Monday, January 01, 2018

Is the Christian God a "Necessary Being"?

Recently Steve Hays over at Triablogue posted a blog entry titled Who Made God?. This entry offers some instructive opportunities for engaging the kind of thinking many believers indulge in, so I have decided to comment on it.

Hays begins with the following provocative statement:
Some atheists think they can dismiss cosmological arguments by simply asking, "Who made God?"
Given the tone Hays uses here (“you’ll never get away with it, you meddling atheists!”), I get the impression that he believes the question “who made God?” is an inappropriate reaction to the cosmological argument. However, it seems to be a perfectly valid response to an argument which insists that everything was made by a “who” in the first place. If someone wants to validate his belief in invisible magic beings by asking “who made the universe?” why would it be wrong to suppose that, if a person, specifically a consciousness, must have created the universe and everything in it, a person, specifically a consciousness, must have created the person who created the universe?
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"What would convince you?"

Often Christians seeking to defend their religious views will ask non-believers what they would accept as convincing evidence that their god-beliefs are true. This is a common baiting tactic deployed in an effort to expose some vulnerability, either personal or philosophical, or to corner them into making some damning concession.

For example, in their radio discussion, Greg Bahnsen asked George H. Smith, author of Atheism: The Case Against God, what he would consider convincing evidence that the Christian god is real. In response to this question, Smith quipped something to the effect that a “giant hand” reaching down from the sky and grabbing him by the scruff of the neck would probably get his attention. Smith states, “that would get me thinking.” (Find the audio recording here; a transcript is available here.)
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

“Where did morality come from?”

I often find theistic apologists asking this question to non-theists. While some individuals may be genuinely interested in finding an answer to this question, apologists tend to pose it in an effort to stump people who do not hold that morality is sourced in a supernatural consciousness which issues commands and demands obedience. Sadly, this “Gotcha!” tactic is all too often successful as a sparring device, as the kinds of responses many non-believers give to this question often leave the unmistakable impression that either they had not considered the question before, or that they had considered it but never came to any satisfying answers.

Of course, theists gravitate to questions of this sort because in the final analysis, their theistic worldview depends on having no answers. What this means is that believers are hoping for responses that essentially reduce to “Gee, I donno!” revealing a gap of knowledge in which the believer’s inflatable god can be made to fit quite comfortably. As such, the purpose of this question is not to probe an important philosophical area of inquiry, but to corner thinkers into surrendering their minds to a primitive belief system.
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Monday, October 30, 2017

Do Atheists Face a Dilemma Inherent in Atheism?

Steve Hays of Triablogue has yet again come out with another hit piece to malign “atheists” generally. He must really resent people who don’t believe in the god he has set up in his fantasies. Equally fantastic seems to be the paradigm case he paints of the average atheist, plagued by scandalous internal deficiencies and haunted by inescapable quandaries. If Hays’ dark characterizations of atheism and atheists were so true, one wonders why anyone would ever be an atheist!
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Christian Hope

There’s nothing like the hope offered by Christianity:
There’s a lot there to look forward to when you’re a believer.

I’m reminded of Richard Noone’s predictions for May 5, 2000 in his book 5/5/2000: Ice.

I know what you’re thinking: that didn’t pan out quite as predicted. But don’t worry, I understand that there’s a revised edition.

Oh, wait, that dates from before the failed predicted date.

But I’m sure David Meade’s nailed it this time! Planet X is here with a vengeance, and it’s going to X us all out of existence.

So, nice knowin’ y’all! It’s been great. Have a cold one and enjoy your precious last moments.

by Dawson Bethrick

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Monday, August 28, 2017

D'oh!

Christian apologist: I don’t understand why atheists make such a big deal about God when they say God doesn’t exist. Why make a big deal about something that doesn’t exist?

Me: I don’t understand why Christian apologists make such a big deal about neutrality when they say neutrality doesn’t exist. Why make a big deal about something that doesn’t exist?

by Dawson Bethrick

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Do Gardens Imply the Existence of Invisible Magic Beings?

Christian apologist James Anderson has posted another fun little blog entry, this one titled On Fairies and Gardeners, over on his site Proginosko. In this entry Anderson objects to overt comparisons of the Christian god to fairies while implicitly comparing man’s cognitive faculties to a garden implying the existence of a gardener. Anderson opens his blog with the following announcement:
I’ve been revisiting Richard Dawkins’ best-seller The God Delusion in preparation for an apologetics class I’ll be teaching next week.
Anderson is writing this in July 2017. And yet, back in April 2009, more than eight years ago if I have my math right, Anderson announced his conclusion (referring specifically to The God Delusion, mind you) that “Dawkins’ case against theism is philosophically inept” (see here). With such a condemning assessment, I’m wondering if Anderson has changed his mind, or whether he prefers to spend his time sparring with low-hanging fruit before a captive audience in his classroom. Consider the impressionable young minds who have chosen to take on the burden of a heavy student debt at so early a time in life as to sit through such a course. Indeed, just what kind of living does one set out to achieve with an education in “apologetics”? Perhaps if one confuses a career with a living, it could be said that Anderson may be doing fairly well as a vested member of the professoriate.
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