Q&A: How to Dismantle Christianity

A while ago, I wrote a post called “How to Dismantle Christianity” where I explained why I am a Christian and how, if you were so inclined, you would be able to persuade me to abandon my beliefs. Due to the fact that “apologetics” was a central player in my conversion story, the logical and rational defense of the Christian worldview is not something I stumbled upon after being a Christian for several years.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.46.50 PMA little while after I posted it, @ArchAngelMike had some questions for me (those can be found here). Its been a long time coming (life sorta… happened, you know how it is), but here are my brief answers to Mike’s questions.  For the reader, I’m going to try to make it so that you don’t have to jump back and forth between posts. I hope I’m at least partially successful.

Mike asks a LOT of questions. And these questions come with significant philosophical baggage that needs to be sorted out. As an example, imagine a child asking “how does a plant eat?” There is a lot there to unpack, isn’t there? (Also, I’m not calling AAMike a child) For this reason, this post is probably going to be much, much longer than the posts I usually write. Every single one of these questions could easily be a lengthy blog post in itself.
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Atheist TV

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 12.01.20 PMI don’t usually do this talk-about-it-before-it-comes-out thing, but AtheistTV is launching on July 29th (on Roku) and they’ve released a promotional video to get people hyped about it. And well, lets just say I have mixed feelings.

Click here to watch the promo!

I am all for people being free to produce whatever content they want (well, within reason of course) and to promote whatever viewpoint they would like. So I am all for AtheistTV from a ‘political’ perspective. I would never censor someone simply because I disagree with them. However, I do have some concerns about AtheistTV, and these concerns were confirmed by this short promotional video.
So if you didn’t watch it yet, do that now. I’ll wait.

If you know me you’ll probably be able to guess where I’m going to go with this. I see a major problem with what has become known as the community of “Internet Atheists“.

A Wild Internet AtheistPoint of note:
I do not think all atheists are ‘internet atheists’. By ‘internet atheism’, I mean the relatively large subgroup of [totally unreasonable] atheists who are loud, obnoxious and almost entirely unable to think critically. They’re the types that retweet memes about how Jesus = Horus and all religies are biased and brainwashed. Internet atheists don’t have beliefs, they just have unbiased facts and “faith” is profanity. Science is the best thing ever and philosophy is not to be considered,  because philosophy is nothing more than dead “word salad” (or #philosowank on twitter). They blame religion for every problem that has ever existed (ever), and claim that all atheists are the pure and unadulterated beacons of #reason, #science and #rationality. The internet atheist will equate studying theology with studying the dietary habits of leprechauns and hermeneutics is just another way to twist the Bible to say whatever you want it to say (you homophobic misogynistic racist bigot). If you’ve ever run into someone who claims that ‘scientist’ & ‘christian’ are contradictory and that a proper understanding of #BASICLOGIC will lead to atheism… congratulations, a wild internet atheist has appeared in your vicinity.
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“Christians are Retarded” and Other Stupid Things People Say

I’ve decided  to disrupt my totally erratic and inconsistent posting “schedule” to write a special response to this amazing work of art blog post on “Godless Mom‘s” blog: “Christians are Mentally Ill“, by @virtuarat.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.14.34 AMI’m not entirely sure what inspired Godless Mom to allow this kind of nonsense on her blog, but after interacting with @virtuarat a little bit on twitter, he assured me that he was using “the word ‘retarded’ in its truest sense“, it is not meant to be insulting, and he does stand by the use of “the word retarded“. And by “retarded”, he means “delay the development or progress of; hinder or impede“.

So, in his post, @Virtuarat attempted to lay out his case as to why Christians are delayed, hindered or impeded in their development.
Go ahead and read it.
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How to Dismantle Christianity

Recently, I was invited onto Chris Webber’s “C-Webb’s Sunday School” podcast to discuss the topic, “Changing Your Mind About God”. You can find the link to that here!
The discussion includes input from both atheists and theists:
– Chris Webb himself (@cwebb619) of C-Webb’s Sunday School
– Me! (@ElijiahT) of both this blog and ThinkLearnLive
– Adam Reakes (@AdamReakes) of The Herd Mentality Podcast
– A Matter of Doubt (@AMatterOfDoubt) of A Matter of Doubt
– Conversion Points Radio (@ConversionRadio) of Conversion Points Radio
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I encourage you to listen to this discussion. I really enjoyed contributing to it, and I enjoyed listening to the contributions of the others. The podcast came out a little while ago, but this is ‘evergreen content’, if you want to use marketing terminology🙂

That being said, I wrote out my contribution here! Its not verbatim, but its close.
A lot of people ask me why I believe in God, and this explains why.
Enjoy!🙂

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When Chris first proposed the question, “what would it take to get me to change my belief about god”, I thought it would be a little too much fun to talk about it. After all, epistemology (the study of knowledge) and God are two of my favorite topics to discuss.

However, the more I thought about it… and the more research I did… the more I realized that I’m not entirely sure what would cause me, personally, to change my belief about God.

In general, if someone believes something (lets call it X)… and a defeater is presented for X, there are two options.
They either give up the belief, or provide a defeater for that defeater and maintain the belief. Well, I guess you could ignore the defeater, but lets imagine there is no deliberate cognitive dissonance going on here.
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Arguments & Evidence – Remix’d

About 6 months ago, I wrote a post called “Arguments and Evidence – Should an Argument Be Considered Evidence?” where I examined the relationship between arguments and evidence. The conclusion of my analysis was this:

argument5Evidence is used in justification for certain truth-bearing propositions. An argument is a series of truth-bearing propositions, logically leading to a conclusion. If the premises of an argument are justified by evidence, and the argument is both valid and sound, the conclusion logically follows.

That logical conclusion from the evidence is also evidence for a certain conclusion. So, an argument is evidence. However, this is not meant to be a bifurcation between the concepts. Arguments and evidence are interdependent upon each other.

I think my point is rather trivially true, but not everyone seems to agree with me.
I think its because they don’t actually understand my point. I did my best to respond in the comments section of the previous post, but I received a blog response from @nonprophetess titled “An Argument for Evidence“. This post highlights the primary misunderstanding behind the rejection of my conclusion.

She didn’t particularly like the evidence for my mortality, in the form of this argument:
1. All men are mortal.
2. Elijiah is a man.
3. Therefore, Elijiah is mortal.

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On Interacting With Street Epistemologists

A reblog-worthy post by Nick Peters at Deeper Waters on Boghossian’s congregation.

I have dealt with the atheistic presuppositionalists (“street epistemologists”) for quite some time, and I can confirm that this is an accurate assessment of many (or most) of them.

– Pitting science against religion is a horrible argument.
– Psychoanalyzing religious belief is not a response, it is a dismissal.
– Stop deliberately misunderstanding “faith”. This is what most people call “a straw man”.

Check it out.

Deeper Waters

What’s been my experience so far interacting with Street Epistemologists? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I was asked by an apologetics group I belong to to describe what has been my experience thus far dealing with street epistemologists. You see, I was thrilled when I heard Peter Boghossian, author of “A Manual For Creating Atheists” (which I have reviewed here and interviewed Tom Gilson on here) had decided to come out with a show called the Reason Whisperer where he plans to have live conversations with people of “faith” and get them closer at least to deconversion.

I think this is a Godsend really.

I’ve long been waiting to see if there is something that will wake up the church from its intellectual slumbers and this I hope is it! We’ve had more than enough warnings and yet too many Christians are too caught up in themselves…

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A Manual for Creating [totally unreasonable] Atheists

This blog post will teach you how to talk people out of their faith. You’ll learn how to ridicule the faithful through mockery, because this kind of behavior will force them to value reason and rationality, cast doubt on their beliefs, and mistrust their faith. I call this activist approach to helping people overcome their faith, “Street Awesomeness”.
The goal of this blog post is to create a generation of Street Awesomes: people equipped with an array of dialectical and clinical tools who actively go into the streets, the prisons, the bars, the churches, the schools, the community, and ESPECIALLY THE INTERNET — into any and every place the faithful reside— and help them abandon their stupid religion and embrace atheism.
Enter the Street Awesome: an inarticulate, unclear, unhelpful voice with an unremitting desire to force people into overcome their faith and to create a better world— a world that uses mockery, memes, logical fallacies, %#$&ING SCIENCE, and awesomeness to build the future; a future full of unreasonable and philosophobic anti-theists who are irrationally obsessed with F&#%ing SCIENCE!!!

I have a whole ton of points to make. Pay attention! Memorize them all!
THERE’S LIKE TEN. AND SOME BONUS PRO-TIPS.

Point #1!
As everyone knows, all atheists always use reason, F&%$ING SCIENCE, logic and awesome when they come to conclusions. And as we also know, all religious people rely upon stupidity when they come to their beliefs. If you use reason, F#&%ing science, logic and awesome… you will be an atheist.
End of story.
If you embrace science, you’re an atheist.
A religious scientist is an oxymoron because all religious people reject science. Continue reading