Dawkins a dork

June 6th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Renowned atheist has been accused of having a science delusion after launching a scathing attack on children’s fairy tales.

The British scientist, known for his assaults on religion in books such as The God Delusion, has told a science festival audience that parents should ditch fairy tales in order to “foster a spirit of scepticism” in their children.

“I think it’s rather pernicious to inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism,” The Times reports him saying.

“Even fairy tales, the ones we all love, about witches and wizards or princes turning into frogs. There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog. It’s statistically too improbable.”

Oh my God, what a tool.

Let’s just kill off all imagination in kids also.

Dawkins told the festival in Cheltenham, England, that a scientific approach to the world was far superior to a “second-rate” supernatural one.

He cited the Winnie-the-Pooh stories as implausible, with their idea of a bear, tiger, pig and kangaroo sharing an ecosystem.

Next he’ll tell us that Fiver in Watership Down couldn’t really have visions of the future.

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181 Responses to “Dawkins a dork”

  1. Daniel (215 comments) says:

    I agree, DPF, Dawkins is out of step on this issue. He should solely focus on keeping the fairy tales out of the minds of adults. It’s not like that battle has been won.

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  2. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    ‘He cited the Winnie-the-Pooh stories as implausible, with their idea of a bear, tiger, pig and kangaroo sharing an ecosystem.’
    PT Barnum had a popular exhibit featuring a lion, a tiger, a leopard and a lamb peacefully inhabiting the same cage. Allegedly he said he could keep the exhibit running so long as he had a supply of lambs.

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  3. TheContrarian (1,091 comments) says:

    I’m an atheist, always have been and was an atheist long before I had heard of Dawkins. Dawkins is a shrill and hysterical muppet – he should stick to biology.

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  4. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Dawkins is a prime example of what happens when Atheists become religious about their lack of religiousness. He may as well call for people not to watch sci-fi movies because they fly in the face of accepted scientific laws. I mean, the Force – who can believe in that superstitious nonsense.

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  5. Manolo (14,070 comments) says:

    I agree with Brian’s comment on excessive zeal which can lead to imbecility. Dawkins is guilty of it.

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  6. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    Dawkins has become a fundamentalist atheist.

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  7. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    I’m fairly sure that the common view among those who actually do research with children is that fantasy stories and fantasy play is healthy for them.

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  8. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    I think that he also misses the point. A lot of fairy stories are allegorical in nature.

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  9. YesWeDid (1,051 comments) says:

    Except Dawkin’s didn’t say that fair tales are harmful:

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/05/richard-dawkins-fairytales-not-harmful

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  10. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    Somewhat perversely I suppose this puts Dawkins alongside the fundamentalist groups who are anti-“Harry Potter” because the books contain witchcraft. Odd bedfellows.

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  11. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    Except Dawkin’s didn’t say that fair tales are harmful:

    I believe that’s what they call ‘damage control’

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  12. SHG (319 comments) says:

    I don’t believe that Dawkins would say any such thing, so I’m putting this down to hysterical click bait.

    I can imagine what he MIGHT have said though. One of his strongest arguments against religious practices is that they rely on the telling of falsehoods to children who don’t know that they’re falsehoods.

    Human children are hardwired to believe what adults tell them; believing what adults tell you is an evolutionary advantage for a species like us because we’re born totally underdeveloped. Over the quarter of a million years that homo sapiens has been around the skeptical children who were told by adults not to eat the red berries or not to walk close to the edge but did so anyway, well those children died and never got to pass on their genes.

    So when children get told crazy religious bullshit by crazy religious adults, the children believe that shit because they have no built-in skepticism; children have no intellectual immune system. If you were fed crazy religious bullshit as a child then it’s really hard to shake the crazy religious bullshit when you grow up because those memes got in to your mind before you were intellectually able to defend yourself against bullshit.

    So I’m going to guess that what Dawkins meant is don’t tell children bullshit without making it clear to them that it’s bullshit. Which seems pretty sensible. My kids love fairytales and myths but I’d never let them think that the stories were factual.

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  13. JC (973 comments) says:

    “Dawkins told the festival in Cheltenham, England, that a scientific approach to the world was far superior to a “second-rate” supernatural one.”

    Like climate science?

    JC

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  14. JMS (342 comments) says:

    Dawkins also took a leap of faith and believes in the “Big Bang”.

    If only he knew how much he has in common with the god-botherers.

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  15. YesWeDid (1,051 comments) says:

    @JMS – there is lots of evidence of the big bang, zero evidence of any Gods.

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  16. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    I really do believe that kids understand make believe way better than moat adults do. Certainly better than Dawkins. I mean, using Winnie the Pooh as an example? Why not Pokemon? Or Transformers? Or The Wind in the Willows? Or any Disney/Pixar movie in the last twenty years?

    So I’m going to guess that what Dawkins meant is don’t tell children bullshit without making it clear to them that it’s bullshit. Which seems pretty sensible. My kids love fairytales and myths but I’d never let them think that the stories were factual.

    I have yet to meet a kid who didn’t or couldn’t tell fantasy from reality. Mine certainly managed that leap of logic without me saying after reading them a Thomas story that “You know talking trains are not real”. Except for that real one at Silverstream.

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  17. Kleva Kiwi (289 comments) says:

    Great post taking things out of context DPF…

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  18. Simon Arnold (109 comments) says:

    David would you really believe something reported in Stuff, particularly when indirectly sourced from the Daily Mail.

    Do what your competitor Cam would have done and YesWeDid did and google the provenance.

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  19. SHG (319 comments) says:

    I really do believe that kids understand make believe way better than moat adults do. Certainly better than Dawkins. I mean, using Winnie the Pooh as an example? Why not Pokemon? Or Transformers? Or The Wind in the Willows? Or any Disney/Pixar movie in the last twenty years?

    Maybe because he’s 73 years old?

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  20. RRM (10,026 comments) says:

    I watched a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine as a small boy.

    Now my boy watches a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine too and I’m revisiting it with the eyes of an adult.

    At their best they are good moral tales about the importance of behaving in a way you feel proud of. (Some of the newest series that are computer animated have lost the plot a bit.)

    Although recently I found myself struggling with the episode where Henry gets pushed backwards out of a tunnel by a lost elephant from the circus… because an elephant weighing a few tonnes would not have a hope in hell of pushing a main line steam railway locomotive that weighs about a hundred tonnes and generates about a thousand horsepower.

    But then Mrs RRM pointed out that I was ignoring the real elephant in the room; i.e. the existence of a world where railway locomotives have faces and they talk to one another, and to the people around them, so I shut up and went to take my meds… :oops:

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  21. TheContrarian (1,091 comments) says:

    “A lot of fairy stories are allegorical in nature.”

    Like the bible.

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  22. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    YesWeDid (1,018 comments) says:

    June 6th, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    @JMS – there is lots of evidence of the big bang, zero evidence of any Gods.

    You say that like a starting point of the universe a finite time ago is not compatible with the existence of God?

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  23. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    @ TheContrarian at 1:43 pm
    You just had to do that, didn’t you.

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  24. JMS (342 comments) says:

    @YesWeDid

    No, the “Big Bang singularity” is science venturing into the realm of religion.

    “Infinite mass at a point of zero volume” is analogous to the “immaculate conception”.

    How are we supposed to know there was zero volume, I mean seriously?

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  25. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    ciaron at 1:46 pm

    @JMS – there is lots of evidence of the big bang, zero evidence of any Gods.

    You say that like a starting point of the universe a finite time ago is not compatible with the existence of God?

    Not sure that “not incompatible with” and “evidence for” are the same thing, are they?

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  26. RRM (10,026 comments) says:

    You say that like a starting point of the universe a finite time ago is not compatible with the existence of God?

    A few VERY qualified scientists I know seem to be comfortable with the idea that the universe we are aware of exists in God’s own laboratory fume cupboard, and the big bang is therefore entirely compatible with religious faith.

    ;-)

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  27. Mrs Trellis (34 comments) says:

    I think an apology would be in order :)

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  28. SHG (319 comments) says:

    At their best they are good moral tales about the importance of behaving in a way you feel proud of.

    Holy shit, that story where Henry didn’t want to go out in the rain so as punishment the Fat Controller had him pushed into a tunnel and then had it bricked up sealing him inside, I’m scarred for life.

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  29. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    TheContrarian, I don’t think all that many Christians would disagree that many of the bible’s stories are allegorical. Some hold that the miracles described in the New Testatment are just that even if the strict allegorical references have been lost. The Loaves & Fishes can be described as an allegory on the division of food between the priests and the lay people in classic Judaism of the time.

    I was thinking this was Dawkin’s “jump the shark” moment, but looking at (as far as possible) the original talk I do think he has been fairly grossly misreported. There is a difference between fairy tales as stories and the inculcation of a specific world view as in a strictly religious upbringing; and that in any religion. Looks like a fairly effective bit of click and troll bait in the original reporting.

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  30. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    SGA,

    Some theists would say that a ‘starting point’ of the universe is evidence for God, and, that’s why some Atheists go to all sorts of lengths to prove the universe is past eternal.

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  31. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    @ ciaron at 1:52 pm
    Oh well, let’s leave that mess for the “some” theists and “some” atheists, shall we? :-)

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  32. SHG (319 comments) says:

    Theists != Deists

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  33. YesWeDid (1,051 comments) says:

    ‘You say that like a starting point of the universe a finite time ago is not compatible with the existence of God?’

    It’s the ‘God of the gaps’ argument, if there is something science can’t explain then God must have done it.

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  34. I Say Look Here (57 comments) says:

    I’ve got very exact records on this. The last time I took notice of people like Dawkins was precisely never.

    It was, afterall, only a few hundred years ago that “scientists” like Dawkins were telling us with straight faces that the Earth is flat. Logic tells me it’s healthy to treat his kind of scientific firehosery with an astronomical dose of skepticism.

    So let’s all have a good chuckle, and get back to licking out the honey jar.

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  35. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    SGA
    Oh well, let’s leave that mess for the “some” theists and “some” atheists, shall we?

    Verily!, to the pub then? :)

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  36. Mrs Trellis (34 comments) says:

    I think David Farrar, and Stuff, have fallen into the trap of believing what you read in the newspapers….

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  37. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    It’s the ‘God of the gaps’ argument, if there is something science can’t explain then God must have done it.

    Yeah, nah. I think you’ll find that those who do this sort of thing for a living have better arguments than ‘God did it!’

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  38. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    I Say Look Here at 2:00 pm

    It was, afterall, only a few hundred years ago that “scientists” like Dawkins were telling us with straight faces that the Earth is flat.

    Bad example, that’s a bit of a myth.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

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  39. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    Okay maybe Dawkins has gone a little over the top but too many people are superstitious so I can kinda see his point.

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  40. RRM (10,026 comments) says:

    The flagrant racism and misogyny in Thomas the Tank Engine is pretty bad though.

    Steam Locomotives may have their character flaws, but they are, by and large, all fundamentally good.
    Little steam locomotives accept their lot in life and work like lackeys for the greater good.
    Big steam locomotives get to do the glamorous jobs as their birthright, pulling fast passenger trains to exciting destinations, but they wear this cross with good grace.

    Diesel Locomotives are all ill-mannered, hostile foreigners who are not welcome.

    Passenger carriages are all snooty, vain female bitches.

    Trucks (freight wagons) are a permanent underclass of nasty, lazy, criminal scum.

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  41. nasska (11,813 comments) says:

    It’s all part of preparing children for their roles in adulthood. Those who believe in the Goose Who Laid the Golden Eggs go on to be Green/Labour supporters.

    Those sufficiently gullible to take Jack & the Beanstalk literally are the pew polishers of tomorrow. :)

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  42. I Say Look Here (57 comments) says:

    Ah thank you SGA. I was not told.

    Makes you wonder how many other things Monty Python got wrong.

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  43. gump (1,662 comments) says:

    @Brian Smaller

    “I have yet to meet a kid who didn’t or couldn’t tell fantasy from reality.”

    —————————

    Only two days ago I read in the newspaper that two twelve year old American girls have been arrested for stabbing their friend 19 times – because they believed in a mythical creature called Slenderman.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11266917

    Some kids can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality. You just haven’t met one of them.

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  44. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    RRM at 2:13 pm

    Diesel Locomotives are all ill-mannered, hostile foreigners who are not welcome.

    Perhaps you should crosspost this to the Banks thread?

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  45. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    I’d rather be a pew polisher than a turd polisher like the obsessed and constantly anti Christian poster n’arsekisser.

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  46. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    Now, now kowtow, play nicely.

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  47. waikatosinger (102 comments) says:

    I can still remember the day I decided that Santa Claus wasn’t real. It was also the day I became an atheist. I had a big mythological cleanout and got rid of Jesus Christ, God and the tooth fairy at the same time.

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  48. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    I am sure in the 18th century somebody wrote some stories that were based on reality but were incredibly boring from a child’s point of view. It’s just that nobody remembers them.

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  49. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    emmess, there’s plenty of those sorts of stories around…they’re the ones kids today have to study in school. Largely peopled by “victims” it would seem, too.

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  50. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    It’s generally worth treating the reported gaffes of people you dislike with the same attitude as towards investment opportunities.

    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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  51. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    There’s no shortage of stories for children that are based on reality. There’s something about a bit of fantasy though that seems to strike a chord with a child’s imagination.

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  52. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    I can still remember the day I decided that Santa Claus wasn’t real. It was also the day I became an atheist. I had a big mythological cleanout and got rid of Jesus Christ, God and the tooth fairy at the same time.

    I was raised Christian, by very lovely parents who never led me to believe that Santa Claus was real. They told me not to tell the other kids at school that there was no Santa, however, as it would make them sad.

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  53. Albert_Ross (311 comments) says:

    Boys overcome adversity and achieve happy endings through their own courage and ingeniousness; girls overcome adversity and achieve happy endings by waiting for a man to rescue and marry them. Yup, that’s a great worldview for impressionable children

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  54. Rowan (2,539 comments) says:

    I don’t think that many religious people would change their views based on any of Dawkins arguments. He has no logical reasoning in any of them and they all come back to fit his predetermined conclusion that “therefore there is no god” You can believe in anything you want based on this reasoning like the flying spaghetti monster etc.

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  55. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ YesWeDid

    Except Dawkin’s didn’t say that fair tales are harmful:

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/05/richard-dawkins-fairytales-not-harmful

    Hmm.

    From that link:

    “He said he was worried about encouraging children to believe in the supernatural. He said: “If you did inculcate into a child’s “mind supernaturalim … that would be pernicious. The question is whether fairy stories actually do that and I’m now thinking they probably don’t. It could even be the reverse.

    I think someone who has been toying with a proposition and states that “I am now thinking…” is a good indication they once thought differently – dissembling and obfuscating to the contrary. At the very least, it is (to use your term) “evidence”.

    Which just goes to show this supposedly objective scienticfic critical mindset (as valuable as it is) is NOT the answer to humanity’s capacity for self-deceit and believing in the myths, superstitions and fairytales of EVERY description we encounter in all aspects of our daily lives.

    Oh, yes – and BTW, I DO agree there is no scientific proof for the existence of God(s). You actually wrote “zero evidence”, so I’m paraphrasing, but I trust I am honouring the context and replicating the intent of for your phrase.

    Which for Christians is not really a problem, as the New Testament states that “God is spirit” – indiscernible and unmeasureable with the tools of Science, which are concerned exclusively with the workings of the material Universe.

    Which I’d suggest is the great irony of anti-religion zealots like Dawkins. Along with religious fundamentalists, they are the only ones who seem to insist the Scriptures are invalid unless they can be reconciled with and demonstrated in the findings of Science.

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  56. SHG (319 comments) says:

    Exactly. There is no more reason for belief in the existence of any supernatural being than any other. The Lord God Jehovah, Thor, Zeus, the Tooth Fairy, Kal-El from Krypton, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. To say that one might exist is to say that they all might exist, because they are all equally plausible.

    Across all human cultures the number one most important factor in determining which imaginary being you believe in is what the people who raised you believed in.

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  57. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    He cited the Winnie-the-Pooh stories as implausible, with their idea of a bear, tiger, pig and kangaroo sharing an ecosystem.

    Its pretty obvious to me he was joking at that point.

    He has consistently objected to children being raised to believe in the supernatural. That’s not the same as objecting to them being raised with an imagination. It is when they imaginings are considered real that the problems arise.

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  58. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Which I’d suggest is the great irony of anti-religion zealots like Dawkins. Along with religious fundamentalists, they are the only ones who seem to insist the Scriptures are invalid unless they can be reconciled with and demonstrated in the findings of Science.

    They are invalid unless they are true.

    Are they true?

    You saying it doesnt matter?

    Yes. Yes you are.

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  59. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    He has no logical reasoning in any of them and they all come back to fit his predetermined conclusion

    His arguments are very logical.

    His predetermined conclusion?

    NOT believing in something that hasn’t been shown to be true is the default position of EVERYBODY. Even you. There are a trillion, billion things that you dont believe in that havent been proven to exist.

    You are just whining that atheists have extended that default position to something you WANT to believe in.

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  60. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Kimble

    Not sure if I’ve properly uinderstood your interrogation, which looks suspiciously like a variation on “have you stopped beating your wife?”.

    Nevertheless, I’ll answer as follows (apologies if I’m not addressing your questions – perhaps you may want to have another go at asking them if I haven’t).

    Yes, the Scriptures are valid and true in the matter in which they set out to address – After initially blessing all humanity with a capacity for fellowhip with him, why God does chose Israel and ultimately her Messiah alone as the means of experiencing him in spirit and in truth.

    Outside of that, whatever details are given (“For six days God laboured and on the seventh he rested”, “the sun rose”, “the four corners of the earth”, “the windows of heaven opened”) are rhetorical devices in the form of analogies (analogy: two things that are otherwise entirely different, but have one point of commonality) designed to further the message I have explained in the previous paragraph.

    So the purpose of the Scriptures was not to explain to an Ancient Near Eastern people that the earth was round, the earth orbited around the sun, and it does so by means of a physical force we now label “gravity”. So as that was not the intent, there is no invaildating of its message if the writers choose to use the belief system and idioms of the time to explain the origins and nature of the physical Universe (the earth is flat, built on pillars, with a giant dome on top restraining “the waters above”, made in a particular number of days, created out of a pre-existent watery chaos, etc).

    Trust that helps. Or are we continuing to talk past one another?

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  61. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    “NOT believing in something that hasn’t been shown to be true is the default position of EVERYBODY. Even you. There are a trillion, billion things that you dont believe in that havent been proven to exist.

    You are just whining that atheists have extended that default position to something you WANT to believe in.”

    Um, would I be right in assuming by that argument that you are implying that Science and/or logic are the ONLY means by which something can be objectively shown to be true?

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  62. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    His arguments are very logical.

    Yeah…. that’s open to debate, to say the least.

    Belief in God, according to Dawkins, is a “delusion”: “a persistent false belief held in the face of strong, contradictory evidence” (Preface, p. 28). However, when his arguments are examined objectively, they prove to be riddled with fallacies. A fallacy is an argument which appears plausible on the surface, but which is found to rest upon false or invalid assumptions. As a single illness may involve many overlapping symptoms, the logical weaknesses in this book also involve many overlapping fallacies. Rather than prove his point Mr. Dawkins instead provides an excellent teaching tool to demonstrate logical fallacies.

    http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/Dawkins%20Debunked%20Summary.htm

    The renowned philosopher, Anthony Flew, has called Dawkins’ argument “bizarre.” Dawkins offers no evidence in support of these assertions other than his admitted preference for any viewpoint which precludes divine activity. The logic of Dawkins’ argument (‘simple-always-precedes-complex’) is disproved by all human artistry and engineering as well as all forms of biological reproduction. The artist always precedes the work of art; the chicken always comes before the egg. If Dawkins’ logic was valid, then any human agency capable of designing something as improbable as a watch, a cathedral, or a spaceship would have to be considered “improbable.” There’s obviously something wrong with that. It is an accepted practice in logic to “infer to the most sufficient explanation.” In the debate about human origins, a strong argument can be made that only divine agency can account for human life and reason. By refusing to consider the possibility of divine creativity and causation, Dawkins ends up by threatening human creativity and causation as well.

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  63. Rowan (2,539 comments) says:

    Kimble
    Not very smart are you! as I said in my original post the predetermined conclusion is “that there is no god”, all of his arguments use this as their starting point so therefore the conclusion is ‘predetermined’ and the reasoning cherry picked to support this.
    I couldn’t care less about the “atheistic” default position, it has no bearings on my beliefs!

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  64. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    After initially blessing all humanity with a capacity for fellowhip with him, why God does chose Israel and ultimately her Messiah alone as the means of experiencing him in spirit and in truth.

    Didnt happen until you can prove it did.

    What else you got?

    So as that was not the intent, there is no invaildating of its message if the writers choose to use the belief system and idioms of the time to explain the origins and nature of the physical Universe

    So it was true to the people who wrote it, who happened to be wrong? The truth of people who are wrong is not true.

    The Bible is not based on fact.

    It is invalid.

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  65. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    that there is no god”, all of his arguments use this as their starting point so therefore the conclusion is ‘predetermined’ and the reasoning cherry picked to support this

    EVERY belief starts from a position of not believing. Did you believe in the Big Bang theory before you didnt? Did you believe in evolution before you didnt?

    No. You didnt believe in those things or an infinite number of other things as well.

    But here you are saying that we should start with a position of believing in something until we can prove it should not be believed in? That’s retarded. And you are a a hypocrite for demanding such for this one thing, while you yourself reject it for everything else.

    And cherry picked? So what did he leave out? He hasn’t ignored the arguments for God. Twits like you have been bombarding him (and me) with them his entire life. He has listened (as I have) and found them flawed, illogical, nonsensical, and often plain stupid. They have been measured, and found wanting. Not a single one stands up to reason.

    I couldn’t care less about the “atheistic” default position, it has no bearings on my beliefs!

    No, it has bearings on EVERY SINGLE FUCKING BELIEF YOU HAVE except a select few.

    You share it for fairies, dragons, and gnomes. You just choose to exempt the one belief you find most convenient.

    It is special pleading.

    And thats all you have.

    Pretty weak.

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  66. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    Didnt happen until you can prove it did.

    What else you got?

    Hmm. Not so fast on that cry of “gotcha!”…

    Seems like you have bought hook line and sinker into the philosophical framework of Cartesian skepticism. Fair enough. Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer pick, especially when it comes to the Dead White guys who shaped our present culture and assumptions of truth, epistemology, and verification.

    As that is the case, what “evidence” would you deem sufficient to “prove” what is essentially a past event?

    So it was true to the people who wrote it, who happened to be wrong? The truth of people who are wrong is not true.

    The Bible is not based on fact.

    It is invalid.

    So as we know that pigs don’t write, talk, or upright on two legs,…would we be right in concluding Animal Farm is not based on fact?

    I’d suggest the real answer to deciding the truth of Scripture, or at least avoiding the trap of testing it with culturally loaded and invalid/inappropriate modern assumptions is, just as we do with any form of literature (including Animal Farm!) is determine the intent and interpretive principles of genre of literature employed, and what it means…and didn’t mean to the original recipients.

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  67. SHG (319 comments) says:

    Not a single one stands up to reason.

    And even if they did, that’s no reason to follow them. Accept for a moment the proposition that Adam and Eve existed, all that stuff about the talking snake, original sin, flood, pillar of salt, sun stopped in its tracks, immaculate conception, virgin birth, death and resurrection, the whole nine yards, imagine it’s all true.

    Accept for a moment that the Christian God exists and that he died on the cross for our sins.

    THAT DOESN’T MEAN I HAVE TO WORSHIP HIM. HE SOUNDS LIKE A CUNT.

    I mean fuck, read the Bible. Actually read it. It’s just one insane cultish instruction after another. Why the fuck would I want to worship the guy behind that shit?

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  68. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    They have been measured, and found wanting. Not a single one stands up to reason.

    That’s a mighty ballsy call. Get on the phone to Dawkins and tell him to have that debate with Bill Craig. The reasons are there, even if you choose to ignore them.

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  69. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    ciaron:

    His arguments are very logical.

    Yeah…. that’s open to debate, to say the least.

    His arguments are logical. Unfortunately many christians, with poor comprehension skills, have difficulty discerning that his book is an introductory account aimed at beginners. There is a mini-industry of commentators who seem to believe that his book is some sort of textbook for, say, a third-year university course, and then proceed to find errors in it on this basis. Your oxfordtutoials link being a case in point.

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  70. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    I don’t think so chiz, a sound argument doesn’t become a fallacious one when it is reformulated for the popular level.

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  71. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    a sound argument doesn’t become a fallacious one when it is reformulated for the popular level.

    Sound arguments can become simplistic when simplified and popularised – all the caveats and technical nuances and detailed counter-counterarguments get lost. Yet these are the points where Dawkin’s critics try to attack him. They will say that he didn’t consider this or that response even though his book isn’t aimed at an advanced level and doesn’t have the room.

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  72. dad4justice (8,313 comments) says:

    “HE SOUNDS LIKE A CUNT.”

    You need God you sad soul.

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  73. Rowan (2,539 comments) says:

    Kimble has about as much logical reasoning as Dawkins, the oxford summary put up by Ciaron sums up Dawkins shallow argument well.

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  74. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    …all the caveats and technical nuances and detailed counter-counterarguments get lost. Yet these are the points where Dawkin’s critics try to attack him…

    Well, then he has failed. I would also ask, where does he articulate the nuanced versions of his arguments? I know he has written 3 other books since the God Delusion but I don’t hear much discussion or reference to them…

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  75. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    That’s a mighty ballsy call. Get on the phone to Dawkins and tell him to have that debate with Bill Craig.

    William Lane Craig? The Creationist?

    All that happens at these so-called “debates” with creationists is that the creationist gets up, tells so many lies, and asserts so many falsehoods, craps out so many illogical arguments that the other side doesnt have enough time to debunk them all.

    What’s to debate? The internet has already destroyed every single one of WLC’s arguments a hundred times over.

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  76. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    The oxford summary put up by ciaron is full of errors. For example:

    Several eminent scientists who have been open about their traditional Christian beliefs are ridiculed as “a subject of amused bafflement to their peers in the academic community”

    This isn’t an ad hominem attack as the website claims, this is just straight reporting. Many people with religious beliefs are ridiculed and subject of amused bafflement to their peers. Francis Collins’ beliefs have been called naive, and if you searched you could probably find christians who also think he is naive. Claiming that Dawkins is engaging in an ad hominem attack for simply reporting the facts is a fallacy.

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  77. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    William Lane Craig? The Creationist?

    You’re thinking of some other William Lane Craig. The one I know of emphatically does not hold to young earth creationism (which is what I think you mean) .

    I’ll look for a quote for you.

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  78. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @Rowan

    …the oxford summary put up by Ciaron sums it up well.

    Yeah, but isn’t that just Aquinas’ Fifth (supposed) Proof for the existence of God, which was repackaged by Voltaire and the Deists at the time of the Enlightenment as the “the complexity of the watch proves the existence of watchmaker” argument?

    As a matter of “common sense” it may be valid, but from the point of view of Cartesian skepticism which is the basis for moderm scientific verification (which I suspect is Kimble’s unexamined and assumed universal framework of reference) to use that argument is a case of preaching to the converted

    …and talking right past those who disagree.

    The Universe IS what it IS. Whether “complex” from our point of view, or “arranged by random chance”.

    Which is whythe proponents of “Intelligent Design” are NOT arguing what science – they are arguing philosophy. The two intesect and interact, but are each soveriegn in their own realm. Which is why I personally cannot see where Intelligent Design qualifies, under our present definition of Science, as “scientific”.

    Just saying…

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  79. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    Chiz, have you got p125 of the God delusion handy? I don’t and I’d like to know what it says.

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  80. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    where does he articulate the nuanced versions of his arguments?

    As far as I know he hasn’t, and the arguments aren’t his. The arguments in his book are standard ones that you can find all over the place, including philosophy of religions textbooks for university courses. A book which goes into more detail than Dawkins isn’t likely to have mass market appeal. I can’t see people lining up, say, to buy a book which goes into transfinite number theory in enough detail to explain why WLC is a mathematically illiterate idiot for example.

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  81. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    Sorry, don’t own a copy of the book.

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  82. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Kimble has about as much logical reasoning as Dawkins, the oxford summary put up by Ciaron sums up Dawkins shallow argument well.

    Lets take one of those fallacies that the author of the piece describes:

    “Nevertheless, Dawkins implies that atheistic evolution must be true because of what he calls “the overwhelming preponderance of atheists” among Nobel Prize winners, and in the membership of prestigious groups like the Royal Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and Mensa (a group of people with high IQs) (p.126-130).”

    Dawkins DOESNT say that or even imply that evolution must be true because of who believes it. He says evolution is true because the massive preponderance of evidence shows that it is true.

    Did you not see that? Did you not see the author of the critique putting words in Dawkins mouth?

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  83. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    From the LMGTFY;

    https://www.google.com/search?q=is+william+lane+craig+a+creationist&gws_rd=ssl

    seems not.

    Outta here, have a good weekend everyone :)

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  84. RichardX (329 comments) says:

    Rowan (1,757 comments) says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 4:29 pm
    Kimble has about as much logical reasoning as Dawkins

    Said the creationist who does not accept the scientific reality of evolution because it doesn’t explain how the universe came to be, what caused the earth to form or the origin of life

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  85. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Ah, William Lane Craig the Christian Apologist. My mistake. He is the Kalam Cosmological fallacy guy.

    Maybe Dawkins will debate him after WLC debates this guy? http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/an-update-on-why-william-lane-craig.html

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  86. SHG (319 comments) says:

    You need God you sad soul.

    No, because the Lord God Jehovah has created me as a being with free will. And I don’t like being threatened with eternal torment. Any god which demands that I love him OR ELSE doesn’t deserve to be loved, or has such a fucked-up definition of love that I don’t want to play.

    So I don’t care if the Bible is true and if the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit actually exist. There is no convincing evidence that anything depicted in the Bible ever happened but that is entirely beside the point. The Christian God as depicted in the Bible isn’t someone I choose to follow. He sounds, again, like a cunt.

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  87. Longknives (4,884 comments) says:

    Hah! I always knew sneering Atheists like Dawkins were tossers but calling for Winnie the Pooh to be banned??
    My fucking God.
    Game,Set and Match to Christians and Agnostics…

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  88. Rowan (2,539 comments) says:

    http://christianitynotchurchianity.blogspot.co.nz/2009/03/destroying-arguments-of-atheists.html

    It actually takes quite a bit of faith to be an atheist, Dawkins arguments are pretty much infantile, Alister McGrath’s the Dawkins Delusion is a good read, I would have to question as to whether many atheists believe some of Dawkins claims i.e. that god is a ‘virus of the mind’ or that a god ‘meme’ has replicated itself in peoples minds and only people that have been infected by this ‘meme’ believe in god.

    Good points Kimbo

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  89. dad4justice (8,313 comments) says:

    “No, because the Lord God Jehovah has created me as a being with free will”

    You should stop calling him a c##t and thank him you fool!

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  90. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    It actually takes quite a bit of faith to be an atheist

    Name one thing an atheist has to have faith in to be an atheist.

    Faith is belief in something without evidence.

    What do athiests believe in that doesnt have any evidence?

    Answer that, but first look in the fucking mirror you hypocrite.

    some of Dawkins claims i.e. that god is a ‘virus of the mind’ or that a god ‘meme’ has replicated itself in peoples minds and only people that have been infected by this ‘meme’ believe in god

    Those arent claims. They are descriptions of social phenomena.

    How many people do you know believe in the Christian god without ever hearing anything about the christian god?

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  91. Rowan (2,539 comments) says:

    RichardX

    “Said the creationist who does not accept the scientific reality of evolution because it doesn’t explain how the universe came to be, what caused the earth to form or the origin of life”

    Right, and the scientific reality of evolution is Richard? Your ‘evidence’ that we are descended from apes and that the earth was created by the big bang?

    You are proof that you were created, the idea that anyone or anything just appears out of nothing is just ridiculous, just like your naïve scientific explanations.

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  92. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    I would have to question as to whether many atheists believe some of Dawkins claims i.e. that god is a ‘virus of the mind’ or that a god ‘meme’ has replicated itself in peoples minds and only people that have been infected by this ‘meme’ believe in god.

    Agreed – just as I cringe when Christians and other assorted religious folks argue that atheists are without morality, or even a basis for morality. The latter you may try and argue in absolute abstract philosophical terms, but as NO ONE ever lives their life on that basis, pragmatism kicks in, and we ALL find some basis for our values. Sort of like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity may be true, but we don’t actually existentially live our lives like there is no such thing as fixed physical reference points.

    Umm, slightly off topic. I enjoyed reading Christopher Hitchens’ “god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” and found it challenging and very true at some points (e.g., as a Christian it is very easy to argue people make Christianity turn bad and not the other way around, but really…there IS a mutual interplay between the two).

    However, my big disappointment with Hitchens was his once-over-lightly and often erroneous dealing with the textual evidence of the New Testament (which is my PRIMARY reason for believing). To make stupid errors like referring to “Q” as an actual text, and arguing that “the Gospels were written hundreds of years after the event” showed a real lack of effort.

    A pity, as it marred what was a good read at points.

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  93. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Evolution has nothing to do with the origins of either life or the universe.

    the idea that anyone or anything just appears out of nothing is just ridiculous

    Is it really?

    On the first day God created the Heaven and the Earth.

    Out of what?

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  94. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Kimble

    Name one thing an atheist has to have faith in to be an atheist.

    Umm. How about these?: –

    The Universality of logic.

    The Universality of the findings of Science

    That in the entire, mostly yet undiscovered, unexplored, and unexamined Universe, there does not exist evidence for the existence of God (an agnostic at least has an open mind. An atheist seems to have exercised faith that none WILL be found, and none CAN exist).

    Just saying…

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  95. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    The Universality of logic.

    Nope. Not required.

    The Universality of the findings of Science

    Nope. Not required.

    That in the entire, mostly yet undiscovered, unexplored, and unexamined Universe, there does not exist evidence for the existence of God

    Do you have any?

    Also, do you really believe in God because somewhere in the Universe there MIGHT be evidence he exists?

    (an agnostic at least has an open mind. An atheist seems to have exercised faith that none WILL be found, and none CAN exist).

    Actually, an agnostic does not believe there can be evidence of God. The whole meaning of the word agnostic is the belief that something is UNKNOWABLE.

    So you have it completely the wrong way round.

    An agnostic believes there can be no evidence of God. An atheist just hasnt seen any.

    Personally I am an agnostic atheist (most of us are). I have not seen any evidence of god, and given the way you guys define “god” I do not believe there CAN be any evidence of such a creature.

    Actually thats a point. How many times have we heard you guys say that God is outside of our universe, so that he cannot be proven to exist?

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  96. RichardX (329 comments) says:

    Rowan (1,759 comments) says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 5:02 pm
    Right, and the scientific reality of evolution is Richard? Your ‘evidence’ that we are descended from apes and that the earth was created by the big bang?

    As previously suggested, you should at least understand the theory of evolution before you dismiss it because your beliefs cannot be reconciled with reality

    Kimbo (550 comments) says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 5:18 pm
    An atheist seems to have exercised faith that none WILL be found, and none CAN exist

    An atheist is saying until you can provide evidence, I do not share your belief
    No claim is made about future events

    Kimble (4,250 comments) says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 5:25 pm
    Actually, an agnostic does not believe there can be evidence of God. The whole meaning of the word agnostic is the belief that something is UNKNOWABLE.

    I agree with you on the definition of atheism but I would have said that atheism relates to belief while agnosticism relates to knowledge so an atheist does not share the belief that a god or gods exist but an agnostic doesn’t know if a god or gods exist. I agree that they are not mutually exclusive

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  97. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    Kimble at 5:25 pm

    The Universality of logic.

    Nope. Not required.

    The Universality of the findings of Science

    Nope. Not required.

    True that. They are neither necessary nor sufficent conditions for atheism.

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  98. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    That in the entire, mostly yet undiscovered, unexplored, and unexamined Universe, there does not exist evidence for the existence of God

    Do you have any?

    Wrong question. Or at least you are shifting goal posts.

    You asked “Name one thing an atheist has to have faith in to be an atheist”.. That is my answer. And now you are asking me to PROVE what you think is an aspect of MY faith. It isn’t. Or at least not under the terms of reference you are demanding. Instead, as I’ve argued, it is an aspect of your faith – which youi claim does not exist.

    Also, do you really believe in God because somewhere in the Universe there MIGHT be evidence he exists?

    No, once again you are moving goal posts. Yet again, you asked “Name one thing an atheist has to have faith in to be an atheist.”. And I’ve answered it. And BTW, IF you had taken the time to read what I had written (a courtesy I HAVE extended to you – better than you think it would appear) you would see that I don’t belive there is scientific or logical proof for the existence of God. Hence my querstion to you earlier, are there OTHER means of knowing/evidence you would accept? Which you have not answered…

    Fair enough on your point re agnosticism/atheism. I stand corrected. My apologies.

    Actually thats a point. How many times have we heard you guys say that God is outside of our universe, so that he cannot be proven to exist?

    Again, it comes back to your assumption (as I discern it) that logic and Science buttressed by Cartesian skepticism are the ONLY means of knowing God – if he really DID exist. Which I agree are insufficient of their very nature to identify, comprehend and examine a transcendent (separate from the Universe) deity.

    However, I think there is another way. If a transcendent God chooses to reveal himself (i.e., becomes Immanent) within the Universe) via Revelation.

    I think the Scriptures, particularly the witness to the words, works, and death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ and the transformation and essential uniformity of witness of the community that followed him, and the quality of their doctrine is the best evidence.

    But unless one utilisies humility and faith that come via the application of the Holy Spirit

    …then that explanation remains insufficient.

    You asked. I answered.

    Now, can we agree that you TOO do have aspects of faith in your philosophical and empirical framework of understanding?

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  99. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ SGA

    True that. They are neither necessary nor sufficent conditions for atheism.

    OK.

    One question then.

    If Science and logic are not assumed to be Universal for atheists

    …why do folks like Dawkins, Hitchens, Kimble and you in this thread appeal to them as sources of authority to argue the case that God does not exist?

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  100. nasska (11,813 comments) says:

    Things have improved during the past ten years. :)

    Ref: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xnuxdu36oovrc7y/Atheism%202.png

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  101. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    Kimbo at 6:00 pm

    If Science and logic are not assumed to be Universal for atheists
    …why to folks like Dawkins, Hitchens, Kimble and you in this thread appeal to them as sources of authority to argue the case that God does not exist?

    Because that’s the sort of people they are. They use it to explain why their “box” labelled “Supernatural things” is empty. But it isn’t necessary for all atheists – all that’s required is not believing in gods and goddesses.

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  102. dad4justice (8,313 comments) says:

    The majority of the planet believe there is a God.

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  103. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    but an agnostic doesn’t know if a god or gods exist.

    An agnostic believes that the existence or non-existence of God is unknowable.

    Someone could be an agnostic theist. They believe something exists even though they do not believe it is possible to know if it does.

    Isn’t that the very definition of “faith”?

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  104. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    The majority of the planet believe there is a God.

    The majority of the planet are Chinese or Indian.

    Are you Chinese or Indian d4j?

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  105. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    dad4justiceat 6:09 pm

    The majority of the planet believe there is a God.

    But not the same one, which sort of defeats the purpose.
    Most people don’t believe in the Christian trinity.
    Most people don’t believe in the Muslim Allah.
    Most people don’t believe in the Hindu gods.
    Most people don’t believe in Shinto gods/spirits
    and so on.
    The non-religious always agree with most of the people (ok, that’s meant tongue-in-cheek).

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  106. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    You asked “Name one thing an atheist has to have faith in to be an atheist”.. That is my answer.

    An atheist does not have to have faith “That in the entire, mostly yet undiscovered, unexplored, and unexamined Universe, there does not exist evidence for the existence of God.”

    They simply have to not believe in God.

    No faith required.

    You have only answered the question inasmuch as you replied.

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  107. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Again, it comes back to your assumption (as I discern it) that logic and Science buttressed by Cartesian skepticism are the ONLY means of knowing God – if he really DID exist. Which I agree are insufficient of their very nature to identify, comprehend and examine a transcendent (separate from the Universe) deity.

    However, I think there is another way. If a transcendent God chooses to reveal himself (i.e., becomes Immanent) within the Universe) via Revelation.

    I think the Scriptures, particularly the witness to the words, works, and death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ and the transformation and essential uniformity of witness of the community that followed him, and the quality of their doctrine is the best evidence.

    But unless one utilisies humility and faith that come via the application of the Holy Spirit

    …then that explanation remains insufficient.

    Do you believe in Hell for people who don’t accept Christ’s offer of redemption, Kimbo?

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  108. nasska (11,813 comments) says:

    ….”The majority of the planet believe there is a God.”…..

    The majority of the people of the planet are told by their parents that there is a god.

    The fact that they pass on the myth to their own offspring is all that perpetrates the garbage.

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  109. RRM (10,026 comments) says:

    I love how ANGRY people always get on these religion threads.

    The TEMERITY of these people! Thinking differently than me about utterly unknowable things.

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  110. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    RRM at 6:34 pm

    I love how ANGRY people always get on these religion threads.
    The TEMERITY of these people! Thinking differently than me about utterly unknowable things.

    Yet, you’re the one shouting?

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  111. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ SGA

    But it isn’t necessary for all atheists – all that’s required is not believing in gods and goddesses.

    and @ Kimble

    An atheist does not have to have faith…They simply have to not believe in God.

    You both seem to be arguing that atheism is PRIMARILY a matter of volition, not science and/or logic.

    Ok, so atheism is a matter of the will. Does that not therefore make the basis for that decision…faith?

    Not wanting to put words in your mouth. Maybe it would help, Kimble, if you defined what you MEAN by the term, “faith”.

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  112. SHG (319 comments) says:

    Ooh semantic games, look out fellas we got ourselves a Jesuit here.

    It’s simple. An atheist doesn’t believe in gods. Why is that hard to grok?

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  113. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    Do you believe in Hell for people who don’t accept Christ’s offer of redemption, Kimbo?

    Would like you to define, “hell”, “people who don’t accept Christ’s offer” and “redemption” before answering that! :)

    Put it this way, I don’t think hell is a place of eternal conscious torment. I think that it is the language of analogy which is part of a particular rhetorical genre when used in the Scriptures (see my earlier post).

    I also think that the “heathen who never heard the Gospel” will be judged righteously and mercifully.

    I also don’t think you can necessarily define those who “accept Christ’s offer” by a conscious adherence to a set of doctrinal propositions, certain behaviours, and membership of particular churches, denominations, and institutions. Or at least I’m open to the proposition the boundaries of the “Earthly Church” are much wider than what we envisage her to be.

    Also, redemption is primarily a cosmological and on-going activity by the sovereign God. So “coming to Jesus” as some sort of sausage in an altar-call production-line factory doesn’t really capture the essence of whaty the on-going work of Christ’s redemption entails.

    Don’t know if that answers your question, but there it is…

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  114. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    You both seem to be arguing that atheism is PRIMARILY a matter of volition

    An atheist does not believe in God. And that requires zero belief in anything else. An atheist may be someone who believes in nothing including god, or everything except god.

    Faith is a belief that is not based on proof.

    An atheist does not believe in god because there is no proof.

    Therefore an atheist does not have faith in existence of god.

    Your position seems to be that the atheist must have faith in something else in order to not have faith in the existence of god.

    In other words, in order for the atheist to not believe in god because there is no proof of god, you insist they must believe in something else for which there is no proof.

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  115. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    Kimbo at 6:47 pm

    @ SGA
    You both seem to be arguing that atheism is PRIMARILY a matter of volition, not science and/or logic.
    Ok, so atheism is a matter of the will. Does that not therefore make the basis for that decision…faith

    The “belief box” called “Supernatural things” is just empty. No psychics, goblins, gods, ghosts, faith healers, pixies, reincarnation, angels, goddesses, demons, sprites, etc., seem to be there. Hence, I’m non-religious. From your narrower christian perspective, I guess that makes me an atheist.

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  116. SHG (319 comments) says:

    How does the line go? An atheist disbelieves in every god that a Christian disbelieves in, plus one.

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  117. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    SHG (at 7:28 pm

    How does the line go? An atheist disbelieves in every god that a Christian disbelieves in, plus one.

    An ol’ chestnut, but for good reason.

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  118. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Kimble

    Faith is a belief that is not based on proof.

    I think this may be where we are talking past one another. I certainly think my faith is based on evidence (although whether that is sufficient to “prove” it is a matter of opinion. I know you DON’T accept the following as proof. Nevertheless, this was written less than 30 years after the Resurrection of Christ, by a former persecutor ogf his followers: –

    I Corinthians 15:1-11

    15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

    9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

    So there is an appeal to the evidence of eye-witness testimony of a resurrection from the dead. Not Science, nor logic (although logic does dictate much of the argument Paul uses in this chapter – ONCE you accept his initial premise Christ has risen from the dead.

    Now, I don’t dispute that you might want to (in fact, no dount DO) dismiss that appeal for a variety of reasons (30 year gap, issues of textual preservation and transmission, supposedly superstitious people, etc). Nevertheless, Biblical faith claims it is based on proof – the same sort that confirms Caesar and Alexander lived, etc.

    But ok, if THAT is your definition of faith, then I agree – atheists do NOT have. Thanks for clarifying.

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  119. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    While Dawkins message is spot on he is not always good at delivering that message. His style can be somewhat awkward. Dawkins is not in the same class when it comes to communicating the atheist message as Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett or, the best of the lot, the late Christopher Hitchens.

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  120. TM (100 comments) says:

    I have no problem with atheism and no problem with religion, AS LONG as people don’t seek to impose their views on others. Dawkins crosses this line. He seems to take his inspiration from fundamentalism muslim preachers instead of rational scientists.

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  121. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    Kimbo

    So you read “God is not great” and remained a believer?

    That takes some doing I imagine.

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  122. SHG (319 comments) says:

    Kimbo – wtf, 1 Corinthians is the First Epistle to the Corinthians by Saint Paul himself, not “a former persecutor of (Jesus’) followers”. It’s written by the founder of the Church.

    I’m amazed that he wrote in in modern English though. He must have, of course, since if he didn’t that would mean that the passage you just posted is not a first-hand account.

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  123. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Don’t know if that answers your question, but there it is…

    Interesting. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

    I was going to go down the path of showing how you could demonstrate that a particularly described God doesn’t (cannot) exist because of internal contradictions in the description – loving God gives humans the faculty of reason in a world where reason is repeatedly demonstrated to be the most accurate means of sifting truth from falsehood, and then only demonstrates His existence to people in a completely unreasonable way, and watches them suffer eternally if they stick to reason and ignore the one religious writing among many that happens to be revelation.

    But it’s a lot punchier when someone believes in an actual tortuous Hell. The God you describe is more like someone who hides a really awesome prize so that only people standing on their heads can see it, rather than someone who hides an escape hatch from a really horrible fate so that only people standing on their heads can see it.

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  124. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Kimbo – wtf, 1 Corinthians is the First Epistle to the Corinthians by Saint Paul himself, not “a former persecutor of (Jesus’) followers”. It’s written by the founder of the Church.

    Paul was a former persecutor of early Christians. He went by the name Saul at the time, then had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus.

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  125. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    “……Dawkins told the festival in Cheltenham, England, that a scientific approach to the world was far superior to a “second-rate” supernatural one……”

    LOL…….Scientists can’t even give us the date. I’ll stick with the Christian Gregorian calendar thanks.

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  126. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    LOL…….Scientists can’t even give us the date. I’ll stick with the Christian Gregorian calendar thanks.

    The date of what, Harriet?

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  127. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    The date based on the day of the big bang. But I was joking Ryan.

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  128. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    The date the earth was created.

    If scientists could give a specific date, they’d have more credibility in your eyes?

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  129. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    TM

    Ideally there would be laws against indoctrinating our children with any religions “teachings”, here I happen to agree with Dawkins when he says that the brainwashing of our kids is one of the most evil things done in the name of religion.

    Kids should be free to be kids, let them seek out religion at a later stage if they wish but we should make it illegal to fill their minds with sky fairy bullshit while they are young.

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  130. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Kids should be free to be kids, let them seek out religion at a later stage if they wish but we should make it illegal to fill their minds with sky fairy bullshit while they are young.

    “Kids should be free to be kids. Let them seek out atheism at a later stage if they wish, but we should make it illegal to fill their minds with soulless rationalistic materialism while they are young.”

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  131. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    I was raised Christian, by very lovely parents who never led me to believe that Santa Claus was real.

    Can’t see your point Ryan. Presumably they still tried to tell you God is real.

    Same diff really.

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  132. SHG (319 comments) says:

    RS – of course. Sorry, Friday night brain spasm on my part.

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  133. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    Ryan

    So you would rather fill their minds with stone age superstition?

    What are you so scared of?, I am not talking about teaching kids about atheism, I am talking about kids being free of any religious of atheist teachings, free from brainwashing and free from the guilt imposed by religion.

    What could be wrong with that?

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  134. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Can’t see your point Ryan. Presumably they still tried to tell you God is real.

    Same diff really.

    Yes. It was ironic. I was taught that God existed, that Santa didn’t, and told not to tell other kids at school that Santa didn’t exist, because it would make them feel bad. It never occurred to me that my classmate’s parents might be saying to them, “Santa exists, God doesn’t, but don’t tell the other kids at school that God doesn’t exist, because it’ll make them feel bad.”

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  135. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Ryan

    So you would rather fill their minds with stone age superstition?

    What are you so scared of?, I am not talking about teaching kids about atheism, I am talking about kids being free of any religious of atheist teachings, free from brainwashing and free from the guilt imposed by religion.

    What could be wrong with that?

    There’s nothing wrong with that. Go for it.

    But there is something wrong with “making it illegal” for parents to pass their worldview on to their kids. That’s a terrifying prospect. Which committee of people you’ve never met is going to decide what’s legal and illegal to teach your kids? Ugh.

    Sure, raising kids with religious beliefs might make them feel the guilt imposed by religion. It might also give them a sense of security about things like their grandma or their dog dying. I mean, yes, you could argue that it’s never too early to learn the hard lessons of the finality of death, but on the other hand, “Kids should be free to be kids.”

    The pros and cons of kids having religious beliefs are beside the point, though. I disagree with Christianity’s claims about the universe, but I object to the law prohibiting parents from sharing their worldviews with their kids.

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  136. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Off to see X-Men with my lovely lady. Have a good evening, all.

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  137. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    Ryan

    It seems rather cruel that your parents told you Santa does not exist, there is nothing more magical than a kid on Xmas eve.

    Mind you, it does prove my point, in time Kids will work out for themselves that Santa is not real, one of the way they do this is because their parents stop telling them that Santa is coming, parents instinctively know when it is time to stop pushing the Santa story and kids come to the logical conclusion that Santa is non existent.

    Now, imagine that they did the same with religion, imagine if they stopped feeding their kids stories that are even more outrageous than a fat man in a red suit coming once a year. Kids would work out for themselves very quickly that god does not exist and that they had better get on living the one life they have without wasting it being subservient to a master that demands constant praise.

    Kids unmolested by religions teaching will naturally work out that there is no god and go on to live much happier lives.

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  138. nasska (11,813 comments) says:

    ….”I am talking about kids being free of any religious of atheist teachings, free from brainwashing and free from the guilt imposed by religion.”…..

    They will kill you….you are exposing their modus operandi.

    Only by brainwashing & instilling the Magic Man’s teachings early will the collection boxes of twenty years hence be filled.

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  139. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    “……Now, imagine that they did the same with religion, imagine if they stopped feeding their kids stories that are even more outrageous than a fat man in a red suit coming once a year. Kids would work out for themselves very quickly that god does not exist and that they had better get on living the one life they have without wasting it being subservient to a master that demands constant praise….”

    You mean the master being like the Godless states throughout history? – Are you really really sure that man doesn’t need a transecident being above them to give them order, light and hope?

    You keep majoring in minors Big Bigot and I’ll keep minoring in a major. :cool:

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  140. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    How adorable. Someone believes that religion has been a moderating influence on leaders rather than just another tool of control and oppression.

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  141. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    I certainly think my faith is based on evidence (although whether that is sufficient to “prove” it is a matter of opinion.

    If you have evidence then faith is obsolete.

    I know you DON’T accept the following as proof. Nevertheless, this was written less than 30 years after the Resurrection of Christ, by a former persecutor ogf his followers:

    Even your evidence needs faith. You don’t know who wrote that. You dont know their motivations.

    The difference between Jesus and Caesar is that there is no one claiming that Caesar was God or that the texts containing references to him were the direct word of God and that we should live by their “teachings”.

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  142. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    Kimble I’m not suggesting that but the opposite. Godlessness has always lead to government tyranny – just look at Mao, Lenin & Hitler. And now the ‘gay, US hating, gun hating, big brother, abortionist’ Obama.

    Man does need a transcident being above them.

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  143. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    So the purpose of the Scriptures was not to explain to an Ancient Near Eastern people that the earth was round, the earth orbited around the sun, and it does so by means of a physical force we now label “gravity”. So as that was not the intent, there is no invaildating of its message if the writers choose to use the belief system and idioms of the time to explain the origins and nature of the physical Universe (the earth is flat, built on pillars, with a giant dome on top restraining “the waters above”, made in a particular number of days, created out of a pre-existent watery chaos, etc).

    Ah Kimbo you see now why fairy-tales are bad for you?

    Your imagination is running amok.

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  144. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ big bruv

    “Kimbo

    So you read “God is not great” and remained a believer?

    That takes some doing I imagine.”

    Nope. Not when, as I explained, he doesn’t even get out of the blocks on the question of biblical, especially New Testament textual criticism.

    Also, as you can probably guess, having hung around churches for quite a bit, that I can spot bluster and bullsh*t because there is a fair bit of it spoken in churches! Which is why, when Hitchens tries to turn things around and argue the appalling attrocities of the Communist states are REALLY because they didn’t have enough time to escape their former religious legacies, and Christians really have some cheek using it as an example of how atheism doesn’t solve the problems that Hitchens’ claims are endemic in religion

    …I ain’t buying his set of goods! :)

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  145. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ SHG

    Kimbo – wtf, 1 Corinthians is the First Epistle to the Corinthians by Saint Paul himself, not “a former persecutor of (Jesus’) followers”. It’s written by the founder of the Church.

    I’m amazed that he wrote in in modern English though. He must have, of course, since if he didn’t that would mean that the passage you just posted is not a first-hand account.

    1 Γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν, ὃ καὶ παρελάβετε, ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἑστήκατε, 2 δι’ οὗ καὶ σῴζεσθε, τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν, εἰ κατέχετε, ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῇ ἐπιστεύσατε.

    3 παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν πρώτοις, ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον, ὅτι Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν κατὰ τὰς γραφάς, 4 καὶ ὅτι ἐτάφη, καὶ ὅτι ἐγήγερται τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ κατὰ τὰς γραφάς, 5 καὶ ὅτι ὤφθη Κηφᾷ, εἶτα τοῖς δώδεκα· 6 ἔπειτα ὤφθη ἐπάνω πεντακοσίοις ἀδελφοῖς ἐφάπαξ, ἐξ ὧν οἱ πλείονες μένουσιν ἕως ἄρτι, τινὲς δὲ ἐκοιμήθησαν· 7 ἔπειτα ὤφθη Ἰακώβῳ, εἶτα τοῖς ἀποστόλοις πᾶσιν· 8 ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι ὤφθη κἀμοί. 9 Ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι ὁ ἐλάχιστος τῶν ἀποστόλων, ὃς οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς καλεῖσθαι ἀπόστολος, διότι ἐδίωξα τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ· 10 χάριτι δὲ Θεοῦ εἰμι ὅ εἰμι, καὶ ἡ χάρις αὐτοῦ ἡ εἰς ἐμὲ οὐ κενὴ ἐγενήθη, ἀλλὰ περισσότερον αὐτῶν πάντων ἐκοπίασα, οὐκ ἐγὼ δὲ ἀλλὰ ἡ χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ ‹ἡ› σὺν ἐμοί. 11 εἴτε οὖν ἐγὼ εἴτε ἐκεῖνοι, οὕτως κηρύσσομεν καὶ οὕτως ἐπιστεύσατε.

    Now, do you prefer that…or a modern English translation?

    And as someone else has already pointed out, your grasp of the identity and former career of the author in question is in need of updating.

    Now, if you need some lessons in Koine Greek I can point you to some good (κἀλος – that first lesson is for free!) text books…

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  146. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Kimble

    Even your evidence needs faith. You don’t know who wrote that. You dont know their motivations.

    Sorry, Kimble, I’d suggest that is chosen ignorance on your part. Not even the MOST liberal (i.e., atheist) of New Testament scholars would dispute 1 Corinthians 15 in its essential present received form (Greek text above) WASN’T written by Paul in approximately 59A.D, for the purpose of defending the resurrection of the dead in the light of teachings to the contrary that had sprung up within the Church in the Greek city of Corinth which he had established some 5 or so years before – when eye-witnesses to whatever happened after the death of Christ took place were still alive, and well know within the relatively good communication that was the case in the Eastern half of the Roman Empire.

    It’s that sort of sloppiness and lazy dismissal that ultimately diminished Hitchens’ overall impact – IMHO…

    Plus also ALL evidence needs SOME sort of faith – which I think is what others were arguing and suggesting why you had it too. For example, philosopher David Hume, argued, if I understand him correctly, that what we assume is cause and effect is nothing of the sort. Just because something happened 1 billion times (like an apple falls to the ground) doesn’t mean it will necessarily happen on the 1,000,000,001st occasion. So it is a form of faith when we cat as if cause and effect will always apply.

    Also, DesCartes skepticism was prompted by what our senses receive (including any “evidence” which determines “proof”) is often contradictory, So one set of senses – his eyes- told him a reed in a river was bent, but another – touch – told him it wasn’t.

    Is the building blocks of all epistemology. How do we REALLY know what we know.

    The difference between Jesus and Caesar is that there is no one claiming that Caesar was God or that the texts containing references to him were the direct word of God and that we should live by their “teachings”.

    You are essentially arguing “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs”, and that is fair enough, and I agree. And yet again, you need to brush up on your knowledge of the world of the New Testament. That you reject it is fair enough. But I would suggest you would do well to reject it having informed yourself of the issues. The Roman state DID claim that Caesar was a god – and Paul himself, along with many early Christians were put to death because they would not worship him.

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  147. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Ryan Sproull

    But it’s a lot punchier when someone believes in an actual tortuous Hell. The God you describe is more like someone who hides a really awesome prize so that only people standing on their heads can see it, rather than someone who hides an escape hatch from a really horrible fate so that only people standing on their heads can see it.

    I said that I understood hell, as described in the Scriptures is an analogy. In this case I understand that analogy to mean there are consequences for what attitude we choose to adopt when God’s grace comes to us. We are responsible for how we “listen”, understand, and respond

    …and listening, understanding and responding in a way that is antithetical to the truth that he has revealed is not a wise choice.

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  148. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Text. From 2000 years ago. Is not evidence.

    Much less text of “eye witnesses”; the worst kind of evidence.

    Mormonism has more substantial “eye witness” testimony of miracles, it is still a joke of a religion.

    The fact remains, you don’t know who the person was who wrote it. Maybe you know their name, but you dont know who they were. Or their motivations.

    But why would anyone lie about that?

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  149. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    Text. From 2000 years ago. Is not evidence.

    Now you are just making stuff up. And people claim religious people are dogmatic!

    It may not be “evidence” you consider “proof” but an ancient text is, nontheless, indeed evidence. Or do we also ditch the Rosetta Stone, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and every archaelogical artifact that gives an insight into the life and events of the time it was written?!

    How do we know the Caesars and Alexander the Great lived? Texts from 2000 years ago!

    How do we know Jesus and Paul lived? (And yes, there is an almost overwhelming consensus in New Testament scholarship that they did indeed exist) Texts from 2000 yers ago!

    Mormonism has more substantial “eye witness” testimony of miracles, it is still a joke of a religion.

    The fact remains, you don’t know who the person was who wrote it. Maybe you know their name, but you dont know who they were. Or their motivations.

    But why would anyone lie about that?

    Um – NO corroborating evidence have ever been found to substantiate a settlement of the Americas by Ancient Near Eastern peoples as claimed in the Book of Mormon. In contrast, NO ONE disputes that the New Testament is NOT an accurate reflection of the cultural millieu of the 1st Century (and maybe 2nd century) Roman Empire. The New Testament IS archaelogy.

    Now, I note you choose to reject it as sufficient proof (and again, I find it interesting you confuse “evidence” and “proof”). However, I’ll ask the question I asked before, and which you’ve thus far ignored

    …what “evidence” would you deem sufficient to “prove” what is essentially a past event?

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  150. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    It may not be “evidence” you consider “proof” but an ancient text is, nontheless, indeed evidence.

    It is evidence that somebody wrote something. It isnt evidence of what was written. And it certainly isnt evidence of god existing. It is just evidence that someone might have thought it.

    Um – NO corroborating evidence have ever been found to substantiate a settlement of the Americas by Ancient Near Eastern peoples as claimed in the Book of Mormon.

    I never said there was. I said miracles.

    Their “evidence” is more reliable than yours.

    what “evidence” would you deem sufficient to “prove” what is essentially a past event?

    Physical artifacts are good. We know what happened in Pompeii.

    But failing that then multiple written sources would be good. If multiple unrelated authors corroborate the same story at the same time, then it is more likely to have happened, as it is unlikely that two people would make up the story or that the same story simply travelled back around to appear like it came from two sources.

    It would also help if their stories aligned.

    But even then, if you are talking about inconsequential things like whether a person actually existed or an event took place, then it doesnt matter too much if you mistake a story for real events. If on the other hand, you are using it as a blueprint for your interaction with other human beings, then it is beholden upon you to be sure of the source.

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  151. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    kimbo

    “when Hitchens tries to turn things around and argue the appalling atrocities of the Communist states are REALLY because they didn’t have enough time to escape their former religious legacies,”

    From my reading of “God is not great” I seem to remember Hitchens citing examples he had witnessed himself. Even you would have to admit that this is far more reliable than those who claim to have heard the word of Jesus which had been passed on from somebody who heard it from somebody who heard it from somebody else.

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  152. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    I think fairy stories are just art and entertainment. Indoctrination started at Sunday School (as I remember). Children should (eventually ) be taught critical thinking.

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  153. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Kimble

    If multiple unrelated authors corroborate the same story at the same time, then it is more likely to have happened, as it is unlikely that two people would make up the story or that the same story simply travelled back around to appear like it came from two sources.

    It would also help if their stories aligned.

    But even then, if you are talking about inconsequential things like whether a person actually existed or an event took place, then it doesnt matter too much if you mistake a story for real events. If on the other hand, you are using it as a blueprint for your interaction with other human beings, then it is beholden upon you to be sure of the source.

    I think I would concur with most or nearly all of that. In some cases physical evidence may be difficult or nor necessarily to be expected, depending on the contemporary significance of the event in question. That we can excavate the cities Alexander built is not in doubt. In the case of a nomad like Abraham, or an impoverished transient carpenter or tent maker like Jesus and Paul, both put to death by the state and therefore on the margins of their society, not necessarily. Although the multiplicity of textual sources of the New Testament, the relatively short gap between the time the internal evidence points to when they were written and the earliest extant copies and the sheer volume of copies would maybe fit your criteria of physical evidence. The New Testament is the best preserved text from the Ancient world.

    Other than that – yes. I agree with you, Kimble. Those are good tests of “evidence” and “proof”. And I think there is a good case that the New Testament ticks those boxes. Multiple unrelated authors, essentially corroborating stories (and theology for that matter), relating events that took place.

    I think it is prejudicial to decide that because they took place so long ago, and because they make extraordinary claims…those cliams must necessarily be false, or the New Testament in concert with what we know of the 1st Century Roman Empire does not present a credible account of the events we CAN verify, and therefore its veracity regarding the extraordinary claim of a resurrection is not strenthened as a result.

    Put it this way – we can be near certain that Jesus lived, and that he was crucified by the Roman state for sedition in approximately 30AD…and then something happened that results in the spread of the belief of his resurrection in the succeeding generation.

    Just two pieces of corrroborating evidence that indicate the claim of the resurrection was not falsified: –

    1. If you are going to make the outrageous claim amongst 1st Century Palestinian Judaism (and that IS who his initial followers were) that the Messiah has come , then you DON’T acknowledge he could possibly die (Messiah’s abolish death, not succumb to it – a basic point of Jewish theology and political expectation. Which remains te primary theological reason why Judaism has not embraced Christianity). Furthermore you NEVER have your hero dying on a cross. Many centuries of Renaissance art may have softened or even rehabilitated the image of crucifixion, but for Jews, the mode of death is a sure sign God has cursed and rejected the person in question. For Romans it is just as bad – only the scum, those who were enemies of the state and Pax Romanadied in that way – and good riddance to them. Yet you are claiming “But why would anyone lie about that?” (irony). It is like sticking a KKK hood on your main character, sending him into the midst of a Black Pride rally, and having him shout, “Follow me!”. So, if you going to lie, you CERTAINLY lie about this! As you do the matter of…

    2. Who are the initial witnesses to the resurrection? This is REALLY important because it will set the scene for the central event that drives your movement – a movement that has just been crushed by the Romans a few days before with the death of the leader. So whomever you have discovering the empty grave and then witnessing the resurrected Messiah has to be credible, important, and universally acknowledged as respected. And instead, in that misogynist society you place a group of WOMEN as your key givers of testimony. You DON’T make that sort of stuff up, and you certainly airbrush that detail out at a later stage IF you are into the game of easy fabrication.

    Two internal details that maybe, in and of themselves do not clinch the matter of “proof”, but nontheless, are significant when it comes to weighing and sifting the veracity of the claims of the New Testament.

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  154. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ big bruv

    “kimbo

    “when Hitchens tries to turn things around and argue the appalling atrocities of the Communist states are REALLY because they didn’t have enough time to escape their former religious legacies,”

    From my reading of “God is not great” I seem to remember Hitchens citing examples he had witnessed himself. Even you would have to admit that this is far more reliable than those who claim to have heard the word of Jesus which had been passed on from somebody who heard it from somebody who heard it from somebody else.

    As I posted before I found Hitchens really valuable in that it is just TOO easy for the religious (like me) to claim that attrocities commited in the name of their religion are not REALLY the actions of TRUE followers, because true followers wouldn’t do something like that. Yep – fair cop by Hitchens at that point calling “bullsh*t!”. Religion can and at times does breed intolerance and then violence.

    However I have a massive problem with Hitchens’ central premise that RELIGION is the PRIMARY cause of the problem. I’d suggest it is simply a manifestation of the REAL problem, which is human evil. Hitchens sort of acknowledges as much when he says that humanity (collectively) seems to be almost automatically religious.

    But to your matter of oral transmission and later writing by others. Usually the phrase that is used is “Chinese whispers”. And yet again I reiterate that Hitchens was REALLY dialing it in when it came to the matter of New Testament textual criticism. The modern historical movement that gained traction from the 19th Century onwards places a lot of store on written text and physical artifacts, but little or none on oral traditions. Yeah, well in the age of the printing press, and now electronic data that seems obvious – our memories of words and phrases are dulled because we don’t need to memorise because we just have to open a page.

    But in a pre-printing press age, among a people (1st Century Palestinian Jews) whose religious traditon separated them from the rest of the world, precise and faithful recollection of those traditions, and the phrases of the Rabbis who directly instruct you were incredibly important. You would sit around discussing them. They were a highly sophisticated oral as well as writing culture. As all the witnesses are there in the group of adherents in the first 20 or so years after the ministry of Christ, there is no need for a written record. But as time goes by, and the boundaries and membership of the movement spread, then yes, that is what you see. But it is culturally-loaded to insist that because these weren’t written down right from the beginning, and because we don’t have the originals, then oral tradition (reflected and able to be isolated in the subsequent written texts) to be automatically dismissed, or considered as near worthless.

    Within 20 years of the death of Christ you have the Apostle Paul writing his letter to the churches he established a few years earlier in Galatia, a province of Asia Minor. In that letter all the “big rocks” of the Gospel are in place – the death of Jesus of Nazareth by crucifixion, the Jewish understanding that in dying that way he was cursed by God, his resurrection from the dead, his enthronement at the right hand of God, the giving of the Holy Spirit which in Jewish expectation heralded the presence of the long-awaited Kingdom of God, the possibility of forgiveness, righteousness and peace with God via faith in that Messiah…and the shocking (to Jews) news that Gentiles too had a place in the Kingdom of God apart from the rite of circumcision and the rest of the Law of Moses…

    That is ALL the distinctives of the New Testament in a nutshell, and the overwhelming consensus among New Testament scholarship is that it is indeed written by Paul in the period acscribed.

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  155. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    Is the building blocks of all epistemology. How do we REALLY know what we know.

    Truth as I see it is nothing more than the degree of accuracy to which an observation can be (or needs to be) measured and described. Science has proven to be relatively successful in this endeavour whereas philosophy and its poorer cousin theology have only succeeded in tying themselves into knots.

    One can produce a plethora of sophisticated argument and constructed evidence to support virtually any idea but the thing that counts in a physical, mechanical world is what actually works.

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  156. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    However I have a massive problem with Hitchens’ central premise that RELIGION is the PRIMARY cause of the problem.

    Yes I agree. Religion isn’t the problem. It’s the excuse.

    I’d suggest it is simply a manifestation of the REAL problem, which is human evil.

    See, that’s where I call bullshit. Self-interest isn’t necessarily evil. In fact I don’t think evil exists at all.

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  157. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Scott Chris

    Truth as I see it is nothing more than the degree of accuracy to which an observation can be (or needs to be) measured and described.

    Yet even the great father of modern scientific observation, Galileo preferred to test for qualities that could be readily and objectively quantified by the senses such as mass, dimension, shape, position. But when it came to stuff that the senses of others could dispute such as hue, taste, and smell he preferred to give it a miss.

    Science has proven to be relatively successful in this endeavour whereas philosophy and its poorer cousin theology have only succeeded in tying themselves into knots.

    Yet the two are inextricably inter-related. For example, cultural/philosophical/religious/ideological values determine what science seeks to discover…and even what it cannot or must not do.

    Which is also why, while I concur an heartily agree “Science has proven to be relatively successful” I’m not a Positivist in absolute terms. I’ll pragmatically take its fruit, respect its processes and endevaours, but it can NEVER be separated from human subjectivity. As much as others would insist it were so….

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  158. waikatosinger (102 comments) says:

    “Mormonism has more substantial “eye witness” testimony of miracles, it is still a joke of a religion.”

    All religions are jokes. Some religions are bad jokes. ‘Mormonism’ is one of the good ones. I am an atheist but I quite like Mormons. The ones I know are good people with integrity and principles. They raise their kids to be polite and well mannered. They live well, do their best to make a positive contribution to the world, and treat their fellow human beings with respect. Mormons have never waged war in the name of their religion. They don’t kill people in the name of God. They make good neighbours.

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  159. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Scott Chris

    See, that’s where I call bullshit. Self-interest isn’t necessarily evil. In fact I don’t think evil exists at all.

    Umm, your response makes it seem like I’ve thrown a stone into a dark room and hit something I didn’t know was there!

    Not intending to get into the political/economic debate of Adam Smith and Ayn Rand et. al. (if that is where you were angling), but no, I don’t think self-interest is evil either – even though you don’t agree evil exists. Fair enough. Lots of people don’t think there is such a thing as evil – or at least in absolute conceptual terms. We disagree, and I acknowledge my interpretation of history, current events, and human nature us informed by a particular religious schema (Calvinist Protestant) of understanding.

    On the other hand, when it comes to selfishness, which is something different from Self-interest…

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  160. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    Mormons have never waged war in the name of their religion. They don’t kill people in the name of God. They make good neighbours.

    I concur on your thoughts regarding the general morality that most Mormons observe.

    Nonetheless, their original founders (Joseph Smith and Brigham Young) were not particularly savoury people. And, there was a particularly shocking example of them waging what amounted to war in the name of their religion,. Despite the lack of a legal conviction, the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 had Brigham Young’s finger prints all over it…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_massacre#Brigham_Young

    Just saying

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  161. wat dabney (3,809 comments) says:

    Mormonism has more substantial “eye witness” testimony of miracles, it is still a joke of a religion.

    All the sightings of Elvis since his supposed death amount to an infinitely more convincing and compelling set of evidence than centuries old fairy stories about magical Robin Hood characters, talking animals and deities who for some reason relish animal sacrifices.

    We can confidently conclude, then, that all “Christians” believe Elvis didn’t die on the toilet back in ’77.

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  162. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    but no, I don’t think self-interest is evil either – even though you don’t agree evil exists.

    I wasn’t clear enough -should have written I don’t think self-interest is “evil” (that being “evil” from your perspective)

    Not intending to get into the political/economic debate of Adam Smith and Ayn Rand et. al.

    Love the way you string your words together Kimbo but I detect the symptoms of an over-trained mind in that you have a propensity to attempt place an academic model or framework on any concept anyone raises. Sometimes one just looks out the window and sees stuff.

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  163. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    Yes I agree. Religion isn’t the problem. It’s the excuse.

    No. While I also disagree with Hitchens, as a religious person I can see he is right on the money that SOMETIMES elements within the religion CAN cause the problem. I think a better and more nuanced understanding is that religion and human nature (including the excuses we make) interact, sometimes one leading and prompting the other.

    Put it this way – I am Protestant by conversion and conviction. Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg Castle Church door is for me! Sola Christo, Sola gratia, Sola fidei, Sola Scriptura!

    But I look at what he wrote about Jews, and what should be done to them, and even though I know Luther became in later life a cantankerous blustering old fool prone at times to extreme positions and views, with an intolerance and ugly invective against ANYONE who disagreed with him…

    nevertheless what he wrote was extra fuel on an already existent anti-Semitism within Christendom. I can acknowledge those parts of the New Testament that appear anti-Semitic (e.g., “a synagogue of Satan” in the Revelation) are primarily reflecting a theological and physical dispute at the time, with (to the early Church) Judaism or some of its leaders and adherents acting as ready accomplices to the suffering of the early Church at the hands of the Romans. They are also occasional references, not reflecting how the Church did of should necessarily view and treat Judaism in future.

    So, yeah, Luther says what he does (but actually does NOTHING), but it helps fan a fire

    …that some 400 years later an Austrian corporal looking to buttress his anti-Semitism finds a useful and convenient excuse.

    Could it have been avoided if the writer of the Apocalypse had chosen different words? Don’t know. Probably not. Is the writer of the Apocalypse responsible for what happened later? No, not to my mind. Nevertheless, there is something there within the text that the irresponsible and stupid can use. And maybe the “excuse” would never have been cultivated without the text in the first place.

    That is where Hitchens’ analysis for me, while ultimately incomplete and therefore flawed was penetrating nonetheless.

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  164. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    …I detect the symptoms of an over-trained mind in that you have a propensity to attempt place an academic model or framework on any concept anyone raises. Sometimes one just looks out the window and sees stuff.

    Maybe true. However, I think if we are discussing issues of truth, reality, Science, and religion the topic deserves a bit more resources than, “here’s life as I see it”. :)

    We are all but pygmies standing on the shoulders of giants

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  165. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    However, I think there is another way. If a transcendent God chooses to reveal himself (i.e., becomes Immanent) within the Universe) via Revelation.

    I think the Scriptures, particularly the witness to the words, works, and death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ and the transformation and essential uniformity of witness of the community that followed him, and the quality of their doctrine is the best evidence.

    But unless one utilisies humility and faith that come via the application of the Holy Spirit

    …then that explanation remains insufficient.

    Kimbo,

    In a world where reason is repeatedly and reliably a useful tool for determining truth, when it comes to the question of God’s existence, you eschew reason in favour of revelation informed by the Holy Spirit.

    (Mostly – mentioning “uniformity of witness in the community” suggests that you still have some residual reliance on reason in there. Who cares about uniformity of witness when you’ve got revelation informed by the Holy Spirit?)

    How do you distinguish between the revelation you believe (Christian Bible) and all of the revelations you don’t believe (all other religions’ scriptures)? In other words, how do you evaluate one as true and the others as false?

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  166. SGA (1,143 comments) says:

    Kimbo, does the historical reality (one way or another) of Muhammad, Gautama Buddha, or Joseph Smith have much impact on you not being a Muslim, Buddhist, or Mormon?

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  167. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Ryan Sproull

    In a world where reason is repeatedly and reliably a useful tool for determining truth, when it comes to the question of God’s existence, you eschew reason in favour of revelation informed by the Holy Spirit.

    No, I don’t eschew reason completely. My comment was in the context of how can we possibly know of a God who is transcendent (separate) from the Universe, which make logic and science redundant for proving his existence. There is obviously (a philosophocal statement!) no way…unless he chooses to reveal himself. So revelation is the PRIMARY means, and therefore it informs reason, and what I undestand of science.

    Which is why, btw, Intelligent Design (or Creation Science as it was called, until the US Supreme court ruled it was a religious Trojan horse interfering and seeking privilege from the state) CANNOT ever be a valid science. Until such time as you can put God on the scales, measure him, observe him…then he necessarily remains outside the scope of scientific endeavour. That is a safeguard for both good science, and good theology.

    How do you distinguish between the revelation you believe (Christian Bible) and all of the revelations you don’t believe (all other religions’ scriptures)? In other words, how do you evaluate one as true and the others as false?

    Good question. For me the centrality of the life, ministry and death and resurrection of Christ seems to be the key. We (the overwhelming consensus of New Testament scholarship) are happy to accept that the New Testament constitutes a reliable proof that Christ indeed lived and died. OK. In that sense it is “historical”, even though it wasn’t written as “history” (which in itself is a loaded term and a modern conception).

    The message/gospel contained therein invites me to trust/believe/exercise faith that the event of the resurrection also recorded in it did indeed occur. Once I do, I receive subjective existential confirmation. That may not convince others, including skeptics. Fair enough. Every religion makes a similar claim.

    Nonetheless. because I’ve hitched my wagon to the event of a resurrection and the text that both records and proclaims it, THAT becomes the foundation for assessing other religions. It also highlights a unique aspect of Christianity – the founder IS the message, not just the messenger. Take Moses out of Judaism, Muhammed out of Islam, Guatama out of Buddhism, and they still remain philosophically intact. Read the Gospels, especially John, and the letters of the New Testament and you can’t do that with Jesus. Which leads back to that link between the event and the record/proclamation of the life, ministry and resurrection.

    OK, so if the New Testament is the prism through which I assess if other revelations are false or not, I join the dots (use philosophy/reason – but as the hand maiden of the revelation). Nothing in Moses or the rest of the Tanach/Old Testament contradicts this revelation (Jewish opinion to the contrary!). Indeed Jesus and the writers of the New Testament consider they are proclaiming the fulfillment of the Old Testament. So therefore it is part of the canon of Scripture.

    I come to the Koran, which tells me that to check and verify its message I should read the New Testament to confirm Muhammed’s message that Jeus never claimed to be the Son of God. I take up his invitation, and what do I find? On every page of the New Testament I find the inextricable and clear teaching Jesus is INDEED Son of God (and also what Muhammed THINKS the term means is different to that taught in the New tsetament). I listen to the claim of Muslim apologists who say that the New Testament textual evidence has been doctored and the phrase and teaching “Son of God” has been added into the texts. Then I look at 1. the sheer impossibility of adding it in later – it is literally there informing EVERYTHING that is in the New Testament, and 2. there is no textual evidence to confirm the Muslim plot theory. I therefore conclude that Muhammed, taken on the test he said I should use, was misinformed

    I come to the book of Mormon (or more exactly the other Mormon texts – Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The Book of Mormon itself is a nonsense but theologically benign pot boiler). There I am told “the Bible is true insofar as it is correctly translated”. Uh huh. OK, well I can avail myself of the tools of Greek, but even English translations clearly show (especially the Gospel of John again) there is but one God who has always been, and will always be – yet Jesus is distinct from the Father, yet is also God. OK, so I have the building blocks for the eternal existence of God, and the docrtrine of the Trinity (one God existing in three persons). I then look at Mormonism that says there three Gods, and that “as man is God once was, as God is man may become”, and 1. this does not concur with the doctrine of the New Testament and 2. no Mormon scholar has ever produced a decent argument (let alone any argument for that matter!) of why a trinitarian eternally existing God is not a valid translation of the Greek texts of the New Testament. I therefore conclude that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the supposed on-going revelations of a string of Mormon Prophets and Apostles based in Salt Lake City (and other Mormon competitors throughout the USA) are misinformed.

    I then come to the writings of Hinduism and Buddhism, and I find a central tenet – they are all essentially about providing techniques to escape the essential problem of material existence. I then look at what I have previously considered canon- the Old Testament (built on the foundation of the New Testament, built on the event of the resurrection of Jesus) – and I find that there is NOTHING wrong with material existence. Indeed God decreed that the phyiscal Universe, with humanity in it was “very good”. and instead it was disobedience to his good and just will and command that has caused the existential problem of evil and suffering. I therefore conclude Eastern religion (while containing elements of truth – as all humanity created in the image of God posseses, although in incomplete and flawed form courtesy of the Fall I just mentioned), is misinformed.

    And so on.

    Faith informing and seeking understanding, to quote Anselm.

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  168. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ SGA

    Kimbo, does the historical reality (one way or another) of Muhammad, Gautama Buddha, or Joseph Smith have much impact on you not being a Muslim, Buddhist, or Mormon?

    Yes. As per my lengthy and detailed post above.

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  169. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    I think a better and more nuanced understanding is that religion and human nature (including the excuses we make) interact, sometimes one leading and prompting the other.

    Yes I agree. I made the mistake of talking in absolute terms (ie religion is the excuse) as, I would suggest did you when you stated ‘the REAL problem, which is human evil’.

    BTW I consider Ayn Rand to be an extreme loony.

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  170. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Good question. For me the centrality of the life, ministry and death and resurrection of Christ seems to be the key. We (the overwhelming consensus of New Testament scholarship) are happy to accept that the New Testament constitutes a reliable record that Christ lived and died. OK. In that sense it is “historical”, even though it wasn’t written as “history” (which in itself is a loaded term and a modern conception).

    At this point you’ve reached “that Christ lived and died”.

    The message/gospel contained therein invites me to trust/believe/exercise faith that the event of the resurrection also recorded in it did indeed occur.

    Of course it doesn’t. How do you get from “that Christ lived and died” to that?!

    Once I do, I receive subjective existential confirmation. That may not convince others, including skeptics. Fair enough. Every religion makes a similar claim.

    And every religion is correct when they do. Receiving subjective existential confirmation of what you already believe to be true is 99% of human experience.

    Nonetheless. because I’ve hitched my wagon to the event of a resurrection and the text that both records and proclaims it, THAT becomes the foundation for assessing other religions.

    So you’re not comparing religions against each other and assessing them for truth; you’re comparing non-Christian religions against the religion to which you’ve already ascribed and assessing them for consistency with what you already believe.

    You’re basically saying that Christianity got to you first. If you had made these unwarranted leaps (“being invited to trust/believe/exercise faith”) to “hitch your wagon” to another religion first, you’d be evaluating Christianity in light of your certitude that God’s oneness precludes the possibility of a Trinity, or evaluating Christianity in light of your certitude that God was incarnate as a Christos/Krishna many times, etc.

    At no point have you described a thought process that involves evaluating revelations without the assumption that one of them is correct.

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  171. Ryan Sproull (7,285 comments) says:

    Faith informing and seeking understanding, to quote Anselm.

    Faith informing and seeking post-facto justification, you mean.

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  172. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    We (the overwhelming consensus of New Testament scholarship) are happy to accept that the New Testament constitutes a reliable proof that Christ indeed lived and died. OK. In that sense it is “historical”, even though it wasn’t written as “history” (which in itself is a loaded term and a modern conception).

    The message/gospel contained therein invites me to trust/believe/exercise faith that the event of the resurrection also recorded in it did indeed occur. [my emphasis]

    That’s quite a leap of faith, especially for a account that has been subjected to, as you phrased it, historical Chinese Whispers. Take the wedding at Cana for instance. I’d suggest that a more believable story would be that after the wine ran out, Jesus was such a gifted orator and entertainer that the water the guests were were left with drinking seemed better than the wine they’d run out of. So the story was transformed but the wine never really was. Does that make sense?

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  173. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    So you’re not comparing religions against each other and assessing them for truth; you’re comparing non-Christian religions against the religion to which you’ve already ascribed and assessing them for consistency with what you already believe.

    You’re basically saying that Christianity got to you first. If you had made these unwarranted leaps (“being invited to trust/believe/exercise faith”) to “hitch your wagon” to another religion first, you’d be evaluating Christianity in light of your certitude that God’s oneness precludes the possibility of a Trinity, or evaluating Christianity in light of your certitude that God was incarnate as a Christos/Krishna many times, etc.

    At no point have you described a thought process that involves evaluating revelations without the assumption that one of them is correct.

    No, or at least I don’t think so.

    You are right that I have not made a comparative study of religions – which btw isn’t of its very nature really designed to test which is true or not. Instead, comparative religious study just examines and compares them as social pehnomena. I could have done that, but you forget your original question: How do you distinguish between the revelation you believe (Christian Bible) and all of the revelations you don’t believe (all other religions’ scriptures)? In other words, how do you evaluate one as true and the others as false?. You were asking for my test of veracity. Kindly stop moving goal posts.

    I think there is some good evidence for the resurrection, and IF it is SO, then the thought process I’ve engaged in is valid and logical.

    I’ve already mentioned that the New testament undoubtedly fits within the world of the 1st century Eastern Roman Empire. Also, the data of the death of the founder by crucifixon and the record that the discovery of the empty tomb and the witness of the resuurected Jesus was, according to the New Testament made by women. If you are in the business of fabricating a religion based on a key event, this is NOT how you go about it.

    I’ve also mentioned the highly sophisticated oral culture that preserved the original sayings and the memory of the events surrounding the death and resurrection. All four Gospels provide a wealth of details.

    I’ve also mentioned the remarkably short period of time between the event, and its open proclamation and attestation. As stated, that letter to the Galatians writen only 20 years later – at a time when political opponents of Jesus are in a position to produce tombs, bodies, soldiers who guarded the tomb.

    I’ve mentioned the essential uniformity of the recording of events and their significance throughout the New Testament. Of its very nature (and this is where comparison with various Jewish sects of the time is useful) there is a uniformity that defies the conception of one person, and especially a fabrication by a committee. The gospel and essential message is the same all throughout the New Testament (and I don’t want to downplay differences and nuances – they do exist) despite being written to different groups, in specific contexts, with specific localised issues and challenges.

    Now, obviously that for you is not compelling. If you were to take each on their own, I agree. But taken all together and I conclude they are sufficient. Or at the very least worthy of closer examination rather than a cavalier dismissal – no matter how “unlikely” they appear to our current (contingent and culturally-loaded) tests for epsitemology and veracity.

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  174. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    That’s quite a leap of faith, especially for a account that has been subjected to, as you phrased it, historical Chinese Whispers. Take the wedding at Cana for instance. I’d suggest that a more believable story would be that after the wine ran out, Jesus was such a gifted orator and entertainer that the water the guests were were left with drinking seemed better than the wine they’d run out of. So the story was transformed but the wine never really was. Does that make sense?

    It’s a possibility. But then if it is a case that Jesus is a gifted orator (and in the rest of the Gospel he is presented as VERY locquacious!), why does the narrative have him acting anonymously and WITHOUT any speech? Especially when he could be giving an address like, say, the feeding of the 5000 in chapter 6 – which IS often explained as Jesus was “such a gifted orator and entertainer that the crowd all produced and shred the bread they had stored away for their own use!.

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  175. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    But then if it is a case that Jesus is a gifted orator (and in the rest of the Gospel he is presented as VERY locquacious!), why does the narrative have him acting anonymously and WITHOUT any speech?

    Doesn’t really matter prior to the “miracle”/running out of booze part. Speaking of the Feeding of the 5000 I doubt very much 5000 Israelites would wander out into the desert without any lunch regardless of instruction not to do so (which seems like an historical addendum to me) so perhaps the lesson lost to modern generations is one of sharing not one of conjuring.

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  176. lolitasbrother (751 comments) says:

    A friend of mine gave me the Dawkins autobiography, called pompously ‘ An appetite for wonder’ or some such.
    It was unreadable self eulogising drivel.
    Dawkins got a sell out audience when he came here to Christchurch a few years ago , but he seemed a man full of some anger
    and antagonism.

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  177. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ Ryan Sproull

    So you’re not comparing religions against each other and assessing them for truth; you’re comparing non-Christian religions against the religion to which you’ve already ascribed and assessing them for consistency with what you already believe.

    In the case of Islam and Mormonism, no, not really.

    Both claim to be the true and updated manifestation of Christianity, and the writings of their founders invite potential converts to test what they say against the New Testament. Which, as ststed previously is an artifact of archaeology that we can identify and test through the science/discipline of textual criticism. There are specific objective procedures scholarship uses to establish what is likely a true record, and a faithful reproduction. Like we can do with any corpus, e.g. Shakespeare.

    So the comparison is not arbitrary and unreasonable. Indeed it corresponds to the test for veracity that the religions themselves claim we should use.

    And in the case of the Old Testament, it too claims that there is a Prophet and/or Messiah to come, so of itself it acknowledges it is NOT the last word on God’s revelation of himself.

    But I acknowledge Eastern religion is a whole different kettle of fish. But as you seem to acknowledge logic and material existence are real, rather than impediments to the truth (as I understand Eastern religions do – very simplistic summary), I guess you too have ruled them out of court….

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  178. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    There are specific objective procedures scholarship uses to establish what is likely a true record

    Yes, such as what is physically possible I’d imagine.

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  179. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    “There are specific objective procedures scholarship uses to establish what is likely a true record”

    Yes, such as what is physically possible I’d imagine.

    I think you are falling into the trap of circular reasoning.

    I was essentially asked why I believe the key tenet of the Christian faith – the resurrection of Christ.

    I’ve acknowledged that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs”, and outlined the cumulative internal and external evidence surrounding the archaeological artifact that is the New Testament that I personally consider make a good case

    …and you have dismissed that evidence with “it isn’t physically possible”.

    Also, just examining your conclusion for its logic alone – as per Hume (cause and effect cannot be established in absolute terms, e.g., just because people don’t seem to rise from the dead doesn’t mean it can’t happen) and Descartes (you cannot ultimately rely on experience to determine truth, e.g., people don’t seem to rise from the dead), it ain’t necessarily so…

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  180. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    I have rather more sympathy with Dawkins on this. He has spent his career being yelled at by religious people, most of whom who don’t know anything about evolutionary biology. Around ten years ago he decided to start yelling back. He will be motivated by noticing how supernaturalism is a process that can run away. Fairy stories are of course harmless and fun. But a few silly ideas go on to become doctrine. And that’s when people start yelling, a few will demand the state defend their silly ideas either in the classroom or through war, and a very tiny minority will strap explosives to themselves. All of which could be avoided through skepticism and asking what the evidence says. I imagine that is Dawkins point of view.

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  181. Kimbo (1,083 comments) says:

    @ ben

    But a few silly ideas go on to become doctrine. And that’s when people start yelling, a few will demand the state defend their silly ideas either in the classroom

    Fair point, ben, and from a pragmatic point of view that would seem like a legitimate strategy by Dawkins.

    However, I think Dawkins goes astray in targeting the wrong thing. If you REALLY want to keep supernaturalism out of science, you do so by debating at the points and occasions at which it seeks to illegitimately transgress and interfere with inappropriate and/or unsuitable methods of verification in that which is not its legitimate domain. That is the essence of our secular/non-sectarian constitution (ours is not codified like the US, yet it still applies in pragmatic terms).

    The US Supreme Court has done a good job of calling “Creation Science” what it REALLY was – religion. The same group who pushed it in the first place have regrouped, repackaged it, and called it “Intelligent Design”. Fight that with the facts of science – and good theology too btw! And ensure, just as others on this site have argued when the issue of radical Islam hijacking our public education system has been mooted, that school boards are NOT able to set a curriculum that includes “Intelligent Design” as part of the Science curriculum.

    But to (as I interpret Dawkins to have done)

    1. Effectively declare ideological and rhetorical war against religion, and

    2. insist that Science and/or logic (tied up in an assumed an unexamined Positivist bundle) is the sole or primary means of “real and true” knowledge

    is not only attempting to crack a walnut with a sledge hammer (and I don’t want to minimise the importance of Dawkins’ concernn to preserve Science as Science – it is legitimate)

    but it also pragmatically detracts, obscures, and distracts from the importance of protecting the legitimate spheres of BOTH Science and religion.

    In other words Dawkins is insisting it is either Science or Religion. And it ain’t necessarily so, either pragmatically, nor in absolute terms.

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