Jump to content

More Apologetic Fluff


Wondering
 Share

Recommended Posts

A friend recently sent me a link to this website to convince me of the error of my ways. I know he had good intentions, but I find these types of apologist arguments to be so unconvincing.

 

http://www.gotquestions.org/Does-God-exist.html

 

Below is my rather long-winded response back to my friend...

 

I have heard all those arguments and "evidence" many times before and I don't really find them to be convincing.

 

"If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith." If that's the case, why did God appear to people so regularly in the Old Testament, and why did Jesus do so many miracles in his time? Was it not important to have faith in OT times? And did people need faith when they saw Jesus do miracles (assuming those stories are true)? Seems to me like it would be really easy to believe if you literally saw someone walk on water, heal people instantly, or raise the dead. Why did God appear on earth in physical form (ie, having dinner with Abraham, wrestling with Jacob, walking past Moses, etc.) and have actual conversations regularly with people in OT times, yet he is completely silent now?

 

"Despite this, the Bible warns that some will still deny God’s existence: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’”" You could argue that this type of thing is built into all religions. For example, I've read about 25% of the Koran, and it is stuffed full of language just like that about how foolish and horrible are the "infidels" who deny Allah and his true prophet, Mohammed. I bet you don't lose any sleep wondering if you've pissed Allah off. I read a pretty fascinating book about how religions and ideas about God have evolved over the time since human history has been recorded. It basically said that for a religion to survive over time, it has to have defense mechanisms built into the belief system in order to keep it spreading. Among those are the idea of chastising non-believers, calling them "fools" or "infidels" or things like that, in order to discourage believers from questioning things. It also argued that the idea of heaven and hell is one of the strongest defense mechanisms, since the idea of eternal torment is one of the biggest drivers motivating each generation to pass their religion on to their kids. But hell is a whole different subject.

 

"Since the vast majority of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, and on all continents believe in the existence of some kind of God, there must be something (or someone) causing this belief." Like I said, I've read several books that do a pretty good job of explaining how and why people have such a strong tendency toward religious belief. Also, one question I have is if the existence of God is so obvious (more specifically, the Judeo-Christian God in particular), then why have there been so many different religions? Supposedly there have been thousands of gods that people have worshipped over the millenia, and those are just the ones that historians and anthropologists know about. So like I said, if the Judeo-Christian God is so obvious, why have the vast majority of humans who have ever lived been wrong about him?

 

I've heard the ontological argument numerous times, and I've always thought it is a giant pile of crap. It makes no sense whatsoever and is full of circular logic. It doesn't prove a thing.

 

"The teleological argument states that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a divine Designer. " I will agree that the earth appears to be designed for life, and it seems improbable that conditions on earth would be so perfect for life. But think for a minute how vast the universe is, and think about probability. I've read that scientists estimate that the universe has around a billion billion planets (whatever that number would be called). Say the odds of having perfect conditions for life might be one in a billion. For all practical purposes we would consider that so improbable that it's practically impossible. However, if there really are a billion billion planets, and one in a billion is suitable for life, then there would still be a billion planets with conditions suitable for life. I'm just saying, it's possible...

 

"Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” cause is God. " This argument uses inconsistent logic, in my opinion. It says everything must have a cause, except of course (conveniently enough) for God. If everything has to have a cause, then what caused God? If you say God can exist without a cause, then why couldn't it be true that the universe could exist without a cause? Who is to say it's impossible that the universe just "is"? There's so much we don't know about the universe and how it got here, but to say it's impossible for it to exist on its own is a pretty giant leap of logic.

 

"A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?" The big question I have here is, are things morally right because God dictates that they are right, or does God approve of things that are morally right because they are morally right on their own? I think it's called "Divine Command Theory" that says that something is moral if and only if God says it is. The problem with this is it can take otherwise objective moral standards and make them completely subjective, rather than the other way around, which is what most religious people argue. For example, under normal circumstances almost everyone would agree that it is objectively morally wrong to commit genocide, infanticide, beat slaves, stone people to death for gathering sticks on a Sunday, kill kids for making fun of someone's baldness (Russell might want to sometimes), and things like that. But all these things are explicitly commanded by God in the Old Testament. So in that case, you take things that would be universally condemned (by any sane, rational person) and suddenly flip them around so that it is now moral to do these things because God commanded it. I actually heard William Lane Craig, who seems to be the flag bearer for Christian apologists, say that when God told the Israelites to murder entire towns, including women and children (see Numbers 31 or Deuteronomy 2 for just a couple examples... there are many), in this case it becomes moral to kill little kids because God commanded it, and it would actually be immoral not to kill them. I have to admit, I was looking for a little better defense of the Old Testament than that, and I thought his rationalization of it was ridiculous and actually kind of disgusting. I even asked Adam one time if he would kill Jason for his unbelief if God told him to, and I was a bit surprised when Adam said "yes". I think it's very possible to have moral standards even if God did not exist.

 

"That is why many of those who deny the existence of God cling strongly to the theory of naturalistic evolution—it gives them an alternative to believing in a Creator God." Actually, I think those people cling strongly to evolution because there is an enormous amount of hard evidence that all points to evolution being a fact (read "The Greatest Show on Earth" or "Why Evolution Is True" for a full presentation of all the evidence. It's pretty fascinating). Over 90% of scientists accept it as fact, and I've heard one of them say to deny it is equivalent to denying that the earth orbits around the sun.

 

"We do not audibly hear Him speaking to us, but we sense His presence, we feel His leading, we know His love, we desire His grace. Things have occurred in our lives that have no possible explanation other than God." The first part of this statement lacks credibility because people of all faiths make the same type of claim with equal sincerity. Talk to Ali about how much he feels Allah's presence in his life, and it will sound exactly the same as what a Christian would say (I know this firsthand because my talks with Muslims have been very similar in many respects to my talks with my Christian friends.) The second part of that statement makes me ask myself, has anything happened in my life that would have NO POSSIBLE explanation other than God? Sure, there have been many things over the past 20 years that I credited God for having a hand in, but when I started thinking about it, I can't say any of those things would be impossible without God. I guess what I'm trying to say is I can't think of a true, 100% supernatural miracle where the laws of nature were suspended and something truly impossible happened. I started looking at prayer in a different way when I realized how most peoples' attitudes are toward prayer. For example, if someone is severely sick and you pray for them and they get well, then you say "wow, that's great, God answered my prayer!" On the other hand, if the person get's worse and dies, you still say "well, it was just God's plan to take that person now." So either way, you think your prayer worked, even if the person getting better had a 50/50 statistical chance of recovering. I guess I'd ask you, have you seen any true miracles in your life that can truly not be explained in any other way besides God?

 

"Faith in God is not a blind leap into the dark; it is safe step into a well-lit room where the vast majority of people are already standing." Really? The vast majority of people? Where do they get that? Of the roughly 6 billion people alive today, most sources say that about 2 billion claim to be Christian. Already, that is far less than a "vast majority". Add to that all the people who call themselves Christians but aren't really "true" Christians (at least according to a fundamentalist definition), and the number of true Christians gets even smaller. Then, subtract all the people of non-Christian faiths (or complete non-faith) that have lived in previous generations, and I would say of all the people that have ever lived up until now, probably an overwhelming majority are currently residing, or on their way to residing, in hell (if there is such a thing).

 

Anyway, I don't mean to sound negative and cynical. I just don't buy all the apologetic arguments like I used to (especially the hypocritical, dishonest crap that people like William Lane Craig put out).

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great response..Hey, I've been wondering where you've been (sorry for the pun).

 

When it comes right down to it, he can't tell you that you're wrong. I use some of those same arguments when talking to Christians, and always end up getting a "WTF" stare and the usual "Oh, I just know that god exists, I just feel it in my heart". Sorry, but after doing the research, a simple feeling is not going to cut it for me anymore!

 

Maybe you've at least brought out some points that will get him to doubt, but people are so afraid of doubting that they'll just blindly believe and refuse to see the truth. Someone very close to me told me that "we should just not talk about things like this anymore", because she's afraid of not believing. I'm beginning to think it's pointless to argue with people like that or even try to explain things to them...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are apologetic claims so hollow? Well what do you expect from a package built around nothing but hot air? They try to excuse something (or someone) for which there is no excuse. I'd be surprised to ever find some substance in apolobabble.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@OP and Beth, exs like us make woo woos scared esp if they knew you as a dedicated woo back when.

 

The whole babble is riddled with apologetic verses so that they can keep the gullible in check and dismiss the q's of the rational skeptics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Thanks Wondering for that post and link. I love and hate apologetics. I can't learn enough it seems...I need 4 lifetimes........ Here's one for ya..............

 

Wikipedia says: ‘Faith is trust, hope and belief in the goodness, trustworthiness or reliability of a person, concept or entity’.

 

This is the ‘faith’ argument that drives me crazy:

 

Everyone has faith, they declare - atheist, agnostic, and christian. They say that, in one sense, we all operate every day on faith in many different areas of our lives. They give their examples - If you've ever eaten at a restaurant, accepted a doctor's prescription, or planned for the future, you have certainly been operating on a degree of faith that in fact, may be a bit blind.

 

They ask; ‘Have you ever been skydiving’? If so, you understand faith. You hope that the parachute will open, when it's time for it to open. Even though you've prepared for action and double-checked the chute, you don't know for sure that it will open, because you haven't yet seen it open. Faith is a decision to trust the parachute. They also state that we have faith in the natural laws of gravity and inertia.

 

The arguments state that this is what faith is, no matter the example. It is a decision to trust. You simply decide to trust, even though you've seen no evidence to lead you to that decision.

 

Another example they use would be when you go to the bank to deposit or cash a check that someone has written you, you are taking a step of faith. The apologists tell you that chances are you have no guarantee there are funds to back up that check, and yet you are presenting it to your bank on faith that you will get money from that check.

 

Then there is the famous line of reasoning, that we have faith in electricity, microwaves, air, etc......

They will say, even the atheist has faith. The atheist has faith that the world exploded into existence but nobody caused it. I read one argument that said: ‘And according to the late atheist scientist Carl Sagan - he is famous for his declaration that the cosmos is ‘all that is, was, or ‘ever will be’. So therefore, Sagan's ‘cosmos’ directly competes with the God of the Bible who claims to be the ‘Alpha and the Omega - the beginning and the end’.

 

You’ve all heard the experts say that Christianity is not mere blind faith - the claim that belief in god produces an irrational, uneducated, unintelligent view of life, is completely false. They will state that – yes - there will always be a step of faith for the christian. But that step doesn't require a person to leave his brains at the church door.........

 

According to the bible, there are 9 ‘gifts’ of the holy spirit.

 

  1. The Word of Knowledge
  2. The Word of Wisdom
  3. The Gift of Prophecy
  4. The Gift of Faith
  5. The Gifts of Healing
  6. The Working of Miracles
  7. The Discerning of Spirits
  8. Different Kinds of Tongues
  9. The Interpretation of Tongues
     
    Number 4 is faith. I have read and been told that we all have a small ‘measure’ of faith to believe, and then god ‘grows’ your faith bigger and bigger as you ‘mature’ in the lord.
     
    For some reason, mine grew....... smaller........:shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wondering, your response is excellent. I wish I were as articulate as you. Gosh when I first encountered apologetics and the professional salesforce it employs, I was so naiive - the arguments were (and are) so circular and baseless, and people like William Lane Craig so obviously dishonest, I could hardly believe anyone fell for it.

 

Well said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The arguments state that this is what faith is, no matter the example. It is a decision to trust. You simply decide to trust, even though you've seen no evidence to lead you to that decision."

 

Thing is, you trust based on previous experience. That's the evidence right there. That's one hell of a stupid argument, and I was waiting to see you tear it apart right after you quoted it verbatim, and was quite surprised that you didn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.