Posted by: gebs | July 4, 2009

A Reply to a Comment by an Athiest

COMMENT:

Perhaps people can be re-assured through their belief in God, but that does not mean that the belief is true.

 

 

REPLY:

 True.  Time however is the best test of truth; otherwise it could simply be a relative truth, or one that appears true for some time.   History has had many gods and beliefs and not all have survived.  Very few remain, compared to what has been.  Time reveals what is true.  This is not only true for our own individual short lives, but also for universal time spanning eons and epochs.  We may grow to see that some things we held to be true, when we were young, are indeed false, or vice versa.  The same goes for our world and history.  Faith in Christ has inspired countless peoples throughout the ages and has changed history far more than we can ever understand.  It continues to change people’s lives and give hope to our world and to the millions of people which live in it.  Mother Teresa is a recent example.   Faith in Christ can be argued to be the very roots which support the tree of our own modern world and it’s striving for justice, equality and freedom.  Christianity changed the world forever, and we are inherently anachronistic in our remarks, or rather, we tend to remember only the things we deem to be important.  The atheist sees only the bad side of religion, whereas the believer sees only the good.  To borrow from Nietzsche, one could also argue that truth should be something which exists beyond good and evil, and despite what we think about religion, there is a truth about it which has made its way through time and the fleeting fashions of the human mindset.   

 Despite the atheist’s inability to see it, faith is not a void concept, it is embodied in the hearts of all believers and its effects are existentially felt in their life.  It bears fruit.  There is countless evidence that belief in God has been a major motivator of human actions throughout history, despite their content.  It has the ability to make people better human beings or push them even further into darkness.  Beyond the perceived good or evil of its contents, belief in God seems to do something to the human being.  There is something in it which speaks truth to the human heart.  Unless you have felt the changes that belief in God makes within you, you will always argue the contrary, despite the overwhelming evidence which illustrates its power in people’s life.  We can argue that one is free to believe what one wants, but true belief which inspires saints is not something that one is capable of on their own – it is purely a gift (grace), which even when given, can remain unopened.  It is important that we also realise, therefore, that belief in God can mean so many things, and my argument only has weight because I am talking about the faith that makes people shine in our world and bring peace and security to human life.  I am specifically talking about the faith that comes only from Christ, one that makes all things sacred and its fruits are no other than the ones detailed in the New Testament.  This faith speaks truth in our world.           

 Religion is not innocent of the evil which plagues our world.  It was in fact one of the major players in Jesus’ murder.  I do not claim to be a member of a healed community – I am a member of a sick community which seeks the healing that only Christ can bring.  Despite the stigmatised language, despite the blood on its hands, despite all its trials and failures, I will not abandon it and seek within it the Good News it has to offer, aware of its past.  Just as I am a sinner in my own life, and the church is made up of human beings like me, I do not choose to reject it because of its failures, but look towards how I can make it better. 

 The effects of faith in ones life are not always logical to the human mind, which itself is a fallible instrument.  The proof for faith lies in actions and words.  When our mind collapses in our old age, it is not logic which keeps us alive and wanted; it is the goodness that has been nurtured in other people’s lives, the result of the Spirits subtle and often hidden work in people’s hearts.  The truth, therefore, is not how logical another human being is, but rather how good he or she is.  A human being is not simply a logical creature, but also one that is moved by motives and emotions.  Although faith may not always arm us with the same logical mindset which the atheist foolishly takes so much pride in, it brings goodness with it, and people can feel this in their life.  It is not an illusion.  It is like believing in air, despite our inability to see it, our body feels it in our lungs, and we believe.  For the people that feel this presence of Christ in their life, and are moved to become better people and work towards a better world, the contents of this faith are true, as history itself has illustrated by choosing to adopt them as the aspirations of our very own free world.


Responses

  1. The premise of you argument is that because a lot of people have believed it for centuries that increases the likelihood of your beliefs being true. This is a logical fallacy called The Appeal from Popularity, see http://www.fallacyfiles.org/bandwagn.html. Moreover your argument falls down when you site the Bible or Christianity as support for freedom, justice, and the like. Christianity was not the source. The men who formed our country were nearly all deists. They may have attended Christian churches for social reasons but their philosophy was decidedly deist. And therefore, you also commit to a non-sequitur in your argument.

    All in all your skills at logic are lacking. The rest of this article is barely worth reading due to the fact that simply does not answer the quoted statement. Nowhere in this “Reply” do you adequately justify the assertion that “Time” or “Popularity” somehow abrogates the believer from justifying their beliefs.

    • Your error is that you do not understand the argument. It is not an appeal to popularity. It is an existential proof in peoples lives. I could not have put it in a more simple way and despite your apeal to logical fallacies you remain ignorant to a simple point. Deism is a a consequence and result of theism. It does not originate out of thin air. Their thoughts were influenced by the Bible and although they may have shifted in their understanding the roots are still there. So again your reference to a non-sequitur seems trivial.
      Lastly, your appeal to your self claimed logical profoundness is itself the reason why you cannot understand any argument except for your own. Reason will never solely lead you to the truth. Time and revelation throughout time, and the examples of people throughout time, and the evidence available to those who seek are enough for faith. You can remain hidden in your fort of logic and reason until the ground on which you stand begins to shake, perhaps then you will begin to see.

      • You seem to assume that what the majority of people believe as time goes on will be what the truth is. That time will “reveal the truth”. This is an unwarrented assumption.

        You also talk about peoples lives and how they are effected by religion, like mother theresa. Peoples lives can be affected by their belief in something without it being true, this does not get rid of the problem.

        You also talk about time needing to reveal the truth or else the truth is relative. Time happens to be somewhat relative (general relativity anyone?)
        But regardless if there is one truth, it is possible for that thing to be different from what the majority of people believe.
        It seems that this would likely be the case in religious faith since faith is belief dispite evidence. People with faith can potentially believe anything and be unwilling to change their mind about it. and then they can pass that belief and faith on to their family and friends making more people believe in it over a long period of time.

        Faith allows someone to believe whatever they decide to have faith in no matter what. When people of faith hear contrary ideas or evidence they effectively cover their ears and say “LA LA LA I CANT HEAR YOU”. You think such a thing is something to take more pride in than using logic and reason?

        And there are plenty of atheists who are emotionally and physically sustained without religion. So your claims that religion is an emotional necessity don’t hold water.

        in addition to that, even if religion WAS an emotional necessity, that would not mean that its claims were true. Again, the problem would not be eliminated.

        Believing in air is not like believing in god. We can measure air, we can pressurize it and show how balloons expand with it. We can even find out what molecules are in it.

        Almost everything people claim about Gods manifestation in this world however is explainable in other, physical terms. Every attribute people used to give to the “soul” can be physically located and even tinkered with in the human brain.

        When experiencing life for what it is, without making unwarrented assumptions, there is no reason to believe in God.

      • There is plenty of evidence for faith both historically and currently in peoples lives. Just because you refuse to see this does not mean that it is not true. Your idea of evidence is limited.

        Time does reveal truth. No one believes in something that does not bear fruit. You seem to assume that all people are fools escept for yourself. Believers are not fools. Believing in air was an analogy, try to expand your imagination beyond the limits of your logic and reason. We are talking about a Being that requires the use of analogy. We cannot measure him the same way we measure molecules, he is incorporeal.

        Again, i remind you that you do not have the ability to believe in God regardless of what i say. Your eyes and ears are closed to His word. He still loves you nevertheless, and gives you the freedom to continue with your arrogance and ignorance. But please leave believers alone, and do not try to scare them out of belief with your assumed intelligence and appeal to reason.

  2. to the aetheist.

    the miracles that scientists with all there logic and reason could not explain such as the preservation of saint bernadettes body over hundreds of years, this among many other miracles. how would you deny God’s presence in these situations?

    these were people of faith and i am curious to know your point of view?

  3. You say God is not measurable in any detectable way.

    If this is the case then how can you claim that there is clear evidence for his existence?

    Evidence is always detectable and measurable.

    People can indeed believe in something that does not “bear fruit”. Look at any number of crazy cults, or political groups that have survived for centuries, some for millenia.

    Do you think it is arrogance to ask someone to give reasons for outlandish claims?

    Arrogance is expecting other people to adhere to your beliefs and way of life when those ideas are unwarranted, or asking people to respect those unwarranted ideas that cause active harm in the world.

    • I never said God was not measurable or detectable, it is you that say this. And this is proof that you fail to understand my argument. God is indeed measurable, his fruits are detailed in the New Testament as the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I do not doubt that the sound of these words makes your mind cringe, but try to listen for a moment. In other words, if your belief in Him is noble then the fruit of this belief should be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruits of any noble belief. You are right to say that many poeple believe diffferent things, such as yourself, and indeed some Philosophers such as David Hume would argue that belief is all that we have (as opposed to knowldege), it is therefore, crucial that our beliefs lead to noble values. So we must choose wisely what we believe in, for it constitutes our very essence.

      Secondly, the ideas revealed through the Bible over the past 5000 thousand years or so are the details of a particular belief. This, together with my own life, details how God is warranted in my life and in a world struggling for peace and harmony. My beliefs are not my own, i have (as you recognise) inhereted them from my ancestors. But there comes a time in our life, when we begin to rightfully question our inhereted beliefs, this is something which is also the result of our own modern world. My beliefs are therefore not unwarranted, and although it is possible to get it wrong and cause harm (as with all other ideas), it is also possible to find the path of salvation as so many others have, including the saints whom David recognises below. I need God’s help in my life and in my family if i am to succeed as a good human being. And please do not try to convince us that saints are not saints, just read some of their stories and listen to the evidence of their miracles. Things which you will also deny because of your closed eyes and ears. Because if you recognise saints, then you must also recognise their God.

      • You dont believe in Zues right? You dont believe in Bramah, Vishnu, Shiva, Set, Marse, Venus, Maha Kali, Asteroth, Apollo, Shakyimuni Buddha, Balor, Odin, Thor, Clisthert, ect..

        The arguments you are making for Yahweh/Jesus and saints are made for all of these gods by people that believe in them. They all have some text and some myths about miracles.

        Like Christianity, these stories were written by people who lived during superstitious times when scientific method and knowledge was not implimented. Like Christianity the stories are handed down from generation to generation, and people still believe in them afterward. What makes you think that your religion is different? There is just as much evidence for all of them, which is little to none, just writings that were most likely written by people who did not literally believe in the events that they were writing, or were told to write it by elders after the story had been passed down.

        And even then, people who claim direct contact with god cant agree on what god is, or wants:

        Not only this, but the christian texts contradict themselves:

        As for claims about saints and whatnot, the evidence is usually as sketchy as it is for UFO, Bigfoot, Ghost, Jersy Devil and Chupacabra sightings, most of which lack significant evidence, many have been falsified, or proven to be natural phenomena.
        Are you “blind” or “closed minded” for not believing in any of those other gods, or any of those other strange truth claims for which there is little to no evidence?
        I dont think you classify yourself in that way, or most people who dont believe in bigfoot, Chupacabra, Yeti, elfs, trolls, fairies, Zues, Apollo, Kali ect.

        Yahweh and Jesus are the same. You would have to prove that they were different from these millions of other strange claims that have equal “evidence” to convince any rational person to take it seriously.

      • The fact that there is more than one religion is mainly due to two factors, amongst other things. First of all it shows the complex nature of God and the many ways people have interpreted him over the past, and secondly it is the result of the different cultures which inhabit the earth. They do not all have saints. No other religion, except for Christianity has so much significance on saints and no other has formally documented them. The evidence is there for those who seek. There are however, people who have reached a level of spiritual growth and holiness in all religions, and it is the path which leads to God that is important, not the language used. So basically your argument is that they are all equal. I would argue that they are not, some are more tailored to a culture, and as that culture dies, so will many of the beliefs. Others are more universal in there language and message, such as Christianity. And although all may lead to God in some way or another, if followed correctly, some are easier than others. Christ, being the self manifestation of God is considered to be the direct and most sure way to peace.

        And please do not expect me to follow the links to your propaganda, because there are arguments and youtube clips on both sides and I do not subject you to them.

        You seem to think that Science answers all our questions and that religion is something which was needed in a pre-scientific time only, a time of superstition. Well science is only a tool and not an answer. It gives us insight into the laws of nature; it is not the creator of nature. It may tell you how your body works, but it did not create you. Science may reveal e=mc2 but it is the human being which is to decide whether to go to the moon with such information or build atomic bombs. Science may give us raw data, but it is the human moral understanding of the world which determines how such information is to be used. Science cannot tell us how to become better human beings and how to build better relationships with each other. Science is not a tool for a marriage or raising children. For these things we need to make decisions beyond science, and it is primarily through relationships and love that God is manifest the most. God is love, and only through our experience of love can we see God working. And please do not claim to know the intentions of the people writing the texts of the bible. Your mind is closed to any language of God and you work under a hermeneutics of suspicion. Your ideas stem solely from rationalism and humanism.

        Again, I remind you that the definite proof for which you seek in God does not exist in the sense you demand. Miracles exist, and I have personally encountered them in my life, but without the eyes of faith one will always find some kind of explanation or simply call it unsolved. I can see how Yahweh and Jesus are different from the fairies and other things you claim are the same. You cannot, and will not be able to. For you, they are all the same. For me there is a vast difference, especially for Jesus who himself was the revelation of God himself as man. Again, for the believer there is much evidence for God, but for the atheist such evidence does not count. This is the crux of our disagreement.
        Belief in Jesus is belief in something outside of ones own self. It takes submission and recognition of human weakness and frailty. It takes a life time to try to fathom even a fraction of what God is and how he works in our life. According to the things we feel and see, there is indeed more evidence to lead us away from God than towards him, and this is something recognised by Christianity. Faith in a distant world requires grace, and it is grace which is changing the face of the earth in its subtle way. You are a part of this, despite your inability to see it. The world is being moved towards better things, and we are all a part of it. This is the work of God in our world despite the destruction we bring to it. I do not know where you find your answers on how to live, but I look towards God for such information. You may look towards social norms or never question your own judgements and actions. Where does your idea of good come from? Is it good not to talk to my brother because he has hurt me deeply? Faith is a source of information about how one should guide their life towards a greater fulfilment of love.

        You may consider yourself more rational than me, but I think you simply place more faith in your reason than I do. You believe that reason can give you all the answers as if it were some source of information. Reason is simply an epistemic tool which is shaped by what it is fed. For me, reason is not supreme, and it is easily misled. Reason must be guided. Oddly enough, an atheist position is inherently a sceptical one, not one that claims to have true knowledge about whether or not something exists. Today, atheists seem to know the answer. They are sure that God does not exist, as if they can prove it. You cannot prove God does not exist. You have no meaning beyond your self to give to your life, or rather, you can give whatever meaning you want to you life and I guess you think this is a better position to be in. I do not choose to fly with the wind and believe what the world tells me too.

  4. I place no faith in reason. Everything I believe in strongly requires evidence and proof.

    You cannot prove that A god does not exist. You also cant prove that the tooth fairy does not exist. DO you deny the existence of the tooth fairy as if you knew it were not real?

    Jesus was satan and the bible was written to enslave the souls of mankind. Disprove that.
    You cant, it is just as much based in reality as the other claims you are making.

    You can however prove that the christian conception of god (being omnipotent) is not possible. I am sure you have heard of the Euthyphro Dellema, or the Stone Paradox?

    Where does my sense of good come from? Well first of all Atheism is simply a conclusion about the existence of god and not a system of morality.
    But there are plenty of secular, non religious systems wich are about morality. There is utilitatrianism, the social contract, and many others. I like Utilitarianism myself.

    And multiple religions are way more problematic for christianity than you would like. Buddhism has no perminant god for example, even sects of buddhism that believe in gods believe that they are not perminant beings, and even those sects dont worship the gods because they dont believe that they are of much spiritual help.
    You can be a Zen Buddhist and an atheist at the same time.

    Hinduism believes in Moral relativism, that good and evil are part of the same god, and both usually believe in reincarnation.

    The Temple of the Black Light worships chaos instead of peace.

    Dragon Rouge believes that people can become gods if they practice enough magic.

    I have met people from most of these religions, like you, they all claim evidence, documentation, ect. Yet, like you, they cant get objective observers to verify these claims, only those with the same pre-existing unwarrented assumptions.

    I know you dont want to watch those videos but I do ask that you watch the last one. I think even you could learn something from seeing contradictions in scripture.

    If you could prove to me that all those events happened, dont contradict each other, that a god exists, that we have souls, with empirical evidence, thorough documentation, scientific research, mathematical equations and all of the other standered ways that we quantify over things that exist, then I would believe you.

    Sadly, I dont think you would be able to offer other theories about existence the same chance since faith requires you to believe in what the bible says no matter what.

    • Your comment has thirteen paragraphs in it and i will attempt to give a short reply to each.
      1) I doubt you place no faith in your reasoning powers. I bet reason itself if one of the very foundations of your athiesm. But i will also remind you that evidence and proof itself requires a hermenuetical element. In other words evidence can also be wrong and dicieving sometimes. As our phenomenoligist friends tell us, we are never able to see the whole picture. I guess your believes also border on materialism and the theory that reality is to be found only in the material.
      2)The point in your second pargraph seems to be a good one, but you do not seriously believe that any reasonable person would believe in the tooth fairy. Just becasue i believe in God does not mean i am an unreasonable person.
      3)Your arrogance, ignorance and the rediculous nature of your position realy begins to manifest in the third paragraph. Jesus frees people my friend, he enslaves no one. Just ask the believers. He come to free the captives. You are the one who is enslaved by the limits of your reality. Religion only enslaves in the eyes of the athiests. For most people in the world God is nothing but hope. So again you get it wrong.
      4)We will leave God’s omnipotence alone for now, i believe we have enough on our plate.
      5)For those who see love as salvific force in the world, utilitarianism has little to say. Utilitarianism works purely of Mill’s greatest happiness principle, a system based on quantifiable pleasure and suffering. There is no idea of sacrifice or love in this. So if its suits you, then so be it.
      6-10) how does all this prose a problem for Christianity? How does multiple religions pose a problem? to make it simple for you, my argument is that there is a heirarchy or truth. There are many ways to understand God, but one best way. No other religious person claims what Jesus claims. He is not like any other figure, his life was not a success story. It is his resurrection that is the key.
      11-12) no one said that there are no contradictions in the Bible. Just in case you cannot see, there are contradictions in everything in life. It is not a perfect text, but it deserves far more credit that what you allow yourself to give it, somehow believing that you know everything about this ancient text. You want undenyable emprirical evidence for God. Sorry my friend, not even the saints got this, we are not capable of seeing God as he is, we cannot fathom it, despite what you think you are capable of. Faith is needed to see God, and belief in him is not like believing in an apple. God is first and foremost love to us, so how do we measure love? i take it you believe in love despite your inablity to see it.
      13)again we can see how you do not understand what faith is. Faith does not require me to believe in what the bible says no matter what. Your premise is wrong and therefore your conclusions will be also.

  5. There is really no point to this discussion for many reasons, primarily however, due to the fact that this is an opinionated argument. There is no evidence – hence there is no point attempting to prove (or disprove) anything: it cannot and will not ever be done.

    You are all free to believe as you wish, regardless of how ridiculous and infantile your beliefs may be to others. If it makes sense to you, then go for it.

    If religion answers all of your questions and sounds plausible to you, then that is fantastic. If it does not, then seek further and continue to learn. There is no need to convince others to think like you, or to defend your ways.

  6. Response to Rameil:

    I think you are right that there is no evidence one way or the other. All entities that there is no evidence for are on equal standing, so invisible pink unicorns are on equal standing with an invisible sky daddy people call god. They both have equal evidence, how come we call the person who believes in the invisible pink unicorn insane and the person who believes in god “a great man of faith”? There is really no difference other than a massive amount of people share in the second belief. That is what I was trying to show.

    I also agree with you that there is little point in arguing with someone of faith, which requires that they believe regardless of logic. Really why I argue with people is to do one of two things, to find out that that the person really values logic more than faith so they can see that logic contradicts their faith, Or to get people to admit that their faith contradicts logic.

    The third reason I do this is to raise awareness for the conflict between logic/the scientific method and faith.

    I cant make people stop believing, I know that, but I can make them see some obvious problems with SOME of their beliefs if not all. I have much respect for people like the Danish Philosopher Kierkegaard who at least admit that their faith is irrational.

    • To atheistbattlefront:

      Your response to Rameil sounds like an honest account of what you think you are doing, or rather, what you consider to be noble reasons for your essential bigotry. The evidence for this is your somewhat arrogant and ignorant assumption that evidence for pink unicorns and God are equal. Your supreme reasoning powers allow you to deny all forms of revelation, and you look at the Bible as some form of dated text made up by some lower form of human being which existed in history. You consider yourself part of an evolved species who have freed themselves from the clutches of superstition and fantasy. Your world is real! Your definition of evidence is too narrow to include the evidence which exists for God. Your definition of evidence is limited exclusively to the scientific/empirical method (or what you call logic) which you seem to think is amorally supreme.

      You are right to say that within the framework of your limited definition of evidence, faith seems illogical. Faith will never be understood in the strict sense which you seek, yet to the believer, faith is not illogical. To quote Kierkegaard:
      -“Faith simply means that what I am seeking is not here, and for that very reason I believe it. Faith expressly signifies the deep, strong, blessed restlessness that drives the believer so that he cannot settle down at rest in this world. He who has settled down has ceased to be a believer, because a believer cannot sit still – a believer travels towards faith”.

      You my friend have settled down. Your empirical dogmatism has allowed you to sit still and judge those whom you consider to be inferior in their logic or contradictory in their beliefs. Kierkegaard also said that “you only understand to the degree in which you become what you love”. Your love is science, not God. To understand God, or in order to have faith in him, we must freely accept Him.

      I understand your beliefs because they are simply so logical, yet you will never understand faith and the fact that your crusade against it will fail, as so many others have. Yet the beauty of faith and Mercy is that at the end of your mortal life, it will be those people who have faith that will pray for your soul, despite you never having prayed for any yourself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: