible does claim 3,000 times to speak for God and that it is a sort of necessary condition to be considered the word of God.  We have lots of reasons to believe it is the word of God, but we don’t need circular reasoning for it.

He also uses a non-Biblical definition of faith.  We have faith in something, and it isn’t a “blind faith” or a faith in spite of the evidence.

3. Arguing from incredulity: You just have a made-up invisible friend in the sky, etc., etc.  Do you probably believe in santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

This charming ad hominem attack works both ways.  I submit that A is far more incredible to believe than B, and could have expanded on A for days.

A. The universe was created from nothing without a cause and organized itself into the spectacular level of complexity we see today, including life being created from non-life, and it evolved to create the “fictions” of morality and consciousness.

B. The universe was created by an eternally existent God.

We have lots of evidence for the existence of God: Cosmological (”first cause”), teleological (design), morality, logic, the physical resurrection of Jesus, etc.  If atheists don’t find that compelling, then so be it. I’m on the Great Commission, not the paid commission. But to insist that we have no evidence is uncharitable in the extreme and makes reasoned dialogue virtually impossible.

4. Arguments from ridicule (also see #3).  You can sprinkle in some ridicule to make an argument more entertaining, but using it as your primary argument is weak and fallacious.  Having visited quite a few atheist websites this seems to be their main line of reasoning.

5. As a Christian, you deny all gods but one. As an atheist, I deny all gods. We’re practically the same.

This is a cute but horribly illogical argument.  Saying there is no God isn’t a little different than saying there is one God, it is the opposite.  That’s like saying, “You deny all other women as your wives except one, so you’re practically the same as a single person.”

6. You don’t have empirical evidence for ____ (God, the resurrection, etc.).

To quote Bubba: “Can one prove that only empirical evidence is trustworthy? Better yet, can one prove this by using only empirical evidence?”

The answers, of course, are no and no.

The argument is a “heads we win, tails you lose” trick.  They say that you can only consider natural causes for the creation of the universe, and since they have nothing to test then there could not have been any supernatural cause, right?

And we do have lots of evidence for the resurrection.  Lots more evidence for God’s existence and for Christianity here and here.

7. Parents shouldn’t be allowed to indoctrinate / brainwash their children with religious beliefs.

The brainwashing must not be working, because so many people leave the church.  And why isn’t it brainwashing when the schools do it with evolution and their sickening strategies to take away the innocence of young children?  These freaks are telling 5 year old children that they can pick their gender!  That’s child abuse.

I find it interesting that with such low church attendance, general Biblical illiteracy and the monopoly that materialism has in public education that most people still don’t buy the macro-evolution lie.  No wonder evolutionists are so frustrated!

Some parents may go overboard with the fear of Hell thing.  But parents have rights, and more importantly, strong warnings are only inappropriate if the consequence in question is not true.

8. The Bible teaches _____ [fill in hopelessly (and deliberately?) wrong interpretation].

Please learn more about the Bible and the faith you are trying to criticize.  Straw-man arguments are unproductive.  This is perhaps the most common error I come across.  It seems like a week rarely goes by without someone using the “shrimp/shellfish argument,” which is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address five serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument.

9. Christians disagree on what the Bible teaches (or Muslims disagree on the Koran, etc.) so there can’t be one right answer.

Just because a book is capable of being misunderstood doesn’t mean it is incapable of being understood.  Disagreements in science don’t mean everyone must be wrong.

If you have actually studied the Bible you’ll note that it addresses many false teachings and warns that there will always be false teachers.  So the concept that people disagree on what the Bible says isn’t exactly newsworthy.  It is Biblical, in fact.

10. Why do religious people keep quoting bits out of a book written long ago by stone aged (or bronze aged) and ignorant men?

The men who wrote the Bible were quite intelligent.  The Apostle Paul, for example, was well educated, articulate and a clear thinker.  Go read the book of Romans and see what I mean.

The age of the book is completely irrelevant, of course.  If God wrote it the message would be timeless.  And of course, if it were written last week they’d complain that it was too late.

The complaint that our responses are old is also invalid.  The objections are old as well.  The funny thing is that over the last 2,000 years brilliant theists have wrestled with the same questions the New Atheists have, except with more clarity and thoughtfulness.

11. Why do religious people not understand the scientific and philosophical arguments against the existence of god which clearly refute its existence?

This commenter didn’t share any of those arguments or refer to any sources, so it is difficult to answer even if the objection didn’t have a flawed premise (it is basically a “have you stopped beating your wife” type of question that anyone on any side of an issues could use).  Many of us know and understand the arguments and how to respond to them.

12. I can’t understand or conceive of why God would set things up this way, so He must not exist.

We call this “creating God in your own image.”  See the 2nd Commandment.  The atheists making claims like that paraphrase are actually making ironic theological statements, because they claim to know what God should “really” be like.

If you create your own universe with working DNA and such, you can make your own rules.  But whether you like it or not you play by God’s rules in this universe and you’ll have to give an account for your life.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  If you suppress the truth in unrighteousness you will experience God’s wrath for eternity.  You will be judged by God for all your sins, including your darkest, most shameful secret thoughts and deeds.  And the standard won’t be some other sinner like me, it will be the perfect righteousness of Jesus.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

13. Some people who call themselves Christians do and/or say stupid things, so Christianity is false.

That doesn’t disprove Christianity any more than atheists doing and saying stupid things proves that there is a God.

In fact, Christians saying and doing stupid things probably bothers us more than it does atheists.  Believe it or not, we have some common ground there.

14. Religion poisons everything!  What about the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.?!

That is unproductive hyperbole.  Religion has done many great things – helping the poor, advancing education for the masses, helping women, building hospitals and schools, great art, etc.

You don’t judge an ideology based on the actions of those who violate its tenets.  Click the link above for more.

The Salem Witch trials killed 18 people.  The Inquisition killed about 2,000.  That is 2,018 too many, to be sure, but keep in mind two things: The perpetrators did the opposite of what Jesus commanded and 2,018 murders was a slow afternoon for atheists like Stalin and Mao.

Here’s a quote from a guy trying to rally atheists to their cause by raiding theist blogs like this one – to rescue the world from this religious poison, I suppose.  Messiah complex, anyone?

In a very real (but perhaps overly dramatic sense) the fate of the planet is at stake.

Uh, yes, “perhaps.”  But if atheism is true then who cares if the planet dies?  You must use empirical evidence to prove why it would be a bad thing :-).

I have noted that these critics focus almost exclusively on Christianity.  When you point this out to them they squirm and say it is the one they are most familiar with.  But with the growth of radical Islam and the perversions of the caste system in India you’d think they’d spread their evangelical atheism out a bit.

15. Religion gets in the way of scientific progress.

That is simply untrue.  The Galileo story that people usually refer to has many mythical elements.  And how many people can cite an example besides Galileo?  And who knows, maybe Einstein’s presupposition of a static universe caused his error with the cosmological constant.  After all, an expanding universe certainly gives more support to a theist model than a static one.

Darwinistic philosophy caused errors like assuming that “Junk DNA” was really junk.

16. You don’t use reason and we do.

That is just patently false.  Atheists just don’t like the reasons.  Christianity in particular encourages and applauds the use of reason.  Countless great thinkers and scientists were Bible-believing Christians.  Darwinistic philosophy can’t even account for reason, because macro-evolution would select for survivability, not truth.

17. But the Bible condones slavery!  It is ironic that this is one of the most common excerpts from the Big Book O’ Atheist Sound bites. Why? Because on atheism there is no grounding to say that slavery is wrong. Survival of the fittest rules, baby. So for starters, they shouldn’t be so judgmental about what their worldview couldn’t rightly judge.

Also, this doesn’t sound like condoning to me: Exodus 21:16 Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.

Please read that again, then realize that the critics of God use the logical fallacy of equivocation to make their point — that is, they assume that all forms of slavery are the same.

Oh, and don’t forget to praise the Christians who ended slavery.

And don’t forget to fight the Muslim and other slavery that goes on today and please stop using p*rn, which is directly tied to sex slavery. That is, if you really care about slavery.

More background on the Bible and slavery here, or just search on the Bible and slavery.  There are lots of thorough articles for those with sincere interest in the topic.

18. But the God of the Bible committed genocide!  First, if you create a universe from scratch you are welcome to deal with any of your creatures who rebel against your authority as you see fit.  He is sovereign over life and death for everyone and makes no apology for it.

But the clearing out of the Promised Land involved a one-time cleansing of a group of people who had committed the atrocities listed in Leviticus 18 for over 400 years.  If you want to judge God, a more logical question would be why He waited so long!

And that was it.  No wars of conquest.  No hints in the New Testament that Christianity should use any coercion to get people to believe.

19.  If it aligned with facts and logic, it would not be religion. It would be science. Logical fallacy: Category error. Science deals with the material. Religion deals with the immaterial and the material. Both use facts and logic.

20. You are only a Christian because of where you were born!  If you were born in Saudi Arabia you’d be a Muslim.  Short version: So what?  The motivation for a belief is irrelevant to whether the belief is true.  We have many solid reasons to believe Christianity is true.  From there you can talk about Christian apologetics and why we have logic and facts supporting our belief that Jesus rose from the dead.

Also, using their logic, they are only skeptics (or whatever) because of where they were born. And lots of people convert to Christianity from other religions, so their point of origin can’t be the only reason.

—–

Closing thoughts: As frequent commenter Edgar has pointed out so well, even if every religion is completely false and atheism is true, then naturalism is to blame.  So it is irrational to get mad at religion or religious people.  We’re just doing what our genes tell us to.

And, of course, you would have absolutely nothing to be proud about.  You haven’t accomplished anything and haven’t generated any brilliant or meaningful ideas.  You are just a bag of chemicals that thinks you have.  Congratulations!  You have no reason for bitterness or grandstanding.

All fun aside, those who can stay away from time-wasting arguments and who want to engage in an actual dialogue are welcome.

I hope that atheists reconsider their views.  Eternity is a mighty long time.  The true God of the universe delights to show forgiveness and mercy, but you must come to him on his terms: Repenting and trusting in Jesus.

You can’t dictate the terms and conditions to parents, bosses, teachers, police, or even a McDonald’s cashier, so don’t be foolish and think you can do that with God. The rich young ruler walked away sadly when he didn’t like God’s terms and conditions but Jesus didn’t chase after him to negotiate.

Roundup

Women’s morphing need for male investment — a interesting analysis of women and men, how they are behaving and why.  Sadly, so many women are opting for sleeping around now with no intentions of marrying, thinking they can still marry a great guy years later on their terms.  Bad idea.

This is a terrific and free online resource — An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments.  They should teach these to everyone in school.  Hat tip: Apologetics315.com.

Family Terrorized as Michigan Teachers Support Colleague Who Molested Boy —  the guy is lucky to be alive.  He molested him for three years!  One time should be enough for life in prison.  Any guesses as to the political party of teachers from Michigan who support a child molester?

Oberlin College Hate Hoax Exposed — Uh, if there is so much real racism like this why do these spoiled Obama supporters have to make things up?  These things are more common than you’d think.  Click the link to see a long list of them.  And consider how malicious and hypocritical the perpetrators are.  They make minorities think the situation is much worse than it is. And for what gain?

Arab Spring: Worst Soap Ever — A terrific summary of how (deliberately?) badly Obama has handled foreign affairs.  Where are the protesters?

If Obama Had A Son He Would Not Look Like Christopher Lane — Nothing from the White House.  Jesse grudgingly said it should be “frowned upon.”  This was obviously the worst kind of racism, yet the media is virtually silent.

Last Friday a young Australian was gunned down in Duncan, Oklahoma.

The facts are terrifyingly banal. Lane, who was in the United States on a baseball scholarship to East Central University in Ada, OK, was visiting his girlfriend in Duncan, OK, and decided to go for a jog. At some point he passed a house containing three young men: James Edwards, 15, Chancey “Baby Drake” Luna, 16, and Michael Jones, 17. They were bored – bored is what they told police — and decided to kill him. With Jones at the wheel they followed Lane in a car and, police charge, Edwards shot him in the back with a .22-caliber revolver. Edwards and Luna have been charged with murder, Jones as an accessory.

The critical part of this story involves the race of the killers. At least two of the killers, Edwards and Luna, are described as black.

This event has an interesting parallel to the Trayvon Martin case. The primary killer in this case as identified by police, James Edwards, has an internet presence eerily similar to that of Martin. He created a ganster-wannabe image, brandished weapons, etc. And like Martin, all three are “children.”

There the similarity ends. When George Zimmerman was attacked by Martin he was fortunate enough to be armed. Lane was not that lucky. And when Martin was shot, President Obama nearly injured himself getting in front of television cameras to proclaim his solidarity with Martin supporters. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” he emoted. (As an aside, I think that is probably true as Obama has treated the nation exactly the way Trayvon Martin treated George Zimmerman, he’s sitting on its chest and bashing its head against the metaphorical sidewalk.)

It was committed purely because of race. The blood is on the hands of the race-baiting people who are milking Trayvon’s death for profit and to foster division.

“On July 15, days after the George Zimmerman verdict, Edwards tweeted “Ayeee I knocced out 5 woods since Zimmerman court!:) lol shit ima keep sleepin shit! #ayeeee.”

“Woods” is a derogatory term for white people.”

George Zimmerman was not racist. This crime clearly was, and in the killer’s own words he was attacking whites because of what he “knew” about the Trayvon case. So Sojo should run about 10 times the stories on it as they did for Trayvon, right? Or do they think blacks aren’t capable of self-control?

More here.

And three days before what police call the indiscriminate shooting, the suspect, 15-year-old James Edwards Jr., tweeted, “With my n****s when it’s time to start taken life’s” — a line from the Chief Keef rap song, “I Don’t Like.”Back in April, he tweeted, “90% of white ppl (people) are nasty. #HATE THEM.”

Russia defends anti-gay law in letter to IOC — Good for them!  The law is about not letting people push pro-LGBTQ lies on children and about adoptions.  It is tragic that we haven’t done the same.

Teens and Unrestricted Access: Time to Repent — Do you give your kids unrestricted Internet access? If so, you need to stop.

How Do Mother Butterflies Avoid the Poison? — As if the caterpillar ==> butterfly thing wasn’t enough, they do many other things to mock Darwinian evolution.

A great response to the case where Christians are punished for not providing services to gays:

My friends, the case of Elane Photography v. Willock has been decided. As I tell you regularly, you will be made to care.

The case centered around Elaine Huguenin, a Christian in New Mexico who owned a photography business. She was asked to provide services to a gay commitment ceremony between two lesbians, Vanessa Willock and her partner. Ms. Huguenin and her husband declined to provide their services because they are Christians and the orthodox tenets of their faith tell them that marriage is between a man and a woman. See e.g. Matthew 19.

Vanessa Willock, in an act of spite and retribution, decided to file a discrimination claim and punish Mrs. Huguenin for adhering to her religious beliefs. In a very profound decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that Christians, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and others must surrender the faithful practice of their religion in the name of citizenship.

In fact, Justice Richard Bosson in a concurring opinion, wrote,

At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others…. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people…. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.

Note that the tolerance is one way. In the name of tolerance, Mrs. Huguenin can be compelled by state power on pain of punishment to provide her services to Ms. Willock against Mrs. Huguenin’s several thousand year old orthodox religious beliefs, but Ms. Willock is under no obligation to simply tolerate those who disagree with her and find someone who is happy to provide the service.

Ms. Willock proved herself vindictive. Imagine other angry gay rights activists willfully and consciously trying to seek out Christian photographer to either make them comply or drive them from business. Given Ms. Willock’s actions, and the actions of other gay rights activists in Oregon, Colorado, Kentucky, and elsewhere, this is not a hypothetical, but a reality.

. . .

That Christians should be allowed to refrain from providing goods and services to gay marriages they oppose is something supported by 85% of the American public. It unites men, women, blacks, whites, hispanics, conservatives, moderates, and a fair number of liberals. This battle may be lost, unless the United States Supreme Court steps in and reverses, but this decision gives Christians, Muslims, and orthodox Jews the ammunition to win the war for religious liberty. No longer is coercion of the religious by gay rights activists a hypothetical.

A small band of gay rights activists will not stop on the one way street of tolerance. My friends, whether you want to believe or not, you will be made to care. New Mexico shows again that gay marriage and religious freedom are incompatible. You will not be allowed to opt out.

There is one organization at the forefront of this. That is the Alliance Defending Freedom. They represented Mrs. Huguenin and are considering appealing to the United States Supreme Court. They need our financial help to keep this going. I’ve given them a financial contribution and I hope you will to. They are lone and brave warriors in this fight against the left. They need every penny they can get.

Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, then seeks to silence good. We must fund the fight for Truth and Light.

The blind men of Sodom are most persistent.  Shame on those who elected people who let this happen.

This is great!

Muslim

The “noviewers” are back, attacking Darwin’s Doubt without reading it

I won a contest by coining a phrase over at Uncommon Descent a couple years ago: Noviewer — Someone who writes a review on something he hasn’t read or seen. Apparently some people haven’t evolved enough to realize how it impacts their credibility when they lie to support their worldview.

Looks like the noviewers are out in force with the release of Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. There are lots of 1 star reviews at Amazon already and the content makes it obvious that they haven’t read it. These close-minded people really, really don’t like to hear alternate views or to let others have the opportunity to hear them. I wish Amazon required reviewers to pass a brief quiz before posting about controversial books.

Here’s an example of a noviewer:

Over at Evolution News & Views, Casey Luskin asks, could P. Z. Myers even possibly have read Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt before writing a long essay trashing it?:

Now, Darwin’s Doubt runs to 413 pages, excluding endnotes and bibliography. Neither the book’s publisher, HarperOne, nor its author sent Matzke a prepublication review copy. Did Matzke in fact read its 400+ pages and then write his 9400+ word response — roughly 30 double-spaced pages — in little more than a day?

Perhaps, but a more likely hypothesis is that he wrote the lion’s share of the review before the book was released based upon what he presumed it would say. A reviewer who did receive a prepublication copy, University of Pittsburgh physicist David Snoke, writes:

A caution: this is a tome that took me two weeks to go through in evening reading, and I am familiar with the field. Like the classic tome Gödel, Escher, Bach, it simply can’t be gone through quickly. I was struck that the week it was released, within one day of shipping, there were already hostile reviews up on Amazon. Simply impossible that they could have read this book in one night.

I’ve started Darwin’s Doubt and it is amazing so far. The preface alone is worth the money. It is interesting how the critics of Meyer’s last book so thoroughly miss his points. Perhaps it is because they don’t actually take the time to read them?

Also see Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer.

Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain

See Evolutionist: Let’s Admit it, We Don’t Fully Understand How Evolution Works — We live in interesting times, where the average person — saturating in a lifetime of Darwinist propaganda in education, media and entertainment — is still defending an evolutionary model that the professionals know is false.  Oh, the professionals haven’t given up on their godless worldview, but they know that their paradigms have been shattered and they are desperately trying to find another explanation that leaves out a creator.

On this 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix, Ball reviews a few of the recent findings that have rebuked the evolution narrative that random mutations created the biological world. Unfortunately Ball fails to take his own advice and ends up doing precisely what he advises other evolutionists against—whitewashing the science.

For instance, evolutionists have had to resort to the explanation that rather than mutations tweaking the DNA’s protein-coding genes to create or improve protein functions, those mutations must have sometimes tweaked regulatory networks that control the expression of said genes. What Ball doesn’t mention is that this new epicycle relies on the prior existence of those regulatory networks and the protein-coding genes they control.

In other words, we now must believe that evolution first constructed the incredible genes and regulatory networks (for which there is no scientific explanation, but that’s another story) which then enabled evolution to proceed.

Such serendipity is unlikely, to put it kindly, but Ball presents it with a straight face . . .

I almost feel sorry for them.  Every day they go to work and get mocked by God when they see how His design is even more exquisite than they realized the day before.  But they trudge on with their blind faith science-of-the-gaps.  Suppressing the truth in unrighteousness must be exhausting.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Read it all, then be sure to read Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design and Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, both by Stephen C. Meyer.

The “Bronze Age Mythology” fallacy

A common tactic from New Atheists is to use the term bronze age mythology to dismiss Biblical views, as if the time period when truth claims were documented can be used to categorically refute them.

But the age of an idea does not impact its truthfulness.  Older ideas have usually gone through more scrutiny than newer ones and are often better supported.

Sure, many old ideas were wrong.  But they weren’t wrong because they were documented a long time ago, they were wrong because they were didn’t correspond to reality.

So the bronze age dig proves nothing, and even if it was true it would undermine atheistic arguments as well. The real bronze age myth is that you can live how you want and never be accountable to your creator.

As Psalm 14:1 points out, the claim that there is no God is also bronze aged:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds . . .”

And of course, Romans 1:

Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

And as you can see from reading St. Augustine and others, the arguments of the New Atheists aren’t new at all.  They are the same old arguments presented with less civility and with the volume turned up to 11.

So don’t buy into the myth that the bronze age argument means anything.

To the atheists who judge God

If you can’t unilaterally set all the terms and conditions with your human authority figures — parents, teachers, employers and law enforcement — what makes you think that you will be able to sit in judgment of God? Yes, I know you say He doesn’t exist. But even in your hypothetical scenarios you assume that you’ll get to judge the creator of the universe, thus making yourself the “real” God.

And consider how you can’t even force this blogger to post your comments unless you abide by his terms. Yet you think you’ll tell the creator of the universe how things will be? Indeed.

Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

It is illuminating that atheists are in such deep rebellion and denial that they often can’t or won’t even acknowledge a hypothetical situation where God will judge them. (Of course, based on Romans 1 we know they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, but for discussion purposes let’s momentarily take their claims at face value.)

The Wendy Wright schools Richard Dawkins post keeps getting picked up on Reddit and search engines so it generates a lot of atheist traffic.* One of the commenters on the post provided a typical response to our loving warnings about Hell and how to avoid it:

And then the threats. Nice. I embrace the idea of Hell, if the alternative is an eternity of slack-jawed subservience to a petulant and insecure deity. As has been said, if all of the engineers go to hell, we’ll have it HVAC-ed in no time.

As I told him, threats are entirely legitimate and loving if the consequences are real. And make no mistake, Hell is real. If he really believed his worldview he’d never sit in judgment of anything. After all, whatever we say and do is just a product of his beloved Darwinian evolution, so what is there to judge? Why be angry at what Darwinian evolution caused? But that’s a separate topic. The issue here is that he can’t even pretend that there is an ultimate authority figure holding him accountable for his thoughts and actions.

And like many atheists, he thinks that silly jokes about air conditioning in Hell will bring him comfort. Even in his hypothetical scenario he thinks he’ll have friendly companionship and his desires fulfilled, as if he would have any influence over the conditions of Hell.

Despite their rebellion, I want them to know that if they will repent and believe in Jesus then God will forgive them just like He forgave me. They should do some serious apologetics and Bible study. I know they are afraid to, because it will mean risking that they’ll find out that they are wrong about matters of life and eternity. But I assure them that the truth is far better than the lie they are living.

It is foolish to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like if He did exist. You have no such control over your flawed human authority figures, so why would you be lord over the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride.

God’s terms are unbelievably generous — but He sets them, not you. He was not obligated to offer any paths to forgiveness and adoption, but out of his grace and love He offered one: Jesus.

*Sometimes over 1,000 hits per day. I’m glad for that, and updated the post with links to the “minimal facts” approach to apologetics and the story of a highly intelligent woman and her conversion from atheism to Christianity. The good news is that those links get lots of hits, too.

I almost feel sorry for Richard Dawkins

Almost.  He is being rightly criticized by atheists and believers for dodging a debate with William Lane Craig.  His latest excuse is the Craig is pro-genocide, and he just can’t bring himself to debate someone of such low character (ignoring the fact that Dawkins’ worldview can’t explain why genocide would be wrong — you know, survival of the fittest and all that).

See Uncommon Descent | Dawkins for Prime Minister!

Richard Dawkins tells us that we should allow our thinking to be based solely on rational facts.

I’m all for rational thinking, but Dawkins should be reminded that his worldview says we are selected for survival, not truth.  He has no reason to trust his rationality.

If, on the other hand, you let a little emotion in, then this link might lead you to feel a bit of pity for the famed misotheist: http://thinkingmatters.org.nz/2011/10/richard-dawkins-for-prime-minister/

It’s a model demolition job, on the ex-prof’s latest excuses.

Dawkins apparently still has a loyal fan-base who believe that their master is  a serious philosopher. Seeing a live conversation with an actual philosopher would be a bit of a shattering experience for many of those fans. So Dawkins has to keep coming up with the excuses to maintain their loyalty.

It’s a bit pathetic really – all the public efforts to explain why he won’t publicly debate Lane Craig are in themselves a public debate. They are the handing of publicity to the one that Dawkins claims he refuses to hand publicity to. The pretence is hypocritical. If Lane Craig isn’t worth spending time on, then why is Dawkins spending so much time on him? If he’s unworthy to notice, why spend time writing for the Guardian’s readership about him?

I almost feel sorry for his fans, too.  That must be a huge letdown for them.