Friday, August 22, 2014

10 atheist argument fails?

A fellow called Eric Hyde wrote a blog that claims to run down ten atheist arguments that fail. But do they really?
I first cut my teeth in theology many years ago. Since those days I have not heard anything new from atheists.
Interesting... I've not heard anything new or original from theists for years.

1. There is no evidence for God’s existence.
There are a couple of problems with this line. Starting with the idea of ‘evidence,’ what exactly does one mean by evidence?
I would say evidence of the empirical sort. Evidence that can be independently tested and verified. Evidence that can be equally observed, tested and verified by anyone. To date, there has not been any such evidence for God. No fail here.
Nearly everything the Christian lays eyes on is evidence of God’s existence because he sees the ‘handiwork’ of God all around him in creation.
Except that this isn't evidence. This at best begs the question of if these things were in fact 'creations' at all. They may think they had to be created, but nothing in that is evidence. It's no more than an opinion.
If one desires God to appear in the flesh, well…  He already did.
Unsubstantiated claim...
The second part of the line is equally short-sighted. What does one mean by ‘existence’? If one means, ‘that which has come into existence,’ then surely God does not exist because God never came into existence. He always was; He is eternal.
Well, you still have to prove that he is eternal, but that's not what is meant by 'existence'. What we mean is simply existing... Being real. I don't think that's so hard to understand.

2. If God created the universe, who created God?
This is one of the more peculiar arguments I’ve ever come across. Those who use this charge as some sort of intellectual checkmate have simply failed to grasp what Christians understand as ‘eternal.’

What's so peculiar about it? Perhaps Eric has forgotten when this argument is used. Often a theist will say that nothing comes from nothing. That everything has to be created or caused by something else. It is at this time that we say, "What about God?" This is simply a response to show their claim doesn't follow even their own belief. Of course the theist may say that everything but God needs to have a cause and that he is actually eternal, but this is no more than special pleading. We realize that a Christian will likely claim that God is eternal, but that is but another unsubstantiated claim. Until you can actually prove that God is existent and eternal, I have no reason to believe that he is.

 3. God is not all-powerful if there is something He cannot do. God cannot lie, therefore God is not all-powerful.

Why would an atheist claim that God can't lie, when he does just that in the Bible?
For the Christian it simply means that all power and authority are God’s. 
Eric claims that atheists are the ones playing word games, but it seems he's playing games as well. When I was a Christian, we were taught that God is literally  all-powerful. That there is absolutely nothing that he can't do. That's where the boulder conundrum comes in. If God is all-powerful then he should be able to create a boulder heavy enough that he can't lift it. But if he can't lift it, he's not all-powerful.

This literal statement of God being infinitely powerful is the same I've seen wielded by the vast majority of Christians I've ever known. The minority backpedal slightly and say that God is
as powerful as logically possible. But even that doesn't tell us very much. The fact remains that Eric has missed the point again that this is but a tool to show that true omnipotence is impossible and if fact, self refuting.

4. Believing in God is the same as believing in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
What I love about this well-worn atheist ‘argument’ is that it actually serves to demonstrate how vastly different a belief in God is to these myths and imaginations. 
Come again? Eric goes on to say that believers in God have religious text, martyrs, etc... While believers in the Tooth Fairy and Santa don't. Sigh... Missing the point again. The only point being made when this statement is made is that these are all belief without evidence. In that regard, all four are very much the same.

5. Christianity arose from an ancient and ignorant people who didn’t have science.
Indeed, those ancient, ignorant people who believed in the virgin birth of Christ must have believed it because they did not possess the knowledge of how babies were born. Goodness. The virgin birth of Christ was profound and of paramount concern to the ancients precisely because they understood that conception was impossible without intercourse. Ancient man considered the virgin birth miraculous, i.e., impossible without divine action (and at the time most people scorned the idea), and the same could be said with every miraculous story in Scripture.
Oh dear me... The virgin birth is a horrible example. It would be idiotic to claim that they believed in the virgin birth  because they didn't understand conception. If that was the case, they wouldn't bat an eye at the birth of Jesus. The more important point to remember is that there is no evidence that there was a virgin birth to begin with.

The topic of earlier people not having the science we do now is not necessarily used to attack the creation of Christianity, but some of the myths within. Those people didn't know about evolution, so they assumed that a deity created everything as it is. The didn't know about the actual composition, size and location of stars. So the Bible gets all of that very wrong. They didn't understand why some animal had stripes, so they created a fanciful story to explain it. The same is true of many things. They thought that God created the rainbow as an actual thing and made a story about it. They were of course ignorant of the true nature of rainbows.

The point being made is not the foundation of Christianity, but that there are many stories in the Bible that made sense to people at that time, but due to our ever growing scientific knowledge, we now know that those stories were not correct. Five down, five non-fails.

6. Christian’s only believe in Christianity because they were born in a Christian culture. If they’d been born in India they would have been Hindu instead.
This argument is appealing because it pretends to wholly dismiss people’s reasoning capabilities based on their environmental influences in childhood. The idea is that people in general are so intellectually near-sighted that they can’t see past their own upbringing, which, it would follow, would be an equally condemning commentary on atheism (if one was consistent with the charge), but the idea is fairly easy to counter.
Oh is it now? The simple fact is that if you are born and raised in a country where one religion is dominant among all others, you are more likely to become a believer in that religion. If you are born in India, and the Hindu beliefs are the ones you are immersed in, you are more likely to hold them as true over another belief. Sure, there are exceptions, but that's simply how the cookie crumbles. 

Then consider religious families. It's no mistake that most Catholic parents end up with Catholic kids, and that most Muslim parents end up with Muslim kids. The truth is that most of the time, parents indoctrinate their children from an early age. Convince them while they're young, and you'll have a better chance of holding on to them in adulthood.

Of course there are exceptions, I am one. I grew up a Christian. I believed. But my parents didn't force it down my throat, and I finally began to see things more clearly. And I disagree that this is all just as true of atheists. I, and most atheists I've heard speak of this, have said that if I had kids I would not raise them to be an atheist. I would raise them religion neutral. I would tell them what I believe and why. What my wife believes. What their friends believe. I'd tell them as many sides of the story as I can. Then I would trust them with all that knowledge when they are old enough, and let them decide for themselves what makes sense.

7. The gospel doesn’t make sense: God was mad at mankind because of sin so he decided to torture and kill his own Son so that he could appease his own pathological anger. God is the weirdo, not me.
This is actually a really good argument against certain Protestant sects (I’ve used it myself on numerous occasions), but it has no traction with the Orthodox Christian faith. The Orthodox have no concept of a God who needed appeasement in order to love His creation. The Father sacrificed His own Son in order to destroy death with His life; not to assuage His wrath, but to heal; not to protect mankind from His fury, but to unite mankind to His love.
I'm actually beginning to think that  missing the point is Eric's hobby... While it is true that the gospel doesn't make much logical (or any other kind of) sense, the meat of that argument if the ridiculousness of the whole 'Jesus had to sacrificed to allow God to forgive sin' thing.

Christians will often say that God want's to forgive us, and has done everything in his power to forgive us. If this is the case, there is no need for Jesus. If God want's to forgive, then he could just forgive. The death of Jesus isn't needed. If I can just forgive someone, surely an all-powerful deity should be able to do so as well. 

Then there is the forced acceptance of a barbaric (and unnecessary) human sacrifice. Add to that, that God was willing to kill innocent people to win a bet, forces rape victims to marry their rapist, punished people for committing a crime that they were unable to even know they were committing (and God was aware of this), committing needless genocide, and punishing people who aren't even yet born and God looks like quite a psycho.

So this one is also not a fail and rightly points out that the sacrifice of Jesus was pointless, and that God (in the Bible) has an unsettling blood-lust.

8. History is full of mother-child messiah cults, trinity god heads, and the like. Thus the Christian story is a myth like the rest.
There is no arguing the fact that history is full of similar stories found in the Bible, and I won’t take the time to recount them here. But this fact should not be surprising in the least, indeed if history had no similar stories it would be reason for concern. Anything beautiful always has replicas. A counterfeit coin does not prove the non-existence of the authentic coin, it proves the exact opposite.
But what about the fact that much of the Jesus story is plagiarized from earlier stories?
Ah, but that doesn’t address the fact that some of these stories were told before the Biblical accounts. True. But imagine if the only story of a messianic virgin birth, death, and resurrection were contained in the New Testament. That, to me, would be odd. It would be odd because if all people everywhere had God as their Creator, yet the central event of human history—the game changing event of all the ages—the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ had never occurred to them, in at least some hazy form, they would have been completely cut off from the prime mysteries of human existence. It seems only natural that if the advent of Christ was real it would permeate through the consciousness of mankind on some level regardless of their place in history. One should expect to find mankind replicating these stories, found in their own visions and dreams, again and again throughout history. And indeed, that is what we find.
What an odd, drawn out way to say absolutely nothing...  In short, it seems that Eric is saying that 'Yeah, these stories were around before but this one... This time it actually happened!' Just another claim, but no substance. The point this argument is making is that despite what many Christians claim, the story of Jesus isn't actually very original. I've debated Christians that claim that the Jesus story is absolutely 100% unlike any other deity story ever told. So pointing out that this is false is very valid. It also goes on to show that these other religions that are now considered myths made the same claims as Christianity. So are they really any different. Neither has evidence, both make the same or similar claims, so maybe Christianity is also a myth as well.

9. The God of the Bible is evil. A God who allows so much suffering and death can be nothing but evil.
This criticism is voice in many different ways. For me, this is one of the most legitimate arguments against the existence of a good God. The fact that there is suffering and death is the strongest argument against the belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God. If suffering and death exist it seems to suggest one of two things: (1) either God is love, but He is not all-powerful and cannot stop suffering and death, or (2) God is all-powerful, but He does not care for us.
That sounds about right. But I'm confused... I thought Eric was trying to say why this argument didn't work. Did I miss something?
The argument takes as its presupposition that good and evil are real; that there is an ultimate standard of good and evil that supersedes mere fanciful ‘ideas’ about what is good and evil at a given time in our ethical evolution, as it were. If there is not a real existence—an ontological reality—of good and evil, then the charge that God is evil because of this or that is really to say nothing more than, “I personally don’t like what I see in the world and therefore a good God cannot exist.”
Oh for crying out loud... 'Good' and 'evil' need not be objective standards. 'Good' and 'bad' are comparative terms. This argument works just as well under that basis of good and bad, as it does for an 'objective' one. No matter which way you slice it, allowing the innocent to suffer and die when you could do something about it with absolutely no effort counts as evil. At the very least it shows that God can't 'be love' and is at the very best, completely indifferent. I fail to see the fail here...
If one is going to accept good and evil as realities, he is not in a position to fully reject God. Instead, he is more in a position to wrestle with the idea that God is good.
Which is why this argument is almost always used to counter the claimed nature of God, rather than his actual existence.

10. Evolution has answered the question of where we came from. There is no need for ignorant ancient myths anymore.
I’ll only comment on the underlining idea that science has put Christianity out of the answer business. Science is fantastic if you want to know what gauge wire is compatible with a 20 amp electric charge, how agriculture works, what causes disease and how to cure it, and a million other things. But where the physical sciences are completely lacking is in those issues most important to human beings—the truly existential issues: what does it mean to be human, why are we here, what is valuable, what does it mean to love, to hate, what am I to do with guilt, grief, sorrow, what does it mean to succeed, is there any meaning and what does ‘meaning’ mean, and, of course, is there a God? etc, ad infinitum.
Oh, I think I see the problem... When most people bring up science it is because there are things were thought we knew (sometimes religious beliefs or stories) that we have since found we were wrong about. Despite this, there are those that refuse to let go of the religious stories and claim that the evidenced science is the one that is wrong. 

Eric says that science can't answer a good few things there. On some I quite disagree, In fact, I think that science has answered some of the ones he mentioned. But some are more philosophical questions. And even those don't require religion to answer. I could personally give my answers to them all, but his religion will have different answers. I would say that I feel my answers make more sense that the religious versions I've heard. And at least I base my opinions on these matters on more than an old and very flawed book.
As far as where we come from, evolution has barely scratched the purely scientific surface of the matter. Even if the whole project of evolution as an account of our history was without serious objection, it would still not answer the problem of the origin of life
Probably because that's an entirely different field of study called abiogenesis...
The ‘Big Bang’ is not an answer to origins but rather a description of the event by which everything came into being; i.e., it’s the description of a smoking gun, not the shooter.
Correct. The Big Bang is still supported by overwhelming evidence though. And remember, science has ideas about what came before the Big Bang (if that statement even makes any sense). But the lack of a total explanation does not mean one can simply insert 'God did it!'.
That’s it… my top 10 list. Thanks for reading. Cheers.
Here's my question... In a blog called "Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail", why are there actually zero atheist arguments that fail? Actually, the blog read more like someone who didn't actually quite grasp what was actually being argued...

-Brain Hulk

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  1. 1. Thanks for your post.. You on the Start of your journey to understanding.. if you so choose to continue...First, question all and that is also spoken by Jesus.. The Bible is a collection of 4 gospels chosen by Constantine in 4 ad when he also buried 26 others, that have been recently found and translated (2011).. My friend Mark Twain said it best " those who do not read main street paid media are UNinformed ..... while those who DO read main street paid media are MISinformed." Keep seeking.. The answers are KNOWN.. To answer #1) Free Will , The forces of Nature (that hold your DNA together, that allow light energy to be transformed into mechanical, electrical energy that can be stored in your body or throughout space, the supernuclear forces holding your nucleus together. ... the fact that the PreCambrian explosion is explained only by CREATION of fully formed lifeforms. (Learn from Amat Goswami, Bruce Lipton, Graham Hancock, Stephen Meyer, Rupert Sheldrake).. This world is magical and the perfect forces were created that ALLOW your existence in physcial form. GOD is the essence that provides the framework for your ATOMS to exist.. You have FreeWill to THINK (i think therefore i am- said descartes, this is what makes us HUMAN.. ) as i do i be say docRAtes, meaning what you DO in the world while you have this GIFT of HUMAN flesh and Present moment TIME, is your GIFT, said Picasso.. Please learn from the giants who lived before us, urged your smarter brighter compatriot on this ever existing journey, Sir Isaac Newton. If you care to learn more, please reach out and I will know you to be serious.. SEEK and ye shall always find.. I havent time to go into the other points as i am a physician, surgeon, teacher as well (sharing my WISDOM with OTHERS leading to SIGnificance to others on this journey with this gift of time).. R A Y of Light is a W A Y of Life, unifying brothers and sisters of Light under one goOdGOoD to shine the light of Logic2Think&Love2Act.

    1. Do you mean the Cambrian Explosion? Because that is perfectly explainable by evolution, not creation. If you mean the Precambrian period, please explain. Because simply saying 'creation is the only answer' without any proof is not a real answer at all. In fact, abiogenesis while yet presently incomplete seems to show that creation wasn't necessary at all; just chemistry.

      I have already researched much of what you have mentioned in the past, so I either missed something or didn't find it compelling. Please do share your best proof and we can start the examination there.

      Also, if you are a physician and teacher I can only assume English is a second language for you. Now don't think that I am knocking your writing. I was able to understand what you wrote. I would just like to offer the suggestion to watch some of your capitalization and spacing. Some of it is quite odd and could cause some to dismiss what you write before they even read it.

      Perhaps we can learn a bit from each other. So please do share your best proof and we can start there.