30 Things You Can Do This Summer to Deepen Your Kids’ Faith

30 Things You Can Do This Summer to Deepen Your Kids’ Faith

By Natasha Crain

It’s now officially summer!

For many families, that means a (slightly) less hectic schedule for a few glorious weeks. At the same time, it can mean small-scale panic at what to actually do with the extra time your kids have.

Solution: Take the opportunity to get more creative with engaging together spiritually as a family. Here are 30 ideas to get you started!

 

  1. Choose a gospel to read as a family (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). Decide on a timeframe (days or weeks) and divide the chapters accordingly.

 

  1. Pick two chapters per week from my book to discuss as a family. You probably have about 10 weeks of summer vacation. That means you can cover about half of the 40 critical conversations from Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side in that time! It’s a perfect opportunity before another hectic school year.

 

  1. Watch the “What’s in the Bible?” DVD series together. This 13-DVD series takes kids all the way the way through the Bible. It’s perfect for kids who need entertainment combined with their learning in order to pay attention. My 7-year-old son, for example, thinks it’s hilarious AND learns from it. However, kids who learn better from a more A-to-B approach will likely find it too chaotic. My 7-year-old daughter (my son’s twin) hates it because she has “no idea what’s going on.” I end up pausing it every 5-10 minutes (in a 25-minute episode) to explain. Nonetheless, it’s meaty WHILE being crazy, so it’s a great option for kids with certain personalities and learning styles.

 

  1. Schedule a “questions night”—a time for your family to get together and discuss any questions your kids have about God. Here’s how we do that in our family. Don’t just do it once! Do it throughout the summer, and hopefully beyond.

 

  1. Have your kids interview a nonbeliever. This could be a family member or friend. Help them come up with some questions, then discuss the responses later.

 

  1. Choose a news story with a faith angle to talk about. The sky’s the limit here. The Christian Post has a ton of material to consider.

 

  1. Find a way to serve others together as a family. Then discuss what the Bible says about serving others, so your kids have a meaningful understanding of how their beliefs tie to their actions.

 

  1. Attend Vacation Bible School. VBS is a fun week offered by many churches for kids to play and learn together. And you don’t have to just go to the one offered by your church–attend one at another church and get to know more people!

 

  1. Pick a relevant single word to focus on and discuss. Some good words for discussion from my book are faith (chapter 8), objective truth (chapter 9), justness (chapter 3), miracle (chapter 24), and evolution (chapter 37).

 

  1. Invite your pastor over for dinner. Depending on the size of your church, your kids may never have actually interacted with your pastor. Invite him to dinner and give your kids the opportunity to ask questions they may not want to ask you (or that you may not know how to answer)!

 

  1. Read or watch a debate between a Christian and a nonbeliever. Debates make for great discussion opportunities with older kids. Here’s a debate on the existence of God you can use, and here’s one on the reliability of the Bible.

 

  1. Do an internet research project together. Pick a faith-based subject to Google with your kids (e.g., “Did Jesus exist?”). Look at several of the articles from different viewpoints together. Talk about how to evaluate all the conflicting ideas you see online.

 

  1. Watch a science DVD series from a Christian perspective. This collection is great: The Intelligent Design Collection – Darwin’s Dilemma, The Privileged Planet, Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

 

  1. Learn about Christian persecution worldwide. In many countries, Christians are being persecuted. Open Doors USA is one organization that works on raising awareness of this. Use their site to help your kids gain more perspective on what the cost of following Jesus can be (and talk about how you can help).

 

  1. Encourage your kids to invite a friend to church. Have a conversation with your kids beforehand to help them fully understand why sharing our faith is important.

 

  1. Get The Belief Book by David McAfee and discuss. This is an atheist book written directly to kids which explains that religious beliefs are just holdovers from ancient people who didn’t know how to explain the world. It’s filled with inaccurate caricatures of faith and would be an excellent discussion tool for older kids.

 

  1. Introduce logic games. Critical thinking is so important in faith development today! Here’s a game we do regularly in our family that can help even the youngest kids think better.

 

  1. Visit a different church (another denomination or religion). Then discuss the difference in beliefs and practices versus your own…and why they differ.

 

  1. Break down the meaning of a worship song. If you ever stop to pay attention to the words in the songs we AND our kids sing at church, you’ll note that the meaning isn’t always obvious. Kids can learn a lot from discussing the songs they’re used to singing and it makes the songs more meaningful at the same time. (As an example, think of the song, “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord, I Want to See You,” and how not obvious that meaning is to a child.)

 

  1. Get a new Bible game to play as a family. Search for “Bible games” on Amazon and you’ll find many options.

 

  1. Take a family spiritual inventory and act on it accordingly. Have each family member write down what they feel is good about your family’s spiritual life and what could use improvement. Get everyone thinking by identifying categories like prayer, Bible study, church attendance, service, and conversations. Take action on areas for improvement!

 

  1. Write letters to God. Have each family member take 10 minutes to write a letter to God. Pick a topic that is relevant at a given time for your family–it could be something light-hearted like complaints you’d like to “file” or something more serious like expressing disappointment about unanswered prayer. Share your letters.

 

  1. Print an internet meme to discuss. Google “religion memes,” click on the search results for images, and you’ll see all kinds of discussion-worthy topics.

 

  1. Do a Bible timeline activity. In my opinion, one of the greatest problems with biblical literacy today is understanding how the whole Bible fits together as one story of salvation history. When kids grow up without that understanding (as I did), the Bible is just a jigsaw of unconnected stories with questionable relevance. If you search on Amazon for “Bible timelines for kids,” you’ll see many activity options for kids of different ages. Pick one and work through it this summer.

 

  1. Go to a Christian bookstore together and pick out a devotional. It doesn’t have to be January 1 to start a devotional habit. Take your kids to a Christian store and select a devotional book to start.

 

  1. Pick a magazine and hunt for examples of the secular worldview throughout the articles. For example, with a teen girl, you could pick a popular teen beauty magazine. Get two copies—one for you, one for her. Have each of you go through and circle examples that are in conflict with a Christian worldview. Compare and discuss.

 

  1. Play “What would you say if…”. Certain personality types love intellectual challenges. My daughter, for example, loves open-ended questions that she can try to answer in the best way possible. If you have a child like that, you can facilitate conversations in a game format by asking “What would you say if…” Here are a few examples: What would you say if your friend’s mom said God doesn’t exist? What would you say if someone told you the Bible is 2,000 years old, so it’s not relevant for our lives today? What would you say if someone told you Christians are hypocrites so they never want to be a Christian? What would you say if someone told you they believe in science, not God?

 

  1. Create a family prayer list. Write down the biggest needs for your family and those you know and commit to praying together consistently throughout the summer.

 

  1. Role-play being an atheist and have your kids try to convince you that Christianity is true. This can be an eye-opening experience for all involved and show you what subjects you should study together going forward.

 

  1. Read a religion research study together and discuss. The Barna Group does a ton of interesting research about religious belief and activities in America. Their studies could lead to many interesting conversations with older kids and trends in our country and what it will mean to them to be a Christian in an increasingly secular world. Here’s one research example that just came out: The End of Absolutes: America’s New Moral Code.

 

If you have any other ideas that you’ll be using in your family, please share in the comments!

30 Things You Can Do This Summer to Deepen Your Kids’ Faith

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41 replies
      • David says:

        No Travis, I think I understand what you would call the gospel. Man is spiritually dead because of sin. Jesus died to pay the penalty for that sin and if you “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you shall be saved”. And the whole thing is totally by grace, no works involved. I know there are a lot more details but that’s basically it, right? Fill in for me the important details I’m leaving out.

        Reply
        • Travis says:

          It’s all about a choice and free will which your worldview does not account for, but that is beside the point.

          God created us to be in relation with Him and to walk in the spirit. He wanted us to choose love and if we could choose love, we could also choose sin. He wanted us to be beings with free will, therefore the tree of knowledge of good and evil had to be known to Adam and Eve because if they were going to choose to love God, they needed to have an option to be separate from God. When they ate of the tree to be like God, this caused a dilemma for God. Now the thing that He loved (humans) took on the very nature of what he hated (sin). So God could either love what he hated (sin) or hate what he loved (humans). Now was this a surprise to God? No, He not only knew this would happen, He even told them about the tree, why? Because love must be chosen, it cannot be forced. They had to know there was an option separate from God. So to reconcile this, God had to send Jesus who would know no sin, to take on all sin of the world, therefore when God sees us, He sees the cross.

          The thing is it has always been about a choice. When Turek debated Silverman, Silverman said why put the tree there, why not put it too far away? We had to have that choice. Silverman thought God was unjust to give Adam and Eve a choice knowing what the outcome would be, but I see it as the opposite, God had to let us choose.

          Jesus is not the way to Heaven . . .Jesus is the way back to the Father. It is restoring us back to the original form, where you can walk in relation with the Father and the spirit can be dominant.

          It may sound far-fetched, but so does believing our ancestors were forms of shower mold, cockroaches, and tortoises that after millions of years of macroevolution formed into ape-like creatures that eventually developed into humans and for some reason we as humans believe we have more value than any of the creatures above. Why? Because we say so? Maybe we should mind our elders and be more subservient to our ancestors, after all if it wasn’t for them we would not be here? Nonsense

          We have value because we are made in the image of God.

          If the value of something is always determined by the price that is paid and God paid such a high price to get you back, what makes you think you don’t have absolute value. The cross is not a revelation of our sin, it is the revealing of our value.

          Reply
      • David says:

        You can claim that god is not responsible for the state in which man finds himself but I think you have to ignore logic to reach that conclusion. Unfortunately that’s how I feel about most apologetic defenses of god and the bible. I feel I have to dispense with reason and accept inferior answers to tough questions.

        Here is a simple question that I have never heard adequately answered by a Christian, “Do you think it was good for god to create knowing that most humans would suffer in hell forever?” I’m afraid you too will avoid answering it and launch into some discussion of objective morality. Please just answer “Yes” and then explain why.

        Reply
        • Travis says:

          I think I answered mostly above. See I pose questions to atheists and all I get is another question or they start to change the subject, because atheists exempt themselves from their own claims and steal from theism, I can show you atheist after atheist quotes where they say their worldview does not account for reality as we experience it, but yet it is true. That to me is crazy! You have a “worldview” that cannot account for “the world” and reality as you know it, yet it is true.

          I think I posed a few thoughts for you to answer on your worldview above with macroevolution and human value.

          To answer your question, absolutely! It is all about choice, God does not send you anywhere, sin does. Sin separates us from God, it does now and it will for eternity. What is Hell, eternal separation from God. I think the rest can be explained from above. Now the atheist may say, then why create me in the first place if God knows I will be an atheist forever. You may have children or grandchildren who become christians, I am sure there are atheists in my bloodline. You may still impact people and do God’s work even though you choose to reject Him.

          Reply
          • toby says:

            The ” atheists exempt themselves from their own claims and steal from theism, I can show you atheist after atheist quotes where they say their worldview does not account for reality as we experience it, but yet it is true.”

          • Kyle says:

            “See I pose questions to atheists and all I get is another question or they start to change the subject, because atheists exempt themselves from their own claims and steal from theism, I can show you atheist after atheist quotes where they say their worldview does not account for reality as we experience it, but yet it is true.”

            You cannot prove that the world wasn’t created just today with all our history, experiences, and memories built in with the exact purpose of appearing exactly as we see it (billions of years old with evidence of evolution and other such things). Atheists in general (because I surely don’t speak for them all) don’t exempt ourselves from claims, we just don’t make claims to explain things we as humans cannot possibly (or at least reasonably at this age) understand or prove. It is the theist that makes these claims with weak or non-existent evidence, and upon refutation by the atheist demands we support our “claim”. It is not necessarily a claim to refute or deny someone else’s. In the spirit of Hitchens, you say we have free will because the boss demands it. I say we have free will because we’ve got no choice. Until you can show us exactly what a world would look like without free will, then show us how this world is not that and in fact needs your god to work out the free will, the atheist is free to ignore your unsupported claims.

  1. David says:

    Does the meme in question not raise any issues for you? I know you find it insulting because you have feelings of affection for Jesus but it is a very poignant critique in my opinion. He doesn’t have to send anyone to hell. The bible seems to indicate that he established the system. He created it. It wasn’t foisted upon him. He designed it. In fact, if he made it, it has to be beautiful, right? How can you call choosing god a “free will” choice? It’s a “coerced will” choice if I ever saw one. Assuming heaven is as awesome as the bible says it is, a true free will choice would be “chose Jesus and be reconciled to god or you get banished to Hawaii without him”. When my son-in-law asked me if he could marry my daughter he didn’t phrase it like this, “Sir, I really love your daughter and I want to marry her and make her happy. I promise to take care of, love and respect her for the rest of my life. However, if she ever decides she doesn’t love me then I’m going to torture her to death.” If he had he might have died that day. I know you will say, but your son-in-law is not god. But I disagree with you that god does not have a moral obligation to save everyone. I know Piper is a big proponent of the whole, “god can do anything he wants” argument but I think it’s pretty sickening. Anyone that creates has a moral obligation to those that he creates and not torturing them forever, no matter what they have done, seems like a pretty reasonable expectation. The whole idea of retributive punishment is really disgusting and that’s all hell is. And how, at the end of the age, will “all things be subjected to him and he become all in all”? God will be all in all, except for the billions of poor souls in the lake of fire that he has to expend energy torturing for eternity? I refer again to my sports analogy, if the Cavaliers had been 8-74 this year no one would call that a victory. How can you call most people going to hell a victory? Unless of course, as the Calvinist has to admit, not all humans have the same value. This system does not value human life. It treats it like it is expendable. It sends billions to hell so god can have a tidy little few to call his own. Your ideology even makes abortion a good thing. Why interfere with abortionists if 100% of all aborted babies go to heaven and avoid eternal torment? Where is your objective morality on this subject? You fight against abortion and ensure that the majority of babies that you save go to hell. How is this a greater good than just letting them suffer for a few seconds then be ushered into eternal bliss? Craig even championed this position in his shameless justifications of the Canaanite genocides. If the Israelites soldiers were sending babies straight to heaven, where’s the harm? I’m sorry Travis but Christian soteriology is very illogical.

    Reply
  2. Travis says:

    David – I am going to wait for you to respond to my questions and comments before I respond. Unfortunately when I speak with atheists it happens more often than not that they will dodge questions, change the subject, etc. to avoid answering questions. They will ask question after question without ever responding to any of my questions. In my opinion this is because their worldview fails on multiple levels. I will wait for you to respond before I answer your next round of questions.

    I will say this though, if the majority of people are going to hell, then why are you afraid to come out as an atheist, you would be in the majority of people who are not Christians?

    I will wait for you to answer my questions and comments above before I respond to any of your comments in your last post.

    Reply
    • David says:

      Sorry Travis, I didn’t really see any specific questions above that I ignored. Would you please state the question/s you want me to answer?

      Reply
      • David says:

        And why do you keep insisting that I am an atheist? I can argue against points of atheism too but that doesn’t make me a Christian. I prefer hopeful agnostic.

        Reply
        • Travis says:

          Sorry, for assuming, you have eluded to being a deist and I brought up reasons why that could be possible, but doesn’t seem plausible and you never answered. In one of our other interactions I asked you what you were because I was not quite sure and you never answered, but we had a lot going on in that interaction so you might have overlooked it. Hopeful agnostic huh . . . hopeful for????

          As far as my questions/ comments above, if we are to be reduced to just merely overgrown germs due to macroevolution, what makes us more valuable than any other creature on the planet or does it?

          I think this quote sums up my position pretty well:

          “Either humans have real value or they don’t.   Either someone has a purpose for existing in this universe, or he does not.  Self-inflicted purpose in a universe governed only by hapless chance is nothing more than a delusion.  Being composed of protons, electrons, and neutrons, a human being is made up of exactly the same mass and energy as a brick, or a floating cloud of hydrogen drifting in the upper stratosphere on a lifeless moon circling around an unknown planet in a distant galaxy.  If a human is to have more value than a brick or a gas cloud, and I am talking about real value, not made-up value, then that value must come from without, not within.” Christie Hunter 

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I am talking about real value, not made-up value”

            I don’t get the distinction that Christie Hunter is attempting to make. Why would being created by God create ‘real value’ in a way that being the product of billions of years of evolution wouldn’t?

            “drifting in the upper stratosphere on a lifeless moon circling around an unknown planet in a distant galaxy”

            Would we have more value if the moon wasn’t lifeless? How is the planet unknown – it’s called Earth! And a distant galaxy – distant to what? Hunter seems to be piling on as many non sequiturs as he/she can into a single sentence!

            “Self-inflicted purpose in a universe governed only by hapless chance is nothing more than a delusion”

            Who says? If I come up with a purpose for my life then by definition my life has purpose. If I value my life then by definition my life has value – that’s what value means – that it is valued by someone and has worth for someone. And what has this supposed ‘hapless chance’ got to do with whether something has value or purpose? Would God existing mean there was no chance at all?

          • David says:

            Travis, I believe that religions are just man creating his own meaning. So in some respects I guess religion is good. But there are a lot of reasons that I feel religion is bad too. Travis, I know you will protest that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. However, I think this is pure apologetics and/or self-delusion on the part of Christians. You said, “Either humans have real value or they don’t. Either someone has a purpose for existing in this universe, or he does not. Self-inflicted purpose in a universe governed only by hapless chance is nothing more than a delusion.” But don’t you agree Travis, that a strong delusion is just as valuable as an actual truth because one cannot tell the difference between the two. I believe all religions are examples of “self-inflicted purpose”. Man makes up a story that has a power that exist outside of himself and this helps him to believe that purpose exists outside of himself. Just because a particular “story with a mission” exists and that mission makes your life seem more meaningful doesn’t mean it really happened. All the problems with the bible that I have mentioned previously and many, many others are the reasons I have given up on it as a reliable source from which to find one’s meaning in life. I’m not saying the bible is worthless, just not “true” in the sense that you mean “true”.

  3. Travis says:

    Toby –

    Here are a few examples:

    Galan Strawson – “As a philosopher I think the impossibility of free will and ultimate moral responsibility can be proved with complete certainty. It’s just that I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?” “It seems that we cannot live or experience our choices as determined, even if determinism is true.”

    Philosopher Richard Rorty, is a committed Darwinist, and in the Darwinian struggle for existence, the strong prevail while the weak are left behind. So evolution cannot be the source of universal human rights. Instead, Rorty says, the concept came from “religious claims that human beings are made in the image of God.” He cheerfully admits that he reaches over and borrows the concept of universal rights from Christianity. He even called himself a “freeloading” atheist: “This Jewish and Christian element in our tradition is gratefully invoked by freeloading atheists like myself.”

    John Gray regularly castigates his fellow atheists and materialists for their habit of freeloading. Logically, he points out, materialism leads to reductionism — the conclusion that humans are nothing but animals. But most materialists do not want to accept that bleak conclusion. They want to grant humanity a higher status and dignity; they want to believe that humans have “consciousness, selfhood, and free will,” Gray writes.

    Marvin Minsky of MIT is best known for saying the human brain is nothing but “a three-pound computer made of meat.” Obviously, computers do not have the power of choice; the implication is that neither do humans. Surprisingly, however, Minsky then asks, “Does that mean we must embrace the modern scientific view and put aside the ancient myth of voluntary choice? No. We can’t do that.”
    Why not? Minsky goes on: “No matter that the physical world provides no room for freedom of will; that concept is essential to our models of the mental realm.” We cannot “ever give it up. We’re virtually forced to maintain that belief, even though we know it’s false.” False, that is, according to Minsky’s materialist worldview.

    Rodney Brooks from MIT writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.”

    Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational.

    It has no basis within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his shallow box of materialism.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.

    Edward Slingerland acknowledges that his reductionist view of humans as essentially robots is contrary to ordinary experience. Gesturing toward his own daughter, Slingerland writes, “At an important and ineradicable level, the idea of my daughter as merely a complex robot carrying my genes into the next generation is both bizarre and repugnant to me.” Such a reductionistic view “inspires in us a kind of emotional resistance and even revulsion.”

    Indeed, he writes, if you do not feel that revulsion, something is wrong with you:
    There may well be individuals who lack this sense, and who can quite easily and thoroughly conceive of themselves and other people in purely instrumental, mechanistic terms, but we label such people “psychopaths,” and quite rightly try to identify them and put them away somewhere to protect the rest of us.

    No one can have a unified coherent worldview and have 2 completely contradictory views of the human person. In every example their worldview is fragmented and broken. They have to leave their professed worldview behind when they go from the lab into the real world. The materialist worldview fails to account for reality as they themselves experience it. If your worldview does not account for the real world then it is highly likely that your worldview is false.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “Philosopher Richard Rorty, is a committed Darwinist, and in the Darwinian struggle for existence, the strong prevail while the weak are left behind.”

      Travis, this is a misunderstanding of natural selection. It’s the fittest that survive, which can easily be the weakest. There are many more rabbits than wolves. And even within a species, bigger and stronger animals don’t necessarily have the advantage, as they’ll generally need more food to survive then their smaller counterparts.

      “Galan Strawson – “As a philosopher I think the impossibility of free will and ultimate moral responsibility can be proved with complete certainty.”

      “No one can have a unified coherent worldview and have 2 completely contradictory views”

      Well you’re doing a good job of believing in both hell and a loving God!

      I’m pretty sure Strawson would contend that this isn’t a theist/atheist issue, as it wouldn’t be solved by the existence of a God anyway.

      Reply
      • Travis says:

        I think it has everything to do with it, because according to the atheistic worldview consciousness and free will are illusions and human beings can be reduced to basically overgrown germs or moist robots with no inherent value, yet none of them live that way. So what they say is all of these things are “illusions”. Why? Not because of scientific inquiry and what fits their experience, but because they are committed to a worldview that does not allow for it. Because if there is anything immaterial, than they are in trouble, they must reduce everything to the physical, to matter, if not that opens the possibility of something outside the physical, matter, and nature. In other words, something that is immaterial, and outside of nature or supernatural.

        That is why they say it is true, yet I cannot live with it or I do not experience it that way.

        Do you just see your loved ones as basically moist robots or overgrown germs that are the product of macroevolution? Then why do you acts though they have more value than a cockroach or other organisms?
        Do you act as though you are determined and have no free will? Then why do you feel as though you freely and rationally arrived at atheism?
        Is the brain just the end product of a mindless unguided process? If that is the case then why do you trust it? By the way even Darwin wrestled with this question.

        You cannot follow materialistic atheism to its conclusions. You can say you are an agnostic and that you have faith in the scientific community to find answers, but you cannot be an atheist, not for intellectual reasons anyway. If you want to be an atheist for emotional or volitional reasons that is fine, but then be honest and say so, I am an atheist because I don’t like Christians who have been jerks/hypocrites or I don’t like the God of the Bible or I lost loved ones and there can’t be good God or I don’t want there to be a God that I have to account to for X, Y, and Z.

        Those are all understandable reasons for why one would not want to believe in God, but they have no intellectual or rational bearing on whether a God exists or not.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “because according to the atheistic worldview consciousness and free will are illusions”

          How does positing a God solve the free will problem? You can’t just say “God gives us free will”.What’s the alternative to a choice that is caused by something else or is random?

          “Is the brain just the end product of a mindless unguided process? If that is the case then why do you trust it? By the way even Darwin wrestled with this question.”

          Evolution is unguided but it isn’t random. And yes, the brain is subject to bias and illusions – this is evidence that our brains ARE evolved. Certainly evolution explains this far better than us being created by a God. Sometimes we can’t trust our brains – people make decisions against their best interests all the time, people develop neuroses and phobias that endanger their health. This is all evidence for our brains being a kluge evolved over millions of years. This doesn’t mean we sink into solipsism and figure we can’t trust anything at all though. We have the scientific method, designed to over come our natural biases. Either the scientific method works and you and I are having a conversation on devices created through that method or at least one of us is hallucinating this conversation!

          “Because if there is anything immaterial, than they are in trouble, they must reduce everything to the physical, to matter, if not that opens the possibility of something outside the physical, matter, and nature. In other words, something that is immaterial, and outside of nature or supernatural.”

          The value of Pi is immaterial. Are you saying that it is supernatural?

          “Do you just see your loved ones as basically moist robots or overgrown germs that are the product of macroevolution?”

          Robot is an emotive term. Germs also. I believe that my loved ones have the capacity to feel joy and sadness, fear and hope. I don’t believe it is irrational to care about them, and you’ve not shown that it is, nor that it would be any less irrational to care about them if they were created by a God (and by the way, robots are generally created not evolved, so the ‘robot’ label would apply more in a theistic perspective).

          If we have two universes inhabited by humans, both identical, but in one universes the humans are evolved and the other they’re created by God, why should we care more about the God-humans than the ones you call robots? They all have the capacity to suffer, experience joy, have hope and feel love. But you’re saying that one set is worthless and the other set isn’t. This strikes me as quite literally dehumanising – kind of what Hitler did with the Jews. I’m sure this isn’t your intention, but it’s the logical conclusion to your argument.

          Why not just say you love people regardless of whether they were created by God or not – why place that caveat or requirement on how you treat them? Like you say – either humans have value or they don’t. Why say they only have value if they were created by God?

          Reply
    • toby says:

      Tell us your conception of free will. I don’t think there is a choice that you can make that doesn’t stem from something previous and thus determined in some way. Choices depend on knowledge and in that way your choices depend on previously learned material that informs your choice. Without that previous knowledge you wouldn’t have a choice, just a guess.

      I don’t know what theists have against seeing ourselves as animals. It’s a complete ego trip to look at all of the life around us and say, “Nope! That’s not me! I’m special!”

      My point of view is that life’s basic function is to live. This can be accomplished by many means, some of which are brutal and some of which are completely empathetic to other life. I think by the basic fact of life’s inbred preference to survive we can build a moral system in which we value life and search out means by which to keep it moving forward.

      Reply
      • Travis says:

        I think my questions to Andy answer your questions and also I find it fascinating how two people can see exactly the same information differently.

        From you post: “I don’t know what theists have against seeing ourselves as animals. It’s a complete ego trip to look at all of the life around us and say, “Nope! That’s not me! I’m special!”

        I see that as a humble experience saying human beings have real value, not made up value, and I think you would agree, unless you feel the cockroach is just as valuable as one of your loved ones. My view is that we are not where it stops, there seems to be something greater to have caused all this, including us, if that is the case I should humble myself and know that I am not in fully in charge there is something greater . . . .the atheist says I am the most evolved species on the planet, I am in charge, I am at the top of the food chain and I create my own destiny. No one or no “god” can tell me what to do, I make my own “choices”. To me the atheist is the one with the ego trip. After all if there is no God, then the buck stops with humans at least for now until another species evolves that is smarter, faster and stronger.

        J. Warner Wallace illustrates a good example of free will here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d0lcfO6Agk

        Do you feel we should hold people accountable for crimes? If so, is that just to lock them up to keep ourselves safe and to punish them? Or do you feel people can make conscious choices and can change their lives, regardless of their genetics or life circumstances?
        They don’t call them correction facilities for nothing, what do you think they are correcting?

        If they are determined, then we should not be blaming them for their actions and choices, after all they could not help it. The example in the short clip shows a guy that had every reason to be determined, environmental factors, biological conditions through addiction, family pressure, should they have let him go free?

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “the atheist says I am the most evolved species on the planet”

          There’s no such thing as ‘most evolved’. You seem to think there’s a tree that we’re at the top of. It doesn’t work like that.

          “Or do you feel people can make conscious choices and can change their lives, regardless of their genetics or life circumstances?”

          Rehabilitation in prison is PART of a person’s life circumstances. You seem to think that determinism means someone is going to commit a crime no matter WHAT happens to them. It doesn’t mean that we can’t create a system to prevent further crime or make it more likely that people won’t re-offend.

          Warner has an odd view of determinism too. There are two options here:
          1) We have free will and therefore can be held accountable for our actions
          2) We don’t and we can’t.

          How does this affect incarceration? Imagine that a guy is in front of a judge and says “I’m going to give you a reasoned argument for why you shouldn’t put me in prison – humans don’t have free will”.

          The judge can say the following:
          “Either a) we can respond to reasoned arguments, in which case you could have reasoned yourself out of doing your crime, or b) we can’t respond to reasoned arguments and I’m just as determined to put you in prison as you were determined to commit the crime”.

          Either way, it makes no difference to how we treat criminals.

          Reply
          • Travis says:

            What is your evidence for determinism? How do you know we are determined and have no consciousness, after all you would have to rise above determinism and make a truth claim to be able to know we are determined, which in turn would prove that determinism is false. Atheism presupposes determinism not on scientific fact and inquiry, but because their worldview can’t allow for us not to be, that would mean there is something that is immaterial that exists and they can’t allow for it. So what is your evidence that we are determined besides the fact that atheism says so.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “How do you know we are determined and have no consciousness”

            When did I say we have no consciousness? I am conscious and have no reason to suppose that other people aren’t.

            As for whether we are determined, I don’t see that free will makes sense as a concept, with or without a God. What’s the alternative to a decision that isn’t caused by something else? I see only randomness as an alternative. Just saying ‘free will’ doesn’t really answer the question.

            “Atheism presupposes determinism”

            I don’t think it does. Atheism just means you don’t believe in God. It’s possible to be a determinist theist (I believe that Calvinists qualify for this label) and it’s possible to be an atheist who believes in free will or some form of compatibalism.

            “So what is your evidence that we are determined besides the fact that atheism says so”

            This is a non sequitur, for reasons I describe above.

        • toby says:

          I see that as a humble experience saying human beings have real value, not made up value, and I think you would agree, unless you feel the cockroach is just as valuable as one of your loved ones.
          I’m sure you do. But I’m also sure if you put a moment’s thought into it, stepped into someone elses’ shoes, you could answer your own questions about loved ones vs a cockroaches in the absence of some supernatural deity. If you can’t see how you could value someone you know in the absense of a deity then I suppose religion is the place for you to be.

          My view is that we are not where it stops, there seems to be something greater to have caused all this, including us, if that is the case I should humble myself and know that I am not in fully in charge there is something greater . . . .the atheist says I am the most evolved species on the planet, I am in charge, I am at the top of the food chain and I create my own destiny.
          I think you’ve created a straw-atheist. The ones that seem to think they’re cock of the walk are theists that say, “we’re not animals!” The atheists I know see us as a part of an interconnected web of life. Yes, even cockroaches have value in this web. They serve purposes in the web of nature as do we as do bacteria and on and on. That’s the something greater, not some old deity on a throne somewhere saying, “you’re valuable because of me!” And if you think we’re top of the food chain then you’ve never been out of your comfortable life. I can think of many places where we wouldn’t be on this planet.

          To me the atheist is the one with the ego trip. After all if there is no God, then the buck stops with humans at least for now until another species evolves that is smarter, faster and stronger.
          I’m sure you do. I can’t see it though. An atheist that says, “I’m nothing special” compared to a theists that says, “I’m special because of my magic friend” and you think the atheist is full of himself?

          Do you feel we should hold people accountable for crimes? If so, is that just to lock them up to keep ourselves safe and to punish them? Or do you feel people can make conscious choices and can change their lives, regardless of their genetics or life circumstances?
          Yes, to the first. Yes, and no, to the second. No one should be punished, they should be rehabilitated if possible. If not possible, they should be kept away from the general population that they’ll cause harm to. I think people can make choices, but those choices are reactions to their genetics, circumstances, environment, and previously learned knowledge (or lack of it). In these free will discussions it seems that the theist wants to constrain the discussion to a single instance, the moment of decision, and ignore all that comes prior to it. Imagine a man with a gun pointed at a beagle. His choice is to pull the trigger or not. But he didn’t come to be there just in that single instant. There were prior circumstances which lead him to be there. The dog mauled his baby. The dog is rabid. The dog is harmless and he’s a psychopath. There is no choice that isn’t based on something prior to it.

          If they are determined, then we should not be blaming them for their actions and choices, after all they could not help it.
          We blame them because getting them locked away where they can’t do any more damage is beneficial. It doesn’t matter if their actions are determined or not. We blame and hold accountable for the reasons for actions and circumstances. A retarded child that drowns his baby sister because he doesn’t understand death or drowning will not be held accountable. The kid made a choice but we don’t value that choice because of circumstances. Do you disagree?

          From your response to Andy:

          So what they say is all of these things are “illusions”. Why? Not because of scientific inquiry and what fits their experience, but because they are committed to a worldview that does not allow for it.
          I think you, and likely all apologists, believe that determinism is some straight line of cause and effect from the moment of an action all the way back to the big bang. Answer this: how do you choose the line back in time of those causes and effects? We are talking about a near infinite amount of interactions that happen prior to bringing about whatever choice or action in question. It’s not a line back to the big bang, it’s a massive web. It may or may not be fair to call what we experience an illusion, but there are so many variables that go into a choice that it’s hard to call it such. The deterministic factors are incalcuable. As such it would be hard to call it illusion with so many unknowns.

          Yes, scientific inquiry. It’s called neuroscience.

          Do you just see your loved ones as basically moist robots or overgrown germs that are the product of macroevolution? Then why do you acts though they have more value than a cockroach or other organisms?
          Yes and no. It depends of if they’ve offended me. You know why a person values another person more than a cockroach. Do we really have to spell them all out?

          Do you act as though you are determined and have no free will?
          How would one act? Given the massive amount of variables behind us it would be impossible for us to know if what we are doing is determined or not.
          Then why do you feel as though you freely and rationally arrived at atheism?
          Because of prior experiences and the gathering of information.
          Is the brain just the end product of a mindless unguided process?
          Sure.
          If that is the case then why do you trust it? By the way even Darwin wrestled with this question.
          Why assume it would be untrustworthy? A brain evolved in such a way that it didn’t accurately interpret the world wouldn’t be very likely to survive would it? That’s not to say that we can’t have wrong ideas about things. These false ideas can be beneficial, harmful, or neutral. You would expect the harmful ones would be weeded out. That is unless the species had become so well adapted in other ways that the harmful ideas were no longer deadly.

          If you want to be an atheist for emotional or volitional reasons that is fine, but then be honest and say so, I am an atheist because I don’t like Christians who have been jerks/hypocrites or I don’t like the God of the Bible or I lost loved ones and there can’t be good God or I don’t want there to be a God that I have to account to for X, Y, and Z.
          Oh boy. The “you just want to sin/you were hurt by the church” thing. You’d rather have people say that because it’s easier for you to stamp it, seal it, and put it in a box.

          Reply
          • Travis says:

            Atheism has no grounds for saying something is more valuable, besides their subjective experience and what society says. Well society has been wrong on this multiple times and that can be problematic. I am not saying you can’t love and value your loved ones, but if they are just animals what gives them REAL Value, besides because they are YOUR family. Like I said to David:
            “Either humans have real value or they don’t. Either someone has a purpose for existing in this universe, or he does not. Self-inflicted purpose in a universe governed only by hapless chance is nothing more than a delusion. Being composed of protons, electrons, and neutrons, a human being is made up of exactly the same mass and energy as a brick, or a floating cloud of hydrogen drifting in the upper stratosphere on a lifeless moon circling around an unknown planet in a distant galaxy. If a human is to have more value than a brick or a gas cloud, and I am talking about real value, not made-up value, then that value must come from without, not within.” Christie Hunter

            You do not live this way . . or do you allow the cockroach, fly, mosquito, etc. to exist in your house because after all they are just as valuable as you and in some aspects are your ancestors to a certain degree. Of course not, you get rid of them. Also, everything in the Universe goes from order to disorder. This is the 2nd law of thermodynamics. We see this all over nature, yet for some reason the atheist seems to think when it comes to macroevolution it works the opposite. That is not the way nature seems to work in every other aspect. I’ll put it this way, nature will turn a building into a pile of bricks, but will never turn a pile of bricks into a building. I am all for microevolution because we have evidence for that, I am still waiting for the evidence on macroevolution which most atheist live by on blind faith, yet do not act as though they are just the products of a mindless unguided process living in a world of random chance. In fact, we would not know what random is unless we knew what order was.

            Exactly, determinism is self-defeating because you would not know you were determined unless you are able to rise above it, which then proves it is false. It is like Immanuel Kant saying we can’t know the real world, how can he make that statement unless he knows something about the real world. He excludes himself from his own claim, it is self-defeating and I see it all throughout the atheistic worldview.

            Check out the growing field of epigenetics, this flies in the face of determinism. This is a field that in it’s simplest form says how you think, behave and how choose you live your life can impact your genes. This research shows that the mind can influence the body at the cellular level. Now determinism tells us the opposite genetics and experience shape the brain, but this research, which was not known even 30 years ago, tells us how we think, behave, how we relate to stress, can literally change the body and the brain. Meaning we can make conscious choices that can actually impact our genes.

            Alright, I am going to cut to the chase with you here Toby, because I feel like we can go back and forth on these issues for hours. You give me some of your biggest pieces of evidence that No God Exists (say 4-6 reasons or so) and I will give you my biggest pieces of evidence (4-6 reasons or so)why there seems to be a God that exists (not necessarily the God of the Bible) and we should be open to the other side. Doesn’t have to be lengthy, unless you choose, maybe just a few sentences for each bullet point and then we can always elaborate later. Deal?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Atheism has no grounds for saying something is more valuable, besides their subjective experience and what society says”

            Why is that insufficient? If I value something then by definition it has value. I don’t really get what other value you want something to have – I’m starting to wonder if you mean something else by ‘valuable’. Why would God existing make something more valuable?

            “I am all for microevolution because we have evidence for that, I am still waiting for the evidence on macroevolution which most atheist live by on blind faith”

            Travis, you just don’t understand the evidence for evolution. From what you’ve said so far it seems you have major misunderstandings about what evolution is. So there doesn’t seem much point in discussing it with you until you’ve read more on the subject. No it’s not blind faith – this is an astonishing thing to say, on the level of believing in faked moon landings or a flat earth.

            I already addressed the Christie Hunter quote.

            “Also, everything in the Universe goes from order to disorder. This is the 2nd law of thermodynamics. We see this all over nature, yet for some reason the atheist seems to think when it comes to macroevolution it works the opposite”

            Travis, with respect, this just shows complete ignorance of the subject – just google ‘does evolution go against thermodynamics’.

          • toby says:

            Atheism has no grounds for saying something is more valuable, besides their subjective experience and what society says. Well society has been wrong on this multiple times and that can be problematic. I am not saying you can’t love and value your loved ones, but if they are just animals what gives them REAL Value, besides because they are YOUR family.
            Atheism is disbelief in gods. Materialism is disbelief in the supernatural. I suppose you could accurately call me an atheist skeptic humanist. Yes, individuals and society can assign value to things without an ultimate standard of value. And yes, societies have been wrong about things and religion doesn’t seem to have helped matters. History shows us subjective (or inter-subjective) morality, not some supreme objective morality that no one can seem to define and lay out plainly so that everyone can see it and follow it. Objective morality as promoted by apologists is nothing more than emotional appeals. “Don’t you want to be able to say that the holocaust was REALLY wrong?” Objective standards that exist apart from human opinion have no real use. Except maybe for some vengeful god to judge how warm your eternity will be.

            Does secular humanism have no grounds for saying that humanity is valuable?

            You do not live this way . . or do you allow the cockroach, fly, mosquito, etc. to exist in your house because after all they are just as valuable as you and in some aspects are your ancestors to a certain degree.
            No, I rid my house of them because they effect my existence negatively. They have value, yes, in an environment that isn’t mine.

            Also, everything in the Universe goes from order to disorder. This is the 2nd law of thermodynamics. We see this all over nature, yet for some reason the atheist seems to think when it comes to macroevolution it works the opposite.
            Andy is correct. You might want to read about evolution from somewhere other than an apologist’s book. A simple search for open system vs closed system might be a good start.

            I’ll put it this way, nature will turn a building into a pile of bricks, but will never turn a pile of bricks into a building.
            Horrible analogy. Building materials have no means of self replication.

            Exactly, determinism is self-defeating because you would not know you were determined unless you are able to rise above it, which then proves it is false.
            I don’t see how you could know this. If a brain evolved in a universe with physical laws and the brains that survived and thrived were ones that were able to most accurately interpret their surroundings then I don’t see why someone wouldn’t be able to come to the conclusion that they lived a determined existence. Especially if it gave additional advantage to know that. You could look at in the mystical and woo woo way of “the universe wanted to know it self.”

            Check out the growing field of epigenetics, this flies in the face of determinism. This is a field that in it’s simplest form says how you think, behave and how choose you live your life can impact your genes.
            Now you’re walking into the weeds of dualism. Of course our brain chemistries can impact our genetics. Thoughts in a brain effect all sorts of chemical reactions in the body.

            You give me some of your biggest pieces of evidence that No God Exists (say 4-6 reasons or so) and I will give you my biggest pieces of evidence (4-6 reasons or so)why there seems to be a God that exists (not necessarily the God of the Bible) and we should be open to the other side.
            I’m sure you’ve heard the old line that “you can’t prove a negative” and “the burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim”. The arguments presented by apologists are what I quibble with. I don’t find them convincing in the least as they are totally devoid of actual evidence. Go ahead with yours if you like and I’ll react.

  4. Travis says:

    Hey guys, I’ve been away for a while.

    Andy – Here we go with the you just don’t understand macroevolution or the 2nd law of thermodynamics. I sat with an atheist one time and he used this as well. He said he heard my argument and said it was nothing he hasn’t heard, yet he could not refute it, he said he can’t explain it, but he said I just need to read more about it. He and I am guessing you have heard a few slogans and know a few partial facts about a subject and are willing to base your worldview on it, yet you can’t articulate it at least in a brief description, to me this is problematic. As far as value, you cannot impose value just because you say so . . . that is when you start going into nonsense like relativism and saying well what is true for me is true for me and what is true for you is true for you, that defies all logic and is not to be taken seriously.

    Toby – No, secular humanists do not have grounds for saying humans are valuable. All they have is preferences, period. It is subjective and culturally-based which is fine, but sorry I believe there are truths out there to be discovered and dare I say it, moral laws that when we follow these, life is more meaningful and less destructive to us and others (in the long term). If you are willing to say what society decides is true or not true and what society decides has value or does not have value . . .to me that is crazy talk. There is truth and no truth, not my truth and your truth, just as I said to Andy that is relativism, which is complete nonsense, though I know much of our culture subscribes to it in our current culture.

    I knew you wouldn’t take me up on it, I have yet to have any atheist give me any positive and intellectual facts that atheism is true. I feel if I was an atheist I would be able to give positive intellectual arguments why I feel a god does not exist. I also feel just as strongly that as a Christian I should be able to give strong reasons why I believe what I believe, in fact we are called to do this (1 Peter 3:15 and 2 Corinthians 10:5 for example). This convinces me more every time that this happens that this is an emotional or volitional thing for most atheists, which is okay, there are many, many religious people of all faiths that also base their worldview on emotional or volitional reasons, including a whole lot of Christians. I just wish atheists would be more open and honest about it and not try to claim they only have intellectual reasons for their worldview.

    I’ll paraphrase Turek on this one: If the atheist just lacks a belief in God, then that is merely a claim about the atheist’s state of mind, not a claim about whether God exists or not. If he is only making claims about his psychological state and not the real world, then he is not providing any claims or evidence that we can examine. So the atheist has not provided us with any claims that atheism is true. If atheism is merely a lack of belief in God, then rocks, trees and fish are atheists as well. If atheism is just a lack of belief in God, then why do atheists insist reality can be explained without God through evolution or multiple universes? None of those atheistic arguments succeed, but the fact that atheists offer them show that they don’t merely lack a belief in God, but they feel they have positive reasons to believe God does not exist. So atheism is not just a lack of belief in God, but a belief that all reality can be explained without God. Therefore, atheists have the burden of proof to explain how reality can be the way it is without God.

    Also, I’ve always wondered . . . Why skeptics are skeptical about everything except skepticism?

    Last question for you both: If Christianity were true would you become a Christian?

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “Andy – Here we go with the you just don’t understand macroevolution or the 2nd law of thermodynamics. I sat with an atheist one time and he used this as well.”

      That atheist was right, Travis. Someone else here has already suggested you look up the difference between a closed system and an open system with regards to thermodynamics. You’ve obviously not done so. I’ll save you some time: The second law of thermodynamics applies to closed systems, whereas the earth has energy coming into the system via the sun. Order can increase in a system when energy is entering it, and that’s exactly what happens on earth.

      The reason people may have not explained this to you before is that it’s such a basic idea. I’ve seen creationist websites running lists of ‘Arguments you shouldn’t use against evolution’ and this one is always at the top. Yes, it’s such a bad argument that even creationists are warning others not to use it.

      You could have found this out yourself with the absolute barest of research.

      “He and I am guessing you have heard a few slogans and know a few partial facts about a subject and are willing to base your worldview on it, yet you can’t articulate it at least in a brief description”

      I find it very ironic that you level this charge at others after talking about the second law of thermodynamics when you yourself obviously know one or two (if I’m generous) partial facts about it.

      “that is when you start going into nonsense like relativism and saying well what is true for me is true for me and what is true for you is true for you”

      I think you’re confusing me with someone else – I never mentioned relativism.

      “If atheism is just a lack of belief in God, then why do atheists insist reality can be explained without God through evolution or multiple universes?”

      Non sequitur. In what way is your ‘If’ clause supposed to connect to your ‘why’ question?

      “Last question for you both: If Christianity were true would you become a Christian?”

      There are thousands of sects of Christianity – which one are you asking about?

      Reply
      • Travis says:

        Andy – Regardless of whether the 2nd law of thermodynamics is congruent with or opposed to macroevolution, you still never gave positive evidence for macroevolution. I can help you, DNA and homology or bone structure are both two very convincing reasons for macroevolution, this could point to a common ancestor. Some would say it could also point to a common designer. I want to be clear, macroevolution does not disprove God, it definitely causes problems for Biblical inerrancy though. I think until we have an honest conversation about what evidence we have at this point, not what we hope science will show, we cannot move forward. I think we should be open to all possibilities without shutting down one side and see what the evidence shows.

        Andy, it should not matter what sect it is, I asked if it were true would you believe in it. That is the thing I find with atheists, this is more emotional or volitional for you. As an atheist you are supposed to be a beacon of reason, a free thinker (even though there is no reason or free thinking if your worldview is correct) yet you are going to still disregard something even if it is true. I want to be clear if atheism is true, I would become one today, regardless of how it made me feel, simply because it is true.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          Travis: “Regardless of whether the 2nd law of thermodynamics is congruent with or opposed to macroevolution, you still never gave positive evidence for macroevolution.”

          Travis, there’s no ‘whether’ about it. It isn’t. There’s not much point in starting to discuss evolution with you when you’re still struggling to understand the 2nd law of thermodynamics. It would be giving evidence for the moon landing to someone who denies the moon even exists.

          “I asked if it were true would you believe in it.”

          “I think until we have an honest conversation about what evidence we have at this point, not what we hope science will show, we cannot move forward.”

          Certainly we can’t move forward when you’re talking nonsense that you don’t understand about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Have you looked it up yet? For example, have you tried googling ‘2nd law of thermodynamics’ with ‘open system’?

          No you didn’t, Travis. You said: “If Christianity were true would you become a Christian?”. That’s a much more ambiguous question. Someone could argue that to be a Christian one must actually worship Jesus/God, not simply believe. If your question is simply “Do you believe things that are true” then my answer is that I try to believe as many true things as I can. That is to say, I believe things for which I have sufficient evidence. I’m not saying that Christianity is NOT true, just that I currently haven’t see enough evidence to believe.

          Reply
          • Travis says:

            I Googled “second law of thermodynamics in an open system” and this is what I found:

            The open systems argument does not help evolution. Raw energy cannot generate the specified complex information in living things. Undirected energy just speeds up destruction. Just standing out in the sun won’t make you more complex—the human body lacks the mechanisms to harness raw solar energy. If you stood in the sun too long, you would get skin cancer, because the sun’s undirected energy will cause mutations. (Mutations are copying errors in the genes that nearly always lose information). Similarly, undirected energy flow through an alleged primordial soup will break down the complex molecules of life faster than they are formed.

            Hey Andy, I posted a message addressed to you and Toby if y’all are interested, if not no worries.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Travis, where on earth did you get that silly quote from? I still have no idea if you understand the 2nd law of thermodynamics or not. Do you get that the earth is not a closed system? Do you understand why that is important?

            “Just standing out in the sun won’t make you more complex—the human body lacks the mechanisms to harness raw solar energy”

            Travis, seriously, who came up with this terrible junk? We eat animals, animals eat plants, plants harness solar energy through photosynthesis. The energy passes from the sun to us via plants or animals that eat those plants. This is REALLY SIMPLE STUFF. Genuinely, my eight-year-old daughter understands this. I’m really sorry if this comes across as rude, but it’s extremely basic physics and biology. And no-one claims that ‘standing in the sun makes you more complex’ – what a bizarre non sequitur of a rebuttal!

          • toby says:

            Google the same thing and read the third article or whichever one is from the panspermia.org site.

    • toby says:

      that is when you start going into nonsense like relativism and saying well what is true for me is true for me and what is true for you is true for you, that defies all logic and is not to be taken seriously.
      The bone that sticks in the throat of theists is that when they’re referencing truth here, they’re basically only referring to supernatural beliefs. No one says that “what is one for you is actually two for me.” Cultural or social relativism, not complete knowledge anarchy.

      If you are willing to say what society decides is true or not true and what society decides has value or does not have value . . .to me that is crazy talk.
      Yes, this is what we see all over the world, all throughout history. Whether you can comprehend it or accept it is irrelevant.

      I knew you wouldn’t take me up on it . . .
      Because I’m not a moron.

      . . . I have yet to have any atheist give me any positive and intellectual facts that atheism is true.
      Because you’re making the claim there is a god and you’re trying to foist positive claims onto a null position. You’re seeing the word atheist and thinking, “That person says that there is no god” instead of “that person doesn’t see any evidence that there is a god.” If you’re going to argue against antitheism, then do so, but call it so.

      I feel if I was an atheist I would be able to give positive intellectual arguments why I feel a god does not exist.
      Mine typically is, “I don’t see any evidence for the supernatural. Doesn’t mean that there isn’t any, but I don’t see it around here anywhere.”

      I just wish atheists would be more open and honest about it and not try to claim they only have intellectual reasons for their worldview.
      There are many reasons for rejecting the claims of apologetics and all of them are intellectual. Mostly because their claims are just that, claims. Because at the heart of your belief is faith and it’s as emotional as anything can be.

      I’ll paraphrase Turek on this one . . . If atheism is merely a lack of belief in God, then rocks, trees and fish are atheists . . . doubt your doubts . . . moist robots . . . dancing to your DNA . . .”
      Apologists love their catchphrases. It smacks more of psychological advertising tricks than valid points.

      then why do atheists insist reality can be explained without God through evolution or multiple universes?
      Because they’re not starting at “god done it”! They’re looking the the universe and asking questions about it and researching it. Not starting with a god and then trying to make reality conform to their idea of god.

      None of those atheistic arguments succeed, but the fact that atheists offer them show that they don’t merely lack a belief in God, but they feel they have positive reasons to believe God does not exist.
      This is tired and trite, but atheists think of god much like you do of Santa Claus or leprechauns or Zeus or Allah or Joseph Smith’s god. It’s so inconsequential their their lives that it really has no effect other than having to stand up and tell religious people to keep it to themselves.

      Also, I’ve always wondered . . . Why skeptics are skeptical about everything except skepticism?
      Because the alternative is to accept everything you’re told. How do you think that will work out?

      Last question for you both: If Christianity were true would you become a Christian?
      I was once already and didn’t find it to be helpful or useful. As for Andy’s response to this I bet I can foresee your reply. Something to the tune of “all you have to do is believe in jesus and accept him, the rest of the beliefs really don’t matter as long as you do the first part.”

      Reply
      • Travis says:

        You can call these truths natural truths for all I care, but they exist. There are right and wrong ways to live life and I feel like these are discovered, not created. If 4 out of 5 people in a room think something that is evil is good, it does not make it good. This is the relativism that leads to so much of the confusion our culture is in right now. In our current society, a 45 year old 6’5” White male can identify as a 14 year old 5’4” Asian female and it is accepted and even celebrated by society because society believes this is good and helpful for people. Now I do not buy into the social stereotypes of male, female, etc. and that you have to be “masculine” and “tough” as a male or “feminine” and “dainty” as a female, but I think when you start ignoring biological and genetic factors and decide that just because you feel a certain way, then it makes it so and that you can even change your physical appearance to fit these feelings through surgery, that is problematic and typically does not help the individual. I think this ideology started with first not calling something what it is, our redefinition or acceptance of something does not make it “good” or even a good idea. I want to be clear, I am not saying these individuals are “evil”, in fact I care deeply for these individuals and feel we should be compassionate towards their experience and their difficulties. What I am saying is that this is an example of how truths are discovered, not invented, regardless of whether all of society buys into it or not.

        Toby, I am all for science and I believe that the more we discover about science, the more we see “something” outside the natural. I do not feel that science and God are incompatible.

        As far as Santa Claus, Zeus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, we have positive evidence that those gods or entities do not exist, we do not however for the God of the Bible, in fact we have a lot of positive evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible. There can be things you do not agree with or like, which is fair and totally your right, but that has no bearing on whether God exists.

        I agree with the fact that you should know why you believe what you believe and be skeptical about claims, but be consistent, this should include materialism as well. You cannot be skeptical about all religious or theistic claims, yet turn a blind eye to the problems with atheistic materialism and swallow it whole.

        As far as the last question . . .Did not find it helpful? Oh, so you want God to serve you, not the other way around? Christianity is not about a blessed, feel good club, sorry if that is what you expected. The reason I asked that is because just like I told Andy, as an atheist you are supposed to be a beacon of reason, a free thinker, (even though there is no reason or free thinking if your worldview is correct) yet you are going to still disregard something, even if it is true? If atheism were true I would become an atheist today, regardless of how it made me feel. This just confirms that this is a volitional/emotional thing for you, not an intellectual endeavor, which is fine and completely okay, but I am not on a happiness quest, I am wanting to know what is true and what is real regardless of how it makes me feel.

        Reply
        • toby says:

          If 4 out of 5 people in a room think something that is evil is good, it does not make it good.
          Let’s agree that by good you, and everyone else, generally mean “beneficial for a specific end”.

          I am all for science and I believe that the more we discover about science, the more we see “something” outside the natural.
          Why assume that? How often has that assumption turned out to be false? How many things have we discovered that are outside of nature? How many things thought to be outside of nature have turned out to be natural? How can anything that happens in the universe be natural by definition? What you’re doing is skipping saying “we don’t know how this works/happens” for a preferred assumption. Given history “i don’t know because of knowledge limitations” is the more logical position than assuming the supernatural every single time. Occams razor is just a rule of thumb, but it applies to any assumption of the supernatural given the sheer number of times that assumption has been false.

          What positive evidence do you have that Zeus doesn’t exist?

          Did not find it helpful? Oh, so you want God to serve you, not the other way around? Christianity is not about a blessed, feel good club, sorry if that is what you expected.
          Hmmm. I think the vast majority of christians would disagree with you. They find it helpful, useful. Never seen someone break down talking about how god got them off of meth? It’s a social club for many people where they can go smile and sing and say how good it is to see someone…then talk about how trashy they are afterwords. Don’t you ever wonder what good prayer is? An all powerful, all perfect being that we cannot do anything to that would make him any less or any more powerful. Ridiculous. Prayer is people talking to themselves into believing and talking themselves out of their problems by contemplating them and using a psychological device of thinking they’re being told by something external what to do.

          Good day, sir. Thanks for the stimulating conversation.

          Reply
  5. Travis says:

    Toby and Andy,

    I have enjoyed talking with you, but I feel so much more could be accomplished through a Skype/online video chat or even through phone/audio communication. As one person having to reply to multiple comments, it can take a while and I feel like we do not cover as much ground as we could through a discussion. I also have a friend who could probably join us and I haven’t seen David on this thread, but maybe he could even patch in. If you are interested in something like this maybe we could set something up, if not, no worries. I want to conclude by saying that I respect you guys and appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opinions with me. I hope that none of my comments have been taken out of context and if we do not continue the discussion, I wish you both the best.

    Reply

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