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Austin Cline

Lee Strobel's Case Against Christ: Apologetics Backfiring

By September 27, 2007

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Apologists usually write for the sake of convincing people to convert to their particular religion, though in practical terms their work seems to be more about helping current believers think their religion is more reasonable and justified than it really is. Sometimes, though, the arguments from apologists are so bad that they actually end up making the case against their religion. If you look closely enough and find that their "best" arguments are riddled with fallacies and obviously just fishing for rationalizations, what other conclusion can you come to?

Jeffrey W. Haws writes about his experience when a friend gave him a copy of Lee Strobel's book A Case for Christ:

The more I read the book, went over Stroebel’s interviews and the explanations provided for everything from “Why does God allow suffering?” to “Why doesn’t God give people a second chance?,” the more disillusioned I became. The more I read the products of Stroebel’s so-called “extensive” research on Christianity, the less palatable I found religion to be. I found nearly every answer given to be unsatisfying at best and amoral at worst. The explanations given through his many interviews were confounding, contradictory and hypocritical. The more I read it, the more I became convinced Stroebel was either simply fishing for reasons to convince himself to believe (”I want to believe in God; now, let’s see if I can talk to enough people who will give me reasons to do so”) or was utterly dense.

The answers indiscriminately combined New-Earth to Old-Earth philosophies, absolved God of all responsibility while saying he sends people to eternal damnation, gave Christianity credit for every bit of good any Christian has done while saying Christians who committed evil acts weren’t “True Christians,” said Atheism devalues life on Earth while saying the only objective of God is to get as many people as possible to heaven.

No one did more to solidify my lack of faith in God than did Stroebel. He showed me that, even with extensive research, interviews, etc., it isn’t remotely possible to reconcile all the seeming contradictions within the Christian faith. Those contradictions are real. For a long time, I thought I was missing something. All these people around me had faith, and I just couldn’t seem to get to that point. I saw all these problems, and I thought, “What is it that I’m not getting?” A Case for Christ showed me I got it all along.

There are better and worse apologists for Christianity, but in different ways they all arguably make a better case for atheism than they do for Christianity. When it comes to the inferior apologists, one can argue as above that when a person does loads of research only to come up with fallacious and false arguments, it's hard not to conclude that they are defending a lost cause.

When it comes to superior apologists, we consistently end up with erudite arguments that the average believer would have trouble understanding, much less using as part of their daily, lived religious life — and even then, the arguments frequently point at best to a distant, transcendent deity which has little in common with the Christian god which most Christians actively believe in and want to think is reasonable to believe in. If we take those arguments seriously, we end up with an irrelevant god of Deism than the active, involved god of orthodox and traditional Christianity.

Comments
September 27, 2007 at 2:39 pm
(1) Gotweirdness says:

Is this Lee Stroebel the same fellow who wrote the “Case for Creationism” I saw in the bookstore sometime ago? I vaguely recall something written on the book cover about the extensive research done on science supporting creationism. I dismissed it thinking the “extensive” research was probably carried out at the Discovery Institute and/or Center for Creation Science since creation supporters can’t seem to add anything new to the “If its in the Bible then it must be true.” argument.

September 27, 2007 at 3:50 pm
(2) Vinny says:

I find Lee Strobel particularly disingenuous in the way that he portrays himself as a skeptical investigative journalist. This leads his readers to believe that they are getting a balanced view of the issues. I love the way he interviews only conservative Christians for his books (his “Case for a Creator” is indeed based almost entirely on the Discovery Institute) and then pretends to be surprised when he finds the “evidence” supporting his beliefs.

September 27, 2007 at 5:56 pm
(3) 411314 says:

“…the arguments frequently point at best to a distant, transcendent deity which has little in common with the Christian god which most Christians actively believe in and want to think is reasonable to believe in. If we take those arguments seriously, we end up with an irrelevant god of Deism than the active, involved god of orthodox and traditional Christianity”.

Hey, Austin, this gives me a perfect chance to bring up a subject I e-mailed you on yesterday, but maybe I can get your answer sooner here. Where do you believe Joan of Arc’s visions came from?

September 27, 2007 at 7:22 pm
(4) formerxtian says:

A friend read one of Strobel’s books and upon slamming it on the table at one of our nonbelievers meetings stated,
“Well, I was an agnostic but after reading this hogwash, I am now ATHEIST!”
Made me wonder why Strobel appears to sell so many books (and his website teases of a film).

September 27, 2007 at 7:32 pm
(5) Jamie G. says:

sorry, testing this comment. I posted a comment earlier, but it didn’t post so instead of having a redundant comment, this is only a test.

September 27, 2007 at 7:39 pm
(6) Jamie G. says:

What am I doing wrong? None of my real comments are going through!!!

September 27, 2007 at 7:40 pm
(7) Jamie G. says:

Ok, so here is my real comment.
Almost a year ago a Christian friend of mine heard that I deconverted so he bought me a copy of Geisler/Turek’s “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” and wanted me to reconsider. After only getting a chapter in I had to quit reading it. I was finding myself yelling “What a load of horse****” after every paragraph. I complained to my friend that from what I read so far Geisler and Turek resorted to special pleading among other fallacies to get their points across and I just couldn’t push myself to finish it. I ended up selling it on Amazon, so at least I got some use out of it. But, I wished I would have kept if for reference.
I did buy him David Mill’s “Atheist Universe”. He told me that the book wasn’t very solid either in it’s arguments. We were suppose to go line by line through the book, but I haven’t received an email from him yet. That was almost a year ago. Oh well.

September 27, 2007 at 7:45 pm
(8) Jamie G. says:

Okay, this is my last try. A friend got me a copy of Geisler/Turek’s “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.” He thought it would help me reconsider my deconversion. Since I can’t post my longer comment here I will briefly say it sucked. I ended up selling it on Amazon to get some good out of it. I wished I could have posted longer. Oh well.

September 27, 2007 at 7:49 pm
(9) Gotweirdness says:

Related to this, I saw a DVD called “Amazing Creatures Nature Can’t Explain” or some such title. Reading the back of the case immediately made it out to be more creationist drivel. The person who narrated the DVD was described as once being a “traditional” evolutionist and was qualified due to possessing a doctorate.

I thought WTF is a “traditional” evolutionist? I don’t recall anyone who accepts evolution describing themselves as traditional versus people who don’t accept it. It sounded suspiciously like evolution was being compared to religion. Nor did it say what field the doctorate was in, a very evasive way of stating credentials.

September 27, 2007 at 9:47 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

Jamie: comments with profanity get flagged and prevented from appearing. I edited and approved one of them.

If you want a sign of just how bad that book is, read at the beginning for their explanation of what “university” means and where the word comes from. That revealed such an incredible lack of basic education and research skills that I knew the rest would be completely worthless.

411314: I don’t have email right now so I couldn’t reply to whatever you wrote. Aside from her visions coming from herself, I don’t know the exact cause. I wasn’t there.

September 28, 2007 at 5:50 am
(11) 411314 says:

Of course, I wasn’t there eithier. It’s interesting to note though, that theorized medical causes have other symptoms that would seem to conflict with other known facts of her life. Doesn’t that seem like a good reason to think that maybe those visions came from something supernatural?

September 28, 2007 at 6:19 am
(12) Austin Cline says:

It’s interesting to note though, that theorized medical causes have other symptoms that would seem to conflict with other known facts of her life.

Not that I’m aware of, no.

Doesn’t that seem like a good reason to think that maybe those visions came from something supernatural?

1. If by “medical causes” you are limiting yourself to medical conditions, then there are other natural causes of hallucinations.

2. The absence of known medical causes does not, ipso facto, justify resorting to “the supernatural” as an “explanation.”

3. Given the absence of any solid definition of what “the supernatural” is, how it operates, how it would cause hallucinations, etc., it can’t be properly said to be an “explanation” of anything. The statement “I don’t know how it happened” remains the answer, but it looks like an answer has actually been given. This is looked upon positively because people like answers more than “I don’t know,” but it’s a false comfort at best.

September 28, 2007 at 6:27 am
(13) 411314 says:

Sorry, I meant psychiatric or neurological causes. According to wikipedia:

“Potential diagnoses have included epilepsy, migraine, tuberculosis, and schizophrenia.[59] None of the putative diagnoses have gained consensus support because, although hallucination and religious enthusiasm can be symptomatic of various syndromes, other characteristic symptoms conflict with other known facts of Joan’s life”.

“Among the specific challenges that potential diagnoses such as schizophrenia face is the slim likelihood that any person with such a disorder could gain favor in the court of Charles VII. This king’s own father, Charles VI, was popularly known as “Charles the Mad,” and much of the political and military decline that France had suffered during his reign could be attributed to the power vacuum that his episodes of insanity had produced. The previous king had believed he was made of glass, a delusion no courtier had mistaken for a religious awakening”.

I realize it’s wikipedia, but my history teacher did vaguely say there were some things that couldn’t be explianed away.

September 28, 2007 at 6:37 am
(14) 411314 says:

And I spelled “explained” wrong in the above post. Ooops.

September 28, 2007 at 7:41 am
(15) Austin Cline says:

I realize it’s wikipedia, but my history teacher did vaguely say there were some things that couldn’t be explianed away.

And what does that mean, exactly? It sounds like it’s supposed to imply that finding natural, material causes for an event “explains it away,” as if it’s no longer interesting, enjoyable, or wonderful. That’s a popular prejudice among people who think that without the supernatural and paranormal, the universe wouldn’t be interesting. The phrase can also function as a cop out: some things can’t be explained away, and I can’t come up with an answer, so there must not be one in the first place.

If it could be determined that someone like Joan of Arc had visions because of epilepsy (probably the strongest contender of the neurological options) or simply something she ate, that wouldn’t be “explaining it away.” It would simply be explaining it, period.

And yes, it is Wikipedia: notice that after a list of several possible neurological causes, it claims that all contradict aspects of her life but don’t really justify that assertion. The article only tries on one point, and then very unconvincingly. Sure, the court may have been prejudiced against anyone who is insane but schizophrenia is not insanity.

If they were willing to accept a woman and farmer’s daughter into the court as a military leader, and one who claimed to receive visions from God (remember that at the time only male priests were permitted mediators between humanity and the divine), then it’s hard to credit the claim that they would have been put off by schizophrenia symptoms like agitation, some catatonia (how else does God get your attention for a little chat?), irritability, withdrawal, disorganized, thinking, etc.

September 28, 2007 at 9:49 am
(16) tracieh says:

It’s important to note that many otherwise “normal” citizens who live and work among us have all sorts of odd delusions. For example, many people believe they’ve encountered ghosts.

I have sleep paralysis (as do many other people)–which comes, for me, with auditory hallucinations–very realistic ones. My mother has it as well and used to have visual hallucinations.

I don’t consider myself abnormal (especially considering that many other people have had this experience at least once if not repeatedly). Our brains can do all sorts of interesting tricks very naturally. I suggest you look up “lucid dreaming” and give it a shot if you haven’t done it before. I guarantee it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Many people confuse it with an “out of body” experience because it’s just so realistic. And again, just about anyone can do it–it just takes some practice (except for those lucky few who have the experience naturally).

Likewise, certain plants, such as Datura or Ergot in wheat, can produce some hellacious mental experiences if eaten accidentally. And may not show any other extremely odd physical symptoms unless exposure is prolonged or extreme.

And the list goes on.

September 28, 2007 at 10:20 am
(17) 411314 says:

Thank you as always, Austin. By the way, how do you italicize on this thing? Everyone but me seems to know how to do it.

September 28, 2007 at 11:40 am
(18) 411314 says:

Also, how much of the following (again from Wikipedia) is accurate?

“Experienced religious messages through voices and visions which she said others could sometimes experience simultaneously. Some researchers consider the visions to be ecstatic epileptic auras, though more recent research may implicate idiopathic partial epilepsy with auditory features. Epileptic seizures with clear auditory and visual hallucinations are very rare. This, together with the extreme length of her visions, lead some to reject epilepsy as a cause”.

If the last part is true, do you think it’s a good enough reason to “reject epilepsy as a cause” and do you know where can I find some reliable sources on the subject?

September 28, 2007 at 12:51 pm
(19) Mike says:

Not being experts we can not reject epilepsy as a cause. However you seem to be implying that if we remove the nicely categorized medical causes that it will mean that it is plausible that the visions came from a supernatural source. That does not follow.

Consider if you received gifts under the Christmas tree labeled from Santa. You eliminate other sources… Mom, Grandparents, Neighbors. It seems like they didn’t do it. Does that mean it was Santa? I guess at this point you need to define ‘Santa’. The guy who lives in at the North Pole and is carried by flying reindeer? Or maybe an old guy who broke into your house and calls himself St. Nick?

My point is that even if you eliminate all the pigeon holed medical causes to the best of your ability, this far removed from the time period, it is still not logical to assume that the cause was supernatural. Why? For the same reason you would not assume that Santa of the North Pole and flying reindeer delivered your mystery gifts. There is no sound basis for the belief that reindeer fly or that a guy at the North Pole would choose your house to break into to leave gifts. It’s extremely low on the probability scale. More plausible is that a person you know gave you the gifts and labeled them ‘from Santa’.

Just as it is more probable that Joan of Arc 1) claimed to have visions. 2) convinced herself she had visions 3) Had visions because of physiologic causes or 4) some combination of 1-3. It is not logical to jump to the less probable supernatural explanation. Why? Because we have no evidence of supernatural things. Because the history of human knowledge and science has led to the gradual elimination of supernatural causes. Because there is no basis to think this case is different and being so far removed from it, the extreme case of it actually being supernatural would require extraordinary evidence which is impossible to acquire at this time.

As my wife would say: If you are in North American and hear hoofs hitting the ground you should not assume it’s a zebra.

September 28, 2007 at 1:11 pm
(20) tracieh says:

Also, these are very old accounts, and we’re going off information we can’t validate or investigate. In such a case, any conclusion would be a guess.

Recently I saw a program about some square rock formations under the ocean that looked like pave stones. people said it had to be proof of a sunken civilization because no natural cause could explain it–until they found the same formation in another area on the shoreline–where tides had absolutely caused it.

I guess my thought is that while it’s fun to guess, without anything to actually examine, nobody can offer a real explanation. We can’t confirm any of the reports. We can’t cross examine anyone. We can’t do an MRI on Joan’s head…we have nothing but antiquated claims to go on.

Let me ask this: If instead of saying she saw visions, the claim was that she could flap her wings and fly across the battle field–would we even be having this discussion?

September 28, 2007 at 2:24 pm
(21) 411314 says:

“Because we have no evidence of supernatural things”.

If not this, then what would you consider evidence?

“Let me ask this: If instead of saying she saw visions, the claim was that she could flap her wings and fly across the battle field–would we even be having this discussion”?

Is there any indication she could fly across the battle field?

September 28, 2007 at 3:10 pm
(22) 411314 says:

“Is there any indication she could fly across the battle field?”

Sorry, I’m not sure what I was thinking when I posted that. I know that sounds wierd, but it’s true. Still,

“My point is that even if you eliminate all the pigeon holed medical causes to the best of your ability, this far removed from the time period, it is still not logical to assume that the cause was supernatural. Why? For the same reason you would not assume that Santa of the North Pole and flying reindeer delivered your mystery gifts. There is no sound basis for the belief that reindeer fly or that a guy at the North Pole would choose your house to break into to leave gifts. It’s extremely low on the probability scale”.

Isn’t that a self-fufiling cycle? If do decide that anything which might seem to be evidence of something isn’t because there hasn’t been evidence before, won’t you never have evidence?

September 28, 2007 at 4:37 pm
(23) Reid Carson says:

“Isn’t that a self-fufiling cycle? If do decide that anything which might seem to be evidence of something isn’t because there hasn’t been evidence before, won’t you never have evidence?”

No, it’s saying that someone telling you that he or she hears voices is very weak evidence for something supernatural being involved. As they say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

I knew someone who once claimed to hear voices. Knowing him as I did, I believed him. Knowing him as I did, I did not ascribe this to anything supernatural, but to some problems he was having. It would have required some pretty amazing revelations for me to believe that he was hearing God, or angels, or whatever.

If you tell me you can flap your arms and fly like a bird, I’m going to want more evidence than your word. I’ve got some experience with people telling lies. I’ve got some experience with people trying to trick me. I know both those things can happen. I’ve got no experience with anyone who can flap his arms and fly like a bird, nor any real indication that things like that are even possible.

September 28, 2007 at 9:24 pm
(24) tracieh says:

>extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

This is really what it boils down to. This is what I was getting at when I wrote:

“Also, these are very old accounts, and we’re going off information we can’t validate or investigate…”

I need more than a claim. There’s only one person who knows what Joan experienced, and that was Joan. Anyone else was only writing down what they saw Joan acting like or what Joan claimed. It’s totally plausible Joan had visions. People hallucinate. But are halllucinations so unusual that only gods can cause them? Hardly.

Joan has a vision and (mis)attributes it to god.

X writes about Joan’s claim she had a vision from god.

How do we prove Joan had a vision from god with Joan long dead and nothing miraculous to investigate?

All of religious mythology is riddled with crazy claims about encounters with gods and miracles. I don’t know anyone who believes, for example, that Zeus existed and assaulted people with lightening bolts. Why not? Because it’s a ridiculous claim with absolutely nothing to back it up but old stories. Just like Joan’s scenario.

September 29, 2007 at 12:01 am
(25) Mike says:

“If not this, then what would you consider evidence?”

I would consider it evidence if someone could demonstrate it. For example: James Randi, 79, has offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove they have supernatural powers. Many people have tried but none have been successful. When these things are put to the test they fail.

In reality it is difficult to rule out supernatural causes because one could claim that it is the will of a supernatural being to cause the physiologic process that caused the vision. It’s not actually falsifiable and not science. That suggests that there really is no way to know… but also that there is no good reason to believe it to be so.

If a person is attempting to prove supernatural things to be true then they should not lay their hopes on an old story that can hardly be investigated in depth or tested objectively.
If you think there is a way to test the claim please share. The lack of concrete historical evidence for a brain malfunction is not going to be enough.

We can break it down in more detail like this:
-The null hypothesis is that she had ‘visions’ just like many people have ‘visions’ caused by natural biological processes.
-You hypothesize the visions were of supernatural origin.

What evidence do you have? There is no clear indication of biological cause found in writings of the time.

What evidence do you have supporting the null hypothesis? There is no clear proof that supernatural causes currently cause people to have visions.
The biological causes of ‘visions’ were not known/understood at the time.
The biological cues could simply be absent from historical documents.
Some people that claim to have had ‘visions’ can function rather normally in society.

Based on the above it is reasonable to not believe Joan’s visions were supernatural in origin.

November 5, 2007 at 10:15 am
(26) jonathanmurphy013@msn.com says:

Just as you say he may have gone through his research trying to prove there is a god the arguement could easlily be made that you read this book looking to disprove that there is a god. It is not difficult to read a book and argure with it and put down every bit of information the author makes if that is your goal from the beginning. I sometimes find myself when reading a book like this argueing with the author. Check his research, his resources, and do some research yourself and you will find what he says true. Ignorance is the only way to define how one can read this book and not acknowledge the truth in at least many of the things he said. Some people go through life trying to disprove anything that would cause them to submit to something else. Someone searching would do just as lee strobel has and research. He was not researching to prove that a god existed.”I’ll take you along as I retrace the events that led to a nearly 2-year exploration of teh evidence for and against believeing in Christ. After weighing the evidence, I made my decision. But I can’t make yours. That’s your choice. I hope you take it seriously, because there may be more at stake than just idle curiosity. If Jesus is to be believed- and I realize that may be a big if for you at this point- then nothing is more important than how you respond to him. Check the evidence out for yourself”(Strobel 8).

Feel free to email me if you disagree.
V

January 13, 2008 at 10:28 pm
(27) 411314 says:

Austin, if you know when someone posts a comment on an old thread, I realize you were probably right about the visions. But what about Joan taking back the fortress of Saint Loup? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t she have no military experience before that?

March 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm
(28) Scott Valene says:

If you really want to get as close as you can to obtaining logical reasoning and some archiological evidence, then read Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell. There is absolutely no refuting the research he has done. It is a difficult read but if one is intent on determining if the bible is a historically accruate, thus providing a strong basis for Christianity, it must be read.

March 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm
(29) Austin Cline says:

If you really want to get as close as you can to obtaining logical reasoning and some archiological evidence, then read Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell.

Funny, I consider that the worst example of Christian apologetics available.

There is absolutely no refuting the research he has done.

Funny, but it’s been done.

March 26, 2008 at 8:29 am
(30) Scott Valene says:

How about Kent Hovind. What are your beliefs anyway?

March 26, 2008 at 9:20 am
(31) Austin Cline says:

So, do you intend to either support or retract your original assertions. It seems like you are just trying to change the subject.

How about Kent Hovind.

A man who had to go to jail for numerous offenses? A man who offered a reward to prove “evolution,” where evolution is misdefined? You can do a search for his name here to see what I think about him.

What are your beliefs anyway?

About what, exactly?

April 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm
(32) pbeaird says:

The fact is that none of Josh McDowell’s arguments address the objections of Bible critics. And, if you want to see an honest examination of Josh Mcdowell’s “evidence”, consult
Bible Bloopers: Evidence That Demands a Verdict Too! a Skeptic Examines Josh McDowell by Michael Ledo and Jim Wilson available at Amazon. There is no evidence, logic or proof available for the Christian apologist.

April 3, 2008 at 1:23 am
(33) Zack says:

For about a year while I was in college, I dated a Christian girl I met when she was proselytizing in front of the student union. She eventually gave me a stack of Josh McDowell and C.S. Lewis, in the clear hope that I would find their arguments convincing. I had already read all the Lewis books, but I readily agreed to read McDowell.

It was obvious that my then-girlfriend and her evangelist friends held Evidence That Demands a Verdict in very high esteem, and I before I opened the book, I thought, “Well, here at last are all the devastating arguments against atheism and in favor of Christianity — I will at last get to see the side of this question that I’ve been missing.”

Words are barely adequate to describe my disappointment at the thin gruel I found inside. If I hadn’t already been an atheist when I read it, Evidence That Demands a Verdict certainly would have been sufficient to start me on the road to disbelief. It is written to comfort believers, not to persuade real skeptics.

May 25, 2008 at 11:55 am
(34) atheistturneddeist says:

It sounds like an awfully intellectually dishonest apologist whom a lot of you guys are alluding to. This is a bit like an author named Peter Jeffery (I’m not sure as to what his nationality is, but I think he’s a Briton, like I am). A fundamentalist Christian and evangelist, Jeffery, in a book titled ‘I will never become a Christian – seven reasons challenged’, is on a mission to convert (if you’ll excuse the cliche) but makes no effort whatsoever to engage real and actual detractors from Christianity in argument, instead laying out what HE THINKS are objections to converting to the faith presented by critics of Christianity, of whom he seemingly has a stereotype as being all atheists, then gives ‘refutations’ of these ‘objections’. Granted, some of these objections (e.g. the problem of evil) ARE INDEED presented by atheists as arguments against Christianity (and, for that matter, religion generally). This latter fact should not, however, distract readers’ attention from the other ‘objections’, which are merely straw men, or from his ‘refutations’, which hence often smack of the straw man fallacy and are at other times riddled with dogmatic, poorly substantiated assertions. Then there’s all the talk about the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection and the afterlife (without, I might, any effort whatsoever to provide readers with factual support of the crucifixion or the resurrection or any rational reasons for believing in any sort of afterlife, much less the evangelical Christian concept of the afterlife, which is the one he espouses belief in)and the regular ‘appeal to force’, threatening non-Christians with eternal damnation, which only serves to further demonstrate the author’s inability to sway opposition wih rational arguments.

And that, in a nutshell, is my review of ‘I will never become a Christian – seven reasons challenged’ by Peter Jeffery.

September 25, 2008 at 4:33 pm
(35) Austin says:

So after reading this, All I have come across was people saying that they didnt like it, or just making a general statement saying that Streobel is a bad apologist. Well, where is the counter-argument? This means nothing and proves nothing.

October 7, 2008 at 8:17 pm
(36) Larry Fetterly says:

I am a high school teacher. One of the courses I teach is Logic. The course is intended to help students evaluate persuasive discourse for valid thinking processes and for the probability that truth (conformance with actual occurrance or reality) has been reasonably established. One of the fallacies they study is called as hominem or attack the presenter rather than the presented. You attack the writer Lee Strobel but offer no actual evidence for the “fallacies” you found. Could you enlighten me about what you think are some of the more critical fallacies. Thanks.

October 7, 2008 at 8:37 pm
(37) Austin Cline says:

One of the fallacies they study is called as hominem or attack the presenter rather than the presented.

If you really do teach logic, as you make a point of claiming, then you know that an ad hominem fallacy is not an attack on the person, but an argument that we should reject a person’s conclusion or position based upon a personal attack. Calling someone a racist would not not an ad hominem fallacy, even if it is false; saying that we should treat a person’s position on some unrelated matter because they also happen to be a racist would be an ad hominem fallacy.

But you knew that right?

You attack the writer Lee Strobel but offer no actual evidence for the “fallacies” you found. Could you enlighten me about what you think are some of the more critical fallacies. Thanks.

The most critical might be his attempt to enhance his own credibility by portraying himself as an objective, disinterested journalist doing a serious investigation and then coming to the conclusion that Christianity happens to be correct. Of course, many people would simply regard that as lying, but I tried to be generous by simply treating it as a fallacy.

Another critical fallacy would be the extensive use of the Straw Man by, for example, “refuting” arguments that few if any critics make. Combined with his failure to address many arguments that are offered by critics, and the result is a book that is more about wishful thinking than any serious attempt to deal with serious issues.

October 23, 2008 at 8:08 am
(38) Mark Barratt says:

I recently read “The Case for Christ” and, well, was unimpressed. I was given it by a concerned Evangelical Christian friend and if that’s the best he’s got I’m even more baffled than before as to how he can continue to believe such nonsense.

The general points made above are correct: Strobel presents the work as a piece of sceptical journalism when in reality it is an apologetic work. He only interviews right-wing evangelical Biblical literalist Christian scholars and therefore comes to the remarkable and unexpected conclusion that right-wing evangelical biblical literalist Christianity is true. Surprising, no? What are the odds?

It’s not even primarily aimed at atheists, it’s mainly concerned with refuting liberal Christian scholars, who are all quote-mined and not given an opportunity to respond. Anyone who’s read anything by a Christian apologist should know, when seeing somebody like Strobel quote a person with whom he disagrees, to go straight to the source to find out what the person being quoted ACTUALLY said. It’s usually quite different to what the apologist claims they’ve said. The same applies to Bible quotes.

In addition to that, Strobel’s description of his own erstwhile atheism contains so much anti-atheist bigotry and common stereotypes of evil immoral atheists that you can tell it’s not meant for us, it’s meant for people who share those views of us, that we’re subhuman because we lack an imaginary friend.

After all, if a book started by saying “Black people wear nothing but animal-skin loincloths, eat fried chicken and watermelon, are good at sport but functionally illiterate and incapable of academic success and so they must be denied education and access to positions of power, you don’t want to be like that do you? DO YOU?” you’d be able to tell that the aim of the author was not to win over any black people who may be reading.

One example of the kind of “reasoning” you find in the book: When discussing “The Medical Evidence”, Dr. Alexander Metherell gives a heartwrenching description of exactly how Jesus will have suffered on the Cross. This is a powerful section, and reeks of the kind of emotional blackmail that is all too common among those who wish to promote religion. “Wasn’t it nasty? How can you deny Christ when he went through all this FOR YOU? You must be a monster!”

When discussing the possibility of survival Metherell states that the condition that Jesus would have been in would have guaranteed death, but even if he survived he would have been in such a wretched state that his appearance could not possibly have inspired his disciples to follow him in the certainty that they would be similarly resurrected if they did. The inspiration could only have come from a resurrected and rejuvenated saviour, with his wounds healed.

This is an interesting point, but isn’t there a huge problem? Didn’t Thomas place his hands in Jesus’ wounds, which convinced him that the resurrected Jesus had really been crucified? That doesn’t make sense. Does Metherell think that the healing mojo somehow ran out? That Jesus’ flogging wounds and exposed spine were healed but there wasn’t enough juice left over for the nail and spear wounds, conveniently leaving places for Thomas’ probing fingers? Or did Jesus make sure that the majority of his wounds were healed but the SIGNIFICANT wounds remained, knowing that he’d need them later? Wouldn’t that have worried the desciples? That significant execution wounds would not be healed when they were resurrected? What if they had been beheaded or castrated? Is the post-death healing a lottery?

If such explanations were offered they would be laughable, the very definition of ad hoc reasoning to salvage a desperately needed belief system from unavoidable contradictions, but we don’t know if that would have been the case as Strobel DOESN’T ASK THIS OBVIOUS QUESTION!

This is representative of the whole work. Strobel low-balls his interviewees with easy questions and accepts their answers without protest, while making it seem like he’s giving them the third degree.

On the plus side, I read Earl Doherty’s “Challenging the Verdict”, a more balanced response and was VERY impressed. I’m currently reading Doherty’s “The Jesus Puzzle” where he argues for an entirely mythical Jesus and finding it very convincing. Check out
Richard Carrier’s review
for starters.

At the very least Doherty doesn’t tell me I hate goodness and love and hope in the first few pages, which is a good way of keeping your readers on your side.

March 25, 2009 at 2:28 pm
(39) William says:

Atheism? seriously, could the mind of man be abased any lower than to actually believe there is NO God, there is NO Creator. And the fact that when religion is argued, those who argue against it, well they always seem to get angry at only one. CHRISTIANITY… I wonder why? Now, to me it sounds like a case of “a child getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.” When all else fails, just claim it didn’t happen. Stand there before the one you were caught by and lie. Oh, God can’t exist. Man has evolved. We are here to just live and die. Well, I find it encouraging. Yes, encouraging to see that when the atheist come out to fight they attack none but one God. The Jewish God, the God of Israel, The living God. Now, we can disputed evidence all day long. As a matter of fact that is all that has been done over the hundreds of years man as argued his will against God’s. This man disproves this man, I am right, No, I am. So on and so on. Sounds like a huge battle of wills, a bit of puffed up pride to me. Look,the bottom line is that man does not want to be held accountable for the things he does in his or her life. Man wants to give credit to man. And another encouraging thing. All flesh is like grass, it fades away. The word of the Lord, it stands for ever. And the critics will come, and the coltist will come, and the philosophers will come, and the religions will come and with there hammer they will hammer away at the word of God. All they will discover is that it is an ANVIL and many hammers have been broken on that ANVIL. They will swing and swing until they die and they will stand before its author and give an account of their life…

March 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm
(40) Austin Cline says:

Atheism? seriously, could the mind of man be abased any lower than to actually believe there is NO God, there is NO Creator.

Feel free to show how atheism is an abasement of any sort.

And the fact that when religion is argued, those who argue against it, well they always seem to get angry at only one. CHRISTIANITY… I wonder why?

Perhaps because you happen to live in a culture where that is the most common religion and, therefore, criticism of religion will focus on the religion that is common. Speak to atheists in India and find out which religion they critique the most.

Now, to me it sounds like a case of “a child getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.”

Maybe because you haven’t thought about it very carefully?

Well, I find it encouraging. Yes, encouraging to see that when the atheist come out to fight they attack none but one God.

Given the absence of gods, atheists don’t attack any gods. Atheists are, instead, critical of claims people make about alleged gods. That’s a critical difference which isn’t actually very difficult to discern if one thinks about it carefully for a few moments.

Look,the bottom line is that man does not want to be held accountable for the things he does in his or her life.

Speak for yourself and don’t project your own narcissism onto others.

March 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm
(41) Rasna says:

William, excuse my ignorance but where is this living phantom when it’s needed?
Study the ancient religion of the middle east and you will find that the Sumerians had all the bull that the Jews, Christians and Muslims keep trying by murder and other nefarious means to trap mankind into their fake theological world.

March 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm
(42) John Hanks says:

Mankind is made up of crooks, suckers, and lazy cowards. How could religion or atheism debase it any more than it is.

May 12, 2009 at 10:12 am
(43) unc00jacob says:

All of you atheists are completely illogical because Cline claims Christianity has no background for evidence but when he wrote this he gave absolutely no evidence for his point either. So why believe an article that did’t give answers, only assertions, and until someone gives me some firm evidence and not assumptions on atheism than I’m going to believe in something that at least gives hope, Christianity.

May 12, 2009 at 11:15 am
(44) Austin Cline says:

All of you atheists are completely illogical because Cline claims Christianity has no background for evidence but when he wrote this he gave absolutely no evidence for his point either.

If there are any particular statements of mine which you would like to see evidence in support of, just ask.

So why believe an article that did’t give answers, only assertions, and until someone gives me some firm evidence and not assumptions on atheism than I’m going to believe in something that at least gives hope, Christianity.

Why not Judaism? Or Islam? Or Buddhism?

In fact, why not believe things based on evidence, rather than because they make you feel hopeful?

May 14, 2009 at 8:37 pm
(45) unc00jacob says:

I want to hear all the evidences you have

May 14, 2009 at 8:43 pm
(46) Jeremy says:

Well, William you said it man. I have a question for atheists out there. If you believe that we somehow arrived where we are now by evolution or some other way, where did it all begin. Not from some type of primordial “soup” or what not, but the actual beginning. Before the so called “big bang” where did the matter that created the earth and every living thing come from. Scientists say that matter cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be converted into other forms, back and forth. So where did this matter or energy come from? Did it just all of a sudden appear from the dark void around it. This is scientifically impossible, and forget about science this is physically impossible without some sort of higher being. I am a Christian, and I believe Genesis 1:1 which says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I am working on becoming a medical doctor and through all the classes that I have taken, which include various different sciences. There is no doubt in my mind that the only possible way we are here today is by the awesome power of God. I dont expect you to believe me by what I have written, but I have some books that might interest you and I know will help other atheists in their search for answers. The first is the Bible, the second is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and the third is Evidence for Christianit written by Josh McDowell. The last book’s author was an atheist who went on a mission to disprove Christianity, during his work he actually converted and gave his life to Christ. Thanks for taking your time to read this.

May 14, 2009 at 9:18 pm
(47) Austin Cline says:

I want to hear all the evidences you have

It’s “evidence,” not “evidences,” and you still don’t say what you want to see “evidence” for. I’m afraid that you’re going to have to do me the courtesy of being specific. You might also consider doing me the courtesy of actually answering my question.

May 14, 2009 at 9:27 pm
(48) Austin Cline says:

Before the so called “big bang” where did the matter that created the earth and every living thing come from.

The Big Bang is the origin of space and time. Ergo, there is no “before” the Big Bang because there is no space/time context in which in the Big Bang can be situated. There is no context that allows for a “before” any more than a “north of” or “to the left of.

Scientists say that matter cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be converted into other forms, back and forth. So where did this matter or energy come from?

You forgot context again: matter cannot be created or destroyed in the context of our space/time continuum and physical laws. Absent them, such constraints may not matter.

Regardless, depending on how the equations ultimately balance out the sum total of energy in the universe may be zero, which means that even this particular constraint has not been violated.

This is scientifically impossible, and forget about science this is physically impossible without some sort of higher being.

OK, prove it.

I am a Christian, and I believe Genesis 1:1 which says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I am working on becoming a medical doctor

I’m sorry to hear that.

There is no doubt in my mind that the only possible way we are here today is by the awesome power of God.

Then you should be able to prove it.

I dont expect you to believe me by what I have written, but I have some books that might interest you and I know will help other atheists in their search for answers.

Tell me, did you do any research to see what atheists think about these books or did you simply conclude that since these books tell you what you already believe, then they must be compelling to people who don’t already believe?

The first is the Bible, the second is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and the third is Evidence for Christianit written by Josh McDowell.

OK, it must be the latter. First, most atheists have read the Bible — possibly more than you. I, for example, have read it several times, in several translations, and in multiple languages. To suggest that atheists aren’t familiar with the Bible is arrogant and silly.

Second, both Lewis and McDowell are among the worst Christian apologists ever. You might have garnered a bit a respect if you had recommended a serious apologist — someone with a bit of serious training and knowledge in philosophy, like William Craig. Lewis’ arguments are silly and often fallacious. McDowell actually manages to be worse, offering all sorts of falsehoods and fallacies.

Please, do your homework first before writing such things. Don’t recommend books and apologists without knowing how they are received by the community you are talking to. Don’t make arguments for your beliefs without first understanding the common, basic rebuttals.

This is why I was sorry to hear that you’re trying to become a medical doctor — your skills at basic research, reasoning, and argument are sorely lacking. I am pessimistic about how well you’ll be able to treat the illnesses of human beings, especially when we add in your lack of understanding of the science you try to talk about.

May 14, 2009 at 10:08 pm
(49) Jeremy says:

First of all it seems that I am writing to a larger community then you realize. In this discussion there are people ranging from Christians to Atheists, which therefore it is a somewhat diverse community who may accept certain veiws differently than you. Now, back to the beginning. What you say about the big bang being the origin of space and time, it seems that in order to start something you have to have some sort of material. In order to start a fire you need wood and a spark, to make food you need ingredients, and there are other countless examples of this wherever you look. These ingredients came from somewhere like the grocery store. In your flawed theory the ingredients just magically appeared, and then magically created the most complex masterpiece ever imagined.

Now, I am sorry that I hurt your feelings about my “research techniques”, although they seem very sound to me. When a person in a debate decides to attack another debater personally, then that is when the attacker’s arguement is voided. This is because they have nothing else to add to the arguement that could possible be valid.

If you really want to know what community I am writing to, then here it is. It is the same one that Jesus came down for when he said: “the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost”. I am writing to all the lost out there who will one day wonder why they never believed in the one who could have saved them from eternal damnation.

I have evidence for what I believe, I dont see how atheists say they have evidence for what they believe, because when it all boils down to it, atheists dont have a defined belief. They wonder from theory to theory to try and see which one suits them for that time.

I know that all who wander are not lost, but my friend please consider what I have stated about seeking and saving those who are lost, because if you fail to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and Savior, then He will fail to recognize you into His Kingdom.

May 15, 2009 at 6:11 am
(50) Austin Cline says:

First of all it seems that I am writing to a larger community then you realize. In this discussion there are people ranging from Christians to Atheists, which therefore it is a somewhat diverse community who may accept certain veiws differently than you.

You are writing on an atheist site which exists primarily for atheists. Moreover, you are unambiguously directing your comments at atheists. My statements about what you should do before directing such statements at atheists stand.

What you say about the big bang being the origin of space and time, it seems that in order to start something you have to have some sort of material.

What “seems to you” and how physics works aren’t necessarily the same.

Now, I am sorry that I hurt your feelings about my “research techniques”,

I’m sorry you got the impression that my feelings were hurt. I have no personal feelings involved in this whatsoever. Moreover, my statements about your abysmally poor research stand.

If you really want to know what community I am writing to,

I already know, because as I said your comments were unambiguously directed at nonbelievers on an atheist site — ergo, atheists.

I have evidence for what I believe,

Then you can provide it.

I notice that when you are challenged on facts and science, you resort to nothing more than theological formula. You try to use science when you think that will help, but as soon as it falls apart you’re back with theological arguments. This means that the science was never really valued for being science in the first place — it was only valued for what you thought you could rationalize with it.

May 15, 2009 at 12:15 pm
(51) unc00jacob says:

First of all Christianity and the Bible fall in line with any historical and archeological findings there have ever been. Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism simply don’t. Therefore as a basis for my beliefs are these undisputable facts. Speaking of facts you haven’t provided any “facts” on Atheism. Which goes back to my original point that you have given no evidence for what you believe. You want me to be specific? Very well. What are your views on how life began and answer me this question. What do think your purpose of life is?

May 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm
(52) Austin Cline says:

First of all Christianity and the Bible fall in line with any historical and archeological findings there have ever been.

Feel free to show how.

Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism simply don’t.

I look forward to your supporting this. I especially look forward to your explaining how the Bible can “fall in line with any historical and archeological findings there have ever been,” but Judaism cannot. I thought, you know, Judaism relied on the Old Testament. That’s still in the Bible, isn’t it?

Speaking of facts you haven’t provided any “facts” on Atheism.

Atheism isn’t a belief system, ideology, or any kind of belief system. So what sort of “facts” are you looking for?

Which goes back to my original point that you have given no evidence for what you believe.

You haven’t asked what I believe.

What are your views on how life began and answer me this question. What do think your purpose of life is?

As far as I know, science hasn’t acquired enough evidence to make a strong case for how life originated. Undersea volcanic vents are looking strong right now, but it would be inappropriate to take a definitive position on the matter.

My purpose in life is my own business. You don’t know me well enough to ask that personal of a question.

May 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm
(53) Michael Link says:

Thousands and thousands of atheists, since the time of Christ, have stood in line taking their turn at trying to destroy Christianity. While each and everyone of them have long since died and been forgotten, Christianity has lived on – only to get stronger and more relevant. Enjoy it while it lasts because one day you will stand before Him and explain why He doesn’t exist.

May 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm
(54) Seth says:

Let me ask. Do you (Austin Cline) know your purpose in life or are you just saying that it is your own business because you don’t know what it is?

May 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm
(55) unc00jacob says:

Well, an extremely large ship was found not more than a year ago frozen on top of a mountains icy caps. And guess where it was? In the exact spot where archeologists believed to have lived. If you are trying to convince me that a ship with the same dimensions the Bible gives can get on top of mountain with reasons other than the flood, then good luck.

Obviously you know Christianity and Judaism very well. It is true that Judaism believes the old testament but reject most if not all of the new testament and most importantly Jesus’ resurrection. Also many predictions or prophecies in the new testament have been fulfilled which the Jews reject. This I find ironic because most of these prophecies include the Jews. If you read Zephaniah 2 then you’ll see that the Bible clearly predicts the conflict in the middle east involving Israel and the Palestinians.

Well if Atheism isn’t an ideology or belief system what is it? Your a secular humanist which believes atheism so that IS you ideology.

Your an atheist, therefore I know you believe in a “no god” universe. Talk about that.

What do you mean by “undersea volcanic vents are looking strong” because I take that to mean that these vents have no proof and as of now are the most accepted theory.

Fair enough. I wasn’t trying to get personal. All I meant was what do you think mankind’s overall purpose is in life.

May 15, 2009 at 9:23 pm
(56) unc00jacob says:

in case you didn’t notice I left out the word “Noah” above in the first paragraph.

May 16, 2009 at 12:07 am
(57) fauxrs says:

unc00jacob: please provide links to archeological papers discussing this ship that was found only a year or so ago. I’m quite interested in reading up on this.

May 16, 2009 at 12:30 am
(58) Austin Cline says:

Let me ask. Do you (Austin Cline) know your purpose in life or are you just saying that it is your own business because you don’t know what it is?

I’m saying I will discuss such an question with people who warrant/deserve it.

May 16, 2009 at 12:35 am
(59) Austin Cline says:

Well, an extremely large ship was found not more than a year ago frozen on top of a mountains icy caps. And guess where it was? In the exact spot where archeologists believed to have lived.

Citations, please.

Obviously you know Christianity and Judaism very well. It is true that Judaism believes the old testament

I’m still waiting for you to support your claims.

Also many predictions or prophecies in the new testament have been fulfilled which the Jews reject.

More claims for you to support.

Well if Atheism isn’t an ideology or belief system what is it?

An absence of belief in gods.

Your a secular humanist which believes atheism so that IS you ideology.

Secular humanism isn’t the same as atheism.

What do you mean by “undersea volcanic vents are looking strong” because I take that to mean that these vents have no proof and as of now are the most accepted theory.

Do you have any knowledge whatsoever about the current state of science in this area?

Fair enough. I wasn’t trying to get personal. All I meant was what do you think mankind’s overall purpose is in life.

Um, how can you “mean” an question to be about humanity’s “overall purpose” and only ask about mine? That makes no sense whatsoever.

May 16, 2009 at 3:34 am
(60) GNSS says:

411314
How about Joan being an uneducated person having “natural visions”. When I meditate (self hypnosis) I have visions. I just figure I am contacting “The collective mind”. Also while meditating I have “healed” friends and family. I don’t consider this supernatural. I consider it a latent talent enhanced by practice. I am a student (old) of healers and healing. There is a reasonable explanation of this in history all the way back to the Egyptions. It is esoteric, but there for those willing to search for it. If you are interested and Mr. Cline doesn’t mind, you have permission to contact me outside of this forum.

May 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm
(61) Seth says:

(An absence of belief in gods.) That is a belief. It is the belief that there is no god. Also, this “absence of belief in gods” removes the chance of there being a creator. From the belief system of a Christian, if there is no creator there can be no beginning. Do you BELIEVE there is some other cause for the beginning of matter, time and life. If so, that shows that you do have a belief system. Well unless you BELIEVE that we (humans) came from nothing and just appeared out of nowhere… oh, no that is a Belief too. I guess you do believe in something after all huh?

May 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm
(62) unc00jacob says:

I tried putting the website on here but it wouldn’t post when I did. It is easy though. Google “Noah’s ark found” and it should be the third article. You’ll for sure know which one because it is the ABC site.

May 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm
(63) unc00jacob says:

An absence of belief in gods, hmmmm. That’s funny because that sounds like it is the BELIEF in no god. No matter what way you try to arrange the words the truth will always stay the same. Atheism is a belief system.

Please show me where I said that atheism and secular humanism are the same, because when I reread it I saw that I had said that secular humanists believes atheism. Is this not true?

I wasn’t asking about the vents. I was asking what you meant by “looking strong” because again that sounds like it is yet another unproven theory that is most accepted at this time. Oh and what happened to the “big bang”. Did that long accepted theory get thrown out the window when a more convincing story arose.

Actually it makes perfect sense because you are part of mankind, therefore you fall into mankind’s “overall purpose”. I said “your purpose” because I am talking TO you. I am not taling to any other part of mankind but if I was I would ask the same question and mean it in the same way. By the way, I want to hear your views on what you think happens to someone after they die.

I am waiting to provide any more of my supporting arguments (since I already gave you some) until you provide some for me. As of now you have avoided every question I have asked.

May 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm
(64) Austin Cline says:

(An absence of belief in gods.) That is a belief.

No, it’s not. Please read the Basics for Beginners.

Do you BELIEVE there is some other cause for the beginning of matter, time and life.

I don’t think that “cause” is a concept that makes sense in that context.

If so, that shows that you do have a belief system.

A single belief cannot qualify as a belief system. That’s rather like saying that a single tree is a forest.

Well unless you BELIEVE that we (humans) came from nothing and just appeared out of nowhere… oh, no that is a Belief too. I guess you do believe in something after all huh?

I think you should ponder the value of asking questions and not making lots of assumptions about others.

May 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm
(65) Austin Cline says:

An absence of belief in gods, hmmmm. That’s funny because that sounds like it is the BELIEF in no god.

You’re not the first to make that mistake. That’s OK.

No matter what way you try to arrange the words the truth will always stay the same. Atheism is a belief system.

Sorry, no. Even if atheism were “belief in no god,” it couldn’t be a “belief system.” I’m sure you can recognize the fact that a single belief, all alone, can’t qualify as a system.

Please show me where I said that atheism and secular humanism are the same, because when I reread it I saw that I had said that secular humanists believes atheism. Is this not true?

Atheism isn’t a claim that one “believes.” Furthermore, not all secular humanists are necessarily atheists.

I wasn’t asking about the vents. I was asking what you meant by “looking strong” because again that sounds like it is yet another unproven theory that is most accepted at this time.

You don’t seem to understand what “theory” means in science.

Oh and what happened to the “big bang”. Did that long accepted theory get thrown out the window when a more convincing story arose.

No. Whatever gave you that idea?

Actually it makes perfect sense because you are part of mankind, therefore you fall into mankind’s “overall purpose”.

Feel free to show how.

I said “your purpose” because I am talking TO you.

Sorry, but I still don’t see how asking me what my purpose is can be the same as asking what the “overall purpose” of humanity is. You’ll have to explain it in more detail.

I am waiting to provide any more of my supporting arguments (since I already gave you some) until you provide some for me.

You haven’t provided any support for any of your claims.

As of now you have avoided every question I have asked.

I’ve refused to answer a personal question posed by a person who doesn’t have any right to such information. If you’ve got any pertinent questions to ask, I’ll be happy to answer them — after you support the claims you’ve been making.

FYI, a news report about people who believe they have found “Noah’s Ark” isn’t actual evidence that anything at all has been found, never mind that it is Noah’s Ark. Given that that article is nearly 3 years old now, without any scientific confirmation having been produced since then, is actually a reason to doubt the original claims.

So, I’m still waiting for support for that claim in particular.

May 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm
(66) Avidovich11 says:

This is not an attack of any sort. Just one simple question. It does not require evidence. Maybe you think this question might be too personal, but do you wish there was a God?

May 16, 2009 at 6:39 pm
(67) Austin Cline says:

but do you wish there was a God?

No more than I wish there was an Odin or an Apollo.

May 16, 2009 at 8:01 pm
(68) avidovich11 says:

I was also reading some of the previous comments, and I was wondering what your input is on the dead sea scrolls. My fellow believer gave his factoid on the “boat on a mountain with the same dimensions as the ark” find. So in place of the ark, a more solid find, in my opinion, would be the dead sea scrolls. I would say they back up the Bible pretty well. Your thoughts?

May 16, 2009 at 8:15 pm
(69) tai0913 says:

Dear Austin Cline,
I would like to ask you something. I’ve read that you’ve answered the question several times, but not to the extent that would merit it a valid answer.

How can one say that “Not believing in God’ is not a belief? It seems to many, as I have read, that you seem to be crossing yourself.

May 16, 2009 at 8:26 pm
(70) fauxrs says:

Well, an extremely large ship was found not more than a year ago frozen on top of a mountains icy caps. And guess where it was? In the exact spot where archeologists believed to have lived.

No, a large rock was found that is believed to be fossilized wood.

Ah, well after having done a little bit of research… the discoverers (the BASE institute) make the following claim:

The BASE Institute does not make the claim that we have found Noah’s Ark. They feel it has promise but after two years you would think if there was any real proof the religious world would be screaming this from the mountaintops. (pun intended)

what did they find?

The object consists of dark rock with an uncanny beam-like appearance in several places.
The color and texture of the rock appears to be unique in the area.
The object fits the approximate dimensions of Noah’s Ark
Some samples tested by an independent lab showed signs of petrified wood. (Not the entire object.)

Hardly the same thing as positive proof of Noah’s ark..

May 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm
(71) Austin Cline says:

So in place of the ark, a more solid find, in my opinion, would be the dead sea scrolls.  I would say they back up the Bible pretty well.

In what way, exactly, do they “back up the Bible pretty well”?

May 16, 2009 at 10:18 pm
(72) Austin Cline says:

How can one say that “Not believing in God’ is not a belief?

Quite easy. Did you follow the link I gave above? The absence of a belief is no more a belief than the absence of a car is the same as having a car, or the absence of anger is the same as being angry.

It seems to many, as I have read, that you seem to be crossing yourself.

Feel free to point out where this “many” are and to support this assertion.

May 16, 2009 at 10:42 pm
(73) avidovich11 says:

What the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts clearly demonstrate is that through about a thousand years there was essentially no significant alteration in the text. The scribes who transcribed the text of the Bible were so meticulous — they had such high standards of accuracy, counting every word and every letter of every word, dotting each “i” and crossing each “t,” so to speak — that one may be absolutely certain the Old Testament text available to scholars today is in essence the same as the originals. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an incontrovertible archaeological confirmation that this is the case.

So basically since the scrolls say exactly what the Bible says, the Bible must be accurate. Therefore, the message that it gives must be at least somewhat trustworthy.

I’m not saying that the scrolls PROVE that God exists. I’m just saying that the scrolls prove that the Bible is historically accurate.

Now for my question……again…..what do you think of the dead sea scrolls?

May 17, 2009 at 7:47 am
(74) Austin Cline says:

What the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts clearly demonstrate is that through about a thousand years there was essentially no significant alteration in the text.

First, the scrolls do not include copies of every biblical text. Second, the scrolls are fragments, so they do not provide complete manuscripts of any biblical text. Third, it is not true that there are no significant differences. There are, for example, prophecies and psalms in the scrolls not found in Bible. Finally, there are texts dating before the time of Jesus describing the same sorts of sermons and events later attributed to Jesus — yet there are no scrolls actually referring to Jesus, despite the fact that the community exited at the time he was supposed to.

So basically since the scrolls say exactly what the Bible says, the Bible must be accurate.  Therefore, the message that it gives must be at least somewhat trustworthy.

This does not follow. That two copies of a text a thousand years apart are substantially similar does not constitute evidence that either the information in it is accurate or that any message in it is trustworthy.

I’m not saying that the scrolls PROVE that God exists. I’m just saying that the scrolls prove that the Bible is historically accurate.

I know you’re saying that, and what you’re saying is 100% false. The accuracy of any statement in the Bible can only be substantiated by independent evidence, not by similar wording in an older copy of the same text. No one with any knowledge of historiography, archaeology, or any similar discipline believes what you are saying.

Now for my question……again…..what do you think of the dead sea scrolls?

Once again, I fail to see how they are relevant. Your attempt to show how they are relevant not only fails in that task, but in fact only reveals that you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

What do I think of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Not much. They are an interesting archaeological find which sheds a lot of light on ancient Judaism, which reveals the extent to which Christianity was originally rooted well within Jewish traditions, and how much of what was assumed to be original to Christianity in fact already existed as part of earlier Jewish sects. But aside from scholars of ancient Judaism and ancient Christianity, the scrolls have no relevance or importance for anyone’s life today.

May 17, 2009 at 10:51 am
(75) avidovich11 says:

okay you got me :)

Im not going to try and act like I’m some super smart guy who knows everything about history. I’m also not going to try and say that everything said in my comment above were my own words. What I do know is that no man can give enough evidence for either side of these numerous arguments posted in the comments above to prove what they are saying. It is all about faith. So, basically, unless we invent a time machine and roll back to the beginning of time, these questions will never be resolved.

Why not believe in God though?

May 17, 2009 at 10:59 am
(76) Austin Cline says:

I’m also not going to try and say that everything said in my comment above were my own words.

One of the problems with passing off others’ ideas and arguments as your own is that you can’t respond well if challenged.

What I do know is that no man can give enough evidence for either side of these numerous arguments posted in the comments above to prove what they are saying.

Feel free to support this assertion. If you can.

It is all about faith.

Maybe for you, but I don’t think you should project such failings onto others.

Why not believe in God though?

Same as why I don’t believe in Odin or Apollo. No good reason to bother.

May 17, 2009 at 11:07 am
(77) avidovich11 says:

I know that last question really has nothing to do with what I have been talking about, but I thought I would question your belief….ahem….lack of a belief that there is a God.

May 17, 2009 at 11:18 am
(78) avidovich11 says:

Ill give you a perfectly good reason to bother. Why live a whole life believing that you are going to just dissolve into the earth and that be it? Why not have a God who loves you and cares for you and even gives you a chance even after you fail time and time again? Why not believe that there is something perfect in the afterlife waiting for you if you simply accept God’s gift of sending His son to die for all of your sins? I would say the lack of believing in a God would be depressing at the least. Since there is no proof for either side of these arguments, why not take a chance at the better, brighter future?

The way I support my assertion about the fact there is no evidence for either side of these arguments are the arguments that have been in our presence throughout the beginning of time (whether you believe that started with a big bang or the fall of man). They have never been resolved. Unless you can direct me to something that proves there is no God or there is a God then I am going to choose the better outcome of eternal life with a God who loves and cares for me.

May 17, 2009 at 11:25 am
(79) tai0913 says:

What is humanity’s purpose on earth?

Why live to the best of our ability if there is no reward?

Why is there a “right and wrong” if there’s nothing to work toward?

May 17, 2009 at 11:39 am
(80) Austin Cline says:

Ill give you a perfectly good reason to bother. Why live a whole life believing that you are going to just dissolve into the earth and that be it?

That’s not a reason to bother believing in any particular gods.

Why not have a God who loves you and cares for you and even gives you a chance even after you fail time and time again?

That’s potentially a reason to wish that a god exists, not to think one that actually exists.

Why not believe that there is something perfect in the afterlife waiting for you if you simply accept God’s gift of sending His son to die for all of your sins?

I see no reason to think that this is the case.

I would say the lack of believing in a God would be depressing at the least.

Yet it’s not. So perhaps your assumptions about atheists and atheism are unfounded.

Since there is no proof for either side of these arguments, why not take a chance at the better, brighter future?

This is wishful thinking, not a substantive reason to think that any particular god exists.

The way I support my assertion about the fact there is no evidence for either side of these arguments are the arguments that have been in our presence throughout the beginning of time

Really? Please show how.

Unless you can direct me to something that proves there is no God or there is a God then I am going to choose the better outcome of eternal life with a God who loves and cares for me.

So what you’re saying is that given any random assertion which you think is better than the alternatives, you’ll believe it is true regardless of whether there is any evidence behind it. What this means is that you believe things are true or false based on what you would like to be true, not based on evidence.

Isn’t that the definition of a person who is willfully delusional? I wonder what you would think of a person who believed in elves or Odin based on such “reasoning.”

May 17, 2009 at 11:42 am
(81) Austin Cline says:

What is humanity’s purpose on earth?

I don’t see that there is one.

Why live to the best of our ability if there is no reward?

If you need to be rewarded in order to do something with your life, you have problems far deeper and more serious than I can help you with. Seek professional counseling.

Why is there a “right and wrong” if there’s nothing to work toward?

If you have nothing in your life you can work towards, you need professional counseling.

May 17, 2009 at 11:48 am
(82) tai0913 says:

It is human nature to be selfish. Humans are not out to do good for others. They’re out to do good for themselves. What’s the purpose of doing good in school? To get good grades and get to a good college. What’s the point in working hard in college? To get a good career and make lots of money. What’s the reason for wanting to make lots of money? For yourself.

People do right so that they get things. Like when you’re young and you’re learning to read or learning your times tables and when you get them right, you got a piece of candy or a cookie. That was motivation to learn.

What’s the motivation to do well in life?

If there is no purpose for mankind, then why are we here?

May 17, 2009 at 12:27 pm
(83) Austin Cline says:

It is human nature to be selfish.

No more so than it is human nature to be not selfish, at least as far as I can tell. Feel free to show otherwise, if you can.

What’s the motivation to do well in life?

I don’t see that there is any “the motivation,” but rather motivations you are able develop on your own.

If there is no purpose for mankind, then why are we here?

I was born. I assume you were as well.

May 17, 2009 at 11:54 am
(84) avidovich11 says:

Austin: What this means is that you believe things are true or false based on what you would like to be true, not based on evidence.

Oh trust me. I have felt and seen evidence. All i have to do is look at creation and know that i have a creator. I both want to think God is real and have a firm belief through the evidence of creation that he is real. The fact that I have felt evidence is beyond your comprehension. Now would you like to show me something that proves otherwise?

If I was given the “assertion” that Buddha is real and that i could reach enlightenment and in a sense become a sort of godlike person I would refuse because that is complete crap. I’d rather be a God than have one. Who doesn’t want power? But I have felt the evidence of a creator and want to serve Him more than anything else including myself.

May 17, 2009 at 12:27 pm
(85) Austin Cline says:

Oh trust me. I have felt and seen evidence.

Then you should be able to provide it.

All i have to do is look at creation and know that i have a creator. I both want to think God is real and have a firm belief through the evidence of creation that he is real.

What you “want” shouldn’t have anything to do with the matter if you really are following the evidence where it leads.

The fact that I have felt evidence is beyond your comprehension.

It shouldn’t be, if it’s genuine evidence.

Now would you like to show me something that proves otherwise?

I’ve yet to see you produce any evidence for your assertions. Absent them, your claims deserve no more consideration than the claim that Odin or Apollo exists.

If I was given the “assertion” that Buddha is real and that i could reach enlightenment and in a sense become a sort of godlike person I would refuse because that is complete crap.

I don’t regard your assertion as being any more credible.

May 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm
(86) tai0913 says:

By ‘we’ I do not mean you and I specifically. I mean mankind in general. All the way back to the very first man and woman. And how did the first man and woman come to exist?

May 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm
(87) Austin Cline says:

And how did the first man and woman come to exist?

Our species evolved from a previous species.

May 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm
(88) tai0913 says:

Where did that species come from? And what was it?
And how about the species that came before that?

Where did the very first species come from?

May 17, 2009 at 1:47 pm
(89) unc00jacob says:

Austin, you above said that you don’t see that humanity has any purpose so let me ask you this. Why do you do what you do if it has no purpose? Why try and make people lose faith to someone who thinks what people believe or do doesn’t matter in the long run. I know my purpose. My purpose is to lead people to God through the loving word of Jesus Christ so that in the end, whether it be death or the rapture, the people i’ve talked to will be standing next to me and God will say to all of us “well done my good and faithful servants”.

May 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm
(90) Austin Cline says:

Where did the very first species come from?

Chemicals, apparently.

May 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm
(91) Austin Cline says:

Austin, you above said that you don’t see that humanity has any purpose so let me ask you this. Why do you do what you do if it has no purpose?

An overarching purpose for all of humanity is hardly necessary for me to act in my life.

Why try and make people lose faith to someone who thinks what people believe or do doesn’t matter in the long run.

Things don’t need to “matter in the long run” for them to matter now.

I know my purpose. My purpose is to lead people to God through the loving word of Jesus Christ

You’re not doing a very good job at it.

May 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm
(92) unc00jacob says:

the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

That is the definition given in the dictionary for atheism. So it seems your the one mistaking whether atheism is a belief or not.

May 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm
(93) unc00jacob says:

If I’m playing basketball then my overall purpose is to win the game. This is achieved by what is done during the game, in this case what someone does in their life. Scoring is what matters now in the game. So actually thinking something matters now means that something does matter in the long run.

May 17, 2009 at 2:31 pm
(94) tai0913 says:

And where did the chemicals come from?

May 17, 2009 at 2:47 pm
(95) Austin Cline says:

the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

That is the definition given in the dictionary for atheism.

It’s not the full definition, though. Quoting a partial definition is dishonest.

So it seems your the one mistaking whether atheism is a belief or not.

Quite the contrary, I have extensive information here about how atheism is defined in dictionaries, specialized references, and other sources. You should consider doing a bit more research on the matter.

If I’m playing basketball then my overall purpose is to win the game.

Some people play to have fun or for exercise.

So actually thinking something matters now means that something does matter in the long run.

Not always.

Maybe it does for you, but it’s a mistake for you to insist that everyone is just like you.

May 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm
(96) Austin Cline says:

And where did the chemicals come from?

Same place as the rest of planet. I’m sure you can find a book on basic cosmology.

May 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm
(97) tai0913 says:

You’re telling others to show evidence/proof/citation of their claims.

So, let’s see some citation, Austin!

Where did the earth and all that is in it originate from?

May 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(98) Austin Cline says:

You’re telling others to show evidence/proof/citation of their claims.

So, let’s see some citation, Austin!

Where did the earth and all that is in it originate from?

Gravity. Any decent book on cosmology should have the information. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to use the library, you can get help from a librarian.

Oh, I get it — you’re trying to draw a comparison between theists making claims about gods and religion on an atheist site and basic facts about cosmology and physics. Sorry, but the comparison is inappropriate. This isn’t a site on geology, physics, or cosmology, and I’m not going to spend my time teaching you basics you could learn in a library if you actually cared. That’s not the same as you choosing to come to an atheist site and post assertions about your beliefs which you cannot or will not support.

May 17, 2009 at 3:32 pm
(99) Renatu says:

Cline, you assert that life was created by chemicals correct? A very popular theroy (I’ll stray from using terms such as “belief”). I am wondering how homochirality in sugars and amino acids without being specifically arranged?

May 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm
(100) Austin Cline says:

Cline, you assert that life was created by chemicals correct?

No.

I am wondering how homochirality in sugars and amino acids without being specifically arranged?

It’s an interesting question. Research on how small initial variations can lead to tremendous differences later on — especially if one variation has selection advantages.

I am wondering how it is that so many Christians with similar views happened on the same old blog post around the same time. Would you care to share the address of the forum or email list? Or is it a church, or maybe even a religious group at school?

May 17, 2009 at 3:37 pm
(101) unc00jacob says:

The belief in no god is the same thing as disbelief in the existence of God, and until you give me some hard evidence I won’t believe any different.

If people are playing for fun or exercise the it really doesn’t matter if the score does it?

Unc00jacob: So actually thinking something matters now means that something does matter in the long run.

Austin Cline: Not always.

Prove it

May 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm
(102) tai0913 says:

You’re not asking me to support anything, so I’m not.

I’M asking YOU questions based on what you believe…don’t believe…whatever. Instead of answering them legitimately, you’re attacking my person and pretty much calling me an idiot; that’s an Ad Hominem Attack, in case you didn’t know.

If you want me to back up what I believe, then I will!
I use logic; something cannot come from nothing [creation ex nihilo] and species cannot evolve from other species [if they could, why isn't it still happening?]. Hence, I believe in a Creator. Where did the Creator come from if everything had to be created? He has always been here; His being is infinite.

Many theories that scientists have produced about creation have been shot down due in invalidity. Scientists are very fickle in what they believe, because they cannot explain how things have come to be.

May 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm
(103) Austin Cline says:

You’re not asking me to support anything, so I’m not.

So, you’re saying you have nothing to contribute here?

I’M asking YOU questions based on what you believe…don’t believe…whatever.

Are you asking questions that are pertinent to the above blog post?

Instead of answering them legitimately, you’re attacking my person and pretty much calling me an idiot; that’s an Ad Hominem Attack, in case you didn’t know.

I didn’t say anything about you as a person, in case you didn’t notice.

I use logic; something cannot come from nothing [creation ex nihilo] and species cannot evolve from other species [if they could, why isn't it still happening?].

Feel free to support both of the premises of that syllogism.

May 17, 2009 at 3:41 pm
(104) unc00jacob says:

This has nothing to do with our discussion but I was wondering. Why do have advertisements for the book of mormon on an atheist site.

May 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm
(105) Austin Cline says:

Why do have advertisements for the book of mormon on an atheist site.

Google ads are based on keywords.

May 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm
(106) Renatu says:

So you don’t believe (sorry it seemed appropriate) that chemicals were the origin of life then what would be your stance on the issue? If you have no stance on the issue and do not know how life forms please state so.

May 17, 2009 at 3:55 pm
(107) Austin Cline says:

So you don’t believe (sorry it seemed appropriate) that chemicals were the origin of life

Yes, I do think that the origin of life was ultimately chemical in nature. There’s a tremendous difference between that and saying that chemicals “created” life.

If you have no stance on the issue and do not know how life forms please state so.

I do not know how life originated, no.

May 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm
(108) unc00jacob says:

oh that makes sense. I was just wondering.

May 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm
(109) tai0913 says:

Name one entity that was created out of nothing.

Name one species that has been proven to have [not just thought to have] evolved from another.

May 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm
(110) Austin Cline says:

Name one entity that was created out of nothing.

Name one species that has been proven to have [not just thought to have] evolved from another.

Sorry, no, you’re the one who proclaimed that they “use logic” and provided what they thought was a clear argument for their position based on unambiguous empirical assertions. It’s not up to me to prove you wrong, though some research on quantum mechanics would help you disprove the first while a basic biology text would help you with second.

No, It’s up to you to support your assertions or retract them.

May 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm
(111) unc00jacob says:

By the way that is not an impartial definition. It was the full definition from that resource and different dictionaries have different ways of saying the definitions for words but the actual meaning of the word stays the same always.

May 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm
(112) Austin Cline says:

By the way that is not an impartial definition. It was the full definition from that resource

Feel free to cite that resource. Then you might want to consider stacking it up against the multiple unabridged dictionaries which all provide a much more comprehensive definition than what you quoted.

By the way, “impartial” means “fair, objective,” so saying that the definition you quoted was “not an impartial definition” means that it was not a fair definition. Freudian slip, perhaps?

and different dictionaries have different ways of saying the definitions for words but the actual meaning of the word stays the same always.

I’m guessing you didn’t bother to follow the link I gave you — the one were you could read dozens of definitions from dozens of sources, all giving a broader definition than what you quoted. When confronted with a reality that differs from your assumptions, I recommend dumping the assumptions because reality isn’t going to budge for you.

May 17, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(113) tai0913 says:

My proof is that nothing has ever been solidly and 100% accurately documented.

May 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm
(114) Austin Cline says:

My proof is that nothing has ever been solidly and 100% accurately documented.

Have you solidly and 100% accurately documented this? If so, I’d like to see your documentation. If not, then this isn’t a good defense for your position.

Regardless, even what you say is true, that still wouldn’t qualify as support, much less “proof” for your assertions.

You made two assertions:

something cannot come from nothing
species cannot evolve from other species

Those are clear, unambiguous assertions. I’d like to see you support them. If you cannot, you should retract them and rethinking your argument.

May 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm
(115) tai0913 says:

It’s common knowledge that nothing can be created unless there is a creator, ask any person walking down the street.

Also, the fact that there aren’t specimens of mid-species, and there are still the creatures that are thought to have evolved is enough to dismiss the thought of my statements being assertions.

May 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm
(116) Seth says:

That’s not a reason to bother believing in any particular gods.

No, not a PARTICULAR god, but that is a
reason to believe in A god.

This is wishful thinking, not a substantive reason to think that any particular god exists.

Again! No, not a PARTICULAR god, but that is a reason to believe in A god.

I don’t see that there is one.

In that case, would it be a bad thing or a good thing if everyone suddenly died?

If you have nothing in your life you can work towards, you need professional counseling.

What do atheists try to work toward?

I don’t see that there is any “the motivation,” but rather motivations you are able develop on your own.

Give me an example.

I was born. I assume you were as well.

Good job! You should be proud of yourself.

Then you should be able to provide it.

How can something as complex as humans be formed out of random matter? There must be a creator for such complex creatures.

What you “want” shouldn’t have anything to do with the matter if you really are following the evidence where it leads.

You are exactly right. What we Christians “want” shouldn’t and doesn’t have anything to do with the matter. Isn’t it great, however, that we have evidence to prove that what we WANT is actually what is true?

It shouldn’t be, if it’s genuine evidence.

Again, you’re right. It shouldn’t be. The fact still remains that it is beyond your comprehension.

I’ve yet to see you produce any evidence for your assertions. Absent them, your claims deserve no more consideration than the claim that Odin or Apollo exists.

Please elaborate on this statement.

An overarching purpose for all of humanity is hardly necessary for me to act in my life.

Fair enough, now answer the man’s question.
Why do you do what you do if it has no purpose?

Things don’t need to “matter in the long run” for them to matter now.

Why do they matter now?

You’re not doing a very good job at it.

Success in witnessing to others is not found in us actually leading them to Christ but it is found in us making our strongest effort to provide non-believers with the truth which is found in the Word of God.

It’s not the full definition, though. Quoting a partial definition is dishonest.

True.

Some people play to have fun or for exercise.

Good point! In that case, their purpose is to have fun or to get exercise. So they still have that OVERALL, END (in the long run) purpose.

Not always.

Feel free to prove this.

Same place as the rest of planet.

Which is where?

I’m sure you can find a book on basic
cosmology.

Since you seem to know so much, you should just tell us?

Gravity. Any decent book on cosmology should have the information. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to use the library, you can get help from a librarian.
Oh, I get it — you’re trying to draw a comparison between theists making claims about gods and religion on an atheist site and basic facts about cosmology and physics. Sorry, but the comparison is inappropriate. This isn’t a site on geology, physics, or cosmology, and I’m not going to spend my time teaching you basics you could learn in a library if you actually cared. That’s not the same as you choosing to come to an atheist site and post assertions about your beliefs which you cannot or will not support.

If you know, it shouldn’t take you too long to tell us.

I am wondering how it is that so many Christians with similar views happened on the same old blog post around the same time.
Would you care to share the address of the forum or email list? Or is it a church, or maybe even a religious group at school?

Feel free to invite some of your friends to help you support the claims that you are making.

So, you’re saying you have nothing to contribute here?

Not quite. That is simply saying that he/she won’t put the effort into supporting his/her claims if the other side of the argument is not willing to do the same. So, you’re saying you have nothing to contribute here?

Yes, I do think that the origin of life was ultimately chemical in nature. There’s a tremendous difference between that and saying that chemicals “created” life.

Feel free to support your claim.

May 17, 2009 at 5:35 pm
(117) Austin Cline says:

No, not a PARTICULAR god, but that is a reason to believe in A god.

Feel free to show how.

In that case, would it be a bad thing or a good thing if everyone suddenly died?

I think it would probably be bad for them.

What do atheists try to work toward?

Different things.

Give me an example.

I don’t need to. Any motivation you have is one you developed.

How can something as complex as humans be formed out of random matter? There must be a creator for such complex creatures.

Feel free to show how. First, though, you’ll need to support your previous assertion that you ducked by trying to get me to prove you wrong.

Isn’t it great, however, that we have evidence to prove that what we WANT is actually what is true?

Indeed. I look forward to the day you provide this evidence.

Again, you’re right. It shouldn’t be. The fact still remains that it is beyond your comprehension.

Really? A fact? I look forward to your supporting this.

I’ve yet to see you produce any evidence for your assertions. Absent them, your claims deserve no more consideration than the claim that Odin or Apollo exists.

Please elaborate on this statement.

I don’t see what’s tough to understand about it, so you’ll have to tell me what you need elaboration on.

Why do you do what you do if it has no purpose?

I did answer, but you missed the point of it. Since you commit the same fallacy, I can elaborate for you: the question presupposes that acting requires some overarching, outside purpose. Once the premise behind the question is shown to be false, the question itself is rendered pointless.

Try asking a new question that doesn’t presuppose a falsehood.

Why do they matter now?

To “matter” is to be valued, so things matter so long as people value them.

Success in witnessing to others is not found in us actually leading them to Christ but it is found in us making our strongest effort to provide non-believers with the truth which is found in the Word of God.

Well, then, I believe you’re doing an excellent job. The complete lack of supporting evidence and arguments for your claims is, in my experience, the absolute best that an apologist can do.

Good point! In that case, their purpose is to have fun or to get exercise. So they still have that OVERALL, END (in the long run) purpose.

I don’t see having fun in the moment is a “long run” purpose.

Not always.

Feel free to prove this.

As I said, to matter is to be valued. Logically, valuing something at the moment does not entail valuing it for “the long run.” Empirically, I do not value the hot dog I’m about to eat for “the long run.” It has value only at the moment.

Which is where?

A dust cloud.

Since you seem to know so much, you should just tell us?

No, because this is not a site on cosmology.

If you know, it shouldn’t take you too long to tell us.

True, but this is not a site on cosmology.

Feel free to invite some of your friends to help you support the claims that you are making.

That’s a rather poor dodge to my question, though it does suggest that this has been your own motivation. It also suggests an explanation for why more of you pop up as time goes by.

Not quite. That is simply saying that he/she won’t put the effort into supporting his/her claims if the other side of the argument is not willing to do the same.

What argument would that be, exactly.?

So, you’re saying you have nothing to contribute here?

Like others, you seem to be forgetting the blog post above.

Yes, I do think that the origin of life was ultimately chemical in nature. There’s a tremendous difference between that and saying that chemicals “created” life.

Feel free to support your claim.

My claim is that there is a difference between “originates in” and “creates.” Dictionaries tend to define “create” as “to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes” and “to cause to happen; bring about; arrange, as by intention or design.” The term “originate in” does not presuppose intention, extraordinary processes, etc.

May 18, 2009 at 2:58 am
(118) Eric (4tunate1) says:

I have been reading this exchange for a few days and am really dismayed at how theistic belief appears to rot the brain.

Some points that come to mind:

What does wishing or hoping for something to be true have to do with it actually being LIKELY to be true? If wishing something were true made it more likely to be true I would be rich because I wish I had money.

Why do so many theists seem to think that purpose has to be imposed from outside? Are they slaves or robots or dogs that they need a whip, a program, or a treat to have a reason to do things or not do things?

Why do these people seem to think that lack of knowledge is a reason to accept fairy tales? I don’t know for certain how life began, but that doesn’t mean I should believe in creation myths composed by bronze age goatherds instead of simply acknowledging that I don’t have the answer. Are ignorant savages who lived before we knew the earth was round more likely to know such answers than modern people with the tools and methods of advanced technology?

These people also seem to have no understanding of basic logic or basic scientific methodology or basic history. I guess they had to skip school to go to prayer meetings…

May 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm
(119) Renatu says:

Eric, your first issue stating theistic belief involves only thinking something is true to make it true is not accurate. If you did a little more reaserch you would discover that most do believe it genually only a few would argue that it is used to make them feel better.
Second I’ll mention your statement on purpose. If something is to have any actuall purpose it must directly or indirectly have an effect for eternity otherwise it is only a temperary purpose that does not effect the overall outcome. If we assume that humans are not created for a specific purpose by a creator then we can only assume that the human race will eventually be wiped out by war, a commet,etc. which would in turn erase any progress humanity has made and render all of it’s purpose meaningless.
Finally I’ll address your point on being unable to trust anything written by ancient civilizations. But who else would be a more accurate speaker on the issue of the beginning of the world then an early human being if creation is true then it seems likely that it would have been recorded by the ancients. Also about your statment reffering to the savages not understanding the Earth was round, many scholars knew that the Earth was not flat even in ancient times by noticing ships disappearing over the horizon.

May 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm
(120) Austin Cline says:

If something is to have any actuall purpose it must directly or indirectly have an effect for eternity

Why?

otherwise it is only a temperary purpose that does not effect the overall outcome.

So… a “temporary” purpose isn’t an “actual” purpose? Why not? And if it’s not an “actual” purpose, why are you calling it a “purpose” at all? Isn’t it something else?

If we assume that humans are not created for a specific purpose by a creator then we can only assume that the human race will eventually be wiped out by war, a commet,etc.

That is a realistic possibility, yes.

which would in turn erase any progress humanity has made and render all of it’s purpose meaningless.

First, there you go using “purpose” again while trying to deny that the purpose is real. Second, you have yet to establish that any purpose that does not last or have effects for all eternity are “meaningless.”

But who else would be a more accurate speaker on the issue of the beginning of the world then an early human being

Oh, I can think of a couple of reasons: long time period between “the beginning” and the lives of early human beings, lack of understanding among early humans about the processes involved, etc.

if creation is true then it seems likely

Seems likely? How so?

that it would have been recorded by the ancients.

Upon what do you base this conclusion?

May 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm
(121) Renatu says:

My apologies, when first writting my statement I assumed you understood that I was infact referring to a purpose with limitless meaning such as the fore mentioned commenter referred to as a theist view of purpose given from the outside with an overall lasting result unlike the purpose to which you reffered to when addressing my point which would of course only have a limited result eventually resulting in obscurity given enough time. And as to your wondering why I used the term “purpose” for both terms it is simply because there is not a term for them individually other then referring to them as temporary and eternal purposes. But the point that you either missed or avoided was that without eternal purpose everything will end in the same fasion regardless of the effort put into forming a conclusion. Now surely you can’t deny this simple premise which,does not require you to change your beliefs. I would be interested not in your picking a part and your own brief commentary of my comment but instead a reaction in it’s entirety.

May 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm
(122) Renatu says:

Another point that I would like to make Cline is that the probable reason you believe that apologists work against their cause is because you take every portion of an entire statement and address is seperately and you do not draw any conclusions if the next portion of the statement doesn’t address the questions you ask inbetween portions. You so ready yourself to attack everything you read from an apologist that you do not likely recieve an overall message accurately. The real question is why are you so assertive on attacking belief in God?

May 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm
(123) Austin Cline says:

My apologies, when first writting my statement I assumed you understood that I was infact referring to a purpose with limitless meaning such as the fore mentioned commenter referred to as a theist view of purpose given from the outside with an overall lasting result unlike the purpose to which you reffered to when addressing my point which would of course only have a limited result eventually resulting in obscurity given enough time.

I really can’t understand that. The fact that it’s all one sentence might be part of the problem.

And as to your wondering why I used the term “purpose” for both terms it is simply because there is not a term for them individually

Could that be because they are both a type of purpose, contrary to your assertion?

But the point that you either missed or avoided was that without eternal purpose everything will end in the same fasion

I didn’t miss it. I specifically agreed that it’s likely that everything will end in war, comet, etc. Thus far, though, you have yet to explain how or why that prevents a purpose from existing before such an event.

I would be interested not in your picking a part and your own brief commentary of my comment but instead a reaction in it’s entirety.

I commented on the parts that were comprehensible and asked you to clarify what wasn’t. Sadly, you ignored most of my questions — you only answered one and, frankly, I don’t see how that answer is credible. You insist on denying that “purpose” can be applied something temporary despite admitting that there is no other English word for the concept — yet you won’t offer any sort of argument for why English is wrong in using “purpose” here and you’re right for standing against that.

But if you really want a reaction to the entirety of your comments, here it is: barely comprehensible and what is comprehensible is a series of unsupported assertions designed to support a poorly phrased conclusion.

May 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm
(124) Austin Cline says:

Another point that I would like to make Cline is that the probable reason you believe that apologists work against their cause is because you take every portion of an entire statement and address is seperately and you do not draw any conclusions if the next portion of the statement doesn’t address the questions you ask inbetween portions.

That’s another run-on sentence that I’m not going to spend time trying to decipher. I think you’re objecting to the fact that I critique/question specific claims, ideas, or reasoning in a person’s posts. Well, if they didn’t make claims which I think may be false or ill-supported, I wouldn’t do it. You can’t adequately evaluate an argument without carefully evaluating premises and inferences.

The real question is why are you so assertive on attacking belief in God?

It depends on the circumstances, but I think most are related to how theists like yourself are so assertive in visiting atheist sites to promote belief in your god. What I mean is, other circumstances/reasons are similar to that.

When you promote your ideas in public, you invite public comment, critique, or even attack. When you go to an atheist site to promote those ideas, you are begging for it.

May 18, 2009 at 10:02 pm
(125) Philburt says:

Austin quick question, may I ask if you have no god or belief if you will what is your purpose in life why are you here?

May 18, 2009 at 11:39 pm
(126) Eric (4tunate1) says:

Renatu says “Eric, your first issue stating theistic belief involves only thinking something is true to make it true is not accurate. If you did a little more reaserch you would discover that most do believe it genually only a few would argue that it is used to make them feel better.”

And yet you use the same exact reasoning in your very next statement. You don’t believe a purpose can exist unless it is eternal because you hope and wish that you have an eternal purpose. That is not a valid reason to think that it is likely to be true.

“Second I’ll mention your statement on purpose. If something is to have any actuall purpose it must directly or indirectly have an effect for eternity otherwise it is only a temperary purpose that does not effect the overall outcome. If we assume that humans are not created for a specific purpose by a creator then we can only assume that the human race will eventually be wiped out by war, a commet,etc. which would in turn erase any progress humanity has made and render all of it’s purpose meaningless.”

May 19, 2009 at 6:14 am
(127) Austin Cline says:

Austin quick question, may I ask if you have no god or belief if you will what is your purpose in life why are you here?

I answered this in #52 and #84.

May 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm
(128) MrMarkAZ says:

#43 writes:

All of you atheists are completely illogical because Cline claims Christianity has no background for evidence but when he wrote this he gave absolutely no evidence for his point either.

It’s not up to Austin or any other atheist to prove that any religion’s claims are false; it’s up to the apologist to prove that the claims of their religion are true.

In any event, Austin makes the point that Strobel might have better served the cause of Christian apologetics had he remained silent in his belief than to speak out loudly (and poorly) in defense of it.

May 19, 2009 at 5:12 pm
(129) Paulito says:

“It’s common knowledge that nothing can be created unless there is a creator, ask any person walking down the street.”

In that case, who created god?

May 19, 2009 at 5:41 pm
(130) Lee Picton says:

Dear Austin Cline,
I never fail to be impressed by your infinite patience in dealing with these lame apologists. They all think they are the first to put forth their “blindingly obvious” supposed critiques of atheism. I doubt I would have such patience after listening to drivel for the thousandth time. Keep up the good work. I am mizlee at aoldotty com.

May 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm
(131) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

(115) says; (ask any person walking down the street). Probably not a good technique for getting your information; it requires at least a basic knowledge of Quantum Mechanics!

May 19, 2009 at 8:18 pm
(132) sornord says:

Those making the extraordinary claims – that there is a supernatural, omniscient, omnipotent creator being – should provide the extraordinary evidence. Otherwise the whole concept of god has as much relevance as the concept of the Great Pumpkin and I will put just as much “belief” into it.

And to head off another argument…

In the words of a commenter on the Richard Dawkins site:

1) If you believe in god, then you have no morals because you are being nice only because god is watching.

2) You have no morals if you think someone who simply is skeptical and demands evidence should go to hell.

3) You have no morals if you think it’s ok to let people die of AIDS as long as they don’t use condoms.

4) You have no morals if you are fine with starting a war and killing innocent people.

5) You are also very arrogant if you make claims with zero evidence and bully others into respecting your claims.

May 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm
(133) Peter Sanders says:

I echo Lee Picton’s comment.
Re this point that was raised above of the origin of the universe, and nothing can come from nothing etc, it’s easy to reduce to logic.

I hope we can all agree that we live in a universe that has form and structure and contains energy in various forms. Therefore, logically, the potential to create a universe once existed.

Now clearly, since this creation event also gave rise to time it becomes meaningless to speak of “before”, but it can be spoken of as “the potential for at least one universe”. So the issue then resolves into the origin of that potential. Theists might say a god or group of gods willed it from potential to action, but such an assertion is not evidence for believing that. On the other hand, there may be an explanation which relies on the physical principles that obtained “then”. This explanation path seems more available to human exploration since it does not regress into “what created the god(s)” and is evidence based, even if that is only mathematics at present.

The main point here is that no cosmologists assert that the universe came from “nothing”. That is a red herring much beloved by theists. It can be said there “was” the absence of our universe, but as I say above, logic demands the potential for at least one universe. The form that that “was” in is the issue.

May 20, 2009 at 1:12 am
(134) Zack says:

I have a couple of questions for all the theists who appear to have recently found this site:

1) When you ask a question such as “Why not believe in God,” do you ask it in the expectation that our answers have the potential to alter your own beliefs in any way?

2) If the answer to my first question is no, have you ever considered what this tells you about your own personal integrity?

3) Answering real atheists isn’t as easy as Lee and Josh and Clive told you it would be, is it?

May 20, 2009 at 9:40 am
(135) unc00jacob says:

MrMarkAZ:

When coming on to this site my only intention was to get a simple explanation of why an atheist belives what he does and for him to support. Unfortunately over the past 90 comments since mine not one explanation, even from Austin Cline himself, has been given.

May 20, 2009 at 9:43 am
(136) unc00jacob says:

Zack:

I don’t find it hard because I haven’t presented any silly questions like that because that is the same as saying why not believe in atheism. It is pointlessto ask such questions

May 20, 2009 at 9:56 am
(137) Austin Cline says:

why an atheist belives what he does and for him to support. Unfortunately over the past 90 comments since mine not one explanation, even from Austin Cline himself, has been given.

Right. Your first post was the assertion that all atheists are “illogical,” and that’s how you initiate a simple inquiry about what atheists believe. Then you insist that you want to “hear all the evidences” we have, without indicating what, exactly, you’re looking for evidence on. Then, when questioned on assertions you make, you fail to offer even the most rudimentary support. Then, when you make basic errors on stating what atheism even is, you refuse to pay attention to attempts to correct you.

I think that readers could be forgiven for not giving your statement of alleged intentions much credibility.

May 20, 2009 at 9:32 pm
(138) Jolly Jack says:

I know my comment comes a little late in the game, but there was so much to go thru first. I go along with Lee’s and Sornord’s contributions, not forgetting the endless patience of Austin in dealing with the tortuous route this thread has taken.

Man has developed into an arrogant being, beyond all reason, simply because he is more intelligent than the lower animals, though sometimes I wonder!
He refuses to believe that life is ephemeral, that life is random, that life is purposeless, because he has arrogated to himself a cloak of importance far beyond his temporary and meaningless evolution here on Earth.
They cannot bear the thought that others are able to deal with this situation.
Man has become too big for his boots!
Then, to cushion his scary existence, he creates for himself a god who, he tells himself, will watch over him.
He loves me; I adore him; I worship him!
Why? Because he’s going to take me up into heaven where I can live for ever and ever, amen!
How pathetic! It might provide some hope to the weakminded, but it’s all wishful thinking; an impossible dream concocted by devious individuals — the original clergy — in the distant past to exert control over others.
Don’t ask me to prove that your god doesn’t exist! That’s an old game that theists like to play, because they know it’s a question that cannot be definitively answered.
They dreamed up their god; let them prove his/its existence!
Let’s enjoy life while we can for this one and only short spell. Our life doesn’t have to be selfish or unkind or bad, as theists would have you believe.
They cannot abide by the thought that there is no heaven or hell; that evildoers will not be punished; that noble deeds will not be rewarded; that life itself is meaningless, just like that ants’ nest in your garden, where ants dwell, work, strive then die, all for no purpose.
Theists are dreamers, who place great faith in their placebos; who are frightened at the thought of the growing numbers of unbelievers, which threaten to undermine their child-like beliefs.
There is no Santa; there is no tooth-fairy; there is no god!
Life has no meaning! So what!!!???

May 20, 2009 at 9:37 pm
(139) GalapagosPete says:

“When coming on to this site my only intention was to get a simple explanation of why an atheist belives [sic] what he does and for him to support. Unfortunately over the past 90 comments since mine not one explanation, even from Austin Cline himself, has been given.”

Atheists do not believe in gods simply because we haven’t been presented with any compelling evidence for their existence.

May 21, 2009 at 4:28 am
(140) Jolly Jack says:

GalapagosPete says:

“When coming on to this site my only intention was to get a simple explanation of why an atheist belives [sic] what he does and for him to support. Unfortunately over the past 90 comments since mine not one explanation, even from Austin Cline himself, has been given.”

GP, I think you’re putting the cart before the horse.
The idea of a god came from theists. After creating this being, they (you) then ask atheists to explain why they do not believe in it. Well, we’re not that gullible!
Why should we believe when you offer no proof yourself to back up your claim?
Those that do believe in a god are acting purely on faith — that is, without a shred of evidence.
The onus is on you, GP, to first provide evidence that unequivocally proves that your god is for real.
If you can do that, I’ll be the first in church on Sunday morning!

May 21, 2009 at 11:38 am
(141) Zayla says:

To: Unc00Jacob

I’ve just spent the last 30-45 minutes reading all of your/your friends posts with Austin and I am not surprised to find that your last one is one of basic surrender.

Not, of course in your mind, but in character. You never conceded a point, acknowledged that you misunderstood something or supported any claim with verifiable information.

Most offensive, on an Atheist Forum, authored by someone who many believe to be an expert in the field, you are so arrogant you refuse to accept the DEFINITION of atheism he provides.

As christianity is to you, atheism is important to us and I think we deserve the respect to know what it means but you don’t even have the common decency to allow a group of intelligent, well read people that basic courtesy.

Remember, YOU came to an ATHEIST site, and had your mind made up well before you came here and did nothing but make a fool of yourself and give a bad name to a group of people who didn’t need anymore apologists, especially bad ones.

May 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm
(142) Tom Edgar says:

UncOOjacob
Atheist . The A means without just as Asymmetrical means without symmetry.

If one is without Belief it is rather childishly nonsensical to insist on a description of a Belief in that non belief.

Well into my eighties, I have never seen any evidence for the existence of a god. I have, repeatedly, on this site, asked for such evidence from theists, so far none have responded.

Now you have this explanation will you go back to your imaginary space man and ask him,/her/it to appear on my watch so that I can verify the beings existence? I don’t know of any sane person who has managed a personal viewing yet.

May 22, 2009 at 12:51 am
(143) Zack says:

I don’t find it hard because I haven’t presented any silly questions like that because that is the same as saying why not believe in atheism. It is pointlessto ask such questions — unc00jacob May 20, 2009 at 9:43 am

What’s silly about the question, “Why not believe in God?” It seems to me like a perfectly legitimate question, and it is not infrequently posed by theists visiting this site.

What makes it a more-pointless question than, “What are your views on how life began?” or “What do think your purpose of life is?”

You can re-read post 51 if those last two questions seem vaguely familiar to you.

By the way, my main point was this: when you ask such questions, do you expect that our answers might change your own perspective in any way at all?

May 25, 2009 at 4:24 pm
(144) Joan says:

Theists: Step back and try very hard to be objective. If I ask you why you don’t believe there are fairies in my garden, should I be insulted or think you insane or immoral because you want me to show you evidence that there really are fairies in my garden? If you make a claim for a god and a god creating the world, the responsibility for providing believable evidence for that is yours. What evidence do you have for that claim? Feelings have no place in providing empirical evidence. Deep down, you know that and must admit that. So, when we ask for evidence, we cause you to actually doubt because you know you have none. Then you react in a nasty emotional way to us as though we have wronged you in some way. You are projecting the responsibility for your doubt onto us and that is unfair and inappropriate. You, and only you, have ultimate control over what you believe. If you find you do not have credible, tangible reasons for your beliefs, then you should be honest enough with yourself to face that issue and do some serious study. If the results of that study change your beliefs, own it honestly. Don’t be afraid. Think for a minute. Christianity has all the answers for the problems only it has created. Fear and guilt are terrible reasons for follow any belief system. Fear of death is a big reason for that belief system with many. But I just have a hard time thinking that belief in a god and an afterlife really take the fear out of dying. It’s an unknown and we are often taught to be afraid of the unknown. There’s no reason for that when you really think about it. My past Christianity was never reinforced by a comfort in my “belief”, but was maintained out of my instilled guilt and fear of what would happen if I didn’t believe. When I realized I really didn’t believe, it was an incredible freeing experience. I realized that without Christianity, I had nothing to fear. I am now free to enjoy this life for exactly what it is. I highly recommend this to everyone!

March 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm
(145) ananomouys says:

Yes it is true that there are a lot of hypocrisy in the world but the thing is… Haven’t you ever thought your parents were being hypocritical to you??? but they ended up right the whole time? And Gods goal is not to get as many people in heaven… The reason why God lets suffering and evil in this world is because he gives us a choice!!!! he wants to see if we can do the right thing. He can guide us and advise us but he can’t change our minds once it is made!!! Lee Strobel is NOT an idiot thank you very much. God leaves you plenty of choices. And thats final!!!!!

March 4, 2011 at 6:08 am
(146) Austin Cline says:

Yes it is true that there are a lot of hypocrisy in the world but the thing is… Haven’t you ever thought your parents were being hypocritical to you???

No.

The reason why God lets suffering and evil in this world is because he gives us a choice!!!!

So, your god can’t provide choices without hurting people? How nice.

he wants to see if we can do the right thing.

A parent who did that would be put in jail.

Lee Strobel is NOT an idiot thank you very much.

Yes, he is – but worse than that he’s a liar.

April 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm
(147) Heikes says:

Life gives you choices. In analyzing the history of humankind I find that belief and faith in gods give you excuses and justifications.

I will not argue that faith doesn’t serve a purpose for human society. Clearly it does. But the lack of religious faith (atheism) can as equally coincide with good morals and ethical behavior as “good” christian faith can coincide with unethical and amoralistic behavior.

To try and “prove” your belief using science negates the entire idea of faith. “Scientifically Proving” that the burning bush could really have “burnt” because god was really smart and made it out of creosote doesn’t support the existence of some deity, it simply justifies your belief in such.

And lastly, anyone’s deigning to be able to fathom the intelligence of a supreme being (if such a thing exists) is the most completely ridiculous anthropocentric idiocy there is. What’s God’s IQ this month? I found some very complicated proteins, must be like 12,532th percentile. Foolish.

March 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm
(148) Nashka says:

Austin quick question, may I ask if you have no god or belief if you will what is your purpose in life why are you here?

The meaning of life: Humans purpose in life: This is simple.

To reproduce and take the species as far into the future as possible: Survival of the species, whether it be humans, apes ants, bees, fish, plants. Everything that has life has one main reason or purpose. SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIES.
everyone and everything has the survival instinct. It is what drives evolution.
Is it really that hard to figure out?

June 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm
(149) Atheist nr 1 says:

Austin Cline, it took me 1 hour to read this whole page and I agree with most of the points you state. People always say “how can everything be created” my question “how is god created”?
God can’t have been there forever.

But one very important thing, since you are realy smart, the big bang is just a theorie. We don’t know if thats what acctualy happend. You state your comment nr 48 that it DID happen, but mankind doesn’t know that (yet).

I think people that believe in god, jesus or whatever, if they have nothing to believe in and have a “bad” life. I believe that Santa Clause is real, because its written. He has been around for a very long time too, but when your 12 they explain he’s not real. Maybe that would be good for children that believe in god too.”god / the bible is something written and its forever, one of many statements i read” Harry Potter is also written and forever, its just not 2000 years old yet.

Someone created god because they couldnt explain everything and couldn’t explain how mankind became mankind. The same with a rainbow was something god created to show that he was happy? No it are just water molecules.

March 29, 2013 at 12:20 am
(150) Ready Defence says:

While I haven’t read all the comments, just a few glances tell me what I need suspected. Have any of you read the bible or cried out to God to ask Him to show Himself to you? The whole “who created God” question is irrelevant – he is outside of time. He is the I AM. Apologistics care and love everyone and cares about your soul. That is why they fight for you. Why do atheists spend so much time trying to debunk God? What’s the purpose? By the way, Jesus hated religion. He came to give you a personal relationship through Him to God. So enough religion bashing – everyone can do that.

It’s also not surprising that some of you feel the apologists reasonings and arguments are confounding, confusing etc, when you don’t even know you are really an agnostic – not an atheist. To know there is no God would mean you have searched every tree, rock, grain of sand and planet. Obviously you haven’t, so you don’t KNOW there is no God.

The moral law – the 10 commandments is written on your hearts and you have a conscience for a reason. We’ve all broken them. We’re all guilty. Accept Jesus as your Savior and turn away from sin. On Judgement Day you will answer to a perfect and holy judge. You have been told. You have no excuse.

March 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm
(151) Austin Cline says:

While I haven’t read all the comments, just a few glances tell me what I need suspected. Have any of you read the bible or cried out to God to ask Him to show Himself to you?

Yes.

The whole “who created God” question is irrelevant – he is outside of time.

So is the universe.

Why do atheists spend so much time trying to debunk God?

Because theists like you spend so much time trying to impose your god on the rest of us.

It’s also not surprising that some of you feel the apologists reasonings and arguments are confounding, confusing etc, when you don’t even know you are really an agnostic – not an atheist.

You can be both. I am both.

To know there is no God would mean you have searched every tree, rock, grain of sand and planet. Obviously you haven’t, so you don’t KNOW there is no God.

1. Atheism doesn’t mean knowing that no god exists.

2. You can indeed know that a god doesn’t exist, depending on how it’s defined.

The moral law – the 10 commandments is written on your hearts and you have a conscience for a reason.

Sorry, no, it’ snot written on my conscience.

April 10, 2013 at 8:21 am
(152) Grandpa In The East says:

@ Ready Defence? Did de fence keep the dog in or did it keep you out (of school”? The word, by the way, is ‘the” fence.

Anyway, have you read your bible lately? It may have beeen updated.

Why not take the ffrf bible quiz and see how much you really know? I bet it is less than average (15% of the questions answered correctly).

Just Google: ffrf bible quiz.

Grandpa

November 14, 2013 at 8:35 am
(153) edwapa says:

ready defence said
“Apologistics care and love everyone and cares about your soul.”

i would say apologistics care and love yours and my money. that’s why they write books so as to sell them, thus separating our money from us. how could somebody who never met you or i love us? same goes for the big church preachers. i will continue to bash religion until it does some good for the poor and stops molesting children.

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