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Three Bad Attitudes Atheists Have Towards Theists

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Filed under Atheism, Religion

ManScreaming-Atheists

Earlier this week I described three bad attitudes that theists sometimes have towards atheists. Now, in the spirit of mutual correction, let’s examine three bad attitudes atheists sometimes bring to the debate over the existence of God.

Bad Atheistic Attitude #1:
“All religion contradicts science.”

 
Certainly, there are some religious beliefs that contradict science. Some Hindu creationists think modern human beings have existed for billions of years, while some Christian creationists think modern humans are only 6,000 years old. Both of these estimates are far off the mainstream scientific view.1

But just because some religious beliefs don’t line up with certain widely accepted scientific conclusions doesn’t mean that religion—or theism—is in itself anti-science. In fact, Catholic scientists like Fr. Georges Lemaitre (who discovered the Big Bang) and the friar Gregor Mendel (who discovered genetic inheritance), followed the medieval motto fides quaerens intellectum, or “faith seeking understanding,” and were among those who contributed to the flourishing of modern science.

Belief in a God who carefully made the world and watches over it is one of the reasons Christians have desired to explore how the world works through the natural sciences.2 If the world had no intrinsic order or design, then trying to explain how it works would be like trying to assemble a puzzle that was the result of an exploding toy factory. There would be no guarantee that rational explanations could even be discovered.

The allegation that religion contradicts science usually refers to religious beliefs that contradict the age of the universe or the theory of biological evolution. But once again, there are many theistic belief systems that explain only non-scientific truths, like the ultimate origin of reality itself, and do not try to replace the natural sciences that are focused on determining how reality functions. For example, the majority of Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and mainline Protestant Christians accept the theory of evolution.3 When I told a group of atheists in New York that I believed in evolution as well as the teachings of the Catholic Church, they questioned me not in a spirit of hostility but in a spirit of curiosity. These students were intrigued because they had never met a practicing Christian who did not deny the theory of evolution.

The Catholic Church teaches that the first chapters of the book of Genesis are primarily concerned with expressing theological truths, like that God created the world and man’s immortal soul, and not scientific truths about the earth’s physical history.4 As Cardinal Caesar Baronius is reported to have said, “The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”

Bad Atheistic Attitude #2:
“Religion is just a product of geography.”

 
Some atheists say that if you were born in India, you would be a Hindu, but since you were born in America, you are probably a Christian. Therefore, your religion has little to do with objective truth and depends only on where and when you were born. But just because someone is born in a place where they fail to discover the right answer about life’s important questions does not mean there is no right answer. This goes for any kind of truth claim.

If you were born in the year 1714 as opposed to the year 2014, you probably would have supported the enslavement of native Africans. If you were born in 2014 B.C., you probably would have denied the Earth revolved around the sun. If you were born in modern North Korea, you probably would believe that democracy was evil. But none of these facts proves that slavery is moral, the sun revolves around the Earth, or that dictators are a great idea. All they prove is that large numbers of people can be wrong.

For all of our political, scientific, and ethical beliefs we would say that even if other people disagree with them, and do not live in places that teach these beliefs as truths, that does not mean these beliefs are false. We can put forward rational arguments to defend these beliefs and then say that those other cultures who disagree are simply mistaken. If we can do this for disputed scientific, political, and ethical beliefs, then why not say we can put forward rational arguments for religious beliefs that are not universally believed but are nonetheless true?

Bad Atheistic Attitude #3:
“All religion is a ‘God of the gaps’ fallacy.”

 
If our argument for God is that he explains what is currently unexplainable in the universe, then once science does explain a mystery (whether it’s the cause of lightning or the complexity in the human cell), then it will have erased part of our evidence for God. As the Lutheran pastor and Holocaust victim Dietrich Bonheoffer once wrote,

"[H]ow wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat."5

However, atheists should not presume that “gaps” are the only evidence a theist can muster. The philosophical arguments from necessity, first cause, design, and morality don’t start from what we don’t know and say, “God must have done it.” Instead, they start from what we do know and conclude that God is the best explanation for certain features of the universe we observe.

For example, the Kalām cosmological argument (which I cover this more extensively in my book) uses philosophical and scientific evidence to demonstrate the non-religious truth that the universe began to exist from nothing. Then the argument joins that evidence with the philosophical truth “Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its existence.” It follows logically from these two known truths that a cause brought the universe into existence.

An atheist may claim at this point that the theist is saying, “I don’t know how the universe was caused to exist, therefore God did it” and thus is still committing the God-of-the-gaps fallacy. However, the theist doesn’t reason this way. Instead, he reasons about what it means to be a “cause of the universe” and arrives at the conclusion that a being like God is the best answer. This is similar to the reasoning a scientist might use if he discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization on the moon and concluded that aliens existed. The theist arrives at the logical conclusion that the cause of space and time cannot be bound by those things, and thus the first cause must have the divine properties of eternal, immaterial existence.

The God-of-the-gaps objection also seems to commit an equivalent “science-of-the-gaps” fallacy, which presupposes that any question about anything can be filled in with the answer, “Science knows or will know some day.” But this seems to rule out theistic explanations right from the start.

For example, many atheists say they would believe God exists if a Christian could perform some publicly verifiable miracle, or if God appeared to everyone on Earth at the same time. But consider the following exchange:

Theist: Look, a giant being proclaiming to be God just resurrected every man named Brian and caused them all to sing “Don’t Stop Believin’,’’ by Journey.

Atheist: Well, one day science will be able explain this supposed miracle. Maybe there is a natural principle that explains it, or an alien species that can perform this feat using advanced technology. Ancient people used to be impressed by thunder just as we are impressed by this event. If we say this happened because God did it...well...that doesn’t explain anything!

Since it is restricted to explaining the natural world, science can’t answer every claim about reality. If there is a supernatural world, it is beyond the means of science to explore it. But if supernatural proofs for God are always dismissed in this way, then no evidence could falsify atheism, and atheism would be as unprovable as the religious beliefs it wants to criticize.

If even miracles can be considered “God-of-the-gaps” reasons insufficient to prove that God exists, then what reasons could the theist offer for belief in God? That is why the most popular proofs for God focus on major aspects of reality, like the evidence of design in the universe or the presence of moral truths, which would be nearly impossible for aliens to cause but would be expected if God exists. Atheists may yet reply, “Stop with the philosophy and show me the hard evidence for God’s existence.”

But what is so bad about using philosophical proofs to show that basic facts about the world are true? After all, philosophers use complex arguments to demonstrate truths about free will, the reality of the external world, and the nature of time and space. Most ordinary people believe in these things because they experience them, while philosophers put forward complex arguments in order to defend the same truths.

For example, most people who are not exposed to an undergraduate philosophy class will tend to believe in free will, or the idea that human beings can choose to act in certain ways. Many philosophers reject free will and say that human beings are completely determined by factors like genetics and environment and can no more choose to act or not act than a can of Coca-Cola can choose to fizz or not fizz. Those philosophers who defend genuine free will (also called libertarian free will) tend to use sophisticated arguments to make their case.6 But I don’t think philosophers would consider someone to be irrational because he believes in free will without studying the complex arguments that are used to defend the idea. For most people it just seems obvious they can freely choose to do or not do certain things. The arguments merely serve to confirm this basic belief.

If something as basic as the existence of free will can be confirmed via philosophical debate, then why not take the same approach with the existence of God? Most people believe in God without studying complex arguments, but those arguments can serve to objectively prove the validity of the faith they personally experience.
 
 
(This blog post is an excerpt from my newly released book, Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity.)
 
 
(Image credit: Raw Story)

Notes:

  1. For the Hindu view on creation see Michael Cremo. Forbidden Archaeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race (Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, 1998).
  2. For a good treatment of this period of history see James Hannam. The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC, 2011).
  3. See “Religious Differences on the Question of Evolution,” The Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life, February 4, 2009, available at http://www.pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/Religious- Differences-on-the-Question-of-Evolution.aspx. There is also a growing acceptance of evolution among evangelicals. One prominent example would be Francis Collins, the current head of the National Institutes of Health and the leader of the team who mapped the human genome. His case for the compatibility of Christianity and the theory of evolution can be found in his book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2009).
  4. For an affirmation of both God’s act of creation and the reality of evolution see Pope Benedict XVI, In the Beginning...A Catholic Understanding of Creation and the Fall (Our Sunday Visitor: Indiana, 2010) 50. For a perspective from a Catholic scientist see Kenneth Miller, Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (HarperCollins: New York, 1999).
  5. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Letters and Papers from Prison. (Touchstone: New York, 1997) 311.
  6. For example see Timothy O’Connor, Persons and Causes: The Metaphysics of Free Will (Oxford University Press: New York, 2000).
Trent Horn

Written by

Trent Horn holds a Master’s degree in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently an apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers. He specializes in training pro-lifers to intelligently and compassionately engage pro-choice advocates in genuine dialogue. He recently released his first book, titled Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity. Follow Trent at his blog, TrentHorn.com.

Note: Our goal is to cultivate serious and respectful dialogue. While it's OK to disagree—even encouraged!—any snarky, offensive, or off-topic comments will be deleted. Before commenting please read the Commenting Rules and Tips. If you're having trouble commenting, read the Commenting Instructions.

  • Ben Posin

    Wow. My reaction to this article is related to what I said about the last article, that it was trying to suggest a fake parity between the atheist and theist positions. I don't agree that this is the case.

    Regarding point 1: this sidesteps the real issue. The problem isn't that any specific religious claim may or may not contradict our understanding of how the world works. The problem is that religious faith in general, the beliefs we see without sufficient evidence or where claims aren't falsifiable, etc., contradict scientific thinking.

    Point 2: yes, the fact that someone's religion appear to usually be the product of where (and to which parents) one is born doesn't prove that any particular religious beliefs are wrong. Fine. For example, I think a combination of atheism and agnosticism and igtheism is the correct viewpoint, and if my kids picked that up from me I wouldn't say it's wrong for that reason. But this fact DOES suggest that most people have their particular religion for reasons unconnected to the reasonableness or likelihood of their religion being true. If you think your average Catholic or Jew or Muslim is what he is because he has carefully considered all the evidence and options and made the most rational decision he is capable of (rather than going with what he was raised in), you are fooling yourself.

    Point 3: not all religion is "God of the gaps." But God of the Gaps IS very common in religious argument and thinking, and is an integral part of several so-called philosophical proofs including some mentioned by Trent--I'd argue it's smuggled into "First Cause", Kalam, and "Necessity" It's completely valid for atheists to point this problematic way of thinking when it pops up (and it does ALL the time, including in both comments and articles on this website).

    I also don't appreciate this exaggerated supposed atheist position of "science of the gaps." The more common position I have encountered is more like:

    look, I guess I could never know for sure there is a God by any miracle, since for all I know my mind is being manipulated (drugs, brain in jar, Matrix, whatever), or superior alien technology is accomplishing something, or who knows. But sure, there are lots of "miraculous" things that could happen that would make me think belief in God is a lot more reasonable than I do now---and I find it a bit suspicious that these sorts of things aren't verifiably happening if there is a God.

    Also: I'm unaware that free will has (or can) be demonstrated by philosophical debate. Seems to be a very open question, and one where the results of neuroscience are likely in the future to be quite relevant! I'm calling shennanigans on using the supposed philosophical existence of free will as evidence that philosophy can demonstrate the existence of God. Shennanigans!

    • "The problem is that religious faith in general, the beliefs we see without sufficient evidence or where claims aren't falsifiable, etc., contradict scientific thinking."

      I see at least three major errors in this single sentence. First, you assume religious beliefs are held without sufficient evidence. Yet this isn't true. As Trent explains several times in this article alone, theists have many good reasons for believing in God, and thus much evidence.

      Second, you assume that religious beliefs aren't falsifiable. While this may be true of some religions and teachings, it's certainly not true of Christianity. At the core of our faith is an eminently falsifiable historical claim, that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead at a specific place, at a specific point in history. There are several ways to falsify that claim. Also, the Christian concept of God can be easily falsified if shown it is logically inconsistent. For example, if it is logically impossible for God to be all-powerful, all-loving, and to create a world with the presence of evil, then you've falsified the Christian conception of God.

      Third, you claim that religious faith, in general, "contradicts scientific thinking." It's true that we shouldn't expect to apply the scientific method to supernatural or metaphysical questions. But that doesn't mean religious faith contradicts science, it just means science isn't the right tool to use. This is the same reason we wouldn't say that art criticism contradicts science; it's a different, but complementary way of getting at the truth.

      "yes, the fact that someone's religion appear to usually be the product of where (and to which parents) one is born doesn't prove that any particular religious beliefs are wrong. Fine."

      Great! Hopefully we can move past this canard, then, at Strange Notions.

      "But this fact DOES suggest that most people have their particular religion for reasons unconnected to the reasonableness or likelihood of their religion being true."

      What evidence do you have for such a bold accusation? This isn't true in my experience, but perhaps you have a wide-ranging, longitudinal, evidence-based study with an adequate sample size to support your claim. If so, please share.

      • Ben Posin

        Brandon,

        We've butted heads over the meaning and reasonableness of religious faith before, and I doubt you and I will resolve our differences today. For example, you and I disagree completely about the sufficiency of the evidence, as apparently do I and Trent. That you think Trent has referred to reasonable evidence at all, much less sufficient, shows how far the gap is between us. That you think faith is just a different type of thinking than science/reason strikes me as a typical dodge. How are they different? Is there ever a time when faith is actually as good a way as scientific thinking when it comes to generating/testing real knowledge? When it is at all a good way?

        Regarding being born into your religion: honestly, I'm a bit surprised at your pushback on this, given your frequent claims that Catholicism is different than other religions, more reasonable. You've suggested that we can know for sure, for instance, that Islam is incorrect, simply through reasoning about its claims. If you think that, what other conclusion can you draw from the fact that BILLIONS of people are muslims? And what alternative conclusions do YOU draw from the fact that religions do follow the geographical/family pattern acknowledged by Trent? C'mon.

      • Susan

        At the core of our faith is an eminently falsifiable historical claim, that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead at a specific place, at a specific point in history. There are several ways to falsify that claim.

        What ways are those?

        • "What ways are those?"

          Produce Jesus' body or historical evidence of his body; produce evidence that the relevent historical testimonies are unreliable; produce evidence that the early Jews made up the Resurrection, etc.

          • Ben Posin

            Matthew: 27 51-53.

            51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

            52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

            53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

            Do you believe these many bodies were resurrected, and went in the city, appearing unto many? Or do you think this particular resurrection account in the New Testament is made up?

          • Danny Getchell

            In Getchell's Patent Colour-Keyed Bible,

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strangenotions/the_gods_of_israel_does_the_bible_promote_polytheism#comment-1318531206

            I think these verses would be printed in blue.

          • Susan

            Produce Jesus' body or historical evidence of his body; produce evidence that the relevent historical testimonies are unreliable; produce evidence that the early Jews made up the Resurrection, etc,

            That's what you mean by "eminently falsifiable"?
            What would that look like? That's how we could "disprove" your assertions?
            I don't know what "eminently falsiable" means. Something is either falsifiable or it is not. Most of the bodies that have ever moved around on this planet are gone. Even if we found the body of the person on whom the Jesus stories might be based, there would be no way of knowing or demonstrating that that is the case.
            Ben explains this. .
            Catholic claims, as far as I can tell, are unfalsifiable.
            Souls, afterlife, resurrections, virgin birth, ground-of-all-being/Yahwehjesus.
            If we can't produce the bones of Jesus, the default position is this particular resurrection story?
            I'm not trying to intentionally twist your words. I'm trying to make sense of this idea of "eminently falsifiable:.

          • Max Driffill

            Brandon,
            Produce Jesus' body or historical evidence of his body; produce evidence that the relevent historical testimonies are unreliable; produce evidence that the early Jews made up the Resurrection, etc.

            There is plenty of evidence that the Gospels are not reliable historical data (they don't agree with each other for one thing, and this even though two of them heavily utilize Mark as a source).

            We don't have to produce a body. or demonstrate anything. You, the people making the positive claim (There was an X, X causes...) have to produce evidence that would cause your readers to reject the null hypothesis (Jesus died and was not resurrected).

            Your stance means we must accept every bizarre mention of gods in Herodotus, and numerous other ancient accounts. Do you think Romulus and Remus were really suckled by a she-wolf? Was Romulus ascended to the heavens by the gods? The people of Rome seemed to think so. Must we "produce the body to reject the claims?"

            You have to produce the evidence for claims of the Resurrection, and the contradictory accounts of the (many many) gospels will not exactly do.There were many different Christianities in the first, second and third centuries and they all had different ideas about what happened to Jesus. So it probably isn't fair to pretend that there was only one set of ideas about Jesus, his teachings, and ultimate end. Nor were all Jews united on the idea that Jesus had been resurrected (and there is of course no historical mention of all the zombies that spilled from the graves during the event that killed Jesus -is returning from the dead hard or easy).

            There is no good history of the life Jesus. There are only the imperfect vestiges of that history that may be gleaned from the gospels, and the first of those don't come until many decades after the life of Jesus has come and gone. The later historical mentions of Jesus, by men like Tacitus and Josephus do not establish any of the incredible supernatural claims of the gospels. They are second, third hand information, hearsay. They tell us more, about what Christians themselves believed, and not much about the history of Jesus, and they too come well after the events have long past.

          • Ben Posin

            I'm sure you're a busy guy (did I read somewhere you have 4 kids? wowsers!), but in the spirit of honest conversation: can you give us a hint as to whether you have been moved by our comments to realize that the claim that Jesus was resurrected is not falsifiable at this point in time? Or, if you think we're missing something, will you come back at some point with what that is?

          • Ben Posin

            You know what? My previous post (asking if you have reconsidered your point of view given the various cogent replies you received) was a bit more disingenuous than I'd like to be. Let me be a bit clearer and more blunt.

            I (and some people I won't name) have noticed that you have a pattern of making extremely strong statements, with extreme confidence and sometimes dismissive of the atheist viewpoint, but then move on when serious responses show your claim is unsound or unsupportable, without any acknowledgement of that fact. Here, you come out and say that at the core of Christianity is an eminently falsifiable belief: the resurrection of Jesus. When asked how it could be falsified, you gave some suggestions that don't really stand to reason, and were called out on it. If you had answers to these objections, I believe you'd give them. I don't think you have answers (frankly, I don't think there ARE answers, because your claim is in all practical senses incorrect).

            So here's a chance for you to break the pattern and show some intellectual honesty: acknowledge that you are unable to support your claim. If you find our responses truly convincing, you could go so far as to let us know that you now agree that the resurrection is not falsifiable. If not as strongly moved, you could simply state that we have raised meaningful objections and that you need to give further thought to whether and how the resurrection could be falsified. Or if you really have some meaningful response, give it. But show that you're not just putting out Catholic viewpoints, but are also taking in reason and considering new ideas.

          • Roman

            I (and some people I won't name) have noticed that you have a pattern of making extremely strong statements, with extreme confidence and sometimes dismissive of the atheist viewpoint, but then move on when serious responses show your claim is unsound or unsupportable, without any acknowledgement of that fact.

            I've followed the articles and related comments on this forum pretty closely since StrangeNotions started up and I don't recall ever seeing you or anyone else demonstrate Brandon's "claims" to be unsound or unsupportable. I think there are other plausible explanations for why Brandon doesn't always respond, like he's got 4 children, or he's simply frustrated when atheists on this forum don't seriously consider his claims, or simply dismiss them out of hand. This thread is a good example of the latter. More on that below........

            Here, you come out and say that at the core of Christianity is an eminently falsifiable belief: the resurrection of Jesus. When asked how it could be falsified, you gave some suggestions that don't really stand to reason

            Problem no. 1: You keep claiming Brandon's suggestions are unreasonable but you've never offered any proof of that! Problem no.2: I don't mean any offense,Ben, but are you sure you understand what "falsifiable" means? I'm including a brief definition of "falisfiable" from Wiki just so we're all on the same page

            "A statement is called falsifiable if it is possible to conceive an observation or an argument which proves the statement in question to be false."

            Lets take just one of Brandon's suggestions, i.e., that producing Jesus' body would prove the resurrection claim false. Clearly, Brandon has met the burden of falsifiability. The definition of falsifiable says nothing about how easy or difficult it is to obtain the evidence required to prove the claim false. Are you telling us that if the Jews or Roman's located a grave 2000 years ago and found the body of Jesus in that grave, it would not prove the resurrection claim false??? That is simply an incredible assertion on your part.

          • Ben Posin

            Roman:

            Let's take that one, by all means. We're not talking about what the Romans could or couldn't have done then. This conversation has been pretty clearly about what we can do now, to falsify this "eminently falsifiable" core Christian claim of resurrection. 2000 years later, how could I find Jesus' grave? Why would I think anything is left of him, 2000 years later, to observe? If there was, how would I know it was Jesus' body inside? How would I demonstrate this to someone else--or, more importantly, to a Catholic in a way that they would accept? Even if you can come up with some farfetched still intact treasure trove of evidence that someone shows this, tell me this: if Jesus did not resurrect, what are the chances that this means such an amazing treasure trove ever existed in the first place, is still intact 2,000 years later, and can be found and properly interpreted? You'd be hard pressed to find just about ANY particular body from 2000 years ago and prove which individual it was, don't you think?

            It's great that you found the definition of falsifiable, and are thinking about it. But don't you agree that telling us to go find Jesus' body doesn't actually give us a practical or meaningful way to disprove the resurrection today, even if the resurrection did not in fact happen? If you want to split hairs and say that this doesn't matter because you can imagine a remarkably improbable theoretical world in which we might find Jesus' body if no resurrection happened, well, that's a pretty insignificant piece of territory to want to defend, and not at all what I think Brandon means by "eminently falsifiable." But maybe he'll explain.

          • Roman

            I know you want to talk about what we can do now to falsify the Resurrection claim but you are introducing a qualification that is simply not in the definition of falsifiable. At any point in time after the Resurrection took place, the event, if not true, was vulnerable to the possibility of someone producing the body of Jesus. That's the point. Off course, it would be more difficult to locate the skeletal remains of a 2000 year old body or identify it today.....but not impossible (for reasons such as the one Aquinas Rules mentions in his post). I seem to remember there was a lot of media-generated excitement over the Discovery Channel's airing of a "Documentary" by Simcha Jacobovici who claimed that a tomb found in Jerusalem contained the ossuaries of Jesus and family members. The whole story turned out to be a fraud but there were many in the atheist community that immediately embraced this as proof that there was no resurrection. You can't have it both ways.

          • Ben Posin

            We are approaching c'mon territory. No one here but you has been discussing if this claim ever once might have been falsifiable, such as when the putative body was warm. Here we stand, and we must make use of the evidence available to us. If Brandon wants to concede his claim that it's an eminently falsifiable claim and discuss if it was a potentially falsifiable claim 2000 years ago, fine. I doubt he'll have nearly as much pushback.

            As to the fraud you mention: if I try to have things both ways, let me know.

          • Susan

            At any point in time after the Resurrection took place, the event, if not true, was vulnerable to the possibility of someone producing the body of Jesus.

            No. Brandon said that there ARE several ways to falsify that claim. Present tense. At the very least, we can agree that it is no longer falsifiable in practise and there's no reason to think it's a claim unique to christianity. Producing the bones of Muhammed and his horse would falsify his ascent into heaven on horseback.

            What Brandon seemed to be suggesting in his post is that christianity is special because a central claim is "eminently falsifiable". That there are several ways in which we can do that.

            That we can do that.

            But stealing an expression from Ben (one of my favourites of his), that's just silly pants.

          • Max Driffill

            How exactly would people in antiquity "produce Jesus' body?"
            Not many people would have known what Jesus looked like. Couple this with the fact that his body was likely not entombed anywhere, but that stayed on the cross at the worst, and was food for carrion birds, or, somewhat nicer, was pulled down after he died and tossed into a grave for condemned people. I strongly suspect that Jesus never came down from the cross.

          • Roman

            Highly unlikely that Jesus would not have been buried in a tomb or marked grave. Ancient Jewish Burial custom would never allow that - despite the claims of a lot of amateur scholars who are not adequately familiar with ancient Jewish culture. For proof of this, all you have to do is go through the Old Testament which is replete with example after example of Jews burying the wicked, executed criminals, those divinely judged for some crime, and even their enemies in battle. In the book of Tobit, (chapter's 1, 2, 4, 6 & 14) its made clear that his greatest virtue is his burying the dead including, including those executed by state authority.

          • Max Driffill

            Roman,
            The Jews did not execute Jesus. Pilate did, for the crime of sedition. And since it was Pilate, it was Rome that did the killing. Rome was not a Jewish state, so Jewish custom was irrelevant. What happened to most criminals crucified by the Roman state at the time? They either fed carrion birds by hanging from the cross, picked apart until they fell apart, or were tossed in an unmarked graves and more carrion critters ate. Rome was under no obligation to follow any Jewish custom for a criminal condemned for sedition. It is unlikely that Pilate, not over-praised for his restraint and kindness by Josephus, would have made an exception in the case of an unremarkable peasant, with no influence. His own followers, also people of no social weight, had scattered. How likely is it that any jewish authorities were going to kick up a stir over the body of a person we are told they helped condemn? Not very likely at all. And even if they did, there is no reason to assume that Pilate would have acquiesced. Roman crime, Roman rules. I suspect that Jesus never came down from the cross, at least not for several days.

          • Roman

            I'm going to the mall today to get myself a pair of silly pants before we move on to the next topic

          • Max Driffill

            Whatever you need to do.

          • Roman

            Wow. Max you need to loosen up. That was meant as a joke

          • Max Driffill

            I was not tense, Roman. Its all good. I hope your silly pants are comfortable.

          • Max Driffill

            Though, I am curious where I have said anything silly.

          • David Nickol

            At this stage, finding the remains of Jesus of Nazareth would not, probably for most Christians, falsify the resurrection. Since the resurrection was miraculous, who is to say that the physical body of Jesus had to be reanimated in such a way that nothing was left behind? Christians look forward to the Resurrection of the Dead (that is the resurrection of anyone who has ever lived), and it is certainly not going to be limited to those whose corpses remain sufficiently intact to be reanimated. People dead so long that all the elements of their body have returned to the earth and dispersed into other plants and animals are expected to rise from the dead. Clearly rising from the dead is not a matter of having your corpse reanimated or your elements gathered back together to re-create your body moments before your death.

            I agree with Susan and Ben Posin that what we were talking about was whether or not the resurrection was falsifiable now, not shortly after the crucifixion. But even if physical remains of Jesus were found in a tomb in Israel tomorrow, I don't think most Christians who professed to have believed in the resurrection would change their mind. And I am not even sure they should. I think it is a pretty crude conception of what resurrection would be like to have it be something along the lines of the resuscitation that sometimes takes place when the EMTs arrive on time.

            Any theology of the resurrection that couldn't survive discovery of the physical remains of Jesus isn't complex enough or sophisticated enough to be worth taking seriously in the first place.

          • Susan

            Any theology of the resurrection that couldn't survive discovery of the physical remains of Jesus isn't complex enough or sophisticated enough to be worth taking seriously in the first place.

            It doesn't have to be. I'm not sure it will ever have to be. It is not testable in practise.

            But neither are claims about Zeus. And no matter what we learn about lightning, there could still be Zeusology that is complex enough and/or sophisticated enough to keep Zeus alive in the minds of believers.

            This doesn't say much about whether it's true or not.

            That's the point.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            Testable would indeed be the wrong word (in my opinion), but the resurrection is experientially validated now in the lives of believers. As Jesus told us again and again, the Kingdom of God is at hand . The fullness of the Kingdom is in the future, but it is also a present reality. We experience a foretaste of the resurrection every time we bear the little (or big) crosses in our lives that we need to bear in order to live in virtue. After the cross, there are the moments that stand beyond time, when we are united with the divine. Based on scriptural revelation, but also as a reasonable extrapolation from our lived experiences, we believe that someday those moments of enfleshed divinity will cease to be fleeting.

          • Max Driffill

            When post-hoc, ad hoc reasoning can be applied to a hypothesis it seems to me it can survive any test. People find jesus' body? No problem, he doesn't need to have his physical body reanimated for the resurrection to be true.

          • Ben Posin

            How are you judging the relative sophistication of the different possible claims regarding how resurrection works? Is the sole metric consistency with other religious claims? Because otherwise I don't see what makes one more sophisticated than the other.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            Two thumbs up for this reading of the resurrection !!

          • Aquinas Rules

            I agree with Roman's comments that the Resurrection is clearly falsifiable. The reason it is also eminently or particularly, falsifiable is because no one can argue about whether there was a resurrection when there's a body, assuming we can properly identify the person. Just as a side note, it would have been very difficult to hide Jesus' body (if in fact he was not resurrected) due to the fact that Jews in the first century already had a devotion to the relics of the saints - a practice that was an important part of the early church. That is why, for example, we know the location of the bodies of every one of the apostles, except for Judas. They were all taken and placed in various churches, another practice of the early church
            (see http://www.catholicchapterhouse.com/blog/2012/06/13/what-happened-to-the-apostles-where-their-remains-are-today/)

          • Ben Posin

            Aquinas: if you think it's falsifiable, tell me what I can do to falsify it.

          • Ben Posin

            Also, just because I am interested: that link doesn't work, and I am surprised to hear that the church supposedly has the bodies of the apostles. Strikes me as unlikely, but I'm willing to learn: where are they, and how can we trace them back 2000 years with any certainty?

          • Aquinas Rules

            Sorry about the broken link. If you click on it again, and go to the upper right hand corner of the page where it shows "STORE". Hit the pick list button and select blog, then enter "Apostles" in the search block, upper right hand corner. It should be the first of the list of articles. FYI, there is a diagram which shows the location of each of the apostles remains. The diagram was created primarily from written records and some oral tradition. There is probably some debate regarding some of the remains. The locations of apostles who are located in the Rome churches have greater certainty because we have written records of their remains being moved to those churches after Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire.

          • Susan

            The reason it is also eminently or particularly, falsifiable is because no one can argue about whether there was a resurrection when there's a body, assuming we can properly identify the person.

            That just makes it falsifiable, not "eminently falsifiable".
            And yes. People can argue about the resurrection.
            No one's responded to Ben's query about Matthew 27: 51-53. Were these physical resurrections? That would be falsifiable if we could produce their bones.
            So, metaphor or historical fact?

      • David Nickol

        Second, you assume that religious beliefs aren't falsifiable. While this may be true of some religions and teachings, it's certainly not true of Christianity.

        I think you can't take Christianity as a whole and say that it is falsifiable or unfalsifiable. There may be some Christian beliefs that are falsifiable and others that are unfalsifiable. Certainly the Catholic belief in transubstantiation is unfalsifiable, whether by its very nature (if it is true) or by it's design by theologians (if it is false). There is virtually nothing science can say about transubstantiation, because nothing accessible to science is affected by transubstantiation. It is difficult to imagine a dogma any more thoroughly unfalsifiable. The effects of all the sacraments are unfalsifiable, too. Heaven, hell, and final judgment are unfalsifiable. The efficacy of prayer (at least prayer of petition) is unfalsifiable.

        At the core of our faith is an eminently falsifiable historical claim, that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead at a specific place, at a specific point in history. There are several ways to falsify that claim.

        I don't suppose even an archaeological find that definitively identified the body of Jesus of Nazareth would falsify the resurrection. After all, Christianity believes in the resurrection of all the dead, and certainly the risen body of someone who has been cremated is not going to be a reassembling and reanimation of the person's ashes. But of course at this distance in time it is impossible to verify or falsify the resurrection of Jesus because not enough historical evidence was adequately preserved. I would certainly not scoff at someone who considered biblical accounts as evidence of the resurrection, and historical events as being the most consistent (in their opinion) that Jesus rose from the dead and galvanized his followers into continuing the movement he had begun during his earthly life. But what we have does not constitute proof in favor of the resurrection, and historically speaking, we have no proof against it. (That is, we have no evidence for credible alternate version of what happened, such as conflicting accounts by people who saw Jesus dead in his grave after the alleged resurrection or reports that followers had stolen the body. Of course, for those who insist miracles cannot happen, whatever evidence there is for the resurrection can simply be dismissed.)

        • "I think you can't take Christianity as a whole and say that it is falsifiable or unfalsifiable. There may be some Christian beliefs that are falsifiable and others that are unfalsifiable. Certainly the Catholic belief in transubstantiation is unfalsifiable, whether by its very nature (if it is true) or by it's design by theologians (if it is false). There is virtually nothing science can say about transubstantiation, because nothing accessible to science is affected by transubstantiation. It is difficult to imagine a dogma any more thoroughly unfalsifiable. The effects of all the sacraments are unfalsifiable, too. Heaven, hell, and final judgment are unfalsifiable. The efficacy of prayer (at least prayer of petition) is unfalsifiable."

          Good point, David, and I'll agree with you so long as you mean that those particular beliefs are not scientifically falsifiable. And that's understandable given that they deal with metaphysical questions. However, they are logically falsifiable. For instance, you can falsify the teachings of Catholicism, including those on transubstantiation, heaven, and hell, by showing they are mutually contradictory.

          Regardless, my initial point stands: the most basic, core teaching of Christians is eminently falsifiable. In fact, the Resurrection is more falsifiable than any other major religious claim I can think of.

          • Ben Posin

            I agree with David Nickol that the resurrection is NOT falsifiable, given, as he puts it, "at this distance in time it is impossible to verify or falsify the resurrection of Jesus because not enough historical evidence was adequately preserved." I find it baffling that you think otherwise. You suggest I produce the body. What Bones or CSI investigation do you think I could conduct to determine whether a particular 2000 year old bone fragment belonged to Jesus? What eye witnesses can I interrogate about what happened 2000 years ago? My understanding is the scholarly consensus is that the historical evidence doesn't demonstrate resurrection took place, but beyond that I don't see how you think anyone could ever PROVE that resurrection didn't happen.

            I'm also pretty skeptical of this idea of "logical falsification." The use of logic in solving questions of fact depends on how accurate our premises are, and how comprehensively we understand all the possible alternatives to our premises. And ultimately, any number of things may seem "logically possible" until the data comes in and we find out the truth. Anyway, an igtheist would tell you that God is so ill-defined a concept that logically proving or falsifying it is impossible.

          • David Nickol

            For instance, you can falsify the teachings of Catholicism, including those on transubstantiation, heaven, and hell, by showing they are mutually contradictory.

            I disagree. There is always a rationalization or justification. An all-merciful God would not send people to hell for all eternity. But wait! (1) God doesn't send people to hell. They choose it. He permits them to have their own way. (2) God is not only all-merciful, but all-just, and his justice demands that he send bad people to hell.

            There is an old, old story about a theologian who was asked to reconcile the Doctrine of Divine Mercy with the doctrine of infant damnation. 'The Almighty,' he explained, 'finds it necessary to do things in His official and public capacity which in His private and personal capacity He deplores. [Robert A. Heinlein (1907 - 1988) Methuselah's Children]

            Catholicism, being almost two thousand years old, is sufficiently rich and complex (like philosophy itself) that there are no arguments to which there are not already counterarguments. (Or if there are not already counterarguments, the raw materials for counterarguments are readily available.) The whole idea that the first two individual humans created could catastrophically damage the entire human race would be unthinkable to anyone encountering it for the first time, but two thousand years of some of history's most brilliant minds elaborating on it and arguing in favor of it prevent many of us raised as Christians from seriously questioning it.

          • Danny Getchell

            The set of things which are true is a very small subset of the set of things which are not logically falsifiable.

          • Ben Posin

            To touch a bit more on this idea of "logically falsifiable:" the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that this is not a thing. We only try to falsify beliefs in the first place if they are logically possible.

        • cminca

          "There is virtually nothing science can say about transubstantiation, because nothing accessible to science is affected by transubstantiation. It is difficult to imagine a dogma any more thoroughly unfalsifiable."
          Have a devout Catholic fast and then receive communion. Pump their stomach and look for human DNA that doesn't match the DNA of the host body.
          If it is there--transubstantiation took place. If there isn't--if all you find are sugars (carbohydrates from the wafer and the alcohol), then it didn't.
          Not that difficult.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            That would be a way of proving that no transfiguration occurs. The doctrine of transubstantiation holds that the essence is changed while all accidents (including everything accessible to the senses, and therefore everything that can be scientifically assayed) are unchanged. We don't think there is human DNA in there after the consecration.

          • cminca

            So, to put it bluntly, you can claim that it becomes the body and blood of Christ and I could claim it becomes Oreos and diet Dr. Pepper.......
            And our claims should be considered philosophically equal.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            I suppose the two claims would be philosophically equal in the sense that neither could proved to be true on the basis of philosophy. But I don't see them as being equal in terms of philosophical plausibility.

            The relationship between a person and his or her body is mysterious, even on purely scientific grounds. For example, does the oxygen in me become me at the point that it oxygenates my blood, etc. My body is a material revelation of me, but I don't really understand the mystery by which my body reveals me.

            The sense of mystery that I have when I contemplate Oreo cookies is somewhat less than the sense of mystery that I have when I contemplate a person. For that reason, I allow for the possibility that persons may manifest themselves in more interesting ways than Oreos manifest themselves.

          • cminca

            "But I don't see them as being equal in terms of philosophical plausibility."
            Perhaps you don't--that is your opinion and you are entitled to it.
            But it doesn't make the supposition any less valid or "philosophically plausible" to those who might think differently.

          • David Nickol

            No. Jim (hill climber) has it right. When bread or wine is "transubstantiated," all the "accidents" of bread and wine remain—color, taste, weight, shape, molecular structure. Only the "substance" changes. We would determine the "substance" of potatoes, orange juice, copper, tin, steel, vodka, and (aside from the Eucharist) bread and wine from their "accidents." But transubstantiation is the one exception. You can, of course, dispute the concepts of substance being what a thing really is and accidents accompanying but not determining substance, but that would be metaphysics, not science.

      • Danny Getchell

        Also, the Christian concept of God can be easily falsified if shown it is logically inconsistent.

        Brandon, you have selected several articles for this site which take the position that if some of God's actions as described in the Bible are inconsistent with the Catholic "concept of God", then the former can be, for all practical purposes, set aside.

        This leads me to conclude that it would not be possible to demonstrate, to your satisfaction, any inconsistency in that concept.

        • Ben Posin

          This times 1000.

    • Ben Posin

      whoops, accidentally upvoted my own post. bad form!

      • jakael02

        It's all good bro, I'll give you fist bumps to make up for it.

  • Thanks for bringing this up. I've encountered all these obstacles in talking with atheists. I can't even imagine what a trained apologist who writes books on the topic must encounter. He or she must have the patience of a rock. Maybe this is why the Bible uses the rock metaphor for Jesus or Peter.

    These qualities certainly do arise in more articulate atheists and agnostics (and in the last post, for theists) but I wonder what could be said about those people who generally do not care. The minority of skeptics will speak out or take action, taking the apparently moral high ground by citing "science," or relativism, as they write furiously in comment threads, but most nonbelievers never bother with these big questions. They do not even have a name; demographers simply call them "nones". The same could be said for believers who take a similarly passive approach to their faith. Out of the billion or so Catholics in the world, how many, particularly in the West, do we see reading scripture, taking the sacraments, praying daily? A shocking few, while the rest fall into the atheist's assumption that belief happens more by chance and thoughtlessness than by truth. They will never read Mr. Horn's book, nor will the read Hitchen's book; none of these matters seem to bother them.

    To avoid these errors spoken of in this post and the last one, both the theist and atheist have to rise above themselves and ponder some of these great questions deeply. They have to examine their life and reflect. Unfortunately, if they don't feel the need, no argument for, or against, religion can have any effect. Rational appeals require reason; emotional appeals require emotions; credibility appeals require trust or openness. If people are too busy working, playing, and loving themselves, these appeals to do and think the right way have little effect. One can observe the same indifference in politics where most have stopped caring, leaving it to the more radical voters to decide the fate of government.

  • cminca

    Is there a reason 8 comments were deleted?

  • jakael02

    Reason #3: "God of the gaps fallacy" is a fallacy I think atheist encounter when they first start exploring atheism from an apologetic perspective. But I'm not sure that a seasoned apologist in atheism would commit this fallacy. Please let me know if I'm misled here.

    • Ben Posin

      Alas, you are misled. The problem is that no one is going to want to call or consider their own particular argument "God of the Gaps," because that's a term that suggests the argument is a poor one.

      • jakael02

        Right, I agree.. i mean like someone wouldn't make this fallacy if they were seasoned kinda thing... or whatever... sounds eloquent huh?

      • "Alas, you are misled. The problem is that no one is going to want to call or consider their own particular argument "God of the Gaps," because that's a term that suggests the argument is a poor one."

        Or perhaps their arguments just aren't "God of the Gaps" arguments, and they rightly resists attempts to pejoratively smear them as such.

  • Steve Roberts

    You forgot bad Atheistic attitude #4: "Religion is a main cause of war, and that atheism promotes peace". There are just a handful of atheists responsible for more deaths in just a 100 years or so, than all so-called religious wars combined throughout known human history. Atheists and Theists are both humans with the same weakness and inclination toward the same evils/temptations. The only difference between the 2, is that most theists recognize a higher purpose in life, and are striving to improve the human condition of self, and those around him. This doesn't mean that "all" Atheists are evil, or more selfish.....but if any honest atheist should look at the impact of Christianity has had on humanity, they would find no other religion or organization, nor combination of religions and organizations that would ever come close to the numbers of humans that have been fed, clothed, educated, healed, comforted, visited in prison, etc......All of which was accomplished through great personal risk, sacrifice, and at great cost (including martyrdom).

    • cminca

      Can I inquire as to why my response was deleted?

      • Ben Posin

        I'd like to see what you wrote, and am always suspicious of the one-sided censorship that goes on here. But I think my blood pressure will be better served by pretending I don't see Steve Roberts' post.

        • cminca

          It is apparent that since entering a business relationship with Fr. Barron Brandon has become a "company man".

          In the last 24 hours I've had two comments removed--neither one was snarky, disrespectful, or offensive.

  • Loreen Lee

    Synopsis:
    1. No rational person can be an atheist (do we come from monkeys?)
    2. Atheists are immoral.
    3. Failing to empathize with atheists.
    vs.
    1. All religions contradict science
    2. Religion is just a product of geography
    3. All religion is a 'God of the gaps' fallacy.

    Am I correct in observing that the critique of the theists, (first set of issues) is directed more to the person than to any position, scientific or philosophical, (and thus may be deemed some kind of ad hominen!!). In contrast the second set of hypothesize seem to be directed towards ideological/philosophical issues.

    Just an 'observation'. (whether personal, scientific or philosophical) I'll leave to you).

    • I think this is partly because, in my experience, atheists typically focus on the views of theists while misguided theists often criticize atheists themselves. I note this to the atheists' credit.

      It may also be explained by the fact that atheists usually hold that atheism is not a belief system. And if atheism has no definitive belief or position, how can a theist critique it?

  • David Nickol

    It seems to me that if you change the all (explicit or implied) to most in the three statements, you have a pretty fair, although crudely put, critique of religion in general.

    “Most religion contradicts science.”
    “Most religion is just a product of geography.”
    "Most religion is a ‘God of the gaps’ fallacy.”

    That does not mean that Trent Horn is necessarily wrong. In an ideal world each side would try to refute the other side's very best arguments with their own very best arguments, and in arguing about atheism versus theism or science versus religion, that would mean a lot of commonly made arguments would not make the grade.

    I would add that what is frequently argue here is not theism versus atheism, but Christianity versus atheism. There are many theists, for example, who do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead but who nevertheless believe that there is a God.

    I would also add that it is indisputably true that people of a particular religion are overwhelmingly likely to be of that religion because they were raised in it from childhood. This does not in any way prove that no religion is correct. But it certainly does prove that most people will find the religion they were raised in to be the truest or most credible religion. So it certainly looks as if—even if there is a "one true religion"—people will behave as devoutly in a "false" religion and cling as tenaciously to it as people who have the "true" religion. So we can't conclude from the near universality of religion in human cultures that religion is "true" any more than we can conclude it is false. But we can conclude that most religion is "false."

  • Peter

    " The theist arrives at the logical conclusion that the cause of space and time cannot be bound by those things, and thus the first cause must have the divine properties of eternal, immaterial existence"

    This is not necessarily true.

    There are cosmological models which show that space and time retrospectively create themselves such as the Hartle Hawkings model, or that the arrow of time begins in both directions, forwards and backwards, giving the appearance of an eternal universe, such as the Aguirre Gratton model. These are naturalistic models for the existence of the universe which do not rely on external causes but contain all their causes within them.

    Cosmologists use these arguments to demonstrate that a first cause outside of space and time, which materially kick starts the universe into existence, is not necessary. However, even though these models may exclude an external prime mover, they do not dismiss the existence of a Creator.

    Just as a Creator uses nature to continuously create within the universe, so too would he use nature to bring the universe into existence in the first place. Naturalistic models of the universe, far from making a Creator redundant, demonstrate precisely how a Creator would use natural means to bring the cosmos into being, just as he uses natural means to continuously create.

    That is why I reject the Kalam argument, while at the same time always maintaining the necessity of a Creator who conceives the blueprint of the universe and everything in it, but lets nature turn that blueprint into reality.

    • Roman

      There are cosmological models which show that space and time retrospectively create themselves such as the Hartle Hawkings model, or that the arrow of time begins in both directions, forwards and backwards, giving the appearance of an eternal universe, such as the Aguirre Gratton model.

      A cosmological model by itself proves nothing unless it fits the empirical data. The Hartle-Hawkings model has been around for over 30 years and yet it has never been accepted by cosmologists. Why? Because it doesn't fit the empirical data. The Hartle-Hawkings model in particular is problematic because Hawkings had to introduce the concept of "imaginary time" into the model in order to force the model to avoid a singularity.....in other words a serious fudge factor which makes the model meaningless. Hawkings has stated publicly more than once that he wanted to avoid a singularity because he believes it suggests a creator.

      Last couple comments....nothing can create itself. In order for something to be able to create itself it would have had to exist before it existed - a clear logical inconistency. Also, there are a number of preeminent mathematicians that have demonstrated mathematically that an infinite past time is impossible. Look up proofs by Hilbert, Fraenkel, Rotman, Kneebone, Zermelo, Robinson, etc.

      • Peter

        "In order for something to be able to create itself it would have had to exist before it existed"

        Due to gravitational time dilation - a fact of life - the smaller the distance to a massive gravitational object the slower time passes. As gravity gets stronger, time begins to act like space in that as space between you and the massive object gets smaller, time becomes slower.

        In the singularity at the beginning of the universe, gravity was infinitely strong and so space would have been infinitely small and time infinitely slow. In other words, space and time had values of zero, which means there was no time and no space. Gravitational time dilation is a fact of life, and that it is perfectly rational for time and space to be zero at a point of infinite density associated with the beginning of the universe.

        In the absence of time and space at the beginning of the universe, it would therefore have been impossible for anything to exist. Not only did no time exist for anything to act upon the singularity, but no space existed either for anything to act within it. All we can say is that the singularity acted upon itself.

        Because we understand gravity - that the stronger it is the more time acts like space - and because we observe the universe expanding, we work it back to a point where gravity was so strong that time behaved exactly like space, so that at the beginning of the universe where there was no space there was also no time.

  • vito

    "If you were born in the year 1714 as opposed to the year 2014, you probably would have supported the enslavement of native Africans. If you were born in 2014 B.C., you probably would have denied the Earth revolved around the sun."

    First of all, why so sure about support for slavery? Has this "universal" support for slavery been documented? And who exactly supported slavery? All countries, all people? Slaves themselves too? Were they interviewed? Their opinions researched?

    Anyway, this has nothing to do with geography, but only with time. The problem is that at the same time people around the earth believe differently based on where they were born, save for some exceptions. Today, as 500 years ago, you religion is pretty much decided by the place you are born.

    And this is despite the fact that today religious texts, such as the Bible, Cathecism etc are available around the world. So the 'truth", whaterver it is, is available, you can no longer say, oh, look those poor savages would believe correctly, but they have not read the Bible. No, simply people who are born, say, in Iran, live through their lives without bothering for one minute that Christianity may be the true answer, while most of those born Christian never fear for a second that they may go to hell because they did not even bother to read Koran and acknowledge the widely accessible Islamic "truth". It remains true now, as it was a thousand years ago: you pretty much believe (at least initially, prior to education; or at least give some though to) what your parents instilled in you when you were a child.

    In science, thinks are a lot different. Many facts and laws are simply acknowledged universally. Everything can be tested. If something turns out to be wrong, the correction is than universally accepted. Nothing like that in religions. Very few or no common truths here. Only movement in the opposite direction - In fact, even the same religion (like Christianity) has been splitting into pieces and more and more "truths" have been appearing.

  • Elson

    No offense to anyone intended.

  • They've got become this trick composition via somebody which thought i would demonstrate their inspiration by means of producing their solution within crayon in a piece of building report. They've got become this portions talking about just how much a new past or present student's life has become affected by means of mom, daddy, or perhaps in which specially inspiring instructor...

  • Through the Looking Glass

    I think some philosophical arguments lead us into unknown territory which leads to Logical discussions that become logical but not necessarily accurate. The Apostle Paul long ago made reference to these fundamental errors. Here is Paul's remarks, and any comment is welcome concerning this post.

    18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”c

    20Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

    26Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

    “What no eye has seen,

    what no ear has heard,

    and what no human mind has conceived”