Hitchens-Turek Debate VIDEO

The debate is over two hours, so get comfortable. If it gets hung up on our site, you can also view it here: http://www.vimeo.com/1904911.  Please return here to post your comments.  It will be on You Tube soon as well (but there you can only view it 10 minute segments).  Thanks!


Turek vs. Hitchens Debate: Does God Exist? from Andrew on Vimeo.

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206 replies
  1. David says:

    This was a great debate for you Dr. Turek. After watching the video, I was absolutely amazed at the amount of empty rhetoric that Christopher Hitchens tosses around in favor of his position. In my opinion he does a great disservice to his fellow atheists.

    Not once did he even come close to offering any justification for morality, but instead kept committing the is-ought fallacy over and over and over again. You certainly had more patience than I would.

    By the way, I was recently in a 3 month long blog debate over an a single passage from I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist. An atheist accused the author (not sure if you or Dr. Geisler) of begging the question by saying that 1 Cor 15 couldn’t describe a legend because it dates back so close to the Resurrection itself. I have studied Gary Habermas’ argument so I tried to clarify it, but this person would hear nothing of it.

    If you’re interested, the original article is here:
    http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2008/07/is-i-corinthians-153-8-too-early-to-be.html

    Most of the debate (totaled over 400 pages in the end) is in the combox here:
    http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2008/07/in-response-to-david-on-i-corinthians.html

    Peace and God bless, you are doing great things and providing inspiration for young apologists like myself 😉

    David

    Reply
  2. Sunil says:

    Dr. Turek, you were well prepared for the debate. Only YOU came for an intellectual exchange. According to my scorecard, Hitchens was woefully unprepared to 1) Refute any of your positive arguments for God’s existence 2) Give evidence for why atheism is true.

    Most notable (and ghastly) was his unawareness of our origins. Furthermore, he continuously evaded the question of objective morality. Given these two colossal shortcomings, does he still want to disseminate knowledge about atheism?

    I also noticed how he continued to surreptitiously bypass other questions, such as the “irreducible complexity.”

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  3. Maurice says:

    Excellent and inspiring, Dr. Turek. Hitchens’ response on what would convince him to believe in God lends itself to the fact that, ultimately, the problem isn’t with evidence or intellect, but with his heart.

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  4. Tim D. says:

    I’m in by 64:30 at the moment, and I only have this to say for the time being: I think Chris Hitchens is a bit confused about the stated nature of the debate. It was stated early on IIRC (I didn’t start taking notes until about the 30 minute mark) that the debate was about whether or not God exists, and yet he seems to be arguing thus far as to the practicality of belief in God in the sense that it relates to morality and life issues.

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  5. Ryan says:

    Dr. Turek destroyed Christopher Hitchens in this debate. Hitchens talked in circles and provided absolutely no evidence for his belief. Hitchens’ statements are all of personal opinion with a huge dose of sarcasm mixed in. Kudos to Dr. Turek for winning this debate hands down!!!

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  6. Tim D. says:

    ^I do think that is a bit of an exaggeration….don’t get me wrong, early on in the debate I’d be inclined to agree that Hitchens wasn’t doing too well, but his methods improved closer to the end. He still didn’t answer the main few “problems” that Turek presented early on, but from listening to you guys describe this debate, I’d think that it was this stiff and hostile encounter. When, in actuality, there was a large degree of humor invoked on both sides, often in place of answering questions.

    I will give Turek due credit by saying that he came with the most empirical assertions (even though I fundamentally disagree with almost every point he makes), and I was a bit disappointed that Hitchens chose to take the practicality approach instead of the evidential approach; I think Turek summed it up well near the end when he said that even if all of Hitchens’ points and complaints were true, that still doesn’t mean that God can’t exist.

    I guess my main beef with Turek’s argument is that it doesn’t really prove that God (especially the Christian God) exists — that was one of the points I think Hitchens addressed thoroughly, and that Turek seemed to concede to. Rather, he just sets the stage (so to speak) for a world in which it is possible for God to exist. And by His very nature I am already well aware that it is quite possible for Him to exist; that is not the question. The question is, does he?

    So in the sense that Turek “proved” his own case (that God exists), I would say that he did not. However, I would also say that Hitchens did not really rebut what position Turek did establish, although he did make some good (albeit somewhat immediately irrelevant) points on the side about morality and people in general. I also noticed (and didn’t really like) that he repeatedly deferred certain inconvenient questions to “debate number two.”

    All in all, though, I couldn’t help but get the impression that Hitchens was pulling some punches. I can’t imagine why — although I’m not familiar with much of his work, so it could very well be that he just wasn’t well-prepared for a debate. There were things that I most certainly would have said, were I in his position, that he simply did not say. Which is puzzling 0_0

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  7. Andy says:

    What an amazing debate mr. Turek! You could tell just by looking at Hitchens that he was very nervous and in the end almost ashamed to be there. I think he noticed early on that he couldn’t respond to your points and started dodging the questions with inrelevant blabber. It seemed like he wished for the debate to be over already and that’s why he didn’t even want to use all the time that was given to him.

    Mr. Tureks closing statement was simply amazing and put a big smile on my face. Amazing job, keep it up!

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  8. Andrew Ryan says:

    “You could tell just by looking at Hitchens that he was very nervous”

    He’s an alcoholic. He was just thinking about his next drink, and how much whisky he could buy with his fee.

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  9. Bob Perry says:

    Before this discussion gets any further, I want to point out a major point that needs to be made. Ironically, Tim hit on it here:

    I will give Turek due credit by saying that he came with the most empirical assertions (even though I fundamentally disagree with almost every point he makes), and I was a bit disappointed that Hitchens chose to take the practicality approach instead of the evidential approach; I think Turek summed it up well near the end when he said that even if all of Hitchens’ points and complaints were true, that still doesn’t mean that God can’t exist.

    Two points to make:

    First, the claim made by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens et al is that theism is nothing but “wish thinking” based on blind faith. As Greg Koukl has pointed out many times, the word “faith” is misused against Christians and this is a great example. While many (too many) Christians do engage in practicing a “blind faith,” (indeed some wear it as a badge of honor to do so) no one that posts on this blog can be accused of that deficiency. Whether you accept the evidence or not, the fact is that the reason we trust in Christianity is precisely because of the evidence we see to support it, not in spite of it.

    Second, Tim admits the following:

    I guess my main beef with Turek’s argument is that it doesn’t really prove that God (especially the Christian God) exists — that was one of the points I think Hitchens addressed thoroughly, and that Turek seemed to concede to. Rather, he just sets the stage (so to speak) for a world in which it is possible for God to exist. And by His very nature I am already well aware that it is quite possible for Him to exist; that is not the question. The question is, does he?

    Let’s be clear — none of us can “prove” theism OR atheism if by proof you mean something like absolute proof. What we have to consider is whether the evidence makes either more reasonable to believe. Hence the title of Frank’s book: “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.”

    I think it speaks volumes that Frank offered evidence to support his conclusion that he does find theism reasonable. Hitchens offered absolutely NONE — not one iota of evidence to support his claim.

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  10. Blair R. says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Turek for a well presented debate against atheism, you are an inspiration to apologist everywhere, and your work has awakened me anew to the truth of Christianity and has given me a solid foundation to stand when witnessing/debating with unbelievers.

    Here are some of my observations of the debate: Dr. Turek gave some good arguments for the existence of God and they were well presented, and Hitchens avoided answering most if not all of them directly. Hitchens also did not distinguish between the different religions of the world, and from that view point religion becomes completely confusing and detrimental to society.

    It seemed that instead of answering Dr. Turek’s questions, he simply complained about how terrible and awful religious people are, and the terrible acts committed by them in the present and in previous centuries. I completely agree with Hitchens about all the evil acts that has been committed in the name of God throughout history, but that still doesn’t answer the question, does God exist.

    Some of his statements in the debate seem to have been born from ignorance of the Bible, example: “Born ill, commanded to be well.” (I think that is what he said if I remember correctly, someone correct me if I’m wrong) if he understood Genesis and the fall of mankind he could not make such a statement. God created man perfect in the beginning, without sin, but man rebelled and the result was sin being intruduced into the world.

    My last observation is that Hitchens seemed rather rude and insulting at times throughout the debate, but let us not condemn him for it, for we all have been rude and insulting at some time or another in our life. He is one more person that needs Jesus, and I suggest that we who are believers set aside time to pray for him, that he will come to the truth.

    I know it might seem hard to pray for someone that seems to be an enemy of Christ, but were we not all enemies of Christ at some point of our life, before coming to the truth?

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  11. Tim D. says:

    Let’s be clear — none of us can “prove” theism OR atheism if by proof you mean something like absolute proof. What we have to consider is whether the evidence makes either more reasonable to believe. Hence the title of Frank’s book: “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.”

    I don’t have a problem with someone else finding it rational to believe in a higher power—I don’t find it entirely irrational, anyway. I do find it irrational when such a person (a) admits that their particular sect of religion is not provable beyond the shadow of a doubt, and then (b) assumes that their particular sect is true, (c) expects everyone else to follow suit, and (d) becomes hostile with/against anyone who doesn’t agree or express a desire to join said sect.

    It seems oxymoronic to me to agree with anything Turek said during that debate, and yet also believe that Christianity is the One True Religion—and expect others to feel the same way.

    Some of his statements in the debate seem to have been born from ignorance of the Bible, example: “Born ill, commanded to be well.” (I think that is what he said if I remember correctly, someone correct me if I’m wrong) if he understood Genesis and the fall of mankind he could not make such a statement. God created man perfect in the beginning, without sin, but man rebelled and the result was sin being intruduced into the world.

    It’s still a valid criticism; a human baby born today has no control whatsoever over the actions of his/her parents or ancestors. So creating a child that bears some physiological/mental defect or preoccupation as a “punishment” for something done by his/her ancestor, and then punishing that child for acting accordingly, seems quite sadistic to me. Were we to assume that such a childish God existed, it seems that this God actually wants to punish people, so He programs them to behave in ways that He knows will result in their damnation.

    And saying that such people have free will and can choose (such as, say, crack babies) is a cop-out; there gets to be a point when biological temptation (such as the aforementioned addiction) is so overwhelming that it becomes less and less realistic to expect that person to behave like a sane and un-addicted human being.

    If DNA turns out to have a major role in the process of individual morality, then we have an even bigger case on our hands here.

    Reply
  12. TomH says:

    Dr. Turek, I think you did great! I have read all the great debates, Russell vs. the Catholic Priest, for example. All of them have one thing in common–obfuscation, ignoring the question, changing the subject, and dishonesty on the side of the atheists. The reason they do this is the truth of God and His creation is irrefragable.

    Allow this old man to give you a few suggestions. Don’t be so nice. These people are not nice (remember, they hate God). And the British are marinaded in the House of Commons style of debating which is the one who shouts the loudest wins the argument. They are quite good at talking over their opponent. I used to watch Margaret Thatcher on the floor. She was a master at shutting them up and sitting them down. Next time, do not allow him to talk over you, and DO NOT LET HIM GO OFF SUBJECT. When you ask him a question, stay on point until he admits he can’t answer.

    Did you win? The gage that I use is “Who is selling or promoting the debate.” When you do a debate, agree before hand that either party can sell the debate. The one who sells it, is the winner. Did you win? Years ago, I watched a boxing match between Chavez and a black fighter whose name escapes me at the moment. For 15 rounds, the black fighter looked like the winner because he hit Chavez with 5 punches for Chavez’s one. But in the 15th round, Chavez delivered the knock-out punch. And later, the referee said that there were many moments when he wanted to stop the fight because the black fighter was sustaining so much damage. The one punch was doing so much more damage than the black fighter’s 5 punches. Sadly, after the fight, the black fighter sustained so much brain damage that he never recovered.

    You delivered the knock-out punch in the 15th round. And he was not saved by the bell. I pray that he will repent and accept the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But if he does not, I can’t wait for judgment day. I’m not nice. At the least, I try not to be nicer than God.

    Reply
  13. Bob Perry says:

    I do find it irrational when such a person (a) admits that their particular sect of religion is not provable beyond the shadow of a doubt, and then (b) assumes that their particular sect is true,

    This is inconsistent, not only with what you said earlier, but with epistemology in general. Not only that, it’s silly. No one suggests that you must possess knowledge “beyond the shadow of a doubt” in order to believe that something is true. The question is whether theism or atheism is more reasonable to believe. Based on the evidence provided in the debate, there is little question about who provided more evidence for their view. It follows (just based on the debate itself) that theism constitutes a more rational conclusion concerning the actual evidence — seein’ how Hitchens offered ZERO evidence to support his claims.

    Given that, why WOULDN’T someone conclude that the theistic view is true?

    And when you continue that it is irrational to:

    (c) expect everyone else to follow suit, and (d) become hostile with/against anyone who doesn’t agree or express a desire to join said sect.

    this is also silly for two reasons. First, I would expect that any rational person would choose to believe something that is true (i.e. has more evidence to support it) than something that is NOT true. I’m not sure why you would label such a choice as being “irrational”?

    Second, no one here is “expecting” you to follow suit or being “hostile” with those who disagree. We are simply presenting our case. You seem to equate disagreement with hostility. Those are two different things.

    Reply
  14. Bob Perry says:

    Also Tim,
    On the original thread that started before you even saw the debate you said:

    I want to see how grossly you’ve exaggerated your “victory” here.

    I wonder, now that you’ve actually seen it, if you would have any basis to claim that Frank “exaggerated his victory” (something, by the way, that he NEVER did or even suggested he did) or that Christopher Hitchens would have any basis to claim a “victory”?

    Hitchens’ performance and graciousness seemed to be sorely lacking to me. He’s a smart guy but he sure didn’t come across that way in this video. I think he did himself, and his cause, a great disservice at VCU. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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  15. Tim D. says:

    Dr. Turek, I think you did great! I have read all the great debates, Russell vs. the Catholic Priest, for example. All of them have one thing in common–obfuscation, ignoring the question, changing the subject, and dishonesty on the side of the atheists. The reason they do this is the truth of God and His creation is irrefragable.

    Really? That’s funny, I thought it was because the atheist that came to the party just didn’t really care about the subject matter….as Hitchens clearly didn’t seem to do here….

    But hey, what do I know — I’m a Godless atheist!

    Allow this old man to give you a few suggestions. Don’t be so nice. These people are not nice (remember, they hate God).

    Well, you’re right that I’m not nice….but that second remark is just plain ignorant. How can you hate something in which you do not believe? That’s like hating invisible pink unicorns…..talk about straw-men….

    But if he does not, I can’t wait for judgment day. I’m not nice. At the least, I try not to be nicer than God.

    Hmm. Wow. So you’re a sadist, too. Not bad. You’re really good at this “inspiring me to resent Christians” thing.

    This is inconsistent, not only with what you said earlier, but with epistemology in general.

    And again you are wrong; what have I said that is “inconsistent” with this? You make no sense.

    The question is whether theism or atheism is more reasonable to believe. Based on the evidence provided in the debate, there is little question about who provided more evidence for their view.

    Do you really think that I base the entirety of my worldview on what Hitchens and Turek said in a single debate? Hell no! This is a lifetime of decision-making in effect; I’m never done thinking about it! What you say here is ridiculous.

    It follows (just based on the debate itself) that theism constitutes a more rational conclusion concerning the actual evidence — seein’ how Hitchens offered ZERO evidence to support his claims.

    Again, it’s a stupid decision to base one’s entire worldview on such a poorly-presented argument such as Hitchens. It’s not like I agreed to convert to Christianity if the guy performed poorly! You guys act like we’re sports teams and you just won some big bet; no, Hitchens does not speak for me. And if you can’t realize that, then there’s not much for me to say to you.

    Given that, why WOULDN’T someone conclude that the theistic view is true?

    I’d actually rather not, to be honest. To do so would be to make a decision based on faulty information.

    this is also silly for two reasons. First, I would expect that any rational person would choose to believe something that is true (i.e. has more evidence to support it) than something that is NOT true. I’m not sure why you would label such a choice as being “irrational”?

    Ah, I see; you’re purposefully misunderstanding me! How charming. You’re assuming that lack of belief in God is “wrong” and using that as a premise to criticize me, when you know well that that is not the position I support. Bravo, and congratulations on your question-dodging techniques; you’ve clearly been learning a lot from Hitchens!

    Second, no one here is “expecting” you to follow suit or being “hostile” with those who disagree. We are simply presenting our case. You seem to equate disagreement with hostility. Those are two different things.

    Ah, and another attempt at turnaround! I would say “touche,” but you would have had to make a point for that to be the case, so alas I must just say, “um, okay.”

    I wonder, now that you’ve actually seen it, if you would have any basis to claim that Frank “exaggerated his victory” (something, by the way, that he NEVER did or even suggested he did) or that Christopher Hitchens would have any basis to claim a “victory”?

    You’re a little late to the party, I’m afraid. This has already been discussed:

    I went back and read it again. You’re correct, Mr. Turek himself never claimed a victory.

    All the same, this is the most pretentiously self-flattering post I’ve read on a blog in a long time. I’ve seen people lose debates with more grace than this.

    In any case, I greatly look forward to viewing this on youtube. I hope it’s not edited too badly….

    Or maybe you’re using that “purposeful misunderstanding” technique again? I can’t tell if you’re honestly just not getting it or if you’re just playing dumb to try to irritate me? If it’s the latter then I suppose I’ll have to persist, but if it’s the former please let me know so I can be clearer.

    Hitchens’ performance and graciousness seemed to be sorely lacking to me. He’s a smart guy but he sure didn’t come across that way in this video. I think he did himself, and his cause, a great disservice at VCU. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

    Ah! Ha! Ha! A quote from Dennis MIller! Hah! Brilliant. Wow. You’re so witty. Just….wow. I don’t think anyone’s ever done that before!

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  16. Bob Perry says:

    Ah, I see; you’re purposefully misunderstanding me! How charming. You’re assuming that lack of belief in God is “wrong” and using that as a premise to criticize me, when you know well that that is not the position I support. Bravo, and congratulations on your question-dodging techniques; you’ve clearly been learning a lot from Hitchens!

    Ah, and another attempt at turnaround! I would say “touche,” but you would have had to make a point for that to be the case, so alas I must just say, “um, okay.”

    Or maybe you’re using that “purposeful misunderstanding” technique again? I can’t tell if you’re honestly just not getting it or if you’re just playing dumb to try to irritate me? If it’s the latter then I suppose I’ll have to persist, but if it’s the former please let me know so I can be clearer.

    Purposeful misunderstanding? I find it hard to misunderstand something you haven’t offered — like an actual argument instead of a sarcastic rant. Haven’t seen that yet. I would be glad to respond to the actual evidence you think supports your atheistic view anytime you offer it.

    “Hitchens’ performance and graciousness seemed to be sorely lacking to me. He’s a smart guy but he sure didn’t come across that way in this video. I think he did himself, and his cause, a great disservice at VCU. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”

    Ah! Ha! Ha! A quote from Dennis MIller! Hah! Brilliant. Wow. You’re so witty. Just….wow. I don’t think anyone’s ever done that before!

    Funny you would only extract the familiar Dennis Miller favorite (which has NOTHING to do with the discussion at hand) and make a big deal about how obvious it is. So what?

    Once again, it would be a better use of our time to address the actual arguments and evidence in question instead of the sarcastic rants that have no bearing on the issues. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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  17. Bob Perry says:

    Bravo, and congratulations on your question-dodging techniques; you’ve clearly been learning a lot from Hitchens!

    Sorry Tim but I looked back through your “comments” and I don’t see ANYPLACE where you actually asked a question that I then dodged.

    Nor did I find anyplace where you actually offered evidence to support your view.

    In case you haven’t noticed, the Christians here are evidentialists who believe that there is more positive evidence for theism than positive evidence for atheism. We base our beliefs on the evidence we see that supports theism so, in order for us to respond to your blindly held atheistic faith, we would require that you cite the evidence to support your view. 🙂

    Thanks.

    Reply
  18. Tim D. says:

    Purposeful misunderstanding? I find it hard to misunderstand something you haven’t offered — like an actual argument instead of a sarcastic rant. Haven’t seen that yet. I would be glad to respond to the actual evidence you think supports your atheistic view anytime you offer it.

    I already explained this to you before. Your purposeful misrepresentation of my point; if we are discussing the possibility of God’s existence, then it is obvious (to all parties involved) that the issue is up for debate in some sense or another — hence the debate. So it is of course quite foolish to make your points in such a way that, in order for them to be relevant, I would have to suppose the existence of God (i.e. in your previous statement, where you simply asserted that belief in God is “true” and disbelief is “not true” or incorrect).

    I think it’s a bit dishonest for you to say that all of my posts are sarcastic rants, when it’s clearly about 60/40 (sarcasm/genuinity). But hey, I don’t blame you when your argument is as weak as it is~

    Funny you would only extract the familiar Dennis Miller favorite (which has NOTHING to do with the discussion at hand) and make a big deal about how obvious it is. So what?

    So what? I point out sarcasm like my own, is all. I enjoy sarcasm a great deal and I greatly enjoy pointing it out to people when they try to use it without owning up to it; you can’t be a smartass and then act like you’re not being confrontational. At least be honest about it like me 🙂

    Once again, it would be a better use of our time to address the actual arguments and evidence in question instead of the sarcastic rants that have no bearing on the issues. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

    Ah ha! Hee, hee, ho, hum, ha, ha, hee….hee! You did it again! Genius!

    Sorry Tim but I looked back through your “comments” and I don’t see ANYPLACE where you actually asked a question that I then dodged.

    (1) Ah, I see you placed quotes around the word “comments,” as if the nature of my comments as comments themselves were up for question! That’s quite some wit you have there 🙂 I’ll have to keep my eye on you, you!

    (2) Let’s start simple, for your sake; the following comment was my first point:

    I do find it irrational when such a person (a) admits that their particular sect of religion is not provable beyond the shadow of a doubt, and then (b) assumes that their particular sect is true,

    To which you responded:

    Based on the evidence provided in the debate, there is little question about who provided more evidence for their view. It follows (just based on the debate itself) that theism constitutes a more rational conclusion concerning the actual evidence — seein’ how Hitchens offered ZERO evidence to support his claims.

    Which is basically an attempt at a cheap shot; you’re saying that the fact that Hitchens didn’t put forth a convincing empirical debate is somehow evidence that all atheists are inherently wrong by virtue of being atheists. I wonder if you’d feel the same way about a particularly inept Christian debater in the same situation? My guess is, probably not. The bias is pretty clearly displayed here.

    What I offered was basically a peaceable disagreement on the grounds of the religion itself (i.e. I don’t hold it against you that you are of a certain belief, although I will rightly take issue if you try to force that belief on me or hold it against me), and you responded not by answering my criticism but by whipping out a poorly-structured argument about how hitchen’s inability to debate empirically somehow reflects the objective presence of evidence against the existence of God — I would think that someone like you would understand, moreso than anyone else, that Hitchen’s inability to provide a decent argument does not mean there isn’t one.

    Not that that has anything whatsoever to do with what I said originally…..

    But moving on; second, the following statement:

    (c) expect everyone else to follow suit, and (d) become hostile with/against anyone who doesn’t agree or express a desire to join said sect.

    You assert once again that this is somehow irrational, based on the further assertion that it is just inherently “untrue.” Which is not very convincing “evidence” at all (see what I did there? Quotations! That means sarcasm!). I’m surprised that you expect me to take these kinds of comments seriously at all 0_0

    Nor did I find anyplace where you actually offered evidence to support your view.

    Zing!

    In case you haven’t noticed, the Christians here are evidentialists who believe that there is more positive evidence for theism than positive evidence for atheism. We base our beliefs on the evidence we see that supports theism so, in order for us to respond to your blindly held atheistic faith, we would require that you cite the evidence to support your view. 🙂

    Thanks.

    Assertions, assertions….you know the first three letters of “assertion,” don’t you?

    But seriously. You can call it all the names in the book, you can play the word games, but at the end of the day, Christianity is about faith, not evidence. Your priority is to assert the existence of God, whether or not there is evidence, and your arguments show as much. You (and Turek) have conceded that you cannot prove Christianity as the One True Religion, and yet you charge me with running on Faith Fumes(tm)? Pathetic.

    No one suggests that you must possess knowledge “beyond the shadow of a doubt” in order to believe that something is true.

    So you admit you can’t know beyond the shadow of a doubt, only that you’re looking for a reason to believe what you want to believe.

    And then you make this hilariously out-of-touch statement:

    In case you haven’t noticed, the Christians here are evidentialists who believe that there is more positive evidence for theism than positive evidence for atheism.

    You are no evidentialist; if you were, you’d be an atheist 🙂

    Reply
  19. Tim D. says:

    You are no evidentialist; if you were, you’d be an atheist 🙂

    Well, maybe not an atheist. But you certainly wouldn’t be such a poor soul who thinks he has all the answers to the universe….0_0

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  20. Bob says:

    Which is basically an attempt at a cheap shot

    No, it was an observation about the content of the debate we are discussing.

    you’re saying that the fact that Hitchens didn’t put forth a convincing empirical debate is somehow evidence that all atheists are inherently wrong by virtue of being atheists.

    No again. I’m saying that the atheistic view as represented by Hitchens has absolutely no empirical evidence to support it. I’d love to see some.

    Notably, you chastise me for an argument I didn’t make (i.e. that “all atheists are wrong in virtue of being atheists”) yet, when given an opportunity — yes, even encouraged to address that issue — you, like Hitchens, offer absolutely no evidence to support the view you seem to share with him. That is the simple observation to which you refuse to respond.

    Believe me Tim (and my wife can verify this) I can be a world-class smart alec too. Unfortunately, that tendency still rears its ugly head far too often. But here’s the deal. I realized that when I was being a smart alec it was because a) I didn’t have a thoughtful comeback or b) that the comeback I had didn’t hold water.

    A vast majority of what you post here is devoid of actual substance. I encourage you to skip the smart alec routine and address the issues with substantive answers if you have them. Otherwise, as you noted yourself with regard to Hitchens, it is impossible to take you seriously or convince anyone to consider that what you’re saying may be valid.

    Reply
  21. Bob says:

    So Tim,

    In the debate, Frank Turek made three arguments, and followed with several other observations, in support of the theistic view.

    1) The cosmological argument from the universe having a beginning that implies a cause sufficient to explain it

    2) The design argument that the exquisite design inherent in the cosmos and in the requirements for life implies a designer as a cause for the observed design.

    3) The moral argument that the existence of objective morality demands the existence of a moral lawgiver.

    4) He listed consciousness, mathematics, logic etc. that exist within objective reality and require some kind of explanation for being there.

    So, 3) has been beaten to death on another thread. There, you established the fact that you are a hard core moral relativist (while insisting that any sense of “objective” morality only comes about through consensus, culture etc.) and that you are immune to arguments about the origin or ontological status of what good even is. That said, there is no point in discussing that topic with you on this thread again. Beating a dead horse and all … 🙂 Take it back here (http://crossexamined.thehuntercreative.com/?p=84) if you (or anyone else) wants to discuss that issue further.

    So I am asking you a direct question: Do you have any kind of empirical, logical, reasonable evidence to support an atheistic explanation for 1), 2) or 4) above?

    If so, please share it.

    Reply
  22. Bob Perry says:

    I said: “No one suggests that you must possess knowledge ‘beyond the shadow of a doubt’ in order to believe that something is true.” To which you replied:

    So you admit you can’t know beyond the shadow of a doubt, only that you’re looking for a reason to believe what you want to believe.

    I admit no such thing. To think that the existence — or non-existence — of God can be “proved” scientifically is simply ridiculous. It’s a category error. You can’t use empirical evidence to “prove” that which is not empirically detectable — something say, like God. But to admit that is not to affirm that I’m only “looking for a reason to believe what I want to believe.”

    For one thing, I could turn that statement right back on you and claim that you IGNORE the evidence because it doesn’t fit with what you have already decided to believe beforehand. Since that not-so-clever trick can be used both ways, let’s skip it and try addressing the actual claims we both make.

    It’s really not that difficult to comprehend (if you try) so let’s give it another go …

    The scientific evidence Frank offered has implications. We believe it IMPLIES (not “proves beyond the shadow of a doubt”) that theism is a reasonable explanation. We believe the evidence has theistic implications and that it takes more faith to disbelieve those implications than to believe them.

    I would like to know why you think the actual scientific evidence supports the atheistic alternative?

    Reply
  23. Bob Perry says:

    What scientific evidence?

    Seriously, Andrew, did you even watch the debate!? It’s kind of hard to miss …

    1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics
    2) Einstein’s General Relativity Theory
    3) WMAP – COBE data
    4) Hubble’s discovery of isotropic red shift
    5) DNA Information content

    Just some minor things like that …

    Reply
  24. Andrew Ryan says:

    “1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics”

    The second law says nothing about the existence or non-existence of a deity. If that’s the best he’s got…

    DNA information content? Is this another example of someone misusing the word ‘information’? Looks like it. Turek is not a scientist. Ask a bio-chemist about DNA information content. It doesn’t prove a God. In fact, lengthy study of DNA tends to lead people in the opposite direction.

    People who claim to have scientific evidence of God always seem to have a shaky grasp of actual science. Funny how scientists are much LESS likely than the general public to be religious. You’d have thought this wouldn’t be the case if science was so full of evidence for a deity. You’d have thought that the more one understood science, the more evidence you would see for God. But again, the opposite is the case.

    Reply
  25. Bob Perry says:

    Boy does this get frustrating. Here’s what I already said regarding this issue:

    To think that the existence — or non-existence — of God can be “proved” scientifically is simply ridiculous. It’s a category error. You can’t use empirical evidence to “prove” that which is not empirically detectable — something say, like God. But to admit that is not to affirm that I’m only “looking for a reason to believe what I want to believe.”

    The scientific evidence Frank offered has implications. We believe it IMPLIES (not “proves beyond the shadow of a doubt”) that theism is a reasonable explanation. We believe the evidence has theistic implications and that it takes more faith to disbelieve those implications than to believe them.

    I would like to know why you think the actual scientific evidence supports the atheistic alternative?

    Reply
  26. Andrew Ryan says:

    “I would like to know why you think the actual scientific evidence supports the atheistic alternative?”

    I see no evidence for the following supernatural phenomena: unicorns, astrology, telepathy, Gods. My default position is not to believe in any of them until evidence is provided.

    Further, I find it rich that people who deny 150 years of evidence for evolution – scientifically equivalent to believing the earth is flat – suddenly become so credulous when it comes to seeing evidence they believe ‘IMPLIES’ a God.

    Reply
  27. Bob Perry says:

    Andrew,
    This comment thread is in reference to the video of the Hitchens-Turek debate. It would be rather inane for you to be commenting on something you didn’t watch. Your posts seem to betray that may be the case, however.

    So, I ask again. Did you actually watch the video of the debate?

    Reply
  28. Tim D. says:

    For one thing, I could turn that statement right back on you and claim that you IGNORE the evidence because it doesn’t fit with what you have already decided to believe beforehand. Since that not-so-clever trick can be used both ways, let’s skip it and try addressing the actual claims we both make.

    I give you kudos for making that decision on your own 🙂

    The scientific evidence Frank offered has implications. We believe it IMPLIES (not “proves beyond the shadow of a doubt”) that theism is a reasonable explanation.

    And I would not entirely dissent with you on those grounds; I do not believe that deism is entirely irrational based on what Turek said in the debate, and I think it was presented well. What I disagreed with was the idea that any one particular religion is the One True Faith, for just that reason: it cannot be known.

    And I still find it interesting that you rely on Frank Turek’s empirical statements to enforce a belief system that (you say) you believe is not empirical by nature. How can that be?

    I would like to know why you think the actual scientific evidence supports the atheistic alternative?

    That’s a tricky question; first off, let it be known….I can’t speak for all atheists (as there really isn’t a universal “Atheist Viewpoint” on the issue of God’s existence, except maybe that we don’t believe the evidence of His existence is reliable enough to warrant converting to a particular religion), and I am also not what you’d call a “true atheist” in that I believe that evidence “proves” that there is no God or that God cannot exist (or that it’s 100% reasonable to believe so). Rather, I’m simply confident that you cannot make a solid, convincing case on objective grounds for the conversion to Christianity (or any religion). I believe that you believe it, and I believe that you think the reasons you believe are good reasons. I just do not believe they hold weight objectively, when compared against other people’s beliefs — the idea of morality is entirely an argument from consequence. It’s not that morality does exist or that it binds us, and that we must draw conclusions from it; clearly, not everyone is moral, especially not by the same definition that Christians use, and we are certainly not bound by morality. Rather, Christians seek reasons to hold other people to the Christian moral code because they believe that these are the “right” ways to live. That doesn’t mean they are so, that simply means you prefer a world in which they are, and so you base your argument on that.

    But I digress….morality is not a solid argument for God’s existence, as it’s not for certain that it even exists objectively. Likewise, the First Cause is not argument for God’s existence. We cannot understand the true nature of such a God, for it would transcend the boundaries of what we understand to be “real” — time, space, thought, concept — and in that same vein, we must admit that we cannot comprehend that it is not for certain that this particular type of entity — a God or deity — is the creator of this universe. For example, to use an extravagant example….it’s theoretically possible that this is simply a simulated time-space continuum that exists inside of a larger (actual or simulated) one, and that it is merely a creation of creatures exactly like ourselves. All First Cause implies is that whatever caused this universe to exist came from outside the influence of this universe. So it, too, fails as “proof” of God’s existence, as such a Creator would not have to be “infinite” in any real sense to create this continuum; he or she would simply have to exist outside of this particular continuum, perhaps even in another such continuum. Is it possible that a God created this universe? Sure. But it is the only possibility? Not at all. So I’d be silly to give more weight to such a possibility than to any other, and so you understand now why I do not support First Cause as evidence of Christianity (or even deism)? Proving that something is possible is not the same as proving that it happened.

    1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics

    I believe my first cause point above addresses this. Perhaps not to your satisfaction, but I definitely addressed it.

    2) Einstein’s General Relativity Theory

    Perhaps you could refresh my memory, was that earlier or later in the debate? I didn’t take notes on the first 30 minutes, and I have no notes of such a mention, so perhaps I just missed it?

    4) Hubble’s discovery of isotropic red shift

    Even if it were discovered that the universe had, beyond the shadow of any doubt, been thrown into existence in a flash of light by some Creator, that still doesn’t prove that it was a deity or the Christian God. That just means that some force from outside of the continuum impacted it and introduced into the system the elements that allow it to function.

    5) DNA Information content

    DNA evidence actually points more towards evolution, for a few simple reasons that I think a lot of people commonly misunderstand; DNA is not perfect. It’s not flawless. It is incomprehensibly complex, but it is not perfect; if you observe the biological developments of different species over a long period of time, you’ll find that there are certain aspects of creatures within the same species (so it’s not even necessary to believe in evolution to see this) that are “evolved out,” such as the human appendix. There are certain organs and functionalities that become purposeless along the lines of evolution, things that once served a purpose but now do not. So if God created DNA perfectly at one concise point in history, then He did it in a way that seems to belie his supposedly perfect nature.

    Funny how scientists are much LESS likely than the general public to be religious.

    I don’t know, I’d say it’s probably 50/50. Although what I enjoy is that the actual scientists that are religious tend to understand what exactly science is 0_0

    Boy does this get frustrating. Here’s what I already said regarding this issue:

    Bit of an oxymoron question, I might say….you insist that it can’t be proven one way or the other because it’s not empirical, then you ask me to provide empirical evidence to prove my case? Ridiculous. Besides, I’ve already laid out my case for you earlier in this post. I’ll let you read over what I have put and get your response before I go any further.

    Reply
  29. Rob S. says:

    I think that one could safely throw out the entire contents of this debate and rate the participant’s performance entirely upon the fact that Turek answered; in detail, all questions put to him and made all of his points quite succinctly. Hitchens, on the other hand, resisted answering all questions through the careful and obviously defensive use of witticism. Hitchen’s rhetoric failed to validate any points in support of his world view. All he succeeded in doing was voice his obvious hatred for all things religious.
    Finally, Hitchens thoroughly demonstrated his great misunderstanding of the Christian faith as many atheists do. I believe Turek displayed a much greater understanding of the atheistic point of view and made his case and thus, takes the victory. Turek’s description of Hitchens as an anti-theist (“I don’t believe in God and I hate him!), was dead-on. Congrats to Dr. Turek.

    Reply
  30. Bob Perry says:

    I do not believe that deism is entirely irrational based on what Turek said in the debate, and I think it was presented well. What I disagreed with was the idea that any one particular religion is the One True Faith, for just that reason: it cannot be known.

    Agreed. In fact, I don’t think the cosmological and/or design arguments get you anything beyond deism. The truth of a specific religion must be found in other arguments which determine whether they are truthful or not. I won’t get into it here but I completely disagree that the truth or falsehood of a specific religion “cannot be known.” Sure it can. But that’s not the issue we’re discussing.

    But I’m glad you agree that Frank’s case was “presented well” and that it is not irrational to see the deistic/theistic implications of his arguments.

    Wow. We found common ground. What a concept. 🙂

    More to follow but I have to call it a night.

    Reply
  31. Bob Perry says:

    One more thing though. As I said before, I will not engage your comments on the moral argument. That horse has already been beaten to a pulp. On that we do NOT have common ground because you either cannot or will not see the point we are making about the ontological status of goodness and/or morality.

    The rest tomorrow.

    Reply
  32. Tim D. says:

    But I’m glad you agree that Frank’s case was “presented well” and that it is not irrational to see the deistic/theistic implications of his arguments.

    Wow. We found common ground. What a concept. 🙂

    Is it really that hard to imagine? 0_0

    One more thing though. As I said before, I will not engage your comments on the moral argument. That horse has already been beaten to a pulp. On that we do NOT have common ground because you either cannot or will not see the point we are making about the ontological status of goodness and/or morality.

    I see the point you are making, and I see it well. I simply do not agree with it, and I do not believe that we are bound by morals that exist outside of ourselves. As a result, if we are to believe in any sort of morality, I can not stress enough the importance of personal responsibility in the area of “morality.” There is no unchanging external source that we can verify against our personal feelings; as a result, if we want to maintain a functioning moral system one way or the other, there needs to be some rational/external basis on which we make our judgments. That doesn’t mean “morality is objective,” or even that it has to be — just that there has to be some common ground in order for us to agree on anything. I want to say that people should create motivation to behave a certain way, but at the same time I don’t think that would be effective; it’s like Christians bringing up Hell to try and “motivate” folks to change. Once you take the argument and make it about avoiding punishment, the original intent goes out the window; if you make a decision only because you seek to avoid punishment, then it’s not really a virtuous decision at all anymore.

    Reply
  33. Tim D. says:

    P.S. What I mean is, the effectiveness of any given moral system is directly proportional to the willingness of its participants; a common moral system only functions if there are people within who are willing to uphold the morals. In simpler terms: “The morals won’t uphold themselves.” Which is why I do not believe in objective morality, in that sense.

    Reply
  34. Andrew Ryan says:

    “As I said before, I will not engage your comments on the moral argument.”

    Your side has an argument? I thought it was just bleating about a phantom ‘ought’ for which no-one wishes to provide any sort of evidence….

    Reply
  35. linda says:

    I…cannot believe how much Hitchen’s danced around questions, how much he ignored Turek’s points, how he interrupted him so much, how he seemed to just spew his cynicism and personal sentiments about Christianity instead of actually paying attention what was going on. All he did was jump off one or two words of Turek’s questions and statements and didn’t even answer them!

    Reply
  36. Bob Perry says:

    Andrew …. you continue to NOT answer a simple, direct question about whether you’ve actually watched the debate. I take that dodge as a “no.”

    AFTER you have, please come back so you can offer something relevant to the discussion.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  37. Andrew Ryan says:

    Bob, I haven’t watched it. I’m afraid you’ve given me no reason to think it would be a good use of 90 minutes of my time. If it’s rehashed arguments about the laws of thermodynamics, and arguments that require ignorance of science, then I won’t bother. Furthermore, I saw nothing convincing in a whole thread of dicussion with Frank about his ‘morality’ argument, and I doubt his points have changed significantly in his debate with Hitchens. So all my points still stand.

    Reply
  38. Bob Perry says:

    I doubt his points have changed significantly in his debate with Hitchens. So all my points still stand.

    This is a telling admission — “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with evidence I don’t want to consider.”

    The next time you feel compelled to accuse theists of not having an open mind or ignoring the evidence, you might want to remember this little gem.

    Reply
  39. Andrew Ryan says:

    “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with evidence I don’t want to consider.”

    No Bob. I said that I spent a whole thread debating this issue with Frank. My mind was quite open to his argument, but after literally weeks reading what he had to say I saw nothing convincing in it. He had all that time to give me ‘evidence’. So yes, I don’t see much point in watching him slug it out with Hitchens for 90 minutes on the offchance that his morality argument has become any more compelling. Even YOU said ‘That horse has already been beaten to a pulp’.

    If you consider this to be a ‘little gem’ then so be it.

    Reply
  40. Bob Perry says:

    Thanks, Tim, (sincerely) for actually offering some thoughtful points and not resorting to sarcastic one-liners. I will do the same.

    1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics

    I believe my first cause point above addresses this. Perhaps not to your satisfaction, but I definitely addressed it.

    Yes, you did. But your comments there seemed to say that I thought the 2nd Law was sufficient to convince someone to accept Christianity. Not at all. The 2nd Law simply points to the fact that the universe had a beginning. It’s irrefutable. So the question is, what kind of cause could make the entire universe begin to exist.

    You (in general) may come up with some quantum foam explanation or whatever. But the point is that such an explanation is just as speculative as the notion that there was a Divine creation event. Neither can be proved and neither is scientifically verifiable. But this implication does not exist in a vacuum (no pun intended …)

    2) Einstein’s General Relativity Theory

    Perhaps you could refresh my memory, was that earlier or later in the debate? I didn’t take notes on the first 30 minutes, and I have no notes of such a mention, so perhaps I just missed it?

    Frank used the acronym SURGE to discuss the Big Bang. Einstein’s General relativity theory was the ‘E’ and he went over it pretty quickly so you may have missed it.

    The point here is that, when Einstein was formulating his GR theory (a theory to explain gravity) the equations he developed pointed to and expanding universe (and therefore a universe with a beginning). Einstein, not being sympathetic to the idea of God, could not accept that the universe had a beginning BECAUSE he knew that would imply a beginner. So … he added a constant to the equations to cancel out the expansion. He called it the cosmological constant.

    Years later, when Hubble discovered isotropic red shift, Einstein realized that his original equations had been correct. He removed the cosmological constant and called its inclusion “the greatest mistake of his professional life” — a mistake I might add, that amounted to dividing by zero in the equations. This is Einstein. He was apparently more willing to accept division by zero (something every 5th grader knows is unacceptable) than accept the obvious implications of his own theory.

    The key here is that there was no SCIENTIFIC reason for Einstein to include the constant. He did so for the PHILOSOPHICAL reason that he could not accept a beginning (and therefore a beginner) to the universe.

    4) Hubble’s discovery of isotropic red shift

    Even if it were discovered that the universe had, beyond the shadow of any doubt, been thrown into existence in a flash of light by some Creator, that still doesn’t prove that it was a deity or the Christian God. That just means that some force from outside of the continuum impacted it and introduced into the system the elements that allow it to function.

    Right. And we call that “force from outside the continuum [which] impacted it and introduced into the system the elements that allow it to function” — God.

    Now, I know what you’ll say. We don’t know it’s God. Correct. But you don’t know what it is either. First of all, there was no “continuum” to which you refer. The Big Bang singularity emerged from NOTHING — no continuum, no force field, no time “before,” no quantum fluctuation … NOTHING. This is not my claim, this is the claim of the scientists who study this stuff.

    Our claim is that it is more reasonable to accept a personal cause for the change from NOTHING to EVERYTHING than it is to accept NO CAUSE for the same thing. That, with other evidence for design, human experience, morality, historical evidence, archaeological evidence etc COMBINE into a cumulative case argument that Christian Theism is a reasonable explanation for the whole thing.

    Once again, we do not think this in a vacuum. We are looking at ALL the evidence and making a rational choice. You may not accept it but you cannot discard it as being irrational.

    Well, you CAN of course, but not legitimately.

    Reply
  41. Bob Perry says:

    So yes, I don’t see much point in watching him slug it out with Hitchens for 90 minutes on the offchance that his morality argument has become any more compelling. Even YOU said ‘That horse has already been beaten to a pulp’.

    … and if you watched the video or actually read the discussion above, you would realize that we are NOT discussing the morality argument here.

    Amazing.

    Reply
  42. Tim D. says:

    The 2nd Law simply points to the fact that the universe had a beginning. It’s irrefutable. So the question is, what kind of cause could make the entire universe begin to exist.

    I agree that this is the question.

    You (in general) may come up with some quantum foam explanation or whatever. But the point is that such an explanation is just as speculative as the notion that there was a Divine creation event. Neither can be proved and neither is scientifically verifiable. But this implication does not exist in a vacuum (no pun intended …)

    I agree that neither is empirically verifiable, as well.

    The key here is that there was no SCIENTIFIC reason for Einstein to include the constant. He did so for the PHILOSOPHICAL reason that he could not accept a beginning (and therefore a beginner) to the universe.

    I’ll grant you I haven’t heard about this, so I might want to do some reading this weekend. Although I do find it hard to believe that Albert Einstein would make such a childish decision for such a reason….

    Now, I know what you’ll say. We don’t know it’s God. Correct. But you don’t know what it is either.

    That is precisely my point~ The problem is, I am not trying to make a case that I do know what it is, you are.

    The Big Bang singularity emerged from NOTHING — no continuum, no force field, no time “before,” no quantum fluctuation … NOTHING. This is not my claim, this is the claim of the scientists who study this stuff.

    The primary issue I have with that is that if “NOTHING” existed, then God could not have existed either. If God can exist in any sense, then that means it is possible for certain entities to exist outside of the continuum that we consider necessary for existance — that comprised of time and space, etc. — and so if God can exist….well, let’s say He exists conceptually. That can’t be true if He enacts physical change, and yet He would have to do just that to create the universe; concepts can’t act of their own will. So He would have to exist in some way beyond that (or maybe not? Maybe concepts can do those things, and we just don’t know yet?). In either case, by this theory — since we acknowledge that we cannot know for sure if it is “God” or some other entity — then we can deduce that it is at the very least possible for such entities (Godlike or not) to exist even when there is nothing.

    Once again, we do not think this in a vacuum. We are looking at ALL the evidence and making a rational choice. You may not accept it but you cannot discard it as being irrational.

    I don’t know if you caught it when I did say it, but I’ve already made (an attempt to make) it clear that I do not believe it’s irrational to believe in a deity, in and of itself. I don’t even really think it’s irrational to believe in a sect, in a basic sense. I won’t come into your home and dispute that with you. However, I might become a little bit more ideologically confrontational, should you try to introduce your way of thinking to me as “objectively true” and then challenge my worldview on those grounds. (note that I use the word “you” here in a collective sense, not directed at anyone in particular).

    … and if you watched the video or actually read the discussion above, you would realize that we are NOT discussing the morality argument here.

    Well, I was, but it was more of a footnote.

    In any case, if it helps, I’d recommend the debate to anyone who has about 2 hours to blow (I noodled around on guitar for 2 hours while I listened to it the other night~). You won’t walk away with any revolutionary ideas, or with anything that hasn’t been said before (on either side, might I add), but it’s definitely something to think about.

    I don’t know, though, because things I often find fascinating are less so to my friends. I have weird tastes, I guess 0_0

    Reply
  43. Bob Perry says:

    So the question is, what kind of cause could make the entire universe begin to exist.

    I agree that this is the question.

    More common ground!

    Neither can be proved and neither is scientifically verifiable. But this implication does not exist in a vacuum (no pun intended …).

    I agree that this is the question.

    And yet more!

    I’ll grant you I haven’t heard about this, so I might want to do some reading this weekend. Although I do find it hard to believe that Albert Einstein would make such a childish decision for such a reason…..

    I agree, and it is hard to believe, but recounted in several places. I can’t give you a source right now unfortunately but it is a commonly accepted fact even by those who are on your side of these issues.

    I don’t know if you caught it when I did say it, but I’ve already made (an attempt to make) it clear that I do not believe it’s irrational to believe in a deity, in and of itself. I don’t even really think it’s irrational to believe in a sect, in a basic sense. I won’t come into your home and dispute that with you. However, I might become a little bit more ideologically confrontational, should you try to introduce your way of thinking to me as “objectively true” and then challenge my worldview on those grounds. (note that I use the word “you” here in a collective sense, not directed at anyone in particular).

    Yes, I thought I acknowledged that and I appreciate it.

    Fair enough. But let’s be clear — we are both “challenging” one another’s worldview here. That’s the whole point. Would I try to “impose” my worldview on you (or anyone else)? Absolutely not. But I think challenging worldviews is a good thing. I’m interested in finding out what IS objectively true. Again, that’s the whole point.

    It would be pretty ridiculous to claim to hold to a worldview while NOT believing it to be true, don’t you think?

    Reply
  44. Bob Perry says:

    I think I need to clarify what I’m saying here:

    Neither can be proved and neither is scientifically verifiable.

    1) When I say that neither is “scientifically verifiable” I mean it and I think we agree that you cannot use empirical tests to detect the undetectable. I don’t think that is controversial. However when I say:

    “…neither can be proved …”

    don’t misunderstand me because I will assume you (Tim) do disagree here.

    It depends what you mean by “prove.” In the sense I used it above I meant that it cannot be 100% unmistakeably, irrefutably, undeniably known beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t know it to be true.

    For instance, you cannot irrefutably “prove” that you were not created 6 nanoseconds ago with all your “memories” already in place. But you can still know that you weren’t. It would be ridiculous to claim otherwise. You can’t “prove” exhaustively that the speed of light is constant everywhere in the universe — because you haven’t been everywhere in the universe. Yet, we believe that to be true for good reason. Likewise, we can know facts about the world even if we can’t personally verify them.

    The question is: “What constitutes a sufficient warrant for accepting something as knowable?”

    Justified True Belief is what the philosophers call “knowledge.” While I know you don’t believe I am justified in claiming to know that Christian theism is true, I believe the cumulative case I mentioned earlier makes my belief in Christian theism more justified than your disbelieving it.

    Or, to restate it, I don’t think your atheism is justified by the evidence. In fact, I still haven’t heard any evidence that would compel someone to support the atheistic hypothesis.

    Reply
  45. Tim D. says:

    Fair enough. But let’s be clear — we are both “challenging” one another’s worldview here. That’s the whole point. Would I try to “impose” my worldview on you (or anyone else)? Absolutely not. But I think challenging worldviews is a good thing. I’m interested in finding out what IS objectively true. Again, that’s the whole point.

    Before I make my point again, I must reiterate that I am not the kind of atheist who believes it can be proven that Christianity is “false” beyond the shadow of a doubt. That is not what I seek to do here. I simply do not see sufficient evidence in support of Christianity (as opposed to all other religions and worldviews) that would set it apart as a “more valid” perspective than many others. Not to say that there aren’t some that are obviously incorrect, such as Scientology (we can trace its origins and determine that it is not true nor ever was); rather, the only thing keeping me from denouncing Christianity in a final sense is the fact that we cannot accurately trace all of the origins of the claims the Bible makes.

    As George Orwell said in 1984 that “it is easy to create a dead person,” it is also easy to manufacture events that have “already taken place.” If the events can never be truly known, then I see no need to place my faith in them.

    The bottom line of my point here being, I am not trying to “prove” the atheistic worldview to you. Rather, I am taking your cosmological claims and explaining to you why they do not comprise evidence that I find convincing.

    This is how I think of it; atheism is one guy, and religion is a group of people. Christianity is one guy in that group of people. These people are all standing in a room with a locked door. The atheist says, “I cannot know what’s in the next room because the door is locked from the other side. If you think you do know, I’ll gladly hear what you have to say….but unless you can show me some particularly compelling evidence, I can’t guarantee that I’ll believe you.” Everyone else in the room — including the Christian — is saying, “But I know exactly what is in the next room, and I can prove it by making observations about things that are in this room!”

    It would be pretty ridiculous to claim to hold to a worldview while NOT believing it to be true, don’t you think?

    I’ve been down this road before; the long and short of it is this. I believe things based on my particular methods of discerning reality, which basically involve a combination of experience and empiricism (among other things). I form conclusions based on these observations, and I will defend the conclusions I arrive at because the methods I used to arrive such conclusions have been tested time and again, and they have never given me an answer that is blatantly (or even speculatively) false. However, at the same time, I must always keep my mind open that my perception is not perfect nor omnipotent; no matter how much I know, I can never claim to know everything, and so I must always keep my mind open in a basic sense.

    The popular response to this statement is that Christians don’t say they know everything….just that they know everything they need to know (i.e. what’s in the Bible). That to me is ridiculous; there is no point at which knowledge “no longer becomes necessary.” I don’t know if you plan on using that response, but if you are I’ll go ahead and offer my response.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t know it to be true.

    You are right, there is no reason for me to believe that I was created moments ago in such a way; likewise, there is little reason for me to believe a fantastic story about a supernatural entity that created the universe. I don’t see how this helps your argument. The existence of God is not as obvious as any of these factors, nor does it universally imply the practicality that comes hand-in-hand with denying these unknowable things.

    I believe the cumulative case I mentioned earlier makes my belief in Christian theism more justified than your disbelieving it.

    And thus the dead-end; I do not believe that the moral and cosmological arguments I’ve read here constitute a solid case for Christianity. I will concede that it is possible, in a technical sense, but I would in turn have to concede the same of many other religions. Any points that science scores for Christianity (in the cosmological sense) must also be applied to any religion with a creation myth at its origin. The only way to prove Christianity, without also providing support for other religions, would be to provide factual evidence for specifically Christian accounts such as those in the Bible — which are widely disputed and almost universally unverifiable. Hence the “faith” required to convert.

    Or, to restate it, I don’t think your atheism is justified by the evidence. In fact, I still haven’t heard any evidence that would compel someone to support the atheistic hypothesis.

    It’s not that I awoke one day and saw some compelling evidence for atheism; no, my atheism is the result of a lack of evidence for religious deism. See my above statement for further detail.

    Reply
  46. Bob Perry says:

    Tim said:

    .Before I make my point again, I must reiterate that I am not the kind of atheist who believes it can be proven that Christianity is “false” beyond the shadow of a doubt. That is not what I seek to do here. I simply do not see sufficient evidence in support of Christianity … the only thing keeping me from denouncing Christianity in a final sense is the fact that we cannot accurately trace all of the origins of the claims the Bible makes.

    Again, fair enough. All I would say is that there are plenty of Biblical scholars who are HOSTILE to Christianity who, even in their hostility, affirm some of the most controversial claims of the New Testament. I won’t get into it here but these historical events remain inexplicable without the explanations offered in the New Testament. There is no other religion that can approach that level of verification.

    I do not believe that the moral and cosmological arguments I’ve read here constitute a solid case for Christianity. I will concede that it is possible, in a technical sense, but I would in turn have to concede the same of many other religions. Any points that science scores for Christianity (in the cosmological sense) must also be applied to any religion with a creation myth at its origin.

    I completely agree. But here’s the deal — In scoring the cosmological points, you must allow the theist the possibility that the supernatural actually exists. Again, I’m not saying it is proven exhaustively. I’m just saying that it is possible that there is, in fact, a supernatural explanation.

    And if there is that possibility (a supernatural explanation for the Big Bang), then all the other miracles that folks want to discount from the Bible become small potatoes in comparison. Given that, and the historical evidence unique to Christianity, we who accept Christian theism arrive at our cumulative case argument. And I don’t think it is irrational to do so.

    I don’t expect you have just “seen the light” and the error of your ways (that was a joke, Tim, don’t get mad at me) but I hope you see that it is a logical progression of rational conclusions that leads us to our “faith.”

    It’s not just “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” for me. This may be hard for you to imagine, but when I hear people say that I really believe that it is more offensive to me than it would be to you.

    It’s not that I awoke one day and saw some compelling evidence for atheism; no, my atheism is the result of a lack of evidence for religious deism.

    I completely understand. And again, I respect that statement infinitely more than those who agree with me but can’t (and have never tried to) understand why they do.

    I still think you’re mistaken but I respect your reasoning 🙂

    Reply
  47. Tim D. says:

    I completely agree. But here’s the deal — In scoring the cosmological points, you must allow the theist the possibility that the supernatural actually exists. Again, I’m not saying it is proven exhaustively. I’m just saying that it is possible that there is, in fact, a supernatural explanation.

    Of course, it becomes possible in the same sense than any other such theory becomes possible: technically so. That doesn’t immediately demand that I give it the same respect I would give a less fantastic theory, either — just that I acknowledge its technical possibility.

    Given that, and the historical evidence unique to Christianity,

    I was with you until this point….in another topic (Atheist Diversionary Tactics) on this same forum I posted a series of links relating scientific discoveries to Islam (if you ctrl+F “thetruthexposed” you’ll find the post I’m referring to). I’d be interested in hearing the Christian attempts to debunk these claims by Muslims that science supports Islam. A lot of those folks use the same cosmological argument that you and Turek have invoked here — that the universe has to have a Creator, and that this creator is (obviously!) Allah from the Quran. How would you respond to that statement?

    The same goes for the watch argument (i.e. complexity/unfamiliarity implies creation), and even Pascal’s Wager. Another one, mentioned below, is the “Theory of Probability”:

    Let us apply this theory of probability to the Qur’an, and assume that a person has guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur’an which was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the guesses being simultaneously correct.

    At the time when the Qur’an was revealed, people thought the world was flat, there are several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be triangular, it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Lets assume there are about 30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur’an rightly says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess being correct is 1/30.

    I would be very interested in hearing a rebuttal of this.

    Reply
  48. Tim D. says:

    P.S. Also, I guess what I mean is, what evidence is unique to Christianity? What evidence can be applied only to Christianity that cannot be applied to some other religion? There are parts of the Quran and other holy books that can be historically verified, but I’d think you would agree that this does not verify the book as a whole.

    Reply
  49. Tim R says:

    I found Dr. Turek’s TV series by accident channel surfing one night not long ago, and I was so captivated by his approach that I started seeking his lectures on the Internet. I was really looking forward to this video release of the great debate. I thought Dr Turek made a rational, logical and earnest case demonstrating the existence of God. Hitchens followed by several anti-religion criticisms, a few compelling, but nearly all off topic considering it was supposed to be “Does God Exist?” He definitely didn’t make any persuasive arguments challenging intelligent design as I had anticipated he would. It seemed to me he was only obscuring the topic with nonsense which frustrated Dr. Turek at times. Hitchens often interrupted and patronized Dr Turek to suppress his responses. I also noticed Bill Maher do the same to Dr. Turek when discussing morality on his show. To me, a layperson really interested in both points of view, it came across as rude and a tactic in defense of a weak position. A position taught in our schools?

    Reply
  50. ashley says:

    Haha, this guy didn’t even answer the morality question!
    He TOTALLY went around it and completely blabbered like CRAZY!
    Ha.
    No ground, of course he can’t. =]

    Reply
  51. Bob Perry says:

    I’d be interested in hearing the Christian attempts to debunk these claims by Muslims that science supports Islam. A lot of those folks use the same cosmological argument that you and Turek have invoked here — that the universe has to have a Creator, and that this creator is (obviously!) Allah from the Quran. How would you respond to that statement?

    I read some, but not all, of the links you posted. In a nutshell, Islam, Judaism and Christianity all share the first 5 books of the Bible (The Torah). That being the case, those religions accept the book of Genesis as being some sort of account (though there are many, variant interpretations) of the origins of the universe in which we live so naturally they also share a common view of cosmological origins. But this is exactly my point. After that, they diverge wildly and the differences can be evaluated as to their correspondence with the way the world actually is.

    The Allah of Islam is a completely different kind of god in the Quran than the Jesus of the New Testament. In the Quran, Jesus is a run-of-the-mill prophet. He is Divine in the New Testament (as an example). Now, he can be either one of those (or neither) but he CANNOT logically be both. At least one of the religions, in other words, MUST BE false.

    Same with Judaism. The Messiah of Christianity is no such thing in Judaism. In fact, his claim to be a Divine Messiah is what got Jesus killed — which, by the way, is a historically verifiable fact.

    Anyway, just because they share common origins, does not mean they are the same. The Quran was written ~ 600 AD and is a bizarre and extravagant PR piece for Muhammad (check out “The Truth About Muhammad” by Spencer). Like the Book of Mormon, it is transparently falsifiable and wildly ridiculous as to how it was written and “inspired.” (Check out “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Krakauer for the Mormon story). So while they may share the same origins story, their differences end there.

    what evidence is unique to Christianity? What evidence can be applied only to Christianity that cannot be applied to some other religion?

    The evidence I’m talking about here is the New Testament evidence that has been historically and archaeologically verified. This is what is unique about Christianity. There are accepted methods of verifying its claims. The same can’t be said for any other religion.

    Reply
  52. Bob Perry says:

    Haha, this guy didn’t even answer the morality question!
    He TOTALLY went around it and completely blabbered like CRAZY!
    Ha.
    No ground, of course he can’t. =]

    Thanks for your thought-provoking input ashley.

    The topic has been covered ad nauseum elsewhere and, if you’re referring to me (’cause it’s not clear who you are referring to) I was perfectly clear about that issue.

    Reply
  53. Tim D. says:

    The Allah of Islam is a completely different kind of god in the Quran than the Jesus of the New Testament. In the Quran, Jesus is a run-of-the-mill prophet. He is Divine in the New Testament (as an example). Now, he can be either one of those (or neither) but he CANNOT logically be both. At least one of the religions, in other words, MUST BE false.

    Although it is not necessary for either one to be true based solely on this judgment, either.

    Same with Judaism. The Messiah of Christianity is no such thing in Judaism. In fact, his claim to be a Divine Messiah is what got Jesus killed — which, by the way, is a historically verifiable fact.

    And even if Jesus’ life and death can/could be historically verified, that in and of itself does not comprise evidence that Christianity is true. For example, many have challenged the idea that Jesus was a “savior” or “the son of God,” and suppose instead that he was actually just a normal guy (well, at least in the sense that he wasn’t godlike or related to God).

    Thanks for your thought-provoking input ashley.

    I might be mistaken, but isn’t she talking about Hitchens in the debate?

    Reply
  54. Justin says:

    Tim D.,
    I think some of the major evidential diifferences between Christianity and other major world religions is the evidence pertaining to Jesus and the resurrection.

    Reply
  55. Bob Perry says:

    Although it is not necessary for either one to be true based solely on this judgment, either.

    True. All I was saying was that “all religions” can’t be lumped together (as Hitchens and Sam Harris do) because they have contradictory truth claims that must be assessed individually.

    And even if Jesus’ life and death can/could be historically verified, that in and of itself does not comprise evidence that Christianity is true.

    This is true again … as far as it goes. However, no serious historian, even those who reject Christianity, denies that Jesus lived and died on a Roman cross. That’s not disputed. What would verify the claims of Christianity would be whether or not he actually rose from the dead.

    Interestingly, the Christian Scriptures THEMSELVES say (1Cor 15) that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, we would all be fools to believe in him. I don’t know of any other religion that makes such a bold claim about itself. Some of my friends cringe when I say it but if it could be proved that Jesus did not rise from the dead, I would reject Christianity myself. They don’t like me to say it. But I didn’t make it up … the apostle Paul did.

    Again, not the discussion here, but there is some awfully strong corroborating evidence to support the resurrection claim — another part of the cumulative case argument.

    I might be mistaken, but isn’t she talking about Hitchens in the debate?

    Oops. Maybe so … but from the cryptic nature of the comment one couldn’t tell now could they? I assumed she was talking about me since she gave kudos to Hitchens (about The Family Guy reference) earlier.

    So which is it ashley?!

    Reply
  56. Tim D. says:

    True. All I was saying was that “all religions” can’t be lumped together (as Hitchens and Sam Harris do) because they have contradictory truth claims that must be assessed individually.

    It’s not so much that I lump them together on individual merits as it is that I want people who use scientific arguments for Creation to understand that, from a strictly scientific viewpoint, even if the Creation argument were rock-solid perfect and irrefutable, it would not prove any one particular religion. Yes, it does pave the way for religions to be accepted in that sense….but it does not prove any one particular faith.

    As for the cumulative argument….I don’t know how I feel about that as a whole, simply because I’m not confident in the scientific or moral aspects that I’ve heard thus far. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a hard guy to sway 0_0

    Interestingly, the Christian Scriptures THEMSELVES say (1Cor 15) that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, we would all be fools to believe in him. I don’t know of any other religion that makes such a bold claim about itself. Some of my friends cringe when I say it but if it could be proved that Jesus did not rise from the dead, I would reject Christianity myself. They don’t like me to say it. But I didn’t make it up … the apostle Paul did.

    And I have respect for your choice to believe that, more than you might know. But it must be said that it’s just that — a personal choice, faith, belief. It’s not proof.

    Again, not the discussion here, but there is some awfully strong corroborating evidence to support the resurrection claim — another part of the cumulative case argument.

    I’d be interested in hearing more about this “ressurection evidence”….

    Oops. Maybe so … but from the cryptic nature of the comment one couldn’t tell now could they? I assumed she was talking about me since she gave kudos to Hitchens (about The Family Guy reference) earlier.

    Hmm….I don’t know. I guess the key is finding out to whom she expresses the sentiment, “Good job!” I just assumed it was Turek because everyone else on this blog tends to speak directly to Turek without clarifying (i.e. “great job on the debate,” etc.). My apologies to Ashley if I am incorrect ?0_0?

    Reply
  57. Tim D. says:

    P.S. Another thing that I’d like to point out — what I see as an inherent fallacy in a lot of persuasive arguments, religious or otherwise: the idea that, because something seems incriminating (of oneself) or embarrassing, that it somehow proves the case in question. Turek himself, if I recall correctly, has a video floating around Youtube about how “the Bible must be true because it’s so embarrassing [to Christians]!” or something to that effect. And I relate this similarly to what you have said here about the apostle telling people that they would be foolish to believe in Jesus if he could not be resurrected.

    Now, there are three ways to look at such a situation. If we assume the best of virtue, then of course we would reach the conclusion that Turek has reached in his sermon (I assume; I have yet to actually view that sermon), or that you seem to have reached here. If we assume an extremely critical viewpoint, we could say that the person who made the “embarrassing statement” (in this case the apostle you mentioned) knew that such an argument could be made in his favor, simply because it would be such a strange thing for someone to say. I mean, when we think of people who are trying to sway someone towards a particular belief, we generally think of people who do so openly, and who try (quite conspicuously) to shy away from any idea that might drive people away from the one to which they seek to sway them.

    A simpler example is this: a few years ago, Dr. Phil did a show about a man who said he couldn’t remember who he was or where he came from. He had been living in a small town for many years, supposedly unaware of his “past life” (for lack of a better term). He came on the show in an attempt to identify himself, and when it later came up that the man may have been involved in some kind of embezzlement scheme — and that he might have been pretending to be an amnesiac just to avoid capture and prosecution — he became argumentative and hostile. To this day, I distinctly remember the one thing he said that caused me to believe he was lying; he said, “If I was lying, why would I come on national TV and ask about it?”

    To that I answered, in my head, “Because you know you can ask that question to give you credibility.”

    It’s a huge risk, but if it works, it’s like magic, and you get away with everything. Now, I’m not saying Christianity is the same way, but I am saying this: if Christianity is really just a big cult based around deceit and lies and trickery, it’s apparently convincing enough to warrant an incomprehensible number of followers. So if it is a cult of lies, then it is a very complex, intricately- and carefully-woven one. One that might think of using such a simple trick, simply because its very unusual nature might cause people to lend credibility to the statement’s maker. I call this the “Honesty Fallacy” — they wouldn’t be that honest about themselves unless they were being completely honest, right?

    Reply
  58. Bob Perry says:

    So if it is a cult of lies, then it is a very complex, intricately- and carefully-woven one. One that might think of using such a simple trick, simply because its very unusual nature might cause people to lend credibility to the statement’s maker. I call this the “Honesty Fallacy” — they wouldn’t be that honest about themselves unless they were being completely honest, right?

    I understand your point. But this would entail that the original witnesses to the resurrection knew that they were manufacturing this intricate scheme, secretly collaborated with one another to do so, never spilled the beans, and MOST IMPORTANTLY — went to their excruciatingly horrific deaths KNOWING it was all a lie.

    That just doesn’t seem credible to me. Yes, you’ve got Muslim fanatics flying airplanes into buildings today but these guys are not actual witnesses to what they believe about what Muhammed said. They heard it from someone else. And yes, we modern Christians are in the same boat. We didn’t witness the resurrection.

    But the guys who wrote about it in what we now call the New Testament, DID claim to witness it firsthand. Now either they did or they didn’t — but it is more unbelievable to me that they concocted this whole thing, knew it was a lie, and died for it anyway — than it is for me to believe they went to their deaths because they REALLY knew it was true and thought it was worth dying for.

    Charles Colson (of Richard Nixon staff fame) has spoken about the Watergate conspirators who collaborated on a similar scheme to lie about what they had done and that, within a matter of days, the conspiracy collapsed. These were guys who were threatened with prosecution, not persecution (let alone death) and they caved that quickly. I think anyone who made up the resurrection story would have done the same.

    Also … the record shows that the body was buried in a wealthy citizen’s private tomb (Joseph of Arimathea). If it was still there, it would have been really easy to just drag it out and make them look supremely foolish (to say the least).

    Reply
  59. Bob Perry says:

    Another thing that I’d like to point out — what I see as an inherent fallacy in a lot of persuasive arguments, religious or otherwise: the idea that, because something seems incriminating (of oneself) or embarrassing, that it somehow proves the case in question. Turek himself, if I recall correctly, has a video floating around Youtube about how “the Bible must be true because it’s so embarrassing [to Christians]!” or something to that effect.

    As for the embarrassing testimony angle … All Frank is saying is that this is one method textual critics use to evaluate historical documents. It is not likely that some group, intent on starting a new religion, would include embarrassing stories about themselves, their leaders, or even (in this case) the “new God” himself. The New Testament writings include all three. That, combined with their willingness to die (as I said above), tends to make their story more believable.

    This seems reasonable enough to me.

    Reply
  60. Justin says:

    I would like to echo Bob’s thoughts on the likelihood of the “embarrassing” evidence being purposefully fabricated. While possible, I don’t think it is the most likely explanation.

    As a side point, in regards to the Dr. Phil type of response, I can’t think of any instance where the embarrassing facts are pointed to directly by the NT writers as proof that they are telling the truth (i.e. – I can’t think of a time when the writer says “Hey look, I wouldn’t have included that embarrassing detail if it weren’t actually true.”)

    Reply
  61. Tim D. says:

    I understand your point. But this would entail that the original witnesses to the resurrection knew that they were manufacturing this intricate scheme, secretly collaborated with one another to do so, never spilled the beans, and MOST IMPORTANTLY — went to their excruciatingly horrific deaths KNOWING it was all a lie.

    Or they actually believed it. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, people will do extreme things for beliefs (as the Muslims you mentioned). Perhaps accusing them of conspiracy is harsh, but even if it were an honest mistake, the point is still valid. As one sci-fi writer has said before, we are referring to the times when the simple act of waving a flashlight would have caused a man to flee as though all the demons in hell were after him.

    As a side point, in regards to the Dr. Phil type of response, I can’t think of any instance where the embarrassing facts are pointed to directly by the NT writers as proof that they are telling the truth (i.e. – I can’t think of a time when the writer says “Hey look, I wouldn’t have included that embarrassing detail if it weren’t actually true.”)

    I wasn’t referring to the original authors so much as the contemporary individuals who bring up the Honesty Fallacy in an attempt to validate any particular source, religious or otherwise.

    The New Testament writings include all three. That, combined with their willingness to die (as I said above), tends to make their story more believable.

    Also, we didn’t know nearly as much about the world then as we did now….but that’s not the point I want to get at here. The way the Bible’s accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion/torture go into such grave detail, it seems almost too perfect. It makes me think of a plot device in a written story, rather than a factual account of a real occurrence. It’s almost as if the writer had intended to establish that Jesus *really, really was* dead (i.e. they carried out every kind of torture imaginable to kill him from any possible angle) so that nobody would be able to make the claim that, perhaps, they only thought him dead.

    I could go on like that for hours, but I should stop there for the time being. I want to say that the whole thing is just so fantastic and outrageous…..I can’t find a much nicer way to put it than “I just don’t buy it.”

    Reply
  62. Andrew Ryan says:

    Tim, just letting you know that I decided to stop responding to Ernie on the other thread when he said he wasn’t bothering to read your posts. If he couldn’t be bothered to read yours, then I wasn’t going to bother reading his. It just seemed an admission on his part that he couldn’t address your very good points. Over and out dude, keep up the good fight.

    Reply
  63. Bob Perry says:

    I could go on like that for hours, but I should stop there for the time being. I want to say that the whole thing is just so fantastic and outrageous…..I can’t find a much nicer way to put it than “I just don’t buy it.”

    Tim :: I can’t argue with you there. it is fantastic and outrageous. So fantastic and outrageous that his own followers didn’t believe it at first. But something pretty unprecedented must have happened. These guys went from clueless, cowardly doubters to hard core defenders who were willing to die rather than recant. One of them (James) was his own brother.

    Anyway, two things and then I’ll shut up:

    1) If you are interested there are two books I highly recommend: “The Resurrection of The Son of God,” by N.T. Wright is the first. Beware, it is like a stinking encyclopedia — gigantic volume — but it goes into great detail about the culture all this happened in and how outrageous the event had to be to cause the repercussions throughout the Roman Empire and within the Jewish community that it caused. The second is a much easier read: “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ,” by Gary R. Habermas

    2) I appreciate the civil exchange. I don’t have any delusions about it but I respect the fact that you think through these things and that you are willing to consider our point of view (even if it’s only a minimalist consideration 🙂 ). Can’t ask for any more than that. I hope you understand that there are those on the other side of this that have thought these things through too and are not just emoting or flailing about blindly believing anything just because someone told us to. We’ve simply come to different conclusions than you.

    Cheers …

    Reply
  64. Tim D. says:

    Tim :: I can’t argue with you there. it is fantastic and outrageous. So fantastic and outrageous that his own followers didn’t believe it at first. But something pretty unprecedented must have happened. These guys went from clueless, cowardly doubters to hard core defenders who were willing to die rather than recant. One of them (James) was his own brother.

    I see what you are saying, but the bottom line for me is that it is extremely, extremely difficult for me to believe — under any circumstances — that a person rose from the dead. It may be very unlikely that some other explanation happened instead, but as Turek said during the debate, it is not the likelihood or unlikelihood of an event that necessarily determines whether it actually happened or not; in this case, the proof would essentially have to be irrefutable beyond the shadow of a doubt to convince me. Many infamous farces (such as the Salem Witch Trials) were based on hoaxes that follow that same line of reasoning/circumstantial evidence/faith, the only difference being that in one case it was a deliberate lie and someone balked, and in the other, we don’t know if it was a lie, an honest mistake, or a dyed-in-the-wool miracle. That’s what it boils down to for me: We just don’t know.

    As for the reading, I’ll have to put that on my list. The problem with books (for me) is trying to find one that isn’t written by someone who thinks he/she has all the answers to the world’s problems (and who isn’t a raving politically-charged lunatic); John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Rod Parsely and the like tend to exaggerate things to make the Conservative political stance look more desparate, whereas folks like Greg Palast tend to exaggerate the damage from a liberal perspective. I mean, it’s fun and all to indulge in political extremism as a stress relief, but there are times when I just want an honest read -_-

    2) I appreciate the civil exchange. I don’t have any delusions about it but I respect the fact that you think through these things and that you are willing to consider our point of view (even if it’s only a minimalist consideration 🙂 ). Can’t ask for any more than that. I hope you understand that there are those on the other side of this that have thought these things through too and are not just emoting or flailing about blindly believing anything just because someone told us to. We’ve simply come to different conclusions than you.

    It’s cool 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I’m no closer to being Christian now than I was when we began. There’s just a part of me that isn’t content with simply writing off an entire fragment of the world’s population, no matter how extremely I might think of them 0_0 Also it makes for great blog fodder and coffee table discussion, if nothing else.

    Reply
  65. Tim D. says:

    P.S.

    Tim, just letting you know that I decided to stop responding to Ernie on the other thread when he said he wasn’t bothering to read your posts. If he couldn’t be bothered to read yours, then I wasn’t going to bother reading his. It just seemed an admission on his part that he couldn’t address your very good points. Over and out dude, keep up the good fight.

    Thanks for the encouraging words~ And yeah, I pretty much decided to blow that guy off. I mean, if he changes his mind I’ll probably jump in again, but it takes two to hold a conversation, and some people just aren’t up to the challenge, I guess 0_0 I figured I pissed him off with my sarcasm, but given the amount of ad hominem and sarcasm that goes on just in the postings on this blog (not even in the comments!), I would’ve thought him to have thicker skin than that.

    Reply
  66. Mel says:

    What kind of cognitive dissonance does Turek suffer from that he thinks he has won this debate? He clearly showed his immense ignorance even in basic theology. That he managed to tire Hitchens with some fatuous assertions (you can hear the audience cringe) and simple minded casuistry probably gives this fool and his fans pleasure, but even to every Christian of average intelligence Turek was simply an embarrassment, did he study anything at all?
    I have seen all Hitchens vs. Religion debates that are available on the web and this opponent: a shallow slimy glib car salesmen that throws around bible quotation he has not even thought about or mumbles to distract the audience while his opponent talks is simply pathetic.

    Reply
  67. Dave Pingel says:

    Great debate!
    Oh how I wish I could have asked a few questions myself!
    Frank you did a great job and it looked asthough Mr. Hitchens was
    a bit confused at times. Here is what I got out of the whole thing,
    Atheists like Mr. Hitchens are just like I used to be…full of themselves
    and they do not want to give up their free will to a higher and better power.
    I was an atheist for a few years of my younger life and I thought of every argument that he brought up.
    The problem is anyone who feels self empowered will never know God only push himself further away. I made myself a fool so that I may be made wise.
    The question he tried to answer and completely failed on is the beggining. There was no suitcase!!!! there was nothing no laws of physics andno energy nothing!!! can I make that any more clear!!!!
    Now here is a thought that everyone should dwell upon
    Creation is unique only to God!!
    Yes noone or nothing has ever created anything, the universe or natural realm never created anything neither did humans we only have the capability to change the energy that has been (created by God)
    I dare anyone to challenge this idea!!!
    Thank you
    Dave Pingel

    Reply
  68. Dave says:

    Hello Tim
    I’m sorry you are a bit slow in understanding the physical universe.
    Let me clear this up so you may better understand.
    I don’t believe you have heard this argument quite this way.

    Humans have never created anything(fact not my opinion)
    nature has never crreated anything(fact not my opinion)

    Either humans created God to explain what we have not the ability to explain regarding existance, or God really exists
    and his will created this amazing energy that can take on so many forms within physical laws.
    Just the words law and creation seem to nudge us to toward a support of God.
    It seems the scientific comunity can not even speak without an intuitive concept of God leaking into our minds.
    Loss or gain of information is not a consideration in physics because of the complete breakdown that would acccur.

    So let us go back to creation and look at God vs (natural impossibility)

    how do you state your mental experiment without God in the equation?
    lets see it would sound something like this………..

    At one point nothing decided to create itself and I am here to declair my belief in this because I am the product of nothing.

    Or..
    God created everything including me.

    HMMMM

    I’m sorry if this is so hard for you I really wish you would spend several hours meditating on nothing.
    back to creation we only change and craft things the same way nature does.
    A swiss watch is not created only crafted
    show me anyone who can take credit for creating energy and then
    turning this energy into the useful elements for any project.
    Show me one example of nature doing the same and I will give
    the naturalist view more credit.
    The problem people have with God and creation is that it completely
    puts us in our place. This is the only thing holding you back from believing Tim….YOU are the problem and your useless will
    Where are you going with that will anyway?
    come over to the light my freind!
    Dave

    Reply
  69. Scott says:

    Very interesting and enlightening debate. I suppose the main thing in this video that bothered me was the smug attitude of Hitchens. Thank you Dr. Turek for what you stand for. God bless.

    Reply
  70. Tim D. says:

    I’m sorry you are a bit slow in understanding the physical universe.

    Oh, yes! Please, bestow upon me your infinite wisdom, o great deity of knowledge!

    [/sarcasm]

    Humans have never created anything(fact not my opinion)

    We create other humans all the time.

    nature has never crreated anything(fact not my opinion)

    That’s because everything in nature comprises nature. So, um, duh?

    Either humans created God to explain what we have not the ability to explain regarding existance, or God really exists
    and his will created this amazing energy that can take on so many forms within physical laws.

    I’m sorry you are a bit slow in understanding the physical universe. See, in the real world, your argument here is called a “False Dichotomy.” Do you know what that is? It’s when you offer only two choices when there are actually more (in this case, many more).

    Just the words law and creation seem to nudge us to toward a support of God.

    How so?

    *waits for non-sequitur “logic”*

    It seems the scientific comunity can not even speak without an intuitive concept of God leaking into our minds.

    Again, how so?

    *again, waits for non-sequitur “logic”*

    Loss or gain of information is not a consideration in physics because of the complete breakdown that would acccur.

    Wow. Great assertion. Care to enforce it with, you know, evidence?

    Oh, wait….you probably don’t do evidence….

    So let us go back to creation and look at God vs (natural impossibility)

    Nice assertions, but I still don’t see what you’re driving at here. I hope the Theory of Assertion isn’t all you have to go on, here, because I could easily do the same….and this discussion would become stale very quickly….and that would make me sad 🙁

    At one point nothing decided to create itself and I am here to declair my belief in this because I am the product of nothing.

    See, the problem with this fallacy is that you tend to assume we atheists believe we’re capable of knowing everything about the universe right now, like you claim to be able to do. We do not, though; and so it would actually make less sense for me to try to give you an answer here based on what we know now, than it would be to just say that there are billions of possible explanations for the origin of the universe, 99% of which have little or nothing to do with God — even less so with the specific Christian deity.

    Or..
    God created everything including me.

    Or….God isn’t real, and this universe could simply be one of an infinite sequence of universes that has Banged and Crunched in and out of existence. Or it could be that this universe is one singular, unchanging four-dimensional mathematical structure operating through time and space, wherein change and time are illusions, and wherein everything always exists, has existed, and will exist in the exact state that it is now….and we, as beings incapable of traversing the dimension of time, are thus incapable of escaping the flow of time, thus creating the illusion that the universe is somehow “moving forward” through this stream of time. Whereas, were we to observe from outside the flow of time, the universe as we know it would appear as a single unchanging mathematical structure that has, in a sense, “always existed,” since the flow of time doesn’t really exist outside of this continuum and therefore we need no explanation for its origin.

    There are many, many more such possibilities, all of which test the boundaries of our imaginations. God is not alone.

    I’m sorry if this is so hard for you I really wish you would spend several hours meditating on nothing.

    Why would I do that? Meditating on nothing….I really don’t understand. Is that a zing? Or are you being serious? 0_0

    A swiss watch is not created only crafted

    A swiss watch has a brand name and a label. The universe does not.

    The problem people have with God and creation is that it completely
    puts us in our place.

    I’m quite happy in my place, right here, as an insignificant speck in the grand scheme of the universe, trying to live out my fairly uncomplicated life while bringing as much happiness and prosperity to myself and those around me as possible, all the while fending off attempts from followers of ancient malevolent non-deities to curtail the legal rights afforded to me as payment in return for my tax dollars and obligation to serve this country.

    How does God do any better at “putting me in my place” than that?

    his is the only thing holding you back from believing Tim….YOU are the problem and your useless will

    You’d be surprised; my will is quite useful. I can get lots of things done, things that this creature God seems incapable of managing on His own — things like getting a job, supporting my family, paying my bills, putting food on my table. Yeah, wouldn’t it be nice if God took care of all these things?

    Too bad He doesn’t, and so we have to deal with real life. What a bummer, huh?

    [/sarcasm]

    Where are you going with that will anyway?

    Well, I usually do four things with it:

    (1) Get up
    (2) Go to work
    (3) Come home
    (4) Go to bed

    Lather, rinse, repeat. You?

    come over to the light my freind!

    I’m not interested in being your “freind,” whatever that may be. Friend, maybe, but not freind. Is that French?

    Besides, I like lights I can actually see and put to practical use. Like this sweet flourescent backlit screen. It’s pretty bad-ass~

    Reply
  71. MN says:

    How could anyone claim that Mr. Turek won this debate? There is a huge difference between the deistic god and that of the theist; and this debate is concerning the latter. This last attempt by the theists is irrational, to justify the theistic god by bringing in the abstract and obscure and quite non specific qualities of the deistic one. One doesn’t need to show the non existence of the deistic god to shoot down the theists’. This is really just a failed knowledge of linguistics really. Einstein and other scientists often use the word god to talk about the grand and beautiful nature of our universe and the laws in which it is governed. Deists talk about it in terms of someone of that same thing, but also with a notion of it as an actual being and creator. The theistic God is a personal one, and has a bunch of religious dogma piled on top.

    Hitchens shows how ridiculous and irrational the belief in the theistic God by breaking it down to some of the key elements of what that belief entails- that this personal God cares about how you conduct your life; that he knows what we’re all thinking and can hear us through prayer; that he answers our prayers in some part by performing miracles; that he has some divine plan for you and loves and cares about every single person, etc.

    Mr. Turke only twists around our meanings of words to make it appear that he has won the war of ideas. For instance, he injects some scientific sounding terms into his arguments, but they’re really just the same old arguments that the theists repeat time and time again. For instance, he says if we’re just a bunch of chemicals than where does morality come from? This is similar to the argument that if we’re only animals where does our morality come from? Just because at the very basic levels we consist of atoms and such doesn’t mean that we have the morality or intelligence of an atom. We evolved our large brains in order to survive in our environment. We obviously had to work in large groups which required complex social wiring/structures in our brains. We, along with many animals, have emotions. Both of these things respond to the environment and then the environment impacts these things again and so on. We are extremely complex, and none of our abilities and functions make sense alone, they all work together. So reducing us to the level of the atom doesn’t make any sense. Our biological, physiological, and chemical make-up, as well as our social/environment all work together.

    I think a good, rather simple way of explaining our consciousness is by thinking of it like an the workings of the brain as an orchestra that creates music (consciousness). Our senses construct our realities separately through our senses, in which the messages are processed as information in the cortexes of the brain (like sight from information through the cornia, light sensitive cells, rods and cones and optical nerves which send the info to the visual cortex in the brain which then works with the incoming info from the others), which also coordinates with memory and other parts of the brain depending on some part on the task. So all of the instruments work together to create the music of our “stream” of consciousness and subjective reality.

    Also, it’s quite annoying how he talks about the beginnings of the universe as if he’s a scientist and talks about it in ways in which any real scientist would never do. Scientists don’t think the big bang came out of nothing in the way Mr. Turke discusses it. Hasn’t he ever heard of the Higgs particle? String theory? M theory?I cannot wait until at least a few years down the line of LHC experiments have been conducted, and whatever they find makes Mr. Turke feel utterly stupid for saying all of those things about the universes beginnings.

    It is a huuuge mistake to call us “just chemicals”, that in itself is retarded and fundamentally incorrect, and only serves to dehumanize us. So once you make up stuff to dehumanize us then one doesn’t even need to respond to it with an explanation of these wonderful things that make us human. Psychologists have done many tests that have shown we all share an innate sense of right and wrong and morality. We all answer the complex moral questions in the same way, yet well all struggle to really come up with all of the answers right away to really justify that response.

    So although Mr. Turke’s arguments were illogical, I do feel a tinge of hopefulness about our situation- where it sometimes feels as if the giant monotheistic religions are going to continue to get out of hand and keep trying to pull us back into the dark ages. Where it seems insanity and great, dangerous irrationality has spread like wild fire and seeming to be almost to the point where it’s nearly impossible to expunge. If you really don’t think we are in dire straights, consider how close we are to having a president who wants 100 years of war and is 72, with a VP whose religious views were nurtured in a fundamentalist Christian church that strongly believes in the coming apocolypse and end times, who believe that it will most likely happen in their lifetime. And who involves herself with groups like the Christian Coalition- this organization along with her church hold reconstructionist views that this is and was founded to be a Christian nation and that our democracy should be slowly replaced with a theocracy. And to think these people would be in the white house, holding the power over the strongest military in the world, with their finger over the button. So, Mr. Turke is actually arguing based on a deistic view of a god without even realizing it, and his views are seen as theistic. This is actually progress. 🙂

    Reply
  72. Dave says:

    Ok so you are a bit more informed than I gave you credit for!
    But no we do not create humans we procreate.
    We have a simple and pleasurable job! I think we could agree on that
    I probably should be more like my master Jesus and try not insult anyone.
    Ok so we have a different outcome when we process the knowledge we have of our cause and effect universe.
    I see God and you do not.
    So the only way I can hope to win you over is to let Jesus try.
    If you read the words he spoke and understand with your heart you will see he was the most amazing person who ever lived.
    Just try reading Mathew, Mark, Luke, or John and see if any person in history measures up.
    I hope you will at least give him a chance to reach you
    maybe someday when you need him!
    Best Regards
    Dave

    Reply
  73. Andrew Ryan says:

    “If you read the words he spoke and understand with your heart you will see he was the most amazing person who ever lived.”

    Just answer me this. Was Jesus a homophobe?
    If no, then why are there so many homophobic Christians?
    If yes, then how can you say he’s ‘amazing’. You might as well try to sell me an ‘amazing’ racist or misogynist.

    Also am waiting for you to tell me how, if God created everything, he managed to create himself.

    Reply
  74. Tim D. says:

    Ok so you are a bit more informed than I gave you credit for!

    Aw, too bad, huh?

    But no we do not create humans we procreate.

    Procreation is a subcategory of creation.

    In a true sense, nothing is ever created, maybe not even the universe (according to a number of cosmological theories). Simply because to “create” there would have to be new energy or matter, whereas all things in the universe involve an exchange or flow of matter.

    So I guess God needs to step up to the plate and prove Himself on this one. Or maybe….maybe His followers need to read more?

    We have a simple and pleasurable job! I think we could agree on that

    Really? It’s not that pleasurable to me. I mean, the “multiplying for the sake of multiplying” part. I mean, if I was going to have children, it wouldn’t be because I thought I was supposed to. That’s a terrible reason!

    I probably should be more like my master Jesus and try not insult anyone.

    Master? Creepy….but yeah, it’s a little late for the “no insult” thing, I think~

    Ok so we have a different outcome when we process the knowledge we have of our cause and effect universe.

    Exactly. See, learning can be fun!

    I see God and you do not.
    So the only way I can hope to win you over is to let Jesus try.

    If you’re in this to “win me over,” you’re going to walk away very disappointed. I’ve already read through the Bible many times (I wouldn’t quite say I “study” it, at least not in the way you folks do, but you get the idea), and I’m not a second closer to Christianity for it. In fact, it’s probably the Bible itself that pushes me even farther away from Christianity. There’s some twisted schtuff in that there book 0_0

    If you read the words he spoke and understand with your heart you will see he was the most amazing person who ever lived.

    Meh. I think he’s overrated. He said some smart stuff, a lot of stupid stuff, and got tortured really bad, so people think he’s awesome. Yeah, I can appreciate the whole torture thing (I mean, I wouldn’t want that to happen to my worst enemy), but I’m not gonna worship the guy because he made an outrageous claim and then got tortured to death for it.

    Just try reading Mathew, Mark, Luke, or John and see if any person in history measures up.

    There are plenty of people in (recent) history who have influenced my life more than the characters in the Bible — and in a positive, non-bigoted, non-religious way, and without asking for a dime of my money~

    Somehow I trust people more when they don’t organize, promise me worldly things if I worship a dude I can’t see, and then ask me for a ton of money.

    [/church bashing]

    I hope you will at least give him a chance to reach you
    maybe someday when you need him!

    Apparently he’s been trying to reach me for some time? I left him my number, I wonder why he hasn’t called? 0_0 He’s got a lot of explaining to do, I tells ya….

    Best Regards
    Dave

    Hmm….if those are your best regards, then what are your worst?

    Also am waiting for you to tell me how, if God created everything, he managed to create himself.

    Oh, but God has always existed! Because, you know, he can just do that. Even though it’s completely impossible — that impossibility being the foundational grounds for his supposed existence in the first place.

    Reply
  75. Dave says:

    Hey there Tim,
    I said some of the most horrible things about God and Jesus when I did not believe in either.
    I feel pretty bad for that now that I do believe.
    As far as the church goes you have a great point.
    I’m not a big fan of the hipocracy, scams, killing in the name of God,
    and fighting between the denominations.
    That’s why I am not a member of any church as of yet.
    I wish all Christians would set a better example.
    But it’s not all bad, there are alot oof good people who are quick to help when disaster hits. Christians give quite alot of time and money to those who need it.
    I just hope they do it for the rite reason.
    Ok…
    big problem with the creation thing
    Sub catagory?
    is that all you can come up with?

    There is no sub catagory in creation that’s my point
    Once something is created it can only be changed around
    (that’s not creation..that’s crafting,seeding, call it what you will but not creation.
    Our buddy Einstein demonstrated that!
    energy has never been created since God created it
    energy has never been lost either
    Hawkins tryied going down that road and came back a bit more humble!
    Loss of energy? remember?
    Doesen’t it strike you a bit funny that since the big bang
    nothing has been created? only reshaped or changed within the laws

    I don’t want to hear about M theory either
    there are a few people who want to sell some books and maybe win some cracker jack prize.
    I’m more impressed with applied physics anyway!
    Oh that reminds me back to God
    He does not have to be created because creation is unique through him
    He is not affected byt time because he created it
    His realm is something we could not grasp
    I’m just glad he decided to CREATE ours!
    If he explained it to you your brain would melt
    be glad he doesnt take you up on the offer

    It’s late I just took a test and my brain is getting a bit tired
    Gotta tell you though I’m interested in your rebuttle
    I get a kick out of this exchange
    By the way if you read the bible
    keep an eye on the world events if we are in fact in the season of Christ’s return there will be some prophesy that may change your
    outlook
    Best regards that I can offer
    Dave

    Reply
  76. Dave says:

    Ryan,
    Ok, Jesus is not a homophobe, he cares about everybody.
    But homosexuality is a sin to God and because we are fallen creatures one has to realize that a genetic defect like attraction to the same sex, is no different than any other genetic defect. You may say I’m ok with that because it is a choice.
    But how do we make our choices?
    Also I would like to point out that a person who is heterosexual and
    has sex out of marriage is also equally guilty of sin in God’s view.
    If you hate someone you are just as guilty of sin as a murderer.
    See God is smarter than we give him credit for. He knows the long term affects from ill thought. So he judges our thoughts also and I think this makes us more willing to change our hearts.
    I found when I became a believer in Christ and asked him to guide me, that my thoughts became less about me and more about others.
    There is a transformation that I can not explain. Only true believers will experience this. When this happens you start caring for others more and that is what he wants.
    So I’m sorry there are so many Christians that are homophobes.
    But telling you that it is a sin does not make me a homophobe.
    I have (old) freinds who gamble too much, drink too much, cuss and hang out at strip clubs. I don’t hang out with them anymore because I don’t agree with that llife style. But I still care about them and if they need my help I will be there.

    About God!!!!
    Everyone gets hung up on this.
    I did for years, and all I can say is that if you really want to understand
    you have to earn it!!
    Meditate on nothing as I told Tim.
    God has always been around because if he had not been around there would still be nothing!
    You see energy can not creat itself so it needs a creator.
    A creator can not create itself so it has to be eternal.
    Tim may argue that there are millions of possibilities but!!
    To the human understanding there are only two
    Either exsistance created itself or God created exsistance.
    You have to choose which you are more comfortable with.
    WHY??
    Because philosophy fails us
    If you go down the road saying there are millions of other possibilities we are not aware of, that is just a cheap excuse for saying I’m out of agruments.
    Multiple universes?
    Please….. don’t try pushing the inevitable question sooner or later there has to be a beginning to all of it.
    If you don’t believe that and that the universe is eterenal then we are back to my original question
    do you feel comfortable believing that existence created itself
    or God created exsistence.
    There are no other choices for the limited human mind, or more impotant the human heart.
    Sorry but you have to take an inward journey and earn this one Ryan
    All the best to you
    Dave

    Reply
  77. Andrew Ryan says:

    Dave, if we’re calling each other by our surnames, at least tell me yours. Or call me Mr Ryan. Or just call me Andrew. It’s not polite to just say the person’s surname like that.

    “a genetic defect like attraction to the same sex, is no different than any other genetic defect.”

    So having Down’s Syndrome is a sin to God? Care to tell Sarah Palin that?

    “Also I would like to point out that a person who is heterosexual and
    has sex out of marriage is also equally guilty of sin in God’s view.”

    To me this is no different than a Muslim claiming that meat has to have a certain religious ceremony performed on it before you eat it. It’s arbitrary. How would me marrying my partner of 6 years make any difference to how sinful our union was? There’s nothing sinful about our relationship – it harms no-one.

    Reply
  78. Tim D. says:

    I’m not a big fan of the hipocracy, scams, killing in the name of God,
    and fighting between the denominations.
    That’s why I am not a member of any church as of yet.
    I wish all Christians would set a better example.

    “If all of the Christians in the world who had ever accused other Christians of ‘not being real Christians’ were to disappear, there would be no Christians left.”

    I wish I knew who said that so I could attribute it….

    Ok…
    big problem with the creation thing
    Sub catagory?
    is that all you can come up with?

    It’s called a one-liner, not meant to be taken seriously….I figured I made that obvious in the very next comment, where I said that in this world nothing can be truly created, because everything that happens in this continuum is a result of transformation/change, not creation. It’s all the same energy going one way or another, to be neither created nor destroyed.

    Doesen’t it strike you a bit funny that since the big bang
    nothing has been created? only reshaped or changed within the laws

    Nothing was created during the Big Bang, either; all the matter and energy was still there. It was simply compressed into a single point in space, which then exploded outward and began the life of our universe, which is still expanding to this day….and which will continue to expand until the gravitational pull at its center exceeds the speed at which it is expanding, thus causing it to implode and end this particular universe in The Big Crunch.

    He does not have to be created because creation is unique through him

    This does not even qualify as “evidence” or “argument” because I could make up any deity and say this about Him.

    He is not affected byt time because he created it

    Ah, but time may not even exist! If you knew much about science, you would see that this is not even a real problem for God.

    f he explained it to you your brain would melt
    be glad he doesnt take you up on the offer

    That’s kind of a bold statement, don’t you think? I think we’re reaching the realm of schoolyard hyperbole now….

    By the way if you read the bible
    keep an eye on the world events if we are in fact in the season of Christ’s return there will be some prophesy that may change your
    outlook

    Heard that one on TBN just the other day, for the 35983745th time. I know what I believe and why I believe it.

    Reply
  79. Tim D. says:

    do you feel comfortable believing that existence created itself
    or God created exsistence.

    Ah, so you believe whatever makes you more comfortable? That explains a lot.

    Reply
  80. Tim D. says:

    P.S.

    You see energy can not creat itself so it needs a creator.
    A creator can not create itself so it has to be eternal.

    Or, it could be that energy is itself eternal. Or that, in the strictest scientific sense, “God is energy.”

    Because philosophy fails us

    Wow. It’s like you went to Evangelical Talking Point College or something….these are all such by-the-numbers explanations….by the way, nice blatant assertion; you don’t seem to realize you’re utilizing philosophy right now to “prove” your case.

    Multiple universes?
    Please….. don’t try pushing the inevitable question sooner or later there has to be a beginning to all of it.

    Not if the continuum itself is eternal, there doesn’t. It could be that it has always existed in….ah, hell, just go back and re-read my earlier post. You’ve done nothing to debunk it since I posted it.

    Reply
  81. Dave says:

    Andrew sorry about that!
    and Tim
    See where we end up?
    It’s all personal perception after the scientific talk
    that’s why it matters what you feel not just think.
    There are informed people on both sides of this age old debate.
    So what really matters is what is rite for you?
    what matters to you?
    How do you live your life and by what and whose laws.
    Andrew you are sinning just like I did when I lived with my girlfreind
    before we got married.
    I had my own set of morality back then and it did not measure up to God’s.
    By his standards you are sinning not mine

    Don’t missunderstand physical differences from choice.
    Even though a gay person may have a gay gene it does not mean that
    they do not have the will power to refrain from the act.
    Many heterosexual couples who obey God’s commands wait until they
    are married before they have sex even though the temptation is powerful. Somone born with a down’s is not the same as someone with a gay gene. Apples and oranges, one has a choice
    Sorry if I was a bit grey there
    Back to Tim
    Ok if the continuum is eternal than you must believe that existance created intelligence and not the other way around.
    So that is where our fundamental disagreement is.
    I believe intelligence created exsistance
    and of course the intelligence is God and he never had a beginning
    This is why I emphasize adding you heart into the equation
    We all have to come to this crossroad sooner or later.
    There are questions we all have that can not be answered

    You guys are very clever and there is nothing I can offer you that you
    probably do not already know.
    Except that I once was very full of self will and when I gave my free will to Jesus and trusted him to guide me it gave my life a better direction.
    Also hope in eternal life
    I know you do not believe this but I hope some day you do it would be nice to have you guys on our side.
    take care
    Dave

    Reply
  82. Tim D. says:

    Ok if the continuum is eternal than you must believe that existance created intelligence and not the other way around.

    Where do you keep pulling these crazy false dichotomies from? If the continuum is eternal, then it wasn’t created, it simply is. There is no “what created what.”

    This is why I emphasize adding you heart into the equation
    We all have to come to this crossroad sooner or later.
    There are questions we all have that can not be answered

    Another false stereotype; that in order to think rationally, one must abandon one’s poetic “heart.” Obviously, this is not true.

    Except that I once was very full of self will and when I gave my free will to Jesus and trusted him to guide me it gave my life a better direction.
    Also hope in eternal life

    Catch is, you have to believe there is such thing as eternal life in order to “have hope” in it. Second, the very idea of eternal life is pointless to me; why have life at all, if it’s just going to be eternal after we die anyway? It makes much more sense to me that life is limited, and so we must put it to good use as we see fit. Third, I am too busy trusting in and working with my fellow humans to have anything left over for a God that may or (more probably) may not exist.

    I know you do not believe this but I hope some day you do it would be nice to have you guys on our side.

    I’m not “taking sides” in the sense that you seem to think; I’m merely defending a belief system that you have openly assaulted, in spite of how little you actually seem to know about it.

    Reply
  83. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Somone born with a down’s is not the same as someone with a gay gene.”

    Based on what? Asserting that being gay is a sin is like asserting that sex outside of wedlock is a sin – it’s an assertion divorced from any association with consequences. I’m sure you mean well, but it means no more to me than a Jew or Muslim telling me that eating a certain meat is a sin, or that a meat must have a ceremony performed on it before you can eat it without guilt.

    I’m sympathetic to people explaining to me why my actions are sinful or bad based on consequences I may not have foreseen. I will hear out such entreaties. But a sin based purely on the opinion of another person’s God, something that’s wrong ‘just because’, is unconvincing. Dave, YOU don’t accept it from other people’s God’s, so why should I?

    It’s especially unconvincing when your source is a book where a deity instructs people to murder blamess children and babies.

    Reply
  84. Dave says:

    Tim
    You are clearly straight from the book
    And you say I have nothing new?
    False dichotomies?
    Read what I asked you to think about last drop in.
    You never answered my question
    Do you believe that an eternal existance brought about inteligence?

    I want your answer not something you read out of a book!

    Andrew
    I understand your view about the things people do and
    what some consider moral and others find immoral.
    You are a bit off track when it comes to sin.
    Sin is something that God has defined not humans.
    Once I hated the thought of the biblical bible because there were
    very dark and disturbing things I did not want to accept.
    Like Abraham, how could God ask him to sacrifice his only son?
    Ask him to run a knife through his belly just to show his loyalty?
    I would bring this up everytime a Christian would try and sell me the word.
    Even though he stopped him just the mental torment would seem like an abuse of his power.
    Then after I read Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John it all hit me.
    God actually went through with it!!
    He sacrificed his only son Jesus!
    the loyalty that John showed demostrated to God that we are worth saving.
    Now you ask me why is it that you should believe in my God over any other.
    I’m glad you asked
    1. show me any other religion or God that has predicted the future without flaw? Prophesy is the one thing that has proven the biblical God to be who he says.
    Did Buddha ever predict the future or tell of a messiah that would come in his name?
    Or how about the Allah?
    Nothing there
    Just check out the validity of the prophesies for yourself.
    Isaiah spoke vividly about the coming of Jesus and John the babtist.
    If you want some scriptures I will be glad to get them to you.
    So why do I obey the laws of Jehovah God?
    Because I love him for the life he has given.
    There are no better set of morals than the ones Jesus demonstrated.
    I wish I could love my enemy but I am not that strong like Jesus.
    If someone were to steel my car I would probably prosecute them
    Jesus would fill the tank before he left.
    That is the problem with us Christians, we want to be like our master but we are not good enough.
    I don’t know how to explain it any better but show me a better person than Jesus and I will consider following him or her!!!
    Thanks for the exchange
    Dave

    Reply
  85. Tim D. says:

    Do you believe that an eternal existance brought about inteligence?

    I’m still not entirely sure what you mean by that….do you mean, do I believe that intelligent life came to be in this universe? If so, obviously I do (because intelligent life is here). If, however, you are asking me, do I believe the universe is eternal? I don’t really “believe” it in the sense that I accept it as fact, although I do maintain it as a distant possibility. And of course, if you mean do I believe God created intelligence, I will tell you “no.”

    I want your answer not something you read out of a book!

    Okay, now I have no idea what you are talking about….

    Once I hated the thought of the biblical bible because there were
    very dark and disturbing things I did not want to accept.

    You don’t seem to understand; the “I used to be just like you” argument does not serve your point any better. Even if it were true, the fact that you changed doesn’t automatically mean that it’s for the better; for example, lots of people go from stable to off-kilter to completely insane over a period of time. They “used to be just like me,” too, but I would hardly consider that evidence to support being completely insane.

    1. show me any other religion or God that has predicted the future without flaw? Prophesy is the one thing that has proven the biblical God to be who he says.
    Did Buddha ever predict the future or tell of a messiah that would come in his name?
    Or how about the Allah?
    Nothing there

    This is a hollow argument; the Bible hasn’t predicted squat without fail. You can read some things that have happened in the present into the Bible; of course, I could do the same thing with one or more of several fictional novels, as well. Does that make them true? According to you, it does.

    I don’t know how to explain it any better but show me a better person than Jesus and I will consider following him or her!!!

    Prove that Jesus was real and Biblical and the son of God, and I’ll take you up on that.

    Reply
  86. Tim D. says:

    I want your answer not something you read out of a book!

    Ah, now I see! It’s irony. All of your “answers” come from the same book, so you accuse me of the same practice. How very Republican of you~

    Reply
  87. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Isaiah spoke vividly about the coming of Jesus”

    That’s just a circular argument:
    1. Jesus is the son of God because the prediction was true.
    2. The prediction that Jesus would come is true because Jesus is the son of God.

    And yes, all the religions make similar claims about fortune telling. None stand up to scrutiny.

    Reply
  88. Brenda says:

    >

    Dave, I understand what you are saying, but I could never say this. No one else is the Son of God, therefore there is no one else to follow. But I do understand the point you are making, which is that there is no other. Personally, I just wouldn’t phrase it that way. In general though, I appreciate your posts. Of course, so many things you are saying are being misunderstood, but I know what you are saying.

    >

    Andrew Ryan, there is a difference between fortune-telling and prophecy. I realize that there may be nothing I could say to convince you of this, nonetheless it is true. I have been the recipient of both. There are true prophets and false ones, and there are true fortune-tellers and false ones. Prophecies come from God, fortune-telling comes from familiar spirits. I have received false prophesies and trues ones. I have received false fortunes and true ones.

    Could I prove it to you? Of course not. From reading your posts, it seems that you would never be willing (in your current state of mind) to believe anything I tell you about my experiences, and that even if you had been there to see, you would likely only see what you wanted to see and think of a way to explain everything away.

    On top of that, I suppose you would also not believe me if I told you about my experiences with faith healings? And that I have been healed of a condition that both medical and holistic medicine say is unhealable.

    What about the fact that I used to make many of the same kinds of comments that you and Tim do — only maybe not so cleverly, but every bit as sarcastically — until I was born again and that much of my attitude has transformed? The way I see people has transformed, the way I respond to unpleasant circumstances that come my way, the way I view the world, the way I view self-destructive habits (sins)… all these things changed once I saw that my own logic and my own ways were flawed, and I stopped one day and said, “God…if you are there… I give up… show me the way.”

    From that moment on, my thoughts and my feelings began transforming, and information about scripture began popping up everywhere. And since I had been anti-Christian, I was a bit disappointed. I would have felt ok if it had been Buddhist or Hindu or such, but bible scriptures? Everything in me wanted to say no. Anything is more true than Christianity! I had tried reading the bible before and part of it I didn’t understand, and part of it sounded bad, and part of it sounded ok, but even those ok parts weren’t quite what I wanted them to be.

    But there was a little voice reminding me what I had said “show me the way” and I said ok, I will look at it again, and I will be open. If the bible is true and real and accurate, then God, I need you to help me to understand it.

    That’s when scripture came alive. I suddenly began understanding passages that I had previously read and misunderstood. But for several months I had real trouble with the crucifixion. I didn’t believe that it had to be that way. I didn’t understand what it was all about. I started going to a church, and on the second time there I was singing along with a song about the crucifixion. I suddenly understood the depth of the love and sacrifice involved and burst into tears and could not seem to stop weeping. Where before it was just an unpleasant killing, now it was a beautiful and powerful thing. Not because of the words of the song… because the song didn’t contain any words I hadn’t seen before…

    What changed in my mind? Did I suddenly turn stupid? An atheist might say yes. But no. My heart changed. How did it change? One moment I had no idea what the significance of the crucifixion was, then the next moment I suddenly understood the love and the sacrifice involved.

    Why did I suddenly begin to understand the bible, when previously it was meaningless to me? Did I wake up one morning and say, “I’m bored… I need something new in my like, so I think I will start reading and believing the bible… just for giggles.”?

    Of course not. The reason is because God exists, and God is always waiting for us to turn to Him and accept His help and guidance. I had tried for all of my adult life to try to think and behave in ways that are conducive to good relationships, a good outlook on life, and be able to move in a positive direction in general. I had failed for many years. Other belief systems didn’t help, including atheism. (Everytime I turned to atheism and would begin reading books about it, the books would actually convince me that there had to be a God, even if I didn’t understand who God was exactly and why.) But the moment I turned to God and asked Him to show me the way, He immediately began to show me the way. He showed me how to understand the bible, He showed me how to see other people through His eyes, He showed me all those things I was thinking and saying and doing that were keeping me from having good relationships, a good outlook on life, and moving in a generally positive direction. He continues to show me.

    Can I prove this to you? There is no way I can prove this to you. Especially with the mental attitude you are exhibiting. I am not saying this to criticize, I am just stating what I see based on all the posts I have read. You can’t think that way and then believe something like this. But proving such things as I have spoken about is impossible. How can you prove something that happens internally? Perhaps because of the outward changes that occur? Well, some will believe based on the changes they see in people and some won’t believe no matter what they see. My 25 yr-old son feels the same way about Christianity that I used to. He and I used to ridicule Christians together. I was a bit embarassed when I began to admit to him that I was seeing the truth in the bible and that it was very different that I thought it was. I felt sheepish at first. One day I was ridiculing and criticizing… and the next I was changing teams. How embarassing!!

    But the point is, is that even though my son knew me before and saw how mean, sarcastic, opinionated, rude, and dysfunctional I could often be, among other negative attributes… and then he saw me transform into a person who was no longer interested in saying and doing all those negative things… even though he liked the positive changes and knew that the only thing that had changed in my life was that I began studying scripture and going to church… even though he saw for himself the transformation that was happening, he refused to admit that it had anything to do with God or Christianity.

    Why? Simple. He didn’t want to believe. Even with the evidence staring right at him.

    I do realize however, that there will likely be sarcasm mixed with some kind of “logic” to say that my experiences don’t mean anything. Based on my own views when I was an atheist, and based on the views from you guys’ posts, and Hitchens’ comments in the debate, etc., this is not a difficult thing to predict.

    But the fact remains that I called on God and God answered. What I could not do on my own in many years of my own effort, God began doing for me the very moment that I called on Him and surrendered to His knowledge, His wisdom, and His ways. My thoughts, bad habits and my attitudes changed dramatically in a way that I could not accomplish for all my years of trying. Where I previously could not understand the bible, it suddenly came alive and began revealing itself to me. The word has been revealed to me in such beautiful depth that oftentimes while reading it I can’t help but cry and shout out with joy.

    No amount of ridiculing and naysaying can change the fact that God exists and willingly transforms the lives of all those who ask. There is nothing I can tell you that will prove that to you. Regardless, the fact still remains. And I wish everyone were willing to go through the same experience. If they did, there would be no more doubt, nor reason to explain things away.

    God is a spirit. And you can not prove God any more than you can prove love, or kindness, or patience. All these things are experienced within, and all these things can be faked. That’s why there are indeed some fake Christians. But I think most are genuine, even though many do not take advantage of what God has to offer here and now.

    Many belief systems (including atheism) have much wisdom and usually many good morals, but they are all incomplete and they all have at least one common fundamental difference from Christianity. They are all based on what it is that “I” am doing (self-righteousness). Christianity is different, in that it is based on what Jesus did (self-UNrighteousness and the need for a savior).

    Reply
  89. Tim D. says:

    Could I prove it to you? Of course not. From reading your posts, it seems that you would never be willing (in your current state of mind) to believe anything I tell you about my experiences, and that even if you had been there to see, you would likely only see what you wanted to see and think of a way to explain everything away.

    This proves to me how deluded some folks are; you are so ready to believe that someone “would not believe you even if they had the evidence” that you’re willing to write off any and all instances of disbelief as “denial.”

    On top of that, I suppose you would also not believe me if I told you about my experiences with faith healings? And that I have been healed of a condition that both medical and holistic medicine say is unhealable.

    I can say that I would not. With medical records maybe I would, but by word of mouth? If it were that easy, I’d have to say that Benny Hinn isn’t a con man, and I already know that’s not true~

    What about the fact that I used to make many of the same kinds of comments that you and Tim do — only maybe not so cleverly, but every bit as sarcastically — until I was born again and that much of my attitude has transformed? The way I see people has transformed, the way I respond to unpleasant circumstances that come my way, the way I view the world, the way I view self-destructive habits (sins)… all these things changed once I saw that my own logic and my own ways were flawed, and I stopped one day and said, “God…if you are there… I give up… show me the way.”

    What you are describing is the same exact progression of events that accompanies any major change of worldview; you begin to see your old ways as “flawed” and your new ones as “better.” And if it works out for you, then great and more power to you — but that doesn’t mean you should immediately start shoving those ideas down other people’s throats.

    And on top of that….maybe, just maybe, there are other people out there who used to feel the same way you do, and don’t anymore. Does that make them more valid, in your eyes?

    If the bible is true and real and accurate, then God, I need you to help me to understand it.

    This is a good example of what I was saying earlier; the given which you accept on faith (not evidence); the perception into which you must slip in order to “see” the “truth” that the Bible supposedly offers.

    What changed in my mind? Did I suddenly turn stupid? An atheist might say yes.

    I wouldn’t call anyone stupid because they had an emotional response, no.

    How did it change? One moment I had no idea what the significance of the crucifixion was, then the next moment I suddenly understood the love and the sacrifice involved.

    That’s good and all, but it’s still based on the “given,” the idea that the crucifixion actually happened, and on top of that that Jesus was the son of God, or that God sacrificed him in the crucifixion. You see why this is not convincing, or any more rationally founded than any other view?

    Can I prove this to you? There is no way I can prove this to you. Especially with the mental attitude you are exhibiting. I am not saying this to criticize, I am just stating what I see based on all the posts I have read. You can’t think that way and then believe something like this.

    I don’t doubt that, were I to change my views to suit yours, I might begin to believe some of those stories. But the problem (well, it’s not a problem for me) is that my brain won’t let me. I don’t choose what to believe and what not to believe; I listen to my senses and my emotions, and I balance them out to try and make a halfway-decent decision. So you can preach all you want about the emotional appeals and whatnot, but it doesn’t change anything. I always say this: I’m open-minded. If God is real and He has something to say to me, then He’ll say it when He’s good and ready. If not, then I’ll continue being an atheist.

    Which is what you seem to be saying; that there’s nothing anyone can do to prove their Christianity to others in the same way that it is significant to Christians themselves. Could you please tell that to Frank Turek? Maybe he’ll finally realize you can’t “science” people into believing in God.

    Why? Simple. He didn’t want to believe. Even with the evidence staring right at him.

    Even if your story is 100% true (which I highly doubt, but let’s give you the BOD for the time being); the fact that someone became “nicer” doesn’t prove anything. Some people make similar changes in their lives after reading popular novels, or watching a particular good movie, or hearing a great album (I’ve done all three). Does that prove the “divinity” of any of those things?

    I do realize however, that there will likely be sarcasm mixed with some kind of “logic” to say that my experiences don’t mean anything. Based on my own views when I was an atheist, and based on the views from you guys’ posts, and Hitchens’ comments in the debate, etc., this is not a difficult thing to predict.

    Nice trick; although it wouldn’t be hard for someone to read my posts here, realize that I’m somewhat of a smart-ass, and then make a prediction of my future actions based on that. At least you’re observant 🙂

    But the fact remains that I called on God and God answered.

    Then I guess Gan answered me when I “called on him” by reading that novel? 😀

    No amount of ridiculing and naysaying can change the fact that God exists and willingly transforms the lives of all those who ask.

    [/Evangelical Theory Of Assertion]

    I should seriously make a book out of these Christian memes you guys keep using. It would make arguing with you a lot less redundant if we could just skip the argumentative tactics and actually discuss something.

    There is nothing I can tell you that will prove that to you.

    Then we agree~

    Regardless, the fact still remains

    Two assertions in the same paragraph! A new record.

    God is a spirit. And you can not prove God any more than you can prove love, or kindness, or patience.

    You can’t prove music, either. That’s because music is a term that we ascribe to an allocation of other things that are definable/”provable,” like sound. Of course we can’t prove “love” or “kindness,” because they are also such allocations.

    That’s why there are indeed some fake Christians.

    “If all the Christians who had ever accused others of ‘not being real Christians’ disappeared tomorrow, there would be no Christians left.'”

    –???

    Many belief systems (including atheism) have much wisdom and usually many good morals, but they are all incomplete and they all have at least one common fundamental difference from Christianity. They are all based on what it is that “I” am doing (self-righteousness).

    You sound a lot like this hyper-conservative chick that comes into my work and harasses my customers. Seriously, she said almost this same thing to me last week, as though I couldn’t have ever heard it before, as though it were so profound.

    But really, this is an old argument. Christianity is also based on “what I want;” you interpret the Bible, you decide which parts to uphold, and you live based on that. It’s no different~

    Reply
  90. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Andrew Ryan, there is a difference between fortune-telling and prophecy. Prophecies come from God, fortune-telling comes from familiar spirits.”

    There’s no evidence for either. In that respect they are the same.

    Reply
  91. Robert Van Meter, Maj, USAF says:

    Frank, I love your shows on NRB. We’ve talked on the phone. I am a Christian who loves apologetics (math professor). I will check in from time to time. As for Dawkins, I think Ben Stein proved what a joke he is.

    Reply
  92. Andrew Ryan says:

    “As for Dawkins, I think Ben Stein proved what a joke he is.”

    Stein asked Dawkins a hypothetical question, Dawkins answered it, Stein didn’t understand his answer. Who is the joke there? [clue: it’s Stein].

    Reply
  93. Dave says:

    It’s been a hoot guys but we are all just spinning our wheels
    Tim, really man I hope you have some real convictions before you check out. You have alot of energy hope it ends up in a good place!

    Andrew,
    Thanks for the thoughts
    oh by the way Dawkins is a complete air head!
    Its amazing he even got a publishing deal!!!
    Dave

    Reply
  94. Andrew Ryan says:

    Dave, sorry but if you’re getting down to insults, then the reply is that you’re obviously simply not smart enough to understand Dawkins. He’s one of the best science writers of the past 50 years. The Selfish Gene is an acknowledged classic, decades after it was first published.

    Reply
  95. Brenda says:

    “This proves to me how deluded some folks are; you are so ready to believe that someone “would not believe you even if they had the evidence” that you’re willing to write off any and all instances of disbelief as “denial.”

    What we each consider as evidence are worlds apart. That was the reason for the statement.

    “I can say that I would not. With medical records maybe I would, but by word of mouth? If it were that easy, I’d have to say that Benny Hinn isn’t a con man, and I already know that’s not true~”

    If you were really interested in knowing the truth, it wouldn’t take much effort to come across plenty of people who have medical records. I don’t bother with doctors, although my condition was diagnosed years ago. It had been plaguing me everyday for years and many people saw and noticed the condition. It is something that runs in the family. Others use prescriptions to deal with it, but I don’t do drugs since they don’t heal and they typically cause additional health problems. Everyone else in the family is still plagued with this condition and mine is completely gone. Even though my mom can see for herself that it is healed, she still doesn’t believe in faith healings. Before I showed her the evidence that it was gone, I asked her if there was any way for it to heal and go away. She said an emphatic “no” and said that the only thing that could be done was through a prescription. Then I told her and showed her mine was completely gone and she still doesn’t believe. She explains things away because she doesn’t want to believe. I’m surprised she doesn’t consider herself an atheist because she chooses to explan things away, even things that are right in front of her. But anyway, if a person is truly interested, it doesn’t take much effort to track down people who have medical data for before and after. But those who refuse to believe in God, even when faced with medical records, tend to explain even those instances away as just an anomaly.

    Just look back over your responses when you talk to Christians, and see the logic that you use. Even though you are not in their shoes and you *don’t know* what the other person actually experienced, you always come up with arguments, sarcasm, and ways to explain things away.

    Do you have proof that Benny Hinn is a con man? Are you absolutely positive that no one has been healed as a result of his prayers? How can you be sure?

    “What you are describing is the same exact progression of events that accompanies any major change of worldview;”

    I’ve had many changes of worldview. I know what you are saying. The born-again experience is not the same thing. There are some changes in worldview that accompany the born-again experience, but a change in worldview is by no means the totality of the experience. And it is certainly not so superficial as what you describe can happen after reading a novel, etc.

    “And on top of that….maybe, just maybe, there are other people out there who used to feel the same way you do, and don’t anymore.”

    Yes, there are those who seemingly have the same experience and then turn away and even begin bad-mouthing Christianity. But I don’t see any *evidence* that these people truly went through the born-again experience. When I learn about someone that they turned away from Christianity, I pay close attention because I am curious how someone could willingly discard something so good. So far, from statements I have heard, these people are generally bitter because they were tired of the religiosity of it all… you know…”If you want to avoid going to hell, you have to do this and that and that and that and that.” Which is absolutely not true. This is not what the bible teaches. It teaches the opposite. That it is not your own righteousness that saves you. That it is not what you do that counts. But just like the thinking that the Pharisees fell into, which Jesus rebuked them for, so are plenty of Christians tempted to fall into that same way of thinking. It is false, and it misrepresents what Christianity is, and therefore many people get turned off to the church. It’s deceit that turns people away from Christianity, and also deceit that keeps people away to begin with.

    There are drug addicts who get clean, and then turn back to being a junkie and living in filthy conditions on the streets. Does that mean that anyone who says it is a good experience to get off drugs is a liar? Or simply has a different worldview?

    “This is a good example of what I was saying earlier; the given which you accept on faith (not evidence); the perception into which you must slip in order to “see” the “truth” that the Bible supposedly offers.”

    I could say the same about what you believe. Because it is apparant to me that you do not have evidence for everything you believe. Let me say up front that I think science is mostly a worthwhile endeavor, and has helped us to understand much. But science has plenty of flaws, and there are science findings that contradict each other depending on who is funding the experiments, and who is conducting them, etc. Also, how many times have we heard that “scientists used to believe such-and-such, but new studies are showing something different.”?
    I am suggesting that it is likely that much “evidence” that you place your beliefs in are not really evidences at all in some or many cases. How would you know? You would have to take someone’s word for it. Or you would have to be there to see it for yourself. Is everything you choose to believe, something that you have seen for yourself? How do you define evidence? What makes your evidence better than the evidences I have of my own experiences?

    “I wouldn’t call anyone stupid because they had an emotional response, no.”

    It would be inaccurate to reduce it all to being just and emotional response.

    “You see why this is not convincing, or any more rationally founded than any other view?”

    I can see why it is not convincing to anyone who has not been through the born-again experience. It didn’t used to be convincing for me either.

    “I listen to my senses and my emotions, and I balance them out to try and make a halfway-decent decision.”

    Doesn’t everyone think that they are making good decisions about what to believe or what not to believe? When you say that your *brain* won’t allow you to believe my *stories*, are you absolutely positive that it’s not something else that prevents you from believing, maybe pride? I don’t know, I’m just saying, maybe it’s a possibility. Because it is hard for anyone to recognize when they are using pride versus using their brain or their common sense. How do you know that your perception is working properly? How do you know that you are not perceiving things based on past experiences, hurts, or observances of hypocritical behavior, etc.? How do you know that your way of determining whether something is true or not is accurate?

    “If God is real and He has something to say to me, then He’ll say it when He’s good and ready. If not, then I’ll continue being an atheist”

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think your current thinking is conducive to welcoming a word from God. You seem too convinced in the other direction. But who knows? The way I understand it, God wants to talk to everyone all the time, but many refuse to listen. The moment that I genuinely began listening, God started showing me answers.

    “Maybe he’ll finally realize you can’t “science” people into believing in God.”

    I think this is probably true. But I’m not sure. Maybe science does show the possibility.

    Oh, and somewhere you made a comment about me shoving my beliefs down your throat. I don’t understand the basis for this comment. Are discussing and shoving the same thing?

    “the fact that someone became “nicer” doesn’t prove anything.”

    This is significantly trivializing what actually happened. Also, my *story* happened exactly as I said. So I find it a curious thing to tell the truth about something and for someone to not believe me. How does this happen, I wonder? How is it that people can choose not to believe the truth? Myself, having gone through the change, know exactly what it is that has taken placed, what has changed. Then here you are, after hearing what I say, telling me that you don’t believe it. That shows me right there that your perception is off, at least about this. And if your perception is off about this, then what else is it off about? Even my son, who doesn’t believe the cause of the changes in me, has said a number of times, that he doesn’t know what exactly happened, but acknowledges that it did happen concurrently with becoming a Christian. Yet he refuses to believe that there is any such thing as a born-again experience, and refuses to believe that you can have any such relationship with God as I have described my experience to be. What am I supposed to say in response to such a refusal to believe? I obviously know it is true because I have lived and am living the experience, but what do I then say to someone who tells me it isn’t true?

    So you are right about the fact that Christians should not try to shove these things down people’s throats, because even though the experience is true, this truth cannot be transmitted from one person to another, unless that other person is ready and willing to see it and experience it for themselves. And if someone is heavily convinced of the impossibility of it all, then it is definitely futile to try to convey your experiences to another.

    “Nice trick; although it wouldn’t be hard for someone to read my posts here, realize that I’m somewhat of a smart-ass, and then make a prediction of my future actions based on that. At least you’re observant ”

    I’m not quite sure what you are saying here. But I think you are saying the same thing I did. That I deduced this about you from reading your posts on these blogs. Why are you calling it a trick?

    “Then I guess Gan answered me when I “called on him” by reading that novel?”

    I don’t know who Gan is. But I do know, that in general, through experience and observance, that whatever it is you call on, that is what you bring into your life. Whether it is of Godly influence, or of a deceitful or evil influence.

    “If all the Christians who had ever accused others of ‘not being real Christians’ disappeared tomorrow, there would be no Christians left.’”

    There are indeed some false Christians. Not everyone who goes to church actually believes in the bible or the meaning of the crucifixion, etc. But I understand the statement, because many people are accused of not being real Christians, only because they interpret certain passages in the bible a little differently. I don’t agree that so many Christians should be accused of not being real Christians. However, it is not true that all Christians make these accusations. And just because there are some unpleasant behaviors among Christians, that only shows that there aren’t any perfect people, it does not illustrate anything about Christianity itself. Part of being a Christian is coming to terms with the fact that you are not righteous, and neither is anyone else. Hence the need for a savior, to save us from our self-destructive ways.

    “But really, this is an old argument”

    I think you misunderstand me here. I wasn’t claiming that this was something new. Something doesn’t have to be new to be true. When you look at the different belief systems, you can’t help but see that this it is indeed true. Nonetheless, I do think it is profound.

    “Christianity is also based on “what I want;” you interpret the Bible, you decide which parts to uphold, and you live based on that. It’s no different”

    I would differ with you here (what’s new, right?). Christianity is not based on “what I want.” Christianity is based on setting aside “what I want.” It’s based on being a living sacrifice. To forsake the selfish wants of the world. It’s about magnifying God rather than magnifying an expensive new car, for example. It’s about seeking after God and His righteousness rather than lusting after food or alcohol or people. It’s about dropping all the “I wants” of the world, and putting worldly “goods” into their proper perspective. Food is for fuel and nourishment, and just happens to taste good (a good design… thank you God). A car is for transportation, and if it looks nice and it is comfortable, then that is a nice bonus, but it’s not a big priority. A home is a place to live and keep your things and be protected from the elements, but it is not something to obsess over, and it doesn’t need to be huge and extravagent, and it doesn’t need to be broken down and shabby. And so on.

    I believe that what you are pointing out is the fact that all Christians have not perfectly attained the ability to put all the things of the world in their proper perspective. But I would say that overall, many have made a lot of progress in that area.

    As far as those interpreting the bible they way they want to. Yes, that happens. No, to be Christian does not mean to instantly drop all your pride and all your habits. What Christianity is… is to recognize that you have been moving in the wrong direction in some or many areas of your life and to admit it, and to have a desire to turn things around and to move in a positive direction. But Christians are flawed human beings just like everyone else, and you can’t base your ideas about Christianity on Christians. You can only base your ideas about Christianity on Christianity and the new testament.

    I would say that also non-Christians do also sometimes recognize that something is wrong and attempt to move in a positive direction. However, all the years I tried to do that without turning to God, I found that relying solely on my own mind and my own heart was not very reliable. Many negative thoughts and feelings are coming in in addition to many positive ones. By myself, even though I thought I knew what was best and what wasn’t, the results I was experiencing showed me that I was obviously wrong. By myself I didn’t know how to filter properly. God is not influenced by all the negative thoughts and feelings, and is able to guide us and show us what will take us in the right direction, and what will decieve us into going in the wrong direction.

    Just look at all the sitcoms today (and movies). I used to like watching the funny shows because they made me laugh. But now I see that there are a lot of cruel things being said that are disguised as humor. It’s deceitful. I still like humor, but I am no longer deceived by “humor” that is really a disguise for cruelty. My desire to jokingly slam people is no longer there. I see that desire for what it is. This is just one of many examples.

    Gotta go vote now.

    Reply
  96. Andrew Ryan says:

    “I would say that also non-Christians do also sometimes recognize that something is wrong and attempt to move in a positive direction. ”

    Since you allow this, Brenda, in the interests of fairness I’ll admit that sometimes Christians can attempt to do the right thing too. Even the misguided bigoted Christians sometimes realise the errors of their ways.

    Reply
  97. Tim D. says:

    What we each consider as evidence are worlds apart. That was the reason for the statement.

    Clearly~

    If you were really interested in knowing the truth, it wouldn’t take much effort to come across plenty of people who have medical records.

    You’d be surprised to find out exactly how untrue that is. Either that, or everyone who has ever been “faith-healed” that I’ve spoken to, with, or about simply doesn’t want to share his/her records to prove it. Which I find odd, considering that they’ll share such information openly but not on paper….

    By the way….what condition was it you had? I’m just interested for hypotheticals’ sake, really. I mean, it’s not like I can track you down and embarrass you with it, right?

    Just look back over your responses when you talk to Christians, and see the logic that you use. Even though you are not in their shoes and you *don’t know* what the other person actually experienced, you always come up with arguments, sarcasm, and ways to explain things away.

    (1) Okay, I just looked back.
    (2) I saw the logic that I use(d).
    (3)

    (a) I come up with arguments to refute points that I know cannot be true (the reasons that I list are the justifications for this position; i.e. “That can’t be true because [x].” If you cannot offer evidence to refute reason, then it is not a reasonable thing to expect me to believe. Case in point~

    (b) I come up with sarcasm in response to things that are not argumentative in nature — assertions, insults, claims, ad-hominem attacks, etc.

    (c) I “explain things away” by leading back into point (a); I do not believe them because I have many reasons not to. You see me as a fool for not denying these reasons and believing anyway. So solly Cholly, but that’s not how my brain works~

    Do you have proof that Benny Hinn is a con man? Are you absolutely positive that no one has been healed as a result of his prayers? How can you be sure?

    I don’t claim to know “for sure” that nobody has ever been healed by Benny Hinn, any more than I have ever claimed to “know for sure” that God does not exist. It is just not a reasonable expectation, especially not for a man that (a) has so many ulterior motives that explain his actions without contradiction or doubt, and (b) has been investigated multiple times and found fraudulent on every occasion.

    I’ve had many changes of worldview. I know what you are saying. The born-again experience is not the same thing. There are some changes in worldview that accompany the born-again experience, but a change in worldview is by no means the totality of the experience. And it is certainly not so superficial as what you describe can happen after reading a novel, etc.

    So you say.

    But I don’t see any *evidence* that these people truly went through the born-again experience.

    So you know what they went through better than they do, then? Or you just don’t believe them? How do you know for sure?

    When I learn about someone that they turned away from Christianity, I pay close attention because I am curious how someone could willingly discard something so good. So far, from statements I have heard, these people are generally bitter because they were tired of the religiosity of it all… you know…”If you want to avoid going to hell, you have to do this and that and that and that and that.” Which is absolutely not true. This is not what the bible teaches. It teaches the opposite. That it is not your own righteousness that saves you. That it is not what you do that counts. But just like the thinking that the Pharisees fell into, which Jesus rebuked them for, so are plenty of Christians tempted to fall into that same way of thinking. It is false, and it misrepresents what Christianity is, and therefore many people get turned off to the church. It’s deceit that turns people away from Christianity, and also deceit that keeps people away to begin with.

    And yet, people rely on blatant deceit to draw people back in….or even outright accuse them of deceit for leaving in the first place. Odd, is it not?

    There are drug addicts who get clean, and then turn back to being a junkie and living in filthy conditions on the streets. Does that mean that anyone who says it is a good experience to get off drugs is a liar? Or simply has a different worldview?

    So now you’re comparing atheists and Christians to junkies and ex-junkies, respectively? Pardon me if I find that a little insulting….

    I could say the same about what you believe.

    That is true, you can.

    Because it is apparant to me that you do not have evidence for everything you believe.

    Nobody does; the crux of my position.

    Let me say up front that I think science is mostly a worthwhile endeavor, and has helped us to understand much. But science has plenty of flaws, and there are science findings that contradict each other depending on who is funding the experiments, and who is conducting them, etc.

    Science is not flawed in that sense; man is flawed in that sense.

    Sound familiar?

    Also, how many times have we heard that “scientists used to believe such-and-such, but new studies are showing something different.”?

    This is good to me; it proves that scientists are willing to accept new evidence to change their views. Christians are not — especially not those who actually believe there are scientific “proofs” of Christianity.

    I am suggesting that it is likely that much “evidence” that you place your beliefs in are not really evidences at all in some or many cases. How would you know? You would have to take someone’s word for it.

    As would you; and we’re back to this tet-a-tet again.

    What makes your evidence better than the evidences I have of my own experiences?

    Let me get one thing very clear; I don’t criticize you one whit for having the views that you do. I don’t think you’re “wrong,” and it is not in my interest to “convince” you to “change.” I am simply making a case for a view that you have dismissed for reasons that I disagree with. You can choose to listen, maybe learn something. Or you can choose not to. I am not in control of that. I have no interest in anything other than sharing this information with you, should you choose to hear it, and with hearing what you have to say. Of course, this in no way obligates me to acknowledge what you say as “true” or “right” any more than you are obligated to respect what I say in that same sense. Am I making sense to you?

    It would be inaccurate to reduce it all to being just and emotional response.

    Well, then perhaps you would describe it more accurately? In any case, I don’t care what you call it; the subject was not the active portion of that sentence, the predicate was.

    I can see why it is not convincing to anyone who has not been through the born-again experience. It didn’t used to be convincing for me either.

    Then we agree.

    Doesn’t everyone think that they are making good decisions about what to believe or what not to believe? When you say that your *brain* won’t allow you to believe my *stories*, are you absolutely positive that it’s not something else that prevents you from believing, maybe pride?

    I do not believe that is the case, no. Although if it were/is, then I would think that is up to me to decide, seeing as I’m the only one capable of truly knowing. Wouldn’t you say the same?

    How do you know that your perception is working properly?

    A question that is meaningless, as it could be asked of anyone. We don’t know; we must rely on perception in order to exist.

    How do you know that you are not perceiving things based on past experiences, hurts, or observances of hypocritical behavior, etc.?

    How do you know you aren’t doing these things? Whatever your answer is, I imagine that you will say “you just know,” or something along those lines. “You can’t explain it,” or something. Do you mean to imply that you know both yourself and myself better than I do?

    How do you know that your way of determining whether something is true or not is accurate?

    Again, same question. Because you “feel” it? Because “God told you?” I don’t believe you.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think your current thinking is conducive to welcoming a word from God. You seem too convinced in the other direction. But who knows? The way I understand it, God wants to talk to everyone all the time, but many refuse to listen. The moment that I genuinely began listening, God started showing me answers.

    If I am required to delude myself away from observing and making rational decisions in order to “see God,” then no, I will probably never believe in God. I don’t believe that an entity capable of creating such a logical, mathematical universe would choose to interact with it in a way that defies its mathematical and logical nature, however. So your method seems quite odd.

    Oh, and somewhere you made a comment about me shoving my beliefs down your throat. I don’t understand the basis for this comment. Are discussing and shoving the same thing?

    Essentially, the difference between shoving and discussing is the stern assertion that one party is “right” and the other is “wrong” and that is that. Shoving implies a closed mind, whereas discussing implies an open one.

    How does this happen, I wonder? How is it that people can choose not to believe the truth?

    Because they only believe things their experience has lead them to believe. Is this so hard to understand? There was a time when I would have given anything to prove that the supernatural existed. I studied it for years, reassured by the community at large (the religious community, anyway) that such a thing existed. As I began to think critically about it, I started to realize more and more that the supernatural could exist, technically, but I was not seeing anything that I could guarantee to be a sign of its existence. As I started hypothetically attributing these things to worldly factors, I found that pretty much every “supernatural” incident has an explanation grounded in natural reality.

    This is not a statement of “hurt” or “vindictiveness” or “revenge” against a God that I feel has wronged me; it is simply an inability to believe in His existence based on what I have seen (or rather, not seen) in my life. In other words, “I’ve been where you are before;” that constant excitement, the desire to attribute anything that cannot immediately be explained to “God” or the supernatural. But I’m sure you would denounce this in the same manner of which you accuse me of denying your story. And so we are back to the beginning.

    That shows me right there that your perception is off, at least about this.

    Or perhaps that you are not being convincing enough. Am I to blame because you’re a bad storyteller?

    What am I supposed to say in response to such a refusal to believe? I obviously know it is true because I have lived and am living the experience, but what do I then say to someone who tells me it isn’t true?

    That’s for you to find out; that is a thing that cannot be proven, and I cannot help you there. I might ask you the same question of my views, simply to prove my point?

    I don’t know who Gan is. But I do know, that in general, through experience and observance, that whatever it is you call on, that is what you bring into your life. Whether it is of Godly influence, or of a deceitful or evil influence.

    Go to wikipedia (it’s a website) and look it up if you want to know. It’s not entirely relevant to the discussion.

    What I don’t understand about Christians is that they preach these “values” and “truths,” and they say they want everyone to live by them….but anytime any party other than Christianity tries to introduce the same values, but on a different grounding principle (i.e. “It makes sense” instead of, “God said to do it”), they get bent out of shape and start throwing around words like “demon” and “deceitful” and “evil influence.” It seems that you’re less content with the message, and more content that people think it came from a certain place. Which is more important to you — that people live their lives well and in service of a perceived “greater good,” or that they think God told them to do so?

    There are indeed some false Christians…

    The problem is, I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t respond to criticism of Christians in general with the claim that there are “false Christians.”

    I think you misunderstand me here. I wasn’t claiming that this was something new. Something doesn’t have to be new to be true. When you look at the different belief systems, you can’t help but see that this it is indeed true. Nonetheless, I do think it is profound.

    I think it is neither true nor profound.

    I would differ with you here (what’s new, right?). Christianity is not based on “what I want.” Christianity is based on setting aside “what I want.” It’s based on being a living sacrifice.

    Which you want to do, because you believe it is the right thing to do. Therefore it is based on what you want; there is no objective law forcing you to live this way. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t think it served a “greater good,” would you? This is because you want the “greater good.” If you deny this, then you risk saying that you don’t really care about doing “good.”

    But I would say that overall, many have made a lot of progress in that area.

    I would say that more non-Christians have aspired to this than Christians….but that’s just a side-note.

    What Christianity is… is to recognize that you have been moving in the wrong direction in some or many areas of your life and to admit it, and to have a desire to turn things around and to move in a positive direction.

    Again, we’re describing a shift of worldviews here. This applies to many more things than lone Christianity.

    You can only base your ideas about Christianity on Christianity and the new testament.

    I do. I judge “Christianity as a religion” differently than I judge individual Christians, for the record.

    Just look at all the sitcoms today (and movies). I used to like watching the funny shows because they made me laugh. But now I see that there are a lot of cruel things being said that are disguised as humor. It’s deceitful. I still like humor, but I am no longer deceived by “humor” that is really a disguise for cruelty. My desire to jokingly slam people is no longer there. I see that desire for what it is. This is just one of many examples.

    I think humor is an important part of life; I understand that it hurts to get “ragged on,” but I also understand that I can’t stop everyone from ragging on me, and so I do my best to deal with it. Hanging around Christians for much of my life has definitely helped to this end (lots of practice)~

    But seriously, I think the ability to distinguish between genuine hostility and risque humor is also very important. Another thing I don’t like about Christians, is their inability to laugh at things over ideological preferences. If you take it that seriously, then of course it’s not funny; the point of humor is to relax and take time off from the real world and just enjoy yourself. But again, this is only my take on humor; you’re free to remain uptight in the face of comedy, should you please.

    Gotta go vote now.

    Way ahead o’ ya; Obama ’08!

    Reply
  98. Tim D. says:

    To avoid just that situation, I usually type up long posts in wordpad first, saving them as I go, and then copy+paste them into the comment box when I’m done.

    Reply
  99. Brenda says:

    Tim,

    I think that if you really wanted to know whether they were true or not, you’d find out. I had heard from one Christian segment that they were real, and another segment says that they only occured in the first century AD. Whichever was true would have been fine with me. And I wasn’t obsessed with the topic either. But we came across a teacher who explained very well how it all works, and we put it to the test. We (my husband and I) began healing ourselves and each other of lots of things. Headaches, lower back pain, etc. These things would go away within a minute or two, where normally they lasted hours or days. At church, my husband helped an old woman heal of a throat problem. She was no longer hoarse or in pain within a couple hours. An old man was healed of a pesky pain in his neck that wouldn’t seem to go away. It took a few tries, but then it went away. My husband’s brother was suffering from chronic shoulder pain, and he had been taking cortizone for it. Throughout each day, the pain would come and go even with the medication and from the description of it, he said the pain was pretty bad while it was present. So he did a healing prayer for him and his brother said the pain was gone. But, he said, that the pain does come and go. So maybe by coincidence the pain was going away anyway at that moment… but then the pain didn’t come back. For about a week he kept saying to himself and to his wife, “I can’t believe that the pain is gone” and after a week of making this frequent disbelieving statement, the pain started coming back. Every time Jesus healed people, he told them it was their faith/belief that healed them. So what does a lack of faith do? We have seen evidence in our lives of what faith can do, and also what a lack of faith prevents. I believe that if you (or anyone) really wanted to know the truth about faith healings, you would find out (there is so much of it happening everyday). And if you really want to explain things away, even if someone showed you a medical report, you can conjure up a way to do so.

    The condition I had that I was talking about was excema. I had blotchy red patches on the sides of my neck for years. I was plagued with itching itching itching. Through the night, every night, I would be scratching. I was embarrassed to wear my hair up because the red blotches were so visible, especially with all the scratching I was doing. After we had been doing some healings on each other, one day it occurred to me to lay my hands on both sides of my neck and command healing of the excema. Within days it was completely cleared up. In the meantime I had forgotten about it and then one day I decided to take a look at it to see what it was looking like since sometimes it is flaired up more severely than other times. It was completely gone, no trace that it had ever been there. Then I realized that I didn’t remember itching the previous several days. And it’s been completely gone with zero itchiness ever since. I hadn’t changed my diet, hadn’t been on any medication or vitamins, hadn’t changed any products I was using. I use very few products and eat a simple diet of primarily whole foods.

    These things (and more) I have witnessed and experienced are my evidence. They may not be evidence to you, because you don’t know me, you weren’t present, and you didn’t experience them yourself. I have no way to prove these things to you, but I did prove them for myself, to myself. I was my own scientist performing my own experiments, and I observed the outcome.

    I don’t know either whether Benny Hinn is a fake or not. The odds are that there are faith healings taking place, otherwise he could not sustain such a ministry. But he’s got an odd personality from what I’ve seen and I’m not drawn to his teachings or preachings. I am not familiar with his history and what you have said about him. I may look into it. Regardless of any frauds, it is evident to me that faith healings work for those who have faith, and you don’t need Benny Hinn or any other preacher to make it happen. All you need to do is read and believe the gospels.

    “I come up with sarcasm in response to things that are not argumentative in nature — assertions, insults, claims, ad-hominem attacks, etc.”

    I agree with you about insults and attacks. That is something we resort to when we have trouble expressing ourselves effectively and/or we don’t really know what we are talking about, but want to win the argument anyway. I think it reflects immaturity and pride. I don’t agree that sarcasm is a good way to respond. It seems like it is meant to be mean and hurtful. What is there to gain from that? I think the desire to be sarcastic, based on my own experience of being frequently sarcastic, is an illusion that we will get some satisfaction out of it, or somehow better off for it. As a response to insults or attacks, it is just a way to return evil for evil. A lose-lose situation.

    ” I “explain things away” by leading back into point (a); I do not believe them because I have many reasons not to.”

    From my observance of skeptics, they can always find a reason not to believe.

    “So you know what they went through better than they do, then? Or you just don’t believe them? How do you know for sure?”

    I don’t know for sure. I am only going off of what I have seen so far.

    “And yet, people rely on blatant deceit to draw people back in….or even outright accuse them of deceit for leaving in the first place. Odd, is it not?”

    I don’t know what exactly you mean by deceit to draw them back in, or accusing them of deceit for leaving. Generally speaking then, I would say that deceit is not a good way to draw people in. Deceit is not necessary. If the truth doesn’t have any effect, then what is there to gain by lying?

    “So now you’re comparing atheists and Christians to junkies and ex-junkies, respectively? Pardon me if I find that a little insulting….”

    LOL. Not quite. But for me, my pre-born again thoughts and desires are about as undesirable as becoming a junkie. Not quite, but almost. I can’t imagine why a born-again person would want to revert back to old ways. I question whether someone who denounces the bible, and God, and Christianity, was ever born-again to begin with. But I think it is possible even if it doesn’t make sense to me. The junkie was an example to show that people do things sometimes that don’t make sense. Maybe someday I will find out. I’ve thought about seeking out such people and interviewing them so that I can understand.

    I can see why someone would want to leave a particular church or denomination, or change bible versions, but I don’t see how you can go through a joyous experience and then reject it.

    It seems to be the case that we both agree that neither one of us is really capable of providing evidence to each other on what we believe. The only way to have absolute evidence for something is to observe or experience it for ourselves.

    Hence it is pointless for anyone to try to “shove” anything down another’s “throat,” but there seems to be no issue with discussing varying beliefs and views in order to better understand one another. I agree with you there. I also think there is no problem with a Christian offering others information about the Christianity, especially suffering or troubled people, with the hopes that they will accept salvation, develop a relationship with God, and turn their life around. IF it is done with an attitude of goodwill and helpfulness. I think that if someone doesn’t want to be bothered, that they should be left alone about it.
    We both agree that man is flawed, whether Christians or scientists. But a Christian would say also that man has a fallen nature which is prone to following evil influences, and in need of salvation. What is it you would say? Is it that this flawed nature has nothing to do with the influence of evil and that everything will just work itself out with some effort on man’s part (or maybe there is nothing needing to be worked out?), and that it doesn’t much matter anyway because when we die we no longer exist at all anyway? I took my best guess. I am curious to see if I am anywhere near accurate.

    The way I used to think is that if there is that if there is an afterlife and a God, that everything would just work itself out ok because basically I’m a good person. I sometimes hear that from others too. When I used to believe in re-incarnation, I figured that I would keep being born into new lives until all was worked out. When I was atheist, I thought that what I say and do doesn’t matter because there are never any consequences, other than that, while alive, you might anger/offend someone, or miss an opportunity, or break a law and have to pay a fine or go to jail.

    “it proves that scientists are willing to accept new evidence to change their views. Christians are not — especially not those who actually believe there are scientific “proofs” of Christianity.”

    I see this as partly untrue. I’m not talking about proving Christianity through science because I don’t know much about that field of study yet. But when comparing Christianity itself to science… it really depends on the individual scientist and the individual Christian. I can’t much speak for other Christians, but I myself do transform my thinking regularly as a greater understanding of scripture unravels to me. But it’s more often one truth building upon the foundation of another. And in some cases discarding something that I misunderstood. However, God doesn’t change, neither do spiritual laws. This you can compare with science, because physical laws do not change (as far as I know), only the scientist’s understanding of them change. Some Christians and some scientists seem unwilling to admit that their initial beliefs were erroneous. And definitely some churches will not budge on their doctrine, even if you can clearly show that it is in contradiction with straightforward teachings of the bible, which is what Jesus kept trying to point out to the Pharisees, who refused to budge because they were afraid of humbling themselves and losing respect and status. So they kept their “traditions of men which make the word of God of none effect.” Are you telling me that all scientists will admit when they are wrong?

    “Let me get one thing very clear; I don’t criticize you one whit for having the views that you do. I don’t think you’re “wrong,” and it is not in my interest to “convince” you to “change.””

    You certainly sound like you think I’m wrong. You flat out told me you don’t believe me. And whether you want to change anyone, only you know that, and whether I want to change anyone, only I know that.
    What I thought we were doing was having a discussion about our differences and why we believe or don’t believe certain things. I thought we were attempting to understand one another. Not because we need to, but because it makes for good conversation and expands our worldview a little bit. In my opinion anyway.

    “You can choose to listen, maybe learn something.”

    I am indeed listening and learning. You are helping me to understand your beliefs and the logic behind them. With each correspondance, I am a little less ignorant because of your clear, intelligent communication. I understand you may not be learning anything from me. In that case, I appreciate you taking the time to help me understand some things.

    “I have no interest in anything other than sharing this information with you, should you choose to hear it, and with hearing what you have to say. Of course, this in no way obligates me to acknowledge what you say as “true” or “right” any more than you are obligated to respect what I say in that same sense. Am I making sense to you?”

    Thank you. And yes, I agree.

    “I do not believe that is the case, no. Although if it were/is, then I would think that is up to me to decide, seeing as I’m the only one capable of truly knowing. Wouldn’t you say the same?”

    Yes. I was only asking, not assuming.

    “A question that is meaningless, as it could be asked of anyone. We don’t know; we must rely on perception in order to exist.”

    The same point that I was making.

    “How do you know you aren’t doing these things? Whatever your answer is, I imagine that you will say “you just know,” or something along those lines. “You can’t explain it,” or something. Do you mean to imply that you know both yourself and myself better than I do?”

    No… not at all. I wasn’t implying that I’m never doing those things. I was just asking you, because I had the impression that you were certain that none of your beliefs were based on bias. As far as I know, my beliefs are based on my past and current experiences and observances. I do my best to question my thoughts and motives for unfounded bias, but I have no way of knowing whether I am successful at it. Perhaps we can never be completely unbiased?

    “How do you know that your way of determining whether something is true or not is accurate? Again, same question. Because you “feel” it? Because “God told you?” I don’t believe you.”

    I don’t mind answering your question, and I think I already did. The evidence of my experiences. In previous belief systems, I believed certain things to be true, but the evidence of my experiences were in contradiction to my beliefs. Then I moved on to the next belief. Same thing. For the first time in my search to know what it true, the experiences match the beliefs. In some instances, the belief came first, then evidence… and sometimes it happened vice versa. The truths of the bible, as my understanding grows, are manifesting in my experiences. That is the real reason I don’t believe other things. The ideas and assertions do not match my experiences.

    “If I am required to delude myself away from observing and making rational decisions in order to “see God,” then no, I will probably never believe in God.”

    Suit yourself, but I don’t see myself as deluded or irrational any more than you see yourself that way.

    “I don’t believe that an entity capable of creating such a logical, mathematical universe would choose to interact with it in a way that defies its mathematical and logical nature, however. So your method seems quite odd.”

    I don’t know what it is you’re referring to here. How are God’s ways in defiance of how nature is?

    “Because they only believe things their experience has lead them to believe.”

    Funny, this is what I have been saying!

    “There was a time when I would have given anything to prove that the supernatural existed…. As I started hypothetically attributing these things to worldly factors, I found that pretty much every “supernatural” incident has an explanation grounded in natural reality.”

    I don’t know how to respond to this. I don’t understand how you can seek and not find. I have been finding the opposite to be true, with even physical evidence. Addictions, angers, grudges fell away, along with the perverse liberal mind that I thought was so grand. I am not saying that everything turned perfect, but there were dramatic changes from the start.

    My relationship with my brother had been terrible since we were kids. He was at that time living next door and we weren’t speaking to each other and he was hard to deal with anyhow because he is an awful alcoholic and just mean and crazy and unstable. Regardless, because of my recent (at the time) born-again experience, I did not want to continue having a poor relationship with him. I couldn’t seem to do anything to change things. I asked God to help me heal the relationship because I didn’t know what to do. A particular silver cross necklace flashed in my mind with the thought, “Buy this for him.” I blew it off as silly. A couple days later the same thing happened. It occurred to me that this was God’s answer so I decided I would do it. I couldn’t find the right cross, so I ordered one out of a catalog. When I gave it to him, he was shocked and told me it was exactly like the cross he wanted to buy but kept putting it off. I had no idea that he was thinking of buying a cross. And the one that flashed in my mind was exactly the same kind he was wanting to buy (there were hundreds of cross pendant designs in the catalogs I looked at, with only one of them looking like the vision I had). That was evidence (a sign) from God to me that He is there to help me when I ask and He knows the right thing to do, and it was evidence to my brother that God knows what is on his mind and in his heart and that He can provide it. My brother had been reading the bible daily and really trying to understand. After I gave him the cross, our relationship started to mend.

    I realize that you probably won’t believe this story of mine any more than you believed the last, but suspend your disbelief for a moment and assume this is true. What if it happened to you? Would you take it as evidence, or would you explain it away?

    This is not a single event either. Stuff like this happens regularly. The only times it doesn’t is when my mind is heavily focused on self-centered stuff and I am ignoring God. When I find reasons not to pray in the Spirit, or ask for guidance, or be quiet enough to listen and pay attention.

    “This is not a statement of “hurt” or “vindictiveness” or “revenge” against a God that I feel has wronged me; it is simply an inability to believe in His existence based on what I have seen (or rather, not seen) in my life.”

    I believe you.

    ” “I’ve been where you are before;””

    This sounds condescending, but it’s true, at least to a point. What can I say, I did indeed feel the same way about a lot of things.

    “that constant excitement,”

    I don’t feel constant excitement, but I do have much more cause for enthusiasm and joy than before. I don’t get discouraged or depressed like I used to. If I feel down, it is very short-lived. I have reason to be thankful oftentimes throughout the day and will frequently just start laughing and rejoicing over things I never before had appreciation for, or hadn’t noticed.

    “the desire to attribute anything that cannot immediately be explained to “God” or the supernatural.”

    I used to do that when I was into new-age stuff and surrounded by new-agers. It was quite ridiculous. I eventually noticed that things didn’t always pan out to be supernatural like I wanted to believe. But this is something Christians frequently do as well. Not quite as much as new-agers, but still. I notice this tendency and I tend to scrutinize what happens because I don’t want to behave that way. The accounts I have described to you have actual evidence involved.

    “But I’m sure you would denounce this in the same manner of which you accuse me of denying your story.”

    I don’t get your reasoning here. I don’t know why you are making all these assumptions about my thoughts.

    “Or perhaps that you are not being convincing enough. Am I to blame because you’re a bad storyteller?”

    Maybe.

    “that is a thing that cannot be proven, and I cannot help you there. I might ask you the same question of my views, simply to prove my point?”

    Have I accused you of making things up?

    “What I don’t understand about Christians is that they preach these “values” and “truths,” and they say they want everyone to live by them….but anytime any party other than Christianity tries to introduce the same values, but on a different grounding principle (i.e. “It makes sense” instead of, “God said to do it”), they get bent out of shape and start throwing around words like “demon” and “deceitful” and “evil influence.” It seems that you’re less content with the message, and more content that people think it came from a certain place. Which is more important to you — that people live their lives well and in service of a perceived “greater good,” or that they think God told them to do so?”

    It’s true that you don’t have to be Christian to know right from wrong, good ideas from bad ideas. But the thing is, the bible contains all those things, making it easy to discern, if one is willing to understand what the bible is saying and why. When left to our own thoughts and feelings, they are a mixture of good and evil, and since evil is deceitful, it is easy to do evil, thinking that there is no problem with it. Hence the problem of everyone doing what’s right in their own eyes, and people hurting each other and not believing that they are being hurtful and seeing nothing wrong with their actions or words.
    Before, I thought I was such a good person and I was strong in deciphering what was best and what was not good. I failed miserably, but I still insisted that I was doing good, and I justified my thoughts, feelings, and actions, even though they were unjustifiable in many cases. I thought I had great discernment, I thought I was honest, I thought all the garbage I allowed to enter my brain through TV and radio was not affecting my thinking and subsequently my actions, and subsequently my relationships, and so on. I was totally deluded. And I sure didn’t think that stupid bible had much of anything worthwhile. And I didn’t accept God. Not really. I didn’t have the benefit of the Holy Spirit within to guide me. But then everything changed, and my eyes were opened to just how messed up my thoughts and subsequent actions were, even though most people couldn’t tell from the outside. I acted nice before. I acted polite before.

    It seems to me, bottom line, that whoever you are, God can help tremendously to improve your life, your understanding, your level of love and peace. Not that all Christians accept this help. But it’s available.

    The bible does say that the discernment between right and wrong are written on each person’s heart. We were created that way. And no one has an excuse. But it sure can be hard to sort out the good thoughts from the bad ones, even though everyone thinks they know how to do this properly.

    “The problem is, I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t respond to criticism of Christians in general with the claim that there are “false Christians.””

    It’s true, so of course you will continue to hear it. But I don’t think that every Christian says this. I know some very quiet Christians who don’t comment on much of anything. But the bible does talk of the tares among the wheat, along with a number of other references to the fact that the church will always have a certain number of false believers within it.

    “Which you want to do, because you believe it is the right thing to do. Therefore it is based on what you want; there is no objective law forcing you to live this way.”

    No no, you’re really changing around what the point is. It all sounds like a word game here. Of course everyone does what they think is good. That is a given. The original point you were making was different from this. You had made it sound like a self-centered endeavor, which it is not in the main sense, but yes, in another sense, I believe that God’s ways are for the greater good of all who will accept His gift and guidance, and I am part of that all.

    “I would say that more non-Christians have aspired to this than Christians….but that’s just a side-note.”

    There is no way to tell, but I wouldn’t tend to agree, because people are people, and everyone is interested in doing what they think will work out well. So I think as far as intentions go, everyone is probably on near equal footing. But you can’t help but have an easier time in general if you are willing to follow God’s ways… based on my exp.
    I do. I judge “Christianity as a religion” differently than I judge individual Christians, for the record.

    I could be wrong, but based on a number of your comments, it seems that you often use Christians as a guage of Christianity.

    “I think humor is an important part of life; I understand that it hurts to get “ragged on,” but I also understand that I can’t stop everyone from ragging on me, and so I do my best to deal with it. Hanging around Christians for much of my life has definitely helped to this end (lots of practice)~”

    I can’t relate, because I do not get ragged on by other Christians.

    “But seriously, I think the ability to distinguish between genuine hostility and risque humor is also very important.”

    I don’t know exactly what you mean by risque… if you mean humor with sexual connotations, then you are referring to a different humor than I was. I was referring to sarcastic slams over and over again on basically all the sitcoms. The illusion is that if you are smart and saavy, then you aren’t influenced by all those cruel jokes. My observance and experience shows me differently because I see that it does indeed influence the way people are and the way they treat each other. I notice the trend in how people talk to each other everywhere I go. If you pay attention, you see it / hear it everywhere. You see what shows come out and what movies come out and music and ads, then you see how the behavior changes in everyone around you. *Everyone* is an exaggeration, but you can tell the difference between those who spend their time exposed to those things and those who don’t bother.

    This observation shows me evidence that every thing we allow into our minds has an effect on us, unless we negate it. But typically, people are just sitting and laughing and taking it all in and not perceiving what it really is behind the facade.

    “Another thing I don’t like about Christians, is their inability to laugh at things over ideological preferences.”

    Is this an assertion? *smile* I don’t believe you can lump all Christians into one personality. But oftentimes a Christian does not lose their sense of humor, it just shifts. Instead of laughing at cruel humor, they laugh at what I would consider good humor. It’s not meanness disguised as humor. When you think about it, what is so funny about one person being mean to another? There are genuinely funny things to laugh at.

    “If you take it that seriously, then of course it’s not funny;”

    That’s not the point. It’s not about choosing to take it seriusly, it’s just that when the veil is lifted from your eyes, you see that it was never actually funny to begin with. It takes a perverse mind to laugh at cruelty.

    “the point of humor is to relax and take time off from the real world and just enjoy yourself.”

    If it’s actually funny, which plenty of things are. The point is not to stop laughing. The point is an ability to discern what is truly funny.

    “But again, this is only my take on humor; you’re free to remain uptight in the face of comedy, should you please.”

    It has nothing to do with being uptight.

    “Way ahead o’ ya; Obama ‘08!”

    He wasn’t my choice, but now that he is in, I hope he does a good job without doing too much damage in the way of a declining moral structure of this country. It’s already been heading downhill as it is.

    Reply
  100. Brenda says:

    Andrew, Wanting to keep my posts brief and actually doing it are two different things!! I can’t seem to write without getting wordy.

    Tim, yes, I was gonna do that to begin with (Wordpad), but I never intended on writing so much. Now I am doing it.

    Reply
  101. Tim D. says:

    I think that if you really wanted to know whether they were true or not, you’d find out.

    And of course you are right, though probably not in the way you think~

    Whichever was true would have been fine with me. And I wasn’t obsessed with the topic either. But we came across a teacher who explained very well how it all works, and we put it to the test. We (my husband and I) began healing ourselves and each other of lots of things. Headaches, lower back pain, etc. These things would go away within a minute or two, where normally they lasted hours or days. At church, my husband helped an old woman heal of a throat problem

    I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in faith healings.

    I believe that if you (or anyone) really wanted to know the truth about faith healings, you would find out (there is so much of it happening everyday).

    I have never seen evidence of a genuine faith healing; I have seen claims that people refuse to follow up or enforce with evidence, the most likely explanation for which is that they are not true.

    And if you really want to explain things away, even if someone showed you a medical report, you can conjure up a way to do so.

    I’m sure you could do that. Problem is, no medical records. You can argue that ‘I wouldn’t believe even if I saw evidence,’ but that’s just a cop-out becuase there is no evidence. And this sounds like a grudging acknowledgement of this fact on your part.

    I agree with you about insults and attacks. That is something we resort to when we have trouble expressing ourselves effectively and/or we don’t really know what we are talking about, but want to win the argument anyway. I think it reflects immaturity and pride.

    Clearly you do not agree with me; I said nothing about pride or immaturity, or wanting to “win” the argument. I said that I make such remarks when people make comments that, for example, cannot be supported or denied; useless remarks that do nothing to further the discussion. Things like repeatedly asserting that, “if you really wanted the TRUTH, you’d find it.” As though you knew what I’ve been doing with my life.

    What is there to gain from that? I think the desire to be sarcastic, based on my own experience of being frequently sarcastic, is an illusion that we will get some satisfaction out of it, or somehow better off for it. As a response to insults or attacks, it is just a way to return evil for evil. A lose-lose situation.

    Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people. You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.

    From my observance of skeptics, they can always find a reason not to believe.

    From my observation of “believers,” they can always find a reason to believe….

    I don’t know for sure. I am only going off of what I have seen so far.

    Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?

    I don’t know what exactly you mean by deceit to draw them back in, or accusing them of deceit for leaving. Generally speaking then, I would say that deceit is not a good way to draw people in. Deceit is not necessary. If the truth doesn’t have any effect, then what is there to gain by lying?

    People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church; it’s happened a lot around here, and in places where I’ve lived before. It happens a lot on the internet, too — Christians parade their beliefs, and their certainties about other people’s beliefs, and when they come up against a counterexample, they reason around it by accusing the other person of “not really being Christian.” Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief. This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.” This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.

    I can’t imagine why a born-again person would want to revert back to old ways. I question whether someone who denounces the bible, and God, and Christianity, was ever born-again to begin with.

    ^Case in point.

    I can see why someone would want to leave a particular church or denomination, or change bible versions, but I don’t see how you can go through a joyous experience and then reject it.

    You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)? Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.

    I also think there is no problem with a Christian offering others information about the Christianity, especially suffering or troubled people, with the hopes that they will accept salvation, develop a relationship with God, and turn their life around. IF it is done with an attitude of goodwill and helpfulness. I think that if someone doesn’t want to be bothered, that they should be left alone about it.

    I think it’s fine if people want to share their ideas. Of course, I strongly oppose those who would go around telling people, “If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.” Or making such accusations that “you were never really on my side to begin with, if you claimed to be and then left.” Discussion is fair, even if the ideas being discussed are ridiculous; there is, however, a line that is easily (and frequently) crossed by Christians that turns a simple exchange of ideas into an assertion of “rightness” and “wrongness.” Even if you do not assert the inherent “wrongness” of the other person’s views, the fact that you assert the “rightness” of your own implies that any belief which is not yours (i.e. theirs) is “not right,” or at worst, “wrong.” Are you surprised that this brings about conflict?

    But a Christian would say also that man has a fallen nature which is prone to following evil influences, and in need of salvation. What is it you would say?

    Well, simply put, I do not believe there is such a thing as “good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not, for reasons I outlined in the other topic.

    You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?

    “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist; a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons); I think it’s simply an extreme variation on a necessary mechanism that is built into us so that we may survive. Babies learn to be selfish even as their parents teach them their “morals;” they learn to cry when they need something, and essentially make very annoying sounds until people provide them with their needs. This is simply their only way to communicate. Is it evil? No, because it is necessary to survive. People have to be selfish to an extent in order to care about themselves at all.

    When I was atheist, I thought that what I say and do doesn’t matter because there are never any consequences, other than that, while alive, you might anger/offend someone, or miss an opportunity, or break a law and have to pay a fine or go to jail.

    That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.” There are many ways to appreciate human interaction without resorting to supernatural justification, and I find it disturbing that you’re unable to see this.

    But when comparing Christianity itself to science… it really depends on the individual scientist and the individual Christian.

    News flash: it always depends on the person. Humans preach religion; humans conduct science. Science isn’t an entity, it’s a process. There will be some variables. But unless the person just completely ignores certain important factors, there will always be some common ground.

    Are you telling me that all scientists will admit when they are wrong?

    Nope. I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is; the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity through some meager doppelganger of true science, and so anyone who disagrees “isn’t acknowledging true science,” or “is only believing what they want to believe.” When in reality, such conclusions are not the solution to this age-old debate, but simply another contributing factor.

    You certainly sound like you think I’m wrong.

    Well, I don’t 0_0

    And whether you want to change anyone, only you know that, and whether I want to change anyone, only I know that.

    Um….yeah, hence why I said that.

    No… not at all. I wasn’t implying that I’m never doing those things. I was just asking you, because I had the impression that you were certain that none of your beliefs were based on bias.

    In the basic human sense, everyone’s — even your — beliefs are based upon some sort of bias, be it emotional or instinctual. That is not something we can avoid, because humans are not robots or vulcans; we are humans. We are not capable of functioning with 100% logical efficiency….although this is no reason to ignore logical fallacies of which we are aware, or that we can change.

    don’t mind answering your question, and I think I already did. The evidence of my experiences. In previous belief systems, I believed certain things to be true, but the evidence of my experiences were in contradiction to my beliefs. Then I moved on to the next belief. Same thing. For the first time in my search to know what it true, the experiences match the beliefs.

    That’s interesting because it’s almost exactly how I feel about atheism~

    Suit yourself, but I don’t see myself as deluded or irrational any more than you see yourself that way.

    I’m just responding to what you described. If you describe my methods as “unable to see God,” then that essentially means that God doesn’t exist in any rational sense. Hence my statement.

    I don’t know what it is you’re referring to here. How are God’s ways in defiance of how nature is?

    If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.

    Point: you feel that God is real and good and great and fine and dandy. I do not. This is called a “draw;” I can’t prove you wrong and you can’t prove me wrong. You think you know I’m wrong. That’s it.

    Funny, this is what I have been saying!

    Nifty feeling, isn’t it? It’s called an “agreement.”

    I don’t know how to respond to this. I don’t understand how you can seek and not find. I have been finding the opposite to be true, with even physical evidence. Addictions, angers, grudges fell away, along with the perverse liberal mind that I thought was so grand. I am not saying that everything turned perfect, but there were dramatic changes from the start.

    The explanations you’ve offered here don’t sound supernatural at all; I’ve been able to quell angers and grudges simply by force of will. When I sat down awhile back and decided that I seriously needed to re-think my world perspective from a social standpoint, I decided that I just had to be more forgiving of other people, because I was no more perfect myself. So I decided then and there, I’m not going to get angry at other people any more for doing things that aren’t perfect. Granted I’m not perfect, so in high-tension moments I still find myself relapsing into mild frustration, but as long as I’m thinking rationally I can avoid such perceptions without much problem. If you have a will of your own, it’s actually not that hard; it just requires hard work and constant dedication. You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.

    I realize that you probably won’t believe this story of mine any more than you believed the last, but suspend your disbelief for a moment and assume this is true. What if it happened to you? Would you take it as evidence, or would you explain it away?

    There’s something you need to understand about me. I do not see one thing and feel immediately swayed, this is true. Think of it as a meter that goes up and down with experience; when something happens that is harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0” mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief. So no, I would neither explain it away nor instantly be converted; I would take it into consideration and file it away for later reference, as I do with anything that stops short of either end.

    It’s true that you don’t have to be Christian to know right from wrong, good ideas from bad ideas. But the thing is, the bible contains all those things, making it easy to discern, if one is willing to understand what the bible is saying and why.

    I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those; I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?

    It’s true, so of course you will continue to hear it. But I don’t think that every Christian says this. I know some very quiet Christians who don’t comment on much of anything. But the bible does talk of the tares among the wheat, along with a number of other references to the fact that the church will always have a certain number of false believers within it.

    It’s a total cop-out; you don’t know what other people believe. You don’t know how they rationalize their beliefs. Ergo, you cannot know if they are “true Christians” anymore than they can know the same of you. Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed, so if you base it on that then there is still a good chance that you are wrong, and theirs is closer to the original Biblical intent.

    Of course everyone does what they think is good. That is a given.

    Exactly. They do what they think is good because they think it is good. But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good? The concepts of “good” and “evil” as we use them here transcend language; God might say he’s “good,” but someone might not feel that God is in line with the concept of “Good.” Someone might feel that humanism is closer in line with “good,” even though God defines Himself as “good.” How would you argue with that?

    You had made it sound like a self-centered endeavor, which it is not in the main sense, but yes, in another sense, I believe that God’s ways are for the greater good of all who will accept His gift and guidance, and I am part of that all.

    Okay, I have to make an aside very quickly….these things about “accepting His gift and guidance,” all that is fine and dandy, but it depends upon the given that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it? That’s what I’m asking.

    I could be wrong, but based on a number of your comments, it seems that you often use Christians as a guage of Christianity.

    You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.

    I don’t know exactly what you mean by risque… if you mean humor with sexual connotations, then you are referring to a different humor than I was. I was referring to sarcastic slams over and over again on basically all the sitcoms.

    I meant any form of comedy that’s not “family-friendly” by Christian definition; anything that deals with politics, real life, sexual situations, non-conservative ideologies, etc.

    The illusion is that if you are smart and saavy, then you aren’t influenced by all those cruel jokes.

    No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.

    My observance and experience shows me differently because I see that it does indeed influence the way people are and the way they treat each other.

    The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality; if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.

    I notice the trend in how people talk to each other everywhere I go. If you pay attention, you see it / hear it everywhere. You see what shows come out and what movies come out and music and ads, then you see how the behavior changes in everyone around you. *Everyone* is an exaggeration, but you can tell the difference between those who spend their time exposed to those things and those who don’t bother.

    Well, they say life imitates art. However, if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid; people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord. It’s their own unique choice to copy something they see on TV; it is their predetermined personality that decides how they react to these “influences,” similar to the “Child A/Child B” and “Family A/Family B” example I put up in that other topic. If you’re going to blame comedy’s free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.

    This observation shows me evidence that every thing we allow into our minds has an effect on us, unless we negate it. But typically, people are just sitting and laughing and taking it all in and not perceiving what it really is behind the facade.

    “Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?”

    Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy. Anyone who does is an idiot; even many of these comedies acknowledge this.

    Is this an assertion?

    It’s not an assertion so much as a declaration; I’m not asserting that something is true, I’m declaring that I don’t like something….although there is somewhat of an assertion in the fact that Christians do that, if that’s what you mean.

    I don’t believe you can lump all Christians into one personality.

    You have no problem doing the same of atheists/non-Christians….

    It’s not meanness disguised as humor.

    “Cruel” humor doesn’t have to be meanness disguised as humor, either. I don’t see why you’re so intent on seeing an ulterior motive to comedy; it’s comedy! It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. If you start acting like it’s all real, then of course it’s not going to make sense.

    When you think about it, what is so funny about one person being mean to another? There are genuinely funny things to laugh at.

    It’s not the “meanness” that makes it funny; it’s the individual things that are said. This can change depending on whether there is “meanness” or not. Sometimes ignorance (even that of a child) can be funny, if the right things are said. Humor is quite subjective 🙂 There is no one thing that is “funny” or “not funny,” with a few exceptions.

    That’s not the point. It’s not about choosing to take it seriusly, it’s just that when the veil is lifted from your eyes, you see that it was never actually funny to begin with. It takes a perverse mind to laugh at cruelty.

    (1) Humor is subjective; do you mean to imply that there are things that are “objectively funny,” now? What do you mean, “it was never funny?” Maybe to you. But do you hold others to this same “realization?” Do you fault others for not having it?

    (2) It takes a perverse mind to laugh at real cruelty, I think. However, real cruelty and cartoon/humorous cruelty are like real violence and game violence; I can blow a dude’s skull off in Resident Evil 4 without batting an eye or feeling a thing, but I can guarantee you I’d lose my lunch if I even saw the same thing happen in real life, much less if I was behind a gun. It’s very, very important to be able to draw the line between “real” and “for show.” Real things have real consequences; show things do not.

    If it’s actually funny, which plenty of things are. The point is not to stop laughing. The point is an ability to discern what is truly funny.

    Oh, my….so you are asserting an objective standard of funniness?

    He wasn’t my choice, but now that he is in, I hope he does a good job without doing too much damage in the way of a declining moral structure of this country. It’s already been heading downhill as it is.

    [/blah]

    Everybody says society is “declining.” That statement is so diluted that it doesn’t even mean anything anymore. I know it’s still the “hip” thing to say around conservatives, though, so I’ll let you have this one.

    In any case, I just hope he does something about Prop H8 at some point…that stuff is messed up 0_0

    Reply
  102. Brenda says:

    Tim,
    “Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people.”
    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation. So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.

    “You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.”
    Ditto.

    “Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?”
    I notice many similarities. Trying to show this fact has been the point of many of my comments.

    “People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church” … “Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief.”
    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian. You can go to church and still not grasp or accept who God is. You can even confess Jesus and accept salvation, and still not reach that point where the light bulb goes on. Some stick with Christianity anyway, some don’t. Also, there are some people who flat out fake it. I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with. I’d be curious to find out and I will probably be researching that very subject soon.

    “This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.” ”
    What it is, is an assumption on your part based on misunderstanding. It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great. Once you truly experience that, it’s crazy to go back. But no, I don’t know exactly what other people are experiencing, I can only question it, like I originally said. I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.

    “This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.”
    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying Christian, and I would have no reason for having this conversation with you. And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light? I suppose you would repeat for the *billionth* time that they have become deluded. Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*

    “You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)?”
    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”

    “Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.”
    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.

    ““If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.””
    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone. It’s not a matter of personal preference. My personal preference had been that I did *not* want to be a Christian. Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own. I was willing to become a Christian because it’s what led to the truth that I was seeking. Atheism and the gospel according to me just wasn’t cutting it. Christianity is not my way, it’s God’s way. It’s the way of making crooked paths straight.

    ” “good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not”
    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.

    “You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?”
    I wasn’t defining good. I was actually saying the same thing you are… that everyone defines it different, and are pursuing what they *think* is good. An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.

    ” “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist;”
    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins. The bible has given me a great deal of help in discerning evil and subsequently avoiding it. I used to think I was wise enough and jaded enough to detect evil influences, but that thinking proved to be wrong. My son thinks he is wise enough to discern on his own, but I can see him going through the same struggles I did, but he won’t yet see it.

    a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons);
    I wouldn’t say that selfishness is pure evil. However, babies don’t learn to be selfish, they are born selfish, and are gradually taught the concept of “others” and sharing and kindness. There is a different type of selfishness other than the “wanting to survive” kind, which would more accurately fall under categories of greed, lust, envy, pride, etc. The “wanting to survive” is more like self-preservation, which is reasonable. The other kind is unnecessary and unreasonable. I notice that evil always has the element of deceit with it. ie, “go ahead and have another beer, you can handle it” or “just lie about it, they’ll never find out… what they don’t know won’t hurt them” etc.

    “That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.” ”
    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed. Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.

    “I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is;”
    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.

    “the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity”
    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God. But you don’t need science to prove God and to have relationship with Him… you also don’t need science to turn your back on God. Regardless, it seems that science and God are not mutually exclusive.

    If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.
    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.

    “You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.”
    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.

    “harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0? mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief.”
    Ok, so with my many supernatural experiences, I am probably at a 7, because there are still things that happen that I am a bit skeptical about because I’m not certain.

    “I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those; ”
    Quote: All 4 syndromes (PSP, NSP, DSP, ASP) share some common features and primarily are associated with bivalve mollusks (eg, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae in the form of dinoflagellates and diatoms. The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods. End Quote. It looks like God knew what He was doing when he told the people not to eat these, which is why I don’t eat shellfish. Another example where the findings in science are in sync with the Word of God. Under the new covenant, there is no focus on food restrictions, however, I see the connection between what God said was not good to eat, and what science has discovered. Look up information on the ill effects of pork also. As for Christianity, eating these things will not interfere with salvation, but it does interfere with the health of the body.

    “I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?”
    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.

    “Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed”
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God, and it has proven to work better that way. I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires. From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.

    “But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good?
    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good. While sometimes a personal desire truly is good, sometimes it is not. Good is life-affirming (rather than mere indulgence), and evil is deceitful and destructive. Evil often fools people into thinking that “if you want it, then it must be good.” This is where discernment is required. People can figure out how to discern a number of things on their own, but oftentimes, for whatever reason, they simply don’t. The bible is invaluable for helping in the area of discernment. People get all hung up about things in the old testament because they simply don’t understand the purpose for that temporary time period that required the mosaic law. Merely reading the bible is not enough. You have to understand it in order to stop having all those misconceptions about it.

    “that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it?”
    Experience.

    “You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.”
    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.

    “No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.”
    We agree there.

    “The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality;”
    Not the point.

    ” if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.”
    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?

    “if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid;”
    I’d say you are not very observant. However, I wasn’t talking about conservative humor… I don’t even know what that is. I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.

    “people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord.”
    Therein lies the deceit.

    “free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.”
    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful? Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s good. The difference in your analogy is that much of today’s liberal entertainment portrays evil as good and good as evil, whereas the bible portrays good as good and evil as evil.

    ““Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?””
    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, and when evil is portrayed as good, to negate it. As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.

    “Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy.”
    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Reply
  103. Brenda says:

    Tim,
    “Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people.”
    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation. So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.

    “You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.”
    Ditto.

    “Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?”
    I notice many similarities. Trying to show this fact has been the point of many of my comments.

    “People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church” … “Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief.”
    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian. You can go to church and still not grasp or accept who God is. You can even confess Jesus and accept salvation, and still not reach that point where the light bulb goes on. Some stick with Christianity anyway, some don’t. Also, there are some people who flat out fake it. I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with. I’d be curious to find out and I will probably be researching that very subject soon.

    “This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.” ”
    What it is, is an assumption on your part based on misunderstanding. It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great. Once you truly experience that, it’s crazy to go back. But no, I don’t know exactly what other people are experiencing, I can only question it, like I originally said. I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.

    “This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.”
    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying Christian, and I would have no reason for having this conversation with you. And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light? I suppose you would repeat for the *billionth* time that they have become deluded. Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*

    “You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)?”
    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”

    “Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.”
    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.

    ““If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.””
    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone. It’s not a matter of personal preference. My personal preference had been that I did *not* want to be a Christian. Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own. I was willing to become a Christian because it’s what led to the truth that I was seeking. Atheism and the gospel according to me just wasn’t cutting it. Christianity is not my way, it’s God’s way. It’s the way of making crooked paths straight.

    ” “good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not”
    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.

    “You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?”
    I wasn’t defining good. I was actually saying the same thing you are… that everyone defines it different, and are pursuing what they *think* is good. An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.

    ” “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist;”
    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins. The bible has given me a great deal of help in discerning evil and subsequently avoiding it. I used to think I was wise enough and jaded enough to detect evil influences, but that thinking proved to be wrong. My son thinks he is wise enough to discern on his own, but I can see him going through the same struggles I did, but he won’t yet see it.

    a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons);
    I wouldn’t say that selfishness is pure evil. However, babies don’t learn to be selfish, they are born selfish, and are gradually taught the concept of “others” and sharing and kindness. There is a different type of selfishness other than the “wanting to survive” kind, which would more accurately fall under categories of greed, lust, envy, pride, etc. The “wanting to survive” is more like self-preservation, which is reasonable. The other kind is unnecessary and unreasonable. I notice that evil always has the element of deceit with it. ie, “go ahead and have another beer, you can handle it” or “just lie about it, they’ll never find out… what they don’t know won’t hurt them” etc.

    “That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.” ”
    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed. Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.

    “I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is;”
    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.

    “the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity”
    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God. But you don’t need science to prove God and to have relationship with Him… you also don’t need science to turn your back on God. Regardless, it seems that science and God are not mutually exclusive.

    If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.
    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.

    “You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.”
    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.

    “harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0? mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief.”
    Ok, so with my many supernatural experiences, I am probably at a 7, because there are still things that happen that I am a bit skeptical about because I’m not certain.

    “I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those; ”
    Quote: All 4 syndromes (PSP, NSP, DSP, ASP) share some common features and primarily are associated with bivalve mollusks (eg, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae in the form of dinoflagellates and diatoms. The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods. End Quote. It looks like God knew what He was doing when he told the people not to eat these, which is why I don’t eat shellfish. Another example where the findings in science are in sync with the Word of God. Under the new covenant, there is no focus on food restrictions, however, I see the connection between what God said was not good to eat, and what science has discovered. Look up information on the ill effects of pork also. As for Christianity, eating these things will not interfere with salvation, but it does interfere with the health of the body.

    “I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?”
    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.

    “Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed”
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God, and it has proven to work better that way. I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires. From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.

    “But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good?
    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good. While sometimes a personal desire truly is good, sometimes it is not. Good is life-affirming (rather than mere indulgence), and evil is deceitful and destructive. Evil often fools people into thinking that “if you want it, then it must be good.” This is where discernment is required. People can figure out how to discern a number of things on their own, but oftentimes, for whatever reason, they simply don’t. The bible is invaluable for helping in the area of discernment. People get all hung up about things in the old testament because they simply don’t understand the purpose for that temporary time period that required the mosaic law. Merely reading the bible is not enough. You have to understand it in order to stop having all those misconceptions about it.

    “that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it?”
    Experience.

    “You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.”
    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.

    “No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.”
    We agree there.

    “The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality;”
    Not the point.

    ” if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.”
    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?

    “if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid;”
    I’d say you are not very observant. However, I wasn’t talking about conservative humor… I don’t even know what that is. I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.

    “people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord.”
    Therein lies the deceit.

    free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.
    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful? The difference in your analogy is that much of today’s liberal entertainment portrays evil as good and good as evil, whereas the bible portrays good as good and evil as evil.

    ““Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?””
    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, and when evil is portrayed as good, to negate it. As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.

    “Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy.”
    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Reply
  104. Brenda says:

    Tim,
    “Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people.”
    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation. So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.

    “You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.”
    Ditto.

    “Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?”
    I notice many similarities. Trying to show this fact has been the point of many of my comments.

    “People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church” … “Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief.”
    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian. You can go to church and still not grasp or accept who God is. You can even confess Jesus and accept salvation, and still not reach that point where the light bulb goes on. Some stick with Christianity anyway, some don’t. Also, there are some people who flat out fake it. I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with. I’d be curious to find out and I will probably be researching that very subject soon.

    “This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.” ”
    What it is, is an assumption on your part based on misunderstanding. It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great. Once you truly experience that, it’s crazy to go back. But no, I don’t know exactly what other people are experiencing, I can only question it, like I originally said. I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.

    “This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.”
    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying Christian, and I would have no reason for having this conversation with you. And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light? I suppose you would repeat for the *billionth* time that they have become deluded. Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*

    “You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)?”
    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”

    “Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.”
    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.

    ““If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.””
    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone. It’s not a matter of personal preference. My personal preference had been that I did *not* want to be a Christian. Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own. I was willing to become a Christian because it’s what led to the truth that I was seeking. Atheism and the gospel according to me just wasn’t cutting it. Christianity is not my way, it’s God’s way. It’s the way of making crooked paths straight.

    ” “good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not”
    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.

    “You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?”
    I wasn’t defining good. I was actually saying the same thing you are… that everyone defines it different, and are pursuing what they *think* is good. An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.

    ” “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist;”
    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins. The bible has given me a great deal of help in discerning evil and subsequently avoiding it. I used to think I was wise enough and jaded enough to detect evil influences, but that thinking proved to be wrong. My son thinks he is wise enough to discern on his own, but I can see him going through the same struggles I did, but he won’t yet see it.

    a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons);
    I wouldn’t say that selfishness is pure evil. However, babies don’t learn to be selfish, they are born selfish, and are gradually taught the concept of “others” and sharing and kindness. There is a different type of selfishness other than the “wanting to survive” kind, which would more accurately fall under categories of greed, lust, envy, pride, etc. The “wanting to survive” is more like self-preservation, which is reasonable. The other kind is unnecessary and unreasonable. I notice that evil always has the element of deceit with it. ie, “go ahead and have another beer, you can handle it” or “just lie about it, they’ll never find out… what they don’t know won’t hurt them” etc.

    “That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.” ”
    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed. Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.

    “I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is;”
    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.

    “the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity”
    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God. But you don’t need science to prove God and to have relationship with Him… you also don’t need science to turn your back on God. Regardless, it seems that science and God are not mutually exclusive.

    If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.
    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.

    “You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.”
    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.

    “harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0? mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief.”
    Ok, so with my many supernatural experiences, I am probably at a 7, because there are still things that happen that I am a bit skeptical about because I’m not certain.

    “I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those; ”
    Quote: All 4 syndromes (PSP, NSP, DSP, ASP) share some common features and primarily are associated with bivalve mollusks (eg, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae in the form of dinoflagellates and diatoms. The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods. End Quote. It looks like God knew what He was doing when he told the people not to eat these, which is why I don’t eat shellfish. Another example where the findings in science are in sync with the Word of God. Under the new covenant, there is no focus on food restrictions, however, I see the connection between what God said was not good to eat, and what science has discovered. Look up information on the ill effects of pork also. As for Christianity, eating these things will not interfere with salvation, but it does interfere with the health of the body.

    “I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?”
    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.

    “Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed”
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God, and it has proven to work better that way. I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires. From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.

    “But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good?
    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good. While sometimes a personal desire truly is good, sometimes it is not. Good is life-affirming (rather than mere indulgence), and evil is deceitful and destructive. Evil often fools people into thinking that “if you want it, then it must be good.” This is where discernment is required. People can figure out how to discern a number of things on their own, but oftentimes, for whatever reason, they simply don’t. The bible is invaluable for helping in the area of discernment. People get all hung up about things in the old testament because they simply don’t understand the purpose for that temporary time period that required the mosaic law. Merely reading the bible is not enough. You have to understand it in order to stop having all those misconceptions about it.

    “that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it?”
    Experience.

    “You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.”
    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.

    “No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.”
    We agree there.

    “The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality;”
    Not the point.

    ” if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.”
    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?

    “if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid;”
    I’d say you are not very observant. However, I wasn’t talking about conservative humor… I don’t even know what that is. I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.

    “people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord.”
    Therein lies the deceit.

    free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.
    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful? The difference in your analogy is that much of today’s liberal entertainment portrays evil as good and good as evil, whereas the bible portrays good as good and evil as evil.

    ““Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?””
    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, and when evil is portrayed as good, to negate it. As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.

    “Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy.”
    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Reply
  105. Brenda says:

    Tim,
    …Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people.
    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation. So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.

    … You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.”
    Ditto.

    …Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?
    I notice many similarities. Trying to show this fact has been the point of many of my comments.

    …People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church” … “Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief.
    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian. You can go to church and still not grasp or accept who God is. You can even confess Jesus and accept salvation, and still not reach that point where the light bulb goes on. Some stick with Christianity anyway, some don’t. Also, there are some people who flat out fake it. I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with. I’d be curious to find out and I will probably be researching that very subject soon.

    …This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.”
    What it is, is an assumption on your part based on misunderstanding. It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great. Once you truly experience that, it’s crazy to go back. But no, I don’t know exactly what other people are experiencing, I can only question it, like I originally said. I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.

    …This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.
    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying Christian, and I would have no reason for having this conversation with you. And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light? I suppose you would repeat for the *billionth* time that they have become deluded. Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*

    …You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)?
    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”

    …Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.
    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.

    “If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.”
    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone. It’s not a matter of personal preference. My personal preference had been that I did *not* want to be a Christian. Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own. I was willing to become a Christian because it’s what led to the truth that I was seeking. Atheism and the gospel according to me just wasn’t cutting it. Christianity is not my way, it’s God’s way. It’s the way of making crooked paths straight.

    …“good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not
    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.

    …You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?
    I wasn’t defining good. I was actually saying the same thing you are… that everyone defines it different, and are pursuing what they *think* is good. An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.

    … “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist;
    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins. The bible has given me a great deal of help in discerning evil and subsequently avoiding it. I used to think I was wise enough and jaded enough to detect evil influences, but that thinking proved to be wrong. My son thinks he is wise enough to discern on his own, but I can see him going through the same struggles I did, but he won’t yet see it.

    …a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons);
    I wouldn’t say that selfishness is pure evil. However, babies don’t learn to be selfish, they are born selfish, and are gradually taught the concept of “others” and sharing and kindness. There is a different type of selfishness other than the “wanting to survive” kind, which would more accurately fall under categories of greed, lust, envy, pride, etc. The “wanting to survive” is more like self-preservation, which is reasonable. The other kind is unnecessary and unreasonable. I notice that evil always has the element of deceit with it. ie, “go ahead and have another beer, you can handle it” or “just lie about it, they’ll never find out… what they don’t know won’t hurt them” etc.

    …That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.”
    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed. Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.

    …I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is;
    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.

    …the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity
    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God. But you don’t need science to prove God and to have relationship with Him… you also don’t need science to turn your back on God. Regardless, it seems that science and God are not mutually exclusive.

    …If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.
    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.

    …You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.
    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.

    …harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0? mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief.
    Ok, so with my many supernatural experiences, I am probably at a 7, because there are still things that happen that I am a bit skeptical about because I’m not certain.

    …I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those;
    Quote: All 4 syndromes (PSP, NSP, DSP, ASP) share some common features and primarily are associated with bivalve mollusks (eg, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae in the form of dinoflagellates and diatoms. The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods. End Quote. It looks like God knew what He was doing when he told the people not to eat these, which is why I don’t eat shellfish. Another example where the findings in science are in sync with the Word of God. Under the new covenant, there is no focus on food restrictions, however, I see the connection between what God said was not good to eat, and what science has discovered. Look up information on the ill effects of pork also. As for Christianity, eating these things will not interfere with salvation, but it does interfere with the health of the body.

    …I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?
    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.

    …Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God, and it has proven to work better that way. I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires. From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.

    …But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good
    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good. While sometimes a personal desire truly is good, sometimes it is not. Good is life-affirming (rather than mere indulgence), and evil is deceitful and destructive. Evil often fools people into thinking that “if you want it, then it must be good.” This is where discernment is required. People can figure out how to discern a number of things on their own, but oftentimes, for whatever reason, they simply don’t. The bible is invaluable for helping in the area of discernment. People get all hung up about things in the old testament because they simply don’t understand the purpose for that temporary time period that required the mosaic law. Merely reading the bible is not enough. You have to understand it in order to stop having all those misconceptions about it.

    …that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it?
    Experience.

    …You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.
    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.

    …No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.
    We agree there.

    …The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality;
    Not the point.

    … if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.
    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?

    …if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid;
    I’d say you are not very observant. However, I wasn’t talking about conservative humor… I don’t even know what that is. I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.

    …people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord.
    Therein lies the deceit.

    …free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.
    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful? The difference in your analogy is that much of today’s liberal entertainment portrays evil as good and good as evil, whereas the bible portrays good as good and evil as evil.

    …“Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?”
    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, and when evil is portrayed as good, to negate it. As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.

    …Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy.
    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Reply
  106. Brenda says:

    Tim,
    …Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people.
    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation. So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.
    … You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.”
    Ditto.
    …Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?
    I notice many similarities. Trying to show this fact has been the point of many of my comments.
    …People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church” … “Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief.
    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian. You can go to church and still not grasp or accept who God is. You can even confess Jesus and accept salvation, and still not reach that point where the light bulb goes on. Some stick with Christianity anyway, some don’t. Also, there are some people who flat out fake it. I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with. I’d be curious to find out and I will probably be researching that very subject soon.
    …This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.”
    What it is, is an assumption on your part based on misunderstanding. It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great. Once you truly experience that, it’s crazy to go back. But no, I don’t know exactly what other people are experiencing, I can only question it, like I originally said. I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.
    …This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.
    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying Christian, and I would have no reason for having this conversation with you. And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light? I suppose you would repeat for the *billionth* time that they have become deluded. Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*
    …You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)?
    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”
    …Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.
    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.
    “If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.”
    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone. It’s not a matter of personal preference. My personal preference had been that I did *not* want to be a Christian. Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own. I was willing to become a Christian because it’s what led to the truth that I was seeking. Atheism and the gospel according to me just wasn’t cutting it. Christianity is not my way, it’s God’s way. It’s the way of making crooked paths straight.
    …“good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not
    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.
    …You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?
    I wasn’t defining good. I was actually saying the same thing you are… that everyone defines it different, and are pursuing what they *think* is good. An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.
    … “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist;
    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins. The bible has given me a great deal of help in discerning evil and subsequently avoiding it. I used to think I was wise enough and jaded enough to detect evil influences, but that thinking proved to be wrong. My son thinks he is wise enough to discern on his own, but I can see him going through the same struggles I did, but he won’t yet see it.
    …a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons);
    I wouldn’t say that selfishness is pure evil. However, babies don’t learn to be selfish, they are born selfish, and are gradually taught the concept of “others” and sharing and kindness. There is a different type of selfishness other than the “wanting to survive” kind, which would more accurately fall under categories of greed, lust, envy, pride, etc. The “wanting to survive” is more like self-preservation, which is reasonable. The other kind is unnecessary and unreasonable. I notice that evil always has the element of deceit with it. ie, “go ahead and have another beer, you can handle it” or “just lie about it, they’ll never find out… what they don’t know won’t hurt them” etc.
    …That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.”
    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed. Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.
    …I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is;
    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.
    …the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity
    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God. But you don’t need science to prove God and to have relationship with Him… you also don’t need science to turn your back on God. Regardless, it seems that science and God are not mutually exclusive.
    …If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.
    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.
    …You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.
    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.
    …harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0? mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief.
    Ok, so with my many supernatural experiences, I am probably at a 7, because there are still things that happen that I am a bit skeptical about because I’m not certain.
    …I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those;
    Quote: All 4 syndromes (PSP, NSP, DSP, ASP) share some common features and primarily are associated with bivalve mollusks (eg, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae in the form of dinoflagellates and diatoms. The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods. End Quote. It looks like God knew what He was doing when he told the people not to eat these, which is why I don’t eat shellfish. Another example where the findings in science are in sync with the Word of God. Under the new covenant, there is no focus on food restrictions, however, I see the connection between what God said was not good to eat, and what science has discovered. Look up information on the ill effects of pork also. As for Christianity, eating these things will not interfere with salvation, but it does interfere with the health of the body.
    …I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?
    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.
    …Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God, and it has proven to work better that way. I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires. From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.
    …But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good
    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good. While sometimes a personal desire truly is good, sometimes it is not. Good is life-affirming (rather than mere indulgence), and evil is deceitful and destructive. Evil often fools people into thinking that “if you want it, then it must be good.” This is where discernment is required. People can figure out how to discern a number of things on their own, but oftentimes, for whatever reason, they simply don’t. The bible is invaluable for helping in the area of discernment. People get all hung up about things in the old testament because they simply don’t understand the purpose for that temporary time period that required the mosaic law. Merely reading the bible is not enough. You have to understand it in order to stop having all those misconceptions about it.
    …that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it?
    Experience.
    …You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.
    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.
    …No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.
    We agree there.
    …The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality;
    Not the point.
    … if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.
    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?
    …if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid;
    I’d say you are not very observant. However, I wasn’t talking about conservative humor… I don’t even know what that is. I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.
    …people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord.
    Therein lies the deceit.
    …free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.
    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful? The difference in your analogy is that much of today’s liberal entertainment portrays evil as good and good as evil, whereas the bible portrays good as good and evil as evil.
    …“Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?”
    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, and when evil is portrayed as good, to negate it. As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.
    …Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy.
    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Reply
  107. Brenda says:

    Tim,

    …Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people.
    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation. So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.

    … You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.”
    Ditto.

    …Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?
    I notice many similarities.
    Trying to show this fact has been the point of many of my comments.

    …People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church” … “Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief.
    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian. You can go to church and still not grasp or accept who God is. You can even confess Jesus and accept salvation, and still not reach that point where the light bulb goes on. Some stick with Christianity anyway, some don’t. Also, there are some people who flat out fake it. I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with. I’d be curious to find out and I will probably be researching that very subject soon.

    …This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.”
    What it is, is an assumption on your part based on misunderstanding. It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great. Once you truly experience that, it’s crazy to go back. But no, I don’t know exactly what other people are experiencing, I can only question it, like I originally said. I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.

    …This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.
    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying Christian, and I would have no reason for having this conversation with you. And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light? I suppose you would repeat for the *billionth* time that they have become deluded. Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*

    …You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)?
    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”

    …Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.
    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.
    “If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.”
    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone. It’s not a matter of personal preference. My personal preference had been that I did *not* want to be a Christian. Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own. I was willing to become a Christian because it’s what led to the truth that I was seeking. Atheism and the gospel according to me just wasn’t cutting it. Christianity is not my way, it’s God’s way. It’s the way of making crooked paths straight.

    …“good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not
    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.

    …You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?
    I wasn’t defining good. I was actually saying the same thing you are… that everyone defines it different, and are pursuing what they *think* is good. An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.

    … “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist;
    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins. The bible has given me a great deal of help in discerning evil and subsequently avoiding it. I used to think I was wise enough and jaded enough to detect evil influences, but that thinking proved to be wrong. My son thinks he is wise enough to discern on his own, but I can see him going through the same struggles I did, but he won’t yet see it.

    …a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons);
    I wouldn’t say that selfishness is pure evil. However, babies don’t learn to be selfish, they are born selfish, and are gradually taught the concept of “others” and sharing and kindness. There is a different type of selfishness other than the “wanting to survive” kind, which would more accurately fall under categories of greed, lust, envy, pride, etc. The “wanting to survive” is more like self-preservation, which is reasonable. The other kind is unnecessary and unreasonable. I notice that evil always has the element of deceit with it. ie, “go ahead and have another beer, you can handle it” or “just lie about it, they’ll never find out… what they don’t know won’t hurt them” etc.

    …That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.”
    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed. Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.

    …I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is;
    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.

    …the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity
    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God. But you don’t need science to prove God and to have relationship with Him… you also don’t need science to turn your back on God. Regardless, it seems that science and God are not mutually exclusive.

    …If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.
    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.

    …You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.
    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.

    …harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0? mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief.
    Ok, so with my many supernatural experiences, I am probably at a 7, because there are still things that happen that I am a bit skeptical about because I’m not certain.

    …I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those;
    Quote: All 4 syndromes (PSP, NSP, DSP, ASP) share some common features and primarily are associated with bivalve mollusks (eg, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae in the form of dinoflagellates and diatoms. The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods. End Quote. It looks like God knew what He was doing when he told the people not to eat these, which is why I don’t eat shellfish. Another example where the findings in science are in sync with the Word of God. Under the new covenant, there is no focus on food restrictions, however, I see the connection between what God said was not good to eat, and what science has discovered. Look up information on the ill effects of pork also. As for Christianity, eating these things will not interfere with salvation, but it does interfere with the health of the body.

    …I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?
    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.

    …Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God, and it has proven to work better that way. I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires. From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.

    …But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good
    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good. While sometimes a personal desire truly is good, sometimes it is not. Good is life-affirming (rather than mere indulgence), and evil is deceitful and destructive. Evil often fools people into thinking that “if you want it, then it must be good.” This is where discernment is required. People can figure out how to discern a number of things on their own, but oftentimes, for whatever reason, they simply don’t. The bible is invaluable for helping in the area of discernment. People get all hung up about things in the old testament because they simply don’t understand the purpose for that temporary time period that required the mosaic law. Merely reading the bible is not enough. You have to understand it in order to stop having all those misconceptions about it.

    …that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it?
    Experience.

    …You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.
    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.

    …No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.
    We agree there.

    …The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality;
    Not the point.

    … if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.
    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?

    …if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid;
    I’d say you are not very observant. However, I wasn’t talking about conservative humor… I don’t even know what that is. I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.

    …people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord.
    Therein lies the deceit.

    …free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.
    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful?
    The difference in your analogy is that much of today’s liberal entertainment portrays evil as good and good as evil, whereas the bible portrays good as good and evil as evil.

    …“Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?”
    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, and when evil is portrayed as good, to negate it. As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.

    …Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy.
    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Reply
  108. Brenda says:

    testing

    I’m getting an error when I try to post after cutting and pasting from wordpad. Says invalid … now I forgot what it was. Something about a separator?

    Reply
  109. Brenda says:

    Tim,
    …Not for me; for me, it’s just a way of blowing people off when they show that they have no interest in a productive conversation. I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone tell me that “I’m just wrong” when I’ve heard this a billion times from other people.
    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation. So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.
    … You’re not telling me anything I haven’t heard before, and worse, you’re being even less compelling than others have been before you.”
    Ditto.
    …Then we’re more alike than you seem ready to admit, eh?
    I notice many similarities. Trying to show this fact has been the point of many of my comments.
    …People accuse ex-Christians of “not really having been Christian” when they leave the church” … “Because, you know, there’s just no way a person could genuinely believe in God, and then decide at a later date that they weren’t satisfied with this belief.
    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian. You can go to church and still not grasp or accept who God is. You can even confess Jesus and accept salvation, and still not reach that point where the light bulb goes on. Some stick with Christianity anyway, some don’t. Also, there are some people who flat out fake it. I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with. I’d be curious to find out and I will probably be researching that very subject soon.
    …This is a pretentious and pompous assumption; that “my beliefs are so great, that if you really believe them you will never stop believing them.” And thus if you stop believing them, you “never really did in the first place.”
    What it is, is an assumption on your part based on misunderstanding. It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great. Once you truly experience that, it’s crazy to go back. But no, I don’t know exactly what other people are experiencing, I can only question it, like I originally said. I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.
    …This makes a grave assumption on the part of someone else, an assumption that can never be confirmed or proven.
    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying Christian, and I would have no reason for having this conversation with you. And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light? I suppose you would repeat for the *billionth* time that they have become deluded. Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*
    …You just explained it yourself; perhaps it seemed joyous to you, but later on you decided it wasn’t. Or perhaps it started causing problems in your life (such as hateful beliefs that make you unhappy with the world in which you are forced to live)?
    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”
    …Or maybe it wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity? There are many reasons.
    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.
    “If you really wanted to know the TRUTH, you’d come be on my side.”
    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone. It’s not a matter of personal preference. My personal preference had been that I did *not* want to be a Christian. Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own. I was willing to become a Christian because it’s what led to the truth that I was seeking. Atheism and the gospel according to me just wasn’t cutting it. Christianity is not my way, it’s God’s way. It’s the way of making crooked paths straight.
    …“good nature” or “evil nature;” although we can never truly know if there is or not
    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.
    …You have said that everybody pursues goals which they think are “good;” this isn’t necessarily true, but let’s pretend it is for a moment. People define “good” differently. What makes your definition “better” than anyone else’s?
    I wasn’t defining good. I was actually saying the same thing you are… that everyone defines it different, and are pursuing what they *think* is good. An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.
    … “Evil” in the true sense doesn’t exist;
    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins. The bible has given me a great deal of help in discerning evil and subsequently avoiding it. I used to think I was wise enough and jaded enough to detect evil influences, but that thinking proved to be wrong. My son thinks he is wise enough to discern on his own, but I can see him going through the same struggles I did, but he won’t yet see it.
    …a lot of people define “evil” as “selfishness,” but I don’t think selfishness is pure evil (for many reasons);
    I wouldn’t say that selfishness is pure evil. However, babies don’t learn to be selfish, they are born selfish, and are gradually taught the concept of “others” and sharing and kindness. There is a different type of selfishness other than the “wanting to survive” kind, which would more accurately fall under categories of greed, lust, envy, pride, etc. The “wanting to survive” is more like self-preservation, which is reasonable. The other kind is unnecessary and unreasonable. I notice that evil always has the element of deceit with it. ie, “go ahead and have another beer, you can handle it” or “just lie about it, they’ll never find out… what they don’t know won’t hurt them” etc.
    …That’s horrible! A famous person once said, “We never touch someone so lightly that we don’t leave a trace.”
    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed. Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.
    …I’m telling you that folks who understand the process of science will admit when they are wrong. Science is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and moving to explain why and expound upon your knowledge in return. If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view, then it’s completely impossible to learn what the true viewpoint is;
    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.
    …the problem with Christians is that they (say, Frank Turek) think they have “scientifically proven” Christianity
    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God. But you don’t need science to prove God and to have relationship with Him… you also don’t need science to turn your back on God. Regardless, it seems that science and God are not mutually exclusive.
    …If you are unable to “reach God” through the natural ways of His universe — through laws of math and science and rationality and biological relations, etc. — then that seems odd, does it not? That He would create this universe and task us with using our physical senses and emotional instincts to survive, and then ask people like me to go against what our these senses and instincts tell us in order to believe in Him? It does not make sense to me.
    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.
    …You don’t just give up your free will and have everything magically get better.
    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.
    …harder to explain physically than supernaturally, the meter goes up; when something happens that is harder to explain supernaturally than physically, the meter goes down. The “0? mark is true atheism, and the 10 mark is supernatural belief.
    Ok, so with my many supernatural experiences, I am probably at a 7, because there are still things that happen that I am a bit skeptical about because I’m not certain.
    …I don’t believe that homosexuality is “evil” or “an abomination;” nor do I believe the same of scallops. What does that make me, morally? The Bible says lots of things about those;
    Quote: All 4 syndromes (PSP, NSP, DSP, ASP) share some common features and primarily are associated with bivalve mollusks (eg, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops). These shellfish are filter feeders and, therefore, accumulate toxins produced by microscopic algae in the form of dinoflagellates and diatoms. The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods. End Quote. It looks like God knew what He was doing when he told the people not to eat these, which is why I don’t eat shellfish. Another example where the findings in science are in sync with the Word of God. Under the new covenant, there is no focus on food restrictions, however, I see the connection between what God said was not good to eat, and what science has discovered. Look up information on the ill effects of pork also. As for Christianity, eating these things will not interfere with salvation, but it does interfere with the health of the body.
    …I don’t feel these “morals written on my heart.” What do you think of that, I wonder?
    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.
    …Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God, and it has proven to work better that way. I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires. From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.
    …But why do they think that particular thing is good? Why should someone who does not inherently believe that God is Good choose to believe so, instead of, say, that Satan is good
    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good. While sometimes a personal desire truly is good, sometimes it is not. Good is life-affirming (rather than mere indulgence), and evil is deceitful and destructive. Evil often fools people into thinking that “if you want it, then it must be good.” This is where discernment is required. People can figure out how to discern a number of things on their own, but oftentimes, for whatever reason, they simply don’t. The bible is invaluable for helping in the area of discernment. People get all hung up about things in the old testament because they simply don’t understand the purpose for that temporary time period that required the mosaic law. Merely reading the bible is not enough. You have to understand it in order to stop having all those misconceptions about it.
    …that “God is Good.” How can you prove this? Or why do you believe it?
    Experience.
    …You are wrong. Christianity does a terrible job of representing itself just fine, although its followers certainly don’t help in a public sense.
    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.
    …No, the “illusion” is that if you don’t like it, you can change the channel. Great thing, this free country of ours.
    We agree there.
    …The idea is that cartoons and humor are not supposed to represent actual reality;
    Not the point.
    … if you interpret Family Guy as the Real Life Common American Family and try to act thusly, you will encounter some very serious consequences.
    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?
    …if you mean to imply that non-conservative comedy is somehow “making people immoral,” I’d say you’re both incorrect and paranoid;
    I’d say you are not very observant. However, I wasn’t talking about conservative humor… I don’t even know what that is. I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.
    …people choose to be one way or the other of their own accord.
    Therein lies the deceit.
    …free expression of certain ideas for the “moral decline of society,” then you’re going to have to blame the Bible for putting ideas like murder and rape into people’s heads.
    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful? The difference in your analogy is that much of today’s liberal entertainment portrays evil as good and good as evil, whereas the bible portrays good as good and evil as evil.
    …“Unless we negate it;” again, I take it this is an assertion of the “need for God?”
    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, and when evil is portrayed as good, to negate it. As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.
    …Anyway, most people (myself included) don’t make moral decisions based on comedy.
    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Reply
  110. Tim D. says:

    Mean and sarcastic comments show a lack of interest in productive conversation.

    You’re right. At the point at which I decide it’s alright to lapse into sarcasm, I have no more interest in pursuing any form of conversation with that person on that particular subject. I have no reason to.

    So does a refusal to admit the obvious. And sometimes the things you hear repeated the most are the things that are true.

    Frequency =/= accuracy, just for the record. If it’s true, that will stand on its own merits, and it has nothing to do with how often it is repeated. Likewise, if it is not true, that will show as well.

    Ditto.

    So you see what I mean, then?

    In some cases, it is true that a person wasn’t really a Christian.

    You can never know that for certain. You can only make prejudgments.

    I don’t know how anyone could not be satified with a relationship with God, unless they never had one to begin with.

    Case in point; you don’t believe it’s possible, so you rationalize that anyone for whom it is possible must be “lying” or “wrong.”

    It’s not that my beliefs are so great, it’s that the truth about God is so great.

    What you believe to be the truth about God, maybe. But the fact that you believe it does not make it true, anymore than the fact that I believe something transcends my being and makes it “true.” This is the point you are missing.

    I can also question why someone would give up a bad habit and reap the benefits of that freedom, then go back into bondage to it again.

    For one, not believing in God is not a “bad habit” in the sense that, say, drug use or alcoholism is, and I think that’s a pathetic and blindly assertive comparison. Some people find disbelief in a god to be more liberating; and yet you’ve also attacked this as being selfish….so which is it? If it’s “good” to believe in God because of the illusion of “freedom,” then why is it not also good to not believe in God for that same reason? The answer is simple; because the idea of “spiritual freedom” is nothing more than a smokescreen to conceal an irrational bias in favor of the existence of a God.

    Yes it can. I have my proof. Otherwise I would have no reason for staying

    You don’t need to prove it to yourself. If you believe it, then you believe it. Saying you can “prove it,” but only to yourself, is pointless. Great, you can preach to the choir now. That’s not what I meant, though.

    And what do you have to say about those people who were atheist and then they saw the light?

    What do you say about the Christians who have gone away from religion and become atheist? An irrelevant question on both counts.

    Don’t you think people get tired of you making the same assertions over and over? *smile*

    I’d ask you the same question, though without the condescending smile at the end….

    Causing problems? More like *solving* problems. Hateful beliefs? What hateful beliefs? I don’t get it when you say “seemed joyous to you.” That’s like telling someone who is happily married that it only “seems good.”

    That’s exactly what you’re telling me; that my life right now “seems good,” but that if I believed in God then it would Magically Get Better. So which is it? Is that a valid statement, or is it not?

    My curiosity was satisfied a long time ago.

    I was speaking of people who have turned away from religion, not of you literally.

    It’s got nothing to do with my side or your side. Maybe some peole make it seem that way, but it’s not. God does not belong to me, He belongs to everyone.

    If it’s not “your” side, then why are you so intent on converting people? If you are “on God’s side,” then God’s side would be your side as well. So what’s the deal?

    Going with my personal preference would have meant only believing in the gospel according to me, and my so-called logic. But since I asked, and God showed me evidence, I began to grudgingly accept Christianity. As understanding increased, I became delighted. I was willing to give up what I thought was right, and believe God, and saw the evidence that God’s ways are better than anything I can come up with on my own.

    ….once again, the only way to access this “God” is through the teachings of man. And they are flawed, and based on man’s interpretation of religious law. So it’s a fallacy to say you “trust in God” in that sense, because you’re only trusting in the teachings of men who claim to speak for God.

    You mean no way to know other than simply looking around and observing? I will read the other topic if you tell me where it is.

    Not at all; I can’t remember the name of the topic, so here’s the short version (I’ll find the full one in a bit): we can’t know what humans are truly like in the most original, untainted sense, because from the moment we’re born, we are subjected to other people’s standards and beliefs. We’re indoctrinated from a very young age to believe in certain things, be they Christianity or reality or science or common sense, or anything else. To say that we are “intrinsically” one way or the other with any certainty is a lie, because the sum of our being comes from the conditions in which we were raised, the influences of society, and our original DNA “personalities.” We can never know what humans would be like without the influences of society, because there is simply no way for us to find out. Every single human in any society has been influenced by some preceding ideology or doctrine in some way, thereby cutting off any access to this person’s “true” or “unfiltered” ideas.

    An alcoholic thinks that the next drink will make them feel good, a teetotaler avoids drinking because they feel better without it. Someone might murder because they think it will be good to have that person dead, someone who won’t murder thinks it’s good because they won’t go to prison. I believe God on what is good or not, and I see evidence in my life to support it.

    I don’t believe the Christian man’s interpretation of God when it comes to morality. I don’t believe the Bible, either. I don’t believe slavery or misogyny is okay; I don’t believe that murder in the name of anyone, much less God, is okay, and I don’t think that discrimination against homosexuals is okay. I see no evidence that any of these things should be any different, except the rabid assertions of Evangelicals.

    Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it.

    No it doesn’t.

    [/assertion war]

    Not discerning evil influence, and hence accepting it, is where moral decline begins.

    This is really nice preaching and all, but it’s completely opinion-based and therefore irrelevant to my point. You can categorize evil however you want; saying that it’s “God’s definition” is just passing the buck along. It’s still what you believe.

    I can see how I wasn’t very clear on that one. I didn’t mean that I thought my actions didn’t have effect on other people, I meant that I thought that there were no consequences for me. I did try my best to not harm anyone. Since my view of what was harmful and what wasn’t was skewed, I often failed.

    I don’t do things because I think there will be a consequence to me, or because I think God is going to punish me, or because I think that’s what someone like God wants me to do. I do things because I believe they serve a greater positive end, and whether or not that end is tied to a God is the least of my worries. So I can’t really understand your rationality here, that “it’s no big deal since nothing happens to me one way or the other;” morality is not about avoiding personal consequences, it’s about doing/not doing things of your own free will, regardless of external consequences. Morality is personal, not consequential.

    Tim, you may want to consider that quote you gave when you make all those mean sarcastic put-downs.

    I am full aware of what I’m up to, thank you very much~ It might help to mention that your very beliefs are, in the basic sense, quite offensive to me, in that same vein. Then again, it might not 0_0 But in that case, did you ever think that maybe running around and telling other people that they’re “wrong” or “not wise enough” or “incomplete” or “just deluded” or whatever might not be the “nicest” thing to do, either? Most people who respond harshly in such circumstances, I find, are the types that are normally very sociable and peacable. It’s only when their beliefs are assaulted upon for no good reason (other than you just don’t like them) that they become hostile.

    Folks who understand the bible and Christianity will admit when they are wrong (confession). Christianity is about just that — admitting you are wrong, and ceasing to rely on your own faulty knowledge and start relying on God (repentance and humility). If one refuses to admit to holding an incorrect view (pride), then it’s completely impossible to learn what the truth of the bible is.

    You keep asserting that “this is true, that is true, etc.,” and you keep saying, “I see evidence.” Bad news is, (a) I don’t believe it’s true, and (b) anecdotes that you tell me are not going to convince me that it is. You can continue preaching if you’d like (of course), and I won’t try to stop you, but let it be known your anecdotes/stories/preachings have no real effect on me. Such things are only effective for people who actually believe the Bible is true, and thus in a conversional context, they are useless.

    The problem with atheists is that they think they have “scientifically proven” the non-existence of God.

    Not at all! Clearly you do not understand atheism. Let me explain; atheism says that disbelief in God is the most rational course, based on evidence. That is all.

    Actually, we were created with a sixth sense, which gives the ability to be in relationship with God, and to understand him, if we so choose. Some people use it, some don’t.

    [/assertion]

    No we weren’t.

    See, it’s easy to assert.

    Yes, I did! Only it wasn’t magic… it was God’s grace. It is so much harder to change without the help of God. The good news is, that we don’t have to.

    Then that’s great for you, and I wish you the best. But it still doesn’t change my mind in the least.

    The toxins responsible for most shellfish poisonings are water-soluble, are heat and acid-stable, and are not inactivated by ordinary cooking methods.

    I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the traditional Asian cooking methods used for such poisonous fish? Score one for the non-Christian cultures….

    Look up information on the ill effects of pork also.

    Look up information on the ill effects of anything that is eaten too much. If you drink too much water, your brain will swell and you can die. What’s your point?

    Besides, something isn’t “immoral” or “evil” because it’s bad for the body in large doses. By that logic, all medicine is “immoral.”

    Maybe you just won’t admit it, like so many others won’t. It’s the old ‘I wanna believe what I wanna believe syndrome.’ I find that it works better when I give up my own beliefs and trust God.

    Ah, there we have it! So I was correct in assuming that a conversation with you would be a dead-end, because you don’t actually trust me to judge my own beliefs and motives. If that’s the case, then there’s nothing I can say to you that would lead to anything productive, since you will just second-guess anything I say that troubles you.

    “Your interpretation of the Bible isn’t even guaranteed”
    Most of the bible is so straightforward that there is nothing to mis-interpret, unless a person just wants to twist scripture to suit their own personal desires. In my case, I am willing to give up my personal desires and trust God,

    Another problem with Christians; this belief that your interpretation is somehow transcendent. “It’s not my belief, it’s God’s belief!” It’s your interpretation of God’s belief. So most of it’s straightforward; what about the parts that are not? I suppose everyone who doesn’t read it exactly as you do is “wrong?”

    I never met an atheist who was willing to give up their own personal desires

    I’m not even sure what you mean by that, other than a blanket unsupported stab at atheism.

    From my observance, the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires. I’ve never seen an atheist who was willing to understand the bible.

    (1) Well, you’re wrong~

    (2) That’s because, by your definition, if they “understood” it, they would convert immediately and never go back. You can just claim that they don’t really understand it if they don’t immediately convert. A weak argument, indeed, as you can’t seem to concretize exactly what a “true understanding” of the Bible is. “It makes me feel this way,” or, “it made my life easier,” is not a definition, it’s your emotional response.

    People will either (1) see good as good, or (2) will justify their personal desire as good.

    Again, you can just claim that as long as they don’t agree with your beliefs about God, they’re “not seeing good as good.” It’s an undefinable statement that you can manipulate however you wish, and so it is completely weightless.

    Experience.

    How would you explain this to someone else? Or have you changed your mind and decided there is a way to prove your own “experience?”

    I see that your exposure to Christians and Christianity is very limited. Either that, or you just choose to have a highly negative perspective.

    Not at all; Christianity is in the public eye quite often, and I have plenty of personal opportunities to get in touch with it and its followers. Like right now.

    If you take a look around, this is exactly what you see happening. And is it any coicidence that much of the sacarstic humor you are using, is the kind of humor you frequently see on todays TV shows and movies?

    Is it really that surprising to you that the kind of comedy we see on TV reflects the way people are? Or do you mean to imply that comedy is somehow forcing people to act a certain way?

    I was referring to hateful and raunchy humor, or humor that is deceitful. Well, yeah, I guess that’s the kind of humor you typically see liberals most partaking of… and imitating.

    What is hateful and raunchy humor? what is deceitful humor? You’re being very general here.

    Therein lies the deceit.

    Alright, Jack Thompson, so now you’re saying TV makes people “evil?”

    Interesting….on the one hand, you assert that it’s our choice to “turn to God” or “turn from God,” but on the other hand, you assert that we need to do away with “bad comedy” because it’s not our choice to “turn away from it” or “turn to it.” I don’t understand this here.

    Do you see how phrasing it like that… “free expression”… is deceitful? Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s good.

    Take it up with the constitution, my friend; in this nation we are guaranteed the right to express ourselves freely, regardless of how popular our ideas might be, or how “good” they are. As long as you’re not encroaching on anyone else’s rights, it’s allowed. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that it should be done away with; and I would sooner accuse Christians of deceit in this case; they don’t like it so they don’t want anyone else to be able to access it either. But they can’t admit to this; they hide behind false “evidence” conjured up in a brief moment of bias to “prove” that it’s “harmful” to allow such things to exist, and so we should remove them from society “for the good of mankind.” Ridiculous.

    It is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived,

    …which you would equate with “seeing God,” am I right?

    As for the need for God… God is needed for truth and salvation, but not needed if you are hell-bent against those things.

    It’s not that I’m hell-bent against “truth” and “salvation;” it’s that I don’t believe your God can offer either one.

    Not exactly, but the subtle programming is taking place, unless you negate the false ideas that are being flung at you. Again, you see the evidence in the society around us.

    Right, right, comedy makes us evil people unless we ask God to get rid of it for us. Makes perfect sense.

    Reply
  111. Tim D. says:

    Another problem with Christians; this belief that your interpretation is somehow transcendent. “It’s not my belief, it’s God’s belief!” It’s your interpretation of God’s belief. So most of it’s straightforward; what about the parts that are not? I suppose everyone who doesn’t read it exactly as you do is “wrong?”

    P.S.

    If you attribute every part of your being that you associate with this religious fervor to “God,” then you are denying yourself the personality traits that come with this behavior. If I am to believe you that this is “God” and not you, then that essentially means you have no personality; that your persona is quelled beneath this belief in God, and that God is basically using you as a vein to speak to me. So what are you, then? Some sort of robot, or skin, or husk? What part of you is “you,” and what part is “God?”

    Reply
  112. Andrew Ryan says:

    Jeez Brenda, I know religious people like to repeat themselves, but still…!

    “the true definition of an atheist is someone who hates the bible because it clashes with their own personal desires.”

    Nonsense. An atheist is someone who doesn’t think there is a God. It means nothing else. It says nothing about any other beliefs or views an atheist may or may not hold.

    My personal desire for there not to be slavery certainly clashes with the bible condoning slavery, but that has nothing to do with whether or not I believe in God. I choose to reject hatred and embrace love, but again even if I decided to fill my heart with the kind of hatred and violence condoned in the bible, that still wouldn’t necessarily mean I believed in God. Hope this clarifies.

    Reply
  113. Brenda says:

    … “Frequency =/= accuracy” ……. That’s why I said “sometimes”

    …”a person wasn’t really a Christian. – You can never know that for certain.” …… Sometimes you can.

    … “Case in point; you don’t believe it’s possible, so you rationalize… must be “lying” or “wrong.”” …… I said I didn’t know how it’s possible, I didn’t say that I didn’t believe. Hence the desire to speak to those who have turned around and rejected those great gifts from God.

    … “What you believe to be the truth about God, maybe.” …… There is only one truth about God. You can read it in God’s word, it is written on your heart, underneath that outer stony layer, and it is evidenced in your life when you accept the gifts of God.

    … “For one, not believing in God is not a “bad habit” in the sense” …… It was an analogy, not a comparison. However, now that you mention it, there are similarities, I notice, between bad habits and blind unbelief. In that sense, it is a great comparison. An alcoholic, for instance, is under the illusion that they have something to lose by becoming sober, when in fact they have everything to gain.

    … “Some people find disbelief in a god to be more liberating” …… to stop believing in ‘a god’ is indeed liberating. To stop believing in the god of greed, the god of sexual perversion, the god of material things, etc., all of them being the god of this world. To stop believing in ‘the God’ is a different story. What is it that one becomes liberated from when they refuse to believe in God? Or are you talking about being freed from religious bondage, something else altogether?

    … “and yet you’ve also attacked this as being selfish” …… I haven’t attacked anything.

    … “You don’t need to prove it to yourself. If you believe it, then you believe it.” …… There is a difference between having a belief and having proof. Open-mindedness leads to understanding, which leads to belief, which leads to proof. At least that’s how it happened for me.

    … “What do you say about the Christians who have gone away from religion and become atheist?” …… But I already answered that question. I’m waiting for you to answer the question when it’s the other way around.

    … “I’d ask you the same question, though without the condescending smile at the end” …… You already did, which is why I jokingly made the statement. When I type *smile* it’s not condescending, it’s a genuine friendly smile. I disagree with you, but I am not angry with you.

    … “That’s exactly what you’re telling me; that my life right now “seems good,” but that if I believed in God then it would Magically Get Better. So which is it? Is that a valid statement, or is it not?” …… I don’t know if your version of “belief” is the same as mine. I notice that people who diligently seek to know and understand God, find knowledge and understanding of God, and I have found that the more I come to know and understand God, the more my life does supernaturally get better.

    … “If it’s not “your” side, then why are you so intent on converting people?” …… This is a mistaken assumption on your part.

    … “If you are “on God’s side,” then God’s side would be your side as well. So what’s the deal?” …… because it’s not the same as picking teams. It’s not about choosing people or religions or organizations. It’s about accepting the gift of salvation. So the way you are phrasing it is misleading.

    … “once again, the only way to access this “God” is through the teachings of man.” …… Not true. You are referring to religious church doctrine, which is often different than the word of God.

    … “We can never know what humans would be like without the influences of society, because there is simply no way for us to find out. Every single human in any society has been influenced by some preceding ideology or doctrine in some way, thereby cutting off any access to this person’s “true” or “unfiltered” ideas.” …… I think you are again referring to the religious church doctrines, the traditions and doctrines of men. And as a creature on this earth, any creature, you are always going to be in some kind of influential environment. But regardless, if you seek God and His righteousness, you will find it, regardless of who or what is trying to influence you otherwise. Especially if you make sure to not let church doctrine get in the way.

    … “I don’t believe slavery or misogyny is okay;” …… I don’t believe misogyny is ok. Are you under the impression the bible supports it? There doesn’t seem to be any place for slavery in today’s world, but there used to be a time and a place for it. But not like it was in the US.

    … “I don’t believe that murder in the name of anyone, much less God, is okay” …… People misuse the name of God. That is no reflection on God, it’s a reflection on people. In the bible God had people killed under certain circumstances and there was a very good reason for it. Most people who criticize the bible are not looking at the big picture, they only take little isolated verses and misrepresent what the context really is. Tabloid shows do the same thing when they take isolated bits of an interview to make the interviewee look bad, when in the entire context of the discussion, there was nothing bad said.

    … “and I don’t think that discrimination against homosexuals is okay.” …… We agree there. God loves homosexuals just as much as he loves anyone. God loves the alchoholic, the drug addict, the binge-eater, the misogynist, the angry sarcastic person, the murderer, the tax evader, the shady politician, the atheist, etc. There is a vast difference between discrimination against homosexuals, and being against the glorification of sin. If we wouldn’t glorify and grant special and new rights to encourage binge-eating, then we shouldn’t do so for homosexuality.

    … “I see no evidence that any of these things should be any different, except the rabid assertions of Evangelicals.” …… I think you have a highly skewed view of both the bible and evangelicals.

    … “Evil exists, and people can choose to be consumed with it. No it doesn’t.” …… Yes it does.

    … “This is really nice preaching and all, but it’s completely opinion-based and therefore irrelevant to my point.” …… The evidence is all around us. I’m surprised you don’t see it.

    … “I do things because I believe they serve a greater positive end, and whether or not that end is tied to a God is the least of my worries.” …… Without God’s wisdom and guidance, you can see that many people each think they know best what will serve the greater end, and often they are inaccurate. Many people reject God’s wisdom and guidance because it has been misrepresented by people. They think that a life with God in it means a life of fear, shame, guilt, worry, misery, etc. But that is simply not true. Following God’s guidance and wisdom is so radically different than that. Based on your many various comments, it looks to me like you have a very skewed view of the bible and God.

    … “did you ever think that maybe running around and telling other people that they’re “wrong” or “not wise enough” or “incomplete” or “just deluded” or whatever might not be the “nicest” thing to do, either?” …… It looks to me like you are putting a negative spin on my words and my intentions. For instance, if someone tells me about wonderful experiences they have that have brought good changes in their life, I don’t take that to mean that they are saying that I don’t have good experiences. I don’t get why my words are taken in such a harsh negative light. I certainly don’t mean them that way.

    … “It’s only when their beliefs are assaulted upon for no good reason” …… I’m not responsible for how you perceive and respond. You are. Just as you are not responsible for how I respond.

    … “Bad news is, (a) I don’t believe it’s true, and (b) anecdotes that you tell me are not going to convince me that it is.” …… That’s ok, I respect your choices. I talk about things because they come up in discussion. If you don’t want to have a discussion, that’s ok too.

    … “Not at all! Clearly you do not understand atheism. Let me explain; atheism says that disbelief in God is the most rational course, based on evidence. That is all.” …… I am open to the possibility that I don’t understand atheism, but what you are saying sounds similar to what I said.

    … “Actually, we were created with a sixth sense… [/assertion].” …… Yes, it was an assertion based on experience.

    … “I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the traditional Asian cooking methods used for such poisonous fish? Score one for the non-Christian cultures” …… That still doesn’t change the facts about shellfish. After finding out, I am surely not interested in partaking.

    … “Look up information on the ill effects of anything that is eaten too much. If you drink too much water, your brain will swell and you can die. What’s your point?” …… The point is not about overeating on pork, it’s about the fact that pork is something that appears to not be wise for human consumption. By coincidence, God told us it wasn’t good for us way back when. Science confirms that shellfish and pork are literally “unclean.” It has nothing to do with condemnation, and everything to do with health.

    … “Besides, something isn’t “immoral” or “evil” because it’s bad for the body in large doses.” …… I wasn’t talking about it being immoral or evil. The new covenant confirms that there are no meats/foods that are evil or immoral. But today’s evidence shows us that there are a number of foods that are unhealthful.

    … “Ah, there we have it! So I was correct in assuming that a conversation with you would be a dead-end, because you don’t actually trust me to judge my own beliefs and motives.” …… People’s motives and beliefs are often faulty when they don’t involve God’s wisdom. I would think that that is overwhelmingly apparant.

    … “So most of it’s straightforward; what about the parts that are not? I suppose everyone who doesn’t read it exactly as you do is “wrong?”” …… When people earnestly study God’s word, I notice that there are typically just slight differences in understanding. When I run across someone who has major differences in understanding, I typically soon learn that either they spend little to no time studying and seeking, and/or they are esteeming church doctrine and tradition more so than the bible itself.

    … “I’m not even sure what you mean by that, other than a blanket unsupported stab at atheism.” …… When I say, *I never met,* it means just that. I realize that I haven’t met all atheists, but so far, this is my observation of those I have met. So I wonder if it is true of all, or if I just never happened to meet one of the many who are indeed willing to give up their own personal desires.

    … “(1) Well, you’re wrong~” …… Maybe, but I’ve never yet met an atheist who had an understanding of the bible. All I’ve seen so far is twisting the meaning of verses, and taking things out of context. If you are right about me being wrong, then I suppose one day I will meet an atheist who understands the bible. But I’m just saying, I haven’t seen it yet.

    …”Experience. How would you explain this to someone else?” …… I’ve tried, but you won’t believe me.

    … “Is it really that surprising to you that the kind of comedy we see on TV reflects the way people are?” …… Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Regardless, cruel humor has a visible negative impact on society. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to take away people’s rights and saying it shouldn’t be allowed. I’m just saying what I notice. As for me, I don’t much bother with it. But I love watching good humor.

    … “Alright, Jack Thompson, so now you’re saying TV makes people “evil?” …… No. There are many varied shows, not all of them full of cruel humor and frequent sarcasm. I think it’s apparant that some shows have a negative impact on the way people think, especially children. I think you are trying to make my comments more extreme than I mean them.

    … “on the one hand, you assert that it’s our choice to “turn to God” or “turn from God,” but on the other hand, you assert that we need to do away with “bad comedy” because it’s not our choice to “turn away from it” or “turn to it.”” …… Incorrect assumption. I never said we need to do away with any shows. And I had agreed with you previously when you talked about changing the channel. Remember?

    … “Take it up with the constitution, my friend;” …… We were obviously talking about two different things.

    … “and I would sooner accuse Christians of deceit in this case; they don’t like it so they don’t want anyone else to be able to access it either.” …… Christians have much better intentions that you think. Aren’t you just assuming the worst? What if you chose to assume the best instead? There are so many great things that Christians are doing in the world. Alot of giving, lots of volunteering, lots of traveling and helping those who no one else cares about. A phenomenal amount of postive work, and spreading the good news of Jesus, spreading love, joy, money, food, clothing, orphanages, medical care, schools, and helping so many down and out people know that they are loved, that there is hope. Sure, you see Christians misrepresenting God and the bible, but it doesn’t compare to all the people they are helping in so many ways.

    … “which you would equate with “seeing God,” am I right?” …… Which is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, just as I said. God provides discernment for doing so.

    … “It’s not that I’m hell-bent against “truth” and “salvation;” it’s that I don’t believe your God can offer either one.” …… what do you think can offer them?

    … “Right, right, comedy makes us evil people unless we ask God to get rid of it for us. Makes perfect sense.” …… That isn’t what I said. It’s just like if someone sends you a letter saying you owe money. Well, if you don’t negate the letter, you are saying that you do indeed owe money, whether you do or not. It’s the same with thoughts. If you don’t negate hateful thoughts, then you are accepting them as true. I wasn’t talking about comedy in general, I was talking about cruel and sarcastic humor.

    … “If you attribute every part of your being that you associate with this religious fervor to “God,” then you are denying yourself the personality traits that come with this behavior. If I am to believe you that this is “God” and not you, then that essentially means you have no personality; that your persona is quelled beneath this belief in God, and that God is basically using you as a vein to speak to me. So what are you, then? Some sort of robot, or skin, or husk? What part of you is “you,” and what part is “God?” ” …… Nice try. *smile* Did you notice that you misquoted me? I didn’t say “It’s not my belief, it’s God’s belief” nor would say such a thing. I forget where my original post was, but it wasn’t as you are stating it. I think this is what you call a straw man? If I could see my original statement, then I could respond to it.

    Reply
  114. Brenda says:

    Andrew,

    … “Nonsense. An atheist is someone who doesn’t think there is a God. It means nothing else. It says nothing about any other beliefs or views an atheist may or may not hold.” …… Well, it’s a coincidence then. Is there an atheist you know of whose personal desires are the same as the bible’s, yet they reject it anyway? I would like to know who because I would like to get in contact with them.

    … “My personal desire for there not to be slavery certainly clashes with the bible condoning slavery,” ……. Do you know why there was slavery back in the old testament? Do you think that there couldn’t possibly be a good reason? That it must come from terrible intentions?

    … “even if I decided to fill my heart with the kind of hatred and violence condoned in the bible,” …… This sounds like a misunderstanding of the bible.

    … “that still wouldn’t necessarily mean I believed in God. Hope this clarifies” …… Yet I never see an atheist who understands the bible and agrees with its morality and yet rejects it.

    Reply
  115. Tim D. says:

    …… Sometimes you can.

    You can’t know for sure. You can choose to believe them if they tell you so, or you can choose not to believe them if they tell you otherwise….but you can never truly know. You weren’t inside their head, you didn’t experience what they experienced. So you can never truly know.

    I said I didn’t know how it’s possible, I didn’t say that I didn’t believe. Hence the desire to speak to those who have turned around and rejected those great gifts from God.

    I am just deeply unnerved by this desire to believe that people were either “faking it” or “just didn’t get it.” From what I understand, the whole process is quite deep, and to assume that level of understanding about another person is a bit presumptuous from where I stand.

    There is only one truth about God. You can read it in God’s word, it is written on your heart, underneath that outer stony layer, and it is evidenced in your life when you accept the gifts of God.

    Yes, that’s some very beautiful poetry….but unfortunately it does not solve my dilemma. The fact of the matter is, these are feelings that you attribute to God. I have feelings that I rely upon to make decisions or to understand things, and I do not attribute them to God because I feel no need to. And pardon me if I say, you haven’t exactly convinced me that I should feel a need to.

    It was an analogy, not a comparison.

    An analogy generally implies a comparison on a deeper level.

    However, now that you mention it, there are similarities, I notice, between bad habits and blind unbelief.

    I’d say the same of blind belief. Or blind anything, really. It’s a bit dishonest to apply this only to disbelief.

    An alcoholic, for instance, is under the illusion that they have something to lose by becoming sober, when in fact they have everything to gain.

    For hypothetical’s sake….how do we know who is suffering the illusion? If you are to say to an unbeliever, “You have everything to gain by casting aside what you think is right and allowing someone else’s interpretation to fill your mind,” then that opens the mind to the possibility that it is you who are delusional, or unaware, or whatever word you prefer to use. It’s not really necessary to accuse either party of being “deluded” in the first place, but once the accusation is made, it’s not hard to turn it around on either party.

    to stop believing in ‘a god’ is indeed liberating. To stop believing in the god of greed, the god of sexual perversion, the god of material things, etc., all of them being the god of this world.

    Oh, come now, you understand what I mean~

    To stop believing in ‘the God’ is a different story. What is it that one becomes liberated from when they refuse to believe in God? Or are you talking about being freed from religious bondage, something else altogether?

    Gah….there’s that meme about God =/= religion again. Listen, I understand the desire to separate the “Goodness” of God with the “sin” of man and the church. But the simple fact of the matter is that Christianity is a religion. If you choose to identify with the God of the Christian Bible, then it is said that you are “religious.” This isn’t a good or bad thing, it’s simply descriptive; you adhere to a set of laws that you believe transcends this universe, and that you believe was given to us by a higher being. You worship a deity that is outlined and described in religious texts governed and propogated by a church. That is a religion.

    …… There is a difference between having a belief and having proof. Open-mindedness leads to understanding, which leads to belief, which leads to proof. At least that’s how it happened for me.

    I don’t think that’s entirely correct….proof generally comes first, as it leads to the deduction that something is true or false. This attempt to redefine the nature of proof is another aspect of religion that has always confounded me….

    But I already answered that question. I’m waiting for you to answer the question when it’s the other way around.

    I’d say they had a change of heart, one way or the other. I’m not content to make snap judgments about large groups of people based on such premises, if you don’t mind my saying so. I only asked because I was interested by your remark that people who left the church “must not have really understood it in the first place,” or something to that effect.

    You already did, which is why I jokingly made the statement. When I type *smile* it’s not condescending, it’s a genuine friendly smile. I disagree with you, but I am not angry with you.

    Ah, perhaps I was unclear….that was my attempt at irony. I am almost always smug and condescending when I am irritable; thus, any claim that I “would have done it without being sarcastic” is mostly ironic.

    I don’t know if your version of “belief” is the same as mine. I notice that people who diligently seek to know and understand God, find knowledge and understanding of God, and I have found that the more I come to know and understand God, the more my life does supernaturally get better.

    I see what you are saying, but I must point out….it is this very train of thought that seems to imply a criticism of my very sincerity. You seem to imply here that I am not honest about my pursuit, as I have not reached the same conclusion as you. Before I proceed in this direction, I should ask you: Is this what you intend to communicate?

    This is a mistaken assumption on your part.

    Perhaps.

    because it’s not the same as picking teams. It’s not about choosing people or religions or organizations. It’s about accepting the gift of salvation. So the way you are phrasing it is misleading.

    See two responses up; there does seem to be a degree of hostility hidden in that promise, whether or not you are aware of it.

    Not true. You are referring to religious church doctrine, which is often different than the word of God.

    So then; do you believe in the Christian God? Or do you believe in a personal God? Or some amalgamation of the two?

    I think you are again referring to the religious church doctrines, the traditions and doctrines of men. And as a creature on this earth, any creature, you are always going to be in some kind of influential environment. But regardless, if you seek God and His righteousness, you will find it, regardless of who or what is trying to influence you otherwise. Especially if you make sure to not let church doctrine get in the way.

    I’m willing to agree to disagree with you here, as this particular point is getting to be a matter of philosophy; you are making these assertions about the state of mankind and the nature of God, things that cannot really be honestly known….but since they are by their very nature unprovable, I can’t really answer such assertions in any way except, “I don’t believe you,” or perhaps, “I disagree.”

    don’t believe misogyny is ok. Are you under the impression the bible supports it? There doesn’t seem to be any place for slavery in today’s world, but there used to be a time and a place for it. But not like it was in the US.

    I admit, you’ve struck my curiosity; at what point was there a “time and a place” for slavery? Mind you, I am not talking about indentured servitude (which is actually quite different); I am talking about unconditional slavery.

    People misuse the name of God. That is no reflection on God, it’s a reflection on people. In the bible God had people killed under certain circumstances and there was a very good reason for it.

    I’m going to offer you a chance to prove this here. I want to see if you are capable of justifying the following Bible verses to me; I am interested in hearing your reply:

    “Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

    Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

    When is it ever justified to kill little children? What did they do to deserve death? Would you not equate this with killing a newborn child, or with the termination of a late-term fetus (I assume you are anti-choice)? How is this justified in the Bible? I do not see any redeeming context in any of the surrounding verses, myself.

    We agree there. God loves homosexuals just as much as he loves anyone. God loves the alchoholic, the drug addict, the binge-eater, the misogynist, the angry sarcastic person, the murderer, the tax evader, the shady politician, the atheist, etc. There is a vast difference between discrimination against homosexuals, and being against the glorification of sin. If we wouldn’t glorify and grant special and new rights to encourage binge-eating, then we shouldn’t do so for homosexuality.

    Ah, and there’s that meme again….I don’t understand how gay marriage “glorifies” homosexuality, whether or not you believe it’s a sin. A sin is not a crime, and it makes no sense for the law to deprive someone of a legal right/process based on the idea that they are “sinners.” Allowing binge-eaters and alcoholics to marry does not encourage alcoholism or binge-eating; Homosexuality is no different. I was of the understanding that we do not, in this country, withold civil rights from perceived “afflicted parties” under the guise that they are “too sinful” to invoke a particular right.

    I think you have a highly skewed view of both the bible and evangelicals.

    Oh, how I would love to believe that! If only someone could prove it to me….

    Yes it does.

    No it doesn’t.

    No backsies.

    The evidence is all around us. I’m surprised you don’t see it.

    I’m not really surprised that you do perceive evidence. It’s not hard to attribute the wonders of the world to the supernatural, although I would sooner try and understand the natural cause, myself.

    Without God’s wisdom and guidance, you can see that many people each think they know best what will serve the greater end, and often they are inaccurate.

    You seem to think that you are exempt from this particular criticism; may I ask, how do you know that your beliefs are right? How do you know you can trust the belief that God exists, or that His judgment is superior to yours?

    It looks to me like you are putting a negative spin on my words and my intentions.

    Perhaps it is my disposition….but I find it quite easy to read negative intentions into your words. Though you haven’t exactly encouraged me to feel otherwise 0_0

    For instance, if someone tells me about wonderful experiences they have that have brought good changes in their life, I don’t take that to mean that they are saying that I don’t have good experiences. I don’t get why my words are taken in such a harsh negative light. I certainly don’t mean them that way.

    I’m not criticizing your claims of “good experiences,” I criticized your various comparisons between disbelief and drug addiction/alcoholism, between homosexuality and other forms of perceived immorality. It’s not the positive aspect that I take issue with; it’s the assertion that there is One Right Way to do things, and with that the implication that every other way is Not Right.

    I’m not responsible for how you perceive and respond. You are. Just as you are not responsible for how I respond.

    ….okay….

    That’s ok, I respect your choices. I talk about things because they come up in discussion. If you don’t want to have a discussion, that’s ok too.

    Make no mistake, I enjoy long discussions. They give me a lot to think about~

    am open to the possibility that I don’t understand atheism, but what you are saying sounds similar to what I said.

    There is a fine line there that most atheists won’t tread, which you imply that they do; this is the line between perception and objective reality. The atheist generally sets a limit on what he/she is capable of knowing, and judges that it is only rational to make decisions based on what one can realistically know, or deduce to know. That’s quite different from affirming an active belief that “God does not exist,” or that we can even know such a thing even if He does not.

    Yes, it was an assertion based on experience.

    You understand, then, that this holds no ground in a persuasive situation?

    …… That still doesn’t change the facts about shellfish. After finding out, I am surely not interested in partaking.

    That is your choice to make, of course. Although, am I to understand that you believe eating such fish is “immoral” in the same sense that you believe homosexuality is “immoral?”

    The point is not about overeating on pork, it’s about the fact that pork is something that appears to not be wise for human consumption. By coincidence, God told us it wasn’t good for us way back when. Science confirms that shellfish and pork are literally “unclean.” It has nothing to do with condemnation, and everything to do with health.

    Pork is not “unclean” if cooked properly. Take pizza, as an example; in America we think of pizza as a greasy treat that should not be eaten often. In Italy, pizza is made very differently than it is made in America, and it is considered a delicacy that is actually very healthy (and very delicious, from what I hear~). Bacon is greasy, but that is due in large part to the methods in which it is cooked, as well as the process through which it is acquired from the animal.

    And on that note, am I to understand that you equate unhealthy eating habits with immorality?

    People’s motives and beliefs are often faulty when they don’t involve God’s wisdom. I would think that that is overwhelmingly apparant.

    I would not, of course. But see, herein lies the problem….we have reached a fundamental disagreement. Do you understand why this approach appears condescending — ignorant, even? — to someone like myself?

    When people earnestly study God’s word, I notice that there are typically just slight differences in understanding. When I run across someone who has major differences in understanding, I typically soon learn that either they spend little to no time studying and seeking, and/or they are esteeming church doctrine and tradition more so than the bible itself.

    Are you a Biblical scholar, perchance?

    I realize that I haven’t met all atheists, but so far, this is my observation of those I have met. So I wonder if it is true of all, or if I just never happened to meet one of the many who are indeed willing to give up their own personal desires.

    I can’t help you there. But perhaps then you will understand why the asserted experiences of someone else are not really evidence in a persuasive situation; it is entirely possible that the statistics one party experiences do not reflect the overall norm of a particular demographic. Although I was attempting to bypass the need for statistics by explaining it to you in an ideological sense, granted that I am basically an atheist; I figured that I could shed some insight on the mindset.

    Maybe, but I’ve never yet met an atheist who had an understanding of the bible. All I’ve seen so far is twisting the meaning of verses, and taking things out of context. If you are right about me being wrong, then I suppose one day I will meet an atheist who understands the bible. But I’m just saying, I haven’t seen it yet.

    Only time will tell, I suppose.

    I’ve tried, but you won’t believe me.

    And so we must declare a stalemate, then?

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Well, humans make comedy. So I imagine the humans came first; it is my understanding that studios produce shows so that people will watch them. Therefore they will generally focus on content that people have shown themselves to enjoy — “popular content.” The desire for such programming tends to come into existence before the program itself; it’s not very often that a program comes into existence and then creates demand for itself. That’s not a very effective marketing technique at all; for who’s to say which programs will create demand for themselves, and which ones will not?

    No. There are many varied shows, not all of them full of cruel humor and frequent sarcasm. I think it’s apparant that some shows have a negative impact on the way people think, especially children. I think you are trying to make my comments more extreme than I mean them.

    By all means, feel free to clarify. But what you seem to be saying — what I gleam from your comments — is that you believe that TV influences people in a way that goes beyond their control; that a person cannot watch a show and choose not to behave in the same way as the characters on the show. This almost directly translates to, “TV makes people do things.”

    Incorrect assumption. I never said we need to do away with any shows. And I had agreed with you previously when you talked about changing the channel. Remember?

    Perhaps. But I hardly feel it’s an irrational assumption, based on your comments.

    Christians have much better intentions that you think. Aren’t you just assuming the worst?

    Are you not doing exactly the same thing of atheists? Assuming that we have some bias, or are inferior in the sense that we are either incapable or unwilling to see the same “revelations” that you claim to have seen?

    What if you chose to assume the best instead?

    Might I ask the same question of you?

    There are so many great things that Christians are doing in the world.

    The same can be said for atheists, Buddhists, agnostics, and followers of Shinto and Hinduism. I don’t understand your point here.

    Alot of giving, lots of volunteering, lots of traveling and helping those who no one else cares about.

    Yes, I understand this. I also understand that there are a lot of situations in which this sort of treatment is accompanied by an assumption that the receiving party should “convert,” among other things. I’m not arguing about what percentage of Christians are “good” and what percentage are “bad.” I am more concerned with the rationality that you, specifically, have offered here. It deeply concerns me.

    Sure, you see Christians misrepresenting God and the bible, but it doesn’t compare to all the people they are helping in so many ways.

    I would call that a subjective statement; granted that a lot of subjugation does occur in the name of Christianity. In America, there are still people who would vote to take away another person’s right to marry based on a religious ideal of morality devoid entirely of real consequence. I do not see this as a “good” or “moral” thing, and I don’t see how this act is justified by any number of Christians doing “good” anywhere in the world. A million rights don’t make a wrong go away.

    Which is the need for seeing something as it is, without being deceived, just as I said. God provides discernment for doing so.

    Now, hypothetically….how do you know you’re not being deceived about God? How do you know your innate humanity is not deceiving you about the nature of God? You say because you feel it, but I wonder….how do you know that you can trust such feelings?

    what do you think can offer them?

    I don’t know. You could say I’m still searching, but I would like to refrain from using any unnecessary metaphors. So I’ll say, “I don’t know.”

    If you don’t negate hateful thoughts, then you are accepting them as true. I wasn’t talking about comedy in general, I was talking about cruel and sarcastic humor.

    If you don’t agree with cruelty in real life, then it’s not really necessary to actively negate cruel behavior seen on TV. Do you believe I should stop what I am doing any time I hear or experience cruel humor and proclaim to anyone who will hear me that I do not agree with such behavior in real life? If so, I say I don’t believe that’s a realistic way to respond. I believe my actions will show that I do not support such behavior in real life, even though there are circumstances in which it can be humorous to me in a comic setting.

    Did you notice that you misquoted me? I didn’t say “It’s not my belief, it’s God’s belief” nor would say such a thing. I forget where my original post was, but it wasn’t as you are stating it. I think this is what you call a straw man? If I could see my original statement, then I could respond to it.

    You claim that it is not your belief. I don’t recall your exact wording, or if you directly attributed it to God in the sense that I said you did….but you did claim that it was not your belief. You claimed that it was an objective truth that came from outside of you. Am I correct? If that is the case, then I challenge this; I challenge how anyone can know any objective, final truth about the universe in the sense that you claim to be able to know about God.

    Well, it’s a coincidence then. Is there an atheist you know of whose personal desires are the same as the bible’s, yet they reject it anyway? I would like to know who because I would like to get in contact with them.

    I think murder is wrong, and yet I reject the Bible. I think stealing and rape and misogyny are also wrong, and yet I reject the Bible. I don’t agree with the reasons offered in the Bible as to any of these ideals, though; I don’t believe they’re wrong because God said so. I don’t really believe they are “objectively wrong” in that sense, but I do attribute value to the idea that they are wrong for a number of reasons.

    Do you know why there was slavery back in the old testament? Do you think that there couldn’t possibly be a good reason? That it must come from terrible intentions?

    I believe that the deliberate subjugation of a human being against his/her will is a terrible thing, unless it is done as a punishment or to protect someone else, as in a prison environment.

    Yet I never see an atheist who understands the bible and agrees with its morality and yet rejects it.

    If you agreed with the Bible’s morality 100%, then you wouldn’t really be an atheist, would you? The Bible’s morality is founded on the supposed existence of a God; the atheist’s morality is not. So of course you won’t find any atheists who agree with the Bible’s morality in that sense.

    Reply
  116. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Yet I never see an atheist who understands the bible and agrees with its morality and yet rejects it.”

    Why WOULD anyone accept the morality of the bible if they didn’t believe in God? It’s not a coincidence at all, it’s common sense that believing in God is the primary requirement in accepting lots of the nonsense in the bible. Without a God, there’s no reason to be homophobic, there’s no justification for accepting slavery, or for murdering people who worship other Gods etc. One is left having to construct your ethics rationally.

    And if anyone DID agree with the bible’s morality, why would they then reject it? If they DID agree with it, and THEN reject it, that would support the Christian argument that they reject God because they want to ‘go out and sin’.

    The fact that you know of no such people shows that it’s a nonsense argument to say people reject God simply so they can reject its morality. You admit yourself that atheists don’t AGREE with the morality in the first place. That’s like me saying you reject Islam because you don’t want to accept its morality. The fact it, no-one would accept its morality UNLESS they believed in Allah. Why else would they?

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  117. Mayard says:

    As I watched the debate, it seemed that Hitchens was lashing out at christians or Christianity for some reason or another. He didn’t really seem to address the questians that were asked of him, rather rambling on about things that seemed to have been part of his life and thinking for many years instead of answering questians directly. It was almost like he was more interested in saying how “stupid” Frank was(although he didn’t say that directly to Frank, just in general terms) instead of giving “evidence” for how Frank was wrong, That seemed to be the “spirit” in which he gave the debate.

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  118. Sue says:

    I thought Frank presented evidence from science along with quotes from a variety of scientist, philosophers, historians, and people from different beliefs to support his case. He was always respectful, confident and articulate. His humor was just that, not sarcasim or insults He always allowed Hitchens to finish his sentences without talking over him. At one point in the q&a session, Frank was taking on both the nararator and Hitchens. Hitchens did his best but fell short of the mark in all of these categories for me.

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  119. Peter says:

    Like many other theologians, Turek (and an astounding number of viewers of this debate) fails to understand that his argument based on design and the origins of the universe does not justify theism in any way, only deism at best. The best way to illustrate that distinction is this: As a Christian, you look at most other religions with a rational disbelief. You cannot prove or disprove whether Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism are true, yet to you they are clearly only false religious texts written by men. I would like an answer to this question: Why should I not not look at Christianity the same way a Christian looks at almost other religion?

    My position on the existence of God is this: Whilst there is no rational way to believe in an individual man-made God, we have yet to come up with a good explanation for the origins of matter. Until we answer that question, the possibility of an eternal deistic God cannot be written off. However, there is an absolute dichotomy between “some kind of eternal deity” and the Judeo-Christian God that a couple of guys wrote thousands of years ago. It would take a brilliant physicist to disprove deism, as he would have to explain the origins of matter. To disprove theism, we need only common sense.

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  120. Gavin says:

    Christopher Hitchens is a JOKE!! I don’t think that he directly answered a single question Dr.Turek asked him. Not only that , but whenever he had a question for Dr.Turek he would interupt before he even had a chance to finish answering. This guy is all about beating around the bush and blowing smoke. I’m suprised anyone even buys into anything he says. I loved the way Dr.Turek ended the debate in the last five minutes. I wan’t to thank Dr.Turek because after hearing this debate I feel renewed again.

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  121. Jay Blanton says:

    I Tivo’d this debate, thanks for playing it on cable. Frank, you were absolutely amazing and you were the best opponent of any of the Christopher Hitchens debates. Unfortunately, Christopher has become so full of himself and his memorized and repetitive debate, that he provided no real opponent. You excellently handled his intention to anger you by him answering questions slowly so that you could respond, specifically so that he could interrupt and overlay your wording with his own. He was intentionally ridiculing you and mocking you by doing this. And I think you handled it well and presented the best arguments. I feel bad for Christopher Hitchens fans because he has definitely slipped since his Dinesh D’Souza debate. I look forward to more of your excellent insight, research, and debates.

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  122. Dojo says:

    This was a clear testament that evil will never win against God. The last statement that Frank made when he said: “Christopher Hitchens does not believe in God and he hates Him, but there is a God who knows there’s a Christopher Hitchens and He loves him.” summarized the whole debate which Frank clearly won. The problem with atheist is that they blame religion for all the misery of mankind. We have to remember that Jesus is totally against any form of religion. It is our personal relationship with Him that is important to Him.

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  123. zinger says:

    Peter asks, “Why should I not not look at Christianity the same way a Christian looks at almost other religion?” The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ which is heavily supported by evidence that would be accepted in any court of law. But that is an argument for another day.

    Frank won the debate here because the evidence is on his side.

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  124. May Pelletier says:

    I really wanted to hear Mr. Hitchens side of the story. However, I heard an arrogant, smug, angry pseudo scientist interrupt, appeal to his audience for affirmation, and often, veer from the point of the questions or not answer the question. He used Christian examples while he denies Christian history. This guy is a fraud. He, himself supported Turek’s position as well as Turek supported his thesis.

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  125. Mike says:

    Christopher Hitchens is brilliant!! Brilliant at doging questions and taking the conversation in a completely different direction!

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  126. Gwen says:

    Dr. Turek,

    Thank you, thank you for being such a bold, discerning, knowledgeable witness for Christ. What I saw in your debate, which was just introduced to me by a friend, was both chilling and rewarding in its content.

    First, the chilling: the absolute hero-worship for Mr. Hitchens on the young faces of those in attendance. Every adjective-laden, rhetoric-filled diatribe Mr. Hitchens offered they lapped with eagerness, making clear that atheists are limited to following the ponderings of their own finite minds and the fallible words of fellow human beings. Even as a Christian who admires those in positions of spiritual authority, including you, Dr. Turek, never let me look on another human being with such a clear propensity to take whatever they say as truth, but let me weigh words of humans against the Truth revealed in God’s Word.

    Secondly, though I intended to “skim” the contents of the debate, I found myself fascinated and watched it in its entirety no less than three times. Your points were solid, well-stated, articulate, fair, and clear. Mr. Hitchens dodged most every one, yet you remained cool-headed and gently, yet continually brought him back to the points he refused to answer. As he was brought to them through your gentle reminders, his speech patterns unraveled and his argument weakened.

    Your final statement left the atheist audience in a moment of stunned silence, from what I could tell on the tape. Shame on me, Dr. Turek, for being one of little faith. I thought at the beginning of the evening that hearts and minds were too hardened to open to Truth; shame on me for underestimating the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer such as yourself. Shame on me for daring to imagine that the jeering faces were too far gone for God to reach. Your debate convicted even the heart of this woman saved by faith in Christ–lest any atheist think that Christians are beyond being convicted and proven lacking. To be a Christian is to be proven lacking every day, in spite of the tight-lipped, holier-than-thou admonishments of the church lady, to whom you so pointedly referred in your closing statements.

    I will read your books and pray for your powerful ministry. God bless you in all your endeavors and your passion for making God’s truth understood. Thank you for having the faith to step into situations that seem futile and believing that God’s power has no limitation.

    Reply
  127. Bill Weber says:

    It is interesting how Hitchens, as do all atheists, uses the laws of nature to support the argument that God does NOT exist. It is as though he wants to separate God along with religion from nature. Why then does he NOT also explain the origins of nature’s laws, i.e. E=mCsquared, F=ma, etc.? Where did they come from? Did matter create itself and then its own laws? Much of nature seems unknowable and even less so must be its creator. Yes, creative individuals (Galileo, Keppel, Newton, Einstein, etc.) have been inspired to discover some natural laws which have been there since the dawn of time. We’ve learned how to use them for our benefit or destruction, but do we truly understand electromagnetive or nuclear forces? At CERN engineers and scientists are still trying to find out. The more they learn the less they know! Just like in ancient Greece. Turek should have exploited this weakness in Hitchens position and expressed his faith in the living God more fervently, and not in negative terms. He agreed to much with Hitchens rather than being be true to himself. He should also lower his pitch an octave or so and let God, via the Holy Spirit, do the talking for him. Never-the-less, in terms of pure logic Turek’s position prevailed, but Hitchen’s slobering charm while badmouthing mono-theism, conned many wannabe atheists into believing that Hitchens won the debate. One can only hope that something was learned by all who followed he dialogue. Most of all, that none of us have created ourselves and thus we ought to walk in true humility through the natural lives gifted to us by Providence and not by accident.

    Reply
  128. Bill Weber says:

    It is interesting how Hitchens, as do all atheists, uses the laws of nature to support the argument that God does NOT exist. It is as though he wants to separate God along with religion from nature. Why then does he NOT also explain the origins of nature’s laws, i.e. E=mCsquared, F=ma, etc.? Where did they come from? Did matter create itself and then its own laws? Much of nature seems unknowable and even less so must be its creator. Yes, creative individuals (Galileo, Keppel, Newton, Einstein, etc.) have been inspired to discover some natural laws which have been there since the dawn of time. We’ve learned how to use them for our benefit or destruction, but do we truly understand electromagnetive or nuclear forces? At CERN engineers and scientists are still trying to find out. The more they learn the less they know! Just like in ancient Greece. Turek should have exploited this weakness in Hitchens position and expressed his faith in the living God more fervently, and not in negative terms. He agreed to much with Hitchens rather than being be true to himself. He should also lower his pitch an octave or so and let God, via the Holy Spirit, do the talking for him. Never-the-less, in terms of pure logic Turek’s position prevailed, but Hitchen’s slobering charm while badmouthing mono-theism, conned many wannabe atheists into believing that Hitchens won the debate. One can only hope that something was learned by all who followed the dialogue. Most of all, that none of us have created ourselves and thus we ought to walk in true humility through the natural lives gifted to us by Providence and not by accident.

    Reply
  129. Tanner Andrews says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Turek! Undeniably, he won the debate and presented a great amount of thought-provoking evidence in favor of a belief in God. Christopher Hitchens danced around many of the questions, and almost everything he presented expressed opposition of religion instead of presenting evidence to proof that God does not exist.

    Is it true that throughout history, for thousands of years now, many disgusting, violent, and harmful acts have been committed by those who claim to carry out these acts in the name of God? (Even as recent as the 9/11 bombings). Absolutely. And there is no denying the ignorance and evil that these people display. However, that hardly reflects the character of God or whether or not he truly exists. Evil acts such as these are a result of the error and ignorance of man, not of the error of God. (Afterall, there is no error of God). Therefore, Hitchens should direct his anger towards those who carry out these evil actions and not try to use them as examples of why God must not exist. There is a gaping hole in the logic that he presents by suggesting that God must not exist if so many acts have been carried out by evil men who claim to have God on their side.

    Also, one thing that Hitchens points out, and I actually agree with him on, is that it is evil to threaten (if you will) people by saying that they are going straight to hell. Once again, that is an error that has been conceived by man, not by God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we should tell people that they are going to burn in hell. (In the sense of threatening them, that is, not on drawing attention to the fact that hell is real, and is a real consequence).

    Reply
  130. Tanner Andrews says:

    *continuation*

    I do not believe it is Christ-like at all to declare that someone will burn in hell. In my opinion, saying such a thing is perhaps the most ignorant thing someone could ever say. (Besides saying that God does not exist, that is). The idea of reaching out to non-believers is not to declare to them that they will burn in hell, but instead to lovingly try to spread the word of Christ to them, which in turn would save a person’s soul. No one should believe in something out of a fear of what may happen if they do not believe, but instead to find purpose and joyfully believe in it. So I agree with Christopher Hitchens when he says that it is evil to tell someone that they will burn in hell because they do not believe in God. However, Hitchens once again simply points out an error that is common among man, not an error of God; and more importantly, this point has absolutely nothing to offer as evidence that God does not exist.

    One other thing I would like to mention is that I found it very ignorant of Mr. Hitchens, in his closing points, to say that Dr. Turek’s biggest mistake was that Dr. Turek did not say that he had total faith in the things he was saying or confidence in it and that he never said he full-heartedly believed in God (it was something along those lines, although those were not his exact words). The nature of the debate was not for Dr. Turek to profess his full-hearted belief and confidence in christianity, but to present evidence as to why he believed in God. It is understood without being said that Dr. Turek full-heartedly believes. Dr. Turek executed, and very well I must say, the points that he was supposed to for the debate. This was just one of the many situations in which Christoper Hitchins uses false logic/false argument throughout the debate.

    Finally, it’s not really any of my business, but I am wondering what it was in Christopher Hitchin’s life that has filled him with so much hate for God. It doesn’t seem natural for someone to be so filled with hate for The Grand Creator. (This is of course, just my opinion.)

    Reply
  131. Dave says:

    You sheep seem to all have the misconception that atheism requires evidence. People have chosen atheism precisely because there is not evidence for god. It is the absence of evidence that eviscerates the deistic position. The burden is on Hitchens only to provide evidence of the lack of evidence. I know that is quite a mind-bender for you folks. Dwell on that for a little bit.

    You have not a shred of evidence that a god exists. Not one shred. Let alone your interpretation of him. Pointing out the lack of scientific knowledge in one area does not equate to evidence that “god done it.” Simply because we do not understand the origin of the universe at the present time does not necessitate a deity. Pointing out the lack of evidence for a god DOES equate to evidence that he does not exist. Another mind-bender, I know.

    Hitchens made this point several times and I can tell it flew over everyone of your misguided heads: Even if everything you say is true, the walking on water, the resurrection, the water from wine, etc, you still must prove the existence of god.

    The existence of god is just as likely as Father Christmas.

    Reply
  132. Coylh says:

    “So I agree with Christopher Hitchens when he says that it is evil to tell someone that they will burn in hell because they do not believe in God. However, Hitchens once again simply points out an error that is common among man, not an error of God; and more importantly, this point has absolutely nothing to offer as evidence that God does not exist.”

    As for probing whether or not god does exist, it can be considered an argument that _certain_ gods do not exist. For example, if you define a deity as perfectly compassionate, forgiving, caring, and also vindictive–these are not altogether compatible qualities. That is, we could say that the god described can’t exist (assuming you’re comfortable with a god constrained by the rules of logic). It causes dissonance for many people who try and envision a god who is described as all loving, yet causes people infinite and indescribable pain in Hell.

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  133. John says:

    This debate is useless. There is no reason to deny that there may be a supernatural being, because it can never be proven. The existence of the Christian God, however, is insanity. The stories are contradictory and nonsensical. It’s quite possible that the Big Bang and evolution were set into motion by a sentient being, but to state that the Big Bang and evolution are not reality (or closer to it, as new evidence could be presented to modify each theory) is ridiculous.

    Reply
  134. Stutz says:

    For a lay audience, I’d say Turek “won”. Hitchens is not the best representative of atheist arguments in formal debates like this one. Having seen and read many, many of these types of discussions, I would say that Hitchens was trying to appeal to a more knowledgeable, liberal audience. What I sensed from him was a disappointment that the debate from Turek’s side was so elementary and a reluctance to lower himself to engage in it, but that reluctance came across as dodgy. I was frankly surprised, and I think Hitchens was as well, that Turek trotted out such obvious and tired arguments that have been clearly and thoroughly responded to by atheists for years and years. A Sam Harris would have been much more direct and precise in refuting Turek’s claims and might have made for a better, if not more entertaining, debate.

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  135. Chigaimasmaro says:

    This was a VERY frustrating debate to watch due to Hitchen’s NOT answering any questions DIRECTLY. For instance, the part with Turek asking about morality. What makes it right or wrong? There was such a song and dance… Even when answering the last question, Hitchens talked a great deal and eventually said and I’m paraphrasing “There’s NOTHING that will convince me, because no one will provide evidence.” *sigh* This is NOT a debate to watch if you want to actually get information from either side. There’s some scientific arguments from Turek, but Hitchen’s way of answering clouds over any useful information that he might have said. I was hoping Hitchen’s would have come , guns a blazing, with scientific and noted evidence for why God doesn’t exist… unfortunately Hitchens relied on personal opinion…

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  136. Paula says:

    Turek came out in this debate just glowing with so much common sense,because he had truth on his side. Hitchens obviously was struggling to make sense which there wasn’t any of what he try to explain. He lost me time and time again.
    The evidence is all around that there is a God,Creator. What evidence do the atheist have that there is no God? Thank you, Frank Turek for being here with the truth of God’s word at such a time as this for our young people. God bless.

    Reply
  137. Lynne Taylor says:

    I am not a debater, but aren’t debates decided on how well the arguments are presented? Both Hitchens and Turek were given time to present the arguments supporting their position, rebut their opponent’s position, and answer their opponent’s rebuttal. The topic was “Does God Exist?” Turek was given the affirmative position (God does exist) and used philosophical and scientific arguments to show the existence of a First Cause that is intelligent, creative, powerful, and outside of time and space. He also used the philosophical argument that because all humans have an inborn sense of “right” and “wrong” that goes beyond chemical impulses, there is a “law-giver” who has created humans with a moral code. This “First Cause” and “law-giver” is part of what people mean by God.
    Hitchens was given the arguably much more difficult task of arguing the negative position, (God does not exist), and frankly, if he presented solid evidence proving the non-existence of God, his lack of coherence made it difficult to follow. It seemed that he was mostly presenting the opinion that people who are religious are horrible people.
    His rebuttal of Turek’s arguments was nonexistent, since he merely alluded to great scientists who were also atheists without addressing any specific point made in the affirmative position. Turek, on the other hand, conceded the point that many evil atrocities have been perpetrated by people who claimed to be religious, as well as by people who most definitely were not. He pointed out in his rebuttal that there have also been many good things done in the name of religion, but more importantly, the very concept of good and evil indicates something beyond the natural world.
    From a debate standpoint, if this one had been scored like they do debate competitions, based on the objective standards of debate, Turek would have won hands down. Even if you are a never-to-be-convinced-otherwise-atheist, in this particular debate, Hitchens was not able to support his position that “God Does Not Exist”.
    And while Turek may have found Hitchens likeable, charming, and witty in person, I think Hitchens came across as boorish, rude, and arrogant. (I am not saying he is; in my opinion, that is how he appeared.) I applaud Turek for his graciousness towards his opponent, who certainly did not return the respect, but resorted to slurs, interruptions, and condescension.
    On a personal note, I look forward to hearing Dr. Turek speak next week at NWF State College.

    Reply
  138. Andrew Ryan says:

    “all humans have an inborn sense of “right” and “wrong” that goes beyond chemical impulses”

    I don’t see why this is even a point – it’s pure assertion that it goes beyond chemical impulses. Turek isn’t a biologist or a chemist or a bio-chemist, so how would he know this?

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  139. Luke says:

    Lynne: all humans have an inborn sense of “right” and “wrong” that goes beyond chemical impulses

    Andrew:I don’t see why this is even a point – it’s pure assertion that it goes beyond chemical impulses. Turek isn’t a biologist or a chemist or a bio-chemist, so how would he know this?

    And I think it is easy to argue that this “sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ has changed drastically over the centuries. Just read the Old Testament, or even the New one, and see if you don’t spot many things which most people see as “wrong.”

    We’ve discussed many of these here, of course.

    I mean Jesus himself told a slave owner that the slave owner would go to Heaven. Shouldn’t this sense of “right” and w”wrong” have instead led Him to say “what you are doing is wrong!”?

    As I mentioned in the other thread just a few minutes ago, 50 years ago, many thought it was “right” that people should use separate bathrooms based on their skin color.

    We (as a society) no longer see this as “right,” but rather as tremendously “wrong.”

    If this sense of “right” and “wrong” changes over the years can it really be said to be in any way objective or inborn?

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  140. Mark Ducharme says:

    A “suitcase”? When Mr. Hitchens is asked to explain how “something came from nothing” his answer is that all existence existed in something the size of a suitcase?

    Before time.
    Before space.
    Before anything.
    There was a suitcase.

    Wow! Mr. Turek must be some student of diplomacy. I mean, he asks THE central question regarding the origin of the Universe and his debate opponent not only doesn’t answer it but he responds in a manner reminiscent of, dare I say?, mysticism. Or, would that be “luggagecism”? All hail our holy father, Samsonite. That would explain their fetish w/ the lower primates I guess (sorry, you probably have to be over forty to get that one).

    And lord Samsonite saith, “Hold no duffel before me…”

    Face it. If you can’t explain, or even reasonably theorize within the context of your own methodology, the central question of the issue at hand then I’m sorry, you simply do not have a leg or castor wheel or opposable thumbless hand to stand on. Something can NOT come from nothing. That is a supernatural concept, as is “forever”.

    Thank you for putting this up though. It was interesting.

    Man! You atheists is the cwaziest peoples!
    Sincerely, former crazy person,
    Mark Ducharme

    p.s. If you’re not finding the Creator, look at His creation -sans your jaundiced little eyeball- and He will be self evident. To deny Him is to deny your own salvation. Don’t do that. Voluntarily spending eternity separated from Him would be tantamount to a honey bee making a detour away from the nursery in preference for Death Valley…..times eleventy million to the tenth quazillion power.

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  141. Andrew Ryan says:

    Mark: Something can NOT come from nothing.

    Without answering ‘God is eternal’, can you then explain where God came from?

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  142. Tim D. says:

    The crux of the Christian case:

    “Nothing is infinite, everything has a beginning! It had to have been created by something….something infinite!”

    Blatant. Contradiction.

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  143. Andrew Ryan says:

    I want to know what, in physics, Mark thinks makes it impossible for “all existence to exist in something the size of a suitcase”. Saying that it sounds unlikely to him isn’t enough. Lots of things sounded unlikely at some point – it used to be quite obvious that the earth was flat.

    If Mark thinks he’s got evidence to falsify the current ideas of cosmology, overturning the findings of Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson, he should present it and await his Nobel prize. Otherwise he’s just giving us an ‘argument from incredulity’ at best, and an ‘argument from ignorance’ at worst.

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  144. Frank Turek says:

    No need to overturn the findings of Penzias and Wilson. Here they are in their own words:

    Arno Penzias – “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms and the Bible as a whole.”

    Robert Wilson – “Certainly there was something that set it all off…. I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis.”

    For the “Who made God?” question, see the previous post from April 10, 2008 here: http://crossexamined.thehuntercreative.com/?p=45.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  145. Tim D. says:

    Yes, yes, we know, Mr. Turek, you’ve stated that same repeated case over and over again, and it’s been debunked again and again and again. For one:

    The problem for the atheist is that while it is logically possible that the universe is eternal, it does not seem to be actually possible. For all the scientific and philosophical evidence (SURGE– Second Law, Universe is expanding, Radiation Afterglow, Great galaxy seeds, Einstein’s GR– radioactive decay, and the Kalam Cosmological Argument) tells us the universe cannot be eternal. So by ruling out one of the two options, we are left with the only other optionCsomething outside the universe is eternal.

    None of this is true. Not a single sentence. None of those things in any way indicates that a cyclical universe is in any way “actually impossible.” You are guilty of the popular Evangelical tactic, “Discussion of Discussion” — claiming that there is evidence, without actually providing that evidence. You can’t just say “second law, there,” and call that proof. Otherwise I could easily say, “Second law, there,” and consider that as proof that you are wrong.

    Second; according to those same laws, nothing can exist outside of the universe. There is no space, no time, no matter. There is nothing.

    I know you’ll just read this and re-quote another of your own articles that have already been debunked again, but I figured I’d give it one more go just because I have nothing better to do….you have done nothing whatsoever to address any of the criticisms that have been leveled at any of your points here. In doing so, you’ve convinced me quite soundly that you can’t.

    Reply
  146. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Tim,

    First, there’s no evidence for the cyclical universe theory. Second, there’s not enough matter to bring everything back to a singularity as found in 2003 by the WMAP satellite (which also found that the universe is accelerating). Third, the cyclical universe theory does indeed violate the Second Law. Fourth, time had a beginning as GR proved (which is has been shown accurate to five decimal points). Fifth, if there were an infinite number of days before today, today never would have gotten here (and there can’t be an infinite number of finite things anyway).

    Now many have not liked this conclusion (Einstein and Eddington were two great scientists who hated its implications). But even they came to accept it. Of course, there’s a difference between proof and persuasion. Something can be proved, but a person may not be persuaded by it. Perhaps that is the situation with you. We can agree to disagree.

    Thanks for posting.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  147. Mark Ducharme says:

    Frank Turek says: Fifth, if there were an infinite number of days before today, today never would have gotten here (and there can’t be an infinite number of finite things anyway).

    Just wanted to repeat that as it makes one realize how profound God, and His love for us, really is. Also, to Tim and others, I must apologize for having the “default” or “crutch” of, “God did it” but, in the end (or was that the beginning? Oh yeah, He’s the alpha AND omega) that is my point. THE most pertinent evidence for God is when He enters your heart. Speaking materially, He is supernatural, therefore, He doesn’t obey or disobey laws – He makes them. He is timeless. He knew we would have this back and forth on this discussion board. He may even know our fates, but He can’t make up our minds for us.

    Other than within the context of something already existing one cannot explain existence itself in any credible, scientific way. That is why God is not the thoughtless, default answer of the stump-toothed inbred but rather He is the answer from a mind that knows it cannot know all. Other than His origin, though, pretty much everything -in the mechanical Universe anyway- is understandable. I mean, seriously, does anyone feel compelled to tell the one they love that their deepest most heart felt desires to cherish them always is just based on some primal urge to procreate? I mean, besides you, Tim (kidding, kidding).

    If that’s my choice, I’d rather be wrong. But it is very satisfying to know that I am not.

    Oh and Mr. Ryan, you seem to hold a premise that I do not. That being that God can be explained. He cannot. His creation is another story. I’ll leave that to guys like you and Mr. Turek to hash out the details. I’m not that smart. Although, Franks’ comeback to your assertions to me seemed pretty credible. But thanks to all of you for including this non-academic in the discussion. It’s a very heady experience. Honestly. Thank you!

    I yield the floor…

    Reply
  148. Andrew Ryan says:

    Frank: “No need to overturn the findings of Penzias and Wilson.”

    I profoundly agree Frank. Their findings do not contradict a belief in God. (Neither do Darwin’s or any other scientist’s, in my opinion).

    Reply
  149. Tim D. says:

    First, there’s no evidence for the cyclical universe theory.

    Actually, there is. That’s why it exists in the first place; it explains all of the problems regarding the beginning of what we understand to be space and time, AND it addresses many aspects that the singular universe theory cannot.

    Second, there’s not enough matter to bring everything back to a singularity as found in 2003 by the WMAP satellite (which also found that the universe is accelerating).

    Matter (or amount thereof) isn’t what brings forth a singularity, gravity does. When the metric expansion of space is ultimately reversed due to the waning strength of the expansion itself, resulting in a “black hole singularity.”

    As for if the CU theory is NOT true (which is always possible when discussing cosmological theories), that doesn’t negate the theory of the Big Crunch or the Big Bang, nor does it imply that a creator is necessary. The reverse of expansion leading to a big crunch could still occur. Likewise, the only reason that has been cited as to why a creator would be necessary is because of a fundamentally broken understanding of time on a cosmological scale; the universe “can’t have always existed” before the big bang as a singularity because that would be “an infinite regress of events.” Actually, it wouldn’t. In a singularity, there are no events, there is no space, and there is no time. Therefore, there is no infinite regress of events. Thus, an “infinite” pre-big bang singularity is entirely physically possible.

    Third, the cyclical universe theory does indeed violate the Second Law.

    No, it doesn’t.

    Fourth, time had a beginning as GR proved (which is has been shown accurate to five decimal points).

    1) If the cyclical universe theory is true, then this is irrelevant; what you call “the beginning of time” would just be the beginning of time after the most recent big bang, not the true “penultimate beginning.”

    2) If it’s not, then it still doesn’t solve your problem. “Time” as we know it did not exist before the big bang, nor was it created; it is a component of the existence of other factors (matter and energy) which very likely always existed before the circumstances that allowed time to exist took place.

    Fifth, if there were an infinite number of days before today, today never would have gotten here (and there can’t be an infinite number of finite things anyway).

    1) That is philosophical wordplay and doesn’t mean anything; obviously today WOULD have gotten here, as it is here.
    2) Nobody I’ve read about has ever claimed anything about an “infinite number of days;” that’s not what “eternal universe” means. See above.

    Now many have not liked this conclusion (Einstein and Eddington were two great scientists who hated its implications).

    Please, spare me your revisionist history lessons.

    Something can be proved, but a person may not be persuaded by it. Perhaps that is the situation with you. We can agree to disagree.

    Yep. You got me. It’s my secret conspiracy to believe in god but just deny it because “I don’t like it.”

    That’s asinine and you know it. If I were going to just disblelieve in things I don’t like, I would pretend that hubs of gross misinformation like this one didn’t exist.

    Reply
  150. Andrew Ryan says:

    Frank: if there were an infinite number of days before today, today never would have gotten here
    Tim: That is philosophical wordplay

    I’ve heard this idea before. If today would never have gotten here, then what day SHOULD we be at? One ten thousand years before? Ten billion? And we’d never have got here from WHAT point? No matter how far back you go, it would take the same length of time to get to today.

    It seems a variant on Zeno’s arrow paradox that ‘proves’ that an arrow can never reach its target (when we know that actually it does).

    Reply
  151. Andrew Ryan says:

    Another response on this, referring to a caller who brought up this question on ‘The Atheist Experience’ TV show:

    1. “Incidentally, my preferred response to the caller who claimed that if the universe had existed forever we could never reach the present day would be to say, You’ve got the wrong intuition here. You’re thinking of time as something that passes, that it had to start somewhere, and so you’re begging the question. A better intuition is to think of the present day as a point on a continuous timeline stretching out to infinity in both directions. After all, we have no trouble visualizing an infinite plane or number line in space, at least in principle. There is no inherent contradiction in the idea of a timeline stretching out to infinity in the past, unless you assume the thing you’re trying to prove.”

    2. Response: “There’s no problem with the past being infinite, because nothing has to “traverse” that infinite past to reach us in the present, any more than you have to traverse the infinite totality of negative numbers to reach 0.”

    http://intrinsicallyknotted.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/is-infinite-regress-a-problem/

    Reply
  152. Mark Ducharme says:

    Tim D. said: 2) If it’s not (true) (the CU theory), then it still doesn’t solve your problem. “Time” as we know it did not exist before the big bang, nor was it created; it is a component of the existence of other factors (matter and energy) which very likely always existed before the circumstances(,) that allowed time to exist(,) took place.

    That is a contradictory statement. You say, “”Time” as we know it did not exist before the big bang, nor was it created”. Then, you say, “it is a component of the existence of other factors (matter and energy) which VERY LIKELY ALWAYS EXISTED BEFORE THE CIRCUMSTANCES (MATTER and ENERGY!!!) that allowed time to exist, took place.

    Matter and energy do not “take place”. They exist in perpetuity (therefore, so does “time”, using your thought process. But you say it didn’t before the BB….Oh, I’m getting dizzy…) Unless He created them, of course. But then, that IS my point.(sorry for the YELLING, don’t know the HTML to make emphasis)

    Actually, that isn’t contradictory, it’s a full circle. Kind of like evolution: it might explain changes/certain actions AFTER the beginning, but it does NOT explain the beginning. We still have no answer for “something from nothing”.

    On the whole, “if there were an infinite number of days before today, today never would have gotten here” theory, it seems that that could be one explanation for black holes: the place(s) where infinity actually exists. they are where “something” becomes “nothing”, no?

    Reply
  153. Tim D. says:

    That is a contradictory statement.

    No, it’s not. There was matter but no change (pre-big bang), and thus no time as time in this sense would be a measure of the change of matter and its flow through/interaction with space; then there is a big bang. This is basically the birth of change, or “time,” as it is the starting point of movement, change, and space (because the matter is no longer condensed into a single point, thus “occupying all space” such that there is essentially none).

    Matter and energy do not “take place”.

    Correct. Matter and energy do not; the circumstances which allow them to function do, however, which is what I said.

    Actually, that isn’t contradictory, it’s a full circle. Kind of like evolution:

    1) How does that make evolution circular?
    2) Evolution isn’t supposed to explain the beginning. That is a different field altogether; evolution is the study of change and adaptation throughout species and ecosystems. It is not a cosmological field. It has nothing to do with the beginning of the universe or life, and it never has. Nor has it been stated to. That is a false criteria spread by creationists.

    Reply
  154. Mark Ducharme says:

    There was matter but no change (pre-big bang), and thus no time as time in this sense would be a measure of the change of matter and its flow through/interaction with space; then there is a big bang.

    If there was no time, then change could never happen. Because you could never get to that specific “point in “time””. Which leads to the “fact” that something HAD to come from nothing for your hypothesis to work (which also destroys it, by the way). You can’t say that there was no time or matter or space “such that there is essentially none”, except to the extent “needed” to cause the BB. To say so suggests a decision. If a purely mechanical BB happened, as you describe it, it would need some sort of nudging. But, to say that all matter was condensed into a timeless, spaceless “place”? just waiting to explode is to require cyclicality which doesn’t account for an actual beginning.

    Just saying that every thing, space and time was so minuscule that “there (was) essentially none” goes against any absolutist view and, when it comes to the origin(s) of the Universe, don’t you think one should be LESS forgiving of notions like, “essentially” or, “just about” or, “close enough for government work”, than more ? How else can one find the truth, but by being unflinching in ones adherence to an absolute accounting for all factors involved ? For instance, Americans are very precise when making nuclear weapons/engines/power plants. Therefore, we’re very proficient at it. In the former USSR, not so much and, they have a lot of dead submariners and other victims of their sloppiness.

    Another way to say it: How do you get from, “There was matter but no change (pre-big bang), and thus no time as time in this sense would be a measure of the change of matter and its flow through/interaction with space;” to, ” then there is a big bang” ? If there was no change, what was “it” “waiting” for? You see, for the BB to happen in the first place is to quantify the “time” before it happened. But, if that was a timeless point in…er, “time”, then existence would still be in it.

    (last one. I promise…for now) If the Universe is singular the “time before time” could not occur, as such a powder keg would be set off by “the slightest touch” which would be, in all reality, “the change of matter and its flow through/interaction with space” which cannot “happen” in a timeless, spaceless…um, “environment”?

    I’m sure you’ve heard all of this before, I’m just fascinated by your responses. Looking forward to it,
    Mark D.

    p.s. Please feel free to ask for clarification if the above scribblings are incoherent in the least.

    Official, unofficial disclaimer: the above arguments were assembled in no specific order for reasons not understood by their author. he seems to be afloat in time….

    Reply
  155. Mark Ducharme says:

    Oh, and regarding my jab at evolution: never read “Origin of Species” but I took it from the title that it was an explanation for the origin of species. If that is wrong, my mistake.

    I’d enjoy discussing our views on the origins of life w/ you. If we ever finish this one, that is.

    Reply
  156. Andrew Ryan says:

    Mark, why not get yourself a decent, modern book on evolution? Then at least if you want to make jabs at it they’ll be well-directed ones. Read up on what Ken Miller or Francis Collins has to say on the subject. They are both well-respected scientists on the subject of evolution, who are also fervent Christians.

    “If there was no change, what was “it” “waiting” for?”

    This is an interesting question Mark, but don’t you have the same question if you believe in a God who existed for eternity before deciding to create the universe?

    “Oh and Mr. Ryan, you seem to hold a premise that I do not. That being that God can be explained.”

    I never said ‘I hold that God can be explained’. But again, what’s the difference between saying ‘we can’t explain God’ and ‘we can’t explain the universe’? It’s another situation where positing a God does not answer the question. As with so many other ‘this makes no sense without a God’ situations, Inserting a God just moves the question back a step and then you’re back to square one.

    Reply
  157. Tim D. says:

    Which leads to the “fact” that something HAD to come from nothing for your hypothesis to work (which also destroys it, by the way).

    What you folks don’t seem to understand is that there’s no need to constantly reassure yourself that my case has been “destroyed~”

    Secondly, you’re entirely wrong here….

    You can’t say that there was no time or matter or space “such that there is essentially none”, except to the extent “needed” to cause the BB.

    That’s not what I said at all. Read it again if you will.

    If a purely mechanical BB happened, as you describe it, it would need some sort of nudging

    And there are many theories which attempt to explain this purported “nudging” (to use your misleading term).

    But, to say that all matter was condensed into a timeless, spaceless “place”? just waiting to explode is to require cyclicality which doesn’t account for an actual beginning.

    Hence, the cyclical universe theory….

    Just saying that every thing, space and time was so minuscule that “there (was) essentially none”

    You are obviously not reading my posts very well. I never said “it was so miniscule that there was essentially none.” What I said was:

    because the matter is no longer condensed into a single point, thus “occupying all space” such that there is essentially none).

    I was referring to space, not time. And I use the word “essentially” because there still remains the question: if all matter is condensed into one single point, and there exists no space outside of that point, then is there space? There could be said to be a “theoretical” space that is simply occupied by the matter — we could say that space “exists” but is not visible because it is completely occupied. Or we could define space as a lack of matter, in which case, no, there is no space if all matter is condensed into the only available point in space.

    I think the reasons you find the straw-man cases you’re putting into my mouth to be lacking are twofold; (1) They are strawman cases and are not based on what I’ve said in barely any way at all, and (2) there is no one unifying scientific answer to all of your problems; there are several equally valid theories that attempt to explain the beginning of the universe from differing angles, none of which are technically wrong. Welcome to science….

    If there was no change, what was “it” “waiting” for?

    A catalyst.

    You see, for the BB to happen in the first place is to quantify the “time” before it happened.

    Not at all; that’s a misunderstanding of this cosmological use of the word “time;” if time = change, and there is no change in the system, then there is no time. If change begins at some point, then it doesn’t make sense to say that time (change) begins “after” a point at which there was no time (change); you’re flip-flopping on your use of the word time, here.

    (last one. I promise…for now) If the Universe is singular the “time before time” could not occur, as such a powder keg would be set off by “the slightest touch” which would be, in all reality, “the change of matter and its flow through/interaction with space” which cannot “happen” in a timeless, spaceless…um, “environment”?

    From talkorigins.org:

    Before beginning the examination of the evidence surrounding current cosmology, it is important to understand what Big Bang Theory (BBT) is and is not. Contrary to the common perception, BBT is not a theory about the origin of the universe. Rather, it describes the development of the universe over time. This process is often called “cosmic evolution” or “cosmological evolution”; while the terms are used by those both inside and outside the astronomical community, it is important to bear in mind that BBT is completely independent of biological evolution. Over the last several decades the basic picture of cosmology given by BBT has been generally accepted by astronomers, physicists and the wider scientific community. However, no similar consensus has been reached on ideas about the ultimate origin of the universe. This remains an area of active research and some of idea current ideas are discussed below. That said, BBT is nevertheless about origins — the origin of matter, the origin of the elements, the origin of large scale structure, the origin of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, etc.

    * The BBT is not about the origin of the universe. Rather, its primary focus is the development of the universe over time.
    * BBT does not imply that the universe was ever point-like.
    * The origin of the universe was not an explosion of matter into already existing space.

    Long story short….the universe still existed “before” the big bang. The big bang simply accounts a change from one form to another — some might argue (depending on the theory being addressed), “The beginning of change.”

    Oh, and regarding my jab at evolution: never read “Origin of Species” but I took it from the title that it was an explanation for the origin of species. If that is wrong, my mistake.

    It is exactly that, an origin of species, not an origin of “life.” Species being specific divisions of living organisms; the origin of species refers to the origin of the division, adaptation, and diversification of differing organisms across time — the change and development of life.

    Reply
  158. Toby R. says:

    I posted several links to videos and an article on cyclical universe ideas above (it’s awaiting moderation—and might be awaiting it forever).

    Anyway, I’m interjecting here why the cyclic model appeals to me (even before I heard about the debates between the theologicals and scientists on sites like these and books like Tureks and Dawkins and so forth). A cyclical model of the universe is quite attractive.

    Something that caught my eye above in TIm D’s post is his use of the word catalyst as what could have began the big bang. I wondered what this could be and remembered an article I read months ago about a computer simulation of a neutron star (you can find it on MSN’s tech and science news–search for Neutron Star crust is stronger than steel). These dead stars can have “starquakes” which is the result of the massive gravity and eletromagnetic activity of the cores.

    I’ve always imagined the universe bangs and crunches over and over. Supposing the universes matter collapses into a singularity, what could be a catalyst to make it explode? Perhaps the quake mentioned above or perhaps it’s just that one last atomic particle coming to join the singularity party and tips the scale and causes the reaction. HEre’s a quote from the neutron star article:

    “Neutron stars are so dense that if you could dip a teaspoon into one of them and scoop out some of its neutrons the spoon would weigh 100 million tons. If you were to hold that empty teaspoon just one yard above the star’s surface and drop it, it would strike the surface at 4.3 million mph.”

    Many will site thermodynamics in arguing against a cyclical universe, but watch the Roger Penrose lecture video on youtube called Before The Big Bang – Roger Penrose. The video is long, in many segments, and the quality is low, but he his theory does address the second law and doesn’t violate it. Also in another video with him on youtube he states that his theory is observationally testable and could be tested when the LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) program gets off the ground in the next 10 or 15 years.

    A warning: Roger Penrose is a super-intelligent man, but not a super-organized speaker.

    Also look up Neil Turok for cyclical universe theory.

    Also look up loop quantum cosmology for cyclical universe theory.

    And I’ve always considered this and you might as well:

    If all of the matter in the universe is condensed into one place, one spot, then size has no meaning. So you could say it was the size of an atom or say that it’s the size of a million times our sun, but with no space there is no size.

    Another thing to consider: Frank Turek says that god is timeless, immaterial, and spaceless. So essentially this would be . . . nothing. So he claims that nothing took nothing, and made our universe. But this would lead to Aristole’s Paradox of Place “if everything that exists has a place, place too will have a place, and so on ad infinitum”. So then his god exists in another dimension. Looks like Frank should look into string theory.

    Reply
  159. Toby R. says:

    Oh, and a question, perhaps the biggest one: In what way does any of mr. turek’s arguments about the big bang point towards his god as being the creator? In what way does it even imply design or intelligence? In his book he says it’s because something made a choice for the universe to happen, but how does he arrive at that? It in no way rules out inadvertence.

    Reply
  160. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Toby,

    Excellent post regarding the You Tube interview with Penrose. Do you know if that interview is continued somewhere else on You Tube? It was going along nicely and then it seems to stop abruptly.

    Also, I would like to read more about how the cyclical model (or String Theory for that matter) deals with the 2nd Law. Have you come across anything in writing? (String theory doesn’t seem to solve the problem because they are still matter.)

    With regard to current cosmological theories, Dr. William Lane Craig covers the waterfront very well in his books. Here’s a short section on his website about them here: . He says that according to Alexander Vilenkin’s and Allan Guth’s recent work, all current theories (including the cyclical universe theory) require an ultimate beginning at some point. Are you familiar with Vilenkin (who, by the way, is a proponent of the Multiverse)?

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  161. Luke says:

    Hello all,

    Let me start by saying that I am not a physicist and I know very little about cosmology. All of these arguments sound interesting, but they don’t mean a whole lot to me.

    That said, I’d like to point something out to Dr. Turek.

    The whole premise of this website is to fight against the 75% problem. When I was reading through your responses, something really jumped out at me. Here is where I think you run into some problems when dealing with people (especially curious people who are in the midst of getting a college education).

    You said: First, there’s no evidence for the cyclical universe theory.

    Honestly, you loose me when you say things like this, and I think you likewise lose a lot of those 75%.

    There is no evidence?

    When you say this, you are basically calling a lot of very smart people who’ve devoted their lives to the study of physics and cosmology — and are pursuing these theories — idiots. I mean, if there is no evidence for these theories, and these people are devoting their lives to studying them, what else could they be?

    Common sense tells me, however, that these people are not idiots. They have PhDs in a very difficult subject and they have some of the best physics departments in the world supporting their work.

    So common sense tells me there is more than “no” evidence (there may not be a lot — I don’t know — but that’s not what you said).

    So, what I am left with, is wondering why are you so defensive. Why do you have to go out and state so strongly that “there is no evidence” when common sense tells me, and many others reading this, that there must be (at least) “some” evidence?

    Quite honestly, it just seems like you’re trying to hide something or hide behind something. It seems that you’re so unsure of your position that you can’t allow for there to be even “some” evidence; it has to be nothing. You show a deep lack of confidence. That’s not something that is likely to inspire confidence in those 75%.

    On another note, I’m just curious about what you said here:
    If there were an infinite number of days before today, today never would have gotten here.

    What do you mean by this, and why is it necessarily true?

    and there can’t be an infinite number of finite things anyway.

    Why not?

    An example comes to mind for both of these things.

    Sometimes I walk across the street to the park with my daughter.

    We walk from point A to point B. Both finite points and things (there is a physical representation of point A).

    To do this, we have to cross point C (let’s just say that’s halfway between point A and B).

    To get to point C, we have to cross point D, which is halfway between points A and C.

    To get to point D, we have to cross point E, which is halfway between points A and D.

    We can do this, finding more and more finite points, into… infinity.

    When I get to the park, I know that there are an infinite amount of points between the house and the park.

    We know it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to say “if there were an infinite number of points before before this one, I never would have gotten here.”

    So why does it make sense when we discuss days?

    I think the idea of infinities is extremely hard to grasp and understand, but it does not mean that no such thing exists in reality. (It does not mean that it does either, but I think my park example shows that an infinite number of things can exist.)

    (Time itself is very different from the way that we usually imagine it. Just look at the twin paradox. I think if we look at time in the way a physicist might, what Tim says here makes a lot more sense. It may seem paradoxical if our understanding of time is an alarm clock.)

    As I said at the beginning, I don’t have enough knowledge to fully critique either side here, so those are just some random thoughts.

    One more question though, that I think may pierce through some of the more technical ideas. Dr. Turek and Mr. Ducharme: how many days has G-d existed?

    Reply
  162. Toby R. says:

    Mr. T,

    I’m not sure if the rest of that video is on youtube or not. I’ve never been able to find it. Perhaps the show’s website would have a full version.

    In the videos called Before The Big Bang he begins discussing thermodynamics at the beginning of video 3 and into video 4.

    I’m not sure where to read more about string theory. Probably brian green’s book The Elegant Universe. I don’t know if Penrose’s book The Road To Reality expresses his idea of cyclical universes or not (it was published in 2005; just got it from the library . . . very math heavy). You can try to read some of Neil Turok’s papers on his website, but they’re nearly in a foreign language with all of the complex math talk.

    Here’s an article:
    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060508_mm_cyclic_universe.html

    Apparently Turok and Steinhardt have a book called Endless Universe from 2007.
    http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/steinhardt.html

    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/3306021.html?page=1&c=y

    And so on and so forth.

    Be interesting to see what the Planck satellite will add to the discussion.

    Reply
  163. Mark Ducharme says:

    …To get to point D, we have to cross point E, which is halfway between points A and D.

    We can do this, finding more and more finite points, into… infinity.

    I hope this isn’t what passes for critical thinking in college today. If so, America is in trouble. No offense, Luke, but that is silly. You give an example of finite, and then you illustrate how infinity is “synonymous” w/ it.

    Oh, and to answer your question: God has existed forever (which “began” at point alpha and will “end” at point Omega w/ both points being determined by Him.)

    Reply
  164. Andrew Ryan says:

    “No offense, Luke, but that is silly”

    It’s a quite famous, millennia-old philosophical problem, Mark. Look up Zeno’s arrow paradox.

    And you haven’t answered why positing an eternal God is less problematic than positing an eternal universe.

    Reply
  165. Mark Ducharme says:

    Andrew, you say, “I never said ‘I hold that God can be explained’. But again, what’s the difference between saying ‘we can’t explain God’ and ‘we can’t explain the universe’? It’s another situation where positing a God does not answer the question. As with so many other ‘this makes no sense without a God’ situations, Inserting a God just moves the question back a step and then you’re back to square one.”

    Again, I must question modern, “higher education” and it’s ability to teach critical thinking. You contradict yourself, blatantly, here. You say, “I never said ‘I hold that God can be explained’” and immediately follow it up w/, “God does not answer the question.” We Christians hold that God is the answer and we cannot presume to understand or even be capable of understanding Him. You can call that faith, but it is not blind faith. At least it is not if you have ever had an audience w/ Him. I suspect that you would claim such an experience to be a chemical reaction to certain outside stimuli, resulting in blah,blah, blah. But if that is true, then all of our ponderings are a meaningless exercise that only separates us from the life of hedonism we were “meant” for.

    Bottom line: conventional, secular science still has no, and will never have any, rational explanation for the original “uncaused cause” known as the Universe. It never has and it never will. Something cannot come from nothing, scientifically speaking, and that is where science will remain stuck forever. Christians do not presume to know the origins of God, we are simply overjoyed at the notion that He chose to create us. (that’s the “pass” He gets for being the everlasting Father. it’s a supernatural thing. we’ll probably never get it) Also, we are quite content knowing that a million scientists could spend a million lifetimes answering trillions of substantive questions and never even bother w/ the origins of God. Which would be silly, anyway, seeing as how He IS the answer. (how’s that for “circular”, eh friends?)

    Go ahead w/ the insults, folks, but no one has even answered MY humble queries w/ a viable, less “mystical” answer than God let alone explained Him (or His universe) themselves.

    And that’s the truth.

    Reply
  166. Mark Ducharme says:

    It’s a quite famous, millennia-old philosophical problem, Mark. Look up Zeno’s arrow paradox.

    Because something is old and famous it is legit? How about the one about “the tree in the forest” ? That is even more famous. Does that make of it a deeply profound question? I fail to see your point, Andrew.

    Reply
  167. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Again, I must question modern, “higher education” and it’s ability to teach critical thinking”

    Mark, I don’t want to be rude – although that appears to be YOUR intent with your constant smart-arse digs – but have you ever considered that the problem here is not the education of Luke or me (neither of whom are American), but your own reading comprehension?

    Your posts aren’t saying anything we haven’t already answered, and I haven’t got the time to explain it all to you again in simpler language.

    “How about the one about “the tree in the forest” ? That is even more famous. Does that make of it a deeply profound question?”

    Nothing is profound if you dismiss it as ‘silly’ without even thinking about it.

    And yes, the Greek philosophers were all a load of hacks, eh Mark, nothing at all to teach your wise head… What a glowing testament you are to whatever education system you arose from.

    Reply
  168. Luke says:

    Mark:I hope this isn’t what passes for critical thinking in college today. If so, America is in trouble. No offense, Luke, but that is silly.

    Mark,

    I don’t know why you feel the need to insult me. (It doesn’t seem very Christian, if anything.)

    I guess I will take your lashing out at my silliness and poor education (which as Andrew pointed out you know nothing about), as evidence that you don’t have a proper response to what I said. (This typically seems to be the case when insults go flying, I think we can all agree.)

    Mark:You give an example of finite, and then you illustrate how infinity is “synonymous” w/ it.

    You may claim that you did follow your insults with this “proper” response, but I honestly don’t know what you’re saying here (my silliness at work again, I’ll bet).

    I presented an example, and I am not sure what your critique is. So let me ask this way: how many points exist (in other words, how many points must be traversed) between my house and the park (or any other two locations)?

    If you would like to expand your critique (feel free to pile on more insults if you find that necessary), I’ll gladly read it.

    Mark:Oh, and to answer your question: God has existed forever (which “began” at point alpha and will “end” at point Omega w/ both points being determined by Him.)

    Mark,

    My question was: How many days has G-d existed?

    An answer to this might be 12 or 1,449 or 1,836,972 or 4,737,982,789 or “an infinite number of days.”

    Therefore I am not really sure that you did answer my question (though it’s probably my pitiful education shining through). Could you please restate the answer in mathematical terms?

    By the way, I just can’t wait until my daughter uses that line.

    Me: What time did you get home last night, your curfew was 23:00.
    Her: *sigh* No offense, but you’re silly (Au fait, merci beacoup pour me permets de aller à la Sorbonne. Les universités américaines sont absurdes.); my night “began” at point alpha and “ended” at point Omega w/ both points being determined by Me.

    Reply
  169. Mark Ducharme says:

    Luke and Ryan,

    So sorry I missed your geographic location. Still more sorry for the lack of critical thinking taught wherever it is you are from but judging by the thin skinned, effete reactions above it seems likely to be France.

    Anyway, Welcome to America! Where people say things and decorum is not always observed in lieu of speaking ones mind. Philosophers say dumb things. It’s there job. They are willing to suffer the slings and Zeno’s arrows from jerks like me for saying stupid things like, “Does an arrow really go anywhere in space…” or, “Are we all just the imaginings of an other, higher being…” or whatever it was that Plato posited. I mean, seriously, sometimes it seems as though all of this pontificating leads to one missing the forest for the nose on his face. If you know what I mean. If you don’t, just ask and I while elucidate.

    I don’t mean anything personal, those were just 1) an absurd statement by Luke and 2) a contradiction by Andrew. An infinite number of points cannot exist between two defined points simply because you have an ancient philosopher who says so (not that I think he did, he was just asking a question. but then, if you half that question and ask the reverse, and then half it again and pose the original premise, and then….silly, isn’t it?). And Andrew, that was an observation of what you said. You may have made a simple mistake, but it WAS contradictory. Don’t take it so personal.

    Well, gotta go back to work, gentlemen. Those lawns aren’t going to mow themselves after all! I look forward to talking more w/ you all and sincerely hope that I haven’t permanently damaged the lines of communication (don’t trust him fellas, it might be a trap!). Shut up, Marks alter ego!

    Reply
  170. Andrew Ryan says:

    “You say, “I never said ‘I hold that God can be explained’” and immediately follow it up w/, “God does not answer the question.” ”

    Mark, if I’ve contradicted myself then I apologise. But before you mow, please tell me if I’m following your reasoning properly with regards to my contradiction.

    You’re saying that I’m contradicting myself because saying
    a) “God does not answer the question”,
    is the same as saying
    b) “I hold that God can be explained”?

    That’s the only interpretation I can put on how you reasoned that I contradicted myself. If so, then are you saying that ‘God can be explained’ is the same as ‘God provides an explanation for a given phenomena’?

    In which case, are YOU saying that your own position – ‘God cannot be explained’ – is the same as ‘God does not provide an explanation for a given phenomena’?

    If so, then your argument appears to be self-defeating.

    If your explanation for one thing is to say it’s caused by another thing than you can’t explain, it really does seem that you haven’t in fact explained the first thing at all.

    At any rate, Luke’s invocation of Zeno’s paradox, and his question of how many days God has existed, were brought up specifically to address Frank Turek’s assertion than an eternal universe was impossible, because you can’t have something existing for an eternal number of days. However, if you or Frank believe than God has existed for an eternal number of days, then you cannot believe Frank’s assertion to be a sound one.

    It’s the same old logic:
    * Something cannot have existed forever, therefore I believe it was created by something that existed forever
    * We are too complicated to have evolved, therefore we must have been created by something even more complicated.
    * Everything has a cause, therefore they must have been caused by something causeless.

    Each of these statements are self-refuting. And your get-out is to posit something not subject to logic, reason, or understanding…

    Reply
  171. Andrew Ryan says:

    “judging by the thin skinned, effete reactions ”

    Oh right, you’ve given up trying to make any point at all and are now just trying to be a hard-ass. Neither of us are French, but congratulations for displaying your small-mindedness again. I’m guessing everything you know about French people was learned from watching Americans put on gallic accents in sitcoms.

    We’re not being thin-skinned chum, just astonished at how quickly you resort to lame insults in lieu of reasoned argument. From your earlier posts I genuinely believed you were someone who at least TRIED to think about stuff.

    Now I see that you’re just another boorish luddite who delights in his own ignorance. Congratulations, you’ve earned it.

    Reply
  172. Luke says:

    Yes Mark, I am so “thin skinned” and “effete” that I said “feel free to pile on more insults if you find that necessary.”

    And you did, so… good for you. :/

    It’s too bad that you didn’t pile them onto anything substantial.

    Reply
  173. Andrew Ryan says:

    Luke, I’m about done – the guy not only doesn’t want to explain his own position, he obviously can’t. He’s questioning your eduction while saying “who are all those jerk Greek philosophers anywayz”, and “I’ve never read Darwin, but based on my misunderstanding of the TITLE of his book…”. and ‘since you’re effete, I’m guessing you’re French’.

    I don’t think he even knows the meaning of the insults/accusations he’s making, so it’s pointless trying to address them. The ‘fractal wrongness’ will kick in – no matter how far you zero in on anything he asserts, you’ll bump up against something that makes no sense. If he takes THIS as an insult (which I guess would make him French…) then my reply is that he abandoned any argument several posts ago.

    Reply
  174. Toby R. says:

    That’s actually quite funny, you making the comment about being “effete” and “French” your name being Ducharme, a name that comes from the land of . . . well, the effete French.

    Reply
  175. Tim D. says:

    I hope this isn’t what passes for critical thinking in college today. If so, America is in trouble. No offense, Luke, but that is silly. You give an example of finite, and then you illustrate how infinity is “synonymous” w/ it.

    How so? I thought it was a good example of an infinite number of finite things which actually exist (points in space). I think you’re just Disccusing Discussion again.

    Oh, and to answer your question: God has existed forever (which “began” at point alpha and will “end” at point Omega w/ both points being determined by Him.)

    This is impossible. No entity can determine the parameters of its own existence; that is a contradiction. Its parameters must be defined in order for it to exist — i.e. before it exists — and so it makes no sense that they could be determined by the entity (which is only possible once the entity exists).

    Because something is old and famous it is legit?

    AH! HAH! HA! HA. Ha. Ha, ha, ha, hee ho ha hee ho hum.

    Hmm.

    Irony.

    Therefore I am not really sure that you did answer my question (though it’s probably my pitiful education shining through). Could you please restate the answer in mathematical terms?

    It’s not your fault; he actually didn’t.

    So sorry I missed your geographic location. Still more sorry for the lack of critical thinking taught wherever it is you are from but judging by the thin skinned, effete reactions above it seems likely to be France.

    Cheap shot. And prejudiced, to boot!

    Just FTR, Luke, in the America I’m from, we don’t greet foreigners so disrespectfully (even under debatable circumstances such as these). So apologies from “Americans” on my behalf.

    An infinite number of points cannot exist between two defined points simply because you have an ancient philosopher who says so (not that I think he did, he was just asking a question. but then, if you half that question and ask the reverse, and then half it again and pose the original premise, and then….silly, isn’t it?).

    The fact that it is entirely possible for infinite points to exist between two finite points is true has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that “a philosopher said so.” Nobody said it did. The only reason that philosopher was mentioned in the first place was because he was the first one to posit it. Nobody has ever disproved it since then, yourself included, and so it stands that people will still reference it.

    Silly? Maybe to you. Maybe that’s because of those critical thinking skills you learned in college (or, god forbid, high school?)

    Oh wait.

    Reply
  176. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Maybe that’s because of those critical thinking skills you learned in college (or, god forbid, high school?)”

    Did you get the other irony that someone is trumpeting the importance of critical thinking skills, while dismissing the Greek philosophers with lines like:

    “Philosophers say dumb things. It’s there job” and ” …or whatever it was that Plato posited.”

    Obviously Mark never got taught about the debt any critical thinker today owes to the Greeks. I know that Frank would back me up on that, because he’s said as much elsewhere on this site.

    And Mark’s fine education? I guess he must have missed the lesson where they taught the difference between ‘there job’ and ‘their job’.

    Reply
  177. Toby R. says:

    “God has existed forever (which “began” at point alpha and will “end” at point Omega w/ both points being determined by Him.)”

    That’s actually a good example of a contradiction right there. If a god existed forever then there would be no beginning to its existence because it would have always existed. And if its all powerful and infinite, then there would be no end.

    And as for infinite points in space. Yes there are. It doesn’t mean that you can’t get from one to the other, it just means that there are an infinite number of ways you can go to get there. Take your two index fingers and put the tips some distance apart on the table in front of you. If you could move one finger tip towards the other an inch at a time. But you could also move it by a half inch, third, a quarter, an eight, and so on and so forth down and down smaller and smaller increments, each spot being a discreet point in the line from one finger to the other. There that’s my finger analogy. Watch out or some of these other posters will give you a finger too.

    Reply
  178. Toby R. says:

    “There!”
    “What?”
    “There wolf. There castle.”
    “Why are you talking that way?”
    “I thought you wanted to?”

    –Young Frankenstein

    Reply
  179. Mark Ducharme says:

    Andrew, my mistake for not being clearer. I assumed an inference that I saw that you might not have meant. When you said, “I never said ‘I hold that God can be explained’. But again, what’s the difference between saying ‘we can’t explain God’ and ‘we can’t explain the universe’? It’s another situation where positing a God does not answer the question.” I took that to mean that (you believe) it is incumbent upon Christians to explain the origin of God to which I was responding that He can NOT be explained. I thought that I had made this point earlier. I am apparently wrong. That is also why, apparently, you guys think me so serious when I say the “alpha and omega” stuff. I say that to test your senses of humor. God IS the beginning and the end, but I do not contend to know His origins. I could have sworn thet wus my point but, I aint colige edumucated likes y’all so we may just be missing each other. I assure you, however, that pretty much 75-80% of the stuff you guys find offensive, or intended as such, is related w/ a wink and a smile. Hence the suggestion that perhaps your (oh so very French) shorts are a bit too tight.

    re: “insults” Someone, I think Mr. Ryan (sorry if that’s wrong. no time to go back and read every post but, you guys do seem to be on the same page w/ each other on most everything else.), earlier on this thread stated that Mr. Turek was being dishonest. I have read a lot of what Mr. Turek has written and I’ve never found him to be disingenuous. I find you guys very sincere and heart felt in your communications. (I’ll chose to look at this misrepresentation of what I said “who are all those jerk Greek philosophers anywayz” as you just being sloppy and not dishonest. But don’t let it happen again) So we don’t have the same sense of humor, big deal. I still enjoy the discussion and regret any inference you may have perceived indicating my disrespect for you. Where I come from, you tease people you’re fond of, and the only funny thing I read above (beside my own, madcap, zany, Tomfoolery) was, “If he takes THIS as an insult (which I guess would make him French…)”. Now THAT’S funny. I will chose to view that comment as the “spaceless, timeless energy and matter ‘in a suitcase’ -before your sense of humor existed- which now need only a ‘catalyst’ for it to ‘big yuck’ into existence.”

    Anyway, it is my birthright to mess w/ uptight people. And, it is ESPECIALLY my responsibility, when I like them, so as to encourage a less “bunched” attitude in the position of there panties (QUICK, point up the spelling again. Everyone was rolling on the floor last time.). WITTICISM ALERT! WITTICISM ALERT! Ducharme made a funny, HA-HA! HA-HA! So go ahead, loosen up, but it won’t be as much fun for me anymore.

    re: Mr. Tureks’ statement on infinity (my take)
    Since analogies are fun, try this one: You stand at the precipice of (imagine echoing voice here) “The Elevator to Infinity-ty-ty-ty….!” Down the shaft is endless and it stretches above w/ no end as well. You hold “today” in your hand. You drop it (YES! Gravity works in this scenario. Stop trying to confuse me!). When today finally lands (hopefully not too jarringly) at the beginning of time…..Wait just a cotton pickin’ eon here. How are we ever going to get back home ? I mean, you just dropped “today” into a bottomless pit.

    God gave us time. W/O time, everything would be “happening” at once. How can one possibly fathom how that works? One can. His name is God. I call him Jesus.

    Bottom line: Part Deux
    Secularists require proof (or something that passes for it) for everything, oui?
    Christians believe the greatest questions of the origins of the Universe and life can only be answered by God. There’s so many other great mysteries to busy ourselves with, why bother trying to explain the unexplainable?

    Don’t make me start quoting scripture now, y’all. Or should I just schedule you for root-canal at the dentist whose p.a. plays “Fingernails and Chalkboards: The Very Best of Celine Dionne” exclusively ?

    Reply
  180. Mark Ducharme says:

    Ouch! No wonder the French are credited with -if not the invention, then certainly the fine honing of- an expertise in the fine art of “witty repartee'”. And you’re a scientific consensus to boot! Bravo! “Bravo”, I say. Buh-bye, guys. That means “Stop reading now”, to you two.

    Whoa! This explains a lot about the “consensus” concerning the global warming hoax , folks. Here’s the math: Take 1 (ENORMOUS) part humorless opinion. Add 2 parts hysterical superstition. Mix in bowl with political (agenda) blender and, VOILA! Instant horse manure for the masses.

    If that’s how they get to humanity being a bunch of apes’ ancestors and “proving” that the Universe, and life, in essence, has no purpose but the one(s) our current structure of chemical (im)balance determines, then they can have it.

    Now all we have to do is figure out how the French duex it and do the exact opposite.

    Reply
  181. Tim D. says:

    ^….it would help if anything you had actually written there had, you know, actually made sense. All I got out of it was some half-baked attempt at a political smack against somebody or other. Something about global warming. When did we start talking about global warming? And more importantly, how on earth did you manage to tie global warming to evolution and Nietzche philosophy? Is this part of another one of these crazy “teh liberulz r out 2 get us!!!11one!!11!!!eleven” conspiracy theories?

    And what’s with all of these derogatory remarks about the French, all of a sudden? Was a French person mean to you this morning, or something?

    Yeesh.

    Reply
  182. Nina says:

    It was an interesting debate, though it did not do Dr Turek any favors to have his voice raised while Hitchens’ remained calm. It makes it appear that Turek is not used to dealing with people who think differently to him, and that he is too familiar preaching to the choir.

    Reply
  183. Mike says:

    Dr. T handily won the debate. Hitchen’s consistent non-answers showed he either 1) cannot follow the logic of a debate or 2) he knew that the atheistic “arguments” are overpoweringly weak and so he consciously twisted the subject to suit his non-answer strategy. I’ve never seen a debate where the atheist won. Neither logic nor science is on the side of the atheist…and is consistently shows. I pity the fool(s)!

    Reply

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