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Bullet point apologetics


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I came across a bullet point list of arguments for and against Christianity, so stealing that and adding my thoughts I came up with the speed list below.  Of course complex arguments done in short hand will often miss points which people consider critical, but as a quick main point view I think it works.  Are there others in either list that you consider strong or common enough to be worth including?

 

Arguments For:

Kalam Cosmological – “Everything has a creator”, weak because that is an unfounded assertion, we have only one example of a universe and nothing to compare to.

Pascal’s wager – “Believe cos its better than not”, weak because you cannot force belief and there are so many thousands of beliefs that you cannot be sure the one you bet on is the right one.

Moral Argument – “We know right and wrong, therefore god has told us”, weak because morals change over time and change between societies.  Christian’s cannot agree on moral subjects, so any objective standard claimed it not even universal amongst believers.

Fine tuning argument – “The universe works, therefore god made it work”, weak because we see chaos throughout the universe, we see a universe where life is impossible in the majority of space and we have no reason to believe the fundamental forces could change in any way.

Prophecy fulfilment – “The bible has many confirmed prophecies, only possible if god did it”, weak when the prophecies claimed are fulfilled by later writings where the authors had full knowledge of the original.  When the claims are looked at they either are mundane, vague or incorrect.

Miracles as proof – “Miracles occur, therefore god must be causing them”, weak because testing shows prayer doesn’t work, Christian’s suffer from the same amounts of illness, accidents and death, and they have the same life expectancy as others in their country.  Miracles cannot be summoned or shown, especially not in such obvious ways as the bible claimed were common.

Design Argument – “Things work, therefore god designed them”, weak as we see examples of poor design in nature and in humans in particular.  Designed from the start has to fight against the mountain of evidence for evolution.

Watch maker argument – “Watches are created, therefore everything is created” weak because we instinctively know the difference between organic and inorganic things.  We can see growth and change in nature and know that does not require external input to occur.

Argument from Experience – “I felt god, therefore He is real” weak because no one else can feel what the claimant felt and because such claims of feeling the divine come from all competing, non-complimentary religions.

Irreducible complexity – “Things are complex, therefore god made them”, weak because we can see in nature all stages of simple to complex for any such claimed structures.  This relies heavily on incredulity rather than fact.

Transcendental argument – “God is logic, logic exists, therefore god exists” weak because logic is simply a description of how things work, there is no problem with logic and reason fitting fine with a purely materialistic view.  Everything doesn’t have to be physical, it just has to be natural.

Ontological argument - "I can imagine god, therefore god exists", weak because it relies on making a jump from imagination to reality, simply due to existence being "greater" than non-existence, without defining "great" or explaining why existence must be a valid criteria.

 

Arguments Against:

The problem of evil/suffering – “Bad things happen, god is meant to care but doesn’t”, suffering is something we will all experience, it is something common throughout nature, but something which an all-powerful god could stop if he wished.

Which bible? – “Christian’s cannot agree on which books, which translations and how to interpret it”,  Catholic bible = 73 books, protestant bible = 66 books, Mormon = 69 books, orthodox bible = 79 books.  Debate has raged for thousands of years and yet Christianity has not been able to come to a unified answer.  Even within a denomination there are dozens of versions and translations.  God's unchanging word...

God’s Hiddenness – “He appears in the bible but won’t appear since”, Biblical claims of meeting god are common (burning bush, pillars of smoke, voice from the sky etc), while people able to perform miracles were claimed (Elijah’s test, calling fire from the sky on command).  If god wanted us to know him then we would, we don’t, therefore claims of Him wanting a personal relationship are hard to believe.

Hell doctrine – “Infinite torture for finite crimes”, A literal hell as often preached cannot be considered justice by any standard.  If heaven is meant to be perfect, and yet you know loved ones are in constant torment, then heaven would be tainted by empathy and sadness.

Christianity must be taught – “No one can come to Christianity without being taught”, it is a fact that you cannot come to Christianity without being told what to believe.  It doesn’t spring up naturally in societies with no contact, instead you get mixed religions of spirits, polytheism and human worship.  If no one taught Christianity it would cease to exist in one generation.

Lack of physical evidence - “If the bible stories were true we would find the results”, There is in fact there is no sign of a global flood, of an mass exodus from Egypt, or a census or purges, no records of others seeing the miracles or gods communication, no sign of a physical ark of the covenant, Noah’s ark or the body of Jesus.

Prayer doesn’t work – “If god answered prayers we could all know Him by asking”, most studies show prayer does nothing or at best a placebo effect.  Asking god to show Himself, as millions have done, has resulted in silence.  Prayers for health and healing go unanswered.

Christ’s sacrifice – “God sacrificed himself to himself so that He wouldn’t apply the law He wrote and will judge”, the sacrifice of Jesus makes little sense if you are claiming god is all-powerful.  He has no need to put on a show, to kill anyone or do anything.  The claim the sacrifice was both necessary and good, flies in the face of god having full control in any way He wishes.

Competing religions – “There are tens of thousands of religions, they can’t all be right but they all can be wrong”, there are so many religions, all with ideas that are non-compatible with each other.  No matter which answer was correct, the majority of the world’s population must be wrong.  Those people will know with certainly they are correct and would die to defend their particular belief. 

God is not necessary – “Any claimed positive attribute of Christianity can be seen outside of it”, if God is the source of love, morals and truth, then those away from that source should not have those features.  Yet we see non-religious, or other religions showing the same morals, empathy, respect, and love.  We see the non-religious living long, happy, fulfilled lives.  Being great parents, giving their time and resources to help others and making the world a better place.  You can be good without god, you can be moral without god and you can live with joy and love without god.

The contradiction of biblical violence - "Jesus says "love thy neighbour", "turn the other cheek" and "do unto others", while old testament god says "kill everyone, man, woman and child, including their animals"", The glaring contradiction between the war god of the old testament and the pacifist god of the new testament is hard to reconcile.   Indiscriminate acts of genocide does not mesh with "do unto others".

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Good work, Wertbag!   This is a very useful, comprehensive summary of why Christianity is literally unbelievable.   People who are going through that stage of deconversion where they start to second-guess themselves and wonder “what if I’m wrong?” would be well-advised to start every day by referring to this list.   Thanks for putting it together!

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Agreed! 

 

A very good summary of the most important apologetic arguments and their counter arguments, Wertbag.  :)

 

For the record, I've tackled the Kalam Cosmological Argument here... https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/82597-the-failed-cosmology-of-william-lane-craig/

 

 

And the Fine Tuned Universe Argument here... https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/84967-the-failure-of-the-fine-tuned-universe-apologetic-argument/

 

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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Just to add the fact that Christianity isnt even the oldest religion. if christianity is true then what happened to the people before the bible was written? it doesnt make sense since hinduism was created before Christianity 

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Great list.

 

I would add the ontological argument: If you can imagine something that is the greatest then that thing must exist. You can imagine a greatest possible being, and because existing is better than not existing (unfounded assertion) then this greatest possible being must exist. Weak because I can imagine the greatest possible pink unicorn, but everyone agrees that just because I can conceive of it doesn't mean it exists.

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40 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Great list.

 

I would add the ontological argument: If you can imagine something that is the greatest then that thing must exist. You can imagine a greatest possible being, and because existing is better than not existing (unfounded assertion) then this greatest possible being must exist. Weak because I can imagine the greatest possible pink unicorn, but everyone agrees that just because I can conceive of it doesn't mean it exists.

I always forget which one the ontological argument is, I mean its so gobsmacking stupid that its hard to even imagine anyone seriously using it.  Of course there are apologists who do use it but I've never understood why.  'Imagination equals existence' is so counter to any logical thought. 

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53 minutes ago, Wertbag said:

I always forget which one the ontological argument is, I mean its so gobsmacking stupid that its hard to even imagine anyone seriously using it.  Of course there are apologists who do use it but I've never understood why.  'Imagination equals existence' is so counter to any logical thought. 

 

Yes - it should have the caveat that it is possibly the stupidest argument you are likely to hear from an apologist.

 

There is only one response to this argument:

 

 

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7 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Great list.

 

I would add the ontological argument: If you can imagine something that is the greatest then that thing must exist. You can imagine a greatest possible being, and because existing is better than not existing (unfounded assertion) then this greatest possible being must exist. Weak because I can imagine the greatest possible pink unicorn, but everyone agrees that just because I can conceive of it doesn't mean it exists.

 

Wow, this is some sweet sweet bullshit right here. Thanks, LF. I was not aware that people used their Walmart logic this way. 

 

https://gyazo.com/8ae1a572100a88ae06afa41cbe2063b7

 

 

 

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First they would need to define "great".  Is the greatest human the smartest, fastest, strongest, longest lived or greatest philanthropist?  Of course what they really mean by "maximally great" is "god", but does maximally great have to mean all-powerful, all-present and all-knowing, or could you still be lacking in an area and yet still be the most powerful being in the universe?

Then you need to define "possible world", in this case it refers to imagination land and not a real place.  If they admit that then they scuttle the whole argument.

You then have to make the huge jump, that something that exists in imagination land must exist in the real world, and there is really nothing that bridges that gap.

 

The argument should read:

God exists in imagination

Existence is greater than non-existence, therefore god must exist to be the greatest

Therefore god exists

 

There is really nothing else to it.

 

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56 minutes ago, Wertbag said:

The argument should read:

God exists in imagination

Existence is greater than non-existence, therefore god must exist to be the greatest

Therefore god exists

 

With slight adjustments, that is exactly how that argument is presented in undergraduate philosophy before it's ripped to shreds.  The first hurdle is whether existence v non-existence is even a meaningful attribute in the exercise - which, of course, it's not.  The you start down the rabbit hole of definition hell.

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Good list!

 

Another argument is that religion doesn't make people happier, more peaceful, or healthier.  Several "non-believing" societies have higher measures in those categories.

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21 minutes ago, Weezer said:

Good list!

 

Another argument is that religion doesn't make people happier, more peaceful, or healthier.  Several "non-believing" societies have higher measures in those categories.


I would quibble with the claim that religion doesn’t make people happier etc.  I think plenty of people would say that Christianity, Islam etc transformed their lives and made them happier.  These religions wouldn’t have lasted for all these centuries if they didn’t have their appeal.  But we also know that these theistic religions also make some people anxious and miserable.  Plenty of witnesses to that fact here!  Christianity works for some, not for others.  Which by itself says a lot...

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3 hours ago, TABA said:


I would quibble with the claim that religion doesn’t make people happier etc. 

 

I see your point, but am basing that on a world measure of happiness that is done each year.  The USA is #18, and is considered a christian nation.  But I guess there is more to be considered here than religion.

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56 minutes ago, Weezer said:

I see your point, but am basing that on a world measure of happiness that is done each year.  The USA is #18, and is considered a christian nation.  But I guess there is more to be considered here than religion.

I think this is partially covered by the section "God is not necessary", that is saying life can be good without god, that you can achieve whatever you want regardless and can be an upstanding moral person without god.

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On 2/16/2021 at 1:52 PM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Quantum wave coherence died for your sins.

 

I think it's more along the lines of quantum wave coherence died for your decoherence (sins). But who knows??????

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