Arguing with Atheists – Is there any Point?

 

It seems that the New Year has begun the way that the Old Year ended….a flurry of angry and arrogant tweets and messages from what I term the NFA’s (New Fundamentalist Atheists).  Anyone who has ever engaged with them will know exactly what I am talking about.   It seems that the angriest (and most irrational) are those that come from the US.  In some ways I feel sorry for my atheist friends here – many of who are pleasant rational people (despite their spiritual blindness), but some of their allies across the water are a sight to behold (and scary).  Let me give you a couple of examples – and hopefully we can learn something.

Lets start with someone who calls himself ‘Vousovreason’.  His tweets are classic NFA.  Even the name tells you what he is going to be like.  He IS the voice of reason and de facto anyone who disagrees with him must be unreasonable.  In a series of exchanges in which he boasted about the superiority of atheistic secularism he was asked to name one atheist state which was tolerant.  He tried Sweden (note  – this is what most American atheists do, although to be fair I don’t know where V comes from, its just a familiar pattern – they know nothing of Sweden other than what they have discerned from their confirmation bias selective searching of the internet.  This does not stop them citing any Internet meme as absolute fact.  Most of them have no idea of Swedish history, the role of Christianity in Sweden, which up until 2000 had a state church, or indeed anything about Sweden…but that does not stop them speaking with all the authority of Wiki!).

Not being able to (or wanting to) name any atheist country he tried another tack (note again that most NFA’s are not remotely interested in answer to their questions – they are making accusations not seeking answers, and so if you give them answers they just shut down and move on to their next accusation).  He tweeted ” Right, the question is ill-formed. Name a country that was intolerant because it was too rational.”  And in one bound he was free!  Not being able or willing to defend Christian countries he reverts to his dogma that atheism = rational.  It is the ultimate in circular arguments.  Like the atheist on the Dawkins website who came up this marvellous piece of ‘reasoning’ – ‘I would like to have an intelligent discussion with theists about God, but anyone who believes in God, cannot be intelligent, therefore it is impossible to discuss with them”.   Avoidance, statements of blind faith and superior mocking of anyone who does not see ‘the light’ is the stock in trade of this NFA approach (if you want to see further examples just go any day to the Scottish Secular Society webpage – where despite being a supposedly non-anti-religious group, this type of ‘reasoning’ is prevalent.

Then V came up with another cracker in response to my observation that some atheists get very abusive and angry.  “I have arguments with atheists all the time, that’s absurd. And suffer no “abuse”. Get a backbone if you want to engage in publc” Again note the arrogance here.  Without knowing who I am or what I engage in he is quick to judge that I am someone who just does not like being argued with or receiving abuse.  But it is the ‘logic’ (or lack thereof) that strikes me.  V has received ‘no abuse’ from atheists.  The very idea is absurd.  Might this be something to do with the fact that he is himself is an atheist and shares the same presuppositions and views?!  But no – his experience trumps all and so he feels free to negate any claim to the contrary, based solely on that experience.

And then his final classic (there were others but this does becomes somewhat tedious and repetitive).  “You portray atheism as dogmatic, yet it is the opposite in every way. It promotes free thinking rather than restricting it.”  Again anyone who has been on any of the NFA websites will recognise the pattern.  First of all they make an unsubstantiated claim – ‘ we are the voice of reason’, ‘an oasis of clear thinking’ (from the Dawkins website) etc.   Then anyone who dares to disagree with any atheist opinion, or to have different thoughts, is, in the name of ‘reason, tolerance and clear thinking’, subjected to mockery and abuse for being either too stupid or too evil not to see the obvious truth.  They remind me of the Islamic fundamentalist holding up a poster declaring, “Behead those who say Islam is violent”!

But lets move on to example number two. Someone who calls himself Somanygods (again this is a dreadful attempt to be clever and witty by providing us with the age old argument that if there is more than one god then there cannot be any – a criteria that they don’t apply to politics, culture, geography or any other sphere of human society.  And an argument that they themselves don’t understand.  If they had read any philosophy, logic, history or theology they would have grasped that Christianity does not teach that there are thousands of gods and you get to choose Jesus as the best – but rather that there is only one omniscient, omnipotent, Creator of all things.  By definition there cannot be two).
Anyway S is waiting patiently for my reply to an extended tweet he sent.  Again you will notice often with the NFA’s, especially those who are keyboard warriors, that they get very upset if you do not respond immediately to their obviously brilliant, original arguments.  They come up with unoriginal thoughts (most of which are derived from another atheist website, who picked it up from another atheist website who you can basically trace back to Bertrand Russell’s ‘Why I am not a Christian?”.  I don’t think I have come across any NFA argument that I did not find there.   But lets turn to this devastatingly brilliant tweet from S.

“I don’t claim your god doesnt exist. I dont need to. You do claim your god does exist, thus you need objective evidence. Faith aint objective.”

So many unevidenced presuppositions in there.  And so much illogicality and irrationality.  Firstly an atheist is someone who does claim/believe that there is no God.  Secondly they claim that they have the ability to discern whether evidence is objective and that they can absolutely determine that.   They don’t recognise that they too have ‘faith’ – one of the key parts of which is that they have faith they don’t have faith! They have faith they are the rational ones who only believe things they can prove.

“I dont “believe” there is no god. Thats a misunderstanding of disbelief. Atheism is not a belief. Maybe gods exist? I simply dont know because I dont have evidence to support that. I do not hold a “belief” that there is a god. That is quite different. Words are very important in both theology and philosophy.”

With this latter sentence I totally agree.  But most atheists treat words in a post-modern ‘Alice-in-Wonderland’ style.  A classic example of this is the largely successful attempt by the NFA’s to get ‘faith’ redefined as ‘belief without or contrary to evidence’.  This is not a definition you will find in any mainstream Christian theology, it is not a biblical one, and it is not one you will find in dictionaries before the end of the 20th Century.

Note again what happens here – atheists end up arguing against themselves.  They regularly set up strawmen that, amazingly, they are able to knock down.  This is even easier to do when they can hide behind their keyboards and dwell in their ‘safe’ internet spaces, where they do not have to venture out of their bedrooms and meet real people.   This is why they get so annoyed and angry when people like me fail to recognise their obvious superiority, brilliance and rationality, and dare to publicly challenge them.  Even now I could write the tweets, e-mails and messages that this article will receive.

Lets just take this point above.  Atheism is not a belief – so we are told.  But even if we accept that somewhat semantic point, we need to point out that atheism is based upon a series of beliefs – most of which are unevidenced.  I can’t list them all but for example every atheist I have met is a naturalist.  Its not just that they have evidence that everything is material, they believe that everything is material.

They also have great faith in their own cognitive abilities and reasoning (indeed this is an item of faith which if you challenge it, you will find yourself facing the equivalent wrath as if you had gone on an ISIS website and questioned the morality of Mohammed!)…

They also believe that there is no, and can be no, evidence for God.  The simple way to deal with this is just to ask what evidence they would actually accept.  Dawkins recently admitted that there was probably not anything that he would not explain away.  I did a debate once with an atheist society in which the atheist protagonists were so badly defeated (not so much by me but by my colleague who was a brilliant Christian doctor with an intellect and ability to reason reasonably that still takes my breath away) that the president of the Atheist society lost his temper and stood up at the end to vehemently declare ‘even if you could prove God to me, I would not worship him’. Most atheism is not a problem of the intellect but a problem of the heart.  In fact ‘faith’ of the blind unthinking sort is so deeply ingrained in the NFA that when you argue with them, remember you are arguing with the philosophical equivalent of a conspiracy theorist – no matter what you say, its all part of the conspiracy!   Ps 14:1 is apposite at this point.

Morality without religious belief can have a foundation. Us. Now I know you’re going to hate this one. Theology is built on the premise that humans are flawed and need saving etc. etc. But your morality is simply built on the premise that a) the bible is true b) if god communicates to you, its moral. Essentially, you folks are robots.

This is another classic example of unthinking, unevidenced NFA faith.  I don’t dispute that morality without religious belief can have a foundation.  It’s just that it is a very shaky one – especially if the foundation is ‘us’!  Who are ‘us’?  The powerful elites?  In the twitter discussion one of our atheist friends suggested that ‘parliament’ should decide morality.  This betrays a dangerous if somewhat touching naivety and faith in the governments of this world.  It is a Disneyesque faith, contrary to the evidence of history, psychology and philosophy.  They don’t consider questions such as what if you are not ‘Us’?   They also don’t understand the biblical teaching about morality and humanity (but typically of course that does not bother them, because again they are not seeking truth – just arguing against their own inventions!).  We believe that all human beings are ‘moral’ because we are made in the image of God.  What the Bible does is tell us the story of what went wrong, and how God has come to fix it in Christ.  It is not a moral textbook – except that it is a mirror which shows us our faults, and a light to guide us on our way because of our darkened consciences.

The irony is that most NFA’s don’t understand that their own naturalistic philosophy is what leads to human beings being regarded as robots.  Naturalistic determinism (we are solely what we are made of) does lead to the negation of free will and human responsibility (and again that is why Dawkins struggles so much with the free will question – he does not believe that it exists).  On the other hand Christianity teaches the highest doctrine of the freedom of humanity that has ever been taught.

“There’s no meaning in life. C’mon on – that similar to the above in 2. I’m sure you expect to get fired on for this corker. WE define meaning/purpose to life. You’re slightly correct – as a naturalist, I only have evidence of the material world. There may be gods, I just havent got the data yet. This does not mean that I cannot propose a definition of meaning and purpose or morality. You may think why should my opinion matter then someone else’s? Well, standards can be discussed and debated. If I propose to reduce suffering and maximise contentment, your model would ignore these principles in favour of being a robot and following some old piece of text.”

This is largely a repetition of his previous point (NFA’s are very good at repetition. Like atheist monks they have their chants!).  And again the ignorance of philosophy and history is spectacular.  “We define meaning/purpose to life’ and they are worked out by discussion and debate.   Again this is almost sweet in its Disneyesque approach to human life, society and history.  But it is dangerous as well, because it has never, and will never, work. Why? Because it takes no account of human sin.  Without an appeal to a higher authority, there cannot be an absolute morality.  Without an absolute morality there cannot be a consistent subjective morality.  In other words ‘S’s faith leaves the field open to Hitler, Stalin, Obama, Cameron, Putin or whoever happens to have the might, money and power to determine what is right and wrong within any particular society.  It is a recipe for an unchecked authoritarianism.

The irony here is that ‘somanygods’ does not seem to grasp that without the One God, there will be ‘somanymoralities’ – and if we ‘define our own purpose’ then very quickly the rich and powerful will define it for us.  Brave New World and 1984 will be combined in this atheistic nirvana.

Here is one of the big lessons I have learned from debating with atheists. We don’t need to be afraid. I think that there are some Christians who have bought into the cultural narrative that Christianity is about having a kind of blind faith and atheism is the intelligent, rationalist position.   They then make the mistake of thinking that the way to ‘win’ atheists is to be extra nice, whilst conceding the ‘rationality’ part. I disagree. The atheist position is intellectually vacuous. I once did a debate with professor of philosophy in a Southern US college. He was a popular professor who had once been a Baptist, and the debate was on his turf so I was somewhat apprehensive as we began.   Like the defenders of Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings, I was waiting for the big bomb to come. ‘Is that all you’ve got’?’ was my thought. And then it dawned – it was all he had. There was no big bomb. There was no real rational or intellectual superiority to the Gospel. It was an ‘emperor’s clothes’ revelation for me. We don’t need to be afraid of the ‘rationale’ of the NFA. It really is quite empty and cannot stand before the rationale of the Gospel.

Some Christians suggest that arguing with such atheists is a waste of time – because they are so filled with prejudice and hatred, as well as a sense of their own superiority that we are just wasting our time. I don’t agree. The Bible tells us that we were all ‘dead in sins and trespasses’, that all of us need our minds ‘renewed’ and our spirits ‘re-born’.   Of course no argument could do that. Nor can any worship service, prayer meeting or act of mercy. It is only the Holy Spirit – and he can, and has, used discussions and questions like this. So why engage with atheists? Not primarily to defend the bible (as Spurgeon said, I would as soon defend a lion!), but rather to proclaim the glory and beauty of Christ – that some may be saved. In other words we argue with atheists, not to win the argument, but to have Christ win them! Is there any better reason?

If you want any further help with this topic, I would like to suggest three books – all of which you can get from the Solas office, Amazon (or preferably your local bookshops – whether Christian or otherwise).

 

The Atheist who doesn’t exist by Andy Bannister

Why I am Not An Atheist – ed David Randall

Engaging with Atheists – David Robertson

 

As I posted this I just got another long message from V above…I’ll have a look and perhaps do a follow up to this next week….

And already the responses are flooding in….one is particularly helpful because it gives us an insight into another truth – NFA’s are very sensitive and also love to justify their hurt feelings by taking things out of context – witness this from SS –

This is outrageous

“They remind me of the Islamic fundamentalist holding up a poster declaring, “Behead those who say Islam is violent”!

DAR on atheists.

This is typical of how the NFA’s work.  Indeed it would be outrageous if that is what I was saying….but they missed out the previous sentence – ”  Then anyone who dares to disagree with any atheist opinion, or to have different thoughts, is, in the name of ‘reason, tolerance and clear thinking’, subjected to mockery and abuse for being either too stupid or too evil not to see the obvious truth.”  They remind me of the Islamic fundamentalist holding up a poster declaring, “Behead those who say Islam is violent”!

The point was not to say that atheists were equal to Islamic fundamentalists.  The point was that it is as contrary to reason, tolerance and clear thinking to mock and abuse those who think different to you, as it is for Islamists to claim that their religion is a religion of peace and they will kill anyone who disagrees.  Apparently once you cease to believe in God, you also cease to believe in rationality and logic!

The rest of SS posts also show the kind of ‘clear rational thinking’ that NFA’s use….a few gems for your delight…

I needn,t read this; I looked at the length and realised it was just another diatribe of pure shite from a rationally blind poor soul. If DAR would only just accept his atheism he would be a much happier person. And he would be able to shake off his bitterness.

We should all treat this as hilarious. Scotland’s most persecuted Christian speaks, and it’s idiotic. What a bellend. Just the latest in his regular outpouring of Calvinist fire & brimstone.

Such sweet  rational people!

Arguing with Atheists – Part 2

 

 

 

85 thoughts on “Arguing with Atheists – Is there any Point?

      1. Thanks Michael – wonderful illustration of my point that the NFAs are so impatient and arrogant! I try not to do social media and internet over the weekend. And to you honest your point was so banal it is hardly worth responding to…but I will…

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      2. Thanks David, I await your answers. And when my points get as banal as your Christian predictable apologetic soundbite website, then I’ll start worrying. The difference between you and the fella who gave you a right mauling a year or two ago, one Matt Dilahunty is, that he seems to grow intellectually and is interested in furthering the debate. Unlike yourself and followers on this site. Same answers that don’t really answer anything. You play the Passive/Aggressive card very well. I suggest that your ulterior motive in all of this is to cover your tracks which can never justify your belief in the invisible protector from the bible.

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      3. Love it….you seriously think that Matt Dilahunty gave me a ‘right mauling’? Is that why he took ages to post the debate on his website? Is that why so many NFA’s were furious with me? Is that why he took the huff? Taken out of the environment of his own safe space (where he regularly mocks the low hanging fruit) he just could not cope…if any one is in doubt then have a listen to the debates – you can access them through this blog –

        https://theweeflea.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/unbelievable-the-matt-dillahunty-showdown/

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    1. Yes suggest reading. Though not sure why you can’t answer it. In your written piece didn’t you accuse Atheists of never answering questions? I’ve never yet met a Christian who can come up with any good reason why we should believe the bible to be the word of god. So I’m looking forward to your suggested reading.

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    2. You don’t need evidence for a faith assertion. ‘There is no God’ is another good example. Belief that there is no God is a faith decision. It’s impossible to categorically empirically prove either for or against the existence of a God, so we all pick our faith position.

      So, a more relevant question is, ‘What can be found out about the Bible that would lead you to believe (by faith) that it is the word of God?’
      The answer to that, like David says, is ‘plenty’ – you just have to be willing to take information about the Bible seriously, in much the way as a lot of Christians treat people like Richard Dawkins seriously, ignoring any initial discomfort based on things they consider evidential against what he says. In the same way, you can easily choose to hang up your hang-ups about the Bible, have an open enough mind to re-examine what you consider evidential, in the unbiased, objective knowledge that there can be no clear evidence for either faith position.

      Maybe the most pertinent question is, ‘What evidence do you need?’, and – especially – ‘What evidence do you need in order to decide that the Bible isn’t true?’, because it takes as much faith to believe the latter as the former.

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      1. Well, maybe this idea that saying there is no god is faith idea needs examining. Just for now, I’ll pick Thor as a god and examine his evidence.

        We can find lots of writing about the works of Thor in Norse writings. We know about his activity of throwing thunderbolts and we can, indeed, see thunderbolts and accompanying lightning. So on the face of it, belief in Thor should be quite easy. Of course, I’m sure some will say that the Norse writings are legends or myths that can’t be taken at face value. I can reply that they are as reasonable to accept as any other old book of legends… say the bible.

        At this point most Christians will tell me that their book is accurate history whilst any other book about gods is legend or just fiction. When asked how they know this, often the response is more like well it contains god’s words – therefore the bible is god’s words – therefore the bible is true — because it is god’s words or something like that. The fact is that a Christian will dismiss evidence of Thor without even reading it on the basis that their bible is true.

        Now I make no claim about any gods other than this – that there is no evidence for the existence of ANY gods. Gods are strange beasts that have always manifested themselves, in person, by voice or whatever, in the legendary past but never make any intervention in the present.Gods are likely to have made promises about answering prayer yet their adherents have to spend much ink explaining that the promises don’t really apply…

        My position is that if there is never any direct evidence of a god or the god’s actions then it is highly likely that the god is a legend. This is not a belief just acknowledging that, in the lack of evidence. one cannot conclude any god’s exist.

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      2. Thanks Wheels…another great example of what I was writing about….an attempt to be witty which fails because of its ignorance and illogicality. You know very little about Thor….and clearly know very little about the God of the Bible so your attempted comparison fails miserably. And your prejudices just shine through – note how atheists make numerous assertions without evidence. You state as an absolute fact that Gods never make any intervention in the present. I deny that. I have seen God intervene in many ways. Your faith of course won’t allow you to accept that!

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      3. Yep, as usual, you can only answer this by playing word games. When do you take the decision to say that, right, the bible truly is the word of god? And how does an invisible entity talk, presuming he did talk to the men who wrote the bible? Does he have vocal chords? Is god responsible for the weather for instance? If not, then when do you make the decision that he’s not as opposed to it being the result of naturalistic events? I have green fairies at the bottom of my garden who have told me that the Christian god and the bible is the work of man and man alone. It’s not up to me to prove they exist at the bottom of my garden, it’s up to you to prove that they don’t. And if you can’t then it stands that your bible is just the words of men. I want to know what justifiable reason, apart from faith, do you have for thinking, asserting, that the bible comes directly from an invisible entity? The big bang, or evolution by natural selection may very well one day be found to be wrong, but it’s much more plausible and believable than your invisible sky daddy who’s interested in spying on everyone, making sure we all behave. A personal god by the way, is the most arrogant vindication of the cult of the self or celebrity.

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      4. Michael – Interesting questions! You seem to think that it is impossible for an Almighty God to reveal himself or communicate to human beings in anyway. Not the most rational position. It does seem indeed that you are away with the green fairies at the bottom of your garden! And why do you think the Big Bang is opposed to the idea of an almighty Creator? Again not the most logical position. Your post is a classic example of the NFA rant of non reasoning. Take your time. Take a deep breath. And try some thinking….it really does help!

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      5. ‘What evidence do you need in order to decide that the Bible isn’t true?’

        That is an interesting question. If I stick with the NT (I can do OT if you wish).

        1. Date of writing is unknown.
        2. Authorship is unknown.
        3. Order of writing is unknown.
        4. Bible is not an eyewitness account.
        5. No evidence it was written by people speaking to people who knew Jesus.

        The non-biblical evidence for Jesus is also incredibly light and also not contemporary. Once source (Flavius Josephus) has mixed credibility. That, and the Annals written by Tacitus, were somewhat after early Christian writings. References to Pontius Pilate are pretty much limited to a stone with a name carved on it.

        A reasonable argument can be made that the evidence from outside the bible could have been influenced by the authors reporting what they have heard from early Christians as opposed to any level of independent documentation.

        Scholars with, shall we say a certain bias to supporting the existence of Jesus, differ on who the real historical Jesus was.

        Finally, it is a book open to interpretation and misunderstanding. It is open to human avarice & failure. If the bible was true I do not think that would be the case.

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      6. Douglas….

        1) False
        2) False
        3) So what?
        4) False –
        5) False

        Given that there is so much that is false it is little wonder that you think the way you do. I suspect there is nothing that could or would convince you otherwise. None of it is surprising. If you can be bothered actually looking at the evidence I would suggest that you read Richard Bauckham’s “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”.

        The most astonishing thing (and I admit I am somewhat surprised that you of all people have come out with this) is your argument that the bible cannot be the Word of God because it is open to interpretation and misunderstanding, human avarice and failure. Why would human avarice and failure and inability to interpret negate the idea of the Bible as the Word of God?

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      7. I can’t work out how you’re defining faith Martin. First you say that you don’t need evidence for faith and then you talk about what you could find out about the bible that would lead you to believe on faith. Aren’t you using the bible as evidence ?

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  1. Hello David,

    And a Happy New Year to you.

    I’m going to take your question “is there any point?” as rhetorical. If there weren’t a point, you wouldn’t be doing it – right? What you rightly talked of when it came to the (so called) street preachers in Perth about being wise as serpents and gentle as doves come to my mind.

    What I have found is that I can try and influence others to consider their position when it is a different one to the one I hold. Or alternatively consider my own approach and how I engage in different contexts reflecting on and learning from experiences and making changes from what I have learned, good or bad.

    I find there are some where there is no discussion to be had. Why waste my time sharing pearls for them to be trampled on or what is sacred for it to be devoured? By the way this applies equally to the religious as to the secular/atheist.

    I hesitate to make any suggestions about your approach but if you are open to that then there are some suggestions I could make which I hope may help.

    I find being one of two believers in an extended family of 13 who are a combination of atheist/agnostic good training ground. Family can spot BS and know what buttons to press so anything other than authenticity doesn’t suffice there!

    I wish you well in continuing dialogue with atheists and appreciate your book that has that in mind.

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  2. If absolutely nothing else, I find the very last reason at the bottom of the bucket to engage an atheist is so that when they stand before God on their judgment day, they can’t cry “But, but, I didn’t know! Nobody gave me any convincing evidence that You exist!”

    A sad consolation prize from our point of view for sure, but at least then they will have to admit that they rejected God’s gift of their own free will and that they have earned their eternity by their own clear choice. No crying foul for them.

    Funny thing is, I said this as a closing comment to someone I judged a hopeless atheist after an extended debate in a youtube comment thread. And oddly, it was the only thing of all the mountains of evidence I heaped on him that seemed to soften his stance a little.

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    1. Pure, blind, total condescending arrogance! The Muslim could say exactly the same to you. How does it feel to be heading for an Islamic hell?

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      1. Having read the Koran (have you?) I’m quite happy to discuss with any Muslim…do you think the Koran is right? If not why would your view not be ‘pure, blind, total, condescending arrogance!”

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      2. Condescending arrogance? Where? I assure you my post can be read in the voice of kindness, tinged with just a bit of sorrow for your unnecessary suffering.

        You atheists always claim to operate with emotional neutrality, insisting that your decision to reject God comes from a place of calm and rational analysis of the available evidence, and yet your very first reply to me is teeming with emotion. Negative emotion.

        A threat of Islamic hell doesn’t faze me. But then again, it doesn’t faze you either, now does it? So that’s an empty volley. Try again.

        I assure you that every posted reply I have ever made in a debate with an atheist has not come from a place of condemnation or arrogance. My posts are made out of a desire to ease the suffering of those cruelly separated from a loving relationship with God. I try to make every post with prayerful consideration. Heavenly Father, please calm Michael’s sea of negative emotion so that he may engage in calm and fruitful debate with David Robertson. We know it is Your will that none of your flock be lost. Please Lord, soften Michael’s hardened heart and clarify his blurry eyes to the truth of his own creation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
        .
        .
        .
        .
        And of course the prayer makes your skin crawl. Ask yourself why.

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      3. I’ve asked myself why and the answer is, because your god doesn’t exist. And you still haven’t made a valid point as to the reason for your belief that one does.

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      4. Thought I’d check in while I am here, Michael. It’s been two months and the promised answers never came. Are you still out there actively evangelizing for atheism on other sites? Or have you dialed that back now that you realize you are not as secure in your position as you thought you were?

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    2. No I haven’t read the Koran. The point was that a Muslim would argue that their beliefs are every bit as valid as yours, yet you reject them. Is a Christian ever in doubt that they might have the wrong god?

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      1. “I’ve asked myself why and the answer is, because your god doesn’t exist. And you still haven’t made a valid point as to the reason for your belief that one does.”

        So you acknowledge a visceral reaction then?

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      2. The reason why Christians can be assured the God of the Bible is true and Allah is false, is because God is all-powerful, whereas Allah is not. By the Quaran’s own accounting, Allah did not predict Muhammad’s death, therefore no clear successor was appointed before his unexpected demise and the Sunnis and the Shiites slaughter each other to this day because of it. It is a schism that only hurts Islam. What an impotent god this Allah must be to allow the accidental damnation of 50% of his LOYAL followers.

        The examples are endless. Why does Allah need puny humans to help him slaughter those who oppose Allah? Why can’t he take care of them himself? I can get into the nitty gritty of this if you like, but it sounds like you don’t have enough knowledge of Islam for it to be worth your while. It’s just something you threw out there to distract from the topic at hand.

        All you need to know is that Muslims that have had opportunity to study the Bible (of which there are precious few in Muslim countries) frequently convert to Christianity when allowed to see the side by side comparison for themselves. Even when faced with the threat of execution for doing so. Not a decision to be taken lightly for sure. Do you know who Naghmeh Abedini is? Google her. She has a FB page. If you make a sincere effort to investigate her and her husband’s story, I can feed you a list of 100 others after her. There will be a quiz.

        The answer to the question behind your question, why does Christianity glow with a stronger truth than Islam (and all other religions)- is, unfortunately for your position, an unarguable fact: Islam demands you earn your salvation. Christianity gives it to you for free.

        Any neutral observer would unequivocally agree that the latter offer is better than the former and that the God giving away salvation free of charge is clearly more powerful than a god that needs you to pay him for it.

        Which one would you choose?

        Ah, yes of course. You are an atheist. You don’t need to choose. Because the person who is unshakably certain there is no God, is the same person who gets a sickening feeling in the depth of his gut when a humble prayer is recited in his presence. This same person thinks a threat of “Islamic hell” made towards a Christian should disturb the Christian as much as a threat of “Christian hell” clearly disturbs him.

        I bet you love a good blaspheming, don’t you? If you’re in a public place and you hear somebody on a profane tirade, slandering the name of Jesus Christ, you probably get a little crook of a smile in the corner of your mouth, don’t you? Maybe even nod your head appreciably in their direction, giving them a mental thumbs up? But on the other hand, a meek figure handing out gospel tracts on a street corner speaking the name of Jesus with humble reverence makes you curl your lip up in disgust, doesn’t it?

        You keep asking for “a valid point” for the existence of God. But you don’t want a quantifiable fact. No, you want an *emotional* argument. Something that sways your inmost feelings, something that you can feel in your gut.

        So, here’s the delightful irony in your arguments, Michael. You, YOURSELF, present stronger evidence for the existence of God than any of us ever could, because we are trying to stick to the neutral facts and you are wrestling with an emotional struggle. You’ve been feeling Him in your gut all along, as you have demonstrated from your very first unnecessarily emotional reply to the sentiment in my original post. It’s not that you don’t feel His presence at all, you obviously do, it’s that you’ve been fighting Him. His presence in your life offends you.

        Guess what? You’re not an atheist. I have a newsflash for you: an allergic reaction is an indicator of the presence of an allergen. A true atheist would feel absolutely nothing. Instead, you are someone who is tortured by your separation from God and you can’t figure out how to settle the turmoil within. You think if you “win” an argument with a Christian believer about this, that nuisance feeling in your gut will go away. You are drawn like a moth to a flame to these discussions. A real atheist has no more reason to be here than a Christian would have to get involved in an argument between a Buddhist and a Hindu about which has the better path to enlightenment. A TRUE atheist would “know” that the end result of these discussions is inconsequential, and therefore a waste of his time.

        So Michael, if God doesn’t exist, what are you so allergic to?

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      3. No am betting you can’t get into the nitty gritty if you like, concerning the Koran. It’s apparent in your first few paragraphs that you are good at pointing out the failures of other religions but ignore the shortcomings in your own. The point wasn’t to profess my understanding of the Koran, it was to set up the idea that you believe a book, that was written a few thousand years ago, by people you know nothing about and which has been doctored countless times to fit in with the faith. I doubt the Koran is much different. To have total blind faith because of a very old book is ludicrous.
        The salvation earned or given for free is a moot point, it proves nothing if there is no god. Which, and this is not a gut wrenching emotion, it’s a cerebral point, you have made no justified objective reason that one exists. As for me blaspheming often, na, and that’s just your gut wrenching emotive prejudice. The accidental death of both types of Muslims?? Your god ‘knowingly’, not by accident, allows the people that you proclaim he loves, to die horrible lingering deaths every day of the week. So that point there is completely soapsuds. A little crooked smile in the corner of my mouth eh? Very festered bitterness there. You reveal more about yourself with such comments than about me. Am not sure what your interpretation of neutral facts are but I would love to hear at least one from a Christian and not just an assertion.
        I am drawn to these discussions no doubt, because maybe I have an enquiring mind, who knows? But I actually don’t have a problem with the possibility of a god existing. My argument isn’t with a god and at no point have I said I was an Atheist. My argument is with, and what I’m allergic to, as you say, is fundamental Christians who condescendingly pat others who question their beliefs, on the head with a there, there, you just haven’t opened yourself up to the holy spirit. ‘And yes we have the real true god’.
        So, at the end of the day my allergy is to arrogant Fundies who profess to have the right god and accuse all others of emotional arguments, when ‘their’ whole belief system is actually based on magical thinking and emotional responses. The likes of Dilahunty present very concise arguments and reasons for their being questions against the existence of your god. The responses from the likes of the lovely DR seem to want to muddy the waters and deflect from answering straight questions. So yes, to sum up, my argument is not against your god, it’s against you arrogantly ‘knowing’ your god is the true one.
        This was written in a calm objective manner, hoping to engage the grey matter, not the heart.

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      4. Michael Collins – examples, please, of how the Bible has been “doctored countless times to fit in with the faith”.

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      5. Apocrypha-Writings hidden because of their questionable value to the church.
        Amongst other edits and additions that the likes of Bart Erhman could fill you in on.

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      6. Michael – you really need to broaden your reading (or do some actual reading and not just rely on atheist websites!). The apocrypha were not hidden because of their questionable value to the church. Why is Bart Erhman the ‘scholar’ atheists love to quote? Because he is an atheist. Its called confirmation bias. If he gave answers that didn’t confirm them, he would be rubbish! Its really hard to take your nonsense seriously. Those of us who have spent years studying textual criticism and the text and canon of the bible – despair at the crass ignorance displayed by atheists like yourself, who think that because they have read something they agree with on the internet – it must be true and they have suddenly become great textual critics!

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      7. Cheers David, fair point. In my own subject area there are too many uninformed opinions and it can be a pain. I do read a lot but mainly relating to my own subject. I’ve read a few pieces though by people like John Selby Sponge, Francis Schaefer and Rookmaaker. Jesus in Disneyland and a few more along these lines. A particular favourite was by a DR John Long-Biblical Nonsense, where he goes into the idea of the flood in one chapter being a scientific impossibility. Going on from this point, I seem to remember that the scientific area doesn’t stop many Christians, whose speciality it aint, giving many views relating to biblical theory on it.
        Are there any atheist scholars you will admit to having a little intelligence? Bart Erhman strikes me as being a studious, thoughtful and intelligent man.
        Lastly, with regards to the confirmation bias. Don’t you do that all the time? You go to the bible to confirm your own beliefs every day of the week. Jesus rising from the tomb, Jesus even existing. These things only appear in the bible and no other contemporary writing. Unless you take Josephus, who I read recently was a very dodgy source.
        So point me in the direction of a book or two that you initially suggested.

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      8. In terms of reading I actually regard Bart Ehrman as an interesting and credible scholar – although his presuppositions prevent him from accepting the reality of the Bible. Sponge is a walking disaster. Schaeffer brilliant. Rookmaaker also on the arts. Many atheist scholars have intelligence -its what they do with it that bothers me! As regards confirmation bias – of course we all do that. Its just that in the age of the internet its so much easier. I read about five books per book – I try to ensure that at least two of those are not Christian. I like having my beliefs challenged. In terms of books for you – it depends what you want to look at. John Lennox – God’s Undertaker is superb for the religion and science debate. On the historicity of the Bible – Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. And for more general evidence – my own The Dawkins Letters and Magnificent Obsession.

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      9. Gee Michael, it sure took you long enough to come up with that answer. Good thing I’m not as unreasonably demanding and impatient for replies as you are. Oh, but wait, I forgot, according to you, you’re the “calm, objective” one.

        Of course you’ve dialed back your emotionality now, *because you have to*. But all of your replies previous to my putting such a fine point on it belie your claim of neutral impartiality. So can we just drop the pretense and agree to agree that this is an emotional issue for you? Yes or No? That is my first direct question, from now on, I will number them so you cannot duck them whilst at the same time claim I am ducking yours.

        #2) Where is the “pure, blind, total condescending arrogance!” in my original post? If you polled a thousand people, how many of them would see what you saw in my post? My post wasn’t even directed specifically at you. Remember, YOU engaged me. And yet you took my post so personally. Are you willing to admit you see the world through an atheist’s bias? That this neutrality you claim you exhibit is only how you see yourself, not the outward image you are actually portraying to the world?

        #3) Do you admit experiencing a visceral reaction to my prayer?

        #4) Why did you think that a threat of “Islamic hell” would disturb me as much as a threat of “Christian hell” disturbs you?

        #5) Do you blaspheme the name of Christ? And/or take God’s name in vain?

        #6) Do you enjoy blasphemy? Do you watch movies that display characters engaging in blasphemy and chuckle with delight?

        #7) Do you blaspheme Mohammad?

        #8) Did you research who Naghmeh Abedini is? Do you understand the finer points of her conversion story?

        #9) Do you have any friends that are Christian? Is there any Christian person in your life, friend, colleague, family member, doctor, scientist or other public figure whose opinion you respect?

        #10) Have you studied the Gospel message and rejected it outright? Or have you just never studied it and have no idea what it says?

        I will now dissect your reply so you may not claim I do not give you direct answers.

        “No am betting you can’t get into the nitty gritty if you like, concerning the Koran.”

        Try me.

        “It’s apparent in your first few paragraphs that you are good at pointing out the failures of other religions but ignore the shortcomings in your own.”

        State your perceived shortcomings of my “own” religion.

        “The point wasn’t to profess my understanding of the Koran,”

        Noted.

        “it was to set up the idea that you believe a book,”

        True.

        “that was written a few thousand years ago,”

        True.

        “ by people you know nothing about”

        False.

        “and which has been doctored countless times to fit in with the faith.”

        False. Cite your source. Fit in with what faith?

        “I doubt the Koran is much different.”

        The Koran stipulates similar punishments to those who purposely corrupt the text, that the Bible does. Since you are a self-proclaimed non-believer and there is no valued religious text which you cherish, that disqualifies you from passing judgment on the likelihood that someone would corrupt a venerated text.

        “To have total blind faith because of a very old book is ludicrous.”

        To clarify, if the book were “very new” would that be… less ludicrous? Just what exactly IS your problem with the Bible? I will refer you back to question #9 above. Have you read the Gospel of Jesus Christ or not? If not, then shut up. If yes, then on what basis do you reject it? My faith may be total, but it is not blind. My relationship with Jesus Christ is personal. He is my guide, my counselor, my protector and my savior. The Bible is a love letter from God to all of mankind. (Is your skin crawling again? Mmm. Thought so.)

        Long before I developed a personal relationship with Jesus, I had the same God-shaped hole in my heart that every human being that has ever walked the Earth, including you Michael, was born with. Any human being with an ounce of intellectual self-awareness is going to ask themselves “Why am I here?” “Where did I come from?” “What is the origin of life?”

        Only psycho/sociopaths and people born with severe mental/emotional disabilities never probe these questions. Agreed?

        Accidental life on Earth is patently, blatantly, comically impossible. It takes the before-demonstrated blind bias of an atheist to think otherwise.

        So, that leaves only one alternative. There is a Creator. And that Creator clearly wants us to have free will (because we obviously all do, so therefore we must have been created that way).

        We also have this book, called a Bible. It claims to be the word of God. IF we take YOUR assumption, that the Bible is full of falsehoods, that leaves only two alternatives. #1) The creator of the universe is a liar, or 2) the creator of the universe did not write it.

        If #1 is true, why would an all-powerful being need to lie to his puny humans? What would he get out of it? Not a rhetorical question, Michael.

        If #2 is true, where IS the communication from the creator of the universe? Again, not a rhetorical question. Do you think it plausible that the creator of the universe would remain absolutely silent? Really, I’m asking.

        If an all-powerful being was being slandered by a book of lies, written specifically about him (not to be confused with other texts that discuss other gods) why would he not provide an alternative that corrects the lies? Not correcting a known lie is the same as telling a lie. Again, why would the creator of the universe intentionally deceive his creation? What would be the motive?

        So, you see Michael, with calm rational logic, a believer can indeed conclude, quite simply, that the Bible is indeed the word of God. I know, I know, you are maintaining the fiction that you don’t believe in God, so you think this logic doesn’t apply to you. Well, that just ties in nicely to your next false assertion.

        “The salvation earned or given for free is a moot point, it proves nothing if there is no god.”

        So, you claim salvation is worthless to you. And yet you are SO disturbed by the threat of “Christian hell”. Why the schizophrenia, Michael?

        Besides, you just did a bait and switch. I made that statement IN RESPONSE to your question of how could I know Christianity is superior to Islam, not how do I know there is a God. Once again, I know there is a Supreme Creator because I know accidental creation of life is impossible, and once again I know the Bible is the word of God because it is profoundly illogical to conclude that God would either lie to me OR provide absolutely no communication whatsoever.

        “Which, and this is not a gut wrenching emotion, it’s a cerebral point, you have made no justified objective reason that one exists.”

        Hehe. LIFE.

        Are you arguing that life on Earth doesn’t exist? Are you one of those… what are they called… people who think all reality is just a dream?

        Assuming that you believe life is real, please explain how life would be possible WITHOUT a Creator?

        “As for me blaspheming often, na, and that’s just your gut wrenching emotive prejudice.”

        Are you denying that you blaspheme? Or saying that I’m wrong to have pointed it out? Your sentence doesn’t make sense as it stands.

        “The accidental death of both types of Muslims?? Your god ‘knowingly’, not by accident, allows the people that you proclaim he loves, to die horrible lingering deaths every day of the week.”

        Free will = sin. Sin = consequences.

        Would you rather not have free will?

        “So that point there is completely soapsuds. A little crooked smile in the corner of my mouth eh? Very festered bitterness there.”

        Again, another sentence that doesn’t make sense. Do you feel camaraderie with fellow blasphemers or not?

        “You reveal more about yourself with such comments than about me.”

        What do you think I’ve revealed?

        “Am not sure what your interpretation of neutral facts are but I would love to hear at least one from a Christian and not just an assertion.”

        NEUTRAL FACT: Life on Earth exists. Agree or disagree? Assuming you agree, what field of science would you like me to use to demonstrate that it could not have arisen without an Intelligent Designer? Genetics? Physics? Evolutionary biology? Pick your poison.

        “I am drawn to these discussions no doubt, because maybe I have an enquiring mind, who knows?“

        Again, are you drawn to discussions between Buddhists and Hindus?

        “But I actually don’t have a problem with the possibility of a god existing.”

        Hedging. Hmm. More schizophrenia. You might want to get that checked out.

        Seriously, though. You’re OK with a God existing, just not in paying Him any respect or giving Him any credit? You’re comfortable with calling Him a liar?

        “My argument isn’t with a god and at no point have I said I was an Atheist.”

        More hedging. Michael, are you feeling OK?

        Funny that someone who isn’t an atheist would demonstrate such a vested interest in converting others to atheism. I can’t remember the last time I tried to convert someone to Buddhism…

        “My argument is with, and what I’m allergic to, as you say, is fundamental Christians who condescendingly pat others who question their beliefs,”

        First of all, you’re going to have to define “fundamental Christian”. I don’t know what you think that means. Second of all: NO ONE has condescendingly patted you, at least not here. Again, you responded to my very first post that was NOT directed to you. AGAIN, it was YOU who took it personally. And there was no condescension, only sorrow.

        “on the head with a there, there, you just haven’t opened yourself up to the holy spirit.”

        Are you claiming you HAVE opened yourself up to the Holy Spirit?

        “ ‘And yes we have the real true god’.”

        Sigh. See proof above.

        “So, at the end of the day my allergy is to arrogant Fundies who profess to have the right god and accuse all others of emotional arguments,”

        So… you admit to a psychosomatic allergy… and in the same breath deny the emotionality of your arguments? Okkkaaaayyyy….

        “when ‘their’ whole belief system is actually based on magical thinking and emotional responses.”

        What emotionality have I displayed in my arguments? Are you calling the existence of life on Earth “magical thinking”?

        “The likes of Dilahunty present very concise arguments and reasons for their being questions against the existence of your god.”

        Feel free to share them.

        “The responses from the likes of the lovely DR seem to want to muddy the waters and deflect from answering straight questions.”

        I’m not qualified to defend our host. But if you think he’s guilty of mudding the waters, feel free to show me where.

        “So yes, to sum up, my argument is not against your god, it’s against you arrogantly ‘knowing’ your god is the true one.”

        So… are you saying that you refuse to believe in God because you deem his followers arrogant?

        Really, what are you saying? You feel cheated that they’ve latched on to something you can’t grasp? You don’t think YOU’RE arrogant? Claiming you sprung into life from nothingness? No willingness to humble yourself before your Creator? Submission to a creator takes HUMILITY. The opposite of arrogance.

        “This was written in a calm objective manner, hoping to engage the grey matter, not the heart.”

        LOL! Yeah…. If you have to say it… kinda undermines your claim. Calm objectivity speaks for itself.

        I will concede, you were calmer in this post, partly because I called you on it and you had no choice but to dial it down. But it was a struggle for you, wasn’t it? Took a while for you to compose a reply. Can I trust that next time DR takes a little time to get back to you, you will show more grace?

        Have you seen the movie God’s Not Dead with Kevin Sorbo? You can stream it on NetFlix, Amazon, Hulu. Your complaints about Christianity and God are boilerplate, man. Don’t think for one minute that your struggle is unique, or you’ve stumbled upon some grand truth that has somehow eluded all the poor stupid Christians out there. Until you come back here and truly stipulate, “Yes, I understand what the Gospel says and I reject it.” -your arguments are useless because you don’t even know what it is you are rejecting!

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      10. Yes Joy, I will answer you when I get a chance to have a proper look at all of your post in detail. By the way, I don’t think that it took me as long to reply as it has done for you to reply this time. I actually thought you’d probably been out to get the Koran from the local library to read up on it. Ha Ha!

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      11. Michael, if you are talking about my comment about David Bowie, I posted that reply as soon as the article was published. Other than that, I haven’t said anything to you in a couple of days.

        What I am guessing happened is that you missed my reply before last, blind clicked my most recent (David Bowie) comment and only then discovered my previous.

        Do I need to wait for you to learn how to use the internet before we can address more intellectual matters?

        As for your need to stall posting a meaningful reply, I will remind you that truth and sincerely held beliefs flow naturally from the gut. You could have easily addressed any one of my simple questions in the time it took you to post that childish nonsense.

        How much more rumination do you need to do? Most of my questions are one word or one sentence answers. They are very easy to answer if you answer them truthfully. They are only difficult if you don’t like the truth and need to fabricate a complicated narrative about why they are wrong.

        How can you tell when a witness to a crime is lying? When he needs time to “get his story straight”.

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      12. Just as an aside, God’s Not Dead isn’t available on Netflix in the UK – unfortunately. I guess you’re in the States, Joy?

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      13. Joy, there is no pretence, it was a bit of irreverent humour. So, this is not a purely emotional issue for me. As I said, and you can check the whole of your last post for this, it becomes very annoying when being told there is an invisible elephant stood in the corner of the room, but a number of people are excluded from seeing it, only by their lack of faith, inability to experience it and believing it to be there. That’s your total arrogance, right there.
        I’m not going to go through all the points as I aint got the time or inclination. The hell point. again, you don’t know that a hell exists anymore than I do. You have a Jewish bloke telling you a hell exists in a book. I don’t believe a hell exists, so a Christian hell doesn’t frighten me anymore than an Islamic hell. The point was that you are shuffling all Atheists towards hell, [some for having done very little wrong, don’t forget Joy, we stopped hanging children for stealing potatoes centuries ago] unless they believe in YOUR faith. Whereas the Muslim could be doing the same to you because as far as he is concerned, YOU are a non believer in the true faith. Get it? I don’t have a visceral reaction to your prayer, I just think you’re daft. You still haven’t justified that the thing you are praying to exists or that the book you believe to be sacred was that being’s actual words passed onto man.
        I did look up Naghmeh, what a joke. Naghmeh’s experience exists, therefore a Christian god exists. Is this what you’re trying to say? Again, more Disney sentimentality. Not her situation, but the way you read it.
        I do still have some friends I made over the last 11 years at the church I went to. And I still go over there, having now moved about 14 miles away, to see them, not the service, have a coffee afterwards and sometimes a free Sunday dinner, yum yum! Making your skin crawl is it Joy? However, because I respect them as people I don’t get into arguments or even discussions with them about god or prayer etc.
        I used to go to a bible study every Tuesday night, so I have some experience of studying the bible. Like A Pilgrims Progress, which I have read a couple of times, the bible is a wonderfully visual book and very interesting in the stories it tells. But who wrote it Joy? And why should I believe it to be the work of god because a bunch of blokes who wrote it say it’s the word of god? And that’s my problem with the bible, not that it’s very old, it’s the fact that you believe it to be the word of god by making the leap of faith and for no other justifiable reason as far as I can tell. It would be interesting if JC came back now, would you believe it was him? How would you make your mind up either to follow him or stone him?
        Bye the way, do we have to only have two options for the beginning of life on earth? It seems to me that beings from another planet could have initially put us here for some reason or other. That has as much validity as your Christian god concept. Deep down in our hearts, we could be hankering for our fathers and home on another planet. Or maybe because we know we’re going to die, we have to see more reason in our existence than birth, life, death.
        I will address some of your other points later as I have to go out. Bye Joy!

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      14. I do honestly look forward to your other points, Michael. It will be very interesting to see if you possess the bravery to address them. Take your time. I don’t watch the clock as you do.

        As for Naghmeh, you either have an extremely short memory of your own arguments or you are making a poor attempt at deflection. You asked me what evidence I have that Christianity is truth over Islam. You may have consciously posed the question just to make an argumentative point, however I recognize that there is the possibility that on some unconscious level you are genuinely curious what it is that I know about the two religions that you don’t. So you deserve answers with substance. Does the example of a devout Muslim converting to Christianity not hold more weight with you than a dyed in the wool Christian just telling you they have studied Islam vicariously and hold Christianity to be superior?

        You have said many cruel things in just our short exchanges, Michael. Cruelty comes from a dark place. Not from a neutral benevolence to open people’s eyes to truth as you so valiantly claim. You have called me a Fundie, which is just a slur as hateful as any other. You insist on addressing the God of the Bible with a lower case “g”, knowing full well how that hurts us to read it written that way; but by far the cruelest crime you have committed is to say that Nagmeh Abedini’s life story is a joke.

        She and her husband have suffered immeasurable brutality at the hands of people who have the exact same aim in life that you do Michael: to extinguish all respectful expressions of Christianity.

        How’s it feel to realize that the Noble Atheist (who claims to not really be an atheist and yet actively promotes the virtues of atheism *eye roll*), is cut from the same cloth as Abedini’s tormentors? Oh, you’ll claim your philosophies of life are polar opposites to militant Islam … but don’t you wonder why you both share a common end-game?

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      15. Joy, get down to Specsavers. I said the way you use her story as an example of the ‘Truth’ of Christianity is a joke, not her life. And there are probably many examples of the reverse happening-from the big JC to the big M.

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      16. Her “story” Michael, is her LIFE STORY.

        So you just talked a big circle that ended you up where you started. I refer you back to my immediate previous post. I could duplicate it here in response to what you just said. Do I need to?

        Of all the points to address in my posts, the fact that you bother to take the trouble to defend yourself against that one shows that you recognize it makes you look like a cad to be so dismissive of her suffering. Interesting admission.

        Newsflash: it doesn’t just make you look like a cad, it makes you look like an Atheist.

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  3. I enjoyed reading this piece by David as I deal with many hostile, beligerent Hate theists who actually think they are simply atheists. I don’t know if any of you have had discussions with Jehovah Wittness’s ? If you have, am I the the only one who feels much dialogue with a NFA/ Hate theist is no different to dealing with an irrational dye in the wool bias watchtower mindcontrolled Jehovah Wittness ? I am always speachless after the dialogue how these people are irrational and completely blind to the fact that they are actually no different to those trapped in cultic thinking. There isn litte or no ability to reason.
    You know that with a Jehovah Wittness it matters not what truths are presented but did the watchtower society say it and does the watchtower approve of it as that’s all that matters to them, not the actual truths presented. No different to the NFA hate theist. No matter what rational and overwheming truths are presented, if it’s source comes from The Judeo Christian God, well it just can’t be true ?? I am gob smacked that the NFA Hatetheist can not see this at all, that they actually think the same way of what they accuse others of. Am I the only one who experiences this ?

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  4. “I did a debate once with an atheist society in which the atheist protagonists were so badly defeated …”

    David, is this debate available anywhere?

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  5. Interesting read,

    As far as the comments, two things stuck out.

    ” you just have to be willing to take information about the Bible seriously, in much the way as a lot of Christians treat people like Richard Dawkins seriously, ignoring any initial discomfort based on things they consider evidential against what he says. ”

    I read The God Delusion when it was the newest hot thing that was causing priests to leave seminary because it was so devastating. I didn’t really know who this Dawkins guy was, but it was supposed to be the death knell for Christianity, so I read it. I was half way through the book before I was sure it wasn’t an atheist rant parody. My response to it was to determine that if this was the most devastating objections, there was not much to worry about, For several years after, most discussions with atheists ended with a a tutorial on how either I had never read the Dawkins Gospel or was too stupid to understand. It ended up making me more secure in my Christianity.

    “1. Date of writing is unknown.
    2. Authorship is unknown.
    3. Order of writing is unknown.
    4. Bible is not an eyewitness account.
    5. No evidence it was written by people speaking to people who knew Jesus.”

    1- It is reasonably known and many have given approximate date and their reasons. (ie Luke/Acts proposed written in the AD 60s for use in Paul’s trial, hence other Pauline writings prior to his trial in the 60s unless they are determined not to have been written by Paul logic would dictate that they were written prior to his execution.)
    2- We don’t know who wrote any ancient text. We know who it is said to have written them or have claimed to. How many centuries later are the first know copies of the Gallic Wars, Seutonius or Tacitus? How do you know names were not just attributed to them during that time. Would scholarship find that reasoning plausible?
    3- Does order matter? If the formulation of Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism were done in a different order, would it affect the accuracy of the formulation?
    4. If you don’t know who wrote them or when they were written, there is no way to say they were NOT eyewitnesses unless you know for a provable fact that there was nothing to be an eye witness of. Since it is written in a positive form as truth statement, I expect it will be followed by this provable fact or answers to questions to 1 and 2.
    5. This is just a restatement of 1,2 and 3 to make the list longer and adds no new claim.

    Out of 5 statements, only 2 actually may have any relevance.,

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    1. Sorry, “5. This is just a restatement of 1,2 and 3 to make the list longer and adds no new claim.” should read

      5. This is just a restatement of 1,2 and 4 to make the list longer and adds no new claim.

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    2. Trent, just to correct a few things: (My comments start with *****)

      1- It is reasonably known and many have given approximate date and their reasons. (ie Luke/Acts proposed written in the AD 60s for use in Paul’s trial, hence other Pauline writings prior to his trial in the 60s unless they are determined not to have been written by Paul logic would dictate that they were written prior to his execution.)

      *****But this is only what some people claim. The scholarly consensus is that there is no consensus on the dates except the general range. In fact, there is a very realistic chance that the books were editted over a number of decades.

      Regardless, they are all long after Jesus’s death.

      And, even if they were the year of Jesus’s death they still wouldn’t be more reliably true or false, since myths and legends can develop while a person is alive.

      2- We don’t know who wrote any ancient text. We know who it is said to have written them or have claimed to. How many centuries later are the first know copies of the Gallic Wars, Seutonius or Tacitus? How do you know names were not just attributed to them during that time. Would scholarship find that reasoning plausible?

      *****Right! We don’t know who wrote any ancient book, in reality. Scholars make their best guess, and in some cases, they simply accept some authorship because it’s unknown and would take someone taking a lot of time and energy to research it. Do you want to spend 40 years of your life studying minor authors? I don’t.

      The fact is, the dates and authorship of the books are unknown.

      3- Does order matter? If the formulation of Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism were done in a different order, would it affect the accuracy of the formulation?

      ***** Kind of a bad analogy. Let’s not use an analogy but talk about the actual works.

      The difference in order is important because it helps scholars understand the development of the theology, and helps pinpoint world events.
      The last thing we should care about is whether the order props up our preferred theology.

      The fact (by scholarly consensus) is that the dates, authorship and order are unknown. However, they do know some books seem to be much later than others (for example 2 Peter).

      The importance of this is HUGE! If 2 Peter was written in 120 CE, it means Christians – early on – had no trouble creating forgeries, or writing books in someone else’s name. This would throw all kinds of questions in the validity of the claims about Jesus throughout.

      After all, did John known anything about Jesus, or did he make it up? John was written around 90. That’s 3 generations after Jesus died.

      4. If you don’t know who wrote them or when they were written, there is no way to say they were NOT eyewitnesses unless you know for a provable fact that there was nothing to be an eye witness of. Since it is written in a positive form as truth statement, I expect it will be followed by this provable fact or answers to questions to 1 and 2.

      ***** Why do you guys keep claiming they might be eyewitness accounts when none of them are or claim to be?

      This is an example where Christians try to keep a lie alive because it fits their motives.

      Read the gospels again. Search your mind, not your heart, and see if you still think they are eyewitness accounts. Ask yourself why they differ in some things, and then, copy directly from others, why they don’t claim to be eyewitness accounts (but one even claims to be an account from a second-hand source.).

      Obviously, as a Christian, you are going to come to the conclusion you prefer, not the rational one, but give it a shot.

      5. This is just a restatement of 1,2 and 3 to make the list longer and adds no new claim.

      Out of 5 statements, only 2 actually may have any relevance.,

      ***** The fact that the dates, authorship, order and purpose of the writings are unknown seem to be important. And, if they represent accounts from people who never met Jesus, then what is the actual foundation of your religion?

      Emotional faith?

      Sorry, I can get that from any religious person.

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  6. By the grace of God I can prove God’s existence (scientifically) and confirm the tripartite nature of His eternal being in just over 2000 words. But, and again by the grace of God, I know that there is absolutely no point in attempting to intellectually persuade any atheist to believe in the one true God – absolutely no point – because it is only God’s eternal initiative which can create new eternal life by uniting with a person’s previously enslaved spirit …which spiritual reconciliation is confirmed by that person’s positive response to the simple, yet powerful gospel of ‘Christ crucified’ (ref: 1 Cor. 2/1-5 & 1 Cor 4/20)
    As Christ Himself said: That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit….John 3/6
    Unless God takes the eternal initiative all that intellectual persuasion can produce is a ‘believer’ with a ‘christianised’ intellect……………which is not the same as a true, spiritually regenerated disciple.
    And those with ‘christianised’ intellects invariably ‘accept the Christ of their understanding’ purely on the basis of their own self preserving, self promoting intellectual terms……….in other words they assume a self extolling form of godliness but that form is devoid of divine power (ref 2 Tim 3/5).
    At the moment the traditional churches are full of people with christianised intellects travelling the broad, ecumenical road which Christ speaks off in Matthew 7/13 – a road which, according to Jesus and aptly confirmed by these churches leads to …………….destruction.
    So, to the question: Is there any point in arguing with atheists?
    The answer must be,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ETERNALLY – NO POINT!!!!!!

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    1. Sadly Jack you then disagree with Jesus, Paul and the Apostles – who were quite happy to debate, reason and discuss. It is Gods work, but as you know the Lord uses means – including discussing with atheists.

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      1. Ironically, sadly, David it is you who disagrees with Jesus, Paul and the apostles.
        Jesus did not have a well-reasoned, extended discourse and debate with His disciples, He sovereignly chose to call them and directed them to follow Him – and they did. Matthew 4/18.
        Jesus further confirmed that He had chosen the disciples rather than the latter (mindfully) choosing Him. John 15/16
        Jesus spoke in parables so that only those to whom He had introduced and given Himself could understand. Matthew 13/10-17
        And Jesus further confirmed God’s sovereign initiative in the matter of eternal salvation in John 6/44 – “No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…..”
        And the Holy Spirit confirmed, through the apostle Paul, that the drawing agent was not a carefully crafted and culturally relevant argument but the simple gospel of “Christ crucified” … as simply and clearly confirmed in 1 Corinthians 2/1-5:
        And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
        You may of course attempt to counter by quoting Peter’s direction (to persecuted believers) to offer defence and give the reason for the hope that is within them (1 Peter 3/13-17) – but that simply calls on believer’s to offer personal testimony of the efficacy of Christ crucified in their own salvation – not to enter into laboured, prolonged, intellectual argument with their persecutors – as all ‘self-appointed’ apologists seem to ‘think’…………..
        Oh the hubris displayed when any human being thinks that another’s salvation depends on his/her social guile and the skill of his/her argument…………
        God forbid that any true conversion rests on, and is dependent on the outcome of human resource……………
        Every human being is dead and bound in, and by Sin until God chooses to break through that sinful mantle and consummate an eternal relationship with their hitherto eternally non-viable spirit.
        As Christ states in John 3/3:
        ….unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ….
        And it is not without reason that the first member of the trinity is called ‘Father’ – for truly it is His initiative which has given eternal life to all spiritually regenerated believers.

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      2. Jack – do you not see how your posts are self-contradictory – you deny that God uses reasons, words, logic and yet you use reasons, words and logic to make that denial?! You post as though I did not believe in the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son. I do. Totally. But it is how that sovereignty works out – God uses words, reasons and logic as tools (as he does other things as well). As Martyn Lloyd Jones was fond of pointing out – the Spirit addresses the heart through the mind – not the other way round.

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  7. Again, David, you simply miss the point. Atheism (or other non-supernatural positions) is more rational – by definition – than any position based on superstitions (beliefs about supernatural things). It just is. You keep trying to make this a discussion, but it’s not.

    When you claim something is right, true or moral because it’s in your religious text, the only argument you have is that it is in your religious text. That’s a bad reason. In fact, it’s not rational or reasonable at all. A Muslim or Hindu can make the same appeal to their religious text – and no one has offered a way to determine what God (if God even exists) really thinks about any given topic.

    When an atheist makes a claim about something being right, true or moral, it must be based on something you, yourself, can measure, test or observe. If I tell you marriage should include any two, adult people regardless of their gender, i should be able to back it up with demonstrable data.

    Not “A guy wrote about this 2000 years ago and he was more right because he had better intuition about it than anyone could ever have”. (Which is what Christians argue: “The Bible is true because it was written by men who had greater insight into what God wants.” It’s the “inspired authorship” argument.)

    But, of course, a Hindu could claim their writers were MORE inspired. So now what?

    I think your struggle with atheists is that you don’t listen and simply don’t learn. Meanwhile, you continue your fraud in claiming to speak more closely to what God wants – when you can’t even determine if you know what God wants – and you can’t even show that God exists.

    At least atheists can be reasonable, even if they can’t prove the negative (that God doesn’t exist).

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    1. Wonderful, wonderful post. I was kind of hoping in an article about fundamentalist atheism I would get some NFAs posting – so that people could see that I am not just making this stuff up. Your first paragraph is superb…one to keep for future reference – thanks.

      And the rest is almost as good. For me the best is this – “When an atheist makes a claim about something being right,true or moral it must be based on something you yourself can measure test or observe”. If that is a right, true or moral statement then you must be able to measure or test it yourself. But you can’t and so it is a completely self-refuting statement. It is a the classic position of logical positivism, which its founder, AJ Ayer, eventually admitted was complete rubbish because it refuted itself.

      I realise of course you have to accuse people of not listening and not being reasonable – but just repeating the mantra does not make it true. Until you show some evidence of reason (instead of just repeating your faith statements and your accusations) then by your own standard, none of us can believe you….

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      1. I know we are a drug you can’t quit. You’re not fooling anyone. You’ll be atheist soon enough, David.

        David, why is it right to allow black people to vote? What rule do you invoke? I invoke the rule that they, by all basic objective facts are people who live in and contribute to the society they live in and are affected by politicians actions.

        Do you agree?

        Do you see that I don’t need to invoke God?

        That’s the difference. You need to invoke your imaginary friend for support for why you don’t want black people to vote.

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      2. Thanks Brent – you continue to deliver. Ignorance and invective combined. I of course have no problem with black/white/yellow/pink people voting. Its just another lie that you put out and shows how desperate you are. You justify your unbelief through abuse and irrationality and lies. Very very sad. One day you will be called to give an account for every ill word spoken and every wrong thought and action.

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    2. David,
      I am using this response facility because, once again, you appear to have removed that facility from your last post to me.
      Are you deliberately misreading the reason and logic of my words?
      Let me clarify
      I am stating that it is the Spirit who gives eternal life to a person’s spirit – not human intellect, reason or logic!!!!
      Human intellect, reason and logic is not in itself ‘spiritual’ and can never survive the death of the body to which it is attached……….
      Human intellect, reason and logic can only ever be used as a conduit or channel to convey, or receive spiritual input from God’s Sovereign Spirit………….. or the opposing spirit of Sin.
      God’s Spirit, being independent of the physical realm, can and does operate independently from it (Pentecost?)
      If God desires to reconcile Himself with one of His lost elect then He will do so – independently of human agency.
      Human agency has an essential place in giving the gospel – but a person’s positive response to the gospel must be seen as confirmation of that person’s preceding – or perhaps simultaneous spiritual conversion (Baptism: signifying death to the worldly spirit and birth into the eternal realm)
      Sadly, if the gospel is given and accepted, without eternal quickening – then this creates false conversions which can only ever result in intellectual/emotional Christianisation – which can look like the real thing – but, devoid of divine input, can never be the real thing.
      If we judge at a purely intellectual level we can be deceived into labelling all sorts of false apostles as being our brothers in Christ……………….

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      1. Relax – Nothing has been removed.

        Again you are arguing against what is not being said. Who is talking about judging at a purely intellectual level? Or denying the necessity of the work of the Spirit?

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      2. Have you discovered anything the Bible is wrong about? What has the Bible gotten wrong, David? Your a “historian”, how about you tell us the fair and balanced evaluation of an ancient book; written by anonymous authors decades after the events, translated into numerous languages, redacted and edited, written by superstitious people…

        Surely, you must be able to give us a healthy list of things wrong in the Bible – as there is in any and every text in the Universe.

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      3. In 30 years of studying the bible I have yet to find anything that the Bible is wrong about. On the other hands atheists with access to Wiki seem to think that five minutes trawling and they know it all.

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      4. Dear David,
        It is you who tends to operate at a purely intellectual level – otherwise you would not choose to call ex Pope Benedict – or indeed any Roman Catholic apologist your brother in Christ……………….
        In calling such people – and those ecumenical, intellectual ‘evangelists’ who also spiritually identify and empathise with them, your ‘brothers in Christ’ – you’re revealing to me that you are judging a person’s spirituality at an intellectual, natural (wool fleece) level……….and not at a deeper spiritual level,,,,,,,,,,,,,
        Anyway, back to the theme: Is there any point in (intellectually) arguing with atheists?
        And we both must agree that, devoid of essential input by the Holy Spirit, there is absolutely no point.
        When we argue with non-believers and those of other religions without the input of the Holy Spirit then, if our intellectual prowess is successful, all that it can possibly achieve is an ‘intellectual/emotional’ conversion – which is a far cry from ‘eternal’ rebirth.
        And if you need an example of such ‘natural’ conversion – then look to one of your own ‘successes’ – look to Richard Morgan, the retired music teacher, who you converted from atheism ……to ‘christianity’ and who, I understand, has since converted to Roman Catholicism!!
        The Holy Spirit would lead no truly spiritually regenerated believer to join the Roman Catholic Church.
        Rather the opposite – I have many brothers and sisters in Christ who were once Roman Catholics and who the Holy Spirit led very quickly out of that organisation.
        Before you’re ‘tempted’ to call any Roman Catholic your ‘brother in Christ’ again, can I respectfully suggest that you read the testimonies of fifty RC priests who were called out of that religious organisation by reading a book called ‘Nearer to God Far from Rome’ by Richard Bennett
        And, while I’m recommending books, I would also suggest you read and absorb a book called the Anti- Gospel by Edward Hendrie
        I recommend those books in the hope that you might be truly blessed by both

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  8. Thankyou David for a most encouraging post in order for me to continue dialogue with the new atheists. In regards to the claims made here about Matt D giving David a right mauling. Oh please – The debate reminded me of a boxing match with one boxer giving hard blows and the other boxer (being Matt D) continually doing nothing but covering his head and body with his arms as thats all he could do. Sniffing out rotten eggs and not stating how to lay a good one is all Matt d achieved during the 2 debates. To sit there and pontificate and only say well I don’t know and I didn;t know that i am not allowed to say I don’t know was surely pathetic. If you want to hear a right bit of mauling listen to David simply educate Matt once Matt opened the door on the topic of Nazi’s, hitler etc. Matt is no different to a dye in the wool Jehovah wittness. He basically represents all those he actually condems. For Matt d to sit there and say he doesn’t know if a God exists is a BIG FAT lie. He Hates God and anyone who watches his atheist experience can work that out in one episode. God give us grace to deal with the NFA as they simply are the blind leading the blind.

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    1. How do you establish whether someone secretly believes in something ? Do you think that someone can hate an idea without thinking it actually exists ?

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  9. Hi David, there’s a few things I’d like to ask

    What would your standards have been for an atheist state ? Would they just have to have no state religion and a largely atheist population or were you looking for one with a government that explicitly promotes atheism ?
    And what gives you confidence that we can all agree about morality if we embrace Christianity ? Is it just that you trust God to make it happen or do you think that a case can be made for it by data about the way humanity has used Christianity so far ?

    And just for the record, I am an example of an atheist who isn’t a naturalist, at least I am if you define naturalism as the assertion that the material world is all there is, I have no idea whether or not the material world is all there is and I’ve even met people who identify as atheists but believe explicitly magical claims such as consciousness being eternal

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    1. Thanks Danny – an atheist state is one in which the ethos and philosophy of the government/media/state education system are atheist. As in modern China….

      In terms of morality I would argue that we all have it – because it is hardwired into us in that all human beings are made in the image of God. I would also argue that the Bible provides us with reminders in that respect. Plus we have hundreds of years of Christian teaching and tradition.

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      1. because it (morality) is hardwired into us in that all human beings are made in the image of God.

        Is this statement based on hard, verifiable evidence or simply your interpretation because of your belief in the christian god?

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      2. LOL. Every time an atheist drones on and on about how he is perfectly capable of being an incredibly moral individual without any help from a religion; he is accidentally proving that, yes, a sense of morality is hardwired in us all, by design. Either there is an Evolution Fairy, or there is an Almighty Creator. Which is the more plausible? Take your pick.

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