"Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

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MarcusOfLycia
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"Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#1

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:46 pm

Although I've been reading this site for a long time, for some reason I haven't contributed much and I'm sorry for that, since I really enjoy what I glean from it. I'll have to start doing that more. Because of that though, I didn't really want to post a new thread, but I couldn't think of another way to do this:

A friend of mine recently went from a 'kind-of' Christian (never seemed to really know what he believed), to a fervent Eastern Orthodox Christian, to a hardcore atheist in the span of less than a year. He tends to be easily influenced by people; that is, he'll pick one person to listen to and he will listen to, defend, and fight exclusively for that person in any intellectual situation. His current 'favorite' is a guy from a local college who has an atheist counter-religion podcast called "Reasonable Doubts". While I don't mind reading atheistic ideas online to get a feel for them, I avoid listening for whatever reason to atheist podcasts. My friend has recently become more and more aggressive with his 'counter-christianity' if it can be called that and has posted something on Facebook for his friends to see: namely that he wants everyone to listen to a debate his hero has had with a Christian (https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogI ... 8870403508), and to respond with their own reason for belief in God, to which he will offer a rebuttal.

I decided to give it a shot and try hearing him out. After listening to the podcast (well, parts of it anyway), I feel like I could have debated better myself than the Christian they picked in some of the areas, but also that the guy's blog (the atheist) is filled with praising comments even though I don't feel he did much in the way of intellectual responding either. Lots of pseudo-intellectualism I felt like too.

If you have the time, let me know what you think of the different sides. Like I said, I didn't listen to the whole thing, so I wouldn't expect everyone else to do so, but I'd just like to get a feel about the opinions. While I know the scientific evidence that would have helped make the atheist in the debate stand down on some of his points, I admittedly am ignorant about some of the things he presented regarding the Bible, particularly that there were similar 'Jesus' stories before Christ ever lived. I can see where he's coming from even though I still disagree.

I guess I'm wondering what advice people might offer regarding this in general. Based on his argumentative style, I tend to avoid debates and told him I would stay out of this one. But I'm curious nonetheless.

Thanks everyone!
-- Josh

“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#2

Post by CeT-To » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:35 pm

Oh wow they worship him O_o...

I'm reminded why it's rare that I listen to these debates these days. I get so incredibly frustrated at how dense the apologists are, how preachy, how insecure and emotional, how illogical, how they weave and dodge, how they don't even really fully know their own texts. Same old drivel.

HAHAH that made my day ;)

Hey Marcus can you give me the podcast to that debate?
But joy and happiness in you to all who seek you! Let them ceaselessly cry,"Great is Yahweh" who love your saving power. Psalm 40:16

I Praise you Yahweh, my Lord, my God!!!!!

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#3

Post by CeT-To » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:57 pm

never mind i got it here is the link for anyone else

http://feeds.feedburner.com/reasonabledoubts/Msxh

God bless
But joy and happiness in you to all who seek you! Let them ceaselessly cry,"Great is Yahweh" who love your saving power. Psalm 40:16

I Praise you Yahweh, my Lord, my God!!!!!

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#4

Post by Silvertusk » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:07 am

I have just read some of the comments - and again the whole concept of an active atheist baffles me. I don't understand why there are people out there that really want to prove that there is no God - therefore no afterlife, therefore no true justice, therefore no true hope, therefore no true meaning to existence. I am wondering what they prefer in that type of world view that I am missing - please someone tell me!!!!!!!! I am worried that I am missing out on something huge here that I have missed because I have faith in a man who lived 2000 years ago. :brick:

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#5

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:37 pm

One thing that really bothered me about the comments was that they all tend to make me think they believe themselves knowledgeable to an extreme about every topic that relates to their views, and they feel that human logic and reasoning are without bounds in their capability.

I disagree entirely with that, and feel like it would be much more honest for them to become agnostic and admit the limitations of the human mind.

The thing about the post itself that has bothered me the most has been Determinism and the viewpoints I kept running across about it. I did some Wikipedia searches (not always reliable, I know), and found that there is a great number of people (although not necessarily a majority) in the scientific community and in other areas who don't believe free will is anything more than an artificial construct that we as humans perceive. While I disagree with them, I was curious what other people thought about it. I believe that free will and predestination are paradoxically but mutually entwined. I also feel like predestination still requires a First Cause, and that it would take a lot of faith to say that the First Cause was itself (I can't really imagine what this even means).
-- Josh

“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#6

Post by Echoside » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:54 am

MarcusOfLycia wrote: I did some Wikipedia searches (not always reliable, I know), and found that there is a great number of people (although not necessarily a majority) in the scientific community and in other areas who don't believe free will is anything more than an artificial construct that we as humans perceive.
Exactly, this is an essential part of being an atheist. If you don't believe anything exists or has happened outside of the "natural", observable world, then free will is just an illusion. You can expand that to morality as well, in the sense of an objective standard. I would actually be surprised if the number of people who say this weren't a majority, at least in the atheist based scientific communities.

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#7

Post by Kurieuo » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:40 am

MarcusOfLycia wrote:The thing about the post itself that has bothered me the most has been Determinism and the viewpoints I kept running across about it. I did some Wikipedia searches (not always reliable, I know), and found that there is a great number of people (although not necessarily a majority) in the scientific community and in other areas who don't believe free will is anything more than an artificial construct that we as humans perceive.
Determinism is really the only philosophical option for materialists (although Dawkins wasn't aware of this when debating Quinn - audio version).

I do not think many practising scientists understand the incoherency with embracing free will and an entirely materialistic worldview. I don't think many even understand the dilemma this poses with being able to embrace our own existence even (if we are merely biochemical reactions, then where can there be room for an "I"?).

Christianity is very rational and the main thinkers through history and pioneers of modern science were predominantly Christian. Christianity provides the foundations for truth, and a reason to embrace our rational faculties as being accurate interpreters of truth. On the other hand, materialism leaves us with no reason to embrace truth or know it.

Christianity provides solid foundations for all with intuitively believe to be true - moral right/wrong, justice, existence, our self, truth, free will and more.

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#8

Post by Bengali » Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:21 am

Silvertusk wrote:I have just read some of the comments - and again the whole concept of an active atheist baffles me. I don't understand why there are people out there that really want to prove that there is no God - therefore no afterlife, therefore no true justice, therefore no true hope, therefore no true meaning to existence. I am wondering what they prefer in that type of world view that I am missing - please someone tell me!!!!!!!! I am worried that I am missing out on something huge here that I have missed because I have faith in a man who lived 2000 years ago. :brick:

Firstly, have you ever contemplated the actual meaning of existing forever. the concept scares the hell out of anyone who has actually put thought into it, every day you wake up knowing that you cannot cease to exist, life looses all meaning. even those who embrace it and set out in their afterlife to go and achieve things, forver is infinite, which means however long you spend doing anything, your time remaining never increases, you could do everything there is to do, several thousand times over, and still not even scratch the surface of your allotted time. if you do something for long enough it becomes tediously boring, imagine existing in a world where every single thing in existence has become tediously boring, everything. there is never anything new to do, and nothing new to try, no new experiences, and you have infinite time left remaining. you will eventually end up just laying down for 5 or 6 trillion years bored out of your mind.

go back to school, in your head i mean. to a class you found dull. your sitting there bored out of your skull, watching the clock tick by, you have half an hour until you can go do something else, now imagine that feeling you got when you chose not to look at the clock, and get down and do some work to make time go faster, yet when you thought half hour must be up and looked, you still had 20 minutes to go. that's what an afterlife would be like. only instead of school work, you have the choice of doing anything and everything which after a few trillion years will be as tiresome as school work, but instead of ticking so so slowly, time has stopped. no matter how much you wait, there is nothing to wait for. nothing. for as far ahead as is possible to imagine.

the only way around this, and its often quoted, is if god infuses your spirit with his love, and you only ever feel love and happiness and joy, forever. well im sorry to put a dampener on that but if god removes all your negative emotions, well he is changing who you are. your negative emotions, along with your positive ones, make up who you are. if god removes them, then the you that is reading this is effectively dead. anything and everything would make you feel great, god could poke your eye out and it would be wonderful to you. you would no longer be you, no longer capable of rational thought, you would have no interests, nothing, you would just be happy. it would be pretty much the same as being lobotomised. so lets look shall we, at our three options

1. Spend, on a cosmological scale, 30 seconds having fun, then infinite time bored out of your mind with nothing to do, massive depression, endless mind numbing nothingness

2. get lobotomised and sit there drooling like an idiot for ever and ever and ever, the real you is effectivly killed and oes to the same places as Ateistic number 3

3. you don't go anywhere, your like a Lego building, atoms assembled, you have your time, you have your fun, you die, the lego bits go back in the bucket, and its the end, you cease to exist, and you go back to where you were for the 14 billion years before you were born. and i'd like to remind you that you didnt exist for 14 billion years and it didn't inconvenience you one little bit during all that time.



yes, Atheists aren't known for caring about true justice, true hope, true meaning to existence. because in the point of view of number three up there, it doesn't matter. imagine your playing Tetris (or any other game you would prefer). your having fun, your doing pretty good at it, your playing it for the fun, not because of any meaning behind it, if someone took it away from you you would be mad right, why? where is the meaning to Tetris? if you get a good score what does it mean? nothing, life is the same, enjoy it, have fun, do what makes you happy, because our time with this big game of life is fleeting, and once its over, there's o extra lives, no continues, that's it, if you get a pretty damn good score you might be on the leader board so everyone will remember you for a while, but that's it. this is all we have so we have to make the most of it, get the best score we can, do as well as we can, and leave the game for the next generation to enjoy. and if you play the game well, when your nearing the end of the game, you will get to look back and remember all those great things you did, all the fun you had, and say to yourself, man, im pretty damn awesome, i rocked at this game!

this view is the only one in which we can logically allow for children starving to death and being circled by vultures. we can allow for murderers to kill people and get away with it, floods, fires, death famine pestilence and war... because in this view, there is no super magic sky daddy who loves us but not enough to avert such tragedy, there is only us. doing the best we can individually.

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#9

Post by MarcusOfLycia » Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:57 am

I agree that Christianity offers a very good alternative to this belief system. I think its actually kind of interesting just how profound the Bible's stance on it all is: God doesn't make us sin; its our choice. Yet, we are predestined at the same time. It acknowledges the paradox that scientists today are only beginning to discover.

I read somewhere recently, and I'll have to find it, part of a Q&A between Dawkins and a crowd about his book. Someone said they admired his consistency and then asked "well, if determinism is the correct view of the world, how can you actually take credit for your book?" He responded with something along the lines of "you have to pretend in real life that you actually have free will or life would be unlivable". That's amazing to me. Isn't that the definition of delusion? I thought that's what his book was supposed to oppose in the first place.

Its been on my mind the last few days as I've tried to understand just what the world must be like for an atheist/determinist who fully embraces the consequences of their belief. I think nihilism or fatalism or simply suicide are all practical outcomes of it, which is something people should examine more carefully before jumping on the bandwagon. Another podcast by the guy I posted originally apparently had an episode where he confronted atheists with this fact. He still went the route of living in a delusion, which to me just seems disingenuous. I mean, it seems to me that atheists/determinists taking their belief system seriously should push for the sterilization of all of humanity. Why prolong human suffering in the light of the profound meaninglessness in the universe? I wonder if that has any correlation to birthrates in Europe by Europeans compared with religious minorities in the countries...
-- Josh

“When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within” C.H. Spurgeon

1st Corinthians 1:17- "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel””not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#10

Post by narnia4 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:16 pm

Determinism is one of those things that I sometimes doubt that anyone "really" believes. The way everyone, including atheists, talk, shows that they have the ideas of free will and consciousness ingrained into their minds and it isn't going away. As you pointed out, if determinism is true, then HOW can you ask whether Christianity is rational or talk about "reasonable doubts". If determinism is true, there IS no such thing as reason! The atheist can take NO credit for being smarter than a Christian, more rational, or anything. Their entire argument is meaningless because the only reason they are making that argument is because they're determined to do so.

And lol at "pretending that we have free will". What atheists do is pretend that we don't, to me it is self-evident that man has free will. If you don't accept that, the conversation can go nowhere. Yet the problem with atheism is that that's where their arguments must lead if they are going to remain coherent... just one of many issues with the atheist worldview. It's why so many of them are constantly in denial and borrowing from the Christian worldview when atheists should, logically speaking, have a nihilistic, fatalistic view of the world. A coherent atheistic worldview holds no room for moral, "I'm a good person" type of attitudes, because there can be no morality or goodness. There's no room for rationality because there is no reason.

So as I said, I'd argue that it's impossible for atheists to me more rational than theists. If atheism is correct and there is no God, then no rational thought was involved because man is not conscious, has no free will, and is the complete product of his environment. If theists are corrects, then they've made the right deduction while atheists have made the wrong one.
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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#11

Post by smiley » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:19 pm

Why do you assume that an atheist must be a materialist? As a matter of fact, nearly 50% people who profess to be atheists believe in soul.
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

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Post by Kurieuo » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:26 am

smiley wrote:Why do you assume that an atheist must be a materialist? As a matter of fact, nearly 50% people who profess to be atheists believe in soul.
Do you have a reference for that, include the type of "atheists" polled?

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#13

Post by jlay » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:10 am

smiley, I think for this discussion a much narrower definition of 'atheist' is being used. There are certainly people who do not believe in God but do believe in soul.
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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

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Post by CeT-To » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:50 am

That's strange ... any reason they do?
But joy and happiness in you to all who seek you! Let them ceaselessly cry,"Great is Yahweh" who love your saving power. Psalm 40:16

I Praise you Yahweh, my Lord, my God!!!!!

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Re: "Is Christianity Rational" debate with a friend

#15

Post by narnia4 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:01 am

smiley wrote:Why do you assume that an atheist must be a materialist? As a matter of fact, nearly 50% people who profess to be atheists believe in soul.
Those statistics wouldn't surprise me at all, but what other "rational" choice does an atheist have if he wants to have a coherent worldview? Atheists also say how atheism "isn't a belief in anything", that it isn't a religion and the only thing they think is that there is no God. The problem is that no one belief can exist in a vacuum, atheism has certain implications. If an atheist ignores these implications, I don't see any way around saying that the atheist's worldview is incoherent. I'm surprised that more Christians don't seem to pick up on this, but I guess when it's taken for granted that atheists are the "rational" ones and that they get to be on the attack all the time and never have to defend their own worldview, I guess it makes sense.

I'd like to see an explanation of how an atheist can justify believing in the supernatural. I've never really heard a good argument for it. I'd love to hear a rational explanation of OBJECTIVE morality from atheists, never heard that either. Free will and consciousness don't make sense to me in an atheistic worldview (although they seem self-evident, the very fact that people freely sit here thinking and typing and debating about free will and consciousness seems kind of funny to me) and yet many atheists believe in it... maybe even most. Nihilism, fatalism, determinism... all "musts" if an atheist wants to follow the logical conclusions to their own arguments, but so many of them ignore these implications. Maybe because they want to avoid the implications of theism at all costs, even if it means that their beliefs contradict each other and that they must irrationally cling to outdated and downright silly ideas like morality and free will.
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