1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Austin Cline

Christian Chat Rooms

By August 16, 2005

Follow me on:

If you're an atheist who has ever visited Christian chat rooms or discussion forums, you've probably experienced how everyone will suddenly turn on you in order to convince you that you are wrong and must convert. Usually, this isn't done in a friendly, polite, or very civil manner - it's like they are trying to convince a rapist to stop raping women.

Atheist Mommy writes about her recent experience in a Christian chat room:

I became the hated one. Left and right they were throwing verses at me and telling me that god will show me he’s real one day soon. So I stopped them and said “Isn’t it funny. Isn’t it funny how before you knew I was an Atheist you all were so very nice and we had a good conversation about the bible and now your trying to tell me I’m wrong and you’re right.” Morality has been thrown out the window.

This is why I fight. This is why I’ve made a blog, several forums and a shop/website. This is the blinded stupidity I’m fighting against to make this world better for all children. There is no reason why we can’t agree to disagree. Not once did I tell them they were wrong. I didn’t go in there laughing at their childishness for believing in such fairy tales like a god. At least not until they belittled me and told me their god was going to make me see. Apparently if you don’t believe in god you also can’t see.

When it comes to converting others, many Christians seem to believe that all other considerations are secondary at best. There is little or nothing that they won’t do and, in the process, they demonstrate just how thin their faith really is — they demonstrate just how little they adhere to their own ethical standards and how little they really have to teach others.

Read More:

Comments
October 24, 2006 at 12:56 am
(1) David says:

First I would like to let you know that I felt the same way that you did but, I have found some truth that most So Called Christians don’t know simply because they don’t read and study the Bible.
I came across these seven proofs that God exists. Number (1) CREATION. We as human beings exists. Matter exists. The universe exists. Our own galaxy, and our vast solar system, and other galaxies with their solar systems. Our solar system has a “dwarf star” the sun, which is positioned precisely where it needs to be to provide stored energy for our fossil fuels to be cooked down under unbelievable amounts of pressure, daylight, our seasons. No other planet can even show any possability that life can be sustained on it. Our own galaxy is said to consist of two hundred billion, billion stars—many of them much larger than our sun. The earth is but a single grain of sand on all the seashores on earth, in comparison to its place in our galaxy. No-one doubts the universe, we merely stand in awe of it, mind-boggling, breathtaking awe. It is truly amazing the vast number of types of life that there are on this earth. Your logical mind demands a Creator for a creation.
(2) LAW. What about the forces that act upon all creation? What about the laws which uphold the nuclear reaction in our very own sun which gives us heat (Just enough not to completly burn us up) and light? What about gravity, the magnetic field that every planet or moon has, ot inertia? Science must work within these laws to invent, design, and produce the wondrous machines that make are life so very easy. Aerodynamics is a very good example. An aircraft must be designed to overcome drag and gravity by devices such as a jet or propeller engines and wings, which produce lift. You could not expect to just eye ball what you think that a wing should look like and slap it on a plan and think that it will work. Science must comply with existing laws, trying to ever find more efficient means to obey these principles and laws which are unchangeable, from creation. When we do not obey those laws , we suffer. Break the laws, and they break us. Get in harmony with them, obey them, and they bless us. Undisputable laws, the laws governing all of creation. This itself requires a great LAWGIVER.
(3) LIFE. You and I are amoung Billions of creatures, from man to huge blue whales to microorganisms to elephants to plants, we all share something we call “life.” Life is a true cycle. And the only way to break that cycle is only by death, and its only beginning is through pre-existing life of the same kind.
The Evolutionary thought proposes that randomness produced life. Think of the myriad forms of life—plant, animal, fish, bird, insect, microbacterial life. Why do you not see any half ape and half humans running around? Does your logical mind believe life came from the not-living? I really do not think so. It demands that life comes from life—just as you came from your parents, and they from their parents, and so-on. So then LIFE requires a Great Lifegiver! All life must come from a life SOURCE!
(4) DESIGN. Look at the incredible design of our universe, our solar system, the earth, and all of matter, all life forms.
Our bodies design the result of random explosion. Which if that was the case wouldn’t we all be different-like not all human? But think of your own body; your mind. Our marvelously-constructed bodies are an absolute miracle of design. There is nothing superior, in the known universe, to the human hand? With it, we can perform fantastic feats; from playing a musical instrument to skillful surgeon, from champion boxer to astronaut; from designing a building to unbelievable artistic ability. The human hand is a marvel of engineering design.
What about the eye? Have you ever studied the functions of your own body? Study an encyclopedia on the human eye; study our muscular, digestive, circulatory and nervous systems. Study our vital organs or the glands that affect our growth, reproduction, physical health, digestion, mental ability. Think about the design of a cheeta, top speeds up to 60 mph. What about our digestive systems having bacteria that help us utilize our sustaining foods. Our Blood carries oxygen to muscles and foods to our cells?
Wherever you look in nature, you see harmony with every thing doing its part in sustaining life through breathtaking design. Such marvels of design require a Great DESIGNER! Intricate design is not the result of blind accident, any more than a car could grow like fungus in a field.
(5) SUSTAINER. What about the continual functioning of the universe itself? What of the controlled forces we see at work; from gravity to erosion, great oceans with their powerful currents, polar ice caps, weather systems?
What keeps it all going? Why is it so dependable, so constant? Again, laws. The sustaining of such laws keeps gravity staying the constant that it is, not changing from one day weighing 450 lbs. to the next day flying off into space. Instead of this these laws are dependable and constantly predictable. Every thing from the daily tides to the earth’s annual journey around the sun to the moon’s monthly journey around the earth. All working in fine tuned percision. How? All this requires a sustaining force—a Great SUSTAINER!
(6) FULFILLED PROPHECY. Another great proof God exists is found through studying the many examples of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible. There were many, many prophecies which portrayed the coming of Christ as Messiah ; many others which were fulfilled in specific things He said, or did. The Gospels relate these—continual references are made as to how Christ fulfilled this or that prophecy, spoken or written centuries before.
Are you a doubter? Study the 11th chapter of Daniel with Rawlinson’s Ancient History and other profane sources to hand. In this remarkable chapter, you will see generations of kings; the Seleucidae of Syria and the lesser Pharoahs of Egypt, the Ptolmeys, locked in bitter struggle over Palestine. Hundreds of years before the fact, God’s prophet Daniel was given dreams and visions of what was to become history. He foretold the rise and fall of the ancient Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greco-Macedonian Empire; the death of Alexander the Great and the division of his empire by his four generals; the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
Great city states and empires have come and gone—their emergence and destruction clearly set down in Bible prophecy centuries before it happened. Ancient Tyre, Sidon, Babylon, Rome all are mentioned, and in some cases, in fine detail. Bible prophecy and history cannot be separated.
Will skeptics deny history and archaeology? The monuments and ancient buildings of the near east and Mediterranean world bear silent testimony to many pages of fulfilled Bible prophecy. Rome itself was predicted to rise and fall—and experience successive revivals down into our time. Christ was the greatest of all prophets—and who can deny that He prophesied of our own time, when He warned that if God did not cut short the days, a time would come when all human life could be erased from the earth?
He said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive], but for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21, 22). Clearly, Jesus spoke of a time in which the destruction of humanity would finally become possible—our time, now. Yet, He gives us glorious hope in the face of awesome weapons of destruction—for He reaffirms that God does exist; that He will cut short the days of global chaos; that He will intervene to save mankind from himself.
Not only are there hundreds of fulfilled prophecies of the past; those which are absolutely, corroborated by history and the spade of the archaeologist, but there are prophecies which apply to our modern times, as well. Fulfilled prophecy is surely a proof God exists
(7) ANSWERED PRAYER. Now I know that this is the most personal proof. However it is a proof that God exists, that is absolute, incontrovertible, to those of us who have received dramatic, undeniable answers to prayer. There is more to it then just asking God for something and him giving it to you. You must obey the true God by the way he wants you to. Worshiping him how he wants you to for example worshiping the Sabbath Day on the seventh day, Saturday, and Not Sunday. And not trying to teach you about some eternal fire that you will burn in for every and every instead of his way of harmonious life and love where the people that have past away are sleeping in the earth (Job 7:1, John 11:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:14) and not up in heaven or down in hell. But to the believer—the individual who has experienced, seen, felt, known the answer to prayer in a personal experience, the existence of a loving, powerful God is clearly proved. I know God answers prayers. I know, by the same token, that there are many prayers He seems not to answer, or perhaps defers to answer.
Just felt like reaching out and trying to show someone the truth.

October 24, 2006 at 6:22 am
(2) Austin Cline says:

First I would like to let you know that I felt the same way that you did but, I have found some truth that most So Called Christians don’t know simply because they don’t read and study the Bible.

Most Christians I have dealings with offer the same proofs. That’s why I have refutations of those proofs here on this site. You’ll find refutations on most atheist sites. These are also simplistic forms of these very standard arguments. You don’t appear to be awaree common rebuttals and don’t take them into account in what you write.

October 10, 2007 at 2:25 am
(3) Sharna says:

I was just wondering what your reasons are for being an atheist? Is is based on science? The notion that ‘seeing is believing’?
Contrary to popular belief, not all Christian’s set out to verbally accost anybody whose beliefs are different to theirs. Some us of, myself included, are just interested in why you believe the things that you do. Neither of us are about to change or minds just because some says that we should, that’s the whole thing about believing in something.

July 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(4) Unknown atheist says:

I am an atheist and have just turned twelve years old. I am extremely happy that you do not judge atheists. I have grown up in a Christian daycare. As you can probably assume already that was very difficult for me. I remember when I was in kindergarten I thought I could trust my closest friends and that not believing in god was perfectly fine. One day I told my best friend that I don’t believe in god. Ever since then as long as I went to that daycare I would be bullied and ignored. My large group of friends ganged up on me last year. It was at my actual school. I no longer went to daycare. The whole year they would bully me physically and verbally. It ended at the end of the year in the councilors office. Christians have scarred me for life. I’m only in middle school. Besides other Christian children I have had a wonderful childhood. I go to an advanced school and have straight. I also play piano and cello which I love very much. Nobody at my current school knows I’m an atheist and unless someone tells me they don’t believe in a god to my face I will not let anything slip. I have many good friends that I laugh with on the bus and in the cafeteria. I dont believe in god because why should I believe in something that has caused me so much pain yet I’ve lived without it perfectly fine and with no regrets.

For all the hateful Christians out there remember- god would rather bully gays than give orphans a family.

October 10, 2007 at 6:19 am
(5) Austin Cline says:

I was just wondering what your reasons are for being an atheist?

I don’t believe in any gods because I’ve yet to come across any good reasons for bothering.

December 16, 2007 at 7:09 am
(6) michael says:

if theres no god then anything goes………..cause then were just animals and the strongest survive

December 16, 2007 at 8:26 am
(7) Austin Cline says:

if theres no god then anything goes…..

Why?

October 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm
(8) momothevine says:

If there is no God, and we are a product of evolution, there is no ultimate morality – morality would be completely relative. A creation of the human mind. Differing under different circumstances, different cultures, different times. Lying, stealing, adultery, murder might be wrong for you, but right for me. As michael says, “anything goes”.

January 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm
(9) Dave says:

-Lying, stealing, adultery, murder might be wrong for you, but right for me.

So the only reason you dont murder, steal, lie etc is because a 2000 year old book tells you so. And you question our morals?

October 12, 2008 at 6:12 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

If there is no God, and we are a product of evolution, there is no ultimate morality

Is that a problem?

– morality would be completely relative.

What do you mean by “completely” relative?

A creation of the human mind.

I’d rather that morality be the creation of human minds than of inhuman minds. I’d rather trust humans to figure out what’s best for humans.

Differing under different circumstances, different cultures, different times.

So, is slavery immoral or not? The answer to that has been answered by different Christians under different circumstances at different times.

Lying, stealing, adultery, murder might be wrong for you, but right for me.

Are they right for you?

July 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm
(11) The unknown atheist says:

What he said:)

October 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm
(12) momothevine says:

If there is no God, and we are a product of evolution, there is no ultimate morality. Is that a problem?

Yes, it is. Because of the reasoning that follows …

What do you mean by “completely” relative?

I mean that morals are going to be completely different for each individual. If we all agreed that morality really was relative, I could steal your car and not have to suffer any consequences, because (just pretending here) in my own morality, stealing is OK. The result, of course, would be complete anarchy. Survival of the strongest and most powerful. We’ve all see human nature when there is a disruption in law enforcement. People either become criminals, victims, or heroes – individual morality in action.

I’d rather that morality be the creation of human minds than of inhuman minds. I’d rather trust humans to figure out what’s best for humans.

And that is precisely the problem. People thinking that THEY know what’s best.

So, is slavery immoral or not? The answer to that has been answered by different Christians under different circumstances at different times.

Perfect example – you proved my point! Humans have tried to “figure out what’s best for humans” throughout history.

Lying, stealing, adultery, murder might be wrong for you, but right for me. Are they right for you?

No. I am curious, though, Austin. Are these things right for you?

October 13, 2008 at 9:32 pm
(13) Austin Cline says:

I mean that morals are going to be completely different for each individual.

Sorry, but I fail to see how this follows from the premise. You’ll have to walk me through this reasoning of yours.

If we all agreed that morality really was relative, I could steal your car and not have to suffer any consequences, because (just pretending here) in my own morality, stealing is OK.

You seem to be confusing “morality” with “law.”

And that is precisely the problem. People thinking that THEY know what’s best.

If you can point to any more reliable sources, you’re more than welcome to do so.

Perfect example – you proved my point! Humans have tried to “figure out what’s best for humans” throughout history.

The example I used was of the “absolute morality” of people who believed in a non-relative moral system handed down by a god. So what you seem to be saying is that such a situation provides the sort of results you are decrying.

No. I am curious, though, Austin. Are these things right for you?

No, they aren’t, and I didn’t need a god to tell me that.

October 13, 2008 at 11:06 pm
(14) momothevine says:

Hey, thanks for fixing my formatting. Let’s see if I can get it right this time. ;)

“I mean that morals are going to be completely different for each individual.” Sorry, but I fail to see how this follows from the premise. You’ll have to walk me through this reasoning of yours.

I was initially answering your question “What do you mean by ‘completely relative’?” I mean that morals are going to be completely different for each individual.

You had previously asked, “Is there a problem of having no ultimate morality?”

I answered, “Yes there is a problem.” Here’s the problem: If morality is relative, if stealing for me is OK, but stealing for you is wrong, then we do have a problem. A big problem. I’m not equating “morality” and “law”. I’m saying that someone’s definition of morality is going to determine the law. (Which is why elections are so heated and controversial. EX: Slavery, no slavery.) So, if we were consistent with our belief that morality is relative, then we would have to eliminate any law that legislates morality. And then as Michael said, “Anything goes.”

The example I used was of the “absolute morality” of people who believed in a non-relative moral system handed down by a god. So what you seem to be saying is that such a situation provides the sort of results you are decrying.

Please forgive my failure to communicate clearly. What we have here are so-called “Christians” throughout history who didn’t obey God’s “absolute morality”, instead using their own human minds to determine morality. These Christians thought THEY knew what was best, instead of seeking to obey God’s non-relative morals.

No, they aren’t, and I didn’t need a god to tell me that.

Awesome! Did you know you just confirmed Scripture? “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts…” Rom 2:14-15

October 14, 2008 at 6:03 am
(15) Austin Cline says:

I was initially answering your question “What do you mean by ‘completely relative’?” I mean that morals are going to be completely different for each individual.

I know, and I fail to see how this follows. You’re going to have to walk me though this reasoning of yours.

If morality is relative, if stealing for me is OK, but stealing for you is wrong, then we do have a problem.

Sorry, but I fail to see how you get from “morality is relative” to “therefore, stealing is wrong for you but OK for me.”

I’m saying that someone’s definition of morality is going to determine the law.

Really? Just one person’s?

What we have here are so-called “Christians” throughout history who didn’t obey God’s “absolute morality”, instead using their own human minds to determine morality

Feel free to show how this was the case, and that they were any different from Christians who disagreed with them.

Did you know you just confirmed Scripture?

Only if you start out by assuming the truth of Scripture, which means that you are relying on a circular argument.

October 14, 2008 at 3:18 pm
(16) momothevine says:

“morals are going to be completely different for each individual” I know, and I fail to see how this follows. You’re going to have to walk me though this reasoning of yours.

I believe it would be very helpful to establish a definition of morals or morality. How would you define these terms? Is there such a thing as objective morality?

Sorry, but I fail to see how you get from “morality is relative” to “therefore, stealing is wrong for you but OK for me.”

Again, I think some common definitions would be extremely helpful here.

“I’m saying that someone’s definition of morality is going to determine the law.” Really? Just one person’s?

I actually was thinking more of our present legal system and the moral’s of the majority in office at the time. But if you consider a king or any dictatorship, then “yes”. The moral’s of the individual or group in control is going to determine the laws that will be enforced. Think of the feudal system, pharaohs of Egypt, native American Indian tribal chiefs, the Popes and Holy Roman Emperors, Henry VIII, the Continental Congress, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Saddam Hussein, etc, etc. Each person’s or group’s morals looked very different from each others. They all thought they were morally right in their leadership decisions. Were any of them wrong? Were any of them right? How do you know – on what do you base your judgment?

“Did you know you just confirmed Scripture?” Only if you start out by assuming the truth of Scripture, which means that you are relying on a circular argument.

I would agree that I had used a circular argument IF I was trying to prove the Truth or authority of Scripture with Scripture – which I wasn’t. I was merely making an observation. :)

October 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm
(17) Austin Cline says:

I believe it would be very helpful to establish a definition of morals or morality.

It can be. Feel free to provide your definition when you answer the question.

The moral’s of the individual or group in control is going to determine the laws that will be enforced.

And has this been better when the individual or group in control believe as you do?

I would agree that I had used a circular argument IF I was trying to prove the Truth or authority of Scripture with Scripture

No. You assumed the truth of the Bible to say that something in the Bible was “confirmed.”

October 14, 2008 at 5:44 pm
(18) momothevine says:

Austin, I would really like to know your definition of morality or even if you think there is any objective morality, because I think it would be beneficial to our discussion. I am not avoiding answering your questions. I would just like to establish some common definitions.

Since you are unwilling to submit any definition, I will submit one for you to examine. When I speak of morals – I mean moral principles that are true universally – that always have and always will apply to all rational beings. Morality is objective in that it isn’t a function of individual or cultural preferences or opinions; it is recognized and discovered – rather than invented by humans.

“They all thought they were morally right in their leadership decisions. Were any of them wrong? Were any of them right? How do you know – on what do you base your judgment?”

You accuse me of not answering your questions? Tu quoque, my friend! ;)

“The moral’s of the individual or group in control is going to determine the laws that will be enforced.” And has this been better when the individual or group in control believe as you do?

I’m not sure I understand your question. “Has this been better?” Has what been better? If you mean the laws that have been made, then I would answer, “Yes.” And I believe anyone that has ever lived would agree with that statement as well. Wouldn’t you? Or would you have liked to live under Hitler’s rule?

No. You assumed the truth of the Bible to say that something in the Bible was “confirmed.”

I respectfully disagree. From WorldNet 2003, Princeton University, the definition of “confirm” is 1. establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts; “his story confirmed my doubts”; “The evidence supports the defendant”; 2. strengthen or make more firm; “The witnesses confirmed the victim’s account”.

>b>”Confirm” does not mean “prove” in the scientific sense of the word. So your belief in Biblical morals, doesn’t PROVE that the Bible is true, but that the fact that you have Biblical morals (as well as most of the rest of humanity) strengthens the evidence. Again, I was merely making an observation.

October 14, 2008 at 6:21 pm
(19) Austin Cline says:

Austin, I would really like to know your definition of morality

Well, when we discuss my claims about morality, that will be relevant. Since we are currently on your claims about morality, it’s your definitions that matter.

I am not avoiding answering your questions.

Oh, yes, you are.

Since you are unwilling to submit any definition, I will submit one for you to examine. When I speak of morals – I mean moral principles that are true universally – that always have and always will apply to all rational beings. Morality is objective in that it isn’t a function of individual or cultural preferences or opinions; it is recognized and discovered – rather than invented by humans.

1. This seems to be circular. You are defining “moral principles that are true universally” as applicable to all people at all times and all places. But that definition is simply a restatement of “true universally.”

2. If morals are defined as “true universally,” then relative morals is an oxymoron like “married bachelors.” Being relative, they can’t be morals. They must be something else. What are they, and why do you talk about relative morals when, by your definition, that’s an incoherent concept?

You accuse me of not answering your questions? Tu quoque, my friend! ;)

You have no intellectual right to expect me to answer questions that are not germane to you explaining and supporting your own claims.

“The moral’s of the individual or group in control is going to determine the laws that will be enforced.” And has this been better when the individual or group in control believe as you do?

I’m not sure I understand your question. “Has this been better?” Has what been better?

The results, the situation, the state of society.

If you mean the laws that have been made, then I would answer, “Yes.”

So, the laws regulating and defending slavery were part of being “better”?

And I believe anyone that has ever lived would agree with that statement as well. Wouldn’t you? Or would you have liked to live under Hitler’s rule?

You mean, under a system where atheist organizations were outlawed and the state tried to blend itself with churches? No.

“Confirm” does not mean “prove” in the scientific sense of the word.

True, it doesn’t, nor does it need to. I said that you made a circular argument but an “argument” does not necessarily involve trying to “prove in the scientific sense of the word.” A circular argument means trying to support, establish, or prove the truth of something which you assume as part of the argument.

When you claim to “confirm” the truth of something when, in the process, you assume the truth, validity, or reliability of that which you say you are confirming, you are using a circular argument.

So your belief in Biblical morals, doesn’t PROVE that the Bible is true, but that the fact that you have Biblical morals (as well as most of the rest of humanity) strengthens the evidence.

So, are you arguing that regarding lying, stealing, adultery, and murder as wrong is exclusively biblical? If not, you might want to explain why you think you can label them “biblical” as opposed to anything else.

October 16, 2008 at 5:30 pm
(20) momothevine says:

“I am not avoiding answering your questions.” Oh, yes, you are.

Consider this scenario: You are watching a dvd and a situation comes up that needs your attention. You pause your dvd to go handle the situation, fully intending to come back to your dvd as soon as you have taken care of the situation. You would not be “avoiding” watching your dvd, just putting it on hold so you can take care of something else first. That is what I am trying to do with our initial conversation. I am not “avoiding” the issue, just “pausing” it, because as soon as we can nail down some kind of definition of “morals” we can both agree on, then I fully intend to come back to the question.

“Since you are unwilling to submit any definition, I will submit one for you to examine. When I speak of morals – I mean moral principles that are true universally – that always have and always will apply to all rational beings. Morality is objective in that it isn’t a function of individual or cultural preferences or opinions; it is recognized and discovered – rather than invented by humans.” 1. This seems to be circular. You are defining “moral principles that are true universally” as applicable to all people at all times and all places. But that definition is simply a restatement of “true universally.”

I added that second part to be a clarification of what I meant for “universally” – a definition, if you will. I put that in for me (or anyone else who might want to see it fleshed out), so I could remember what I meant! ;)

2. If morals are defined as “true universally,” then relative morals is an oxymoron like “married bachelors.” Being relative, they can’t be morals. They must be something else. What are they, and why do you talk about relative morals when, by your definition, that’s an incoherent concept?

I agree with your assessment. That wasn’t a definition of “morals”, was it? Hmmmmm…..
OK, dictionary definition: morals – “rules or habits of conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong”. It has to do with “judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character”, “conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior”, and “arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong”. What do you think about that kind of definition?

You accuse me of not answering your questions? Tu quoque, my friend! ;) You have no intellectual right to expect me to answer questions that are not germane to you explaining and supporting your own claims.

Let me just say that I appreciate the opportunity afforded by this forum for open discussion of ideas. It is helpful to examine and clarify my own thinking by discussing things with someone who may have a different worldview than I do. But equating asking for a simple definition to exerting an “intellectual right to expect you to answer my questions”? I believe that is a Straw Man fallacy – “twisting or exaggerating someone’s position to make it easier to refute.”

So, the laws regulating and defending slavery were part of being “better”?

You keep bringing up slavery … can I assume you believe that this falls in the area of “morals”? And any laws concerning slavery, would you consider regulating “morality”?

A circular argument means trying to support, establish, or prove the truth of something which you assume as part of the argument. When you claim to “confirm” the truth of something when, in the process, you assume the truth, validity, or reliability of that which you say you are confirming, you are using a circular argument.

So, let me see if I understand. I began with a premise that I believed to be true. I see something in reality that looks like it agrees with this premise. I say it “strengthens” or “confirms” my premise. – This is circular reasoning?

October 16, 2008 at 6:24 pm
(21) Austin Cline says:

I am not “avoiding” the issue, just “pausing” it, because as soon as we can nail down some kind of definition of “morals” we can both agree on, then I fully intend to come back to the question.

You are avoiding it because “we” do not need to “nail dome some kind of definition” of morals. You made claims based on some definition you already had in mind. That’s the definition that’s relevant here.

I added that second part to be a clarification of what I meant for “universally” – a definition, if you will.

I’m not sure that “is true universally” qualifies as a definition of “moral principle.” That’s like defining “fire” as “something that burns” — it’s a description of what it does or how it operates. At the very least it’s insufficient because if there are other things that are true universally, but which are not moral principles, then we’ve ambiguity.

OK, dictionary definition

This suggests that the “dictionary definition” isn’t what you were using when you made your original claims. Did you simply not have a clear idea of what you meant by “morals” when you made your claims? If so, that would seem to undermine their credibility. If you did, then why are you resorting to the dictionary here?

What do you think about that kind of definition?

Is that the definition — the whole definition — you were operating from when you made your original claims? If not, then I’m not interested in it enough to form an opinion about it here and now. I want to hear the definition you were originally using, only that definition, and nothing but that definition. It’s the only definition that is relevant to evaluating your claims. Using any other definition would mean that I’d end up critiquing a straw man.

But equating asking for a simple definition to exerting an “intellectual right to expect you to answer my questions”?

No, that’s a straw man because I didn’t equate the two.

You keep bringing up slavery … can I assume you believe that this falls in the area of “morals”?

I’m trying to see if, how, and why it falls in the area of “morals” as you’re using the term.

I began with a premise that I believed to be true. I see something in reality that looks like it agrees with this premise. I say it “strengthens” or “confirms” my premise. – This is circular reasoning?

It does if your belief that it confirms your premise assumes the truth of that same premise (or a related and equally disputable premise). It’s only non-circular if your belief that it confirms your premise is based on something independent of your premise. Since your belief that I “confirmed” scripture is based on believing that scripture is already true when it says that such statements “confirm” scripture, your argument was circular.

October 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm
(22) momothevine says:

1. morals – “rules or habits of conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong”. It has to do with “judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character”, “conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior”, and “arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong”
2. Morals conform to standards which arise from conscience.
3. standards – “those morals, ethics, habits, etc., established by authority, custom, or an individual as acceptable”
4. conscience – “the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual”
5. All individuals have a conscience that is influenced by their ethical and moral principles.
6. Morals differ widely from individual to individual, culture to culture, etc.
7. If we assume we are a product of evolution, then no one has a right to claim their morals or standards are better than anyone else’s.
8. If we are consistent with belief #7, then we have no right to impose our morals or standards on someone else.
9. If we have no right to impose our morals or standards on someone else, we cannot make laws or rules that would legislate morality.
10. If we cannot make laws or rules that would legislate morality, we cannot make rules regarding lying (perjury), stealing, murder, etc.
11. If we cannot make morality rules, then we will have anarchy – “absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose”; “a state of society without government or law”; “confusion; chaos; disorder”.
12. chaos – “a state of utter confusion or disorder” = “anything goes”
13. Therefore, if we are a product of evolution, and live consistently with those beliefs, then anything goes. We would live in a chaotic state of anarchy where “might makes right”.

October 16, 2008 at 10:05 pm
(23) Austin Cline says:

Since you are listing your argument in this manner, you give the impression that you are trying to offer a logical argument.

1. morals – “rules or habits of conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong”. It has to do with “judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character”, “conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior”, and “arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong”

So, you don’t actually define morals as being universal? Is this supposed to be an argument designed to demonstrate that they are universal, or what?

6. Morals differ widely from individual to individual, culture to culture, etc.

This concession would appear to be an admission that morals are not, in fact, universal. It would seem strange for you to try to argue X but, in the process, admit not-X. So what are you arguing for, exactly?

In fact, it seems to be a concession of the truth of what which you implied was wrong in your first comment. To quote you: “If there is no God, and we are a product of evolution, there is no ultimate morality – morality would be completely relative. A creation of the human mind. Differing under different circumstances, different cultures, different times. Lying, stealing, adultery, murder might be wrong for you, but right for me. As michael says, “anything goes”.” [emphasis added]

Your original comment strikes me as against the idea that morals differ “under different circumstances, different cultures, different times.” Now, though, you freely admit that morals “differ widely from individual to individual, culture to culture, etc.” I hope you’ll forgive me for developing the impression that not even you are completely sure what position you’re trying to defend here.

7. If we assume we are a product of evolution, then no one has a right to claim their morals or standards are better than anyone else’s.

This doesn’t follow from any previous statement. You offer nothing to even connect the “if” clause with the “then” clause, much less establish that there is a strong conditional relationship.

8. If we are consistent with belief #7, then we have no right to impose our morals or standards on someone else.

Actually, this contradicts #7. If no one has a right to claim that their morals or standards are better than anyone else’s, then they can’t claim that they shouldn’t have anything imposed on them.

Therefore, if we are a product of evolution, and live consistently with those beliefs, then anything goes. We would live in a chaotic state of anarchy where “might makes right”.

1. We could read this argument in a “strong” sense: “if evolution were true, then we’d live in a state of anarchy.” We don’t live in a chaotic state of anarchy. So if your condition is correct then evolution can’t be true; on the other hand, your condition might not be correct. It is the case that “If A, then B” means “If not-B, then not-A,” but only if the original condition is true. So you can’t offer the actual state of affairs that we observe as proof that your position is correct unless you can establish that your premises lead to your conclusions.

2. On the other hand, we could read this argument in a “weak” sense: “if people believed evolution were true, then we’d end up in state of anarchy.” You also don’t establish that your premises lead to that conclusion, but this is not the worst problem. Even if the argument were true, it wouldn’t be an argument against the truth of evolution or for the existence of any gods. It logically possible that evolution is true and also that believing evolution leads to bad consequences.

So I’m still wondering what your overall argument is, whether you have any evidential or logical support for it, and whether you’re making a stronger or weaker argument at the end here.

October 16, 2008 at 11:16 pm
(24) momothevine says:

Yes, I was offering a logical argument to prove my initial statement:

If there is no God, and we are a product of evolution, there is no ultimate morality – morality would be completely relative. A creation of the human mind. Differing under different circumstances, different cultures, different times. As michael says, “anything goes”.

(I do personally believe that there is an ultimate morality, but I was not trying to make that case here.)

“7. If we assume we are a product of evolution, then no one has a right to claim their morals or standards are better than anyone else’s.” This doesn’t follow from any previous statement. You offer nothing to even connect the “if” clause with the “then” clause, much less establish that there is a strong conditional relationship.

I think I am safe in assuming you consider us a product of evolution? If so, would a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist have any right to claim their morals are better than yours. Please forgive me if I am incorrect, but I believe from our discussion if I had made the assertion that my morals were better than yours (I am NOT making that assertion, by the way), I can just hear you say, “What right do you have to say your morals are better than mine?”

“8. If we are consistent with belief #7, then we have no right to impose our morals or standards on someone else.” Actually, this contradicts #7. If no one has a right to claim that their morals or standards are better than anyone else’s, then they can’t claim that they shouldn’t have anything imposed on them.

Again, I would suggest that if you had said, “What right do you have to say your morals are better than mine?”, you would also say, “You have no right to impose your standards on me.”

“Therefore, if we are a product of evolution, and live consistently with those beliefs, then anything goes. We would live in a chaotic state of anarchy where “might makes right”.”

In our world, I see people everywhere saying that “no one has a right to say your morals are better than mine” and “you have no right to impose your standards on me”. The key word here is living consistently. We don’t live consistently, … not yet anyways …, within those beliefs, therefore we don’t have anarchy.

Well, Austin, I must confess this is the first time I have ever participated in a forum like this. This is also the first time I have ever had a serious conversation about this subject. I admit I was extremely saddened by the initial story by Atheist Mommy. I am a mom, too. I’ve got 6 children. I am trying to teach them what Christ taught me – to communicate with respect for other people (because I believe all people are created in the image of God).

I appreciate the discussion. It has been an amazing learning experience – in more ways than one! :) But I regret that I don’t have any more time to spare – I’m one busy mama. So, thank you for the intellectual challenge. And I do hope that maybe you might see that even though my logic skills are not as sharp as yours, that more importantly I strive to “adhere to [my] own ethical standards.” Take care.

October 17, 2008 at 6:24 am
(25) Austin Cline says:

Yes, I was offering a logical argument to prove my initial statement:

A logical argument is supposed to consist of premises and inferences the follow from those premises. For the most part, you just listed a series of unsupported and unconnected assertions.

If there is no God, and we are a product of evolution, there is no ultimate morality – morality would be completely relative. A creation of the human mind. Differing under different circumstances, different cultures, different times. As michael says, “anything goes”.

This is just a repeat of your original comment. My original questions still apply.

(I do personally believe that there is an ultimate morality, but I was not trying to make that case here.)

I don’t think you can separate the two arguments.

I think I am safe in assuming you consider us a product of evolution? If so, would a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist have any right to claim their morals are better than yours.

Sure, if their morals are in fact better. People always have a right to assert the truth.

Again, I would suggest that if you had said, “What right do you have to say your morals are better than mine?”, you would also say, “You have no right to impose your standards on me.”

I think it’s a bad idea for you to base your argument on what you assume I’ll respond to your hypothetical statements.

Regardless of what I would say, though, the fact remains that your #8 contradicts your #7 no matter what I might or might not say.

“Therefore, if we are a product of evolution, and live consistently with those beliefs, then anything goes. We would live in a chaotic state of anarchy where “might makes right”.”

Feel free to demonstrate how anarchy is consistent with anything in the theory of evolution.

And I do hope that maybe you might see that even though my logic skills are not as sharp as yours, that more importantly I strive to “adhere to [my] own ethical standards.”

No, frankly, I don’t. I don’t know anything about your ethical standards, much less whether you adhere to them strictly or not.

Take care.

So, basically you are leaving immediately after it has been shown that you have failed to provide anything even remotely approaching a logical argument on behalf of your position. All you do is repeat the same assertions over and over.

I can appreciate if you lack the time to fully develop your arguments, but if you don’t have the time to explain and defend your position, then you don’t have the time to assert it either. Making claims and allegations then leaving before you support them is unethical and disrespectful.

October 17, 2008 at 2:24 pm
(26) Todd says:

So if morals are absolute, are cultures that don’t have any concept of property inherently bad?

Are cultures that accept that humans are not monogamous creatures wrong?

If a married woman shows her face to anyone but her immediate family, is she a bad person? Either the Western world is right, and she isn’t, or the Muslim world is right and she is. If morality is absolute, there can be only ONE standard. Only one can be right. Are you wearing your burka?

October 17, 2008 at 2:42 pm
(27) John Hanks says:

Morality and moralizing are just an excuse for bullying others while doing nothing practical. The search for virtue points is one of the greatest weaknesses of man.

October 17, 2008 at 4:20 pm
(28) Drew says:

Austin: I like and appreciate a lot of what you say. I have copied a LOT of your posts, re-read them, and used them in debate. I’m also pretty blunt myself. But I have to criticise not the content, but the tone of your discussion with momethevine. I’d like to complement momonthevine on her posts – one of the best series I’ve read from a theist on this site – even though she didn’t debate well or convincingly.

We had here a theist who not only started politely, but managed to continue in that vein. Yes, you out-thought her. Yes, she did end up having to reverse some of her ideas. But it’s no use winning the battle if you lose the war.

If a theist stops a train of thought, and moves on to a new one, it’s quite possible they have “lost” that point without wanting to admit it. It may be more beneficial to then let that point be. If, after leaving the site, they have changed their mind, then THAT is how the debate is won. But if they leave feeling insulted, frustrated, or offended, then they might not change their opinions when they otherwise might have done so.

I guess what I’m saying is that if we are going to change one person, we have to have them leave with dignity if they arrive with, and continue to demonstrate, politeness (I’m not defending the numbskulls that come here). I’ve tried to learn this lesson, and I’m not saying I’m great, but as an obsever I’d say that the chance to maybe change a mind may have been lost in the conversation with this poster. Blunt on the ideas, but gentle on the people where merited.

October 17, 2008 at 4:43 pm
(29) Austin Cline says:

But I have to criticise not the content, but the tone of your discussion with momethevine.

And where, exactly, is my tone inappropriate or rude? I’ll note that you say you criticize the tone but then don’t actually do so. For that, don’t you need to point to something specific that was phrased rudely?

October 18, 2008 at 3:56 am
(30) Carolina Woods says:

momothevine says:
“If there is no God, and we are a product of evolution…. morality would be completely relative…. Lying, stealing, adultery, murder might be wrong for you, but right for me…. ‘anything goes’.”

First of all, as an atheist, I am not without ethics. I am honest. I don’t murder, steal, commit adultery, etc. Why? Because I know that society would be in chaos if “anything goes.” I know I would hurt others if I committed unlawful or “immoral” acts. I base my “moral code” on what works. Society has grappled with what works for thousands of years. That is why our laws & morals change from time to time. People used to think slavery was okay; now we don’t.

As you say, for some people, murder (for example) is okay. Isn’t that true, whether one believes in God or not? We’ve heard of organized crime figures, devout Catholics, who are murderers. Dennis Rader, the BTK murderer from Kansas, was a Deacon and Congregational President of his Lutheran Church. David Ludwig, a PA teen who killed his girlfriend’s parents was a home-schooled Christian.

Tim Mahoney (United Methodist – Democrat) replaced Mark Foley (Catholic – Republican, who left office over a sexual scandal involving teenaged male pages) running for Congress on a platform of restoring morals to Washington. Yet he cheated on his wife with 2 women. People are going to be moral or immoral regardless of belief in a supreme being.

Your main question is, if we don’t believe in God, how can we be moral?

You might find this interesting:
In a 2005 study reported by Gregory S. Paul in the Journal of Religion and Society, progressive democracies (the U.S., Europe, Japan) were studied. Countries were rated by their percentage of belief in a supreme being and acceptance or non-acceptance of evolutionary theory. The U.S., by the way, had the highest rate of belief and highest lack of acceptance of evolutionary theory.

This was the conclusion of the study:
“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies… The most theistic prosperous democracy… the United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a ‘shining city on the hill’ to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional….If the data showed that the U.S. enjoyed higher rates of societal health than the more secular, pro-evolution democracies, then the opinion that popular belief in a creator is strongly beneficial to national cultures would be supported… Indeed, the data examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical ‘cultures of life’ that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developed democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards. The non-religious, pro-evolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator. The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”

The entire report on the above study is available at:
http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

In a 1999 study by George Barna, divorce rates in the U.S. were tracked by religious belief. Jews = 30%, Born Again Christians = 27%, Mainstream Christians = 24%, Atheists/agnostics = 21%. (I don’t consider divorce immoral, & it certainly isn’t illegal, but many Christians frown upon divorce as a moral weakness and Catholics forbid it.)

In a report from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (1997) 75% of the U.S. population claimed to be Christian. It seems logical that 75% of the prison population was also Christian. But, at the time of the study, 10% of the general population claimed to be atheist/agnostic, yet only 0.2% of the prison population were atheist/agnostic.

Steve Allen: “It is frequently argued that a return to formal religion is the solution to the problem [of morality.] But the prescription leaves something to be desired, for one finds practically no formal humanists, agnostics, or atheists in the ranks of the corrupt. Most of the embezzlers, swindlers, con-men and thieves… are card carrying members of one religion’s denomination or another that formally pays respect to the Old and/or New Testament.” (from his book: Rip Off)

These studies (& others) show that belief in God is no guarantee of a moral society. Why would this be true? I have no formal studies or information that delve into the reasons for this, but I can make a few unscientific guesses.

Christians are taught that their sins will be forgiven. Thus, if one commits a sin today, s/he can ask for forgiveness tomorrow & expect to be sent to heaven anyway.

Extreme emphasis on morality, has a tendency to corrupt. If you spend a lot of time thinking about evil, evil will consume your thoughts. If you deny your natural sexual drives, they will tend to control you. If you told a teenager that trains were bad, not to look at trains or think about them, wouldn’t that peak his/her curiosity? Probably, there would be underground publications with pictures of trains that teens would view by flashlight under the covers.

People tend to want what they can’t have. In some cases, it’s just a natural curiosity, but some people become obsessed by what is forbidden.

I would welcome other theories on why highly theistic societies also seem to be high in “immoral” behaviors.

I know most religious people are good, honest, ethical people. Most non-religious people are also good, honest and ethical, yet they aren’t that way because they fear retribution in the afterlife.

October 18, 2008 at 5:05 pm
(31) momothevine says:

At the risk of making further unintentional “unethical and disrespectful” errors, I would just like to make two comments:

But if they leave feeling insulted, frustrated, or offended, then they might not change their opinions when they otherwise might have done so. Amazing depth of insight. Drew, I just wanted to let you know that your courageous act of kindness did not go unnoticed. Thank you.

And Carolina Woods, your post is intriguing! I really would like to discuss some of your research. I must admit up front that I do not have great amounts of time to spare. And I sincerely do not want to further offend any other readers by possibly making an assertion.
I would like to give you my email, but I hesitate in this environment. Would you be willing to have a mutual discussion? Thank you for your consideration.

February 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm
(32) Kaycee says:

There is a God. He is a loving and caring God. Jesus died for our sins. All atheists know deep down in there heart that He does exist, but for some unknown reason they choose to deny it. I have found after talking with several atheists that they are very intelligent, but like rainman intelligent, mildly retarded at the same time. One day they will mature and realize that if they don’t stop denying the truth about God that they will burn in hell!!!

May 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm
(33) Durzal says:

Kaycee your whole post is the sort of stuff that gives christians a bad name.

Why would Atheists just pretend not to believe in your god?..for fun?..to ruin your day?
No, of course not (dont be silly)
They simply believe differently than you do, just like all the other religions of the world

I doubt the atheist you’ve talked to are any more or less intelligent than your average joe, they simply base what they believe on scientific and historical fact..its not a crime and it doesnt make them mildly retarded.

Telling people that if they dont believe what you belive then they will burn in hell for all eternity is akin to our islamic fundamentalist friends who say if you dont believe what they believe then they will fly planes into our buildings.

I try and live my life well, i pay my taxes, give to charity, help other people, i even give up my seat on the bus for the old dears. All in all i consider myself a good human being and its my belief that this should be enough for any god worthy of the title

November 10, 2009 at 4:39 am
(34) SweetStrawberryy says:

I try and live my life well, i pay my taxes, give to charity, help other people, i even give up my seat on the bus for the old dears. All in all i consider myself a good human being and its my belief that this should be enough for any god worthy of the title

it seems like u do not know what it really means to become a christian. its not all bout just doing nice things its bout actually having faith in God and actually ‘believing’ that he is real. so actually doin all those things you hav said u hav done, dat is NOT enuf for God because u dont even believe in him yet. God sent Jesus to earth so that he cud rescue us so we can be with him in eternity

November 10, 2009 at 4:48 am
(35) BONKERS says:

YOU ARE WRONG WHOEVA UR NAME IS OH YEA I CBB TO TYPE IT OUT. if u don’t believe in jesus i am not saying u have to its ur choice but i can see u throwing ur choice out da window and dying and not having entenal life. i can tell u dat if u don’t believe in jesus then hahahahahahaha HELL is A TRILLION TIMES WORST THEN DA CONVO U HAVE WITH DA PPL HELL IS A TRILLION TIMES WORST CONVINCING RAPIST NOT TO RAPE PPL OKAY???????????

so now i have said that its ur choice BTW strawberry how did U PAY UR taxes lol

July 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm
(36) UnknownAtheist says:

You Christians are so FUNNY!!!!!!! You think your making us scared about going to hell when I’m just sitting here scared for your mental health:) so let me get this straight:)Christianity is the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree… Yeah, makes perfect sense.
if you don’t want people making fun of your religion don’t believe in something so ridiculos.

November 10, 2009 at 4:55 am
(37) nobody says:

BTW kaycee i agree. eva heard of da praise seeing is believing ???BTW i hope u see this u mildly stupid person who don’t believe in god well u know who i can’t be bothered typing ur name i tell ya u are vry vry stupid b cos wif jesus if u believe u can see so basically u believe u see so it is right u don’t beleve u don’t se okay??? alright

November 10, 2009 at 5:02 am
(38) wise one lol pig cheese says:

believing is seeing

no man is worthy of god durzal

December 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm
(39) lance says:

where did these last few posts come from. People were having an atleast semi intellgient conversation before. If you are going to come on here and tell atheists they are going to burn in hell, you really aren’t helping the discussion along. Can the intelligent Christians please come back?

February 24, 2010 at 1:52 am
(40) SweetStrawberryy says:

To Bonkers:how are you going to get non believers to come to Christ with an attitude with that? O_O
and also it is true that if you dont go to heaven,you will burn in hell, but nobody can decide about that except for God.

May 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm
(41) Les says:

Holy Moly! All that verbal diarrhea David and not one valid point! Extraordinary. Proof and opinion are two separate things.

July 28, 2010 at 12:05 am
(42) Jay says:

How about gay sex? Is this against God or Society?

August 20, 2010 at 9:25 am
(43) joe says:

first of alll, all yalll atheists are rong. gay sex is rong in both ways, gods way and society’s. also if science is 96% trial and error, how can our body’s, the temperature, every vessel that makes up the balance of this world be created by the UNIVERSE. think about that. because the universe is science to. we couldnt possibly be made by 1 big boom that created every little detail of the fabric of this world. so there atheists lose.

January 16, 2011 at 3:16 am
(44) Mika says:

I understand your sentiments here.. it is the way of most christians in christian chat rooms to do that with atheists.

But I did want to pick up on something.. if you are an atheists going into a completely theistic chat room surely you would expect a bit of debate/opposition?

Guess you are meaning that the means of debate/opposition is not from a theological or topical standpoint but more like a personal attack?

Anyway I think the problem with alot of christians is they don actually know how to reason out whether God exists or not (they are either to young or too uneducated about it) and so will go for statements that are more like attacking rather than reasoning.

It’s like– I don’t believe faith is blind.. that the object of my faith– Jesus is all important.. that if He didn’t rise again.. it doesn’t matter what I believe.. it isn’t the believing that counts.. it is the object of the belief. If I believe a square is actually a circle.. my believing it is a circle doesn’t make it a circle. The object is truly a square in and of itself.

Now many christians take the view of blind faith.. that they are not allowed to question it.. and maybe that is the kind of christians alot of atheists encounter.. who won’t reason out.. but go for blanket statements.

January 16, 2011 at 8:56 am
(45) Austin Cline says:

But I did want to pick up on something.. if you are an atheists going into a completely theistic chat room surely you would expect a bit of debate/opposition?

Of course. And who here has objected to that?

January 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm
(46) Dave says:

all ive experienced is gettin kicked for basically nothing. most recently by a chat about the bible, and i quoted a bit of the bible they didnt want to hear so they kicked me. you cant walk around sticking your fingers in your ears forever theists

May 6, 2011 at 11:46 pm
(47) Brian says:

Hi, my name is Brian, I’m not trying to discourage you from your beliefs but, how do you think we came to live? Science couldn’t have made humans. There must be a higher power in order to make life. Science can’t make life. I respect your beliefs but I’m just questioning it. Please don’t take this the wrong way.

May 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm
(48) Austin Cline says:

Hi, my name is Brian, I’m not trying to discourage you from your beliefs but, how do you think we came to live?

I was born. How about you?

Science couldn’t have made humans.

So?

There must be a higher power in order to make life.

Prove it.

July 8, 2011 at 9:17 am
(49) Leviticus says:

The whole world is finally working out that believing that there is some super dude flying in the clouds is… well it is embarrassing.. come on…break out of the brain washing…. its a big super cave man telling you that … well… He Couldn’t be bothered…..

It’s ok that you believe in it, just dont let your kids be poisoned by this child abuse!

July 29, 2011 at 12:07 am
(50) Unknownatheist says:

Of coarse science couldn’t have made us. Science is just the name of a subject where we ask is this possible or I wonder whether if this will happen and we test it. I think the difference between atheists and Christians is that Christians look to a book when atheists simply test what they think might have. If you test it and it’s impossible then you simply move on to the next idea. Nobody threatens you or forces you to believe something you don’t. Also, thanks for being nice. I’m only twelve years old and some of the things people write about atheism makes me want to cry and wish there were no religion or atheism. The world would be a better place then.

July 29, 2011 at 12:14 am
(51) Unknownatheist says:

I went to an atheist meet up group to look at the stars. I met a lot of very nice people who told me what to expect and how to get out of an ackward situation. For example when my long life friend asks what church I go to. I’m only twelve years old so I don’t have a lot of experience with situations so if anyone could help out that would be great. I also hear a really funny story about one the atheists daughters going to a Christian daycare (just like I did) . They were praying when this five year old girl said “dear imaginary sky daddy” at the beginning of the prayer:) ever since then they’ve been tring to find a reason to kick her put. I know how it feels.

February 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm
(52) Thelogical_Atheist says:

Hello Guys,
Just wanted to leave my opinion on the Christian Vs Atheist.
i am an atheist so yes this may seem a biased comment but you claim that praying could save a mans soul. that the lord could forgive and forget,no?
You pray for that god should deliever all from evil, to save us from ourselves.
Then who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?

And i would like you to think about the fat that Atheism is a requirement for a complete human being. Religion is a crutch that is shackled to you, one you never really needed in the first place, but were convinced by others that you couldn’t live without. Once you discover it’s only an illusion, that it’s not even a real crutch, you discard it gladly.
Please Respond if you have the answers.

April 17, 2012 at 11:14 am
(53) Noname says:

Why would we pray for Satin? There’s no saving him. He will never ask for forgivness. Sooo… what’s the point?

As far as religion being a crutch, it depends on which one you’re talking about. I don’t even think of christianity as a religion but as a relationship with God. I’m a christian, and I’ve never felt that being one has been a crutch. How would you know if you’re not one yourself?

April 17, 2012 at 11:17 am
(54) Noname says:

WHY ISN’T THIS SHOWING UP ON THE PAGE???!?!?!?!!?!

June 21, 2012 at 7:15 am
(55) EPQ says:

I don’t believe in religion, I always felt religion tries to blind you in to believing something without letting you have some kind of choice or ideals, they just blind you to their believes and tell you everything outside is wrong, for me that’s what makes people ignorant and unable to progress, I do know religion was created to try and me people better but at some point it started to fail, at some point I started trying to find a good one, but at the end they all have their pros and cons.
I remember something someone told me when I was 7 or 8, there was a library close to the school, I was studying the bible in the library and was very confused about some stuff I don’t remember well, I do remember I was kind of down because of something I found out I think it was something to do whit the animal sacrifices and the rituals used by prophets to talk whit “god”, when he asked me what was wrong I explained my problem and how I wished I never started investigating this stuff, I remember it was pretty shocking for me finding out that the guys who always said don’t do it always did it, I felt I had been lied to or something, the person told me something like this “Don’t answer me if you don’t want to, answer yourself this, What’s better for you knowing the truth and be disappointed or ignoring it and be happy? Besides it doesn’t matter either way as long as you learned something helpful from it all”, I realized it was better to know because you can grow from disappointment and you can’t really be happy if you decide to stay ignorant of a truth, but we always have to remember that there is no absolute truth just possibilities, our mind has to always be open to the possibilities, people who don’t understand this are not really worth talking to at list in a discussion.
I don’t remember who but someone told me once, “that which you don’t know cannot hurt you”, but maybe it can.

July 26, 2012 at 10:32 am
(56) Christian says:

I just wanted to say that I’m a Christian and I believe God is real. Not really focussing on science, people tend to reject God due to things in their own life that happened and your like where’s this God now. It just puzzles me how people blame God for stuff. If God is doing all the bad to people then what is Satan for? When bad things happen to you, you have to examine yourself and say where did I let Satan get in? And then people wonder why did God LET it happen if he loves me so much. For example, if you had a friend and you blew them off all the time and all of a sudden you needed something from them do you really think that friend is gonna help you out? It’s the same way with God. The Bible says you reap what you sow. That’s just another way of saying what goes around comes around. So that’s why you watch what you say and what you do to others. I also want to address the issue of feeling belittled and beat down by Christian while trying to convert atheists. First of all every Christian is not the same. Christians shouldn’t be shoving Christianity down other peoples throats. You tell someone make your point and let it go. Don’t go around yelling at people your going to hell. The main reason Christians are so passionate though is because we don’t want to see anyone go to hell and no one should have to. That part is up to you. Remember, God doesn’t force you into anything. That’s all!

August 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm
(57) OZAtheist says:

@Christian,

A strange comment about “people blaming God for stuff”, I have yet to see a comment like this. Atheists like myself argue at times that if God exists why does all this bad stuff happen, but surely you can see that that is not the same as blaming a god for doing stuff? We just don’t believe this god of yours exists and use this argument as an illustration of this obvious fact.

Your argument to let God off the hook, for not helping people when they are in need, by comparing him to a friend who you “blew off” whenever they needed help, is a bit of a weak one when you consider that your god’s love is supposed to be unconditional, and not just reserved for those who grovel to him on a regular basis.

August 4, 2012 at 6:10 am
(58) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

Dear Christian, you said, “That’s all!”

May I suggest you read your Bible. All of it! Then, you might earn the respect of atheists.

Grandpa

August 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm
(59) MaryL says:

Well, there’s a good point – other people’s imaginary friends don’t force atheists into anything.

August 11, 2012 at 7:12 am
(60) Steve says:

You know these debates never change anyone’s mind one way or the other. The Bible says that you cannot even come into the knowledge of God unless the holy spirit is leading you to know him. It’s scary to be an atheist because the bible sayst unless we humble ourselves and become as children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus has become so real to me. He talks to me…He has shown me signs and wonders and miracles in my petsonal life as well as in the heavenlies. I could try to convince someone by telling them how the Lord has done such incredible things in my life but it still wouldn’t work unless the Holy Spirit is leading you to repentance! Yikes! If you know someone and have a relationship with them…you don’t waste time wondering if they actually exist. Know this though if you are an atheist. God clearly prefers the non-believing atheist or agnostic over the so called lukewarm christian who doesn’t really live in relationship with God. Remember what Jesus did……He hung out with the sinnets and said later to the religious pharisees that thought they’re crap couldn’t stink. God loves u atheist/agnostic guys tons! If you ever decide to try to get real with Him he will move heaven and earth to get real with you. Shalom to all my atheist/agnostic friends…God bless you n much love:)..steve

August 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm
(61) Austin Cline says:

He talks to me…He has shown me signs and wonders and miracles in my petsonal life as well as in the heavenlies.

If you’re hearing voices, you should consider medication.

February 6, 2013 at 1:17 am
(62) jdm says:

The atheist has an unfortunate problem. If there was a God, atheists would all be way dumber than him by definition. He would insist on at least that admission before contacting anyone but a praying grandmother. If I were God, I would insist on an attitude change before contacting anyone.

… wait, that’s exactly what he does, come to think of it. You can hardly blame him for that.

February 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm
(63) Austin Cline says:

The atheist has an unfortunate problem.

We’re surrounded by self-righteous, ignorant Christians?

If there was a God, atheists would all be way dumber than him by definition.

Yet still smarter than his followers.

He would insist on at least that admission before contacting anyone

That only qualifies as “smart” in the minds of ignorant Christians.

wait, that s exactly what he does, come to think of it. You can hardly blame him for that.

Yes, I can. Anyone who says “You have to believe before I give you good reasons to believe” is necessarily promoting irrationality and stupidity. Such a “god” is unworthy of even basic respect, never mind worship.

May 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm
(64) paul githim says:

if I went up to you and said there are giant, flying, invisible walruses, would you believe me? obviously you wouldn’t. but of course you would believe that there is a magical creature in the sky who controls everything that happens in the universe. gee that seems perfectly logical. maybe we should all get down on our knees and start talking to a wall and this “god” will do what we want him to do for us. if this “god” truly loves his “children”, wouldn’t he come and prove to us that he is real. every single day there so many people that are killed based on religious beliefs. you would think he would want to stop the pain his own “children” are inflicting upon each other.

June 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm
(65) Painter says:

If you can’t figure out that murder, rape, and thievery are wrong on your own, then you need religion. Many people don’t know that you can be moral without a god. If the only reason you don’t go out and start killing people is because you think that god is watching you, then god does exist and he is watching you every second.

October 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm
(66) emily1147 says:

I just wanted to say that I am glad to see that Austin is still around, and is as logical and methodical as ever. So refreshing to see a dispassionate, intelligent exchange of views.

Bravo again, Austin. Keep up the good work.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.