Tag Archives: debate

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.

The first rule of holes: When you are in one, stop digging

We will all make bad arguments at some point.  What we do at that stage is very important.  Do we stand corrected, or do we dig in our heels out of pride?  One bad argument can undermine ten good ones, so it is important for us to be correctable.  Not just for our own intellectual honesty, but for our witness as Christians.

As I emphasize when teaching how and why to read Bible verses in context, I have made many mistakes over the years.  When I realized I had misunderstood Philippians 4:13 or Jeremiah 29:11, for example, I had a choice.  I could keep using the wrong interpretations of these verses, or I could change and use the right ones.

An atheism site had a somewhat useful flowchart about rational debating. (Although they conflated debating and discussion — one can be so thoroughly versed on a topic that they can’t reasonable envision something would change his mind and still debate or discuss something).

Interestingly, while they obviously meant this to imply that Christians don’t follow these rules — and I concede that many do not — I have found atheists to break many of these repeatedly. That is especially true on item 2 about moving on to new arguments once you’ve been shown to have used an inaccurate data point. You can refute their arguments in detail and they just move to the next item in their Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites. That’s when you know it is pearl holding / dust shaking time.

I also find that they think they don’t need to offer evidence.  They just point to the views of their monopolistic leaders and assume that is adequate.  Science has been wrong for hundreds or even thousands of years at a stretch, so just because their dear leaders insist something is true doesn’t mean the facts support them.

I find this with false or “saved and confused” Christians as well.  For example, no matter how many times you point out how fallacious it is to say, “Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior / abortion,” they still repeat that tired sound bite, along with many other pro-gay theology arguments.  It is a bad sign when people can’t be corrected.

It is a good thing to change your views when confronted with valid reasons to do so.  People often stereotype Christians as being close minded, but to be a Christian means that at some point in time one had to admit he was completely wrong about God and the universe and then changed his mind.  I wasn’t feeling unpopular enough as a mere Christian, so after years of investigation I switched to Reformed theology.  We won’t debate that on this thread and my switch doesn’t make me right, I just point it out to note that I had every reason to stay on the other side but was ultimately persuaded to change because I kept an open mind.

So don’t let your pride get in the way of rational discussions and defending the faith!  If you get stumped, don’t say something false.  Just say I don’t know, but I’ll find out, then go do some research and get back to the person.  In the mean time, feel free to shift the discussion back to what you do know — namely that Jesus lived, died and rose again and saved your soul — and encourage them to read the Bible.  Then let God’s word do what He promised it would.

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.

Easy responses to those dismissing your political views because they align with your religious views

Congress shall make no law .... abridging the ...
Image by gnuckx via Flickr

You will often find skeptics and theological Liberals trying to dismiss your views because they are driven by or merely align with your religious views.  They invoke the oft-misunderstood “separation of church and state” notion (for the 237th time, that phrase is not in the Constitution).  But the 1st Amendment protects religious speech, it doesn’t restrict it.

Aside from that, here are some quick and easy replies when people try to dismiss your pro-life, pro-real marriage, etc. views.  You are simply pointing out that the issue isn’t religious views, it is them being unwilling to argue the issues on their merits.  They are trying to dismiss your views without having to respond to them.

1. “Do I  have to vote opposite of my religious views or be silent about them?   Christianity teaches me not to kill atheists and steal their stuff.  So am I “forcing my religious beliefs on you” if I support laws against theft and murder?”

This argument shows how they are just dismissing your views because they disagree with them.  They have no issue with your religious views in principle, just the ones they disagree with – which means religion isn’t the issue.

2. “Do you protest the religious speech of theological Liberals?  I can point you to countless false teachers and religious types who insist that God is pro-abortion, pro-gay theology, pro-open borders, pro-wealth redistribution, etc.  Can you show me where you are just as active in dismissing their religious views as you are mine?”

This points out their hypocrisy in claiming to oppose religious views when they really just oppose religious views they disagree with.  Again, it shows that religion isn’t the issue.  I’ve yet to find one person crying “separation” against theological Liberals.

3. “My arguments (for pro-life, pro-real marriage, etc. positions) didn’t even mention religion.  But if you want to bring Jesus into this I’ll be glad to.”

I can and do argue for many of these issues without using “religion.”  I save the biblical arguments for those claiming to be Christian, or I am at least very careful in keeping the arguments separate.  For example, to advance the pro-life view I just need the irrefutable scientific fact that  the unborn are unique, living human beings from conception and some simple philosophy (we shouldn’t destroy innocent human beings for 99% of the reasons given for abortion).

When opponents will reflexively use the anti-religion card I have fun pointing out that I haven’t used religious arguments.  But hey, if they want to talk religion that would be great!  This argument shows them that they are mired in stereotype-land and are just trying to dismiss opposing views without doing the hard work of responding based on facts and logic.

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Have fun with these!  Use them gently.

Heh.

Warning: Blatant self promotion coming up.

The Wintery Knight, one of my top 5 favorite blogs (maybe top 3), linked to a post of mine and noted this:

NOTE: Comments will be strictly filtered for this post. Neil is a lot more lenient than I am, so you may want to comment on his site instead if you think your comment is too harsh.

Everyone be sure to remember that Neil is lenient in his commenting policy. 

But wait, that isn’t what one of my SuperFans (TM) says:

but we do know that Simpson won’t allow contrary opinions at his blog, especially if they show him to be incontrovertibly in error.

No contrary opinions?  That is far beyond a mistake for a guy obsessed with my posts and comment threads.  When I called him on it he said this:

No, Neil, I didn’t say you don’t allow any dissent. I said you especially don’t allow dissent that is clear, precise, and shows you definitely in the wrong.

Oddly, Ed wasn’t clear or precise enough to realize that his own comments in the same thread flatly contradicted his statement and proved that he was definitely in the wrong.   

And that was quite an insult to Ryan, Racing Boo, Merkum, DJBA (when we disagree), Mizclark, Fox and more.  Seems that Ed doesn’t think you are very accurate commenters! I’d provide a link so you all could go whale on him, but I don’t feed trolls, I starve them.  More about Ed’s follies here.

Ah, the joys of blogging!

Yes, they really argue this way

1.jpgThe following is a comment thread from a post on 1 Corinthians 7 from my Bible Study Blog.  I had noted a comment about marriage being between one man and one woman and God’s plan for human sexuality.  One guy apparently disagreed with me.

  1. The fact that you have a problem with homosexuals might mean that you have homosexual tendencies. Have you thought about that? Pastor Ted Haggard.

  2. Hi Reid,

    Who said I had a problem with homosexuals? I get along great with them.

    Your argument is what is called an ad hominem attack, which means attacking the person instead of the argument. Instead of dealing with my reasoning you try to attack my character. Whether Ted Haggard had homosexual desires is irrelevant to what God’s word says about the behavior.

    I am merely noting what the Bible says. If you think I have misinterpreted it, feel free to point out where and why.

    Otherwise, your argument is with God. If you want to accuse him of having homosexual tendencies for making his word so abundantly clear, then good luck with that.

  3. sounds flood you Christian homo. Your blog is a waste of your time and everyone elses. The word of god says you and all of your judgemental friends are already in hell. So enjoy, you scripture humper.

  4. ps eat shit

  5. How eloquent of you. Normally I’d delete your comments, but they reveal your heart so clearly that I thought others might see and learn from them.

    I ask for your reasoning and I get that in reply? Hmmmm . . . maybe you don’t have any reasoning? But don’t the skeptics usually say that Christians are the ones with blind faith?

Really, feel free to come back if you ever want a serious dialogue.

You’d think that people like Reid would be few and far between, but it comes up often.  I’m told that some people (who claim to be college educated and Christians!) make the same accusations as Reid on their blogs.  Sure, and the reason I do so much pro-life reasoning here is because I’m a closet abortionist.  Don’t tell the folks at CareNet, though.  I really have them fooled.

If you ever get arguments like this that are transparently lame attempts to shame you into silence, just laugh them off and point out that they must be desparate if all they can offer is schoolyard taunts.  “Your momma . . .” jokes are more sophisticated than what they have to offer.

Should we be surprised that those who try to defend the indefensible must resort to trying to silence us?