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Thinking About Amy-marie


chefranden
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I've been thinking about Amy-Marie and why we seldom make progress in arguing with Christians. I refuse to consider them stupid or even ignorant and illogical.

 

Here are some thougts on this from Steven Dutch.

 

The whole essay can be read here.

 

 

Things That Don’t Work

 

Biblical literalists differ from scientists principally in their acceptance of the Bible as valid data, but in all other respects they can reason quite rationally. They are perfectly capable of spotting specious logic by their opponents. Unfortunately, the scientific community has provided them with abundant examples. Tactics like the following will not only fail, but will reinforce the idea that scientists reject Biblical literalism because of sloppy, superficial thinking, ignorance, or deliberate malice.

 

Stereotyping

 

Biblical literalists are commonly stereotyped as dour, inflexible, mean-spirited, unhappy and sexually repressed. In my dealings with them, Biblical literalists don’t seem any more or less happy, kind, or sexually healthy than the general population. People who would rise up in fury at stereotypes of blacks or gays seem perfectly willing to accept and repeat equally malicious and blatant stereotypes of Biblical literalists.

 

Other stereotypes are issues of historical misconception if not deliberate deception. Christianity never taught at any time that the earth is flat (Russell, 1997) or that the universe is small. Ptolemy’s Almagest (Book I, Chapter 6) explicitly states that in

comparison to the sphere of the stars, the earth is a point (Taliaferro, 1952). The famous “medieval” woodcut showing a man looking beyond the edge of the world to see the machinery of the heavens is a 19th century forgery (Ashbrook, 1977).

 

Treating their beliefs as subjective

 

Whatever the epistemological nature of religious belief, Biblical literalists regard their doctrines as facts, so it’s a total waste of time to argue that science deals in “facts” whereas religions merely have “belief.” Launching a discussion that assumes the natural superiority of science will be seen as both arrogant and uninformed. Discussing the tentativeness of science will only persuade Biblical literalists that science is based on inferior methodology, since they are convinced their own data is true in an absolute sense.

 

“Why can’t evolution just be God’s way of creating life?”

 

My litmus test for literacy. This issue has been discussed so often in fundamentalist literature that merely asking it reveals complete ignorance of the pertinent literature. The real issue to Biblical literalists is preserving Biblical inerrancy.

 

Theological illiteracy

 

How can God know everything if the speed of light is an ultimate limit? How can God’s omniscience be reconciled with free will? How can Christians condone capital punishment or war if the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill?” These issues have been discussed for centuries. Bringing them up to believers as if they were novel questions is like submitting a paper to a journal without bothering to read a single relevant reference first. They don’t reveal perception or sophistication on the part of the questioner, but cluelessness.

Frontal Assaults

 

Religion is here to stay. Deal with it. Since the controversy over evolution is inherently religious, it’s natural for some debaters to try to attack the root of the problem by attacking religion in general, or at least belief in the Bible. While we’re at it, I’d like an unlimited research budget. Both are about equally likely to get results.

 

“I prefer to believe…”

 

Countering Biblical literalist beliefs with a statement of personal preference is not just ineffective, from the Biblical literalist perspective it amounts to answering documented evidence with bald unsupported assertions. Reference to documents like the Humanist Manifesto is in the same category; Biblical literalists view the Humanist Manifesto as merely a group exercise in bald unsupported assertions.

 

Statements like “I choose to believe in a God of love” are strong candidates for silliest remark ever made on any subject. Either there is a God, or there is not. If there is, God has certain attributes and not others. In any case, what possible difference can it make what someone chooses to believe?

 

Bad Models of Science

 

Since we're up against people who consider their own ideas true in a metaphysically absolute sense, the first rule is not to surrender at the outset. Any description of science as a thought construct or group consensus effectively yields the struggle to Biblical literalists by admitting that science cannot achieve a level of certainty that Biblical literalists are convinced they routinely attain.

 

Some might object that presenting science as a search for truth and a body of facts is inaccurate. However, if a description of science that satisfies us simultaneously creates a misleading impression in others, in what sense is our description "accurate?" And if a model of science fails to distinguish science from pseudoscience, by what criterion can we regard it as useful or valid?

 

Scientific responses to Biblical literalists are rife with inaccurate statements about science and miracles. Claims that miracles are inherently unscientific are not only arrogant, they're wrong. No amount of observing patterns can rule out the existence of occasional singularities, and any alleged miracle could be a rare but real natural event. I personally like the example of meteorites, which were long dismissed as rank superstition until unequivocal evidence in the form of a large and widely witnessed fall occurred. There are two cogent reasons for science not accepting miracles. First, miracles can be used to explain away any anomaly. Second, premature acceptance of a phenomenon as a miracle forecloses any likelihood of understanding it in natural terms. There is a third reason as well: miracle claims have proven to be notoriously unreliable and prone to wishful thinking and fakery. Although perfectly true, that argument is likely to produce more heat than light.

Logical Fallacies

 

 

Argument from ignorance: Asking why a Biblical literalist accepts the Bible as infallible but not the Koran is a valid discussion point. It just doesn’t prove anything. The fact that something is unproven (or can’t be proven) shows only that it is unproven, not that it’s false or some other idea is true. If we don’t let UFO enthusiasts or paranormalists use this kind of reasoning when they appeal to the unexplained, why should we expect Biblical literalists to let us?

 

Labels are not proof: Religious belief serves many psychological needs. That doesn’t make it false. If anything, the fact that someone finds a belief psychologically satisfying is evidence for the belief. Many arguments used by Biblical literalists are patent rationalizations. That doesn’t make the arguments false, either. Dogmatism, closed-mindedness, and intolerance are not nice qualities. Unfortunately, they don’t necessarily make the person afflicted with them wrong.

 

Threats to ideology are not proof: Biblical literalists often argue that, if evolution is true, it vitiates Christianity. That is a clearly fallacious argument. So, however, is any appeal to the idea that Biblical literalism must be false because of the threats it poses to sexual or academic freedom, gay rights, abortion, and so on. For scientists, facts must always trump ideology.

 

Suggested Strategies

 

Understand the central issues

 

Biblical literalists see their beliefs as facts. The fact that scientists don’t is utterly irrelevant. As far as Biblical literalists are concerned, if science doesn’t accept their evidence, that’s science’s problem, not theirs.

 

Probably the central dividing issue is not that the Bible may be factually true, but that it can be assumed true in toto. To a scientist, the only way to prove “the Bible is true” is to prove every single statement in it independently. But saying the Bible might be testable in principle is a far cry from dismissing it out of hand. (Of course, then there’s the issue of what happens if the Bible fails a test.)

 

Get informed

 

To be as blunt as possible, if you’re not willing to treat it as a major research project, you have nothing to contribute. Know how Biblical literalists define terms, their theology, and their scientific arguments.

 

Be Analytical

 

“Analytical” comes from two Greek roots meaning “break apart” and that is exactly what the creation-evolution conflict needs. From the outset, partisans on both sides have tended to take the opposition’s arguments at face value without subjecting them to ana-lysis. When evolution was first proposed, atheist debaters were quick to pounce on evolution as supporting their cause, which in turn convinced Biblical literalists that evolution denied the existence of God, instead of merely disproving one interpretation of one portion of the Bible. Extremists in general tend to take the opposition’s arguments at face value without rigorously analyzing them. (Of course, if they were capable of rational, dispassionate analysis, they wouldn’t be extremists, would they?)

 

Case in point: Intelligent Design. Advocates of Intelligent Design among the general public seem to think that if Intelligent Design triumphs, the whole Biblical literalist canon will follow. But even if we can demonstrate the existence of an Intelligent Designer, that does not prove:

 

* The Designer used supernatural methods.

* The Designer interacts with the Universe now.

* The Designer is omniscient or omnipotent

* The Designer cares what humans do, communicates with them, or is even aware of their existence.

* The Designer has any moral dimension at all or makes any moral demands on humans.

* That any of the world’s religions has an accurate concept of the designer.

* That if any do, Christianity is that religion.

* That the Biblical literalist version of Christianity is the authentic version.

 

So if the concept of Intelligent Design is so far removed from proving the Biblical literalist position, why are so many scientists reacting to it with something akin to panic? Because unfortunately, a lot of scientists have not bothered to pick the logical chain apart. By reacting to Intelligent Design as if it were tantamount to validating Biblical literalism, they have in fact made it so in the eyes of Biblical literalists.

 

Poor analysis muddies the creation-evolution waters in many ways, one of the most important being poorly-phrased survey questions. When people are asked whether they believe the universe was created or whether it evolved naturally, most people naturally opt for creation. The question as phrased is a false dichotomy and effectively excludes the possibility of a creator who works through natural laws. But when the questions are phrased in strictly scientific terms (earth billions of years old versus a few thousand) the results are much more favorable to science. Creationists, of course, gleefully pounce on the results of poorly designed surveys as proof of the widespread support for their ideas.

 

The Two Core Issues

 

The two issues that appear to divide scientists most sharply from Biblical literalists are first, can any phenomenon be definitively known to be outside the laws of nature (i.e., a miracle) and second, can any documentary source be known to be absolutely free of error for all time? Even if miracles and infallible sources actually exist, we can never be sure whether some alleged example really is one. We could be mistaken in our evaluation or new evidence could appear that changes our interpretation. Rather than assert the nonexistence of miracles or infallible sources, which is a losing proposition both because many listeners will reject it and because such a disproof is impossible, it seems a far more robust approach to explain why science cannot accept either as ultimate explanations.

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Christianity never taught at any time that the earth is flat

That's just not true, there are plenty of verses that describe a flat earth. Supported by pillars. With a solid dome over it.

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Christianity never taught at any time that the earth is flat

That's just not true, there are plenty of verses that describe a flat earth. Supported by pillars. With a solid dome over it.

 

Yeah, I agree thats what the writers of the bible say, but I think his point was that the idea was never supported by the church. of course the early chruch may have supported it, but by the time the catholic church was entrenched in the 5th century I believe that the chruch supported Tolemy's view of the universe. Sperical earth, but still the center of the universe. That view was not questioned until Galieo chalenged it.

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I've been thinking about Amy-Marie

Damnit, everyone's always thinking about Amy Marie.

 

Why doesn't anyone think about me?

 

WHY!?!?

 

why?

 

Because you're not an idiot moron.

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The problem isn't that they're stupid, it's that they're brainwashed, and that brainwashing can be more powerful than the most logical arguments.

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I just wish that I was capable of buzzing through as much reading material that Cheffy does within a day. :phew:

:lmao: that's exactly what i was thinking while i was reading this post.

 

gotta hand it to chef though... his posts have the most interesting titles:

-jesus was a homo in his heart

-the spy who shag us

-scared of brothel sex?

-there aint not chocolate jesus

-at least they didnt f**k in the ass

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When I first came to this forum I asked the question, "Why the gripe against Jesus?" Now I know. I've presented my arguments the best I could in hopes that I could sway you to return to Him which was a fact I never tried to hide.

 

Yes, this is an ex-Christian forum so I guess I'll move on.

are arguments were better presented, valid, and backed up through history, archaeology, scholarly findings from both secular and non-secular groups, and through the use of scripture. so why arent you swayed? hypothetically speaking... if jesus came down and told me that the religion of christianity was a bunch of crock started by athanius and company, and i relayed the message to you, i bet you still wouldnt be swayed would you?

 

dont be afraid. be open minded. stick around.

 

at least answer me when i ask what you meant by

When I first came to this forum I asked the question, "Why the gripe against Jesus?" Now I know.

what is it that you know?

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Fwee... how so? The Scriptures speak of many that would become Ex-C's so what's your point?

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When I first came to this forum I asked the question, "Why the gripe against Jesus?" Now I know. I've presented my arguments the best I could in hopes that I could sway you to return to Him which was a fact I never tried to hide.

 

Yes, this is an ex-Christian forum so I guess I'll move on.

 

I have to agree with others here Amy, your artwork is very nice. You have a lot of talent.

 

We are no different from you, you know? Too bad you can't see that. I once thought in terms of us vs them also so I know of what I speak.

 

Hope you have a great life. Really.

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I think pride and stubborness has a lot to do with it. Coming to a site like this proudly wearing a christian banner can be a daunting thing. Christians are not used to dealing with questions that are asked here. Speaking for myself when I first came here as a christian, there were many issues raised that I had never thought about before. I suppose the mature thing would have been to say something like. "You know, I never thought about that before....!" But instead the pride and stubborness kicks in, and it's just about trying to win an argument, and saving face in the end.

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When I first came to this forum I asked the question, "Why the gripe against Jesus?" Now I know. I've presented my arguments the best I could in hopes that I could sway you to return to Him which was a fact I never tried to hide.

 

Yes, this is an ex-Christian forum so I guess I'll move on.

 

Did you learn anything here while you were here? About us or your religion in general?

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Guest Emproph

I would like to propose that if possible, the Moderators would put Cheferanden's post in a section to be preserved with other writings of note on this site....anyone agree?

I’ll second that. The post and/or the article. (the post was excellent though, much easier to read).

 

That’s the most comprehensive I’ve read that puts the Biblical inerrancy mindset so plainly. Not that it covers everything or even enough, but it definitely gave me pause. And I like to think that I have insight.

 

..Back to the drawing board.

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But instead the pride and stubborness kicks in, and it's just about trying to win an argument, and saving face in the end.

Yeah. And it's so weird to look back and see that it is something I would do too.

 

I think my reasons, deep down, without knowing it, was that I was afraid of being wrong. In essence, there were doubts that I didn't want to deal with. I wanted it to be true, so I had to fight to keep it "true" in my mind. And part of it too is that when you have wasted years of believing something, you don't want to let those years be lost, so you rather continue. And the last thing, I think everyone feels a bit ashamed afterwards, and maybe we know that as Christians, that we'd lose our face if we have to admit that the things we held for certain are only fiction.

 

I pinned the topic. We'll see if we should move it to some section or not, but pinned will do for now. It's a good article to have handy.

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So if you really want to win an argument you should try being a bit kinder not act like a bunch of deprogamers. When you make people feel like they are stupid and have nothing to contribute that puts them on the defense right away.

 

ex-Christian is a scary place for me. And for the most part I don't feel welcomed at all.

 

Maybe for the majority that's exactly the message they want to send me.

 

Anyway I still wish you love in Christ,

 

Amy

 

Did you ever have a spine, or did Jesus rip it out?

 

"The better for you to need to lean on me, my dear."

 

We were perfectly polite to you, until you started ignoring posts with really good and insightful questions. And don't EVEN start with the "I'm just a 2 finger typist" whine! Just because something takes more time, doesn't mean it's impossible. It's a really cruddy excuse.

 

YOU let yourself feel overwhelmed by the number of people leaving posts. Instead of just bucking up, reading them one by one, and deciding reasonably which ones were asking for a response, and which ones were just folks blowing off steam, or giving an opinion.

 

I NEVER learned how to type without looking at the keys. I adapted typing to fit MY needs, instead of conforming to the secretarial school of typing, or as I like to think of it...Pre-Carpal Tunnel School.

 

There is always a way. You just didn't want to expend the effort. Not for your typing, not for researching your position, or anything. You came here expecting to change our perspectives based on your own feelings and undertandings. you didn't think you would have to actually work one bit....did you? Just walk right in to our forum, shake your finger at us, and we'd be PM-ing you right and left to do the Sinner's Prayer.

 

You are the living embodiment of what fan fiction writers call a "mary-sue".

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Speaking for myself when I first came here as a christian, there were many issues raised that I had never thought about before. I suppose the mature thing would have been to say something like. "You know, I never thought about that before....!" But instead the pride and stubborness kicks in, and it's just about trying to win an argument, and saving face in the end.

For myself I would be sad to see Amy leave, and 'am hoping she chooses to stay. What I appreciate about her is her honesty, openness and sincerity. Amy, you have no idea what we usually get coming in here preaching at us and being all self-righteous.

 

I think in some people you are right about pride and stubborness, but from the very beginning I have never seen Amy as being prideful or stubborn. I see her reasons to believe are from her heart, not her head. The particular understandings of literalist teachers are what were layered on top as a language to talk about what is in her heart. To challenge that language is to leave someone unable to express to others, or even themselves on a rational level what they "know" in their heart.

 

This is not delusion. It is being a human.

 

Amy's art is the language that best shows what her beliefs are to her. My biggest hope for Amy is that the language of the Bible as constructed by the literalist shool of thought can possibly be opened a little more for her so she can move beyond the limits that language places around the potentials of her heart. I believe she herself can already sense its potentials being blocked in her life by the limits of the literalist’s language.

 

I realize this may sound foreign to some, but our language about things limits the potential of our thoughts and our heart (or spirit). Art helps to free us; Music gives rise to new "thought", Poetry and Mythology release us from the mudane, logical world to reach out and to explore the potentials of our spirits in the experience of living - of being. This "stubornness" is a defense mechanism to protect the spirit's language it has adopted to give itself "wings". It is not pride – not in this case, as I see it. The words I hear from Amy, are the one's spoken in her art.

 

The key for Amy is in understanding with her rational mind, that there are in fact many lanuages to use, and the one's that best do not set up a conflict between the rational mind and the spirit have the greatest potential for personal growth. It's up to the individual to release itself from it own adopted cage.

 

(my thoughts for today :grin: )

 

P.S. Amy, I want you to stay. Just talk over in the other forum and not here in the den. It's protected there from abusive language.

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ex-Christian is a scary place for me. And for the most part I don't feel welcomed at all.

 

Amy

 

Amy:

This place is a scary place for a christian. This is about questioning christianity cold turkey, without a pastor or mature christian nearby. It is tough as a christian to put yourself in neutral, and see if the questions points that are raised actually make any sense. Everyone here knows that a christian has very little to offer in terms of trying to persuade us that they are right. When a christian starts to argue for god, I usually wait to see what approach they take, and start from there. I hope you will agree that life is a journey full of learning a little more every day about who we are. All we are saying is that you don't need a mythical being in order to achieve that.

 

Kevin:

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Christianity never taught at any time that the earth is flat

That's just not true, there are plenty of verses that describe a flat earth. Supported by pillars. With a solid dome over it.

 

Yeah, I agree thats what the writers of the bible say, but I think his point was that the idea was never supported by the church. of course the early chruch may have supported it, but by the time the catholic church was entrenched in the 5th century I believe that the chruch supported Tolemy's view of the universe. Sperical earth, but still the center of the universe. That view was not questioned until Galieo chalenged it.

 

 

With all due respect that’s not strictly correct

 

Whilst the Church sometimes did advocate the Ptolemeric view, there were on numerous occasions various Popes and cardinals that alternately rejected and re-established this view.

 

In deed, at the end of the trial of Galileo in 1633, the formal church declaration was "The doctrine that the earth is neither the center of the universe nor immovable, but moves even with a daily rotation, is absurd, and both psychologically and theologically false, and at the very least an error of faith."

 

Because of his views, Galileo then in his 70's, was taken down into the dungeons of the church and shown the instruments of torture that were going to be used on him if he did not recant.

 

Even today, a number of Christian groups advocate the absolute authenticity and infallibility of the Bible and insist that the Earth is, in reality, flat.

 

So I would disagree, at least in part.

 

The Catholic Church has on occasions followed the strict interpretation of the Bible and a “Flat Earth” and some (admittedly no many) present day Christian groups still do.

 

Thanks

 

Sparrow

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