Tag Archives: Jesus

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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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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Upcoming Debate: Is the Bible God’s Word?

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I have been invited onto the Faith and Skepticism Podcast for a live debate where I will be discussing “Is the Bible God’s Word?” with atheist Kile B. Jones. Kile has a much more impressive resume than I do, having a Bachelors of Theology, a Masters of Sacred Theology and is currently a PhD student in Religion. Kile is the director of a super cool organization called “Interview an Atheist at Church Day“. He’s been published in a bunch of philosophical, religious and secular journals, spoken at conferences in the US and in the UK, as well as being the  Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Claremont Journal of Religion.

As for me, I’m in my final undergrad semester! I almost have a degree in biology (with a minor in philosophy). I’ve also taught/discussed apologetics at a few local events (retreats, conferences and church classes). And I contribute to this blog!

If you’re on facebook, here is the event page.
If not:
The discussion will be on Friday, October 25th, 2013.
It will start around 8pm. We’ll be doing it via google hangout and you can watch it live on YouTube! You can also contribute to the conversation via twitter by tagging your tweet with #fasdebate and we’ll address many of the questions as they come in.

I think it’ll be a lot of fun.
You should join us! Faith and Skepticism will provide a link to the debate the day of.
Set your calendar! Tell your friends! I’m looking forward to it.

Here is the video of the debate

A Conversation with @AADariusz

Twit longer has to be the most annoying things about Twitter. If you can’t say it in a few tweets, then you probably shouldn’t say it at all. But I guess some things are just difficult to say in 140 character, and really, that is why we started this blog in the first place, so let’s get started.

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@AADariusz (Darius from here on out) replied to a tweet I had made pointing out the logical contradiction in a popular internet atheist meme asking someone to prove that an [invisible pink unicorn] doesn’t exist and if someone can do that, they would then employ the same method to prove that God doesn’t exist. Now what was funny about the meme is that it would be impossible for a unicorn to be both pink and invisible at the same time. This would mean that the idea of a unicorn that is of the invisible pink kind would be self contradictory and thus could not possibly exist. The whole meme was self defeating, but what I found odd is that Darius attempted to defend it’s merit. In doing so, he made the claim that the properties of God are self contradictory, a claim he then tried to back up by linking me to the Internet Infidels library of over a dozen arguments. He chose not to defend this assertion himself and then claimed that if I had linked him the hundreds of theistic arguments that he wouldn’t mind knocking them all down. The guy who defended the credibility of a self defeating meme is going to “knock down” Alvin Plantinga’s Ontological argument? Professional philosophers haven’t been able to do it, so how does a layman hold any hope?        Continue reading

Defining Faith

How often I have run into internet atheists trying to tell me that the definition of faith is “belief despite the evidence”. Now I’m not surprised that they would try and redefine a word that would make things easier for them, like the definition of atheism, but this one is perhaps the most laughable.

So how should a Christian define faith? Well they should go to the Bible, of course and what better passage to go to then Hebrews 11: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” it also goes on to say that “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (NKJV) Now does that sound like the ridiculous caricature presented in the opening paragraph? No. It is the hope and trust that we put in the Lord God Almighty.

So what’s wrong with defining faith as mentioned in the opening paragraph? Well for starters it’s a clear cut case of the strawman fallacy. Not only that, but how many times in your life do you tell people that you have faith in them? If you mean “I believe you despite the evidence”, then I think you should tell them that, and watch their reaction.

The fact is, faith is trust and we Christians put their trust in God. Whether you think that is silly or not is of no consequence. Seeing as how it is us who have faith in God, it is up to us to tell you what we mean when we say it, and not your place to tell us what how we define faith.

 

Phil Lost 

“Zeitgeist” – Pagan Myths and Jesus

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Zeitgeist is a documentary that became popular several years ago, and despite being completely false, the ideas that it promoted are still fairly popular on the internet.
Yes. On the internet.
And that’s the only place that it is popular.
You will never find anyone in scholarly circles making these arguments.
Side note: if you are interacting with someone and they point to Zeitgeist as a solid refutation of Christianity, you are most likely dealing with an “Internet Atheist“.

The general idea of this video (part 1) is that the story of Jesus is remarkably similar to the stories of other ancient mythological stories (like Horus and Mithras), and from this we are to conclude that the story of Jesus is nothing but a myth (just like Horus and Mithras).
That is the claim. And if you haven’t seen this part of the internet “documentary”, Zeitgeist… click here.

First off, I’d like to point out what a silly claim that is.
Jesus bears similarities to Mithras and Horus, therefore the story of Jesus is also a myth. Unfortunately for us, Peter Joseph (the man responsible for Zeitgeist) never actually presents an argument. So we can’t dissect an argument. But if this was a formal, deductive argument, it might be something like this:
1. If story X is similar to a mythical story, then story X is mythical.
2. Jesus is similar to the stories of [insert pre-christian deity here, (ex: Mithras)].
3. The story of [pre-christian deity] is a myth.
4. Therefore, the story of Jesus is a myth.
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