Christian Apologetics Society

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
- Matthew 22:29

Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
Gen 1:3
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light
Matthew 26:26
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body."
Malachi 1:11
My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Luke 20:38
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.
Rev 21:27
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
1 Cor 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1 Timothy 3:15
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Atheism, Arguments and Rationality

For the past week or so, we have been exchanging comments with Takis of For the promotion of rigour and rationality blog. Takis is a professor in the science industry in Edinburgh, Scotland. Takis introduced himself to the CAS community by commenting with a quote from Deuteronomy 21:18-21 proscribing stoning a "stubborn and rebellious son." We'll leave it to you the reader to decide if the comment was intended to provoke. Takis argues the negative.

One of the things we've noted in our exchange with Takis and with agnostic/atheist commenters and bloggers is often their arguments are based on one or more erroneous assumptions. In our earlier Response to Atheist Missionary, Atheist Missionary made the false assumption that we were sola scriptura. Takis seemingly made the assumption that we thought the deity (God) listened only to us and not to Takis' Muslim friend Mustafa.

Also, in both exchanges, we found instances of positive claims being made without supporting evidence. We find it somewhat interesting that individuals claiming to be more rational and logical than theists are seemingly unaware of the general rules of debate and logical fallicies. Let's be clear. Under the generally accepted rules of debate, the person making a positive claim has the burden of proof. Thus, if you were to state "they (the deities of Christianity and Islam)are in competition with one another" then the burden of proof is on you to prove your positive claim ("are"). The Christian apologist has no burden of proof. However, Christian apologists must be careful not to "consent by silence."

By the way, many readers may not be aware that the university system, the scientific method and the rules of evidence were developed by Christian clergy. Catholics to be more specific. Thus, we find exchanges with university professors in the sciences arguing for rationality versus Christianity all the more interesting.

As always when visiting other blogs, please be charitable and Christlike.


Related Posts:
Response to Atheist Missionary
Atheist Thought Experiment
Atheist Believes Africa Needs God


Source: Comments to 4000,000 Catholics in America Missing

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4 Comments:

Blogger The Atheist Missionary said...

I think part of the misunderstanding of those who complain about "evangelical atheists" is that atheism, unlike the faiths held by Christian apologetics, is not a belief system but rather an approach to thinking. For example, I am the "Atheist Missionary" but I am not so confident in my disbelief to say that you could not prove the existence of a "God" (whatever he/she/it may be) to me. Just show me the proof. Like Richard Dawkins explains in The God Delusion, there is a spectrum of thinking ranging all the way between a strong theist (they do not just believe there is a God, they know there is a God) to a strong atheist (i.e. they know there is no God). Like Dawkins, I am not a strong athiest - I would have to subscribe to the view that there is a very low probability of God, but short of zero. I can't know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life on the assumption that he/she/it is not there.

It is very difficult for me to debate with an ecumenical "Christian Apologist" because it is so hard to nail down what you believe as a matter of faith. If you don't believe anything as a matter of faith and rely on what you feel are convincing historical accounts, then we are of like minds and simply disagree on the sufficiency of the evidence you rely on in support of your beliefs. However, just to be clear, what motivates my mission includes the following:

1. Suckers who "believe" in the power of prayer when it has been consistently proven to be sterile in an experimental environment.

2. Those who rely on The Bible as being literally true (eg. the universe was created in 6 years, the earth is 6000 years old, Noah's ark, Jesus was resurrected and that Jesus was the "son of God", etc.).

3. The silly beliefs of specific faiths and I could rant on about this for weeks if given the chance. Catholics' belief in the infallibility of the pope and transubstantiation. Adeherents of the LDS Church believing in the Book of Mormom. Scientologists belief in L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi fantasy.

The reason why I conclude this post with a reference to Scientology is because I feel "mainstream" Christianity is quite similar to Scientology. Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn summed up my view perfectly when he wrote:

"I think that intuitively we understand that beliefs are contagious. So if someone goes along with the herd and follows one of the major surrounding religions of their culture, this need not demonstrate much of a defect. But if someone gets taken in by a minority cult, there is less excuse. It might seem more or less wilful, or the result of an unfortunate stage of life at which they were especially at sea. Other things being equal,someone who believes that Jesus walked on water is not, in our culture, so many bricks short of a load as someone who believed that the Hale-Bopp comet was his vehicle to heaven. Holding the first belief is excusable, given that so many people have been repeating it to you since childhood, whereas you have to go out of your way to pick up the second. You have to acquiesce in your own deception, or want to be deluded. It is said that religions are just cults with armies, but they are also cults with a greater number of practitioners and louder voices, and those greater numbers exert more pressure on children and even adults to join in. So joining in is less of a measure of cognitive vice. Quite sensible people get taken in. But it remains true that we cannot both hold that they believe a lot of things that it is perfectly irrational to believe, and respect them on that account."

Best regards,

T.A.M.

1:02 PM  
Blogger The Atheist Missionary said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Greetings, T.A.M., and welcome back!

>"Just show me the proof"

That burden does not fall on Christians. Sufficient proof abounds. Our experience is that atheists/nontheists tend to develop all sorts of reasons to discount the existing proof. (Based on the flaws we observe in their online arguements, we suspect their personal reasoning and discounting is equally flawed.)

Christ tells us in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man that even if someone should rise from the dead, many would still not believe (Luke 16:19-31).

>"Suckers who "believe" in the power of prayer when it has been consistently proven to be sterile in an experimental environment."

There are two flaws in this statement. First, the choice of "suckers" which is an ad hominum attack, a classical logical fallacy.

Second, we doubt the "experimental environment" controlled for the possibility of the meta-physical and/or non-cooperation from a meta-physical being. Someone may be interpreting data that a meta-physical being was aware of said experiment and decided not to cooperate as prayer being ineffectual. Data is just data until given meaning. Not all interpretations of data are correct.

>"It is very difficult for me to debate with an ecumenical "Christian Apologist" because it is so hard to nail down what you believe as a matter of faith."

Shouldn't be. We're sure with your powers of rational thought you can deduce to which mainstream Christian segment we belong.

>"3. The silly beliefs of specific faiths and I could rant on about this for weeks if given the chance."

Name calling. ad hominum. Could have read "The beliefs of..."

>"Catholics' belief in the infallibility of the pope and transubstantiation."

First, we're surprised to see infallibility make your list as infallibility is the result of cold, hard, rational truth. Truth by its nature is infallible, without error, thus even a 2 year-old telling the truth is infallible while telling the truth. Surely you believe the Pope tells the truth from time to time? Catholics seem to be correct regarding infallibility.

Second, what is your rational, logical explanation for Lanciano? Catholics seem to have sufficient scientific proof for transubstantiation.

>"The reason why I conclude this post with a reference to Scientology is because I feel "mainstream" Christianity is quite similar to Scientology."

Yeah? As there are about 2 billion Christians and over half are Latin Rite Catholic and another percentage point or two are Eastern Rite Catholic, the mainstream of Christianity is Catholic. You honestly see Catholicism as similar to Scientology? Interesting.

We suspect you may be refering to the mainstream of American Christianity which is Reformation Christian versus the mainstream of worldwide Christianity which is Catholic.

>"Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn summed up my view perfectly when he wrote:"

Some key things to note in the Blackburn excerpt:

This is yet another psychological explantion for religious adherents and not proof or disproof of the existence of God.

Blackburn seems to err in assuming that all members of the first group have "to acquiesce in your own deception" and makes no allowance for the possibility that members of the first group may have, like the second group, gone out of their way to research and confrm the first. If a member of the first group has examined the evidence and found Christ to be Gid incarnate, then Christ walking on water is rationally consistent with an almighty God. These members of the first group are then not going "along with the herd".

God bless... +Timothy

ps. The second post was deleted as we prefer not to promote authors and books which we have not read. Enjoy his visit.

10:55 AM  
Blogger helloarnie said...

I am among the Reformation group of Christianity, and I find The Atheist Missionary's comments regarding Scientology inapplicable in this domain as well. I was deeply involved in astrology and other religious adventures when I became a Christian. So my immediate background information should have inclined me away from succumbing to the Gospel. But I followed the evidence, and it led me to Christ.

Furthermore, it is difficult for me to ascertain how one can even have knowledge on a non-theistic worldview. How can rational thought be possible if there is no intelligent being who has infused such a possibility into his creation? Rationality cannot come from irrationality, anymore than life can come from non-life.

Arnie Gentile

2:20 PM  

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