Tag Archives: reason

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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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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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

Consider the Following – Ham Vs Nye Debate

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Ken Ham (of Answers in Genesis) and Bill Nye (the ‘Science Guy’) debated whether or not creation is a viable model when it comes to the question of origins. The debate happened last night (Feb. 4th, 2014) and the blog-o-sphere is erupting with people tossing their opinions in.
Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 12.50.53 PM
I’ve read a lot of these blog posts and I’m going to point you to several that I think are quite good. However, you should watch the debate first.
You can find it here.

Why are they debating? Great question.
It is because Bill Nye said some stuff about creationism that Ken Ham didn’t agree with, and the stork came and delivered a debate.
The debate was announced on Ken Ham’s Facebook page on Jan. 1st.

My first impression was that this debate was going to be rather silly, because neither Ham nor Nye are known for their good debating skills. Ham is an unwavering young earth creationist whose approach is unapologetically presuppositional. Nye was the frontman for a kids’ science show and is currently a science popularizer.
– I would have rather had people a little more qualified talking about this topic.
– I was afraid that people might assume all Christians agree with Ken Ham’s approach.
– I was concerned that this would continue the false “science vs god” dichotomy.
But! The world doesn’t revolve around me, so the debate happened anyway. Continue reading

Just Give Me Evidence! EVIDENCE EVIDENCE EVIDENCE!

Hi everyone.6a00d8341bf68b53ef01348624d3f9970c-800wi
As usual, yet another blog post is being inspired by twitter conversations. Twitter gives me such great #BlogFodder

If you’ve spent any time discussing the existence of God or the truth of Christianity online, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is how it might go:
1. An atheist (or group of atheists) will demand evidence for God.
2. You respond by giving them evidence for God.
3. They just label it a fallacy (or worse, say that ‘arguments are not evidence‘) and repudiate it.
4. They ask for evidence again.
5. You reply with, “I just gave you evidence, you didn’t address it. What do you mean by evidence?”
6. The atheist(s) reply, “STUPID CHRISTIAN! DON’T TRY TO REDEFINE EVIDENCE! GIVE ME EVIDENCE!!!11”

Remember that conversation you had with that one [group of] atheist(s) that sounded just like that? That was incredibly frustrating, wasn’t it?
I know that feel, bro.
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Please Stop Arguing Definitions, Thanks

Ok, everyone. Lend me your ears!

Many atheists want to define atheism as “lack of belief in god(s)” and faith as “believing without evidence”.
Many theists want to define atheism as “the belief that god does not exist” and faith as “confident trust based on knowledge”.

Definitions-demotivator

… aaaand the conversation starts and stops there.

The goal of a conversations is NOT to strong-arm the other person into accepting your definition of a word. The goal of conversations is to discuss the issues reasonably and ultimately… discover the truth.

Stop it.
Stop this senseless bickering over definitions.

I can’t imagine someone thinking, “faith is belief without evidence? Christianity is a lie!” or “atheism is the belief that god doesn’t exist? Christianity must be true!”

If someone says they have faith, ask, “what do you mean by faith?”
If someone says they’re an atheist, ask “what do you mean by atheist?”

Accept their definition and move forward.

In this particular instance, suspend your inner analytic philosopher and channel your inner pragmatist.

This is a plea to everyone.
Let’s all work to move the conversation forward. Stop getting stuck arguing definitions. And stop defining your opponents position into irrationality.

– ElijiahT

Ps. This is not some kind of post-modern “words don’t have definitions” appeal. Words do have meaning. But we want to continue the conversation, not stop it because we can’t agree on the basics.