Monthly Archives: April 2011

Monica’s Longer Arguments No Better Than the Tweets, part 3

Yesterday, I promised that we would see how shallow the typical atheist seems to read the Bible.  I actually learned that long ago with my failed foray into the forums of Why Won’t God Heal Amputees.  It didn’t take long for the crew to harp on one of their favorite passages in the Bible, where Jesus says that if we pray for a mountain to move, that it will get up and move (Mt 17:20).

Obviously, if I pray for Mt. Everest to levitate over the ocean and land in the Appalachian Mountains, we know that won’t happen.  Which leads to two general conclusions about that passage.  Either Jesus was speaking metaphorically, or the Bible is total bull.  WWGHA concludes the latter without even considering the former.

If a Christian argues that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, then the whole forum membership throws a collective fit and claims it is impossible to discern metaphors and literary devices in the Bible from the literal parts.  Which leads them to believe that the entire Bible is to be taken at 100% face value, no matter what.

The TV series Police Squad! was a straight-laced cop drama that took place in an alternate universe where there is no such thing as figurative language.  If someone said that a name “rings a bell,” then a distant bell would ring.  A running gag was for Lt. Drebin to offer a witness a cigarette by holding it to them and simply saying it’s name.

“Cigarette?” he would ask.

The witness would make eye contact with Drebin and reply, “Yes, it is!”

This is how the atheists of WWGHA read the Bible–as though it were absent figurative language.  This atheist looks at an obvious example of metaphor and says, “Well, the Almighty God said it, he would be clear about it, so it must be true that you can move a mountain as Jesus says here!”  They realize that you can’t, because no one can move a mountain like that.  So, they force the conclusion that the Bible is completely false, based only upon their erroneous interpretation of the text.

This is an example of the same sort of fallacy.  Here, Monica (Twitter user @Monicks) is reading and interpreting a passage correctly.  However, she isn’t thinking deeply enough about what the ramifications of it really are. Read the rest of this entry

Monica’s Longer Arguments No Better than the Tweets, part 2

Monica, who goes on Twitter as @Monicks, has thousands of followers.  Why?  Her arguments are even more vacuous than most.  I think I got hooked into this for the same reason I follow @antitheistangie (Angie Jackson)–not for intellectual arguments or deep thinking, but because she’s really, really hot.

That said, let’s examine one of the remaining two commands of the Bible that no one follows.  It’s interesting that I mentioned I’m following Angie because she’s super hot, since divorce (Mk 10:8-12) is today’s topic.

I agree that divorce is forbidden; so what?  The people that God declares righteous in the Bible: were they perfect and without sin?  No!  Abraham lied numerous times.  Jacob deceived his brother and his father to be the heir of promise.  David slept with another man’s wife, then conspired to have the husband killed.  Peter denied Jesus three times.  Paul killed and tortured Christians to get them to renounce their faith in Jesus.

If we had to come before God with our works, we’d all be screwed.  Especially me!  I just admitted to a sin in the introduction of this post–looking at a woman besides my wife with lust!  The righteous live by faith.

So, at the end of the day, the truth of Christianity doesn’t rise or fall on the actions of its practitioners.  If it did, this religion would never have gotten off the ground.

But that’s getting away from the central issue of ignoring divorce.  We’ll come back to the idea that the actions of Christians isn’t the arbiter of the truth of Christianity in a moment.  First, let’s look at the parallel passage in Matthew 19:9, which reads, “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (emphasis added).  This is a twist on our story.

The translation “sexual immorality” really isn’t the best way to capture the Greek word that Matthew used.  The NET Bible translates it simply “immorality.”  The word is properly understood as separating parts from the whole or destroying the union or fellowship of [something].  I take this to mean that anything that destroys the fellowship of marriage (beating your wife, gazing with lust upon Angie Jackson, creating an unsafe home environment, physically or emotionally abusing your children) should be grounds for divorce.  Sexual immorality is only the tip of the iceberg.

So, divorce is permissible if one of the partners destroys the solidarity of the marriage.  Other passages confirm this (check 1 Cor 7:10-16).

Do I think that all Christian divorces are taking place because someone broke up the solidarity of the marriage?  No!  I’m not naive.  I know that some Christian divorces occur for the same frivolous reasons as the unbelievers’ divorces: “We’re not compatible anymore;” “I didn’t know he snored that loud!” “She nags me everyday.”

That brings us full circle: the truth of Christianity doesn’t rely on the actions of its practitioners.  If it did, this religion wouldn’t have survived for very long, because all of us are sinners–whether we lie about our marital status to save our own skin, deceive our closest family to wrongfully obtain an inheritance, or secretly wish Angie was wearing something skimpier in the latest video.

Tomorrow, we shall show that atheists truly don’t think very deeply about possible meanings of biblical texts.  They read what is there and that’s it.

Monica’s Longer Arguments no Better than the Tweets!, part 1

Recently, I posted that Twitter user Monicks made a supremely ignorant statement about God and moral responsibility.  In that post, I specifically mention the trouble with arguing via Twitter; namely, you get only 140 characters to make your point.

So I thought that, perhaps, Monica would argue better if she had unlimited characters to work with.  And so I checked her blog, and read the most popular post on it.

So much for that idea.  All unlimited words did for her was give her more rope with which to hang herself.

So let’s look at these 11 things that the Bible forbids, yet we do anyway.  First, Monica intelligently anticipates the main objection that will be raised, to which she unintelligently replies:

As a final note, I know that nine of these 11 cite the  Old Testament, which  Christianity doesn’t necessarily adhere to as law.

To which I say: If you’re going to ignore the section of Leviticus that bans about tattoos, pork, shellfish, round haircuts, polyester and football, how can you possibly turn around and quote  Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”) as irrefutable law?

But that’s me trying to introduce logic to religious fanaticism (or, at least, trying to counter some mix of ignorance, bigotry and narcissism with logic). And I should probably know better.

Why is this unintelligent?  The short answer is in this video from Stand to Reason.

Long answer: Read the rest of this entry

Dumbest Tweet I’ve Read in a While

I’ve complained that arguing via Twitter is a bad idea.  The problem is that you get 140 characters to make your point, and that’s it.  So reading a tweet that’s truly stupid, but requires more than 140 characters to respond to, creates a dilemma.  There’s TwitLonger for some of those cases, or I can link it up to my blog as I’m doing in this case, but there’s no way to know how many people will actually read the reply.

Another issue is, while you might reply to the person that said it, and you include “@” + their Twitter name so they will see it, not everyone who read the tweet will see it.  This is complicated by the fact that users can retweet posts that they like, spreading the message (but no replies) far and wide.

And, there are far more atheists using Twitter than theists.  Which means that, when an atheist says something that’s plain ignorant but is catchy nonetheless, it is going to get read and retweeted dozens of times.  Even if a theist writes a reply, the damage is already done.  Few (if any) will see the reply.

Twitter user Monicks (whose real name appears to be Monica), has the ignorant tweet of (perhaps) the year.  Maybe not, since we’re only in April (the best month of the year, and yesterday was the best day of the year).  But it’s still pretty ignorant.  Monica says:

I’m not subscribed to Monica, so the only reason I saw it is because she was retweeted by ThinkAtheist, who I do subscribe to.  Monica has 5,609 subscribers and ThinkAtheist has 8,934 subscribers.  That particular tweet was retweeted by at least 12 other users, so it looks like way more people have seen that tweet than will ever see this reply.  But I wanted to try anyway. Read the rest of this entry

Questions Theists Can’t Answer: 2 Wise Observations

Belief is, by definition, the consideration of something unsupported by evidence. Because of this, it is inherently unfounded on truth.

Depends on what sort of belief is under consideration. Some beliefs are logical deductions based on other beliefs. These are founded on the truth of the beliefs that come before them. Others are grounding beliefs that have no evidence to support them one way or the other.

The problem with this statement is that it applies to atheists as well. Everyone, whether theist or atheist, starts somewhere in their structure of beliefs. Those presuppositions upon which a worldview is based are really the crux of the debate between atheism and theism. The theist starts with God, while the theist starts with nature.

I’ve also noticed that one atheist commented that one way they can tell that theists are full of “bullshit” is that we can answer every question. The scientist, it is reasoned, admits his limitation and is happy to say, “I don’t know” when he doesn’t know the answer. Theists, on the other hand, answer every question that the atheist proposes. Since we never seem to admit that we don’t know the answer, that means that we’re full of it.

So, basically, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.  Let me illustrate why.

The existence of a list such as this indicates that the atheist believes that we can’t answer every question proposed. That might be true. A few months after I started my main blog, I was forced to admit that I didn’t know the answer to the proposed dilemma:

So which is stronger, manfluence or Godfluence? Well, Hasic posits that man put the belief about God in the heads of children, and that the kids are responding to that belief, not to God. But this overlooks the fact that God determined the situation in which these kids were placed, not man. If they grow up Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim, He wanted that to happen for a reason known only to Him and that increases His glory somehow.

I don’t know why and there isn’t any way to find out (Job 37:5). (source, emphasis added)

There really are somethings that humans don’t know the answers to, and I’ve tried to be forthright about that. Now, usually when I do, the atheist in the argument immediately claims victory: “Ha! I found a question you don’t know the answer to! I win!”

Can’t have it both ways, guys. Either you want me to answer everything, or you want me to admit that I occasionally don’t have an answer. But you can’t claim victory when I have all of the answers, and also claim victory if I don’t have all the answers. We call that “stacking the deck.”

Insomina Pays Off!

Because I couldn’t sleep, I wrote the answer to proof #11 in my newly updated response to God is Imaginary, that case study in inconsistency, incoherence, and special pleading.  Insomnia has finally paid off.  Enjoy!

Questions Theists Can’t Answer, the Atonement

I was recently directed to a Reddit thread where the atheists were proposing questions that theists can’t answer. Surprise, surprise, we can answer them, and in many cases have answered them (just not the satisfaction of the atheist). Of course, personal satisfaction isn’t a prerequisite for truth.

That said, what follows are questions from that thread that center on the Atonement. Read the rest of this entry

CA: Cory’s April Fool’s Day Post

Guest Post by Tom Scanlon

At first, I was a tad upset by Cory’s April Fool’s Day post, much like everyone else.  But that’s just a knee-jerk reaction to being called a name.  I thought about what Cory’s insult really means in the grand scheme of things.

See, I don’t believe in Cory’s God.  Or any other god.  I think that Cory is delusional for believing in such nonsense.  The Bible is filled with fairy tales, mythology, and stacks of propaganda for the little Yahweh cult started during King Josiah’s reign.  If I really believe that the Bible is no authority of any kind, then I’m not a fool for saying, “There is no God,” whether I say it in my heart or in my head.  Cory can re-post the text of any Psalm he wants, and it shouldn’t make a lick of difference.

For those atheists that got mad at Cory for posting that garbage, it looks like hearing the words of the Scripture convicted your conscience.  As if you’re suppressing the knowledge of God and when reading his word against you, you lash out.  Lashing out means you know the Scripture is true and you’re just trying to stifle those who try to proclaim it.  That way, you don’t have to keep hearing it and get that pang of conscience that goes along with suppressing the truth.

Like when the murderer trying to convince the police of his innocence sits in the police interrogation room, and the detectives lay out piece of evidence after piece of evidence.  He knows he’s guilty, but it’s getting more difficult by the piece of evidence to deny.  So he lashes out at the detective questioning him.  He gets angry and shoves all of the evidence away from him.  He doesn’t want to hear it.  He doesn’t want to see it.  He wants to keep denying he committed the crime, but he can’t because the truth is right in front of him.

So that’s why I’m taking it calmly.  Getting fired up is to be an inconsistent atheist, which I am not.  Getting fired up makes us look guilty of a sin.  We all know there’s no sin to be guilty of, so why let it get to us?  Right?

CA: How Atheism Cost Me my Marriage

Guest Post by Tom Scanlon

So we understand each other, atheism itself didn’t cost me my marriage.  That would be ridiculous.  But the methodology I used to embrace atheism did cost me my marriage!

As a Christian, I believed in the Resurrection.  But I realized that the Resurrection left no evidence, except for numerous stories from eyewitnesses.  We all know that eyewitness testimony is extremely unreliable.  I can’t rely on eyewitness testimony, even the staggering number of people that claimed to see Jesus after his death (Paul said it was north of 500), because you just can’t rely on eyewitnesses!  It’s too subjective.

Realizing the subjectivity of eyewitness accounts, and realizing that there was nothing I could forensically touch or taste that would lead me to the truth, I have to side with the fact that never have I seen a body three-days dead get up and walk.  It should take more than inherently unreliable eyewitness testimony for anyone to believe that.

Eyewitness testimony is bad!

So, to be consistent, I started applying that to my everyday life.  When Laura, my wife, told me that it was raining outside, unless she was drenched when she walked in the door, I’d go check for myself.  She’s an eyewitness, after all.  She could be biased towards rain that day since the weatherman had predicted it, and thus be mistaken.  She could have just wanted it to rain and believed she saw rain.  Or, she could be lying to me to further an unseen agenda.

Either way, the only way to ascertain the truth would be to see it with my own eyes.  If Laura announced dinner was ready, I wouldn’t believe her until I smelled the food or saw it on the table.  If she told me a story about her past, I would try to empirically verify it, either from her old yearbooks or by looking at her scrapbooks.  Not her journals (that’s still eyewitness testimony); only pictures would do!

I started doing that at work, too.  I never believed what I was told, only what I could see with my own eyes.  There were lots of whispers, and no one wanted to work with me.  But I continued to verify every story someone told me, regardless of how mundane.  If I couldn’t forensically verify it, I didn’t believe it.

When Laura, or someone acting on her behalf, told me that she was staying late at work or visiting my in-laws, I never believed that outright.  If Laura were having an affair, that is exactly the sort of thing they’d tell me to keep it a secret.  So I always drove by her office or my in-laws on the way home to see if her car was there.

Laura started to get this crazy idea that I didn’t trust her.  “Honey,” I’d reassure her, “it’s not you.  I trust you.  I just don’t trust any eyewitness testimony.  Period.  Unless I can get forensic evidence to back it up, then I just won’t accept it on someone’s word!”

I thought she’d understand, but she filed for divorce only six months after I started this.  She also filed for an order of protection.  Since I was constantly driving by her alleged whereabouts, she got this crazy idea that I was stalking her.

What ticked me off most is that she had no forensic evidence to back up her claim: no tire tracks, no paint chips from my car, nor any surveillance tapes showing my car checking up on her.  Nothing like that.  Just three eyewitnesses.  The judge accepted the eyewitness testimony and granted the order!  Can you believe that?  How insulting.  Not to mention a bit ironic.

Happy National Atheists’ Day!

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?

There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

–Psalm 14