885 thoughts on “Comments Continued…”

  1. I found this information this morning which I believe is very interesting regarding our discussions with UnkleE, Josh, Brandon, and Crown:

    The definitions of Hard and Soft Evidence and how they relate to Christianity

    Soft evidence can refer to anything from simple word of mouth or argumentation, to authoritative opinion on a given subject. The highest form of soft evidence tends to be supporting opinions from an authority with certifiable credentials. While random guessing also qualifies as soft evidence, it is generally not worth pursuing given that even the highest form of soft evidence are still just that: soft.

    Soft evidence does still have value, but only in the absence of hard evidence. If there is no supporting hard evidence, then the best available forms of soft evidence should be used in the meantime. A further problem with soft evidence is the appeal to authority. While most of the time an authoritative opinion will be valid, it is not always the case. There is a danger of placing too much faith in an authoritative source, as it is important to remember that even though it is the highest form of soft evidence, it still does not outweigh hard evidence.

    Hard evidence is the product of producing testable predictions, performing controlled experiments, relying on quantifiable data and mathematical models, a high degree of accuracy and objectivity, and generally applying a purer form of the scientific method

    Gary: I assert that the supernatural claims of Christianity are based entirely on soft evidence.

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  2. Ideally, everyone’s views would adhere as closely to what’s objectively true as possible — and of course, I think atheism and naturalism come closest. But it’s not an ideal world, and people aren’t going to agree. So whenever someone reaches the level of deism or very moderate religious belief, I consider that a win. Such people are usually humanists and believe that all people should have the freedom to live as they please. In other words, aside from the god question, their views line up almost exactly with my own.

    Do the rest of you view it that way too, or do you think that any amount of religion is still something that should be argued against?

    Hi Nate,

    I think extremism (of all flavors) is what needs to be argued against. We need to learn how to get along even though we may have different opinions. It’s about respecting each other and not forcing other people to think like you.

    Someone today wrote: “There are certain things I am sure about now because I have facts and proof but when it comes to the things I don’t, I try to keep a very open mind.” I think this is a healthy mindset. Science does not have an explanation for everything yet, and until it does, I see no reason why people can’t speculate on whether there may be a hidden mastermind in the background. It just needs to be clear to everyone that this is speculation (belief) and not “turn or burn!”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave,

    Does UnkleE believe that his supernatural belief system is just one of many acceptable and equally valid world views? Does UnkleE believe that there will be ZERO negative consequences to those of us who do not believe in and obey his god?

    If UnkleE’s answer is “yes” to both of these questions, then I agree with you, we should respect UnkleE’s right to believe as he chooses…and leave him alone.

    However, if UnkleE answers “no” or “maybe” to even one of the above questions, his belief system not only merits zero respect, it merits our deepest commitment and unyielding determination to uproot and forever destroy his bigoted and discrimination-inciting belief system.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gary M, I agree with you completely. What Dave is asking us is to keep an open mind that at some point in history, because it is written in the bible, donkeys talked, fishes were transporters and snakes walked on their twos and talked. No amount of open mindedness is going to make any of these come close to being rational.

    The question of whether there is a great mind behind all this only has a small veneer of rationality because we tend to ignore the history of god belief. A belief that originated in our superstitious and ignorant past. Why is it no one asks for an open mind when dealing with Zeus, Apollo, Juno or Neptune?

    The bible is a Hebrew story. The god in it is the god of Abraham, Jacob[Israel] and Isaac not everyone’s.

    I come from a rich tradition where my ancestors had gods, moved and settled to where we, the Luo, currently occupy. IS there any reason to believe the Hebrew story above the Luo stories? Should the Hebrew story be believed because it is written and in most places has had state sanction? Is there a good reason other than that?
    In my tradition we have a story of a man who shadow was his life line. To injure him, you had to just step on his shadow. Why is this story not believed? is it because it isn’t written?

    Dave and agremillion1 I believe all forms of religion must and should be argued against.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes I think that atheist and agnostic “nice guys” like Dave forget what this 6,000 year old Hebrew/Christian superstition has done to the world. It’s victims can be counted in the millions.

    It is evil. Plain and simple.

    Let’s get rid of it once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It was me that said that earlier Dave although now my name is going to show as Amanda now instead because I have a new profile I am still learning how to use and update it lol And I agree with you Dave. I think it is unrealistic to expect everyone to get on the same page any time soon, maybe one day but maybe never. Plus, how are you going to force everyone? The same way the religions criticized have? Murder, prison, being made a social outcast? If you just leave it at simply arguing that is fine, but that is different from pressuring. I just think of how I have always felt when people try to pressure me or anyone else to believe what they do. Discussion (with some disagreement of course) and education are great and so is speaking up and doing as much as you can morally when it comes to the serious things like anyone’s civil rights or harm being done to anyone whether it is in the name of religion or in the name of Atheism or anything else (some of those things I would personally lay down my life for if I had to), but getting angry or ugly with someone because they don’t believe the same as you makes you the same in so many ways as those you criticize.
    Plus, Science has not, nor do I think it will ever disprove a god. It has disproved parts of all of the major religions, of course just using reason to try to make sense of any of them will do that, but a god altogether it has not. Even if it did and people still wanted to believe I would never be okay with any kind of force or pressure being used to “convert” people to Atheism or deconvert them because it is no different than the awful things done in the name of religion and even when I was religious I was not okay with those either. Plus, people will always believe whatever they want, they may just have to hide it if they are scared enough to.

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  7. Amanda I can tell you I have no need to force anyone to agree with me nor imprison anyone for the ideas they hold. If someone is to change their mind, I hope they will do it based on the force of our arguments.
    People don’t believe what they want. People believe to the extent of their convictions.

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  8. And Amanda, when you say science hasn’t disproved god, in what way would science do this when the definition of god changes depending on the theist you are listening to. Others tell you god is us to god being the ground of being and so many other nebulous words. How would a scientist set out to even study this phenomena? Disproving god is left to that branch of science called history. It is to history and anthropology that we must turn to examine gods, their source and why they have been believed, not in the chemistry lab

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  9. “Custom, tradition, and intellectual laziness lead men to follow their religious leaders blindly. Religions have been the sole cause of the bloody wars that have ravaged mankind. Religions have also been resolutely hostile to philosophical speculation and to scientific research. The so-called holy scriptures are worthless and have done more harm than good, whereas the writings of the ancients like Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, and Hippocrates have rendered much greater service to humanity.
    — Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyā al-Razi —

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  10. People like Dave, Amanda, and me are just arguing in favor of reason and moderation. I’m happy to tell anyone, regardless of their beliefs, what I believe and why. But the only people I feel a need to convince are those whose faith drives them to negative actions: trying to push their religion into schools or other public institutions, discrimination against the LGBT community and others, denial of science, violence, etc.

    My worldview is pretty straightforward: I think this life is likely the only one we get, so I’m concerned about ideas that lead to negative outcomes (like listed above), but benign ideas and beliefs don’t matter that much to me, because they don’t seem to have any real consequence. If you can think of some, then please correct me.

    Also, I believe that truth tends to rise above all the noise. So when people push false beliefs (even the benign ones), reasonable people will eventually see that those beliefs are false. And if they’re not reasonable people, how can we hope to reach them anyway? That’s why I see no problem with giving such people “a platform.”

    Since it’s the reasonable people I’m trying to reach, I need to think about what will resonate with them. It seems to me that most people just want a discussion to be fair. When I was working my way out of Christianity, sometimes apologists drove me away faster than anyone else because I could see that their arguments weren’t always honest. I worry that we in the atheist community can come across the same way if we aren’t careful. If we try to poke holes in Jesus’ golden rule we’re going to be seen as disingenuous, even if we have decent points, because his general point is not necessarily a bad one. It will seem nit-picky. And if we dismiss the idea of the supernatural or miracles a priori, it will seem like we’re afraid to have an open discussion about them.

    Look, in hindsight, it’s easier for us to see some of the flaws of Christianity — things we may not have noticed when we were believers (for those of us who were). But the reasonable people who are still believers don’t see it that way yet. We don’t have to dismantle every single facet of Christianity, and if we try to, we’ll seem like extremists. I think a middle-of-the-road approach is best, where we try to remain as objective as possible and let the facts fall where they may. Concede the points that can be conceded. Acknowledge that there are still things we don’t yet know or understand. Because then, when we reach points that are solid and unassailable and on which we can not bend, it makes a much greater impact.

    That’s what made the difference for me. And I’ll bet that it was a similar situation for the rest of you too.

    That’s why guys like unkleE don’t really bother me. We disagree on some major issues, and I’ve discussed those with him in the past and will do so in the future. But that doesn’t mean we have to argue about everything, and it doesn’t mean I can’t like him as a person. He is not someone who ignores evidence. His beliefs have changed over time. He’s one of the few people in the world who is willing to discuss things with people who disagree with him. Those are good and admirable qualities. Furthermore, he believes all people, regardless of their beliefs, should be treated equally in society. And when it comes to children, I imagine he believes that they should be taught to think critically above all else. I see no reason why a man with those qualities shouldn’t be my friend.

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  11. I actually meant to say Science and History together have already disproved certain claims of the major religions and my point was that it does not seem Science could ever disprove a god altogether for the reasons you said even if there is no god. And you may not have a need to force people to agree with you but some people on here seem to. Even history can prove any past claims wrong but someone simply believing in a god or creator, or an afterlife at all at this point cannot be done away with by either. I personally hope they never are as I like to hold out hope for something better than what most people have believed in so far or in nothing at all after this. However, I am okay with disproving the parts that are used as an excuse to do horrible things.

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  12. Nate,
    I left that last comment before I read yours. Again, I agree with you. And sorry everyone that I am not doing a good job of actually replying to individual comments and people, but I am still new to actually posting on here regularly with an actual login instead of as a guest. Bear with me lol

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  13. Dave, Does UnkleE believe that his supernatural belief system is just one of many acceptable and equally valid world views? Does UnkleE believe that there will be ZERO negative consequences to those of us who do not believe in and obey his god?

    Gary, UnkleE can answer for himself, but I will say that I have found him to be much more reasonable and open-minded than most Christians I know personally.

    Sometimes I think that atheist and agnostic “nice guys” like Dave forget what this 6,000 year old Hebrew/Christian superstition has done to the world. It’s victims can be counted in the millions.

    I’m aware of the history, but I’m also aware that the religion has evolved. They don’t support slavery anymore, they don’t burn witches and they no longer have an inquisition. Sure, this is a valid argument against the consistency of their religion, but it is not an active, ongoing concern. Besides, I already said that I was against extremism in all of it’s forms.

    I know a lot of Christians in my neighborhood and I can tell you that they will never be persuaded by name-calling or put-downs. What they need to see is reasonable people who have left behind their superstitious baggage and want to discuss things in a friendly manner. If all they see is bitterness and verbal witch hunts they will be turned off immediately.

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  14. I am strongly in favor of tolerance. I would never support any form of retaliation or discrimination against religious people. However, I think it is a mistake to grant respectability to any superstition. That is my point here. UnkleE wants us to concede that his supernatural world view is compatible with reason, logic, and science. It is not. It is just as ridiculous as believing that the Tooth Fairy is the Almighty Empress of the Universe, that we must worship and obey her, and that those who do not will face cosmic retribution in the afterlife.

    We can be friends with people like UnkleE, but we should never let our children think that we consider it reasonable and intelligent to believe that ghosts and ghouls govern their world.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Maybe there’s a difference in the way we’re using the words “respectability,” etc. I can’t think of a time when a nonbeliever here has given the impression that they’re in agreement with a particular religious position. I’ve seen individuals “agree to disagree,” or express how they can see why a person believes a particular thing, or express a willingness to consider something a religious person has put forward. But I don’t see that as accepting a religious tenet or even granting one respectability. Do you agree that there’s a distinction?

    Not trying to be argumentative, btw — just trying to clarify. 🙂

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  16. I have zero atheist friends. All my social acquaintances and neighbors are (liberal) Christians. I don’t discuss my agnostic belief system with them unless they bring it up. The purpose of this blog is not to discuss the weather and sports. It is to discuss leaving Christianity. If you are Christian and have thin skin, why would you want to read this site…unless you are trying to reconvert ex-Christians or convince a few undecided lurkers that the Christian superstition is not so irrational after all.

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  17. Nate,

    There is a difference between:

    “UnkleE, I believe that your belief system is a discrimination-inciting, irrational superstition, but I defend your right to believe as you choose” vs. “UnkleE, I disagree with you, but your belief system is certainly reasonable and respectable.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What they need to see is reasonable people who have left behind their superstitious baggage and want to discuss things in a friendly manner

    Unklee ( as an example) would consider himself eminently reasonable as some find him so.
    Yet I can you right now, most of those that have debated him, here and on his own site ( I do not know if he ventures far afield) will tell you he is condescending and manipulative.
    His presentations are tailored very much like William Lane Craig structures his arguments.

    He, like many who hold similar beliefs, is careful to avoid any sense of overt bias and will hammer on about scholarly consensus til the cows come home, yet when confronted with an even greater consensus for the Pentateuch, for example, carefully sidesteps any direct commitment and/or does not acknowledge it has a bearing on his Christianity.

    While his Reasonable Christianity (sic) acknowledges evolution he also steadfastly believes in the Virgin Birth and miracles.

    In fact, I have yet to see the Exodus issue tackled on his site. ( Or any other Reasonable Christian’s site for that matter)
    Yet, like all Christians, he seems to believe he is in pursuit of truth.
    His reasonable appearance regarding his theology is actually a veneer, and one streaked with hypocrisy.

    He is not alone in this vein – Evangelical Apologist, Mike Licona, for one, was famously ousted from his place of employment for daring to write in his 2010 book that the Raising of the Dead Saints should be not be regarded as a literal physical resurrection.
    He was – crucified – excuse my French – by such notable evangelists as Norman Geisler.

    A ”live and let live” policy is all that is necessary for fundamentalism to thrive.
    Those who have any sort of religious bent they wish to take into the public domain as truth should be obliged to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that what they believe is based upon a foundation of sound, irrefutable evidence.
    Virgin births and Zombies of any description are two cases in point.

    Any takers?

    Otherwise, keep it to oneself, or within the confines of those adults with similar beliefs but most definitely keep it away from kids in any form.

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